These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Another of the more noteworthy ones is Ratbat. He's a voiceless servant to Soundwave in the original series, but he was Decepticon leader for a time in the original comics. Later continuities have tried to meld both interpretations for one backstory.
DR. SMOOV has created a video made from scenes from the G1 cartoon that reinterprets Shockwave as a comically poor marksman and buffoon who was left on Cybertron because Megatron wanted him out of the way.
DR. SMOOV's Transformers videos have a lot of this. Optimus Prime is lazy, Wheeljack is an amoral Jerkass, Red Alert is crazy and The Load, Chip is the Butt Monkey, and more.
Is Grimlock really stupid? Or does he just pretend to be stupid to throw his enemies off guard? Another interpretation is that Grimlock is quite intelligent but is unable to speak properly due to a malfunction in his speech processor, giving him a variant of Broca's aphasia.
Awesome Ego: Megatron/Galvatron and Starscream, all the way. Also Grimlock when his intelligence gets temporarily boosted.
Justified, it you think about it, as Devastator is frequently portrayed as the first Combiner and a prototype.
Of Course, then you look at Menasor. Menasor was one of the most powerful combiners, taking down his counterpart Superion in their debut, and only losing when facing both Superion and Omega Supreme, his next appearance had him take down Bruticus, come Season 3, a few shots to the back took him down.
Scourge and the Sweeps in Season 3. In the Movie, they tore apartUltra Magnus, in the series, they're Galvatron's punching bag.
Bizarro Episode: Quite a bunch, most notably Carnage in C Minor, The Core, and the absolutely terrible B.O.T.
Broken Base: Some fans like only the G1 cartoon and ignore all other iterations of the franchise. Other fans (especially younger ones) view the show as a campyMerchandise-DrivenSaturday Morning Cartoon for small children, and dismiss it in favor of newer franchises such as the Movieverse and Animated. Most of the fanbase appears to be somewhere in-between, judging G1 and other franchises based on their actual quality.
Crazy Awesome: Optimus Prime borders on this at times in seasons 1 and 2.
Human scientist: It's a safe bet those doors are locked.
Optimus: Fortunately, I know a delicate lockpicking technique. [shoots the door]
Crosses the Line Twice: The episode "Webworld", which involves the Decepticons trying to get Galvatron to a therapist. This goes about as well as you might expect.
Galvatron: "I'll destroy everything here—everything! And THEN, I'll destroy the Autobots!"
Therapist: "Yes...tell me about the Autobots."
Galvatron: "I hate Autobots! I hate Cyclonus! And I'm not very fond of you, either!"
Ensemble Darkhorse: Sideswipe is insanely popular, despite his fairly generic bio and being Out of Focus for the entire series. Most people credit this with him having a pretty great toy for the time. Skywarp is in much the same boat.
Fan Nickname - Starscream = Screamer, Optimus Prime = Robo Jesus, Megatron = Megs
Although Skywarp did call him "Screamer" in one episode.
And Megatron has been referred to as "Megs" on occasion. We're still waiting for someone to call Optimus "Robo Jesus".
Ramjet, Thrust and Dirge were nicknamed "the Coneheads" because of their cone shaped-heads.
Foe Yay: Megatron never did punish Starscream that much for his disloyalty... Until he became Galvatron, that is.
Growing the Beard: Subverted. Season 2 showed a lot of signs of improvement (stronger and bigger scale plots, more backstory, more spotlight episodes and characterization, better animation, etc.) but the last few episodes of the season and season 3 promptly took a nosedive in quality.
Hell Is That Noise: In "Five Faces of Darkness, Part 1," Cyclonus and Scourge intend to bring back Galvatron and they begin their search at his last known location: Unicron's floating head.
Cyclonus: There's nothing to fear. Unicron is dead. (They hear a groan) Cyclonus: Must be the wind. Scourge: There is no wind in space. Cyclonus: Quiet!
Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Hoist Goes Hollywood," Hoist and several other Autobots get to be in an action movie. Unfortunately for them, the human characters initially take precedence over their bit parts, the director seems to have little respect for the Autobots (at least early on) and there's a good deal of pyrotechnics in the movie. Sounds familiar.
The references to Brawn being a Robot Chicken in "Fire on the Mountain".
