This is a new series I’m starting and will be experimenting with. I may or may not carry it on. ‘Cartoons are not (just) for kids’ will be an exploration of animation (mostly TV shows) and how changing attitudes are helping them appeal to a market that cartoons were never originally intended for- teenagers and adults. I feel this is a good topic to go into, as I have recently become an adult myself. Plus, I have always been a HUGE fan of cartoons.
Episode 1. A whole new world.
And no, even with that title, I will not be talking about the film Aladdin today, although it is a cartoon. Sorry
This is kind of an introduction to the series. In this episode I will be talking about cartoons aimed at kids, that unexpectedly, are loved by adults as well.
Reasons why adults watch cartoons:
- Quality animation.
- Good voice acting.
- The shows that include musical numbers always make them well. Most are really catchy and heartfelt songs. (Some of these I listen to on YouTube just randomly, and even out of context of their shows, they are just as good as current songs on the radio*)
- There are underlying messages, metaphors, deep meanings and jokes etc. that would go over the heads of most kids.
- Okay, there isn’t always some message or meaning, but we can still appreciate how original and well made most modern cartoons are
- And on the surface, they are still funny, light-hearted and amazing.
- They make us feel young and excitable again- and its okay to want to feel childlike sometimes.
- Unconsciously… watching a cartoon is like the ultimate escapism. By delving into these crazy worlds, so unlike our own, we can forget our responsibilities. Our boring day to day lives can just melt away… for 10-20 minuets each episode.
- But, seriously, aside from all those deep musings about why adults watch cartoons, they are simply fun.
Animation has been around for longer than I could guess. Years ago, I would say that cartoons (in the vast majority) were unquestionably catered for children. Now, I’m asking the question; are they still just for kids? They may be classed as ‘family entertainment’. Yes, some parents may sit with their kids and watch them, and they may even enjoy them, but ultimately, cartoons are considered shows for children.
However, recently I’ve noticed that that is not the case anymore. Yes, cartoons are still accepted as kids TV, and still aimed at children, but more and more, older people are watching them …and loving them! This opens up a whole new market for animators, a whole new world of fans- teens and adults. (mainly young adults, I would say.) Shows like Adventure Time and Steven Universe for example, have huge teen and adult fan bases out there. (Click to see my review of Steven Universe.)
Other very well made animations that I have been enjoying are Gravity Falls and Over the Garden Wall. It is now not uncommon to enter into some heated discussion on social media about the theories behind some animated TV show or other. I think that there is less social stigma surrounding adults and cartoons nowadays. There are even animated series specifically made for adults, which are definitely unsuitable for children. But I’ll talk about that in another episode.
Of course, there are still a few irritating, narrow-minded people who think we are immature or silly for enjoying them. They say things like ‘Cartoons are for kids! Duh. Grow up.’ This assumption very much annoys me. But there you go. To them, I want to say ‘Some of them are amazing. Just watch them and you’ll see!’ But some people cannot be swayed. (I’m not against people who don’t like cartoons, don’t get me wrong. Everyone can have their own opinion. I just don’t like people who won’t try things out.) Anyway, here is my message to the world: Cartoons are not just for kids. Deal with it.
By the way, I’m talking about quality cartoons here. Sadly, not all cartoons are good. By that I mean worthy of watching as an adult. Some are just plain rubbish. I think these are the ones bringing the name of cartoon down. But today there are more shows with creators who put actual thought behind them. Who aren’t afraid to push the boundaries and try new things.
Therefore, we see cartoons with more backstory and character development, great music and even some deep themes, all bundled within the fun, bright, beautifully animated package. Animated shows should never be ridiculed or put down, in my opinion. They are, just like books, paintings, films and any other bit of media or creativity; pieces of art.
*for example, ‘Stronger Than You’, or any songs from Steven Universe, (a show I have been LOVING at the moment.)
I’ve written the word ‘cartoon’ so much, it looks weird now.
So tell me, do you watch cartoons as a teen/adult? Do you agree with me? What are your favourite cartoons? I would love some recommendations. Leave any of your thoughts in the comments below.
I hope you enjoyed this post, or at least it gave you something to think about.
Thanks for reading!