I’m prefacing this post by telling you that growing up I didn’t watch a single entire episode of Sesame Street, and while I can appreciate the need for a great cardigan or twenty, to this day I find Mr. Rogers undeniably creepy, and did I mention I sort of hate puppets as much as I hate clowns?
Lest you think I was deprived of good, old-fashioned illustrated fun, here’s a fairly comprehensive (see also: long, but entertaining!) list of the shows I did watch as a kid:
Does anyone else remember this show? PLEASE tell me you remember the little elven-like people who are little (yes!) and wear buttons on their overalls because…buttons are little too! (Umm…) I can’t for the life of me remember what the show was about per se; I think oftentimes it’s just them, The Littles, running from cats and trying not to end up on the underside of some human’s exceedingly large sneaker. And I’ll be honest in admitting that looking at that picture now is making me think that maybe The Littles were a little creepier than I remember them being. Apparently one of those guys up there is named “Dinky.” Yeah. I have no idea.
I do remember once trying to explain this show to someone who clearly had not seen it, without being able to remember they were called The Littles, and without visual aides, and blurting out, “You know, the show with the little people who wear buttons!”
Oh, how I loved Inspector Gadget. And Penny! And the way Chief Quimby would pop out of the most random places (like trashcans!) to deliver important crime-related messages to Inspector Gadget because (GET THIS) this was before email even existed! I know, right? How did we LIVE?
The better question is how would Chief Quimby’s typed or hand-written notes always self-destruct after Gadget read them? Flecks of dynamite in the ruled paper? Radioactive ink? Detective magic? (Oh hi, welcome to my brain!) It’s a mystery. But rest assured that moments after this scene depicted below, Gadget throws the crumpled note back in the trashcan and KABOOM! Chief Quimby is on fire! No, literally. Oh, but wait, now he just looks burnt. And a maybe little annoyed. Not on fire though, so, there’s that.
This show was like the original Mission: Impossible. But with gadgets! And villains with monikers like Sven Vinceton and Pierre LaChop! (Also: Rattlesnake Bart! This show was GENIUS, I tell you.)
It was also where I’m assuming Mike Myers concocted his much beloved Dr. Evil character (Is Dr. Evil much beloved? I seem to remember that movie being quoted quite a bit), as evidenced (to me) by the following visual representation of Dr. Claw, who is Gadget’s primary nemesis and works for an evil organization called M.A.D. (Not to be confused with M.A.D.D.)
My favorite gadget of Gadget’s? Probably Go-Go-Gadget ‘Copter, followed closely by Go-Go-Gadget Ears.
I had such fond memories of this show before Google searching, memories of oh so hip hair, and of hot pink star-laden makeup, and microphones, and the sheer power possessed by the fearless women of rock n’ roll, and then: “Wait. Why does Jem look like Barbie on ecstasy?”
“And wait, how old were these girls supposed to be?”
And then I stumbled on a picture of the Misfits, Jem’s arch nemeses in girl band form, and remembered without Wikipedia’s help that the girl on the left in the picture below (Stormer!) was my favorite character on the show because she’s the nice, super sensitive girl stuck with the mean girls, and I loved her white hair, and…
…she played the keytar. Awwh, yeah.
I mean, those names alone still kill me. I can’t think or read or say “She-Ra” without overly emphasizing the “Ra” like you would while round-house-kicking or judo-chopping someone, as in: “Hi-yah!” “She-Rah!”
Add the fact that they’re twin siblings from the planet Eternia, a planet whose primary power source originates from Castle Greyskull (“By the power of Greyskull,” anyone?) and you have the framework for an epic children’s cartoon with the girliest looking superhero ever.
“Tremble before my super chic bob!”
She-Ra(h!) also had fabulous hair.
Though her outfit? Downright ridiculous for fighting villains. Speaking of villains! He-Man and She-Ra definitely topped the creep charts with their bad guy.
Dear Skeletor: You still scare me. And why is your staff topped with a ram’s skull? Um. Never mind. Have a nice day, Skeletor!
This wasn’t a T.V. series, but it was one of my favorite animated movies as a kid, and if you have never seen this movie (and thus have no idea why I’m professing to be fond of anything chipmunk-related), I’m going to herein suggest you stop what you’re doing and head to YouTube, where I’ve selected a few clips to make my points about why this movie still makes me as happy as it did when I first watched it so many years ago.
Chipmunk Rationale, The First: The Girls of Rock N’ Roll
Did you watch the video? Did you laugh? I can’t stop laughing when I watch that video (Theodore exclaiming, “But my cous-cous!” at the beginning is probably my favorite part), and the rest of the movie is much the same: The girls having a sing-off with the boys in some exotic locale while they collect dolls they have no idea are filled with either diamonds or cash. (Kids, don’t try this at home! Wherein “this” mostly means “smuggling.”)
