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Animaniacs or the beating of a dead satire horse


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Now in my youth, I was a Casual fan of the Animaniacs cartoons. I enjoyed the antics of the Warners, the hair brained schemeing of world domination by Pinky and the Brain, the misadventures of Buttons and Mindy, the reactions of people to Chicken boo, etc. I enjoyed the stream of Parody and Satire that flowed out of this show like sweet spring water.

After the show’s Eternal reruns on TV ran their course I was surprised that they were going to bring the show back announcing the project in 2017. But as the years passed I saw news of characters such as Hellonurse! we’re eliminated due to the fact that feminist union bosses and Studio bigwigs were offended by a smart, attractively beautiful female character. And the worst was realized with not with the trailer , and this snippet from first episode:

Now this is not at all surprising as the producers Steven Spielberg, Wellesley Wild (a former writer for family guy), and Sam Register (the current President of Cartoon Network and longtime producer for animated shows since the 2000s) are basically entrenched in Hollywood society. the other two; Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank, have ties to the “I Have A Dream” Foundation. Regardless of it’s noble cause of providing Children in poorly funded communities with the funding for education. https://www.ihaveadreamfoundation.org/

Edited by Akessel92
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  • Akessel92 changed the title to Animaniacs or the beating of a dead satire horse

I can't make an accurate judgement call on the reboot exactly, as I'd like to see a bit more to absolutely confirm it. But it seems very likely that this isn't a pure, return to form of Animaniacs. I mean Spielberg was the producer in the original run of course, and they did bring back as much of the original cast as possible. But I do fear that it has followed such trappings of this corpse called "social clamant".

@TheRedStrangerOn that note, the awful ThunderCats Roar show got cancelled recently. I remember there was a Teen Titans GO clip with them with the apparent original Lion-O claming it was a  "worthy successor" and any who disagreed had "Poop Mouths and Poop Opinions". Actual quote from whatever episode that came from. Followed by Snarf and 2011 Lion-O getting the shaft as being claimed that no one cared about them. Slapping the face of the 2011 Team who actually know how to make a good show. Needless to say, I'm glad such shows are finally getting buried as they should.

Hopefully, the state of Western Animation can improve in the coming years...but I'm not holding my breathe on that for a long time.


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  • 2 weeks later...

The issue when it comes to Animaniacs 2020 isn't the art necessarily, as the music, animation and voice acting are top-notch as they were back in the 90s. One of the main problems when it comes to Animaniacs 2020 is the air of uniqueness that surrounded it is mostly eroded away from the show as it has been done, in some cases better, than the original did.

Animaniacs became popular due to how it was one of the few shows at the time to take a jab or two at society, culture, etc. Having watched a few of the older episodes, while a few jokes have definitely poorly aged, there are several jokes that still are funny to this day. Now I'm not sure if most of the jokes in the new one will age well. Most of the jokes in the current one are politically charged that will probably poorly age within 3 months at worst and a year at best. Interestingly, in the original, there were a few jokes at then President Clinton (and was a part of the title sequence) but overall was treated rather well. And this was when he was rather  liked by the general population but now in the current one they act like Clinton is a little angel... ignoring a lot of the sins the man has committed.

But that's a small part of the problem. South Park, Family Guy (Seth McFarlane era), Rick & Morty, and BoJack Horseman all make jabs and lampoons modern society, culture, politics just like Animaniacs did. But now, those shows do a much better job at presenting such satire, South Park a notable example. Animaniacs would need to catch up and honestly need to change how they went about season one for season two. Also, most of the episodes were written in 2018 and Covid kinda caused problems. I think Variety said it best: it "focused too much on trying to lampoon current and political events instead of simply parodying the entertainment industry in general, and left the show "more of a sour aftertaste that keeps it from being as effervescent as it once was, and could be.""

Now having seen the new one too, there is something there but it did leave a bit of a sour aftertaste. The original was a kids cartoon that adults can watch (the Prince joke, anyone?) but this one felt like an adult cartoon that kids can watch. And I don't think kids now really care (nor should) about political stuff, especially when their parents are probably complaining 24/7, their teachers are, and whomever they follow online. Let them be kids.

It's a shame, really.

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/5/2020 at 11:44 PM, Wulfsbane said:

I don't think kids now really care (nor should) about political stuff,

To me preaching to someone’s kids about politics is like rushing to talk to them about sex, possibly even before their parents do. It’s taboo, almost always wrongly motivated, and can get creepy fast, even exploitatively manipulative.

Most children swallow up what they see concretely and without abstract nuance. We don’t develop abstract thought until typically early adolescence anyways. For example, if I ask a eight year old if he could lift a feather that weighs 500 pounds, he would most likely say, “no, feathers don’t weigh 500 pounds.” If you do this to someone typically around 13, they suddenly will start saying something like: “If that existed, probably no. It would be heavy and dangerous to touch.”  That person is able to abstract much better and consider principles and ideas properly. However, if you say...depict politician X as a evil monster, they will either feel typically two ways, mad, sad, or confused you insulted someone their family may like, and take it as an attack on them; or, they can more literally believe that X is a monster, which helps stimulate ironically the toxic trend we have of demonizing others that think differently than ourselves, which in a modern democracy is hugely counterproductive, and individual life potentially ruinous. You can make a powerful psychological argument,  that “woke” cartoons actually are very exploitative of children due to their reactive perspective, or, the more abstract themes will be critically missed entirely, perhaps unwittingly accepted wholesale. And isn’t that the textbook definition of propaganda? It is a form of media designed to be unwittingly accepted by the masses, typically to the point of exploitation, for the benefit of entrenched power group. 

 It is very possible to talk about moral themes to children, bigger and more timeless moral concepts. Star Wars does this excellently. For example, Vader and the Dark Side teaches us that dark feelings like hate, fear, and anger can lead you to being consumed by evil. Hate makes you powerful today, but at a great cost tomorrow. Compassion and redemption are greater virtues that overcome this, much like Luke did with his Father.   Another golden example is Satam versus the preachy mess that is Captain Planet. 

 Overall, nuance of ever shifting politics are the opposite of that, they are abstract application of moral ideas children have yet to develop. We must not waste our time trying to make children think the way we want them to think in 2021, but how to think for their own future. That takes altruism though...and I don’t see Hollywood as very altruistic to young people. Just ask young people who had to deal with Harvey Wienstine, Kevin Spacey, etcetera. Ideologically, they are a very creepily incestous little group, clinging onto the power that gained in the 20th century during mass media, and are loosing to a more free and equal social media.  Most films and cartoons from the area are created in a 12 mile radius in crazy self-destructive San Francisco.  I don’t expect children to get anything positive from that mess.

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