By: Loryn Stone / Jose Ramos
Breathe it in.
What’s that’s scent lingering in the air like the hordes of Rice-a-Roni your mom forced you to eat because you guys were too broke to afford real food?
That’s right- nostalgia. We’ve talked about what happens when you go back and re-watch some of your childhood classics with grown-up goggles and see how many beers you need to drink in order to get through some of the cringe-worthy story lines. Spoiler: The correct answer is four. Four beers.
But the wonky storylines aside, one thing stood out to us when we did a repeat viewing of some of our youngin’ classics.
Why the fuck was that dude the villain?
The case is cut and dry: You’re shown a thing, the narrative tells you he/she is the bad guy, and you roll with it. But when you get older and life isn’t quite so black and white, you make some interpretative discovers. And you start to wonder why…
6) Mighty Morphin Power Rangers:
Why were we watching Rita when we should have been watching…
Let’s begin at the elementary level: aesthetics. No one can deny that Goldar is terrifying looking. He’s a snarled-face evil cat-dog man with a growling nightmare voice. Rita on the other hand just looks like my childhood friend’s eccentric aunt. Plus, he hangs out for a while, lasting from the original Mighty Morphin’ season, through the whole Rita Saga, segueing into serving Lord Zedd, then hangs around for cameos in Zeo and In Space.
Goldar is resilient as fuck.
When Rita and her gang break free from their 10,000 year imprisonment and declare that it’s time to conquer Earth, it’s Goldar who leads Rita’s first invasion of Angel Grove. Why would that be unless it’s because he’s more terrifying, evil, and intimidating than Rita. It’s not just as simple as “Well, Goldar is Rita’s lead warrior, and therefore he does her bidding.” Again, we know that Rita is fully capable of handling herself against the Rangers down on Earth. She’s gone there. We’ve seen her naughty little evil-sorceress sky-trike.
But you know what we’ve never seen her do? Make herself grow. Meanwhile, Goldar has grown to Megazord size, fought against the Power Rangers and their zord, and he wasn’t defeated. He held his own against their giant mech and escaped to live another day. And similarly, while Rita was triking through the sky, screaming from her wheeled-sky-spinner, what was Goldar doing?
That’s right- piloting his own freakin’ Megazord. Let me introduce you to Cyclopsis. Which he maneuvered Green Ranger style all on his own.
Other examples that Goldar is the villain we need to watch out for include the fact that when Lord Zedd returned, he didn’t banish Goldar along with Rita. In fact, he gave him back his wings and invited him to fight along his side. Zedd easily could have deemed Goldar trash and destroyed Rita’s entire empire and her minions. But instead, he kept him close. In the episode “Island of Illusion”, it’s Goldar who appears before the Rangers on the Island of Insecurities, not Rita. Part of their destruction was to revel in his image! Fan theory suggest Goldar might be royalty from Titan, Saturn’s moon, which would put him in higher ranks that either sorceress Rita or “Lord” Zedd. And lastly, you know how we should never mess with anyone’s parents? Well, in the original Japanese version of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, the season called Zyuranger…
Goldar is a daddy.
5) He-Man Masters of the Universe:
Why were we watching Skeletor when we should have been watching…
Speaking of aesthetics, recalling the cartoons He-Man and She-Ra, a few words come to mind. Large, is one. Giant swords, giant green tigers, and every character has 37 abs. Another word is bright. With a setting that’s D&D meets Lego, there’s bright costumes, bright castles and a lot of lightning. Like a preponderance of lightning. But there’s another word.
The basic plot of He-Man is that Prince Adam acts like a lazy coward. But it’s a cover! When he grabs his sword, he can turn in the strongest man in the universe! Fuck you guys trying to attack my friends! But it gets crazier! It turns out he has a twin sister, Adora who was kidnapped when they were babies and she’s the strongest woman in the universe! That’s a lot of good genetic material from mom and dad, gotta say.
The main bad guy of He-Man is Skeletor, wo seems to look like if a Smurf took way too much whey protein and visited the gym so much and got so swole he decided to rip off his own face after looking in the mirror. So besides being a giant with a skull face, he was also a powerful sorcerer. His specific goal is to put together a sword that will let him become master of the universe. But the only man who can stop him? He-Man. So he gets some credit for having a goal. But that goal is soft. Because he just wants to be He-Man. SOFT.
Back to the gym Skeletor!
You can’t lift that sword, son!
Hordak, the main bad guy of She-Ra is the guy to pay attention to. He works to conquer the universe. All of it. He is also a sorcerer. In fact, he taught Skeletor what he knows. So that’s already a level up. And also, he uses a lot of technology. And by “uses a lot of technology”, I mean turns his arms into flamethrowers and turns himself into a rocket when he doesn’t feel like walking. That’s next level one-upmanship. Oh, and he wears an outfit made of bones. If I see Skeletor coming for me, with his gym back and magic staff, I am definitely running away. If I see guy wearing a suit of bones, with flamethrowers for arms and rocket legs, I am falling to my knees and asking a lot of questions to the universe out loud.
