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Cartoons have sunk to an all time low

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"What is the reason that there are so many crappy cartoons?"

actually it is easy, it isn't hard to think like a company manager:
"we want $$$$$$ the glory of the green paper, just less to draw, less concept, shitier characters, cheesy story, crapy music" and you get animated cartoon.

80's cartoons just created differently, with style!, with Story!, with magnificent animation (yes bit crancky, but i'll use it anytime!), cool sloogens, cool music, cool ideas..etc

thats the diff between 80's and today.

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You're looking through a veil of nostalgia, I'm afraid. The majority of the 80's cartoons mentioned in this thread were strictly toy ads, produced as cheaply as possible by "sweat shop" animation studios.

I feel that much of mass produced animation has been terrible all along. And, there are notable exceptions from each era.

ender: I, fortunately, don't remember the Gary Coleman show!


Unfortunately, I DO remember Gary Coleman's cartoon series,a s short lived as it was. Thanks guys for planting that horrible image in my head again. Should post some images of it on here. LOL.


"Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard" - Paul Simon

Like this one?

ROFL what a funny cel.

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I think I'd have to mostly agree with youngsmith. There are a few cute shows, with decent animation, but most of the credit would go towards the writers. I'd say, aside from John K, who'se unfortunately not doing too well nowadays, and the Simpsons...most of the stuff out there is poor at most.

I'm not talking about "good enough" stuff...there's plenty of that out there..I'm talking about genius. Creative genious, who understand the concept of true art. The ones that can seperate the technical side of themselves, with the essence of art and timing and comedy and rawness. All of this shit out nowadays is generic, clean and bloody boring. A waste of my time to watch.

If you don't believe me, or don't agree with me, stand an episode of the looney tunes next to one of today's shows. People nowadays are so anal, that they don't have the emotional freedom to pull their pencil and their imagination a little further, or even alot. All of their animating skills come from books and tutorials...but not from the heart and soul. There's a world of difference.

Why am I being so negative...because I know in my heart, that if I was a child growing up in today's society with what the world has to offer as far as TV standard animated series are concerned, I'd probably end up pursuing a career in accounting, and not animation.

Somehow, stunning digital colour, dolby sound and fancy effects, don't hide the lack of artistry in most of today's work...all it does is make it pretty enough to look at. But that's about it.


PS...I've also heard the excuse of "you can't spend the rest of your life comparing everything to looney tunes...but I beg to differ. I grew up watching that quality of work, and that's where my standards seems things get worse with time...the lack of emotional and social freedom that we have today when it comes to producing our own work, is exactly the thing that sucks all of the artistry out of our work.

I think because of animation's poly-nature (sight, sound, motion, etc.), it takes a real master to know when to make concesssions (I can substitute this here, but I'll have to let that ride) and when to break the rules. Adam: I'm not sure what you mean by 'lack of emotional/social freedom'-are you talking about working within the parameters of a company's philosophy/program? No one can stop you from expressing what you want, even if it's only a line in the sand. I totally agree with your statement about the writing on 'The Simpsons'-some nasty masterpieces there. Bird

Few days ago, I saw the "Tex Avery DVDs Collection". 4 DVD with, if I remember well, show 70 different animated cartoons of the master.

I would like to see that kind of craziness in today's show, and that kind of freedom of speech. But, with the "politically correct" mood of today's life sure that Tex Avery & friends would be in prison or in justice for saying "wrong things".

What struck me the most, is the fact that they were only 4 or 5 people to make the animation itself (always the same team), and no computer nor CGI effect - but only a crazy story with a crazy graphic style (I like the Squirrel more than Droopy I must say). I remember also that that kind of craziness could also be seen in the first Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck... I really think that's what is laking in todays show.

Hurray for the Old Masters of animation... :D

Since you brought it up, I think not only can we compare everything to Looney Tunes, we must compare everything to Looney Tunes. I was previously only comparing cartoons of the late 90's and 00's to cartoons of the 80's.

