It’s quite possible the stupidest episode of G.I. Joe ever is called Cold Slither. Cobra’s broke, their bases and armaments are up for auction, and Cobra Commander decides it’s a good idea to create a rock band and insert subliminal messages into the songs. Recruiting the Dreadnoks for the mission Cobra disguises them as a rock band called Cold Slither. With Zartan on vocals and the others playing guitar, keyboards, and drums, they jump into the top 20 in a matter of weeks, attracting an audience of suburban Americans vying for the latest thing in manufactured pop music. The goal is to create an army of suburban rockers, subservient to Cobra. Naturally it doesn’t work out.
The song is pretty funny but the idea of incorporating subliminal messages into rock songs is absurd. Of course backmasking is a real technique, used by The Beatles and many other artists, but it isn’t really viable. Of course this episode of G.I. Joe appeared in the 1980s, when LP records were still in mass production, but the whole concept of subjugating the masses through subliminal messages in cheap rock music is moronic. Didn’t this concept culminate in a trial against Judas Priest where they were found innocent? If I remember correctly, a group of American teens killed themselves and their parents blamed Judas Priest, claiming Rob Halford and company placed pro-suicide lyrics in their songs. What? Who thought blaming Judas Priest for the actions of a few idiotic suburban teenagers was a good idea? How is it Judas Priest’s fault a few teenagers were imbeciles?
People like this, mostly Christians, were responsible for the notoriety of these bands, regardless of what they believe. Bringing Judas Priest to trial for suggesting a group of moronic teens commit suicide made them a household name, elevating them from a well known British heavy metal band into an infamous rock outfit known the world over. What about those record burning parties where parents would burn their kids’ rock records? Didn’t the kids go out and buy more copies, boosting record sales? It’s entirely possible the religious right was responsible for these mediocre groups’ elevated record sales; you make more money when kids buy your records twice. If I was in a subpar band like Judas Priest I’d probably thank anti-rock Christians for building my bank account.
By the end of the episode G.I. Joe saves the day and thwarts Cobra’s insipid scheme, but they realize the audience at a giant coliseum wants a rock show – G.I. Joe delivers. The episode concludes with Duke, Shipwreck, and a few other Joe’s belting out the show’s theme song with a driving rock beat. It’s one of those moments when you’re at a loss for words, watching pro-American propagandists believing they’re making something powerful and clever. In reality it’s insane, discrediting any validity a pro-American agenda would have to say.
Honestly, this is the most inane episode of G.I. Joe I’ve ever seen, not making me despise rock ‘n roll at all. If anything it damaged my faith in music, detracting from my love of music – I can’t believe it’s possible somebody could write a story involving music that’s this stupid. Regardless, it’s hilarious, but in that horribly embarrassing way. Good luck.
Below is the episode in three parts. Once again, good luck.