When you were a kid, you didn't question where cartoons came from. The Ninja Turtles were just there, having wacky adventures even as you turned off the screen, possibly watching you as you slept. Of course, as you grew up you realized that a lot of these shows were made to do nothing but sell toys.
But even then, you actually weren't being cynical enough. A lot of these shows weren't so much "made" as "shoddily slapped together from some older bullshit (usually from Japan)."
And some of them were shows that you loved.
6Transformers Was a Bunch of Toys From Different Toy Lines
The Classic Show You Loved:
What makes Transformers so well-loved and iconic is that, even though they're robots, you can immediately tell who's good and who's bad just by looking at them: Megatron looks like the soul of a rapist possessed by a tank, whereas Optimus has an aura of righteousness. If America were a truck, it's name would be Optimus Prime.
"I get 32 gallons to the mile."
But Actually ...
Optimus and Megatron were never supposed to be enemies -- in fact, they didn't even belong to the same toy line. Basically, Hasbro grabbed two different sets of toys from Japan and paid the Marvel Comics staff to come up with new names for all the robots. The result was Transformers. The same characters already had origins and personalities in Japan: For example, "Megatron" was meant to be a good guy.
Megatron, Soundwave and others came from a toy line called Microman, where the premise was that these little space robots came to Earth and disguised themselves as household items to protect kids. This explains why Megatron (a supposedly giant robot) turned into a regular-sized pistol, but it does not explain why they expected children to have said pistols lying around in their drawers, like in this early commercial:
Meanwhile, Optimus came from a different toy line called Diaclone, which was actually supposed to be battle mechas -- they even included a little metallic figure called "Inch-Man," which represented the pilot. Yes, the horrifying implication here is that Optimus (or "Battle Convoy," as he's still known in Japan) had as much of a personality as, well, a truck. In fact, if you look at him carefully, it's easy to tell that he was always meant to be just another mindless giant robot, like Voltron.
Just another experiment to figure out who would best obliterate Tokyo.
If you're still not convinced, here's a commercial with "Optimus" combining with other robots, Japan style:
So the entire idea of the Transformers cartoon was to act as 30-minute commercials for the toys that Hasbro was importing from Japan (which on some level you surely already suspected). In fact, remember the original Transformers cartoon movie from the '80s? The main reason why they killed off so many characters there (including Optimus) was to make space for the new models.
And to become the highlight of Orson Welles' career.
They even planned a scene where they "wiped out the entire '84 product line" in one brutal attack, and "whoever wasn't discontinued stumbled to the end." Because, you know, seeing Optimus die onscreen wasn't enough. In the alternate reality where this scene made it to the finished movie, mankind is on the verge of extinction due to the sudden suicide of all children in 1987.
5Power Rangers Was Three Shows Cobbled Together
The Classic Show You Loved:
Five teenagers with an unhealthy love for martial arts and single-colored wardrobes are chosen by a giant head to become a team of superheroes who ride robot dinosaurs: The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
The '90s had something against the suffix "ing."
But Actually ...
Power Rangers was actually a combination of three separate Japanese series that were all in the popular "people in colored costumes punching monsters" family of shows.
Honestly? They kinda all look the same.
Some new scenes were shot with American actors, but in the rest, it wasn't them in the costumes -- in reality, you were looking at footage from a series about prehistoric humans who evolved from dinosaurs. So, for example, whenever you saw Trini the Yellow Ranger in her full body costume, it was actually just her voice redubbing the dialogue of some Japanese dinosaur dude.
That is a suspicious crotch bulge for a girl.
The reason they had to combine different shows is that the episodes of the original one ran out pretty fast and they couldn't just end Power Rangers and start another franchise since, well, they were making far too much money. In order to stretch things out, they would use tricky editing to, for instance, show a robot from one series launch an attack ...
... then cut to a monster from a completely different series getting blasted with it ...
... while never showing the two in the same frame.
Remember the unfortunately named White Power Ranger who joined the team later on? He was transplanted from a different series, too, which is why you rarely saw him fighting at the same time as the other guys.
Also, he was a 10-year-old boy ...
Yep, this is what you wanted to be when you were 10 years old.
... and a huge pervert.
Yes, that's the elementary-school-age Ranger using his powers to look at schoolgirls' panties.
Zordon is looking up Megan's Law as we speak.
Actually, the fact that his sword has a little tiger head that talks to him is the least bizarre thing in that video. The rampant sexual harassment was a consistent part of the White Ranger's character, by the way. In the Japanese version, he had a disturbing tendency to "look up [the Pink Ranger's] skirt and touch her breasts." Shockingly, this subplot was completely dropped by the American adaption.
Except for that one time Tommy roofied Kim.