I have a new joke I’ve been working on about trenchcoats. You may have seen its genesis appear last week in blog form. Anyway, one of the tags in the joke references Inspector Gadget. I got to thinking about it, and a lot of aspects of the Inspector Gadget storyline bother me.
You have to assume that Inspector Gadget was involved in some kind of horrible, Robocop-like accident that ended with the police force deciding to put gadgets inside his body. Otherwise, you have to assume that someone built a human with mechanical parts from scratch, and that’s way too dark an assumption to make for a cartoon. Cartoon characters playing God wouldn’t fly with kids. That’s why you never see Goofy in a lab coat, messing with stem cells.
So let’s assume that Gadget had an accident, leading to his transformation. Doesn’t that make this one of the worst police forces in the world? Did they even ask Gadget if he wanted this procedure done, or was it a trick? “If you’ll initial your pension plan here, it’s got details on your dental plan, health insurance, vacation time, we reserve the right to make you a robot, and our pay scale. What’s that? What did I say? Vacation time. You get two weeks paid vacation. Real plum perk if you ask me.”
You can’t just insert metal into a dude against his will. He’s a man with a life and a family. He probably had a real name. It’s not like he was born as Rick Gadget. Gadget isn’t a last name. Or maybe it was, and they just erased his memory from his time growing up with the rest of the Gadget clan in Sweden, or Russia, or wherever Gadget would be a common last name.
Here’s the real kicker: all these gadgets you put in this dude’s body are all for naught, because he’s a horrible detective. Isn’t there anyone with talent you could have enhanced with gadgets? The only gadgets you should have put in him are office supplies, because he shouldn’t be anywhere but the desk. Seriously, the only “Go-Go Gadget” you should have heard this no-talent idiot say was,”Go-go Gadget fax machine!” And then a fax machine would pop out of his ass or something. Plus his hand might turn into a date-stamp.
You’d think that when the city council approved of this plan to make one of their detectives into a robot, they would have safe-guarded against a complete dolt being the subject. Are you just going to throw your money around on a massive project like this and not know who the recipient of the robot parts is going to be? Say something like, “We approve $71 million for this groundbreaking new detective-into-a-robot procedure, with the caveat that we not choose an utter buffoon. If we have to choose a buffoon, make sure he’s got a really smart niece and dog who can do his work for him.”
This is a police force that doesn’t really understand what it has. Forget the guy with all the robot parts. What about Brain? Isn’t he the real hero of this? What’s more amazing, a guy with a can opener coming out of his elbow or a dog who can non-verbally communicate like humans do? He can’t really talk, but he can almost talk. That’s more than any other animal has ever done. Some of the Gadget mystique should lose its luster when you compare him to the first dog in history to possess human mannerisms. What does it say for his acumen as a detective when you’d rather have a beagle trying to crack a case? I know if I got murdered, and I was watching my own investigation perched on my roasting stalactite in Hell, I’d rather have Penny and Brain tracking down my killer than this Urkel-Meets-Humphrey Bogart looking ass clown.
I’ve posed a lot of difficult issues today about Inspector Gadget. Some that may have been answered had the show’s writers and producers delved deeper into the psyche of the show’s characters. I think this posts says a lot about the depth of the show; namely, that there wasn’t much. Turns out that the Gadget universe we all came to know and love was paper-thin, and it left us with a lot of questions. Unfortunately, we may never get the answers we seek.
Of course, just about every question I asked could be answered with it’s just a cartoon.