Crazy About Them.
I am a Cartoonophile. That is right. I love cartoons. As far back as far as I can remember, I have been watching cartoons. Not anime’. Cartoons. The kind of shows that when you were a kid you would get up early on Saturday morning to watch with a huge bowl of cereal. Yeah, those cartoons. It took me until I was nearly an adult to realize that the story lines, puns and jokes in most cartoons were not aimed at kids. Most of it is tongue in cheek, and I still get stuff now, that I just did not get before. Disney, Pixar and all the others do this with words. It grabs the adult’s attention and gets them to appreciate, and enjoy a kid’s movie more. I will watch anything from Bugs Bunny, Popeye and the Flintstones all the way up to adult swim stuff like “Home Movies” and SeaLab 2020. It doesn’t even have to be in English for me to enjoy watching. The more outrageous the story line, the more I love it. There must be a lot of adults who are closet cartoonophiles. I make that comment because people always seem quite surprised when they walk in on me and I am engrossed in one of the newer episodes. When I am caught watching cartoons, the conversation usually goes something like this, Them: “Have you got little ones around?” Me: “No. why?” Them: “You aren’t watching this are you??” I have been open about my own cartoon fetish for the most part. I will admit that the times that I hid my preference were when I did have little ones around. Back then I much preferred that they rot their little minds with children’s books and faery tales, and the occasional Disney feature. They would be entertained while advancing their reading skills at the same time. One of the first luxuries that I indulged in after all the kids were in school was to take and spend an entire day watching hour after hour of old cartoon favorites. So many women would video tape their soap operas. Not me. I would buy blank tapes in bulk and bribe my friends with food and favors to fill them up with cartoons off the cable and satellite channels, just so I could get my fix. I still have most of these tapes and a working VCR. Fox started this trend for me back in the 80’s. I remember when the Simpson’s was a snippet on Tracy Ullman’s show. Then her show was cancelled, and the Simpson’s went to a full half hour show. When that happened I felt like a kid again. Whisked back into the days when the Flintstone’s and the Jetson’s were in primetime. I was able to retro relive my youth, by watching cartoons and eating crappy TV dinners, on flimsy trays in front of the set. The old TV dinners in aluminum trays that took forever to thaw, replaced by the new cardboard and Styrofoam tasting microwave meals. Funny how no matter the technology, frozen potatoes never seem to thaw or get hot. My Life’s simple pleasures. Now days Fox has added a great line up with “Family Guy”, “American Dad”, and “King of the Hill”. I am like a kid and so excited when a new episode comes on. So many adults are so far removed from the fun things, the silly things, and the down right outrageous things. I have tried to figure out why I like the more outspoken cartoons. Part of it goes back to when I was a kid and certain words and subjects were off limits to us. All of the adults in my family cussed and swore like the old sailors out to sea. Yet those same adults were horrified and dumb struck when a string of profanity was parroted back by one of us kids. One of the funniest games that we kids would play would be to make our stuffed animals, dolls and action figures say the most horrible and vile words that we knew. When I said those words aloud, it was funny, but it was also powerful. I felt empowered using profanity, and I still believe that is why kids, and to some extent adults, continue to use certain words. It is the Shock value. Make something off limits and it makes some want to push the limits. Outrageous Cartoons push the limits and boundaries of what we are allowed to think and say. It all comes down to words. That is the reason. Making cute little cartoon characters say and do things that most people can only imagine. I like the animation because animated characters have no limits or boundaries in their abilities. They can get completely mutilated and come back whole every time. They make us think, and they make us laugh. There is another subject area of cartoons that has always in the past been off limits too. Sex. Cartoons are now addressing sexuality. To my favor, Family Guy’s Peter and Lois have pushed the envelope in this area many, many times. I suspect now that vintage “Fritz the Cat” episodes have been released on DVD, we will again see the proverbial envelope pushed to the extreme. I guess I will have to get myself a DDR soon.