Come along, you belong, feel the fizz...

Artwork by Charity Oliver

Probably the most important thing about the show was Gadget. She was my hero, and still is to a somewhat lesser extent. I wanted to be like her. She was intelligent, liked machines and science, pretty, and had really great friends.. At [my] school, you could not have all of, ten years later, I do have those things, and it's strange to realize that [Gadget] may have been the influence. (Charity Oliver, survey response)

[I like Rescue Rangers]..just for one reason... GADGET HACKWRENCH!!! ... I Love Gadget! (JLS, survey response)

Gadget is the most popular (and debatably most interesting) character from "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers." In fact, just as many respondents said they enjoyed the program because of Gadget as said they tuned in because they liked Chip and Dale. Her many fans generally like her for one of two reasons: either because she is the kind of person they like and respect, or they "want her children" (Gadgetism Test). Sometimes the two go together.

Female fans of Gadget usually like her because she is a capable, independent female character (a relative rarity in 1980s cartoons). As noted above, she can be seen as a genuine role model, as well. Gadget is "beautiful, yet blissfully unaware of her beauty" (Indy, survey response)--since beauty is such a highly prized feminine ideal, Gadget manages to have most of the traits of the perfect woman, and can be easily idolized. The fact that she doesn't wear makeup ("Gadget Goes Hawaiian") truly emphasizes that her beauty is not conscious, and perhaps implies that her beauty really comes from her personality, not any efforts to become beautiful. As "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers" premiered when the average Rangerphile was just entering his or her awkward teenage years, Gadget served as a reminder that young women don't have to be obsessed with their appearance to be beautiful. Her carefree attitude and beauty served as something for female fans to work towards and look forward to.

To say that female Rangerphiles look up to Gadget solely because of her beauty, however, is ludicrous. One reason--probably the main reason--Gadget is admired by some women is simply because she is kind and brilliant, all at once. As the most technicologically knowledgable of the Rescue Rangers (and debatably a lousy cook whose food always tastes like motor oil ("Good Times, Bat Times")), she does not conform to gender stereotypes. Perhaps most of all, she is a symbol showing that women are every bit as smart as men, and can accomplish whatever they set their minds to. As the mouse herself says, "Nothing's impossible."

Some male Rangerphiles fit into this category of admiration for the mouse without being attracted to her--her love of technology makes her popular among technophiles, male and female. However, a good percentage of Rangerphiles (mostly male) are attracted to Gadget for her beauty as well. This is evidenced in some of the more risqué pictures in the Internet Gadget Archive, with Gadget in suggestive sleepwear and bikinis. One respondent to my open-ended survey pointed out that he is not attracted to Gadget, who is "a cartoon mouse." However, since most Rangerphiles seem to be fans of animation, and often of 'furries' (animals with human qualities), it should not be surprising that some Rangerphiles feel an attraction for her.

Again, while it is easy to analyze Gadget simply based on her appearance, it really is her personality (coupled with, at least, some 'cuteness') that makes her such a popular character. While a technologically capable female may be a bit of a cliched character now, at the time the show premiered, these traits were really unique and likable. Additionally, she is the most caring member of the team, making her seem genuinely female, instead of just 'a guy in drag' like some female cartoon characters are.

In an informal poll, only one respondent out of 44 picked Gadget as their 'least favorite Rescue Ranger' (Julie's Weekly Rescue Ranger Poll). The mouse is strong, capable, beautiful, and a woman; while her appearance has some importance, she is rarely confined to the 'damsel in distress' role so common in cartoon ladies. What's not to like?

Perhaps one of the most significant liberties the Internet Rangerphile community are in the area of romance.



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