“The Big Broadcast Of 2006″… straight from 1987. This is in no way a holiday article, but this is my last chance to review this in the year 2006, and I’m not going to miss my opportunity. So without further delay, let’s take a look at this third season episode of The Transformers, starring my favorite insane robots made out of garbage, the Junkions!
Season three animation of Rodimus Prime, Kup, and Ultra Magnus running toward the camera. Rodimus is wearing tighty whiteys, Magnus is in blackface, and Kup has apparently murdered Springer and is wearing his repainted head. All this happened so fast that most viewers really couldn’t tell, but EVERY season three episode began with this sequence.
Except for the “Rebirth” episodes which were supposed to kick off the aborted fourth season, the third season of The Transformers was the last. The third season animation was inconsistent, the editing was shitty, the stories often contrived, the dialogue was horrible, and the characters were, for the most part, entirely uninteresting. Add the fact that it was based on events from a movie which most of us never got to see, and it becomes apparent in hindsight that The Transformers third season was the very model of a show destined for cancellation.
Cobra Commander, known as ‘Old Snake,’ from the episode “Only Human.”
It did have several bright spots, however. Starscream’s ghost shows up twice, Cobra Commander makes an appearance, Unicron was resurrected, Grimlock temporarily becomes a hypergenius, and Optimus Prime comes back to life. A few of the greatest moments of the whole Transformers story came to life in season three. Too bad “The Big Broadcast Of 2006” wasn’t one of them.
Season three takes place in 2006, and while that means I should probably review the entire season while I have the chance, I’m not gonna. That would take much longer than I’m willing to spend, and would be far less amusing for all of us. Instead, I’ll just concentrate on “The Big Broadcast Of 2006,” which is the only episode with the year conveniently displayed right there in the title.
This episode centered heavily around the Junkions, especially their leader Wreck-Gar and his girlfriend, who spend the entire episode spouting pop-culture quotes. As we learned in the movie and will learn again in this episode, the entire Junkion culture is based on intercepted broadcasts of Earth television, which they watch at every opportunity. Here’s a short list of what we hear this time around:
- “Live from New York…”
- “I pity the fool…”
- “Let’s consume mass quantities…”
- “Baby, you’re the greatest.”
- “Mrs. Peel, we’re needed.”
- “Our five year mission…”
- “Ward, I think we’ve been a little rough on the Beaver.”
- “Go ahead; make my day.”
- “Your mission, should you decide to accept it…”
The Transformers: The Movie also introduced us to the five-faced, tentacled, cybernetic aliens known as the Quintessons. Season three started out with an unprecedented five part story called “The Five Faces Of Darkness” in which we find out that the Quintessons created the Transformers millions of years ago as a robotic slave race, but were overthrown when the Transformers became powerful enough and grew tired of their cruelty. Nowadays the Quintessons are a scattered race, and content themselves with performing cruel, outrageous, and usually lethal experiments on other living beings. They spend a great deal of the season dicking various Transformers over in the name of scientific research. Because they watch so much TV, the Junkions are the target of the Quintessons’ latest experiment which involves embedding subliminal messages in television broadcasts.
A story arc that carries through several of the third season episodes involves the Quintessons looking for a charcoal grey water heater, pictured above. The writers chose to call this thing “The Quintesson Journal,” presumably because the name “Dainty Porcelain Plot Device” sounded too scary. The Quints find and lose this Journal more often than those fucking kids over in the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon find doorways back home which they somehow manage not to go through. I don’t remember what’s in the Quintesson Journal that’s so important, and I’m not about to rewatch this entire season to find out, so I’m just going to lie to you and say that it contains a wicked awesome ancient Quintesson pumpkin raisin muffin recipe, and the Quintessons need it so they can raise enough money at the intergalactic bake sale to send Joey, the special needs Quintesson with the gimpy tentacle and the can-do spirit, to the Special Galactolympics. Its the kind of story arc that ends with “a very special episode.” Teenage girls will cry. Kirk Cameron will be in it.
Anyway, the Quintessons track the Journal to the Planet Of Junk, but they can’t find it because the entire surface of the planet is one big open landfill. They need lots of help to recover this thing, and to that end they use their hypno-TV thingy to turn the free spirited Junkion culture into an insectile hive colony. They do this by subliminally implanting into the Junkions the principles of cleanliness, organization, and strict order, coupled with an intense irrational distrust of other lifeforms. Like every subliminal hypnotic suggestion in every TV show ever made, it works amazingly well and unbelievably quickly, and within minutes Wreck-Gar and his crew are cleaning up the Planet Of Junk like a crazed pregnant Mandy in one of her OCD nesting fits. Pretty soon they’ve sorted through enough crap to uncover the Journal.
If you started reading my review of The Transformers: The Movie 20th Anniversary Special Edition DVDs the very second I posted it, then you should just now be finishing up. It was LONG. But in it I defended the big dance scene in that movie as something the Junkions were imitating because they saw it on TV. Well, I’d forgotten this, but in this episode we again see them watching dancing, and unlike the movie they aren’t just channel surfing. A bunch of giant Junkion robots are sitting contentedly around a movie screen sized TV watching what appears to be ballet. Its that kind of episode, folks.
Overall, “The Big Broadcast Of 2006” is kinda clunky and stupid, but it isn’t without its good parts. At one point we see a WAY too up with people/high on life motivational fitness trainer on TV, positively reinforcing the girls exercising along at home not to quit, to be a winner, arms straight, two, three, four. In imitation, during an intense battle, Wreck-Gar jumps around, dodging laser blasts, all the while saying in his happiest Mary Lou Retton voice “I’m a winner! I’m a winner! I believe in ME!” No matter how many times I watch that, its still cracks me up.
After that, some more stuff happens, which leads to more stuff happening, and then the episode ends when Blaster cures everyone by sending out a subliminal message that negates the Quintesson crazy waves. Rodimus Prime deflects a blast from Galvatron which hits the Journal, sending it tumbling off into deep space. I question how either the Journal or Rodimus are still in one piece, since just seconds before this we see Galvatron knock the immense Omega Supreme on his ass with a single shot. But that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that, without the Journal, little Joey may never get to the Special Galactolympics and win his gold medal prize money, which means that he won’t be able to buy his special shoes so he can run and play like all the other kids. Let that be a lesson to you, Joey: the Autobots hate kids with birth defects. And so does Jesus.
HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY! WE’LL SEE YOU IN 2007!
Except for you, little Joey. We’ll see you in Hell.
Peace out, homies.
Update December 29th, 2006, 8:08 PM: Just a quick couple of Wreck-Gar pics before the ball drops.
2022 Update: Hasbro has released “The Big Broadcast Of 2006” for free on YouTube, so click to watch it in all its ’80s glory. Also, a long overdue shoutout goes to Flying Omelette, from whom I stole the original images for this article 16 years ago. Click their logo and give them a read!