Ruh-roh, Meep! Meep!, WILMAAAA!! I Got a Rock. Where’s the Kaboom? There’s Supposed to Be an Earth-Shattering Kaboom!

Remember watching cartoons when there was no such thing as “on demand” or Cartoon Network? Either you were in front of the television when your program came on or you missed it.  That’s it.  End of discussion.  (Yes, kids, it was worse than Grandpa’s story about walking to school uphill both ways!  So, so much worse!!  The horror.)

As it happened, I was a bit of a latchkey kid.  (By “bit,” I mean if you looked up the definition of “latchkey kid,” you’d find a picture of my sister and me.  Hopefully neither of us is bleeding.)  So, I watched some afternoon television.  (By “some,” I mean “all afternoon, Monday through Friday, and most of Saturday morning.)  That made me darned familiar and quite enamored with different cartoons.  I had favorites, for sure.  So, I thought I’d share and let you either reminisce or get crackin’ over on YouTube.

These are in no particular order, so don’t yell at me in the comments about how the Flintstones are ridiculously better than Inspector Gadget.  First, I don’t disagree.  Second (and more importantly), I loved them all and for different reasons and ranking them would be like comparing trombones to baseball hats.  Or something like that.

The Jetsons

In retrospect, I think this cartoon must’ve been part of the foundation on which The Simpsons was built.  The perpetual conflict between Mr. Spacely and George Jetson springs to mind, as does the family structure (right down to the dog).  My favorite parts of this show were always Astro (ruh-roh) and Elroy.  Yes, I know that Astro sounds suspiciously like Scooby-Doo.  Here’s the thing.  Astro was born before Scooby, so Scooby actually sounds like Astro, and Astro and Scooby have the same dad.  It’s true.  Look.

There’s been some subsequent commentary about how The Jetsons is set in 2062 yet still treats women like it’s 1926.  You can be mad, but I just don’t see it that way.  You have to remember that the show was created in 1962.  Watch a couple episodes of Mad Men, and you’ll see that The Jetsons is not as chauvinistic as you think.  (And I heart you John Hamm.  So much.  So, so much. Just thought I’d throw that in here on the chance you’re reading this.  Because you are my Hall Pass.  Not Ryan Gosling.  Not Ryan Reynolds.  Not Anderson Cooper.  You.  YOU.)  Also, as a little girl, the only thing I thought about it – and all that I think of it now – is that it was funny.  It made me wonder if the future would really be like that — flying cars, sidewalk conveyor belts, digital assistants.  Weird how much came true …

Roadrunner & Wyle E. Coyote

This was probably the first cartoon at which I ever really laughed — that hold-your-side, roll-around-on-the-floor, gasp-for-air, kinda-cry laugh.  And, I don’t remember how old I was when I started watching, but I know I was old enough to read.  Because, the very best jokes on the show happened in the captions and signs narrating each mishap.  Why Wile E. Coyote got all of his Roadrunner catching contraptions from Acme?  There is, apparently, no satisfactory answer.  Personally, I like the American Corporation that Makes Everything explanation, but the Sears catalogue seems most plausible.

She-Ra and He-Man

By the power of Greyskull!!

I watched these two back-to-back every day after school, usually while eating a salami and peanut butter sandwich and drinking a glass of chocolate milk.  (Look, you, quit gagging.  I was 12.  The LAST thing I thought about was my cholesterol or calories.  Even now it’s probably only fourth or fifth on the list.  First is, Do I have all the ingredients?  Second is, Are there working batteries in the smoke detector?)

She-Ra was awesome. It was a little inspiring to see a chick going all bad-ass comic heroine, but for me watching cartoons wasn’t about finding role models.  However, I fully admit that several times in my adult life I have yelled, “I AM SHE-RA!!!! PRINCESS OF POWER!!!”  Most of these times were probably when I was alone, in my car or in my office, after winning a motion or dismantling a lying liar I caught in a whopper at a deposition.  This is particularly effective if some random dude is suspiciously following you in a dark area of San Francisco, because no one — not even a dude who is thinking about creepy things — wants to mess with a crazy bitch.  You’re welcome.

