Saturday morning nostalgia
by Lucas M. McWilliams
So just sit back and relaxÖ
I donít know a single person worth their salt in my generation that doesnít hold fond memories of learning at the feet of the Warner Brothers (and the Warnerís sister). The Animaniacs was a real godsend of a show when I was 14. Up until that point Iíd had some great enjoyment with such brilliant television as The Samurai Pizza Cats, Transformers, and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Iíd never learned much from them, however. Then along came Yakko, singing me every word in the English language, telling me about Magellan and his many failures, how in relation to the universe Iím tiny, roughly the size of one Mickey Rooney, and even teaching me all the presidents in their proper order of appearance. These were the ďGolden Years,Ē my friends, the days of plenty. And now those days are as dead as the Disco Duck.
Flip on a television come Saturday morning and what do you see? You tune into your favourite channel and see Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, Digimon, 6teen and perhaps the biggest affronts of all, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, and Trasformers: The Anime Debacle. When the hell did ninja become an offensive title and why did the Transformers need a Civic Nation style overhaul? Cartoons arenít educational anymore, now theyíre like the spastic younger brother that no one wanted to hang out with. Flashing lights and bad anime visual style does not equal quality television. It sure as hell doesnít equal pleasant childhood memories to match the genius that is Orson Wells as a planet-devouring monster, or the sort of witty imagination it takes to produce an industry indicting song like the Animaniacs so often did.
Iím not saying crappy cartoons donít have their place. My generation had its share of CatDog, but at least we had a couple redeeming offerings as well. These days, all the good cartoons are still aimed at my generation. From Clone High to Undergrads, the decent animated series are being aimed at the twenty somethings, not the kids. Itís like the industry got together and decided that it had its fill of educated, sharp humour and wanted to produce a generation of mindless monkeys convinced that Stealth is the height of the human creation process.
Obviously, the decline of the modern cartoon isnít entirely to blame for the slow decline into idiocy the younger generation seems to be falling into, but it doesnít help. Itís hard to have someone enjoy Shakespeare when you raise him/her on Dan Brown. Content counts for a lot in this modern media savvy era, and it seems like weíve gone from a renaissance to being on the brink of a cartoon Dark Ages. Maybe itís up to those of us who recognize it to play the role of the Irish monks; buying up DVD box sets to show our kids after this generation of lost souls is out of the market of the market.