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Old 2015-09-08, 05:37 PM   #1
Brendocon 2.0
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Smile Rewatched season 1 of the G1 cartoon

(Because I hate myself)

... and there's one thing I noticed that I don't think I'd ever really twigged before.

(I mean other than every episode having at least one key plot point that makes zero sense whatsoever.)

Aside from Optimus making a comment about him rolling as well as an Autobot, nobody ever mentions the fact that Chip's in a wheelchair. Not one single dialogue acknowledgement. And casting my mind back, I don't think that changes in season 2 (although I've got a nagging suspicion about Desertion of the Dinobots).

Seriously, unless I've missed something, in the first season there's absolutely nothing. No mention of the chair at all, let alone anything to indicate why he's in one. Apart from occasionally lying around waiting to be picked up, he's treated exactly the same as all the other human characters (apart from the thing where he's vaguely competent). It's neither important nor relevant, so they flat-out refuse to let it come anywhere near the bounds of what defines the character.

And that's ****ing superb. Especially for something made in the mid 80s by people who would later come up with the ****ing Primacron plotline.

So yeah, well done Sunbow.
 
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Old 2015-09-08, 05:48 PM   #2
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What's the one in season 2 where Megatron cons the humans into banishing the Autobots from Earth? Megatron's Master Plan? There might be reference to it there, only it's been so long since I've seen it that I couldn't tell you for sure.
 
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Old 2015-09-08, 07:12 PM   #3
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What's the one in season 2 where Megatron cons the humans into banishing the Autobots from Earth? Megatron's Master Plan? There might be reference to it there, only it's been so long since I've seen it that I couldn't tell you for sure.
The only thing that I can think of that comes even close to anything of that sort is Thrust laughing off his insult about him being a pile of "reject parts" or something in those lines.

I've been watching a lot of 80's cartoons lately and despite it's shortcomings, I still think Transformers is one of the better ones - although that might say more about the competition than it does about Transformers.
 
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Old 2015-09-08, 07:38 PM   #4
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Portraying disabled characters in a non patronising way is a good thing, but constantly putting one in situations where their disability would affect things but ignoring it is arguably just as bad (though in fairness I can't really remember anything Chip does after his first episode where he's rolling about the desert sticking things on Thundercracker(?), so this may have improved). It reminds me of that Ghostbusters cartoon where one of them was in a wheelchair and they did things like cheerfully going down sewers through drains that were clearly not wide enough for their wheelchair to get through.

Plus, even in the 80's the Autobots presumably had the technology to create that Circuit Breaker style exo-suit from Return of Optimus Prime to let the poor guy walk. Did they though? No, the bastards.

I watched More Than Meets the Eye over the weekend, I'd actually forgotten what a nice subversion the ending is, the normal Saturday Morning Cartoon thing to do would be for Prime to sort everything out when he blasts off with Sideswipe's jetpack. His total failure (and fantastic pissed off reaction, which is about the only place he sounds like Bay Prime in the whole thing) and it being Mirage of all people--complete with just enough of a presence earlier on so that it doesn't feel like he came out of nowhere as would have been the case if it had been, say, Windcharger--is actually pretty smart writing.

Which makes it feel as if it was written by someone else than the person who did the really painful scripting in the rest of it. "Look, a meteorite!" "Another one!" "They're going to collide!", what is this, audio description for the blind?
 
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Old 2015-09-08, 07:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Plus, even in the 80's the Autobots presumably had the technology to create that Circuit Breaker style exo-suit from Return of Optimus Prime to let the poor guy walk. Did they though? No, the bastards.
In Chip's first episode Prowl gets shot a bit so immediately surrenders full control of his body to whoever's got the nearest networked computer.

I wouldn't trust the 1980s cartoon Autobots to make me a sandwich, let alone an exo-suit.
 
