How many of you out there are He-Man and The Masters of The Universe fans? I bet a lot of you are. If you aren’t, maybe our society projected genders interested you in She-Ra: Princess of Power. She was kind of a stage stealer wasn’t she? Just a solo act name that didn’t give her band any credit. Anyway, that isn’t what I wanted to talk about. Castle Grayskull is the topic at hand.
It’s weird, right? The appearance of Castle Grayskull is totally badass, but not befitting of a place where good guys hang out. A huge skull chiseled from stone with an entire castle around it. Seems like a place where an evil wizard that would really love to be supreme ruler of the world would live. In Dungeons & Dragons terms the facade would seem to be lawful evil. Grayskull doesn’t sound like a place any lawful good character would inhabit except to kick said evil wizard’s ass and loot the place blind.
So why do the heroes operate out of there? According to the wikipedia, the appearance was to keep the castle protected over the hundreds of years it took for He-Man to show up. A little something to scare people away. Some spell that the sorceress and her retconned BFF’s put together way back in the day. He-Man showed up and the castle kept its eerie appearance.
It didn’t really seem to do its job though. From what I remember, everyone was trying to get into it or stopping by to hang out. All of Eternia seemed to know about Castle Grayskull, hell everyone knew the name!
Oh sure, the denizens of eternia didn’t come around, but they didn’t seem to venture out in the countryside much or exist at all. Much in the same manner that Skeletors henchmen were one of a kind, the only member of their race. Except for the snake men. Who were seriously a handful of snake people living in a cave under Snake Mountain. There were seven males and no females. Which could be why their numbers had dwindled. Speaking of which, how are Eternia’s numbers doing? I can think of four women that live there. Something is seriously awry in the world of Eternia. Maybe it is a by-product of the magic of Grayskull.
Regardless, Grayskull looked like a badass castle the entire time. It housed the powers that would turn Prince Adam and Cringer into He-Man and Battle Cat. If fear of its discovery was so high, why not hide it completely? Turn it into a rock, put it on another plane of existence.
I think it speaks volumes about the astuteness of Eternians that they couldn’t figure out that He-Man was their prince in a furry loincloth. At least Superman had the gumption to take off his glasses and futz with his hair. Why go through all the trouble of casting a spell? Seems like the Castle Grayskull custodial staff could have just put up an out of order sign and called it a day.
There is no easy way to put it, not without the use of harsh language. The Go-Bots were terrible and arguably the lamest toy line from the 80’s. After my post about Jem, I started thinking about all the cartoons and toys from my childhood. Then I remembered the Go-Bots! They had a cartoon called Challenge of the Go-Bots, where they issued the challenge to the viewer to not change the channel. Each week, a team of remedial Autobots would do battle against of a team of half-assed Decepticon rejects. Go-Bots truly were the poor kids Transformers.
They were made with concept that children were dumb, really, really, dumb. In hindsight, the amount of condescension is truly astounding. Apparently the designers thought children just lie in heaps, breathing through their mouths and sucking food off of the ground like some bottom feeding sea slug. Every now and then kids would yell “Scooter!” at a soul shuddering decibel. Causing parents to drop dishes and go into cardiac arrest. There just simply was no way children could handle the complex transformations of the Transformers. Go-Bots were made to fill that gap. They were quick, easy, and good to go!
Perhaps the designer was insipid and could not handle more than a few steps in the transformation process. What if this guy had gotten a job at Ikea in later years. Sure you could probably put your furniture together in under five minutes, but it wouldn’t look good or be comfortable. Couches would literally be a bean bag chair and a sheet of plywood!
In any case, Go-Bots looked like vehicles when in both vehicle mode and robot mode. However, in the cartoon their faces were always present, even when in vehicle mode. Head turns caused rigid parts of their bodies to go off model. For instance when in bike mode, Larry the Motorcycle’s neck turns and bends in such a way that the viewer knew it wasn’t metal. Which really broke the illusion. Especially for any child sentient enough to know to not shut their hand in a car door or that Transformers were far superior.
The toys themselves were somewhere between transformer plastic and hot wheel metal. This makes sense as they were made by Tonka, who had a history of making toy vehicles. Each and every character stood ramrod straight with nearly no points of articulation. Rarely did they have moving wrists, elbows, knees, or waists. Those fleeting instances of articulation were only for folding the robot back into vehicle mode. Most of them didn’t have feet either, they just stood on their bumpers or tail wings.
Leader One and Cop-tur(d) might have been the only two semi passable characters. Cy-kill chewed the scenery like a heffer with a tapeworm. While Scooter was the equivalent of Jar-Jar before any of us knew who the hell Jar-Jar even was. Everyone else ate cyber-dee to the point that it is now extinct. Almost all of them had a name that sounded like it could have been a turn of the century post grunge nu-metal band: Loco, Dumper, Grungy, Pumper, just to name a few.
I didn’t always have such vitriol for the Go-Bots, I received Scooter for my birthday. I lived out in the boonies and had never seen the cartoon. He was red and snazzy and I let him hang out with my Transformer. Which was exceptionally rare as I was toy gourmet and never allowed any such crossovers. Within a few days his chest piece became unaligned, but with a little work and constantly adjusting the metal hinge I got by. Then he took a turn for the worse and couldn’t hold his head up anymore. It would flip up for a second, but then it would flop back down.
We went to my grandmother’s house, which is where I got to see all the good cartoons. That was when I had my first real battle with actualization. In my head, Scooter was cool. What I saw on screen though was something much different. He sucked! His voice was high pitched and he was mostly useless. I had a real difficult time coming to grips with that. If I ever truly did.
After twenty five years I still think Scooter sucks. I am okay with that, we all can’t be zingers. Go-Bots in their entirety sucked. When your coolest characters would be the lamest characters in another show there is a problem. I know that Hasbro owns the rights to Go-Bots. I know of a couple of comics where a few Go-Bots show up and are made fun or die or something. I think now in an era where irony sells. Where Hasselhoff and Sharknado are actual money making juggernauts. Now more than ever, there needs to be a reboot of the Go-Bots. Something satirical that encapsulates their suckiness in all its glory. If you can’t beat’em admit that you suck and embrace it. Hasbro, make it happen!