An Open Letter to the Writing Staff of Heroes.

by anna on October 29, 2008

Dear Sirs and Madams:

OK, first of all, let me say that I have enjoyed your show immensely since its very beginning, and am happy to report that, not only was I an early adopter of your series, but I have watched all of the episodes in real (Tivo) time and not on DVD. Basically, I am a huge fan. And let me underscore the fact that I am a fan in spite of myself; I enjoy your show despite the fact that I don’t usually like sci-fi and I never got into any of that graphic novel shit. I never even read comic books or anything as a child. You see, generally, I live my life in the real world and tend not to entertain any of the kind of delusional thinking that leads to one fantasizing about what it would be like to fly or who would win in a fight–Superman or Batman–and that kind of crap. I’ve never once wondered what super power I would want over another, unless you count the time that Mr. Right-Click asked me that very question specifically, and I replied that I thought flying was kind of lame when you compare it to, say, being able to heal yourself from any injury or being able to reverse the aging process at will. But that admission was under duress. And, I digress.

Like I say, I became a big fan even though I have always found the Hiro and Ando interludes to be annoying and slow-moving excuses for comedy plots. And before you ask, yes, I found the two of them tedious even before that unfortunate four-week period early in season two during which Hiro was trapped in Griffith Park “ancient Japan” with that British guy from A Beautiful Mind. Let me level with you, I have had an assload of Hiro’s absentminded bumbling about with secret formulas that get stolen the second he is put in charge of them, and by the way, what the hell is with the constipated look he gets whenever he stops time? Is it painful for him or something? Is it something that mineral oil would help with? I have to admit that I was kind of pleasantly surprised when, at the close of the episode two weeks ago, Hiro abruptly and nonchalantly stabbed Ando with a samurai sword in the middle of that dive bar, because though it was shocking and out-of-character, I dared to dream, if only for a second, that we were finally to be done with the Bert and Ernie of Heroes and their constant incompetent asshattery.

But naturally that was one of those madcap things-are-not-as-they-seem situations you guys like to deploy so much. In fact, I think you’ve become so fond of the concept that any plot device can later be explained away as being the work of supernatural smoke and mirrors, that perhaps you’ve become too dependent upon the trope. It’s overdone, guys. I don’t want to tell you how to do your jobs, but . . . like Monday night when you had Matt Parkman appear to be punched through the chest by that one guy who gets strong off other people’s fear, and then cut to commercial, and then we come back and find out that it’s all an illusion he’s planted in the fear guy’s mind? You guys can do better than that.

Look, when things first started to lead nowhere, I was patient with you guys. For instance, I totally get that you probably never had a clear idea of what to do with the Nikki character, and that some studio exec probably just announced that you needed to have a statuesque, of-age blonde on the show and expected you to work out the details. So you figured casting her as the hooker-with-the-heart-of-gold, single mother to gifted-child-of-mixed-race in Las Vegas was as good a character sketch as any for the narrative goal of featuring Ali Larter in skimpy outfits. And only halfway through the first season did it occur to anyone that Multiple Personality Disorder is not so much a “superpower” as it is a plot dead end, and that you would have to kill off Nikki, even if it meant leaving Micah alone to grieve over his mother’s open casket in post-apocalyptic New Orleans. Which reminds me, whatever happened to Micah’s cousin, the one who could learn anything she wanted if she watched somebody do it on You Tube? Great product placement there, guys, by the way–but did she get killed by those gang bangers that had Micah’s comic book? See, I can’t even remember now.

[singlepic=336,320,240,,right] What I’m trying to say, guys, is that the seams are starting to show. You killed off Nikki because yeah, that whole storyline was really going nowhere, but again, no way are you cutting Ali Larter off the show, even if Hayden Panetierre is finally out of her jail-bait phase–you still need some window dressing to keep the 18-24 male demographic, right? And, sure enough, then you brought Nikki back, except she’s not Nikki, she’s Nikki’s twin that we never knew about! And she can freeze people if she touches them when she gets too angry, another colossally inconvenient superpower. Come on guys, have we learned nothing from the cautionary tale of the Wonder Twins? Remember the guy twin was always turning into water and having to be carried around in a bucket by his sister, who was flying as an eagle? And they’d be up against, I don’t know, Skeletor or some shit, and the best that guy could do was form an ice prison? Hello?! Where are you going to go with this? And don’t get me started with the guy in the African desert who paints on rocks and feeds peyote to the visitors. Are we supposed to just accept at face value that he happened upon a Universal Studios t-shirt down at the watering hole? Really? Or are you guys just letting those marketing assholes go directly into the wardrobe department now, with no direction whatsoever?

