Daily Archives: February 22, 2024

The Girl Who Loved Powerglide

Wait wait wait no this is about Transformers.

Transformers, in the 1980s, was a toy commercial. It was a toy commercial in the purest sense; every component that made it up was made in service of its purpose as a commercial material that was meant to frame commercials around it. It was, in the way that modern creators are struggling to avoid mentioning, hash-tag-content. There’s a standard opening, a standard ending, and three bumpers for just before The Commercials (Transformers Will Be Back, After These Messages) but those messages weren’t important. Those messages were other people paying Transformers money for making Transformers, but Transformers was double dipping. They were getting paid money to sell the space for these advertisements in their advertisement, for their toys. These bumpers were so important that in some episodes, the third bumper would appear, then an ad break and you’d wait through the ad break to come back to just watch the ending credits of the show. Got me again, there!

A screencap from the TV episode 'The Girl Who Loved Powerglide.' It shows Powerglide in flight.

These toys imposed a material demand on Transformers as a cartoon. Episodes wanted to focus on the toys that you could buy, and this meant that people got attached to toys with certain trends. For example, while there was Fortress Maximus, that toy had an original price tag of around $99 United States Eaglebucks, and as a result, there were maybe four or five episodes of the show that bothered to show you anything to do with Fortress Maximus despite him being basically a city they lived in.

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