Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Deep, Unanswered Questions about 80's and 90's Cartoons

The next three posts will be three related features rescued from LaGremlin Land.
Now, I first came up with this way back in my senior year of high school. I was living in a pre-Internet world, remember, and specifically in a pre-
Cartoon Overanalizations, pre-TV Tropes' It Just Bugs Me world. Some of these have been addressed at both websites, which happily implies that I'm not weird for wondering about these.
Originally posted way back on 4/11/01.

* - In the "He-Man" and "She-Ra" series, what did Orko look like under that cloak? And was Skowl's flying appendages his wings or were they his actual ears?

* - What ARE the Wuzzles? No, I know what they are but I mean where did they come from? Some kind of bizarre Island of Dr. Moreu type top secret genetic engineering experiment or something?

* - Speaking of "the Wuzzles", why the hell did every one of them, regardless of whether they were part insect or not, have those fly wings on their backs? Were they ever functional? Is there origin then more akin to the David Cronenburg version of "the Fly"? (NOTE: I would expand on this later. Stay tuned.)

* - Let's get another big one out of the way. Why were there only three female Smurfs? Bear in mind that none of these female Smurfs were born in a normal way (both Smurfette and Sassette were created artificially, and I'm not sure of where Granny Smurf came from). Furthermore, if a Smurf village isn't normally supposed to have females in it, then do Smurfs reproduce asexually? And if so, why is Papa Smurf older than the others?

* - Why do the other Smurfs keep taking surprise boxes from Jokey? Don't they know by now that they'll blow up? And why hasn't Jokey been arrested or something?

* - On "Thundercats", each member of the team was an anthropomorphic version of a different species of wildcat. Okay, fine. But on Thundera, their home planet, were there many members of each different species? Did they tend to stick to their own kind romantically or could they interbreed? And would resulting children be sterile hybrids (as in the real-life Liger)?

* - Speaking of logistical problems in a world of Furries, take the case of "the Get-Along Gang". Montgomery is an anthropomorphic moose. As if that isn't disconcerting enough, he has antlers. Are they considered weapons in his world? Are they even functional? And considering that male moose in real life don't grow their antlers until they're adults, then how old is Montgomery (considering the age-range of rest of the Gang is about ten-ish in human terms)?

* - Doesn't it strike anyone else as weirdly racist that the official Gang members were all mammals, while their bullies were reptiles? Yes, I know the Gang hung out with that turtle kid, but he was never really treated as an official member, more like the Furry take on the Token Kid That Is Not White. And how come we never saw any anthropomorphic birds or fish?

* - Finally (and in my opinion, the biggest damn Furry Logistics Problem of all) there was one very memorable episode of "the Get-Along Gang" where the Gang ends up in a snowy town whose residents are on the look out for a missing baby elephant.
A normal, non-anthropomorphic elephant.
Now don't you think that if you're going to populate your world with humanoid animals, maybe you should bite the bullet and populate the zoos and pet stores with humans?

* - How old is Rainbow Brite? She looks to be ten, but consider that she's been in charge of providing color and light to the entire Universe forever. Doesn't that make her (and the Sprites, and Starlight, and the Color "Kids") as old as the Universe or older? If so, then what is she, a goddess?

* - On the other hand, maybe time is different on the planet that Rainbowland is on. Maybe while ten years have gone by on Rainbowland, thousands of years have passed on Earth. But if time goes slower on Rainbowland then on Earth, how come Rainbow Brite's Earthling friend, Brian, is still about ten years old every time they run into each other? Why isn't he suddenly eighty-four or something? Does this mean that Rainbow Brite can time-travel? (It's already well established that she can travel through outer space.)

* - Are Chief Quimby and Dr. Claw one and the same? On "Inspector Gadget", Chief Quimby knew exactly what Dr. Claw was up to. It seems very suspicious to me.

* - How come Penny and Brain never b**ched about getting no credit for saving the day? Did they ever snap and go insane? Is that why the spin-off series didn't go into the character's futures but chronicled their past instead?

* - And, finally, what IS Inspector Gadget anyway? A robot? A cyborg? If he's a robot, why does he have a niece? Or is Penny just posing as his niece so he can feel more human? Does anyone else suddenly hear the sad score from "A.I."? (This should go without saying, but we are ignoring the abysmal live-action Disney film.)

* - Any time the adventuring team on the surprisingly good "Dungeons and Dragons" cartoon found some way or other to get home, the porthole was only open for a very short time and a LOT of that time they lost was spent debating whether to take Uni with them. Ever get the sense that Uni was trying to keep the kids from getting home? Was this her own plan or was she Venger's pawn? Or was the whole thing Dungeon Master's idea?

* - Speaking of Venger and Dungeon Master, there's a famous episode where D. M. calls Venger his son. Now, I know he might have meant it figuratively but what if he didn't? And if Venger is D. M.'s kid, then can you imagine what his mom must have looked like? (We are ignoring the never-finished final episode, where much of this is explained.)

* - Would anyone else feed Uni to Tiamat during that very first encounter in the opening sequence or is it just me?

* - How does "Muppet Babies" fit into "Muppet Show" continuity? Is it about the Muppets as kids, or is it about the second generation of Muppets? If it's about the Muppets as kids, how come both Robin and Bean Bunny show up if they're supposed to be the youngest Muppets?

* - And we NEVER saw Nannie's face. We never even saw her above the shoulders. What the heck did she look like? Consider that it's left unclear as to whether she's just the babies' caretaker or if she's their mother. And if she isn't their mother than where and who are their parents?

