Back in the '80s, when video games first really became a force in popular culture, society went on a sort of massive video-game themed bender and video gamed up everything they could get their hands on, from music to breakfast cereal to TV shows. One of the first really popular driving games, Pole Position, wasn't free from this, and the result is the awe-inspiringly awful 1984 animated show, Pole Position.

Because auto racing is such a boring, staid, and danger-free endeavor, the makers of the show pulled out every 80s-era animated show requirement to jazz it up: dead parents, crime fighting, talking robot cars, and a little kid with a creepily anthropomorphic animal sidekick.

So, in this case, that usual sachet of 80s crap mixed with Pole Position and baked in the oven of vastly overworked Asian animators gives us a set of orphaned brothers and sisters who have to take over their parents race car-based secret crime-fighting agency, which employs two robotic talking cars, Roadie and Wheels, and for some reason they're always joined on these dangerous missions by their little sister and a cat that seems to have prehensile monkey feet.

Actually, I learned, it's not a cat, but a genetic freak made from a raccoon and a monkey. Much better.

There's so much 80s-era clichés packed in here, it probably pushed the limits of the crap-packing technology of the 1980s. For example, the "older" robot car, Wheels, who seems to be based on a 60s-era Mustang, often says "I'm getting too old for this" when the shit gets, you know, real. That's prime 80s cop-show cliché, and they found it a home here.

Before you hunt down some episodes, just read these plot synopses:

The team protects a chicken, given to them as a gift from an archaeologist. But when a bad guy shows up to abduct the fowl, the team must figure out the bird's link to finding a hidden treasure.

Yes, the old "protects a chicken" trick to lure in viewers.

Kuma uncovers a plot to steal an Indian totem hidden somewhere at Mount Rushmore. He tries to warn the others with a quarter, nickel, and a penny (31 cents) all of which have the same presidents as the monument; Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.

and of course

The team is assigned to protect museum paintings that are being mysteriously vandalized; the cut pieces secretly contain a diagram for an advanced computer chip.

So, enjoy! If you, incredibly, want to buy them all on iTunes, have at it. Though really they should probably be paying you.

(Sources: Wikipedia, TV.com)