Why wasn't there a Planeteer from Australia? The dynamic of the four Western elements plus heart is better aesthetically, but they couldn't BS a sixth element like lightning or something?
Especially since Americans were obsessed with Australia during the eighties. He would have been the Breakout Character!
Probably for the sake of diversity, by means of a quasi-Five-Token Band. The majority of the Australian population is white and/or of European Descent, with a minority of Africans, Asians and people of Aboriginal origin. Choosing any one of those would imply repeating an already depicted minority, and there were already two white characters. It wasn't about the geography, it was about the demographics. Of course, they could've chosen a non-aboriginal mestizo character for South America, and then gone with an aboriginal Australian, but the call of the Amazon tribe was too strong to resist. Ma-ti needed to talk to animals, after all...
I'm pretty sure Australian Aborigines and South American natives are two different races (at the very least).
Besides, there are only 5 Aristotelian elements.
And Heart wasn't one of them — the fifth Aristotelian element is Aether, which makes up stars and planets and doesn't represent life. A better comparison would be the Wiccan elements of air, earth, fire, water, and spirit. The Chinese and Japanese systems comprise five elements, too.
My brother and I were joking once that there should've been two other Planeteers to make sure all the continents were covered: An Aussie with the power of Electricity (who, of course, just happened to be a young clone of Paul Hogan), and a talking penguin with the power of Ice (yes, I know it's stupid; but Stupid = Funny, right?)
Would that Penguin be The Scrappy, or would Maa-ti and his monkey still retain the honor?
Unfortunately, ice is frozen water, so it's already under the dominion of the Water Ring.
Ozone. Unfortunately, the penguin would really only be able to use its power right after the 'Strayian, and you couldn't Cut Lex Luthor a Check because they'd have to relocate... to...
Would Australia have counted as "Oceania"?
What do all the villains actually, y'know, do besides just pollute? Do they actually produce anything, or do they just pollute for the sheer flying heck of it? How do they actually make money?
If I recall correctly, the rat guy (the villain who dressed up like a Libyan terrorist) was a radical, crazed anarchist, creating chaos simply because he wanted to see the world burn. Nolan's Joker, pretty much.
I don't know about the rest of them, but the entire point of Looten Plunder's character was that he got rich by running clear-cutting operations, poaching endangered species, and so forth.
Yes, but he wasn't exactly consistent - he'd do things like set things on fire or hire an army of special operatives to steal all the world's resources, things that are actually very counter-productive to making money.
Likewise, Doctor Blight was supposed to be using her Morally Ambiguous Doctorate to do amoral research for varied companies (cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, aerospace).
But again, a lot of the time her motives would stay unexplained and she'd just be causing oil spills and forest fires for the heck of it.
I think Gaia stated overtly at some point that Doctor Blight was actually insane, and wanted to use global warming to destroy all human life. At least she had a reason for being irrational.
I don't ever remember them saying. The show had next to zero continuity from episode to episode anyway.
Money was usually the motive. I don't remember any names, but there was also: a scientist manipulated by Greedly who used dolphins to loot a sunken Nazi warship, exposing them to dangerous chemicals in the process; a wild horse smuggler/poacher/whatever-that-would-be-called; rhino poachers who were after the ivory; exotic pet smugglers; several who attacked Gaia directly; and several times they just had to help people in general (homeless, school gangs, overpopulated third-world countries...)
Apparently... "Given the fact that we dealt not only with real-life issues, but also with children, our challenge lay in the concern that children might come to the conclusion that if their parents worked in a polluting industry, they were somehow villainous. Our answer to that issue was to create villains who were intentionally exaggerated, plainly operating outside the law in an otherwise realistic setting. The eco-villains emerged as characters symbolic of the planet’s environmental problems rather than representative of the actions of individuals."
It's a series from the 1990s aimed at children. The baddies pollute because they're jerks.
As Ben Croshaw said in his Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles review: "Do you remember what the villains from Captain Planet were like? How they'd steal an oil tanker and deliberately run smack into a beach to teach all the sea lions a lesson in complacency? Do you remember wondering why they didn't just sell the oil at huge profit and not have to get beaten up by a big blue man in little red pants? Well that's basically the Umbrella Corporation."
There's a problem with that. Almost all villains, even children's ones from the 1980s, have a discernible motive, even if that motive is as simple as "acquire money/power by whatever means I feel like." According to their profiles on the website, most of them do have some kind of reason, but apparently the show wasn't so good about making sure they had one every time.
Hogglish Greedy seemed to be more a lower-grade Looten Plunder, an amoral entrepreneur with a tendency to mess with the environment. Which makes you wonder about when he realized there was money in eco-friendly ventures, performed a Face-Heel Turn... would be become an equally amoral Eco-entrepreneur?
His son actually did do this, after nearly choking to death on smog.
It seems that most of the villains just liked polluting for the heck of it, and just used money to rationalize it to themselves. Given a choice between getting money by polluting and getting an equal amount of money by not polluting they would doubtless go the former route.
They might have been doing it out of sheer villainous spite. At first, they were just amoral, environmentally unfriendly jerks, but having the spirit of the Earth and her pet superhero wrecking their operations ticked them off enough to start using pollution as an actual weapon. "Oh, so Captain Planet thinks he can demolish my multi-million dollar oil rig because it hurts the animals? Well let's just see how he likes it when I MELT THE POLAR ICE CAPS!!!"
Duke Nukem definitely seems like an interesting case, because he's basically a walking nuclear battery. His motive was to spread radioactivity so he could feed on it, but that's definitely an ability that he could have used for tremendous good (say cleaning up all the acreage in Belarus that to this day is unlivable), so his motives are definitely more evil than some of the others, because he could have gotten what he wanted and saved the world in the process.
The answer is no, the villains don't really do anything a real businessman would do, which is usually the main complaint against the show. In real life, pollution is an unintended byproduct of industry and transportation. It's created when companies manufacture items for mass consumption or individuals wish to travel somewhere. Which is why it's wrong to tell children that polluters are all evil megalomaniacs who are committing a sin against Planet Earth For the Evulz, because in real life, anyone who ran their business like Hoggish, Looten, Blight or the rest would be out of business.
Actually that sounds a lot like BP ...hmmm the recent change back to Gulf anyone? They did the 'careless pollution and still made money' pretty walk in Real Life if you ask any employee of theirs.
BP's "careless pollution" is a massive exaggeration. Just because someone claiming to be a BP employee says it doesn't make it true. And even if it was, they still aren't as bad as the likes of Hoggish, Looten, Blight, or the other Captain Planet villains who have absolutely no motivation beyond "dump lots of pollution and somehow make money off it, maybe".
In no particular order: Verminous Skumm wants to wipe out humanity so that his people can be the dominant species; he believes that coexistence between his species and us is impossible, and considering that he and his thrive best in conditions unlivable to us, he's probably right. Doctor Blight is brain damaged, and belongs in a high security mental hospital. Hoggish Greedly is a bluntly stupid man with far too much inherited wealth and power, who gleefully runs polluting and destructive operations as his way of flipping off the rest of the world. Looten Plunder is into large, short-term profits and doesn't care at all about the effects of his methods. Duke Nukem is a sociopathic mutant who thrives on ionizing radiation and so seeks to increase the availability of his "food," again without caring what happens to anyone or anything else. Sly Sludge... I have no idea. Real people in his field are normally very interested in recycling and reclamation technologies.
Sly Sludge is lazy, that's his problem. He gets rich off of lazy garbage disposal scams.
Supposedly, it was what kept the conflicting elemental forces of the other rings in balance when Captain Planet was formed, and it could technically let you communicate with and command animals with your mind. What makes it lame, though, is that it only worked if both its user and the animal it's used on isn't in a drugged-induced, brainwashed, or highly agitated state, and it couldn't be used for offense or other aggressive intent (for example, Ma-Ti can use it when he's tied up to get some squirrels to come in and chew through the ropes, but he can't command a pride of lions to chew on some poacher meat). This makes no sense to me, since all of the other rings could be used for attack.
Weird since in the comic he actually got some forest animals to fight with him(including a wolf and a bear). I think the problem is that he is morally conflicted(in the comic example he asked the animals if they wanted to fight instead of just commanding them) not that he can't use his powers aggressively.
You'd think if a wolf and a bear wanted to fight somebody, they wouldn't need Ma-Ti's permission.
In other words, Ma-Ti is to land animals what Aquaman of the Super Friends was to sea animals.
Useful doesn't always mean explosions. Ma-Ti got most of the All Up To You episodes due to the heart ring's telepathy, which also bailed everyone out even if it was theirepisode. Plus, part of the power seemed to be immunity to the Idiot Ball...
Heart is actually one of the most useful powers. Instant telepathic communication with anyone on earth, the ability to calm angry people and animals down, limited telepathic control, one would assume it would include mind reading and deception detection (I don't think they ever showed this but it makes sense it would be part of his power set.) The problem is that Ma-Ti never found anything original or useful to do with it because he had no imagination.
Heart is the power that gives Captain Planet his love, emotions, morality; without Heart, Captain Planet would have no humanity. Imagine what would happen if they forgot Heart...
It's hard to keep on laughing at Ma-Ti once you realize: (a) He's Latino and probably going to be the hottest guy in school once he finally hits puberty, and (b) He has the power of heart over girls. That kid's gonna get more than you ever dreamed possible. NOW ask what kind of a lame power is Heart.
