BraveStarr served as a premature exclamation point to the glorious sentence that was Filmation, the studio that enriched our childhoods with quality programming such as: That shitty fake Ghostbusters with the monkey. Many a time have I been duped into watching five minutes of your bullshit cartoon before realizing that Slimer wasn't forthcoming. I'll never get those formative minutes back, Lou Scheimer. So much of my golden youth... wasted. Never heard of BraveStarr? Well, neither have I, but that won’t stop us from taking this journey. Together.
Apparently the creators didn’t feel it would be beneficial to begin with any sort of origin story, which is understandable. How many times can you expect an audience to sit through the same dull origin story? We all know how BraveStarr acquired his powers: Bitten by a radioactive hawk, wolf, puma, and bear. Moving on. The closest thing we get to a back story is the theme song, which is a dandy. I can’t be bothered to provide it for you here, but you really should check it out sometime. The lyrics provide an acorn of knowledge from which a mighty oak could theoretically spring forth, if properly fertilized (with imagination):
In a distant time and faraway place
The planet of New Texas floats deep in space.
Sky of three suns, land of precious ore
The Kerium rush brought outlaws by the score.
Then one day, a lawman appeared
With powers of hawk, wolf, puma and bear
Protector of peace, mystic man from afar
Champion of justice, Marshal BraveStarr!
Three suns? It seems New Texas exists in bold defiance of Copernican astronomy. Apparently, in the future, Texas ceases to be adequately large, hot, and awful, so they must annex an entire dusty three-sunned shithole of a planet. Then, space gold, outlaws, blah, blah, blah…
This being the first episode, I suppose I’m obliged to introduce you to some characters. Any characters introduced in a given episode will be given a profile before we get into the meat of the meat-filled pie. This will only include characters that could conceivably be relevant and recurring. Prospector Jeb or Schoolmarm Matilda need not apply.
The show spends a copious amount of time focused on BraveStarr’s furrowed brow, so that’s how he’s represented here. BraveStarr is a Galactic Marshal, coincidentally named Marshal. Or maybe he’s named Brave Starr, and Marshal is simply a title. I prefer that explanation, as naming the character Brave Starr perfectly illustrates the ‘genius’ of aiming a character at those children who could never pick a side when playing Cowboys and Indians. Which would be a decidedly narrow demographic, even if children hadn’t stopped playing Cowboys and Indians decades prior to the airing of BraveStarr. But I digress. Because BraveStarr comes from the stock of the noble savage, he is mystically endowed with the powers of several species indigenous to North America. These range from the totally fucking useless, to the quite handy. These four powers will also serve as the ratings system as we traverse the dusty canyons of New Texas, one painful episode at a time. They rank as follows:
Eyes of the Hawk: Total Shit. You’d think that the ability to see great distances would be useful, but you’d be wrong. BraveStarr also happens to own some sort of techno-visor that allows him to see great distances AND glean various sorts of fun facts about whatever he’s viewing, thus rendering his hawk eyes quite impotent.
Ears of the Wolf: Shit. Ears of the Wolf? Talk about your useless fucking powers. I can hear well! Gee willikers!
Speed of the Puma: Not Shit. Super speed. No one’s complaining about that one.
Strength of the Bear: This is really the power he utilizes 90% of the time. Something heavy falls. Bear strength. Rinse. Repeat.
Here’s a graphical aid, in case you’re a little slow on the uptake:
Thirty Thirty is BraveStarr’s right hand. His Big Pard, as the writers relentlessly insist on referring to him. Thirty Thirty is some sort of robot/horse/man that alternately fights alongside BraveStarr and gets ridden around by him. He’s awfully trigger-happy for a heroic character in a children’s cartoon, to the extent that he’s apparently in love with his shotgun, going so far as to name ‘her’ Sara Jane. He does seem to be the only member of his species on New Texas, so who am I to judge what he gets up to with Sara on a cold and lonesome night.
J.B. McBride is the resident judge, who carries around some sort of weaponized gavel. Her main purpose is to serve as a woman for BraveStarr to make blush with his constant crude allusions to a fifth animal power.
