We all learned from Wall Street that, “greed is good,” but, in the 80’s and early 90’s, cross promotion of products to kids grew to the point of ridiculousness. Here are some example of nonsensical TV shows tied to people and products.
Cartoons based on products alone:
Take a look at the picture above. Did you know it is a magical creature? Doesn’t that look snuggly? Haven’t you aways wanted to play with that cuddly Rubik’s Cube and go on adventures with it? No! You haven’t because it is just a puzzle. Well don’t tell that to the creators of this TV show attempting to cash in on the bestselling puzzle game.
The concept for madballs is interesting enough. They are balls that look like gross things. You can play catch and gross your sister or next door out with them. That was as deep as madballs got. How could you make the concept creepier? I don’t know, how about giving them arms and legs and meaningful lives? I don’t really want to know what the motivations are for the madball with its brain showing and eyeball falling out. I assume it will just be a lot of screaming.
Cartoons based on video games:
Video game were a big deal for kids by the mid80’s. Again, along came the cash in express. For every Legend of Zelda or Super Mario’s Super Show (Awesome and horrible at the same time) there were shows like these.
I love Pac-Man the video game. It is one of the earliest game that I was better than my dad at. Mrs. Pac-Man was even better and I liked the simple storyline you got as you played. But, going back to madballs, I don’t really need to know their lives. This TV show gave them arms and legs (again kind of creeping) and shoved them into a Flinstone-like sitcom. Why was the game not enough?
To be honest, I never really understood the premise of Q-Bert. You jump around changing the color of bricks and if you died the hero curses at you. After watching the TV show, I understand even less. So is this some alternate dimension where all of our history happened but to a race of birdos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birdo) or just a terrible show?
Thanksgiving clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImQrYCuaN9A
Your in the arcade playing some classic Pole Position. Ever with you could push a button and make your car fly away fight crime? Well do I have a show for you.
Cartoons based on movies:
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
This movies is a spoof of the monster movies of the 50’s and 60’s. There is comedic sex and violence. Why would you make this into a kids show? It would be like making a cartoon about Scary Movie. Wait, the Wayans brothers might actually do that. I should say not more.
This is a Troma movie. If you don’t know what that is, it generally means a campy, over the top, violent, sex romp and this is their best know movie. Check out the trailer:
Why would you make a kids show based on this film? I can’t even imagine.
Has anyone looked a Mr. T and said to themselves, “he must be gymnast” (I would give you bad ass boxer). That is the premise of this cartoon show. Mr.T is the head coach of the US Gymnastics team and they go around the world solving crime. There are so many thing about that last sentence that I wish were not true.
The original film, directed by Paul Verhoeven, was an extremely violent satire about the future of corporations and national defense. Check out the original trailer:
Why would you make this into a kids TV show? Because of the action figures and video games you get out the other end. It is hilarious how they gloss over the horrible violence commit on Murphy before he becomes Robocop.
At last we come to the weirdest movie-TV show cross over. The original film was about a Vietnam veteran who is treated terribly by small town police and this triggers his violent training. The violence becomes more blatant and nonchalant in the sequels. Check out the trailer:
Super happy and kid like isn’t it? I don’t know what they were thinking.