Lately, Ben has been using the theme song to The Road Runner Show as our alarm wake up ringtone (yes, we use a phone as an alarm clock - surely we're not the only ones?). This means that I end up walking around all day humming the damn tune, and I've never even seen those old episodes with the theme song. So of course I'm thisclose to losing my mind. But Ben was a big fan as a kid, and is insisting on keeping it to usher us into the day.*
Which means I've been thinking a lot about cartoons lately, and wondering why the ones on TV today are so sucky compared to the ones I remember watching as a kid (of course, I might have just been indiscriminate with my taste, but moving on).
My Little Pony
Ponies. Lots and lots of ponies. Magical ponies. I literally cannot think of a single greater concept for a TV show aimed at little girls. Let me repeat: magical ponies. It's like the holy grail of a pre-teen girl's imaginings. Honestly, what more do I need to say. Magical ponies, folks! (Note: I am not referring to the new, sleek, slender and overly coiffed Ponies. Classics only, sorry. They might have been chunky little numbers that you could use in lieu of a dining table, but they still had style.)
Duck Tales - wooohoo! Am I the only one who ever wanted to dive in and out of coin piles like Scrooge McDuck? This series has gotten a lot of flack for being a piece of crap, but I still find it surprisingly watchable even today (thanks, YouTube!). It might not be Shakespeare (although there was a twist on Homer), but it's fun and exciting for a kid, and made me wish I had a rich uncle to whisk me away on wild adventures. And for all of Scrooge's, well, scrooge-ness, there was a strong focus on family love and loyalty to teach the little kiddies some life lessons. Thought I'd throw that in there in case you were looking for an excuse to make your kid watch old episodes in a thinly veiled attempt to relive your youth.
There's no denying that the Smurfs are weird little things. There's the ultimate question of exactly what they are, where they came from, and why one man made it his goal in life to exterminate them. And of course, the question of why Smurfette was the only girl. (Although my personal opinion is that maybe they were all male, and Smurfette was just a cross dresser. What? Could've been.) But at the tender age of five, all I cared about was that they had a catchy theme song and a repetitive plot. Worked for me.
She-Ra: Princess of Power
Between my sister and I, we had about 957 She-Ra toys. This is because She-Ra was seriously badass. I so wanted to be her, with her kickass sword and winged unicorn. Looking back on it, she was actually a fairly respectable heroine: tough, smart, and totally capable of taking care of herself. This was not a girl who needed rescuing by some pansy prince. Speaking of which, I have to say that even as a child, I was always disappointed with her boyfriend Bow. Frankly, the dude is a pussy (the Mattel toy's big move was a beating heart - WTF is that supposed to do to the enemy?). I always hoped she'd dump him and get it on with the clearly virile He-Man - apparently the idea of incest didn't deter me, since the two are siblings. Obviously, I was a strange child.
New Kids on the Block
Oh yes. You'd better believe I went there. For a nine year old girl, Joey was just as dreamy in cartoon form. I actually only saw two episodes of the (incredibly bad) show, which my dad taped for me and my sister. However, we rewatched it until the tape wore out. Oh Joey...
Honorable Mentions: Care Bears, Thundercats (I was a little young for this one, I think) and Rainbow Bright. Also Reading Rainbow, which was my favorite show EVER - but not a cartoon, and therefore doesn't count on this list. But it rocked, so I'm mentioning it anyway.
* Another of Ben's favorite cartoon ringtones is the theme song to BBC's series Bananaman. Bananaman is a schoolboy who transforms into a superhero when he eats a banana; his kryponite-like weakess is (wait for it) mouldy bananas. I told Ben I was sorry that Australian children of his generation had to grow up with such crap cartoons. However, after reading more about Bananaman, I think it may actually be a brilliantly subversive parody of the superhero genre. Maybe.
do a little dance, make a little love - i'd say that aside from the fabulous hotels that we get to enjoy on the hub's clients' dime, my most favorite thing is that they always toss in activities ...