Probably about 5-6 years ago, I used to watch this show called ‘Our Hero’ which showed on Channel 5. [UK] It brings warm memories; I felt infatuated by the show, as if it were a pretty girl, or that I felt some kind of dependence on it. I really loved the show. I hope I’m able to communicate this weird feeling; feeling drawn to something, that teenage infatuation where everything is all rose-tinted and the like.
When I was watching ‘Our Hero’; I just came out of secondary, and I was first introduced to the opposite sex in a slightly more significant way than being in an all male environment susues; I used to have these really embarrassing crushes on girls and a stupid idea that everything will be alright (have things really changed?[!])
Anyhoo, I really liked this show, starring actress Cara Pifko. Let me elicit the context:
Our Hero is presented in the form of a zine; a zine is quite a 90’s things, the show was made in the tailend of that period, 2000, in fact. A zine (I’m going to give an unconventional definition – I’ll be the first!) is kind of like a progenitor of a blog; it is a low-quality publication, often made by hand, copied by a photocopier, and given out to people; virtually anyone who can find it; sometimes people send it to fans abroad, or they find a stack in a coffee shop. The idea of a zine (like a blog) is that it is made not for profit, and also; it concerns the relative interests of a person; just like how there are blogs about all sorts of diverse subjects…politics, pop culture, sex, more sex, even more sex, and antique china dolls. Zines are tiny little things, and made out of love.
I don’t think I’ve seen a zine, like ever. But I have heard a lot about it; its a nice quaint and “go-go nineties” idea; but the age of bright tracksuits and optimism about “global warming” (now its called climate change) is over…
The topics of Our Hero
What I loved most about the show was how refreshingly different it was to all the saturday morning droll. Yes, while I used to enjoy watching Yu-Gi-Oh and various pseudo-anime that was on TV (God I miss being a ‘youth’…) that characterised saturday mornings for the masses; I wasn’t emotionally mature to enjoy the ‘teen stuff’; but anyhoo, I did enjoy Our Hero. The show is about a 17 year old Kale (who was very cute!) in high school, who endured various issues of the day.
These issues included:
inter-racial dating (which actually wasn’t a big issue for her and her family…but is for many in multicultural Europe and North America);
homosexuality (namely, that of her friend);
divorce (her brother);
abusive boyfriends, drugs, sex and STI’s (this was quite a challenging story);
religiousity in the contemporary world (Kale had a Catholic friend who was really conservative, yet there were hints that she really liked boys all the same!);
adultery, or when relationships go bad (Kale’s parents are discovered to have had a problem about an extra-marital relationship in the distant past…it was a most uncomfortable scene)
Now here are a few issues that I found really chilling, they really affected me when I saw them; as my old collegium environment was very safe, and isolated and stale…
Mental Illness – in one episode we meet someone who is seen as, well, ‘crazy’, we then find this person gets hospitalised and Kale wants to understand more about this person. Right at the end of the episode, we have a very sensitive depiction of mental illness (it were as if, it were ‘off camera’ when the man was speaking…not as an actor, but the man behind the face…which is what the show often did). That was something that disturbed me greatly, how dejected he was, and how realistic the depiction was for his life incarcerate.
Cancer – Kale has a long term friend who eventually dies….what is sad is that he lived a very full life until his cancer came in; and his life, his friends, and everything around him deteriorated; until he had only a visitor, Kale, to look out for him. It was a very touching episode, and I have to admit I cried. It was so sad that he died; and so real.
Now thinking about this series 5 years on…I feel like all the things in my childhood and teens are coming back, all merged together, all the best things I learned put into one entity, as I unconsciously synthesis, but now am slowly coming to realise each atom of this thing. I say that, our hero of this issue is…Kale Stiglic :). Thank you Kale, for teaching me how to write…
Michael (with assistance with Antisophie)