BrokenJPG

A Copywriter’s Blog
Thundercats, Ho Ben Levy 6, June

I don’t expect everyone to be aware of this, but they should be: Thundercats is coming back.

TCATS_LION_O_Final

This is normally the point where I start screaming and ranting. I normally say something about how the people responsible should be rendered down into jelly, shaped into a penis mold, and fed to the CEO of British Petroleum. However, I’m not going to say that.

I’ll admit that initially I was all prepared to drive to my parent’s house, unearth my original Sword of Omens, and replace the plastic blade with no less than four chainsaws before using it to circumcise everyone involved in this. But then, well… from the press release:

“ThunderCats” is executive produced by Sam Register (”Teen Titans,” “Ben 10,” “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”). Michael Jelenic (”Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” “Wonder Woman”) and Ethan Spaulding (”Avatar: The Last Airbender”) are the producers.

I have never heard of Sam Register before, but this man has apparently scored an animated hat trick in my adult life. Teen Titans, Ben 10, and Batman:B&B are all cartoons I consider on par with the stuff I used to watch Saturday morning in the years before I knew what girls were good for*. Seriously, when there’s nothing on TV, those are the three shows I watch OnDemand. Along with reruns of Batman Beyond, which was possibly the greatest cartoon spin off of the greatest cartoon Batman ever.**

Also, the animation is being done by Studio4°C. You’ve seen their work on Animatrix, among other things. I approve.

If there are people with some brains behind this project, it’ll be fantastic. Thundercats was a show with depth. I’m serious. Tigra had multiple addictions. Lion-O was a grown man with the mind of a ten-year old, thrust into a leadership role. And everyone’s “father” Jaga sacrificed himself to spend decades in isolation and then die alone so the rest of them could survive. And that last one happened in the first episode.

My point is, there’s plenty to pull from, and I don’t think it’s a problem if some of it gets streamlined and re-imagined along the way. He-Manwas remade a few years ago, and they did a half-decent job of it. Thundercats should turn out at least as well.

Admittedly, that’s no guarantee. And you can bet that the second I see Lion-O doing battle with hologram cards or keeping Snarf in a tiny sphere attached to his belt, I’ll be on the phone ordering four chainsaws for overnight delivery. But there are two other reasons I’m cautiously optimistic.

The first is that this is a Cartoon Network venture, not Fox Kids (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward? Really? REALLY?). Secondly, I sent a copy of the first two paragraphs to the CN offices. I think they’ll get the point.

*by which of course, I mean cooking.
**which actually isn’t saying much, because there’s a good chance it was the only cartoon to be spun off of another Batman cartoon. But damnit, it was fucking fantastic anyway. So there.

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I’ve discussed this before. This time it’s the sad state of water guns that has me wishing for the toys of yore.

For a week or two I was planning on taking part in a massive NYC water gun fight. It was supposed to be a huge affair, and I looked forward to the chance to wax nostalgic and wet. One problem. I couldn’t find a suitable firearm.

Just researching the options made me depressed. What the hell happened to Super Soakers? In my day that was some shit you could depend on. The 30 (orange little one). The 50 (standard yellow one). I think my family’s personal liquid-based armory went as high as 100 (rifle-sized blue one), but there were kids on the block rocking that backpack set-up. You bring any of those to a fight, and people know you mean business.

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Now? Now these things look like B-movie sci-fi prop whose sole offensive ability is making an opponent laugh hard enough to pee themselves. What the hell is this?

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I can barely tell which way to point that piece of crap. Seriously, Larami? This is what you’ve let the Super Soaker line devolve into? I’d rather drink a gallon of grape juice and pee on my opponent than bring that to a water gun fight. It would be more respectful to both of us.

This hurts twice as much because Larami made my 90’s era liquid-launching pride and joy. I can’t find an image of it, but it’s easy to describe: My gun was a Desert Eagle. It took 3 AA batteries, and the water container actually loaded into the handle where a real gun’s magazine would go. Aside from the fact that it was made of bright blue plastic with hot orange highlights (ok, so maybe the colors have always been horrible) it was as perfect a replica as any kid would want. And the power.

