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YMMV / Transformers: Generation 1

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  • Accidental Innuendo: Megatron would turn into a gun to be wielded by another Decepticon, usually Starscream. The implications are staggering. In case your mind wasn't dirty enough to get it at first: Starscream holds Megatron in his hands, then pulls Megatron's trigger, making him shoot out. And to FURTHER add to this, the original Megatron toy had his trigger for his crotch, a point that Robot Chicken made.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Overlapping with Depending on the Writer, thanks to the numerous and conflicting (even back in 1984) continuities and depictions of Generation 1 characters, it's rare that you'll find more than two portrayals of the same character that match up perfectly, so how certain characters act all depends on your continuity of choice.
    • Is Shockwave loyal to Megatron as he is in the cartoon, or a logic-obsessed Starscream that's more effective than Starscream himself as in the comics and his original toy bio?
    • Decepticons: stone cold evil or Well Intentioned Extremists?
    • Ratbat. He's a voiceless servant to Soundwave in the original cartoon, but he becomes Decepticon leader for a time in the original comics. Later continuities have tried to meld both interpretations for one backstory, where Ratbat is usually of high power before becoming a servant of Soundwave.
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    • Starscream: does he want Megatron's postition, or Megatron's respect?
    • Speaking of, why does Megatron keep Starscream around despite his blatantly treacherous intentions? There are numerous theories, but the in-universe explanation (at least some of the time) is that, while Starscream is a traitorous schemer, Megatron keeps him because he reminds Megatron of the need to watch his own back and keep his power protected at all costs. There's also the fact that early in the series (though it was never really brought up), the Decepticons are actually severely outnumbered - there are 18 Autobots, and only 11 Decepticons (13 if you count Reflector's other two bodies as separate fighters). They need everyone who can fight.
    • 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 aphasianote .
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    • Soundwave is popularly seen as Megatron's loyal Yes-Man, but his toy bio paints him as an unscrupulous blackmailer who prides on digging up dirt on people and using it against them. Then there's his speech - sometimes his speech is written like his cartoon Machine Monotone talk, while other times his speech patterns seem no different to other characters.
  • Awesome Ego: Megatron/Galvatron and Starscream, all the way. Also Grimlock when his intelligence gets temporarily boosted.
  • Badass Decay:
    • Devastator seemed to cop this with the arrival of new Combiner teams who applied The Worf Effect on the Constructicons. Justified, if you think about it, as Devastator is frequently portrayed as the first Combiner and a prototype.
    • 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 (though in Bruticus' defense, Menasor sucker-punched him in the back); come Season 3, a few shots to the back took him down.
    • Scourge and the Sweeps in Season 3. In the Movie, they tore apart Ultra Magnus, in the series, they're Galvatron's punching bag.
    • Optimus in "The Rebirth", where he comes off as a bit of weary old man and never really engages in battle like he did before. The bad part about this is that it could've easily been worked into a character arc, with him being shaken by dying and coming back. Except the season 3 finale beforehand had Prime get over it and save the day all but singlehanded in one of the show's biggest Awesome Moments, so there was no longer any excuse. Even more pathetic, this means that Prime lost control of Cybertron within just one episode of having it, while the far less experienced Rodimus retook it in the movie and held it for the entire prior season.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Megatron - viewed by some as a menacing, badass villain, and criticized by others for being a General Failure (at least in the series pre-Movie). There's also the question of if his upgrade into Galvatron made his General Failure aspects better or worse.
    • Arcee is either praised for being the first notable female Autobot in the franchise who is a regularly appearing character or is loathed for the feminine cliches she's often subjected to.
    • Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime is probably the most divisive character in G1 - there's very little middle ground between the people who see him as whiny, ineffectual, shiftless, a total hypocrite, and basically responsible for Optimus's death, and the people who see him as one of the best (if one of the few) developed characters in the series and a fascinating contrast to Optimus who proved himself as an effective leader at every turn.
  • Bizarro Episode: Quite a bunch, most notably Carnage in C Minor (where the Decepticons try to collect the three notes of a harmony that can destroy the Autobots from a race of aliens that always sing when they speak) and the notorious B.O.T. (a pair of extremely rude high school boys and a nerdy girl they are partnered with create a crude robot for their science project and inadvertently give it the brain of the Combaticon Brawl).
