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Just watched ARAH for ths first time...


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I've never seen the original 'A Real American Hero' miniseries, and what with the DVD packs and all, it seemed like a good time. I have to be honest here, I kinda wish I hadn't. A few things that bothered me:

 

Duke's Ring: So Duke gets 'kidnapped' in the first episode. All the Joes moan about how they'll never find him. Duke gives his ring to the slave girl who helps him escape, but then loses his memory of where the Cobra base is. Three episodes later, they use a memory scanner to find out he gave the ring to her, which has a homing device that allows them to find the Cobra base.

 

What's the problem here? Simple. All the Joes know about the homing device in that last episode.... so why didn't any of them think about it while they were sitting around moaning about never finding Duke? If it had been mentioned, but they couldn't spare the manpower for a rescue, that'd be one thing, but it appears as though every last one of them forgot that their commander wears a homing device for just such an emergency, and that not a single one of them noticed when he came back and it was missing (good job with that debriefing).

 

The Blind Man: Talk about your Deus ex Machina. Snake Eyes finds himself stranded out in the Arctic AND poisoned by radiation. Quite the double whammy, how will he ever survive? Oh wait, there conveniently happens to be a blind hermit hanging around the area, and he just happens to know of an herbal remedy for curing exposure to lethal amounts of radiation. Oh, and even though Snake Eyes drops the cannister with the all-important crystals in it, the hermit just happens to go and anti-dramatically find them while SE is recuperating. With no military support whatsoever, the mute masked ninja then manages to get back to Joe HQ (with wolf in tow, no less) in a matter of hours. I'm sure he just hitchhiked with a friendly supersonic jet pilot or something, right?

 

I adore the Sunbow series. There are very few episodes that I just don't like. I accept that there are things in it that are silly, complete sci-fi, or just don't make sense at all. There is a certain amount of suspension of disbelief required to enjoy GI Joe in the first place, I think... but to me, these things went over that and into the realm of bad storytelling. These things bothered me so much that I actually found them affecting my enjoyment of the rest of the mini.

 

Maybe I'm just being too harsh here. After all, I didn't have a problem with the nine-foot tall gladiator slave or the Joes conveniently having a memory scanner they never use again (although offhand, I can think of several episodes it would have come in handy). It's rare that a pilot episode (of any show) is actually as good as the rest of the series, and a five-parter in what is normally a single-episode format is a bit daunting. It wasn't all bad by any means, it's just that the parts that bothered me tainted my enjoyment of the whole.

 

So that brings up the question of what everyone else thinks of the original mini. Does it hold up against the rest of the series? Do you feel it's worse, as good, or better? Are there other episodes that bother you in the way these bothered me? Am I just thinking about this stuff way too much?

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i understand what you are talking about.

when watching these cartoons again after all those years it seems to be wtf this sooo stupid sometimes.

but this was intendent for children and when i was a child after school this was the coolest cartoon equal to transformers.

i was in heaven for 1 hour. the cartoons seem simple now but it takes me back to my childhood to remember how it made me feel.

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Well, yes there are inconsistencies in the stories told in the cartoons. However, keep in mind they were developed for children watching saturday morning cartoons. None of them really took the time to analyze plot points and development.

 

Personally, I grew up in the 90s after the cartoon was off the air, but I inherited the toys from my older brother so grew up with Joe and Transformers. So when the DVDs of G.I.Joe and Transformers came out a few years ago, I picked them up to see what I'd missed. This could be a matter of perspective, but the Transformers cartoons had much tighter and more watchable plots with fewer (although still prevalent) plot holes. Despite my enjoyment of many of the Joe cartoons, these minor errors made them harder for me to watch with the same sense of enjoyment. (I'm a nit-picky person)

 

Its all for fun. WHile you have good points to make about what and why things don't make sense, and have a right to be bothered by them, we both have to remember the reason these cartoons existed in the first place: to entertain children and sell toys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@can@

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Well, they are children's cartoons, so a suspension of disbelief is much needed!

 

As crazy as some of the stuff was, I'm impressed by a lot of the smart stuff that's thrown in the mix, at least when compared to some of today's cartoons. Stuff like references to Vietnam, DNA, ancient history, world geography. I mean, it's no Bill Nye the Science Guy or anything but still.