* - The cast of the surprisingly not-terrible "My Little Pony" cartoon changed several times as old ponies in the collectible toy line were retired and new ones introduced. Okay, but Megan and Spike remained in the cast each season. Didn't they notice that some of their friends had vanished?

* - Furthermore, all the ponies in Ponyland were female (the males were conveniently "on a race around the world" and only appeared in one episode). Where the heck did the baby ponies come from?

* - Aside from the fact that it rhymed, why did they call it the "Care Bear Stare"? They weren't staring so much as zapping people with pictures on their tummies. What did getting "Stared" feel like? Being bombarded with giant Lucky Charms?

* - And aside from alliterative appeal, why were they called the Care Bear Cousins? Were they the Bear's actual blood relatives? How can a bear possibly be related to a penguin?

* - Why did the opening of the second "Care Bears Movie" completely contradicted the Cousins' origin story from the first one? Did they think the kids wouldn't notice?

* - The second "Care Bears Movie" was subtitled "A New Generation", so maybe it's about the second group of Care Bears. But if that's true, what happened to their parents from the first movie? Why do the "new generation" Bears act and look EXACTLY like the first batch? Were they cloned from the first Bears after they died in a horrible accident (maybe the giant heart from the first movie's end title sequence fell and flattened them during the final group portrait)?

* - The "Silverhawks" were a superhero team of cyborgs who ran around exploring space, fighting bad guys, the usual. So why the heck did they have a country singer up there with them? Yeah, I know he was a cyborg too, but still, what kind of help is he going to provide? Scaring space monsters away with a rousing rendition of "Achy-Breaky Heart"?

* - Was "Silverhawks" actually supposed to be some kind of cybernetic "Real World"? Like a bunch of totally random people (and their mascot hawk, of course, and whatever the hell Copper Kid was) get turned into cyborgs and sent into space and we get to watch what happens?

* - How big were "the Snorks"? Some episodes show them as being about two or three feet tall but others place them at only inches high, or even about the size of a cocktail shrimp. And, once and for all, if they were tiny, then were they related to the Smurfs or not?

* - What's the deal with the Snork's "snork" anyway? I guess it's a breathing organ, but how does it work? Does it work like a gill or like a snorkel? If it works like a snorkel, then how come you never see the Snorks surface for air? There was also that one Snork who had two snorks, and a couple of characters with snorks on their face where a human would have his nose. Are they some kind of advanced "Super Snorks" or are these primitive features (akin to a horse being born with dewclaws)?

* - Say, how does the Scooby Gang keep functioning? They have no jobs; they tool around in a van all day and solve mysteries just for fun. What do they do for money? For example, how do they afford to go to the fancy ski resort in the mystery of the Abominable Snowman?

* - Were the guest voices in "Scooby Movies" picked completely at random or what? They had the cast of "Batman" in one episode, the Mamas and the Papas in the next one, and the Harlem Globetrotters in the next. Tell me they didn't pick the names from a list of people who liked "Scooby Doo" and wanted to be a guest voice out of a hat or something.

* - With regards to "The Chipmunk Reunion", which, as you'll see, ended up raising a LOT more questions than it purported to answer: Why did some of the forest animals wear clothes while others didn't? If Dave lived in a really nice little cabin out in the woods, why did he move out of it and into the suburbs? Or was he staing there temporarily for "mental health"? Wouldn't it have been less traumatic for Ma Chipmunk to ask Dave if she could move in with him for the winter along with her children? What did the Boar have against the Chipmunks? And finally, ARE the Chipmunks actual chipmunks? I ask this because in the finale, they're dancing around with some other rodents who look a LOT more like real life Chipmunks than the Chipmunks do.

* - What does the bathroom in CatDog's house look like and how do they use it?

* - Actually, forget CatDog. On "DragonTales", what does the bathroom in Zack and Weezy's lair look like and how do *they* use it? More to the point, what happens when one or both of them wants to start dating?

* - And what was the go with the Dinosaur Family in "Pee-Wee's Playhouse"? They were dinosaurs and they lived in a MOUSE HOLE. The father was a Triceratops, the mother was a Styracosaur. The twins were... I don't know what the hell they were (my first inclination is to call them Parasauralophi, but... no), and they didn't look anything like their parents. And they have a monitor lizard for a "dog". And the holiday special implies that they are Jewish. Yeah, I know this is "Pee-Wee's Playhouse", but...

* - Wouldn't it be a little awkward to live in Pee-Wee's Playhouse, seeing as everything (including the food) is alive in there? Think about it.

* - And finally, how come those of us who grew up with these shows don't have a laundry list of mental disorders from trying to figure all of these out?

1 comment:

iheartkatamari said...

A few quandaries of mine which are worhty of this list are:

-Why did each Pound Puppies incarnation(the '85 special, the TV show, and the movie) have such radically differing human casts?

-Since Violet(who appeared in the aforementioned '85 special, as well as the books) was Cooler's girlfriend, didn't it seem a bit odd that she was removed from the cast when the show became a series?

-And why was the second season of the Pound Puppies TV show so inconsistent with the first?(Katrina owning the pound rather than Holly, Brighteyes being younger, Nose Marie having a different personality, Captain Slaughter mysteriously disappearing, leaving his storyline unresolved et al.)

Ahh, don't we all look forward to the day when cartoons and comics make sense...then again, if they did they wouldn't be funny, LOL.