previous article | | next article
Eternia Sells Out!!! He-Man's 900 Line and Man-At-Arms' Burger King Plot!
Matt - 09/30/00

It pains me to say it - but He-Man's sold out! No, I don't mean he's hooked up with Skeletor, essentially forming a unholy pact with evil in exchange for the butter cookies only found at Snake Mountain. I'm talking cash money. He-Man's lost his will to fight for Eternia's safety merely for the honor and respect - he's doing it for the dollars. To accomplish this fiendish financial plot, he's entered into a realm previously utilized only by psychic friends and MTV - the 900 line business!

But before you act too hard on He-Man - realize that he probably did need the money. 20 years and the guy still hasn't saved enough for a pair of pants. He lives in a world of hi-tech vehicles and gadgets, yet had to spend years taming a wild green tiger to get around. If you're wondering why He-Man was so poor, just imagine what his resume looked like. If your only talents are beating Skeletor and beating Beast-Man, you're not going to end up in that top 5 percentile. Let's face it, when all was said and done, the only thing smaller than He-Man's wardrobe was his bank account.

Enter: the 900 line.

A genius idea, really. While He-Man didn't get paid for saving Eternia from the possible threat of having their books stolen by Batros and their useless guards turned to stone by Skeletor's ridiculous diamond rays, he did amass quite a fan following. Surely he could tap the market of 10-year-olds on a distant planet to put a little cash in his pocket. His plan? Offer up the chance for some free He-Man action figures on a commercial. Get his sister She-Ra in on the scam for a little obligatory T&A. And charge little ignorant kids a shitload of cash to call his hotline. Let's take a look at how the results came out...

Getting the people to trust you is an integral part of getting their money - and that's why He-Man hired Skeletor to take a pounding before he started shilling his snake oil. Gorgeous tactic. Skeletor makes a quick 50, and He-Man becomes He-Ro to everyone watching the commercial.

Look, it's Orko! You've seen informercials before. Know how a 'friend' of the host will just happen to waltz onto the set bursting with questions about the hot new product? That's Orko's job here. 'Oh, He-Man! Wow, wasn't expecting to see you here! But while I've got ya - can you tell me everything - in detail - about your hot new 900 number that nobody in their right mind wouldn't call?' Orko opts for the dramatics maybe a little too much, but he's served his purpose and given He-Man the almighty reason to start pitching the robbery to us.

The sales pitch. He-Man was obviously prepped and trained well for this one - notice the casual pose and the pearly whites - all marketing devices used to make us trust him. Notice how they removed the 900 number from the bottom of the screen for this segment? That's just to show you that He-Man's not doing this for the cash - he has a legit piece of heavenly news to share with you. When he's done, then you can make your decision. Remember, He-Man's doing this for you.

Now for the hard-hitting advertising. Toys. Now, we all know that you weren't going to call this hotline and walk away with all these toys for free, but is it really He-Man's job to make sure kids realize that? You obviously haven't heard He-Man's motto: caveat emptor. Also, notice how that 'get your parents permission' warning on the pictures look really blurry? That's not an end result of a badly dubbed video. It was always like that. Kids understand that if you can't read something, it's probably not all that important. And even when the sentence is on the screen legibly, 'calling' looks like 'eating', so kids aren't going to construe that the warning has anything to do with 900 numbers anyway. I can hear He-Man laughing from here.

T&A! Let's not make any mistake about it, there's only one thing pre-pubescent boys are interested in. Hot cartoon ass. And She-Ra's giving us more than our fair share of that. UGO told me I'd have to omit the pictures of She-Ra flashing her tits to the camera if I wanted to get paid for this article, but christ, believe sells. I got one good look at this animated vixen supreme and even I was calling that 900 number, despite it being defunct since 1988. He-Man really did his homework.

Now things were getting out of control. Let's say some phenom could resist the temptations of She-Ra and He-Man's are they going to get by the sheer villainy of subliminal advertising? Think about it - there's a reason that we get cravings for popcorn out of nowhere in the movie theatres, and there's a reason that we'll sit through reruns of Full House. It's not our fault. It's been thrown into our brain impulses without us knowing it. The featured figure here is Hordak, ones of my fave action figures of all time. That would've been enough to make me a slave to the He-Man Powerhouse, but once you tell me that calling this 900 number is going to help me get laid, I'm going to call it from both lines in my house 24 hours a day till Teela arrives in a nurse outfit.

MORE SCRUTINY! Promises of toys, cool. Promises of sex? Even better. But promises of posters? Christ himself couldn't resist. He-Man giving you this free poster was just his way of thanking you for being such a gullible sucker.