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Old 2015-09-08, 07:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
Portraying disabled characters in a non patronising way is a good thing, but constantly putting one in situations where their disability would affect things but ignoring it is arguably just as bad (though in fairness I can't really remember anything Chip does after his first episode where he's rolling about the desert sticking things on Thundercracker(?), so this may have improved). It reminds me of that Ghostbusters cartoon where one of them was in a wheelchair and they did things like cheerfully going down sewers through drains that were clearly not wide enough for their wheelchair to get through.
There's an episode where they all go to Cyberton and the Decepticons conjure up some metal-destroying acid rain that affects the Autobots but not Chip's wheelchair, IIRC.

I think it would have nice if they'd have had an ethic minority regular character as well. Spike, Sparkplug, Daniel, Carly, Marissa Faireborn, Chip... The Transformers are colourful but their human friends are not! At least in the comics we had Walter Barnett and the chat show host woman in Wrestling/King Con.
 
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Old 2015-09-08, 08:00 PM   #7
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There's an episode where they all go to Cyberton and the Decepticons conjure up some metal-destroying acid rain that affects the Autobots but not Chip's wheelchair, IIRC.
Forget the chair, it doesn't affect Chip. He just sits there getting rained on while the Autobots roll about in agony.

He's not only a super genius but he's also indestructible. That's probably why he's in the chair in the first place, so he's not regarded as too perfect.

They should just make him leader.
 
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Old 2015-09-08, 08:05 PM   #8
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It must be something in the Portland water, within 30 seconds of first appearing Spike is thrown so hard by Rumble he should be in a wheelchair for life as well.
 
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Old 2015-09-08, 09:02 PM   #9
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There's an episode where they all go to Cyberton and the Decepticons conjure up some metal-destroying acid rain that affects the Autobots but not Chip's wheelchair, IIRC.

I think it would have nice if they'd have had an ethic minority regular character as well. Spike, Sparkplug, Daniel, Carly, Marissa Faireborn, Chip... The Transformers are colourful but their human friends are not! At least in the comics we had Walter Barnett and the chat show host woman in Wrestling/King Con.
Lets not forget a mob of angry Feminists!
 



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Old 2015-09-08, 09:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by inflatable dalek View Post
I watched More Than Meets the Eye over the weekend, I'd actually forgotten what a nice subversion the ending is, the normal Saturday Morning Cartoon thing to do would be for Prime to sort everything out when he blasts off with Sideswipe's jetpack. His total failure (and fantastic pissed off reaction, which is about the only place he sounds like Bay Prime in the whole thing)
That was great wasn't it? To see a leader fail and be a grumpy, annoying bastard about it, only for posh tart Mirage to do it right AND properly annoy Megatron. Proving it wasn't only the main character who was allowed to make the big changes. Its a bit like having Ram-man or Stratos save the day in a He-Man movie.

Maybe that's why I enjoyed Age of Extinction so much; because Prime seems so fed up and annoyed about everything; after spending three films trying to help everyone and being excellent in each one, especially when every other robot is either forgettable or a bit of a spaz.

Shooting TV's Frazier through the chest felt like the coming full-circle of movie Prime's career, and I totally love him for it. If only tech spec mottos could change according to experience: I'd have wanted his to read "It doesn't matter how much you help them, sometimes people are just dicks".

He's a bit like Steve Zissou by the end. I love jerk Prime... and jerk Prime was right there 30 years ago, only with a bit more John Wayne!
 
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Old 2015-09-08, 09:25 PM   #11
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I dunno, I think just about every incarnation of Prime (obviously excluding shit like Armergtron or the silly crap one that I've not bothered watching) has had a bit where he's just had en-****ing-ough. Crisis of Command in the comic where he comes up with some vague pretense to cover his desire to just go and beat the shit out of all the Decepticons, Prime Target in the cartoon where he can deal with the Decepticons bothering him every week but some idiot game hunter just tips him over the edge, TF:TM where you know if the camera had cut across a second earlier he'd be facepalming and going "Nice one Dinobots, that was exactly what I ****ing meant", ROTF where he just bursts through a factory wall and shoots absolutely everybody...

By comparison Emo PM Prime really hasn't aged well.

