Derek and Jonah on the Transformers

DMZ · September 10, 2004 at 3:05 pm · Filed Under Off-topic ranting 

I’m posting this because Jonah swears it’s hilarious and people will get a kick out of it. So I had a brief argument in which I argued against posting this, because I don’t want to be Simmons, and Jonah said I should go ahead and do it, and if reaction’s bad, I can delete it. Well, he didn’t say I could delete it.

Or you can skip ahead to the next normal USSM posting.

(Jonah makes a reference to Megatron in an email about something else)


I always thought Megatron and Shockwave were ridiculously bad-ass compared to the Autobots, though clearly the size issue (huge robots compacting into guns) was unbelievable, even compared to the other robot/item size issues

Optimus Prime:
18-wheeler, low acceleration, poor handling, can haul cargo oorrr…
prissy leader robot guy who seems content with no vision on how to win war

Gun or
Psychotic meglamaniac with new plan every week

Which of those should be the more effective in a quest for world domination?


I’m with you on Megatron, but Soundwave? Sure he was really big, but he changed into a Sony tape deck for gosh sakes! It became even more implausible when the Autobots decided to integrate a loaded AIWA sound system (Blaster) as Soundwave’s supposed rival. All we needed was a breakdancing throwdown between Starscream and Bumblebee and you could have called it Breakin’ 3, Cybertron boogaloo.


Shockwave, the big purple laser blaster who took over for Megatron.

Though Soundwave was also cool: she could birth those cassettes that turned into other robots. It was the only female robot, though they never really got into that aspect of things.


Oh good point about the cassettes…Laserbeak, Ravage…that was key–the Autobots HATED Laserbeak. You’re right about Shockwave. Seemed a waste to maroon him on Cybertron and only break him out for key confrontations. I’d have relegated Astrotrain or some other benchwarmer to Cybertron and chucked Shockwave right into the starting rotation.


Oh, let’s not even get into the whole Cybertron/Earth thing. It’s
ridiculous that having Cybertron for a possible setting that the show was
*better* centered on Earth.

Also, that there were only two planets available, and that the Earth was
the only place they could produce Energon cubes.


Wow, I never really pondered that re: the energon cubes, or why Cybertron was the only other planet of note. I guess you just take certain things for granted when you’re 10.

Another thing that got me: In the episode where Beachcomber discovered Electrum, that golden liquid that’s presumably magic urine that makes you invulnerable to attack–if he knew what Electrum was, doesn’t it stand to reason that it exists somewhere? Since it makes you absolutely invulnerable, why wouldn’t both the Autobots and especially the Decepticons spend every episode looking for a source of electrum, given they’d win the war in a walk if they could find it? Just because one pond full of it was blown up somewhere in Ohio or wherever they were supposed to be doesn’t mean more doesn’t exist.


The Electrum thing ranks with Lex Luthor’s discarding of the crystal-that-kills-Superfriends during the greatest/worst episode of Challenge of the Superfriends ever.


So did the Autobots essntially stay on Earth, instead of returning to Cybertron, because they were out of energy, or because they wanted to prevent the Decepticons from getting all of Earth’s energy, which would presumably enabled them to win the war and conquer the galaxy? Or were the Autobots just big fans of the Big Mac?


Well, as you’ll recall, they land on earth because they’re on this ship
duking it out in Cybertron orbit, then it goes out of control and lands on Earth. The Decepticons decide to take it over, the Autobots oppose this takeover. Repairing the ship initially isn’t even an option.

However, I find the Autobots’ view short-sighted. Both sides need energy to survive, and much more of it to sway the course of war on Cybertron. The Decepticons take an aggressive approach to the problem, and considering how easy it is to hold up a gas station and turn that into energon cubes, it’d be pretty easy for them to prey on rural America for their own supplies, and then plan out from there. The Autobots are
good-hearted, for whatever programming flaw, and also decide to remain concealed from humanity.

