A Farewell to Saturday Morning Cartoons


bravestarr

So, I’m just now finding out about this, and I’m thoroughly distraught. Distraught!

Did any of you know about this?

No more Saturday Morning Cartoons?! I’m finding it difficult to process this at the moment, and I thought I’d get some thoughts down and have a discussion (even if that means me being the only one talking – a uniscussion?) with you (those of you out there reading this) to see if I could put this in some box in my life.

Growing up, Saturday Morning Cartoons were my weekend meal before I really put anything substantial, anything real, into my tummy. I would oftentimes eat some shitty sugar-loaded cereal to add to the comfort of watching the shows that filled the imagination of my youth.

I grew up in the 80s and 90s, and it was the Golden Era of cartoons. It was when all things in the animated world were good and right, and everything on the outside seemed to function just fine on its own.  What happened? Well, in as much as I don’t want to say it, the truth was there probably simply weren’t enough ratings anymore – not enough to justify keeping everything on the air, at least.

The kid in me wants to pull back time, wants it all to stop. At least it wants to ask, ‘why?’ And the easy answer, as sad as it seems to that voice inside me, is simply because the world has moved on from Saturday Morning. There are just too many other things to do, too many distractions. We just don’t have the desire or the patience to sit and watch the same thing, the same channel, the same kind of stuff for several hours in the morning on one of our free days. We’d rather just do other stuff: go on Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, play video games, get on our cell phones, etc.

I’m not saying SMC weren’t distractions. They were. But they were entertainment as well. But I guess it’s because it was controlled entertainment. You knew when it started, and you knew when it stopped. You were able to get your fill and go about your day.

That’s all changed now.

Now it’s endless. We bounce from screen to screen. Cell phone, computer, television, cell phone, iPod/iPad/e-reader/Kindle, cell phone, repeat until sleep. We’ve transitioned between controlling the time we spend in front of the screen to now being controlled by the screen. We like to say that we can stop, but I would venture to guess we’re not being as honest with ourselves as we can be.

Saturday Morning Cartoons were one of my childhood’s fondest joys. And there were some beauties in those hours. I am tempted to go for a quick search on Google to see which cartoons were those that caught my attention and heart during those formative years of mine. But, I’d like to simply see how many I can remember here as I write this.

There was:

Gobots

Transformers

G.I. Joe

My Little Pony

Smurfs (I always wondered how Smurfette serviced all those other Smurfs…she was the only girl)

Thundercats

Silverhawks

Tigersharks (all those three were basically the same cartoon)

Darkwing Duck

Ducktales

Looney-Toons (a classic)

He-Man

She-Ra

Garfield

Heathcliff

Inspector Gadget

Care Bears

(Now I’m asking Kerrie)

Tom & Jerry

Bravestarr

Snorks

Muppet Babies

Strawberry Shortcake

That’s what I got at the moment. Can you think of any others?

The point is they’re gone. I got away from them a long time ago. I don’t recall the last time I was in the living room early in the morning on a Saturday with a bowl of sugar cereal and a remote control; it’s been a while. I’ve often had the thought run through my head, “I should really get up early one Saturday and watch a session of Saturday-Morning Cartoons.” It was actually just recently that I had the thought again; I was convinced that one of these days I was going to do it.

Then, as I was leaving work today, one of my colleagues gave me the bad news. The kid in me wanted to throw up. This was a very bad piece of news.

If you clicked on the link above, you’ll see that the author described this closing as the end of an era. I agree. Everything moves in and out of cycles. This is just another one of those things that has come full circle, I guess.

I don’t know if this is something I’ve finished processing at the moment. There’s no getting around it for the moment; I’m still bummed. Maybe it’s sort of a huge slap in the face telling me that I have to accept growing up, or that I have to accept being in my 30s with responsibilities and duties, and chores. Maybe it’s telling me to stop looking in the past.

But, sorry, that’s not going to happen. I can be in my thirties and still be a kid. Now I think it’s about me convincing the kid in me that it’s okay, that there will be other beauties to hold on to; Macaroni and Cheese, maybe, or fantasy novels, and video games.

No, my childhood’s not dead; but it’s not the same. That’s for sure.

Anyone else broken up about this?

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2 thoughts on “A Farewell to Saturday Morning Cartoons

  1. Long before you could customize your viewing experience with online streaming, there was the cable network. Channels like cartoon network gave us these nostalgic cartoons we longed for as kids. But cable packages were much more expensive than streaming services today. Writing was on the decades ago, we just didn’t know it.

    But don’t be too saddened. I mean, if you honestly look back at a lot of these cartoons, you might think to yourself, “Did I really watch this crap?”

    The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons did that for me. So when I heard people talking about how much “crappier” the remake was, I thought they were letting nostalgia get in the way of actually getting to that inner child. Remember, these cartoons now are designed for kids of this age, not adults trying to recall their childhood. The childhood they now know, is merely their adulthood interpretation. Sort of like fundamentalists yelling how things should return to how they were before, but in reality merely selecting bits and elements of the past as they see fit.

    For instance, GI Joe was an anti communist propaganda tool meant to sell merchandise (toys). On the flip side, would you ever show your kids pro communist propaganda like “Squirrel and Hedgehog”? http://m.youtube.com/user/dprksquirrels

    I wouldn’t. I want my kids to grow up and be critical thinkers, so that they can contribute something to society. But then, some people would argue I’m missing the point of childhood…

    Back to GI Joe: there’s a fine line between classic, and outdated to the point of becoming a trope. Regardless, it’s based off a shared experience, a mass group of people can recount. Like veterans getting together and trading war stories. But remember, tropes make it easier to be parodied:

    Maybe instead of mourning over Saturday morning cartoons, you should try drowning your sorrows with food via sandwich mondays: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/11/10/363052805/sandwich-monday-the-dunkin-donuts-cronut

  2. David,
    Love the response. Not sure I can come close with a rejoinder, but what the heck. Yes, I know that I can go to those designated corners of the online realm and find any of the old reruns from my childhood. There is some comfort in that for sure. But I think it’s the overall weight of the change of it all. It may not be quite the same, but geographically, it’s similar to growing up in a certain country one’s whole life, and then suddenly realizing that one particular part of your country, your family, no longer belongs to you, and has been annexed by another nation. I mean, again it’s not the same, but you know what I mean.
    Yes, I know all about G.I. Joe cartoons being part of the brainwashing propaganda of the United States, and it was never my favorite. I just liked being able to look back and say that it was something that made up my childhood, whether actively or passively.
    I haven’t looked at Sandwich Mondays, but I may.
    Loved the comment, friend. Thanks for putting so much time into it.

    lp

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