There and Back Again
Thanks to the internet I can watch anything. Everything ever captured on film is somewhere on the internet. I’d like to take a moment to thank God for letting me be born before the internet well and truly took off, because I said and did a lot, A LOT, of stupid shit as a kid. I’m grateful that all the times I was on fire remain in legend, and all my whiny poetry, mostly directed at girls who didn’t like me only plague the memories of the unfortunate souls who took a creative writing class with me.
Having said that, with the vast majority of human knowledge and expression represented by the web, it’s a little embarrassing what I use such an amazing tool for in my daily life. It’s worse than if I was some kind of monster searching for the darkest depravities of humankind or the depths of my own perversion.
I usually use the internet to look up stuff about movies and things I used to like as a kid.
Here’s what I found.
The Show: Voltron
The Basics: Basically this team made up of leader guy, quiet dangerous guy, big guy, pipsqueak, and princess sit around and wait for giant aliens to show up. Then they jump into robot lions stored on their planet nowhere near each other, get their asses kicked, form the robot cats into a robot person, get their asses kicked, and finally form a laser sword and cut the giant aliens in half.
Back in the Day: I loved this show. I only ever owned the Black Lion (and I’ll form, the head!) so I couldn’t really create new Voltron scenarios, but if they ever need a pitch just starring one of the lions I’m on it. To this day, I’m always secretly disappointed that not all robots can’t join together into one massive robot. Still waiting on swords made of light, too. What the fuck science? Either cure cancer or move on, I got stuff that needs cutting: wood, signs, cars, my enemies, cats, etc.
How’d It Hold Up? Shitty. Granted now, and as a child, I couldn’t believe they’d show someone get sliced in half on TV, let alone a kid’s cartoon show, but it’s basically the same formula with a different monster. Maybe if the fights were better, but once that sword shows up, it’s game over for e’reybody. Like everything else in the entirety of creation, this show would be made a lot better with more sword fights.
The Show: GI Joe
The Basics: From the animated movie: “GI Joe is the codename for American’s daring, highly trained special mission force. It’s purpose, to defend human freedom against Cobra – a ruthless, terrorist organization determined to rule the world.”
What that means is they have a whole roster of themed guys, either for a certain environment or some kind of caricature, who go on missions they don’t belong on, like sending the snow guy to the desert, or putting the desert guy up in the mountains. They fight Cobra which is filled with well-equipped, but ill-trained cannon fodder led by a crazy person. And I don’t mean crazy like “he’s a nut job terrorist,” or “a psycho who wants to control the world,” but a guy who was a failure as a used car salesman so he founded a cult, got military grade weaponry, secret bases, and tries to take over the world using weather devices or a rock band with secret lyrics to control the youth fronted by a biker gang led by the world’s greatest assassin.
You know, a crazy person.
Back in the Day: I loved this show. I had a trough full of vehicles and guys. I’d build forts out of whatever I could find in my backyard or living room, and stage large, elaborate battles with formations, retreats, betrayal, and character development. My entire dream of writing was born playing with GI Joes. Shit, the show even had the best theme songs, and the movie, do not get me started on the awesomeness that was the movie’s theme song.
Plus Snake-Eyes opened my eyes to the role ninjas can play in modern war settings, and Storm Shadow is a badass fucking name.
How’d It Hold Up: The cartoon is filled with hockey games over parts to control a super weapon, and no one can hit anything they shoot at, not the bad guys, not the special forces guys, not the guys with scopes on their rifles, no one. Also, for a show filled with ninjas, none of them kill anyone. The animated movie was a mess. It tried to expand the lore by moving into a dumbass fantasy direction and bring in new characters so you didn’t get to see any of Snake-Eyes.
The comics however hold up surprisingly well. Written by Larry Hama, who also did all the bios on the back of the trading cards, does a nice job imagining actual military personnel in semi-fantastic universe, and everyone no matter how stupid they might appear in terms of appearance or skill set, is treated as a dangerous individual. The most important part is people die. Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow are goddamn forces of nature.
The Show: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers
The Basics: A great evil has returned to the universe, and the only thing that can combat it is the ultimate force for good, which fuck it, just give it to a bunch of teenagers. Try to make sure each one fits into a stereotype, and you get one of each race. The Power Rangers would pull out their belt buckles, yell “it’s morphin’ time” and turn into ski suit wearing ninja bikers. Then they summoned robots, which, again, stored nowhere near each other, which would combine to form an even bigger robot. Magic sword, dead monster, repeat.
Back in the Day: It was a show about karate that was on like six days a week. I was all over that. Add robots, which were also dinosaurs to the mix, and you have a perfect storm of Matt bait.
How’d It Hold Up? Eesh. Not awesome. As a grown-ass man, albeit one writing about cartoons on the internet for free (and there’s the gut check, again) with a superb DVD collection, I can get my kung-fu fix at anytime from some of the masters of the genre, so while Power Rangers was never truly great in my mind, it beat having to fast forward through old Jackie Chan tapes. Now, however, I’m thinking of the missed opportunities because each Ranger should be in the spirit of each animal that serves as their totem, but they all have the same skill set. They have different weapons, but, with the exception of the Pink Ranger’s bow, do all the same thing, and each of the individual robots, obviously equipped with a diverse array of weapons never, ever, fight on their lonesome and just immediately form the Megazord when they arrive at the fight.
I just re-read that, and I can’t believe I had that much to say about the Power Rangers.
I was going to do Transformers, Ninja Turtles, Doug, Salute Your Shorts, the Adventures of Pete and Pete, and Thundercats, but I’m going to end it here, have a lie down, wake up, and get my fucking life together.
See you guys next week.
Posted on September 17, 2010, in History Lessons, Lists, Matt Loman, Pop Culture, Television and tagged 80's, back in the day, GI Joe, kid stuff, Matt suffers a breakdown, Power Rangers, voltron. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.