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in memory of cartoons

folks of my generation routinely say that the cartoons of our youth were far better than the driveling nonsense on tv now. clearly, i agree. but we don't routinely say why. well, here's my take.

i miss the cartoons that cracked wise. the ren and stimpy, the daria, the pinky & the brain cartoons where the characters were darkly, hopelessly, funnily (so not a word) witty that they came back with a smart aleck comment for everything. the speak your mind cartoons, the cartoons that served a bit of edge with their hijinks.

remember when daria said, "i don't have low self-esteem. i have low esteem for everyone else?" remember that episode of ren and stimpy when they were caught on that planet in outerspace, and they imploded. remember the poignancy of the moment when they realized what was going to happen, and they said goodbye to each other? and the relentlessness of pinky and the brain? how they persisted and perservered, to the point where they got their own show?

yeah...darkwing duck, anyone? animaniacs - the goodfeathers who were determined to perch on scorcesse's head? hello nurse? rocko's modern life? rocko had a best friend named heiffer! i love it!

these are the cartoons wikipedia articles like to note for their "subversive humor." yeah. the cartoons that don't take their cartoonness (and the limits their cartoonness should impose) too seriously. yeah, some animator had drawn them, but they were still pretty darn clever and didn't feel like they owed the animators anything. the ones that have a comment on the state of the whole pop culture world, and don't feel inhibited by the fact that they are just drawings.

could shrek have been, without these cartoons first? i think without some of these cartoons, we would not feel comfortable with our cartoons talking back to us. or talking about us.

cartoons of today have a kitschy cuteness factor. i suppose. i suppose this is why adults run around buying spongebob doodads. i have never found spongebob to be cute. mostly, i found him to be dumb - a character without much brainpower. i also suppose the kitsch-cute factor skipped over a generation or two cartoons, cuz folks also collect felix the cat and mickey mouse. well, i'll take exposure heiffer over kitsch any day.

obviously, this leaves out cartoons like family guy today. but intentionally so, because family guy is clearly directed towards and adult audience. then again, if we wanna look at it a little more deeply, family guy got it's first run on television at this time...along with dr. katz...but that's beginning to sound like another post.

so maybe that's a lot of analysis. for cartoons. but that is what i miss. i don't even begin to understand things like cat dog or cow and chicken. i miss the cartoons with bravado, with daring. if anyone knows of any on tv now (and not the simpsons, the simpsons fall into another category entirely) let me know.

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