All hail the wonders of Geekdom!
Most of you should recognize the title as being from the late fantastic, yet utterly too short TV show, "Heroes." I have recently indulged myself on this show once again after stumbling upon it in the queue in Netflix whilst recovering from a smashing weekend camping on the beach. I thought to myself when I saw this new addition in my hungover state, "Yus! Something interesting to watch that I won't feel bad if I pass out because I have already seen the entire series!" What I did not expect was to attentively glue my eyes and my exhausted brain to the tele for 7 hours. What happened to my hangover nap??
What started off as me looking for something to watch and not really pay any attention to at all, turned into a week long obsession of re-watching this series, with fervor I might add. While most do agree that the latter half of the third season and pretty much the entirety of the fourth just plain sucked, the first two and a half seasons displayed genuine artistry in story-line and what it means to be a hero in today's world. Does one simply have to have "superpowers" to be a hero in a child's, or anyone's eyes? The show started off with quite an interesting concept: real people in the modern world displaying possibly the next generation of human evolution enabling them to have "abilities" beyond the normal realm. What the show accomplished, at least somewhat in my own mind, is a sense of what really makes a hero.
The characters in the show all have varying obstacles to overcome in their respective lives, but each is faced with a variation of the same problem: What makes a hero? Peter Patrelli, the all good, self-sacrificing savior type struggles with family ties and corruption within the walls of his own house. Claire Bennett, the actual healer in the show, deals with similar problems as Peter with her dangerous Daddy, but also faces the issue of constantly being the damsel in distress, needing a hero to save her... (Save the Cheerleader.) And by far my favorite character, Hiro Nakamura, raises the question outright of what makes a hero and what he would do to save the world as he constantly battles with time and space, a very dangerous power in evil hands.
Hiro's case is very interesting as he is the official "nerd" in the show, constantly referring to superheroes in comics and sci-fi characters such as Spock. It is interesting to me as I believe any geek who actually stumbled upon an ability would react the same way, doing whatever was necessary to live up to the responsibility laid before him in acquiring such power, and having quite a bit of fun at the same time. Hiro's case is quite compelling as most anyone graced with the ability to bend time and space would seek to further their own personal needs in life. Hiro thinks beyond this and immediately takes on the task of saving the world. Why? Because he feels it is his duty. Unselfish, kind-hearted, and just the right amount of innocent equals the optimum hero in today's age. Hiro acquired enough experience in his journeys to make the right choices and put the task of preventing disaster before the needs of anything else. Although, he does struggle a bit when he falls in love and his choices are compromised somewhat, he learns from his mistakes and constantly strives to better himself and become a better Hero. All this drive in his character is based upon what stories he read and adored as a child. My question is this... Do the stories we read and absorb as children really help us in shaping our future personalities and communal drive to better our society?
My answer: Definitely.
We read about heroes saving the princess as children, and watch cartoons about kids saving the world and we dream about being like them: strong, quirky, good. What, then, goes wrong with the kids who grow up to be murderers, rapists, and criminals? Were their dreams crushed as a child? Did they even have a childhood? Most people would psychoanalyze the source of the problem to childhood issues, and I feel that they would be correct. Teaching a child the rights and wrongs of the world is no easy or simple task... But a necessary one to preserve our future as an intelligent and progressive race. It breaks my heart to know that there are children out there without a hero to look up to. Everyone, even adults, need a role model. We socialize to identify ourselves. We adapt and change to become more pleasing, more desirable, to our fellow Homo sapiens. Everyone needs a hero to look up to and strive to be more like. Whether fictional with telepathic abilities, the ability to fly, or even your normal, non-mutated Mom or Dad, everyone needs some sort of Hero, someone to light the way and give us hope.
Find your Hero. Do not be ashamed to show you have one.
Mine is Hiro Nakamura... "Yatta!"