Gadget Wheels, dinos, mice and banana peels: my Top 4 cartoons of the 80s
The children of today are screwed. I was writing another piece for today, but I realised it was shit and going nowhere at about the exact time I was hit by a wave of laziness; the notes I had scribbled were scrunched up and thrown across the room, and I plonked myself on the lounge, flicking casually through the channels with no destination in mind. Amidst the soap operas, news programs and advertisements, I came across a children’s cartoon. I have no idea what it was called, but it appeared to be a terrible amalgamation of poor animation, talking dogs and painfully cheerful theme music. Was this really the best we could come up with in the 21st century to entertain kiddies? What the hell happened to the awesome cartoons of the 80s and early 90s?
Feeling lazy and overcome with nostalgia, and with Heather’s article on The B(itch)Log earlier this week still fresh in my mind, I decided to take a stand against the fucked up children’s entertainment of 2012. How am I going to do it? Easy. I’m going to regress twenty or so years and reintroduce the world to my four favourite cartoons of the 80s. Given that I’ve got intellectual maturity of a 9-year-old, it’s not going to be that difficult.
Eric Wimp was just a normal boy who lived at 29 Acacia Road until he indulged in the tropical delight, at which stage he transformed into a nutritious vigilante, intent on keeping the world safe from the evil schemes of corny supervillans. With an outfit that would make Batman reassess what it meant to wear a cowl, Bananaman got around by flying, albeit with a technique reminiscent of a swimming stroke. When the Australian Banana Growers’ Council was working on its marketing strategy, it should have looked no further than the quiet British schoolboy: he’s the poster child for potassium.
His greatest achievement? Wearing banana skins as boots and never slipping on them.
The British know comedy, and in the 80s, they were all over cartoons like a fat kid on a cheesecake. Aided by his nerdy hamster offsider Penfold, Danger Mouse was the James Bond of the rodent world, complete with flying car and an eye patch. How could you not love a Mickey Mouse 007 wannabe whose arch-nemesis was an obese toad with emphysema called Baron Silas Greenback?
The biggest question to come out of the series pertained to the preferred garb of the furry secret agent: did Danger Mouse wear pants?
Dinosaurs. Lasers. Aliens riding said dinosaurs. This concludes the lesson on why Dino-Riders was such an awesome cartoon. Hell, it was that amazing, it made kids want to learn about palaeontology; there was a time circa 1990 that I could spell the names of most dinosaurs, including Ankylosaurus, Diplodocus and Quetzalcoatlus.
Calling this detective bumbling is like calling Kim Jong-il misunderstood. As dumb as he was, you have to respect a guy with rocket-powered roller skates and rotor blades built into his hat.
Inspector Gadget was the pioneer of the cyborg anti-discrimination movement, and taught us to love our fellow man, regardless of whether they were black, white or had telescopic extremities.
Important safety tip: do not go out wearing a trench coat and ask women if they’d like to see your Gadget Periscope.
Go-Go Gadget Nostalgia!
Damn. If I could go back to 1989 knowing what I know now, my goal of world domination would be a lot easier to achieve. And I’d be able to appoint Bananaman as the Vice President of Kick-Ass Superhero Costumes. And ride an angry Pachycephalosaurus*, adorned with armour and lasers, instead of catching the bus.
* Author’s note: best dinosaur name of all time.