As a child, among my after-school diet of television shows was included a generous helping of Inspector Gadget. Since Netflix released a new version of the show this year and since I have a toddler, I felt it incumbent of me to watch. My child in the room while watching–not mandatory.
I learned a few things about the show that I never realized–IT’S CANADIAN. Who knew? It’s like all those HGTV shows I watch–CANADIAN. It’s not that I have anything but respect for Canada, but just like the good, egocentric American I am, I assume that everything on TV is American and uses Australian actors with better US accents than my own.
Another fact I had no idea about was that when I watched the original Inspector Gadget as a child, it was in syndication. The original created in 1983, two years before my first birthday. I thought that me and my peers had this epic, they-don’t-make-kid’s-shows-like-they-used-to cartoon, but really, it was about ten years after the first episode aired that I jumped in the Gadgetmobile.
Among other secrets uncovered, in the process of binge-watching the new series, my husband and I began pondering the origins of the Inspector, and we found this crazy theory about his origin:
“Inspector Gadget is a cyborg detective with a seemingly endless supply of gadgets. Inspector Gadget hasn’t always been a cyborg, he had to be Human at one point, right?Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if the guy who became a cyborg actually has the last name, Gadget? If this person did have a name before becoming a cyborg, we don’t know and it likely wasn’t “Gadget”. Whoever he was, he was a regular human who likely worked for the cops. This theory states that something happened to him. Some terrible accident. Some explosion or collapse that left him completely destroyed. Once the cops found this, the chief decided to do something never before attempted. They used the newest and most secret technology to recreate this man with super human powers. They programmed this robot version of the inspector to look and sound just like him, even to think like him. He was programmed with the very best AI and all.
“He continued working for the company, even watched over his niece and dog, just like the real human version did. The only problem with all of this was that he didn’t die in the accident. No, the real human version survived, only he was changed. The accident deformed him, warped his brain, and made him see things differently. Once he discovered that they had replaced him with a robot doppelganger, he swore to destroy it no matter what it took. They had taken his life away and replaced it with a robot, that they now call Inspector Gadget. The human version decided to use everything he had and knew to fight against this robot version, and to do evil to the company that had ruined his life. He also changed his name. Now he is known as Dr. Claw. You never see his face because it is the face of Inspector Gadget, only deformed from the accident.”
Back to the Netflix series–I find it vastly entertaining. I realize Inspector Gadget purists might be far too nostalgic to appreciate the re-creation, but I feel the creators did a good job adapting a more modern take with a different animation style. A few new characters and the old favorites. It didn’t feel like it was trying to relive the 1980s glory days but still honor them while reaching out to the 21st Century audience.
My favorite thing about the new show is Mad Cat. The clever animated nuances of that fat cat are just, as the kids say these days, adorbs. I very badly want a massive plush Mad Cat for my desk, not to assist in foiling any Canadian Intelligence plans, but just because I’m a ten-year-old stuck in a thirty-year-old body and I need that reminder in my 9-5 work day.
Speaking of work, “Go Go Gadget get back to work and stop reminiscing about childhood television shows!”