Last month I wrote a piece about lessons that were spoon fed to me as a child via the cartoon G.I. Joe. At that time, I suggested that a Transformers equivalent would soon follow. Time got away from me, but the kernel was always at the back of my head.
In looking back at the pre-movie episodes, there’s only one thing the writers are trying to teach: energy conservation through alternative fuel sources. The whole reason the Autobots and Decepticons left Cybertron was that is was out of energy. Kids, if running out of energy can happen to these awesome and super-smart robots, it can happen to a bunch of meatbags like you.
The episodes that didn’t introduce a new toy to buy character to love were about converting alternative fuels into viable sources of life sustaining energon/energy.
The pilot episode’s big fight at the end takes place on top of a dam; there’s your hydro-electricity. Then there’s the time Megatron had the Constructicons build a giant drill to harness the energy of the Earth’s core: Geothermal…there were a couple like this. There were episodes involving solar power, traditional nuclear power, fusion, and an assortment of power sources which for all intents and purposes are total b.s. in the real world. At any rate, the main theme of the series was finding a cheap unlimited fuel source and exploiting the hell out of it.
Another problem common to the episodes and important to the world today was the dependence on foreign fuel sources and the trouble/ expense of getting them home. If Megatron wasn’t actively seeking fuel sources, he was worried about getting them home safely and effectively. Poor Megatron’s plans were always foiled by the terrorist like attacks of the Autobots effectively crippling the energy poor Decepticons. In the final analysis, this series was an easy to follow lesson for children. It trained them well for the energy issues of the 21st century. Let’s go out and build that space bridge!
On a slightly related topic, I’ve got a series of questions that should have been but never were addressed in the series. Later comics series have hinted at or addressed some of them.
1. Where did the Autobots get their energy? Did they steal it? Did the governments of the world give it to them as a thanks for saving the world? What’s the deal?
2. So the transformers left on Cybertron just sat on their hands for 4 million years while Prime, Megs, and Co. were trapped in the side of a seemingly inactive volcano? Really?
3. The Decepticons have the technology to build space bridges, giant drills, warships, etc… but they can’t develop new sources of fuel? Geothermal power that didn’t end up destroying the planet upon which they were stranded never occurred to them?
4. Why do they need mouths? They’re robots; where is the wireless communication?
5. Being precise and sophisticated machines, shouldn’t they have better/ perfect aim?