Think about the scope of that idiotic decision, by the way.
Decepticons: don’t care if humans know they exist, though it’s easier to operate on the down-low they make no attempts at operational security and terrorize people all the time, thus instilling terror of giant robots who steal your energy

Autobots: don’t want humans to know they exist, though they sometimes have to fight Decepticons openly, they immediately run off, thus instilling fear of giant robots who steal your energy and for no reason then fight each other with massive laser weapons that wreck widescale devestation.

Seriously, Optimus: the word will get out pretty quickly. Get ahead of the news, announce your presence like you’re Interpol for giant robot civilizations, ally with the UN to get access to world police organizations and funding, and suddenly you’re the good guys, you can help countries harden their infrastructure against attack and develop early-warning systems, etc. This forces the Decepticons to more and more
desperate attacks at the periphery, and soon they’re allied with North Korea and you get to wipe them out in set battles, rather than chasing them around the Urals all the time.

As an aside, that was my plan for the *Decepticons* to take over the planet, by announcing themselves as the good guys and then framing the autobots for energy thefts.


Here’s another question: Why the hell didn’t the Autobots just sic Omega Supreme on the Decpticons and wipe ’em out once and for all? Geez, that guy was like 3 Devastators.


They’re like the British when they had the chance to assasinate Hitler… they decided it wouldn’t be sporting.


Yeah…better to finesse ’em with a pansy VW Bug and a dunebuggy instead. Geez, even Grimlock could have hatched better plans than Optimus did.


Optimus: Autobots, roll out!
Grimlock: Me Grimlock say plan stupid! Listen to Grimlock!
Optimus: No, don’t! We’ve got to get on the road so we can get to the hydroelectric dam.
Grimlock: Optimus dummy! Me Grimlock go to army base! Dinobots steal big nukes, drop on dam! Decepticons go boom! Ha ha ha ha!
Optimus: Blowing up that dam will release a flood of water that will destroy the town. Come on, we’ve got to go beat traffic, since only you Dinobots and Skyfire can fly.
Grimlock: Bomb vaporize water! No harm to humans!
Jazz: Heyyyyyy, uh, Optimus, this isn’t a bad idea, riiiiight?
Optimus: What about the thousands of people who depend on the free electric power of the dam?
Grimlock: We autobots rebuild dam better! Take us two days! Me Grimlock
design new generator! Twice as much free power for hu-mans!
Optimus: But stealing is wrong.
Grimlock: Stealing not so bad! Decepticons worse! Net good for universe!
Optimus: We Autobots will never steal, no matter how large the potential gain.
Grimlock: Me Grimlock laugh at moral absolutes! Ha ha ha! You Optimus thank Grimlock Grimlock destroy Decepticons and we go back to Cybertron heros.
Optimus: Nope, sorry. If I have to fight the Decepticons by myself, then
so be it!
Jazz: Soo heeyyyyy, Grimlock, I was thinking.
Grimlock: Grimlock listening.
Jazz: How many Decepticons would we wipe out, seeeeeeeeee?
Grimlock: Grimlock understand. Noble sacrifice of Optimus not be forgotten. Dinobots — we get bomb now!


29 Responses to “Derek and Jonah on the Transformers”

  1. Evan on September 10th, 2004 3:22 pm

    ROFL – great post! Any post that mentions Starscream is good.

    You also reminded me of that National Guardsman who legally changed his named to Optimus Prime:

  2. Troy Sowden on September 10th, 2004 3:27 pm

    Didn’t know about that one Evan. Wow. Seriously, has there ever been a society more amazing than ours? Again, wow.

  3. Evan on September 10th, 2004 3:39 pm

    Don’t look at me – I’m Canadian. Then again, so is Jonah.

  4. Dash on September 10th, 2004 3:41 pm

    I think I just wet myself. That was so much better than the Simmons/Klosterman ego stroking exchange.

  5. CecilFielderRules on September 10th, 2004 3:44 pm

    Jonah is right – that is hilarious. And the Decepticons were just plain more interesting, with Starscream (annoying as he was) always angling to take over leadership from Megatron. Optimus Prime had the personality of a door-stop, Bumblebee was a wuss, and that stupid human that was always with them (Sparky? Spike? something like that…) was a complete tool.