  • Broken Base:
    • While G1 is the most iconic incarnation of Transformers apart from the live-action film series, the Transformers fanbase is up in arms over whether it was a legitimately good cartoon, a deliciously corny Guilty Pleasure, or a poorly-made toy commercial that is blindly supported due to nostalgia. Debates of this type also include how it compares to other Transformers series. Despite this, modern G1-based material tends to be of fairly high quality in order to appeal to more discerning adult fans.
    • "Carnage in C-Minor". It's either one of the series's worst episodes with far more animation errors and technical problems than usual as well as a bunch of annoying aliens with tedious "sing-song" voices. Or it's a fun and silly romp that's not nearly as bad as other episodes (frequently being compared favorably to B.O.T.) that has Soundwave's last big role, especially since nearly all of the Season 1 Decepticons had either died or become Demoted to Extra at that point.
    • Soundwave's most famous depiction as having Undying Loyalty to Megatron originates from here and stretches across continuities to be his most distinguished trait. Fans are split whenever future writers try and take him in a different direction (like say the opportunistic snitch that his toy bio was). Is it an acceptable reimagining seeing as nearly all characters receive changes and the fandom's become known for a negative attitude towards change or is Soundwave without the Undying Loyalty just not Soundwave anymore? Some fans are also willing to make the case that Soundwave wasn't totally unflappable in his loyalty in G1 to begin with (using examples such as The Movie where he does little to prevent another Decepticon overthrowing Megatron).
    • Megatron's gun mode. Was it a great design born from his toy, that turns into a pretty cool weapon for others to use? Or is having Megatron turn into a small gun for others to fire ill-fitting to somebody who's supposed to be the powerful Big Bad? It's telling that unlike Optimus, who's almost always reimagined as a truck, Megatron changes radically depending on the continuity, with even his later toys referencing G1 choose a vehicle over a gun. That and the strict toy laws in some countries make it next to impossible to re-release him, since Megatron is a realistic firearm replica, and in Australia, one has to be a registered member of a gun club to even own a Masterpiece Megatron.
  • Complete Monster: Unicron is an ancient planet-eating Transformer that was created by a Mad Scientist called Primacron. Primacron created Unicron to help him take over the universe, but he rebelled and destroyed Primacron's lab. Unicron travelled through space and devoured many inhabited worlds, including the planet of Lithone. After learning of Optimus Prime's death and his passing of the Matrix of Leadership, Unicron tracked down Megatron and tasked him to destroy it, as it was the only thing that could stand in his way. Torturing Megatron into accepting his deal, Unicron reformatted him into Galvatron and made him more susceptible to his psychic assaults. Galvatron, tired of being Unicron's pawn, tried to use the Matrix to turn Unicron into his slave, but it had no effect in his hands. In retaliation, Unicron started destroying Cybertron and attacked both Autobot and Decepticon alike. Unicron was eventually defeated by a Matrix-wielding Rodimus and only his head remained to orbit Cybertron, a testament to the Transformer that made even the mighty Megatron beg for mercy.
  • 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!"
  • Draco in Leather Pants - Starscream. What could it be? The squeaky voice, Megatron constantly harming him, the fact that he's vaguely more humanoid than other Decepticons? Or was it just the flashy paint job? The world may never know.
  • Ear Worm:
    • In the Japanese version:
    • Season 1 and 2: "You can fight! Transformer!"
    • 2010: "Dash! Dash! Dash! Dash! Trans Transformer!"
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • 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.
    • Shockwave is one of the most popular and iconic Decepticons, thanks to his cold, logical intelligence, and striking and unique design and alt mode. His showing in the comics, where he usurps Megatron as leader for a time, also plays a big factor in his appeal.
