[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/GiJoe_TV-Title1985.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"He'll never give up, he's always there, fighting for freedom over land and air..."]]

->''"G. I. Joe is America's top secret mobile strike force team. The mission: to defend freedom. The threat: Cobra, an evil organization bent on world conquest. The battle cry: '''Yo Joe!'''"''
-->--'''OpeningNarration for the [[Creator/DiCEntertainment DiC]] seasons.'''

The first (and most popular) AnimatedShow in the ''Franchise/GIJoe'' franchise.

G.I. Joe was formed with the expressed purpose of stopping the terrorist group Cobra and the weapon distributors, mercenaries and scientists they hire. The Joes consists of military personnel from the army, navy, airforce, marines and coast guard with a variety of skills and military specialities.

''G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero'' is the first Franchise/GIJoe cartoon, part of the franchise of the same name. It premiered with a FiveEpisodePilot in 1983. The writing and distribution of the series was handled by both Marvel Productions and Sunbow Productions. Animation was done by ToeiAnimation[[note]]with feeder studios Creator/SeiYoung and Creator/DaiWon[[/note]] and occasionally Creator/{{AKOM}} (both uncredited, as was normal for Marvel[=/=]Sunbow shows of that time). The show ran for two whole seasons along with three other five episode mini-series until it was cancelled in 1986 after 95 episodes.

Following the ''WesternAnimation/GIJoeTheMovie'' in 1987, Creator/DICEntertainment took over production, writing duties. Animation was done by Creator/SeiYoung. Starting with the FiveEpisodePilot, ''Operation Dragonfire'', the DIC series ran for two seasons until it was cancelled in 1992 after 44 episodes.

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!!Now I know:

* TheAggressiveDrugDealer: the Headman
* AllAmericanFace: If the tagline[[note]]"A Real American Hero"[[/note]] didn't make it obvious, then the red-white-blue tailstripes on the iconic G.I. Joe logo should.
* AllBikersAreHellsAngels: The Dreadnoks
* AlternativeForeignThemeSong: G.I. Joe had a different [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76d7FL8fcZY opening theme]] in Japan.
* AmericaSavesTheDay
* AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle: The TropeNamer
** CluelessAesop: What do these morals have to do with military factions firing lasers at each other?
* AndroclesLion: The origin of Snake-Eyes' wolf Timber in the cartoon; Snake-Eyes stopped to free the wolf from a bear trap, while lethally irradiated.
* {{Animesque}}: The original series was animated by [[Creator/ToeiAnimation Toei]]. Some of the characters could easily pass for extras in shows like [[Anime/HokutoNoKen Fist of The North Star]].
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: The giant tube worms from the MASS Device miniseries are unquestionably eels, as real tube worms don't even have mouths, let alone eyes, fins and gill slits.
* ArtEvolution: When DIC took over.
* BadAss (overloaded with 'em)
* BadassBeard: Numerous examples.
* TheBaroness: The TropeNamer
* {{BFG}}: Since some Joes are heavy weapons specialists, this trope is pretty much mandatory. Still, the most noteworthy example is Roadblock, who uses a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M2_Browning belt fed 50cal M2 Browning]] as his portable, standard firearm.
* BigBad: Cobra Commander, even though he screws up constantly.
* BittersweetEnding: Not every episode had a happy conclusion. "Computer Complications" was essentially a tie between G.I. Joe and Cobra (both sides lost a carrier); "Sink the Montana", despite concluding with the Joes foiling Cobra's plot, still had a somewhat depressing ending. And then there's "There's No Place Like Springfield"...
* TheBlank: Cobra Commander's mask is either a featureless reflective plate or a blue hood with eyeholes cut out.
* BodyHorror: "Glamour Girls" had Low-Light stop the "Transferance Machine" from stealing the youth and beauty of his younger sister, Una by destroying the linkage to her. The backwash, though, caused the machine to leave Madam Vale, the intended recipient of the stolen beauty, [[TheBlank without a face]]. The [[DiscretionShot reactions]] of Lady Jaye (horror) and Low-Light (hiding Una from the sight) show how bad it was--and only that we hear Madame Vail bemoaning her loss prevents it from being AndIMustScream.
