EVIEW: “PUNK ROCK SAVE THE WORLD”
Time for to take on Matt Forbeck's additional series to the cartoon world, “Punk Rock Save the World”. [All things in brackets are my own to change language or fix errors.]
We see a blue vortex with a weird turntable and three strange punks it. On the next page, we got a tagline for the series which is “Traveling Through Time With Three Chords and the Truth”. Follow that is credits and the usual channel guide.
The following is the summary of the series: “Thomas Edison’s angry as [Hades], and he’s not going to take it any longer. He’s tired of others coming up with inventions right around the same time as him and then taking advantage of it, and he’s vowed to put a stop to it. Or so he claims.
In fact, he’s devised a time machine he uses to rip off other inventors’ devices and then claim them as his own. This works wonderfully for him until Nikola Tesla discovers what Edison is up to and develops a time machine of his own while working with Emile Berliner, the inventor of the turntable. The two wind up in an ongoing struggle throughout time, each trying to steal better from the other, until they reach a stalemate.
Tesla has disappeared somewhere in time, and Edison cannot seem to find him, no matter how hard he hunts. If Tesla has fallen victim to a horrible fate, this might mean that Edison can now wander through time with impunity, but he believes instead that this is a trap. His formidable old enemy wouldn’t just disappear without a word, and the fear that he’s out there somewhere, waiting, paralyzes Edison...
Fortunately, Edison has all the time in the world—or so he thinks.
In the 1980s, a rock band known as the Punks stumbles across a long-lost time machine while recording their latest album at an old
sound studio in Washington DC, once the headquarters of the Berliner Gramophone Company. Unaware that the time machine is anything but the gigantic record player it seems to be, they jump on it and start running, using their muscles to spin the disk on it, hoping to
play its tune.
Instead, they find themselves thrown backward in time.
In each episode, the Punks discover that something’s gone wrong in the era in which they find themselves, and they realize they have to try
to fix it. At first they fear that it’s their own travels that have disrupted everything, but they soon realize that they’re not to blame. That doesn’t mean they don’t still have to try to repair the damage, though.
In each case, the change seems to halt the creation of the flat-disked gramophone in favor of a cylindrical phonograph. When that happens,
the Punks discover they cannot go forward in time. The machine only works in eras in which the gramophone—or its descendants—exist, and they have to set things right before they can move on.
At first, the Punks legitimately believe that they’ve found Tesla’s time machine, which he somehow left in the recording studio for someone to find. As the series goes on, though, they learn that their time machine was actually an early prototype that Edison stole. He set it out for someone to find, hoping they might gain Tesla’s attention and lead
Edison to his foe.
In this series, time is a mutable series of events that can be changed by time travelers. However, those who travel through time are immune to these changes and maintain their original memories. They also gain the memories of any new version of themselves that meddling with time has caused. This allows them to fiddle with the past until they get it the way they like it.
The memories are often cloudy and dreamlike. However, with time and concentration, a time traveler can draw up firm versions of such
memories. This often requires a good night’s sleep to let the brain re-sort the new memories slipping into it.
If they return to the appropriate moment in the present, the time travelers instantly merge with any new versions of themselves that might have been created by altering the past—assuming there are such people—and they gain the memories of both versions.
It’s possible for time travelers to meet themselves, but this causes a paradox that splits the traveler into two separate people. If they both return to the present, they can re-merge back into their present
self. Some travelers refuse to do this, preferring to always live at least a little bit out of sync with their proper time.”
The following are a list of villains:
- Edison – the main villain and the inventor the time traveling gramophone the Punks are using. He is the only villain with a Time Machine himself
- The Man – A manager of bands that works to help Edison make changes in the time line.
- The Suits – These similar-looking guys work with the The Man. Every now then then one of these guys will stand out – but usually that one is usually in charge of managing one of The Man's band, instead of being “Yes-Man” to him. They are willing to kill to protect their meal tickets.
- The Disco Dastards – This disco bands from the 1970s lead by Joel “Smooth” Alberson, the time-displaced alter ago of Al Jolson. They are out to destroy all music with exception of disco.
- The Glam Girls – These guys are the present antithesis to the “Punks”. Present here meaning the 1980s. They created by the “Man”. They do not like to confront the Punks head on – instead, they prefer to play passive-aggressive and play the “innocent victims” cards with the media. They are three members: Melody Jones, Harmony Jones, Rhythm Jones.
- The Ending Elvis – With help from Edison and the wash-up Elvis – with help of plastic surgery become Colonel Tom Parker. Elvis took every opportunity that Edison would allow him to meet himself over and over. One of the Elvis couldn’t deal with the fame and he's the one that died in Graceland in 1977.
Following that we have Four Episodes:
- “The Sell-Outs” - The pilot in which the Punks find the time machine and travel 30 years into the future.
