Daily Cartoon: GI Joe Ep. 5 “The M.A.S.S. Device, Part 5: A Stake in the Serpent’s Heart”

Welcome to the thrilling conclusion of our dive into the original mini-series that ended up being the springboard for GI Joe becoming a full-on phenomenon in the mid-80s! It’s been a very fun to look back and watch these episodes for the first time in decades and I’m sure the closer will deliver today.

I’m not even just saying this stuff to kiss the people at Hasbro’s ass either. I mean, if they want to send me some of those new Classified Series figures to review on my YouTube channel that would be great, but I’ve already been opening my wallet a bit for those anyway. (You should too. They are really spectacular.)

Back to today: we’re in the final chapter of this intro and the Joes, despite Scarlett being kidnapped by Destro, feel like they finally have a shot of being able to defeat Cobra by having collecting all three of the necessary catalytic elements needed by Dr. Vandermeer to power his own M.A.S.S. Device.

It’s high stakes! High octane! High energy! And it starts now! Continue reading

Mr. Burns’ Starting Lineup

I love baseball. I love cartoons. I love collecting. If you share any combination of those, it’s more than likely that you love “Homer At The Bat” from Season 3 of The Simpsons.

It’s great. As a baseball-obsessed 10 year-old during the height of Simpsons-mania, it felt as if this episode was written directly to appeal to me. To this day, it is one of my all-time favorite things in pop culture.

About a year ago, I decided I was going to put together a collection of the professional players that Mr. Burns brought in as ringers so he could manage the company softball team to a win over the team from Shelbyville.

Roger Clemens, Mike Scioscia, Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Wade Boggs, Ozzie Smith, Jose Canseco, Ken Griffey Jr. and Darryl Strawberry all took bags of money to take fake jobs at the power plant so they could qualify to play for the company team.

Of course, tragedy struck all but Darryl Strawberry who did hit 9 home runs in the championship game, but when it came to collecting them in Starting Lineup form, the tragedy was solely stuck on me. I had assumed this would be a cheap and easy collection to amass and, for all intents and purposes it was, but there was just one figure that had a level of rarity and expensiveness: Mike Scioscia.

Mike Scioscia is probably best known nowadays as the longtime manager of the Anaheim Angels who he led to a World Series title in 2002, but back in 1992, when this episode aired and back in 1989, when his sole Starting Lineup figure was released, he was known as the longtime catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers who backstopped a World Series champion team in 1988 and absolutely crushed 7 year-old me’s heart by hitting a backbreaking home run off Dwight Gooden in Game 4 of the NLCS that year that didn’t end the series, but effectively broke the spirit of my beloved Mets who severely underestimated the Dodgers after having had rolled over them during the regular season.

So when it came to collecting these figures: of course, it was Mike Scioscia.

It’s not that Mike Scioscia was impossible to find – he wasn’t incredibly abundant, but there’s figures out there – it’s the fact that Mike Scioscia was once again hitting me where it hurt most, which at 38 years old now, meant the wallet.

When Starting Lineup figures were first released by Kenner Toys in 1988, they were done so regionally. In your local market, the overwhelming majority of the Starting Lineup figures you would find would be of players on your local teams simply because there wasn’t thought to be much interest by people in players not on their team.

You would find other players – I clearly remember my mom finding me Mark McGwire, Kirk Gibson and Andre Dawson, for example – but those guys were stars. You weren’t finding Dick Schofield, Alan Ashby and Gary Redus at the Kay-Bee Toys in Green Acres Mall in NY.

This simple sales ploy (I don’t mean that in a negative way and the logic behind the marketing and stocking makes plenty of sense, especially when you remember this was a world before the MLB package so you only ever saw your local team outside of a random game of the week and postseason) has led to the value of certain figures being significantly higher than the notable “stars”. Certain figures like Mike Scioscia.

The other eight figures came quickly and inexpensively. I don’t even think I paid more than $10 for a single one of them. But every time a 1989 Mike Scioscia Starting Lineup would pop up on eBay, the prices were far beyond anything I would have ever imagined paying.

Ninety dollars.

A hundred dollars.

A hundred and twenty dollars.

Why is this happening?!

I just wanted to buy some cheap toys and do a really fun unboxing video on my YouTube channel, but as a MOC (mint on card) collector in my heart of hearts, I can in no way now justify tearing open a Mike Scioscia figure when I’m going to pay this much for it.

