Retrocon 2024

4 Underrated Couples from the 'G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero' TV Series

I've recently been rewatching the original G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series and noticed several couples that I think are underrated. What do I mean by "underrated?" Consider the power couples that were developed early in the series like Flint and Lady Jaye, Duke and Scarlett, or Destro and the Baroness. These relationships were evident over the course of several episodes with characters hinting at going on dates or even hearing concern in their voices when their partner was in danger or potentially hurt.

It's interesting how much those romantic layers were sown into several characters especially for a military-driven kids show. Those tones floated to the surface throughout season 1 but there were episodes that specifically centered around romantic relationships of characters, mainly in season 2. And not just for one faction, a couple episodes even blurred the lines of G.I. Joe and Cobra to bring couples together.

Here are four underrated couples from G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero that should have been developed even more:

Shipwreck and Mara - Shipwreck's character was portrayed as the stereotypical sailor which cared for the sea more than a serious relationship. You could tell he was a ladies man just from his interaction with pop singer Satin in the "Pyramid of Darkness" miniseries or the many attempts to get a date with Cover Girl. Of course, falling for the "mermaid" Mara was just perfect and the fact he couldn't be with her made "Memories of Mara" one of my favorite episodes. Even though Mara was brought back at the end of season 1 for Shipwreck's Truman Show-like story in "There's No Place Like Springfield", I would have loved to see him pursue ways to reverse Mara's condition in other episodes to continue their story.

Mainframe and Zarana - In the season 2 episode "Computer Complications", Mainframe and Zarana find themselves in a weird situation after she infiltrates G.I. Joe by disguising herself as a female soldier. The episode reveals alot about Mainframe's character who tries to make a pass at Zarana and even announces he is divorced. He realizes his mistake and apologizes by complimenting "Carol" and offering to take her out to dinner. Through her reaction, we see into Zarana's character which likely has never had a true relationship thanks to maintaining her strong will among her two brothers and the Dreadnoks. Even after Zarana's true identity is revealed, Mainframe assists with her escape and a moon-gazing moment of "what could have been" is shared at the end of the episode.

In the season 2 episode "Grey Hairs and Growing Pains", there story continues as Zarana first wishes Mainframe "good luck" as he is transformed into a kid from Dr. Mindbender's machine. They later meet up and Zarana helps her youthful boyfriend by giving him the top secret plans for the machine to reprogram and reverse the effects.

Lifeline and "Bree" Van Mark - Lifeline was never going to be the most popular Joe character when first introduced in season 2. Even Beachhead gave him crap about being a pacifist, but his stance on violence was never swayed and even refused to touch guns even if it meant grabbing one to be rescued from a pool of piranhas ("Cobrathon" episode.) But his popularity took a big jump with Brittany Van Mark on his arm in "Million Dollar Medic." Their unlikely relationship was a perfect contrast of a girl who wants everything versus a man who risks everything. By the end of the episode, Lifeline finally got "Bree" to understand what she should value most and would have been interesting interesting to see if that lasted or if her bank account would interfere in Lifeline's work again. (Plus, Bree was hot!)

Slipstream and Raven - Slipsteam gets shot down by Cobra Strato-Viper Raven in "In the Presence of Mine Enemies" from season 2. Stranded on an island together, the classic struggle of "survival vs. mission" ensues with Raven finally seeing that Slipstream was more important than her mission (and even Cobra.) Again, would have liked to see Raven as a Joe pilot in another episode to continue their story.

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