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Cartoons have been a part of me since I was a baby sucking chocolate milk from a bottle watching Eureka’s Castle, Muppet Babies, and Heathcliff. Ladies and gentlemen I’m about to make a u-turn down memory lane. I’m not sure if it’s just me but it seems the cartoons of the 90s truly were something special. Nowadays I see nothing but a lackluster effort to create entertainment for the youth. I don’t know. Maybe its because back in the day things weren’t as politically correct. I cling to these animated memories like an insecure husband for so many reasons. One main reason is because in the end they were responsible for giving our generation an absurd sense of humor. We all laughed at the sick image of a deranged Ren plunging a hammer into his skull, while Stimpy danced around singing Happy Happy Joy Joy. Heathcliff the ghetto fabulous version of Garfield would surely have a place in today’s economy. I can still remember the Saturday mornings watching X-men and Spiderman with wide eyes and bowl of fruity pebbles.
I remember almost everything in existence had a cartoon. If you had a movie out, you had a cartoon. Some examples are the Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, and Beetlejuice. Nothing was excluded from having its own animated series. Video game characters have even reared their head into this realm. Sonic had multiple cartoons and Super Mario had a hybrid live action and animated series. Although some of these cartoons go long forgotten in our memories, some still remain etched into our brains. Long forgotten are such shows as Silver hawks, Biker Mice from Mars, and Darkwing Duck. Even though we find it easy to forget these shows they still leer as faint memories. Many shows still hold fond places in our hearts like the always-daydreaming Doug and the ever so lame Captain Planet. Yes, long before Al Gore’s haunting slideshow there was Captain Planet kicking ass in the name of Green. Sometimes these characters become larger than life. The Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles are the goliaths of all animated series. Even today they still have an impact with every t-shirt that still bears their logo. With all the oil spilling into the gulf, it seems the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may soon be a reality.
I’m sure many of you tuned in to watch Dragon Ball Z in Spanish. Being amazed by characters so powerful that Superman would make the back of his tights turn tan. Even today I still check youtube to catch up on some old clips of DBZ. Back on the American side, cartoons were becoming more mature. Spawn had his own animated series on HBO if you all remember with disturbing images and storylines about child molestation, rape, and vicious murders. Spawn may have been too intense for some kids in the 90s, but I dared to stay tuned in. MTV had its hand in creating such mature animation with the likes of the teenage delinquents Beavis and Butthead. Without a doubt a cultural phenomenon, Beavis and Butthead were instrumental in MTV’s growing popularity. Other notable MTV cartoons that managed to make a minor impact were Aeon Flux, The Maxx, and The Head.
Since we are in Brazilian month, how about we think back to a long beloved animated character. Blanka may perhaps be one of the first characters of Latin descent to appear in a video game. Although he may be green on the outside I’m sure he was brown on the inside. Perhaps before Blanka became involved in street fighter he was dancing and howling his lungs off during Carnival. Perhaps on of the most popular animated characters to come of Brazil would be Monica of Monica’s Gang. To many considered to the Brazilian Mickey mouse. Just like Mickey mouse she even had her own theme park. Monica soon became a figurehead for UNICEF. Cartoons are still if not more relevant than ever. The Boondocks and South Park have their own political messages and commentary on current events. Salad Fingers takes cartoons down a dark David Lynch road. Fox Sunday nights are literally dominated with animation. Adult Swim is now more popular than ever. Almost every network has an animated series now. HBO has The Life and Times of Tim and FX has Archer. No matter how old you are cartoons will always be a part of you. Like I said, you’re never too old for cartoons!
What was your favorite cartoon?