Ah, He-Man. Just that name alone swaddles me in waves of comfortable nineties nostalgia.
Now, granted, the much beloved He-Man and the Masters of the Universe show was a little before my time. I was born right at the close of the eighties, and so arrived too late to enjoy its brief 1983-1985 original run. Still, though. As today’s endless reruns of Friends, Cheers, Frasier and such will testify, TV shows are never really gone.
Today, Masters of the Universe has all but disappeared from even the most obscure TV channels, but it continues to maintain a cult following. Like all the most enduring and iconic characters, He-Man’s image is indelibly printed on our collective consciousness. You cannot erase the image of those furry little speedos.
It’s one of those franchises that you will be exposed to, even if just subconsciously. You don’t have to have read a comic or watched an episode to know about the power of Greyskull, for instance, or his bony nemesis Skeletor.
Franchise fans, of course, will have knowledge that runs a little deeper. They’ll know the backstory of our hero’s alter ego Prince Adam, and his wimpy pet tiger Cringer (which transforms into staunch ally Battle Cat, also BY THE POWER OF GREYSKULL).
Whether you have the vaguest or the most encyclopaedic knowledge of He-Man’s exploits, though, you’re going to enjoy this. These are some of the greatest and snarkiest He-man memes on the web; as befits the strongest man in the universe.
25 When You Just Want To Educate People, And They Snark At You For It
So, yes. We’ve discussed Skeletor’s raw, smoldering, rebellious, zero cares given appeal. When it comes to pure coolness and ‘tude (which was a huge factor back in the 90s, when I was first getting into this franchise), Skeletor is so far ahead of He-Man. Impossibly far ahead.
Just look what a boy scout he is. While his nemesis was out devising fiendish schemes and effortlessly roasting his clueless subordinates, what was He-Man doing? He was appearing in cheesy infomercial-like segments, that’s what he was doing. You know the sort of thing. Remember those after school specials we used to be bombarded by, back in the day? This is what He-Man would subject us to, despite the fact that all we really wanted to see was another swordfight.
24 When You Become Alolan Dugtrio Out Of Nowhere
As Pokémon fans will know, the franchise gets a lot of flak for resting on its laurels. The Pokémon designs aren’t what they used to be, people will say, citing the ice cream cone, the garbage bag and other questionable designs.
When the abomination that is Alolan Dugtrio was revealed, then, the Snark-o-meter reached critical levels. The thing looks like Queen in their iconic Bohemian Rhapsody video, after all.
Its Beatles-ish look reminded me of somebody else as well, and I just couldn’t think who. All this time later, the wily meme-makers of the internet have solved that for me at last. It’s our good buddy He-Man! Three of them, to be precise. Which makes him (wait for it, this is good, you’ll like this one) Three-Man.
23 When You Reveal The True Depths Of Your D-Baggery
So, as we’ve already established, friend groups (or squads as the cool kids call them these days) will tend to have a joker. The funny one, the class clown or whatever you want to call them. If we’re talking work friends, then they’ll be the office joker. You’ll know which one they are, because they have a Nerf gun or something in their desk.
The problem is, there’s a fine line between funny and just plain rude.
Some have a greater tolerance for crude humour than others, but overstepping your boundaries with the wrong people will ruin your reputation as the funny one.
By the same token, you have to protect your reputation as the bad guy, too. In this iconic scene, Skeletor rescues two children from a snow beast, but makes sure to remind them that he’s still a villain afterwards.
22 When He-Man Is The World's Foremost Tea-Making Expert
You know, this one really speaks to me. It speaks to me on a deep, previously-unplumbed emotional level. I dig this, friends, I dig all of it.
Now, I’m English, and I’m sure you’ve heard what they say about the English. No, not the soccer hooliganism thing or the terrible teeth, the other thing. Nope, not the rain either (although it is currently drumming furiously on the window as I write this).
I’m talking about the nationwide addiction to tea.
Personally, I’ll confess that I don’t drink as much tea as I used to, but man is it a big deal around here. When we say we’re going to a friend’s house for a cup of tea, that’s what we mean. We don’t want to see this person, we’re in it for the free tea.
If you’re an amateur when it comes to making tea, let He-Man’s face be your guide.
21 When We Learn A Crucial Lesson In Context
The eighties and nineties, as everyone (un)fortunate enough to remember them can testify, represented quite an odd stage in humanity’s development. It was a time when MC Hammer’s parachute pants and The Fresh Prince’s entire wardrobe were considered socially acceptable. When we carried around Walkmans (remember those?) and cell phones the size of the average studio apartment.