What I think is that you guys need to learn from the mistakes of Lost: when they had too many red herrings, they started losing viewers. Because yeah, we like the soap-opera-masquerading-as-sci-fi structure, but it is imperative that you maintain the illusion for us that what we are watching is not a soap opera, or else we start questioning our aesthetic sophistication. We start asking asking questions you don’t want us to ask . . . like why are we are staying up past 9:00 to watch a show sponsored by Playskool? And how many minutes of this alotted time slot from 9:00-10:00 are actually devoted to narrative progression, strictly speaking? Eventually, we start thinking about what this says about our lives, and who we have become, and then we are reminiscing about the good old days, when we used to read Sartre and sit around making jokes about existentialist monkeys. And make no mistake, my friends–this is not a road you want us to pursue, because it ends in you guys working on spec for The Wiggles.

Are you guys feeling OK? Does something have you down? Listen, I’ll be sorry to see Sarah Palin go, too, but you have to remember that the huge boost in creativity that we have enjoyed for the past 8 years as the result of an oppressive political regime and its requisite dumbshits ripe for lampooning, well it must needs come to an end. Sure, as a result of the Bush Administration, we gained American Idiot, but don’t lose sight of the value lost to our 401(k)s, not to mention our national pride. From a creative standpoint, I’m as sorry as you guys to see these easy targets go, but you guys are going to have to dig deep. This suffering artist thing is growing old, and despite the attempts of the right to make stupidity chic, we’re not dumb enough to buy that Nathan Petrelli has been born again. I mean really.

In short, step up your game, guys, and don’t make me come over there.

{ 19 comments }

ali October 29, 2008 at 5:52 am

the hiro and ando painful storyline was one of the reasons i stopped watching Heroes. there was only so much i could take.
great post!

ali´s last blog post..oh what a night…this sex is on fire…

Alexandrialeigh October 29, 2008 at 5:57 am

Amen, except Heroes has already lost me. I don’t give a crap about any of the characters anymore, so why watch? It’s just a series of action-packed segues. Bah. Humbug.

Alexandrialeigh´s last blog post..5 Ways to Annoy Me

Jim October 29, 2008 at 6:35 am

They’ve been watching too many soap operas recently.

weezy October 29, 2008 at 7:09 am

The biggest problem right now, I think, is too many characters. There’s no time to develop any plot when each has to get their 3 minutes of airtime every week.

QB October 29, 2008 at 7:11 am

I quit watching after the first half-hour of this season’s premiere. Too boring. I don’t even have cable anymore, but there are a million other things I’d rather be watching.

NGS October 29, 2008 at 7:13 am

Heroes just looks like too much for me to handle. So they lost me just by the sheer number of faces that appear in their promos. (Just to be honest, I could never keep the characters on Friends straight, either, so maybe I’m just not the ideal television audience member!)

NGS´s last blog post..There was much shopping

Jen October 29, 2008 at 8:04 am

Thank you! This season is insane! Way too many – he’s dead. NOPE! Just kidding. Back in time, up to the future, he said/she said, good, evil, I have no idea what I stand for anymore!! Hiro is the only character that is consistant. I spend more time yelling at the TV than actually watching the show.

Jen´s last blog post..Justice

goodfather October 29, 2008 at 8:51 am

OMG, this post is BRILLIANT.

‘…done with the Bert and Ernie of Heroes and their constant incompetent asshattery.’

YES. You are dead-spot-on with every point you make here. I’m forwarding this to the network executives. Right. On!

goodfather´s last blog post..Save the arts in schools!

jenni October 29, 2008 at 9:14 am

Ugh, I totally agree. The show is meandering off into nowhereland. It’s like they never expected it to get picked up for any subsequent seasons so they never really had any idea where the show was going to go.

