Wan Hu talkin'bout, Willis?
*snicker* Sometimes, I crack myself up.
Oh come on! That was a great opening joke! It referenced Diff'rent Strokes, AND, it gave me a reference to Wan Hu. Who todays post is not about. Again.
Fine. Moving on.....
Who here remembers watching cartoons while growing up? Pretty much everyone, right? I myself have fond memories of watching cartoons on Saturday mornings.
I was born at just the right time, and I was lucky enough to enjoy the Saturday morning hey-days. We only had the three major networks for cartoons back in the 70's and 80's. But they treated us kids like kings on Saturdays.
They would start showing cartoons about 5am, and finish up about 1pm. Not all of them were good, but who cared! They were cartoons! But it wasn't all entertainment. We had School House Rock. It made learning fun. And we had Topper. Remember 'Time for Topper'?
Topper was the yellow....thing. He was round, wore a top hat, had a cane, and taught us about healthy snacks. Like a cheese and cracker 'Wagon Wheel'. Or filling an ice cube tray with juice, covering with Saran Wrap, poking a toothpick into each cube, and then freezing!
Ah, it was glorious to be a kid! Nothing to worry about except which cartoon to watch next.
But, did you ever think about the cartoons you watched? I mean, really think about them?
For example, a popular premise for cartoons was a small group of teens traveling in a van, (or another vehicle), with some anamorphic animal/thing/extinct creature. Some examples would be, Jabber Jaws, (a group of teens in a band touring underwater with a talking shark), The New Shmoo, (a group of teen girls traveling with some sort of alien marsmallow that could transform into anything), Captain Caveman, (a group of teen girls traveling with a cave man who kept pulling items from his crotch), and everyones favorite, Scooby Doo. (co-ed teen group in a windowless van with a talking great dane).
There were many, many more like it. But it makes one wonder where the adult supervision was.
And, what kind of message were they trying to send to us kids? Let's look at Scooby Doo. Every week, the kids would go someplace, and foil a dastardly plan. But, let's take a closer look, shall we?
If you recall, it didn't matter where they went, be it a hotel, amusement park, mansion, town, or what. Every place was run down and deserted, or about to go out of business. What the hell was wrong with the economy?
Most of the villains were actual geniuses. The schemes they came up with usually involved long term, careful planning, and quite a bit of advanced technology. Why did they have to spend their time trying to rob someone or whatever? When all these incredibly smart and skilled people can't get a job, something is wrong.
And if these villains were so smart, why did they always fall for Shaggy and Scooby's lame disguises? Really? There's a barbershop in the basement of an abandoned mansion?
And let's look at the group:
- Fred was gay. The way Daphne hung on him, and he never made a move? Also, back when the cartoon was being made, only a gay teen would wear an ascot.
- Daphne was not a bright bulb. I doubt she would have been able to survive on her own without the group. She was a burden on them all, too. She was the one who was kidnapped most of the time. She also came from money. Why did they have that crappy van?
- Velma. She was the brains of the bunch. But, because Fred was the male, he was in charge, even though it was Velma who did all the hard work. Velma also knew Fred was gay, but didn't out him because of the stigma against homosexuality back then. Plus, he was nice eye candy, gay or not. And let's face it, gay Fred was better than Shaggy.
- Shaggy was a stoner. He was constantly high. Don't believe me? Why else was he always hungry? And, who eats dog treats if they aren't high? But, where did he get his weed? The kids never got paid. And the money Daphne obviously mooched from her parents went to gas and food. And Shaggy ate a lot of food. It also brings to mind the fact that, the rest of the group had to know he was high all the time. Did they partake as well?
- Scooby was also a stoner. However, I think he didn't smoke himself, instead he just sat around while Shaggy blazed up and got the contact high. Scooby was actually a very smart dog. He could almost talk. He was probably the second smartest in the group behind Velma. He was also Shaggys guardian angel. Shaggy would have been toast like, two minutes into the first episode of the first season if Scooby wan't there to keep him safe. How often did you hear Shaggy utter, "Thanks Scoob!"?
Remember, this was a cartoon aimed at kids. I'll admit, these things didn't cross my mind until they tried to foist Scrappy onto us. Talk about a crime.
I'm not even going to touch on the subject of violence in cartoons. Anyone who saw a cartoon from the 70's or earlier knows how incredibly violent they were. I saw more violence on one single Saturday morning than I do in an entire week of playing Borderlands 2! (ok....maybe not. I am a little psychopath on Pandora...)
I will say one thing about the violent cartoons. I don't know why, but kids back then seemed to realize the difference between cartoon violence and actual violence more. Maybe it was because our parents spanked us? Or that we saw footage of Vietnam every night on the news?
I don't know.
All I do know is, back in the late 70's there was a show called 'That's Incredible!'. It was immensely popular. And they never featured Wan Hu either.
Ok, I think I've worn the Wan Hu joke out. Sorry if some of you thought it wasn't funny. I thought it was, and since I'm writing these things, I can put whatever jokes in I want.