When I was a kid, I loved cartoons. I watched Superfriends and He-Man every afternoon, I just loved G.I.Joe , and you better believe I was up and parked in front of that TV every Saturday  morning. I still smile when I hear the Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends Theme!I even liked the sillier shows, anyone remember Shirt Tales?

 

But as much as I loved cartoons, I have to admit that there were some things which were just lame. I mean what were the creators thinking? So here are my five dumbest cartoon ideas. Now since I didn’t watch cartoons much in the 90’s this list will be focused on the 80’s, although I could have talked about the awful prime time cartoons that came out in that period, Maybe another time I will discuss Capital Critters and Fish Police. As always this is just opinion.
#5. The Great Gazoo in The Flintstones

 

Talk about jumping the shark! What the heck was up with this? I mean there are bad ideas and then….there’s this! For those who don’t know when the Flintstones was in its sixth season, creators decided to shake things up. How do you shake up a series set in prehistoric times? You bring in a little green alien. Of course! Not only is Gazoo basically insulting to Fred and Barney, but he causes all sorts of trouble for them since, of course, only Fred and Barney are aware of him! Gazoo is sort of the Cousin Oliver for the Flintstones, coming in at the end of the series when creators were desperate.

#4.New Adventures of He-Man

 

To be honest, this is totally my opinion. But as you all know I loved the classic Masters of the Universe cartoon. Then this thing comes along and craps all over it! First, they took He-Man out of Eternia and put him in the future. Second, they changed the looks of He-Man and Skeletor, radically. And finally, it just didn’t feel like He-Man! I have no problem witha new series trying to create a different spin, but this was way too different.It was as if they had a new show and decided that if they throw He-Man’s name on it maybe they can trick people into watching. I didn’t. To be fair, looking back the show wasn’t quite as bad asI remembered, but at the time it just felt like a slap in the face to a series I just adored.
#3.Rubik, The Amazing Cube

 

Now it’s a stretch to come up with new ideas, and sometimes creators have to get real creative. Pac-Man became a cartoon, and to be honest it wasn’t that horrible since there was a premise to make stories out of (the four ghosts, power pellets, etc). Q-Bert became a cartoon, and I kind of liked that to. Laser Tag Academy sucked but it was based on a decent idea. Pro Stars had a great idea using the most popular athletes of the time but they made it stupid. Mr.T and the T Force was corny, but it worked. But you can’t just take anything that’s popular and expect it to work, as evidenced by this little show. Rubik The Amazing Cube was doomed from the start. Check any list of horrible cartoons and this show will be on it. The show was just lame, the main focus was on a group of kids and Rubik was their deux ex machina so to speak. He could talk and do all kinds of strange things,but there was no real character there to care about. Besides that, he was annoying the way he was performed! His weakness was being scrambled, and one of the kids always had to solve the puzzle to make Rubik come to life. Awful. Seriously check it out!
#2. All Muppet Babies clones and unnecessary and annoying sidekicks!

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Muppet Babies. It was different and well made. But what was up with the knock offs? I mean, really? Flintstone Kids which made no sense in context with the original series, Baby Looney Tunes, Pup Named Scooby Doo which was just like the original show except they are kids now, Yo-Yogi, Pink Panther & Pals, Tom & Jerry Kids which sounds exactly like it sounds, and even Baby Felix which I don’t even want to think about. What made Muppet Babies work was the morals attached to the show. Every episode had a lesson to teach. The knock offs were just lame, having the casts wander around getting into strange situations week after week. Heck in Flinstones Kids part of the show is watching them watch TV! An even worst thing is all the these annoying sidekicks in cartoons. I already mentioned Gazoo, but why did The Superfriends need Wendy and Marvin hanging around? Why did Scooby need Scrappy? Why did The Ghostbusters really need Slimer? Why did Orko have to be in every episode of He-Man? Even Captain Caveman had a kid sidekick, Cavey Jr. why?? I mean they’re already cartoons, we need special characters to make sure kids are going to watch? Maybe one reason I love Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends is that it was just the heroes fighting villains,  no space monkeys getting in the way! This gets evem worst in the final category, but first I have to do something……CAPTAIN….CAAVVEEEMAAN!! I love that.
#1.Cartoons based on sitcoms

 

I blame Star Trek for starting this, even though Star Trek wasn’t a sitcom and the carton was a well-made spin off from the series. So let’s do more! Oh man, I am glad I missed some of this stuff in the 70’s and 80’s.The premise for these were way out there and even worst was every series had to have an annoying sidekick! The Brady Kids was awful and had a magic bird and singing/talking dog. Fonzie and the Happy Days Gang? This show had the cast of happy day’s time travelling! And did I mention Fonz’s talking dog named Cool? How about Laverne and Shirley in the Army? Granted the premise is at least sort of plausible-until their supevier turns out to be an anthopomorphic pig!! Mork & Mindy was like the actual show except he was a teen and had an Orkan pet, a pink six-legged dog-like creature named Doing (who talked, of course). Gilligan’s Planet was, exactly what it sounds like. They were on an alien planet rather than the island. And there was The Partridge Family 2200 A. D. which was a Jetsons rip off I am not even going to discuss. But all of these were just so silly! Later in the 80’s we also had  Alf  which at least had a reasonable premise behind it as a prequel to the series and Alf Tales which was lame since it put Alf into famous fairy tales. How does that work? It’s Punky Brewster which wasn’t to far removed from the original show except Punky had…big surprise!… a magical and annoying leprechaun gopher called Glomer! You can do this with a fresh concept but you can’t take characters like that and put them in these bizarre situations. All watching The Brady Kids did was make me want to watch The Brady Bunch. And I used to try to figure out how Glomer could ever fit into the original Punky Brewster series. Finally in the 90’s we had the animated version of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch which was ok as long as you forgot everything you know about the actual show! These ideas rarely work they are just cash grabs, a chance to cash in on a series current popularity. I admit it’s cool that they got the stars to be voice actors but what worked in a sitcom isn’t going to translate into a cartoon series. Of course there are non-sitcom examples to. How about cartoon versions of The Dukes of Hazard or WWF Wrestling in a show which took the wrestlers, good and bad, and put them in “real world” situations.  It was like a WWF Elsewords story! It’s pretty bad when you make the Harlem Globetrotters show look like it makes sense by compaison!
I know, I am being way too hard on what are in essence silly cartoon shows for kids. But it’s hard not to look back as an adult and wonder,what the heck was up with that? But to be honest, while I have been giving that era a lot of crap the truth is there isn’t a day that goes by I wouldn’t loveto get those cartoons back. They were silly but they could also be a lot of fun. Ah, good times indeed.

 

Got another Saturday morning cartoon related article coming next week, something very special indeed!

By richb

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