Most importantly, it was a time when the muscletastic He-Man was a part-time tedious teacher. As we’ve already seen, the guy was fond of bringing all the action to a complete halt by giving the kids in the audience valuable life lessons. Apparently.
I totally get that this was a bit of a thing for cartoons of the time, but seriously. Come on, guys, this is He-Man. Not He- Teaches Us About Not Taking Candy From Strangers And The Importance Of Sharing Man.
20 When Nikki Minaj Steals Your Look
First, we’ve got to give the woman her due here. If there’s anyone that you can never accuse of stealing somebody else’s sense of fashion, it’s Nikki Minaj. In a world full of wannabes, posers, and bandwagon-jump-oners, Minaj is nothing if not original. I don’t know what in heckola she’s wearing, much of the time, but then that’s the mark of a creative connoisseur.
Nevertheless, you tend to find inspiration from all sorts of places, whether intentionally or subconsciously.
Who would have thought that He-Man was such a fashion icon?
Look at him there, rocking that pink and white outfit and delicate-yet-masculine bob combo. Who wore it better, you ask? Ooh, that’s a tough one. Surely they’re tied? When you look this good, there can be no losers.
19 When You've Been Roasted So Much, You've Become Immune
Every friend group has that one person. Officially designated the ‘Funny One,’ their job is to relentlessly snark on everybody else and provide a constant sarcastic commentary on everyday events.
The Chandler Bing of the group, in short.
Conversely, there’s the member whose role is to be the butt of most of the jokes. Everyone takes a turn at this, I guess, because that’s what close friends do to each other, but still. There tends to be somebody who’s a more common target for the snark than everybody else.
It’s tough, but you’ve got to rise above it. Eventually, you learn to accept it, laugh it off, and even make a host of self-deprecating remarks yourself. When you’re able to do that, you know you’ve reached peak Skeletor.
18 When You Go Full Brokeback Mountain On He-Man
Now, of course, it was inevitable that this sort of thing would come up.
The concept of ‘shipping’ is one that’s always seemed a little odd to me. Granted, there are times when the right ship is exactly what a story may need (I’d have loved a little more of Snape and Lily together, for instance), but still. If we’re not being realistic, not being appropriate, we can go way beyond the pale here.
I think I speak for most people when I say that He-Man and Skeletor is not something I want to hear about. I’m not sure who thought this was cool, but it most definitely isn’t. We can engage in debate about the sexuality of Brokeback Mountain’s Ennis and Jack all we like, but let’s leave these two out of it.
17 When You Drop The Shawn Mendes
Now, I’ve nothing against Shawn Mendes. Don’t go running away with the false impression that I’m just snarking on him for snark’s sake. I have zero beef with the Canadian singer-songwriter, and I think he totally deserves the meteoric rise that his young career has taken.
It’s just… come on. This is Skeletor we’re talking about here.
If we’re going to have the guy sing, couldn’t it have been something more fitting? One of the great Disney villain numbers, say, like Be Prepared? I can totally picture him doing that. Treat You Better? That’s just not his style.
Still, having said that, I’m not about those one-dimensional, all evil, all the time villains. Embrace your sensitive side, Skeletor. You’re more popular than the good guy, after all.
16 When The Dramatic Plot Twist Hits You Like A Speeding SUV
You know how it is. This is the cheesiest, most ancient plot structure of all time. This is how it goes: first, the villain reveals their dastardly scheme. Maybe they even go after somebody close the hero, so as to galvanize them into thwarting their scheme. Said hero pledges to do so. The villain starts to get the upper hand a little, the good guy’s in some real darn trouble for a moment here, but then inevitably prevails.
This has been the way that books, movies, TV shows and such have worked for generations. You just know that Skeletor isn’t going to win, because he’s freaking Skeletor. Ultimately, being a true supervillain is about putting up a fight before losing with as much style as possible. Skeletor is the master at that.
15 When Sassy Skeletor Is The Best Skeletor
Oftentimes, it’s a sad fact that the villain is just so much more popular than the ‘good guy’ of the piece. There’s probably something interesting, deep and psychological behind this. Why are we drawn to things that are bad for us? Things like chocolate eclairs, alca-ma-hol, and Darth Vader?
Because, really, we’re inherently self-destructive. That’s why.
Also, much more importantly, it’s because the bad guys are infinitely cooler. Skeletor is, essentially, a Lich, and an awesome one at that. What’s He-Man? An uppity prince in a pair of furry speedos. I know which side I’m supporting, friends.