This gun liquified paint at 9 feet. Sure, the magazine was small, requiring way more fill-ups then your standard neighborhood Super Soaker. Didn’t matter. It raised welts through a Hanes t-shirt. Like Tony Stark and his father before him, I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once. And baby, this was it.

While those other pussies were pumping their Supers, I held the trigger and laughed like a maniac as they scrambled for cover. And that was what I intended to do this past weekend. Do you know how many battery operated waterguns I could find online? One. One gun. And nobody seems to stock it anymore. Seems it’s too dangerous.

Really? Dangerous? Aside from drowning and using a toaster in the bathtub, water is pretty damn impossible to hurt yourself with. If your kid is so incompetent as to get permanently damaged in a water gun fight, I think it’s time to place the blame on something other than the weapon. Just count the score as Darwin: 1, Your Gene Pool: 0, and hurry the kid along to the inevitable conclusion. Better luck next time.

And as far as Larami and the rest of the water gun community goes, you guys need to step it up. If this is the best we’ve got out there, it’s no wonder child obesity is up. Who the hell wants to go outside and play with that shit?

That’s right. I said it: Larami’s Weak Sauce Soakers cause child obesity. You read it here first.

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You kids today, think ya got it all. Well, maybe ya’ll have cellular phones tucked into ya diapers, but there’s one thing you don’t have: real toys in your cereal. Let Uncle Benny tell ya what it was like in the good ol’ days.

Back in the day, all the cereal boxes had prizes inside. Real prizes, not crap about “send in 300 boxtops and we might give ya sumthin in 6 weeks”. We didn’t wait six friggin weeks! No sir, if there was a prize you got it the day you opened the box. A physical plastic toy, hand-glued and painted by poorly fed orientals only a few years younger than you were.

I just bought a box o’ Cheerios. The box said there was a SPEED RACER TURBO CAR INSIDE! I opened the box, and here’s what I found:


Right from the start I can tell- childhood today sucks. Back in 91′, I once opened a box o’ cereal and got a painted figure o’ Ducktales. That masterpiece of plastic was like a tiny version o’ Michaelangelo’s David that was then painted by DaVinci.

But whaddya kids get? A single color piece o’ plastic. Inside the first bag, it’s shrink wrapped with- I still can’t believe it- directions.


In my day, cereal toys was awesome cause they was free. Mom paid for it, the Chinese built it, all you had to do was play with it. That’s how it was in my day. You kids have it that good? No, your toys today come with stickers. Like this:


I don’t care if you can hire pirates to download your free iPods off the interwebs, today’s childhood sucks.

My favorite part is how the stickers are on the flip side of the directions. So ya can’t look at both at once unless you have a sticker stuck to your sweaty little sausage finger, losing all it’s stickiness as you try and figure out where the hell it goes on your car. Don’tcha look at me like that, ya know I’m right.

If it was just that the stickers didn’t stick, I coulda understood. If it was just that the patterns didn’t line up no good, well, that’s how it was in the old days too. And if the wind up motor got stuck and it barely moved, I mighta said “yeah, these kids today got it pretty good”. All that stuff is tradition. Builds character.

Then THIS happened:


I know I put the sticker on right. It’s the only way it fits, and I checked them directions twice. But I don’t know if I should complain, cause that’s exactly how it looks on the box:


In my day, they had the decency to put in a little effort and lie to you about it. I guess they just can’t spend the trouble on youngsters these days. Makes ya wonder who won the war.

Now here comes the icing on the cake. Them Hollywood advertising people can’t even be bothered to put their own logo on the toy. No, they gotta have you do that for them:


I don’t know how much them child-laborers get fed these days, but it’s too much.

Look, I know you kids think your life is great. You’ve got that free porn you can load down whenever you want, and all the phones have texturing now. But let me tell ya sumthin: If ya ain’t got real toys in ya cereal, ya’ll got nuthin.

My advice? Don’t spend all your efforts putting upside-down stickers right-side up on plastic pieces o’ crap. Start working on a time machine and set it for 1985. Cause today’s childhood sucks.