Cartoon characters occupy a special place in every television-watching child’s heart. They also tend to occupy a very special place in every older sibling’s hate-list, but the history of the world shows us that all awesome things (gravity, Galileo’s telescope, evolution) have faced opposition from dauntingly strong quarters. That does not make these things any less awesome. Cartoons will continue to enamour children for a long, long time. Older siblings and irritated parents will just have to grin and bear it.
Back in the 90’s when I counted cartoons as my one and only love, the TV showed Flintstones (whose cars and cameras were side-splitting-ly funny); Dexter’s Laboratory (the sister Dee Dee led me to incorrectly assume that even ‘those foreigners’ called their elder sisters Didi); the Jetsons, the Powerpuff Girls, Road Runner, Bugs Bunny, Johnny Bravo…yes, I used to watch a lot of TV.
Is it just me, or were cartoons back then much more creative and a lot funnier? Wasn’t there something really brilliant about the Flintstones’ cameras, which consisted of a woodpecker and a plank of wood? Or am I turning into one of those people who believe that the standard of entertainment was the best exactly when they were kids?
My little sister watches a lot of cartoons, and I end up watching some of them with her. Try as I might, I cannot find Shin Chan funny. Obscene, maybe, but not funny. They’ve taken the naughty child thing too far. A child who untruthfully tells his mother that his father is having an affair is not naughty, he’s just evil. I also do not particularly appreciate the cartoon called Kick Buttowski.
Pokemon, too, was quite a rage: but then I am not a boy, and I won’t comment on that. There are very few girls who have watched and liked Pokemon.
That is not to say there are all bad cartoons blaring out of that TV. ‘Phineas and Ferb’ has replaced Dexter as the most fashionably nerdy cartoon. With the tagline ‘There’s no such thing as an ordinary day!’ they can be quite inspiring. They are kids who build everything from roller coasters to spaceships with no other objective in mind than to have fun. Another witty and entertaining cartoon is Kid vs. Kat, but the list of such cartoons is rather small.
Some might give the matter no more thought, abandon this post halfway, and start reading about more important things, like FDI or Veena Malik; all the while deluding themselves by saying that cartoon characters aren’t so important. But these are people who don’t know how much Indian parents collectively spent on Beyblades a few years ago, or how fast Ninja techniques are overtaking Karate. As far-fetched as it may sound, cartoon shows do affect the way children grow up, the ideals they learn to admire and the ways in which they choose to channel their creativity. We need to have shows that are better thought out, or at least funnier.
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