Before people gathered around the water cooler or wine coolers or whatever to talk about what happened on their current favorite fantasy series, nerdy kids needed to find their dork tribe.
You see, it wasn’t always socially acceptable for people (even children) to like shows (even cartoons) about dragons, warriors and geeky stuff. Other kindergartners made fun of me because I enjoyed “Dragon’s Lair” and “Dungeons & Dragons.”
The first was a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-type of cartoon about a dopey knight who always tried to impress the princess and the second was about a group of friends in D&D Land. My mom never let me watch it because that was back when people thought “D&D” was involved with devil worship and suicide.
Even as I aged, I never played the game version of D&D way back when, mostly because you need more than two friends to play and we didn’t need any more reasons to get our asses kicked. I still don’t have that many friends, but at least D&D has kind of become trendy now.
Just to quickly clear some stuff up, the “D&D” show is nothing like the “Dungeons & Dragons” movie from the year 2000 with Marlon Wayans, which makes me wish the devil would possess everybody involved with that pile-of-shit movie and make them commit suicide.
Anyway, finding the original “D&D” cartoon was tough. I couldn’t download it or find it on streaming. I ordered it from DVD.com, but the first time they sent me a disc it was all scratched up. That’s yet another strike on DVD.com, but I figured beggars can’t be choosy.
The intro to the cartoon is epic: six children go on a carnival ride and magically get sent to some weird fantasy place. However, the first episode doesn’t explain anything. Why are these random kids hanging out together in the first place? Why do they get sent away? Does the ride send everybody away?
Nobody knows. Then … YIKES! Six-headed dragon and … um … one-horned devil guy appear and fight.
All of a sudden the Dungeon Master shows up, gives our kids magic weapons and tells them their new classes.
The characters are all stupid flat stereotypes. The ranger is the oldest boy who carries a magic bow and leads the group. The bitchy rich boy carries an indestructible shield. The nerd always tries to save the day with his wizard’s hat, but always screws everything up. The thief is the pretty girl with a cloak of invisibility. The barbarian is the thief’s annoying younger brother who carries a magic club and who meets a best friend Uni the Unicorn. The black girl receives a magical … um … stick and becomes an … um … acrobat. Why an acrobat? I don’t know. But she’s a black girl in a cartoon in the 1980s that doesn’t talk like one of Shaft’s girlfriends, so I guess that’s progressive.
The Dungeon Master looks like a cross between a talking clam with a mullet and Yoda. He leads them on wild goose chases and speaks in riddles and seriously, the story doesn’t make much sense. The bad guys don’t really matter. A lot of Deus ex Machinas save the days/nights.
The animation on the show can be choppy. It’s certainly nothing special. The show and the game share very little in common, which is fine. A lot of 80s cartoons were just about selling action figures, and I don’t remember whining for D&D toys.
Besides being dopey and for kids, this show does some stuff right. The black girl takes over for leader and is the funniest character. The kids learn to make decisions on their own. They realize friendship is important.
This was definitely one of my favorite cartoons as a kid, but I don’t need to watch that much more of it as an adult. Now that I’m older and made enough friends to fill a table, I’ll experience my “Dungeons & Dragons” by playing rather than watching.