TV Cream

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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Old Man Steptoe finds his slippers are missing - *again*PISH TOY-FLOGGING sword and sorcery cartoon. In “Eternia” blonde tosspot Prince Adam holds aloft his magic sword, says “By the power of Greyskull!” (half-arsed castle nearby) and turns into He-Man, shirtless Anna Wintour-bobbed preening oaf in strange man-bra-like support singlet. He’s accompanied in his hazily realised evil thwarting by stupid green tiger Cringer, who, while essaying a crap impression of the cowardly lion off of The Wizard of Oz, turns into “Battlecat”, a collision between an off-colour tiger and a Kawasaki motorbike, emitting the MGM lion’s trademark roar at distressingly regular intervals.

Mustachioed games teacher Man-At-Arms and floaty, faceless midget Orco joined their eternal (in the worst sense) battle against Kenneth Williams-voiced, confusingly buff bag of bones Skeletor and his army of hastily-drawn gimmick-ridden cronies. Tedious sub-Kalkitos transfer D&D swashbuckling, replete with obligatory moral message at the end (“be friends”, “share stuff!, “don’t be a cunt”).

Animation rarely reached the lofty heights of “will this do?”, most often settling for a combination of stationary head-plus-wobbly mouth exposition, or suspiciously side-on, traced-from-those-old-Edweard-Muybridge-Victorian-photographs running cycles. “I have the power”… to fill the schedules with ambition-starved macho pantomime cack. If fantasy is supposed to be the dominion of the untrammelled human imagination, how come so much of this sort of stuff all seemed the bloody same?



  1. Applemask

    September 12, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    I wish they had done “don’t be a cunt”.

  2. Martin M

    September 13, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    I must have been about 11 or 12 when He-Man was at it’s peak and very few TV shows could persuade me to leave my BMX in the shed and watch telly….and this definately wasn’t one of them.

  3. Danforth

    September 15, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Also notably cheap on the effects department – it seemed every monster He-Man and chums went up against all had the same roar. The crap cartoon equivalent of the Wilhelm Scream.

  4. Rob Free

    September 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    I like the incidental music. Lots of synth brass I seem to remember.

  5. David Pascoe

    September 15, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Trapjaw was impossible to find any toyshop, as I remember.

  6. Paul Gatenby

    September 16, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Maybe more appropriate for the Toys section, but wasn’t there one called ‘Fister’ with a giant hand?

  7. David Pascoe

    September 16, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Fisto. He was one of He-Man’s allies. Skeletor had an alternative, whose name escapes me, with a giant open hand.

  8. OscarTellyman

    December 8, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Toys had a nifty swivel-hip that could deliver an equally-nifty “punch” to an annoying sibling or over-curious cat.

    I much preferred it when you described it as tedious “wankbuckling”……

  9. Matty

    April 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Apparently there was some controversy caused by the front part of He-Man’s costume inexplicably featuring a marking identical to the type of Christian Cross used in German regalia meaning, unfortunately, it had Nazi associations for some.

  10. Palitoy

    May 7, 2011 at 10:13 am

    To: David Pascoe – ‘Jitsu’.

  11. Palitoy

    May 7, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Oh, and… ‘Filmation’ actually went against the Mattel intention of having He-Man as a Conan like king of his own kingdom, with Teela as a Goddess who, when the mood took her, became Evil-Lyn. The ‘toon company invented their own characters, meaning Mattel had to ‘buy’ Orko off them to make a toy one.

  12. Palitoy

    May 7, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    … I’m afraid the show and toys were part of my toddler-into-school-age-hood and therefore I sneakingly like it.

  13. andy

    June 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Wasn’t there a fella called ‘Ram-man’ too?

    Big flat-headed ally of he-man.

  14. Mick B

    September 17, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Cream is wrong here, He-Man was a pretty solid cartoon with serviceable stories and a decently realised universe, for what it was. I gather Team Cream were already typically at secondary school when this was on, so it probably always looked insubstantial to them. But for those of us roughly in its age group when it was on, Masters Of The Universe and its toys made for a pretty wholesome experience. We could have done far worse on a sunny summer’s day than play with our figures and Castle Greyskulls and Snake Mountains in our best friend’s grandparents’ back gardens, where the rockery made a perfect set. (Lucky us.)

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