Once upon a time, in a land far away (aka back in the early eighties in St. Louis) I saw God. Well, maybe not the big guy himself, but most definitely His work, and His work was titled G.I. Joe - A Real American Hero (aka the MASS Device Saga). And it was good. A year later God's second Joe miniseries was televised, G.I. Joe and the Revenge of Cobra, and it was still good. It introduced us to the demigods known to mortals as Zartan, Shipwreck, and Roadblock. For that alone the world was grateful.
But were these two miniseries enough? Did they quench the thirst for more uber-animation that a nation of hyperactive kids whined for? No. But that is why God granted us the heavenly gift of an entire 65 episode television season of G.I. Joe and Cobra, starting things off with a brand new 5-part storyline known as The Pyramid of Darkness. This Joe miniseries had it all: It was epically huge; it brought back favorite characters from the first two series; it had battles that took place across the globe; and it had a plot so outrageously big and convoluted that it satisfied everyone's hunger for animated smack like no other. Fuck the Thundercats! Screw the Silverhawks! They had nothing on the Joe phenomenon. Pyramid of Darkness was the greatest story ever told as far as 5-15 year-olds the world over were concerned. I was about 10 when it was first broadcast, and it made a mark on me that no beating by belt or wooden spoon has been able to match before or since. I had finally learned to love, and my love was deep.
After watching G.I. Joe - A Real American Hero a few years ago and still liking it, I was very much looking forward to eventually catching Pyramid again to see just how well that one had held up. My chance finally came when the first half of the first season of Joe came out on DVD in the beginning of 2004. I had no hesitation this time as I ran to the store and flew home, ripping off the lamination and popping the first disc in my player and watching the whole thing in one quick sitting. No disappointment at all. Pyramid of Darkness is still great, and it made me tear up just thinking about all the almost lost memories that came with it's initial viewing way back when. *Sigh* In fact, I would still rate Pyramid as the greatest miniseries ever made. It blows Transformers: Five Faces of Darkness out of the water (really, no contest there), it makes that 5 part Thundercats series where they find all the new even more retarded Cats look like the mongo-storyline that it truly is, and it even makes the original V appear to be lacking in its... No, sorry, but I almost went too far there. NOTHING tops V. Sorry about that.
Anyway, This page is all about the things that confused me about Pyramid of Darkness now that I can see it with adult eyes and a college edumacation. I'll be pointing out all the bendings and anal-rapings of the Laws of Physics, and the Laws of Time and Space that this miniseries propagates in a simple chronological list. Therefore, in order to bring those of you who don't remember the story all that well up to speed, I will give you a quick synopsis of the plot:
Everything starts out with the launching of the new G.I. Joe space shuttle on its mission to resupply the city-sized Space Station Delta orbiting the planet. Cobra attacks the rocket though, and during the battle with the Joe team they manage to slip a piece of cargo in the back of the shuttle then slip away leaving the Joes to wonder what the farg just happened. It turns out that the box that Cobra hid was filled with Zartan's Dreadnoks (Zartan already being on board the station himself because he's a badass master of disguise) and Fatal Fluffies (tiny gay looking furballs that turn into fire-breathing monsters when the right tune is played for them). Zartan and the boys soon take over the Space Station, which allows Cobra Commander to begin the rest of his Pyramid of Darkness Operation. This operation includes making 4 giant, shiny black cubes, and placing them around the four corners of the Earth in order for them to receive an energy signal from Space Station Delta and create a blanket of "darkness" over the entire Northern Hemisphere where no electrical devices will work.
Now, during Cobra's finishing up of its plans, Shipwreck and Snake Eyes infiltrate the cube-making facility and gather important info about the Pyramid's design and functionality. They also meet the hottie singer and dancer, Satin, who twirls Shipwreck's manly beard and helps them escape hostile Cobra territory.
Also during all this, the rest of the Joe team sets out to try and stop Cobra from placing the cubes in their perfectly aligned positions around the equator. The Joes fail miserably, but Bazooka, Alpine and Quick Kick are able to find out the location of Cobra's hidden HQ. Then, during some heavy backstabbing and stupidity, the Pyramid is compromised and the Joes are victorious because Alpine can yodel like a mother fucker.
