February 16, 2006

O Captain, My Captain

Jackie knows all the words to the Captain Planet theme song.
That in itself is pretty funny, but it gets better; I didn’t know them, so I had to look them up… check them out.

Captain Planet, he's our hero
Gonna take pollution down to zero

He's our powers magnified
And he's fighting on the planet's side

Captain Planet, he's our hero
Gonna take pollution down to zero

Gonna help him put asunder
Bad guys who like to loot and plunder

We're the Planeteers
You can be one too
'Cause saving our planet is the thing to do!

Looting and polluting is not the way
Hear what Captain Planet has to say!

"The Power is Yours!"


[BEEDOO wipes tears from eyes, holds sides, catches breath]

So… um. Yeah.

I’m betting nobody paid attention to these lyrics, or were too young to actually comprehend them (“asunder”?), and it’s really amazing this show actually got watched. I guess as we got older, we realized that fighting pollution, while a good idea to get behind, just isn’t cool. Being responsible doesn’t make for a good TV show. It’s like trying to make an action movie out of using good manners, or flossing. Good ways to live, yes, but not the stuff of crime-fighting animated programming. There’s a reason environmentalists are seen as hippies; it’s a pretty non-violent way of life. I get that recycling and pollution awareness are values we want to instill in our children, but do we need a ridiculous cartoon with a mythical man who saves the earth when we “combine the elements”? Or is that just a way to sell some little cheap plastic rings to five-year-olds? I think we know the answer, but we do, admittedly, have the benefit of hindsight. This show is now the fodder for at least a joke a week in my family. “What? How come I only get the tape measure? I can’t handle a hammer? What do I get next, the Power of Heart?” And so on. Yeah, I was totally watching Raccoons or the Snorks while that was on.

JACKIE:
You know who had the best job?

ME:
Who?

JACKIE:
She-Ra.

ME:
Heck yeah, She-Ra.

JACKIE:
She got to be a princess by day, have a huge castle, and fight crime by night. And she had a flying horse.

ME:
It was pink, though.

JACKIE:
So what? If you had a flying horse, would you care what color it was?

ME:
Probably not. And I would like to say that She-Ra fought her battles alone, which was pretty awesome, unlike the douches over on Captain Planet.

JACKIE:
Hey!

ME:
…you like Captain Planet?

JACKIE:
Well…

ME:
COME ON! That show was such a piece of crap!

JACKIE:
It taught little kids about the environment!

ME:
It taught little kids that if you had really special jewelry, you could make tsunamis and earthquakes happen, unless you’re the little kid with the Heart, in which case you just give really good hugs or something—

JACKIE:
They made Captain Planet!

ME:
Yes. By “uniting their powers” they could become a big blue guy who was just a metaphysical embodiment of what happens when people join together and create “something bigger than themselves”.

JACKIE:
Metaphysical embodiment, huh?

ME:
Yes, and it’s the same thing with all those shows, like Power Rangers and Voltron and Transformers; they all have to unite to be cool. It’s not teaching kids that they’re powerful—it’s that they need other people to be powerful. It’s a big team-building exercise. She-Ra was awesome because she did all her own ass-kicking without gluing Teela and Moss-man and Orko together to create MechakillsEvil.

JACKIE:
Whatever, Captain Planet was a good show.

ME:
I had She-Ra underwear.

JACKIE:
That’s hot.

ME:
I know.

Now, if you want a cool captain, how about Captain Caveman? Man, that was a good show—and he wasn’t even a real captain! He didn’t have to really be anything, because he could yell and had a big club—there’s a lesson for the youth of America. And you know the best part of that show was yelling the last bit of the theme song: Captain CAAAAAVEMAAAAN!

(I know you’re tempted to add the “and son”, but since the son was the Neanderthal equivalent of Scrappy-Doo, I choose to not.)

Man, that Captain Planet theme song is hilarious. Who writes these things, exactly? And do they include the song in the network pitch? I hope so—I would have loved to hear what happened in the room when they tried to get Toxic Crusaders on the air:

Toxic Crusaders! TOXIC Crusaders!
They’re gross—but they still get GIRLS!


I dunno how that made it at all. Also, does Captain Planet know that there are superheroes created from toxic waste? Why wasn’t there a crossover episode? That’s why neither had the staying power of the best shows—the writing didn’t take enough risks. Too formulaic. Unlike, say, Gummi Bears.

Gummi Bears! Bouncing here and there and everywhere!
(You’re doing the dance right now, aren’t you?)
They are the Gummi Bears! They are the Gummi BEAAAAAAAARS!

This is where we all see how long we can hold that last note before our lungs are completely empty (at least, my family did—it’s not my fault you weren’t raised right). Ah, the fun young asthmatics can have. We did the same with the slow fade on Reading Rainbow (which my brother can still sing in its entirety, by the way). I don’t think I even know an entire theme song front-to-back, I only really remember the odd chorus. [waggles cigar] And some of them have a very odd chorus.

Well, it’s time to go when you start cribbing Groucho. Say goodnight, Gracie!

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