Ok, so i'm working nightshift and when you're working on a piece of machinery by yourself most of the time, you get to pondering the more profound things in life. Boobs for example. For some reason i got to thinking about saturday morning cartoons. Recently, i have been known to sing snippets from the theme song from that old Hercules cartoon from the 60's. If you are not familiar with it, it basically makes the original Spider-Man cartoon look like CGI. I don't sing all the time, only when others are getting stressed. My singing then usually either makes my co-workers laugh or drives them over the edge, much to my delight. Last night however, i was really reminiscing about the cartoons i used to watch and i basically boiled them down into 4 classifications:
These are the cartoons we remember fondly, like a lost love. They are the ones that helped shape our minds into the cold, apathetic monstrosities they are today. I remember getting up at about 6:30 in the morning, sitting on the floor in front of the TV, with my face no more than 2 feet from the screen. I'd be wearing my PJ's and cradling a bowl of "Puffed Wheat" cereal, sweetened with about 4 liberal spoonfuls of sugar. These mornings were a sigh of orgasmic relief between early bedtimes, hand-me-down clothes, schoolyard bullies and having to eat broccoli. They were basically 30-minute commercials for expensive, easily-breakable toys and parents treated them as such. For us though, they were so much more.
These cartoons included but were not limited to:
- GI Joe
- He Man
- Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends
- Incredible Hulk (the 1983 version, not the 1962 lump o' shit)
These were the cartoons that were very entertaining, but did not leave us salivating at the mouth like the Class A ones did. These were generally aired at about noon on saturday, or on weekday afternoons after your mom's soap operas were over. Some of these were just a marketing ploy to try and pettle some cheap, shoddy, malaysian-sweatshop-made toys onto unsuspecting youngsters. These were the toys that you played with if your family couldn't afford GI Joes or Transformers.
These cartoons included, but were not limited to:
These cartoons were either absolute tripe, or just way past their expiration date. Some of them were so poorly done, you'd think the TV execs just threw them on because they felt sorry for them. Others weren't too bad for their time, but weren't very enjoyable. Kinda like getting the opportunity to ride a wicked sportbike, but you gotta take a kick to the cluster first, as payment. Some of these shows could be found at like 6:00 on sunday morning. Usually, they'd air one or two of these toons right before an evangelist came on the air for his weekly travesty. You know the type: ten gold rings on his fingers, glasses laced with diamonds and a helmet of white hair that couldn't be ruffled with a wire brush and some laquer thinner. Some of these ones were especially depressing because they aired on sunday evening which signalled the end of the weekend. (Canadian cartoon "Racoons" for example)
These ones consisted of:
- George Of The Jungle
- Astro Boy
- Mighty Mouse
These cartoons have their own class because they're special. They consist of cartoons that could basically be put anywhere in the schedule and do equally well due to their timeless quality. These are the ones that have been around for years and are still enjoyable to this day. Many of them have obvious racist undertones and chauvanistic views, which adds to their campiness. They showed us not to take ourselves too seriously.
- Tom And Jerry
- Bugs Bunny
- Scooby Doo
- Any Hanna-Barbera Ones (captain caveman, laff-olympics, etc)
All of the cartoons listed above helped shape our generation. We didn't need to go to church to learn right from wrong, we got that by watching Optimus Prime admonishing Spike for doing something stupid. We didn't need to listen to adults, we had He-Man telling us not to go see a stranger's secret puppies in the back of his dimly lit van. We knew that if you shot a person in the face with a rifle tied up into a knot, it would just turn his face a greyish-black color. We also knew it was ok to give Smurfette a beautifully wrapped gift, knowing it would blow her to kingdom come.
Kids nowadays are fed an endless stream of uncomprehensible drivel, churned out by some huge japanese conglomerate that probably doesn't even know their shameful, seizure-inducing, attention deficit-rectifying crap is being aired over here.
Saturday morning cartoons were my "Chicken Soup For The Soul", why? Because knowing is half the battle.