Rembert Explains the ’80s: SilverHawks

Editor’s Note: Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the ’80s. Every so often, we’ll e-mail 24-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn’t seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he’s watching it, then we’ll post those thoughts here. This week’s installment was selected by Hollywood Prospectus editor Mark Lisanti: SilverHawks (Episode 1 — “The Origin Story”). If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the ’80s, e-mail us at

0:15 No words yet, but four metal bird things just jumped out of planes and are flying. I’m interested.

0:16 Narrator: “They fly on silver wings.” OK. Go on.

0:20 Whoa, three of them just shot lasers out of their shoulders, and the fourth shoots them out of the bottom of its feet. This is sick.

0:23 Narrator: “They fight with nerves of steel.” I see that. I can’t believe those lasers came out of that bird’s feet.

0:25 Narrator: “Partly metal, partly real … they are, The SilverHawks.” I’ve been not-so-secretly wanting the nickname “Half Metal, Rest Real” my entire life. At least someone gets to have it.

0:34 Narrator: “Born of a time beyond time, they sacrificed their human bodies, modified to withstand the stress of their long journey through space to the galaxy of Limbo, sent there to defend the universe against the terrible Mon Star and his intergalactic mob.”

Pause. Just wait a minute. So many things just happened:

1. “Born of a time beyond time” — I don’t think a phrase has ever meant less.

2. “They sacrificed their human bodies” — These half-metal birds used to be people? Did they sign up for this? Was there a draft? What year was this?

3. “Modified to withstand the stress of their long journey through space” — I don’t think “modified” has ever been used in a cartoon. Actually, I know “modified” has never been used in a cartoon. I hope this doesn’t turn into some educational science show about chemistry, the periodic table, and shape-shifting space travel. I hate those.

4. “To the galaxy of Limbo” — This plot, so far, is starting to sound a tad Scientological. Was L. Ron Hubbard behind SilverHawks? Is “Limbo” where Xenu is from? You know, Xenu, dictator of the Galactic Confederacy and the guy who brought all his people to Earth via intergalactic JetBlue, stacked everyone around volcanoes, and then killed everyone by way of hydrogen bombs? Is that what this show is about? Uh-oh.

5. “Sent there to defend the universe against the terrible Mon Star and his intergalactic mob” — So for 15 years I’ve been under the impression that Space Jam invented “Mon Star,” when, in actuality, they bit it from L. Ron and the SilverHawks. Wow. That movie will never be the same. What a shame.

OK, back to the show. I think the narrator is about to list the Mon Star’s goon squad.

0:50 Narrator: “Yes-Man, Buzzsaw, Mumbo Jumbo, Wind Hammer, Molecular, Poker Face, Hardware, and the musical madness of Melodia.”

Pause Forever. I don’t know if I can ever recover from the past 13 seconds. These are the coolest villains ever created. I hope they destroy the SilverHawks so bad. Based on what just happened, what I think they are:

Yes-Man: A half rattlesnake/half top hat wearing monkey that resembles a sickly Abu from Aladdin.
Buzzsaw: The Tin Man, if he was jacked and had buzzsaws coming out of every joint.
Mumbo Jumbo: A Cajun half bull/half armadillo that blows out fire because he eats a lot of spicy food.
Wind Hammer: A very large Winklevoss with an even larger tuning fork as a weapon.
Molecular: Unclear, but is definitely the Ma-Ti (Heart) from Captain Planet of the group (no real powers, but a great listener).
Poker Face: A pimp.
Hardware: A dwarfish, Gimli-esque warrior with a complex and a huge gun.
Melodia: The first girl cut at Jem tryouts, so she now uses her musical shortcomings for evil.

What a lineup.

1:07 Mon Star is super scary. Not joking around in the slightest. Hasn’t the slightest interest in playing basketball against Muggsy Bogues.

1:24 This intro is still going on and it looks like we haven’t even gotten into the good guys (the home team) and their introductions. This might go past two minutes.

1:25 Narrator: “The SilverHawks … Their leader, Quicksilver, and his companion, Tally Hawk, the invincible spy satellite and interceptor.”

As weird as this is getting, I’m pretty amped right now. I hope I don’t start becoming invested in these good guys, because I really want to watch Poker Face and Wind Hammer bring the ruckus.

1:34 Narrator: “The tough-as-nails super twins, Steel Heart and Steel Will, true to their names in heart, soul, and spirit.”

