The 4 Craziest Holiday Episodes of '80s Cartoons

#2. G.I. Joe "Cobra Claws Are Coming to Town"

After two Christmas cartoons sucking worse than an animated version of Debbie Does Dallas, G.I. Joe saves us by kicking Christmas' ass. Duke and Shipwreck aren't known for introspection, as proven by the fact that they call themselves Duke and Shipwreck without laughing -- but "Cobra Claws Are Coming to Town" is more self-aware violence than a zen monk defeating ninjas blindfolded. Cobra's plan is to turn themselves into toys to sneak into their target's home at Christmas. You'd swear that the writers got Hasbro's actual evil plan mixed up with the script.

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Yes, it's a Trojan rocking horse. Yes, they say that out loud, in case anyone missed it.

A 1/20 scale Cobra army attacks G.I. Joe. Because that works so well, even at full size.

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Teddy bears with twice the combat ability of Cobra. Even more, now that Cobra is shrunk.

Luckily they target Mutt. In an organization where everyone has at least one laser-equipped jet pack/snowmobile, his combat specialty is "owns a dog." This lets them take out the security system, get re-enlarged, and capture the Joes, and the rest of the episode is standard issue "Cobra Commander has a cunning plan, Cobra Commander screws it up."

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I'm afraid this is exactly what it looks like.

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I'm afraid of this, even though it isn't. Although it says a lot that Shipwreck chose the beef instead of Cover Girl.

Then G.I. Joe kick ass by dealing with the mandatory Christmas lesson the same way they deal with everything else: shooting it as quickly as possible. The Yuletide angle is Mutt feeling down during Christmas dinner because his parents never had time for him during the holidays. He is then immediately shot in the face by miniature fighter jets. That's what Hasbro thinks of character development. And as if to apologize for the whining, Roadblock immediately gun-butts a jet out of the air.

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"I don't care if you crackers fly quick, your whole plane ain't as big as my-"

Even a miniature Major Bludd can't give little enough of a damn about Mutt's unhappy feelings. They receive no development. No moral lesson. The rest of the episode is escaping (and detonating) Cobra's plot on Christmas day. Then, standing in the smoldering wreckage, Mutt suddenly admits that maybe this Christmas thing isn't so bad. It's awesome. He's not healed by the giving spirit, unless you count giving bullets to the bad guys until they explode and he feels better. He even misses the irony of how he got over his busy parents by working through Christmas day, just like them, continuing the tragic cycle.

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And unless Junkyard has puppies, the cycle ends here.

#1. He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special

Every Christmas, my siblings and I would check the TV listings, desperately hoping that the He-Man and She-Ra Christmas special wasn't on at the same time as Mass. Because if it was, we'd have to try to get out of Mass (which never worked). Even at 7 years old, we knew that a man who demanded power from the heavens and then immediately actually got it had a much better deal than us.

And possibly a deal with Zeus.

Princess Adora is on Eternia for a birthday party with her twin, Prince Adam, and the two worst parents of all time. This is the anniversary of her being kidnapped by the evil Hordak as a baby to spend almost her entire life in military slavery. And despite presiding over a military dictatorship that deploys its entire army once a week, King Randor apparently figured, "We've still got the boy. So who gives an Orko's ass?"

Note: Orko does not have an ass.

All this despite Etheria being so close that you can swing by for a birthday party. And then the Christmas special makes it so much worse. Orko accidentally ends up on Earth, so Man-at-Arms immediately uses his "Finder Ray" to locate him, then sends She-Ra back to Etheria to get a crystal for his instantaneous Transporter Beam. "Hey, Princess, sorry for leaving you in serfdom your entire life. But the instant our talking fart cushion disappears, we instantly locate him, then send you back to the world of your own slavery like it was the corner shop to pick up magic batteries."

"Then stand in the corner and be our Christmas tree."

The rest of the episode is the No. 1 Worst Christmas Solution Strategy: Skeletor is overcome by Christmas spirit and saves the day. Despite only having heard of it 10 minutes ago. Which means that they could have pulled this any day and it would have worked. The next time Skeletor's about to capture Castle Grayskull, the Sorceress should shout, "Wait, Skeletor, for 'tis the season of Zorbleth, the Qwaxnar of Knobend!" Skeletor is immediately swayed by the Earth children, even though they look like they were born under Earth power lines.

All I want for Christmas are my two missing chromosomes.

He even magics them up some winter gear when they're freezing to death on a mountainside.

Of course a man who dresses like that doesn't feel the cold.

Then they all laugh as he keeps yelling at the puppy to stop licking his face. Yeah, laugh it up, kids -- a dog happily slurping at your face is a different story when your face is made of bones.

Skeletor spent Boxing Day playing fetch with his own jaw.

Luke also explains how Die Hard is the greatest Christmas movie ever made and watches the Crysis 3 series. Luke has a website, tumbles, and responds to every single tweet.

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