Reviews: Captain N The Game Master
Why did I watch this show as a kid, despite finding it frustrating and dumb?
It's easy as adults to complain about the stupid things kids like today, but let's look inwards for a bit. As kids, didn't we watch the Super Mario Bros. Super Show just because it had Mario in it? The stories hardly engaged me back then, and it became increasingly cringeworthy as I got older. So, yes, I watched Captain N because I liked the premise. But boy, was the execution terrible. Even back then, I hated the character designs. I hated what Simon Belmont turned into. I hated how Mega Man and Pit/Kid Icarus (I was unaware his real name was Pit, iirc) spoke strangely and repetitively added "mega-" and "-icus" to their sentences. So many characters were portrayed dead wrong. Donkey Kong was enormous, and evil, which I didn't like at all. And of course, I absolutely hated the character of Game Boy, and never understood why he was portrayed as a character. I did however enjoy some of the plots of the show, so there was reason to stick around. I actually liked the episode with the bully from Kevin's past showing up - in android form - to intimidate him. And the team-up with Link from the Zelda series. But what I really remember from the show, and not fondly either, I might add, is the Nightmare Fuel. That's right. This show creeped me out something fierce when I was 8/9 years old. There were freaky moments here and there, like Lana's nightmare where she had Mother Brain's face, or the people turned to stone in Medusa's lair and poor Kid Icarus walking around with a bucket over his head trying to avoid seeing her, which I found really unsettling. But the worst was the episode that took place inside Kevin's body. A villain who flies around in a vehicle resembling organs captures Kevin's "soul" and straps it to a table inside Kevin's heart, as he slowly dies. The whole thing was just monstrously wrong. The "scenery" was disturbing enough to look at, but this whole concept of Kevin dying of an otherworldly virus that has to be fought from the inside was totally creepy. What also got me was the addition of unfunny "humor" to lighten the mood. It didn't lighten the Nightmare Fuel moments at all, and I never EVER found the show funny. So what's the point of "humor"? Did the execs demand it? In all, this was a bad show, and I just watched it because it was there.
It's all about expectations
I do not come here to claim that Captain N was a good show, by any means. However, it can be appreciated for two things. One, it's often hilarious in how stupid it is. The jokes are corny, the characters are ridiculous, the plots often seem stitched together from various separate scripts... and with all that comes a great degree of So Bad Its Good and campy charm. Second, several episodes have one or two moments that seem uncharacteristically well-written. It's interesting to search for these, because when you find one, you see that something could have worked; and even though it didn't, it's an interesting bit of juxtaposition. All in all, it can be a good time to watch... even if it's not for the right reasons.