The Angry Czeck remembers Battle of the Planets.
I might be the only one. A quick poll around the office revealed that Battle of the Planets, the cartoon that shaped me into the man I am today, hasn’t exactly withstood the test of time. An intern said she remembered “Captain Planet.” One person said he didn’t remember Battle of the Planets, but he did remember Run, Joe, Run, a Saturday morning television show about a military dog on the run for a crime he didn’t commit. Reward for his capture, $200.
By contrast, Battle of the Planets aimed for higher stakes: The Planet. Or, to be more precise, the planets, though exactly which planets were never thoroughly discussed. It didn’t matter. What mattered was G-Force: a team of “five incredible young people with super powers” who wore bird-jumpsuits, capes, and super-cool motorcycle helmets.
Mark was the pretty-boy leader. Tiny weighed about 300 pounds. Keyop was the youngest and might have been retarded. Princess had the power to stir the loins. And Jason was the malcontent.
I wanted to be Jason. He was the angry one. He drove a race car. You weren’t always sure whose side Jason was on. Jason didn’t like Mark, possibly because he was voiced by Casey Kasem. Princess was hot for Jason because he was so damn don’t-give-a-shit. And Jason wore a number shirt – the number 2 – as a tortured reminder that he was always second to Mark, like some kind of futuristic Hester Prym.
G-Force cruised around in a bad-ass spaceship called the Phoenix that flies so fast, it catches fire. The Phoenix Effect! Balls yes! The Phoenix had, like, an unlimited supply of missiles. When necessary, it could cruise underwater. I didn’t watch every episode, so I wouldn’t be surprised if The Phoenix could super-shrink to the size of a ping-pong ball, or remove excess grease and fat like a George Foreman Grill. The best part about The Phoenix was that if you were a kid, your school scissors made an excellent impromptu model of G-Force’s ultra-slick ride.
Battle of the Planets had everything. The five incredible young people knew space kung–fu, wielded ray guns, ate great big bowels of King Vitamin breakfast cereal, and they drove cool cars when they weren’t battling for planets. I think Keyop piloted some kind of super dirigible. They also had this white-suit-wearing, mustachiod dude who looked like Archangel from Airwolf. He did all the difficult thinking. “Obviously, somebody is exploding atomic bombs in the Earth’s mantle,” he might deduce, or “Clearly, that metal squid means us harm.”
I’m not entirely sure about this, but I think G-Force’s most dedicated enemy was Zoltar, a dude that wore lipstick and might have been a strong candidate for sexual reassignment. He excelled at chortling merrily at his own evilness. Most episodes seemed to conclude with Zoltar pounding his fist on a control panel as he screamed, “NOOOOOOO!”
Because Battle of the Planets was spliced from a Japanese cartoon (Gatchaman), the American version featured a robot, 7-Zark-7, that patiently explained what the hell was going on. It didn’t really matter what was going on. All that mattered was that when the members of G-Force formed a human pyramid, they could spin real fast and make a tornado. You know how brassy your balls have to be to make a tornado in space? You’re not even supposed to fire a pistol in an airplane!
Sure, I didn’t know what was going on during Battle of the Planets. I don’t even know why I’m writing this post, except I’ve consumed two pots of coffee and I love Battle of the Planets. So imagine my chagrin when I learned that the new movie in theaters, G-Force, is about talking hamsters that fight crime. Directed by Jerry Bruckhiemer, no less! Another insult from Jerry Bruckhiemer! I can’t stand it.
Jerry Bruckhiemer brazenly besmirches the name G-Force. Does he realize how many times I ran around the house wearing my bath towel as a cape, imagining that I was punching Mark in the face as Princess fluffed the futon for another marathon evening of love-making in space? No?
Of course not. Jerry thinks only of himself.