Let’s not discount, either, the power of charisma. Skeletor just effortlessly owns every scene he appears in, and his insults and comebacks are just world class. You tin-tongued dolts! Dolts! Halfwits! FUNGUS!
14 When He-Man Met Christian Grey
Now, don’t get me wrong here, I’m all for a good crossover. The upcoming Marvel movie, Infinity War, promises to shoehorn in just about Marvel character that’s ever been in a movie before, and I’m all over that concept. Space Jam? You’re darn right I dug that too. Mario Kart 8’s Animal Crossing and Legend of Zelda DLC? You guessed it, I was fully on board with that too.
With all of that said, some things are just a snarky crossover concept too far. Personally, I don’t think that Fifty Shades Of Grey ever needs to be combined with anything else (other than perhaps a garbage bag), but each to their own I guess. The important thing is, the pun is completely on point, and you’ve got to respect that.
13 When Skeletor Totally Foils Your Inspiring Message
Darn it, Skeletor. Can’t you just take a break from being all… Skeletor? Just for a minute?
As I’m sure you’ll all agree, there’s just too much negativity in the world these days. Every newspaper headline and news post gives us a new and exciting reason to think that the world has gone to the wolves. There are no more of those funny, whimsical stories at the end of the news, are there? The ones where the crab emails the coastguard about the incoming tidal waves and saves swimmers’ lives. We don’t have time for any of that any more.
Our last bastion of hope lies in the inspirational images people post all over FaceBook. They are our light in the darkness, our keep calm and carry ons, and Skeletor will not ruin them.
12 When Katy Perry Shamelessly Steals Your Bit
So, yes. We’ve already spoken about Nikki Minaj, and how she’s at the very cutting edge of music video fashion. Come to think of it, she’s a hair’s breadth from going full Lady GaGa on us and wearing a dress made of steak to her video shoots.
I think there’s something about pop stars and eccentric fashions. Take Katy Perry.
Remember that halftime show where she rode a huge freaking bear-thing around?
Of course, you do. That’s not the kind of spectacle you can ever erase from your mind’s eye.
Just remember, though: yet again, He-Man was there first. Of all the people to take style and/or choreography tips from, this dude seems to be quite a popular choice. I guess it is pretty out there, which is the main objective here.
11 When You'd Have Gotten Away With It, If It Wasn't For That Meddling He-Man
Ah, yes. We’ve got a super popular meme on our hands here, friends. The floor has been a whole multitude of different things, here, but never has this one been more apt.
As we’ve already seen, it’s tough being the nemesis of a popular cartoon character. You’re going to devise all manner of ridiculous schemes, see them almost come to fruition, only to be thwarted at the last possible moment. Again and again. That sort of thing starts to get to you after a while.
Nobody’s denying Skeletor’s d-baggery, of course. That’s out there in the open for everyone to see. It’s just that the poor guy’s got a pretty darn tough lot in life. He’s like a Bond villain; always so close yet so far.
10 When He-Man Finally Faces The Truth
So, we’ve touched on this a little. We’ve laid the groundwork, just to help He-Man start to acclimatize to the fact. Now there’s nothing left to do but just state it, flat out:
Skeletor is infinitely cooler than He-Man.
There’s a combination of factors at play here. First of all, there’s that voice. The charisma. The snarky one-liners, unmatched by anything but an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. The guy just looks malicious and intimidating. Which, granted, isn’t that difficult when YOUR ACTUAL DARN FACE HAS MELTED AWAY AND YOU’RE JUST A TALKING SKULL.
Not to mention, of course, the oft-stated cliché about the allure of bad boys. Skeletor has that in spades. How can He-Man hope to compete with that? I’ll tell you how: he can’t. That’s how.
8 When Eevee Transforms By The Power Of Duskull
Ah, yes. Now, this is a thing.
Back when Pokémon Sun and Moon were first revealed, I had all kinds of questions about Z moves. Were they a good idea or not? What kind of influence would they have on the meta? Why do some Pokémon get their own exclusive super cool looking moves, and the rest are shafted again?
A couple of years on, Z moves are just accepted as another part of the team-building process. They did shake things up a good amount, though. Not least of all with the addition of Eevee’s Extreme Evoboost, which actually made Eevee itself somewhat relevant.
On using this move, an animation ensues that sees all of the Eeveelutions imbue Eevee with power. This raises all of its stats two stages. Now that’s the power of Greyskull.
7 When It's 2018 And Your Employer Is Still Anti-Skeletor
Now, see, this is the sort of thing that people just shouldn’t be able to get away with anymore. Come on, people. It’s 2018, we need to get a little more open-minded and let some of this junk go.
