But in the post-Byrne comics, and in Lois and Clark, having regular contact with both his parents made him feel a lot more human. Byrne's innovation was in abandoning the idea that Clark Kent was just a facade the alien wore, and instead making Clark Kent the real person and Superman the facade. That made him much more human and relatable. And that continuing tie to his living parents was the linchpin of the whole thing, the reason why he saw himself as a Kent first and a superhero second. He didn't need to lose Jonathan to be humanized. He was plenty human with both parents alive, more human than he'd ever been before. Because it's not just our grief and loss that makes us human, it's our relationships. The reason loss makes us grieve is because it takes those relationships away from us.
Totally agree with this. Lois & Clark's Superman was the most human of all on-screen incarnations I've seen. I always loved the scenes where he'd go talk to his parents about something that was really bothering him.
Did Jo-El ever show up on L&C? I don't remember ever seeing him at all. I think the episodes where he meets up with Kryptonians were some of the weakest of the series.