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9 Idiotic Sports Cartoons You Probably Loved as a Kid

by: Howard Cosmell On  Friday, December 17, 2010
Tags:  Hulk Hogan   Pro Stars  

Since most cartoons feature protagonists that can leap tall buildings in less than two bounds, it’s not hard to see why there aren’t more cartoons featuring athletes. Being able to backhand a fast grounder deep in the hole doesn’t really compete with being able to solve crimes out of a van or even sell Krabby Patties underwater. Nonetheless, kids like sports, and they like cartoons, so these Saturday morning epics came into existence despite everyone’s best judgment. With that, here are some stupid cartoons about sports!

9. Pro Stars

If Pro Stars was made now, Bo Jackson would be the bionic man with a metal hip, Michael Jordan would be Gamblar, the Bobcat-owning villain with a wagering problem, and Gretzky would be…well, he’s still be Gretzky, which is cool as a person, but not great in cartoon form. Cartoon avatars of these athletes would fight crime, help kids, and sometimes save the environment. Socially conscious athletes? That’s ridiculous even for a cartoon. Apparently, kids thought so too, cause the series only ran for nine weeks in 1991.

8. Harlem Globetrotters

A synopsis of this show states, “The series worked to a formula where the team travels somewhere and typically got involved in a local conflict that leads to one of the characters proposing a basketball game to settle the issue.” Wow. That’s compelling television. I thought maybe they’d have to run for office to effect change or possibly assassinate a world leader, but it’s really fortunate that every conflict can be resolved with a basketball game. CAUSE THEY’RE BASKETBALL PLAYERS!!! Apparently the Globetrotters’ nemeses every episode were the Washington Generals. Those guys will never learn.

Also, they had help from their bus driver and their dog, Dribbles. Do with that information what you will.

Note: Click the above link. The theme song is so funky it would make Shaft blush.

7. Laff-a-Lympics

I remember that a giant mound of purple pubic hair pole vaulted for one reason or another in this cartoon. That can’t be right. Time to do a little thing we in the industry call “research.”

The research paid off. The giant mound of purple hair that I was drawing upon was actually an amalgam of “Grape Ape” and “Captain Caveman.” Further research has revealed that Captain Caveman did not own a ship, nor did he serve in the armed forces. Interesting.

The show was a send-up of “Battle of the Network Stars”, which itself was a send-up of “good television.” It pitted Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters against one another. The bad guys cheated, the good guys won nonetheless. There were apparently 45 characters featured in Laff-A-Lympics, so apparently this program was a big influence on the creators of “The Wire” and “Lost.”

6. Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos

Such a shame. They were only one k-word away from racist undertones. Before it was “cool” to like Chuck Norris, it was, well, uncool to like Chuck Norris. This happened then. A still from the show reveals Norris to look like He-Man, but somehow gayer with a bushy red mustache. “Yeah…shirtless, red-haired mustache guy…yeah, you. Take my kid and teach him karate.” Those were much simpler times.

This show apparently “follows the framing devices of Mr. T’s animated series.” You know what they say. If you’re going to steal, steal from the best. Each episode ended with real-life Chuck Norris in a gym, telling the audience the moral of the story. So it was just like every other cartoon that ran from 1977-1988. Still, a generation of unmolested children thanks Mr. Norris for his tips.

5. Gladiators 2000

This one wasn’t actually a cartoon, but it was on Saturday mornings, and it was plenty idiotic, so it makes the cut. It ran for two years, from 1994-1996, which is great. What’s even more great is that it was hosted by Ryan Seacrest. He looks just like he does now, except with a bowl haircut and a sweater vest. Yuck.

This spin-off of “American Gladiators” had kids doing stupid stuff like climbing up food pyramids and answering dumb questions about nutrition. They also had an event where you were strapped to a bungee cord and snapped bones off of a skeleton. Which is actually pretty badass. The winning team got some crappy prizes. Probably a Funk & Wagnalls encyclopedia set or a word processor or something.

4. Pole Position

I remember this cartoon had a really killer theme song. It was like, “Poooolllllle Positiooooooooon!” I didn’t do it justice, but you get the idea. Wikipedia states, “…there is very little in common between the game and the show.” Umm..It’s got race cars. And people race them. I would say it’s EXACTLY like the game. There are three sibling race car drivers, their parents died in a car wreck, they fight crime for some reason…Again, the producers of this cartoon didn’t hurt themselves in creating back-stories for these characters. The show ran successfully for 13…episodes.

Poooolllllle Positioooooooon!

3. Popeye’s Sports Parade

Popeye’s Sports Parade was a segment of “The All-new Popeye Hour”, which, ironically, is really, really old now. It aired from 1978 to 1983 and had Popeye participating in the absolute lamest sports that existed at the time. He and his crew were decathletes, gymnasts, and long-distance runners. How’s that for a good time? Very little is documented about the show, and since I was older than their target demographic (I was -2 to 3 during the show’s run), I will make an assumption as to what it was about:

Popeye and Bluto compete for Olive Oyl’s affection in myriad athletic contests. Bluto cheats and appears to have the competition in the bag. But wait! Popeye ate some spinach (which he should really do BEFORE the events, not during), and he wins. Popeye bangs Olive Oyl’s brittle body like a rented drum while Whimpy eats some hamburgers. The end.

2. Hulk Hogan’s Rock n’ Wrestling

You know how the Smurf universe was created by just substituting the word “Smurf” in for other words? I’m pretty sure they did the same thing with “Rock n’ Wrestling” but used the word “Hulk.” Despite the fact that the Hulk didn’t do any voice work on the show because he would have terrified the children, he did appear. But don’t worry, dear reader. The voice work did not suffer. They had star power in spades! Do the names “Brad Garrett” and “James Avery” mean anything to you? Oh. Okay. They were Raymond’s droopy-ass brother and Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince, respectively.

In case you were wondering, the Iron Sheik was a bad guy on that cartoon. Hey, Saturday morning cartoons: How ‘bout some tolerance?

1. Mighty Ducks

A TV show based on a Disney movie that features anthropomorphic ducks defeating evil in a hockey-like context? Wait, I’m not done yet…featuring the voice of Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills 90210’s Steve Sanders)? YES, PLEASE! The plot of Mighty Ducks is so convoluted that I can’t even understand it, let alone convey it. Humanoid ducks live in “Puckworld” which has a climate so cold and icy that they play hockey to pass the time! (Twist!) All the characters have names that are puns on duck-related things. So when Tanya Vanderflock, Canard Thunderbeak, Mallory McMallard, and Wildwing Flashblade get together, you know it’s gonna be a good time!*

*Statement does not constitute a guarantee of a good time.




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