Last time we talked about the television that which inspired young Josh before he started attending Kindergarten. There was a lot of psychedelic 70’s nostalgia in that essay and I loved writing it. Sometimes I really miss being a little kid. We didn’t have responsibility, we had the best toys, and my grandma let me have all the ice cream and Orange Crush I wanted.
Being a kid was awesome… of course now I get boobs, steak, booze, and blowjobs. Compared to that being a little kid was stupid and young Josh needs to stay locked in the mental basement where I keep the clowns and the Grimace who I was always convinced ate the children who patronized the McDonalds Play Place.
This time we will discuss the shows that I loved and continue to inspire me to this very day between the ages of 5 and 11/12. After that my life belonged to Star Trek for many years. Trek has been discussed before in the Cautious Descent series but I will be discussing it again in this cycle of essays. But Star Trek deserves its own installment and I will get to it later.
No single television show I experienced before the age of 12 influenced me more than G.I Joe: A Real American Hero (which will be referred to as GI Joe for the remainder of this essay). This also applies to toys as I’ve mentioned in an earlier essay. When I return to the world of comic books The Joe’s will return for a third and final appearance in this series. They will NOT be making an appearance in the Movie’s portion of this series because I refuse to believe those childhood raping installment exist. Although to be fair Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was awesome in the second one, which was a watchable movie but didn’t cleanse my pallet enough from the first one. Watching that first movie was like letting a hobo jerkoff in my mouth.
I read the GI Joe comic book long before the first television movie was broadcast. So I knew the characters and understood the back story of much of what was to come. I sat down that night and watched enthralled by the pace and the story telling, I’d never seen anything like it. This was in the days before the VCR was common place and a long time before somebody of my economic station had access to one. Therefore the only way to relive the awesomeness was to talk about it. And that was exactly what we did at school the next day until we were blue in the face.
The GI Joe television show was a phenomenon.
I don’t think I can put it in context for people who were not there to experience it firsthand. In this day and age when a cartoon blows up in popularity, Adventure Time and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic are the examples that spring to my mind, everyone knows in half an hour. Okay that may be an overstatement but in this interconnected world we live in people know everything in hours at the most.
And to be honest I love it!
Back in the days of word of mouth and monthly fan magazines it was hard to find fellow fans. It was akin to standing outside restroom stall and tapping your foot hoping the person inside got the point of the gesture. (Yes I stole that line nearly word for word from Kevin Smith’s seminal work “Tough Shit” just get over it). To make matters worse my best friend Jason was NOT a fan of GI Joe, in fact the only two other fans I knew were my Step uncle Bert (He of hay bale castle)and that toy stealing bastard Nathan Smith.
GI Joe was my first gateway into the realm of fan fiction. I’ve talked about this before but I think it needs to be restated because damn the show, and the comic books, was really important in my early creative life. There were three episodes of the show which in the end altered the way I look at writing and storytelling.
I am presenting the three episodes (one is a two parter) with very brief synopsis followed by an explanation of what I learned from them and why they’ve stuck with me until this very day.
Episode: 136/137 “Worlds Without End”
I think it’s safe to say this was the storyline which changed everything for me. In this story several of the Joe’s are involved in a training accident which results in them being shifted to a parallels dimension where Cobra defeated GI Joe and conquered the entire world. The Joe’s team up with the resistance, lead by the Baroness in an effort to get home.
This was the second time I was exposed to the idea of different timelines, the first having been the Star Trek Episode “Mirror Mirror”. It would be several years before I read the X-Men storyline “Days of Future Past” and had my mind completely blown. The idea that things could have been so different in another world yet so the same would influence the way I viewed or took in any form of fiction from that day forward.
Episode: 141 “The Gods Below”
This could be considered the “Jump the Shark” episode of GI Joe. In this one a team of Joe’s and a Team from Cobra travel to the dimension of the ancient Egyptian gods. It was a fun episode with Cobra trying to play the gods and the Joe’s convincing them that they were on the side of righteousness.
There is not a whole for m to say about this one other than it gave me the idea that ancient mythology could be mixed with modern Idea’s and something very cool would be the result. This was without a doubt my first introduction to the true mashup.
Episode: 207 “Computer Complications”
This is Romeo and Juliette done in GI Joe fashion and with no suicide. The overarching story has to do with computer espionage but that is just the backdrop for the true story. This was a love story. There had been “Romance in GI JOE” before. The Baroness and Destro had a torrid love affair while Lady Jay and Flint danced around the no fraternization rules time and time again. But in this one a member of Cobra (Zaranna) infiltrates the US government and in the process she falls in love with a Joe (Mainframe) who shares the feelings even after it’s revealed she’s an enemy agent. He final shot of them both looking at the same moon, he from a hospital bed and she from a Cobra encampment, is beautiful and haunting.
I know this is going to sound stupid but I learned Romance in part from this episode. I was so shocked that they did a bona fide romance and then several episodes later called back to when they had Zaranna let Mainframe go when she had him dead to rights without hesitation. It touched me even back in the 5th grade in a way which has never left me. I don’t know who thought of that but I would like to meet them and shake their hand.
There were other episodes that call to me in different ways but those are the three which always come to my mind when I think of the show. I watched other cartoons in those years. Robotech, Voltron, He-Man, Thundercats, and Transformers were the other biggies and while they all influenced me and I loved each of them they were minor players compared to GI Joe when it come to cartoons which would eventually influence my creativity.
When it comes to non cartoon shows there were several, other than Star Trek, which standout. Nightrider, The A-Team, Battlestar Galactica (watched in syndication), and The Twighlight Zone were all important and influential in my formative years. But there was one show, really 2 miniseries and 1 really bad season, that punched me in the gut. That would be the series V.
V was groundbreaking. It was the story of a human resistance trying to take back the Earth after aliens called The Visitors have conquered us without firing a shot. Through mind control and seizing key sectors of the economy the aliens are intent on stripping the planet of its water and its people to be used as slaves and food.
While I wrote my first tentative fan fictions on the GI Joe universe I exploded in the world of V. I created whole story arcs and characters that had nothing to do with the series yet fit firmly in the reality they’d established. I reveled in creating in that universe. It was magical and I remember it fondly.
Then my old friend Star Trek returned and nothing would be the same again.
That’s it for this essay. As you can see I definitely have a type when it comes to television shows. I seem to be inspired by the stuff that tends to end up on the Sci-Fi (I refuse to say SyFy mother fucker) channel. That’s not to say I don’t love all types of shows but for the subject of this essay I am concentrating on the shows which helped define my creative style.
That’s it for this one Boils and Ghouls. Next time we dive into the Star Trek Television shows and the atom bomb effect they had on my creatively. We will also speak of my erotic fantasies involving Dr. Crusher and perhaps stripping Star Trek Mego’s nude so Spiderman wouldn’t be lonely.