  • Evil Is Cool: The Decepticons tended to have alt modes that would seem more interesting to the toy line's target audience like fighter jets, giant robot bugs, and even guns the kids could hold in their own hands. Plus, whenever it wasn't some new figure series both sides got at the same time, they were always the first side to get the really creative concepts like a guy with a bunch of smaller robots he could release from his body, triple-changers, and a subfaction whose members could all combine into one great big robot.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With the Transformers Film Series. While G1 fans have many complaints about the film franchise (many of which are justified), the sheer vitriol with which they bash the movies and over glorify the series they grew up withnote  has prompted a lot of Critical Backlash from fans of the movies.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Very few like the expanation that Unicron was built by Primacon, a simple alien scientist. It's been since retconned to oblivion.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Fans all over the world prefer to ignore Kiss Players.
  • First Installment Wins: Until the live-action movies came along and caused Adaptation Displacement, Generation 1 was synonymous with the Transformers brand itself; even to this day, it's the most well-known incarnation apart from the movies, and there are many fans who attest that it remains the most iconic and definitive.
  • Foe Yay: Megatron never did punish Starscream that much for his disloyalty, usually just a verbal lashing or the occasional physical altercation... until he became Galvatron, that is.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The show was Merchandise-Driven, and it showed with plots catering to selling new toys. That was clear from the beginning when episodes would often introduce new characters out of nowhere and the show would just treat them like they were always there. The decision to kill off existing characters in The Movie just to make room for a bunch of new characters who were introduced out of nowhere for the third season has gotten considerable flak, but the fact is the movie was just an example of a problem that had already been plaguing the show. The fact that the cartoon usually just moved the characters into the background, while the film outright killed them doesn't help matters.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • During "The Key to Vector Sigma" the military thinks the Stunticons are the Autobots. Sounds stupid with Decepticons like the Constructicons and the Triple Changers, until you realize that up until this episode the Decepticons had no normal ground vehicles as transformers. As this was cars and a big rig, which means it practically has the Autobots written all over it.
    • In the Season 1 Episode, "Heavy Metal War", Megatron challenges Optimus Prime to single combat, with the loser being required to exile themselves and their army to deep space, forever. Then he cheats, borrowing the powers of all the Decepticons, and to try to ensure his cheating isn't discovered, he orders the Constructicons to destroy Teletraan 1, the Autobots' computer, which would totally narc on him (and it did). Megatron didn't have to kill Optimus Prime in this duel, only defeat him. But what this essentially means is, if all had gone according to plan, Megatron would be "rid" of the Autobots without having to destroy any of them, including Optimus Prime. This puts the cheating itself in a whole new light, as it would have effectively ended the War, but without any more killing of Autobots.
  • Fridge Logic: Megatron's altmode makes him extremely vulnerable. Starscream could just crush him under his foot or in his hand. Even if Megatron remains his toughness in his altmode, he could be easily imprisoned while transformed. On the other hand, this is Starscream we're talking about.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: At the end of "Only Human", which takes place in the then-future year 2006, "Old Snake" laments that "they simply don't make terrorists like they used to..." as the episode's villains are taken away. Even beyond 2006, real life has proven that they do make terrorists like they used to.
  • 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, bar a few really stand-out episodes. Note however that there are some who feel season three has merit; see Seasonal Rot and Vindicated by History below for more.
  • 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". Quite a few Robot Chicken sketches involved Transformers characters.
    • In "B.O.T." there's a junkyard operator who really looks a lot like Luigi.
    • The episode "Heavy Metal War" has Megatron take the powers of all the Decepticons to use in battle against Optimus Prime. Three years later, the world saw another robot with "Mega" in his name do the same thing with other robots.
      • That same episode, albeit in a deleted scene, saw Megatron transform into a jet mode instead of his usual gun mode as a result of the aforementioned power taking. Nowadays, Megatron toys often give him a jet mode (when they don't go for a tank) owing to toy guns being frowned upon in the 21st century.
    • In "Only Human", human Arcee borrowed a motorcycle. Later iterations of Arcee, such as in Transformers Prime, transform into motorcycles themselves.
    • The episode "Autobot Spike" is pretty hilarious to watch after seeing the movie and the third season for two reasons. One is that the doctor seen tending to the injured Spike Witwicky bears a striking resemblance to Spike's adult self. The other reason is because the episode ends with Bumblebee asking what would happen if an Autobot's mind was put into a human body, with the aforementioned "Only Human" having some of the Autobots becoming human.
