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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero: Season 1.1 (review)

Cartoon Heroes

We’re already hearing people complain that the upcoming G.I. Joe movie is sure to be a rape of their childhood memories of lovely militaristic cartoons about villains with mirrored helmets and the action-figure heroes who battle him. I don’t recall the early-80s animated series — it wouldn’t have appealed to me then anyway, even though I was certainly overdosing on afternoon and Saturday-morning TV then — but now I’ve caught up with it on DVD. And you can too: Season 1.1 is out tomorrow for your home viewing consumption in Region 1 and, presumably for most of the people who will watch this, remindering of what exactly it is you are cherishing so blindly from your childhood.


you can’t tell me this guy
ain’t one of the Village People

I don’t wanna hear anyone talking about raped childhood memories again. Are these guys kidding? This is some of the goofiest stuff I’ve ever seen, even grading on the nostalgia scale. It’s inoffensive enough, to be sure, but hardly anything worth revering. Now, I do know that the golden age of this crap is not any given year but 12… as in, “whatever got shoved into your malleable brain at that age.” And I’m way over 12 at this point of my first viewing. But c’mon, guys: This is four discs of episodes with titles like “Slaves of the Cobra Master” (featuring scantily clad chicks, and yes, I do get that that’s part of the appeal) and “Amusement Park of Terror” (paging Scooby-Doo!) and “Three Cubes to Darkness” (which for some reason brings to mind that crazy bit of classic Internet nuttiness, Time Cube).

I may be “educated evil” (according to the Time Cube wacko), and I’m sure to be flamed by fanboys for saying this, but: Really, dudes? Really? This is what you’re worried about getting ruined? It’s so completely pointless unless you’re still eight years old. It’s all about Village People-looking soldiers fighting giant American Indians and Santa Claus. Or maybe the Indian and Santa are good guys: I can’t stop myself getting doubled over with laughter long enough to tell. I can readily see that there are lots of helicopters — which, the eternally eight-year-old boy in me concedes are always totally awesome — and guys in cowboy hats with really terrible “Southern” accents, which is perhaps considered “awesome” by some.


you can tell the bad guys are evil because they like volcanoes and destroying the Empire State Building

At least there’s some women soldiers, and at least they do kick some ass. I will grant that this may have been somewhat progressive in 1983. But honestly, the coolest thing about this box set is that it comes with ruboff temporary tattoos. Oh, and there’s also some archival Hasbro toy commericals as a bonus feature on Disc 4, which makes up for the fact that the episodes themselves include the “bumpers” that would have led into and out of commercial breaks during the original broadcasts without actually including the commercials (which would be hilarious today).

I’m not saying this upcoming movie is gonna be good: clearly, it ain’t. I’m just saying there really isn’t much to ruin, if we’re gonna be frank about it.


I know which one I prefer

MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

IMDb

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