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Well, they are children's cartoons, so a suspension of disbelief is much needed!

 

As crazy as some of the stuff was, I'm impressed by a lot of the smart stuff that's thrown in the mix, at least when compared to some of today's cartoons. Stuff like references to Vietnam, DNA, ancient history, world geography. I mean, it's no Bill Nye the Science Guy or anything but still.

 

Don't forget the vocabulary. Destro and Cobra Commander both used a lot of five-dollar words throughout the entire series.

 

But yes, a lot of it was silly. REALLY silly by adult standards. Overall, however, the show was one of the best-quality toons on the market at the time, and re-watching the DVDs a couple weeks ago, I actually thought it's aged a lot better than some of the product from the same time period. Yeah, it's still totally dated, but I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. At the very least it wasn't "painful" to watch the way some "old favorites" are now. I mean geesh...seen any episodes of Voltron lately? ;)

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I don't think I'm alone when I say I remember watching GI Joe as a kid and catching that sort of stuff, Duke's ring in particular. Maybe I didn't catch everything the first time, but I was sure to find more things the second time around. I hate it when cartoons get dummed down for a younger/stupider/less attentive audience. Not that this is necessarily the case, as alot of GI Joe was pretty smart until season 3... but this just brought up a sore spot that I have with cartoons today. Anyways, I think it was just a writing oversight somewhat common in overrushed production.

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Here are some things I always wondered about. Mostly because I was young and just did not understand things.

 

I always wondered why that gladiator guy kept being super big at times and other times he was pretty normal sized.

 

Why did Snake Eyes canister leak gas when it did? It was opened for awhile after the crystals were taken out. Why did the gas not leak out right when it was opened?

 

When I was little and that scientist guy said Cobra picked his brain I thought they literally opened his head and picked at his brain and that was why he seemed so weak and needed help standing. I never understood how Cobra got information by doing that to him.

 

How come the Joes in the mine could not hear those loud SNAKEs turning around? I could hear the rocky rumbling sound when they moved and the Joes were right there next to them.

 

Why was Clutch always eating fruit?

 

What was with the blind giys eyes? Did he put that black stuff on to protect his eyes from the blinding light reflecting off of the snow and since he was blind he put it on weird. He was blind so why would he need to do that anyway. Or was all that black around his eyes supposed to show us that he was blind. Blind people don't have giant black circles around their eyes.

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Hmm... I guess it's mostly a case of me thinking too much, since most of the responses are things like 'it's meant for kids'. Funny how that logic doesn't apply on the multiple occasions that this board is full of whining about the toys.

 

Again, I'm well aware of the target audience. I'm well aware that some of the stuff is purposely silly and/or unrealistic.

 

I'm also well aware that there is a difference between children's storytelling and bad/cliched storytelling. Nearly all of the people who wrote these shows are writers by trade and also know the difference. "It's for kids" is not an excuse for a writer to slack off in the quality of their work- that's not just me being a hardcase; most writers of this or any cartoon would agree with me on that. That's why seeing these things, which can only use bad writing as their excuse, is so much more disturbing to me than simply seeing something unrealistic like giant invulnerable tube worms.

 

On a somewhat related note, is anyone else just a little disturbed by how many Joes the team just seems to 'pick up' while on an adventure? Shipwreck and Quick Kick are my prime examples here. "Thanks for helping us out, guy we know next-to-nothing about. Say, have you ever thought about being a member of an elite special missions force?" I mean, this isn't a fantasy adventuring party, it's a military unit. You don't just pick up a guy in a bar (who already goes by their own code name/alias just like everyone that we all know, right?) and invite him to join the team. That's not really a 'bad writing' thing, just something that keeps striking me as odd.

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I adore the Sunbow series. There are very few episodes that I just don't like. I accept that there are things in it that are silly, complete sci-fi, or just don't make sense at all. There is a certain amount of suspension of disbelief required to enjoy GI Joe in the first place, I think... but to me, these things went over that and into the realm of bad storytelling. These things bothered me so much that I actually found them affecting my enjoyment of the rest of the mini.

 

There's some things to keep in mind:

 

Action-Adventure cartoons are notoriously hard to write and produce, that's why most TV cartoons tend to be aimed at very young kids, or are comedies with pre-set silly situations.

