Cartoons Then and Now: How Have They Changed

I was scanning the TV last night looking for some news, when suddenly… He-Man, She-Ra and the Care Bears were flashed. Whoa! These are my superheroes.

Expecting that the channel would be showing at least an episode, I stayed for a while, but I was wrong. It was just part of their commercial. The channel must have been revisiting memory lane – showing some of their defunct shows. But it felt good seeing some of the 80’s and 90’s cartoon shows on TV, it’s nostalgic.

I stayed watching the kids channel and was surprised to see how much animated shows have changed since my childhood. For a kid who grew up during the heyday of cartoons and animated television series, I find today’s cartoons very different.

We’ve seen a lot of developments especially in the world of animation. New techniques enabled better graphics for modern animated shows. Unlike in the 80’s- or 90’s-produced animations, today’s cartoons are more realistic and have better visual appeal. Some cartoon shows even look realistic.

But aside from the obvious visual changes, modern cartoons have undergone hefty sanitation thanks to government regulations. Animated shows during our time (talking about 80s to 90s kids) were crude and were pervaded by slapstick. We all watched and loved the funny antics in cartoons but we seemed never really to understand what the creator’s motives were. I can say that our cartoons were all just for laugh.

The other types of cartoons, on the other hand, were pervaded with imaginary worlds, characters and superpowers. They showcased heroism and violence all at the same time. We had animals as heroes, ranging from cats, dogs, bears and a mouse. These talking creatures have pervaded our wild imaginations as kids and they never fail to make us smile. On the other hand, evil villains scared us in our dreams. Who would forget the villains donned with hideous costumes or fighting combat suits (follow this link to see what I mean) or guised as fancy aliens.

Cartoons nowadays have deeper story lines, settings, character description, morals, and more realistic comedy. With such stringent rules, I don’t think slapstick antics or violence in cartoons can get away without some bashing. Although some cartoon shows are able to slip with some sarcasm and adult-themed jokes, majority of today’s animated series have been sanitized to appeal the modern day kids.

I’ve also seen how cartoon shows’ story lines have been diversified and have become more intricate. The differences between SpongeBob Squarepants and Tom & Jerry are very obvious. The former shows real world values and morals as depicted creatively in an undersea setting. On the other hand, Tom & Jerry is all about a cat relentlessly chasing a squeaky mouse.

There are also a lot of children’s shows today that are more educational in nature. Science Kids and Dora the Explorer teach kids about letters, shapes, numbers and other basic stuff. These cartoon shows are very educational that some teachers even use them as teaching aides.

If you grew during our time, when cartoons were just for laughs, you might not love cartoon shows of today. For myself, I didn’t really enjoy watching and digesting the deep storylines of modern animated shows. You may not agree with me but I guess kids and adults alike should watch cartoons for fun.