July 6th, 2008
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Well, before Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth, there was Ted Turner's inconvenient cartoon series known as Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
Footage of the show begins
NC (voiceover): God, shoot me. This environmental pigshit was designed to make kids more aware of the environment and tell them all the things that they CAN do to save the environment, but most likely won't.
NC: This show was awful, and I mean AWFUL. Nobody liked it, nobody listened to what it had to say...so why did we keep watching it?
NC (voiceover): I mean, this show was on for four seasons. That's a pretty long time by kids' show standards. So why did we keep watching this shit if it was so bad? Honestly, because there was nothing else that was on in this timeslot. I think the only other thing that was on was (clip of...) Beakman's World, and God knows how much I don't wanna be willingly educated by a Brooklyn scientist and a giant rat.
Wheeler: He's an exterminator's nightmare!
NC (voiceover): So we kept watching Captain Planet, much to our everlasting shame.
NC: Now for those of you who don't know the infamous story of Captain Planet, consider yourselves very fortunate. But hell, I'm gonna let Geordi from Star Trek tell you, anyway.
Narrator (LeVar Burton): Our world is in peril. Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, can no longer stand the terrible destruction plaguing our planet. She sends five magic rings to five special young people. When the five powers combine, they summon Earth's greatest champion, Captain Planet.
NC (voiceover): Well, that's the cliffnote version anyway. The whole story starts when the Earth spirit, Gaia, is awakened from her Earthly slumber. Is it me, or does it look like she's always in a perfume commercial?
Soothing music and the words "Essence of G.A.I.A." in fancy text are used to drive the point home
NC (voiceover): After she wakes up, she sees those poor silly humans who are destroying the Earth.
Gaia: It's those poor, silly humans again.
NC (voiceover): So she sends out five magic rings to five teenagers. Kwami, from Africa, Gi, from Asia, Linkha, from the Soviet Union, Ma-ti, from South America, and Wheeler, from North America.
NC: Wheeler? WHEELER? Some parent was actually cruel enough to name their kid Wheeler? The only Wheelers I know about are the Wheelers from Return to Oz, and the further I stay away from them, the better.
Wheeler: You know, this has been a very weird day. One minute, I'm a kid from Brooklyn, the next minute, I'm some sorta cut-rate superhero.
NC: Oh...I think I'm gonna hate Wheeler.
NC (voiceover): I mean, the other characters are passable, but this guy's just obnoxious.
Wheeler: What's that supposed to mean?
NC (voiceover): It's like if Tony Danza got kicked in the nuts and was looking around for the guy who did it. (imitating Tony Danza, kicked in the nuts) Hey, yo, who kicked me in the nuts? (normal) Each of them are given a magic ring which controls one of the Earth's elements, like Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire.
Wheeler: Lotta good that'll do us in a firefight!
At the word "fire", his ring activates, setting their craft on fire
Ma-ti: WHEELER! Don't say "fire" until you mean it!
NC: Oh, I see, every time Wheeler says "fire," a giant flaming fireball pops out? Man, how lame is that? That's like me getting hit in the head with a ruler every time I say-
A ruler hits him in the head
NC: What, I get hit in the head with a ruler every time I say-
He gets hit again
NC: Okay...guess I'm not gonna say ruler.
NC (voiceover): But what about Ma-ti? What's his magic power?
Ma-ti: Mine...is HEART! I can sense you all.
NC: ...Heart? HEART? They get fire, wind and water, I get fuckin' heart? What a rip-off! Why can't I get any of the flashy powers and stuff...Heart? Are you kidding me? What a fucking coup! I mean, you can't do anything with heart. What, you make people feel better, who gives a shit? I mean, this kid totally. Got. Ripped. Off! I mean, how do you think he feels about this whole thing? I recently sat down with Ma-ti this past week to see just how he felt about this situation.
Cut to NC and Ma-ti (played by Bhargav; **FIRST APPEARANCE**) sitting on a couch
Ma-ti: Well, I'll tell you how I feel about the whole situation: I'm fucking pissed off, man. You know? What kind of kid wants to have heart as a power, I mean, I can't believe it. Jesus!
