I grew up watching cartoons in the 80s, and aside from learning morals and values from the protagonists, I found that I also learned creative insults from the villains.

In a way, Skeletor was one of my childhood English teachers

As kids cartoons, these shows can’t exactly have their villains calling their henchmen “stupid pieces of shit” or “fucktards” or other terms that regular people would use. But at the same time, they need to spout insults as a way to show how evil and horrible they are.

Cobra Commander is a meanie!

So what’s a scriptwriter to do? They come up with more creative terms that are offensive yet safely G-rated and in that sense, characters like Megatron, Cobra Commander, Skeletor, Miles Mayhem, and Shredder were almost Shakespearean in the way they insulted the good guys or their minions.

  • Incompetent imbecile
  • Pathetic, wretched idiot
  • Worthless moron
  • Ego-maniacal madman
  • Miserable fool
  • Weak-minded buffoon
  • Stupid simpleton
  • Cowardly cad
  • Sniveling sycophant

Honestly, how else in your younger years are you going to learn the term “sycophant”? I absolutely love that term now because I can use it to refer to the ass-kissers at work, and they still won’t know what I’m talking about. I’m pretty sure that if it wasn’t for 80s cartoons, I’d never have come across this wondrous insult.

Likewise, while I’ve read the word “imbecile” in books, it was because of these cartoons that I actually know how to pronounce it. Think about it… imbecile can be a difficult word for a kid to read.

So thank you Megatron, Shredder and all the others. Because of you guys, my younger self was armed with a larger vocabulary that I’m continuing to use today!


About Drew

I love videogames, movies, my wife and my dog (in no particular order).

9 responses »

  1. What a great post!!! We love this throwback to some of our favourite cartoons. We always love and appreciate the weird one liner insults from the baddies. Finding this post made our morning! We’re going to work some of these slangs into our daily vocabulary.

    The Eye of Faith

  2. Mitzie Mee says:

    That Skeletor guy was really scary. I didn’t even dare to watch the He-man cartoons.

  3. tlf says:

    Another good source of creative insults was Dr. Smith from Lost in Space, but that’s going way back into my childhood days. Did you ever watch dungeons and dragons? That was on when I was in college but I always watched it on Saturday mornings.

    By the way, I might have to start using “fucktard” on a regular basis.

    • Drew says:

      I saw one or two episodes of Dungeons and Dragons, but I really really wanted to watch more. I thought Venger was the coolest bad guy, and I did get into Dungeons and Dragons later in my teen years.

      Now that you can find stuff on DVD and the Internet, I’m going to go hunt down that series!

      • tlf says:

        Venger rocked. Funny – the guy who did the voice of Hank (Willie Aames), is totally religious now and I doubt would have signed on to do such a dark and evil show as D&D.

        Meh, I’ll have to youtube that show now. I miss it.

      • Drew says:

        Hahaha indeed! I’m not sure why people hate on D&D as being dark and evil… it’s really just like playing cops & robbers, except with goblins and swords.

      • tlf says:

        Well to folks like Kirk Cameron and Willie Aames, believing in goblins and magic is EVIL!

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