Top 5 Cartoons We Need to Put Back on the Air

December 19th, 2007.

Kids these days have no imagination.

One thing I’ve been blessed/cursed with in life is an unusually good memory, so I very keenly remember being a little kid hanging out with the other kids in my neighborhood. We’d sit outside in the sunshine, watching clouds and eating bologna and mustard sandwiches as we contemplated the day before us. Without fail, someone would announce, “I’m bored.”

All the other kids would murmur in agreement and sigh. There would be a brief moment of silence before someone would finally say:

“But what if we were bunnies?

Without fail, another kid would chime in. “Yeah! And what if there was an evil, rabid dog out to get us!”

One by one, all the kids in the group would contribute bits to the storyline and rules to the game and before we knew it, we’d all be immersed in the Bunny World we had created.

Being a child used to be magical. Now? Not so much. Most children nowadays seem to completely lack the ability to entertain themselves. They either need a video game to zone out in front of or a parent to plan activities for them lest they drown in a sea of banality.

In fact, just last week, a group of children came to me begging for entertainment.

“V! We are soooo bored!” they whined, “Give us something to dooooooooo.”

In my day, kids didn’t ask adults for ideas of games to play because when it came to fun, it was a well known fact that adults were pretty clueless. But still, I tried to help.

“Well, why don’t you make up a game to play?” I offered.

They stared at me blankly. “How do we do that?”

“Well….” I started, “What if you were all princes and princesses of a magical kingdom? And what if your Mother and Father, the King and Queen, were killed by a terrible wizard named Trent. And after they died, the Evil Trent crowned himself the new King and enslaved all the people in your Kingdom.”

The kids all squealed in excitement. “Let’s go kill the evil King Trent!”

Frustrated, I stopped them. “You can’t just walk up to the evil King Trent and kill him!”

Again with the blank stares. “Why not?”

“Well sillies, because King Trent is a great and powerful wizard. He’d squash you like bugs. Besides, if the game was that easy, it would only take 2 minutes to play and where is the fun in that?”

“Then what do we dooooooo?” (Always, the word ‘do’ must contain at least 8 syllables.)

“Well, I happen to know in this forest here, there is a very wise unicorn. And if you find this unicorn and explain your plight, he will tell you were you can find a magical amulet. And do you know what happens when you find this magic amulet?”

The kids stared at me, enraptured. “What?”

“You each get a magic power of your choice. Then and only then can you face King Trent. Also, King Trent doesn’t want you to find this magic amulet, so he’s going to be sending all his evil henchpersons after you. I’d be pretty careful if I were you.”

“Could I be invisible?”

“Absolutely. But only if you find that amulet.”

Those kids spent a solid hour playing ‘King Trent and the Magical Amulet.’ They found the unicorn outside under their trampoline and the magical amulet ended up being some old beaded necklace leftover from St. Patrick’s Day party they found stuffed in a drawer. King Trent fought back viciously, but the group of Princes and Princesses persevered and finally vanquished their sworn enemy forevermore. And later, chests heaving with excitement and cheeks rosy with delight, they screamed a single sentence.

“LET’S PLAY IT AGAIN!”

I put my head in my hands. Obviously, they hadn’t learned a thing.

“You can’t play it again,” I told them.

“Why not?”

“Well, because King Trent is dead. You fought valiantly and killed him in the most supreme battle your Kingdom has ever seen. People are already making up songs about you and adding you to the history books.”

Deflated, heartbroken, they stared at their shoes.

“You’ll have to make up a new story,” I prompted.

They shrugged their shoulders, unwilling and unable to believe there could ever be a game as fun as ‘King Trent.’

“What if King Trent had a son…?” I asked.

They looked at me hopefully.

“And King Trent’s son was even more evil and nasty than he was? And he wants revenge on the people who killed his Father?”

The children started tittering and before I knew it, I was outlining yet another game for them because they completely lacked the creativity to make one up on their own. Even worse, I had the sneaking suspicion that my games were totally inferior to the games I could have made up if only I had a baloney and mustard sandwich, a group of friends, and about 20 years worth of youth restored to my dusty, adult brain.

It’s a sad state of affairs. And you know what I blame? Modern day cartoons. Back in my day, cartoons had plots. They were like animated soap operas for children. They inspired creativity and got our imaginations going.

Nowadays, cartoons are nothing more than dumb humor. There are no ongoing storylines in kid shows anymore. It’s just Spongebob Squarepants catching jellyfish and acting like a retard or the Yo Gabba Gabba guy singing insipid songs about manners. Hardly inspiring stuff.