Candidly, what I liked most about these shows were the bad guys.  Skeletor?  Yes, please.  I especially liked MerMan.  He always sounded like he was gargling Listerine while he talked.  (This might also explain certain dating choices I made in high school.  I shall say no more.)

Inspector Gadget

Inspector Gadget himself drove me nuts, actually.  As several people in my life have told me, I don’t suffer fools lightly, and Inspector Gadget could never get the hell out of his own way.  For the love of Pete, get those gadgets fixed already!  That meant my favorite parts of the show were Penny and Brain — the mind and muscle of the operation.  I learned researching this post that Cree Summers voiced Penny.  I knew her only from her role as Freddie on A Different World — Lisa Bonet’s Cosby Show spinoff.  So, I looked her up on IMDB, and – holy crap – she’s done a ton of voice work, including Numbah 5 from Code Name:  Kids Next Door (which Nate and I also watched).

Flintstones

I loved Wilma’s sarcastic wit.  She was quite well written for the era in certain ways.  Betty and Wilma undeniably were more intelligent than either Fred or Barney – a truth demonstrated in nearly every episode.  Although, I do remember one episode in which Wilma is furiously cleaning the house trying to win some Better Homes & Gardens spoof magazine competition. I thought, Who the hell competes over a clean house? That’s dumb.  It didn’t mean I didn’t want Wilma to win (and, of course, Fred screwed it up somehow), but really?

My favorite part of The Flintstones, hands down, was the Great Gazoo.

I wish my conscience appeared in Martian form.  I’d probably listen to it more.

Bugs Bunny & Marvin the Martian

If could be a cartoon villain, it would be a toss-up for me between Marvin the Martian and someone whom you’ll meet down below.  (No, not Hell, for Pete’s sake.  A couple paragraphs down from here.  Calm it!)

Marvin is soft-spoken, smart and ridiculously evil.  Essentially, he’s perfect.  Case-in-point:  My kids will tell you that when they’re in a bit of trouble, I yell.  But, when they’re in real trouble, I get very quiet, and it scares the holy crap out of them.  Imagine me, whispering, “This makes me very angry. Very angry, indeed.”  When I imagine it, I sound like Glenn Close saying, “I won’t be ignored, Dan.”

Charlie Brown (It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!)

I loved – LOVED – Charlie Brown specials. But, I especially loved the Great Pumpkin.  There are sooooo many wonderful things about it.  The Vince Guaraldi Trio scoring the music, Charlie Brown uttering “Good grief!,” Lucy taunting Charlie with the football.  But, my heart belongs to Linus and his blanket.  He will always be the character to whom I most strongly related even if I secretly wished I was as confident as Peppermint Patty.  (I keep trying to get my assistant at work to follow me around and call me, “Sir,” but she’s not having it.  Spoil sport.)

Fat Albert

Hey, hey, hey!  This cartoon was groundbreaking in so many ways.  But, one of the facts I most love is that NBC and ABC originally rejected Fat Albert for their Saturday morning line-ups because it was “too educational.” 

Here’s some others that I would always watch when they were on:

Speed Racer

UNDERDOG

MUTTLEY

I didn’t watch cartoons for many years after high school.  But, when Nate was about three, we discovered Cartoon Network.  There were some truly fantastic cartoons on that channel between about 2001 and 2007.  These were my favorites, and Nate and I watched them together quite often.

Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends

The premise, animation, character development and dialogue of this cartoon were ALL spectacular.  What happens to our childhood imaginary friends when we outgrow them?  They go to Foster’s.  My favorite episode was “Bus the Two of Us.”  Mac’s imaginary friend, Bloo, stole Foster’s bus and tried to take the other imaginary friends and Mac on a joyride.  The end up on a toll road, but they don’t know how to stop the bus to pay the toll.  Bloo decides they’ll just shoot the change out the window.  This dialogue follows:

“Target’s coming up!”

