This morning, I came across a thread/discussion on Toon Zone (a forum that I have a love/hate relationship with) about what shows some fans would want to see on the syndicated children’s program block Qubo. One member posted this statement:
I’d like to see Qubo expand into more a more older-skewing boy’s action oriented programming. Add Batman the Animated Series and TMNT 1987 to the lineup.
Now, I’m not in the business of crushing peoples’ dreams, but this is something that I really, really hope doesn’t happen. There are already plenty of boy-skewing action cartoon blocks on TV. Toonzai, and HuBoom are perhaps the 2 most notable examples. Action basically took over Toon Disney after the Mouse House added Jetix to TD’s lineup and then shortly afterward the entire channel was re-christened as Disney X-D. Same deal with Nicktoons. Nicktoons TV started out as Viacom’s equivalent to Boomerang, and now almost all of Nicktoons’ programming is action oriented. I’m not delusional; I understand that kick-butt actiony super hero stuff is hot and action puts butts in seats, but I honestly don’t understand the yearning for such a program block when boys’ action blocks are all over TV. Saturday morning TV needs more boy-centric action like Flava Flav needs another gold tooth.
If anything, I’d like to see more alternatives to this kind of programming. Why doesn’t someone launch a comedy animation block? No action at all. Heck, even a girls’ cartoon block along the lines of the now defunct KOL Secret Slumber Party or KEWLopolis would be preferable to more boys’ action oriented programs (although I generally would prefer that shows be aimed at a more general audience and not be gender specific, but since there are so many TV shows and program blocks aimed at boys already, I don’t think that the world would spin off of it’s axis if there were at least one block designed for girls).
I don’t like to sound like one of the ‘nostalgia people’, but I remember a time when action wasn’t a requirement for a cartoon to be enjoyable or regarded highly. There were shows on the air like Looney Tunes, The Disney Afternoon, Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs!. Those shows were all about FUN. None of them were action oriented, nor did they need to be. Nickelodeon had shows like Doug, Rugrats (although I feel that this was and still is one the most overrated animated series of all time), Ren & Stimpy and Rocko’s Modern Life. This was a time when cartoons didn’t have to be action oriented in order to be good, and this was a time when any cartoon that didn’t fall into this category wasn’t immediately written off as being “kid stuff”. I’d like to see a return to this mentality. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate action as much as anyone else. I loved Justice League/Unlimited. I enjoy both DC Nation and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but I don’t want action all of the time. I’d prefer a variety. Thank goodness for SpongeBob Squarepants, Regular Show, The Looney Tunes Show, The Amazing World of Gumball and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Not all of these shows are perfect, but at least those shows are trying to keep the self-contained comedy tradition alive.