* BrainwashedAndCrazy - Most characters underwent this trope at some point in the cartoon but special mention must go to Flint who suffered this at least three times in the series.
* CameraAbuse: A Cobra paratrooper smashes the lens of a news camera in the opening sequence of TheMovie.
* CanonImmigrant: Certain characters were originally created for the comics and cartoons before they were introduced to the toyline such as the Baroness, General Flagg, the Oktober Guard, and Kamakura.
* CasanovaWannabe: Shipwreck occasionally gets this way in the cartoon.
* CatchPhrase and BattleCry: "Yo Joe!"
** Fans often suggest Cobra Commander's CatchPhrase is "RETREEEEEAT!"
** For Cobra, "COOOOBRA!!!" in the original series and "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUw8cN6R8o0 COOOOBRA LALALALALALALALA!]]" in the animated movie.
* CastAsAMask: Whenever Zartan had to put on a disguise, he was then voiced by who previously played the person he was disguised as until he was revealed. Michael Bell played him and the French Scientist he impersonated in "Countdown for Zartan," while Neil Ross played both Shipwreck and Zartan-as-Shipwreck for "Once Upon A Joe".
** The same goes for Baroness, who sometimes would even disguise herself as a male. In "Twenty Questions" she's revealed to have been in disguise as a cameraman for most of the episode... a cameraman who until TheReveal previously had a male voice actor.
* CatUpATree: Inverted in "Twenty Questions," when Wild Weasel's parachute is [[ParachuteInATree tangled up in a branch]] that a panther is growling at him from.
* ChainsawGood: Buzzer and his diamond tooth chainsaw
* ChefOfIron: Roadblock
* TheChick: Somewhat averted, with the girls being competent on both sides, but the code names of the Joe girls fit this: Lady Jaye, Scarlett, and Cover Girl.
** On the other hand, the cartoon counterpart of Daina of the Oktober Guard wore a pink outfit [[PrettyInMink with a white fur hat]], an ensemble that was clearly not fit for combat.
*** If that combat was in ''colder climates'' (closer to depictions of Russia or Czechoslovakia pre-1993), then the pink outfit would fit better.
* ColdSniper: Lowlight.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: Gunfire from the Joes' weapons was red, and gunfire from Cobra's weapons was blue. (Although in the first miniseries, both sides' shots were simple white streaks.)
** A parody of this show on ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' called "Cheat Commandos" even called the villains Blue Laser.
* CompositeCharacter: General Flagg and his assistant General Austin from the [[ComicBook/GIJoeARealAmericanHeroMarvel comics]] were merged into one character for the FiveEpisodePilot of the animated series who bore Flagg's name and Austin's appearance
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: When the only ninjas were Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow, the series was a hit. When more were added, the series got canceled.
* ContinuityNod: Although most episodes were usually self-contained, occasionally, they did reference events or things that happened earlier. Some examples:
** In "Computer Complications" Zarana infiltrates the Joe base to help Cobra's plot and falls in love with Mainframe in the process, but obviously, them being on opposite sides means nothing can come of it. Late in "Grey Hairs and Growing Pains" it's revealed Zarana still has some lingering feelings for him, which the Joes are able to use to get her to help them stop Cobra's plan.
** In "Memories of Mara" Shipwreck falls for the titular character, but they can't be together cause she can't live long outside of water. Cobra was apparently aware of this because [[spoiler: when they trap him in a fake city]] in "There's No Place Like Springfield" his wife is a now restored Mara.
** In "Ghost of a Chance" Hector Ramirez (a NoCelebritiesWereHarmed version of Geraldo Rivera) has several Cobra big wigs on his show and proceeds to call them out on several of their past schemes over the course of the series, including the one they pulled in "Twenty Questions", in which he first appeared.
