#3. Gilligan's Planet
In many ways, Gilligan's Island was the predecessor to Lost, in that they were both once on television. The successful sitcom starred a group of "lovable" misfits who found themselves shipwrecked and stranded on a desert island that may or may not have been purgatory. During the three seasons the show was on the air, the crew of the S.S. Minnow found themselves in a number of wacky misadventures, and never once resorted to cannibalism and/or sexual hijinks.
Poor Gilligan's boner.
Gilligan's Island was canceled before the characters were rescued, meaning that audiences were left wondering if the characters had all just died on that island sometime in the late '60s. They finally escaped/returned/escaped again in a series of TV movies called Rescue From Gilligan's Island, The Castaways on Gilligan's Island and The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island.
All of which serve only to make the cartoon that much more confusing.
The Baffling Cartoon:
Gilligan's Planet took the original series and made the inevitable leap into science fiction. Although clever observers since the 1960s have been wondering how could the Professor, who was knowledgeable enough to build a radio out of a coconut, not know how to plug a hole in a boat, Gilligan's Planet answers this question by having the crew design not just a boat, but a working, wooden spaceship that flies into outer space.
It seems a little rickety, but the theme song, which is strangely talk-sung, assures us "it's crude, but it could fly."
Sure, why the hell not?
Things seem to be going about as well as they can for the cursed castaways, until Gilligan fucks things up like usual. After finishing a banana, he decides not to throw away the peel like a person, but rather tosses it wildly in the air, like a chimpanzee with poor table manners.
"Surely fresh fruit will keep on our long space voyage!"
It lands on the Skipper's head and since he's been steering the wooden spaceship like a boat, spins the wheel wildly like a maniac and crash lands into a strange planet.
In Gilligan's defense, he probably could have just taken the peel off of his face.
Luckily, it appears to have oxygen and gravity equal to Earth, so none of the characters are faced with a crushing space-death. The rest of the series dealt with their adventures on the planet, as they cavort with space aliens and never fully understand the implications of intergalactic space travel.
The series is vague about why the crew had to fly all the way into outer space before they could return to civilization, but it may be for the best that they found themselves lost on a strange planet, since their wooden ship would probably have been immediately incinerated once it tried to re-enter Earth's atmosphere.
#2. The Brady Kids
It was kind of a Modern Family for the flower power generation. The Brady Bunch was a groovy look at a blended family living in Southern California that ran from 1969 to 1974. Each week featured life lessons and a theme song catchier than the bubonic plague.
That's right, parents, look away from the boys. They bring you shame.
The Baffling Cartoon:
The Brady Kids actually begins with a shockingly logical premise: an animated spin-off series that focuses solely on the Brady children. Kids already loved the Brady Bunch, so it made sense to create a series that only features the characters that children could relate to. Without the parents or Alice to slow the action down, the series could be a look at the Brady Kids' lives, as we see them struggling with their schoolwork or learning to navigate awkward social situations. Or, they could have crossovers with Superman and the Lone Ranger.
Yeah, that's Wonder Woman. We'll come back to that.
Since this is a cartoon, the writers apparently felt that the series should follow the age-old adage "kids like stupid shit." So, during the course of the series, they were lost in a hot air balloon, met tiny spacemen from Venus and protected the crown jewels of Domania. Also, as was the unbreakable cartoon law in the '70s, the Brady Kids were paired with not one, not two, but four goofy animal sidekicks, one of which was also a wizard.
First off is Moptop the dog, who could dance as long as the animation was identical to dogs featured on every other Filmation cartoon in production at the time.
This scene is not crucial to the plot.
And of course, just for the sake of racism, the show also featured a pair of twin pandas named Ping and Pong, who speak, but don't speak English, favoring a vaguely Chinese-sounding jibberish, like a young child would speak when pretending they can speak another language.
And then there's Marlon, their pet mynah bird who talks like Peter Falk, may be immortal or something, and is also a wizard.
He has the power to make us very angry without a clear idea as to why.
So, for example, let's take the episode "It's All Greek to Me," the time travel Wonder Woman crossover episode.
