I was fortunate enough to wake up early on Saturday and see what’s new with today’s Saturday morning cartoons. When I was watching cartoons on Saturday morning, which was about ten, fifteen years ago, I’m not that old but I act like a pompous ass who thinks he has some sort of aged wisdom which, of course, fools no one. Anyway, I was watching X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman, Batman Beyond, which I know came well after Ninja Turtles, but seeing as I still act like a 12 year old today, it makes sense that I was indulging myself in children’s programming well into my teens, and I still currently do watch a couple kids shows. I watched a few other things, notable ones being Rocko’s Modern Life, and Ren & Stimpy.
I also watch Dr. Katz, which I blame for the cynical and deadpan sense of humor I developed in adulthood. But that wasn’t a Saturday morning cartoon. Of course I sat through the shitty ones too. SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, Captain Planet, Superman, and so on, but even those offer more to kids than what’s on right now.
Despite my early rising, I was only able to catch four programs. Pokemon, Bakugan, Secret Saturdays, and the new Transformers. Before you get self-righteous about how they ruined your childhood by allegedly bastardizing the Transformers, let me say that if your entire childhood has been defeated by a shitty remake of an already shallow children’s cartoon, you probably had a very uneventful upbringing.
Of the four programs I mistakenly sat through, only one of them was different and that was “Secret Saturdays”, it wasn’t good, but it was different. There’s a lot of cartoons out there that seem to ad-lib every part of them, then throw in some half-assed moral message toward the end; Secret Saturdays is one of these programs. Jimmy Neutron, Ben10, Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends, the program about the kid who has robot boy(that might be Ben10) and Secret Saturdays. All of these shows follow the same formula; The storylines in all of these shows are non-existent, the humor is irrelevant and character development has, completely and unequivocally, been given the boot. After the 20 minutes of nonsense that was never tied together, they drop a really shallow lesson in there like, “Everyone’s a winner!”, or “Don’t be mean to people!”, both of which are bullshit. If you’re a loser, suck it up and try harder, and if somebody is disrespecting you, return the favor and return it tenfold. If these were the things kids were being taught while they’re watching TV, which provides them with more parenting than parents give these days, things would be looking a lot different.
But I’ve gone off-topic, let’s get back to the initial four programs. Secret Saturdays stood out, but not in a good way, and the only way it differed was that it wasn’t trying to shove merchandise on you. I’m going to assume all of our readers are old enough to know and remember the peak of the marketing dynamo that is Pokemon, and as much of a bastardization as it is, you have to give them credit, they know how to get shit sold. We’re all aware of that. “Gotta catch ’em all!”, blatant hint. Transformers was no different, the entire thing was “Look at these awesome robots, holy shit you need them”, which is sort of misleading and of course the show ended with a half-assed message. I think it was “Don’t steal from people”, that’ll teach our kids! Despite me not being a fan of The Transformers, ever, I can acknowledge the old designs were pretty cool. Also worth noting; the Japanese trend of producing shitty looking cartoons that cost nothing to make needs to stop. Most of use are watching things that are 24, 25 frames a second, but the new Transformers program looks like it’s about 25 frames per show. Cartoons like this are becoming acceptable, and they’re lowering the standards for everyone, and it really sucks for people who know better.
With Transformers and Pokemon covered, then there was Bakugan, which I didn’t understand. I think it was like Pokemon, in the sense that there were creatures in orbs that fought each other? All I know is there were a lot of different things that looked merchandisable, and after a quick Google search, yup. There’s lots of Bakugan merchandise. And, of course, the show is devoid of character development, story, and everything well and good in general, but it’s Asian which means it’s cheap and marketable, thus why it’s on TV.
Now that I’ve gone on for I don’t know how long, I’ll get to my brief point; Older cartoons had character, they had personality, and stories, and even continuity. I’ll cite X-Men as my example. The X-Men cartoon that ran in the 1990s, all the characters were fleshed out, they all had personalities, and they acted accordingly. And the show wasn’t fucking shallow. They tackled theism in an episode, holy shit, theism. Think about that. You can’t even touch that topic on prime time news, and they covered it in a children’s program? That’s intense, but that’s what’s missing from what I watched on Saturday. No noteworthy characters or personalities, no story, and nothing worth mentioning, and there’s absolutely nothing positive to take from them. If anything, they’re detrimental to a kid’s development. They’re all bad, and if they’re not there to stonewall a kid and make them stop spazzing out for half an hour, they’re there to get money out of the pockets of the kid’s parents.