But I had a plan. How many people out there could actually want this Mike Scioscia? How many hardest of hardcore Dodger fans or completist SLU collectors were out there rubbing their greedy, little hands together, dying to get their mitts on the former All Star catcher? So I waited. Certainly the price would drop at some point. It had to. And in the collecting game, patience is a virtue. The deals are out there, you just have to be willing to wait for them. I knew this would come to me.

So I waited. I tracked the listings on eBay. I did google searches from time to time. I checked Mercari and Facebook marketplace and LetGo. I put in the work because I knew that one day I would taste that sweet, sweet victory over the collecting hobby and have my prize trophy for the price I wanted to pay.

Except that never happened.

Time after time, listing after listing. Mike Scioscia never showed up for any less than $90 and, under no circumstance, could I possibly justify that. I’ve made bigger purchases, sure. I’ve spent more money on toys, absolutely. And it’s made me incredibly happy to do so…but Mike Scioscia? Man, I hate Mike Scioscia.

I tried to forget about it and just put finishing this collection to the side, one piece short of completion while focusing on other things, but it was in my saved listings always looking, watching, judging. It knew. Damn Mike Scioscia knew I was out there, lurking, peeking, never really giving up with the itch just growing stronger. This itch needed to be scratched so I could finally move on with my life.

It was too much to carry on my shoulders any longer. I finally admitted to myself that I had to have it, wallet be damned. Was $100 really going to break me? No, but that’s not the point. It’s the principle that I was positive this would be a ten, mayyyyyybe fifteen dollar figure when I decided to put this team together and the fact that I was now stuck paying a multiple of that just absolutely burned me. You got me, Mike Scioscia. You win. I tap.

So I turned the lights off in my apartment because I didn’t want to be seen doing what I was about to do. This wasn’t necessary since I live alone, but I was ashamed. I folded. Thirty-two years after the fact and I had become my biggest regret: I had folded like the 1988 Mets at the hands of Mike Scioscia. I did. I went on eBay and I found a listing for it. It was right there: Mike Scioscia, 1989 Starting Lineup. Mint on card. Just $90.

But I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t allow myself to do this. So I did the next best thing: made a best offer of $75. It was still 7.5x more than I actually wanted to pay, but I told myself that $75 is way better than $90 and that I wouldn’t be losing here. I wouldn’t be winning either, but if I could just get the price down that little bit, I’d look at this standoff with Mike Scioscia as a draw and not the lopsided victory he would have had again over me.

It worked. The buyer accepted my $75 offer and I wrestled Mike Scioscia to a hard-fought draw. My collection of 1992’s City Champion Springfield Nuclear Power Plant team of ringers was now complete.

You almost got me again, Mike Scioscia. But you didn’t break my heart again, oh no, this time you merely just slightly bruised my ego and that’s OK. Because I only slightly gave in to my principles and we’re all forced to compromise our beliefs at some point to get what we want.

Is it over? Hardly. There will be another. Another collection to complete. Another figure to buy. Mike Scioscias under different names. But for today, for this battle, I didn’t completely lose. And sometimes, just “not losing” is true victory.

The complete lineup, one through nine

Email: ShoesOnSports@gmail.com

Twitter: @MaxSexPow

Daily Cartoon: GI Joe Ep. 4 “The M.A.S.S. Device, Part 4: Duel in the Devil’s Cauldron”

Welcome to the fourth installment of the GI Joe mini-series. Everything has been going swimmingly thus far for us as viewers, but it’s been very different for the Joes as they continue to fight from behind to collect the catalytic elements that will power their own M.A.S.S. device that could be the turning point in this battle with Cobra, a ruthless, terrorist organization determined to rule the world.

The Joes caught a break in the last episode when Snake Eyes, by some act of god, didn’t die of radiation poisoning and was able to bring back a supply of the Arctic crystals that Dr. Vandermeer was insistent on needing. However, the canister that contained those crystals starting emitting a poisonous gas into the air in the command center rendering everyone there unconscious which is where we’ll pick up today.

Damn, I love these multi-parters. Ready? Let’s do it. Continue reading

Daily Cartoon: GI Joe Ep.3 “The M.A.S.S. Device, Part 3: The Worms of Death”

Welcome to part three of our into to GI Joe through the original mini-series! I have to admit that I was stepping into this with some trepidation, but – so far – this re-watch has gone splendidly.

