The ThunderCats don't have the cultural clout of Transformers or even He-Man, but it still has a legion of fans that remember it fondly to this day. Chances are, this is because they've forgotten how weird and ridiculous the cartoon usually was. Here are a dozen "fun" facts that should remind you the ThunderCats weren't just loose, they were loony.
1) Lion-O was actually a little kid.
In the beginning of the series, the ThunderCats flee into space to escape the destruction of their home world of Thundera. Lion-O, the son of King Claudus, is a mere 12-year-old when he's put into suspended animation during the long trip to Third Earth along with Cheetara, Panthro, Tygra, and the rest. When Lion-O wakes up, he actually kind of enthused to discover there was a malfunction with his capsule that let his body age into adulthood — while his mind is actually younger than that of WilyKit and WilyKat.
2) They all woke up on Third-Earth nude.
You certainly remember that the ThunderCats wore armor and clothes, correct? And they did, all the time… except when they first wake up on Third Earth in their birthday suits. Now, they're still covered in their fur and everything, so no nipples are exposed, and I assume everyone's genitals were sheathed. But seeing as the inaugural episode takes the time to show the ThunderCats putting their clothes on later, there can be no doubt that the show went out of its way to depict its characters unclothed.
3) There were actually plenty of humans on the show.
While the ThunderCats and their weird animal allies and foes were obviously ThunderCats' stars, the show was not devoid of humans, who stopped by on a reasonably regular basis. There was an intergalactic big game hunter named Safari Joe (who dressed in traditional "big game hunter" garb); a variety of bounty hunters; a samurai from "the Planet of the Red Sun"; and many more. There were actually a bunch of humans already living on Third Earth as well, although 90% of them were royalty and/or wizards, like Queen Tartara and Brodo. And there was even a tribe of Amazons living on Third Earth called the Warrior Maidens (a bit on the nose, if you ask me) who became friends with the ThunderCats. Why did Third Earth have Amazons? Well, because…
4) Third Earth is actually just Earth.
Specifically, our earth is First Earth, and then it had a couple of calamities and so that the planet is now in its third… stage, I guess? But however weird Third Earth gets, what with the giant and the unicorns and the Berbils, it's still our planet in the future, hence the humans still living there, as well as the humans scattered across space. If humanity alone isn't enough to convince you, in the first episode, Mumm-Ra is shown clearly living in the great pyramid of Giza,. In another episode, the Ancient Spirits of Evil tell Mumm-Ra that Excalibur was the greatest sword ever made, so Mumm-Ra disguises himself as King Arthur and borrows it from the Lady of the Lake. So unless the Lady of the Lake has a spaceship and map of the galaxy's best lakes, it was probably the original. Also, Merlin has to stop by to save the day, and if he had to travel through time and space to get there, he didn't mention it.
5) Snarf's real name was Osbert.
And members of Snarf's race are called Snarfs, so the ThunderCats just can't be bothered to learn his real name. Also, Snarf went to Snarf College, because the Snarfs are the worst.
6) Mumm-Ra had a dog.
It's name was Ma-Mutt, and if you're at all reminded of Dick Dastardly and his dog Muttley from then old Hanna-Barbara cartoon Wacky Races, then you've got the right idea, except that Mumm-Ra was more evil than Dastardly, and yet somehow just as incompetent. Like Muttley, Ma-Mutt was actually more successful than his master, if only because he knew enough not to fuck with the ThunderCats. Ma-Mutt could fly and grow many times his size, understand speech, and even masquerade as Mumm-Ra sometimes to the point of issuing orders as him. Mumm-Ra considered Ma-Mutt his only true friend, even once telling the dog dog he loved him, on camera, thus ruining all credibility of evil the character had ever achieved.
7) The Sword of Omens was the most ridiculous deus ex machina in all of fiction.
Seriously. When the show started out, Lion-O's sword had a set list of powers — it extended, it flashed the ThunderCats signal, it gave him sight beyond sight, and even allowed him to shoot energy beams. Fine. But by the time the second season started, the writers stopped even trying to send stories, and the Sword of Omens literally did anything the plot required it to: It cured the ThunderCats of anything from illness to being hit by a shrink ray. It turned into a pole so Lion-O could polevault over things. He could fly on it. He could control the weather. Most insanely, the ThunderCats logo the sword would project? By the end of the series, the logo was actually attacking bad guys and doing shit like pressing buttons for Lion-O.
8) Thundera was destroyed because of the ThunderCats' stupidity.
Not Lion-O and friends, but because of Jaga, Lion-O's "wise" Oni-Wan Kenobi-esque mentor (who also spends a lot of the time as a blue ghost). Anyways, back on old Thundera, Jaga fought the evil Ratilla and managed to wrest the Sword of Plun-Darr (which is like the Sword of Omens, but from another planet than was run over by evil mutants) from him, and tossed it in a nearby volcano to keep it from returning to the hands of evil. The Sword, however, had other plans, and by sheer virtue of its attempts to escape its molten tomb literally destroyed the planet. Really, Jaga? You couldn't have hidden it in a storage unit or something?
9) It once featured a creature called the Tongue-a-saurus.
It lived in the River of Despair. This really seems like it's a metaphor for something.
10) The ThunderCats could exist in the vacuum of space.
Yep. Here they are, just hanging out in space, talking and breathing and not imploding or freezing to death. I understand that we shouldn't be looking to ThunderCats as a bastion of scientific accuracy, but the cartoon knew enough to put them in a spaceship when traveling from Thundera to Third Earth. Surely it wouldn't have been that hard to draw some goddamned astronaut suits.
11) Snarf has a nephew.
It's impossible to forget Snarf, the hideous, obsequious, obnoxious thing that hung around with the ThunderCats and made Orko from Masters of the Universe look like a charming, uber-competent hero in comparison. All Snarf did was mutter unfunny lines in the most grating voice in '80s cartoons — which is saying something — and do something horrendously stupid that the ThunderCats would have to fix. Anyways, I'm pretty sure you have all repressed the existence of Snarfer, Snarf's even more annoying nephew. He is the Scrappy-Doo of ThunderCats, and as such he should have been shot into the goddamned sun. Bonus Trivia: The Urban Dictionary lists a Snarfer as "A person who farts in the bath tub and then attempts to eat the fart bubbles," which seems to me to be entirely appropriate.
12) ThunderCats are loose, but not so loose that they approve of underage drinking.
Even when I was 8, I knew that every time I heard Snarf talk I wanted a shot of whiskey.