The Incredible Hulk: Like a Brother (1979) – Marvel SUPERHERO TV SHOW REVIEW


By Geno McGahee

I feel so bad for David Banner (Bill Bixby). Sure, he can’t mind his own business, but he’s overall a good guy. Unfortunately, he’s always getting into trouble. The guy gets his ass thrown through walls on a weekly basis, which is odd. He’s a nice guy and you’d think that this sort of thing would happen to a complete prick. Even with complete assholes, they don’t get their asses handed to them regularly. It happens here and there. For Banner though, he gets fucked up all the time and deals with mistreatment from every angle. I guess this would not be a good show if he just had a normal life….goes grocery shopping, happy that the deli meats are on sale and watches Wheel of Fortune before rubbing one out and going to sleep. If he turned into the Hulk while rubbing one out, that might be a whole new show, but then the sponsors would probably pull out and the sensitive snowflakes or whatever it is that they’re called would boycott Hulk jizz. Get a life.

Now, Banner has put a lot of work in to become one of the best doctors in the world, but he can’t practice his craft and has to take shit jobs like working at a car wash. In the Like a Brother episode of the Hulk, Banner has to deal with racism. Being the only white guy working there, he immediately deals with Mike (Stuart K. Robinson), a jerk that keeps on throwing out racist shit. “You’re in the wrong place for a lot of reasons,” Mike smugly notes at poor Banner as he’s trying to eat. The other employees are cool with David, but there’s still tension all around.


Making matters worse is Taylor George (Tony Burton), a rich drug runner that has Mike on his payroll. When he drives up, Banner goes to tend to his car and George immediately says “look what they’re hiring now.” That hurt Banner’s feelings. He’s sensitive. On top of that bullshit comment, George opens his door and a huge black panther is sitting there and growls as Banner, prompting yet another racist comment. “He sure likes white meat.” I expected more from you Burton! You trained Apollo Creed for Christ’s sake! Had I known you felt this way, I would have NEVER watched a ROCKY film.

George’s partner in crime, Lee (Ernie Hudson), is the muscle of the team and he has no issues roughing up poor David and treating him like a “fucking bitch.” OK, he didn’t say that, but if this was an R rated flick, you bet his Ghost-busting ass he would have said that. The interactions with Mike and Taylor doesn’t go unnoticed and Oscar (Carl Anderson) and DJ (Michael D. Roberts) inform David that he’s bad news and that Mike is working for him. I saw David’s eyes light up. He found another cause. I guess sometimes I don’t feel so bad for him. If he just walked away, nobody would have fucked with him. Just scrub the bumpers, go home, watch Wheel of Fortune, rub one out, order a pizza and go to bed. Is that really that difficult Banner?


DJ, who has a fetish for cars, cuts himself badly with a razor and can you guess who runs over to help him? David Banner again runs over and helps him out, bandaging him up and irritating Mike that much more. Mike keeps running his mouth and Banner is getting irritated but he doesn’t want to fight because he doesn’t want to be called racist. It’s bad enough that he turns green and fucks shit up and even worse that he changed his name to David from Bruce because it sounded gay, but imagine if he was racist too! “Oh there’s homophobic racist Hulk. I bet he’s friends with Kevin Spacey.” Do you think Banner needs that shit?

When Oscar and DJ ask Mike why he’s being such a dick to David, he notes that “anyone messing with my main man is messing with me.” Aaaah…now it makes sense. Banner must’ve had a little side action with Mike’s main man and Mike had zero interest in sloppy seconds. That’s not Banner’s fault. He rarely has sex…if at all. The risk of Hulking up during intercourse is too high. Imagine what would be left if he went full Hulk sex on somebody. When Mike realizes that this was true or that he forgave his main man, he flirts with Banner a bit. I’m pretty sure that the character Mike was originally supposed to be played by a chick. It follows the format of most Hulk episodes. He meets a girl, protects her, saves the day, gets none and runs away with ripped pants and blue balls. But in this one, he has this dude Mike that invites him over for dinner and says his parents aren’t home. I know what it means when a girl says come over and her parents aren’t home. I was young once. It meant nothing. I never got any.


When Banner goes over Mike’s apartment, he notices that there is a sex swing hanging from the ceiling and ball gags all over the floor. Disregard. I’m watching two programs at once. I got mixed up. He actually sees Bobby (Dale Pullum), perhaps the worst actor in the history of the Hulk show. Where did they find this kid? He is so bad that it immediately takes you out of the show. Anyway, Mike reveals that he’s been taking care of his younger brother and that Taylor George has treated them well. Is that enough for David? Of course not. He shit talks George, which is probably related to all that racist shit and the panther that he encountered before.

Bobby has a medical emergency and David tries to break up a meeting with Mike and the drug runners to inform him, but they’re not having any of it. Lee beats Banner to a pulp and throws him through the car wash, under the car. Almost 30 minutes in…we were due for a Hulk appearance. As David is dragged under the car, we hear the growls and the car gets destroyed, but sadly, he really doesn’t fuck up the bad guys. Some woman with a stroller loses her kid and Hulk gets fixated with looking at the little girl. He smiles as she smiles. I hate this shit. Hulk should not calm down. He should be like the people that get irritated with the out of control kids at Walmart. Maybe he could scream “Where are the fucking parents?!” Hulk should have had an episode where he went to Walmart and took all the fatties in pajama pants and threw them around for an hour. It’s not too late. Lou Ferigno still has it.


The most cringe-worthy line in Hulk history was said as the Hulk ran away from the car wash. DJ looks at Oscar and says “that’s what I call a colored man.” Not a good line, but I knew they were going to use it or some variation of it somewhere in this episode. On top of this stupid shit, one of the women in the crowd screams “he’s green!” This is part of the series that is really stupid and happens all the time. As the Hulk fucks shit up, the extras in the scene scream lines like “I can’t believe it,” and “He’s huge”, and “I bet he rubs one out after Wheel of Fortune.” It takes away from the show.

As all of this goes on, Reverend Jack Williams (Austin Stoker) is trying to stop George and help the youngsters, starting with the complete idiot, Jimmy (Jesse Dizon). I’m not sure if Jimmy is slow or if he’s just a burnt out junkie, but he overplays the role tremendously and laughs so unbelievably. I think they could have lost that character. He added nothing to the show outside of being the reason why Williams finds the bag of drugs in the car. He takes those drugs to George and Lee and they laugh right in his face. It was pretty amusing. I would have laughed in his face too. Not because it was funny but because Burton and Hudson were having such a great time. I wanted to have that fun too. If it hurt the reverend, so be it. Fuck him.


After an attempted hit on the Reverend, all hell breaks loose and Banner, DJ and Oscar go to George to take him down. Unfortunately, they don’t do well at first, but when they lock Banner in the bathroom with the panther, he Hulks up and it’s on. Hulk smashes through the door and beats up the two bad guys and then hauls ass out of there. Mike redeems himself, Bobby still can’t act, the bad guys goes to prison and David is forced to find another job somewhere else.

Like a Brother is a good episode but it has its fair share of cringe-worthy moments. It was the 1970s and it was influenced by the Blaxploitation films around that time. It missed the mark, mostly, but as a made for TV prime time show, I didn’t expect a lot of edge to it. Ernie Hudson and Tony Burton were awesome in it, but I think that the fake beard that they gave Burton should have been better. If I were a rich drug lord, I would buy the best fake beard I could get. Other than that, Hudson and Burton were great and the rest of the cast did incredibly well too. The episode has its share of problems, but the good outweighs the bad and I recommend this one.


Rating: 7/10