It’s time for another installment of The Couch. Today we look at one of the first shows to air on The Hub, the science themed animated sci-fi comedy Cosmic Quantum Ray.
- Quantum Ray himself is the leader of Team Quantum, but in truth he’s captain of the team in the same manner that Arthur “Big Guy” Carlson was in charge of the radio station on WKRP in Cincinnati. Ray is a big muscular man-child of a superhero, sort of a cross between The Tick and SpongeBob Squarepants. (The latter comparison in particularly ironic, since Ray was also voiced by Tom Kenny). Ray was a cosmic being from the 9th Dimension. He is brave, determined and occasionally clever, though he sometimes comes off as a bit “flaky” or “weird” – but he’s just thinking “differently” than we 3-dimensional creatures, as his mind occupies 6 additional dimensions. He possessed a uniquely bizarre but still kind of kick-ass super power set: As a being from the 9th dimension, not all of Ray’s body can be seen – his elbows, knees and midriff are all in “higher” dimensions (we can’t see them, but Ray can). Ray’s body parts can also be detached at times when called for; he is held together by a cosmic essence of unknown origin that only Ray or other higher dimensional beings can see. As a 9th dimensional man, Ray can also see celestial objects and scientific phenomena that 3-dimensional beings cannot, like P-branes and tesseracts. Ray was also super-strong, able to fly and he could also control and change his atoms into any inorganic material he wants: he can turn to titanium, diamond, rubber, brick, iron, gold, and silver – anything he needs to get the “hero job” done. As a higher dimensional being, Quantum Ray sometimes forgets that not everyone occupies several planes of time, space and reality simultaneously, not everybody’s appendages are modular, and that most people have to obey the basic laws of physics. He referred to Robbie as his “young sidekick” and his tagline was “Halt! In the name of Natural Law!”
- Atee and Geecee are a pair of super-cute pint-sized, green-skinned, pointy-eared, hovering teenage twin alien honeys from the planet Tooferwun –a planet where everyone is a twin (and you used to wonder where we came from) therefore they count as a single member of Team Quantum. Identical in appearance, the only way to tell them apart was by their costumes and demeanor: Atee, who wore a pink costume, was sweet-voiced and dainty, whereas Geecee, who wore a baby blue costume, was gravelly voiced and scrappy. The twins were the lead-footed pilots of the ship, knowing only 2 speeds: fast and faster. They were also lazy, declining to perform any other duties with their line, “We’re pilots. We don’t do (whatever additional task they were asked to perform).” In addition to the ability to hover and fly (the twins are seen floating more often than walking), the twins have a superpower that only works when they combine their bodies together to form “Double Helix” – a large band of super-strong, super-elastic DNA that can catch, launch or catapult villains, dangerous objects (like out of control meteorites) – or even their fellow teammates. The twins generate their “Double Helix” ability through the soles of their feet as a sort of contrail, and they control the helixes by flying around. The twins’ “Double Helix” power is activated when they touch each other and speak the phrase, “Two for one, we’re double fun! We’re Double Helix!” (It was unclear if this phrase was necessary or just a habit of theirs. Physical contact, however, is required. If the two are out of reach of each other, they are unable to activate their power.) Their one weakness is separation. They are “connected” on a quantum level…should they be separated they would be powerless. And if they are separated for a very long period of time… they could cease to exist as we know them (but being quantum, we’re not quite sure what they would become). Being teenagers, Atee and Geecee seemed to have a mild crush on Robbie, they were definitely ga-ga over his hair, as they tried to touch it, snip it or sample it in just about every episode. Their names didn’t just sound science fiction-y, they were also a reference to the components of a DNA molecule: Adenine Thymine (Atee) and Guanine Cytosine (Geecee).
- Bucketworth was a bronze plated sentient robot and the brains of the team. Luminously intelligent, educated and refined, he was designed with a mustache, bow tie and a monocle from which he could project holographic images. Bucketworth acted as the sarcastic Mr. Spock to Ray’s clueless captain Kirk. While he possessed no super powers (beyond being a self-aware robot) he possessed a genius level IQ, and could invent handy devices and impeccable strategies to win the day. Bucketworth also delivered the science lessons at the conclusion of each episode. Ever the refined gentleman, he always referred to Robbie as ‘Robert’ and Ray as ‘Raymond’.
- Robbie Shipton himself acted as Ray’s protege and the show’s audience avatar. He had no super powers, but provided common sense and oasis of calm within the group. While in ‘space hero’ mode, Robbie’s outfit switched to a snazzy navy blue and gold space suit with pointed shoulder blades and his glasses would mysteriously disappear.