Friday, April 08, 2005

Cartoon Network's "Kid" Shows

Frankly, I'm impressed with the degree of sophistication that is being allowed into the primetime cartoon market these days.

Take Teen Titans. It has inspired a fairly interesting adult fanbase, and for good reason. A fantastic example is "Spellbound" in the third season. The general plot was pretty easy to anticipate: Raven finds someone trapped in a book, she decides to free him, the dude ends up being less than scrupulous, etc. But there were a number of excellent thematic choices. During the period where Raven is being "corrupted" and being taught black magic by her newfound friend, she wears white. Only when she returns to her original black is the metaphorical spell over her broken. This points up the comment made by the "wizard" Malchior about how black magic is simply misunderstood magic and the concept that power is power irrespective of its source. It also is a charming and very adult look at a relationship that ends poorly.

Mucha Lucha is also fun: It's a quirky show about luchadores, Mexican wrestlers. (There was an Angel episode that also featured unapologetically hoaky luchadores). Multiple quotes indicate a really interesting outlook on the world consistent with Latina/o identity: "Man, just when you start to get ahead, the Man always gets in the way!" " 'It's time I behave like a true manager.' 'What, do nothing and take 10%?'" A lot of these jokes probably fly by the target audience, but they're funny to me.

Adult Swim has also recently become counted as a separate block from Cartoon Network for purposes of Nielsen ratings. I think cartoons are finally starting to get some respect in this country.


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