I grew up in the 1980’s. Arguably the most bizarre era for just about anything…fashion, politics, socio-economic sensibilities, and a plethora of other things I’m certain, the 1980’s was a hotbed of ooey gooey cheese. Nothing exemplifies the sentiment more than Popular Culture. In the commercial era of the ’80’s just about everything was being sold to old people and kids alike, and there was no depth to which companies wouldn’t sink to wrestle you from your money. A popular trend was taking existing film or television properties and trying to capitalize on them by branding them — turning them into toys, cartoons for kids, and other inanities (as you will see in the following list). It got far more ridiculous as the decade had progressed…or regressed, depending on your point of view. The biggest of offenders for missing the mark entirely, goes to animated cartoons. Because cartoons were so closely tied with toy sales in the opulent me me me decade, the top brass thought it best to adapt some decidedly questionable existing properties into kid’s cartoons. Here, I present to you:
14 HORRIBLE CARTOONS BASED ON TV AND FILM PROPERTIES
ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES
Did the chumps who greenlit this one actually eat one of these tomatoes? I get that it’s quirky, and a fun way to introduce horror themes into kids content, but c’mon man — really?!?
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Furthering the adventures of Doc Brown and Marty McFly in an animated program probably isn’t such a bad idea. Too bad the actual execution was like having 1.21 Gigawatts coursing through your brain. Fail.
BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURES
No. No. Noooo. NO! NOOO! NOOOOOOO! Two movies were enough torture. No need to start the kids off on the wrong foot on Saturday mornings by exposing them to this. Wyld Stallions do not rule.
CHUCK NORRIS AND HIS KARATE KOMMANDOS
Apparently Chuck Norris needed to make mortgage payments so he ok’ed the licensing for his likeness to be all over this and the accompanying toy line. Don’t worry Chuck, this cartoon got cancelled (unfortunately not from my mind), the toys sat covered in inches of dust and disregard in dollar bins for the better part of a decade, and you would go on to do Walker Texas Ranger — so don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll get to keep the house!
FONZ AND THE HAPPY DAYS GANG
Fonzie – A talking dog – A sprite like girl from the future with a time machine and narrated by Wolfman Jack. Yeeeeaaaaaah. No. Lay off the coke boys (and my wife says that I’m a space case when I smoke a joint). Jeepers, the Happy Gang that came up with this turd floater must have been perpetually high on paint thinner.
After 7 years of being marooned on a luscious exotic isle, the f*cking professor couldn’t fix a boat, or a suitable raft, with all of the materials provided to them by the island they were stranded on — but he can MAKE A FRICKIN’ ROCKET!! WHAAAAAAAT?!? And it takes them to Saturn??! What the…are you kidding…please pass whatever they were smoking over here.
HULK HOGAN’S ROCK N WRESTLING
Made during the rising popularity of wrestling brought on by the charismatic Hulk Hogan in the mid-1980’s, this cartoon was obviously made to capitalize on the incredible fandom with the younger audiences. Aside from having little or nothing to do with actual wrestling, and everyone drove ridiculous custom vehicles modelled after their in-ring personaes, there’s nothing really objectionable to having a kids cartoon made except for the blaringly obvious notion that it’s really really stupid.
MORK AND MINDY AND LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY
Uhm…who championed this idea? If ever there were two tv programs screaming to be made into a cartoon, I’m 200% sure it wasn’t Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy. Take Laverne’s stupid L monogrammed shirts and Nano nano shazbutt this one right back to Ork.
Hey you! Yeah I’m talking to you suckah! The guy who actually like this cartoon of Mr. T being the ipso-facto mentor to a bunch of mystery solving gymnasts and a mohawked dog. I pity YOU fool!! Where was Hannibal, Face, and Murdock to drug Mr. T before getting on the plane to sign the paper work to ok this idea? I hate it when a plan doesn’t come together, but I hate this cartoon even more.
POLICE ACADEMY THE ANIMATED SERIES
This one was kind of fun. It was completely unnecessary, but fun. It wasn’t very good, but it was fun. Actually by “fun” I mean garbage.
Ok, there’s nothing really wrong with making a cartoon version of Punky Brewster per se – as it is adapted from family programming – but the real issue is that both the cartoon, and the original TV show that it’s based on, suck the sourest lemons.
Murderous one-man army Vietnam veteran. Sounds like an ideal role model. The kids can’t watch the movies the cartoon is based on because they are rated R for excessive violence, but let’s toss in some morality plays into the stories and churn out this head shaker.
This is based on a movie where a cop gets his arms and legs blown off, gets a slug to the head, dozens of people riddled with bullets, a guy melts after getting toxic waste dumped on him, and a political figure is thrown out of a window to his death. Yup, perfect for a kids cartoon.
Sigh…the character, the comics, and the movie this is based from are all steeped in horror. But let’s lazily rip off a classic 60’s tune, give Swampy a sense of humour, and then try to spoon feed this rotting flora to the kids. Even they weren’t fooled by this bog monster.