Online Animations Part 2

Left us off a few weeks ago talking about a website called Newgrounds. Newgrounds was founded by Tom Fulp in the 90’s that gained attraction in the early 2000’s.

Newgrounds attracted a lot of people, mainly young boys, with it’s flash games. Yeah there were other flash game websites around, but Newgrounds was pretty prominent. It had a lot of edgy content. While a lot of mothers may frown at that, it’s a site like that is alluring for a lot of people. Maybe for the edgy content itself, but I believe it’s mainly due to freedom from censorship.

Now Newgrounds isn’t 4chan. You can’t post just anything, but Fulp and the Newgrounds crew are pretty flexible as long as you don’t post anything illegal.

But it’s interesting, Newgrounds was up before Youtube was ever created. So, to get a taste of online animated entertainment, you had to go to sites like Newgrounds to watch it, where as now we would probably just go to Youtube for most of our needs. Newgrounds served as an example for other art websites to copy. A lot of cool people content came from Newgrounds.

Eddsworld, like I mentioned, posted a lot on Newgrounds. Edd also posted on other websites, and eventually youtube, which could lead to why he had such a huge fanbase still today. There’s also the animated series “Salad Fingers” by David Frith that’s known for it’s…er…creepiness to say the least.Salad-Fingers

Another popular person to come from Newgrounds was Erin Hanson, aka Egoraptor. Hanson was originally known for his Awesome Series, parodies of different videogames summarized from 2 to 4 minuted animated flash shorts. He became very popular. Many years later in 2012, Hanson started Game Grumps with Jon Jafari (aka JonTron) at first as a joke, but is now one of the biggest “Let’s Play” channels on Youtube (besides Markiplier and Pewdiepie). That’s not to say that Hanson has given up on animating, though many old fans may cry and disagree with. Hanson still has projects he works on. “Sequelitis” is one, and he also did some animating for his Star Bomb songs. Many of you might remember “Luigi’s Ballad”.

Besides his own flash cartoons, Hanson and the Game Grumps crew allow OTHER animators to showcase their animated fanart on the youtube page. There were so many that would take snippits of their show and animate them, that they wanted the artist to get their hardwork recognized more by allowing them to be on the channel. It’s pretty cool.

[Warning: Has some rough language]

But, those are only a few people that I remember watching when I was a kid. There are so many artists that I see grow or point them out now and remember when we were all on the same, small art site. It’s interesting to compare them now to what they were before. It also makes me look at myself and where I have come.

That could’ve been me too if I begged for an animation program in the past Christmas days of my youth. Maybe instead of a video game, I could’ve asked for a better tablet or Adobe Flash. Although, sometimes people don’t always have that talent since it does take time a dedication to become better and culture yourself. Something I never really did. It feels kind of bittersweet.

So yeah, Youtube, Newgrounds, and a few other websites were my entertainment. It was like our own version of MTV that you can actually be apart of.

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Online Animations Part 1

Think of 13 year old Haleigh.

Nerdy, constantly online playing Neopets. I would look at their newspaper, called the “The Neopian Times” mind you, but I wouldn’t read any of the articles. I would look at the comics people would send in.

neopian_timesI wanted so badly to create a comic and submit it to their newspaper. I actually still have so many rough draft squirreled up in my room somewhere. All pencil drawings with fuzzy little animals on them. I don’t think I ever made the paper, but it still had a huge impact on me.

One of the biggest impacts was that someone submitted an actual animated cartoon. With voice acting and everything. I was astounded. Could someone seriously just make cartoons of their own and upload them?

Naturally, I searched out an answer. The answer is a little embarrassing. In fact, someone close to me teased me the other day about how nerdy it was.

Naruto Fan Flashes by Snowdragon. I’m cringing right now. They’re terrible to watch, especially if you’ve never seen the show. It pretty much sums up what 2007/2008 was like: random nerdy humor.

But over the years I did find out something interesting about those series of animations. There are a lot of people who have seen those animations. I mean a lot. I’m talking thousands. And those thousands of people had the same thought I did: “I want to make animations like this.”

On art websites I joined, animated cartoons would usually make the front page. They were highly popular, and usually a spoof on some video game. That was the norm. Everyone wanted to animate.