NC: Yeah, but surely, there must have been some good that came out of this; after all, you were bringing people together.
Ma-ti: Fuck people! Bringing people together doesn't help you sell toys! It just makes you a pussy. A pussy! I am a pussy!
NC: Well, why do you think YOU got heart, and everyone else got all the flashier powers?
Ma-ti: Because I'm Indian. It's all Ted Turner's plan to keep the Indian man down! Fucking cocksucker!
NC: Wait a minute, I thought you were from South America. What's this crap about you being Indian?
NC: You're not the real Ma-ti, are you?
He rips the planet symbol off Ma-ti's shirt
Ma-ti: Uh...the thing about that is...HEART!
He punches NC in the face
NC: (muffled by his hands) Ow! Shit! That fuckin' Indian!
Ma-ti (animated version, thinking): I am nothing but trouble.
NC (voiceover): I mean, how is heart even supposed to work? You just say "heart" and all of a sudden, people feel better? Gimme a break.
NC: (holding up a ring) I mean, look at this thing, are you telling me that this little thing is actually supposed to make people feel better?
He puts the ring on, and Sauron's eye appears behind him, complete with creepy sounds; NC removes the ring
NC: Oops. Wrong ring. Alright, here it is, THIS is the ring that's supposed to make everybody feel hunky-dory.
He puts it on and soothing music plays, accompanied by a cloud backdrop
NC: Oh...wow...actually, this is kinda nice. I feel so relaxed and pleasant. So what if I don't have fire, wind or water...it's not like I have to be ruler of the Earth.
The ruler hits him
He throws the ring away
NC (voiceover): Alright, so you get the idea about the rings and everything, but where does Captain Planet come in? Well, when they do combine their powers together, they unleash Captain Planet, who kind of looks like Silver Surfer's gay brother who has a summer house in Malibu.
Wheeler: He's suckin'-
NC gets concerned
Wheeler: ...the oil back!
Captain Planet: Guess I'd better make like the wind and blow!
NC (voiceover): Captain Planet's main job is to save the Earth while also making as many horrible puns as possible.
Captain Planet: Now I'm gonna rain on your parade! / It's time to tie up this loose end! / You do know that smoking's bad for your health. / Nothing like a wild ride to get rid of an old flame. / Time to branch out! / I'm feeling vine, how 'bout you?
NC leans toward the camera and laughs sarcastically
Gaia: It's worse than I thought.
NC (voiceover): I know what you're saying to yourself: "Please tell me that there's something that can kill him." Well, thank Heavenly God, there is. Captain Planet's only weakness is--you guessed it--pollution. You drown him in oil, smoke or toxic waste and he goes down like a government bill to save the rainforest. The only way to save him is to clean him off so he can regenerate from the sun.
NC: Oh great, he's a solar powered Captain Planet. You know, they always sound great until the payment plans come in.
Verminous Scumm: We'll see about that.
NC (voiceover): Seriously though, how hard is it just to throw toxins on a person? This shit's easier to find than Kryptonite.
A scene of Captain Planet rising into the air, the sound of sludge squirting, and he falls back down, covered in brown muck
NC: So you might be asking yourself, what kind of villains does Captain Planet fight anyway?
NC (voiceover): Well of course it's rotten, billionaire tycoons who want to do nothing but pollute the world. All except Ted Turner, of course. He is Jesus. And of course, they all have those traditional cosmopolitan names. Like Hoggish Greedly, Verminous Scumm, and Sly Sludge.
NC: (laughing) Seriously, would you ever do business with a person named Sly Sludge?
NC (voiceover): It's like marrying a woman named Nasty McSpendsmoney, it just has bad news written all over it.
Linka: Please, go away!
NC (voiceover): The other strange thing about these villains is that a lot of them actually have celebrity voices. Like John Ratzenberger, Martin Sheen, Jeff Goldblum, Tim Curry, and even Meg Ryan. How the fuck did they get Meg Ryan? Did she owe them back taxes or something? I mean, it makes no sense!