There's only 22 minutes in a script, in which the premise for the story has to be set up, characters involved, drama build, a climax reached and a resolution shown.

That and certain dramatic beats MUST be set up a certain intervals because there are commercial breaks within the body of the show--and thus the parts of the story between those breaks becomes defined "acts" in the story.

 

I've worked on enough action-adventure series to know that sometimes they address things in the most direct manner even if they do not make logical sense. Since I work in story, I have seen, caught.....and often had to address story flaws like the ones above.

The reason why some of those mistakes often appear is they may have been addressed and solved in the storyboard, but the show was running over-time ( the slugging ( or timing) reads longer than 22 minutes) and so.......something has to be cut.

 

A good example: I've had characters chased to the roof of a tall building, and then have to use a rope to swing down in a dramatic fashion.

Yes, a rope will conveniently be found on said roof, but often nothing to tie it to. So the character will spy the rope and the scene will cut to over the side of the building and the character is swinging away from the bad guys.

What's the rope tied to?

Points like that often need to be explained or shown ( because of the very reasons y'all posted above---it does not make sense without a shown reasons), but if there is no time to show a character tying the rope to.......something...it'll get excised.

Again, for reasons of dramatic timing, musical beats, slugging etc.

 

And the other thing is that the talent working on these shows wasn't always "into it". Remember that TV cartoons were only about 20-something years old by that point, and most of the shows prior were comedy cartoons and Action-Adventure was NOT a common genre ( about 1 in 20) to that point.

Add to the fact that it was not an easy show to make, it involved loads of characters--all with extensive pencil mileage and many technically involved props and locations.......it was not the kind of show that cartoonists would have been lining up to do ( mostly because it would not pay as much per the amount of work involved).

That means that slip-ups are more likely because people care just a smidge-less, and found the work just a bit harder.

Sure that's not flattering towards the animation industry, but I can attest its an accurate observation.

The other factor is that, it was near the beginning of the out-sourcing phenomena that saw most of the production ( re: animation itself) shipped to overseas, and the pre-production staying on domestic shores. Back then, there were often HUGE problems with language barriers and such, and the shows often had to be pared to the bone to make it KISS-simple for foreign crews.

( Trust me, there's some horror stories, but I'll save those for later....)

 

The long/short of it that mistakes were bound to happen, and plenty did. Its the nature of the cartoon beast.

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On a somewhat related note, is anyone else just a little disturbed by how many Joes the team just seems to 'pick up' while on an adventure? Shipwreck and Quick Kick are my prime examples here. "Thanks for helping us out, guy we know next-to-nothing about. Say, have you ever thought about being a member of an elite special missions force?" I mean, this isn't a fantasy adventuring party, it's a military unit. You don't just pick up a guy in a bar (who already goes by their own code name/alias just like everyone that we all know, right?) and invite him to join the team. That's not really a 'bad writing' thing, just something that keeps striking me as odd.

 

That always bugged me too.

 

What really bothered me was how Quick Kick could be in the artic with no shirt on and not die.

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Again, I'm well aware of the target audience. I'm well aware that some of the stuff is purposely silly and/or unrealistic.

 

I'm also well aware that there is a difference between children's storytelling and bad/cliched storytelling. Nearly all of the people who wrote these shows are writers by trade and also know the difference. "It's for kids" is not an excuse for a writer to slack off in the quality of their work- that's not just me being a hardcase; most writers of this or any cartoon would agree with me on that. That's why seeing these things, which can only use bad writing as their excuse, is so much more disturbing to me than simply seeing something unrealistic like giant invulnerable tube worms.

I think it is more in the realm of what will be important to the target audience or what they think is unbelievable. most 5 year olds aren't analyzing the cartoon, they are simply enjoying it, thus the writers can get away with more than they could than a show aimed at an older audience. that's why most adults don't watch cartoons made for 5 year olds -- they don't make sense. it isn't poor writing or laziness, you just work within the realm of your audience. if you choose to watch that cartoon as an adult, that reflects more upon your choice of entertainment and not the writer's storytelling ability.

 

and by you I mean the broad "you," as in all of us, not you specifically.

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I think a lot of you guys are missing the point. The show was created to be a 22 minute commercial that would make kids (us) beg our parents to buy us the characters and vehicles we had just seen on tv.