People left and right would download a program called Adobe Flash. It was a rather expensive program that would make parents weep when they searched up items on their child’s Christmas wish list. You know all those stickman fighting animations you would watch on youtube?

Now Snowdragon wasn’t the only one. Many people followed Edd Gould, the man who created the Eddsworld flashes online. They were insanely popular. So much so, close friends have continued his series even after his passing back in 2012, in memory of him.photo

Eddsworld cartoons impacted kids so much, he had copy cats of his style. I remember joining art websites and seeing look-a-likes with similar plot lines of kids and their own friends.

Just a simple search on google for “online cartoon” can bring thousands of results, with most of them being adobe flash animated cartoons. This was back in earlier 2004 to 2008 era. Online cartoon popularity grew more over the years, and it was all thanks to a particular website called Newgrounds.

Part 2 coming soon…

[Pictures from neopets.com and youtube.com]

Maybe getting too theoretical…

I’m very much a visual person.

It’s how I learn. It’s how I push others to teach because I know that I’m not the only visual learner.

Some of my favorite things on the internet is when people use animation to explain an idea or a problem. Well done graphics can really make a point.

I love videos like this (I mostly like Red Letter Media and people poking fun at Adam Sandler’s blatantly terrible movies) because it visually allows me to understand a concept. However, can other things be just as animated as animation itself?

I don’t know if it would surprise anyone that I was in radio. I loved the storytelling aspect of it. However, it’s very much different than animation or anything you see with your eyes. That because it relies heavily on your ears and brain. Your imagination.

The first time I was really fascinated with audio-only storytelling was when a boyfriend gave me an MP3 of the first Harry Potter audiobook, read by Jim Dale. I never jumped on the bandwagon before when the books first came out. Yeah I watched the movies, but I wasn’t a huge fan. My usual response was, “meh”.

Then I started listening to Jim Dale in my car ride to school. Dale changed things for me. His take on different characters, the inflection in his voice, brought J.K. Rowling’s words to life for me. I wondered how Dale could, in a way, animate and bring the story to life in which the books and movies did not do for me. How can a voice do that?

Well for one thing it’s preference. I’m not much of a reader. Like I said, I’m a visual learner. But audio isn’t visual. How can this be? I believe it’s the talent that Rowling had in her writing that was made more apparent to me with Dale’s voice.

This was something that encountered when I was a theatre student. There was a certain talent that you worked on with voice. Projection and enunciation that would help others understand your story. But now here comes the shift. Theatre is much more about the ACT, thus acting. There was a lot of emphasis when I was in classes that you can’t just tell the audience what was happening. You had to show it. I feel like that’s extremely important. If you ever been to an improv show, you know how funny a scene can be when the actors are speaking complete nonsense but their actions are very exaggerated and telling. Or watching a silent film by with Charlie Chaplin.

If you look at an episode of, let’s say Family Guy, there’s not a lot of action happening in the majority of scenes. It’s usually the characters standing around occasionally lifting their hands and talking. The edgy jokes are what carry the show.

So why is it that I’m more entertained by an audio book compared to a movie, yet stimulated by an improv skit that hardly has any talking?

I believe a lot of it is practiced talent, but also knowing in context what the story needs. The Adam Sandler video above was already entertaining in the original Red Letter Media video alone, but the animation added more visuals to help me understand the ridiculousness of it all.

I believe that animation with good acting, audio wise and actual action, can make a fantastic story for anyone.

Top Five Impacting Characters

Story is usually what I emphasize when it comes to a great show. However, what’s a great story without great characters? Characters that have good development, whether it be positive or negative, are what help carry the story along. They also could BE the story, which is also important.

A wide variety of characters also allow a wide range of audiences members and fans. You want a character that not only can relate, but several characters that can relate to other different people as well.

So I wanted to do a Top Five Characters that have impacted me in a way: either I relate to them, they touch a feeling within me, or I find them funny and well written. They’re not in any specific order.

Pearl from Steven Universe
Overprotective of little Steven, she is considered the “mom” of the series. Pearl is part of the Crystal Gems. She stern and is always worrying about something. However, she is caring.


Pearl is a perfectionist at times. She wants things done in the right way. However, it’s all for Steven. If you listen to her song “Strong in the Real Way”, you’ll understand her stance.

Feelings is a key word here. She’s a very emotional character. Even though she tries to wrap it up to be more presentable and less vulnerable, but she is very emotive.

