10 July 2004 | Chip_douglas
Where are they now?
Inspector Gadget was unique amongst eighties cartoons. It was one of the few series not blatantly pushing a toy series (there were some based on the cartoon, not vice versa) and managed to be funny and exciting at the same time. By comparison, product driven shows like He-Man and Thundercats had their comic relief represented by silly sidekicks, while other cartoons funnies like Heathcliff and Denice the Menace were aimed at a younger audience. After the senseless 1995 Gadgetboy series, DIC dusts off their flagship property once more for a new, original series. Not better of course, but still interesting.
Gadget has been promoted to Lieutenant, Penny is a bit older, and Brain has retired from crime fighting (actually to get away from Gadget). To replace him Penny has constructed two miniature versions of her uncle called Gadgetinis. Apart from being almost as dumb as their inspiration, these two only have one distinguishing character quirk: orange Fidget thinks of himself as human and blue Didget keeps reminding him he is not. Penny basically uses the two of them as spyware to keep track of her uncle, which I find a bit disturbing.
Dr. Claw now wears a golden gauntlet, and many of his new schemes are hatched solely to eliminate Gadget. For the first time you can see some legs sticking out beneath his chair and we occasionally get a glimpse of other members of the Claw dynasty. To keep up with contemporary comedy fads, many plots feature gross out humour involving slimy things. The Lieutenant has to report to Colonel Nozzaire at WOMP headquarters at the start of each episode. Like Chief Quimby (who has also had a raise) before him, the French Canadian Colonel continually gets unintentionally hurt by Gadget. Unfortunately (for him) he has to suffer twice per caper, and this shtick gets tired really fast. Sure the gag with Quimby's exploding messages was the same every week, but at least he appreciated Gadget's work and kept his dignity at the end of each episode.
Other updates include octopus like tentacles springing from Gadget's sleeve, another one to separate himself at the waist and even a coffee- and washing machine in the stomach (!?!). The Gadgetmobile has been traded in for a mini that morphs into a plane and his personal Gadgetcopter now comes with a built in safety helmet. For some reason he also insists on wearing green sunglasses that do not match his new dark blue overcoat. Meanwhile Penny has forsaken her computerbook in favor of a laptop (which seems like a step back to me). The new theme is catchy enough to stick in your mind indefinitely, but unlike the classic one, you find yourself wanting to shake it.
7 out of 10