Looney Tunes and the early Tex Avery cartoons were brilliant, in part due to the oftentimes unexpected character reactions to events, but also because those early cartoons worked on so many levels. They contained political and social satire, references to classical music and art, subtle innuendo, and clear, simple, story arcs.

Quite simply, they were created at a time where cartoons weren't for children. Or perhaps, cartoons weren't onsidered to be just for children.

The Simpsons, for a time at least, contained that much depth (perhaps they still do. I stopped regularly watching after season eight or nine). The Family Guy had some of the unpredictable nature of early cartoons. Notice that both of those are prime time cartoons, Not Saturday morning, after school, or Cartoon Network offerings.

So I guess the short version of what I'm trying to say is that quality cartoons aren't written just for children, aren't afraid to take risks, and don't mind if their audience doesn't catch 100% of the jokes.

Hey Bird,

No, I'm wouldn't direct my "lack of emotional freedom" comment towards the companies themselves...but more towards society in general. Life was rawer back in the day when films like Looney Tunes and Tex Avery shorts came out. Life was tragic for many people, but people were still people. I hate to say it, but with great tragedies like the great depression, war and everything they had to endure, so did creativity. I've always noticed how people with the least, have to rely the most on their creative minds to get by. When you're broke, both financially and spiritually, your mind has to find a way to make it through.
So when directors like Tex and Chuck thought up a script, they had alot of material, at least, more powerful material. One one stretch of road, you could watch the rich tycoon walking down the street flaunting his diamond tie clip, walking by the homeless guy in rags sitting smoking a cigarette on a wooden crate by the alley. People were struggling to make a living in very creative ways, and anyone with a simpathetic mind, and the creative ability to capture those struggles and crack jokes at them, had great things to go by. Fashion was an unmistakable indication of that person's social stature, even the way people spoke gave away that person's educational background. When you have powerful pain, you also find powerful happiness and craziness...and that, I feel was the birth of the Looney Tunes. The temporary cure to a world of real hardship.

Now with today's fashion industry, everyone dresses the same. Soon you won't be able to tell the difference between women's and men's fashion, it all looks the bloody same. Music? well, my personal opinion is unless the music is anti-today, created from youth that're tired of the people today, then you're left with the rest of the commercial crap that's sucking the life out of every radio station on the Western seaboard. If it weren't for latin music, and big band jazz from the 30's and rock n' roll from the 50's, I'd be one sad mofo.
The quality of our thought has been bleached by censorship, so much so, that we can't even write rawness in our diaries. Hey, when Warner Bros. studios were in production, they were BROKE! but they had something they loved to fight for...what do we have now? A chain of animation studios that have found a way to make a quick buck...nothing more stimulating than a "dog" that "talks" and "walks" and "reacts"....BAH! Whatever happened to taking that a step further. Today's cartoons are a dull reflection of yesterday's genious. People trying to imitate what they saw and loved when they were children, without a clue of the blood that went into it. They've learned how to copy drawings, but none of their own personal soul goes into it? Why not? Because some dickhead in a white collar sais that "it's too dark", or "he's smoking a cigarette" or "she's showing too much skin" or "that's glamourizing war". Ehk. Just let the artist delve deep into their soul and draw their pain and pleasure. People are so concerned with the esthetic and commercial appeal of their characters, that they're all emotionally dead. It's like noone feels anymore in their artwork. Why was Swing Shift Cinderella such a hit? Because she was a charicature of the first and only beautiful thing that these soldiers saw in years, after looking at dead mangled bodies for 3 years. She was their salvation, and reason to live in a very dark place. Why did Colonel Shuffle have so much appeal? Because he was the rich bastard looking down in distaste, at the begger sitting in the dumpsters looking through the garbage, pretending that he had nothing to do with it, saving all that money for himself when the world was starving to death. Why were the looney tunes so looney? because they were the ones who had to take the world's eyes off of their dead relatives and children and parents, and actually make them laugh for a change. So they had to be damn looney, damn funny, and bloody brilliant.

