Everything I learned from GI Joe I have found to be quite valuable in real life. No, not the GI Joe of my kids' generation. That's just a bastardized American knock-off of Japanese anime. No, I'm talking about the 1984-1985 version of the wildly popular cartoon that featured everything from science that makes Jurassic Park seem brilliant to educational sniglets about not swimming after you just ate. GI Joe was an all-American show, not adapted from anything the way shows like Speed Racer and Transformers were. And it showed. No characters falling out of chairs, no swirly-eyed in-jokes that no one west of Tokyo understands, and no big-eyed guys with blue spiked hair with oversized sweat drops hanging from their brows. Don't get me wrong, I like some anime, but most of it just reeks of gimmick.



So, you might be asking yourself, what in the heck can you learn from GI Joe? How could GI Joe from 1985 make my life better. Well, my friend, I'm gonna tell you.



Lesson 1: Never Underestimate Your Enemy

Every episode of GI Joe features the same hair-brained scheme by Cobra, and some guy who isn't too bright from the Joe side messing everything up. Cobra always seem to overlook the fact that one guy can do a whole lot of damage. Whether it's leaving a guy named Blowtorch alone in the control room (!?) or thinking that you can take out Duke with just seven guys without using guns, underestimating the enemy, especially one that's foiled so many of your plans in the past, is a big mistake.

In Chess, you always play under the assumption that your opponent will make the best move possible; that in turn keeps you from overlooking something. In GI Joe, you always make sure there's no Joe anywhere near your sensitive equipment, or that missile you fired might just be reprogrammed to return to base.





Lesson 2: Redheads are Better Than Blondes

This one took me a long time to figure out, but Lindsay Lohan just made concrete the idea that redheads are the new blonde. You almost never see a blonde cartoon chick who kicks butt, but there's almost always a redhead. And Scarlet is the first redhead girl I believed could really whip a guy's butt if she were real. I'll take Scarlet, Lindsay Lohan, and Alyson Hannigan in a fight over any blonde any day. And they're just hotter, 'nuff said, case closed, the defense rests.





Lesson 3: Knowing is Half the Battle

You didn't hear a whole lot about kids doing goofy stuff like hiding in abandoned refrigerators or jumping off rooftops back when I was young. I think cartoons like Kim Possible lack any kind of educational value, other than showing that a redhead chick is cooler than a blonde. But GI Joe ended each week or so with a PSA, to ensure that a generation of latchkey kids would not grow up to tell a stranger where they lived or to run around screaming while they were on fire. Think about it: Does your child know what to do if the house is on fire, or if a friend passes out? For all the violence GI Joe supposedly had, they also had common sense advice for the problems of life. Kim Possible doesn't, and neither does Blue's Clues. I feel comfortable leaving my kids to watch GI Joe, because if I pass out, they won't lift my head and send what little blood I have from my brain out and make it worse.





Lesson 4: Always Listen to Destro

There are a lot of parallels between George W. Bush and Cobra Commander. Both think they're geniuses, and both always seem to foul everything up to the point of total disaster. Every few episodes, CC ignores the advice of everyone around him and does whatever the hell he wants, and then he blows up his weather machine or watches Duke escape and blow up the control room. Cobra Commander is the classic Gilligan type character, a Dennis the Menace whose stupidity is its own Deus ex machina. Trust me, if you can imagine Dick Cheney as Destro in a GI Joe movie, then W is Cobra Commander. I only wish we had a GI Joe to bail us out of this mess.

That's why I always listen to the advice of my friends and family, because whenever I go it alone I always regret it. You'll never get off an Island with someone like Gilligan, and you'll never take over the world with a Cobra Commander. You need a bald guy who is smart to at least keep you from having to use what you saw on that PSA last week.





Anyway, that's just a few of the lessons you can take away from GI Joe. Sure, there's more. I didn't touch on how to make a full grown evil emperor from the DNA or old mummies, or how guys with masks are always cool if they never talk. There's a wealth of information in GI Joe if you're just willing to look for it; then again, I may be reading too much into what is just a really cool cartoon. And the old 80s GI Joe was definitely cool. I can't understand for the life of me why I watched He-Man, it just doesn't hold up; but GI Joe stands the test of time, like Mom and Apple Pie. It's the all-American ideal wrapped up in a 26 minute package.

I'm sure you've heard enough of me rambling about GI Joe, so I'll leave you to discuss it amongst yourselves. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a hot date with a redhead . . .

"Yo, Joe!"

*Does a fist pump, music plays: GI Joooooooooooooooooooe!*