    • In "The Girl Who Loved Powerglide", Powerglide at one point says "It's hero time".
      • Speaking of "The Girl Who Loved Powerglide", Astoria Carlton-Ritz seems like a parody of Paris Hilton... but Paris was only four years old at the time it aired.
    • Optimus and Co's disguised as the Stunticons (complete with them attempting to combine into Menasor) in "Masquerade" predates the Combiner Wars line 30 years later.
      • Interestingly, the Combiner Wars Optimus and Mirage toys are the only ones that are accurate to their pre-Stunticon disguises.
    • A scene in Age of Extinction where Prime demands loyalty from the Dinobots at swordpoint was criticized for going against Prime's "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings". The funny thing is, here when the Dinobots - sentient, living creatures - show they have free will by attacking the Autobots, Prime orders them sealed in a cave with no intention of ever letting them out. Only once they beat up some Decepticons on his side, he feels they have earned their freedom.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Rodimus Prime admits to dreaming about Optimus. His own voice actor (jokingly) claimed the character was gay, despite many incarnations of the character being romantically-linked to Arcee.
    • 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.
    • And then there's Megatron and Starscream, who fight and bicker like an old married couple, with Starscream as the whining nagging wife to Megatron's ever agitated husband. Taking the aforementioned subtext between Megatron and Soundwave into account one has to wonder if Megatron effectively dumped Starscream for Soundwave and Starscream simply never got over it. At one point Starscream actually asked Megatron "Aren't you happy to see me?"
  • Hype Backlash: The way the series is idolized can hit an interested Transformers fan hard when they actually watch it. The animation is plagued with issues, the plots are often random, several episodes are clearly trying to sell toys, the scale issues can be really distracting, the backstory was pretty slim, and several of these issues would only be fixed by the animated film. It is easy to see why it would be popular as a saturday morning cartoon, but decades of small improvements to the lore, characters and motivations combined with a shared agreed-upon backstory, modern adptations feel like the writers know what they want to do with them.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • A Prime Problem is legendary for its story. Megatron tricks Optimus into a hole, but instead of killing him, he creates a lookalike of him. The clone keeps calling Autobots with the wrong names, and for this single episode, so does the real Prime once he is freed. And how do the Autobots try to figure which is the real prime? Instead of asking them something only real Prime would know, they decide that WE MUST HAVE A RACE. The fake Prime gets captured only after he declares that rescuing Spike is unimportant. Not to mention that since the fake Prime seems to be perfectly capable of acting on it's own, it raises the question of why dont the Decepticons just clone themselves and destroy the Autobots with an army of themselves? Each clone seems to be an Empty Shell programmed by the Decepticons, so it's not like they'd have any infighting.
    • Another is Megatron's Master Plan Part 1. To summarize: "Much like the events of "A Prime Problem", the basic premise of this episode requires incredible stupidity on the part of the players. In this case, however, those players are the entire human race! Thirty seconds of video footage and the crowd outside City Hall is throwing fruit at the Autobots. Why are the public so quickly swayed after the number of times the Autobots have saved them in the past year or so? What kind of kangaroo court would convict on such incredibly flimsy evidence? What kind of absurdly inept trial lawyers would fail to examine every bit of footage available? How could Berger fail to notice Megatron cackling with mad glee as he sends his foes rocketing into the sun?"
  • Jerkass Woobie: The Constructicons, who are only evil because Megatron reprogrammed them against their will. Well, sometimes. The show's continuity was a bit non-existent. According to an another episode, they built Megatron. Don't think about it too much.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "You destroy everything you touch, X!" Explaination 
    • "Soundwave superior. Constructicons inferior." Which in turn led to "Soundwave superior, [insert name] inferior."
    • Also from the Evil Twin episode: Which Prime is the real Prime? LET'S HAVE A RACE.
    • GEEWUN, a fan term describing those who overglorify G1 (usually due to nostalgia) and bash most other Transformers incarnations, most infamously the Transformers Film Series. Notably, this term cross-pollinated into the Pokémon fandom as "Genwun", and is used to describe fans who are similarly attached to the earliest incarnations of the franchise to the exclusion of others.