That's pretty much it in a nutshell. You remember now, don't you? Anyway, like I stated above, not only was this miniseries incredible in its own right, but it was also the beginning of the long sought after Joe TV show. And thus began the Golden Age of my childhood...
Anyway, here's the list of zany-kookiness that resides in G.I. Joe - The Pyramid of Darkness in order of appearance:
1: Let's start off with the opening animation itself. First of all if you freeze-frame the shot of the command room inside the giant, hovering Cobra snake fortress when Cobra Commander is raising his fists in anger/triumph in front of the giant globe, you will notice that the Baroness must work out a lot. Her ass is quite exquisite.
2: It appears that Cobra is attacking Joe HQ in the opening... In an airship that's about a mile wide. How the hell did something that huge get so close before the warning bells went off? I get woken up in the middle of the night when a train comes within 4 miles of my house.
3: And how does something so large stay afloat in the air like that? Things roll and fly beneath it, so there are no major jet exhausts or fans or anything. Is Cobra so evil that it practices in the occult and dark powers? Does Satan keep their mobile command flying?
4: Cobra's giant, flying, Satanic mobile command center must have had all of its funds sunken into its snake motif and none into defensive or offensive weaponry. It has to rely on men with rifles to defend it. Honestly, what did they plan to do with Joe HQ if it made it there? Was the giant flying cobra head meant to fall onto the Joe's base?
5: At one point in the opening animation Destro is grabbed and tossed off the flying Cobra machine... At least 10 stories from the ground. But he is gently caught by Footloose who then tosses him like a waterballoon to Roadblock. Quite an athletic feat considering Destro is probably a 200 to 220 pound man (240 with mask). What are we lacing our special forces' food with? Horse steroids?
6: One laptop-sized bomb (set up by Airtight on the Cobra flying fortress' outer shell [where its armor should be at its thickest and strongest]) takes the whole thing down in one blast. Christ, Cobra's engineers are bigger fuckups than ever.
7: Now on with the actual miniseries. I may not know all that much about space travel, but I don't think that space shuttles with rocket boosters attached are kept in HUGE underground complexes hundreds of feet below the desert and just a stone's throw away from the local city.
8: If one is trying to be secret about one's space rocket (by hiding it and concealing even its exit in a fake mountain), one should not leave a 6 mile long, 200 foot-wide runway at the base of said mountain exposed. Kind of a give-away.
9: Little known fact: Jet fighter pilots don't need any special equipment (like helmets, goggles, breathing devices, etc.), other than their camouflage uniforms.
10: Space shuttles can actually lift off within 2.14 seconds of hitting the launch pad. NASA's full of pussies what with countdowns and shiitake.
11: Cobra can be really good when they want to be. To have tanks and crap buried all around the Joes' shuttle launchpad, they must have been strategically hidden, troops and all, before the Joes even began construction on their end... Either that or Cobra just randomly buries their soldiers all over the world just in case.
12: First of all, what kind of material is that giant net made out of that the Cobra forces throw over the launching shuttle that allows it to stay intact with all that rocket thrust pulling at it? Second of all, how heavy are all those HISS tanks to keep the shuttle grounded like that?... Or how pathetic is the Joe shuttle?
13: Once again, either Cobra's mission planners are geniuses of the Einstein degree or the Joes' rocket scientists aren't really rocket scientists: All it takes to allow the HISS tanks that have netted the firing space shuttle to the ground to actually move the thing, like it was a hockey puck on greased ice, over the desert is 2 jet packs that normally just have enough thrust to lift one 200lb person off the ground. That shuttle with boosters and fuel has got to be about 300 tons or something.
14: How tall is that HISS tank that the Cobra Commander is standing in? While positioned on the flat desert ground about 1/2 mile away from the action his point of view through some binoculars is actually above the approaching shuttle.
