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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Relax, Chief Quimby - This Blog Will NOT Self-Destruct

Hey, guys!  Before I go ahead with today's cartoon discussion for this week, I really have something that I want to show you guys.  Don't worry.  It's nothing bad, and it's nothing R-rated or X-rated, or any other letter grade rated.  I want to keep this blog on the Internet, remember?

I'm sure that most of you have done at least one bit of online shopping (well, unless you're really paranoid about your information being stolen online with viruses and bugs like the "Heartbleed" virus that caused a whole lot of havoc on Canadian government websites).  I admit that I do a little bit on online shopping myself.  I do live in a town that could be considered small and there's only a limited amount of retail spaces in town that I even shop at.  In some cases, ordering online is the only way that I can get items that have been on my wish list for the longest time.

Not that my wish list is very long, mind you.  I am definitely not a materialistic person.  I buy my clothing at discount stores and outlet malls much like most of you out there do.  Of course, if an "Old Navy" store opened up here, I'd be there in a heartbeat.

Okay, so where was I going with this again?  Oh, right!  The something that I have to show you!  Have a look at what I got in the mail the other day!

Ta-dah!  It's the entire season one library of "Inspector Gadget" in three convenient volumes.  Sixty-five episodes of "Go-Go Gadget" fun!  And, believe it or not, I got the whole thing for a really low cost.  When I do online shopping, I do it the right way!

(The right way being finding the retailer who offers the lowest shipping costs so that I don't end up paying an arm and a leg.)

Now I hear what some of you are saying.  Why is a grown man like myself buying an entire cartoon series on DVD?  Aren't you a little too old to watch cartoons?

In a word.  NO.  And anyone who judges me based on my likes and dislikes can Go-Go Gadget screw themselves!

Truth be told, "Inspector Gadget" has always been one of my favourite cartoon series.  I used to watch it every day before school, and it was one of the first cartoon series that I wrote an entry about.  Of course, that entry was done in more of a generic sense that described the show.

In this entry, we're going to be taking a closer look at the program.  I think maybe a character sketch would be a fantastic way to go.

But which character could I go with?  Hmmm...

I know!  What if I take a look at the character who suffers the most abuse?  The character who experiences the most extreme examples of indignity?  A character whose plans almost always blow up in their face?

Of course, these clues could point to almost anybody.  I mean, Dr. Claw is the main antagonist of the whole series, and every single one of his plans have been foiled by Gadget Penny and Brain.  Certainly he's gone through the gauntlet in trying to rid the world of Gadget.  Of course, this is not the subject of today's blog because Dr. Claw and his entire M.A.D. organization are pure evil.

Perhaps Penny and Brain could be contenders.  Brain is almost always forced to dress up in silly costumes to prevent Gadget from killing himself or other people due to his woeful lack of common sense and bumbling investigative tendencies.  And, I think Penny has gotten kidnapped by M.A.D. agents in two-thirds of every single episode of "Inspector Gadget".  But since they always seem to solve the case for Gadget, we can't really make the claim that everything they do blows up in their faces.

As for Gadget himself?  That would be too easy.

No, just think about the clues for a second.  It's a character who suffers the most abuse in the whole series.  He experiences indignities each and every episode.  Every single plan he has "blows up in his face".

Hmmm...maybe I need a visual clue.

Poor Chief Quimby.  What a way to make a living!

I think that we should do something for him to make up for all of the injuries he sustained over the last thirty years as being Inspector Gadget's direct supervisor.  How about we dedicate this blog to him!

Now, I wish I could give you more of a character sketch on Chief Quimby, but there's very little information that was given in the actual cartoon.  The only thing that I know for sure is that Chief Quimby has served at the police chief of the fictional Metro City for years prior to Gadget joining the force, and that he apparently has stock in the exploding paper business.

Or, maybe it was the ink on the self-destructing messages that caused them to blow up.  Who knows, really?

The point is that Inspector Gadget was considered to be the best weapon that Chief Quimby had on his force (and if that really were the case, lord help Metro City), and on paper, I can see why this was the case.  Even if Gadget didn't have Penny and her computer book around to foil every single plot that M.A.D. had to rule the world, he always had his gadgets - which for the most part worked correctly.

(Truth be told, it's because of Gadget's gadgets that Gadget has managed to survive the thousands of life-threatening situations he finds himself involved in.)

And certainly some of the missions that Gadget has been involved in have certainly put him in danger.  Here are just a list of some of the things that Gadget had to do during the first year the show aired.

- protected Fang the Wonder Dog
- foiled M.A.D.'s monopoly on the dairy market
- prevented a device known as the "Sneez-ooka" from destroying Metro City
- foiled an underground pickpocket agency run by M.A.D.
- discovered the truth behind an alien invasion
- prevented a counterfeit money organization
- served as the personal bodyguard for rock singer Rick Rocker

(And, when I say that Gadget did all these things, I meant Penny and Brain really did.)

But of course, in order for Gadget to even embark on these secret investigations, someone has to give him the information.  That somebody was Chief Quimby.

And because these assignments were always done in secrecy (even though Penny was ALWAYS there whenever the assignments were doled out), the Chief had to put on some...well...interesting disguises.  Sometimes he hid in trash cans, dumpsters, department store displays and pieces of furniture.  And sometimes he would dress up as birds, animals, or even in drag to get the message to Gadget.  Seriously, some of the costumes that he came up with were so creative, I think that he really could have teamed up with Brain to win almost any costume judging contest.

Unfortunately, this is where the Chief's intelligence derails.  In the 65 episodes that were filmed during Inspector Gadget's first season run, the Chief has been the victim of his own self-destructing messages in 63 of them.  And in the other two, Gadget somehow manages to injure the chief accidentally.  Seriously, each time the Chief hands Gadget a message, Gadget absent-mindedly tosses the detonating paper in the general direction of Chief Quimby, leading to a big ka-boom moment!

I hope the Chief has insurance.

Of course, the fact that the Chief constantly sustained abuse from Gadget had me thinking of the crazy theory that I had when I was a kid.  

I always thought that it would be a really killer twist if it were revealed that Chief Quimby wasn't the upstanding citizen that we were lead to believe.  In fact, when I was younger, I actually believed that Chief Quimby and Dr. Claw were the SAME person!

For many years, I believed this to be the case.  After all, in most of the episodes that I remembered watching as a kid, you never saw Quimby and Claw in the same scene.  And certainly if you were blown up every day by Gadget, it could be enough to make even the most serene of men lose their marbles. 

But then I ended up seeing the episode in which Gadget had to protect M.A.D. traitor Nick Defecto and saw where Dr. Claw actually had Quimby kidnapped, and that blew my theory out of the water. 

And besides, when the Inspector Gadget toys were released, we actually got a chance to see the REAL Dr. Claw.

Yikes.  What a frightening looking dude.  No wonder all we saw of him on the cartoon series was his hand!

Still, I always wondered if maybe Chief Quimby would have turned against Gadget and become traitor himself if the situation presented itself.

Nah.  Truth be told, Chief Quimby's just too nice of a guy to let that happen. He's very cordial to Penny and Brain, believes in the power of justice being served, was incredibly angry that Dr. Claw kept getting away, and more importantly than that kept Gadget on the police force despite the fact that he inevitably did more harm than good!

Chief Quimby - we salute you.

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