* AdaptationDisplacement: Most Joe media after the original cartoon tend to portray Duke as either the team leader (when Hawk doesn't appear) or a central figure right from the start, even though the original toys and comics did not initially feature him for a bit.
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic: Especially the opening theme of the 1987 movie.
* BrokenBase: Comic fans vs cartoon fans.
* CompleteMonster: The original Franchise/GIJoe comic, first under [[ComicBook/GIJoeARealAmericanHeroMarvel Marvel]], now with IDW, has [[MorallyAmbiguousDoctorate Doctor Venom]]. Where Cobra Commander at least had ''one or two'' humanizing moments, Venom was pure evil incarnate distilled into paint thinner. Invented a machine whose sole purpose was [[MindRape mind-raping]] prisoners, which was then adapted into {{brainwash|ed}}ing them. Had to team up with Kwinn and Snake Eyes for their mutual survival, yet [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder never missed a chance to back-stab one or both of them]] and would repeatedly end up [[DirtyCoward begging for his miserable life]] if cornered. If that's not enough, when Destro went into a HeroicBSOD at the sight of Baroness making an apparent HeroicSacrifice to save him, Venom commented to Cobra Commander, "Doesn't he realize love is just the overestimation of one woman's value over another?" [[KickTheDog within earshot of Destro]]! Not only did he ''never'' show remorse, he never showed anything but [[ForTheEvulz child-like glee]] when inflicting suffering on others and [[WhyWontYouDie anger if they survived]].
* DorkAge: The DiCEntertainment-produced cartoons in the early 90s likely count, being a LighterAndSofter version than the 80s series. One episode even features Cobra plotting in taking over a school with bogus history books, and end up getting defeated by school-children.
** ''G.I. Joe Extreme'' anyone? This thing was so bad and riddled with so much 90's cheese it more or less killed the entire franchise up until 2001-2002.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Due to LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, this trope is inevitable. Snake-Eyes, for example, is extremely popular among fans. For a later part of the Marvel Comics run, the cover title actually included "Featuring Snake-Eyes."
** Dr. Sidney Biggles-Jones is an interesting case. Normally she'd just be a minor scientist (albeit [[HotScientist a good-looking one]]), but she was a key player in the ''TransformersGeneration2'' crossover/BackDoorPilot, making her a memorable figure in two different fandoms.
* EvilIsCool: Loads of Cobra members. Cobra Commander himself frequently qualifies.
* EvilIsSexy: Baroness
* FairForItsDay: The original animated series is often mocked for its lack of a body count and has been deemed "Series/TheATeam of animation"; however it was actually one of the edgier American animated kids shows of the '80s. For starters, characters were able to actually hit each other and they showed that plenty of times in the show. And while characters weren't killed they did acknowledge the concept of casualties in war, so NeverSayDie was averted-- heck, there was an episode where they talked to ghosts, and another where some Joes found the decayed skeletal remains of themselves (in a parallel Earth).
** There was an episode where they went to Southeast Asia and encountered Amerasian street kids acknowledged to have been fathered by American soldiers during the UsefulNotes/VietnamWar.
* FashionVictimVillain: Metal facemask, [[WalkingShirtlessScene Absolute Pec-Cleavage]], and a big old disco collar. Destro almost makes it work, somehow. Besides, his Iron Grenadier outfit compensates for the original one.
** Not to mention Serpentor's costume. Hoo boy...
* FridgeLogic: So, if they're supposed to be the Real ''American'' Heroes, why is their flamethrower-guy Irish? Related to UnfortunateImplications below.
* FriendlyFandoms: With ''{{Franchise/Transformers}}'' which was inevitable given that the two are basically set in the same universe and crossover on a regular basis.
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: The episode ''Cobra Quake''. While the plot of the episode focuses on G.I. Joe stopping Cobra from making an artificially created earthquake to destroy Tokyo, on March 11, 2011, Japan actually got hit by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Now, ''TheHub'' no longer airs this episode on its channel.
