Let’s take a look, then, at some of the best of the worst in Dangerboy’s Hall of Silly Heroes.
We’ll start not with a single protagonist, but with an entire cast. The Snorks were a “let’s do the same thing again” Hanna-Barbera cartoon that sought to capitalize on the success of the Smurfs. They were the most obvious of also-rans, though there were fewer to keep track of. Whereas a Smurf would smurf you in the smurf with his big red smurf, a Snork would snork you right in the wet snork all snorkin’ day. Water and color palate seemed to be the limits of difference.
The Snorks’ villain was at least one of their own, a dastardly dandy by the name of Dr. Strangesnork. (Voiced by Rene Aberjonois, aka Odo.) Admittedly, it would have been difficult to do a Gargamel o’ the sea without serious technology issues.
Pro-tip: Dudes. Stop snorking around and hook up with that spongy dude that lives in a pineapple under the sea. Word is, he’s got a hell of a merchandising contract.
2) Max Ray
Among the Saturday morning offerings was the Centurions. Starring a trio of heroes that could have gear teleported onto them by yelling “Power Extreme,” the Centurions was one of those 30 minute toy commercial cartoons. The three were masters of air, land, and sea.
Max got stuck being the sea monkey.
Evidently, when they’re handing out specializations at hero academy, it’s entirely possible that you’ll end up being screwed harder than an Atlantic City hooker. Poor old Max had a ton of gear that was only useful against naval villains, which the writers contrived to make available whenever possible. In reality, he’d be as useful as Charlie Sheen’s therapist. Fortunately, cartoon villains fail to exploit weakness, and Doc Terror was no exception.
Pro-tip: Learn from Wall Street. Diversification is key. (Or is that greed is good?) Would it be so hard to put just one land or air module in your multi-trillion dollar make-believe weapons system?
The Gobots were an alternative to the Transformers. Scooter was the analog to Bumblebee in that he had a good human friend, but he managed to be inferior in almost every way.
Scooter had no armament, instead having some sort of hologram projector. In keeping with the cartoon tradition he who has no weapon is a coward, Scooter suffered from a distinct lack of bravery. The other thing he suffered from was a distinct lack of actual face. It was just a flat panel with a face appearing on it, making him the Max Headroom of Gobots. And let’s just be blunt about it…he transformed into a moped. That is about as uncool as a robot gets.
Pro-tip: Step 1. Buy that tacky “steel balls” truck hitch. Step 2. Install a pair. Step 3. Profit.
4) Sgt Slaughter
There was something inherently cool about GI Joe. From the long history of the concept to the every-man nature of the heroes, the Joes had something cool going. And then they made a character based on a professional wrestler.
Look, Slaughter may have been immune to the Camel Clutch or the Figure Four, but there’s a notable lack of wrestling rings on most battlefields, even the cartoon kind. The only thing that kept Slaughter kicking was the bad-guy-bullet principle, that truism of villainous characters that accrues the worst marksmen imaginable to sling bullets at heroes. But even in this, Slaughter sucks it up, falling victim to foul villainy and losing some DNA to make Serpentor. We really don’t want to know how Destro got the DNA.
Pro-tip: Stick to the ring, Sarge. And when the bullets fly, leave it to the rest of the real American heroes, the ones packin’ heat.
5) Eric, the Cavalier
Eric was the coward and blowhard of the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, notably voiced by Potsy from Happy Days. Like most cartoon cowards, he had no weapon, just a magical shield. If the best defense is a good offense, Eric’s best defense was getting the hell out of Dodge.
He was a spoiled rich kid. He looked down on the rest of the party, and he was a noted liar…and those are just his good qualities. Nobody likes to be the outsider, but this kid worked hard to be emo before emo was cool. If they re-did the series today, he’d almost surely wear goth makeup. With a Bieber hairdo.
Pro-tip: Once Scooter is done with his pair, borrow them. Buy a sword. Use it. Hell, drink a potion of bravery once in a while, they’re right there in the Dungeon Master’s Guide!
Jem is not only cheesy, but outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous. A girl with a supercomputer that can turn her into a superstar, Hannah Montana style, Jem was part of an all girl band called the Holograms. Their villainous counterparts were the Misfits. Jem ran a sort of halfway house called the Starlight girls.
The only reason I know about Jem is that it was the ONLY cartoon available on Sunday mornings when I was growing up. It was this, news, or Jerry Falwell. In retrospect, I likely should have read more.
The thing that makes Jem a truly cheesy hero is the incredible weakness her “quest”. Most plots centered around her keeping her identity secret and her computer safe. Really. That’s it. No saving the world, no defeating terrorist plots, no rescuing puppies.
Pro-tip: Do what countless others have done. Come out of the closet. Suddenly, you will be free to do something productive. Like make me a pot pie. (This misogynism brought to you by the letter J.) Also, learn to spell. It’s GEM.
And so we come to it, the cartoon hero that I personally find the cheesiest. Let me warn you, I scoured my brain cells for this one, assisted by Scotch and Sam Adams. Finally, it bubbled up out of the darkest recesses of repressed memory…the top of the Velveeta Vault, the God of Gouda, the Leader of Limburger, the Cheesiest Hero of them All!
There’s so much cheese all over this little guy, he could be his own fondue party. The “loveable” sidekick in the Godzilla cartoon, Godzooky was one annoyance amongst a sea of them.
Yes, there was a Godzilla cartoon. Atomic fire replaced with boring everyday flame. Rampaging city destruction replaced with Deus Ex Machina assists for the “heroes”. Most annoying theme music ever written. And the worst insult, Godzilla’s nephew Godzooky. (Who, by the way, befriended the scientist “Pete”, making him a “Pete’s Dragon” pun writ large.)
Godzooky was the Scrappy-Doo of monsters, loosely based on Minilla, the son of Godzilla from Destroy All Monsters. (Yes, we’ve established I’m a geek.) His most useful talent seemed to be the ability to summon Godzilla with a particular howl, rendering him perhaps the most cheesy cartoon hero ever.
Pro-tip: I…I got nuthin’.
Well, that’s the tour. Who do you think is the most cheesy cartoon hero ever?