One of my favorite raw moments was in the episode “Cry for Help”. When another character, Garnet, found out Pearl was lying to because she liked magically fusing to become Sardonyx, we can see Pearl’s regret and fear as she clutches her chest. She’s normally a strong headed character, but her flaw was her trying to satisfy or build her self-esteem in ways that weren’t healthy.

That hit so close to home. I felt the way Pearl has before, and normally, an animated television character doesn’t do that for a whole lot of people.

Quasimodo from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Disney’s Quasi is a sweet, and lovable character. Also, very underrated, in my opinion. Don’t want to go on a Disney Princess tirade again.

Quasimodo is meant to be a striking opposite of Claude Frollo, the antagonist. He’s a very pure, but relatable character in the sense that there’s something in all of us that is afraid to show our pure selves. Hiding away, an anxiety. Maybe we were shamed into thinking we were one thing. Maybe not good enough, maybe ugly, or fat.

But, what if those things are okay? What if it’s okay to not be pretty as society sees fit, maybe we aren’t the “ideal” weight. And sometimes, we aren’t good enough, but that doesn’t make us deposable or useless. Just because we don’t meet a certain standard, doesn’t mean we can’t meet another.

And that’s what Quasi means to me. His song, “Out There” hits me really close, as we all want to meet and relate to people. I try not to tear up every time I hear it.

Arnold from Hey Arnold!
I don’t know if I completely relate to an inner city kid, since I’ve also been out in the country some (thanks Tennessee). However, the problems I’ve faced before are somewhat relatable to Arnold’s.

Remember in one of my previous’s posts where I mentioned an episode where Arnold refused to rat out his friends for his own sake, but knew it would benefit themselves if they revealed themselves as the culprits. Arnold has always impacted me to do better. To better myself.

That doesn’t mean that Arnold was perfect. In fact, in one episode, he made fun of one of his new teachers. He followed along with the rest of his class bullying their teacher, to the point where he cried and stayed at home. But Arnold betters himself. In fact the whole class does after seeing (compared to a nasty substitute), that their old teacher was actually alright. They went back to him and apologized. They engaged him, and wanted to learn from him again. That’s what I like about Arnold. He acknowledges his wrong doing, and tries to do right, and better himself.

Peggy from King of the Hill
I honestly don’t know why I like this character so much. Actually all of the characters in this show are hilarious (Bobby actually was going to be on here), but there was something about Peggy.

For me, Peggy kinda represents the adult woman I want to be. She’s very upfront when she feels it’s appropriate. She also doesn’t feel like she’s held down by her marriage. Not that Hank would hold her from voicing her opinion. He’s very respectful of her. It’s that she’s not afraid to take the reigns every once in awhile. She’s not fearful, but within reason (sometimes within reason…there was that cult….).

But she cares. She deeply cares for her family to where she would take matters into her own hands.

Lilo from Lilo and Stitch
A strong character from my childhood. She’s a lonely one. She also seems too complicated by all the silly or “weird” things she loves to do, but I’d disagree.

Yeah sure she’s nerdy and loves Elvis, not a whole lot of kids can relate to listening to Elvis constantly. However, kids can relate to being isolated or feeling like they don’t belong.

Lilo is that character that touches the nerd or weird kid in all of us, but allows us a sense of belonging, much like Quasi. However Lilo is brave, and never hides who she is. Even if she’s told to tone it down a bit, she may get sad, but she doesn’t stop. She perseveres. After her parents dying, being constantly bullied, and the fact that she might be separated from her sister is a terrifying thought and would bring down most children. In fact it does for her in some circumstances, letting out her loneliness in prayer. But she doesn’t give up hope. She prays for a friend, hopes for a friend. She’s a persevering character.

[Pictures from fanpop.com, disney.wikia.com, huffingtonpost.com, and ign.com]

Picky About Pixar?

Four years ago, you would’ve not found a bigger Pixar fan.

Well, okay, I’m not really the collecting type, but that’s because I’ve never had the money to collect a whole bunch of Pixar movie-related merchandise. I also didn’t really want to talk someone’s ear off about a movie I know that they’ve seen before. Most people have seen most if not all of the Pixar movies.

Inside one of the studios.