    Oh, and that link to the guy who changed his name to Optimus Prime is sweet. I can’t believe he actually did that. I’m think about Unicron or Galvatron…

  6. Troy Sowden on September 10th, 2004 3:46 pm

    Simmons Klosterman was sweet, too IMHO, but this was pretty tight. Sadly, I’m about 2 years to young to remember all of the specifics you guys are referencing though.

  7. Jeff in Fremont on September 10th, 2004 3:50 pm

    I’m 33 tomorrow and still got my completely intact Jetfire sitting up on a shelf. Coolest. Transformer. EVER.

  8. moira on September 10th, 2004 4:00 pm

    Oh my god that was brilliant. I don’t even know squat about Transformers except for a vague recollection of how the commercial jingle goes, but it is hilarious that you guys put SO much thought into the logistics of how they fought their wars and whatnot. The choice to post was the RIGHT one.

  9. Mike on September 10th, 2004 4:07 pm

    Great job. It was hilarious. USS Mariner….it’s more than meets the eye

  10. CecilFielderRules on September 10th, 2004 4:08 pm

    I remember getting so excited when I got JetFire for Christmas. I remember breaking/losing all of those red plastic armor parts that snap onto him preatty quickly…

    At one time I had all those carbord cut-outs which had their bios and statistics (and you ‘needed’ the red see-through thing to view them). I think it appealed to the baseball card collector in me. Unfortunately the Transformer Years were also my main baseball card collecting years – which are the most worthless years ever (love those ’86 Topps).

  11. Brian Harper on September 10th, 2004 4:10 pm

    Great fun, that really takes me back. There was nothing like getting home from school for the triple treat of G.I. Joe, Transformers, and Starblazers.

    Jeff in Fremont, you should see about selling your Jetfire. I had 5 original Transformers packed away in their boxes that I dug out of my parents’ attic last year, and sold them on eBay for a total of $1400. I kid you not, some collector nut paid $700 for my Optimus Prime alone.

  12. Jeff in Fremont on September 10th, 2004 4:13 pm

    Jetfire is not for sale! Ever! If/when I have grandkids I’ll pull it out a dangle it in front of them just for fun.

  13. DMZ on September 10th, 2004 4:25 pm

    My cousin had Jetfire/Skyfire, and I envied him soooo much for it. By far the coolest Transformer ever. And then later, I saw this show called “Robotech…”

    I’ve never been able to afford a Jetfire, so I bought a cheap knockoff Veritech (Fokker’s) instead.

  14. David J Corcoran on September 10th, 2004 4:51 pm

    Way awesome. More transformers please! That took me back!

  15. isaac_spaceman on September 10th, 2004 5:11 pm

    I feel so old. Um, Micronauts?

  16. Matt on September 10th, 2004 5:24 pm

    Yes, truely brilliant.

  17. Starscream on September 10th, 2004 5:34 pm

    three letters:
    l… o… friggin’ l.

    Perhaps you need another blog, Zumsteg. Love the part about the relative-size paradox. That always bugged me too.

  18. sidereal on September 10th, 2004 5:38 pm

    My Soundwave was much beloved. Ravage was, bar none, the coolest cassette. Sadly, they were garage saled when I wasn’t looking. Have you no shame, father?!

    I tried to go pick up some transformers for my son (*wink* *wink*), but they’re just pale imitations now. Big, cheaply made, uninspired toys with no compelling backstory. We got an orange crane that managed to break within 15 minutes.

  19. eponymous coward on September 10th, 2004 7:23 pm

    Um, who’s Jonah?

  20. Jurgen on September 10th, 2004 7:25 pm

    Jetfire kicked ass. I have a great christmas photo from when I got mine as a kid with my cousin sitting beside me who’s got this “Ah, crap” look on his face. If you want to see what jealousy looks like, you’ve got to see this photo.

    I thought Jetfire was a Robotech knock off. Which came first?

  21. NBarnes on September 10th, 2004 9:42 pm

    Soundwave being a girl was always so cool, especially since she was TOTALLY unfeminine. Like, the biggest butch robot girl ever! Soundwave ROCKED!

