About 12 years ago, Chicago-based filmmaker, Eric Fensler, pretty much invented the concept of a "viral video" after editing up to 25 of those, "....and knowing is half the battle!" skits which were stuck on the end of GI Joe cartoons in order to give them some semblance of educational value.
The edits were completely bizarre, surreal and nonsensical. For some reason they were absolutely hilarious too – and quotable.
The idea of heavily-armed mercenaries casually going around warning kids not to play in fridges or approach dangerous dogs is also funny in its own right.
As this was pre-Youtube, it sometimes meant having to spend hours trying to track down links to bootleg versions. Their influence is so far reaching it can be seen in many re-edited videos even to this day – whether that's musical "mashup" videos, Cassetteboy or the Hitler Downfall parodies.
The makers of the GI Joe cartoon, Hasbro, weren't impressed and issued a "cease and desist" order to Fenslerfilm (Eric's company), and other sites hosting the videos, because they believed the edits were a form of copyright infringement. That threat has long passed and parody is now accepted as a legitimate reason to use copyrighted material ("fair use").
Here's what the original GI Joe skit looks like :
Here's the Fensler parody. Not only is asking people if they want a body massage a brilliant way to end a conversation, but it's the source for the title :
Here's my pick of the best of the rest.
1. Porkchop Sandwiches
Probably the most famous one, where two mentally-challenged boys attempt to cook some sausages. As everyone knows, it's firefighter slang to say "Porkchop Sandwiches!" to warn everyone to leave a burning building. If that doesn't work, just tell them to "Get the fuck out!" instead
2. Car Crash
After two boys come close to being hit by a military Humvee. After the solider swerves and is finished crashing, it's clear he isn't too down about it, brushing it off with the classic Sega Rally – "Game over, yeeeeeah!" Though I always thought it was, "I was born a giiiiiirl!".
3. Help Computer
A computer, taking a form of a man, saves a boy from being attacked by a dog and reminds us all that digital piracy is evil.
"You! You're the ring leader!" This one introduces us to a very harsh, very demented Australian truant officer built like Dolph Lundgren. The traditional punishment for truancy in Australia is to be put inside a fridge. Surely the whole thing's entrapment?
I imagine this guy being some faded rock star living off royalties, who's been driven round the bend by drug abuse, his only contact with the outside world being "little wankers" playing on his ice and taking his sticks.
After being given deluge of advice about not buying nude mags and techno music putting holes in brains, some kids are treated to a tone deaf version of Arlo Guthrie's Motorcycle Song.
7. Fried Kids
If your house were on fire, you would hope the first person clambering through the window would be someone trying to rescue you. Not this time. No one will ever know what happened to them.
8. Vinyl Purse
A woman desperate for her cigarettes from her pink purse is instead put into a trance.
Now you know....