ART BY SAMANTHA PARRA
By VINCENT CORTES
After immersing myself in the nostalgia of old cartoons, I fondly remember the teachings they had given me. Now, the shows of my past are joining the ball pit of forgotten shows and their ingenious jokes disappearing as well. With the death of our childhood cartoons, new shows will take their place. However, the caricatures of today have taken a turn for the worse, because they set dangerous examples in children, they are desolate in creativity and their humor is lackluster, thus endangering the role they have on social expression.
As children develop, they learn from what they observe. Cartoons can be a tool to teach children important life lessons by offering an intricate story line and well thought out jokes. However, cartoons have recently been reduced to immature gags.
This decline of quality that has struck all major cartoon platforms will have a detrimental effect on the kids today. Rather than offering clever jokes that are profound, major cartoon companies such as Nickelodeon are actively setting dangerous examples for children.
To illustrate, Nickelodeon’s Breadwinners (2014) have, on more than one occasion, used the cliche and unfunny “butt” gag.
Not only has the joke been repetitive throughout the series, but its subject matter is also immature. As a result, the children watching this show will not utilize any sort of critical thinking to understand the quip, ergo exposing children to witless material.
Even worse, by being exposed to the insipid material, kids would be less acute to comprehend subjects which contain a deeper meaning. Consequently, they would only prefer jokes that are simple and juvenile which will carry on to adulthood.
In contrast, Hey Arnold (1994-2004) had an amazing pallet in terms of humor. The jokes were related to the life lessons the episodes were trying to convey. They never had to rely on shallow witticisms to attract an audience; rather, it was their sophisticated storyline and astute wisecracks. As a result, the show was able to teach children about social lessons and virtue, instead of exposing them to ludicrous expository.
Shows used to give children life lessons, because when I grew up, I watched the Nickelodeon cartoon CatDog (1998-2003). The show would take me through the wild adventures of an attentive cat and a dopey dog who are conjoined twins. What I learned from the overall narrative in CatDog, was that there is more than one side to a person. Some people are dopey when they are with friends, but are attentive when alone, showcasing the narrative of different personalities with various people. This shows that the unique plot in CatDog reflects the human condition. However, we are not seeing shows which are this deep anymore.
Now, the entertainment of today is depressed of creativity and originality. Cartoon Network, a major kids channel that broadcasts many animated programs, contains a variety of shows. However, some of their major animations are uncreative and unoriginal, oftentimes, they are remakes of beloved classics, and share many similarities with each other. The Powerpuff Girls (2016), Ben 10 (2016) and Teen Titans Go (2013) are simplified versions of the original. Each takes the themes of the initial show and replaces it with a drab counterpart like when Teen Titans Go wrongly parodied the original show Teen Titans by delivering poor and superficial jokes.
With the absence of cartoons that teach lifelong lessons, kids now are naive and stray from anything with a profound substance. The humor that cartoons convey should make the viewer contemplate the message behind the joke; by its nature, jokes are amazing teachers, however, humor can only teach as much as the messenger wants. As major cartoon companies release shows with flat humor, children will follow its juvenile rhetoric. Consequently, children of today are now lacking the knowledge needed in their social life.
In conclusion, the shows of today are lackluster, and their humor is dull. In order for them to teach meaningful lessons to children, they need to return to intelligent and thought out jokes, instead of rehashing the same dull and idiotic cliches.