By: Kidman J. Williams
I used to love Saturday morning cartoons. I couldn’t wait to wake up, go out into the kitchen and get myself a heaping bowl of Apple Jacks and park my Under Roos clad booty in front of the television to watch all my favorite shows of the time. We all watched Looney Toons, Beetlejuice, Tom and Jerry, and who doesn’t remember The Gummi Bears?
The old cartoons always had something for the adults to enjoy along with their kids so that they could tolerate being in the same room. Even The Muppet Show. Especially The Muppet Show. I once watched a gorilla hump Bunsen’s butt after he sent Beaker back in time.
Then alas there was always the end. The first signal was when Saved By the Bell came on because you knew Soul Train was right around the corner to ruin your whole cartoon morning.
What happened to the old insensitive cartoons. Back when you could watch a cat throw a mouse into a sandwich and a dog beat the ever loving Hell out of cat. Good ole Spike. He just didn’t like Tom did he. Tom was kind of a selfish dumpster cat.
If you watch cartoons now verse the cartoons that came on back when we were kids, there is a considerable difference in the scripts.
The Adult Humor is Gone in Cartoons
Take the Flintstones. Iconic cartoon, but it was very much the Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason and Art Carney. There is no doubt. It also contained grown up things and ideas. Fred went to work, he would go on lunch break, he would come home, have dinner, go bowling; at night him and Wilma chilled, probably had a fight, and Fred would get locked out of the house because the domesticated Saber-tooth tiger outsmarted him and locked him out of the house.
Take Cartoon Network who puts out the show, “The Amazing World of Gumball.” There is one episode where they try to get rid of the goldfish, Darwin. A visit to a pet store while seeing their real life counterparts in cages and fish tanks upsets the cast.
Gumball, Richard (Dad), and Nicole (Mom) get in their head that Darwin the goldfish wants to be with his own people. Not true and it leads to a crazy car chase while a tattered and beaten to Hell and back goldfish scares people jumping from car to car on the highway. My own kid isn’t even following what’s going on in the story. (from Cartoon Network)
The story is too out there. Is there humor, sure. Is there some adult humor, yes. The problem is that the story goes over kids’ heads and all they pay attention to is the stupid things that the characters do.
The Flintstones dealt with pretty real situations. The storylines were easy to follow for a kid and there was enough adult humor going that adults didn’t mind sitting down watching the show. They were our modern prehistoric family that we all enjoyed sitting and laughing with.
Why So Politically Correct
Then there is the PC nature of cartoons nowadays. There was a time when cartoons were doing black-face and carrying heavily offensive stereotypes. Tom and Jerry was one of them. In Tom in Jerry you used to see the Mammy Two-Shoes all the time until she was fizzled out and turned into a portly white woman with pumps.
The PC nature took over so much that now Tom and Jerry aren’t even enemies because they couldn’t possibly show the violent nature of the a cat wanting to eat a mouse, you know, like in real life.
That brings me to one of my favorite cartoons that were ripped away from me because of racist overtones. That cartoon was Heckle and Jeckle.
Heckle and Jeckle were the two crows deemed racist by the PC board. I really don’t know if there is a board or not. Heckle and Jeckle were seemingly black characters. They ran around causing all kinds of trouble and stealing corn. Mainly because they were crows. Not because the writers were racist in any kind of way, even though the writers might have been.
However, if the funny cartoon would have been truly racist, wouldn’t the loveable duo Heckle and Jeckle have lost after each episode? You know, get their comeuppance! They never did. Heckle and Jeckle were the most amazing duo since Batman and Robin! Robin Hood and Little John. Bonnie and Clyde! That last one wasn’t so good, but you get the picture!
The two beloved crows always won! They were funny and awesome and you can’t take that away from them. It wasn’t like the black-face stuff in the old Betty Boop shorts. They still sell Betty Boop merchandise. Let’s not forget the highly insensitive Family Guy.
I’m still very upset about Heckle and Jeckle.
The fact is that cartoons have gotten worse over the years. Long gone are the days when the cat would eat the mouse. Good-bye Top Cat who with his cat gang of loveable hoods would always get one over on the police officer. No more Flintstones, Beetlejuice, Smurfs where Gargamel and his cat eat and cook the Smurfs up with a nice batter. I wonder how he really ate Smurfette?
Oh I just ruined your childhood a bit huh? Not really sorry. He ate the smurf out of her smurf.