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We Don't Need Another Hero. Oh Wait, On Second Thought, Maybe We Do.

Generic1 Authored by super special guest contributor and honorary MamaPop Bestard, Ryan of Pacing The Panic Room

Thinking back on prototypical comic book heroes like the snores that haunted the Justice League, there was always a story line in which our hero was, for all intents and purposes, rendered wholly out of commission. And once the comic's caped crusader was rendered impotent and unable to defend our planet from villainy for whatever reason, the Earth invariably went bat shit crazy in about, oh, 5 milliseconds (give or take a millisecond). Scores of villains instantly ran amuck, and mankind flailed in the streets in a frothing hero-less panic, dodging the chaos and danger that was now, suddenly, everywhere around them. Of course in the end the hero would overcome and return to right the wrongs, thereby launching humankind back into tranquility and peace. The end.

When I take our four-year-old to the local playground and see the children there, I feel like I am watching a similar comic book scenario. It seems as if food villains are having their way with kids while a long lost health hero has been shackled, powerless  to stop our children from embracing wild junk food orgies and accepting the villany of obesity-related illness into their lives. It appears that with the absence of Slim Goodbody -- champion of healthful eating and enemy of high fructose corn syrup -- America’s children are losing the fight against fat.

Slimgoodbody_2 Slim Goodbody sprung on the scene in 1975. Slim was an unlikely hero for children, with a head of stiff pubic-hair that was part mullet part afro, and an ultra-light unitard displaying his guts that could’ve been designed by the creature creators of Fangoria. He had the energy and tenacity of an amphetamine-hyped bull being ass-slapped by a Spaniard, and though the hyperactive enthusiasm he had for healthy snacks may not have instantly converted children to healthful ways, his constant presence on TV was a reminder that health SHOULD be considered relative to what food you put into your body. Perhaps it was his shocking body suit, his groin thrusting dances, or his odd prancing walk that kept him in your head, but either way, the guy got kids thinking about health, which in and of itself is something of a breakthrough.

Slim was at the peak of his powers when Saturday morning cartoons were still… well, SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS (oh Saturday morning cartoons, you are sorely missed).

Yes, back in the 1970s Slim was a Warrior King waging an unassisted battle against child obesity, and to this day NO ONE has picked up his mantle and continued the fight. Consigned to obscurity now, he’s exiled to a life of skeezy school bus tours, his Televisual grandeur all but a memory. If anything, Slim now comes off as just a bit creepy now, whether he’s prancing in his gut-covered unitard with geriatric patients or rapping about apples while doing the Roger Rabbit with tweens. Indeed, as in the comics of my youth, our hero Slim Goodbody was pushed to the sidelines by a virtual army of cartoon villains, led by one Ronald McDonald and aided and abetted by Tony the Tiger, Count Chocula, and that annoying Lucky Charms leprechaun (the truth of breakfast cereals marketed to children appear to boil down to: you show me a cartoon on the cereal box, and I will show you 19 grams of sugar).

Though his powers have been significantly weakened over the past few decades, Slim Goodbody is today still getting all up in kids’ grills for making poor food choices. He can be found at his website, and is frequently spotted creeping around America’s middle schools, preaching the gospel of healthy eating to classrooms filled apathetic junk food junkies. Maybe it’s the influence of the unitard, but in my view Slim is as much a real superhero as any Marvel Comics creation. Because despite not being endowed with a superpower that would allow him to, with a single dramatic wave of his hand, make childhood obesity disappear, his ongoing fight for the health of America’s kids is, in a word, heroic.

. . . . .

Visit Ryan at Pacing The Panic Room







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Comments

Matt Haverkamp

Goodbody rocks!!!

Mama Dawg

Yeah, but he scared the fuck out of me as a kid.

I had totally forgotten about him until this post.

Thanks Ryan. Now I'll have nightmares.

On a serious note, I totally agree with you on needing someone new to pick up this message.

I see way too many obese kids these days.

And it's sad.

Devin

Great post!

Your article has given me the courage to wear my flesh colored, anatomically bizarre unitard again. I plan on doing 1000 crunches a day, for a whole year, to show my support for Slim and also my outrage against childhood obesity.

2 questions: Did Billy Squire steal his entire vibe (looks and dance moves) from Slim?
Did Slim have a female counter part? Perhaps a Splenda Hotbody or a Tina Güten-thicke.

tadpoledrain

Oh for Pete's sake. I'm all for healthy eating and exercise. I'm all for not feeding kids cereal that is not 90% sugar and artificial additives. And for taking them outside to play instead of watching a lot of TV.

But you know what? There is no childhood obesity epidemic. There is no adult obesity epidemic. There just isn't. No, really. There's not. All there is is an insane unfounded moral panic over fat. And it's really discouraging.

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/mar06/health0306.htm

carrie

OMG. I had totally forgotten about Slim. Those spandex guts bring back so many memories.

I must say, very well written Ryan and I think you were spot on in what you said. We've done a remarkable job in this country/culture to replace the true heroes with cartoon characters in cardboard packaging.

Now do I get my cupcake?

Carol Lynn

Well, as my kids were born skinny and stayed that way (and so did most of the family), I can't say I ever followed the problem - except to ban chocolate cereal and chocolate pop-tarts for breakfast. Whoever on earth ever thought chocolate for breakfast was permissible?! My pediatrician pushed milkshakes for my kids to get them up to minimum weight (don't hate us, please).

I have a friend who actually stalked every bite her children put in their mouths, which was an extremely uncomfortable situation for all concerned and probably caused permanent weight issues for her children.

noholzbarred

Slim always weirded me out a little. I think Captain Vegetable is our guy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzbbqVZ-eFo&playnext_from=PL&feature=PlayList&p=D343E31ECD45FDDE&playnext=1&index=26

Elizabeth

I gotta disagree with Tadpoledrain- there most certainly IS a childhood and adult obesity EPIDEMIC. Our society has evolved to move as little as possible for the most part, yet the number of calories the average American takes in every day has what, doubled?

And don't even get me started on how much food is THROWN AWAY every day while there are people going hungry. We have a fucked up relationship with food in this country, and we could use Slim Goodbody again.

Sarah

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Sarah

http://www.lyricsdigs.com

vodkamom

Holy shit I REMEMBER HIM!!! Oh my God that was such a blast from the past!!

Great job!!! very, very good........

baltimoregal

Flashbacks! Flashbacks!




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