Many a Saturday morning in my youth was spent plopped in front of the boob-tube rotting my moldable child brain on cartoons.
Ren & Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, Animaniacs, Looney Toons- the good ol’ days. When Saturday morning cartoons were fucking AWESOME- or at least- I sure thought so. I never gave much thought to what my parents, who would often sit and watch with me, thought of them. Okay, I gave no thought at all. I was too busy enjoying the anvils falling out of the air and other blatant violence that had me laughing so hard I got a cramp in my side.
As much as I want to, I will refrain from going on a rant about the cartoons of today and how much they blow or how they “just don’t make them like they used to”– partly because that makes me sound as old as saggy wrinkly testes, but you should know that I am most definitely thinking it.
Where did the anvils go? And why are the characters SO annoying?
Although I didn’t think about it way back then, as I sit with my two kids watching cartoons that make them laugh until they nearly puke and wanting to tear my hair out strand by strand because it’s all SO AWFUL AND IRRITATING, I wonder if my parents felt the same way about the junk I loved. And if they did feel like yanking hairs on a regular basis, how did they manage to sit through YEARS of it without making so much as a peep? Without insisting on changing the channel after 5 minutes because they just couldn’t take it anymore? I know that is sure as HELL what I want to do, and I’ve been known to be mean mommy and turn the TV off on many occasions for just that reason.
The longer I am a parent, the easier it becomes to figure out how and why my folks did what they did. It is both horrifying and enlightening.
When I started to rewatch old movies I grew up on and started hearing things I’d never heard before- pervy things. Colorful things. Hilarious to me NOW and not THEN things… after I picked my jaw up off of the ground, reality dawned on me.
OF COURSE my parents didn’t like most of the junk I chose to fry my brain with- but they managed to get through it because of these little gold nuggets of adult oriented humor.
I opened my mind and what did I find? The same nuggets in the cartoons my kids watch today.
I’ve heard plenty of people say it’s because cartoon animators and script writers are mega-pervs trying to subliminally message our children and they use the penis shaped castle in The Little Mermaid and yell about the flowers in The Lion King spelling out “SEX” (they actually spell out SFX, short for special effects, slipped in by the design team.) I’ve heard plenty of other people say that only pervs hear these kinds of things in sweet and innocent kids shows while looking down their nose.
I’ll tell you what the truth is though- it IS on purpose. Not for the kids- but for US, the parents. These animators and writers have a real knack for knowing what those little derps can and can’t understand. They also know that if they don’t toss us poor being-driven-insane parents a bone, that we’ll stop letting our little crotchfruits watch their shows, which would put them out of a job.
IT’S INGENIOUS! Sneaky, but genius.
Without these pervy nuggets hidden in the depths of mind-numbing kid oriented programming we parents…. well, we’d be doomed.
Bless you, oh wise and wonderful writers! For having Mickey Mouse say “Come inside it’s fun inside” and sing the “Shake your peanut” song, which when repeated by a 3 year old sounds far more like “shake your penis!“- for having the Octonauts say “tickle that clam!” and go on and on about Sperm Whales- and the countless other ways you save us parents from sitting in the corners eating our hair after a 3 hour crappy cartoon marathon.
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