What’s this all about, really? When you come right down to it, it’s just super pettiness in action. When it comes to job applications, the most competent, enthusiastic and professionally-minded should get the job. We shouldn’t decide anything based on petty factors like their appearance.
In today’s ever-more-politically-correct world, you can’t just discriminate like this. That’s just horrific prejudice against the people with no darn faces, and we don’t stand for that sort of thing anymore. Up with this, I will not put.
Won’t somebody think of Jack Skellington and Skeletor?
6 When Skeletor Really Isn't In The Mood To Play Games
You know, I’m a simple man with simple tastes. I’m not really down for double entendres, wordplay and all of those sorts of shenanigans. I shoot from the hip, I say what I mean and mean what I say. I’m also quite fond of clichés, as you can probably see.
The point is, I admire people who are the same way. If you’re going to do something, do it right, I always say. If you’re going to be villainous, then darn well give it your all. You see Skeletor, here? He’s doing it right. He’s living his best villain life, and I can appreciate that.
The throne of bones? The absolute lack of any care being given? This is how it’s done. Skeletor, you are the man.
5 When You're Just Trying To Be A Good Guy
Oh, internet. Why do you have to be this way?
Here on the web, nobody’s safe. As we know, the anonymity of hiding behind a username can bring out the worst in people. If you beat someone in an online game, or if they beat you too easily, hate-mail, and trolly messages tend to fly. If you dare voice an opinion someone doesn’t agree with on a forum or message board, they’re going to land on you like a sumo wrestler.
This isn’t always the case, granted, but it’s the case often enough. There’s always something someone can use against you, or call you out on.
Look at the heroic, goodly He-Man. There he was, just doing a selfless good deed as always, and the world’s meme-makers had to twist it into something else.
4 When Your Tan Lines Are Just The Worst
Now, we’re talking about He-Man here. You’ve probably noticed that by now, being the smart and discerning readers you are. As such, where He-man’s concerned, you’ve got to expect certain things.
Superhuman strength, righteousness, all of that caper. He is, essentially, a superhero who isn’t really a superhero. But do you know what else he is? Human, that’s what.
He’s strong, masculine out the wazzoo and impossibly powerful, but he’s also vulnerable. Vulnerable to the usual irritating things that plague humans. Mosquito bites, say, or the common cold. All those petty little issues that humanity has to deal with on a daily basis.
Tan lines, too? Yep, you’d better believe tan lines too. They’re going to be especially ugly ones as well, with that getup he insists on wearing.
3 When The Power Of Greyskull And Chill Was Only Going To End One Way
Ah, yes. He-Man memes created from scratch are one thing, but you know what I like the most? When an existing meme is appropriated in such a way that it fits perfectly with the subject matter. Fits like a snuggle snarky glove.
I suppose there probably is, so don’t answer that. It’s a great one, regardless, and there’s something about Skeletor's pose here that just sets the whole thing off perfectly.
I already squeed about Skeletor’s charisma enough times over the course of this rundown, but still. Look at the guy. Just look at him. He is the effortless coolness we all aspire to be, and one thing’s for certain: he isn’t here to watch old Tim Burton movies.
2 When They Haven't Darn Well Seen Anything Yet
Ah, yes. Next up, we have that classic relationship meme in action.
You know how it goes. You’ve just started dating somebody. It’s new. It’s exciting. It’s also kind of terrifying at the same time, because you don’t want to mess it up. You’re getting all the usual advice: be yourself, but don’t be too much of yourself. Not all at once. Heckles no. Ease them in gently.
As the two of you get closer, you start to relax. You get used to each other’s little foibles and bugaboos, and you reveal more and more of your true, full selves. Which can be frightening, if you haven’t laid the groundwork. If they think your being a little ratchet is too much, they are just not ready for your inner Skeletor.
1 When Skeletor Drops The Life-Affirming Wisdom On Us
So, here we are at the last entry. Don’t worry, though, because I saved something a little special for you all.
As we’ve seen countless times in the course of this rundown, Skeletor has a certain reputation. If I hadn’t made it perfectly plain by now, just look at the guy’s face. Or, rather, look at his demonic no-face. You can tell just at a glance that he’s a bad dude.
B-b-b-b-b-b-bad. Bad to the bone.
Some cunning memers strove to circumvent that whole idea, though, in some of the finest examples of He-Man meme-ing out there. All you have to do is grab a screencap of the guy, and attach a life-affirming, super cutesy quotation to it. Suddenly, Skeletor is a hero of the people, dropping pearls of wisdom to inspire us all to lead better lives.
It’s just beautiful, man.