Thursday, October 8, 2015

My life has become more animated

I've spent the past three days at 7PM watching Cartoon Network. It seems that one of my favorite cartoons from when I was a kid, Scooby-Doo, has been rebooted. There's more emphasis on humor and the characters look somewhat different from their initial incarnations, and Scooby's English is much too clear. Still, it's been entertaining, and I look forward to more episodes.

The fact is that in recent years I've found myself drawn (rim-shot!) more towards new cartoons than most any other type of new entertainment. Family Guy and the like exempted, the new shows are on the whole quite a bit more clever than comedies such as found on major networks in prime time, and particularly more clever than whatever Seth McFarlane may conjure up. I think in part that's because they have no pretense about drama of any sort, an illness which seeps into almost all live action comedies. They're just trying to be funny. I like that. I like comedies to just be comedies.

I wonder too if it's that the recent cartoons aim higher than simple children's shows. Dan Povenmire and Swampy Marsh, creators of Phineas and Ferb (perhaps the greatest episodic cartoon ever) have said that they weren't drawing for children but simply didn't want to forget a segment of their audience. They had each before worked on The Simpsons and the aforementioned Family Guy and wanted to create something which entertained without being quite so raunchy as adult oriented animation had become. Let's face it: too many adult shows in general have become too reliant on easy, low brow humor rather than fully attempt genuine wit.

Jimmy Neutron and The Fairly Oddparents began my animation rebirth, although several years after each had debuted. Phineas and Ferb likely sealed it, so much so that I look for new cartoons far ahead of any other new show. Penn Zero, Wander Over Yonder, Gravity Falls (not a full on comedy but often funny, and smart without pretense) all are high on my list when I'm seeking new episodes as I channel surf during the evening. And of course the new Scooby-Doo. I still snicker at one particular joke from Monday's premier. When Fred was asked if he feared heights he answered, "No. I fear widths."

Too funny. I look forward to more.

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