If you’re like me and spend most of your waking hours on Twitter, you probably saw this Tweet floating around last week
Netflix comes up to you and says you can showrun a reboot of an 80s cartoon, but only a cartoon not owned by a network that realistically would give their IP away, ie Disney
what do you make. GO
— jessica r. i. p. 🎃 (@my2k) October 24, 2019
This question was tailor made for dorks like me who want nothing more than their childhood to be spoon-fed to them for the rest of their lives. When I read the question I immediately thought of two shows, and nearly as quickly realized neither one meets the parameters she set. The first, which should have run for 100 seasons, is Darkwing Duck. Darkwing doesn’t fit because it’s 1) a 90s show (see, everybody chomping at the bit to correct me for the featured image?), and 2) a Disney property. We’ll have to rely upon Disney’s largesse to get a Darkwing reboot. Until that happens, at least we’ll be able to enjoy the original on Disney +.
The second one fails because it’s also a Disney property. It also already has a reboot, currently airing on the Disney Channel. The problem is, it features hideous computer animation and looks terrible. It’s like being reunited with your childhood best friend and discovering that he has a successful career drowning puppies for a living. It puts a damper on things. The professional puppy drowner is Muppet Babies.
Muppet Babies is, in my opinion, the best animated show of the 1980s. So you can imagine my disappointment when I saw it in the channel guide and when I navigated to it instead of being greeted by my childhood friends and Nanny’s socks in the nursery it looked this this:
Muppet Babies was a smart show with important themes like teamwork and the power of imagination. Most of the episodes were retellings of famous works of literature or full of homages to classic movies. Maybe that penguin is portraying Joan of Arc in the picture above, but I’m never going to tune in again to find out.
Clearly Disney should be shedding its IP so that people who actually care about it can give it appropriate treatment but that’s never going to happen, so it’s time to finally pick a show to reboot.
The show I’d like to pitch is my second favorite childhood cartoon, Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling. Unlike Muppet Babies, Rock ‘n’ Wrestling wasn’t rife with literary references or a testament to the power of imagination. It wasn’t smart, well written, or well animated. What it was was all of my favorite childhood wrestlers doing silly things on a cartoon. WWE’s calculus at the time was “kids like wrestling. Kids like cartoons. We should make a wrestling cartoon.” So they did and it worked, on me at least.
My reboot of Rock ‘n’ Wrestling would be slightly different in the original. The changes would be subtle; for instance, instead of the WWE it would be about AEW wrestlers. It would also be fun and smartly written, with choices reflecting the actual personalities and gimmicks of the wrestlers. Plus the actual wrestlers would provide their voices, but I would still find a role for Brad Garrett (voice of Hulk Hogan). Apart from these very minor alterations it’s essentially the same show.
Now you might be thinking to yourself that Vince McMahon is not going to allow the WWE’s IP to be licensed to it’s first real direct competition in years, but I’m not so sure. Here’s how I think it shakes out: AEW Dynamite continues to destroy WWE in the Wednesday night ratings until Vince gets very sad. He cries a lot, and though his tears he begs AEW to ease up on his company. He tells Cody Rhodes that in exchange for AEW only beating NXT by a little bit, he will let AEW make the cartoon. In a classic wrestling double cross, as soon as the parties sign the licensing documents, AEW yells “Psyche!’ and continues to destroy WWE while Vince shakes with huge, mournful sobs. Everybody laughs, the end.
In all seriousness, in 2019 I believe that the promotion that would best translate to a cartoon is AEW. It has a playfulness that WWE lacks, and presently its doing a much better job portraying the heroes and villains aspect of wrestling in a manner that is fun rather than dour. Orange Cassidy, Luchasauras, Jungle Boy, Pentagon Jr., Joey Janela, and the rest are practically living cartoons as it is, and their gimmicks would fit seamlessly into an animated show.
So it’s settled. AEW is going to produce a reboot of Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling featuring its own wrestlers (plus Brad Garrett. Maybe as himself?) after Vince McMahon cries a lot, and Cody Rhodes is going to put me in charge of creating it. I humbly accept.
Which 80s cartoon would you choose to reboot given the chance? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.
Celebrate the creator of the Muppet Babies with this Jim Henson Funko Pop! 80s Baby may receive a commission.