Besides massively awesome theme songs backed by massively awesome synthesizes, a few 80's cartoons shared another thing in common: completely interchangeable Asian characters. Headband, karate, broken English, and you had yourself an Asian cartoon hero. Bruce Lee may be dead, but his approximate facsimile lives on in 80's cartoons.
Remember this was a time when multicultural team work was all the rage. Pretty much meaning superhero teams were obligated to wheel out a black character and an Asian character, i.e. Super Friends' own Black Vulcan and Samurai. Though the main reason of the Asian stereotype cartoon character is for the make believe. As we all know the easiest playground mimic is the the two finger laser gun complete with “da-dow” sound effect. The second easiest is the karate chop. Palm flat, elbow bent, and you're ready to go. Throw in a high kick for good measure.
Asian Cartoon Characters Who Were Completely Interchangeable
Quick Kick (G.I. Joe)
G.I. Joe's Quick Kick was a California stuntman fueled by movie references and John Wayne imitations, yet he still found time to meet his share of Asian stereotype quota. Head band... check. Tight black karate pants... check. Shirt? Never: every good Bruce Lee wannabe needs to let his oily muscles shine. Quick Kick also came complete with a fancy sash of throwing stars, which he never really had any need to throw. I'm not sure how often he even really kicked...
Karate One (Bionic Six)
Bionic Six was a multicultural family of bionic powered superheroes, complete with African American adopted son and Japanese foster son. Each member of the Bionic Six also had powers in line with their personalities, so if the son who liked sports could hit baseballs at bad guys and the daughter who loved music could shoot sound waves. Of course, their resident bionic Asian did bionic karate, and was creatively named Karate One. Why go through the hassle of learning actual karate when mechanical limbs will do all the work for you? While not a memorable character or cartoon, Karate One was voice by veteran nerd actor, Brian Tochi, and that's a good thing.
Bruce Sato (M.A.S.K.)
While, Bruce Sato was not a martial arts expert, he was named Bruce. This fake Bruce was actually named Bruce, the creators of M.A.S.K. weren't even trying to hide the Bruce Lee reference. Bruce was a good ol' fashion Asian nerd and mechanical engineer. Not a bad role model, except M.A.S.K.'s token Asian had the unfortunate habit of speaking in Confucius, fortune cookie speak. You don't know how many times I have to explain over the phone that I'm not Yoda. And like all Asians, Bruce played with toys and created anti-gravity fields. It's true America: WE FLOAT! Beware and watch the skies.
Or Topanga Meets Sandwich
Danielle Fishel, best known for playing mega haired Topanga on Boy Meets World, was a great nerd crush. Topanga was smart, quirky (perhaps a bit too granola), and she hung out the venerable dorks like Minkus and Ben Savage. So, we say to ourselves, surely she would want to hang out with Wolf Gnards. If this cute girl likes those geeks, a lesser geek, such as my teenage self, must have looked like I walked right off the cover of Tiger Beat. Every prepubescent little nerd dreams of meeting a nice nerd girl, putting in the work, earning her heart and whatnot, then she accidentally or magical becomes hot, and then she's stuck with this homely nerd who put in so much effort.
Fishel actually dated Ben Savage both on the show and in real life. This wasn't just following the script. Ben Savage, best known for being a mutant growth of Fred Savage, actually dated Danielle Fishel. He fondled her big hair and other fondlable things. Not only that though, Fishel then turned around and dated Joey Lawrence's little brother (also on Boy Meets World). Dating Topanga is easy, just trap yourself in a room with her (where you're one of the few other members of the opposite sex), and constantly explain who your older brother is.
Me: Don't you know my brother is Ron Gnards.
Topanga: Ron Gnards you say... and I'm trapped in this elevator with you.
Topanga: I guess we better make out then.
Me: I guess so.
So, what happened to this hot young star, well she got less hot and less young. But she's still a fine geek crush. Danielle Fishel hosts The Dish on some lady network, which is kind of like Wolf Gnards for girls.