“Almost there!”

“It’s away!”

“Negative.”

“It didn’t go in.  Just impacted the surface.”

If you know what movie this dialogue is from, you will appreciate how funny this is.  (I will also like you more.)

The best part of Foster’s Home was that the characters felt like pieces of me:  Blooregard Q. Kazoo and I both cannot play paddleball, although we’ll die trying.  Wilt and I apologize a lot.  Eduardo and I both LOVE potatoes.  Duchess was never my favorite (or anyone else’s) but who doesn’t want the name “Her Royal Duchess Diamond Persnickity the First, Last and Only”?  I want it.  I absolutely want it.  I want to put it on my business cards.  I want to stand up and say that when I state my courtroom appearances and watch the contortions on the judge’s face.

Samurai Jack

Samurai Jack is dark as far as cartoons go.  Still, I always found myself drawn to the animation.  There was something oddly peaceful about watching it.  The clip above is a good short on how the cartoon was conceived and made.

Dexter’s Laboratory

Dexter is a young boy genius with a secret lab.  His older sister, Dee Dee, knows about the lab and torments Dexter endlessly with her nosy big-sisterness.  Dexter’s mortal enemy is Mandark.  Eddie Deezen voices Mandark.  You might remember Deezen as the nerdy kid in Grease with the wicked pie-throwing arm.  He has one of my favorite cartoon cackles EVER:

This cartoon was insanely funny – sometimes inappropriately so.  I recall a particular episode in which Dexter sneaks into Dee Dee’s room and just completely wreaks havoc.  During Dexter’s destruction, he opens Dee Dee’s dresser, finds her underpants and slowly rips them in half.  The Hubs and I happened to be watching this one together with Nate, and we steadfastly avoided making eye contact, because we knew we were both on the verge of laughing like lunatics and neither of us wanted to cross that oh-so-fine line between pretending like that didn’t just happen and having to explain to Nate why it freaking hysterical.

(Utterly unrelated, but why do we call underpants a “pair” of underpants?  This is one of life’s great mysteries, and if the answer is 42, I’m gonna be bitterly disappointed.)

Anyway.

I had two favorite episodes of Dexter’s Laboratory.  The first – “A Mom and Dad Cartoon” – featured Dexter and Dee Dee eavesdropping on their parents as they played Scrabble.  The parents are locked in competitive battle, but from where Dexter and Dee Dee sit, it sounds like Mom and Dad are talking about one of them having an affair.  This ensuing misunderstanding is quite funny.

http://embed.trilulilu.ro/video/cartoonlair/56e95108da7802/0x777777.swf  (If you click the link, just ignore the foreign language ads at the beginning.  The episode is the English version.)

The second episode was called “Continuum of Cartoon Fools.”  Dexter is desperately trying to keep Dee-Dee out of his lab but only locks himself OUT of the lab in the process.  He then delivers this marvelous monologue over the “The End” credits …

Oh my dear … In my overwhelming zeal to banish my sister from the lab, I have indeed locked myself out! Too blinded was I not to foresee the most piteous of fates. I have thus performed the ultimate tragic irony!  Surely I am the fool of fools on a par with no other. I am no better than that stupid coyote or that crazy duck! Look at me, look at me! I am locked in a continuum of cartoon fools! I am doomed to a life of comic mishap adventures and social indignations! And now, here I stand before you, beaten, defeated and alone …

The PowerPuff Girls

Remember how I said up above that if I was a cartoon villain, it would be a toss up between Marvin the Martian and someone else.  Well, that someone else came from this show.  His name?  Mojo Jojo.