Shaman is the more stereotypical Native American on New Texas. And I mean stereotypical. Like, he lives in a totem pole stereotypical. He seems to be the source of BraveStarr’s bestial powers. He possesses much nonsensical Native American mumbo jumbo power, even exceeding that of BraveStarr. Which begs the question, why doesn’t he take a more active role in the protection of New Texas? Well, he does seem to be the embodiment of all Native American stereotypes, so perhaps he’s a debilitating alcoholic, and we’re only made privy to his good days. Keep your eyes peeled for a lesson on the perils of fire water.
Fuzz is a member of the prairie people, a peaceful race whose voices are enough to insight bloodlust in every creature that’s ever encountered them. The prairie people are the scourge of anyone who has ever attempted to sit through this show. Apparently Filmation planned to release a spin-off series focusing exclusively on the prairie folk entitled Bravo: Quest of the Prairie People. I imagine this plan was the proverbial straw that broke the studio’s back. No parent could possibly tolerate the existence of such a program. Think I’m overreacting? Good news! One of our recurring features will isolate every line of dialogue these Appalachian Ewoks spew forth. Fuzz was deputized by BraveStarr for reasons unfathomable.
In Today's Episode
BraveStarr and Thirty Thirty are attempting to stop some dingo men… Wait, dingo men? There aren’t any dingos in Texas. And it sounds awfully close to Mandingos. This show has got some seriously ugly undercurrents. To draw attention to that fact, I shall henceforth refer to the villainous dingo men as Mandingos. I consider it my moral obligation. Anyhow, Thirty Thirty starts shooting his gun wildly, causing a rockslide that allows the Mandingos to escape. BraveStarr rebukes his Pard for his trigger happy ways, at which point Thirty Thirty trots off indignantly. For whatever reason, Thirty Thirty thinks it would be cathartic to go for a walk down memory lane, so he heads from whence he came.
This allows the writers to really show the audience the effort that goes into each of these scripts. Painstaking hours spent mining the deepest recesses of their imaginations, doggedly pursuing that perfect turn of phrase. When everything falls precisely into place, it’s truly a site to behold. We find our equine hero questing towards his former home on Mount Equus, the Hall of the Equestroids, where his people once worshipped the equestrian deity Equus. ‘Cause he’s a horse, get it? Craftsmanship.
For whatever reason, Thirty Thirty is compelled to return to his former life as the guardian of the deserted Hall of the Equestroids, as he was really appreciated then. By whom, exactly? Hard to imagine he got a great deal of positive reinforcement from his totally extinct ancestors. Ah, the good old days, when I sat around in an empty room all day, every day. So the Shaman sends BraveStarr back in time to beat some sense into Thirty Thirty. He does. The end.
Even the best of friends can have differences of opinion. All good friends argue and quarrel with each other, but fighting’s not the way to solve anything. Good friends sometimes just have to agree to disagree… without a fight.
Rating: Ears of the Wolf
Really, BraveStarr? This is the lesson you’re going with? Today we learned that the first time you met your Big Pard, you beat the hell out of him and destroyed his house. How this led him to befriend you is beyond me, but it’s your fucking story. Then in order to solve your ‘difference of opinion’ you went back in time, re-beat the shit out of him, and re-destroyed his house. And the moral is solve your problems without fighting… inauspicious start, BraveStarr.
The BraveStarr Compendium Compendium
Professor Gruber interprets the author's drivel so you don't have to!
Lou Scheimer founded Filmation, a notoriously cheap and lazy animation studio, in 1963.
A fairly obvious riff on Spiderman's origin story.
Copernicus theorized that the Earth rotated around the sun. The logistics of a planet rotating around three separate suns are a tad... murky.
How many dick jokes are you going to cram into this piece? You really don't need me around to interpret this one. Not sure what he meant there? Just assume it was a some sort of reference to genitalia and move on. I'm glad to see you've really honed your craft since dropping out of college.
Mandingo refers to a West African warrior tribe and, like most things, was co-opted into the racist vernacular in the 19th century, where it remains to this day.
Because comedy works best when someone holds your hand.