** In "Nightmare Assault", Iceberg goes out to a drive-in movie with [[MadScientistsBeautifulDaughter Mahia]], who first appeared in "Iceberg Goes South".
** Used twice in "Joe's Night Out". The main plot has Cobra holding a nightclub full of patrons (and three Joes) hostage in orbit to get back Dr. Mullaney (the scientist who had been rescued in "There's No Place Like Springfield") and [[AppliedPhlebotinum his research on a not-yet-perfected turbine that uses nitrogen from the air as fuel]]. [[StatusQuoIsGod After everyone is rescued]] the good doctor worries that Cobra may still be able to finish his work with the research data he took with him, but Mainframe reveals he slipped the computer virus from "Cobrathon" onto his disks. Cue ExplosiveInstrumentation...
* ContrivedCoincidence: The [[AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle PSAs]] that ran at the end of some episodes makes one think: Why is it that a GI Joe always happened to be close by when a kid was about to [[CantGetAwayWithNuthin do something dangerous, wrong, or just plain stupid]]?
* CoolBoat: The ridiculously gigantic ''USS Flagg'' built into a seven-and-a-half-foot long, three foot tall aircraft carrier, making it the largest playset in the line (though not the most expensive) and one of the biggest toy playsets ever released. Many futile notes to Santa were written requesting it.
* CoolPlane: Both the Joes and Cobras have some pretty impressive aircraft in their respective fleets.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Tomax and Xamot.
* CreatorProvincialism: An unusually high number of the Joes are from the very small state Rhode Island, according to their file cards. Where Hasbro just happens to be headquartered at..
* CulturalTranslation: In the UK, the good guys were called Action Force, and the theme tune called them International Heroes instead of Real American Heroes. Over time this slowly changed to "GI Joe, The Action Force" (it was as awkward as it sounds) before eventually just using the GI Joe name.
** This dates back from the 60's, when Palitoy licensed the original G.I. Joe figure as ''ActionMan''. Two decades later, ''Action Force'' was launched as an independent extension of the Action Man line. This changed with Hasbro's acquisition of the Palitoy assets, after which the Joes were introduced with European birthplaces.
* CustomUniform
* DefaceOfTheMoon: "Lasers in the Night", which leads to one of the great quotes of the series:
-->'''Destro''': You spent millions on this -- this ''cosmic graffiti?!''
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: From
* {{Determinator}}: Sgt Slaughter, as seen in the "Arise Serpentor, Arise" miniseries wherein after being subjected to medical experiments that should have left the Sgt unconscious for weeks, he woke up after just a few ''minutes'' and proceeded to [[OpenSaysMe break into the door controls]] '''using his bare hands'''!
-->'''Cobra Commander''': ''"That man has the constitution of a vending machine!"''
* DoesNotLikeShoes: Quick Kick and his student Teiko from "Cobra Quake".
* TheDragon: Destro
* DrillSergeantNasty: Sergeant Slaughter and Beach-Head.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The pilot mini-series is noticeably more violent than the show would [[NeverSayDie famously turn out to be]]. Several Cobra Troopers are explicitly suggested to be killed on-screen. Also several characters had different designs (most notable with Snake Eyes, due to being based on the first figure, while the rest of the Sunbow episodes shows him as his second figure, and the DIC episodes as the fourth figure).
* ElaborateUndergroundBase: Several of Cobra's bases.
* EnemyMine: The Gamesmaster in his one appearance ("The Gamesmaster"). He'd kidnapped Flint, Lady Jaye, the Baroness and Cobra Commander. When Destro realizes that a third party, not GI Joe, had kidnapped the Commander and the Baroness, he quickly calls Duke. Duke ends up begrudgingly agreeing.
** Also, COBRA themselves, in the episode where they tried to start a war between the US and Russia, and the Joes and their Russian counterparts got wise.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: In the original MASS Device pilot miniseries, Snake Eyes is thought to be fatally irradiated. Major Bludd keeps the Cobra troopers from firing on him for this, and has a brief twinge of sympathy as he said he wouldn't wish what happened to Snake Eyes on his worst enemy, adding "Poor blighter."
