5 Life Lessons Learned from Old School Cartoons

#2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Value of History


As you know from my previous writing, I would have wrecked April O'Neil. But alas, I was 12, she was a cartoon and you just can't awkwardly grope at a TV's boobs. But I still really enjoyed the Ninja Turtles and even managed to sit through the Vanilla Ice scene in TMNT II without throwing feces or starting a fire. Not a lot of people did that back in the day. Look it up.

While on the surface TMNT was about solving problems via kung fu that never actually seemed to injure anyone, and also the hidden dangers of bathing animals in green ooze that just falls off of trucks in New York City, the entire series had a deeper meaning that was never really made explicit and that, of course, was about the importance of knowing where you came from, of history.

I don't remember this episode, but I want to.

It's no coincidence that the turtles were named after four of history's greatest artists. It had no relevance to anything in the show whatsoever because I'm not convinced the people who produced the cartoon even spoke English, but it did have meaning if you thought about it. These were great minds of the Renaissance who were masters of not just an aesthetic style but of many fields of knowledge. They advanced society as a whole with their example, striving toward greatness. And then they became color-coded ninja reptiles. See where this is going? No. It's cool. It just means shit happened before you got here. Shit happened and we need to appreciate that. Leonardo paved the way for some dude to draw a turtle with a sword named after him, in some small way. It's like beautiful and junk, when you think about it.

Even in the show, Splinter was all about explaining how, even as a normal rat, he practiced kung fu while watching his human master. He learned from those who came before. I had no idea a rat could even do that. No wonder they use them in science all the time.

You have to have a respect for history and what it can teach you, because if you don't, maybe a guy in a spiky metal helmet and an alien asshole brain will just kick the ever-loving shit out of you one day, and because you never learned kung fu, you're just going to take it like a bitch.

#1. GoBots and Not Giving a Shit


Oh my Christ. Every child has the innate ability to watch literally anything on TV, just because it's on TV. Put a TV in front of a kid who's fleeing a burning building and that kid is done for, and it'll be all the fault of a Dr. Ho infomercial, because kids don't give a shit what is on TV so long as it's on TV. And that's why the GoBots ever existed.

GoBots were on TV alongside Transformers and were basically the same idea, but they were to the Transformers what Snooki is to Neil DeGrasse Tyson in terms of being able to think. About anything.

There was a fuckin' GoBot named Scooter. Guess what he transformed into. Just guess. How any of the voice actors stayed sober enough to read the script to the end of an entire 22-minute episode is mind-boggling.


What an unwashed dick of a cartoon character.

I'm just going to list dumb shit here because I had to Google GoBots to refresh my memory of this show and it's all flooding back in such a deluge of lazy-ass writing that I am starting to lose my ability to maintain sentence structure. It's like my brain is engaging in sympathetic what-the-fuckery. Anyway, here are some other GoBots characters you should be familiar with: Spay-C the space shuttle; Rest-Q the ambulance; Cop-Tur the helicopter; Spoons the forklift (because fuck you); and Tux, the Rolls-Royce who wore a top hat. I swear to God that shit seriously happened. Some magnificent cokehead at Tonka in the mid-'80s just walked his completely blitzed ass into the office one day and probably screamed at the development team that he wanted a robot wearing a top hat by the end of the day or he was going to literally skull fuck everyone in the building to death.

Have I made fun of Scooter yet? Because fuck Scooter.

You can tell how much I actually disliked GoBots, but still watched Challenge of the GoBots, by how much I'm swearing in just this entry. I literally want to put the word "fuck" in every sentence. The show was so lazy and just had such disdain for its audience that it couldn't care less. It could not care less if you or I or any child even had a functioning brain. There was a character named Pumper, and another character named Dumper, and neither one had a dick or an ass that I'm aware of. There was even a Porsche named Baron Von Joy. Can you get drunk enough to understand that but still maintain the motor control to type your explanation in the comments section? That's rhetorical, because I already know you can't.

And that brings me to the crux of this entry and what I learned from the GoBots. They produced the toys for four years and made 65 episodes of the show. That, to me, seems like a remarkable run of success from some people who clearly had no fucks to give, and that was inspiring to me. If a room full of substance-abusing Asians could export their lazy, ripoff robot cartoon and still convince me to watch it, then no matter how much of a fuckup I turned into as an adult, I'd still get by OK. And look at me now! You just read my whole column.

Check out more from Fortey in 8 Horrifying Uses of Branding (Feat. Hello Kitty Pads) and 5 Awesome Things Monkeys Can Do (Better Than Most Humans).

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Ian Fortey

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