Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ren & Stimpy

The conversation about animal imagery in Judith Wechsler's interview with Edward Korean got me thinking about all the old cartoons that i watched growing up. In answering the question of why Korean used animals in place of humans at times, he states "These animals throw the situation into relief in a way that people would not. They say the exact same words that would be said by us, but since they are clothed in fur and fangs, the whole situation is turned topsy-turvy and becomes ridiculous."
In looking back at images from the cartoon, Ren and Stimpy, I saw surprised to see how ridiculous and grotesque these cartoon caricatures that i once laughed at and with, really were. I remember some of my friends were not allowed to watch his cartoon, among others, and i never really understood why. Looking at these images now, i can not believe the use of sexual implications and drugs in a cartoon once aired on Nickelodeon!! Ren and Stimpy were animals, who carried out human activities, making the situations they were put in comical to viewers. Considering the fact that the audience of this cartoon was children and teens, if humans were put in the same situations, would the cartoon be just as funny/appropriate? I'm pretty sure if this cartoon displayed humans in the place of these two animals, it would not be allowed to be aired on a children's network. I also think that if humans were put in place of animals, this cartoon would appeal to a completely different audience. It would probably still be funny, but for an entirely different reason. It would appeal to people who could relate to and had a knowledge of the situations the cartoons were put in. Although i do not remember much about this cartoon, as far as what occurred, i do remember thinking it was funny, and i now wonder if it was mainly because they were these ridiculous little animals, creating mischief. Does the use of animals in this cartoon really change it's meaning/appropriateness?
I believe this cartoon was able to get by the censorship of the media, and be exposed to children due to the use of "fur and fangs," and I'm pretty sure it is not alone. I'm curious as to how many more children's cartoons today are actually borderline appropriate, and have used the application of animals in order to slip by censorship of the media. I know, from babysitting, many parents are trying to prevent their children form watching any cartoons at all. Although i now understand why, this idea is crazy to me. I couldn't imagine my childhood without cartoons! Have children's cartoons always been this way, and people are just becoming more aware of it? Or is a change in the values of our society that is creating this increased need of censorship?

1 comment:

  1. Rocko's Modern Life is also a great example of the use of animals instead of humans as a way to get their show on children's television networks. This summer I found a website that had episodes of Rocko's Modern Life on it, so of course I had to watch it since I haven't seen it since it was on TV. I was taken back by how much adult humor is in the show that i obviously would not have noticed at a younger age. It surprised me that a show like that was on a children's network, when it possibly could have been more successful and longer lasting on an adult network.