But I wanted to work there. I was obsessed with wanting to work there, and be a storyboard artist or a character designer. I’ve watched most of the Pixar documentary movies. I saw how animated the storyboard artists were when writing. I see them laughing. I see John Lasseter involved in almost everything. I obsessed over their fun-looking offices and the secret rooms they had. They were all just big kids doing a fun job, and I wanted to be a big kid there too. I wanted a job at Pixar.

So by the time Senior year of high school came around, we had a senior project with a whole thirty minute presentation, and a ten paged paper. We had to prove a thesis, and mine was “Pixar is one of the most innovative companies in the world.”

Now I feel that’s beginning to be a bit arguable.

Don’t get me wrong. Their stories have always been creative. I mean, I did prove my thesis in my paper and presentation. Back in the day, John and the Pixar crew were trendsetters and problem solvers. They were one of the first companies to have a successful 3D animated movie, Toy Story. They also created their own software to animate. One of my favorite stories is something I read in David Price’s book, The Pixar Touch. When the Pixar crew was working on A Bug’s Life, there were too few ants in a scene when they needed many more. The software they currently had couldn’t upload more than a few ants. John wasn’t happy with the number. They built the program stronger so that instead of just a few ants, they could have several hundred in the same shot. And of course, all of their stories were new and captivating, dominating the first weekend at box offices.

If that’s not innovation I don’t know what to tell you.

But there was something that changed when they finished making movies out of the idea that had written down on that restaurant napkin.

Pixar most certainly fell in a slump. Then I noticed a bunch of announcements of sequels that were planned by them. I’m not a huge fan of sequels. Toy Story 2 I liked, but not for the story itself, but the reason it came to be (huge story overhaul in less than a year before release date). But I didn’t even touch Cars 2. I don’t think a whole lot of people liked Cars 2. Then there’s going to be a Cars 3, Toy Story 4, The Incredibles 2, and Finding Dory!

“Why more sequels?….”

And out of all these movie announcements, only three of them are completely original stories. One was Inside Out, which, to be honest I haven’t seen yet so I already feel like I’m in the wrong. However people loved it. Another one of them is coming out soon, The Good Dinosaur. The next original movie will be out in 2017, but then that’s it. We won’t see any other original content from Pixar until, maybe, 2020.

This also doesn’t mean that the sequels will be bad either. Toy Story 3 was the perfect ending for most of us. Monster’s University was a different aspect and perspective on characters we already knew, and it captured the hearts of most excited college students. People are going insane for The Incredibles 2, and Finding Dory is going to be fun, I know.

But my fear is that sequels are going to be more dominating than the original content, especially when I feel that Pixar is the king of original content. This is a common Hollywood problem (like, how many more Terminator movies do we actually need?).

It’s because sequels guarantee money.

People will go and see something they love and are used to. Original content is change, it’s new, and things that change and are new are scary.

Now I don’t want to start a trend where I start bringing down companies that do produce good content. Pixar is still making good movies, and good sequels, so there’s still hope for original content after 2020. I don’t want this post or my last to be a constant thing, but it’s like I said before: I will point out the flaws in a company that I’ve known that can make good content yet do something not so great for the sake of money.

I know I’m not the only one that feels this way.

(Picture from blog.cogswell.edu and screenshot from Youtube “Toy Story 3 – Playtime at Bonnie’s [HD])

The Disney Downer

Something’s been bugging me lately. I have to get it off my chest. I feel if I don’t tell you, my faithful audience, any sooner it will become a problem:

I’m not a fan of Disney.

Now, I won’t go into the deeper reasons as to why Disney isn’t the greatest. A simple Google search of “Disney racism” will do a lot better job than I ever will.

No, these are just personal opinions that developed while observing Disney over the years, and how my personal tastes have changed.

*I found that I’m not a fan of the trope where either one or both parents are dead or unspoken of.

The Little Mermaid? No sign of the mother.

Cinderella? Mom dies and gets a terrible new mom.

Saddest moment of our younger lives.

Lion King? Mufasa [SPOILER ALERT] dies and Simba has to learn to grow on his own.

Lilo and Stitch? Both parents are dead, and now she’s being stripped from the custody of her sister (brutal).

You look at almost every Disney movie, something happened to the protagonist’s parents.

You would think Disney would move past this? Well, no. Some of the last two bigger Disney movies, the characters lost their parents: Big Hero 6 and Frozen.

