At the end of every G.I. Joe episode, there was a short, animated public service announcement sponsored by the Child Safety Council. Very formulaic, they featured a kid or a group of kids, one of which was almost always wearing a #9 football jersey, doing patently stupid things. A member of the Joe team would show up in the nick of time, usually trespassing on private property to do so, and give a lecture on the right way to do things. Of course, every one of the G.I. Joe PSAs ended with a kid making a silly pun and proclaiming "Now I know!". And the Joe would respond, "And knowing is half the battle!"

There are twenty-five PSAs included on the DVD for "G.I. Joe - The Movie". I'm going to recreate them here, in screenplay format, a couple a day (at which point I will delete this sentence).

* One of the few PSAs where the Joe's name isn't specifically mentioned.

Why this hasn't been updated: I started noding these, and then someone nuked one of them. When I asked why, I was told that it didn't belong here. When I suggested that said person nuke the rest of them, they pulled a Howard Dean and decided that it was OK for the rest of them to stay. Rather than waste my time writing these up only to have them nuked willy-nilly, I just stopped doing them.

In August 2003, amateur filmmaker Eric Fensler began making alternate versions of various G.I. Joe PSAs. Unlike the originals that aired as bumpers on episodes of the G.I. Joe cartoon, these are standalone, and unlike the originals, Fensler's alterations make absolutely no sense whatsoever. The complete randomness of Fensler's versions are perhaps what members of the surrealism movement would produce if they had grown up in the 1980s and were still around today.

Fensler has toyed with thirteen PSAs thus far:

Title: Time for de busridah (0:28)
Original PSA: Medicine Cabinet (starring Doc)

A brother and sister are drunk and decide to hit the medicine cabinet for a shot of rubbing alcohol. Doc appears in the window and starts singing a reggae tune about a rider on a bus. He has a Jamaican accent. The kids sing along in exaggerated falsetto voices.

Title: Mememememememememe (0:40)
Original PSA: Getting Lost (starring Alpine)

A boy wanders around a carnival looking for his friends. He runs into Alpine, who stares at him while muttering "memememememe" for about twenty seconds. The kid's friends show up and Alpine says "nawh, I'm just kiddin' witcha."

Title: Check this out! (0:08)
Original PSA: Learning To Swim (starring Torpedo)

A boy is standing on a cliff when the rock crumbles beneath his feet. He falls into the water below while yelling "SHIIIIIIIIIT!" No G.I. Joe characters appear in this one.

Title: Help Computer (0:38)
Original PSA: Dog Bite (starring Mutt)

A boy walks down an alley and encounters a stray dog, to whom he says "Aw, hell no! Wassup dog?!" The dog then attempts to bite him. He starts backing away, and backs right into Mutt, who hunkers down and starts mumbling about how he's a computer, and that you need to stop all th' downloadin'. The kid says he doesn't know much about computers, at which point Mutt's voice changes into a deep, demonic kind of voice that you might hear in a backwards Satanic message on a 1980s heavy metal album.

Title: Damn Injuns! (0:43)
Original PSA: Clothes On Fire (starring Spirit)

A boy's jacket sleeve catches fire while he's tending a campfire. He momentarily panics, and then Spirit shows up and wraps a blanket around him for way longer than is necessary. Eventually the kid says "OK, you can stop now..." but Spirit just keeps going, all the while saying something in Najavo. The kid's friend asks if he's taken anything from their tent. Spirit replies with more Navajo.

Title: Body Massage (0:31)
Original PSA: Electrical Wire in the Road (starring Roadblock)

Two boys on bikes see a downed electrical wire. After some deliberation, they decide to jump their bikes over it. Before they get a chance to, Roadblock drives up in a Jeep and says "Who wants a body massage?" as slickly as Barry White would. He then proceeds to move the wire out of the road while singing a little song about how he's a "body massage machine." The kids wonder what the hell they just saw.

Title: Porkchop Sandwiches (0:39)
Original PSA: Fire in the Home (starring Blowtorch)

A boy with a speech impediment and his friend try to cook something using a gas stove. It immediately catches fire. Blowtorch appears amid the plumes of smoke with a shout of "PORKCHOP SANDWICHES!" and then urges them to "GET THE FUCK OUT! WHADDAYA DOING? WE'RE ALL FUCKING DEAD! MOOOOVE!" The kids run outside, where Blowtorch catches up with them while the fire trucks arrive. "Damn, that smelled good," he says, then gives the camera a sparkly white smile.

