The Greatest American Hero: Vanity, Says the Preacher is the last regular episode of this show that was part comedy and part drama. Apparently, there was a lot of battling going on between Stephen J. Cannell and the network over the show’s direction, so I have a hunch he, and the cast, were ready to move on since the network wanted the series to be a bit of a cartoon joke.
This episode was written and directed by series regular, Robert Culp. In addition, two of his sons are also in the cast. Joseph Culp plays Roberto Delvera with Jason Culp appearing as Francisco Delvera. I did enjoy watching them and seeing them with their dad.
The show opens at a fancy dinner where Bill ends up being honored for helping to save a country. Ralph (William Katt) suspects something is off and changes into his alien superhero suit. I didn’t really like the scene. It was hard to follow in a sense, and I couldn’t get into it.
In truth, I’m not fond of the first 3/4ths of this episode. It’s a little too indulgent into Bill’s history, especially when they are trying to get him to stay. There is a bit of humor when Ralph deals with the foreign culture actually having a comic book hero that looks like him in the red suit a little. In a way, it’s a good predecessor to the spin-off pilot that ultimately didn’t sell and which aired sometime after this episode did.
However, the last quarter is intense, riveting, and exciting. It’s everything that the preceding minutes weren’t. I do wish that the last scene had included Ralph and Pam, but it was the wrap up.