Topanga's Weight Gain
Danielle has an inverse hair to body relationship. See as Topanga's hair on the show decreased, her weight seemed to increase. Perhaps her body compensated for the change in mass. Regardless, Danielle got curvier, and curvy in a very good sort of way. But her hair kept getting straighter and straighter, clearing a pathway for sandwiches.
This doesn't change a thing.
- She's still cute.
- More of her to love.
- She's just becoming more attainable.
- Given her shortness and new width, she is roughly the same shape and size as R2-D2 and I love me some R2-D2.
Heroes makes the promise of Hiro goodness and let again let's me down. Overall a negative one on the Asian scale.
1. Too much Claire... - 1. All the promos promised a very special episode with Hiro's coma, and once again the show has dissolved down to the Claire Show starring Claire featuring Claire with a special appearance by Claire. I like chunky butts as much as anyone, but enough is enough.
2. Dream sequence... -2. A dream sequence is like kissing your sister, in the end it leaves you unsatisfied and slightly dirty. Hiro has gotten so far from being a significant cast member that his biggest moment of the season is in a dream.
3. Finally got to fight Adam Monroe... +2. The big fight that should have happened like 3 seasons ago, finally happened. Better late than never. Hiro got his gnards back, well, half a gnard at least.
Real Genius as we now know is pound for pound the greatest Val Kilmer movie of all time. Go ahead, name a better? Val Kilmer might have entered a different weight class, but try to harken back when he was a young genius with the world ahead of him. A world full of five megawatt chemical lasers and t-shirt wearing boy geniuses. A world full of lovely Jordan Cochrans and sexy Deborah Foremans.
And that leads us to the Wonders of Death Rays:
Mythbusters did an episode that recreated the famous popcorn exploding house scene. But sadly with miniatures. There experiments showed a laser could pop a popcorn kernel, but the expanded popcorn kernels could never burst through glass and wood. Instead the popcorn simply burned. But I don't have a problem with the popcorn demolished home, or the invention of the 5 megawatt laser (a laser several magnitudes more powerful than any laser in actual existence even today). The only problem I had with it was that it was unsanitary... parents, don't let your children frolic in strange glass filled popcorn. My problem is from earlier... no, not Jordan's attraction to Mitch.
What is the quickest path from point A to point B? A straight line... which is exactly the course the laser tore through campus. What I had a problem with was when Val first fired up the laser and it cut a path through the school. The laser cut through the brick target and the wall and building and a statue and a tree, all the way to a hamburger joint on the other side of the quad. Where the wacky gang joyfully ate hamburgers with little regard to the carnage they caused. If a laser can burn a perfect hole through an oak tree or a metal statue, it probably wouldn't have a problem cutting through a person. How many students had to die to feed Val Kilmer's ego? Campus security at the very least would have questions about the holes appearing all over school.
They didn't care about the random students in the path of the laser.
Or the Dean's prized cockapoo.
Or even Jordan.
The first thing I would have thought was, I hope I didn't kill a bunch of people, not I could really use a hamburger. And not only do they not realize that half the campus is dead, but they don't even realize that they invented a weapon. These were supposed to be geniuses and they couldn't figure out a laser that burns through a college could be used for something bad. And when they do realize it, what's the only logical course of action? Blowing up a house with popcorn because as we all know the government really respects madcap hijinks.
Two nerds enter, one nerd survives. Fact Pile puts up the ultimate pop culture head to heads. These Comic Book Battles pit some of our favorite characters against each other like Heroes vs. X-men. This would be a pretty even fight considering Heroes would just do the same exact moves as X-men, but with 60% more racial stereotypes.
This site makes me want to do my own nerd battle:
Steve Urkel vs. Samuel “Screech” Powers
They both invented artificial intelligent robots: Urkelbot and Kevin. They both dated girls out of their league: Urkel had both Myra and Laura, Screech had Tori Spelling and Kelly Kapowski (one very special episode). And they both apparently liked to fold their arms.
