Many fans of British comedy will recognize Ardal O’Hanlon from his role as Father Dougal McGuire on the irreverent and hilarious show Father Ted. After Ted, O’Hanlon went on to star in his own show, My Hero. In it he plays the same sort of wide-eyed innocent that he played in the earlier series, but this time he has super-powers too. Warner’s has just released the first season of this amusing show on DVD, and hopefully the other seasons will follow.
George Sunday (Ardal O’Hanlon) is a mild mannered, sort of goofy, Irish owner of a health food store. At least that’s what most people think. In reality George isn’t from Ireland at all but the planet Ultron, is endowed with super powers, and is revered throughout the world as Thermoman. The problem is that George isn’t used to the ways of Earth people, and finds many of our customs and expressions bewildering.
In the first episode Thermoman saves a nurse named Janet after she fell into the Grand Canyon. Back at home in London, Janet is smitten with the superhero who saved her, but little does she know that he’s fond of her too. Tracking her down in his secret identity, Janet finds George’s odd manner and innocent attitude charming, and when George reveals his secret the two start dating. Of course no one can understand what Janet sees in the idiotic fool she’s dating, and she definitely has her work cut out for her taking care of the super-powered lug.
This was a very funny series. It’s not a cutting-edge show like Monty Python, or The Black Adder, but there were several good laughs in each show. Much of the humor comes from O’Hanlon who plays pretty much the same type of character as he did in Father Ted. He may only play one type of character, but he plays it to perfection. His misunderstanding of Earth ways are a big source of laughs, such as the time that Janet’s mother comes over and presents her cheek for George to kiss. When Janet explains “she’s waiting for a kiss”, George grabs her has passionately kisses her on the lips. Okay, so it’s not the most original gag, but it does illicit laughter.
While it is funny, the program is a bit predictable. When Janet’s parents take George to a party where Thermoman is making an appearance, you know that things aren’t going to go as planned. Even though some of the plot elements are easy to see in advance, the show has enough laughs to make that easy to ignore. It’s also easy to see that the writers are still getting the hang of the show, seeing what works and what doesn’t. Some of the supporting characters are great, like Mrs. Raven, the dour single mother of triples who are hellions. Thremoman’s cousin, a disgraced hero who has had his powers removed by the Ultron High Council because he charged for rescues is also very entertaining, is also a favorite character. He now runs a greasy spoon in NYC and sells fake Rolex’s to supplement his income, and his visits with George are always funny. Part of the reason for that is the American accents are horrible, and they just don’t get the way we talk over on this side of the pond. In one scene they have a radio relaying (American) football scores and the announcer says “Dallas scored a victory over…” There’s not anything wrong with the phrase, but you’ll never hear it broadcast in America.