Mojo Jojo is the baddest chimp you will ever meet.  Why, you ask?  Because he ganks his dialogue from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

That’s all just well enough because in reality there is only room enough in this world for one Mojo Jojo. One shall be the number of Mojo Jojos in the world, and the number of Mojo Jojos in the world shall be one. Two Mojo Jojos is too many and three is right out. So the only Mojo Jojo there is room for in the world shall be me, and being the only Mojo Jojo in the world, I will rule the world in which there is only one Mojo Jojo.

I also have a Blossom statute on my desk at work, which I look at while I’m on the phone with someone to whom I really don’t want to talk.  I telepathically ask her, Blossom, what would you do here?  She usually tells me, Rip his face off and eat it in front of him.  True, Blossom overreacts a little, but I keep her around because she’s a superhero and we’re usually thinking the EXACT same thing.

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27 comments on “Ruh-roh, Meep! Meep!, WILMAAAA!! I Got a Rock. Where’s the Kaboom? There’s Supposed to Be an Earth-Shattering Kaboom!

  1. Elizabeth says:

    We seem to have the same taste in cartoons. I’ve never seen Foster’s home of Imaginary Friends or Samurai Jack. I will have to check those out. Did you ever watch Dragon’s Lair? How about the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon? How about Thundercats? I loved me some Thundercats and find myself, sometimes, saying “Thundercats, ho!” at inappropriate times. It makes life interesting!

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

    • ProfMomEsq says:

      You can find episodes of Foster’s on YouTube — totally worth your time. I don’t remember Dragon’s Lair, but I do remember Thundercats. I watched it now and again. My husband *loved* it. He was actually a bit miffed it didn’t make my list. 🙂

  2. I have a baby brother who lied a lot, and would say, “Amy beat me up!” when my parents got home from work if I didn’t let him watch HIS cartoons. So we watched boy-stuff. He-Man. G.I. Joe. Transformers. Most afternoons after school, as long as I let him watch those things, I could watch The Facts of Life. That’s all I really wanted to watch, anyway. (Subsequently, I know more about boy’s-themed 80s and 90s cartoons than most women my age, I think.)

    On Saturdays, I was all about Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. That was my favorite. Also Smurfs, for some odd reason.They were three apples high, you know. Just three apples high.

    • ProfMomEsq says:

      Did your younger brother know my younger sister? Because she did that to me ALL the time. Actually – she’d do one worse. She’d walk into a room, punch MY lights out, then say I hit HER. I’m pretty sure she flipped me off as my mother marched me down to my room, but I might’ve made that up in my head.

      Still, we did both like Facts of Life (and Different Strokes, so I’ll cut her a little slack. Now, I probably have to blog about 80’s sitcoms? I think I just got done telling someone what a bad influence you are.

      G.I. Joe was okay; Transformers was way better. Did your brother also make you watch Johnny Quest? I had a younger brother, too, so I had to watch some of this stuff. He was always outnumbered, though, because my older brother was already out of the house by this time. The only thing my older brother ever made me watch was Dynasty. I’ll just let that one hang there a minute.

      I did not know Smurfs were just three apples high. You see why I write these things? Learn something new, EVERY DAY. 🙂

      • Johnny Quest was on Sundays, I think, after church, so I think we did watch that. I think it was kind of boring, though. I don’t remember it much.

        I had to go check out what was my fault. If it’s bringing you new readers, I take FULL responsibility. 🙂

        My brother did crap like that ALL THE TIME. Once, I accidentally scratched him. (While chasing him to beat the crap out of him, but still, the SCRATCH was an accident.) My mom assigned me all kinds of housework until it healed. He kept OPENING UP THE WOUND so my punishment would last longer, and then laughing at me about it, but then “Aw, mom, IT HURTS IT’S STILL BLEEDING!” to my mother. He was a diabolical mastermind.

        • ProfMomEsq says:

          It’s the curse of the birth order. It’s a heavy load to bear, being the oldest. But, every time someone asks my sister and me now, “Which one of you is older?”, I exact a little revenge.