Aside: Could Brittany (the sassy one in pink) wear some more clothes and maybe shop shaking her booty like Beyonce? (Or, does Beyonce shake her booty like Brittany; aha!) Because hi, I think she’s supposed to be like 10. Also, hi, SHE’S A CHIPMUNK.
Chipmunk Rationale, The Second: Wooly Bully
“Worry Burry!” says Chief Man Boobs.
In conclusion, this movie has around-the-world action, chipmunk karaoke, and characters as hilarious as the idea that three pint-sized chipmunk “boys” or “girls” could operate hot air balloons by themselves.
My Little Ponies were toys first, a T.V. series second, and a movie third, and yes, I am herein stating for the record that I loved all three.
I mean, really, how can you go wrong with talking (and flying!) magical horses with names like Whizzer, Masquerade, Magic Star, and Cherries Jubilee?
My personal favorite pony? Lickety-split, of course.
And does anyone remember the biggest evil in Ponyland? I give you, the Smooze:
Think The Blob + Hexxus + purple = the ponies will stop the smooze with sparkles!
Did I mention I had a thing for horses as a girl? As in, I wanted to watch shows about them, and collect figurines of them, and learn to ride them, and give them awesome names, and braid their rainbow-colored manes, etcetera etcetera and on and on, until I finally had to learn to stop being so obsessive about equestrian-related everything.
Rainbow Brite’s horse (Starlite!) was not only way too big for Rainbow’s wee frame, but he was (metro-sexual, OK, fine, and) BEAUTIFUL, and had a STAR on his forehead (as all of you with eyes probably already noticed) and yeah, I JUST LIKED HORSES, OK?
I also liked the Color Kids (one for each color of the rainbow; are you seeing a theme here?), friends Rainbow rescued once upon a time and who are now in charge of all of the world’s colors.
Patty O’Green was definitely my favorite Color Kid, and not just because of my fondness for the (admittedly awful) Patio O’Furniture St. Patrick’s Day joke I somewhat recently shared via Twitter.
But wait, it gets better. The resident bad guy in Rainbow Land? MURKY DISMAL.
“My name’s Murky. Yes, that’s right: Murky Dismal. Anyway, I’m here to steal diamonds gold power your soul THE WORLD’S COLOR SPECTRUM.”
As much as I myself love to exclaim, I’m admittedly twitchy about that exclamation point in the title of the my favorite and longest-running cartoon featuring ghosts who aren’t really ghosts, even when they clearly must be ghosts. A question mark would appear to be the proper punctuation of choice for a question like, “Where are you?” but apparently the writers were just too excited to care.
Everyone knows Scooby-Doo, right? And the lovable albeit clueless and perpetually famished Shaggy? (Come to think of it, Shaggy and Scooby might also be a metaphor for legalizing marijuana.)
They were my favorite for many reasons, not the least of which being their ability to find ginormous sub sandwiches and various condiments in every single fridge in every haunted house they visited. I’m pretty sure one time they even found pancakes.
And of course my favorite character that’s not really a character at all, but is a big, green, hippie crime-fighting machine: The Mystery Machine!
Sweet ride, Fred.
“You mean this van is a tad effeminate and will probably ensure none of us have intimate relationships until we’re thirty?”
(No, not the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Who do you think I am?) (And I just realized: chipmunks again! Hmm…quite suspect, I will agree. But these chipmunks wear fedoras, bomber jackets, and Hawaiian shirts so…)
OK, fine. I can’t really explain why I loved this show, but there was a plane! And adventure! And an Australian mouse named Monterey Jack!
And again, they all look crazy in retrospect! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.
This list could never be complete without the Smurfs, or les Schtroumpfs in French (thanks! Wikipedia), the much beloved cartoon commune of blue creatures “three apples tall” who skip to and from their daily tasks while singing “tra la la la la la, tra la la laaaa.” Also, they are probably a metaphor for legalizing marijuana.
Again, the plot of the show? Pretty non-existent from what I can remember, but I do love Wikipedia’s (completely unbiased) reporting on Smurf language:
A characteristic of the Smurf language is the frequent use of the word “smurf” and its derivatives in a variety of meanings. The Smurfs replace enough nouns and verbs in everyday speech with “smurf” as to make their conversations barely understandable: “We’re going smurfing on the River Smurf today.”
These snorkel-propelled underwater sea creatures were pretty much just aquatic rip-offs of the aforementioned Smurfs, but with characters sporting names like Governor Wellington Wetworth and Dr. Gallio Seaworthy and a “supporting villain” (Oh, Wikipedia, I really do love you) named The Great Snork Nork, I’m discovering a renewed desire to remember what all the snorking was about.
OK, so now it’s your turn. What were your favorite cartoons as a kid? Someone PLEASE tell me they’ve heard of The Littles. PLEASE, for the sake of buttons.
Oh, and if you need me, I’ll be over here smurfing on the River Smurf.