* EvilPoacher: Gnawgahyde
* ExpositoryThemeTune
* EyepatchOfPower: Major Bludd
* TheFaceless: Cobra Commander's face is never shown until ''GI Joe: The Movie''-- and then you wish it hadn't been.
** Snake Eyes' face is never shown in the cartoon.
** [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Madam Vale]], [[spoiler: at the end of the episode ''Glamour Girls'']].
* FacelessGoons: It seems like all Cobra uniforms include face-obscuring helmets or masks.
* FakeDefector: Dusty in "the Traitor."
* FamilyFriendlyFirearms: The laser guns in the cartoon.
* FiveEpisodePilot: The original Sunbow series had four: "The MASS Device" and "The Revenge of Cobra," which aired before the start of the series proper, and "Pyramid of Darkness" and "Arise, Serpentor, Arise," which were used as premieres for the show's two seasons. The DIC series premiered with one called "Operation Dragonfire." ''Sigma 6'' also had one of these.
* FourStarBadass: Hawk
* GatlingGood: Naturally shows up here and there, but by far the most delightfully ridiculous example is Rock n' Roll ''DualWielding [[http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/gi-joe-1982/97-3.jpg twin gatlings]]''. How the recoil doesn't knock him over is anyone's guess.
* GeneralFailure: Cobra Commander and Serpentor, so, so hard. In the 1987 movie Cobra Commander finally gets called out for it by Serpentor and his lieutenants.
--> '''Serpentor''': Your ego-driven stupidity has converted [[EpicFail victory to catastrophe]] for the last time!
--> '''Destro''': We had won, but you countermanded my order!
--> '''Baroness''': Your meddling brought us defeat! [[StatusQuoIsGod Again, and again, and again]]!
--> '''Dr. Mindbender''': You're not just a fool, [[TheMillstone you're Cobra's curse]]!
--> '''Tomax/Xamot''': [[RuleOfThree Inept! Insufficient! Inexcusable!]]
* HawaiianShirtedTourist: Chuckles is usually wearing one (a shirt that is, not a tourist). He is also the Joes' best undercover operative. A frequently mentioned point is that most people would never imagine an undercover operative to stick out like a sore thumb as he does.
* HeelFaceTurn: Storm Shadow at some point between the Sunbow and DIC series.
* HeroSecretService: The Greenshirts.
* HighlyConspicuousUniform: The Cobra uniforms, in spades.
* IHaveNoSon: Lifeline's father says this in "Second Hand Emotions".
* IconOfRebellion: COBRA, naturally enough, has a red cobra's head with it's hood open.
* IdiotBall: Gung-Ho holds it briefly for the purposes of {{exposition}} in the episode "Let's Play Soldier"; while the target demographic for the show probably wouldn't know what "dust children" were, it's odd that Leatherneck would have to explain the concept to another veteran Marine.
* ImprobableWeaponUser: During the infamous breath mints/candy mints fight, Zandar comes out and clobbers another Dreadnok with an ''alligator''. Also counts as a CrowningMomentOfFunny.
* InkSuitActor: Sgt. Slaughter played his cartoon version--and his "Real American Hero" angle carried over into the Wrestling/{{WW|E}}F for a while.
** Also interesting to note as he's credited by his birth name (Bob Remus) throughout the cartoon run, but credited as Sgt. Slaughter (as himself) in the movie opening credits.
* InsertGrenadeHere
* InTheBlood: Serpentor is a [[DesignerBabies designer baby]] who [[PlotRelevantAgeUp grows up real fast]] with DNA from conquerors, murderers, and madmen.
* {{Introdump}}
* InvulnerableKnuckles: Sgt Slaughter for punching through a brick wall in the cartoon.