When we left off yesterday, Cobra had kidnapped all the world leaders by using the M.A.S.S. Device and brought them all to the mysterious Cobra Temple. Duke, who was being held captive there, escaped and made it back to GI Joe, but is still too out of it to remember anything that could help the Joes find Cobra’s secret base.

Also, GI Joe continues to attempt to build their own M.A.S.S. Device with the help of Dr. Vandermeer, but to do so, they’ll need three catalytic elements and they’ve already failed in being able to acquire the first one: a radioactive crystal in the arctic where they’ve also appeared to leave Snake Eyes for dead.

It’s high-octane excitement from start to finish! You may have an entire seat to sit and watch this today, but you’ll only be needing the edge of it! Let’s go! Continue reading

Daily Cartoon: GI Joe Ep. 1: “The M.A.S.S. Device, Part 1: The Cobra Strikes”

I know we’ve been watching TMNT for the past few weeks, but I’ve been on a major GI Joe nostalgia kick of late with all the awesome new toys they’ve been releasing so I couldn’t help but want to revisit the series that sucked me in as a kid. And if I’m going to do that, I may as well blog about it, right? Right.

GI Joe as a brand has obviously been around since what feels like the dawn of time, but it’s the 1980s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline, comic book, cartoon and all the subsequent licensing and marketing that went along with it that made it a real phenomenon. There have been plenty of DVDs produced over the years, but modern technology is a wonderful thing and we now have access to the full original series streaming whether that’s on YouTube – where many complete episodes have been uploaded by Hasbro – or on Tubi – a free streaming app that has the full 85 episode run available.

Eighty-five episodes is good, but you know what’s better? More episodes. Although, the actual syndicated series did clock in at 85, it was actually preceded by two separate five-episode mini-series which became necessary after a series of commercials produced by Marvel Productions to promote the toyline became super popular with kids of all ages craving to know more about this new world they were seeing.

Honestly, if I were seeing these commercials for the first time, I’d be soiling my pants for anything I could possibly get of GI Joe. Give me whatever you’ve got.

Which brings us to today. This week we’ll be watching the initial mini-series which is the “true” beginning to the classic series we all hold near and dear. I hope you’re as excited as I am since it’s been a very long time since I’ve gone back and watched these. Continue reading

Daily Cartoon: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) S03E18: “Cowabunga Shredhead”

Season 3, Episode 18 (36 overall): Cowabunga Shredhead

Original Airdate: October 18, 1989

The Plot:

Michelangelo is in trouble because he ate everybody’s pizza…again. The rest of the Turtles are hopping mad because they were fucking hungry and their brother is a real piece of shit. Splinter says that Michelangelo has been warned before so now he has to apply Kung Pow: the ancient art of mind-control to get him to stop craving pizza.

Sidebar: if it was this easy, why didn’t Splinter put all of his boys on this mind-control diet? Sure, they get plenty of exercise, but it’s only a matter of time before all that pizza catches up with them. Can’t be a lean, green fighting machine with all those carbs slowing you down. And I should know. We can smell our own. Continue reading

Daily Cartoon: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) S03E17: “Turtles, Turtles, Everywhere”

Season 3, Episode 17 (35 overall): Turtles, Turtles Everywhere

Original Air Date: October 17, 1989

The Plot:

April’s doing a big story on the city’s new recycling center. It’s entirely automated: from the CPU actually running the engineering on the inside to the trucks being sent out on city streets to retrieve trash. Only a matter of time until Krang and Shredder want to re-wire these circuits to take out the Turtles.

The Turtles, to their credit, get inspired by April’s story to finally clean up their sewer lair which has become a complete dump. Says a lot about Splinter’s parenting if he can’t even get his kids to clean their room. Luckily, they’ll listen to a sassy redhead on TV to finally clean up after themselves. Continue reading

Daily Cartoon: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles S03E16: “Four Musketurtles”

No time to waste, let’s get right into it!

S03E16 (Ep. 34): Four Musketurtles

Original Air Date: October 16, 1989

The Plot:

There’s a Mardi Gras parade in NYC and April is covering it for Channel 6. It’s being sponsored by a local jewelry store so of course April makes a point of mentioning and showing off a the priceless Star of Brazil diamond that the store is only too happy to call attention to.

