Hark back a time, to a much younger you. If you are above twenty, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Saturday morning, perhaps. Weekday evenings before the news, maybe. Whenever you got your fix, it was all good fun. Perhaps not good clean fun, though.
I’m talking toons.
Warner Brother’s, Disney, Silly Symphonies to name a few. Bugs, Daffy, Tom and Jerry, Popeye and The Pink Panther. Just to name a few of the stars.
As we got older, perhaps viewing got less frequent, unless you were really lucky. Maybe you grew out of them. Shame. Or perhaps, like me you evolved to more risqué content.
As times changed though, as we have seen from the ever evolving Simpsons for example, cartoons began to cater for a narrower demographic.
I remember the first time I caught Johnny Bravo on Cartoon Network. This was a cartoon that although had childish appeal was really written for a post pre-adolescent audience.
Johnny is the cool guy wannabe. Taking inspiration from The Fonz and Elvis but a more hapless and unsuccessful individual you are unlikely to meet, a failure with women, terrible at karate, the (adult) humor comes from his inept and frankly chauvinistic attitude.
The cartoon, I must state, is against chauvinism, and that’s where a lot of the jokes lie, the 50s icon but one who is really bad at it.
As the new millennium dawned there was a saturation of the market and more strictly adult animated shorts were produced, one of the most successful being Family Guy. Like it or not, and it’s not for everyone, you will know what I am talking about.
Focusing on the adults’ lives and relationships primarily (as had previously been done with The Simpsons in the case of Homer), the lives of these hilariously grotesque yet strangely familiar human beings of Rhode Island started life by being cancelled. Twice. Yet strong fan bases called for the show’s return and now it goes from strength to strength, even in many opinions bettering its template of Homer, Marge et al.
Movies caught on to this formula too. One of the best was one of the new wave, Shrek.
Animated yes, with enough songs and silliness for the kids to get, but enough tongue in cheek and innuendo to harmlessly fly by junior and yet have Mom and Dad captivated too. Okay, four (or however many) sequels was a bad idea, quality will always suffer, but as Pixar and DreamWorks continue to make “family” orientated animated features we can be safe in the knowledge that be it Saturday mornings or whenever, viewing through choice or not, content and quality will remain and improve so we “grown-ups” remain captivated by the toons, even after all these years.