The Greatest American Hero
Original Air date: Nov 11, 1981
Shannon – Associate Editor
We arrive at the Twin Palms Missile Base at 11 am. A bunch of military guys are in the underground bunker when the big red bulb starts flashing and an alarm starts ringing. A missile appears to be launching itself and is headed toward Russia and they can’t stop it. The man in charge gets on the phone who I assume is the General.
They’ve got a countdown clock on the wall and it’s winding down to launch. How come there’s always that person that has to do the countdown out loud? I mean, it’s a high pressure situation. We can all see the clock. Can’t you find something else useful to do? Press some buttons! Move some levers, for Pete’s sake! Anyway, right at the last couple of seconds, the launch shuts itself off and the timer starts over at 24 hours. The General’s aide says he thought the computers were failsafe. The General says that all the missiles will go off in 24 hours and it’s gonna be WWIII.
Ralph is on the payphone talking to Pam who is on a case in San Francisco. Ralph wants her to come home for the weekend. They hang up and the payphone calls back and the operator is on the line telling him his long distance call to Palmdale cost 50 more cents. Ralph says he didn’t call there and the operator berates him into paying. Why doesn’t he just hang up? He pays and then hangs up. What a waste of quarters.
A cheap imitation of greased lighting driven by Tony rams into Ralph’s station wagon. The guys talk about how awesome the car is while Rhonda tries to change the radio station. The kids run off and the station changes on its own then says this song is dedicated to Ralph. Then it starts going wonky and keeps saying something about Palmdale. Ralph calls up Bill and says he thinks the radio bit was a message from the aliens and they need to go to Palmdale. Bill is dubious.
Bill is late to the FBI staff meeting, where Mr. Carlisle berates him. Then Bill gets busted for a dress code violation: white socks with brown shoes. In Bill’s defense, that’s better than brown socks with black shoes. Cut him a break, Carlisle. They start talking about a missing computer genius. Turns out it’s Bill’s case and military intelligence has recalled the case. Bill is less than thrilled.
Back at the missile base, the countdown reader guy is finally trying to do something useful by working on the circuit breaker when electrocutes himself in front of the superior officer. The superior claims him dead and radios for a stretcher then rides off in his golf cart. Countdown reader then sits up. OMG ZOMBIES! Get your boomstick!
Ralph and Bill head out to Palmdale and Ralph calls Bill out on being scared of the upside down candy dish. They see the Zombie guy trying to hitch a ride several times in several different locations. They finally stop and Zombie has a message for them from the aliens about Operation: Spoilsport. Basically, he’s gotta stop the missiles that can’t be stopped or the planet’s kaput and he’s the only one who can do it. So, you know, no pressure or anything. Sure would be nice to have that manual right about now. Zombie walks out into the desert when the upside down candy dish shows up and takes him to Zombie Heaven. Ralph decides to take off after the candy dish and demands more info and a manual. The candy dish zaps him, sends him back down on his afroed butt and gets the heck out of Dodge.
Bill’s car is d-e-d dead. Ralph wants to know about Operation: Spoilsport. Bill explains that it was designed to attack Russia in case the USA were to lose WWIII. The nukes were supposed to automatically launch any remaining missiles in case there was no one left over here to launch them. The missiles were supposed to take the Russians by surprise. It was built in the 50s in the midst of the Cold War. The decide to head back to Ralph’s, but the car is dead so Ralph has to fly them home. Bill rides piggy back and they crash land a bunch of times because Ralph is inept at flying. They end up walking and trying to hitch a ride. Of course, no one will pick them up because of Ralph’s super suit.
Tony has the bright idea to use Pseudo Greased Lightning to drag race to win cars and make a used car lot. They’re racing on Ralph’s street for some reason. Who drag races in the middle of suburbia? So dumb. Of course, Tony loses because he’s dumb. They go to exchange pink slips and Bill breaks it up. Oh, they’re racing there because Rhonda was supposed to be babysitting Kevin. Wow, great babysitter. Anyway, Bill and Ralph commandeer Pseudo Greased Lightning.
Ralph thinks that something fishy is going since the computer genius comes missing at the same time as Op: Spoilsport goes into action. Bill needs to get inside and hack into the computer to find out how to stop it. Bill goes in and does a Google search for Ratner, the computer genius. Nah, I’m kidding. There was no Google. He did a CompuServe query. Anyway, Bill gets caught hacking and is booted from the computer system.
Meanwhile, Ralph is in the car when another dedication goes out to him, from the aliens I presume. It turns into another crappy montage, but at least it’s not Joey Scarbury this time. My husband says this song that’s playing isn’t the original that was used in the show, so maybe it was a Scarbury song during the original airing.
Ralph goes inside into an elevator to change into the super suit while Bill is getting accosted by some military guys and taken aboard a helicopter. Ralph heads up to the roof but Bill is gone.
Ralph heads to Ratner’s house and busts the door in on Ratner’s wife who is scared witless. She directs him to Ratner’s clothes and Ralph puts them on to get vibes about Ratner’s whereabouts. Ralph has on the woman’s hat and breaks down sobbing about how he’s crazy and should just give it up. The woman is about to bash Ralph’s head in with a coffee mug when Ralph collapses on Ratner’s computer and gets a screeny thing that tells him that Ratner is at Twin Pines Missile Base. Ralph heads that way.
Woo! There’s the Joey Scarbury montage! Everybody, drink up!
Meanwhile, Bill is being duct taped to a chair and shot up with truth serum. It’s the General holding him and he’s the one setting forth Operation: Spoilsport. The General is the one setting everything in motion. Bill asks why and like a good villain, he tells Bill in detail all his plans. Basically the General is still living the Cold War and wants to take over Russia. The truth serum starts working and the General asks who else knows about Op: Spoilsport. Bill starts talking about Ralph and the aliens and he sounds completely loopy. They think he’s a loon.
Ralph drives up to Twin Pines and jump flies over the razor wire fence. Just as he’s breaking into the facility, he hears Bill singing and rescues him. Wow, convenient! Some guards ride up in a golf cart. Ralph goes invisible and kicks their butts. Wow, these stunt guys are pretty good. They actually look like someone was beating them up.
Ralph and Bill take off and Ralph manages to find the room where the General and Ratner are controlling the missles. Ratner can’t stop the launch so Ralph goes out to manually send the missle off course. Wow, those are some bad special effects. So, Ralph sends the missle back to land and it explodes but nothing else does? Was this a dud? What was the point of launching it, if it wasn’t going to blow anything up? My husband says the nuke part didn’t blow up so yeah, whatever. Still dumb.
Next day, Bill shows up with the supposedly FBI impounded Pseudo Greased Lightning. Bill gets a ticket because the car doesn’t have a muffler. Then another dedication to Ralph comes over the radio thanking him from “you know who”. Voldemort sent him a dedication? How thoughtful!