Archive for category TV

Where Have All the Cartoons Gone?

I have an two year old son, and years from now when he is getting ready for school or just getting home from school, I wonder what will he will be watching? In the good old days, I woke up to Gobots, the poor man’s Transformers and as I got a little older came home to the original iteration of Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Let me state now that I still watch cartoons, so much like the 45 year old who tries to tell his kids that he still listens to the popular music of the time, I am trying to hold on as long as I can.

With my son turning two we are starting to get beyond just Sesame Street and moving on to other more “simply for fun” cartoons along with the standard educational stuff. I have got to tell you, it is pretty bleak out there. Dora the Explorer and Diego can’t light a candle to He-man and She-ra. Don’t even get me started on the reboot of the TMNT and Transformers cartoon franchises.

The major issue that I see is the ever-widening gap between kids cartoons and adult cartoons. Easy there boys, I am talking about the difference between things like The Wonder Pets and the recently released movie Nine, a visually stunning tale from Tim Burton. (A quick side note, this movie sold me on how awesome Blu-ray players are, check it out.) The animation was fantastic and the story was able to keep up.

I believe the rift began to form in September of 1992, the dawn of Batman the Animated Series helped along by Bruce Timm. I was 13 and along with turning me onto comics for the rest of my life, the show was ground-breaking. The animation was almost like reading a noir-style novel and Batman’s presence alone, voiced by Kevin Conroy, was enough to hook me. Here’s the thing, I could have been 13 or 36 and it still would have been great. It brought Batman back to life. Once company execs realized they could start appealing to people with disposable income, the rift began.

By now the middle-ground cartoons are gone. We’ve got Bob the Builder on one end and Family Guy on the other. Stewie may be a baby, but I don’t want him talking to my son. I used to visit Best Buy every Tuesday for the new releases, but with the family bills I can’t show up every Tuesday any more. One Tuesday I can guarantee I will be there is when Marvel and DC release there new animated feature films. The Avengers, Wonder Woman, Doc Strange, they have all been good, but in no way can I watch them with the kids. They can be incredibly violent like the Wonder Woman release or just be way too dark like one of the Batman releases which would give some grown-ups nightmares. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed all of them, but for kids, no way.

As I get older I realize one of the more enjoyable experiences is sitting around with the crew, having a few beers, and reminiscing. You talk about what you did when you were younger. We all grew up watching cartoons. I am just wondering if for my son, years from now will they argue about what cartoon was the best when they were all average.

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Reality TV Quick Reviews

Reality TV.  Mention that term just a few years ago, and people would stare at you like you just asked, “Does the Pope shit in the woods?”  But now, everyone knows about what that means.  One of the most mis-labeled monikers ever to make it onto TV.  Never mind, that was an idiotic statement on my part… this is television after all. It’s all idiotic.

So Producers have been falling all over themselves to make more of these shows for a number of reasons, namely they are cheap to produce, and there are millions of zombies that can’t get enough of them.  I’m lucky enough to have an amazing wife that eats this shit up.  Sometimes the worse it is, the better the show.

Personally, I hate them… all of them.  But to spend time with my wife, I occasionally sit through one.  Here is my take on just a few of these gems that are out there.  Most I have seen no more than once, but seriously, do you need to sit through any more than one to get the gist?

These are in no particular order.

