For anyone over the age of 25, Captain Planet and the Planeteers was one of many cartoon TV shows in the '90s that attempted to foist a message of global peace into the workings of the story.
However, while others might have made glancing allusions to the troubles of the day - the break-up of the Soviet Union, nuclear extinction, climate change - Captain Planet didn't so much take them on as throw themselves right into the middle of it all.
Never was it so apparent than the episode "If It's Doomsday, This Must Be Belfast", wherein our plucky teenagers sorted out the pesky problem of Catholic-Protestant acrimony and 800 years of colonial subjugation in under twenty minutes including ad-breaks.
The episode kicks off on Hope Island, where Whoopi Goldberg and the group of teenagers she's hanging around with are watching whales in the oceans. No, really. They literally called it WhaleVision. Keep in mind this was 1992 and the internet wasn't a thing, so this was the closest thing you could get to cat videos. Except it had whales.
*Stefon from SNL voice* The latest musical duo everyone is talking about is Verminous Skumm and Duke Nukem and they've got it all - yellow skin, nuclear bombs and an electrifying stage-show where they attach shock wires to their nipples...
Anyway, Verminous Skumm and Duke Nukem - who sounds like a trap-hop duo and dress like they're heading to Berghain - have planted a nuclear device in three global hotspots around the world; Northern Ireland, South Africa and the West Bank. In order to make sure that the bombs go off, instead of actually detonating them themselves like actual supervillains, the detonators for said nuclear devices have been placed in the hands of opposing sides. In other words, a Catholic gets a trigger and a Protestant gets a trigger. Symbolism!
Wheeler, the red-headed one with the fire ring, is sent to Belfast where he proudly claims that it's his kind of town. About two seconds later, he sees someone hurling a Molotov cocktail over a wall because, y'know, this is Belfast and that happened all the time back then.
The guy who's throwing the cocktail is Sean O'Reilly and is wearing a green shirt because he's a Catholic. Symbolism again! Wheeler then proudly proclaims that he's here to stop the violence - even though he just shot a fucking Molotov cocktail with his ring of fiery justice and actual fire justice.
O'Reilly's gripe with the Protestants is down to the fact that he's an out-of-work baker because the Prods - his words, not ours - firebombed his bakery. Or something. He then hides in a milk float that's going to the Protestant side of Belfast, which is identified cleverly with graffiti that says UDA everywhere. When they were in the Catholic side, it was IRA everywhere. Symbolism!
Anyway, Wheeler follows O'Reilly right into the middle of the Protestant heartland, wherein he meets The Protestants™, led by Stewart Cooper, Andy Summers and Gordon Summerhill. No, really, they look like a Sting & The Police cover band who knee-cap people when they ask for Roxanne during their set.
Sting & The Colluding Police, with such songs as Every Little She Does Is Sectarian, Message Of Hate In A Bottle and Wrapped Around Your Fleg.
It's worth pointing out at this point that the accents are atrocious, and really don't represent anything even close to a Belfast accent. The Protestants™, Wheeler and Sean O'Reilly have a ten-second discourse about Ireland was taken from them, whereas The Protestants™ were born there, and the socio-economic factors involved. Do we get a solution to this? Nope, because Whoopi Goldberg appears in the middle of Belfast and does an It's A Wonderful Life on the whole situation and shows what Belfast would look like if the nuclear device went off in the Protestants' neighbourhood.
As Whoopi Goldberg appears over Belfast, Rosie O'Donnell and the rest of The View appear in a chipper in Galway.
After Whoopi Goldberg brings everyone out of the hallucination, Stewart and O'Reilly put aside their differences, disarm the nuclear bomb and open up a bakery together that won't serve gay weddings, and Belfast is forever changed by that time an American teenager turned up and sorted it all out for everyone.
When you look at the likes of Kendall Jenner handing out a Pepsi, which sorts out police brutality in the process, you have to wonder where that kind of blinkered, naive thinking stems from. In a lot of ways, this episode was the '90s equivalent of Kendall Jenner walking through a protest and handing the filth a can of sugar water.
People talk about the Good Friday Agreement, Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley putting aside their differences, George Mitchell, Mo Mowlam and so on - all it took was Captain Planet, an American teenager with pyromania and Whoopi Goldberg letting a nuclear bomb go off to sort it all out.