Although my girl Evil-Lyn is a very close second…
4) Rainbow Brite:
Why were we watching Murky and Lurky when we should have been watching…
The Dark Princess.
The premise was simple enough: Rainbow Brite, an immortal girl is granted the role of some sort of magical fairy of color and warm-weather. She brings color to Earth by use of a red color belt that sprays out rainbows when magical star sprinkles are shoved into it. A very cranky Mario-looking dude in a gray getup named Murky Dismal wants to get his hands on the color belt, stuff it with evil gray doom cloud, and destroy all the color from Rainbow Land.
Which, of course, never happens. Murky’s plans are constantly foiled. Dude also lives in Rainbowland, in an area called “The Pits”. First indication he’s not a threat? Rainbow’s never kicked him out. Makes you wonder if this thing between Rainbow Brite/Murky is just some weird giant game of cat and mouse. We know she could slaughter him. In “The Beginning of Rainbowland” she murdered the King of Shadows with just a press of her belt. Clearly, she’s not lacking any power here.
It’s not until the movie Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer that we’re introduced to a villain that’s ready to fuck some shit up. Low and behold, The Dark Princess. This character is canon, by the way. She shows up in the tv show sometime after the movie came out. If the show and movie existed on the same time line, it means that the Dark Princess has been stirring up the danger-pot for a while.
First off, she heisted an entire planet called Spectra. She commanded an entire army of killer mechs to hypnotize Sprites (the little fuzzy dudes) and make them weave ropes over the entire planet so light couldn’t pass through it. Second, she uses a magic crystal to blast power at people. Murky and Lurky depend on smog. Smog. Like that thing you breathe in just existing in any major city. Third, that princess is after Rainbow Brite’s color belt. Not because it has supreme power. No, she has her own. She wants it because it will go perfectly with her red dress. And last of all, the woman inexplicably survives her spaceship being blown up. It bursts into space dust…and she comes back in season two. Alive.
3) G.I Joe:
Why were we watching Cobra Commander when we should have been watching…
Ah G.I. Joe. Truly 80s America at it’s most laser patriotic. A group of soldiers from different branches of the armed forces with specialties come together. Need a guy who’s good with phones? Get Dial Tone. You need someone sneak into a place without being recognized? Have Dial-Tone call Lady Jaye. Proud speech in front of the American flag? Get General Hawk on the horn. Any other problems? CALL SNAKE EYES.
Their main enemy? The international terrorist group known as Cobra! They had their own island, they had spies everywhere even to the point of burger joints. They needed to be shot with lasers immediately. Their leader? The aptly named Cobra Commander. I mean an organization this big needs a strong, dedicated leaders to guide their villainy. Right? I mean rule with an iron fist and take over the world. That’s the plan. Just a guy screaming about how will take over the world in giant blue outfit.
But then there’s Destro.
He’s a Scottish Laird whose family has specifically sold weapons for generations. In fact, they sell weapons to both sides of the conflict. So what they do is they stir up trouble, and then when everyone is shouting and making threats, they sell them the things to murder each other. They go back to their castle and drink out of goblets.
That’s some dastardly shit right there.
Think about that. This the sort of guy who goes to a bar. He has a couple beers, sees an angry guy already drunk. He then proceeds to rile the up about how the guy in the corner is staring at him. Then, when this guy goes to the bathroom, he walks to the guy in the corner. Tells him the guy in bathroom is talking shit about him. Then when they start screaming at each other, he then sells them both machetes. Everyone dies and Destro does a couple shots with their money.
Fuck that guy. Don’t take your eyes off Destro. Anyone can scream and carry on like Cobra Commander. Destro is selling your friends a gun and warning you that you might need one.
2) Inspector Gadget:
Why were we watching Dr. Claw when we should have been watching…
Yes, at face value, we assume Dr. Claw is the evil supreme baddy in the Inspector Gadget universe. The signs are crystal clear: The growling voice. The spike metal bracelet. The snickering cat. The computer that no one else ever would’ve been able to afford in nineteen-eighty-whenever the fuck this show aired.
See what I mean? Dr. Mother-Fucking-Claw. All signs point to puuuuuuuure evil.
But let’s stop and take a step back here for just a moment and really examine what’s going on in the Inspector Gadget universe. Let’s look at all the signs and clues this pseudo Robo-Cop mystery show is really trying to lay out in front of us.
