What can we learn from a horny Dracula, a superhero gymnastics routine, and an angry Russian guy in tights? Let’s check out the ‘80s cartoon Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends to find out.
In this classic cartoon, Spider-Man lives in an apartment with his college classmates Iceman and Firestar. With their combined powers of fire and ice, they can make your coffee literally any temperature you want. Together, they fight killer bees, video game characters, and even an Australian Wolverine.
But these Saturday morning cartoons weren’t just entertaining, they were also educational. We learn our first lesson when Captain America visits their college to perform a gymnastics show for some reason. Even though he’s a founding member of The Avengers, the stands are about half full.
Captain America begins his show by saying to the dozens of people in the crowd:
But as we learned in Captain America: The First Avenger, the real reason he’s buff as hell is that he received a supersoldier serum from US government. Which brings us to:
Lesson 1: People who tell you you just have to work hard are probably hiding the unfair advantages that led to their success.
This also leads into:
Lesson 1-A: Captain America is kind of a dick.
After the performance, nobody notices that this weird creep is standing in the bushes, and he shoots a mind control dart into Cap’s neck. It takes the Amazing Friends most of the episode to figure out that something is up. Even though his eyes have gone completely white, he assaults multiple troops and then shoots some people with a giant ray gun. Spider-Man finds a random hose and shoots water in his face until he wakes up.
Yeah, duh. This brings us to:
Lesson 2: If someone you know is being annoying because they’re under the influence of a mind-altering substance, spray some water in their face.
Cap leaves town, but New York gets a visit from Craven The Hunter. For those who don’t know, Craven is an angry Russian man in capri leggings who drinks green juice and keeps a picture of Firestar in the creepiest place possible.
He wants to steal a ruby to power a growth energizer laser to hatch dinosaur eggs so he can train the dinosaurs to take over Manhattan. This teaches kids an important lesson:
Lesson 3: Growth energizers are powered by rubies and can be used to hatch dinosaur eggs, and then the dinosaurs can be trained to take over Manhattan.
Obviously, the Amazing Friends stop this diabolical plan by throwing him into some tar. They celebrate by going to the Empire State University’s spring dance. Everyone is doing their best limited animation dance cycle as Spider-Man and Iceman argue over who gets to hook up with Firestar. She leaves both of them because they’re being extremely creepy and meets a big pale guy with jet black hair and a Transylvanian accent… clearly a vampire.
They do a dance where they just walk in a straight line right past Spider-Man and Iceman and then leave. Spider-Man says his spider sense is tingling, even though you don’t need a spider sense to be alarmed that a strange man has taken your friend away into the night moments after meeting her. He hypnotizes Firestar and flies her out to his Transylvanian castle where, surprise, he reveals he is Dracula.
Lesson 4: don’t follow strangers into dark, secluded areas.
Spider-Man tells Iceman, “Hang onto your ice cubes, old buddy,” which is a code word for his testicles, and lets him know they’re going to Transylvania.
They follow her to Dracula’s castle, but instead of spraying water in her face, they ask her to remember Spider-Man’s aunt and a dog.
All the friends fight Dracula and his friends, Wolfman and Frankenstein, and somehow the gang flies back in time for the end of their dance. It’s a nonstop thrill ride of a season, and we didn’t even get to the frost giant who wants to fuck Iceman, or Prince Neymour’s bright green Speedo, but we can still recap what we’ve learned:
- Successful people are liars.
- If your friend is high, throw a drink in their face.
- The thing about rubies and dinosaurs
- Strangers are Draculas.
So remember, with great power comes great responsibility, so use this knowledge well.
Writer: Ben Rosen
Editor: Paul Smith