When Thundercats Turned Us Gay
I’ve been sitting at home watching TV far too much recently. A lot of that has been watching Countdown and 15 to 1 and other such game-shows that are somehow capable of going on for longer than they should, but are somehow part of life. Oh, and Charmed re-runs.
But in amongst all this revisiting my youth, where the hell are the Thundercats?
And then I realised that half the internet probably don’t even know that the Thundercats are or were and I get all sad.
So my main question is, how and why isn’t Thundercats on Netflix? They tried to reboot it a few years ago, and it wasn’t terrible, but it just wasn’t the original.
Somehow, I got thinking of a near-thirty year old cartoon and realised how much of it has influenced my own aesthetic and ability to tell stories and stuff.
See, I may have been obsessed with Thundercats. I may have recorded it off the TV. I may have constantly rented the same copy of the movie from Xtra-Vision (Irish version of Blockbuster) to watch the same stuff. (I would later discover that there is no such thing as a Thundercats movie, but rather a TV movie that doesn’t really sound like something you can sit in a dark room with popcorn, does it?) I know I bought a few comics as well, and I got in trouble for having them in school (I would’ve been about 5? Maybe 6? And it wasn’t for having comics in school so much as being finished my work before other kids and then going to read my comics and them being a distraction to the other kids and blahblahblah. At least that’s how I remember it…)
So looking at this world and these characters, is it any wonder that I turned into a writer who keeps telling similar stories?
We’ve got the young, dumb dauphin thrust into his leadership role and his world without any clue of his own powers or how to rule.
We’ve got a guy who can turn invisible and likes playing with whips. And the fact that he can turn invisible isn’t really a creepy thing, but it is a thing, so he can totally be as voyeuristic as he likes, right? Because there’s totally only one female character around for the first couple of episodes, and stuff.
We’ve got a fierce warrior with super-speed who should totally be inspiring drag queens around the world and how the hell have I not seen a decent Cheetara on Drag Race yet?
We have teenage sidekicks who get in trouble, but are kinda capable of looking after themselves. They don’t get pictures, because they were sort of boring.
Oh, and the leather-daddy guy who drives a big tank and is totally good with his hands.
Yep, in the couple of hours that I’ve spent obsessing over Thundercats I’ve realised how that universal that mix of characters is. I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT SNARF FOR A REASON. Snarf was shit. Sidekicks are shit.
SO ASIDE FROM SNARF, everyone’s power-sets are cool, and there’s a magic sword and it totally grows in size and it has a blazing eye and…wait…wait…this is sounding really phallic and gay.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m writing this and I’m wondering: did Thundercats turn me gay? Or did it turn me into a writer with a weird respect for female characters? Thankfully, it didn’t turn me into a furry, because furries are weird and scare me.
The bad-guy changes shape, from a decrepit old-man into a (yet again, uncomfortably muscular) gothic demonic nightmare, and all in a world entrenched in mythological old gods and cultural confusion over growing old and claiming responsibility and stuff.
Somewhere, either in my apartment or in my mom’s house, I have the DVDs from the original series and I really want to find them and watch them and report back on whether they were as amazing as my memories suggest that they (probably) were.
And while I’m at it, I want to watch the original Power Rangers as well. Because Lord Zedd is totally Mumm-Ra showing off a lot less skin (because he has none, get it?) and Rita is basically Mumm-Ra before he loses the bandages and starts flashing the Thundercats in his skimpy bare-chested tattooed power-top.
This thought process is turning into all sorts of repressed sexuality and shit, and I should probably stop before I realise that it isn’t the Thundercats, it’s actually me.
BUT SERIOUSLY, LOOK AT THOSE PICTURES AND THAT THEME TUNE AND WATCH A FEW EPISODES AND DON’T ACT LIKE THAT SHIT WOULDN’T TURN YOU GAY.
Wee bit of an edit: thanks to the Urban Bohemian for reminding me of this analysis. NOTHING IS ORIGINAL!
Also published on Medium.