First and foremost, let’s examine the fact that both Dr. Claw and Inspector Gadget himself appear to be augmented men. Cyborgs, if you will. One is programmed to do what he assumes is good, the other out for blood. But think about it- who is the nexus, the one in the center of every single battle between Dr. Claw and Inspector Gadget? The one who seems to know what Dr. Claw’s plans are before Claw’s cronies can even start smuggling baseballs full of poisoned gum onto plans or out of jail or whatever weird child-friendly scenes happened in that show?
That’s right, friends. Chief Quimby, the main villain we should have been watching all along.
There’s a popular Reddit fan theory claiming that Chief Quimby is in fact Dr. Claw. Here’s another stating that Penny is Claw’s daughter and she’s Gadget’s creator, his mother. Then, there’s another on Cracked stating that Dr. Claw was once the original Gadget and he’s angry because he’s been replaced. But here at PopLurker, we’re going to tell you today why that’s completely false.
And trust- around here, we’re insane enough that we don’t have to borrow anyone else’s fan theories.
There are too many surrounding factors, and there’s no way that Quimby could possibly have time to sit at a chair for hours, conduct naughties from the comfort of his claw, all while giving Gadget duties via explosive fire-bomb papers. No, that wouldn’t work. As mentioned earlier, Chief Quimby isn’t Dr. Claw, but more of a Puppet Master, pulling strings and conducting all the evil we see throughout the series. Just like Gendo Ikari…
Let’s start with simple physical traits. It’s easy to see that Penny is Chief Quimby’s daughter. They have the exact same coloring. So Quimby, in his spare time, isn’t even a chief. He’s an inventor. Chief is the role he takes on so his poor, confused creation Gadget doesn’t get his programming crossed and start asking questions. As for Penny, Quimby gives his (very bright daughter, no question there) and her genius dog (who we may go back and decide is a robot too, but that’s another story) to watch over his broken, bumbling creation and make sure he doesn’t die.
Come on, poor Gadget has a helicopter stuffed into his brain. A cell phone in his hand. All that radiation? The dude doesn’t stand a chance. His algorithms are all fucked up all the time. But the actual tech? It’s working fine.
And the actual tech is what Quimby needs to keep on functioning. But Gadget won’t just bust out his equipment without being triggered. That’s not how a field test works. Gadget’s programming insists that true danger must be present in order for the technology to initiate. Enter Dr. Claw. “Chief” Scientist Quimby created a second cyborg robot man, quite possibly from another cop or detective who died on the scene, doesn’t matter. He programmed him with pure evil coursing through those circuits and then…strapped him down to a chair. Because if the cyborg man who is Dr. Claw was able to actually get up…who knows what disasters would explode. Who knows what technology the chief had stuffed inside Claw?
So when Dr. Claw growls his daily catchphrase of “I’ll get you next time, Gadget…next time.” You know it’s totally true.
Because he wasn’t programmed to do anything else.
1) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
Why were we watching The Shredder when we should have been watching…
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may be one of the few shows that every generation of children has a version of. If you ignore the live T.V. versions (WHICH YOU SHOULD), the cartoon has gone at longest 7 years without a new version coming out. If you do count the live versions (YOU MADE A MISTAKE AND I WARNED YOU), that cut it down to 5. That’s bananas. That means every 10 years, there’s a new generation being introduced to 4 giant well-armed turtles named after artists. In this case, however, I will be focusing on the original 1987-1996 version that most adults go to when they think of it. And it that version no name shook your bones more than 1.
Let’s examine Shredder. He was a member of a ninja clan called the Foot. He had his rival banished and worked his way up to the guy in charge. When he finds out his rival is living in the sewers of NYC, he runs over to murder his ass right quick. In fact, in this version, he was the one who dropped the ooze into the sewers, because he was trying to kill his former rival. Oh yeah, Splinter was a guy who turned into a rat when splashed with a green goop. Shredder was also apparently a genius who can make robots and shit. He also dressed like he thought Wolverine was a subtle bitch.
“He only has 3 blades on each hand?! Bring me my graph paper and drawing materials. I’m gonna show the world what sharply dressed means!”
I will not apologize for that pun.
For the first few episodes, Shredder actually takes it to the turtles. He beats them up often. He just always runs the second the tide turns. He then relies on his goons and robot ninjas to do his work. After that he very quickly is reduced to incompetent and there’s a very good reason.
Because a warlord brain from a place called Dimension X arrived. His name was Krang. His wanted to conquer all dimensions. “A-W first! Then I shall show Y and Z the true power of the Alphabet!”. He arrived in Manhattan in travelling war machine called the Technodrome. I love that name so much I have begun calling my kitchen the Hungerdrome. He doesn’t even care about Splinter and the Ninja Turtles. They are just in between him and his next step in alphabet domination. He let Shredder crash in the Technodrome. In exchange for not charging him rent, he makes Shredder build him a giant robot body so that he can walk around and sit in its giant robot stomach. You could joke that it looks like the robot looks like it’s pregnant.
It shall give birth to alphabetic destruction.