Week Twelve Recap
Harlem Hammer Verdict
The first of what promises to be many exciting seasons of American Hero is over and I can honestly say that it has been twelve weeks fraught with suspense and drama, comedy and tragedy, all played out in grand style before the eyes of millions of fascinated viewers.
Many wanted to be the American Hero. Few were called to battle for the honor. Only one was chosen. The final choice for American Hero was balanced on the razor-thin edge of fortune, fate, and circumstance. Jamal Norwood will acquit himself superbly in the year to come. He is handsome, intelligent, caring, and committed, and will set a high standard for those who follow in his footsteps. Wheat he does after his stint as American Hero ends is entirely up to him and certainly, on whatever road he takes he’ll walk with grace and dignity.
We started on the path to glory four months ago with over six hundred and fifty hopeful contestants who tried out in seven American cities. The competitors were of all races and ethnicities and of all social backgrounds. They came from the north, the south, the east, and the west. They were young and mature, already rich and always desperately poor. They were construction workers and students, rock stars and preacher men. The hopes of hundreds were dashed when the twenty-eight were chosen, but twenty-seven of the chosen twenty-eight were destined for disappointment as they fought their way through the crucible of competition.
The contestants were divided into teams and faced trial by fire as they tried to learn how to work with each other to achieve a common goal. Some learned that lesson more easily than others. Those that didn’t were soon lost along the way. In the next weeks unexpected heroes rose to master the challenge. Few viewers, perhaps even few judges, expected much from eleven year old Dragon Huntress or the quiet and self-effacing Earth Witch, but real heroes arise when seemingly ordinary people face extraordinary circumstances with calmness, quick thinking, and fighting hearts, which is what both of these surprising heroines used to win the prize for their team. And perhaps find some confidence in themselves, as well.
The scavenger race whose only rule was “there are no rules,” taught our budding heroes the lesson of competition not against the elements, but with others who also desired the mantle of American Hero. The lesson learned that week was that those who want it the most are the ones who get it. The winner wasn’t the unfocused rock star who took time out from duty to sign autographs for his adoring fans. It was the hard-working, nose-to-the-grindstone champions who never took their eyes of the prize, not for a single second.
Our want-to-be heroes were not immune from the foibles of the real world. In perhaps the most controversial incident in the course of the series, one claimed a fellow contestant uttered a racial slur that no one else heard. Ultimately, this claim could never be proven or denied and it colored the proceedings for the rest of the season. Was Stuntman right or wrong in going public with his claim? Should he have handled the matter privately? The disturbance certainly changed some lives profoundly, possibly even the ultimate outcome of American Hero.
The teams started to hit their strides as the weeks passed more quickly than seemed possible. Everyone learned their teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, but also the personal sides of things became important as friendships, alliances, and cliques grew, all of which would factor into contestant discards from this point on. The stakes increased, the peril ratcheted up several notches, the excitement surged when it came time for our nascent heroes to battle other wild talents. Three aces — young Lohengrin from Germany, hulking Detroit Steel, and the ultimate veteran, Golden Boy, who over his seven decades has seen more combat in more places on this Earth than any other ace — along with the mysterious stage magician Noel Matthews, confronted the now thinned ranks of our young heroes. The veterans, as so often is the case, largely proved to be too much for the neophytes.
But again, the real world intruded into our unfolding drama, first, in an earthquake that struck the mansion housing the Discard Pile, second, in an earthquake of the human spirit, when a group of Discards heard another voice calling them from halfway across the world. A catastrophe of epic proportions drew them to Egypt, where they proved themselves real heroes as they went to the battlefields of a foreign land to protect the poor and weak. Three of them paid the ultimate sacrifice and laid down their lives for their brethren. All now carry scars and horrific memories that have changed them forever. Those that are gone will never be forgotten.Their stories will be told on American Hero — Special International Edition, which will air later this fall. This will be a very special two-hour event ,not to be missed.
Like any new enterprise, some mistakes were made in this first season of American Hero. We can’t do much about natural disasters and unexpected social upheavals, but some things we can correct. We received a certain amount of unfounded criticism for putting a minor in needless peril, but rest assured that cute little Dragon Huntress was never in any real danger. However, taking the concerns of our audience to heart, next season we will institute an age limit of eighteen, ensuring the safety of America’s child aces.
Other viewers were concerned about a certain lack of morality exhibited by some contestants. Rest assured that we at American Hero do not approve of such behavior, and it has always been and will remain our policy to document such behavior only to place it in the context of show continuity, so that viewers can fully understand the complex web of inter-relationships that come into play when discard decisions are made.
Other viewers were somewhat upset by the lack of jokers on the show. Committed as we are to exhibiting the great diversity of our wonderful wild card society, are talent scouts are even now combing America to find those special contestants who can hold their own against anyone and compete confidently in the next great season of American Hero.
We all learned something from this season of American Hero, contestants, judges, and producers alike. Drummer Boy learned that it’s easier to be a rock star than a hero. Cleopatra learned that charm, like beauty, is only skin deep. Any number of contestants learned that diamonds, or at least one particular diamond, aren’t necessarily a girl’s best friend. I learned that insurance doesn’t cover “damage to property caused by insects, vermin, or aces.”
Rest assured that we’ll take our hard-won knowledge and apply it to the next season, making it even bigger, more exciting, and more heroic for you, our viewers.
Our researches are already crisscrossing the country to bring you the most colorful, the most amazing, the most scintillating aces ever to grace a television screen. Look for them in your city or town and please join us in the fall for the second great season of American Hero!