Netflix and Cardboard Boxes

14 Aug

e run hot and cold on Netflix at our house. Typically we exhaust all the released titles we want to see, pay for the service for a few months without using it, question why we’re paying for it, dial it back to online-only, miss a bunch of released titles we want to see, upgrade back to standard service… wash, rinse, repeat.

Anyone who’s tried to make a go of Netflix’s online service knows how lacking it is. In terms of accessibility and convenience, it’s great. It’s the available online library that stinks. Licensing issues makes it nigh impossible to make the good stuff available for streaming. But every once in a while, when it’s 1:00am and your scrolling through the streaming Netflix online library on your iphone because you can’t sleep, you discover a hidden treasure.

So it was with me a few months ago when I discovered that the entire 3 season run (100 episodes) of the 1984 campy, classic after-school cartoon version of “The Transformers” was available through Netflix’s online streaming service. This was the series that started it all – the catchy theme music, the awesome toys, the over-the-top Michael Bay movies from recent years.

“Awesome!” I thought. This was something I could share with my kids that I knew they would geek out over. So we started watching an episode or two, and at first both Episode IV and V liked it. As you might expect the girl’s interest fell off pretty quick. But my son was into it. We watched every episode together, and even managed to find the (horrible) animated movie from 1986 (Orson Welles’s last movie) that ultimately spelled the demise of the series, and watch it for Friday family pizza/movie night.

Somewhere around episode 10, at the peak of Transformers-enthusiasm I was sitting on the couch geeking out with my son when out of nowhere I blurted out, “Hey, do you want Daddy to make you an Optimus Prime costume for Halloween this year?” It was almost an out-of-body experience listening to those words come out of my mouth without thinking about what it was I was suggesting. In the fraction of a second between the offer and the ohmygoshyouarethegreatestdaddyofalltime look on my son’s face I remember thinking to myself “You fool. Think before you open your big yap”. Too late. I was committed.

And that was how I wound up hoarding cardboard boxes and spending ridiculous hours (and generating unadvisable amounts of spousal passive-aggressiveness) in the garage crafting an Optimus Prime costume for my 4-year-old son that had to comport with my own personal standards of accuracy, geekery and functionality. That was in June. It’s now August and it still isn’t done. The entire project is worthy of its own separate blog-post, which will come when it’s finished. As you can see in the picture below there’s still a lot of detail work to do. I’ve only just started on the whole helmet/facemask, which is the toughest part of the whole thing. For now, for the sake of completing the ensemble, we’re substituting a store-bought mask (press a button and it actually says things like “I am Optimus Prime!” and “Roll out!”) but the mask is modern-Transformers. When it’s finished the costume will be classic-Transformers from helmet to toe-caps.

Not done yet… but coming along nicely.

The good news is the assembly is right on schedule. I should have the helmet/mask and detail work done in time for trick-or-treating. The bad news is that during a bout of insomnia the other night I was scrolling on my iPhone through the Netflix streaming online library and found available for viewing the entire series run of the cheezy, campy, undeniably awesome 1984 after-school cartoon “Voltron”

That wouldn’t be such a bad deal except that while cruising the internet the other day I ran across this picture that a dad posted of his daughter:

The gauntlet has been thrown down.

On one side of the equation, I’m not sure my marriage can survive another one of these projects. On the other side, I can’t let myself be out-dorked by the dad who posted that picture. Besides… it’s my daughter’s turn now.


“Form feet and legs!”

“Form arms and body!”

“And I’ll form the head!”


-Dork Dad

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