The State of Cartoons


After being home with a 5-year-old the last two days — Tuesday while Finn was sick and today while I was sick and he was still recovering — I’m in disbelief at what is allowed to pass as a good cartoon these days. Finn likes what he calls “CNN” because it says “CN” on the corner of the screen. It’s Cartoon Network. They play such silly things with animation that I’m not really all that impressed with. They’re just overly silly and non-sensical. Nick Jr. is a tad better, but still a little out there.

My fav is Disney Channel. I love their morning line-up — Little Einsteins, Higglytown Heroes, My Friends Tigger and Pooh, Handy Manny to name a few — and they make sense. They’re just enough educational to satisfy me but not too much that the boys find it boring. But more than that, they have plots. They have interesting, lovable characters. These other shows are just annoying. What ever happened to story lines like were in the Smurfs, He-man, She-ra, Heathcliff, Shirt Tales, Jem, and so on, with protagonists and antagonists and problems to solve? Is it my perspective as the adult that has changed or have cartoons really changed?

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3 thoughts on “The State of Cartoons

  1. It’s becoming prevalent in entertainment above that level, too. Starting in their early twenties and moving down into the teens, audiences are becoming resistant to fictional narrative. They don’t want to watch something that’s plotted out and planned for their consumption. It feels predictable and manipulative to them. They gravitate toward randomness and perceived spontaneity. (Just don’t tell them that THAT’s scripted, too.)

  2. According to the reading I’ve done on witnessing to and building artistic outreach tools. They DO like personal narrative and in fact distrust anything that smacks of being learned secondhand rather than experientially. But it has to seem less structured than we’re used to, bouncing back and forth the way you would in conversation rather than in A, B, C order. This even extends to visual storytelling, which is being heavily influenced by gaming. Some kids don’t like having a point of view “forced” on them while watching a movie or show. They like it when the camera is constantly moving around and over and under the subjects. It’s creating a way of filming movies and shows that gives me a headache.

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