Thursday, January 29, 2009

Knock it off! OR: Transistor? I thought it was her gay brother!

So my wife called yesterday and said, "Hey I just saw Clerks 2 and I need to know if you'd be offended by it before I suggest we watch it together. There's this scene where they're making fun of a little boy who likes Transformers and he reminds me of you and one person calls him a Go-Bot. Then another guy says, 'HEY! You shouldn't call him that! GoBots were cheap K-Mart knockoffs of Transformers!'"

Eckerd Drugs 11/10/85
And I said, "Ugh, there's so many historical inaccuracies with that statement. I know the normal person would probably pick up on the truth that GoBots were not knockoffs but instead preceded the Transformers by several months. What irritates me is that if they wanted to make the joke really good they could have just done a little research. Back in 1985 Hasbro filed suit against K-Mart for selling Transistor Robots1 which actually were knockoffs of Transformers. The joke would have made more sense and been way more funny if the insulting name hurled at the little boy was 'Transistor Robot'. Then the other guy could have said, 'HEY! You shouldn't call him that! Transistor Robots were cheap K-Mart knockoffs of Transformers!' Then the joke would have had some credibility and worked on so many levels. You would think Kevin Smith would know better. Or maybe he doesn't and it's just another example of Hollywood and the larger geekdom making fun of roboplastic culture with just their rudimentary knowledge of GoBots. It's so infuriating that GoBots has become this pop culture joke while the Transistor Robots really deserve the satiric ridicule for the role they played in la historia roboplastico." And then she said, "Oh yeah, now I know I have to see this with you." I was mistaken in thinking she wanted to avoid offending me. I forget she is 'neuro-typical'.

But it did make me want to update the Transistor Robots section of the Vintage Space Toaster Palace with half a dozen new* Transistor Robots ads I found in Houston. Once again they all came from Eckerd Drugs and I wonder why Hasbro went for K-Mart when Eckerd was the one so flagrantly pimping the Transistor Robots line. Hasbro's main beef with K-Mart was their selling of toys that were knockoffs of the first four Decepticon cassettes, but Eckerd was openly advertising ripoffs of the Dinobots, Insecticons, Jumpstarters and Decepticon Jets in newspapers. Maybe Hasbro did go after Eckerd and I've just never heard about it. Whatever the case, I originally planned on updating all years of the Transformers section by now but when this conversation came up, the Transistor Robots backlog became a priority. Because the Vintage Space Toaster Palace isn't about putting up toy robots newspaper ads people really want to see, it's about imaginary toy robot cockfights I'm having in my head with Kevin Smith.

1Associated Press (1985, April 14). JUDGE RULES IN SUIT ON COUNTERFEIT TOYS. Boston Globe

*24 year old


sean said...

So did you see it after that? If so, what did you think?

Evil King Macrocranios said...

She doesn't get back for another three months so I'll not be seeing it anytime soon. I do remember seeing Mallrats when it came out and I thought that was great, but back then. It was a time when Star Wars references in movies were unheard of and I couldn't believe there was someone out there making movies like that. But now if I were to see it, it wouldn't register in the same way because Star Wars will never again be as obscure or underground a reference as it used to be. Kevin Smith movies have to be seen during the era they are released in to be fully appreciated as they were intended. Now I live in an age where pop culture has resurrected all of these zombie franchises so I don't think I'll be able to appreciate Clerks or the second Clerks like I would have in the nineties when the eighties seemed like so long ago.


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Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.