One that would be useful for someone withnoscruples. In any case, being one of the Planeteers would be enough to make sure he gets a girlfriend. Also, would it be that hard to find someone who'd volunteer for that? I figure love is the point of being in a relationship. All the better if it's not balanced on your finicky emotions.
On a more probable note, Ma-Ti doesn't need his ring to get girls... but he can certainly use it to know if a particular girl is interested in him, and if it's more than just celebrity infatuation, and why.
Not to mention, if any of the Planeteers went evil... sure, Wheeler could go into arson, and Gi could flood everything, but Ma-Ti has mind control. He could create an army of followers, or convince herds of elephants to trample you, or tell you to go kill yourself. That's a pretty impressive power. Think of him as having the potential of Dark Phoenix without all the deaths and resurrections.
At least it wasn't given to a girl.
No, just a minority.
Are you sure you're talking about Captain Planet? He wasn't a minority, unless you count 4/5ths of the main characters as 'minorities'.
I'm pretty sure he WAS a minority- some kinda Asian, right?
He was from South America. Gi was from Asia. Linka was from the former Soviet Union. Kwame was from Africa. How do you define 'minority' if Ma-Ti is a minority, but the others are not? 4/5ths of the main characters were non-white-American.
Wasn't he a South American Indian? I always thought so. After all, there are many, many people in Latin America who are a mix of Spanish and native ancestry; and that is what his appearance might suggest.
None of them are minorities of any kind, there all from the majority group of their respective cultures.
Technically, since both Wheeler and Linka were both white, they were the majority and the others were minorities by default. Of course, Linka was a Dirty Communist.
Well, technically, seeing as it's a global effort, Gi, from Asia, would be the majority, and everyone else would be the minorities.
Didn't they all live on that island? That would include Gaia and with her, it would have put Wheeler/Linka and Kwame/Gaia as majorities and Gi and Ma-Ti as minorities.
Since Gaia was the "Spirit of the Earth", could she really be considered to have a racial identity? Don't forget that aside from Whoopi Goldberg, she was also voiced by Margot Kidder.
If the others had been from the US maybe, but "whites" aren't a majority on the planet.
If Ma-Ti was a pure Kayapo Indian, he was a minority even in his country where they are less than 0,00005% of the total population. In Brazil the majority are Mestizos/Pardos, a mix of white, African and Indian in various proportions. Indeed as the other ones were majorities in their own countries, Ma-Ti was the only minority of the team.
Indeed. He was twelve, far and away the youngest of the five. Compare Gi, who was old enough to possess a credit card and drive a car.
And his voice actor was a 20 year old man.
Heart could be a much better power, but Ma-Ti has to keep it muted most of the time. Otherwise he'd tune into Linka and Wheeler's thoughts, and that's not the sort of thing you want in your head all day.
My problem with "Heart" is simple. Google image the pentagram of the elements and look through a few pictures. 1. The ones that do have anything like "heart" is actually called "Spirit" which they could be MUCH more original with and not as lame. 2. A few of them do not have 'spirit' that whole "element of metal"? That's not some person wanking off to try and make a cool suggestion, in a lot of cultures that IS the fifth element. Of course Ted Turner would never use it, because the ability to summon a sword out of thin air is just terrible.
There are several good uses. Is your boat leaking and you need to rig up a pump? Heart! Are you starving with nothing to eat? (Animal) Heart! Are the bad guys running away with the help of working circulatory systems? Heart! Is your circulatory system not quite good enough for you to follow? Heart! If nothing else, he could at least drop giant hearts on the bad guys.
Out of all the elements, Aether, Lightning, Wood, Life, Light, Time, Space, Sun, Moon, Spirit, Ice, Sound, and so on, it had to be HEART. They get flamethrowers, earth-movers, water, and wind, and he gets HEART of all things.
It really should have been Aether, which is the traditional fifth element. It would have been pretty useless though, given that it can only exist in space.
Thematically, Heart fits pretty well for the Anvilicious lessons the show liked to go for as well. The team uses the powers of the earth's elements (which would get completely negated by something like Sun, Moon, Space, etc, since they're technically extra-terrestrial) to protect it from pollution. But what binds it all together is Heart - that is, the compassion of living beings towards one another and their world. Also, it fits with the themes of the Planeteers representing aspects of the environment which need protection; Ma-Ti is wildlife, Gi is the oceans, Kwame is soil/minerals/etc, Linka is air and atmosphere... in fact the odd-one out by the reasoning is actually Wheeler, which works with him being the team's Butt Monkey as well...
Why does the titular cap'n look so much like a repurposed toothpaste mascot?
I always thought he looked and acted like Mark Summers of Double Dare. Which raises the question - why does the defender of the earth brought to life by the spirits of the elements look like an artificial 1980s television personality?
To appeal to viewers who were raised on artificial 1980's television personalities.
The pilot episode mentions that Captain Planet's appearance and demeanor are pulled from the minds of the Planeteers — apparently, the Planeteers are big fans of artificial 1980's television personalities.
Tom Cruise was originally going to be Captain Planet's voice actor, so they based the design off him. However, Cruise backed out at the last second. When the pilot mentioned that little factoid, they were supposed to reveal the Planeteers based Captain Planet's appearance after Tom Cruise, which was pulled from their minds. Creepy.
Including the ones who lived devoid of technology and therefore had zero exposure to 1980's television personalities. Didn't at least two of them live in isolated tribes?
If I recall correctly: Wheeler was the child of two extremely poor Americans living in a version of New York City that looked post-apocalyptic, Kwame was from a family of rural farmers in central Africa, Gi's parents were (I think) Korean or Chinese Marine Biologists, Linka is the daughter of coal miners in rural Russia, and Ma-Ti was from an isolated South American Indian tribe (and I believe his tribe's shaman was training him to be the successor before he got called away). Yes, I don't know why I know this, either. Interesting that Gi was the only one from a family background middle class or higher - her toy's bio actually notes that she was able to start college at 14. But yea, none of these kids should have really even known what Double Dare was, especially since cable TV would have been too expensive for Wheeler's family to afford at the time and he used to run away from home all the time, anyways. Writing this out makes me realize that these characters had a lot of potential that was wasted.
Actually, cable was more common than you think in the poor sections since it was relatively easy to steal. There were no cable boxes, it came straight out of the wall to your TV. A common gag involved a neighbor stopping a cable guy coming out of someone else's house, offering him 50 bucks, and asking him to hook them up with free cable. Notice, they only ever made this joke on the networks, but scenarios like this were rampant.
Maybe each Planeteer contributed a distinct part of Captain Planet:
Gaia: "OK, Planeteers, time to make Captain Planet. I want you each to imagine something different about him."
Kwame: "I'm imagining him with green hair."
Gi: "I'm imagining him with blue skin."
Ma-Ti: "I'm imagining him being full of lame puns."
Linka: "I'm imagining him going down like a wimp every time he gets smoke blown in his face."
Wheeler: "I'm imagining him in his underwear."
I kept on hearing while the show was on that, in the last few episodes, Gaia made two more rings for two more Planeteers: one for electricity, one for magnetism. Can anyone confirm whether or not ths is true?
False. I looked all over and watched the show religiously as a kid and cannot find any evidence or recall any proof or instance where this happened. Sounds like Fan Wank or fanfic characters to me.
Yeah, it was four rings... one single ring to cover the electromagnetic force, plus one for gravitation and one each for the strong and weak nuclear interactions. [note to first/third replies: this is a physics joke. Move on.]
Why would you need two different guys for nuclear powers? And considering how anti-nuclear Turner was, I'd be surprised if he ever even let Nuclear power of ANY kind (even the natural atomic kind) be portrayed in a good light.
Regardless, I still can't find any proof of its existence in the show itself.
The only thing I can come up with is the episode where the bad guys cloned evil versions of the rings. Plunder got a Deforestation Ring, Nukem got a Super Radiation Ring (naturally), Sludge got a Smog Ring, Skumm got a Toxics Ring, and Dr. Blight got stuck with the Hate Ring, and it's about as useful as that Heart ring.
The Hate Ring makes to fail to call useful animals to do evil.
Whoa, what do you mean, hate is useless? Hate is evil's most powerful tool. Was it not hate that caused the Hatfield-McCoy feud? Was it not hate that the Capital from the Hunger Games uses, by having the District's kids kill each other driving a wedge to keep them from rising up (again)? Was it not hate for the white man that had Crazy Horse lead his tribe to slaughter Custard's men? Wasn't it hate towards the natives that caused said rage in Crazy Horse? Is it not hate that has lead to so many murders, assassinations and massacre? The Klu Klux Klan, Aryan Brotherhood and groups like that RUN on hate. A burning hate for sharks (be it from Jaws or something else) has caused thousands of sharks to GET THEIR FINS CUT OFF by angry fisherman? Did not a long hatred of wolves by many cultures almost drive wolves extinct? The settler's of Tasmania HATED the Tasmanian Tiger, and now it's gone (unless the sightings of them in the last few years was true)! Hell, just look at Hitler! The guy sent millions to their deaths and started the DEADLIEST WAR IN HUMAN HISTORY by using hate. Hell, Captain Planet was rendered useless by just how EVIL Hitler was. Hate is to evil is what Heart and love are to good.
