In 1984, a cartoon showed up on Saturday mornings that was immediately an enormous hit. Transformers. Transformers centered around two warring factions of alien robots, the Autobots and the Decepticons. The Autobots were good guys and the Decepticons were bad guys but both factions needed little cubes called “energon cubes” so they could leave Earth and duke it out on some other planet. The leader of the Decepticons was called Megatron and had a voice like a 50 year old woman who smoked all her life. The leader of the Autobots was called Optimus Prime. Can you have a more manly sounding name than Optimus Prime? I think not.
Optimus Prime was a semi truck who turned into a massive, gun wielding robot. Basically in the cartoons, the Decepticons would attack oil tankers, gas lines, power plants, etc.. to create thier energon cubes so they could either enact some evil plan or try to leave the planet. They always failed in the show because Optimus Prime would send other Autobots like Jazz, Bumblebee, and Hotrod to thwart them. They usually did a half-assed job so Optimus Prime would have to go clean up the mess.
No matter what, if you were a kid in the 1980’s you had to love the Transformers. Each season it got better and better with the inclusion of the Constructicons who combined into a massive robot and their Autobot counterparts the Dinobots were just bad asses who talked like drunken retarded people, the Hulk, or some combination therein.
The Beginning of the End
Transformers was made into a CGI extravaganza in 2007 and got great reviews for explosions, robots, and Shia LeBeouf. I thought it was alright but it was a little difficult to tell the Autobots from the Decepticons. During the big fight at the end, I couldn’t really tell who was fighting who because they were all big, gray, metallic jumbles. Maybe I’ll try again someday. Probably not.
In this movie, Optimus Prime has a very modern look and that was just fine. He still looked like he could whip the metal ass of any robot that decided to mess with humans or do anything stupid.
I knew after the ratings of this movie that a new cartoon would follow. Designers always have two choices, stick with the old formula that was adequate or try to be creative and aim for a “new and hip” generation. Unfortunately, this time, they chose the latter.
Game over man. Game over.
I really had no idea that this cartoon existed. This morning while getting the kids ready for school, I saw “Transformers:Animated” on the guide. I clicked it on. What despicable, failure of a company is responsible for this. They need to be prosecuted by someone, for something. I glance at the TV and see some hideous abomination of warped crap that looks like a cross between Bob Denver (Gilligan) and a toaster. The “New and Hip” Optimus Prime has a 12 inch waist, is oddly out of proportion in every way, and has a soul patch. Yes, a soul patch.
This dominant alpha-male robot has become an 18 year old, soul-patch having, probably mocha latte drinking, pathetic piece of garbage. Optimus Prime now uses terms like “Noob” and “Lamer”. I assume to appeal to the Internet crowd such as myself.
Now…Imagine you grew up in the 90s. I’ll use Animaniacs as a reference here. Animaniacs was a good cartoon. It mixed social commentary with silliness just like Looney Tunes my Grandparents watched. What if they remade that so the three whatever they were turned into ipod wearing slackers with stupid puns and one-liners instead of the fairly intelligent jokes they used to have. Horrifying right?
Well, Optimus Prime was first created in a time when Rambo, Rocky, The Terminator, Conan, and even Chuck Norris were what men wanted to be. It was a simple time. Men were men, women were women, and nobody had ADD or Autism.
Now, Optimus Prime looks like he should be serving cappucino and listening to Indie Rock. Men might be women, women have mullets, and the era of macho is 100% gone.
Good Job Guys!
Call me and we can have a triple-shot Venti Caramel Macchiato with non-fat cream and Splenda and banter back and forth about our hairstylists until we kill ourselves when our wives leave us for manlier women.