Now there are some Disney movies that don’t necessarily have this trope. In Mulan and Tangled, both characters still have their families (well, technically in Tangled, Rapunzel finding her origins is a plot device, so maybe that doesn’t count).

But it’s just so sad. Maybe it’s suppose to be for a stronger more happier ending. I just think it’s a little overused, and Disney can find other plot devices to tell a story. However, as of right now, it works for them.

*I’m not a huge fan of the Disney channel.

Now one of my favorite cartoons is on the Disney channel….well, actually Disney X-D to be exact. I feel like that’s where cartoons go to die, and the actual Disney channel has bunch of child actors screamin’ and hollerin’.

Screenshot from youtube:

This is stupid.

There have been GOLDEN NUGGETS of entertainment thanks to the Disney Channel. Lizzie McGuire, Even Stevens, and fun movies like Halloweentown. These shows and movies weren’t perfect, but they brought good humor and the characters were very relatable. Lizzie was you average, teen girl just trying to get through school, with a little animated character of herself that broke the fourth wall explaining conscious. Most girls related to that (not so much having little animated characters in their heads talking to an unknown audience, but I’m sure animated Lizzie resonated with a lot of females viewers. She did for me.). I don’t know many who can relate to Dog with a Blog.

There was also some great animated shows like The Proud Family and Kim Possible that were a huge hit with my generation. They were well written and highly entertaining shows that people loved. The best Disney got down the road was Phineas and Ferb, then later Gravity Falls. However, both of those moved to Disney X-D to make room for more studio-shot sitcoms. It’s almost like Disney makes animations for the theater but never for their own television station, which doesn’t make sense. It’s even worse when the quality isn’t quite there anymore.

*I’m tired of Princesses

There’s too many…

Okay shoot me. I don’t like the whole princess thing. They’re everywhere. They’ve taken control. I find it to be boring. I feel It’s why I like Hunchback, Mulan, and Hercules (I guess technically he’s a prince…or some other deity). I find them to be more interesting. Yes, they have to deal with romantic interests, but they also have other struggles.

Quasimodo deals with self-acceptance. Hercules learns what it means to be a true hero. Mulan…saves China.

But one thing that is true is that princesses are Disney’s money makers. They unfortunately don’t make money on characters like Quasi or Mulan, or even on princes. There’s a lot of princess merchandise that little kids (or kids at heart) just eat up. Princesses are a guaranteed money maker.

I won’t deny that Disney has done a lot for our culture. It’s really built it in so many ways, but I can’t help pointing out what Disney did right, and then refuses to do again because of money. To me, that’s not the point of storytelling.

[Pictures from daily.co.uk, Screenshot from youtube: “G Hannelius – Dog With A Blog – Season 1 Highlights – A collection of clips from every episode”, and giphy.com]

The Renaissance

We were in a slump. Cartoons weren’t as bright, clever, or appealing anymore…at least to me they weren’t. I thought that, maybe, I just grew out of cartoons. There were a few gems here and there, but nothing I could get truly excited about. Nobody seemed to care about them. It was kind of a shame.

Then, back around 2008, I saw a pilot for a show pitch for Nickelodeon on YouTube. It was a young boy in a white rabbit hat saying ridiculous lines with his wacky, stretchy dog all the while trying to save a candy princess. The 15 year-old me loved it so much. I thought it was a hilarious short, and I showed it to all my friends and even teachers (I was quite an ecstatic child). I was obsessed with it, however, I never knew if it got picked up or any more news about it. It disappeared.

It wasn’t until two years later that I saw it being promoted as a brand new show on Cartoon Network. I freaked out. I couldn’t believe that little funny show actually got picked up. I also didn’t know how huge of a phenomenon it would become. Within the coming years, this show became so popular. I saw merchandise based on the show everywhere. Characters on shirts, backpacks, toys, and even bumper stickers (a personal favorite).

From EpicFamilyDecals on Etsy

So why does something like Adventure Time get so much acknowledgement? Why does it become so popular?

Well for one, it’s the story arc! You’re wrapped up in all of Finn’s silly and epic adventures in the Land of Ooo in each episode, but there’s an underlying plot that connects them all together. Without spoiling too much of the show, there’s a dark enemy called The Lich that haunts many of the characters throughout episodes. We also learn more about the Land of Ooo, and it’s secrets about being a post-apocalyptic world.