* GodModeSue: Helix. She can "calculate all near-future possibilities", meaning she essentially sees few seconds into future AND she's pretty AND she's fast AND she's an excellent fighter AND everything about her is super-secret. So far she's been shown to out-fight Snake-Eyes and out-wit Hawk. For her next appearance, Chuck Dixon will probably make her out-mean Beach Head, out-glamour Cover Girl and out-perform everyone else.
* HarsherInHindsight: The episode ''Cobra Quake'', which focuses on G.I. Joe trying to stop Cobra from causing an artificially created earthquake to destroy Tokyo. Then, in 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake actually hit Japan. As a result, TheHub suspended airing this episode on its channel until further notice.
** In part 4 of "The MASS Device," when Cobra Commander learns that the G.I. Joe team's surrender is a bluff, he orders the Device to fire on New York City, thanks to a targeting device the Baroness secretly planted on the Empire State Building. At one point, when the beam it fires is shown on a monitor the way it's drawn it makes it look like it's heading straight for the World Trade Center instead.
** In the original animated movie, Duke's death was retconned away at the last minute. For ''Film/GIJoeRetaliation'', they [[spoiler:refilmed a bunch of scenes to include Duke's death]]. It's too bad they didn't retcon away [[spoiler:his death]] at the last minute, despite not padding out Channing Tatum's role.
* HilariousInHindsight: Hama's original proposal involved Nick Fury's son assembling a team to take on Hydra. This is almost exactly what's happening with Marcus Fury/Nick Fury Jr. in recent Marvel comics.
** Seal Team 6 and the mission to kill Osama bin Laden (as recounted in ''ZeroDarkThirty'') feels a ''lot'' like a real-life version of ''GI Joe'', including bringing a dog along and wacky hijinks with the EOD guy.
* IAmNotShazam: G.I. Joe is the name of the organization, not the name of any one character.
** There ''is'' actually a character named G.I. Joe in the series, Joseph B. Colton, the legendary soldier for whom the organization was named--his name was Joe, and he was a GI (traditionally, from WW2). For the record, he's implied to be the very same gentleman from the 12-inch line famed for his full beard and kung fu grip.
* LauncherOfAThousandShips: Scarlett, as the main female Joe, has this: OfficialCouple status either with Duke in the cartoon or with Snake-Eyes in the comics, Clutch tried to hit on her in the comics, just like Tunnel Rat in the Sigma 6 cartoon and Ripcord in the live-action movie. Her interaction with Zartan in the TV episode "The Gamemaster" looks almost flirtatious. And there's even people who pair her with [[Franchise/{{Transformers}} Bumblebee]] due to them teaming-up in the many crossovers.
* MagnificentBastard: Cobra Commander on his good days.
* MemeticBadass: Joe Colton, the first G.I. Joe, is treated as this both in and out of universe.
* MemeticMutation: Fenslerfilm's [[WebVideo/GIJoePSAs dubbed-over PSAs]].
** Cobra Commander's lament of "Was once a man!" after being transformed into a snake-thing.
* SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome: Snake-Eyes is one of these personified, including breaking into Destro's castle to save Scarlett and actually taking on Storm Shadow and his ninjas with little weapons, and breaking free during a Cobra torture session, and going upstairs to rescue the people who were supposed to rescue him. In Snake-Eyes-Land, prisoner saves you!
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nv_daZe1kNI The opening for the 1987 film is made up of several of these. Examples include Snake-Eyes stealing a Trouble Bubble in mid air, Cobra Commander getting punched off the Statue of Liberty, and Duke blowing up the Cobra airship.]]
* MoralEventHorizon: In ''World War III'', Cobra Commander definitely crosses the line.
** In the opening of ''Resolute'', he kills ten million innocent Russian civilians, just to prove he should be taken seriously.
