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.
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.
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!