Cartoon Corner: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Review (1983)
Updated: Nov 20, 2022
Show Name: G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (aka Action Force in the United Kingdom)
Genre: Military Action-Adventure, Superhero and Military Science Fiction
Developed by: Ron Friedman
Number of Episodes: 95
Seasons : 2
Air Dates: September 12th, 1983 - November 20th, 1986
This iconic cartoon is up there in terms of popularity to He-Man and Transformers. Even though you may not be a fan of the show, everyone has heard the name of G.I. Joe. It has one of the most recognizable theme songs and many kids would rush home to watch it. Let us see if it is as good as I remembered it to be.
As many of these types of cartoons, the main goal of this how was to promote toy lines. So in order to promote these toys, Hasbro partnered with Marvel productions to create 30 second TV spots.
These were popular enough to merit a mini-series. So they created this and it was called M.A.S.S Device. Due to the popularity of this 5 part mini-series, another one was created called The Revenge of Cobra. This story as you would have guessed is based on one of the best villains ever in animated series' called Cobra Commander.
Then since the mini-series was such a success they were called to have a full season of episodes which back then was 65 episodes. Remember, these shows ran 5 days a week. So many episodes had to be created in order to fulfill the air time.
After all this, G.I. Joe was slated for a theatrical release. This was to be the first of the series of animated series to movies that Hasbro had planned. Apparently, G.I. Joe was supposed to be the first movie to be released. However, due to delays the movie was delayed and Transformers: The Movie was released first. Since I was a big fan of these movies, I never realized that they were considered flops back in the day. Due to the considered flops of both the Transformer and My Little Pony movies, G.I. Joe was a straight to video release.
There was supposed to be a season 3 after the movie, however Marvel Productions lost the rights to G.I. Joe and this was never completed.
There were a few other cartoon series after the original. One of them was produced by production company DiC. These aired from 1989 (mini-series) to 1992. There was also a series that ran from 1994 to 1996.
Why do I like G.I. Joe: A Ream American Hero
1) Theme Song
Come on. You know it. We all know it and we hummed it as a kid. Like any other great cartoon it all starts with the theme. Here is the theme once again for your listening pleasure.
2) The characters
There were many characters that one could like. I personally always like Sgt. Slaughter as he was also a former WWF and AWA wrestling Superstar at the time. Although he was only there for parts of the series.
I guess I am a sucker for villains as I loved Cobra Commander. There is something about it that made you hate him and that is what I liked about it. He was a true villain to the core and he had that distinctive voice.
I used to also like Storm Shadow which was a Ninja that would protect Cobra Commander.
I would also like Hawk for his name alone. I know it is superficial but hey I was 8 at the time.
3) PSA (Public Service Announcements)
This was something that was popular back in the 80's. He-Man was notorious for having these at the end of their show. G.I. Joe was no different. They had many PSA's such as this one:
If you did not know, many years later there were parodies of the PSA's announcements. Here are a few.
This cartoon is still a classic. I have not watched any of the newer shows but I still remember these episodes like they were yesterday. Although the show was a basic Good against Evil, it was fun to watch.
As I mentioned before the theme song is still a classic. It is up there in terms of all TV Theme songs. For animated series, I am still a bigger fan of the themes for He-Man and Transformers.
The show still holds up to this day. Of course we are influenced by today's political climate and that may deter some people from watching it, but it still hold up.
I am not sure if this kind of animated series would happen today for kids in prime time. I think that someone out there would deem these shows too violent. May be they are right, but it never really affected me. I think that it was harmless fun.
I would recommend to watch at least a few episodes if you never had a chance to. It would be good to see how cartoons were made back then. The animation was a lot better than with He-Man or She-Ra.
Rating: 4 Cobra agents on 5
What do you think of this series? Did you like it as a kid? let me know in the comments below.