* ItsPersonal: A few times Cobra members have aided the Joes:
** The Baroness helped the Commander's attempt to replace Cobra troops with the "Phantom Brigade".
*** "Worlds Without End" showed an alternate-universe Baroness as one of LaResistance.
** Zartan aided the Joes when Zarana was nearly turned into one of Madame Vale's potential targets.
** Destro didn't appreciate the Commander trying to make a Synthoid of ''him,'' and helped the Joes stop his conspiracy.
** Xamot needed the Joes to rescue Tomax when the Baroness gained the power in "Spell of the Siren" to control the males of both GI Joe AND Cobra.
** "The Greatest Evil" had one Cobra fighter have his sister addicted to the Headman's drugs around the same time Falcon become an addict as well--and both he and Duke find an EnemyMine situation.
* KarmaHoudini: Given that he later shows up in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'' that's set many years in the future, it can be inferred that Cobra Commander is ultimately this, even if he didn't take over the world.
* KillSat
* LegendFadesToMyth: In one episode, the Joes end up in AncientGreece, and their actions contribute to various Greek legends (e.g., Sgt. Slaughter performs one of the labors of Heracles).
* LighterAndSofter: Than Larry Hama's comic book, which despite some comedy elements, depicted more of the consequences of war. Besides, later animated series, comic books and live action films depict the Joes as trained and merciless killers - with some characters only heroes because of the side they're on - whereas except for some EarlyInstallmentWeirdness the term "kill count" is all but alien in the original series. Ironically, that didn't stop the show from being lambasted by moral guardians of the day; they didn't know that someday Scarlett would start aiming for the eyes.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters
* MacGuffin: The "Macguffin Device" from "Once Upon A Joe."
* MagicalNativeAmerican: Spirit
* MarketBasedTitle: Rather more extensive than usual
** At a basic level, the cartoon's {{tagline}} ("A Real American Hero") was changed to "The International Hero" outside America.
** In the UK, the original 12" figures were renamed ''ActionMan'', and eventually gained their own, separate {{canon}}.
** Later, the 3 3/4" figures were sold in the UK and elsewhere as ''Action Force''. This incarnation reimagined Action Force as a European anti-terrorist organisation based in Europe, which sometimes cooperated with GI Joe.
* MasterActor: Zarana.
* MasterOfDisguise: Zartan and the Baroness.
* MayContainEvil: Cobra's schemes in the episodes "Cold Slither" and "Let's Play Soldier".
* MechaMooks: [[GoddamnBats Goddamn]] [[IncrediblyLamePun B.A.T.s]].
** The odd mention of B.A.A.T.s isn't a case of SpellMyNameWithAnS, but a case of two similar sets of FunWithAcronyms; B.A.T stands for "Battle Android Trooper", while B.A.A.T stands for "Battle Armored Android Trooper".
* MerchandiseDriven
* MindControlMusic: Cobra's plot in "Cold Slither" is to use the Dreadnoks as a metal band (with appropriate dress) to send [[SubliminalAdvertising subliminal messages]] to America's youth, and then subject them to direct brainwashing at a live concert.
* MindScrew: Done to Cobra in "Once Upon A Joe" when Shipwreck activates the "Macguffin Device": it causes the imagination of the holder to become reality--and constructs from Shipwreck's story to come alive and attack the Cobra forces.
* MixAndMatchMan: Serpentor
* MookFaceTurn: Mercer, from nameless rank and file Viper to G.I.Joe.
* MusicalAssassin: Metal-Head
* NobodyCanDie: The only character to undoubtedly die in the main series (as opposed to its EarlyInstallmentWeirdness pilot) was the drug lord Headman, who overdosed on the drugs he was selling at the end of the "Greatest Evil" two-parter written to cash-in on the "War on Drug" hysteria.
* NonLethalWarfare: Blue and red lasers! Yay!
* NotQuiteDead
* OneWayVisor: Cobra Commander
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: Storm Shadow vs. Spirit and Storm Shadow vs. Quick Kick.
* OpeningNarration: Quoted above; it played during an instrumental break in the ExpositoryThemeTune.
* OrganicTechnology: Everything in the Cobra-La hideout in TheMovie
* PieInTheFace: Macguffin Device-created SuperDeformed versions of Leatherneck and Shipwreck splat Dr. Mindbender with a cream pie in "Once Upon A Joe." After the second pie, Mindbender, snarls, "I hate that sailor..."