Anyway, following is a list of cartoons we seriously need to consider putting back on television…for the sake of the children.

5. X-men

xmen1.jpgAdapted from a Comic and eventually made into a trilogy targeted towards adults, X-men was first one hell of a cool cartoon. While watching good mutants battle evil mutants in a desperate attempt to save the helpless humans, you couldn’t help but wonder what mutant power you would be granted.

At first, the power of flight sounded like it would be pretty awesome. But upon further consideration, flight was dismissed as an ultimately useless ability. Invisibility was better. If you were invisible, you could sneak into other people’s bathrooms and watch them as they showered. The ability to stop time would also be cool. That way, during lunch at school, you could stop time, completely disrobe the biggest bully in your class in the middle of the school cafeteria, flick your fingers, and join your peers as they pointed in laughed. Hell, I’m willing to bet if more kids had access to mutant inspired revenge fantasies, there would be less school shootings.

4. Dungeons and Dragons

dd.jpgYes, I realize this was first a board game played only by social outcasts with bad hygiene. However, a cartoon based on a group of children trapped in an alternate reality where there are wizards, orcs, and other magical creatures was still pretty cool.

The idea of being lost in the wilderness, living strictly by your wits has always been an interesting concept to children which is why stories like ‘Hansel and Gretel’ and ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ are such classics. Dungeons and Dragons just stepped the whole thing up a notch by teaching everyone magic and sending dangerous creatures to tear them limb from limb. In this alternate universe, you could either bravely fight your foe, or put on your magical hood of invisibility and run like hell. Fucking sweet.

3. Smurfs

smurfs.jpgThe Smurf were supposedly ‘three apples high’ yet they lived in mushroom houses which are significantly shorter than three apples. As a child, contemplating this little impossibility alone was enough to keep you wondering what it would be like to live in the Smurf village. Add in a Jew bastard who wanted boil their little blue asses until they turned into gold and a cat who pegged them for an odd talking rodents and you had pretty thought provoking show.

The thing I liked most about the Smurfs was its subtle mockery of American culture. In it, you had a group of men who worked their asses off until they all ended up looking exactly alike in order to impress some dumb blonde. It literally screamed ‘Stupid, Shallow, Conformist Americans’ right into your upturned, trusting, 5-year-old face.

After a few months of watching the ‘Smurfs,’ you would find yourself on your hands and knees in the backyard looking for the little bastards so you could boil them into gold yourself.

2. He-Man/She-ra

hemanshera.jpegHe-Man and She-ra were twins separated at birth who also happened to have secret identities. Kids idolize twins. This is how crack whores like Mary Kate and Ashley Olson end up successful. They also love secret identities. Hence, Batman. He-man and She-ra were both and that made them totally awesome. Not only that, but they had kick ass weapons and hot friends.

Personally, I never wanted to be She-ra. Protecting everyone all the time seemed like too much responsibility and I wanted time to have a little fun. I saw myself in more of a ‘hot blue haired friend who could turn shit to ice and help out when available’ kind of role. Besides, if I wasn’t She-ra that meant the possibility of marrying He-man was still an option for me and God knows that fucker was built like a brick house. ‘I have the power,’ indeed.

1. Thundercats

thundercats.jpgThe Thundercats were these weird half human/half cat creatures who escaped their exploding planet to etch out a new existence in a different galaxy. Heavy stuff. Not only that, but they had to protect some magical sword thing from an evil mummy hell bent on world domination.

I put Thundercats in the #1 spot because this cartoon literally had it all. Super Powers. Magic weapons. Formidable opponents. Secret identities. Stranded on an unknown planet. Surrounded by hot friends. Hell, they even had a set of twins. Watching an episode of Thundercats typically sent your brain into awesome-overload and you’d end up lying on your living room floor twitching and meowing like a goddamn lunatic.

If that isn’t enough sell you, consider the pilot episode where the nearly naked Cheetara zips around the spaceship wearing nothing more than a pair of boots and a belt. Thirty minutes of action and masturbation material to boot? You can’t beat that, folks. Thundercats, ho!

Anyway, if anyone wants to start a petition to get these shows put back on the air, I will definitely laugh at you because everyone knows that petitions are completely useless. However, even as I laugh, I will secretly be hoping for your success. Right as I type this, ‘The Wonder Pets’ are on and if that goddamn chick says, ‘This is serious!’ in that faggy lispy voice one more time, I will shoot up a ‘Mommy and Me Music’ class. I promise.

Parents, please save your children from this tripe. I’m begging you.

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