10 things Thursday: Cartoons about which I wax nostalgic

1. Jem and the Holograms



This theme song used to be my ringtone because I loved this show so much as a child of the 80's. What was great about Jem was that she seemed strong both as herself and her alter ego Jerrica Benton who ran Starlight Music and Starlight Foundation for Girls. Only her bandmates know about her secret identity and their main purpose as a band to raise money for the foundation. The Misfits, the rival band, try to upstage Jem any chance they get. And that's pretty much the plot of the show but it's so fantastic and has that great 80's color palette. However, when I showed the video to my students, they looked at me like I was a bit crazy for gushing so profusely about it.

2. The Shirt Tales (Tyg Tiger, Pammy Panda, Digger Mole, Rick Raccoon, and Bogey Orangutan) wore shirts that flashed brightly lit messages reflecting the characters' thoughts. They lived in Oak Tree Park, and spent their time teasing the park ranger, and battling crime. They had an awesome vehicle that could operate as a car, jet, boat or submarine.



3. The Biskitts

For a while, I wasn't sure if this cartoon was real or something I imagined. The Biskitts are anthropomorphic dogs that live on Biskitt Island and guard the crown jewels of Biskitt Castle.



4. Inspector Gadget



My brother and I used to watch Inspector Gadget together. Penny is one of the strongest female role models I had as a kid. Despite the fact that she let her uncle take credit for the crimes she solved, she remained one of the smartest girls on my TV screen. And I loved her.

5. She-Ra, Princess of Power



I recently re-watched some of these episodes and my reaction was WTF? Still, She-Ra kicked ass leading the Great Rebellion and the other female characters on the show were as equally powerful and authoritative. With its vibrant colors, it's visually trippy and certainly "of the 80's" but the messages of the show: responsibility, leadership, friendship and sticking up for what is right are still important messages for girls today.

6.Rainbow Brite



Oh, how I loved Rainbow Brite. First of all, she rode a talking, flying white horse named Starlight. Plus she (and the Color Kids) were in charge of all the colors of the universe. What's not to love? I snuck into my mother's school supplies and took the progress stickers shaped like stars and put one under my eye, just like Rainbow Brite. I danced around with colored ribbons and searched for multicolored bracelets and shoestrings. I thought she was incredibly cool. I definitely wasn't.

7. Thundercats



Oh, you knew this one was coming. How do you not love cat-like humanoid aliens? Especially Cheetera who totally kicks ass. I'm not really sure what this show was about. I think it had to do with protecting a ship or something and trying to get back to their planet maybe. If anyone knows or has a better explanation, please share it with me. Or don't, maybe it's better not knowing.

8. The Smurfs

I've never run into anyone who didn't like The Smurfs, though I'm sure they exist. I watched this show for years and even though the plot was predictable and sexist, I still think fondly of those little blue guys.

9. Transformers



No list about the 80's is complete without Transformers. I watched this mostly because of my brother. I always thought it was cool how the cars transformed but I also didn't really understand, again, what the transformers were, not that it mattered.

10. G.I. Joe



Another one for my brother. Though I enjoyed Transformers and G.I. Joe I probably would not have watched them had by brother not been really into the shows. Most remembered, perhaps, for the PSA's at the end of each show which ended with, "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle," G.I. Joe was about action, good v. evil and American triumph.