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Lets not forget a mob of angry Feminists!
Ahh, that famous ethnic minority of Feminists.
 
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Old 2015-09-08, 09:35 PM   #12
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That's certainly true. I didn't even think of those comparisons when I wrote the last post.

I just feel like AoE had the benefit of being so full of metal and wonderful, pulsing, crunching sound-effects together with Cullen's now old gravelly, rasping voice. It really nails what I've seen Prime display plenty of times in the comic... now with all that brilliant noise and anger. I guess I just don't get tired of it, because especially in the comics, like you say, it was joy when he'd had enough of agonising and let rip.

I like to think that, what with The Wreckers, Sentinel and other things appearing in the live action movies, some of the people responsible for the films have read the Marvel UK material and are channelling elements of Crisis of Command, Target: 2006 etc.

So pissed off, Mr. full-on Prime in the films only exists because Hendrix Prime was there all those years ago in the comics doing his thing we like, and they saw it & wanted some of that for their Prime too.
 

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Old 2015-09-09, 04:18 PM   #13
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I've been watching a lot of 80's cartoons lately and despite it's shortcomings, I still think Transformers is one of the better ones - although that might say more about the competition than it does about Transformers.
Surprisingly, I think that's true. When I've attempted to watch stuff like Thundercats or He-Man, they were so bad that I just couldn't do it. Transformers at least makes for decent background noise, and some episodes are perilously close to being good.

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Which makes it feel as if it was written by someone else than the person who did the really painful scripting in the rest of it. "Look, a meteorite!" "Another one!" "They're going to collide!", what is this, audio description for the blind?
In spite of all of that, it was a really good introduction to the characters and the universe -- a million times better than what the comic managed with their intro miniseries, to be sure. I really loved that the writers took the time to feature so many characters. I'd say at least 80% of the cast at least got a moment to show off their personality and/or special abilities. They made the likes of Hound, Cliffjumper, Mirage (like you say, him saving the day instead of Prime is a great twist), Trailbreaker, Huffer, Reflector, Skywarp and co. feel like people for a moment instead of just scene-fillers. Unfortunately that's something that the cartoon lost track of really quickly, because after the next few episodes the cast slowly shrunk down to Prime, Bumblebee, Jazz, Ironhide, Megatron, Starscream and a bunch of interchangable nobodies who only showed up when the plot called for their weapon/abilities/knowledge.

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I think it would have nice if they'd have had an ethic minority regular character as well. Spike, Sparkplug, Daniel, Carly, Marissa Faireborn, Chip... The Transformers are colourful but their human friends are not! At least in the comics we had Walter Barnett and the chat show host woman in Wrestling/King Con.
I can see why you'd say that, but on the other hand...Carbombya. The Sunbow crew didn't exactly have a good track record when it comes to minorities and I'm pretty sure any recurring minority allies would have been written as lazy stereotypes.
 
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Old 2015-09-09, 05:06 PM   #14
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Surprisingly, I think that's true. When I've attempted to watch stuff like Thundercats or He-Man, they were so bad that I just couldn't do it. Transformers at least makes for decent background noise, and some episodes are perilously close to being good.
Maybe I'm just forgiving when it comes to childrens' entertainment (the reason is probably right there in the name), but the biggest fault in a lot of the cartoons I've watched, particularly those of the 80's, is falling victim to taking the easy way out in how they present the conflict between good and evil; that being making the villains too stupid and incompetent to be menacing but still having enough character to further highlight the protagonists' conversely bland and boring personalities (if they have any at all), to say nothing of the latter's self-righteous preachiness all the more painful to listen to.

On that note, I find Transformers having both enough personality on both sides of the conflict (even if it's not always consistently portrayed) to not make you root for either side too easily, and the occasional moment of moralism is subtle enough to work, such Prime's first line after being resurrected in War Dawn.

It's not as blatant and out-of-the-blue as the sudden "stranger danger" PSA in one episode of Dinosaucers that goes on for at least a whole minute and even has the supposed villains agree with it.