The Real World – The Mac Daddy of reality TV… the one that started it all.  I think they’ve had 73 iterations of this one since, all with the same result: kids get drunk, screw and fight.
Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew – Same as The Real World, but these people were all once pseudo-celebrities that are older and uglier.
Intervention – A very depressing show about fucked up addicts, the fucked up family that raised them, who are now trying to fix it with cameras rolling. Intelligence eludes them.
The Real Housewives – A bunch of rich, spoiled, fake and plastic women with big breasts that can’t let go of the fact that they had the best prom dress 27 years before.
Survivor - Strangers go to a remote location, do idiotic activities called challenges, lose a bunch of weight, then stab each other in the back.
Ice Road Truckers – Truckers drive their trucks, on an ice road.  Sometimes they break down (the trucks and the truckers).  It’s fascinating.
American Idol – People that can’t sing and never could are fooled by their friends into thinking they can.  They get embarrassed and cry.
America’s Next Top Model - Emaciated girls try to avoid food and general nutrition while Tyra Banks boasts about how amazing she is.
The Bachelor - Some dude somehow gets to make out with 25 hot girls, it’s televised, and no one gets mad at him.
The Biggest Loser – Similar to America’s Next Top Model, but the contestants ate Tyra Banks.
America’s Got Talent – Bad grammar in the title, and the talent isn’t any gooder.
Wife Swap – Two married men show a complete stranger what an asshole he is married to.
The Simple Life – Two very rich, clueless and elitist heiresses live among commoners, and make their parents contemplate disowning them for simple stupidity.
The Apprentice – A very rich man gets to belittle and abuse potential employees in various ways… legally.
Big Brother – Much like The Real World, but they aren’t allowed to leave the house, nothing ever happens.
Jon & Kate Plus 8 – Two morons with eight children do anything they can to exploit said children, then act like bigger morons when the cameras aren’t taping them.
Dancing With The Stars – “Stars” in the title is debatable. It’s dancing with bad commentary and puns.
American Chopper – They build some bitchin’ bikes and fight the way most families wish they could.
Jersey Shore – Yes, another The Real World ripoff.  This time they stock the house with those that fail IQ tests.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition – I think it’s the only show that has an ounce of sincerity. Granted most of the recipients of the new house foreclose within a year, but that’s beside the point. Feel good and cry, then turn off the TV.
The Hills – Yeah, it’s umm, like The Real World, but filled with attractive and extremely shallow people. Actually it’s scripted, too. Nothing based on reality here.
Top Chef - They cook.
Hogan Knows Best – It was Hulk Hogan, it was worth watching if you could get past his family, and Hulk Hogan.
Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica - Jessica Simpson proved to the world that she’s dumb as a box of recycled paper, and Nick proved that even with a wife as hot as Jessica, he’d rather cheat than talk to her the rest of his life.
Miami Ink – They tattoo people, in a tattoo parlor, and talk about tattoos.
The Surreal Life – More washed up pseudo-celebrities live together and easily show why they are washed up.
The Osbournes – The show that emasculated the frontman from Black Sabbath while also raising his stock on death pools everywhere.
Rock of Love – It’s The Bachelor, but the bachelor is a rocker, and the women are sluts.
Shear Genius – The exciting and emotional world… of cutting hair.
Flavor Of Love – Flavor Flav and a pack of beasts look for love in horrific displays of affection.
The Bad Girls Club – It’s the prequel for The Real Housewives, but the girls aren’t hot and they think they are.
Hell’s Kitchen – It’s Top Chef, but the host is an asshole.
Deadliest Catch – They fish for crabs in situations that make me extremely glad to work in computers.
Little People, Big World – A family of little people. Exploitation or not, they’re midgets!
The Amazing Race – Teams race around the world and we get to watch them stress out and hate each other.
Cathouse - A camera inside a brothel. Hello? This quickly ruins any fantasy you ever had about brothels.
Sunset Tan – The exciting, riveting and heart-wrenching world of a tanning salon.
Pitchmen - The behind the scenes life of two famous TV sales guys, until one of them croaks.  Too soon?
America’s Most Smartest Model - I must stress that I did not make this up, or the title. It exists. Look it up.
Say Yes To The Dress – Wedding gown shopping. Are there really that many women out there that would watch a show on this? I’ve always heard it’s one of the most stressful parts of the wedding for a woman… why watch this??
Supernanny - A British woman enters a home and disciplines bad children, legally. Actually, the parents should be the ones disciplined.
Toddlers & Tiaras – Jon and Kate have nothing on these horrific parents.
Hoarders - Pretty much like Intervention, although the drug of choice is a houseful of junk.
30 Days - It’s witness relocation without committing a crime first.
Cake Boss - A bakery?  Hell, they did it for a tanning salon, a barber and a tattoo parlor, why the fuck not?
Dr. 90210 – Plastic surgery reality. Most of the above shows already covered this one.
Hammertime - MC Hammer, but no big pants.
Bridezillas - Uber bitch potential brides. The groom should watch before saying “I do.”

There are so many more.  A completely obnoxious amount more. But I don’t want to continue on, as my brain hurts.  I now must go read something by Stephen Hawking to assure myself that we as a society are not going to be overthrown by lemurs soon.

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