I recall one episode where, because two of the Planeteers had been shot into space or something, their power was unable to return to their rings and, so, returned and re-created Captain Planet in a substantially weakened form, composed only of Heart and Earth. He only had those powers, and a ridiculous pink and green color scheme. It was interesting, since we got to see some interaction between him and Gaia, but the question that occurs to me is: if this happened with everyone but Ma-Ti being shot into space, wold it produce a "Heartless" Captain Planet? Would this Cap'n go around tearing up forest-encroaching farms, sinking oil rigs, throwing power plants full of people into the sun and so on? And... most importantly... would this have made the series better?
No, he'd fall apart. Heart unites and stabilizes all the other powers (I think that's supposed to make up for its inherent lameness, not only in this but other cases like W.I.T.C.H.).
I recall an episode in which Captain Planet was summoned without Heart- he turned out to have a darker color scheme, and rather then protecting the Earth, was just kind of a jerk.
The eco-terrorist Captain Planet, possibly with a Mirror-Mirror style goatee, almost certainly would have made a superior half-hour.
Hang on. There was no such episode where he was summoned without his heart power. I have all episodes. Were you thinking of Captain Pollution or the episode where Wheeler falls asleep in the tunnel ride, and dreams of an overpopulated world where he and Linka have a bunch of kids? In that dream when Captain Planet was summoned to quell a reactor fire he was one surly, nasty-tempered person, sick of it all. Reflected in how the other Planeteers had lost all enthusiasm for their work and Gaia had aged into an old woman.
Actually, they did INDEED do that. No goatee, but five of the regular villains got together and made five "Opposite" copies of the Planeteers' rings. If I recall correctly; Radiation, Deforestation, Smog, Toxics, and Hate. "By your powers combined, I am Captain Pollution!"
Hang on, if all the rings other than Heart = Heartless Captain Planet, then where is his nobody, Captain Explant? </obvious Kingdom Hearts joke>
What I don't get is how in one of the comics it seems Captain Planet has shown up whilst Ma-Ti was unconscious (thus unable to provide heart in the summoning) and turns out A-OK. Anyone able to clarify here?
Going off the two-parter that introduced Captain Pollution and the "opposite" rings, and thinking that Not-Heart != Hate, I always thought CP could still be formed without Heart, and he'd probably still be good, but he wouldn't be able to control his powers all that well.
Ever seen what happens when someone's heart stops working? It would be kind of like that.
Captain Planet: Captain Planet, motherfucker. The power is mine, bitches!
How lame is Captain Planet anyway? Any high school kid could defeat him by tossing an empty soda can in his direction!
For its "lame" reputation on this wiki and elsewhere, I can't help but be fascinated by an animated American kids' show that has actually depicted drug use and death and actually used the words "dead," "AIDS," and "sex" (among others). Not that they could get away with that today...
How lame? Hitler once nearly dropped the big boy in seconds just by staring at him with all the "polluted" hate and bigotry in his heart. So, if you glare at Captain Planet with enough contempt, he'll keel over and die as quickly as pouring salt on a slug. That, or you have to be so evil in nature that the devil himself would piss himself in fear of you. Honestly, it's a surprise to me he even survived his first calling; the moment he sprung forth from the Planeteer's rings, he should've croaked by Reaganomics, the gay scare, Neo-Nazis, etc, and God only knows what would happen to him nowadays...
Well, that is HITLER, near-synonymous with the evils of humanity today. I thought it was cool myself.
Doesn't Godwin's Law give me the right to delete all further replies to this topic?
No no no, only if Hitler is off-topic. Since Hitler was actually in the show, it hasn't Godwinned yet. There's a process that must be followed!
Godwin's Law says that the likely hood of the analogy increases over time (which has happend) and that after it does the topic will quickly go off topic and end. The analogy here is on topic so that is not a problem and the law does not say you SHOULD end the topic, only predicting the outcome. So no, it does not work that way.
Some anti-environmental people here are in for a lesson—it's only very high level of pollution of any kid including hate, toxic, smog, and etc. I recalled in one of the Marvel Comic issue of Captain Planet that two of eco-villains attempt to waste the superhero with toxic waste—but it didn't work—and they blamed Dr. Blight for giving them low grade toxic waste.
That never happened in the cartoon - he went down * constantly* . And seriously, how good is your pollution fighting superhero if you can take him out by dumping the massive amount of pollution on him that he needs to be fighting in the first place? It sounds like the Marvel writers were at least trying to make that weakness workable. The show writers never did. Captain Planet's powers were not well defined. Oh, and seriously? Why the assumption that the only people who hate this show hate the environment? That's a straw-man if I ever heard one.
There was a Marvel comic? Also, that doesn't change the fact that the creators of Captain Planet made his only weakness the exact thing he was created to fight! Being anti-bad-writing is not equivalent to being anti-environmental.
Then you have the fact that oil harmed him as well. Considering it's natural, that shouldn't have been a problem. I think there may have even been en episode where he was harmed by a forest fire but I'm not sure.
Petroleum occurs naturally, but it's still toxic to... well, just about everything. Except for a few artificially created bacteria that can't even survive outside a lab.
However, consider that oil may stop Captain Planet from getting energy from the sun, especially when hit in the globe area.
It may be toxic, but so is sulfur, various kinds of acid, and oh yeah, for something that was shown to not only heal Captain Planet but hurt Captain Pollution, hot lava. Captain Planet being hurt by oil was just Turner herpaderping "oil is evil". Captain Planet is essentially the embodiment of SUV Environmentalist thinking... what is actually good and bad and "natural" is not as important as what all your friends you see at the coffee shop and the organic food mart think is good and bad and "natural".
Why didn't they just have Captain Planet incarnated permanently? Why were the five kids and their rings even needed?
Obviously, he can't just live on his own outside the rings. the rings are needed because he can't exist permanently. Why? That's like asking why saying "Wingardium Leviosa" causes objects to float. That's just the way the magic works.
That and presumably his existence depends on that of the kids, since he's made of their combined personalities and physical features. They don't have him out all the time because summoning him renders the rings inert of their elemental powers while he's out, and they don't want to leave themselves vulnerable. He's used mainly as a last resort.
Because the power was theirs.
Why all the hate? This show looks so original and edgy for an American animated kids' show compared to the bowdlerised jokes they give kids today — blood, guns, death (people die, they don't "get destroyed"), talk of STDs, real drugs... 4Kids would never have touched it.
Well, it was one of my favorite cartoon shows as a kid, and I have fond memories of it. Does that count?
Two reason: 1) It's Anvilicious even for a kids' show...which isn't bad, for a kids' show, but once people grow up they tend to roll their eyes at sledgehammer morality tales. 2) It's considered cool in some circles to hate on environmentalism. I don't know why.
Because environmentalism is perceived, rightly or wrongly, to cover up for ludditism, puritanism, and anti-capitalism. Don't use resources for convenience, enjoy nature more than man-made life, and above all, NEVER try to make big money.
Because, frankly, each and every episode is one big AnviliciousAuthor Tract. There's no real character development, no interesting motivations, not even any real action — just building and building to the Aesop "Pollution is bad, mmmkay?" The same Aesop in every single episode. Gets kinda irritating after a while. Especially at a time when you had shows like Batman: The Animated Series coming out and proving that kid shows didn't have to be dumb.
Aw, you're exaggerating. The lesson isn't always "Pollution is bad." It usually is, but sometimes for variety they do an episode on how "Bigotry is bad" or "War is bad". Still about as subtle as a horde of Screaming Warriors with glowy magic battle axes.
And once it was "poor people in third world countries should think about the planet and have less children"
Even worse, they didn't even bother to address environmental issues with any shred of real-world complexity. The villains were absurdly overdone so they'd never have to show that those 'big polluter' industries are sometimes just producing necessary services, and that solving the problem was as simple and easy as chucking an anvil so they wouldn't have to deal with things like costing people their jobs, making products more expensive, damaging economies, etc. Yeah yeah, it's a kid's show, but as a child of a mining engineer that really cheesed me off.
Even a lot of people who agree with the Aesop hate this show. Captain Planet makes its point so badly that it discredits real environmentalism.
Did you watch the same show I did? Nobody ever died, there was no blood or actual violence, and there was, oh, one episode on drugs and one on AIDS that didn't even bother to teach you anything useful about them. They were about as edgy as Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. Plus, Heart is a totally lame power.
People DID die in the show, and I recall a certain episode about whale hunting that was very, VERY bloody. There was so much BLOOD!
Yes. Someone died in Captain Planet, Boris, Linka's cousin in "Mind Pollution".
I'll admit to not seeing that one. Still, was Boris an established cast member or a one shot Uncle Ned?
Uncle Ned, of course.
And in that same episode Boris jumped through a window and his face and arms were all cut up and he was bleeding pretty badly.
We see Boris be used as a battering ram by a mob, and then jump through a window and cut himself, so of course he dies from these injuries. But they're response to it is really amusing. "The bliss killed him!" No the being used as a battering ram and getting badly wounded did. Doctors they are not.
To be fair I don't think Boris would have jumped through a window if he hadn't been stoned, so he would have gotten less injured and he might have survived.
True enough, but saying "The bliss killed him" is overly simplistic and one of the best examples of everything wrong with this show. If they had said "the bliss caused him to kill himself " or " the bliss made these people use him as a battering ram" it would have made the whole scene less stupid.
The Bliss did kill him. He ODed on it. He was still more or less alright despite the battering and blood loss, but then he chugged like half a bottle of Bliss and fell over dead.
Seriously, you can't really blame it for being Anvilicious when it makes no real attempt to hide it. It's the whole point of the show, rather than being tacked on to the end of a cartoon about fantasy warriors or American commandos.
