Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What's the Deal With Cartoons These Days?

We’ve been watching a lot of cartoons around here lately.

As my brain absorbs snippets of animated goodness here and there, I’ve noticed a few things. First off, where the crap did all these cartoons come from?

Growing up, we were lucky to catch the few hours of cartoons every Saturday morning. Even then, a 30-minute show was more like 10 minutes of actual show with all the commercial time. (Remember the animated X-Men show? That was the worst when it came to commercials.)

Ahh...the 90s X-Men cartoon was the best. Who cares you only got about 10 actual minutes of show time with all the commercials? We were learning an important lesson -- delayed gratification.

Tiffany informed me there’s some new law where networks aren’t allowed to inundate children with commercials during certain hours. Instead, there’s a PSA, like look at this good boy making his bed, every 20 minutes or so. Even then, the PSAs are about 30 seconds. Why didn’t my congressman care to protect me from rampant commercialism when I was a child?

With Charter, we have seven (SEVEN!!) channels that play cartoons/kids’ shows all day long. That’s not even counting on-demand and Netflix.

That said, I’ve noticed a few trends with today’s cartoons. I could be wrong, but things seem more outlandish. Here are a few examples.

Rolie Polie Olie

I'm not even sure what this show is about. All I know is "Winky Ball" sounds dirty.

I was checking email one morning when my subconscious picked up this little gem from “Rolie Polie Olie.” Apparently they play something called Winky Ball in this show. Olie was a bit distraught about the upcoming game. Here’s a direct quote.

“I’ve been winked the last 15 games straight. I don’t want mom and dad to see me wink out again.”During the exchange, Olie is speaking to his grandpa, who comforts him by revealing that Olie’s dad has the longest wink out slump ever.

Is it just me, or is there a bit of innuendo here? Couldn’t they have gone with a better name than Winky Ball? I’d assume baseball is the closest sport to Winky Ball. Still, in baseball, you don’t “base out.” Nor do you get “based.”

Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Clearly Jake uses a lot of hair gel. Wonder where pirates keep their gel? I'd keep mine by the barrel of oranges for scurvy prevention -- you know, in the "essentials" area of the ship's hold.

Ah, Disney’s Peter Pan spin-off. Though it’s been watered down significantly.

For starters, Captain Hook is less of an evil nemesis and more of a bumbling distraction. (More on the watering down of bad guys later.)

Next, Jake’s sword is wooden. C’mon! In one episode, he was singing a song about what all he could do with his sword. As he sung about cutting vines with it, my clever wife declared, “I doubt it, since it’s made of wood. Maybe you could start a campfire with it.” Kudos.

Throughout every episode, Jake and his crew get gold doubloons for doing good deeds. I have a few issues with this. First, the gold doubloons appear out of nowhere. More disconcerting though – are we teaching children every good deed should come with the expectation of monetary compensation?

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

And, there's Pete, looking all evil. In the cartoon, he's more of an inconsiderate friend.

Ah, our favorite. My biggest gripe involves Pete.

Pete used to be a bad guy. His Wikipedia entry includes Attila the Hun and Blackbeard as part of his ancestry.

In Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, he’s inconsiderate at best. In one episode, Pete steals some crystal statues from Mickey. When the gang catches up with him in a secret jungle temple, he deploys some fairly nefarious traps.After bypassing the traps, Mickey and the crew finally catches up with him. He has some terrible excuse about just wanting the see the crystal statues up close because they’re so pretty. Mickey seems to forget that he was nearly killed by his shenanigans. “Awww, shucks Pete.”

C’mon!! He’s a bad dude. Don’t let him off that easily. At the very least, stop inviting him to the costume parties, talent shows and other soirees. But, nope, there he is in every episode, doing clearly evil things that are shrugged off every time.

Oh, also what’s with the Toodles? Every time you have a serious problem, you should just hit the easy button and the perfect solution just appears?

All right, enough griping. "Sophia the First" is on and she appears to have a serious ice swan problem. I need to watch this.

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