    • On the inverse is REEDUN, for fans who insist everything be constantly changed and whine incessantly when any new toy, fiction or anything else calls back too heavily to the original series. Yes, they can be almost as bad.
  • 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.
    • Rodimus Prime came dangerously close to crossing it in "Fight Or Flee" when he blew up Paradron rather than let the Decepticons have it, then had the gall to say that Cybertron was better anyways right to Sandstorm's face.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The transformation noise.
    • Soundwave's voice.
  • Narm:
    • Megatron transforms into a pistol for his alt mode, which means that in many large-scale fights the terrifying badass leader of the Decepticons transforms into a gun and lets a subordinate shoot him, rather than fight himself. Bonus silliness for it often being Starscream. The writers for the first live-action movie noted this idea never sat well with them, and compared it to Darth Vader turning into a lightsaber and letting a Stormtrooper wield him. It also proved to be Awesome, but Impractical when his real life toy constantly ran into legal problems for looking like a realistic handgun, a big no-no for toy manufacturing laws in numerous countriesnote . Hasbro themselves seemed to realize the gun thing really didn't work, as a lot of future Megatron appearances, including the G1 expanded universe, make him into a tank instead.
    • In one episode, the Decepticons drink energon cubes and become intoxicated. Since several episodes revolve around Megatron trying to get said cubes from various dangerous sources, it really comes off like the Decepticons are trying to destroy the Earth to get drunk.
  • Narm Charm: Some fans love the show for this. The inconsistent animation and silly writing make it So Bad, It's Good at times, but it's part of what made G1 what it was, and won over the fans for it.
  • Newer Than They Think: The main thing the modern adaptations take from this show is the character names; most of the franchise lore originates from the 1986 movie, and some elements (such as less focus on humans) come from some of the later shows.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Soundwave laughing! No, you read it right. Still sceptical? Here's proof.
    • This... thing. It might have been a very early Prime, but looks more like the Quintessan judge. What is that thing?
  • 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 
  • 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, complete with an E-HOBBY exclusive redeco of Grapple.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Some/half of the Generation 1 fans claimed that the cartoon does better than the remakes, including the Live-action film series that ultimately destroys the franchise's reputation.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Rodimus Prime is hated for replacing Optimus Prime while failing to replicate the traits that made him such a popular character. He never developed his own leadership style and lost the more interesting Hot-Blooded personality that he had as Hot Rod. It really doesn't help that, in-story, he was never even supposed to be leader; Optimus explicitly named Ultra Magnus as his successor, not Hot Rod. Then you have episodes like "Fight or Flee", in which he displays a big example of Moral Dissonance by blowing up Sandstorm's peaceful planet just to stop the Decepticons getting it, then saying he prefers Cybertron for not being so "perfect" to Sandstorm's face as he's grieving. And this is at the episode's end, so he never gets called out on this. Fans almost universally consider his best decision as leader to be reviving Optimus and than stepping down from his position. Yeah. Other versions of the character aren't this hated, but they either don't replace Optimus or keep the "Hot Rod" personality and just change their name.
    • Daniel and Wheelie are hated for replacing Spike and Bumblebee as the Kid-Appeal Characters, but falling into the exact pitfalls that Spike and 'Bee avoided, like being too young and having annoying voices.
    • Galvatron generally gets the least of this (possibly because he technically is Megatron, just in a different form), but many still prefer Megatron due to feeling that Galvatron came off as less competent and didn't have as many interesting dynamics with his troops.
  • Rooting for the Empire: While the Autobots are hardly unpopular (especially Optimus Prime as demonstrated below), the Decepticons sell as many toys and are often considered more developed and less gimmicky or bland characters than some of the heroes. Megatron, Soundwave, Starscream, Galvatron, and Cyclonus especially. That the Autobots and some of their allies were prone to odd moments of Moral Dissonance exacerbated this a little.
