I don’t have a lot of clear memories of my childhood. Too many boys. Too much bleach. Who the hell knows? What I do have is fond memories of the before and after school cartoons my generation was raised on.
Anyone who grew up in the 80s will tell you we had the best cartoons. We had Optimus Prime and Megatron fighting to the death in the original Transformers, the G.I. Joe team trying to save the world from the evil Cobra Commander and his terrorist organization C.O.B.R.A., and the glamour and glitter, fashion and fame of Jem and her band The Holograms. These were magical, marvelous times and I look back on them with great affection.
Speaking of which, if you were the parent of small boy in 1986 that would run around a corner, grab his earlobe and shriek “Showtime Synergy!” you should not be surprised he is a big homosexual today. Are you reading this, Mother?
An interesting phenomenon of the last few years is the practice of re-booting things. To re-boot, as defined by Urban Dictionary, is “...to start anew with fresh ideas in a way that is consistent with the principles of the original, but not unnecessarily constrained by what has taken place before”. It should come as no surprise then that most of my childhood cartoon favorites have been or are in the process of being remade.
I cry foul! For so many reasons.
Ever heard the statement, “best to leave well enough alone”? That’s how I feel about remaking things. Really, did we need a NEW Cobra Commander? I realize he was a bumbling asshole in the original version, but that was his charm. In the re-boot, he’s a sadistic killer void of any humor or personality. Do we need another version of Transformers? I realize that there have been a zillion different takes on this franchise since America’s first incarnation. Remember Transformers: Beast Wars? What the fuck was that? I’m not a fan of any of them. I’ll take my beloved Generation 1, please and thank you. And I keep hearing that Jem is going to be remade. I swear to God if I see one more internet rumor that she is going to be remodeled more in the style of Hannah Montana, I will make a scene! A really big, fucking scene!
More than just my stubborn refusal to accept change is the artist in me wishing other artists would come up with their own original stuff. Here’s a novel concept: how about we create new characters and new stories! Whenever I hear the words “re-imagine” or “re-boot” I go into a zombie like trance where I just want to eat somebody (I know where your mind just went, and shame on you!). You can gussy it up with all the trendy phrasing you want, but what you’re really saying is that you aren’t clever enough to shit an original idea.
I know! Instead of writing my column I’m going to devote my time to rewriting Gone With the Wind. I’ll keep enough of the source material to keep it familiar, but the rest has to go! Scarlett O’Hara is now an aging queen living in her tattered Beverly Hills mansion, Tara. Along comes celebrity blogger Rhett Butler who wants to write a story about her heyday as the belle of the ball. Insanity ensues and he ends up dying when she goes bats shit crazy, sets fire to Tara, and he slip and drowns in her pool. She goes on to inspire several books and one very troubled Broadway musical.
Um, Robby, I’m pretty sure you just ripped off Sunset Boulevard.
Whatever. Frankly, I don’t give a damn. I’m RE-IMAGINING! I’m just gonna whip it out reimagine all over the place! Better get a mop.
Okay, so maybe I’m being a little ridiculous about this, especially considering I’m talking about cartoons, or as my friend Aaron likes to call them “toy commercials”. But seriously, I feel like my favorite childhood memories are being tampered with. And it does not please me.
I have nothing against artistic progress. I don’t even have anything against anyone born after 1990 (the people I think these remakes are targeted at), but is nothing sacred anymore? Apparently not. And I think that’s a damn shame. The world can have their new fangled Transformers, their gritty and humorless G.I. Joe, and their shameless Miley-cloned Jem. I will stick with the old friends I grew up with. And thanks to DVD, I can, praise Starlight Music.
DISCLAIMER: None of this applies to the new My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic series on The Hub. Though it is also a re-boot of a beloved eighties cartoon, I’m a devoted fan and viewer. You might find this hypocritical, but guess what? This is my column and I can say what I want. Now if you'll excuse me, Pinkie Pie and I have cupcakes to eat!
Now that I've had my say, let's hear yours! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!