Wonderfully absurd escapes from mortal danger in the original G.I. Joe cartoon.

Previously published Slate articles made new.
Aug. 6 2009 1:04 PM

"That Was Way Too Close!"

Wonderfully absurd escapes from mortal danger in the original G.I. Joe cartoon.

Opening Friday, the $175 million blockbuster G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is bigger, slicker, and more violent than its 1980s animated counterpart. (Or so one gathers from the trailer—Paramount isn't screening the movie for critics.) Last month, Adrian Chen recalled the goofier days of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero with a video slide show of the classic Saturday morning cartoon's most ridiculous moments:   

Click here for a video slide show of elaborate escapes from mortal danger in the original G.I. Joe cartoon.

The first war between G.I. Joe and Cobra (1985-86), as documented in the G.I. Joe animated series, was the most violent conflict in history never to result in a single casualty. Through a combination of terrible aim, superhuman jumping ability, and impossibly reliable parachutes, every combatant escaped even the most dire of situations without so much as the angle of his beret askew. The G.I Joe series is an ode to the improbable escape, and the thrill of the violence comes not from the possibility of death but from the zany ways the Joes and Cobras avoid it. (Will the live-action G.I. Joe film due later this summer stick to the cartoon's bloodless ways? Not likely.) Herewith, a collection of the most ridiculous escapes in G.I. Joe history.

Click here for a video slide show of elaborate escapes from mortal danger in the original G.I. Joe cartoon.

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Adrian Chen is a freelance writer and an editor at The New Inquiry.