In "B.O.T." there's a junkyard operator who really looks a lot like Luigi.
Ho Yay: Rodimus Prime admits to dreaming about Optimus. His own voice actor (jokingly) claimed the character was gay.
There's also Megatron and Soundwave. Soundwave is slavishly loyal to Megatron and is the sole person that Megatron never abuses or insults (in fact he heaps praise on the guy). This extends to after Megatron became Galvatron, including a scene where the two hold hands as they fly. It's common for fans to joke that the two are secretly lovers.
Jerkass Woobie: The Constructicons, who are only evil because Megatron reprogrammed them against their will.
Also from the Evil Twin episode: Which Prime is the real Prime? LET'S HAVE A RACE.
Moral Event Horizon: Megatron famously crossed it in the movie when he killed Optimus, though one could he say he crossed it far earlier with the Robo-Smasher (aka. the device he used to horrifically brainwash the peaceful Constructicons into Decepticons and destroy Crystal City). For Blitzwing at least, the deal with the Quintessons was the point of no return for Galvatron.
More Popular Spin-off: Not of Transformers itself, but the Pokémon fandom adopted the Transformers fandom's concept of "GEEWUN" as "Genwunners". Pokémon Genwunners are currently more infamous and more widely debated than Transformers GEEWUNNERS.
Nightmare Retardant: Megatron, you know that scope that turns into his iconic black hole gun? That scope and other accessories aren't from a real Walther P38 but were made up by the prop department of The Man From UNCLE, which means the most fearsome Decepticon of them all either turns into a TV prop, or more likely some kid's toy based on a TV prop.note This is actually made explicit in the original Japanese Microchange toy he's based on, where they're all tiny aliens who disguise themselves as toys and other household objects in a little boy's bedroom. Incidentally this is also why the original Bumblebee and other minibots had such goofy proportions, since they were meant to represent toy cars.
One-Scene Wonder: Hauler's appearance in cartoon was very brief. However, his similarity to both Grapple and the Constructicons led to various theories about his origins, before the character got an official background story which depicts him as a rogue member of the Constructicons.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In the cartoon episode The Key To Vector Sigma, Shockwave apparently defeated Omega Supreme in battle (offscreen).
Saved by the Fans: Optimus Prime is probably the most famous example of this, being brought back after the massive backlash from being Killed Off for Real in the movie. Though in this case it was less "Saved by the fans" and more "Saved by letters of complaint from the angry moms of traumatized children".
The Scrappy: Rolan and Martin. This duo is so bad, they are nicknamed "future serial killers" in Transformers Wiki.
Seasonal Rot: Season 3 is widely considered a step down from the previous two seasons due to killing off/writing out most of the cast in favor of new toys, drastically changing the setting and style, and the animation becoming worse than ever.
In particular, the episode "Carnage in C-Minor". Sure, it has no end of animation, technical and continuity errors, but it has a good plot (as well as a little Fridge Horror at the end) and the errors have nothing to do with the plot itself.
"A Prime Problem" is another example because the plot is completely ludicrous (everyone has the Idiot Ball) and Optimus Prime hilariously flubs Spike and Trailbreaker's names. At least neither are as bad as B.O.T.
Given one Prime is actually controlled by Megatron and none of the other Autobots can tell which of the two "is real" until The Reveal Megatron's "Prime" angrily remarks about a captive Spike, "HE'S UNIMPORTANT!" which get the Autobots to see he's "phony"—the "Real Prime" would have dropped everything for Spike it's understandable.
"B.O.T" probably qualifies as well, if not for just plain bad, due to the massive Idiot Plot around three of the dumbest humans to ever exist and their stupidity seemingly affecting the rest of the cast as the episode goes on. A prime candidate for Snark Bait.
Villain Decay: Particularly prevalent with combiner teams, but also with characters representing other gimmicks, such as Triple-Changers. Devastator was unstoppable in early episodes, and in more than one episode unbeatable even by the entire Autobot team. Later, he could be broken up by a single shot from Perceptor. This effect was largely symmetrical, as Autobot combiners were also brought in to replace the formerly formidable older ones. Multiple Autobot characters have been referred to as their "last line of defence", including Omega Supreme and Metroplex.