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Toys No Child Could Love: Soundwave

Rich Cerow

In the 90-Second Movie Review for Scoop, I took some time out to bash quite possibly my least favorite G.I. Joe action figure ever, also named Scoop. After receiveing rave reviews for that segment (as in, one person, maybe, kinda seemed to like it), I've decided to turn my disdain for ridiculous characters in otherwise solid toy lines into a semi-regular feature. And so you have before you Toys No Child Could Love, where we look at the characters nobody would voluntarily want, but instead got stuck with when their Grandma went to get them a birthday present and knew, "Well, he likes those mutie turtle things, and cleanliness is an important life lesson to be learned as its next to godliness, so let me pick him up this 'Toxic Avenger' toy that comes with this mop." And that's how you find yourself with Scoop, or this week's victim, Soundwave.
Now that I've got your secret plans, Autobots, it's time to fast forward! (Except Soundwave talked like a Speak & Spell and would never say that, due to an absence of attitude.)

Soundwave, for those who don't remember and whose browsers can't load this picture, was the evil Decepticon who transformed from an awesome hulking robots with a cool gattling laser gun on his shoulder into...a giant 1980's boom box. With audio tapes. I'd like to point out that the CD format first reached the market in 1982. Sure, it wasn't massively popular at first, but these were robots who had traversed galaxies - I would think they would have had a digital storage device! If not some kind of crazy holographic recording device. Sure, his tapes were a bit cooler than your copy of "Gloria" by Laura Branigan, as they transformed into various animal friends (although why the animals, being made of the same hardware as the rest of the Transformers, weren't sentient is another Transformers mystery...which I'm sure could have been solved if Bumblebee had just been given a fedora and done voice-over for one lame episode that was a film noir montage that there would be no way kids would ever get... "Until that one day this dame walked into my life" kind of thing). But still, animal friends aren't cool; they're for David the Gnome, and all he wanted to do was work in his garden. What kid wants to work in a garden and giggle in an effeminate manner?

No kid. Kids want to shoot lasers and fly, not be a static piece of surveilance equipment. But maybe poor technology wasn't what Soundwave was really about. Maybe it was just Mattel's attempt to cash in on the burgeoning hip-hop culture, and what's more indicative of that culture than a blaring boom box busting out the latest beats from the streets? I admit, this would give Soundwave some street cred and lend him an aura of cool, except for one glaring problem - when Soundwave transformed, he was massive, and no way could Starscream ever pick him up and have a portable party with the latest from Kool Moe Dee or Curtis Blow. In fact, in the history of Transformers, I don't think Soundwave was ever once picked up and carried on somebody's shoulder, which makes him automatically nothing more than a massive black hole for size 'D' batteries. Besides, all he ever played on those tapes were recordings of the Autobots secret plans anyway. It would have been sweet if, just once, he played back the tape and you could hear Grimlock laying down some slick rhymes while Optimus Prime scratched in the background.

Shockwave should have been replaced with... Buffy the Human Beatbox from the Fat Boys.

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