Rembert Explains the ’80s: Automan

Rembert note: Lisanti tried to give me another Manimal clip. Really? A second Manimal, but still no “We Are the World”? This is starting to get insulting.

[Ed. note — I can’t find the name of the reader who brilliantly suggested this show, one of the brief favorites of my youth. You know who you are, and you have our eternal gratitude.]

0:05 Whoa, that suit is shiny.

0:10 Show = AUTOMAN.

0:15 That’s so sick. He just draws something and it becomes that something. He outlined a car and then it became a car. No one Automan should have all that drawing power.

0:23 Automan drives like a crazy person. At least he didn’t pass on the right.

0:28 Shut up. Desi Arnaz Jr. is AUTOMAN? This is unbelievable. I’m so happy, but I don’t know why.

0:33 Chuck Wagner, as … another Automan? Is Automan a crew? Like Young Money?

0:37 What is this thing that keeps buzzing around the screen? It’s like Tinkerbell, but not even remotely hot.

0:54 STOP. Halt production. That thing that was buzzing around the screen is a character, listed as “Cursor” played by Himself. So, unless I’m mistaken, the makers of Automan reached out to Cursor and said, “Hey, we’d like you to have a prominent role in this new show, Automan.” And Cursor responded with, “I will, as long as I can play as myself.” And they responded with, “We’d be honored, Cursor.” I honestly don’t know what to do right now. I was under the assumption it was just some early PowerPoint setting. I’m floored.

0:57 Cursor just looked down some girl’s shirt. CLASSIC Cursor.

1:00 I can’t figure out what Automan is or who Automan is or what Automan’s powers really are. So far, it consists of drawing helicopters that turn into real helicopters and shooting lasers out of their palms. Or his palms. I don’t know.

1:24 What the narrator just said about Dezi’s character (Walter) pretty much sums up my relationship with Simmons:

“You see, Walter’s a policeman. Unfortunately the chief doesn’t want Walter on the streets.”

Walter: Captain.
Chief: Get BACK to your case. NOW.

“So Walter must fight crime in his own way. In the computer room.”

I love the streets.

1:43 I don’t know who’s narrating, but I have a horrible feeling it’s Cursor. Please don’t be Cursor.

1:47 Because this is a technological ’80s show, it’s already apparent this will be a goldmine for “new age” references. We’ve already had “computer room” and now this:

“Walter’s advanced knowledge of electronics led him to experiment with what is called a ‘hologram.'”

Too good. Please give me “information superhighway” or “Black president” next, puh-lease. Oh, there’s more:

1:50 “That’s a very fancy word for a 3-dimensional picture …”

Please break down what dimensions mean. You must. Gimme Gimme More.

1:52 “… that, when perfected, can be made to look real, sound real, and, given enough power, can be made to feel real. That’s what kinda got me into this world.”

2:02 Who is “me”? Please don’t be Cursor. I’m begging you, in the name of Vitameatavegamin.

2:17 YES YES YES. Cursor is not narrating. AUTOMAN is narrating. Dezi is not Automan, Dezi MADE Automan. Automan is the Chuck Wagner guy, who looks like a cross between ER George Clooney and pre-worst John Edwards. Also, he’s a hologram. Sorry, Will-i-am, but it didn’t start with you. The world needs to know that. This is my mission.

2:24 The best part about Automan, which makes no sense, is that his whole body is this weird, matrix-y, world wide web-y pattern, but his head is completely normal.

2:31 Automan is mad cocky. How are you just created and one of the first real things you say is, “I look wonderful.” Chill, pretty-boy hologram. Chill.

2:41 Important dialogue:

Automan: Why did you call me Automan?
Walter: It means you’re truly the world’s first automatic man. You can do anything, because you’re not real.
Automan: Oh, but I am, I’m as real as you are, but different. And thanks to you, perfect.

Uh-oh. Automan’s got a God complex. I see this as hindering his ability to fight crime. He’s like Floyd Mayweather. Automan would definitely be on the Money Team.

2:51 It gets worse. Automan’s about to be a handful:

Walter: Nobody’s perfect, Automan.
Automan: That’s not true, Walter. You programmed me to observe other people and do whatever they do, as well as they can do it.


Automan: Jimmy Connors playing tennis, John Travolta dancing, in fact on a scale of 1-10, think of me as … an 11.

He really does talk like a rapper. He’s got to loosen up his dialogue a little bit, but he pretty much lives by the same beliefs as Rick Ross.

