Why Skeletor deserved to beat He-Man

Feature Jenny Morrill 3 Jul 2014 - 07:00

In cartoons, baddies always lose, and goodies always win. But why? It's just not fair. Jenny argues Skeletor should have won...

I’ve undergone a complete personality transplant since I was a kid. Growing up, I was always terrified of He-Man’s cackling arch nemesis Skeletor.

Come to think of it, I was a bit uneasy around skeletons in general. Luckily I was a bit dim too, and it never occurred to me that I had a skeleton inside my body. I hate to think how I would have reacted to that revelation.

I’ve grown a few IQ points since then (only two or three, but still), and I’ve come to accept the universal truth that skeletons are brilliant. Among my favourites are the swish, tie wearing dude on the Scotch video tapes advert who sings with the voice of Please Sir’s Derek Guyler, and the stars of the short lived BBC cartoon Funnybones, Big and Little. 

But surpassing even those guys, and taking his rightful place as the king of brilliant skeletons, is the sarcastic, sociopathic, inexplicably muscular Skeletor, with his impotent henchmen and his crap plans.

I love Skeletor. Whenever I watch He-Man as an adult (which is either far too much or nowhere near enough, depending on how awesome you are), there is always a small, idiot part of me that thinks Skeletor might win, and is disappointed when he doesn’t. It fails to get through to my brain that Skeletor will never win, no matter how many episodes I watch.

When I am president of the world, I will order every episode of He-Man to be remade with a proper ending, so I can watch Skeletor beat He-Man’s ass to kingdom come in many different ways.

Apart from loving Skeletor to the point where it’s slightly weird, which I will return to later, there are a few reasons I always want He-Man to lose. Firstly, He-Man is a self righteous do-gooder, and no one likes that. Doesn’t he ever get sick of helping idiots get out of mortal peril, which is usually their own fault? By doing this, he’s sending the message that it’s okay to be an idiot, because a man in a bra will come and bail you out every time.

‘Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t stick this fork into this plug socket today, because last time I did that my head fell off. Never mind, I’m sure He-Man will come along and sellotape it back on for me; he seems to enjoy doing that sort of thing. Come to think of it, I’m probably doing him a favour by giving him something to do.’

I could maybe put up with it if all He-Man did was rescue idiots. But he also interferes with things that are none of his business. He can’t get through half an hour without nagging some poor sap into being more like him. And if he can’t find anyone to nag, he takes it out on us, the poor viewers, at the end of the show. Every episode, instead of just watching sword fights and magic like we want to, the poor viewers are forced to sit through up to two minutes of bilge, telling us all what the moral of that episode’s story was.

Yawn. We know. Don’t kill people, don’t push old ladies over, don’t take videos back to the video shop without rewinding them first. Strangely enough, it’s okay to throw people over your head and then make rocks fall on them, but only if you’re He-Man.

Imagine a world where Skeletor regularly hands He-Man’s ass to him on a plate. We wouldn’t have to sit and listen to Skeletor crap on about ‘always doing your best’. He’d probably be all “Hey kids, have some beer! Nyeeeah ha ha!”

If Skeletor ruled Eternia, there would be no ‘moral of today’s story’. Skeletor would just replace it with footage of him making He-Man dance for him, while he drinks Bacardi Breezers. And why not? It’s a fine way to spend the day; it’s certainly better than running round trying to impress Teela, just because she has pretzels taped to her boobs.

Which brings me on to He-Man’s family, and those knuckle dragging colleagues he surrounds himself with. The Burger King, the Burger King’s simpering wife, Teela pretzel tits, and Tom Selleck. Brilliant. Well, I can sleep soundly in my bed knowing that these asswagons are in charge of Eternia. The one exception is the Sorceress, who is sort of cool, and does know that Prince Adam is He-Man. However, she loses points for being an agoraphobic, and making He-Man do things like go to the shop for a pint of milk when he has more important things to be getting on with.

And Orco doesn’t count, because he’s about four years old and no one cares about him anyway.

I know everyone talks about this, but that’s because it’s important and needs talking about. He-Man’s entourage are idiots. Teela is by far the worst. Along with that girl from the BT advert, she is rapidly becoming my arch enemy. I’ll get to that in a minute.

He-Man’s parents, Derek and Mavis, are ignorant to an inconceivable degree. I realise that this is a handy cut out and keep plot device, but it annoys me every time I see it. EVERY SINGLE TIME. They don’t recognise their own son, even when all he’s done is strip down to his bra. That’s terrible parenting. I’m willing to make allowances for the fact that they probably employed a nanny to bath Prince Adam (and maybe still do), so they might not be that familiar with him in his naked form, but that shouldn’t mean they fail to recognise him entirely. After all, his face is still visible; it’s not like he wears a mask and a pink wig.

You know what I think? I think they do know Prince Adam is He-Man, they just choose to ignore this fact. Maybe there’s some sort of law in Eternia that states you have to pay extra tax if your son is He-Man? Although I’m not sure why that would be a thing, especially since Derek and Mavis probably make all the laws themselves.

I should probably point out for the sake of fairness that Queen Mavis might know He-Man’s true identity. In episode 85, ‘The Rainbow Warrior’, Mavis makes the following comment -

“Adam, a mother always knows her own son, and what he is capable of doing…”

However, she still loses for thinking this somehow makes her some sort of genius. And it doesn’t excuse Derek.

At the very least, Derek should wake up one morning and think ‘Hey, you know what? That He-Man looks a lot like our son Adam. I mean, I know it can’t possibly be our son or anything, for reasons. But they do look like they could be related. Mavis honey, is there anything you want to tell me?’ At the very, very least, the similarity between Prince Adam and He-Man should tip Derek off to the possibility that his wife might not have been completely faithful.