 

This was the 80's, the glory days when cartoons and action figures went together like at kids and cake. You didn't need a story that made any kind of sense, you just needed a cool looking concept, a hero that fought for freedom (someone representing western ideals), an oppresive villian who wanted to rule the world with an iron fist (a communist), and a contract with a factory in china. Thats not to say the same concept doesn't work today, its just harder to keep a kids attention now than it was 20 years ago.

 

Yeah, some had better writing than others, but the basic premise was always the same: watch this show, buy these products. GI Joe, He-Man, Thundercats (probably the worst offender, that show didn't even make sense to me when I was 6), Silverhawks, Starcom, MASK, even the venerable Transformers.

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Yeah, some had better writing than others, but the basic premise was always the same: watch this show, buy these products. GI Joe, He-Man, Thundercats (probably the worst offender, that show didn't even make sense to me when I was 6), Silverhawks, Starcom, MASK, even the venerable Transformers.

 

Oh dude... You did not just dis on the Thundercats! @grumpy@

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@loll@ I ALWAYS thought the cartoons were "stupid", but I was in my 20's already when they came out. Still, it was like an added sneaky, guilty desire to watch them just because i was collecting all the toys and it was interesting I guess, but i grew up on speed racer and old spider man cartoons in the middle of the afternoon, after school, so it wasn't like i didn't have an appropriate "mindset" for what I was about to watch. Seemed perfectly NORMAL to me, all the stupid dialogue and slice a swiss cheese plots.

 

What's sad, is that shows I use to love as a kid, that WEREN'T aimmed at children, but even adults, i can't hardly stomach thru an episode and I wonder WTF was I thinking? I would contemplate commiting suicide if i was forced to watch an entire episode of GILLIGANS ISLAND now, or LOST IN SPACE.

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What's MST3K?

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Mystery Science Theatre 3000

 

It was a show on comedy central where Joel and his robot pals, Tom-Servo and Crow, would watch old sci-fi movies and crack wise. Probably one of the best shows of the 90's. My dad and I watched it almost religiously.

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Like a lot of people here have mentioned, first and foremost you have to remember that these cartoons were nothing more than children's cartoons with the intent of being 20 minute commercials...basically they were there to sell toys.

 

That said, I have to agree that The MASS Device and Revenge of Cobra are pretty horrid...even by GI Joe cartoon standards. A lot of the early episodes are pretty hard for me to watch. However, if you pick up the Season 1, Part 2 or Season 2, Part 1 DVD sets, you can see where the story-telling and character development improves quite a bit.

 

If you want to see truly horrible cartoons, try watching the old Masters of the Universe cartoons. @lol@

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I think a lot of you guys are missing the point. The show was created to be a 22 minute commercial that would make kids (us) beg our parents to buy us the characters and vehicles we had just seen on tv.

 

This was the 80's, the glory days when cartoons and action figures went together like at kids and cake. You didn't need a story that made any kind of sense, you just needed a cool looking concept, a hero that fought for freedom (someone representing western ideals), an oppresive villian who wanted to rule the world with an iron fist (a communist), and a contract with a factory in china. Thats not to say the same concept doesn't work today, its just harder to keep a kids attention now than it was 20 years ago.

 

Yeah, some had better writing than others, but the basic premise was always the same: watch this show, buy these products. GI Joe, He-Man, Thundercats (probably the worst offender, that show didn't even make sense to me when I was 6), Silverhawks, Starcom, MASK, even the venerable Transformers.

 

Exactly...that's why there were always lines in the 80's cartoons like, "Hey Flint, it's me, Duke! Get to the HAVOC, and find Snake Eyes, so we can stop Destro and those Cobra Vipers from attacking the Tactical Battle Platform in those Stuns!"

 

Obviously, I'm exaggerating a bit, but you get my point. @wink@

 

It was almost like an obvious form of subliminal messaging. @lol@

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Doesn't bother me as much as most. The ring? That's an easy one to explain. You got all of this stuff going down and I'm sure it's easy to forget the guy in charge has said ring. The blind guy I can't as easily. SE however is. I'm sure there's a military base somewhere near where he was. All he has to make his way there,flash his G.I. Joe i.d. and get a ride back to G.I. Joe H.Q.

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