Let’s get this out of the way quickly because I really want to get into this show. So…we have a podcast, the Car JoeMez Podcast, which you should listen to on iTunes, Soundcloud or wherever it is that you get your podcasts. It’d be greatly appreciated if you could also like, subscribe, rate and/or leave a review since all of that stuff is integral to helping spread the word. Thanks.
With that said, this is going to be interesting. I didn’t even know that this was a thing that existed, but after seeing something about it on an 80s Instagram account that I follow, I made a point of things to see if I could hunt down an episode. Turns out, it wasn’t so hard as most, if not all, episodes can be found on YouTube.
The show is simply called Garbage Pail Kids and if you’re saying, “Joe, sure I remember the cards and stickers, but I don’t ever remember watching this show,” there’s a good reason for that. From everything I can gather, an order was put in for this show, there were 13 episodes produced and then CBS started getting complaints BEFORE IT EVER AIRED from these groups that think they’re more righteous than everybody else because they claimed the show ridiculed the handicapped, glorified violence and was little more than an infomercial to buy GPK trading cards.
Let me reiterate that they put in all these complaints BEFORE THE SHOW EVER AIRED.
Because sponsors were scared of the negative press supporting a show getting this kind of backlash would garner, they started dropping out and the show was pulled from all scheduled slots in the United States. It did air everywhere else in the world, but nope, not America, where we have all those freedoms that the rest of the world doesn’t.
So these episodes exist and can be found in pretty decent quality and now we feel like we HAVE to watch them because some prude, conservative fuckball think they know what’s best for us when all they have to do is just not watch it themselves. So, fuck you, Christian Leaders for Responsible Television. And fuck you, Action For Children’s Television. And, hold up, because I’ve got a fuck you for you too, National Coalition on Television Violence.
It’s fucking Garbage Pail Kids. They’re freaks and mutants. What did you expect?
But if it’s got this whole stigma attached to the point where it never aired in the United States, it’s got to be fucking horrible, right? Now, I’m really interested. Let’s check this bad boy out.
Garbage Pail Kids: Episode 13: “The Fry/A Fishy Story”
Originally Aired: July 19, 1988 in the UK
OK, so right off the bat, I’m assuming this is the typical two short stories made into one full episode based on the title. I think that’s a safe assumption. Especially when the title comes across as “The Fry”.
The first story is a play off the Jeff Goldblum classic movie, The Fly, and features two kids in a bedroom where one has created a teleportation machine. He makes sure to have eliminated the possibility of any actual houseflies getting caught in the machine because he goes to the movies and knows the fucking deal. Unfortunately for him, his friend – a girl, of course – haphazardly throws a little carton of french fries she was holding into the machine thinking it was a wastebasket. Yes, because teleporters and trash bins looks exactly alike.
Also, there’s no evidence of any other fast food. No sodas, wrappers, burgers, chicken nuggets. So this girl just had fucking fries? Who the fuck buys just one thing of fries? And where did she get the money for these fries?
Either way, the other kid ends up crossing DNA with a fucking french fry. When his mom hears all the noise, she comes in and takes the box of fries away and reprimands the kids about junk food. She throws them in the trash, but one of the actual fries also has crisscrossed DNA so the kids need to get that back so they can reverse the polarity of the machine and make this guy a boy again instead of a french fry in shorts who craves having ketchup thrown on his face.
No, I’m serious, that’s a thing.
Of course the garbage men come to pick up the pails immediately after the mom takes the fries away so this becomes a high-stakes chase of the kids trying to get those fries back so they can un-do the science.
To make a long-story short, they eventually do get the fries back and re-do the machine process, but since they’ve been in trash all day, there’s flies around them and the kid doesn’t check for them this time. So he turns into a fly. The mom hears the noise again and is about to come into the room to see what’s going on, but the boy-fly flies out the window to avoid being seen. This is how this story ends. Mercifully.
As a buffer, we get a segment about Moms always being right. Like if she says to stop making that face because it’ll freeze that way, we see the kid’s face actually freezing up and icing over. Sighhhhhhhh.
Then we get to the back half, “A Fishy Story”. So this features the five Garbage Pail Kids that I guess were so offensive to people. They are: Split Kit, Elliot Mess, Terry Cloth, Patty Putty and Clogged Duane.
OK, so yeah, they’re weird. Let’s see how people pick on them for being handicapped.
They’re all on a rowboat that gets overturned. For some reason, there’s a manta ray with a crossbow that shoots a plunger trying to catch a mermaid. So, far, yeah, I’m with. The kids safe the mermaid. OK, now she’s gonna be horrified by the freaks, right?
The mermaid is thrilled to see these kids and recruits them to help her save her father’s ranch from Big Red, the Lobster Banker.The underwater land is set up like the Wild West and the mermaid’s father owns a seahorse ranch. And I can’t see seahorses without thinking of…
Once again, to make a long story short, the town banker has a gang of manta rays who steal the seahorses from the mermaids so they can’t make money and the bank can take ownership of the ranch. That’s pretty f’d up. Thankfully, the GPK help save the day and the Lobster banker and his goons get arrested by the Octopus Sheriff.
At no point did anybody make fun of the handicapped and the violence included wasn’t even real violence, it was basically sight-gags in 80s cartoon world. The crossbows shot fucking plungers for crissakes.
If anything, the Kids here were treated like heroes for having helped save this girl’s family’s ranch.
But so ends our episode.
First things first: the quality of the show wasn’t great. Let’s just focus on that for a bit. I hated the first story and the buffer segment. Just terrible. The second with the actual kids was a big step up, but still kind of clumsy and not all that great. This is just one episode, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world that this was never aired.
Beyond that, I saw nothing happen in this episode that would lead you to believe that the handicapped were being mocked, that it was overflowing with violence or that it was a vehicle for the trading cards. I’m sure there would have been some strategically placed trading card commercials during the breaks, but this was 1988 and other cartoons with full-blown toy lines had been doing that for years already.
So, yeah, I’m bothered by the fact that these groups had enough pull to get the show barred without any of it having been aired, but there’s nothing I saw in this episode that makes me want to see more of it anyway. It’s just this little nugget of cartoon history that I happened to come across.
Like I said earlier, there’s only 13 episodes in total and you can find most, if not all, on YouTube. There’s also a DVD collection that a quick Google search shows me you can find for like $7 if you are so inclined.
At the end of the day, I’m glad I learned something new because even meaningless knowledge makes you smarter, but there are much better cartoons out there for me to spend my time on. Thanks for reading.