bill-swift - March 28, 2013
I continue sifting through the absolute dreck of Netflix Streaming for the most wonderful crap among the sh%t with one of the greatest/worst cartoon series of the 80's: He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe. I know what many of you are thinking, "Wonderfully awful? That show was awesome!" Yes, it was awesome but it wasn't really good. You are looking at it through 25 years of nostalgia to your lost childhood. You remember the epic battles you had with the action figures and your ecstasy at receiving Castle Greyskull for Christmas. But please, watch it now as adults and look at it long and hard. It's not really a quality cartoon series. Which is not to say that it isn't completely and totally badass.
He-Man tells the tale of Prince Adam, (who is faaaabulous with 4 A's), who lives a secret life as the mighty 'roided out protector of the planet Eternia. The source of strength is a magic sword infused with the mysterious power of Castle Greyskull and its sorceress. His enemy is the evil Skeletor, who has rippling blue muscled flesh but no skin on his skull. You may not remember this legendary villain's high pitched girly voice. It's pretty wussy. In fact, the whole show is rather...um...gay. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it seriously is. To the point where I don't think it's an accident. Every episode is essentially the same. Prince Adam minces around Eternia with his cowardly pet tiger Cringer, an obnoxious floating thing called Orko, and Man at Arms, a guy with a mustache that makes Freddy Mercury's lip fur look as manly as Magnum PI. Skeletor shows up and tries to take over Castle Greyskull with his gang of muscled rough trade monsters. Adam then lifts up his sword and says, "By The Power of Greyskull, I have the power!" and changes from his purple form fitting pants and blousey shirt to furry underwear and a leather daddy chest straps. Then he beats Skeletor into submission. Kinky.
Not that all this gay subtext is why the show isn't good. The dialogue is God-awful, even by the standards of crappy 80's cartoons. The animation looks crude and rushed, like it was made by children in a Korean sweatshop...which it probably was. The characters are flat and lack any kind of development. Yes, I realize it is a series for kids but other shows like Voltron, Thundercats, and even Transformers at least had some dramatic levels. Still, it's hard to beat He-Man for sheer comedic-action fun. You sort of just have to shut off your brain and ignore the obvious problems in the show. The series later spawned one of the most horrible/incredible live action films of the 80's. Starring Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella, it involves a magic synthesizer, time travel, and a young Courtney Cox. Unfortunately, this masterpiece isn't available on Netflix Streaming yet. I'll let you know when it is.