There’s no arguing that the 80s and 90s had some of the best cartoons ever. The creative sketches, the incredible storylines, hilarious punchlines and ingenious plots- all made them iconic and were our favourite companions along with evening snacks after school, weekends or rerun marathons during summer vacations. I still remember my sister’s annoyance as she lost yet another remote battle with me and was forced to watch Oswald for the umpteenth time! Anyway, this post isn’t about the overly sweet blue octopus.
Beyond favourite shows, the incredulous fan theories sure catch our attention. Our brains are wired to see patterns, find hidden meanings and connect dots- basically over think, right? Some of them may be true and some may just be speculations, either way fandom is a whole different world and these theories are fun in an eerie way. These are some that definitely had my jaw dropping…
Spongebob and his friends are mutants
In July 1946 the United States had conducted the first nuclear test after WW2. The explosion took place at the Bikini Atoll lagoon in the Pacific Ocean. The irradiation was seriously underestimated and in 1997 the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that the Bikini Atoll was still uninhabitable. Nickelodeon’s official synopsis of the show Spongebob Squarepants states that Bikini Bottom, the town it is set in is actually part of the real-life Bikini Atoll. It is in fact situated right underneath it. One of the bombs that were detonated during the real testing was done so under water. The resulting explosion was photographed and every explosion in the episodes of Spongebob (there were quite a lot- watch here) is an exact replica of that photographed explosion! So, the theory goes to say that all the wacky residents of Bikini Bottom are actually mutants resulting from this nuclear testing. Now that’s a mind-blowing revelation.
Garfield isn’t the average housecat
Garfield spends all his time relaxing, eating ten times his body weight and still feels hungry. Not really something normal cats would do. Well they would, if they were actually starving. The theory suggests that Garfield fell through a wormhole in his sleep and wound up in the future, where he remains to this day. In this setup he is actually abandoned long ago by Jon and spends his time hallucinating happy memories while he starves to death. This began to circulate after the very different Halloween special strip in 1989 (see the whole comic strip here) which was quite dark when compared to the usual funny ones. It begins with him waking up, finding the house empty, windows boarded up and grass overgrown- all signs of an abandoned house. The fear of being alone is so traumatic that he forces himself back into the hallucination. The weekly comic strip then continues as usual. However that special edition series could mean that the entire story is just a slice of his imagination much like a slice of his favourite lasagna that he’d devour or not. Garfield’s grumpiness and general cynicism may not seem so annoying now, eh?
About the monsters in Courage the Cowardly Dog
We all love this little purple dog living in The Middle of Nowhere, always trying to protect his owners Muriel and Eustace from monsters that are often quite disturbing and nightmarish. In fact, every single character apart from Muriel and Eustace are some sort of monster. A bit strange, don’t you think? That maybe because Courage is terrified of strangers and that’s how he sees completely normal people who are unfamiliar to him- as scary monsters out to get them all. Remember, the show is always from the viewpoint of Courage. This must explain why Muriel and Eustace never flinch when they see these so-called monsters, even if it means the end of the world to Courage. It also explains the big meanie Eustace’s constant bullying of Courage, calling him stupid and scaring him some more with Halloween masks. I sure am glad he at least had Muriel to console him.
Scooby Doo and the big economic collapse
A bunch of friends and a dog most loved roaming around the country in their cool Mystery Machine solving crimes seems like a fantastic way to spend the day, right? Yes, until you begin to question why there are so many crimes and why the cops never tell them to leave crime fighting to the professionals. A Post-Depression theory explains that the show happens to be set in a time of economic depression so severe that it affected even rich celebrities and people in respectable fields. Due to this, people with marketable skills too succumbed to a life of crime. No adult questions the wandering teenagers because they’re too busy committing the crimes that they fight. All schools have shut down and that’s why we see the gang always on the road with no destination. Also, they happen to run into so many spooky rundown places because that’s what is left of the world.
Professor Utonium and Samurai Jack
The Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack are two entirely different shows, but notice the striking similarities between the Professor and Jack? The theory says that Samurai Jack is a sequel to The Powerpuff Girls and is set in a ‘post-apocalyptic’ Townsville, the city the girls live in. In the first episode of Samurai Jack, we see him wandering through the remains of a town that strongly resembles it. We also get to see a half-destroyed advertising billboard that is shown hanging on one of the skyscrapers in some episodes of The Powerpuff Girls. (watch here) This theory also suggests that the cute-evil Mojo Jojo went back in time to do his favourite thing- taking over the world in the form of a shape-shifting demon Aku that is the antagonist in Samurai Jack. By doing so he prevented the creation of the Powerpuff girls, but Professor Utonium, smart as he is figured it out and came back as Samurai Jack to put an end to Mojo Jojo’s monkey business and save the girls.
This is by far my most favourite conspiracy theory because it ends with good triumphing over evil. The list of fan theories are many, involving purgatories, mental illness, time travel, apocalyptic worlds and more. Exploring them all will send you spiraling down an endless rabbit hole so I’ll just leave you with these five. Maybe you, like me will re-watch these shows to see the little clues that just make them more fantastic.
This post is part of Blogchatter Half Marathon