  • Sacred Cow: Transformers G1 was a rather infamous example during the height of popularity of the Transformers Film Series. The Michael Bay movies suffered from a lot of They Changed It, Now It Sucks! from fans and, starting with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, would receive extremely negative reviews from critics. As a result, many nostalgic G1 fans would look back at the cartoon/comic series and hold it up as an incorruptible, perfect piece of work due to nostalgia and the heavy criticism that the Bay movies were getting in comparison, resulting in the "GEEWUN" meme often used by other Transformers fans to point out the most ridiculous stereotypes of the G1 fandom. However, this has died down together with the popularity and corresponding backlash of the Bay movies, and fans instead look back at G1 as an above-average Merchandise-Driven kids' franchise that left a notable legacy behind, though this hasn't stopped hate and snarky comments directed at the movies.
  • 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". They did this in spite of the cartoon being Merchandise-Driven, as when Optimus was resurrected, he had no toy on the shelves (bar any unsold Optimus Prime toys, or the fact that the toy was actually still in production due to its popularity, but not publicly advertised beyond voice-overs in commercials providing narration for the new Autobot toys). Optimus would not get another toy until the 1988 Powermaster toy.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Roland and Martin from the infamous episode "B.O.T." are generally disliked for being far more obnoxious and mean-spirited than the Autobots' other human allies. They are even nicknamed "future serial killers" on the Transformers Wiki.
    • Wheelie was as unpopular as can be when he appeared in Season 3. Not helped by the fact he actually SOUNDED like Scrappy-Doo in his first commercial appearance or the fact that his initially present survivalist traits got played down in favor of being the cute kid of the team.
  • Seasonal Rot: Season 3 is widely considered a step down from the previous two seasons due to killing off/writing out most of the old cast in favor of new toys, drastically changing the setting and style, and the animation becoming worse than ever (which can be laid at the feet of South Korean studio AKOM, which often produced subpar artwork and numerous coloring, model, and continuity errors, though with a slightly higher frame rate than Toei-animated episodes). However there are a few episodes that are seen as really good and some parts of the fandom feel that Season 3 actually made some improvements over Season 2, like having a more manageable cast size or bigger scale plots. In addition, Toei churned out episodes with VERY beautiful art, and the episode "Call of the Primatives" remains the best-animated episode of the series; too bad the studio who animated it is still unidentified to this day (though based on what information is available, many fans believe Tokyo Movie Shinsa was behind it).
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Given how it is the first installment of a franchise that has been running for over three decades and has had many works that build off of the original, this was bound to happen. People have noticed that most of the things people boast this series invented were either from the lore-heavy movie or some later series, and that the show itself is a bit of a mess that consists of inconsistent animation, odd plots and a very weak continuity. People still enjoy it for what it is, but also believe that other shows have since done things better.
  • Snark Bait: The series' low production values and Merchandise-Driven nature are subject to this.
  • So Bad, It's Good:
    • The cartoon in general; similar to Star Trek: The Original Series, it brought a lot of memorable characters and performances despite its low production values. Although more... nostalgic... fans tend to view it as awesome.
    • 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 (Spike as "Splick", and Trailbreaker as "Trailblazer"; the latter case is Hilarious in Hindsight, though, as the name "Trailblazer" was used interchangeably with "Trailcutter" when Hasbro lost the trademark to the name "Trailbreaker". 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" 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. Two of the humans, Roland and Martin, are the most unrepentant Jerkasses in the series, dragging the third human (Elise) around (at the end of the episode, they tape her mouth shut and drag her away while the Autobots do NOTHING) and using a laser that can kill people as a prank. A prime candidate for Snark Bait.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • More often than not combined with Off-Model. Much of this was caused by the low-budget Korean studio AKOM in three second season episodes, much of season three, and all three fourth season episodes.
    • The episode "Child's Play" as a whole is nothing but animation flub after animation flub, ending with one of the most infamously animated moments in the series (if not animation as a whole) as the Autobots board the shuttle and seemingly defy physics by clipping through it.
    • The releases by Rhino Entertainment in the early 2000s boasted the use of the original film elements instead of the (finalized) broadcast elements. Unfortunately, this proved to be a curse as these versions were ones that were incomplete. Some episodes, like "S.O.S. Dinobots" and "Heavy Metal War" were greatly affected as a result.
