And then at the end of the episode the sad man would walk away, and the sad music would start, and you knew he was just going to end up in another small town, and somebody would make him angry, and then he'd get sad all over again.
I used to watch that show just waiting for the moment where he turned into The Hulk. I didn't care about the rest of it; I just wanted Hulk. I wanted a whole show of Hulk, not a show about a sad man, who turned into The Hulk for about two minutes per 45 minute episode. I didn't understand that the drama came from him avoiding anything that might make him angry, but that his better nature would invariably lead him towards situations where there was a risk of him unleashing his green alter-ego. I just wanted a monster throwing bins around.
But that was fine. I got that it was probably a faff to cover a large man in green paint, and probably expensive to get all those throwable bins in. I knew that two minutes of Hulk was all I'd ever get each week. I could live with that, because I still got to see the character I loved from the comics come to life, and knew that the boring bits were there for the people who didn't like super-heroes. This was the price to pay for having the moments I wanted.
Oh, how the tables have turned.
My mind would've collapsed in on itself if I knew that within my lifetime I'd see all of my favourite Marvel super-heroes brought to life in a way that wasn't limited to just once every 45 minutes, that the boring bits would all be stripped out. That those who didn't like super-heroes were now the minority, and the comics fans were the ones being catered for.
Yes: I'm talking about Avengers: Infinity War, like everyone else is. But this isn't a review. It's about snobbery.
See, Avengers: Infinity War is a movie for every kid who ever watched The Incredible Hulk and wanted more (though, ironically, we get less Hulk in this movie than in any of the previous Avengers movies).
It is shamelessly crowd-pleasing, a movie for comics fans, a movie for those of us who read Marvel comics growing up, and wanted to see these characters brought to life. It's a movie for people who just enjoy the potential offered by seeing a movie on a massive screen.
It's an astonishing achievement - I've seen it twice now - that I struggle to wrap my head around. No film with that many characters, that many plot threads, should hang together as well as it does... and yet they pulled it off.
How? Because they ignore that it's a movie. Stuff your three-act structure, Robert McKee - we're treating this like a comic. And, oh man, do the movie parvenus hate that.
Oh, they bleat about super-hero fatigue, how Marvel is dominating cinema, and how it's preventing other sorts of movies getting made. And then, over the weekend, they were forced to choke on their words as Infinity War achieved the biggest box office opening in movie history. How did it manage that? Because an enormous number of people went to see it at the cinema, duh.
The unfortunate reality is that films cost huge amounts of money to make, and no studio is going to shove that money into riskier propositions. Not when films like Blade Runner 2049 - as brilliant as it was - end up flopping. The majority of cinema-goers clearly want spectacle, noise, and stars up on screen.
The thing that the critics are missing is that they also want quality. They want a good story. They want characters that they like, and are keen to see more of.
The Marvel movies are - without exception thus far - incredibly well made. They're engaging, funny, human, and original. They, and Marvel Cinematic Universe caretaker Kevin Feige, are never given enough credit for this. The snobs come out in force, and dismiss them, without acknowledging how easy it would be to get them wrong. Look at almost any of the DC Universe films. With the exception of Wonder Woman, they've ballsed-up everything that Marvel gets right.
But no. Instead, with the release of Infinity War, we're getting the snobbier critics, and fellow movie-makers - hello, James Cameron - moaning about them. What exactly do they want? What's their solution? Just stop making Marvel films when millions of people still want to see them? That isn't going to happen, and all you'd do is just piss people off.
"You can no longer have the things you want, because I - The King of All Things - has deemed that you can only have the things that I deem are worthy!"
Comics writer Grant Morrison wrote a book called Supergods: Our World In The Age of the Superhero. He argues that superheroes are our modern myths and legends. I dunno if that's true. Maybe. But complaining about them taking away from other films is missing the point, because the vast majority - clearly - are invested in these films.
If super-hero movies are simply modern myths, then whingeing about them is like a caveman whingeing because Ug's latest cave painting - showing the exciting fight between Ooog-Booga and the woolly mammoth - is more popular than Bongo's cave painting showing him weaving a basket.
I mean, it's fine if you have a subjective dislike of Infinity War and super-hero films; we've all got different tastes. But don't treat it like there's something objectively wrong with cinema because something is popular.
