Inspector Gadget (1983-86)

The Token Investigator

This is about the series in general.

My perspective is one that is a bit egg-heady I suppose. I study film and the evolution of film and how it sees itself.

One milestone in any evolution is when something becomes so well known, so surrounded by its meaning that it becomes material for kiddy humour.

You can trace the notion of a film detective, and his more adventuresome cousin the detective/spy. You can trace it continuously and see how it has matured and become enough of a staple to be a springboard for all sorts of innovations. In ordinary film, the detective is often linked with the modern phenomenon I call noir. That is when the causal events in the film are lifted from the world in the film to the world of the viewer.

Here we have a detective who solves every crime even without knowing what he is doing. He is not our onscreen surrogate as is usual, a little girl is, of course.

The other notable characteristic of this character concerns the devices engineered into the guy’s body. They have been put there, noir-fashion-like by some agency outside of the story. (The evil opponent is only seen from behind watching on a TeeVee, as we would be.) He can invoke the gadgets, but as often, they come to life by themselves. Naturally, the joke is about the superhero nature we had (by this time) applied to the spy-detective. But it also plays on the fact that the superhero powers come from the watcher, not the guy.

Posted in 2010

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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