FIVE THôT columnist and Editor Rocky McGredy gives us his view on the world in weekly doses.
Growing up, I was a funky kid. I never really liked pre-school, so I decided not to go. I would have probably skipped over elementary school if they had let me, too. When I was at home, I’d spend the majority of my time in the backyard playing pretend. I was particularly fond of sturdy tree branches, which doubled as laser swords and aided in my battle against invisible foes. I used to track down everything that had a plug in the household and tie them together. I liked disassembling electronics a lot, even if I never reassembled them. Swim goggles were badass, and I’m pretty sure I looked like a boss wearing them.
On top of it all, I was completely obsessed with cartoons. I remember at a specific point in my childhood, I became quite afraid of growing up. You see, I was surrounded with older siblings. My closest sibling is 8 years older than me. Being the observant child that I was, I saw how different their lifestyles were to mine and I was quite happy with the way things were. One night, I asked my Mom if I’d have to stop watching cartoons when I grew up. Much to my surprise, she told me that I could watch whatever I wanted to watch. If I never wanted to stop watching cartoons, then I never had to stop.
I must have taken that statement to heart, because today I still watch primarily cartoons. Waking up early in the morning, to me, just means that I get to have a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and watch a couple episodes of ‘The Simpsons’ before I head out to work. I’m extremely invested in the show ‘Adventure Time’. To me, it’s prime time television. Aside from that, I genuinely think that a lot of cartoons are very clever and well produced. The episode of Futurama entitled, “Jurassic Bark,” will sooner bring tears to my eyes than the ending of Titanic. Cartoons affect me on an extremely profound level that live-action entertainment just can’t match.
Having the memories that I do, and the upbringing that I did, I thought that this was all just something that was unique about myself. My parents were pretty liberal people. I was never told to “man up” or “act my age.” So, naturally I assumed my child-like wonder was a byproduct of such an upbringing– until very recently.
I was casually chatting with one of my co-workers the other day, when I looked down and realized that the shirt he was wearing had two characters from ‘Adventure Time’ on it. “DUDE,” I exclaimed, “I love that show!” Before I knew it, I found myself in the midst of a giant cartoon discussion with a large number of my co-workers.
It got me to thinking, since all participants were roughly in the same age bracket, that my fervent love for cartoons is actually characteristic of my generation. I know for a fact that most of my siblings had to wait until Saturday morning to be able to watch cartoons. Television was pretty much specifically for adults for a very long time, so the majority of programming was geared at them. It wasn’t until right around my formative years that networks like Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon blew-up.
Nickelodeon most probably pioneered the idea of network television geared specifically at children, but I remember walking away from the TV when they weren’t broadcasting cartoons. I remember the day I got Cartoon Network like I remember the one Christmas that I got a Gameboy. I literally watched Cartoons all-day. I grew so attached to that channel. I would have stayed up all night watching cartoons if my parents let me.
I have to imagine that this is what also happened to the members of my generation. We were raised as cartoon junkies, and we’re still cartoon junkies. The funny thing is, when I go back and watch the cartoons from my childhood, they still have very adult themes that are relevant to me today; only strengthening my bond with them.
I may watch plenty of live action television today, and yeah it entertains me just fine. I’m just not sure if I’ll ever feel as connected to Jim Halpert as I do Doug Funny. To me, cartoons are an art form to be respected, and prime-time network TV is a way for people to make money. I’m not saying I feel this way about all live-action television shows, I just think I’m more inclined to watch a cartoon instead. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this sentiment, either.
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