** When Overkill was a SAW-Viper, killed many Joes (Breaker, Doc, etc) without any remorse. In fact, he VOLUNTEERED to do the deed.
* MyRealDaddy: Larry Hama for the comic and Snake Eyes.
* NarmCharm: Yeah it's cheesy and hammy, but that's part of what makes it so damn fun!
* NightmareFuel: The episode "There's No Place Like Springfield" will give anyone nightmares for a week. As will the one with the giant shrieking underwater worms.
** The episode where a rich, old woman wanted a younger woman's face transplanted onto her through some crazy machine. In the end the Joes manage to stop it, but the old woman is left as TheBlank.
** The two-part episode "Worlds Without End", in which some of the Joes are transported to an [[AlternateUniverse alternate dimension]] [[VillainWorld where Cobra has conquered the world]]. The characters end up [[spoiler: stumbling over the skeletal remains of the Joes of that world, including their own counterparts.]]
** In the episode with Mindbender's dream-projector, "Nightmare Assault", Lowlight's own nightmare about the junkyard rats is ''much'' scarier than anything the villain devises, the moreso in that it enacts an actual [[AbusiveParents childhood trauma]]. Mainframe's dream that he's [[BodyHorror turning into an android]] is nasty too, albeit very brief. Then there's Hawk's nightmare where all his friends' vehicles blow up and they ''don't'' parachute out. Hawk parachutes out... then finds that he's falling into the mouth of a cobra the size of a building.
** And then there's Cobra Commander's spore-induced degeneration into a snake in the movie. Before it's over, all he can say is "Onssssssse a man..." And Cobra-La plans to do that to ''the entire human race''.
* OlderThanTheyThink: This started out as a 12'' action figure for decades before the cartoon.
* RealWomenDontWearDresses: According to Sigma 6, Scarlett hasn't worn a dress since her prom.
** Not so. She wore a very slinky dress when she went undercover in DDP's ARAH #17 and #18. If that's not enough, she has worn the dress greens during the Marvel-era, which means a knee-length skirt, most notably at General Flagg's funeral. OTOH, that leaves her wearing her combat uniform or jeans only 99% of the time and she doesn't really follow any feminine stereotypes otherwise, it's kinda moot point.
* ReplacementScrappy: Serpentor isn't an unpopular character on his own, but if he replaces Cobra Commander than he becomes this partly because he's widely seen as lacking all the qualities that make Cobra Commander likable and cool.
* RootingForTheEmpire: C'mon who ''hasn't'' rooted for Cobra at least once. In the cartoon Cobra Commander is such a lovable bumbler that a lot of fans wanted him win at least once, if only to ThrowTheDogABone.
* TheScrappy: Shipwreck's parrot Polly in the cartoon due to being widely seen as annoying.
** Helix in the IDW comics due to being a GodModeSue. Your doomed for Scrappydom when you're written as not only canonically beating ''[[EnsembleDarkhorse Snake-Eyes]]'' in a straight-up fight, but doing so with ease.
* UnfortunateImplications: Blowtorch, the Joes' fire-based weapons expert, had an [[{{Oireland}} Irish]] accent in the TV show.
** In the ''Twenty Questions'' episode that introduced Hector Ramirez, we see the Joes relaxing in their off time; Alpine, who appears to be of some African American/Hispanic ancestry, makes a nasty comment when he sees Native American Indian teammate Spirit feeding his pet eagle Freedom from the mouth. Alpine says "Disgusting, probably gonna get a disease." Spirit tells Alpine not to fear for his health, and Alpine shoots back "I'm not. I'm worried about Freedom." Seeing as how the insult is aimed at a Native American it comes across as more than a little racist.
* UnintentionallySympathetic: Cobra Commander, like most villains of 80s cartoons, is just so hapless and clumsy and riddled with bad luck and loses so often in a humiliating fashion that sometimes you just can't help feeling bad for him. [[spoiler:His comic book counterpart, however, was very much a MagnificentBastard.]]