- “The Return To The King” - The Punks figures out the truth become Elvis's death.
- “A Blast From the Past” - The Punks meet Edison face to face.
- “Telsa's Shocking Return' – When the Punks figure out that Edison is “playing them like a piano”, they go to confront him. With help from Tesla and their older selfs.
After they is a sidebar about “Cartoon Punk Rock”: “We all know that punk rock was (and still is) all about rebellion, anarchy and other things that “normal” society finds detestable. It’s pure aggression and there’s never been a shortage of things to rage against.
However, when punk rock was portrayed on various retro-toons (such as Hero High, where one of the characters was a fellow named, typically enough, Punk Rock), it was always tamed down into something that the networks felt was acceptable for children to watch. And by
that, we mean that they essentially neutered the musical genre’s message to the point of it having no real message at all.
The writers of Punk Rock Saves the World refused to play along with such a travesty, but they knew that the show would never see the small screen if punk rock (especially song lyrics) was portrayed accurately. Being the clever lot that they were, these scribes worked very hard to disguise the message in such a way that the message would go over the network censors’ collective heads. The censors would hear one thing, but those looking deeper would see the hidden meanings.
This slyness garnered the series a relatively large teen and adult audience; people who scoured each episode and each song for the meanings that were stashed away in seemingly innocent dialog or lyrics.
So, punk rock in the show was watered down somewhat on the surface, but the biting commentary was still there!”
Next up is the usual PC Guidelines as show below: “PCs will be made with 18 Trait Points. These are scrappy punk-rockers, after all. However, the GMCs have no such restrictions, their Traits’ point totals and ratings can go as high as needed! The Punks are a punk rock band and can consist of three to five members, although there could easily be more. In most cases, the band consists of:
- Lead singer
- Lead guitar
One of the musicians can double up as a singer, reducing the minimum number of band members to three. Some bands also add a rhythm guitar player to fill out their sound.
Of course, it might be more than just the band members who come along on the adventures. They
should all be associated with the band, but that’s the only real catch. Such tagalongs include:
- Crew Member
In addition to their named roles in the group, characters can have other passions or skills. The lead singer might also be a student of English. The drummer might know a lot about World War II. The bass player might be pursuing a degree in theoretical physics. These are all things that can come in handy in their travels through time.
Star Power: 3
Tier & Trait Points: [Human]; 18
• Theme Adherence: PCs must be members of the band or must have some other reason to be with the band. Given that the entire series is based around the “band” concept, this is absolutely crucial.
• Free Designated Trait Points: Each PC receives 4 additional Trait Points that must be allocated to one or more Traits that represent some manner of musical talent. These Traits will automatically have a new Special Rule called “Concert” (see the “New Special Rule” side bar for details.[)] Players may allocate their normal Trait Points to any Trait purchased with the 4 free points in order to boost them further.”
The following is about Concert “The New Special Rule”: “This is a free Special Rule that can be given to any Trait that reflects the character’s musical ability. A Trait with this Special Rule is used when a band performs against another band or to sway a crowd with their songs of rebellion and anarchy (though such messages were tamed down to accommodate the Saturday morning audiences; the writers had to be very clever in getting the point across without the network censors figuring it out).
Other Special Rules can help determine how the Trait in question affects others, so a LEAD GUITAR 4 (Area) has the ability to affect more than one GMC, while a BASS 4 (Big Attack) rattles the roof! And the band’s manager might have SWAY THE CROWD 4 (Deplete – Concert Traits) indicating their backstage shenanigans designed to hinder the other band!
When performing, a band will perform one song which will be 4 rounds total, unless one band defeats another before that point. Other Traits, if applicable, can be used when Performing, also.
If performing for an audience, the GM should create several factions of Goons to represent the audience members. Additionally, GMCs might be in the audience as well. The venue should have Traits as well, à la a mini-Playset, which the band is performing against. It is all about leaving an impression and leaving everyone wanting more.
After performing, characters remove one Setback Token for any scene that immediately follows!”
Following this are four ready to run PCs characters: Kitty Karr, Sir Ollie Cromwell, Just John, & Generic Ike
Then we get stats for GMPCs – both heroes and villain: Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, The Man, Joel “Smooth” Alberson, Elvis & the stats for all three of the Glam Girls: Melody Jones; Rhythm Johnson, & Harmony. Follow by the goons: The Suits & Disco Dastards
A sidebar reveal that the time machine is a plot device.
A bit weird – but I could use Concert special rule in the next time, I play “Gem” or my version of “Space Rockers”, thought it gets a series idea for where an “Illuminati”-type organization are the good guys.
I give it a B-. Not the grade a 1980's person would give a “punk rocker” unless he or she was a fan, but grade a normal 1980's person would give a “punk rocker” is an F-. I am not joking about that “F-” here.