Show, Don’t Tell

At the recent Star City Games $5,000 tournament in Philadelphia, a lot of people came up to me and asked about The World’s Greatest Tee Shirt. I am proud to say that having explained the desperate situation that the heroic Autobots found themselves in — at least until the arrival of their mechanical messiah — and how Optimus Prime, the Touch in tow, was able to save the day (or at least Autobot City) well enough that players present seemed to “get it” and new friends like Garrett Sheier even went and got themselves some Optimus Prime tee shirts.

So I thought I’d share what I talked about “in real life” in Philadelphia… and keeping in mind that you don’t have me swearing like a sailor in your ear… maybe you will come to understand why I find a tear in my eye every time I see that newly beloved tee shirt image. Transformers: The Movie has been one of my favorite films for over twenty years.

Here’s the setting.

The Decepticons are blitzing Autobot City! The Decepticons are BLITZING Autobot City. I know you are used to some skirmishes over the tee vee seasons with ‘bots from both sides of the Red / Purple insignia division walking away or even rolling out as it were, but the film to this point has been a murder of murders. Ironhide. Prowl. Wheeljack. I owned some or all of the vanquished ‘bots. At age 11 I didn’t yet realize that this was a ploy to, you know, sell more bits of plastic and die-cast metal.

But through the long night some of the Autobots have survived. The villanous Richard III-like Megatron calls for the final destruction of all that is holy and good and energon-powered on Earth, the end of a war that began in the time of the dinosaurs, perhaps… but not at all a good ending for us and ours.

Devastator, six ‘cons strong, shrugs off a heavy blow and is tearing Autobot City in two with mighty hands of steel, threatening to expose the last hidey-hole of the now exhausted Autobot faithful.

All seems lost.

But there is hope.

Hope that rides on sixteen wheels.

Here is a music video (I didn’t make it, but they let some other videos sit on the same site as Five With Flores), albeit largely less popular:



Check it out at about 0:09… That long shot of Optimus Prime rolling out and crossing the bridge to what will be his final battle. Can you hear the palpable hope alongside Stan Bush’s power ballad crooning?

0:16… The Decepticons hear it, and are rallying to the bridge. 300 Spartans nearly held the hot gates against the greatest army history had seen to that point. But can a small army of robotic killing-machines stand against a single sixteen-wheeler?

0:21… We have completely misjudged this situation! The ‘cons aren’t rallying… They’re RUNNING! From a single Autobot! He must have “the Touch” or some such.

0:24… This is the reflection of a supervillain’s face right before he’s…

0:25… splattered to the sky by an oncoming sixteen-wheeler.

0:33… Prime is so tough he seems completely immune to blaster fire, even in truck-mode. Eff these guys and their stupid blasters.

0:35… There go the jets. This is the iconic moment. Prime is vaulting from “run over the slower Decepticons” truck-mode to “heroic mass-murderer” Autobot mode. If you aren’t cheering as he launches from the ground to the sky, I fear, my friend, that you have no soul.

0:37… He hasn’t even hit the ground yet, but his gun is in his hand.

0:39… Fatality!

0:40… Fatality!

0:41… Fatal… Um, we know Soundwave lives, but he seems pretty effed up anyway. Remember, Prime hasn’t even hit the ground from his transformation yet and he has already run over 2-3 Decepticons and shot another 2-3 to death already. Has this guy got the Touch or what?

0:42-0:47… We aren’t even a FULL MINUTE into the song yet and Prime has just unloaded 10-12 more rounds. We see the results of the last two; that is, two more ‘con corpses. Given his shot percentage to this point, how many ‘cons did he drop along the way?

1:07… No clue why Megatron flying tackles Prime here instead of shooting him with his black hole-powered cannon. This guy needs like, a life coach or at least to listen to Top 8 Magic or something. What a poor play.

1:25… Oh, that’s why! Black hole, black shmole! Prime would just dodge his lightspeed cannon-blast! (No clue why being disparately shown to shrug off blaster fire and dodge singularity-level destruction moving at the speed of light, he was successfully tagged by a hurled piece of debris, which you can see sticking out of his gut… You know when the Japanese guy shoots all his rounds and Gojira and they don’t hurt him, but then he inexplicably throws his empty revolver at the rampaging dragon-god? Imagine that the gun knocked him back into the sea. Logic.).