And then there's Teela. I hate her, mostly because she’s such a bitch to Prince Adam, who’s busy running around saving her ass every episode. Either she’s as stupid as Derek and Mavis, or she knows they’re the same person but enjoys keeping Prince Adam on his toes so he’ll continue trying to impress her. If I was Prince Adam, I’d have had the following outburst a long time ago -

‘That does it. I’m sick of being your lap monkey. YOU KNOW I’M HE-MAN, STOP PRETENDING YOU DON’T! I’m sick of running around in my bra to save your sorry ass, only to have to get dressed again so I can go out and fetch your coffee like in that stupid Nescafe Azera advert. Get your own coffee from now on! In fact, I’m a goddamn prince! Off with your head!’

Again, consider a world where Skeletor is in charge. He wouldn’t put up with Teela’s nonsense. He’d make her get her own damn coffee, and he’d make her pick him up six chicken nuggets and a newspaper while she was out. And she’d have to pay for them. Skeletor has more important badassery to be getting on with than doing errands for Teela. And if she sassed him, he’d just hit her with his big sheep’s head on a stick, or make her marry Beast Man.

Skeletor would instil some much needed discipline into the spindly cow - something her father, Man At Arms, should have done a long time ago. But her father has always been too busy being Tom Selleck to notice or care. Man At Arms sort of gets a pass because he knows Prince Adam is He-Man, although I do wonder if he would have figured it out had he not known. But Man At Arms gets a big fat fail for continuing to allow Teela to treat Prince Adam like crap.

Having said that, this could be a double trolling manoeuvre. It could be the case that Tom Selleck knows that Prince Adam is He-Man, and also knows that Teela doesn’t know that Prince Adam is He-Man, and deliberately doesn’t remedy this situation. He might get a kick out of watching Teela be horrible to Prince Adam, knowing that one day He-Man will turn round and slap her ass into next Tuesday. Failing that, he might just be waiting for Teela to find this out on her own, so she can spend the rest of her life regretting all the times she ruined her chances of marrying He-Man. Either way, Tom Selleck definitely hates his daughter, so I guess he does get a pass after all.

This brings me onto an important point - if Skeletor found out that Prince Adam was He-Man, what would he do? Would he just go around throwing out spoilers at everyone? I bet he would, because no one sane would pass up the chance to point out how stupid everyone’s been. On the other hand, wouldn’t this just make Skeletor look as stupid as the rest of them?

Of course, this doesn’t matter, because Skeletor would get a pass, because I love him. I won’t get all arrogant and claim that he’s the best cartoon character ever, but he’s certainly my favourite. When He-Man first aired, a group of busybodies concerned citizens got together to have a moan in the NY Times. One of the concerned citizens, a school board director, is quoted as saying -

”The characters on ''He-Man'' are devoid of human characteristics - they have no emotions and no humor. They may lead children to idealize such qualities.”

Listen lady, that might be true for the likes of Teela, but it certainly does not apply to Skeletor. The world has never seen such a backsassing baddie. Speaking of Teela, one time she ran at Skeletor with a sword, and Skeletor just pushed her over. Good.

The reason Skeletor got to be the baddie in He-Man, while his rival Hordak was relegated to fighting girls on She-Ra, is because Skeletor can out-sass everyone. If Skeletor and Hordak were in a fight (which doesn’t happen nearly enough), Skeletor would just make personal remarks about Hordak’s appearance until Hordak was sorry. He treats his minions and his girlfriend the same way. Observe -

“You muscle bound buffoon!”
“Spider brain!”
“They should call you Wimp-Lash!”
“It’s the Sorceress you boob!”
(taps Trap Jaw’s head) “Just as I suspected - hollow!”
“I’ll turn you into a suitcase!”
“I have to be brilliant just to make up for them!”
“And don’t let me see your mangy hide round here again!”
“I could write a book about what you don’t know!”
“Honest men do an honest day’s work - or I destroy their village!”

The other thing I love about Skeletor is that he gets stuff done. He doesn’t stand around talking about how he’s going to kill people, thus giving his opponents time to sneak up behind him and defeat him; he just aims his sheep’s head on a stick and zaps the hell out of people. If the show followed any sort of logic, Skeletor would always win. Most of the time, the producers have to make Skeletor lose for ‘reasons’, just because they need He-Man alive to nag the kids into being good at the end of the episode, the stupid fun hating morons. So they have a random rock fall out of the sky onto Skeletor’s head, or one of his minions will have forgotten to do something like lock the back door.

This is why it would be good for everyone if Skeletor won -

- He-Man wouldn’t be able to nag everyone to death all the time, which means everyone could relax and have a beer.

- The Sorceress would be forced to confront her agoraphobia and go outside, since Skeletor would kick her ass out of Castle Grayskull.

- Teela wouldn’t be able to bully and friendzone Prince Adam any more, since Skeletor would have made her marry Beast Man.

- He-Man, freed from his obligations, would be able to take up previously neglected hobbies, such as crocheting and zumba.

- Skeletor would perform an hour of stand up comedy every night, in what used to be Derek and Mavis’ throne room. This would be televised for free.

- Man At Arms would be rid of his stupid daughter, and could replace her with someone cooler, like Evil-Lyn, or Kay Burley.

So remember, kids, in today’s article we learned why it’s not always best to be a boring do-gooder. We’ve learned why He-Man and his family are a bit lame, and that it’s not good to be lame. Sometimes you have to stand up for truth, justice and sarcasm, even if it makes you unpopular with the boring do-gooders. If you see your friend fall over in the playground, the best thing to do is not to help them up, but to point and laugh. It's what Skeletor would do.

Find more from Jenny at her website, World Of Crap.

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