Oh, if you're wondering how much all this costs - the call was 2.00 for the first minute, .45 cents each additional. Doesn't seem too unreasonable until you call - the hotline will drone on about how He-Man's toppled Skeletor's plot once again for about 20 minutes before anyone even mentions something about a free toy. And don't tell me it's not true, I was one of the many idiots who called. Several times. See, there was a 'new adventure every day', so I just figured...eventually...I'd hear something about some free action figures before five minutes went by. My theory was that my parents wouldn't get too upset if I called a hotline for under five minutes. I didn't take into account the effects my calling the number for 4 minutes every day for three weeks straight would have. I learned an important lesson when the phone bill arrived that month. Even parents with the most devout policies against child abuse will make exceptons.

So there you have it. He-Man's master plot to make himself a very rich man, with more property, women, and luxuries than he could ever imagine. Did it work? You tell me.

Mmm hmm.

Meanwhile, He-Man isn't the only Eternian that wants money. There's someone else who got bit by the greed bug. While this guy wasn't nearly as important to the safety of Eternia as He-Man, he still played a crucial role in giving me material to make fun of left and right. This guy's contributions to Eternia were nominal at best - at the rate he fucked things up, you'd swear he's a double-agent from the Horde. His name? Man-At-Arms.

To prove how poor Man-At-Arms is, all one really needs to do is understand that fact that He-Man himself was never paid for his job. If the guy who's saving Eternia isn't getting well do you think Man-At-Arms, Eternia's answer to Cousin Oliver, was doing? There's a reason he wears a clunky piece of metal on his head -- poor guy can't afford a hat. There's a reason Teela's his adoptive daughter. Couldn't afford to reverse that vasectomy. But now it's his time to shine. Man-At-Arms has a plan.

Now, Man-At-Arms has no star power, and he realizes this. Hell, if Man-At-Arms tells you to buy something, even as a mere friend-to-friend suggestion, the poor company who owns the product will be out of business in two days. That's how bad his reputation is. So he made a smart decision - sit on the sidelines, keep his name off the credits, and let the child actors do the work. He also developed a great working partnership with fast food's secondary character, Burger King. His idea? Take the cheapest item humanly possible and promote it like it's the greatest thing ever made. The end result? Plastic cups.

Calling this genius would be an understatement. Cardinal rule of kids #63: they want everything. It could be a great toy or a shitty rock, if it's available: they want it. Man-At-Arms and Burger King came to this stunning realization, and formulated a commercial featuring 'hot' new He-Man cups to capitilize. Man-At-Arms makes a 40% commission, and Burger King ends up clogging more arteries than McDonald's. Everybody wins. Now, check out some of these shots from the commercial. Notice how the kids make the cups seem like the best thing they've ever encountered. But all the while, remember...these are just plastic cups.

Little Jimmy gets his Masters of the Universe cup and freaks out like he's just won the lotto. The kid is playing with the cup. Now, I'm not one to denounce the animism possibilities of fucking cups, but please! It's drinkingware, not a football. Sure, it's got some He-Man pictures on it, but this is no reason for Jimmy to revert into a bumbling giddy idiot. Look at that first picture above...the kid is licking his lips! He's friggin licking his lips over a cup! Spare us the drama, Man-At-Arms!

The cups feature one of MOTU's fallen heroes, Moss Man. Remember him? The guy who could sneak up on the enemy by camoflauging himself as grass? In pro-wrestling, this is what's commonly reffered to as a 'shitty gimmick'. But considering how some of the other He-Man characters' special talents included extending necks and bee costumes, this really wasn't all that bad.

Oh yeah, this kid's got the power now. He-Man has a mystical sword, Jimmy has a plastic cup. That'll keep the bullies away at school.

This one was so bad, I've uploaded the actual soundclip from the commercial so you can hear it for yourself. Click here to hear the bullshit. Notice the dramatic music? These plastic cups are noting to joke about.

So, the Eternian's have sold out. At least now they can probably afford outfits that aren't so dated. And no more sharing cereal bowl milk for Ram-Man and Stratos. Things are looking up for the Eternians, and they've got the Power of Advertising to thank.

Now, before I take off, check out these mystery pics for a special pictorial look at some of He-Man's finest collectibles. They'll all come up in a convenient pop-up window, so you won't lose your place on this page and can continue staring at She-Ra's chest.

- Matt

PS - Do you have anything you think would make a good article for X-E? Video tape, magazine, toy, anything? Part with your crap and see it immortalized on X-E....if you've got some junk to get rid of, drop me a line!