I'd rather watch a non-Anvilicious show that tacks a moral on the end that I don't have to watch (basically telling me it's now safe to change the channel) than a show which is nothing but a shower of unsubtle, oversimplified Anvils from beginning to end.
Notice how everyone refers to it as an Eighties show? Odd for a show that started in 1990. Yeah, I know the decades don't really end when the numbers say they do, but it lasted for six years without ever freshening things up! In that time Ren and Stimpy - which for better or worse rewrote the rules for kid cartoons - had been made and cable channels like the Cartoon Network had been started. We didn't like it because we realized there was better stuff on. What earned this it's ire was that it should have been the end of the eighties in TV animation and it lasted until 1996. Off topic, let me talk about how it ended. Everyone hated working on it (I mean, look at how lifeless everything is; combined with the high production values gives it an empty fishbowl effect) and when HB stared getting other shows to make money on, they fled to cleaner waters. You wanna know what killed this series? Dexter's Laboratory. Got picked up in '96 and HB dropped Captain Planet like a smelly fish. Also, I'd like to note that Rocko's Modern Life, made by former political cartoonist Joe Murray, tackled many of the issues in this series with a lot more intelligence, subtlety, humor, and talent.
In fact, practically every cartoon from the 90's had at least Very Special Episodes that dealt with pollution, racism, animal cruelty, gun safety to the point you'd think it was a government mandate. And usually, they did it with a hell of a lot more poise and understanding than the typical Captain Planet episode. This troper understood the importance of animal rights not from Captain Planet, but from Batman and understood more about tolerance from X-Men than that idiotic episode about The Troubles. Even as a kid, I could see how condescending and obnoxious the show was and tuned out whatever lesson it was shoving down throats that day. In fact, as a kid, this troper's group of friends were less likely to follow anything Captain Planet said due to how preachy (and often biased and ill-informed as it turned out later) the show was. Chances were if we got environmentally-conscious, it'd be because of Swat Kats.
But nobody ever pitched that as entertainment. Captain Planet was supposed to be entertainment. I'm sorry, edutainment. Which actually explains a lot. You can teach people stuff and still create an entertaining kids show.
Sesame Street. ;)
Yes, you can teach people stuff and still be entertaining. Unfortunately, Captain Planet failed at both of these things. It was not entertaining and the morals were often wrong.
Because that show among other things had me absolutely convinced and terrified that the world was literally going to blow up because of all the pollution humans were causing when I was a kid.
For what it's worth: Yes, it was Anvilicious— but you could've seen that coming just from the show's title. Yes, the villains did things For the Evulz in the most laughable way and the characters were handed IdiotBalls on a regular basis, but it served the purpose of teaching kids that being irresponsible is wrong and that ignorance is not an excuse. Yes, it got so many things wrong that it didn't really teach people how to help save the environment, but at least the basics were there and in my case, at least it taught me that I had to care for the environment to begin with. Preachy or not, I would say the show was successful in creating an environmental conscience in little kids, and as for the entertainment value, yes, kids definitely aren't stupid but it is much easier to judge in hindsight, and for most of the intended audience, it was much funnier because of its Narm and obvious anvils. Seriously, which little girl in the early 90's didn't run around wanting to be Linka? Nostalgia Filter is a strong force. It's mostly So Bad, It's Good for many people out there.
Personally, I always found rather disturbing parallels between it and old-timey war propaganda, only it targeted industry rather than another nation. The villains are all exaggerated and inexplicably inhuman-looking (well, many of them) while the good guys are all attractive and well-intentioned. Okay, it's a formula which gets used a lot, but combined with the fact that the show borders on fear-mongering (polluters are killing the planet! Our planet is dying right now, children, because people are murdering adorable dolphins!) and never actually addresses any of the real issues of pollution or environmental protection... well... it falls short on the educational aspects of its duties, so while it might increase environmental awareness, it really goes about it in the wrong way. Ever time some beautiful landscape is depicted, for example, it is then almost immediately threatened by 'polluters'. That's like the eighties show equivalent of having a Chinese wizard threaten to blow up a mall so that the children at home learn about the economic damage of outsourcing cheap labor to other countries.
It bugs me that considering it was a kids show, Linka and Wheeler had tons of UST, but that it never lead anywhere. So many possibilities, so little payoff.
I remember watching an episode where they flashed forward to a possible future where Wheeler married Linka and had about five kids, which turned into yet another Anvilicious Aesop about how waste is bad.
Did they also mention that overpopulation is bad? Because, you know, five kids is a bit more than just replacing the parents...
I don't know about that episode, but I remember one where aliens put the Planeteers in a zoo, saying that they were an "endangered species". When one of the kids points out that there's six billion humans, the aliens respond that this is their point — there are too many humans for Earth to sustain.
Yeah, people who argue for an incoming Malthusian crisis without knowledge of how technological advancement has enabled a few farmers to feed vast swathes of population or how the demographic transition model predicts that the world population ought to stabilize at around the same time all countries become developed nations just bug me. Not one of the show's proudest moments.
Although the problem with this is in Real Life with an upcoming oil crisis, if we lose oil in our use of goods and transit food will be scarce; after all in real settings we get over 80% of our food cost and energy consumption due to the use of petroleum based products (fuel, chemicals, packaging, preservation) so yes..over population CAN and may one day be a real threat to our existence.
"Frog Day Afternoon" was pretty hilarious in this department — lot of opportunity, everything left unsaid.
Then there was the episode in which Linka and Wheeler got shrunk. When Wheeler got big again, Linka's miniaturization hadn't worn off yet, and he puts her in his shirt pocket and takes off the towel she was using to cover herself.
Nothing against the Russians, but has anyone else noticed that Wheeler, the sole American who could've been the voice of reason, is relegated to Butt Monkey status, while one of the strongest characters on the team (who frequently sets said American straight) is a Communist? My Dad summarized the show quite nicely: "Socialist propaganda".
I'll take THAT over the American guy being always right and always there to save the day. I'd list that as one of the reasons why the show was so good, actually - you have G.I. Joe if you NEED American heroes.
Ted Turner, the show's creator, did multiple interviews where he advocated communism. Also, note that in the opening - the US is a post-apocalyptic Mad Max-style wasteland and that Soviet Russia is depicted as a sylvan forest of purity.
Which, really, answers so much of what's wrong with the entire show. Ted Turner advocates communism... while being one of the richest men in the country. That ultimately tells you all you need to know about why the show is so shallow and nonsensical.
God, the stupidity here is mind-blowing....Captain Planet advocates eco capitalism, and the show is far from socialist. In fact, it shows Linka's home country run down as well. Somebody watch "Missing Linka" again. In fact this show is FAR from communist, and in fact, its not as liberal as you think as well. Many of the heroes are corporate people who do the right thing or green entrepreneurs.
Captain Planet may or may not Eco-Capitalism, but it does so in a way that I can best phrase as "inept." I agree the above tropers give the show content itself a bit of a short shrift (especially in regards to the Linkacentric episodes), but while the Soviet Union is not shown to be the paradise on Earth that some people think the show is like, the fact that North America gets a worse riff in comparison is laughable. As for Ted Turner himself, you don't go buddy buddy with Fidel Castro and say the things he has (especially making explicit endorsements of Communism) and claim to be an Eco-Capitalist. At the very least, I can say that mistaking the show itself for being so is a forgivable mistake.
Watch "Missing Linka", and you will find out that the show does portray the former USSR's pollution problems. Also she takes her country's unemployment problems hard in ""Bitter Waters".
Is there a stereotype about communists having something against maintaining a habitable world we should be aware of? The Soviet Union had its own variations on the same theme as Captain Planet, with no less ridiculous plots. It makes sense that it would have a certain percentage of kids dedicated to environmentalism.
The problem is that at the time of the show (as the previous troper has pointed out), the Soviet Union had one of the worst environmental records on the planet. Russia is still recovering from the effects to this day. Depicting the Soviet Union accurately could have shown Linka disgusted with the effects of the callousness of her society and trying to change things. Not pretending that the Soviet Union was a mystical land of environmental perfection while America is a bombed out wasteland (something viewers of the show in its target audience of Americans would immediately call foul on). The show's bizarre myopia did not present an accurate picture of the world, which is particularly damning since the show was theoretically attempting to educate.
While that's a fair point, it's worth noting that many areas of Soviet Union really did look like that. The country was simply too large to foul up all at once.
"Is there a stereotype about communists having something against maintaining a habitable world we should be aware of?" Yes. Communists are usually depicted as industrious people who organize together to exploit the land of its resources in order to make things for everyone. They are on the discipline side.
Just wanna point out, while they could've afforded Wheeler being right once in a while, him possibly being "the voice of reason" has nothing to do with his nationality or his home country's form of government. It doesn't have anything to do with Linka being Russian either. It was just the personality they gave him, regardless of where he was supposed to come from. As far as the nationality issue goes, I'm not from the United States nor am I Russian/Communist, but considering how often Communists (or Russians in general) are portrayed as the bad guys in fiction, it was a refreshing inversion if nothing else, although Linka certainly wasn't always right. All the characters in these series are sole examples of their races or nationalities— in a case like this, it's not racist to have one of them be the captain of the Idiot Ball team. It is bad writing, though.
Except that showing Wheeler as a pompous, moronic, always-wrong dumbass was purposeful and the whole point of his existence. Everything in Captain Planet is views held by Ted Turner, its creator, and he is VERY anti-American. This is why Wheeler is the way he is, why he alone of the entire cast is only identified by his last name, why America is portrayed as a post-apocalypse wasteland while the rest of the world is shown as a garden.