- Can transform into Stefan Urquelle and Bruce Lee Urkel
- Has a jet pack!
- Friend in Corner: Eddie Winslow
- Legions of identical cousins
- Signature catch phrase: Did I do that?
- Higher Pitched voice (Despite the fact that Screech is named Screech)
- Typical nerd glasses
- Tight pants
- The Urkel Dance
- Actually won on celebrity boxing
- Chess champion
- Friends in Corner: Zach Morris and A.C. Slater
- Never got Lisa Turtle
- Curly hair
- Grew into fat jerk
- Screech porn
Check out Fact Pile for more Character Battles!
I have a topic I was wondering if you could tackle, though. Specifically: (how) is it possible that computer technology in 1996 could have infiltrated and infected the aliens' technology to defeat them [in the movie Independence Day]? Was it advanced enough at that time for that task? Thanks so much for your time and I look forward to future articles!
The Independence Day plan hinged on 1. Fixing alien technology 2. Flying alien technology into outer space (complete with chairs made for human butts) 3. Docking with the alien mothership 4. Beaming a virus onto alien mothership. 5. Then escape from exploding alien mothership. There are a great number of assumptions that go into this plan, the least of which were the technologies matching up. You have to assume the spaceship is in working condition and is space worthy. This was the Roswell crash ship, so you would think that it crashed for a reason (plus fiery crashes usually have adverse effects on things). You have to also assume the mothership would be eager to tractor beam in any old passing ship. And you have to assume that not only the mothership had Wi-Fi, but they forgot to switch on the password protection. Yes, they used our satellites, but why would we assume beaming a code to them would be an option? And of course they forgot to install their alien Norton's. But besides all that it's a perfect plan.
As to the technology behind the daring-dos of Independence Day, there are three possible explanations.
Computers Come From Aliens
A PC can communicate with alien ship because a PC is alien technology. Let's follow this conspiracy theory white rabbit as far as it can go. The famous Roswell crash happened in 1947, and while super computers using vacuum tubes were around in the early 40's, superior transistor and microchip technology wasn't around until the 60's and 70's. Aliens! In fact, one of the first working transistors was developed in 1947... coincidence? Of course, but I'm willing to except it. The problem is less about the hardware than the software. As far as I know, we don't code in alien languages. Now you can simplify everything and just say that binary code and math is a universal language, but we have ones and zeroes and aliens could have gleepglops and meatzorps. Might not mesh, luckily the aliens were also running windows. Yes, Bill Gates stole Windows not from Apple but from Area 51.
It's an Alien Virus
We assume that we made the virus, that a hand full of nerds managed to code a massive alien computer virus in a few hours, but it's more likely the virus is alien in origin. The Roswell ship malfunctioned for a reason, right? The aliens were probably downloading some hot alien porn (Check out the forums already devoted to Avatar's Neytiri), and picked up some alien spam that crashed their system. They did need to get worked up after all for all that farm boy anal probing. All we needed to do was isolate an already existing virus on a ship we had 50 years to play with, and spread it to the other alien ships, most likely in an email titled “You've inherited a large sum of money from a dead uncle who is totally not an earthing on a suicide mission, but a real alien like yourself.” Works every time.
It's Jeff Goldblum!
Mission accomplished. That's all you need to say: Jeff Goldblum. It's like saying McGyver in the 80's. The Independence Day script ended: And then Jeff Goldblum Jeff Goldblummed the hell out of it, Will Smith lights cigar... The End. We know Jeff Goldblum is the world's best scientist... in movies, whatever wacky plan he comes up with will work. In cinema, Einstein's formula is E=mcGoldblum. The world didn't fight for its independence, Jeff Goldblum Jeff Goldblummed for his Jeff Goldblum. Goldblum!