  22. Vince on September 10th, 2004 10:36 pm

    Are you guys on crack? This is the first time I’ve ever seen Soundwave referred to as a female. He’s a guy, he’s just a guy who carries his buddies around inside his chest. Whatever floats your boat.

    For those of you who enjoyed this thread, I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend the new Transformers comic books by Dreamwave. A lot of kids fell in love with Transformers in the 1980s, and a few of those kids grew up to be ridiculously talented writers and artists. Swing by a comic shop sometime and ask; I think they’re available now in graphic novel form. Or check out

  23. Aron on September 11th, 2004 2:12 am

    No one posted this?

    perhaps it is a given that everyone on the planet has seen it.

  24. CJ on September 11th, 2004 10:01 am

    Devastator and Superion are currently locked in a battle for galactic supremacy on my top shelf.

  25. The Ancient Mariner on September 11th, 2004 1:47 pm

    Jonah is presumably BP contributor Jonah Keri.

    Let me add my applause; I have a whole slew of Transformers, each individually bagged together with their weapons, bio cards, etc. Much fun, especially that last post.

  26. Jonah Keri on September 11th, 2004 2:10 pm

    Yup, that’s me. I was laughing so hard reading Derek’s e-mails I scared half my office.

    We continued the conversation too, debating whether Spike, the dorky kid who hangs out with Bumblebee all the time, is or is not a government spy. This would explain his extreme stupidity (it’s a front, no one’s that dyumb) and also how the Autobots always foil the Decepticons, even though most Autobots can’t fly, Decepticons can, and they have a whole planet to protect. Clearly Spike is the head of a network of spies that feeds the Autobots intelligence on what Megatron is up too, at all times. I feel very strongly about this.

  27. Mutate on September 12th, 2004 12:33 am

    Transformers’ Cybertronian technology involves the Variable Quanta Theory, a fairly popular explanation for such instances as described with Shockwave, Soundwave, and Megatron. The basic premise is that their matter is compacted (think Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, but without the glaring errors and kids riding on ants and sliding on blades of grass) which allows them to take on smaller forms. Decepticons in particular use this feature a lot, and this is likely because they can offset their weight with their antigravity capabilities (remember, a fundamental, functional difference between Autobots and Decepticons is that Decepticons can fly without reliance on a flight-capable alternate mode).

    So Soundwave, likely a hundred or so tons of weight as a robot, is able to compact himself into a tiny cassette recorder – he is, however, the heaviest, most molecularly dense cassette recorder in existence, but he reduces his apparent weight by utilizing his flight capabilities. Much of this also applies to Soundwave’s (and even Blaster’s) cassettes.

    Likewise with Megatron, who is so tightly packed, molecularly, that he’s nigh indestructible as the Walther P38. Megatron is also critical in establishing the feasibility of this sort of technology – Megatron’s firepower comes from a fictional take on antimatter, as his weaponry is a direct portal to a black hole, and by negotiating his link with a black hole he is able to draw on its energy for firepower.

    Shockwave takes this to a different level, though, in that his size variance in alternate mode has less defined parameters (or at least multiple dimension sets) – he can be a gun for a Transformer, could be a gun for a human, or he could stay his enormous size and float around, a gigantic gun in the air.

    This is also why various combiner teams are able to function together – Motormaster, the body component to the Stunticons’ Menasor, is appropriately sized to articulate with his other team mates, but in vehicle mode, Motormaster is an 18-wheeler truck – much, much larger than his automobile colleagues.

    But the best part of it all is… it’s loosely defined fiction. That’s why the above is considered theory, and like anything one reads, just take what’s useful and push the trash aside when developing a view.

    End dorkiness.

  28. B. David on September 13th, 2004 8:07 am

    A- nothing wrong with being Simmons (just so long as he isn’t writing about baseball)

    B- this is quality. MORE!

  29. Gary Carter on September 17th, 2004 8:43 am

    Edgar Martinez is a Transformer. Dump the DH. It’s just unnatural.