Screenshot from “Gravity Falls – Season 2- SDCC Trailer” on YouTube.

Similar cartoons that also have a huge following cater to the same format. Gravity Falls is another show where each episode is different, but also follows a deeper plot that allows to know more about twin’s situation in a strange town in the North West. Cryptic messages, American myths, and Illuminati mentioning. They’re quirky enough to keep fans attached and wanting to know more. Avatar: The Last Airbender has a HUGE cult following, but it’s format is a little different. Instead of quirky individual episodes with a hidden bigger plot, the plot is more upfront yet follows like an epic. Three separate books, or “chapters” if you will, that follow Aang and his friend’s adventures and watching Aang master the natural elements.

You want people to get attached to your characters, follow along with them, learn along with them. We love that stuff.

From Steven-Universe.wikia.com.

Another reason why this new wave of cartoons have become so popular is the representation of minorities is growing. Steven Universe is much like Adventure Time and Gravity Falls in that it follows the same story build with wonderfully fleshed out characters. They also have a huge cast of predominantly, non-white voice actors. LGBTQ members are also represented within the characters. Though portrayed mostly feminine, Rebecca Sugar (creator of Steven Universe) claim that the “crystal gem” characters are genderless, and there are partners in the show that illustrate queer relationships. This is a huge step for this industry. If people see a show they relate to, the more they’re going to follow and become fans of said show. If people feel represented, they’re going to feel supported, especially when there is lack of support, love and care. That’s what Steven Universe does.

From cartoonsmartblog.wordpress.com.

Then there’s the art. Art is a HUGE proponent for me, as well as other people. Companies and crew members that take the time to make sure their show looks good really does pay off. The Marvelous Misadventures of FlapJack had a great style during it’s run, with 2-D, computer drawn animation as well as some traditional work for the title cards.
Steven Universe’s character designs and backgrounds are gorgeous. Most of their works in progress are posted on their blog on tumblr
. Art is important because it’s what going to catch our eye and make us initially interested.

This is why I would call this new age of animated shows “The Renaissance of Cartoons”. Our favorite 90’s cartoons had fantastic style, and might take a political stance, but this new wave of cartoons have really catered to their audience without completely selling out. You have to remember that the creators now were inspired by the same shows we used to love, and wanted to make something just as good or even better.

The Rise and The Fall…

We all remember our favorite cartoons growing up as a kid. Especially, as a 90’s kid. Everyone remembers Doug trying to get it with Patti Mayonnaise, the Stoop Kid afraid to leave his Stoop, and us laughing at Dexter whenever Dee Dee entered his laboratory.

From heyarnold.wikia.com

We were given good cartoons as kids. As I touched on my first post, there were a lot of good cartoons, like Rugrats, that gave me a better insight on a different culture, or educated me in some way. The cartoon Hey Arnold! was very sensitive and situational. It focused on the relationships that the main character, Arnold, had with the other variety of characters within a large New York-like city.

One of my favorite examples was when three of Arnold’s classmates were mischievous (if my memory serves me correctly, I believed they mooned the principal), and somehow the blame shifted to Arnold. Arnold knew the culprits, but never said their names. He believed that it wasn’t his place to do so. That stuck with me for a long time and became one of my own philosophies when I got older.

Another character from another fantastic show was Steve from Blues Clues. He had such an impact on us because of how he talked to us through the camera. It was very personable, and he worked well with the writing of the show. Reddit recently brought a video of Steve Burns to their frontpage where he talked a bit about his experiences on the show (some of it a little racy, but nothing too terrible).

Even though his life was so vastly different than how we imagined, he was still able to come through and give us good content. Creators really did know what they were doing.

Then there’s creators where I’m not too sure they knew what we really wanted.

As some of our favorite cartoons started cancelling and or wrapping up their final seasons, some new cartoons emerged to fill in their spot. I really wanted to touch this subject and period of time because it was a really weird time for cartoon television. A good note here is that I will only touch the ones that really stood out to me…in an unfortunate way.

Between the years 2004 to 2010 I started seeing these shows pop up. It seemed like a period of really uninspired, lackluster shows that would either insult your intelligence or annoy you. Some shows that were mostly spin offs of movies, like Back at the Barnyard, which I didn’t pay much attention to for obvious reasons, and I don’t think anyone else did either. Another one that baffled me was Tak and the Power Juju, which was originally a video game from 2003 that was just okay, but got a lackluster show in 2007 that didn’t last very long.

