Cartoon Curmudgeonry: Then and Now

What boys watched for weekday afternoon cartoons in the 80’s:

What they watch now:

Quite a contrast, huh?

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4 Comments on “Cartoon Curmudgeonry: Then and Now”

  1. notleia says:

    Wait, Adventure Time is supposed to be the bad thing in this scenario? WHAT BLASPHEMY ARE YOU IMPLYING??? Adventure Time is awesomesauce on a skillet. True, the art and the postmodern structure is an acquired taste, but in a lot of ways it’s brilliant. I have never seen anyone else do random humor that consistently funny.

    • dmdutcher says:

      Yeah, it’s a bad thing. I’m not a fan of post-modernism or irony in kid’s cartoons. It’s too much like what they do in comics, and those have become profoundly kid-unfriendly, to the point where we have kid versions of the same superhero comics due to content issues. I don’t think that was my point though in contrasting them.

      I had two. One is that modern cartoons tend to be stylized to the point of near absurdity. The “Hello Kitty meets Lisa Frank” style of this for example. Unless it’s anime, it seems like there’s rarely any show that goes for even a modicum of realism.

      The second is that notice that everyone in the former is an adult? If you go through a lot of 80’s cartoons, an unusual thing is how few children are in them. The idea of an adult as a role-model or something to aspire to has been lost, and it’s almost always about kids. Not that it’s bad entirely, but there was a valuable function in giving kids an adult to be like. I think this explains why Master Chief from Halo is so popular among kids.

      • notleia says:

        It did take me awhile to get used to the aesthetic, especially the way they moved, all noodly and stuff, but for me it’s almost easier because it’s so far removed from realistic. It was actually harder for me to get used to the cartoonier aspects of some anime like Fullmetal Alchemist because it was a such a drastic shift from the heavily stylized but reasonable “regular” faces to the cartoony reaction shots or the chibi-ish affectations.
        And I’m pretty meh about role models, in practice or as a device. I don’t know that role models are all that effective in the long run. Or in the short run, really, because I never experienced relying or being dependent in some way on a role model. Or at least specific ones. And wouldn’t kids be just as likely to pick up role modelish stuff from not-specifically-kids’ media, like Jean-Luc Picard or Sam Carter from Stargate SG-1?
        And I don’t remember Master Chief having many characteristics besides “stoic” and “blows sh*t up.” And “rescues holographic damsel in distress in cash-grabbing sequel.”

  2. […] Cacao, Put Down the Shovel! […]


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