Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, September 22, 2021

Interesting take on “Heroes”, framing the TV series as “an allegory of generational malaise”:

The show’s creator, Tim Kring, borrowing graphic novel parlance, refers to each season as a volume and gave this third one the name “Villains.” It could just as easily be called “Victims.”

Young people today can’t repay their college loans; they can’t afford apartment rents, let alone mortgages; their Social Security is being sucked up by their elders; and H.I.V. left them out of the sexual revolution: what was once free love is now a viral minefield. It’s a plight lamented in books like “Generation Debt” and even in ads for Freecreditreport.com…

These heroes are not driven to mistakes or misdeeds by their own personality flaws and weaknesses. When paranormal protagonists like Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) get hurt, harm innocent people or put the fate of the planet at risk, it’s because they were deceived by evildoers who pretend to be on their side in order to betray and destroy them (credit card companies). They are vulnerable to strange, often biologically engineered strains of viruses; one could wipe out all humanity, another strips people with supernatural abilities of their power.

And Generation Y has more special abilities than any previous one: these are people who came of age taking the Internet, BlackBerries, cash machines, Facebook and iPods for granted. They also take the taking for granted. They are the most coddled, indulged and overprotected generation ever. Swaddled in safety and self-esteem, they have all been assured that they are special. They don’t rebel against their parents or even seek independence; they welcome an electronic umbilical cord that stretches through high school and college and even the post-graduate return to the empty nest. On “Heroes” those filial bonds stretch beyond the grave: even after his father is dead, Hiro (Masi Oka) still receives his fatherly advice via prerecorded DVD.

Not that superheroic angst is anything new — Marvel Comics of the 1960s was predicated upon the flawed demigod, gifted with unearthly powers but held back by all-too-human feet of clay. And just as “Heroes” taps into GenY’s pain today, Marvel spoke to teenagers feelings of insecurities and growing pains (and still do, to a degree).

But this environment for “Heroes” takes things to another level. The angst now isn’t mostly in the heroes’ heads — it’s based on real instability from a world that’s looking bleaker and bleaker. Accordingly, the lessons learned, after emerging from a cloistered upbringing, come as more of a smack to the head than epiphany.

Is this portrait an unfair indictment of GenY and Millenials? Probably. Every upcoming generation gets dissed for perceived shortcomings; likewise, previous worldviews have foretold of gloom-and-doom that didn’t quite come through. Ultimately, “Heroes” might be less prophetic than merely zeitgeist.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/22/2008 11:16:40 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Society, TV
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  1. All “Generation …” are pieces the same - they want more, they demand more, they’re going to change the workplace, blah blah blah.

    As for the Heroes link, it’s just a modern show, there’s no more generational tie than any other show set in the “now” with a large cast.

    Comment by David — 09/24/2008 @ 03:14:31 AM

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