Surely the key to any successful 80's cartoon is the annoying mascot. You know the drill, small anthropamorphic animal, robot, ghost, legendary creature that follows the main heroic crew around, seemedly doing nothing but hinder them... Oh how much easier the fight would have been for the Ghostbusters without Slimer... How smoothly things would have gone for the Thundercats without Snarf's pusillanimous skulking in the back ground... And how easily the teens from Dungeons and Dragons might have got home but for Uni trying to fall off a cliff every episode. But annoyingly enough, the unspoken rules of our beloved cartoons argued that even these guys would get to save the day, at least once. And no matter how many episodes our heroic protagonists would have to spend liberating these chumps from dark dungeons, they would always have a good group chuckle together at the end.

I want to quickly run through some of the worst culprits...

ORKO:
.

Well, he was useless wasn't he? At least five episodes I can think of involved him either captive or otherwise lost in Snake Mountain. A floating idiot let loose with magic he couldn't control, everything you could ever want from a bad mascot.

Secretly I always felt bad for Orko... he tried so damn hard, yet for all that he was always destined to rub Man-at-Arms up the wrong way. Personally I think he was lucky that they kept mounting rescue attempts. A nice guy, just a shame he was more liable to conjure up a bouquet of petunias in battle, rather than the much needed dragon: he was more likely to pull that bad boy out when everyone was having a quiet and relaxing after-battle meal....


SNARF:


I mean, look at him. This picture sums up the essence of what he is: part beardy cat, part lizard (?), all lazy buffoon. I always had the impression that he was always wondering where his next meal was coming from, preferrably followed up by a 10 hour nap in the cosy catacombs of the Thundercats Lair.
I think originally he was Lion-O's nursemaid before they all left Third Earth, but upon their relocation and Lion-O's subsequent ahem, growth, he found himself made cruelly redundant.

Although he did possess some guile, I think for the most part he just couldn't be bothered to use it. In addition he also suffered from an obvious complex regarding his diminuitive size; this was evident from the way he always rose up on his tail!

He also had another key 'bad mascot' trait... his voice was exceptionally irritating, falling somewhere between extremely whiny and blackboard-screechingly shrill.... "look out Lion-O!"


UNI:


Aaaaaaah. Cute. But inept, puny, clumsy, lightweight and a gigantic liability. It is perhaps cruel to call her cowardly though, especially when Eric the reluctant cavalier was around. UNI spent most of her time in the arms of young Bobby, being carried away from danger and I can recall at least one episode where she got into deadly peril and needed a miracle rescue; Bobby was always in tears by this point. Saddest of all was when a madman was after her horn... no pun intended.

But hey, let's not dwell on the bad. Uni also had the, seldom seen, ability to teleport once a day... and she did come to the rescue with Bobby in the servant of evil episode. In a fight between tiamat and Uni, I reckon the little unicorn might have come out tops.


T-BOB


He certainly was a strange one. Like a bizarre cross between Mr Bump, R2 D2 and C3PO, T-BOB was an incredibly camp little transforming tricycle thing that no kid would want. He was like the demon offspring of two unimaginably bad Go-bots. In the MASK world he was the friend of Scott Tracker (son of the shows main hero, Matt.) and how I felt for the poor kid.

I mean, your friends would laugh at you for having a mincing dustbin of a transforming robot, who's only talent seemed to be getting people hurt (Honda?) as they tried to save/protect his worthless mascot hide. The fact that the action figure ( a generous description) was such a paltry kinder-surprise style affair also leaves a bad taste in the mouth. If it wasn't for that moron Dagger on the other side, the balance would have been completly wrong and T-BOB could have single handedly helped Venom win.


GODSUKI
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Up from the depths,
Thirty stories high,
Breathing fire, his head in the sky.
Godzilla!
Godzilla!
And Godzuki!


I hope others remember this strange little animated Hannah Barbara Godzilla show. Godzuki flew with those tiny little wings despite his chubby size and could puff out little rings of smoke. He would seem to be trying breathe fire, but the mascot curse has certain drawbacks; see orko above.

He was apparently Godzilla's nephew but his only virtue seemed to be to call to the big fella. Much like Airwolf and the Incredible Hulk, you could spend a whole episode waiting for some action. In this case, the intrepid heroes would apprehend some sea going bad guys, usually pirates or smugglers and then call for Godzilla (yes this was one of his good guy incarnations.) who would bascially pick up their boat and reprimand them/eat them. Not really, I can't back that up.

Strangely though, Godzilla fans seem to prefer the little green creature to Godzilla'a actual kid from the Japanese films, Minya. Well, despite the fact that he was a coward, at least Minya didn't eagerly bound along the deck of a boat keeping sailors happy...


SLIMER


"Disgusting Blob..." "I think he can hear you Ray..." "Ugly little spud isn't he...?"

Though never officially named in the two feature films, Slimer would become an integral part of the animated TV series. Briefly seen taking a liking to GB HQ in the second film, somewhere along the line he became amicable and gained a whiny (mascot rules) voice. In the origins episode I think they even took a little pop at him, but realised he wasn't the most malevolent of spectres and wasn't worth the effort. The name 'Slimer' was appropriately coined by Ray, although the garfield-voiced Venkman character would often call him spud.... as spoken in the movie.

So they keep this thing around the fire station... he's food obsessed, leaves stains, means well but causes harm... how the hell did they decide this was a good idea? Okay, the happiness of youth meant that at one point I loved him... as must others, seeing as a re-realisation of the show had it renamed as 'Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters...' Hmmm.

It's quiet hard to believe the whiny little bugger was voiced by the lord of all things robotic and evil, Frank Welker. But I guess it's Peter 'Optimus' Cullen growling his way through Venger's lines. But whiny nature alone doesn't make Slimer irk me... it was his self pitying fits, like in the titular 'Slimer come home' episode where time and resources are spent pulling his slimy ass back where he belongs.

Cute at times, but honestly, he would have been a tiny speck in the containment unit... I would have been tempted.


J