Throughout the work week, I envision myself on Saturday mornings in my proper attire: boxers, calf-high socks and a “wife-beater” (I don’t promote domestic violence) lounging with my son, dressed in the same theme, eating a plate of French toast, maple bacon, egg and cheese, watching Saturday morning cartoons.
And as I have sat down and memorized several sing-a-longs harmonized by Yo Gabba Gabba, have I also had the pleasure of viewing some creative and traditional styles of cartoons. As a child, I loved the silly plots that embellished and twisted the delusions of reality of good versus bad, right versus wrong, true versus false, and hero versus villain. I was intrigued wit the aspect of truth, that’s maybe why I was always rooting for the bad guy; rather, the character be Tom and his attempts to see a demise to Jerry, Wild E. Coyote feeble efforts to catch a bird that mocks him with “beep, beep’s”, or Gargamel making me wonder, does a Smurf actually taste that savory, enough that a whole cartoon can be based upon one hungry, lonely man to see their demise in this boiling pot of stew.
Whatever the case may be, the villain was always transparent, no fear and sometimes irrationally divulging to the protagonist exactly how they would see fit to their demise…telling them the truth. As a parent, I’m responsible to be reading between the lines of cartoons and the truth behind each character. I have to be able to decipher to make sure my son doesn’t confuse their entertaining gestures with established morals and principles.
Although, I believe the subliminal messages viewed in society are just signs of the times, I do not believe it to be a new phenomenon to appear in animation. They’ve been doing it for ears and decades. If you ask what subliminals, then I ask, “Where in the hell have you been.”
Have you not witnessed the dildos and phallic shaped, under-the-sea-castles in Disney’s Little Mermaid, the groupie tendencies Olive Oil displayed in every Popeye episode whenever she came across Bluto (her hot ass), or what about the known but never spoken munchies/Scooby snack-binging Shaggy and Scooby had, Yogi bear’s gluttonous thievery, the for sure orgy that went on behind closed doors on the Smurfs, and I know I’m not the only one that see Yosemite Sam ready to have a slip of the tongue and call that slick-talking Bugs Bunny a “coon”.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is just convincing myself I’m over-parenting and what I may see as possible corruption on the part of the next generation extensions of Hanna-Barbara, is observed on the same screen by my son as nothing more than silly, slap-stick driven characters, displays of foolishness. However, its still my job to uphold and convey what is right and decipher what is wrong, explain why shooting someone senselessly is wrong and giving women flowers for no apparent reason is expected. As a parent, it’s my job to make sure his sense of humor and level of entertainment is both diversified and extended, but allow him to develop and conclude the truth that best represents his reality. After all, I grew up loving to see Pepé Le Pew chase that pussy cat up and down, round and round but only once I got to the age and recognize that he was stalking the entire time.