Things You Missed as a Kid in 'G.I. Joe'

Things You Missed as a Kid in 'G.I. Joe'

2020/06/24

The opening credits of every episode of G.I. Joe describe Cobra as "a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world," but when you go back to the show as an adult, it's easy to see them as a little less "terrorist" and a little more "corporate America." Sure, they occasionally pull off schemes like, say, building a machine that will literally burn up all the money in the world or stashing nuclear missiles at fast food restaurants, but structurally speaking, they have more in common with Amazon than ISIS. 



That mostly comes through in the comics, where we learn that Cobra Commander got his start basically running a pyramid scheme, and lured potential sleeper agents into joining his cause by offering competitive salaries and even health insurance, complete with a dental plan. Of course, the dentistry had to be done by Dr. Mindbender, whose standard uniform of cape, giant metal codpiece, and zero shirts might make you reconsider getting treatment for all but the most painful toothaches, but benefits are benefits, folks. The cartoon, however, follows along, and the glimpses that we get of Cobra Corporate show that they actually treat their employees way better than the good guys do.


Take "The Viper Is Coming," for instance, an episode based on the classic playground joke of receiving an ominous phone call informing you that "the viper is coming," only for a friendly, heavily accented maintenance man to show up to "vipe the vindows." While the Joes scramble around trying to locate the mysterious "Viper," they wind up uncovering a secret Cobra facility at the South Pole devoted entirely to recreation. Cobra's soldiers are allowed to swim and play table tennis in the Cobra Commander Gymnasium, grab a meal at the Destro Dining Room, and even catch a performance by a dance company called the Cobra Cuties. It's so thoroughly pleasant that it's kind of easy to see why so many people could get past the whole "overthrow America" thing. 
















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