Inspector Gadget Goes to Tibet

I remember watching the cartoon Inspector Gadget a lot when I was younger, but just recently I came across one Inspector Gadget episode I haven’t seen, an episode when he travels to Tibet called “Weather in Tibet.”

For those of you who’ve never seen an Inspector Gadget episode, he’s basically a detective who everyone believes is the best at his job when in reality he’s dimwitted, clumsy, and is only successful because of his niece Penny and dog Brain who constantly secretly help him in his missions.

In this 56th episode of Inspector Gadget, originally aired on November 28th, 1983,  Inspector Gadget is sent to Tibet to destroy a M.A.D. (a worldwide crime syndicate) weather controlling machine. Dr Claw (the head of M.A.D.) plans to use this machine to start storms over cities if they refuse to comply to his ransom demands.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

It’s pretty interesting to watch this portrayal of Tibet and get an impression of a western perception of  Tibet,  or more specifically a Canadian perception since Inspector Gadget is in large part a Canadian-made cartoon.

In the episode you see a lot themes, objects, and images that are used by the cartoon artists as what they think is iconic of Tibet. Some of things I noticed was the theme of Tibetan religion in Tibetan society; objects like butter-churners and hat’s, like the ones worn by rinpoches and young Kundun in the movie Kundun, which almost all of the Tibetan characters in the episode wear; and then mythical figures associated with Tibet like the Yeti.

It’s also interesting that the plot of the episode sort of anticipates the important role of Tibet in global weather changes since Tibet now is labeled as the “Third Pole” for being a region that is one of the most affected by global warming.

Check it out and let me know what you think about the episode.

10 thoughts on “Inspector Gadget Goes to Tibet

  1. Shellby

    hi jigme, tashi delek
    tujaychee for posting! I am doing my senior project right now on Western fantasies of Tibet so I am quite pleased to have stumbled upon this.
    my opinion- this was particularly insulting and it made me feel a little sad

    and oh my gosh! they named the boy taboo.

    If you have any suggestions of books to read about this topic ooor if you are open for dialogue with me about Tibet/exile/etc, please send me an e-mail.

    thank you again,
    s

  2. Hey Shellby, you should check out these books:

    Dibyesh Anand, Geopolitical Exotica:Tibet in Western Imagination (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007)

    Imagining Tibet: Perceptions, Projections, & Fantasies, Ed. Thierry Dodin & Heinz Rather (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2001)

    Martin Brauen, Dreamworld Tibet: Western Illusion (Thailand: Weatherhill, 2004)

    Lee Feigon, Demystifying Tibet (Chicago: Elephant, 1996)

  3. Otto Kerner

    I did laugh out loud at the lama’s declaration, “Sacrifice him to the yeti!” That is just what I’ve always been afraid of when walking into a temple for the first time. You might could get the sense that they didn’t do a lot of research or deep thinking before making this episode.

  4. Dawa

    Shelby:

    Watch “Lost Horizon” the first movie (black and white) depicting Tibet and Tibetans

    Read “Prisoners of Shangri-la” by Donald Lopez.

    Also read “The Third-Eye” by Lobsang Rampa (a son of a British plumber who was able to convince all of Britain he was the reincarnation of a high lama from Tibet)…he wrote the first official book on Tibet and helped create the image of Tibet as a mystical shangri-la.

  5. Dan

    I think the author of the comic must have read Filchner’s classic Sturm über Asien! What a dastardly plot to withhold fair weather from the deserving.

    And in the Rambo, my favorite cliche lines:

    “It’s a long way to Tibet!”

    and

    “Quick, Holiness! Come with me!”

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