Third Pause. For one, who names their twins “Heart” and “Will”? Secondly, why not mix it up with the metals and go “Steel Heart” and “Manganese Will”? Thirdly, I love how the narrator went all Don Cornelius to wrap up that description. Also, it should be noted that this narrator is putting in work right now. Easily the star of this show. If he gets paid by the word, this intro alone is putting at least two of his kids through private school. What a performance.

1:41 Narrator: “Bluegrass, guitar-picking ace pilot of their incredible ship, The Mirage.” A cowboy, potentially gunslinging pilot can’t be a good thing for the SilverHawks. He’s probably a show-off and likes to do barrel rolls through the galaxy while lassoing random appliances in the cockpit. I say this basing all of my cowboy knowledge on Dwayne Robertson from Mighty Ducks 2.

1:54 Oh yes, it’s called “The Mirage” because Bluegrass knows how to make it disappear. Well done. I take some of my malicious feelings back, but let’s not forget making things disappear is the ultimate party trick. Show-off.

1:55 Narrator: “And, from the planet of the mines, the Copper Kid.” Yes, this is the one that shoots lasers out of its feet. Love the Copper Kid. Oh no, I’m starting to like the good guys. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

2:03 Wow. We’re past two minutes and I see a new character that most likely will be introduced. I’m guessing the intro ends at 2:34. It can’t possible go past that.

2:04 Narrator: “Their commander, Stargazer, directs the team from his orbiting headquarters: Hawk Haven.” Yes, every great action cartoon needs a character with a serious eye condition. Yes.

2:10 Narrator: “The SilverHawks: the first super-androids with the minds of men and the muscles of machines.” Seems like a bold statement to make, Mr. Narrator, with “the first.” What’s true is that they will be the first super-android Scientologists with the minds of men and the muscles of machines to be destroyed by a Cajun, a Winklevoss, and a backup singer’s backup singer. No argument there.

2:17 I thought I was hearing things, but it just happened for a fifth time. For some reason, someone snuck in the music that plays when Pac-Man dies running into Pinky, Inky, Blinky, or Clyde, and then looped it behind the music every 20 seconds. I promise that’s what it is.

2:25 Finally, after almost two and a half minutes, the intro is over. That has to be some kind of record. I’m exhausted.

(1 millisecond later)

Still 2:25 (Music starts)

2:26 You have to be kidding me.

2:33 (Song starts)

2:34 The first 2:25 wasn’t even the intro sequence. It was apparently more of an info session. My mind is blown.

2:36 Lyric: “Wings of silver, nerves of steel.” Yeah, I get it. Metal shell, brave human attributes. THIS WAS ALL IN THE REFRESHER COURSE.

2:39 Lyric: “Partly metal, partly real.” This is just getting insulting. How did I get tracked in the slow class?

2:47 Lyric: “Soaring through the highway of the heavens in their flight. SilverHawks, a rainbow in the niiiiight.” I’m still upset, but moderately pleased that whoever is singing keeps hitting these high notes. But yes, still upset.

2:59 Guitar solo and look who’s playing it. It’s our old friend Bluegrass, doing everything in his power to not drive the ship responsibly. If you thought I wanted the villains to win a minute ago, you have no idea where I am now, suffering through this second intro.

3:07 One thing we didn’t learn in Intro 1 that just became clear: The planet where Mon Star lives looks like a pumpkin that has gotten kicked over by punk high school kids entirely too old to be trick-or-treating, and then left to sit and rot under a pile of leaves until uncovered in mid-February. Or some other hypothetical, un-autobiographical description like that.

3:13 Mon Star gyrates extremely aggressively. Definitely should have been in RIZE.

3:18 Oh look, there are the bad guys. I wonder what their names are/if some of them are pimps.

3:24 This second intro is extremely biased. There is a battle sequence and the SilverHawks are winning. I don’t understand how that could happen. The bad guys have a pimp and rattlesnake monkey with a top hat.

3:38 The villains retreat and the SilverHawks pose victoriously. It’s almost like the intro clip is ending and they want to start the episode. That’s weird.

3:40 End intro.

3:43 THE ACTUAL EPISODE: “The Origin Story,” written by Peter Lawrence.

Yeah, I’m done. I plan on never actually watching an episode of the SilverHawks, after what just happened. You can just throw two intros–two shockingly long intros–at a guy without warning him up-front. All trauma everything. I’m sure in the end the SilverHawks find a way to come out on top, but I will always have pleasure of not knowing for sure, and thus holding on to the belief that Mon Star and his crew, the Little Giants of the cartoon bad guy world, found a way to believe in each other and reign terror on the Galaxy of Limbo and any other galaxy L. Ron wrote into the script.

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Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

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