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The Incredible Hulk
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this classic, comic book-based '70s series is about a man who transforms into the giant green Hulk when he gets angry. While kids may be drawn to the show by the sci-fi/comic angle, it's important to note that the Hulk consistently exhibits angry, violent behavior that may be iffy for younger viewers (and might scare some of them, too). Parents also need to know that some of the characters' comments and actions (including sexist remarks), though consistent with the social norms of the '70s, will seem outdated and old-fashioned now.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
Loosely based on the iconic Marvel comics character of the same name, THE INCREDIBLE HULK is a classic sci-fi/drama series about a scientist who must cope with his very angry -- and very green -- alter ego. The series centers on Dr. David Banner (Bill Bixby), who -- after failing to save his wife from a burning car -- conducts scientific experiments to discover why some people exhibit extraordinary strength when faced with life-threatening situations. A laboratory mishap exposes him to massive amounts of gamma rays, which cause him to turn into the Incredible Hulk (Lou Ferrigno) -- an angry, massively strong, white-eyed, green-skinned giant -- when he gets upset or angry. Tabloid reporter Jack McGee (Jack Colvin) creates the public misconception that the Hulk has killed the doctor and poses a threat to society. As a result of McGee's machinations, Banner must assume different identities and wander from place to place while attempting to reverse the effects of the gamma rays and restore himself to normal.
Is it any good?
What makes The Incredible Hulk compelling is that the Hulk -- while strong, angry, and violent (he often smashes everything in his path) -- isn't a bad creature. He doesn't kill, and he always helps those who don't have the physical strength to help themselves. Unfortunately, most people are too afraid of him to appreciate the gesture -- and some young viewers may be, too, though those used to modern superhero tales likely won't have any issues.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how comic book characters get transformed for television and movies. Which characters are different on the page and on screen? Which ones have stayed mostly the same? Does the Hulk scare you? Why or why not? Families can also discuss the different ways that people cope with anger. Since regular people can't turn into superhuman giants, what can they do to manage intense feelings and make themselves feel stronger?
Themes & Topics
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