Hell, the Aerialbots are a personification of internal conflict within the good guys faction, which is an exceedingly rare thing to see in an 80's cartoon.
 
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Old 2015-09-13, 04:35 PM   #15
Brendocon 2.0
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"If only there were some way of separating this patient's mind from his body during surgery".
- things that doctors probably say all the time because it's medically sound.

"Well doc, just so happens I've got just the thing. Conveniently knocked it up five minutes ago. It's designed for robots, but I'm a responsible parent so I'm sure it'll be fine."

I'm seriously glad we only got selected episodes of the cartoon on video. Sure I ended up watching Heavy Metal War three hundred and twenty seven times, but at least I didn't have to deal with stuff like The Secret of Omega Supreme until I was in my twenties.
 
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Old 2015-09-13, 05:16 PM   #16
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Yeh, in relative terms the cartoon isn't bad compared to the stuff around it. Voltron's not too bad as long as you avoid any episode where someone died in the Japanese version, which is where the edits get really painful. G.I. Joe's a bit up and down - there are good episodes (the ones with Shipwreck in them) and bad episodes (the ones without Shipwreck in them). Gobots can actually be fun at times because it's so silly, so badly written and so badly made. It suffers from the same problem as G1 later on with such a huge focus on the central characters but every now and then they come up with a really fun 'guest' character - who then does nothing the following week.

Rewatching Prime with my toddler at the moment and quite enjoying... Not quite got the punch of first viewing because I'm not quite so hugely grateful that it's not Fanimated but most of it stands up pretty well when you remember it's still basically aimed at eight-year olds. Prime just being prepared to die like a bitch from the cold is pretty bad, though - it's like someone let Furman write him or something.

EDIT: Yeh, the relative scarcity of the cartoon in the eighties and nineties did its' reputation no end of good to me. Allowing for the fact we got a higher proportion of Season 3 due to it not being on the telly (so Nightmare Planet, Carnage in C-Minor etc.) the Season 1-2 episodes released seemed to have been very carefully picked for the most part.

And then they came out on DVD...
 
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Old 2015-09-13, 05:46 PM   #17
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I'm seriously glad we only got selected episodes of the cartoon on video. Sure I ended up watching Heavy Metal War three hundred and twenty seven times, but at least I didn't have to deal with stuff like The Secret of Omega Supreme until I was in my twenties.
I'm not sure about that - how many tapes did The Girl Who Loved Powerglide end up on again?
 
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Old 2015-09-13, 05:51 PM   #18
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I'm not sure about that - how many tapes did The Girl Who Loved Powerglide end up on again?
Only once that I had.

According to the Waki, Tempo put it out twice (once with Heavy Metal War; once with Call of the Primitives for some reason, never knew that).

Then in 1990 Collins put it out on its own and Abbey put it out with HMW again.
 
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Old 2015-09-13, 06:05 PM   #19
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I had the VHS tape with The Girl Who Loved Powerglide and Call Of The Primitives. Ugh, that was bad. Space monkey? No, ta.
 

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Old 2015-09-14, 05:59 PM   #20
Brendocon 2.0
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I think Attack of the Autobots has to be the worst episode of season 2. Possibly even the entire run.

I mean sure other episodes have their own assaults on the notions of quality, continuity and sense. I mean sure Megatron used to routinely botch things by not bothering to tell the other Decepticons his plans. I mean sure just shooting Starscream in the head after the first episode would have been the sensible thing to do. I mean sure it took until 2005 for Megatron to realise there was mileage in the notion of just setting phasers to kill. But...

I mean come on.

The notion that not once in the time after this episode did any of the Decepticons say "hey remember that invisibility spray you used to sneak into the Autobot base and reprogram their recharger to make them evil... why don't we use that again for something?"

****, man.

I'm watching this shit and all I can hear is Kryten saying "or we could just use the invisibility spray."

[EDIT]
Anybody wanting to change the thread title to "Brend rewatches all the cartoon; place your bets on exactly when he'll snap and kill us all" is welcome to crack on.
 

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