NC: But what's even stranger than that is that they actually make the villains look a lot like the celebrities themselves.
NC (voiceover): Like Meg Ryan's yellow hair, Tim Curry's sunken-in eyes, and...the less I say about Jeff Goldblum, the better. And that's also Whoopi Goldberg as the Earth spirit, Gaia. Now here's what I don't understand: if she's supposed to be the most powerful essence of the Earth, why doesn't she just stop these polluting a-holes herself?
Gaia: Don't worry, Planeteers, I will be with you in spirit.
NC: Oh, "spirit," mmhmm. You know from my past experience, "spirit" has usually meant a coward-chicken-pansy who doesn't want to get hurt and would rather sacrifice the lives of teenagers so she doesn't miss her favorite reruns of Gilligan. But hey, that's just my past experience!
Wheeler: Gee, I didn't think of that!
NC (voiceover): You may also notice that anytime there's trouble, it's Kwame who initiates calling Captain Planet.
Kwame: Let our powers combine! (three times)
NC: Why does he get to call the shots*? I mean, that's a lot of power! Can you imagine if he DIDN'T wanna say those words?
- - Kwame is the leader, so he is the one who calls on the Planeteers to combine their powers.
Wheeler (dubbed by NC): Oh man, we're in a tight jam!
Still of Kuame.
Wheeler (NC): Uh, Kwame, don't you have somethin' to say?
Kwame (dubbed by Critic): I'm not going to say it, not until you apologize for stiffing me on the bill at Olive Garden.
Wheeler (NC): Aw, come on, man, I was short on cash!
Kwame (NC): And I look like Don Fucking King to you?
Wheeler: (sighs) Alright, I'm sorry.
Kwame: Then let our powers combine!
Wheeler: (muttering) Douche.
NC (voiceover): Most of these episodes follow the same pattern. Some evil-doer is polluting the Earth for the sole purpose of being a douche, the kids come to help, can't quite handle it, so they call in Captain Planet to save the day. But not all these episodes just focus on the environment, there's actually one or two episodes that focus on different subject matters.
NC: So, Captain Planet, what other issues are you gonna talk to grade school kids about?
Todd Andrews (Neil Patrick Harris): AIDS?
NC is shocked
Doctor: You tested positive for the HIV virus.
NC: STOP! CEASE! DESIST! GET OUTTA THERE BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!
An alarm is going off and words like "Abort, Bail Out, You're not talented enough, Turn back" are flashing on screen
Ma-ti: I sense fear and panic.
NC (voiceover): (sigh) Alright, so Captain Planet is gonna talk about AIDS. God help us. So apparently, Verminous Scumm has an evil plan to make high schoolers really hate this one kid who happens to have AIDS*. Just listen to his foolproof evil plot.
- - The character doesn't have AIDS; he is HIV-positive, which leads to AIDS, but he doesn't have it yet.
Verminous Scumm (voiced by Maurice LaMarche instead of Jeff Goldblum): Once we let people know the kid has AIDS, we can panic the whole town! See, when people panic, they don't think. If they don't think, they stay stupid about AIDS and it gets spread. Once it spreads far enough, WE take over the Earth!
NC: ...Makes sense to me!
Doctor: There are only a few ways to contract the virus: using drugs with needles, unprotected sex-
NC is shocked to hear this in a kids show
Doctor: Or he could've gotten it from that blood transfusion he had a few years back.
NC: These kids are just learning how to spell "blue"! Don't tell them about drugs or unprotected sex! What the hell's wrong with you?!
Todd: Who cares how I got it? It stinks!
NC: There you have it, folks, the understatement of the century. AIDS stinks. And here's another thing I just found out: Hitler was a dork.
Speaking of Hitler, he is in one of the episodes of Captain Planet, but they screwed him up with the mustache.
NC (voiceover): Naturally, the kid's coach comes in to try to give him some advice.
Coach: Are you gonna talk?