I always saw Wheeler's tendency to be "pompous and moronic" as a plot point to showcase the day's behavioral "lesson"— admittedly, most of our world's environmental problems could be salvaged or lessened if people change their attitudes, and there's a lot of people who are "pompous and moronic" about the environment out there, just like Wheeler, independent of their nationality. Yes, it could've been much better written, perhaps shared among the other planeteers, but I never chalked that up to his nationality, just the fact that he was the one who had the brash, impulsive personality. And regardless of his thick-headedness, Wheeler had a lot of positive qualities that kids could emulate, as well. Of course, if one is determined to be anti-Ted Turner from the beginning, it will seem like the United States are always presented in a bad light in the show. I'm not from the US, but as far as I remember the only "post-apocalypse wasteland" I saw in the show was Brooklyn, and that was, again, for plot purposes. And I seem to remember quite a few episodes where the country was presented in a good light. In fact, I remember thinking Washington D.C. was a beautiful place and probably would be very nice to live there or visit— until Verminous Skumm and his Bliss happened, of course, but the people in Washington weren't really at fault for that, unless you want to count Skumm as a U.S. citizen.
In 101 Mutations, why did Dr.Blight have a puppy mill operation when she is more interested in scientific progression than anything? Puppy mills are sources of money, and I don't think breeding dogs in mass numbers will get too much progression in research. She also has other ways to get money that seem to suit her preferences more than watching dogs being born among their own feces and urine. It's more like a Hoggish Greedly plot.
You can never have too many animal test subjects. And you save money by doing the breeding in-house.
Speaking of Mr.Greedly, why is he the most commonly seen villain? If he's a slovenly, porcine tycoon who is a leader in dirty industry and resources, why does he do things like hosting monster truck races, or rounding up horses for slaughter, or even driving motorboats in manatee habitats?
He's an evil entrepreneur, always looking to expand his business empire. I always thought he's always moving on to a new scheme after Captain Planet screws up the last one. Eventually he decides to go into green business (probably with exactly the same (lack of) ethics) probably just so the Planeteers don't send him broke.
Huh, Greedly going green, but not going good. His son and Grandfather probably wouldn't be happy if he did anything truly wrong, and he really does care about his family, so he'd probably listen to them and turn a new leaf, for good. Darn!
For some reason, I picture him as being behind stuff like "Carbon Offsets" and whatnot. Appearance of being green without actually HAVING to do anything.
The real answer is probably that Ed Asner (the voice actor for Greedly) was the least-famous and successful of the major villain actors (including Martin Sheen & Meg Ryan), and was thus the most likely to have a free schedule all the time. The others were doing major films while Ed was usually just doing voice work.
To give credit where credit is due, Asner was pretty big for a while. He was just mostly retired by the time Captain Planet rolled around.
I remember an episode when a kid stole the Fire Ring from Wheeler, and became a superhero. His name? Superboy. That's not only already taken, but it has nothing to do with his powers. Why not Firelord, Flame Master, Captain Heat or the Scorcher?
The show is under the same parent company as DC, they could get away with it.
In universe explanation: Said kid is a big fan of Superman (or of Superboy).
Doesn't Captain Planet himself go against the message of the show? "THE POWER IS YOURS!!!.........to sit back and do nothing while the man does all the work for you."
...There really is no good explanation for that, but it does show what teamwork really means. Sitting back and watching your friends do all the work.
That bothered me too. I remember one episode where they shut down a nuclear power plant, and Captain Planet drilled a hole through the Earth's crust so they could build a geothermal plant in its place. If you can summon a superhero who can eliminate pollution and give everybody clean alternatives at no cost, why isn't he doing that all over the place?
Well, duh. If Captain Planet's just going to go around giving people alternative energy sources and cleaning up their trash, humanity won't learn not to destroy the environment - they'll just sit around waiting for Captain Planet to fix everything. He's supposed to be used sparingly.
Don't geothermal plants pollute more than nuclear? That's not pure water they're getting.
Fridge Logic - The Power is YOURS...to summon Captain Planet to save the day for you?
Since he always says that when he's done fighting pollution, the catchphrase may have had a more literal meaning; he was returning the rings' elemental control to the wielders. Less an inspiring thing to say and more along the lines of "I'm done with it, so...!"
In one episode, Wheeler uses time travel to keep himself from taking the ring (and having to spend all his time with a bunch of superior kids who give off a condescending aura towards him). This means Hoggish Greedly, Rigger, and Blight win because you can't summon a fully-charged Captain Planet with only four Planeteers. ... So Gaia couldn't just give the ring to somebody else who did want to join?
That episode gets worse when, in later episodes, it is revealed that you don't need all five Planeteers to summon Captain Planet; you just need all five if you want him at 100% power and "personality". As few as 2-3 Planeteers are needed to summon Captain Planet, as one episode had half the team divided on another planet; he simply is weaker if less than five Planeteers combine their powers to summon him. If he is summoned without Heart, he acted like a jerk. Therefore, one could argue that even if Wheeler was incredibly hard to replace, such a future should not have happened unless Capt. Planet being unable to control Fire when summoned weakened him too much to be of use.
Considering a random kid stole the fire ring once and used it successfully, it isn't even locked into needing a specific kind of person for use, so why not let one Planeteer carry two rings temporarily? Not forever, as it would upset the power balance of the group, but if it's an end of the world scenario, screw it, let somebody put two on and summon Captain Planet. If there's some in-universe explanation for one person being unable to use two, grab someone out of a crowd. "Do this or life as we know it might end" is a fairly motivating, I would think.
This troper remembers one episode where Wheeler was kidnapped by Dr Blight. The gang later finds him bound and gagged with tent pegs. What makes this fridge logic is that he wriggles around and the gag comes off. How is that possible?
I always assumed Captain Planet was supposed to represent our ability to escalate issues. Yes, in the show it was a lot more concrete, they would find themselves put in a situation like "Oh look! The nuclear reactor is about to blow up! We puny humans cannot possibly hope to contain this on our own! We need Captain Planet!", which of course does not happen in real life. Also, these situations were much more of an immediate threat than environmental issues generally are in real life: people would get sick now, animals would die now, the land would be left barren now. In real life, however, it's also very unlikely that five teenagers will take down issues of that much impact on their own. They can work on the small things— cleaning beaches and organizing recycling rallies and convincing other people to live green. When it comes to things like fighting corrupt corporate conglomerates or the abuse of technology, however, there isn't much they can do by themselves, unless they decide to go eco-terrorist, design bombs in their spare time and then plant them on these conglomerates' HQs— which is not something the show (or anyone) should advocate. In real life, people who are aware of these transgressions usually look for support, signatures, sponsors, go to the authorities, go to the legal system, you name it, in order to take on these massive corporations and actually win. Yes, a lot of the time it seems like the characters just sit back and let Captain Planet do the hard work, but the idea is that the rest of the episode is there to show you that these characters actually learn a lesson and resolve to behave better in the future when it comes to the environment. Captain Planet was supposed to be a metaphor for the idea that humanity is stronger as a whole. They have to give the kids an avatar to look up to, and superheros are especially effective in calling kids' attention. Erin Brockovich would probably not be very effective to keep the show's intended demographic entertained.
"The power is YOURS! to watch someone else do all the work" actually fits quite well into the style of activism the show is born from. It often advocates everyone else but the one doing the advocating getting to work and fixing things up. Basically, "You can make the world a better place with lots of hard work and dedication! I'll supervise."
Is there any difference between Looten Plunder and Hoggish Greedly other than their personalities?
Their names. Duh.
Greedly aspires to be Plunder. See above.
Greedly loves his family, and ultimately his schemes are all motivated by his desire to provide for them. Plunder loves money, and seeks wealth for it's own sake.
Probably censorship. However, the show never really seemed to state who the character actually was, because his name was never mentioned, just his intentions.
Pseudo-Hitler nearly killed Captain Planet just by hating him. I figure real Hitler would make him explode, leaving us with Captain America or someone else capable of Hitler punching as the hero, and we couldn't have that!
It's regular Hitler. It was just a pre-toothbrush-'stache Hitler. Shortly after the events of the episode he decided the Fu Manchu required too much maintenance and he went for something a little simpler.
The mustache is Stalinesque, and Josef Stalin was no less dangerous than Hitler. Sort of two villains for the price of one.
Are the scriptwriters morons? I rewatched "The Littlest Planeteer" today. Wheeler got his right hand injured. For some reason this means he can't use his ring. It's not a bad injury either. It's a first-degree burn. Couldn't he have just switched hands?
Maybe Gaia just hates left-handed people.
Perhaps the effectiveness of the ring has something to do with handedness? A lot of people, both right- and left-handed, have difficulty performing tasks with their non-dominant hand. It would make sense that Wheeler, being right-handed, would feel awkward handling the ring with his left hand (maybe there's more to it than just pointing it at stuff and Calling Your Attacks?), and his feeling awkward would make the ring less effective. Perhaps he had tried before and knew it wouldn't work with his left hand, or it would work less effectively and couldn't risk it?
If you think of the ring as something like a gun (which for the fire ring is the most true of the ring), it kind of makes sense. If your partner injured the hand he shoots with, you'd wouldn't exactly want him to try it with his other hand without at least A LOT of practice.
