I can’t deny it. I am a girl who is hopelessly in love with the cartoons of the ‘90s. These shows probably sculpted quite a bit of the geekiness that I’ve come to embrace in my life, but no show has possibly affected me more than Disney’s Gargoyles. When the show debuted in 1994, the opening score immediately drew me in (and to this day I still hum it). It was dark, scary, and (as I continued to watch) more than what met the eye.
If you’re not familiar with this amazingly awesome show, then you should be ashamed of yourself. But just to bring you up to speed, Gargoyles followed a clan of nocturnal creatures aka gargoyles that turned to stone by day and were warriors by night. After being betrayed by the humans they swore to protect, the clan was placed under a magical spell that turned them entirely to stone. A millennia later, billionaire David Xanatos (voiced by Jonathan Frakes) purchased their Scotland home and implanted them on his New York City skyscraper, where the spell was broken and they’re brought back to life. Tell me that doesn’t sound like a hot ass show to you?
But it gets better.
The gargoyles, led by Goliath (voiced by actor Keith David), must now adapt to their new surroundings and they make a new friend in the process — police detective Elisa Maza (voiced by Salli Richardson) who in turn becomes their human guardian. Initially the show starts off with billionaire Xanatos trying to “befriend” the gargoyles for his own schemes of world domination, but later the show gets layered with the ever growing yet low-key attraction between Goliath and Elisa. It was obvious these two loved each other, but couldn’t be together because they were two different species. I mean, who didn’t hear Keith’s voice and melted instantly, right? But it gets better when Demona, Goliath’s former lover, came on the scene. Not only was she one hell of a villainess with her plot for human genocide, she was especially hateful towards Elisa for being the new object of Goliath’s affection. This ultimately made her hate towards humans richer.
with the ever growing yet low-key attraction between Goliath and Elisa. Oh — Demona was also Goliath’s baby mama. Yeah.
Much later we learned that some of the gargoyle eggs were saved before the horrifying betrayal and one of them is Goliath and Demona’s daughter, Angela. She joined the clan (which up until this point was strictly male), and tensions rose almost instantly between Broadway and Brooklyn. Broadway ultimately won Angela’s heart, but that led Brooklyn down a dark path for a while and boy wasn’t it one hell of plotline. The show would weave Celtic lore and Norse mythology with characters from Shakespearean plays and — no lie — prepared me for college lit and history classes. As a child, I wasn’t attune to everything that was going on, but there were some things that I could truly appreciate. For instance, Elisa Maza was probably the first bi-racial cartoon character I had seen on TV. Being the daughter of an Ameri-Indian father & African-American mother meant the world to me because we were finally seeing a real representation of the people who reside in NYC — multi-ethnic.
We saw that Elisa had a brother and a sister and they were all different colors: her brother was dark-skinned, while her sister was a little lighter with curly hair. And as for the police chief? She was a Latina named Chavez. Realism was on this show, whether you liked it or not. Gargoyles exposed its viewers to different cultures; in one episode we learned of Anansi the Spider in Nigeria, and the legend of the black panther (or jaguar — I don’t know my felines that well) while on another episode we met Coyote the Trickster and understood his role in Native-American mythology. We saw King Arthur in his tomb on Avalon and the purported “aliens” that came to Easter Island. I learned Oden was missing an eye before I watched Thor and met Macbeth before reading the play in high school. To sum it all up, this show had everything for me. There was action, history, magic, myth, love, and it was wrapped up so beautifully, that it effortlessly caused me to want to know all these “nerdy” things. This show was the beginning of my “blerdy” journey, if you will. I will admit, I didn’t keep up with the show during its final run in 1997. By then, the show moved from weekday afternoons to Saturday mornings which was a major bummer. It was only showing once a week AND on the day I was allowed to sleep late.
Trying to catch up with it was a task and I couldn’t keep up. When I heard it was cancelled, I was so upset, but the show lives on in me forever … obviously. I intend to find the Gargoyles DVD on Amazon, buy them, and have my own children watch them (when I have children, that is). Now excuse me, while I hum the theme song to sleep and imagine Goliath roaring into the night’s sky.
Afiya Augustine is a dreamer, and eternal student from Brooklyn, NY. On the occasion she’s not trolling for her blerdy pleasure, she’s an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and a crafter/jewelry designer for her online shop, Pretty Poet Ink. In Afiya’s spare time, she enjoys writing on her blog or listening to music. Follow her on Twitter at @LaJoliePoeta and get to know her.