Thank You, Hanna Barbera: Godzilla

Drawn by my friend, Derek. It’s a sweet picture, they say.

So far in this series, we’ve seen basketball playing superheroes, a musical family transported into the future, and the biblical epic of a transsexual and his dog/lion. Thanks, Hanna Barbera. You sure knew how to capture the minds of children and stupider children, even in your darkest of days. However, the icing on your cake was transforming a worldwide icon, Godzilla into a wish fulfillment fantasy, the wish being “Man, I really wish Godzilla had a retarded son.”

Godzilla (Gojira) was invented by Toho in 1954 and has gone on to star in 29 different movies. He is a metaphor for the nuclear age and the destruction it causes. He represents a damaged generation of Japan, and is fury incarnate. But foremost, Godzilla is the biggest example of “not giving a shit,” that’s ever been presented in media. He’s 30 stories of atomic fire breathing, reptilian bad ass and he pretty much destroys anything he sees fit to, which is usually everything. Hanna Barbera saw this and had a better plan. Instead of all this cool stuff, they could give him a Scooby-Doo sounding bastard child, and a ship and boring crew that basically served no purpose other than to walk directly into danger and then call for Godzilla to get them out of there.

The Opening: The opening of the show starts out kind of cool, I guess. Godzilla rises from the ocean to a chorus of “Godzilla” and incinerates his own name, establishing his astrological sign as “Awesome.” The Godzooky shows up, tumbles and then back to more fire. I could describe in more detail, but I find that the video is worth a thousand, lame words.

The Show Itself: Episodes of “Godzilla” usually consisted of a one act structure.

Act 1: Something quite dumb happens.

I know that, in most cases, the phrase “Parade of Why-The-Hell-Are-You-So-Stupid?” seems like hyperbole, but to the crew of the Calico, it was an everyday activity. They lived and died by that phrase. It was their “Don’t tread on me.” The Calico crew was made up of four people:

Captain Carl Majors, the goatee wearing leader, who’s resume for getting the job as Captain must have read “Carl Majors. I have the ability to not crap my pants WHENEVER I WANT!”

Quinn Darrien, a female scientist. I use the term scientist loosely. With a crew like this, being able to remember the purpose of a door knob would’ve counted as a scientific achievement.

God speed, Calico crew. Hopefully you find adventure.

Brock, Quinn’s Assistant. Brock is the only character who escapes the show with some sort of dignity. This is probably due to him being black, making him cool by default. There is some internet debate on whether Quinn was sleeping with Carl or Brock, but I go with the latter. It’s only justice that natural selection would’ve taken away Carl’s ability to procreate by now.

Pete, Quinn’s nephew. Pete let children live out the idea of what it would be like if life was inherently awful. Pete’s main role on the show was to yell about things, making declarative statements about whatever the hell was going on at the time, before Godzilla roared so loud that no one could hear him.

It was truly a dream team assortment, only improved by Godzooky, the aforementioned retarded Godzilla child. Not much is known about Godzooky, other than the fact that he sucks. He can’t breathe fire, he walks like a loop of Bambi’s first steps, and his ability to get himself trapped is remarkable. Godzooky has foresight like Shaq has small, white feet. Spike pit? No problem. Godzooky will probably teeter totter over to it and jump in. Giant squid? Not a problem for Godzooky, who will somehow manage to piss it off. My theory is that Godzooky had a death wish, but was constantly stopped by Godzilla or the Calico crew from acting it out. In this case, Godzooky is a tragic and an almost Shakespearean figure. But he still sucks.

No one knows what happened to Godzooky’s mother. My guess is that she died of maternal frustration.

Godzilla in this show doesn’t fare well at all either. His animators had the memories of shellfish so his size is constantly changing. In one scene, Godzilla will be the size of a ship and in the next he will have magically grown sky level. His roar is so obviously a human growling into a microphone that it comes off as some kind of irony. His fighting skills include losing and then barely not losing. Hanna Barbera’s Godzilla is a castrated monster. No wonder he never hangs out with Godzooky. Godzilla is too ashamed of himself.

Godzilla fights no classic villains in the merciful 26 episode run of the program. Instead, they’ve been replaced by “generic underwater mad man 2” and “bird in a volcano 3.” Nonetheless, they all pose a threat to Godzilla, who, in this series, can both breathe fire and shoot lasers out of his eyes. Come on, Godzilla. You have eye-lasers. That’s like strapping an AK-47 to a bazooka. It’s complete overkill and you should be a little more useful.

Necessary: Hanna Barbera’s Godzilla is necessary only if you like Hanna Barbera’s Godzilla. I don’t diss anyone who does as some people find this show to be “classic.” However, that use of “classic” is often confused with “old,” and, in that case, “The Great Depression” and “American Soldiers Unprepared For Guerilla Warfare In The 60’s” are both very classic.

Legacy: Hanna Barbera’s Godzilla gave American nerds something to hate until the 1998 movie came out. When that happened, the audience moved onto bigger fish. However, when you still wake up crying softly “Calico…..,” you know that there are some things time cannot replace.

Note: In its 3 year run, Godzilla went through seven different names. Seven attempts to fool people into thinking that they had made it out of this whole television thing with their brains still working. These names were:

The Godzilla Power Hour: One episode of “Godzilla” and one episode of “Jana Of The Jungle,” another example of the creative technique “Take something people like and do nothing like that at all.”

You drink every time the show is awful, and your friend doesn’t make it to the hospital in time.

The Godzilla Super 90: The line-up had Jonny Quest reruns added to it, which was like patting someone on the back to console them after a rape.

Godzilla: This title lasted one month before the ratings themselves gave executives a middle finger and quit.

The Godzilla/Globetrotters Adventure Hour: Godzilla and The Super Globetrotters. Suicides in America spike.

The Godzilla/Dynomutt Hour: Godzilla and a show that featured a “super dog.”

The Godzilla/Hong Kong Phooey Hour: Replaced with the concept that, if an hour of Godzilla and a heroic dog didn’t work, then an hour of Godzilla and a heroic dog would work for sure.

Godzilla: The death knell.

Thank you for joining me as I trekked through four of the worst shows I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s was a pleasure to start watching them, painful to get through the middle of them, and a joy to finish them. Now, if you’ll pardon me, my eyes are bleeding.

-Daniel

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