Oh, Elders, fleet and strong and wise, appear before my seeking eyes! Why have you ruined my childhood?
On a whim of misplaced nostalgia, I decided to watch the old “Shazam!” TV show from the 1970s. When I watched it as a kid 30-some years ago, it was cool as hell.
Holy Moley, What The Frack happened? The show sure sucks a lot more than I remembered it sucking in the 70s! It’s predictable, formulaic, preachy, cheesy, obvious, and just plain awful. No wonder humanity is screwed. My generation was brought up on this crap!
I used to think that this show was the best. Billy Batson was just a normal punky little pipsqueak (as was I)… wearing the same clothes every day, living out of an RV with a creepy old guy, and talking to cartoons (as did I). But all he had to do was yell “Shazam!” and he turned into a superhero… tall and muscled, with chiseled good looks and great 70s hair, able to fly, and old enough to buy beer without being carded (which would explain Captain Marvel’s slurred speech).
Remember back in the 70s when TV music was just TV music? Well, now you can’t hear it without imagining some half-clothed pizza delivery guy showing up at a lady’s house asking, “Did someone order a pizza?” Juxtapose that with the image of an underage boy traveling the country in an RV with an old guy, and things start feeling sticky. And what’s with calling the old guy “Mentor?” I can’t imagine anything that could possibly creep me out more. “Hey there, musssssscley armssss…”
Batman had a kickass car. Wonder Woman had an invisible plane. Captain Marvel had a shitty, beat-up RV with a “Shazam” sticker pasted on the front. What a ripoff.
The best part of every episode was the smug post-rescue lecture. Didn’t pretty much every 70s Saturday morning kids show end with getting chewed out by some superhero, cartoon Army guy, or anthropomorphized vehicle? “Hey kids… Speed Buggy says ‘Don’t be a Douchebag!'” Oh, and all the meddling. Ah, the joys of meddling in the affairs of others. Have you noticed that there hasn’t been much “meddling” going on since the 70s? What’s up with that?
Finally, let’s address the so-called “Elders.” Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Solomon. Wait… SOLOMON? Greek Gods (albeit, Hercules’ name in Greek is actually Heracles), a sorta-demi-god warrior, and a former King of Israel? I don’t get it. Weren’t any of the Greek gods super-smart? And while I’m at it… if the “Elders” were really all that badass, why did they have to call Billy on that crappy Rubik’s Cute/LiteBrite thingy?
Oh, mighty Isis… nothing makes sense anymore.