1:34… Megatron has a lightsaber!

1:35… Prime is vulnerable to lightsabers (I mean who isn’t?); this will be important at a later date.

1:44… Megatron, though, is vulnerable to PRIME’S EVER LOVIN’ FISTICUFFS!!!

2:00… Also Prime’s Judo!!!

We all know how this fight ends. It is Optimus’s last fight. Though he defeats Megatron and routs essentially the entire Decepticon invasion force, he is greviously wounded and has to pass the torch — or the Matrix of Leadership in this case — to the Prime of the next generation.

3:11… Rodimus Prime unleashes the Touch and lights our darkest hour. Do you see how the Touch can be passed to the most incompetent of potential heroes?

But you can surely see how Prime’s inspiration and leadership — and most importantly the hope he represented to the embattled and desperate heroes — combined with the magical music of the time combine sublimely (almost like Devastator or perhaps Voltron to go off-universe) into The World’s Greatest Tee Shirt:

Your old buddy michaelj (or Mrs. michaelj properly) ordered two. They will be mine for Christmas! Thank you beloved Better Half!

If you have foolishly not gotten yours yet, think about it like this… Do you not have the Touch? Do you want it? Are you constantly complaining about bad mana, bad luck, being topdecked? Perhaps you need the Touch, or perhaps the Power. Did you notice Prime teasing your opponent and calling him a loser with that L-shape up top his head?

You just might want to think about that.

I plan to start next year’s Extended PTQ season with the Touch in tow.

Happy Holidays everybody!


facebook comments:


#1 GRat on 12.18.08 at 12:19 am

Haha, thank you Mike.


#2 vpreacher on 12.18.08 at 11:12 am

You restored my faith in humanity with this.

#3 CajunCush on 12.18.08 at 6:32 pm

OMG! I love that movie. I`m gonna have to get me some of that tee shirt. Don`t get me wrong, Prime busting some decepticon bahonky is totally tops, but I prefer some of the more abscure parts of the movie. Guilty, Guilty, Guilty. Got it yet? An even better part of the movie….Ba Weep Granna Weep Ninnybong! Even better than that is Rodimus Primes accension to greatness where he opens the spark and lets Galvatron have it. I just love the major butt whoopin that those guys put out.

I used to have a whole lot of Autobots and Decepticons, (my greatest had to be UNICRON)but over the years they have either gotten broken(yes I still play with them) or they get handed down to kids who just need a good toy. The one that I REFUSE to get rid of is my set of Constructicons(Devastator). They are all saved up, in a plastic bag, individually wrapped and lovingly cared for.

Thanks Mike for helping me remeber what it was like to be a kid. Bye now….gotta go dig up my copy of the movie and veg out with my 5yr old.

#4 bk on 12.19.08 at 9:06 pm

awesome. this brought a tear to my eye.

#5 Five With Flores » Audible - The Legendary 3am Deck on 03.13.09 at 8:47 pm

[…] reminded me to wear the World’s Greatest Tee Shirt tomorrow. I might have […]

#6 Five With Flores » Story of My Life, Terrible Tournament Report, &c. on 05.17.09 at 11:10 am

[…] Shirt: I have played three tournaments with the You’ve Got the Touch tee shirt now. I didn’t win any of them, but I haven’t so much as made an individual […]

#7 Five With Flores » Edison Standard PTQ Report on 07.19.09 at 11:35 am

[…] With this 7-2, the Optimus Prime Tee Shirt is still batting one thousand in packs […]

#8 GavinV on 08.07.09 at 1:14 pm


Ctrl-F “Greg Squire”


(Also notable: longtime top8Magicer Danny Gardner playing in the finals!)

#9 Locke & Key is BY FAR the BEST Comic Book Currently Published — Five With Flores on 11.18.12 at 7:21 pm

[…] who follows my podcast has basic cable and Cartoon Network, and given the feedback I got from this all-time favorite blog post there are more than a few Five With Flores readers that fondly remember the super heroic animation […]

You must log in to post a comment.