  • Squick: Kiss Players, which contains not only lolicon, but penis tongues.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: some members of the fandom watch later incarnations of the series for the sole purpose of complaining endlessly about their being an insult to the holy perfection that is G1.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Due to having a strict Black and White Morality among the cast, some of the more complex/grey characters aren't as interesting as their toy bios would have you believe. For example, Thundercracker may be an elitist jerk, but he has doubts about the Decepticon cause, and Bluestreak is haunted by the memory of Decepticons destroying his home city, which he tries to hide with fast talking and an upbeat attitude. None of these traits come up in the cartoon note , as they're both clear-cut evil/good guys with almost no depth.
    • The production bible for the series noted that Shockwave could create holographic copies of himself; this idea never materialized, until Transformers: Devastation made it a part of his boss fight 31 years after the show started. Shockwave himself, for some reason, ended up with the production bible completely omitting his stated character traits in his bio and comic appearances, meaning he went from one of the most dynamic and interesting characters in the Marvel comics to a bland Yes-Man for Megatron, essentially a poor man's Soundwave. It's quite telling that even Dreamwave, which drew heavily from the cartoon, still ran with the interpretation of Shockwave as a Straw Vulcan Wild Card.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Kiss Players has some fairly cool story ideas that explored the aftermath of Transformers: The Movie. Unfortunately all the good ideas were buried under the rather... unfortunate things.
    • Starscream being resurrected by Unicron and then being blasted into space is the last we see of him. One favorite fanfiction topic has Starscream returning and creating trouble for Galvatron, or creating his own Decepticon splinter faction.
    • Season Four seemed like it was setting upon a return to the classic formula, with Optimus Prime returned for good and Galvatron rerailed closer to his more lucid and cunning Megatron self. Unfortunately all but a three part special came of it. Headmasters at least played with it a little longer.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Cerebros. Unlike First Aid, whose own pacifist beliefs were written in a way that made him sympathetic, Cerebros just comes off as whiny and self-centred. Throughout the "Rebirth" trilogy, he refuses to lift a finger to help his fellow Autobots, and shows no guilt over it (at least First Aid showed some regret over the fact that his non-violent ways were of little help to the Autobots), putting his own desire not to fight over their very survival. Though he does show a more respectable side when he agrees to be part of Fortress Maximus in order to help Spike save Daniel, the act does imply that he cares more for humans than his own kind.
  • Values Dissonance: Yeah, see if a fictional arab nation called "Carbombya" is getting on TV these days.
  • Values Resonance: Regardless of the brief Values Dissonance, some of the themes brought up in some of the episodes are still deeply relevant.
    • The Quintessons using subliminal messaging to achieve a goal by making everyone hate each other has become much more relevant with large corporations becoming more powerful and gaining more influence over the media.
    • While the war between the Autobots and Decepticons is portrayed as a war that is necessary, with the Decepticons portrayed as irredeemably evil, the war between Xattaxiss and Lanarq in "The Quintesson Journal" is portrayed as a war that is a senseless waste of life, simply because the two don't like each other, and the Quintessons are the only winners. It hammers home a message that war is truly horrible that should only occur if absolutely necessary. It also portrays hatred as a emotion that destroys simply everyone who engages in it and shows the cost of what it can do.
  • Vindicated by History: The third season. It was once the most derided season in the fandom, but since coming out on DVD and being made widely available alongside the rest of the series, many fans have taken another look at it, and now many episodes of the season are regarded as some of the series' best. Check any top ten list of G1 episodes and season three episodes will make up almost half of the list, at least. Also characters like Rodimus Prime, Galvatron, Cyclonus, et al have become much more popular, and are seen as interesting characters in their own right.
  • What an Idiot!: Multiple examples from both the Autobots and the Decepticons and even the humans who get caught in the crossfire.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The idea of a mysterious power broker playing sides of a conflict for profit and their own ambitions, as the Quintessons did in "The Quintesson Journal" seems to be a thinly veiled potshot at Ronald Reagan, whose administration was engulfed in the Iran Contra scandal at the time.


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