North Texas Daily

The case for more cartoons

The case for more cartoons

The case for more cartoons
October 05
13:21 2016

Cartoons have been around for decades, entertaining us through the wisdom of “Tom and Jerry,” the ridiculousness of “SpongeBob” and the adventures Tommy Pickles took with the other “Rugrats.”

Animation has had a stigma for being just for children with their deep lessons centered directed toward anyone below the age of 12. The people who put cartoons in this category fail to realize that the word “cartoon” doesn’t mean “children’s animated show.”

With time comes development, and cartoons have evolved into rich allegories with heart-wrenching background stories, mysteries and very complicated life lessons.

Animation didn’t start off for children, as cartoons like “Popeye” featured adult content like drinking and sexual tension, hiding in plain sight for children to miss and adults to catch. Vintage cartoons gained a childlike reputation once Saturday morning cartoons became the popular period to watch them by the end of the ’60s.

“The Simpsons” and “South Park” assisted in dividing cartoon audiences by creating the sub-genre of adult animation. These TV-14/TV-MA series laid the groundwork for animation to include sexual situations and profanity.

A lot of past cartoons were specifically aimed at children because those were the predominant audience and gave the market its highest viewership. But now that animation has expanded, with Nickelodeon and Disney as two of the most popular television networks, the stories have too.

“Adventure Time” is a major reason for this new age of animation, being one of the cartoons leaning toward mythological storytelling. It has the silliness and odd behaviors that kids love about cartoons, but has an underlying backstory that keeps adults glued to their seats to figure out more.

Many people can sit and watch a few random episodes at a time, and easily dismiss the crazy Ice King, the talking dog and strange candy characters. But if you sit and watch this show from the beginning to end, you’ll learn that the Ice King was actually a man who,  in order to save a young girl from death, sacrifices his own sanity to protect her.

“Steven Universe” is in a similar vein, but tells its story differently. It features constant lessons to be learned, with very few episodes functioning as filler. Upon first glance, it looks like a silly show about a group taking care of a younger human, while training him to be a part of their fight team. But after immersing oneself in the storyline, it can make you cry for hours.

The show teaches kids, throughout multiple episodes, how to deal with the death of a parent, how it’s important to face problems and how it’s right to allow yourself to love whoever you want. The show even directly addresses the LGBT movement.

Cartoons aren’t for everyone, just like some people don’t enjoy action movies or chick flicks. But for many, it could just be that they haven’t given them the chance. Cartoons hold much more value than helping Dora figure out which mountain Swiper ran off to. They explore unlimited possibilities and teach real-life lessons to the entire family.

Sometimes, a TV show with a little more silliness than others can help you find your way.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

About Author

Victoria Baghaei

Victoria Baghaei

I write opinions, yo.

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