Which... police do. For that reason. Though this is Wheeler we're talking about, and my response to "maybe he's already tried and knew it wouldn't work" was "that's giving the butt monkey American A LOT of credit..."
You know what bugs me about this series? If you made it a little darker and edgier, got rid of some of the stupidest elements, and aimed it at adults it could be very very awesome. Instead it's this piece of junk. (I've been saying this since I was 12)
Yeah, imagine how awesome the Planeteers would be if they didn't have to call Captain Planet. Ever. And what if the villains had realistic names and were competent?
And had legitimate motivations!
Considering that the existence of Captain Planet kinda contradicts the whole "the power is YOURS!" thing, that could actually work.
If it wasn't so anvilicious, it would fall HEAVILY into Strawman Has a Point at best, and it would often make the "bad guys" look good. "Yes, this forest is precious, I know that you interloping children. However, if I do not chop down these trees, I will not make any money, and my children will starve". "My employees were ignoring environmental laws and dumping pollutants into the ocean! We'll never recover from the bad publicity, Fire the lot of them and start cleaning it up before the press hears about this".
I was thinking of writing a story like that where they ''could' call captain planet, but it was draining and they risked death every time they did it. If it became a series of stories you'd get a revolving door cast of Planeteers as they began dieing from summoning him.
That's the kind of darker and edgier that makes it hard for your audience to invest in any of the characters. Why have a favorite, when you know they're going to be dead in six episodes?
Heck, Wheeler has a flamethrower on his finger, Ma-Ti has mind control, Kwame can cause earthquakes, Linka can create tornadoes, and Gi can summon friggin' tsunamis. Presumably, Captain Planet can do all of that. Now imagine those powers used in a Darker and Edgier version; the little morons wouldn't get captured NEARLY as much, for starters.
The show doesn't really suck; the worse parts were the formulaic episode approach and the villains without motivation, but it handled character interactions pretty well, as well as mature themes such as war and drugs. Still, a Darker and Edgier version would be awesome... imagine if the Planeteers became some sort of self-described eco-terrorist group which regularly attacked legal business operations because of their harm to the ecosystem and they had to get through security guards and avoid the cops while making their getaway to their secret island... oh man, that would be awesome. Something like AVALANCHE in FFVII.
Well, it might not teach much about the environment, but that take on it sure sounds a hell of a lot more entertaining. Well, intentionally entertaining anyway.
I wouldn't want an adult oriented version, personally. Instead, I'd prefer it still be a kid show with the stupider elements either taken out or subverted, with more dangerous villains that justify the sheer power the Planeteers wield, thus giving them an opportunity to use them. And Captain Planet would be played by Kamina.
Actually, Avatar: The Last Airbender isn't too off from being this. We've got Heart and Captain Planet in Aang, the combat use of elements, the threat of imbalance created by greed and industry... apart from taking place on a fantasy world, it's not a bad match.
I can't find it no matter how hard I look, but I distinctly remember an internet attempt somewhere at creating a Darker and Edgier version of the show that was very messed up, but was... arguably good. Captain Planet is a primordial force of destruction, the heroes are actually eco-terrorists in service of a vengeful, human hating Gaia, and each receives his or her power by dying in a way that relates to his element. If I remember correctly Linka is a young eastern European prostitute who dies from tuberculosis, Kwame is a child soldier in Africa who is killed in battle and buried in a mass grave under dust and dirt, and Ma-Ti is outcast by the people of his village for being androgynous (I couldn't make this up if I tried) and dies alone in the jungle. I don't remember many other details.
This kind of reminded me of a thought I'd had for a 'more mature' take on Captain Planet. In Greek Myth, Antaeus is a half-giant and the child of Gaia and Poseidon. Now, stay with me here. In the version of the myth I had read,Gaia had given him a very specific kind of protection: whenever he would 'touch her lap' his wounds would be instantly healed. Gaia's 'lap' being the Earth itself. Captain Planet is Gaia's own child, having been saved from his death at Hercules' hands. The rings are used to summon him from Hades so that he can earn absolution and enter a better afterlife. Or... something. I just found the parallel between 'Healed by nature' and 'healed whenever he touches the ground' interesting, and thought that there could be a way to link Captain Planet to a mythical counterpart.
Something that was kinda lampshaded by Linkara during his review of one of the comics that I must point out. If Kwame has complete power over earth, then he is EFFECTIVELY GOD OF THE ENTIRE PLANET!!!!! Seriously, he can manipulate entire continents if he really wants to, but instead he can't even realize to simply pull up a pair of rock hands to grab the terrorists surrounding him and the Planeteers. Heck ALL of the Planeteers are pretty much loaded with the potential for being utter badasses if they considered the sheer scale of what they can do: Linka could have Tornadoes pop up wherever she wants, Gi could control the water in people's bodies and make them do her bidding, Wheeler could bring up a firestorm (a large fire that effectively fuels itself, and is nigh unstoppable), and Ma-Ti of all people could Mind Rape people into submission.
Their powers are implied to have limits. Kwame can only move so much earth at once, Wheeler can only summon a limited amount of fire, etc. Captain Planet has each of the powers to a considerably greater extent. But something of this nature did happen when Zarm tricked them into wearing his fists instead of their rings, making them far more powerful.
The power limitation thing makes sense. The part where I agree with Linkara is that they rarely got especially creative with their power. Kwame might not be a nascent earth god, for example, but he's still potentially more powerful than he lets on or realizes.
Some actual, potential Fridge Brilliance - imagine the environmental damage Kwame would do if he started moving continents around. The Planeteers might genuinely have a level-cap on their powers so that they don't accidentally ripple-effect the world into pieces.
The villains of Captain planet all represent or personification traits, mindsets, or actions that hurt the environment or people. Hoggish Greedly represents resource abuse and greed, Looten Plunder represents unethical or illegal corporate actions and screwy capitalism, Dr.Blight represents overuse of technology and unethical scientific research and actions, Duke Nukem represents ozone damage and the dangers of nuclear power and radiation, Verminous Scumm represents crime, urban decay, and disease and epidemics, and Zarm represents fascism, war, hatred, and bigotry. So what does Sly Sludge represent?
Chemical pollution in general, maybe?
I'd say apathy and never looking for a long-term solution.
Short-sighted greed, I'd say. He's like the people who say we can't have environmental regulations because they'd damage the economy.
Laziness, primarily. His schemes are all centered around finding quick fixes to big problems, like when he dumped Hawaii's trash into the volcanoes, or conspired with Plunder to dump a company's toxic waste in an abandoned salt mine, or stole a special microbe designed to eat garbage as a solution to a garbage strike in France.
On one episode Sly Sludge has a garbage disposal business where he gets rid of the trash by dumping it in a volcano. It seems like a good idea to me! What's the harm?
Sly Sludge represents ignorance and laziness, both on the part of executives in power and also communities, and also the problems with irresponsible waste disposal. As such, instead of trying to recycle or properly dispose of the trash, he just opted to set up a phony garbage shrinking operation that would instead lead the rubbish into the (active) volcano, just for some quick and extra buck.
Also, if I remember my lessons correctly, volcanic soil is supposed to be fertile. So, the garbage might screw up the volcanic soil.
It depends on what's in the trash, but you'd get toxic gases and acid rain-producing gases coming out of the volcano, and the toxic chemicals left behind would come out in the lava and then into the soil with each eruption. The eruptions would become much more frequent if you're pouring in huge quantities of stuff, too. Basically, you'll get all the environmental problems that incinerators present, but on a larger scale, less controllable, and without the benefit of generating electricity.
Except active volcanoes are generally already belching various gases that are toxic and/or can produce acid rain. And anything toxic in the trash itself would probably be destroyed by the sheer mind-blowing heat of the molten lava.
The Planeteers don't seem to be doing all they can to save the environment. We have Wheeler, with the power of fuel-less fire that produces no gases. Kwame, with the power of purifying soil and building homes. Linka, with the power to create extremely localized hurricanes in wind farms. Gi, with the power to simply eject runoff and garbage from oceans and to irrigate. Ma-Ti, with the power of hyper-diplomacy and empathy, and able to make bigots, animal abusers, and apathetic political leaders feel the pain of others. And all they do is battle villains who could be much more easily stopped by cutting their funding or getting them in prison. Zarm would still be a problem, but that's all. Why isn't the planet saved yet?
You're right; I'm with Linkara on frustration at the utter "lack of imagination" regarding utilizing the Elemental Powers.
For stopping the eco-villains, Hoggish Greedly, Looten Plunder, and Sly Sludge (to a lesser extent) have loads of money. They can easily bail their way out of jail and bribe or threaten the police, and the Planeteers don't really have any way to attack their budgets, either. Dr. Blight has a fair amount of money too, and she has enough technology to evade the authorities of the world. Verminous Skumm and Duke Nukem don't require too much money for their schemes, and can't be arrested by any normal human or be put in any existing prison. The Planeteers can't just clean up the entire world either. There's about 6 billion people on Earth, and five kids can't clean up all the problems they start, even with magical rings. Even Captain Planet would have trouble doing so.