From gympartner.wikia.com

Then there were shows that I just didn’t like at all. My Gym Partner’s a Monkey was one of them. It was a creative and cute situation, a child stuck in an animal’s school, but it didn’t really go anywhere. Another one was Camp Lazlo, which was done by the same people who did Rocko’s Modern Life. I loved all the characters in that show, but it never really got anywhere. Total Drama Island was very popular, and got picked up for several more seasons. My brother really loved that show but I was pretty indifferent. I didn’t like the animation style because I wasn’t a fan of tweening at the time (that’s for a later blogpost), nor did I like the teen humor at the time. Just wasn’t my cup of tea.

But the bane of my existence was certainly Squirrel Boy. How that show even got picked up, I’m not really sure.

It could be that since I was getting older, that I just wasn’t the demographic anymore. Those shows weren’t suppose to appeal to me because they weren’t for me. My brother really enjoyed watching Total Drama Island, and I would sit with him and watch it. Some people really enjoyed My Gym Partner’s a Monkey, and would even draw fanart of it.

Nobody liked Squirrel Boy though.

Maybe I was just out of the loop now. Maybe I was growing up? Maybe I wasn’t suppose to like cartoons anymore.

However, some creators were about to blow that thought out of the water, and save everyone’s day.

From silhouettesfree.com

An Animated World

What have cartoons done for you?

Has it been a route of escapism from a dull life? Have they made you laugh? Have they made you cry? Have they made you rethink people, society, or even made you rethink yourself?

They have for me.

You can deny it if you want to, but cartoons have had a huge impact on the culture surrounding us. Not just in entertainment, either. There are many animated cartoons that have taken stances politically. Some of them you might even relate to. If you watch an episode of Family Guy, it’s very topical! Same with South Park, or even Steven Universe which has a lot of connections with the LGTBQ community. They allow a voice to those those whom are rarely heard. They provide a good platform.

They provide a different means of storytelling. They intrigued a certain audience. They’ll cater to that audience and also provide new ideas, like how the Magic School Bus did for many us in elementary school. I was encourage to get messy and make mistakes!

Source: thingsmissfrizzlewouldwear.tumblr.com

Cartoons have been mostly thought of for children, and I think that’s the wrong mindset. Not only do we have cartoons for adults (which is the most common argument), you have to remember that cartoons are produced by adults. Adults that have done research. Adults that have thought up characters and, most of the time, carefully written story-arcs made specifically for children (or the child at heart), even when they’re nonsensical or serious.

Really, cartoons can allow anything to happen. They provide a means for thoughts to be fully fleshed out and brought to life. Making cartoons is just as important as writing carefully: you have to be careful in the way you show a story, not just tell it. One example of how a cartoon really impacted how I saw the world was Rugrats. The creators of that show were very deliberate with what story they wanted to tell, and what they wanted to show to it’s younger audience. It’s because of Rugrats that I was introduced to Judaism.

Source: blog.eretzyisrael.org

What makes it interesting was that even though I was raised a Christian, and went to church, “Jew” was only a word to me. It wasn’t so much that they tried to deliberately leave out Judaism. We just mostly focused on Jesus and other Bible stories that never really focused on the history or culture. Rugrats gave me some insight on Jewish culture.

Another way that I was impacted was how cartoons, animation and comics in general, provided a new hobby for me. I started drawing. Drawing took up a huge part of my life. I would constantly draw characters and different worlds. I thought I would be apart of PIXAR growing up. As a matter of fact, I did my high school senior project on the innovation the company provided. I, for sure, thought I was going to be an animator when I grew up. However, I really couldn’t afford the top art schools in the country that would help me set off my career, so I stayed settled in Nashville, still waiting for my turn. One day, I really would like to participate in a company that creates animated shows.

So now, I study them. It might be just a sorry excuse to just watch cartoons all the time, but it’s a legitimate business that’s very complicated. Not many people know what goes on in the world of animating, and I would love to open that up to people. I’d like other people to relate to my excitement.

Source: kyleboy21da.tumblr.com

[Pictures from Magic School Bus, Rugrats and Wander Over Yonder]