It’s Earth Day, which means one of the three things is going through your head. A) You need to recycle more; B) You wish it were warmer or colder or C) You realize the Earth is probably going to die soon so you might as well eat that plate of spaghetti. After that, your next thought will undoubtedly be about the incredibly important 1993-1996 cartoon Captain Planet and the Planeteers.
Captain Planet focused on five teenagers from around the world – North America’s Wheeler, South America’s Ma-Ti, Africa’s Kwame, Asia’s Gi and Linka, who was described as being from the Soviet Union, because even the writers apparently couldn’t figure out if that’s part of Europe or Asia. Gaia, the spirit of the Earth, realized the planet was up the creek, so she created five magical rings, each imbued with the power of an element (Earth, Water, Fire, Air [Wind] and Heart, which isn’t really an element but whatever). When the teens combined the power of their rings together, Captain Planet would appear and take out bad guys who loved pollution.
Here's the opening credits, which basically explain everything I just said!
Thus, on this Earth Day, we bring you a ranking of the major Captain Planet players.
Like Tony Soprano, Sly Sludge was involved in waste management. He honestly wasn’t memorable beyond the yellow gloves.
Captain Planet is supposed to be everyone’s favorite character but, despite an incredible color scheme, he was super boring. Yes, pollution sucks but do you have to be such a boy scout while fighting? Captain Planet always made dad jokes.
Hoggish is the only character who you can call a “Greedy Pig” as a statement of fact and a compliment. I always thought his look was boring. One toned jumpsuits should be more interesting! He’s only this high because Ed Asner voiced him.
Verminous was half-man, half-rat who was very into crimes involving poor sanitation. He was also extremely fashion forward in his use of a flowing head scarf.
Ma-Ti’s ring was Heart, which allowed him to talk to animals. The power of Heart was sort of like Jai the Culture Guy from Queer Eye For The Straight Guy; really ill-defined and kind of useless, but everyone pretended like it was valuable and important.
Gaia was voiced by Whoopi Goldberg (!) and Margot Kidder (!!) during the series. Gaia was actually very cool because she was purposefully designed to be an amalgamation of all races on Earth. Gaia’s home of Hope Island (located in the Bahamas, where all secret islands seem to be located. See Paradise Island) was screaming to be made into a playset – and almost was!
Zarm was the spirit of war and destruction. He was always voiced by a fancy British person, such as Sting, David Warner or Malcolm McDowell. Zarm looks like an absolutely insane person. I always though he resembled Gene Simmons if he was dressed by a blind quilter.
Duke, not to be confused with the video game Duke Nukem, was extremely powerful and could actually hurt Captain Planet. He also could give two sh*ts as evidenced by his wardrobe, which resembled a carpet salesman on vacation in Hawaii.
MAL was mad scientist Dr. Blight's bitchy British computer/boyfriend, voiced by Tim Curry. All you need, right there.
Gi was low-key and arguably made the most sense of all the planeteers. She also loved dolphins because it’s impossible for any eco-related show to not have a focus on dolphins.
Kwame is a nice guy and a little too perfect, but having the Earth ring and being voiced by Levar Burton makes him okay in my book.
Undoubtedly one of the best supervillain play on words. Looten was a businessman and poacher who had no ethics and spoke in a patrician accent that you couldn’t really pin down
Only in the early to mid 90s could some fancy business exec have a ponytail like that (now they’d need a beard, too).
Wheeler was always horny and making mistakes. For that reason, he was actually interesting. Since Wheeler possessed the fire ring, his action figure had a featured where his CHEST COULD SHOOT SPARKS. The fact that this didn’t start a fire in some kid’s house is beyond me.
Captain Pollution was the result of all the eco-villains making twisted duplicates of the Planeteers’ rings (specifically, rings for Hate, Deforestation, Toxics, Smog and Super Radiation) and combining their power together to form Captain Pollution. Captain Pollution was way cooler than Captain Planet despite looking like a deranged leprosy patient who talked like Pauly Shore.
Linka was great. She was always a little pissed off, especially because Wheeler was always creeping on her. She liked birds. She gave ponytail realness. She gave the best power summoning though, as her pronunciation of “WEEEND!” never got old. If Linka were a real person, the United States and Russia's relations would be repaired!
Dr. Blight was everything. She was a connoisseur of hair art, since she managed to hide her facial scar with two-toned extended bangs and IT NEVER MOVED. She wore bright pink. She was completely insane. She had a sister named Bambi Blight. She laughed uncontrollably. She had a weird sadomasochistic relationship with her computer who was sort of her boyfriend. She was once voiced by Meg Ryan. Dr. Blight made that show.
The power is yours!