Greedly and Sludge didn't have any money, they were always trying to get more of it because of that. Looten Plunder had a lot of money, but wasted it on things like trying to blow up his rivals for having green technology or buying armies to steal natural resources, so presumably the governments of the world could not possibly be out-bribed by him when he's openly hostile to themselves and other industries that presumably have as much or more money than him (seriously, how does Looten Plunder Industries stay in business?!). Dr. Blight could evade the authorities, but the Planeteers presumably have enough power to deal with her (they have super powers and she doesn't) and they often refuse to do things like send her to prison when they're clearly captured her and stripped her of her technology. Verminous Skumm could be arrested, why not? He's just a rat humanoid, he doesn't have super powers. And Duke Nukem is radioactive, but shove him in a lead-lined cell and he's not going anywhere. And again, the Planeteers have super powers. And a freaking GODDESS. The only guy that's actually a threat is Zarm. The rest of these guys would be easily dealt with if the characters tried. As for the rest of the pollution, again, the Planeteers have superpowers. Why haven't they made even so much as a dent? Reed Richards Is Useless indeed.
Perhaps Zarm is The Man Behind the Man for the villains,in the same way Gaia sponsors the Planeteers? It would explain some of the supertech that Blight has.
Just for clarification, Wheeler's fire isn't fully fuel-less. He can probably release heat, light and sparks from his ring, but whenever he uses the ring, it's mostly to set something else on fire— and that something else is the fuel, conceivably a flammable material, and when this something else burns, it does produce gases. In that sense, you couldn't burn trash or such with Wheeler's ring, because it would release exactly the same amount of CO2 regular incineration releases in real life. I seem to remember him generating small fire tornadoes out of his ring a couple of times, without gas emissions most likely, but what are the practical applications of fuel-less fire? It could be used to produce energy, but Wheeler would have to stand there and emit it permanently, and he is only one person, hardly enough to produce enough energy to run a decent household. Perhaps warm up a room for a night, but not give the house electricity for an extended period of time.
Why is humanity put on trial in one episode for the extinction of animals, while there have been 4 or 5 extinctions beforehand that had no part to do with humanity, but Gaia wasn't to blame for those?
Perhaps because were natural extinctions? Like in Jurassic Park, when Jeff Goldblume points out that it's one thing to bring back a species of animal that went extinct at the hands of humanity but another to tamper with a species that went extinct naturally (or at least not to environmental screwing at the hands of people).
This natural/unnatural distinction bugs me. It's so freaking arbitrary. Lot's of species have gone extinct because another species popped up that ate them all or ate their food source and caused them to starve, but it is somehow special when humans cause another species to go extinct? I mean, yeah, we are one of the few guys who have caused a mass extinction event all by ourselves, but we are not alone... the great oxygenation extinction event, for instance, was caused because a certain kind of bacteria released enough oxygen into the atmosphere to kill pretty much everything else. They didn't plan it or anything; it was just a byproduct of their existence, and it is the same when we cause most species to go extinct (with a few planned exceptions, like the eradication of smallpox).
It depends on the byproduct, though. The biggest cause of extinction in recent times is loss of habitat. When we tear down green areas to make furniture or build giant supermarkets, effectively leaving some species without homes, it's not exactly a byproduct. Humans could and have lived without wooden furniture or without processed foods— while cyanobacteria cannot stop producing oxygen. Theirs is a biological imperative, while we just want to have a better quality of life even if it is at the expense of the environment. That's what makes the difference, and technically that was the reason why humanity was being "judged" in that episode.
Take eutrophication as an example. One of the affects of humans fertilizing their lawns with unnaturally high levels of phosphorous and nitrogen is that the excess phosphorous and nitrogen runsoff into bays and lakes. This limiting nutrient causes the phytoplankton and zooplankton to grow too much, too fast, which therefore clouds the bay, which therefore causes the fish to die off, which therefore causes birds and other animals that depend on the fish and crustaceans for food. If humans did not introduce the massive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous to the bays and lakes via sewage, than the entire deadening of a body of water and in some cases, a whole biosphere, simply would not have occurred.
If humanity tried to "go without" wood products, processed food, fossil fuels, and etc. millions (perhaps even billions) of human beings would die. The same thing would happen if cyanobacteria tried to not release as much oxygen. Large numbers of them would die. Humanity in that episode was being "judged" for doing exactly what every single living species in the history of existence had ever done. Namely propagate itself and manipulate its environment to its own advantage. Humanity has dominated the Earth because we expanded and consumed the environment in the process. But again, because humans are the ones doing it this time it magically becomes an "unnatural" extinction. Besides, not all species responsible for wiping out another species were doing so due to a "biological imperative". If a rat hops on a piece of driftwood and finds its way to an isolated island where it wipes out an indigenous species of small flightless birds, is this an "unnatural extinction"? Of course not, because it wasn't eeeeeevil humans who did it.
Those species before us which killed off other species ultimately caused humans ansestors to win over the other creatures and therefore their victory (existance) which means it was a good thing. Us killing off other species now is limiting humans resources, making the world harder for humans and could possably cause more change than humans can handle and kill them off. This makes us killing off other species bad.
In the same Trial episode: the Planeteers just roll over and say "Go ahead and kill us all"?! THANKS, MA-TI. KNEW WE COULD COUNT ON YOU IN A PINCH.
So... Why did the creators think a relationship between the stereotypical American capitalist idiot Wheeler, and the tightly wound communist soviet Linka would work out at all?
You think he'd go for Gi, the Asian chick who has practically no personality or flaws? That wouldn't be fun enough. Also, Wheeler was never stated to be a capitalist outside of an incredibly awesome insult from Linka, and when the Soviet Union collapsed, the show stopped saying Linka had anything to do with it. And what's so hard about depicting a relationship between an American and a Russian after Cold War times, anyways?
Gi definitely has flaws and personality...hell, she is the planeteer closest to KILLING somebody.
I gotta put this one up. A recently deleted comment said how Gi thinks regulations (which include forced sex-selective abortions)as a good thing. That's a bit extremist, but the real thing that bugs me is that she thinks dolphins are the greatest thing ever. Yeah, the animals that gang rape and kill for the lulz.
Okay dolphins have just officially reached Memetic Rapist level. Most animals kill and rape for the lulz, humans included. Dolphins aren't all constantly raping and killing things, they can be quite friendly and heroic at times. they are NotAlways Chaotic Evil
What bugs me is that Captain Planet's weakness is the same thing he's fighting against. It'd be like if Batman had a weakness against clowns, or Superman was allergic to bald people.
The problem I have with the show is that it's fundamentally misanthropic. It gives off this vibe that the world would be a better place if humans didn't exist, which kind of misses the point of what environmentalism should ultimately be about - the preservation of the human race.
Again, this is the main problem with the brand of environmentalism that Ted Turner practices... it's more about identity politics than actually helping anything. As noted above, Turner (and by extension, the show) thinks that it doesn't really hurt the environment when people other than Americans or capitalists create industry... thus Russia is a pristine wonderland of tiny hamlets and green hills and America is a warzone cityscape that views things like Yellowstone as furniture waiting to happen.
Wrong...there are many episodes where the AMERICAN CAPITALIST creates an environmental sustainable business or follows an environmental acceptable practice. Episodes like "High Steaks" for example. The troper above simply does not know what he is talking about.
Ok, maybe this is a minor thing, but they had a jet that could hold all of them as well as supplies, fly anywhere in the world in seconds, and ran ENTIRELY on solar power. I get the idea that it was meant to aim at present day people but when you have apparent super-tech I always sort of wondered why they didn't share the technology with the people of the world (as easy access to energy would solve a lot of problems)
Generally the excuse the show gives is that humanity "isn't ready for the technology". Apparently they are ready for superheroes?
This is sort of Fridge Logic, but didn't Duke Nukem technically NEED radiation to live? If so it gets to an odd issue, as they were basically tormenting someone who was desperately trying to keep himself alive.
Well, it's probably that he wants to make the whole world radioactive. He could conceivably decide to defy Bad Powers, Bad People and live / work in a nuclear reactor or as a radioactive waste cleanser. He potentially represent a huge plus to the use of nuclear energy by removing one of the bigger downsides. If he'd been anywhere near moral or smart he could sell his services handsomely as a "walking nuclear waste disposal" agent by eating the radioactive waste.
Of course the only reason he wasn't smart enough to think of that is because Ted Turner would never allow his environmentalist propaganda show to depict nuclear power in a positive light.
Which is where we wrap back to the whole "impression and propaganda is more important than reality" thing as studies have shown, again and again, that overall nuclear power would be far far better for the environment than all the other stuff we're using. Yes, even solar and wind farms, since those tend to have a rather painful impact on natural environments just by nature of existence rather than in the off chance of malfunction.
As wheeler is always portrayed as 'off page' with the rest of the planeteers and seems disinterest in social issues. Why did gaia even recruit him in the first place? even if he really is the most environmentally conscious American in Ted Turner's world view couldn't she of gone to Canada?
Presumably because he was street smart and understood inner city issues. He might not be the most environmentally aware person but in the AIDS and gangs and drugs episode he actually understands what going on ("Nobody made him take the drugs, he did that himself" or "They don't see a future for themselves, territory is all they feel they have.") while the other Planeteers are shown to be unable to comprehend the situation at all.
Every kids show team needs a moron that the others can explain things to so that the kids watching can also be educated.
So the only person who could understand inner-city gang life, drugs, and AIDS is the white-bread and not the dude from Africa or the other dude from Latin America?
Yes. Remember, this is Turner Earth... the only problems in Africa or Latin America are caused by white people. On Turner Earth, Africa consists of stretches of beautiful, non-dangerous savanna inhabited by vegan, meditating tribespeople, with maybe two crime-free cities. A majority black nation, having social problems (other than those caused by white people)? What are you, racist?
