The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

Speed Racer
What is it that makes Speed so great? Is it his injection-molded hair? His Swedish-porn-star scarf? The fact that his eyelashes are larger than most North American songbirds? He looks like a woodland creature, if woodland creatures bought all their clothes from Fingerhut catalogs and had poorly synchronized speech. He's the very paragon of glistening nobility and he has a cool car. He's so dreamy. A+

If Barbie is a poor physical role model for young girls, Trixie is a poor physical role model for yearling gazelles. I don't know if her coffee-stirrer legs and arms were designed to save valuable ink, or if the head animator had a thing for coat racks or what, but nonetheless she's still not as pretty as Speed. Is she Speed's girlfriend? Their relationship seems based not so much on romance as on her making little worried noises all the time. Soulmate or designated fretter? C

The Narrator
The narrative voice isn't as active in the Racer oeuvre as it is in, say, the Superfriends, but when it does show up it's always awful. A sampling: "Meanwhile, in a secret hotel room, the secret head of the Alpha Team, Mr. Wiley, is having a secret meeting." Frankly, if it's that secret I'm surprised anyone showed up. The only real purpose the Narrator serves is to say "And here are some bad guys," which isn't really necessary, because Speed Racer bad guys all look distinctively like 1960's joke cocktail napkin characters. D

Racer X
It's not often you find masked riders at major non-wrestling sporting events, which is a shame because they inevitably lend a jaunty air to the proceedings. At any rate, Racer X -- secretly Speed's prodigal brother Rex -- is living proof of the saying "Any crash you can walk away from, disown your father, leave home, return years later as a masked mystery figure and nearly accidentally kill your brother in an impromptu night-time car race is a good one." Profound. B+

Pops Racer
Pops exemplifies Lamarck's Theory of Evolution by Means of Last Name. Each generation of Racers has gotten better and better at racing; simulations predict that Speed's great-great grandchild will be able to break the world land speed record in a Geo Metro. If Pops's last name were "Typist" or "Pusher," it would have been a very different, although probably still inexplicably entertaining, cartoon. This also explains why you see so few people with the last names of "Loser," Failure," and "High Insurance Risk." C+

Spritle and Chim-Chim
Really, really disturbing. If they didn't wear the same outfits, or even if the outfits didn't include those Spanky-by-way-of-Dr.-Seuss skullcaps, I could probably take it. I recognize how essential their loathsome shenanigans are to the Speed Racer look-and-feel, but I'm hoping Spritle's hard at work suppressing memories, because otherwise he's going to have a lot of trouble forming functional relationships later on in life. "Could you grunt like a monkey, baby? Yeah. Now do a backflip. Now try to steal my candy. Oh yeah, baby." C

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