For some reason, at nearly 8:30 at night on a Friday night (sitting at my parents while they watch “American Pickers” wherein they keep saying “Junk Drunk” over and over again, while the hotty that works for them just called to talk to them, tall, long legs, dark hair, punky looking, definitely totally my type: anyways, where was I? Oh yeah!) I have been bitten by the “nostalgia” bug. Perhaps its because “The Nostalgia Critic” finally retired. Maybe its because I’m growing old.

Today, I’m going to go onto a nostalgia trip, sharing some memories of my favorite television shows from my youth. Let’s start with my favorite as a kid:

Transformers

Pew pew pew!

More than meets the eye? Oh yeah baby! “The Transformers” was like pure sugar speed when I was about 5 to 8 years old. Nothing, I repeat, nothing was cooler than these robots. The show had a galaxy spanning civil war between robots that changed into things. The movie had Orsen Welles playing “a toy that ate other toys” (his words, not mine). It also had that great scene where Eric Idle and the junkyard robots break dance to Weird Al’s “Dare to Be Stupid.” Oh yeah. “The Transformers” were cool.

And the toys were some of the best on the market. I mean, you basically had two toys for the price of one: a robot and a car. I hated car toys as a kid UNLESS they were robots that inexplicably turned into cars. In fact, I used to complain about toys that didn’t “do” anything. Heavens forbid I use my imagination!

The show was so dang memorable (if stupid in retrospect) and the toys so much fun to play with (even today) that Michael Bay’s epic trilogy of live action “Transformers” crap movies seems understandable. Not that they’re any good but that it’s actually understandable why somebody would have thought it was a good idea to make movies based on 20 year old toys.

The most memorable part of the entire trilogy. She doesn’t do much for me. But Megan Fox’s existence was the best/worst thing to come from the franchise. Hence, memorable.

Let’s move on.

Garfield and Friends

Garfield had friends?

Anybody else remember this show? I loved the Garfield cartoon so much as a kid: in fact, I still love the holiday specials and try to watch them every once in awhile. They were so well written, slyly humorous (the show was really dry and weird) and even well acted (God love Lorenzo Music, voice of Garfield) that it made you forget it came from the rather (sorry!) lame cartoon strip.  The cartoon somehow turned a lasagna loving, dog kicking cat into something more comedic.

So what was there about the show that worked? As previously mentioned, Lorenzo Music as Garfield was something like the perfect choice for the character. His laconic, laid back drawl fit the sarcastic, laid back attitude of the orange fat cat perfectly. Also, that clown…I forget his name. You know…”HEEEEEEEEYYYYYY KIIIIDDDSSSS!” I love that the character is really, really annoying to Garfield and even to the viewer but isn’t despicable or anything. He’s well meaning but grating. I like that. Gives him dimension.

Plus, the U.S. Acres stuff wasn’t half bad. As a kid, I veered between loving those segments and hating them. It depended on my mood: some days they’re slightly more surreal sense of humor did more for me than the sarcasm of Garfield. Sometimes they just hit weird nerves. But hey: any show that has a recurring character that is nothing but an egg with feet sticking out of it is okay by me.

Plus, in one episode he “hatched” only to reveal another egg shell. Classic absurdism.

The Real Ghostbusters

As real as breathing.

Was anybody else confused by the phrase “Real” when it came to this show? As a kid, I knew that cartoons were just ink and drawings rapidly flipped. These weren’t the “Real” Ghostbusters: hell, they barely even looked the characters from the movies.

Of course, everybody now knows that the “Real” part refers to the fact that “Filmation” rushed out an awful cartoon adaptation of their awful live action 70’s show “The Ghost Busters” to try to trick poor kids into watching the show. Was this “Ghost Busters” show any good? Well, there’s a big stupid talking ape: what do you think?

Oh yeah…that bad…

Forget about all that crap. What mattered to me (though I know some people don’t agree) was that the show was a lot of fun. Sure, it has aged a lot less than a lot of the shows of the time. But Venkman was funny (the great Lorenzo Music again, till Bill Murray complained that Venkman sounded too much like “Garfield.” Oh Bill…if only you knew then what you know now…) the premises were silly, stupid and ghost filled and Slimer…well…he’s annoying. But as a kid I loved him.

This show definitely doesn’t hold up well when compared to the still sturdy “Garfield and Friends” (much less the movies) but I owned the toys, loved the show and will never forget how much fun I enjoyed the show.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Hells yeah!

Of course you knew this one was coming: what kid from the 80’s (boy or girl) didn’t watch this show religiously, worship every second of it, eat pizza constantly, spout awful one liners and begin studying Renaissance era painters after watching this show?

Okay maybe the last one was just me.

Anyways, these four pizza munching freaks of nature somehow tapped into a universal nerve that made them the most exciting thing to watch. Was it the fact that they were freaks of nature? That they lived with a rat? That they punched people and robots on a daily basis? That they hung out with a hot reporter in a banana rain coat?

All of that I’m sure. Or maybe it was just the ridiculously catchy theme song. I just mentioned it: it’s stuck in your head now right? “They’re heroes in a half shell…AND THEY’RE GREEN!” Okay, now it’s stuck in your head: you’re welcome :).

After watching these guys, I wanted to learn ninjitsu (or as I’m sure I called it back then, “karate”). I wanted to live on a diet of strictly pizza (I still do). I wanted to swing swords around scream at giant talking brains. I wanted to become a mutated green turtle that lived in a sewer. Thankfully, I’ve recently been able to cross all those goals off my bucket list.

So if you want to talk more about cartoons, come on down to 115 1/2 street, slip a pizza down the sewer and maybe I’ll push up a manhole for you to drop on down and veg out on Netflix for hours.

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