The 1980’s G.I. Joe cartoon series is based on the classic principle of good vs. bad. In this cartoon, G.I. Joe (representing American military) fights COBRA (the “bad guy”). COBRA is an organization of terrorists who’s ultimate goal is world domination.
By turning war into a “PG” appropriate cartoon, the series made it a point to ensure that few (if any) characters ever died, regardless how extreme the situation was. When boats collided, the characters were shown climbing into life rafts.
When planes went down, all characters made it out of the plane in time to float safely to the ground using a parachute. Mixing in futuristic laser weapons as opposed to bullet slinging combat gear is yet another way the series justified its use of violence in a children’s cartoon.
Perhaps one of the most well known features of the series were its safety messages. Delivered by one of the G.I.’s, these promoted safety and wise choices to cartoon kids who were in less than ideal situations. Following the message, one could count on hearing the words “Now we know!”.