Krang and Shredder are watching the broadcast on the big screen in the Technodrome and…OMG…we have backstory! Krang guffaws at the gem and says it is really the lost element of Dimension-X. He then proceeds to indulge us with a little flashback  that features multiple Krangs including one with a bushy Wilford Brimley-style mustache! It was lost long ago, but Krang wants it back immediately! He calls it “Impervium” and says it’s the hardest known substance in the galaxy and that he could create insane weapons with it.

Leonardo has been reading a copy of The Three Musketeers given to him by April, but the other Turtles couldn’t give even the slightest of fucks about it. Not even Donatello and he’s a fucking geek. Leo hits up April on the TurtleCom and asks her to grab some Musketeer costumes for him and his brothers so they can fit in at the parade. While this is going on, Bebop and Rocksteady show up at the jewelry store trying to steal the diamond, but the Turtles show up and during the scuffle the diamond gets bounced around and ends up in a garbage can where it’s found by Irma who pockets it because…obviously.

Leonardo got his wig split during this encounter, however, and now he thinks he’s a genuine Musketeer. This is getting weird and I like it. The Turtles have those costumes April tracked down for them and now they’re forced into wearing them because Splinter says it’s good to humor Leo’s delusions right now. They head back to the surface to track down the diamond, but are soon encountered by Bebop, Rocksteady and Shredder who are obviously doing the same.

So let’s call a time-out here. Take a knee, fam. This is episode 34 now and Shredder has been terrorizing the city for all of them, yet here he is walking around in broad daylight in the middle of town and nobody does a damn thing about it?! Bro, if you see something, SAY SOMETHING! How the fuck you just gonna let this dude walk around like it ain’t no thang?! This is craziness! Literally every fucking day he tries to take over your city and you don’t know who he is?! Does anybody here watch April O’Neil on Channel 6 news?!

God, I’m so fucking livid.

Oh, Shredder notices the gem on Irma, kidnaps her and April and now has possession of the Impervium. There was a whole thing at the parade and it looked like a show so people just stood idly by and cheered. New York fucking sucks.

Krang arrives on the surface strictly because he doesn’t trust Shredder to not backstab him and he was actually right to do so since Shredder was about to use the Impervium to crown himself ruler of Earth. The Turtles hit the scene and Leonardo’s memory suddenly returns just in time to foil the plans of our heels, but seeing them still able to escape BY DRILLING ANOTHER GODDAMN HOLE INTO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH IN A MODULE!

Oh yeah, the gem goes down a sink drain and is lost forever because nobody’s a fucking plumber.

The Thoughts:

Real talk, as silly as this episode probably sounds, I was at least more actively engaged throughout the whole thing. I’m not going to try to convince you that it was great or anything, but it was definitely the most enjoyable episode of the past two weeks. Leo’s temporary amnesia and sudden memory recovery was what it was, but the ridiculousness of everything in here actually was a good thing to make this better than just your average run of the mill TMNT.

Main Man Standings:

OK, after talking it up I’m sure you’re wondering how we’re rating it…

DOUBLE AND A HALF MAIN MAN

** 1/2*

Boom. Literally acceptable mediocrity which is still a big step up from a lot of these episodes! Now I’m even a little excited for tomorrow!

Comments & Concerns:

Email: ShoesOnSports@gmail.com

Twitter: @MaxSexPow

Daily Cartoon: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles S03E15: “Take Me to Your Leader”

Here we go. Another day, another episode.

S03E15 (Ep. 33):  Take Me to Your Leader

Original Air Date: October 13, 1989

The Plot:

Shredder is getting his new plot ready: to steal all the cheese danishes from the surface since it’s so difficult to get good snacks underground, but the Turtles crash the party and temporarily hold him up. I say “temporarily” because they’re waiting for Leonardo to give them direction, but he’s got nothing. Turns out he’s having a dream and he wakes up shook that his judgment is failing and his instincts are shot. After a sparring session with Donatello where he gets his wig split, Leonardo decides he’s not qualified to be a part of this team right now and leaves the Turtles. Continue reading

Daily Cartoon: Teenange Mutant Ninja Turtles S03E14: “20,000 Leaks Under the City”

What’s up everyone and welcome to another week of classic TMNT recaps! Hope you’re strapped in and ready to have your mind melted because this show promises to be an edge-of-your…eh, who am I kidding?

Look, let’s just keep going and try to find the good in all of this. Maybe make some funny jokes along the way. I like to think I’m pretty funny. Maybe I’ll say something good. See how easy that was? Now let’s watch TV. Continue reading