Furthermore, don't direct your ire at the studios or the film-makers; direct it at the potential audience who didn't bother going to see Blade Runner 2049, and were responsible for not making Murder On The Orient Express or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, or Chappaquiddick, or Eddie the Eagle the biggest movies of all time. That's who you're really pissed off at isn't it? Be honest. You think most people are stupid, mindless, drones.
I mean, what the hell do you want? Seriously - there are loads of lower-budget films which do just fine. There are also loads of big budget films that don't recoup the investment. Yet Marvel films, because they're good, do. Every time. It's democracy. Whingeing about it is missing the point. Cinema has always been a populist medium, and - importantly - it's an industry. Its survival is dependent entirely on movies which make money. The big films fund the smaller films, and the hype around the big films is part of the process.
A lot of people seem to be taking a degree of irritating pride in the fact that they haven't seen many of the Marvel films. Consequently, one of the recurring complaints I've seen levelled at Infinity War is that it doesn't work as a standalone story. They say it doesn't set up the characters and ends on a cliffhanger. Well, duh. It's a chapter in an ongoing narrative. It's not for you. I didn't much want to see The Fault In Our Stars, but I didn't go on about it.
What Marvel has done is not only bring comics storytelling to the big screen, but made the Marvel franchise more like TV. Which, weirdly, comes at a time when TV is becoming more cinematic.
We live in the age of the boxset, where TV episodes aren't standalone, but tell a big, widescreen, story over multiple episodes. You don't watch episode 12 of a show and complain that it doesn't set up the characters. Why should the Marvel movies be any different, just because they're shown on a much bigger telly?
The box office take this past weekend demonstrates that enough people are invested in the Marvel characters already for Infinity War to work for them. The number of people going into Infinity War with no knowledge of the Marvel Universe is going to be relatively tiny. The past 10 years of Marvel movies have been the biggest-budgeted TV series of all time. Just because it doesn't work for you, because you're not as invested, doesn't make it wrong.
Does Infinity War work as a movie? That depends on your definition of what a movie is. If you're a purist, if you think films are art, and can be only one thing - that they must have a three-act structure, a mid-point turn, must be self-contained - then no... Infinity War doesn't do that.
In fact - while you may not realise it, because the individual moments are all so completely entertaining in and of themselves - it dismantles and ignores the rules of film-making in a way that's every bit as risky and original as something like the challenging Dogville ($10 million budget, $16.7 million box office), or the impenetrable Synecdoche, New York (box office of $4.66 million on a budget of $20 million). Yet it does that while charting a course to become the biggest movie of all time. Isn't that an achievement worth celebrating?
There are so many books, and courses, and scholars, who go on about the "rules" of film-making. Well, stuff rules. Films have been around for over a century. Isn't it time that the rules were challenged in films that are made to be seen by huge audiences?
I hate snobbery. I hate people telling the majority that they're wrong for liking the things they like, for spending their money on things they want. For insisting that stuff can only have worth if it's somehow an artistic statement (for "artistic statement" read "dull and worthy"). For me, Infinity War - and the ten years of films preceding it - is a celebration of the potential of film-making, and the ability of movies to reach as many people as possible. And I say this as somebody who was pretty certain they were suffering huge-scale CGI battle fatigue.
Of course Infinity War is ridiculous, and bonkers, and completely over-the-top. But it's also incredibly well-made, the product of thousands of people who all had jobs because of it, who clearly worked their arses to the bone to make it as good as it can possibly be.
And audiences have responded to that. Simply put: the audience doesn't want what it doesn't want. And just because you're a sniffy pseud who'd cut off their own lips just to go against the grain, doesn't mean everyone else has to be.
I can't help but think that the critics who are laying into it would be just as haughty if something like, I dunno, The Light Between Oceans became a massive, popular, franchise, which demolished box office records every time a new instalment was released. What they seem to be railing against, all too often, isn't the product itself... but its popularity.
They're like that mate who refuses to go with the herd, who wants to assert their individuality by only "liking" things that are obscure, or less popular, or more challenging. So from now on, every time a new Marvel movie is released - to huge success - I'm going to enjoy it knowing that its existence is getting beneath the skin of a whole bunch of pompous, condescending, stuffed-shirts.