3:11 Dezi is worried. As he should be: In his own words, “I created a monster,” which Automan (now back in narrator mode, I really can’t keep up with this show) responds with, “No, what Walter really created was a force for good.”


3:30 Post-commercial break and suddenly Automan is an actor. What? Did this clip get chopped and screwed?

3:47 Automan just got a part in a movie and is extremely pleased with himself. Obviously.

3:52 He just referred to himself as “the next Clint Eastwood,” and then labels his first film Dirty Auto. That’s phenomenal, how has that film never been made? I’d see Dirty Auto 20 times. Dirrrrty Auto 100 times.

4:28 A completely new scene just happened, with Automan in the backseat of a car with a silencer, threatening the driver. I can’t tell if this a movie role or real life, but I think Dezi was in the backseat. This is a shockingly confusing show.

4:42 WAIT. Cursor = Automan? I need a diagram or a flow chart or something. Apparently Automan can go Alex Mack, but instead of sliding under doors, he turns into a ball of shiny energy and flies around. Why was Cursor given his own character? This is so odd.

4:44 Automan just Cursored into the police station, I think. His body is the hologram, but his head is still very much there. Can people see him? Do they just see a floating head? Was this show approved by Neil deGrasse Tyson?

4:59 I give up. The Cursor is not Automan. Automan is in the room, hacking into computers, and when a lady walks in and sees him, Cursor just starts flying around the room. I give up on figuring out the characters in this show. Also, yes. She can very much see him.

5:09 Automan is getting into Walter’s files. Is Automan a bad guy? Where is Dezi? Did Automan KILL DEZI?

5:15 Another guy walks in. Automan hides behind the door. How on earth is his glowing blue aura not obvious? I would guess whether or not he can see him, but I just don’t care anymore. Too confusing.

5:35 OK. I’m going to give it one more try. I think I figured out Cursor. He’s Automan’s sidekick, very much like Tinkerbell, and when he needs to change forms, Cursor somehow outlines what he needs and it happens. Cursor traced a suit on Automan and one second later he was wearing a suit. He’s like Mystique from X-Men, but not as evil. Not yet.

5:50 I think Automan just framed Dezi. On a drug charge. Automan is the worst. How are you going to snitch on the guy who created you?

6:26 Automan and one of the lieutenants are about to go investigate what’s going on with Walter. This should be a fun bonding trip for the two of them.

6:49 Automan is back at the wheel, now passing on the left and right, like a jerk, going 200 mph.

6:53 I’ve learned you could say anything in the ’80s and get away with it if you used enough adjectives. Case in point:

Lt.: What kind of car is this?
Automan: It’s a top-secret, experimental, governmental car.
Lt.: That I can believe.


7:19 Lt. can’t handle this car ride, maybe it’s because Automan just hit a 90 degree left turn at about 300 mph. Other than that, they seem to be getting along swimmingly.

7:33 Lt. is asleep, so Cursor comes out and has a conversation with Automan. Cursor (never forget he’s bravely playing himself) can’t speak, but bounces up and down and Automan understands. It’s like Air Bud 1, 4, and 7.

7:40 Automan just confirmed to Cursor that their powers are low and that they need to find a power plant.

8:00 Automan works for the federal government, further proof that if you’re pretty enough and a hologram, you can get anything in life.

8:15 Lt. has been ditched, and Automan and Cursor are looking for the town’s power plant. They say it’s to charge up, but I’m sure they’re stealing uranium.

8:20 Automan whizzes by and Walter sees him. It looks like he’s being held captive or is in jail or something. Wait, is Automan actually good? Has this whole thing been a way to break him out? It can’t be. Prove it, Automan. Prove it to me that you’re not just a uranium-stealing hologram spy.

8:55 Yo, I take back everything bad I said about Cursor. Automan just said he needed a motorcycle and Cursor outlined one and then it appeared. Cursor is officially the coolest sidekick ever. Sorry, Landry Fields.

9:17 And just when you thought Cursor was done, he outlined Automan a set of tight jeans and a leather biker jacket. This is too good.

9:25 Oh, that’s why the episode made no sense. Someone just took out the best parts of the episode and now it’s over, which means we’ll never know if Automan is good or evil, and if Desi Arnaz was really a drug dealer or not. Thank you, whoever made this video, for doing me a favor.


9:30 The closing credits:

“Tomorrow on Good Morning America, the best music videos of the year, Michael Jackson, The Police, Culture Club, and Duran Duran, and affordable fashions for your family. Also this week, Paul Newman, this week on Good Morning America.”


Filed Under: Rembert Explains