* PinPullingTeeth
* PirateParrot: Shipwreck's parrot
* PraetorianGuard: the Crimson Guard
* PreachersKid: Lifeline was a type 1 (angelic); his dad was a minister.
* PredatoryBusiness: In the 80's show, the Red Rocket franchise pops up all over in one episode, even planning to buy out Roadblock's family restaurant (the owners won't sell, of course). Then it turns out that Cobra is involved, and the rockets adorning the buildings are carrying their latest [=WMD=]s, the warhead shaped Photon Disintegrators. The Joes stop the plot, and Roadblock's family restaurant becomes "The Joes' Place".
* PunnyName: Cutter's real name is Skip A. Stone. You might think he's a Navy man, but actually he's from the Coast Guard.
* PutOnABus: Clutch, Grunt and Steeler ended up staying behind in a parallel universe run by Cobra (in the cartoon). The three were part of the much plainer 1982 lineup, and thus were being written out in favour of the [[MerchandiseDriven "cooler" new characters]]. At least they got a send-off in a two-parter episode and not just ignored (poor Zap).
* RaginCajun: Gung-Ho
* RatedMForManly
* RealityEnsues: In the last episode of "Arise, Serpentor, Arise!", the Cobra Emperor orders his troops to take over Washington D.C. Easily done, but as Destro points out, ''holding'' U.S. territory once its armed forces get going is another thing entirely.
* RedHeadedHero: Scarlett, and ''many'' others
* TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation
* RougeAnglesOfSatin: One episode ended with the Crimson Twins tearing up their "elbction" ballets.
* RuleOfThree: In each of the original three [[FiveEpisodePilot Five-Episode Pilots]] (The MASS Device, Revenge of Cobra, and Pyramid of Darkness) Duke gets taken hostage in the first episode. In the original he escapes by the second episode, but he remains held captive for the majority of the other two.
* SacrificialLamb: Averted in the ''MASS Device'' pilot miniseries, when Snake-Eyes gets fatally irradiated... and then implausibly cured by the BedouinRescueService.
* SamusIsAGirl: Part of Scarlett's EstablishingCharacterMoment in the first cartoon miniseries.
* SemperFi: Gung-Ho and Leatherneck
* SergeantRock: Duke
* SnowMeansCold: In "The Revenge of Cobra", Destro uses the Weather Dominator to create an instant snowstorm in the desert.
* ThemeTuneCameo: The Joes play a big band version of the opening theme at the end of ''Cold Slither''.
* TheSpeechless: Snake-Eyes, when we are given a reason for his silence
* SupremeChef: Roadblock
* TankGoodness
* TeleportersAndTransporters: The MASS Device
* TitleThemeTune: Amped up for TheMovie
* TookALevelInBadass: At the beginning of the DIC run, which picks up where the movie left off, Cobra Commander is still a snake, but is restored to human([[LizardFolk oid]]) form by the Baroness and Gnawgahyde. He wrests control of Cobra back from Serpentor, gets revenge by turning Serpentor into [[BalefulPolymorph an iguana]], and then when he goes after the Joes they actually have a hard time defeating him!
* TrashcanBonfire: One appears in a bad part of town in the episode "Cold Slither".
* TruthInTelevision: No, really, knowing ''is'' half the battle. Knowledge and intel are vital for any successful military operation.
** This was pointed out by [[Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra the films]].
* TunnelKing: Tunnel Rat
* VitriolicBestBuds: Wet Suit and Leatherneck, playing up to their InterServiceRivalry (Wet Suit is a Navy [=SEAL=]; Leatherneck is a die-hard Marine).
* TheVoiceless: Snake-Eyes, when we are not given a reason for his silence.
* WalkingShirtlessScene: Dr. Mindbender, who also counts as FetishRetardant.
** And Gung-Ho.
* WheelOfPain: Cobra keeps these around for no readily apparent reason.
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''"And knowing is half the battle."''
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