Now compare that to what we have today, and ask yourself why certain cartoons succeeded and others didn't. Simpsons look at today's society just like the looney tunes did. They make our drab lives seem a little more tolerable. A child that's starving for stimulation, so he gets into trouble all the time. The only kid that has the guts to risk his life riding his skateboard down a 60 degree slope, down a rocky hill, or challenges his teacher's authority to get a little life out of that white walled trap he has to spend 40 hours a week learn. He looks outside today's standards and expectations for something more real and alive, and that' s why we love watching him. Bullies in school that beat you up because they're bored, and a sister that actually likes to study and learn. All things that challenge today's expected trail of thought. And that's why the images and the movement and the story have so much appeal...because it's created by the geniouses with the cunning knowledge to challenge today's state of life.
And what makes John K's work so appealing? It has REAL emotion. Ecstatic glee, ferocious anger, utter stupidity, with the esthetic appeal of the 1950's. A time when the world was much more colourful and interesting.

But today's artists are copying the drawing style of back then, without putting any consideration into the emotional element that made them appealing in the first place. They'd soon come to realize, that considering today's state, cartoons like the ones created then can't be emulated, because the world wouldn't appreciate it now like they did then. We're all so alike now, and so sterilized, and expected to be so pure that we don't have the emotional "freedom" to express ourselves.

So that's what I'm talking about. South park can take a hike, and pokemon, and sabrina the witch and dora and the rest of them can tag along. As long as we keep trying to imitate what's out there...crap, and only crap will be created. I turned off my Television set 3 years ago, and haven't turned it on since. Nor do I listen to the radio. And slowly, I've created my own sources of entertainment, and slowly, I've had to find myself in all of this, and it reflects in every line I draw, and in every script I write. The same applies to every other truly talented artist I've seen and met in my time. They live in their own world, and their work is powerful, because it's personal and real. They don't care how pretty their work is, as long as it conveys a true and personal message, that touches them.

Look at me going on...oh my! hehe...


Excellent post, Mr. Duff. Like good animation, it addresses more than a discussion of animation normally would. In fact, it goes to the heart of many of the social observations my spouse and I have been grappling with as we decide whether to have children.

Children you say? hehehe...

Well, coming from the father of a beautiful 3 year old lady, I would push anyone asking the question towards a big yes. A child is the most wonderful thing you could possibly wish to have in your life.

And they say that cartoonists make the best parents...who are "they" you ask? Well, I'm afraid I can't disclose that information...but apparently that's the case.


dead cartoons....

dude...cartoons have been dead since the 60's. GiJOE and Superfriends were just as bad as pokemon but we were kids and din't know any better. i have a place for those cartoons in my heart but i couldn't watch them now. I STILL watch bugs bunny and disney old cartoons. those were the ONLY good cartoons and they've been gone for a loooong time.

ONLY good cartoons and they've been gone for a loooong time

You don't feel that the Simpson's are worthy of being in that clique?

I agree with Praetor Judis, the Simpsons should be included in that class of animations, I'd go so far as to say the Simpsons would be one of my top ten programs of ALL time. I'd also add Futurama to the 'classic animations'. :) Bird

Simpson's are not saturday morning cartoons.

No question about it. Simpson's is the best show on TV. But the question was about saturday morning cartoons. Simpson's is basically an animated comedy/sitcom. yeah, it's still cartoons, but kids don't get up at 6:00 am to watch the simpson's like they did to watch bugs bunny or GIJOE. South park is brilliant but definately not for kids. i think they're 2 different categories, not taking anything away from either of them. :)

I don't think the conversation was exclusive of non-Saturday morning cartoons, was it? Particularly since, as I recall, G.I. Joe aired on weekday afternoons in the 80s.

Still, point made. Your post referred exclusively to Saturday morning cartoons.