Did you even watch the show? At all? Wheeler is the only protagonist who lived in any place other than a tiny village or a research lab for most of his life. This is made quite clear in the first episode, where the other planeteers are enjoying their lives and helping out animals and nature in their lush natural homes during the day while Wheeler fights a thug in a dark, borderline cyberpunkish New York.
I remember an episode where the gang and a fully formed CP where framed and arrested. The gang busted out, while CP basically said "Nope! I'm going to stay in jail till you guys prove our innocence!" Um...why? The Captain is an elemental spirit created by a Goddess. How can the US Law do anything to him? If he was so uptight about the law, why didn't he have the gang stay while he went and saved the day?
This was stated in that episode. Captain Planet didn't want to bust out because he already had his name tarnished enough simply by landing in jail. He could easily bust out easily with his powers, but he would be setting a bad example in addition to breaking the law, and a Lawful Good guy like him really can't try and pull that stuff even if he's framed.
It was explained more cleanly in that they were all in jail, and it was Hoggish Greedley who had the Planeteers released by dropping the charges against them, but specifically not against Captain Planet (not certain if that's legally possible),to both make him look better and keep the planeteers powerless (no powers with Captain Planet summoned and Planet himself stuck in jail).
To go with my above JBM, why does no one make a big deal about the existence of Gaia and Captain Planet!? They are Gods! But everyone just sees them and thinks "Cool! Lets go green!" Whaa-?
Actually, the characters do get rather surprised by the appearance of Gaia. Captain Planet is a superhero, though, and is known through the entire world, so I wouldn't think locals would be too shocked to see him stopping pollution or natural disasters. Also, they both probably don't accept worship or call themselves Gods, though both of them are quite clearly divine.
Her forceful personality and willingness to drop a tornado on your ass?
She is Russian. Russians get that position by default on any team.
Because every group of five (or four, or six) must be shoehorned into the Five-Man Band trope whether it fits or not.
What kind of Russian name is "Linka" anyway?
It's a name that exists in Georgia and Bulgaria, although it's not very common. Línka Gérgova is a quite famous Bulgarian singer.
The later seasons even state her as being from Eastern Europe rather than Russia.
"Linka" has been confirmed to be a nickname for "Anjelika". Also, there is a model from the Czech Republic called Lenka.
So, I was watching this Captain Planet episode, and the characters are on a farm with lots of pollution. They're about to be run down by farm equipment like tractors, and they can't use their superpower rings because apparently they don't work when there's too much pollution around. What the crap? They have the rings so they can FIGHT pollution. If the rings don't work when there's a lot of pollution around, they're not going to be very effective, are they? Same thing with Captain Planet's weakness being pollution. It's stupid. Did the characters (and the writers) even think that through?
The writers did think it through, Captain Planet is weak against pollution because Gaia is weak to pollution. Remember all their powers come from Gaia. If Gaia dies or is affected, their powers are gone or weakened, and so is Captain Planet.
So many people complain that the characters could sell their eco-friendly tech but...its stated early on it is 'future tech', so my compliant is that if its future tech this means it was to be invented eventually (hence the use of not selling it, time paradox and all) but exactly HOW FAR into the future we talking??? A hundred, thousand, or million years?
Far enough that the non-polluting dilithium crystals powering the things are still rare enough that people would feel it necessary to stick solar panels on the outside so as to gather enough energy to run the coffee maker and thus consider it "a green hybrid".
Is "Wheeler" a nickname or did his parents just hate him that much?
It's his surname, actually.
That isn't much better, but I've heard worst last names.
Why did the planeteers bother summoning the Big Blue Mullet all the time? Sure, he's powerful (variably), but he can be taken out with a bag of dirty diapers. The Planeteers' rings grant them control over the elements that is never completely defined. They always acted like they were utterly boned if they were separated and couldn't summon, but they were far from helpless. Surely they could realize that they are more than capable of taking out the poorly conceived schemes of stereotypical industrialists on their own every once in a while. They never even attempted to use their rings to their full potential. What's the point of giving the kids powers if they never use them right and completely lose them just to make somebody else fight for them?
Agreed, it's like we never see the kids use their rings. They give up quickly, making one wonder why Gaia chose them for the job. It's also a bit jarring that we never get to see the rings used to their full potential. Come on, there are ELEMENTAL POWERS here, surely they could've done some cool things.
Somebody needs to watch "The Conqueror" because that episode explains why the kids do not have superpowered rings.
Actually, I'll take a serious swing at that: Captain Planet can fly and is semi-invulnerable. And really the flying thing is pretty much the more useful of those two. Most of the rest of the stuff he does could be replicated by the rings, but flying around quickly on his own power to put the elemental abilities into action was pretty useful. Of course, Gaia could have just stuck a flight effect on the rings and accomplished the same thing. But at that point you loop back around to out-of-universe explanations... Captain Planet is much more marketable than the Planeteers are. Without summoning Captain Planet, avowed communist Ted Turner could not make millions of dollars by selling "Earth Armor Captain Planet" action figures.
They were trying to say hate was as effective as pollution. Unfortunately, they also showed racists in one episode having zero effect on Cap (one of the Western styled episodes) and so it really didn't work. What Cap was reacting to was kind of unclear because of this.
My theory is that it wasn't really Hitler's hatred that affect Cap, but the fearsome handlebar mustache that they gave him for the episode.
In the Hitler episode, why did Hitler have a fu man chu instead of his Chaplin-esque mustache? That's weird, random, and I have no idea why it's there.
Some countries (Germany especially) might have censored the episode or prevented it from airing entirely if they made it too obvious who he was supposed to be.
One could make the case that the "Leader" could refer to Josef Stalin, as that is his mustache. Was Hitler's name even mentioned in this episode?
Ted Turner did an episode on population control advocating having one child. He has five. He argued sex selective abortion is a good thing even though, you know, it unbalances the population and encourages sexism against women, leading to China's infamous Missing Women. And yet he can't wrap his own tool or get the abortions he's preaching you have. Excellent, you shot your message through the foot and saved the internet the trouble of picking it apart. Way to shit in your coffee.
Reportedly, Turner has described his five kids as a "mistake" and that in the past he "didn't know any better." Something that if true I'm sure has been a marvelous comfort to his non-firstborn children.
Furthermore, look up the terms "Limousine Liberal" and "Champagne Socialist". Turner could be used as the ultimate example of both.
When the USSR fell apart they changed Linka's origin to "Eastern Europe" instead of the Soviet Union. Why didn't they just change it to say she was from Russia?
Or better yet, just "Europe"? Why say "Eastern Europe" If there are no Planeteers from Western Europe? By the way, Russia isn't a continent. just a very, very big country.
Is Linka actually from Russia? All this would seem to point to her being from a country in Eastern Europe that was part of the U.S.S.R., rather than Russia.
Heh, would have been pretty hilarious for Ted Turner's love of the Soviets if Linka was actually Georgian.
The whole thing about Captain Planet's existence just bugs me. He's summoned for each crisis, fights pollution, surrenders his power back to the kids and with it his existence. Where does he go? A few possibilities. 1) He ceases to exist until the next crisis so that he is only aware of an endless string of crises he's been summoned for. 2) He returns to some life in another place meaning that no matter what he's doing, he can vanish in a moment against his will which would be a major life disruption. It would either be that he knows he's being summoned and keeps his memories each time which would be maddening or he has these mysterious blackouts when summoned and loses time which would be difficult to live with AND his other persona in his summoned state would perceive his life the way example one does, as an unending string of crises. 3) He's sitting in some limbo realm waiting to be summoned or has at least arranged his life around the fact that he can be summoned without notice. No matter how you slice it, it sucks to be Captain Planet.
And yet he seems happy enough!
Simple, he's chilling in the Earth's core, drinking Mojitos and watching Each and Every work that has Puns on it's page.
The sensible answer is that Captain Planet does not exist except when he's summoned... or rather he only exists as part of the Planeteers, as he's made up of bits of them. That would explain why he acts differently if he's summoned incomplete, his personality only exists as a composite of the whole. But I think the in-universe explanation is that he goes into stasis in some chamber on Gaia's island, I recall them making a reference to it or even showing him inside a crystal there at some point. Could just be my faulty memory. Either way, the series is inconsistent about this, what else is new.
Refresh my memory-what exactly was Verminous Skumm again? Was he some sort of rat that became sentient when it was mutated by toxic chemicals, a man who became mutated into a rat by toxic chemicals, or what?
According to what Gaia said in "Rain Of Terror", he was born and raised in toxic waste. Most likley, he was a human who gained rat-like attributes from a childhood in the sewers.
He was an anti-Semitic strawman. ... Everyone's thinkin' it, I'm just sayin' it.
In "Trouble On The Half Shell", why don't the JASON Project scientists do anything to help? They can see what the robot's cameras are showing just as well as the boy piloting it can, why don't they give control back to one of the engineers who presumably has more experience piloting it? I mean, if a research robot is the only thing that can help the Planeteers defeat vilains, I want a trained person piloting it, not some random kid at a science center.
Because everyone on Turner Earth is a moron until the last couple of minutes when it's time to start the aesop lecture.
That thing at the end of "Planeteers Under Glass"...just...what was that?
What don't the villain have origin stories? It would be nice to see how Skumm came to be.
Why would anyone make deals with the villains? Their names scream "I'm the villain". That's like me getting married to a woman name Goldie Golddigger or trusting a guy name Sleazy Mc Fraud.