  3. teemcp says:

    As a kid, I felt cartons were ‘my shows’, and shows with real people were for grown ups. That was my line in the sand. Growing up on the outskirts of Nowhere with 1.5 TV channels, they were rare and magical. I understood them as way to make imagination come true. If it could be drawn, it could exist- that simple. Rocky and Bullwinkle (avec Sherman, naturally) were a fave.

    • ProfMomEsq says:

      Damn. Rocky and Bullwinkle absolutely should’ve made my list. That was a fabulous cartoon. Did you know that Jay Ward also created Cap’n Crunch? (Not the cereal, the actual character.) For a long time, before the leprechaun, Boris & Natasha were the official “spokespeople” for Lucky Charms.

      Look at me, full of random cartoon knowledge today. 😉

  4. Heather says:

    Were you eavesdropping on our dinner conversation a few nights ago? Eric and I were JUST talking about our favorite cartoons. The only one I would add to your list to complete my own is Rocky & Bullwinkle. LOVED IT. Also, it always pissed me off that Wile E. Coyote kept buying things from ACME even though the stuff kept blowing up in his face. He was the DUMBEST COYOTE EVER…not slick at all.

    I also loved Thundercats and G.I. Joe (I have no idea why I liked G.I. Joe so much. Weird.) “And knowing is half the battle.”

    • Heather says:

      Oh! And Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Michelangelo was my favorite…dude.

      • ProfMomEsq says:

        Ugh. I know. I absolutely should have included Rocky & Bullwinkle. I can’t believe I forgot them. In my defense, so did my husband. Apparently, I need to improve my surveillance equipment. 🙂

      • ProfMomEsq says:

        I watched that one, too. But, that show always reminded me of the book The Secret of Nimh, which was a way better book than TMNT was a cartoon. (Also, I had to go see the movie with Nate when he was younger – and it was HORRIBLE). (Now, i have to add The Secret of Nimh to my Goodreads “read” shelf. Trying to recall all the books I’ve read is killing me. And, freaking me out? Because I seem to remember better the ones I read 30 years ago than the ones I read 2 years ago …)

        • Heather says:

          The Secret of Nimh! I loved that book! Now I need to re-read it. I don’t think Ashley has read it yet, so I’ll buy it for her and read it first. Hahaha!

          • ProfMomEsq says:

            Has she read “A Wrinkle in Time”? That was my absolute favorite book growing up. I read the whole series (“A Wind in the Door” and “A Swiftly Tilting Planet”) and those were good, too. But, “A Wrinkle in Time” was the best. So, so good.

          • Heather says:

            Oh, yes. I purchased those for her about three years ago. That series and the C.S. Lewis series were my favorites when I was her age. I would have to say that A Wrinkle in Time was my favorite, too.

  5. sj says:

    Goooooooooooooooooood, I don’t even care about the old cartoons you mentioned, because we all loved and watched the same ish growing up.

    What I REALLY LOVE are the new cartoons on your list. All of these are on my favourites list (although you realize that all of them but Fosters came from the brain of the same person? Genndy Tartakovsky is my EFFING HERO.)

    For newer cartoons that I loved watching with the oldest, I’d add Teen Titans and Megas XLR.

    This chick totally digs giant robots.

    • ProfMomEsq says:

      Genndy Tartakovsky is a genius. I have no idea how so many unbelievable ideas could come from one guy’s brain. Amazing.

      I remember Teen Titans. Nate started watching that right before he really got into anime for a while. I got into the storyline of that one a little – it was almost soap opera-y (but in a good way). I loved the girl with the blue/purple cape — Raven (?). She was dark and snarky but a little vulnerable. Imagine that?

      I don’t remember Megas XLR at all; neither does Nate. Maybe they didn’t show it here? I’m going to have to find it on YouTube. Because, what’s NOT to dig about giant robots?

      • sj says:

        Ohohoh, SotD today was the Megas theme song. It was such an awesome show. Man, I miss Toonami.