So, Surresh is now a hero and he’s evil? But I LIKED that he was a normal person. And dreamy. Know what’s not dreamy? Becoming some kind of creepy Spiderman/Preditor thingy.

Also, remember when in the first season Hiro would come back from the future and he had long hair and was all dark and depressed and wore a trench coat? Can we get that Hiro back? He has such a cool power; a little character depth would be nice.

Oh, and Nathan loves Jesus now? Who came up with that crap? I almost changed the station.

jenni´s last blog post..Just Fifteen Minutes: A Story About My Mom

Casey October 29, 2008 at 10:59 am

Amen, sister. Heroes has been on the chopping block for us for awhile now. If they don’t get with the program soon we’re cutting it from our lineup. I loved the show the first season but it’s gone downhill and it seems like nobody knows wtf is going on and they’re just writing whatever crazy shit pops into their heads with no end in sight. And Sylar as a nice guy? No. They need to axe at least a third of the characters, there’s too much thinking involved watch the show.

Casey´s last blog post..It’s Magic!

crazylovescompany October 29, 2008 at 11:40 am

I’m not a Heros watcher, but after reading this post, I kinda wanna. Lame admission: I used to love LOST. Even though it’s gotten sucky, I miss it. When it comes on again, if it comes on again, I’m all over it. I can’t help it. I get sucked in. It calls out to me.

crazylovescompany´s last blog post..What’s for dinner? Help me! 2 dinners for 2 families.

foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) October 29, 2008 at 1:11 pm

OMG! I almost wrote my own break up letter to Heroes this week, too! Seriously! I was so irritated with them last season, but I promised them that, if they could come through for me this season and show me that they really loved me, too, I would take them back and we’d be happy forever. So far, they are totally failing. I need a new TV boyfriend. Can I sign my name to your letter, too?

foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog)´s last blog post..‘gonna dress you up in my love’

QueenAlpo October 29, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Hilarious.
I told my readers I thought so too: I hear Dulcolax is looking for a new spokesmodel.

J. October 29, 2008 at 4:31 pm

Hmmm, I tend to lose interest in a series around season three (of course, many of my favorites don’t make it that long, sigh.) I don’t know what it is except that I give up caring about the characters. I’m still watching Grey’s Anatomy, even though it’s blatant soap opera, mostly because everyone’s so lip-smackingly gorgeous.
For a girl who loves sci-fi, I didn’t jump on the Heroes or Lost bandwagons mostly because by the time I decided I was interested, I started hearing about stupid plot twists. And then I just think they’re not worth the time.
For my money, Wolverine’s super-healing ability would be ideal, although super-strength would be really useful too.

J.´s last blog post..1939-2008

Mary Anne October 29, 2008 at 7:45 pm

My comment disasppeared! And it was so good!!! I was telling you I actually know Gomez from Cheaters…I grew up with him. He was a trainwreck then, he’s a trainwreck now and he blew out of our 20th reunion to “go make a bust”. Earlier comment was better, I am way too tired to be funny now!! Dangit!

Mary Anne´s last blog post..Joe The Plumber, The Drinking Game

anna October 29, 2008 at 7:49 pm

@Mary Anne I saw it! It’s on the previous post! So funny! I’m a little jealous, I think. Well, maybe not.

@Queen Alpo, thanks for the link! I’m heading over to check out your site.

@fadkog, sign your name away! I’m not sure it will do any good, though.

blissfully caffeinated October 30, 2008 at 11:42 am

Because, what happens when the ice prison melts? The Wonder Twins are S.O.L.

I don’t even watch Heroes and I loved this. Hilarious!

blissfully caffeinated´s last blog post..Today, in a Very Special World Series Edition of Man Candy…

Lee December 18, 2008 at 1:54 pm

You need to re-watch A Beautiful Mind because there is no one from that movie on Heroes. How can I take your open letter serious when you obviously know very little about entertainment?

anna December 18, 2008 at 2:05 pm

It’s called a sense of humor. Look into it.

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