Episode 63: Inspector Gadget

(Quick note to Geekcast listeners: Our extended review of “The Green Loontern” will be available on Friday, February 9.)

"I'm always on duty!"

"I'm always on duty!"

Tonight we talk about Inspector Gadget with Space Captain Steve, creator of Blade Kitten.

Perhaps DiC’s finest show from back in the day, Inspector Gadget blew away nearly everything else that was on children’s TV at the time. Little did we know that were seeing the dawn of Japanese animation for American television, a practice that would later become standard in shows like Transformers, GI Joe, Thundercats, and Ghostbusters.

We go off topic a lot, as we compare Gadget to the likes of Inspector Clouseau, Maxwell Smart, Robocop, and even Dyno-Mutt! We also establish a continuity connection that links Inspector Gadget to Super Mario Bros., GI Joe, and classic WWF.

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Most ridiculous gadget
So many connections!
Gadget Boy and other spin-offs
Matthrew Broderick, and French Stewart
Australia doesn’t want Captain Planet
Does the dog have to wear a dress?
You can’t stop Uncle Owen

REVEALED!!!  Dr. Claw's face.

REVEALED!!! Dr. Claw's face.

Mentioned in the episode is the special Best Of at1UP, featuring the theory that Boba Fett is actually a bumbling idiot. Later in this podcast, the 1UP staff tries to guess what the Blade Kitten game is about. See?! There are all these connections!


6 thoughts on “Episode 63: Inspector Gadget

  1. Hey, don’t forget that the one-shot anime “Riding Bean” was set in Chicago. But you can forget about those mountains that were in that show. Anyways, I also remember that it was because of “Gunsmith Cats” that that show’s creator Kenichi Sonoda was the first guest of honor at Chicago’s anime convention Anime Central.

    • Yeah, I probably didn’t think of Riding Bean, because of that. It doesn’t have a very Chicago feel to it, whereas Gunsmith Cats DEFINITELY does. They not only got the setting right, but they also recorded a lot of the sound effects here. So, if you’re ever at a train depot in Chicago and notice a sound that you’ve heard in Gunsmith Cats, it’s probably because they recorded it there.

  2. Gadget is a cartoon that I can appreciate for its contributions. So many people recognize the character and the theme song and lines like, “Go, go Gadget .” But trying to re-watch it now, beyond a few episodes it gets kinda routine for me. I don’t like Gadget himself since he is such an idiot who gets the credit for others doing the majority of the work, and I understand that’s part of the humor of the show, but I get annoyed by characters like that. Occasionally it can work for me, but often it has little appeal. Having said that, I do like Penny and her character design, and Brain adds a lot of humor with his disguises.

    The animation in the show is pretty darn impressive too. I remember watching the pilot episode where they’re at a ski resort and the show looked good. The production values seemed high for the show, which I was surprised to see. The animation was smooth and the coloring was superb. I thought it was funny that Gadget had a mustache in the pilot, and it was even in the opening, but they soon ditched it. I guess with the mustache he looked too much like a child abductor or something. 🙂

    DiC was behind a lot of cartoons. Sure, they weren’t all hits; with that volume, they can’t be. But I like a lot of DiC cartoons, including what I think is one of the best 80’s cartoons, and my favorite, The Real Ghostbusters…suck on that, Filmation! Can you explain your disdain for DiC?

    • If I had to guess, I think the deletion of the mustache may have been an animation issue. I know it seems like such a minor thing, but given how that thing had to flutter and move every time he talked, I think they probably deleted it to give the animators a break. It was bad enough they were having the Japanese lip sync everything, which they were actually not accustom to doing at that point in time.

      My biggest issue with DiC is that even during their boom period, it seemed like for every good cartoon they made, there were at least three bad ones. You could have Real Ghostbusters, but around that same time, you had The Adventures Of Teddy Ruxpin, Beverly Hills Teens, Kissyfur, The Getalong Gang, and so on and so forth. And I’ll admit, The Beverly Hills Teens was kind of amusing, but it was also kind of animated like ass.

      Also, DiC was always the studio whose cartoons felt the most scripted (as opposed to storyboarded). They seemed to have the most issue with getting the intensity of the acting to match what was being animated. That was one of those signs where I knew, as a child, exactly when I was watching a DiC cartoon. They always did that.

      And DiC also seemed to have a much more juvenile standard for writing than other studios. For the most part, I didn’t like DiC cartoons because their stories wee kind of dumb. And to best illustrate this, all you have to do is watch cartoons that DiC had taken over from other studios. One example being GI Joe. Okay, GI Joe was always kind of stupid, but there was a lot of amusing political commentary sprinkled throughout the original show. Fast-forward to the DiC seasons, and suddenly you have a football player Joe, Cobra sneaking bugs into General Hawk’s cookies, Joe and Cobra uniting to stop a drug dealer, and so on and so forth.

      Another example of Bill & Ted season 2. Season 1 was a Hanna-Barbera production, and while the animation was hit-or-miss, it embraced the enthusiasm of the film and was generally very funny. Season 2 had none of that. Instead of time travel, they were going into story books and all sorts of weird plots. Not to mention that the character writing on the show seemed to be by people who never actually watched the movie or the prior season.

      Now granted, I think it took DiC longer to hit the skids the way Marvel did (even during X-Men’s time, you could still find DiC productions that were technically good), but once DiC hit its low point, there was no return. Again, I have to bring up Gadget Boy as an example of DiC being a mere shell of its former self.

      Although, there is one positive aspect to all of this. When I went back to check what DiC actually produced in the 80s, I noticed that they co-produced The Mysterious Cities Of Gold! Ha-HAAAA!!!! Now that we’re doing a “Golden Age of DiC” spotlight, we have to review that now!

      *Neil dances the happy dance*

      • Good explanation, Neal. I hear the GI Joe stuff is terrible, and from your description, I can see why. To be honest, I rarely paid any attention to the studios making the cartoons. I knew of DiC because it was tagged at the end of my favorite. 🙂

  3. I gotta come to Cree Summer’s defense. There are some roles where she tones down the “sassiness” a bit. I enjoyed Cree as Kida from Disney’s Atlantis, and as Jedi Luminara in G. Tartakovski’s Clone Wars. I only named two, but I’m sure there are many more in her extensive list of credits. I do realize that she does have a lot of roles that sound similar, but I wonder how much of that is the director saying: “I want this sound, you have it, now give it to me.” Much like I would want Kieth David to give me the Goliath sound all the time. Rob Paulsen mentioned on his podcast that (paraphrasing) it is not always about a voice actor’s range. They can also be awesome at a few things. Personally I really like to hear her in new roles. Even when I can instantly recognize her.

    On a side note, did Cree piss some people off? I can’t find many interviews where she talks about her craft.

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