Monday, November 29, 2010

Yay, cartoons

I find more and more that watching cartoons is the best "television-related" escape for me.

Cartoons are silly and goofy, and the ones that I like and watch have very little of the things about the "outside world" that frustrate me.

I've already mentioned "Penguins of Madagascar" as a favorite (Great line in a recent episode: Private Penguin, who is apparently British, is talking about distances in kilometers, and Skipper Penguin, the head of the bunch, gives him the stink-eye and says, "Private! You know how I feel about the metric system! Feet and inches, boy, feet and inches."

I've also recently started watching a couple of Disney ones: "Phineas and Ferb" and "Kick Buttowski." I was not prepared to like either of these shows - they are on something called Disney XD, which used to be Toon Disney, which was apparently rebranded to be more "boy friendly." Which irritated me at first.

Phineas and Ferb is less of a favorite because the plots seem to me to be a bit more repetitious: Phineas and Ferb (half-brothers in a blended family; Ferb is British but rarely speaks, Phineas is American and is more chatty) invent some wild device. Their older sister Candace wants to "bust" them and reveal their activity to their mom. But the device disappears, or is destroyed, or is swallowed up by the earth just in time for the mother to miss seeing it.

The more entertaining parts involve "Agent P," who is the platypus pet of Phineas. To the boys, he's just a primitive mammal. But when he gets called on by his agency, he becomes bipedal, his eyes come into focus, and he wears a fedora. And most of his job is defeating Heinz Doofenschmirtz, who invents his own crazy devices (but for evil, rather than for entertainment, unlike Phineas and Ferb).

There are a lot of pop-culture references which are what make the show entertaining for me. I think without those I'd probably be less likely to watch.

I also like "Kick Buttowski." There are a few gross-out moments, but they're pretty funny. (At the end of one episode, Kick's buddy Gunther asks him how he managed to escape the giant queen rat after she swallowed him. Kick responded, "Oh, I just ran around in circles until I was all pooped out." Heh. Also in that episode Kick warns Gunther about booby traps and Gunther laughs and says, "You said boo-" but before he can finish the word (I suppose to get around the censors), he is cut off by a noise. (And in another episode, Gunther yells "Dam!" as they are coming up to one of those structures, and Kick lights into him for cussing. There's a little bit of the "let's see what we can get away with" attitude to it, and I sort of like that).

It's sort of a dumb show, but it entertains me. Kick is kind of a pint-sized Evel Knieval wannabee - he wears a jumpsuit and a helmet at all times. Gunther, his cohort and buddy is a large, sort of worry-wart kid who wears (among other things) a pair of orange Crocs. The plots mainly center around Kick's stunts, though there are other things - for example, the challenge he faces to catch up on 2 months of homework overnight (lest he be kept back in school).

And there are the other various kids in school - a girl who is obsessed with Kick, a bully, Kick's older brother...

Again, it's simple and silly but it takes me away from the stuff that bothers me or worries me, and I like that.

I admit I've also watched some even-younger-oriented cartoons. I get the "Sprout" channel (the much-maligned PBS spinoff, where some Alpha Parents clutched their pearls over the thought that some parents might, gasp, use the television as a babysitter sometimes). There are a few shows on that that even I like. There are a couple British imports - Kipper, which is about a brown and white dog is my favorite. It's a very slow moving, very gentle show, but sometimes late in the evening when I'm tired and frazzled, I like that. And there's the Berenstein Bears, which is entertaining in its own way.

I don't know. I know it's weird for a woman in her 40s to watch shows aimed at pre-schoolers, but somehow, they take some of the rougher edges off the world.

Also, recently, Discovery Kids (which I had rarely watched) changed to something called Hub. (Apparently Hasbro owns part of it). They have a My Little Ponies show. It's kind of vaguely influenced by the kiddie anime (I feel I have to say "kiddie" because there's a lot of anime that's distinctly Not For Children). It's super cute and super sweet and in some moods I can't stand it, but in other moods it's kind of entertaining. Again, it's a place where nothing very bad ever happens. Characters learn life-lessons (like: don't be rude to your friends). Everything is resolved at the end of the episode. And it's ponies. I guess I never totally outgrew my childhood love of cute.

So I find myself more and more watching cartoons as an escape. I'm glad there's so much access to them now.

1 comment:

nightfly said...

A little nonsense now and then
Is relished by the wisest men

(And ladies! Don't blame Mr. Wonka, he had to make it rhyme.)

Half the stuff I watch is cartoons nowadays. And sometimes, I've been very surprised by some of the themes that a "cartoon" will delve into, that "adult" shows skirt because of "controversy."