How on Earth Would Carmen Sandiego Fare in a Fight with Waldo?

September 16th, 2010

Dear Charles,

I have a number of very important, pressing questions, and I am hoping you might be able to answer them! Ok, let’s get started.

1) Are you single? And if yes, are you willing to move to
Vancouver, BC, or should we meet halfway? I think Moosomin, Saskatchewan is quite nice for a few weeks in the late spring time.

2) This is isn’t really a question, but I just wanted to express my love for Dan Savage as well; his columns appear right after the escort services classifieds in The Georgia Straight, and I generally pass right by those to get to Savage Love.

3) What sort of treatment plan would you recommend for a horse with hives?

4) Who do you think would win in a fight; Waldo or Carmen Sandiego? I’m going with Waldo seeing as he has the ability to travel through time and space, and he manages to make horizontal stripes slimming.

Your servant,

West Coast

Dear West Coast –

1) I am single, and I’ll move anywhere if you can get me a ridiculously easy and high-paying job there. I’ll consider moving to Moosomim for a few days during the time when it’s nice, even without the job, but I think we should at least wait until the Moosomim Museum (“Coming soon!”) is up and running.

2) Dan Savage’s column usually appears somewhere in the front half of the Washington City Paper, and I, too, usually skip through whatever comes before it and read it first, but the escort services ads appear in the last few pages of the City Paper, so I still have them to look forward to after I’ve read Savage Love.

3) For a horse with hives, I would take a two-pronged approach, consisting of a consultation with a veterinarian, with both you and the horse in attendance (prong 1), followed by a strict regimen of doing whatever the veterinarian recommends during prong 1 (prong 2).

4) Your request for a projected winner in a fight between Waldo and Carmen Sandiego was a little harder for me to fulfill, as I had only a glancing familiarity with both characters, but I quickly corrected this deficiency by watching fragments of Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego? episodes, a complete Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? episode (the one where Carmen destroys three famous paintings), and the “The Great Ball Game” episode of Where’s Waldo on You Tube.

It struck me right away that there’s more “fight” in Carmen Sandiego than there is in Waldo, who seems to overcome all of his difficulties through dumb luck and with the aid of a dog who sort of talks and is cognizant of any threats and clever enough to take whatever action is necessary to avert danger. Exclusion of the dog from the fight would be a serious handicap for Waldo, who would likely be unaware that there was a fight in progress. To be sure, if Waldo was aware that he was being attacked, he could take evasive action by using his magic walking stick to create a portal through which he could enter another time and place (although the portal remains open long enough for Waldo’s enemies to get through as well if they’re close by) and he could use his magic horizontal stripes to slim himself, thereby making himself a smaller target, but it’s hard to picture him going on the offensive.

Carmen Sandiego is certainly more menacing and sinister than Waldo, but she was usually on the run and seemed to rely on various henchmen to do most of her grunt work, so it’s difficult to predict how she would handle herself in a one-on-one encounter with a motivated opponent, and it’s also difficult to imagine Waldo as a motivated opponent.

Carmen Sandiego was often defeated on her own shows, something that I don’t believe ever happened to Waldo on his show. Moreover, the key to defeating Carmen Sandiego on her turf seems to be extensive geographical and historical knowledge, and Waldo is knowledgeable on a wide variety of topics. Thus, I think Waldo would emerge victorious in any matchup that occurred on either party’s show.

However, in a more conventional fight of the biff!-bam!-pow! variety taking place on some other show or at a neutral location (Moosomim, Saskatchewan, perhaps) and not involving dogs or henchmen, I think Carmen Sandiego would have the edge because of her far superior focus. Both characters on their own have the physical and intellectual resources to win such a fight, but all of Carmen Sandiego’s resources would be concentrated on winning the fight, while Waldo’s would be scattered among whatever distractions were present and whatever happened to pop into his head.

Your attendant,



  • Tracy:

    Although I have watched neither show I must say that Carmen Sandiego would win if only because of her superior wardrobe.

  • Anoria:

    While a fight has some interesting possible outcomes, the idea of romance between the characters has so much more potential:

  • Martha in Kansas:

    Do you think they could find each other to HAVE a fight?