        I hope you can find it to watch. It was hilarious.

        • ProfMomEsq says:

          Got it. Listened to it. Loved it. Sent you one via Spotify via Twitter. (God, I miss the mix tape days sometimes.)

          Nate and I are going to find and watch tomorrow. Supposed to rain here, so perfect way to spend a non-school day …

    • I am late to this party, but I have to tell this story. When my sons were 6 and 4 years old, I overheard them talking in the laundry room. Sam, the older was telling Tom about the theme song from Giant Robots “I love giant robots, you love giant robots…(and here he giggles) chicks dig giant robots…” Tom laughed, too, then said, “But wait, why would chicks dig giant robots? Unless they were evil chickens who wanted to take over the world?” Sam sighed in exasperation and said, “Not chickens! Chicks, like girls.” “OHHHHHH.” Tom said, then paused to mull this over. “Why do they call girls chicks? Is it because they are cute and fluffy?” And that is one of my favorite kid stories and the only story I have about that show. Loved watching cartoons with them, though.

  6. Kelly Naylor says:

    Oh wow. This brought back some memories. Yep, The Jetsons… Bugs Bunny… Roadrunner… Magilla Gorilla… Mr. Magoo… Space Ghost… Underdog… Tom and Jerry… Pink Panther… Scooby Doo. And then when The Offspring was a wee thing, there was Dexter’s Laboratory (this was probably our mutual favorite)… Rugrats… Rocko’s Modern Life… Freakazoid… Hey Arnold… Johnny Bravo… Daria… Spongebob Squarepants… Doug… The Angry Beavers (we probably laughed hardest at this one)… Real Monsters.

    I think Netflix and I are going to spend the rest of the weekend together.

    • ProfMomEsq says:

      Magilla Gorilla was good. That also made me remember Grape Ape. Mr. Magoo was originally on my list. But, when I was researching it, I realized that it was terribly culturally insensitive. I had no idea when I was young and watching it, so I thought better of putting on the list lest someone yell at me. Because I don’t like yell-y people in my comments. Unless they’re yelling at someone who yelled at me first. Then, by all means, yell yourself hoarse.

      Space Ghost was great. Not great enough to beat out any on my list of favorites, but good nonetheless. I totally facepalmed Tom and Jerry, though. Just like Rocky & Bullwinkle, it definitely should’ve made it. I’m pretty sure that one was my sister’s favorite.

      Daria was HYSTERICAL, but I didn’t let Nate watch it. Wasn’t she on Adult Swim? Or was she on MTV? I can’t remember, but she was a super snarky gal. Just my type.

      I forgot all about Hey, Arnold! That show was cute. I always had mixed feelings about Johnny Bravo. But, The Angry Beavers were really funny. This also reminded my of My Gym Partner’s a Monkey. There were quite a few episodes of that that made me laugh out loud.

      Thanks for adding to the collection. Happy Netflix watching!!

  7. Justice League?

    Loved Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and The Angry Beavers was one of favorites, although the boys lost interest pretty quickly.

    • ProfMomEsq says:

      So, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Justice League. (I have a nephew who is rolling his eyes at me right now.) I’d watch it if it was on, but it definitely would not make a top 10 list for me. I did, however, love “Wonder Woman.” Not the cartoon, but the actual show with Lynda Carter. My brother made me a Wonder Woman Halloween costume one year that was so unbelievably good, I won a costume contest with it. I even had a golden Lasso of Truth!

      • I am green AND just a little dizzy with jealousy right now. I loved the Wonder Woman show, too. I loved Justice League until the Wonder Twins appeared, and that was kind of the end. Like when Don Knotts started appearing on Scooby Doo. Do you remember Isis? That was awesome. It has always bothered me that women are so severely underrepresented in the superhero sphere.

        OMG, I just remembered “The Tick” with the voice of Patrick Warburton. With his sidekick Arthur and supporting characters American Maid and Die Fledermaus. So freaking funny and weird.

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