15: Holy fuck! Flint's Skystriker is tougher than shit! He just intentionally flew its wing right the hell through a HISS as if it were a hot knife and the tank some butter being melted by a nuclear blast. Considering other Skystrikers are getting shot down by just one stray laser shot I'd have the Joe engineers create an entire plane out of the material that they use for those wings.
16: Waitaminute... Joes were stationed inside the hangar of the shuttle without any safety restraints or even seats in order to fight Cobras with their jet packs?... What if Cobra didn't attack? How would they have gotten past lift-off without getting crushed or turned to jelly?
17: Bazooka and Alpine actually shot off the Cobra jet packs glued to the Joe shuttle... They really fired upon their own fragile space plane! A chunk of ice that simply fell onto the Columbia fucked it up, and they shoot laser guns at theirs. Brilliant!
18: The Joes with rocket packs flying all around the place are within 10 feet of the booster rockets' exhaust as it finally blasts off into space, yet they are not crispied in the least. Richard Pryor could have used some of that protective clothing material back in his day.
19: Why is Cobra Commander so pissed off when the rocket lifts off and the Joes looked like they had won. This was all part of his grand plan. There was no need to act that ticked as no Joes were around him. What a stage hog.
20: Soon Cobra Commander and the Crimson Guard Twins are surrounded on one side by the entire Joe forces and a river behind them... And Cobra Commander pulls a gun on Flint, the Joes' third in command... That's stupid in and of itself (especially when he knew his rescue was near), but what's even more mongo is that nobody in the Joe forces shoots him. If that were a bunch of navy SEALs or some Rangers you just know that that lisping fuck would have had 50 holes in him the second he lifted his magnum.
21: Shipwreck and Flint are two of the main Joes that have Cobra Commander at bay... But weren't they just in Skystrikers shooting up all the Cobra Rattlers and stuff only seconds before? The closest runway was the shuttle launch which was about 2 miles from the riverbank. Did their stunt doubles get there first?
22: Yeah, those giant water robots are scary and stuff when they pop out of the river to save Cobra Commander and the twins, but not one Joe fires a single shot at them. They're soldiers, shouldn't they be at least a little trigger happy? It was the 80s, there were no military budget cuts at work. Shoot everything that moves and doesn't have Old Glory stitched or painted on it!
23: Both Skystrikers and Rattlers are supersonic jets (they must be with how fast they can get from one side of the world to another later on in the series), but they also handle like a wet dream. We see them shooting between skyscrapers in Empire City like rats in a maze. Very fast rats.
24: What? Flint's back in his Skystriker 3 seconds after losing Cobra Commander at the river? This (and the Scarlett incident coming up) makes me believe that the Joes still have their MASS device in working operation and have completely perfected its usage.
25: Were the Joes so busy with the construction of their own enormous underground shuttle facility that they failed to notice that Cobra was building an underwater fortress (about 10 stories tall, and five city-blocks wide) just two miles away from it? What did they think all that noise and all those construction lights were coming from the river at night?
26: Not only are the giant water robots huge, indestructible and incredibly agile, but their A.I. is so complex that they can understand and react to Cobra Commander's fancily worded orders: "Attend to G.I. Joe," is correctly translated as "farg up the Joes". With all this uber-technology how is the Cobra organization still struggling to rule the world?!
27: Just how deep is that river that Cobra's underwater base is in? Those two water robots are at least 5 stories tall and still way submerged, not to mention the Cobra fortress which is even taller. And the water is incredibly clear for being so close to a huge megalopolis like Empire City. I guess the sewage dump is a bit further down the waterway.
28: After the atrocious attack by Cobra on the Joes' shuttle and then against their forces in an all out battle after the rocket launched, the Joes give up searching for the remaining Cobra forces just minutes after things die down. There's a fucking Cobra fortress in an American river just yards away, but they just turn around and go home. Lazy fucks.
29: When Cobra Commander is looking over the battle footage on his giant monitor we see that Rattler approach the back of the space shuttle and actually open the shuttle bay doors with a laser. After planting a package in the compartment the Rattle again uses its laser, this time to shut the door.... What the hell was that all about? And how did nobody inside the shuttle or in mission control not notice the breach?
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