Michael Bell (Transformers)
Arthur Burghardt (Conan The Adventurer)
Christopher Collins (The Simpsons)
Pat Fraley (I Am Legend)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Neil Ross (An American Tail)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
We begin with some Joes bringing a bunch of toys collected for orphans back to their headquarters. I found this way too confusing at first because I’m dumb. It’s like they picked up the Toys for Tots donation box so they could distribute it later. Anyway, a COBRA plane attacks which is meant to be a distraction so that Firefly can sneak some items into the donation box. Note that this plan involves a jet and a fake rock outcropping with a secret door, and it hinges on the Joes hiding near that secret door. And yet, presumably their donation box was in a public place so, you know, people could donate. Firefly could have just dropped it off on his way home.There’s a big Christmas dinner at Joe headquarters, though most of the team members are on holiday leave. In what I think is a nice touch, most of the Joes featured on this episode weren’t major characters. I could be misremembering, but I don’t feel like Blowtorch and Tripwire got a lot of screen time ordinarily. Anyway, while they’re eating their turkey, the COBRA army, shrunk to a tiny size, busts out of the rocking horse Firefly left behind and shut down the security grid so Firefly can break in to headquarters and use the enlarging ray on them. So, maybe they could have just shrunk one guy and had him shut off the defenses and then have the whole army come in. This plan has so many extra steps. COBRA quickly overpowers the Joes and hangs them in a meat locker. Cobra Commander decides it would be funny to leave the handcuff key, with a bow around it, hanging just out of reach. Obviously one of them gets free and unlocks the cuffs.While this is happening, Cobra Commander prepares an attack on a nearby city using G.I. Joe vehicles thus causing people to think…. the army had turned on them? Are these guys the army or are they just something army-like? This part of the plan involved both bringing team leader Duke along as a captive and having Zartan (the master of disguise) impersonate Duke. If you have an impersonator, you don’t need to bring the real guy along! Why is this plan so complicated? The Joes defeat the last of their captors and there’s a whole bit with Shipwreck’s parrot getting shrunk and then return to regular size. The Joes head out to stop the attack using COBRA vehicles. While they’re away, Polly grows to a hundred feet tall and flies out to turn the tide of battle. Think about how terrifying a hundred foot parrot would be. You’d never be able to enjoy life again. When the episode ends, with COBRA defeated but maybe escaping(?), that parrot is still giant. Also, Shipwreck seems to hate his parrot even though he’s an army guy who brings a parrot with him everywhere. You picked this affectation, dude. Deal with it.You may be wondering, if Cobra Commander has a shrink ray, why is he using it for a PR victory rather than, you know, world domination? Well, you are better at being an evil genius than he is, frankly. It’s dumb as all get out, but I like how committed it is to being dumb. The COBRA plan is ridiculously complicated and has way too many extra steps but there’s a consistency to it that I admire. No part of it makes sense, which is somehow better than if there had only been one misstep. That would be a plothole. But if nothing makes sense, then it’s the work of a madman who doesn’t know how to plan.Despite terrible animation, shoddy scripting, and mostly subpar voice work (though Chris Latta’s Cobra Commander is kind of amazing), it was fun to watch. Worth a watch for nostalgia round the holidays.