Jan is researching a paper on Euclid, and Marcia is preparing for a track meet. In a logical conflict, they argue over what's more important: the mind or the body. Jan consults the local library's administrative assistant, Diana Prince, aka the secret identity of Wonder Woman. Then they all get sent back in time to Ancient Greece, because it seems that Marlon the wizard bird can send people back in time by accident just by talking near them.
The Brady Kids are unfazed by time travel (Marcia shrugs, "Marlon did it again.") when realistically, they would probably be sentenced to death by lion or be stuck in an unending nightmarish limbo from which they can never return. Also, they could probably have been using Marlon every week to solve crimes or end world hunger, instead of sitting on their asses and watching television.
"You know the rules. Girls sit on the floor with the dogs."
Anyway, while in Ancient Greece, Diana turns into Wonder Woman. When the Brady Kids run into her, they just assume she must have a found a way to time travel as well, instead of guessing that she is in fact the same dark haired, identically proportioned woman that they just traveled back in time with but can't seem to find.
What we're trying to say is, we're thinking this group was too stupid to be trusted with a bird wizard.
#1. The Super Globetrotters
The Harlem Globetrotters are the reigning "Clown Princes" or basketball, the same way the Joker is the "Clown Prince of Crime" and "Clown Prince" is a clown version of the musician Prince that we just created who plays children's birthday parties.
Stop crying, honey, Prince can't hurt you in this dimension.
Founded in 1926 as the Chicago Globetrotters, the Globetrotters team has been spinning basketballs on their fingers and pulling down their opponents' pants since before it was cool. They helped turn professional basketball into a fun spectacle and are still at it today.
The Baffling Cartoon:
The Globetrotters have been no stranger to media adaptations. They've been featured in films, TV series, even tagging along with Scooby and the gang on at least one mystery busting occasion. In 1970, they even got their own relatively normal cartoon series, which featured only one anthropomorphic dog sidekick. But things got really weird almost a decade later, when Hanna-Barbera premiered The Super Globetrotters, a cartoon series that featured members of the Globetrotters as superheroes.
Let that image really sink in. It gets worse.
Let's be clear about this: The Harlem Globetrotters aren't fictional characters, in real life they are actual people, who in this cartoon are also superheroes. On the surface it's not that crazy an idea. Lots of children view professional athletes as superheroes already, as fans of "ProStars" can attest, so giving the Globetrotters superpowers could be a fun experience.
Or it could be a horrifying trek into the darkest corners of Hell.
The Super Globetrotters makes some noticeable missteps. For one thing, their "super" powers seem to run the gamut from "useful" (Hubert "Geese" Ausbie could create multiple clones of himself) to "fun party trick" (Louise "Sweet Lou" Dunbar could pull anything he needed out of his afro) to "super weakness" (James "Twiggy" Sanders could turn his body into spaghetti -- which apparently didn't instantly lead to his death).
The Globetrotters learn about crime from their "Globetrotter Crime Globe," a talking satellite shaped like a basketball that orbits the Earth from "above the stratosphere, scanning the globe for lawlessness" and uses phrases like "Right on." The voice-over tells us that the Globetrotters are "secret superheroes of crime fighting," implying they have secret identities, which is odd because their costumes are strangely similar to their warm-up uniforms, and their "Globetrotter Crime Globe" contacts them in the middle of their sold out game where all their fans can see them.
"Don't mind us. This is just another of our wacky tricks!"
The Globetrotters decide to "get truckin'," abandoning their game, running away without so much as giving the audiences a refund for their tickets. In the locker room, they change into their costumes and fly away. Because they can all fly. We probably should have mentioned that.
Kind of gives them an unfair advantage in the dunk department.
They fight villains like Whaleman (who is a pirate and not a whale), Tattoo Man (who animates his tattoos), and Robo and the Globots (who has the best name and an army of evil Globetrotter robots), and somehow find ways to use their ridiculous powers to fight crime.
It makes more sense if you have no context with this picture.
Even considering their appearances on Futurama, this is the strangest and most nonsensical thing the Globetrotters name has ever been associated with.
This might be racist, we can't even tell.
For more on baffling adaptations, check out The 7 Most Offensive Adaptations of Classic Comic Books and The 10 Most Disastrous Saturday Morning Cartoon Adaptations.