Eighties Cartoon Flashback: Pimp My Ride

The 80s were a golden age for cartoon antagonists.  As proof, I submit that from thence came such figures as…

Dr. Claw: The most frightening right arm in children’s television.


Cobra Commander: From a faction of baddies including, but not limited to, demolitions experts, snipers, and a freakin’ ninja comes the guy known only for his nasally voice, perpetual whining, and wearing a welding helmet to work.

And who can forget…

Shredder: The last time I crossed my arms, I needed twenty-six stitches.

And the reason they were great was this – they were allowed to do more than mildly inconvenience the protagonist.  This is unlike modern times where, if a thirty-minute animated special doesn’t end with the good guys and slightly less good guys holding hands/paws/hooves and performing a musical number, it’s cited in court cases involving serial murder.

You’re gonna be my friend, or this unicorn horn is goin’ right up your wazoo.

However, I have to acknowledge there is a singular problem with my everything-was-better-in-the-80s theory.  There is a flaw in my logic of sufficient dimensions that a guitar-shaped motorcycle could be driven right through it.

Yes, those are exactly what you think they are.

I give you the Misfits, antagonists for the Jem television program, which ran from 1985 to 1988.  Her – Jem’s – tagline is that “she’s truly outrageous.”  As antagonists, the Misfits (a rival pop band) are not entitled to a tagline, but they should have one to the effect of “we’re truly incompetent.”   But even with that said, my primary problem with the Misfits is not their stupidity – let us not forget that even the distinguished Shredder suffered from more than his share of intellectual shortcomings.  No, my problem with the Misfits is the guitar-cycles, which appeared in exactly one episode, but for which I cannot forgive them.

Seriously – what the hell?

To make my point, I’ve taken the liberty of making a comprehensive list of everything wrong with this picture.

1. Zero points of articulation mean the Misfit guitar-cycle doesn’t so much corner as rely on a combination of prayer and the curvature of the earth.

2. Seat?  We don’t need no stinkin’ seat.  And apparently we don’t need any discernable form of suspension either.  I’m assuming riding this thing is a little like being run out of town on a rail.

A slightly more dignified form of transportation.

3. Presumably, she’s riding it inside because, to hearken back to point one, she was unable to assert any directional preference and can now only hope she exits via window or the thin sheetrocked space between studs.

4. I always ride my steering-less, suspension-less motorcycle through tight spaces at high speeds without a helmet, which goes a long way in explaining why I’m riding it to begin with.

This man has lower insurance premiums than the Misfits.

5a. What kind of guitar is this supposed to be?  The Fender Crapocaster?  A Gibson Les Poop?  No – wait a minute.  It looks like it’s made of plastic and costs way too much.  It must be a Rickenbacker.

Finally an instrument that says, “I have a lot of money and know how to play ‘Smoke on the Water.’”

5b. Oh… wait… it has four strings.  It’s a BASS guitar.  Just when you thought it couldn’t get any less cool.

Finally an instrument that says, “I have a lot of money and do not know how to play ‘Smoke on the Water.’”

6. …Where’s the motor on this thing, anyway?

No one’s going anywhere until I get a push.

7. No place to put her feet.  No kickstand.  And based on the scale of this drawing, I’m assuming the Guitar-Cycle is about the size of a draft horse.  I’m also guessing that the only way to get on is to run really fast alongside it and jump…while in your high heels.  Likewise, dismounts are best done near municipal hospitals since they involve a six or seven foot fall.

Another slightly more dignified form of transportation – admittedly with an…earthier… odor. As an aside, I’m assuming the above breed is what you get when you cross a horse with the NASA Crawler.

8. The bad news is that there are no brakes.  The good news is that, in the 80s, both sexes were expected to sport enough hair to serve as an impromptu parachute.

These men have jumped out of a (Jefferson) airplane with nothing but a can of hairspray and survived.

9. Headlight?  Tail light?  Turn signals?  Admittedly, the last would be superfluous given the complete absence of a steering column, but it’s the principle of the thing.

Ma’am, there isn’t a jurisdiction on this planet where this vehicle is street legal.

Now I admit that perhaps my thesis should have been less along the lines that 80s villains were better and more along the lines of “Shredder does everything better,” which would make an awesome bumper sticker or presidential slogan.  If nothing else, his ride puts Air Force One to shame.

We big pimpin’.

In related news, I now know who I’m voting for in 2012.


Of Kidnappings and Tiny, Benevolent Communists

Based on empirical evidence, Fraggle Rock is where Democrats go when they die. Daily sing-alongs.  A thirty-minute work week.  And an omniscient trash heap who could very well be the personification of Chicago.

The next mayor of Chicago

Or New Jersey, one supposes, but c’mon – that’s low hanging fruit.

Regardless, my daughter is fond of Fraggles, presumably because she does not yet fall into any sort of Fraggle subsidizing tax bracket.  It is for this reason my wife and I were dismayed when it appeared briefly that Netflix had ceased to stream the series and in its place left the following:

Ah the 80s…when the strength of a franchise rested on the quality of its Christmas special.

This was presumably recommended because it’s early May – you know, practically Christmas.  And because there is, in the eyes of Mother Netflix, no difference between a series about a race of tiny benevolent communists and a Christmas special starring a man who’s 78% pectoral muscle and who routinely thrusts sharp objects in the air while bellowing, “I have the power!”

Based on the last point, I’d be inclined to assume both He-Man and She-Ra are teamsters, but Eternia is definitely a Republican district.  Furthermore, I’m not entirely convinced He-Man and She-Ra aren’t the elected representatives given their vigorous exercise of second amendment rights.  And if one needs further proof that Eternia operates with relatively little government oversight, I also submit the apparent lack of indecent exposure statutes and Mr. Man’s subsequent tendency to do battle in nothing but his Fruit of the Looms.

Of course, until now, I was unaware that Mr. Man and Ms. Ra had a Christmas special at all.  Again, I suspect this is a result of their choice in apparel.  Hailing from the upper Midwest, I just naturally assumed no one goes outside in December without first using their lightsaber to hollow out a bantha.  Since neither He nor She, if I might get on a first name basis with our protagonists, appeared the parka sort, I just sort of assumed they hibernated until spring.  Leaving Skeletor, the most sensibly dressed of the lot, a well deserved opportunity to go on a ski trip.

However, this is not so.  Instead, they loose Orko upon our world.  Don’t remember Orko?  Well, PTSD will do that.

Orko: The Jar Jar Binks of Eternia

Yes.  Him.  The character with a voice like a fly next to your ear.  And what does Orko do when left to his own devices?  Near as I can figure, he is brought up on at least two charges of kidnapping and a few dozen more relating to felony child endangerment, but why don’t you be the judge?  Here’s the Netflix synopsis of He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special:

“After accidentally landing on Earth, Orko returns to Eternia with a Christmas tree and two children who explain the holiday’s meaning. Fearing the Christmas spirit could thwart his evil, Horde Prime orders Skeletor to kidnap the little Earthlings.”

Here’s a tip.  When visiting Earth, shopping for souvenirs, and spotting unattended children, the correct response is not, “Oh!  I’ll take two!  They’re small!”  Allow me to illustrate why.  Pardon me, but…Orko?  Someone is here to see you.

I hear you’ve been posing as a tiny robed elf on the internet.

Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too.  Why don’t you take a seat over there?