Todd: Nothin' to say. It's all over.
Coach: Not the way I hear it.
Todd: Coach! I've got AIDS.
Coach: Wrong! You're HIV Positive. Big difference!
Todd: You probably won't even let me play in the big game.
Coach: Wrong again, Andrews. You're gonna be playin' in that game, and anybody who says otherwise will have to deal with me.
NC: Whoa, Coach is a bit of a psycho.
NC (voiceover): Soon, Verminous starts spreading rumors and lies about AIDS.
Verminous Scumm (in a trenchcoat and fedora, to a girl): Did ya hear about Todd Andrews? (whispers unintelligibly)
NC: He's a closet mumbler?
NC (voiceover): Soon everybody--even the adults--are calling for the hanging of this kid with AIDS. If only the knew that an environmentally aware children's cartoon could show them the error of their ways. Of course, Captain PSA comes along to help set the record straight with people.
Captain Planet: I think these people need a little education about the HIV virus. MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE?
NC: This is gonna be painful.
Captain Planet: A lot of you are worried about AIDS. Give 'em the facts, Coach.
Coach: You can't get AIDS from casual contact.
Captain Planet: You've been led astray by lies! Todd hasn't changed.
Coach: That's right!
NC screams at the sudden intrusion of the Coach's face
Coach: He's the same kid who played his heart out for you right here on this court last week!
Captain Planet: Deal with the real, people! Get the facts! The power is yours!
NC (Mocking Captain Planet): And this speech is terrible!
Coach: So what are you gonna do? Turn your back on him? Or give him the chance he deserves?
The crowd cheers
NC: This is like the most easily led crowd in the world. Hey everybody! Childbirth is bad!
NC: But genocide is good!
NC (voiceover): Another issue that's kind of hard to see Captain Planet take on is gang violence. You heard right...gang violence. Just listen to some of the streetwise backtalk!
Gang member 1: We is what's happenin' here now!
Member 2: Don't sweat it dog!
Member 1: We hittin' the spot to score some gat.
Member 2: Those fools can't hit us!
Member 1: It's R.I.P. time for you!
NC (in tough voice): Yo, yo, I'm gonna bust a wicked don dookie in the back of yo behind, mildly annoying acquaintance!
NC (voiceover): And the way they convey the terror of gang violence is by having pictures of civil rights leaders posted all throughout the cartoon. They never really reference them, they just...kinda put 'em there. I mean, look at this, they don't say anything, they don't do anything, they just kind of appear and then disappear.
NC (voiceover): Gee, I hope there's some retarded teenagers and a flying blue man in gay underwear that can sum this all up.
Gi: Can't you see? It's time to stop wrecking, and start really educating.
Captain Planet: Peace or war, it's your choice.
The gang members pull out their guns at each other, the screen cuts to black and a gunshot is heard. This doesn't really happen.
NC: That would've been the funny ending!
NC (voiceover): But instead, we get a look into the gang members' heads as they analyze all that the civil rights leaders have fought for. I guess this has good intentions, but some of these images get pretty damn graphic.
It shows guns, burning houses, and people in caskets.
NC: Uh, kids? You might want to switch it over to Sesame Street right now. (whisper) These people don't know what they're doing.
Gaia: So much for drama.
NC (voiceover): And of course, at the end of every episode, we had to listen to that godawful song that we all hated to listen to, and yet we could never get out of our heads.
Captain Planet song
NC (voiceover): Though there was that one guy who always summed up my feelings towards the show at the end.
Villain: You'll pay for this, Captain Planet!
NC: Alright, Ted Turner, you've made your point, and we'll make a deal with you. We'll start cleaning up the planet, and you STOP MAKING THESE GODAWFUL CARTOONS! That way, the planet can be nice and clean so you can become supreme ruler.
The ruler smacks him
He picks up his gun slowly and cocks it
NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don't have to. ...Ruler-HA!
He points his gun at the direction the ruler usually comes from, but it hits him from the other side, knocking him down
NC: I really hate this episode.