August 20, 2011
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The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Ignorant Writing in Today’s Cartoons

"So let me clarify this for those of you who might have missed it. A cat and mouse are driving a ship trying to save the daughter of Indiana Jones while being chased by a purple people eater, a dog on a skateboard, a performing ship captain, his hand puppet Squawk, two Mexican wrestlers and a doctor riding an ice cream cart. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the mind screw!"
—The Nostalgia Critic, Tom and Jerry: The Movie Review

We have all seen movies with predicaments such as the one the Nostalgia Critic has described for Tom and Jerry: The Movie; Movies where we say to ourselves, “What were these writers thinking?” which also makes us worry for our own sanity while watching the movie, and even questioning our own existence! I myself have felt these emotions of confusion when my friends little sister took me to see Gnomeo and Juliet, so this time let me clarify for those who have not seen this movie. It’s a cartoony romance set in Great Brittan, with Gomes that fall in love al-la Romeo and Juliet, who meet a plastic flamingo with a lost love, have conversations with a statue of Shakespeare, all set to the music of Elton John…what an excellent way to plan a film bravo! My sincere apologies to Elton John, the music was good…the film however was a terrible site to behold! However, this was not the first time I encountered such madness in our film and television industry.

One day I witnessed my friend’s little sister, watch some things that are even more terrifying than any episode of Nostalgia Critic, besides The Backyardagans; in over an hour, she will watch Super Why, which is on PBS of all things. Now for those who do not know what the show is about, it’s suppose to be a show that teaches children reading, words, and spelling all in one episode. In reality, however…it teaches kids how to change a “bad part” in the story and make it a “good part”, and that we can alter reality with words! Now I know that children should learn how to read, but dose Sesame Street already teach kids all those lessons. What is this show doing, turning children into writers for Disney Channel? Maybe the writers just did not care about the older audience and wrote just for the children! For one thing, it’s supported by the Department of Education…Good Greif!

Guess Walt Disney was right all along when he said, “Your dead if you aim towards kids, adults are kids already”. Too many writers for children’s programming try to stay in one age group; this however, is not the case of my favorite show on Nick Jr. The Backyardagans and surprisingly, for a children’s program, the dialog is quite intelligent and never questions the kids in the face like Dora the Explorer. Instead, you have the characters get questions and answers out of each other, which in turn teach younger children how to communicate though questioning and answering their peers and their parents. For example, in the Polka Party episode (the one where Tyrone the moose plays the tuba) he and the rest of the characters are trying to get Sherman the Worman to their polka party, “Look, there’s a river and the party house is on the other side…how are we going to get there?” “We’ll cross the river!” says Austin the kangaroo. Now that is some logical writing, no waiting for the answer, no arrow or paw print on the answer, the answer came out of the mouth of one of the characters! Another thing I enjoy about the show is that each day they have a different adventure set to a selective genre of music; one day is the polka, one day it is Kelzmer, and the next day it is Samba music. One song that is a definite earworm for me is The Sherman Worman Polka, Yip Yip Yip! Do the Sherman Polka! You get the idea…

When I was a child, I grew up not only on Sesame Street but also grew up on shows that had the most intelligent writing like Wild Thornberry’s and Doug. Now a days I do not want to watch cartoons anymore because there are too many cartoons that try to, as the Romans say, “Feed the Mob” many of which are middle schoolers going though stress that need a escape from the daily grind. It reminds me of the Aesop fable The Frogs Who Desired a King; in the fable, the frogs are jealous of the other creatures because they all have a king, hearing their cry for a king the god Zeus says, “Here is a log, he will be your king”. Therefore, he sends down the log to the frogs…but the frogs jump on the log and make fun of it. Then, after seeing the failure of having a log for a king, he then decides to send down a stork, “Here is Mr. Stork, he will be your king…” but instead of watching over the frogs, the stork ate some of the frogs. After seeing what had happened, Zeus decides that the frogs did not need a king in the first place, that they needed each other to help their society grow and flourish. Now imagine if there were shows that instead of feeding the mob, they taught the mob how to feed each other, asked fundamental questions about life, and highlighted the amount of diversity we have in our society. How amazing that would be?

Now, today’s media only uses stock photos and Photoshop to show the diversity, and beauty of the human spirit. For now, only white, male and conservative people run our media; but imagine if we had the power to control and make our own media, then we would have no use for all the media’s created by the corporate hand like Fox News, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney Chanel! So writers, musicians, animators, artist, designers; grasp your tools because the best way to reform our media is to make it our own private investment, and the road may be hard at first but the path to a victorious end will be even greater than before!

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

justathought said...
Oct. 5, 2014 at 2:39 pm
Cartoons have been many things over the years. Before youtube you would not see anything on television that would not pull in revenue. You have to pay the people that are putting out the show some how or they just would not be able to live and work their craft. Even Walt Disney allways was looking for ways to improve and make his cartoons better. For example, what would bambi look like on the big screen if it was just black and white drawings. Things are going to change.    
MarykThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Oct. 16, 2014 at 10:31 am
Yes there are some cartoons out there that are good alteritives to Disney Chanel, and Nickalodeion, but the real problem is the corpreate control over writers who get their material merchendised and sugercoated with no control or agreement. It happens every time a movie or book turned into a movie is made, and writers should have ownership of their interidy even if they are dead or alive. Also some comapanies only care about how the show or movie sells and do not care about meaning or quality of... (more »)
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