Mister D: Either a cynic or a Republican wrote this piece. i remember this as being kind of good, campy fun with good tips and information thrown in on ways to help the environment. At the time it got it’s message across just fine…and yes, you can buy it on video…very cheaply
Before Americans were unified by semi-important causes on Facebook, Making a Difference was kind of a big deal. You actually had to make an effort to do so â€“ you know, actually put on real pants instead of pajama bottoms and write your name on a petition with real ink. It was a tough business, but ultimately a high-reward game â€“ and it was not lost on young people, either. Can you imagine how kids would cry today if they got gardening tools and bike accessories in their Happy Meals, instead of Green Lantern and Squinkies? Kids, man.
So what changed us from well-meaning, proactive citizens into lunatics who appointed this guy as a deputy for physical education? You can debate the causes until youâ€™re out of breath, but one thing is certain: by the 1990s, the lines between activism and entertainment were already starting to blur. And by the spring of 1990, when ABC aired The Earth Day Special to what Iâ€™m sure was a somewhat rapt audience, they were likely melted together.
The Earth Day Special, recorded to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the holiday, is sort of a bizarre, live-action, environmentally-conscious spin on the cult classic Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, only the message is to conserve and recycle. And, likely because of the live-action star talent on display, the pop-cultural lunacy is even denser.
Itâ€™s always a noble intention to enlist the hottest movie and television stars of the day to urge the public to make a difference. But the damaging effects are twofold: first, in the present day, you run the risk of obscuring the message with the medium. When Michaelangelo, everyoneâ€™s favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, warned against drug use in Cartoon All-Stars, what six-year-old cared what he had to say, unless it was about getting some pizza and using Shredder as a can opener? This detracting effect is only multiplied with the passage of time, as compulsive, possibly stoned YouTubers (who obviously werenâ€™t listening to Michaelangelo) find mugging footage of future talents or current unknowns who once were white-hot and think, â€œWhoa, can you believe how much the cast of The Cosby Show wants me to consider saving energy during everyday activities at home?â€
Unfortunately for our ecosystem, The Earth Day Special, not-at-all creepily sponsored by megacorporation Time Warner, is nearly two hours of wall-to-wall, batshit insane film and television crossovers, with a loosely-bound plot aboutâ€¦not throwing cans in the ocean, or something. (See what I mean?) Iâ€™m almost afraid to bullet-point the best parts of this star-studded disasterpiece, lest I spoil the entire thing for you. So here are just 10 to consider as you watch the special, piece by piece.