Title: BWAA! (0:46)
Original PSA: The Dare (starring Lady Jaye)

A boy and a girl explore a construction site. The boy dares the girl to jump over a ditch, but Lady Jaye shows up before she can and asks the kids if they've seen her purse. "I'm just dyin' for my cigarettes," she says. Then the whole thing slips into a weird 1960s psychedelic time/space warping thing, complete with some uncomfortable silence.

Title: Nice catch, blanco niño! (0:34)
Original PSA: Nosebleeds (starring Footloose)

Some kids are playing football when one of them gets tackled to the ground. He gets a nosebleed. Footloose appears and tells him it was a nice catch. He adds "too bad your ass got saaaaaacked!" and then tackles the kid himself.

Title: There is no "retard" in "team" (0:46)
Original PSA: Teamwork (starring Flint)

Two teams of kids are playing soccer, while Flint stands on the sidelines and recites news articles. Some of the kids watch and listen, hypnotised.

Title: Wankers (0:38)
Original PSA: Thin Ice (starring Snowjob)

A boy runs out onto a frozen lake, which cracks while his friends look on in horror. Snowjob skies up to them and, sounding very much like Ozzy Osbourne, asks them what the fuck they think they're doing on his property. The kid's friends start to reach out to him with a stick, which Snowjob at first encourages, but then changes to "DON'T GIVE HIM THE STICK!" before giving an example of his bass tenor singing voice.

Title: Pimpin' (0:28)
Original PSA: Handicaps (starring Spirit)

Another PSA starring Spirit, the centerpiece of "Clothes On Fire." In this one, a group of kids are walking along a forest path. Among them is a young blind boy wearing huge Roy Orbison sunglasses. He dances around while Spirit mumbles incoherently.

Title: Frying Children (0:24)
Original PSA: Smoke Under The Door (starring Barbecue)

Some kids wake up in a smoke-filled room. Barbecue comes in through the window, sounding like a bat out of hell, making weird, distorted demon-machine noises. He shoots fireballs at the kids, disintegrating them, while he prattles on in his 1980s robot voice.

* * *

Quotes from these things have been appearing on various message boards and IRC channels since their first release, and the modified PSAs have been included in Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation, which tours the USA each autumn. Thus far, only the thirteen summarised above are available, although more seem likely to appear. You can see all of them, including those not summarised here, at the following URLs:

In early 2004, Fensler reworked a few more PSAs and released them on his website. I can only work out which parody is supposed to come from which original for one of them (the one starring Gung Ho as a gay sailor, which is based on the Stereotypes PSA), so I'm not going to write those up. Instead, you can download and watch them for yourself:

In early September 2004, Fensler received a cease-and-desist notice from Hasbro's lawyers... so none of these are available at anymore. Took 'em long enough to notice, eh? These can all be found on YouTube now. And "PORKCHOP SANDWICHES!" has become something of an internet meme.

Your Typical GI Joe PSA:

Two stupid white kids -- one wearing a red baseball cap, the other a blond with a #9 jersey -- are walking down the street, eating hot dogs.

The red cap kid stuffs his hot dog in his mouth, then begins choking on it.

The #9 jersey kid then runs around in a frantic, effeminate circle. Since 1980s animation sucked, either the running cycle will jump every time the boy attempts to complete the circle or the jersey boy's skin color will flicker from brown to white.

As the cap boy continues choking, a GI Joe (let's say, Airtight) pops out of the trash can (which wasn't there five seconds ago) and performs the Heimlich maneuver on the choking kid. In a prime example of epic animation fail, the Heimlich maneuver will look stilted and vaguely sexual, making the generation who grew up with these cartoons (who are now adults) wonder how the censors could have let this slip.

The red cap kid is saved. Rather than ask Airtight how he ended up in a trash can or why he and the other GI Joes feel the need to follow kids around and give them semi-useful life lessons, the kid who was saved from choking recites the lesson of the day (which would be something to the effect of "Don't panic if someone chokes"). The #9 jersey kid (who did nothing of use throughout the PSA) chimes in with, "Now I know..."

Finish on a close-up of Airtight (who, due to epic animation fail, is missing a left eye or has a nose that looks worse than Michael Jackson's when he was living) ending the PSA with, "And knowing is half the battle!"

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