From time to time Outright Geekery brings you a slanted and biased opinion on some trivially specific topic of geekery. We call it Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot.
I continue my series of Top’s o’ the Lots focusing on the my favorite 1980’s cartoons with this weeks installment of the Lot. Last week and the week before I gave props to my favorite robot stars of weekday afternoon cartoons, and now it’s time to devote some time to the second half-hour of my favorite hour of every week day during grade-school, G.I. Joe. I had a ton of Transformers toys and comics growing up, but the number of G.I. Joe toys and comics I had in my youth puts those numbers to shame. I had all the bases; all the vehicles, both small and gargantuan; all the figures, with duplicates where appropriate, and G.I. Joe made it quite appropriate to own more than one of anything. While my mom couldn’t justify 2 7-foot long aircraft carriers in my room, multiple planes, towers, and especially figures made my room a dangerous looking place…if you were 6 inches tall. Oh, how I wish I still had all of those beautiful pieces…and a warehouse to store them all in.
So, without further ado, I begin a series of G.I. Joe lists, and we yell “Go Joe!”, hope Sergeant Slaughter’s drilling pays off, and enjoy what must have been the largest international military budget ever to exist, as I run down my personal, slanted, and biased choices for Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot: Members of G.I. Joe.
Honorable Mention: The Fridge
This was just too funny to keep off the list, and The Fridge acts as a great example of the way this cartoon’s duality would have only worked in the 1980’s. Here’s a professional football player, William Perry, who weighed in at an incredibly unfit 335.lbs, whose job on the Joes, according to his “official G.I. Joe ranking”, was the Physical Training Instructor. Now, I’m not saying that football isn’t full of great athletes, but certainly there were better choices available. Almost as crazy as having a professional wrestler as a Drill Instructor, I know, and it sort of explains how the Joes were never really able to beat the badguys once and for all, but this one is so crazy that it deserves at least a mention in this Lot. Other slots in this Lot o’ the Top Joes are occupied with actual soldiers.
The Jersey-clad missile specialist of the G.I. Joe team was one of my favs not because he was really anything special, but because he was the perfect balance of awesome and funny. His friendship with fellow Joe Alpine, his severe lack of common (or other) sense, and even the way he constantly chewed bubble gum, certainly an homage to the Bazooka Joe brand of bubble gum, just made him an endearing character. Easy to love, hard to hate. Episodes like “Bazooka Saw A Sea Serpent” are surefire ways to get the full appeal of the character, and, as tough as it is to define the perfect member of G.I. Joe, Bazooka definitely epitomizes the inclusive aspect that was a singular facet of The Joes overall. That gets him a spot in this Lot, and that tone of loving unique characters quickly becomes a trend in this Top.
While it had to be one of the most boring jobs in the entire G.I. Joes (seeing as it was rare that anyone would actually be shot or hurt in any way) the medic/Rescue Trooper never really got much work. Lifeline makes the list because he was a pacifist, a soldier that turned away from violence, and despite every damn version of him coming with a gun of some kind, he made for an intriguing element of the entire G.I. Joe cartoon universe. The whole dynamic of the continuing struggle between G.I. Joe and Cobra was war, and it was a nice breath of fresh air for a show geared toward children to throw a character like Lifeline in the mix. Some Joes criticized his choice, others respected him more for it, and there was that one time he fixed Roadblock’s eyes, but it’s okay to be pretty much useless as long as you make a statement. Well, it is if you want to make the Top o’ the Lot, anyways.
Sometimes all it takes to make my list is wearing an awesome costume, having a great job, and being a really cool looking toy. And that’s why Blowtorch makes this list. Just look at that! A flamethrower; An asbestos suit in bright as the noonday sun orange and red (cause who needs to hide when you have THAT kind of firepower?); A completely out-of-place Irish accent that gave the Joes that sense of internationalism it needed. I just really like this character, and it’s a slanted and biased list for a reason. For the next spot on this Lot, though, it’s more of a “love” thing.
2. Lady Jaye
I’m not even ashamed or embarrassed to say it. Eight year old me had a huge crush on Lady Jaye. She was everything a boy wanted in a woman: confidence, strength, beauty, terrific flying skills (both helicopters AND Trouble Bubbles), and a great javelin throwing technique. That was another thing: Javelins? Really?! But it so worked, the same way Marvel’s Hawkeye’s crazy arrows work. Sure, she may have been related to Destro, and sure she was with that loser Flint, pretty much the reason he doesn’t make the list (I mean, who the hell wears a beret? Not even the actual Green Berets wear the damned things all the time! What a douche?!), but she was my very first cartoon crush, throwing her onto the second to the Top o’ this Lot. Is it any real surprise who takes the Top spot?
1. Snake Eyes
Snake Eyes may have officially been labeled as a Commando, but he was so much more than that. Ninja, silent assassin, loyal friend, ever-present thorn in Cobra’s side, cartoon star, movie star, comic star, an amazingly cool toy, and an animal lover. He had it all! Whether he was kicking it with Shipwreck in my fav Snake Eyes cartoon episode, or saying absolutely nothing at all in the now famous “Silent Issue” of G.I. Joe, or cutting and shooting through battalion after battalion of Cobra troops on my childhood bedroom floor, or even meeting a fellow kindred spirit in the form of a timber wolf, there is simply no comparison and no other possible choice for the tippy Top spot o’ this Lot. Sure, it’s the obvious choice, but it’s obvious for a reason.
See a mistake? Disagree with the choices? Tell us what you think about this installment of Top o’ Lot, join in the discussion and share your opinion.