Remember the 80’s? Yeah, I know I’m dating myself by saying that but the 80’s was actually a great time to be a kid. Not a geek. A kid. One of those reasons was the numerous cartoons that were showing during this time. He-Man. GI Joe. Transformers. MASK. Thundercats. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That’s just from the top of my head since there’s a whole lot more.
But do you know what the most common complaint parents had about these animated shows? They were just 30 minute toy commercials.
Yes, they were. And I want them back!
They may have been ways for companies like Hasbro to sell action figures (they are not dolls!) but, for the most part, they had awesome storylines. The first GI Joe cartoon I watched was a 3-episode story arc with the Joes and Cobra going around the world in search for three elements to power the MASS device, a machine that can teleport anything around the world.
Sure, the story wasn’t going to win any awards but it was incredibly fun to watch. The action scenes were great (even if no one actually gets shot despite all of the heavy shooting) and, since you had to watch all three episodes, it added some feeling that it wasn’t just an ordinary show. In fact, if you do manage to watch it again, barring nostalgia, it’s still holds up.
We grew up learning nobility and leadership from Optimus Prime, courage from Lion-O and other positive traits. I think people who really loved these cartoons grew up to be great, upstanding people. I guess the main thing parents were concerned about was the amount of violence these shows had and very little educational value with them… even though we did have the Joes actually teaching kids things about stuff. Like looking both ways before crossing the street and even eating healthy.
Yes, they were shoehorned in to appease parents. But I still know up to now that “knowing is half the battle.”
These 30 minute toy commercials may have been a way to get kids to pester their parents to buy toys but they had characters that we remember since they all had a different personality. I can remember Sunstreaker being a bit narcissistic, Snarf being annoying and Michelangelo being a goofball and we all loved them since they were so unique from each other.
I’m not knocking the new cartoons. There are a few fun ones like Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time and Disney’s Phineas and Ferb since they do encompass a lot of what made the 30 minute commercials fun to watch: great personality with creative storylines. But I just wonder if the kids of today will view them with the same way we geeks view the cartoons of yesteryear.
Yes, they were 30 minute commercials to trick kids to buy toys. No matter the motive, these cartoons entertained us and gave us such wonderful memories. And that’s what mattered to me the most.
Do you have any “30 minute commercials” that you remember fondly? Please leave them in the comments section below!