Characters aging in cartoons, a good idea or not?

Discussion in 'The toonzone - General Animation Discussion' started by Goldstar Neo, Jul 6, 2008.

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Characters aging in cartoons, a good idea or not?

  1. Yes, cartoonists should age their characters.

    11 vote(s)
    52.4%
  2. No, the shows are fine the way they are.

    10 vote(s)
    47.6%
  1. Goldstar Neo

    Goldstar Neo Good Morning!

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    I've heard a few posters here mention how they feel that shows like Family Guy and The Simpsons have "lousy continuity due to the fact that the characters don't age.", But is it really that important or such a good idea?

    I've already stated my opinions on this in another thread, so rather than re-type what I said, I'll simply copy and paste it here:

    I say, if you really must see the main characters age, then they should make a new series every few years rather than simply make the entire cast so many years older every season. After all, the process of being creative and writing episodes of a TV series is hard enough without the added burden of making your cast older every new season.

    But that's just my take. What's yours?
     
  2. tb4000

    tb4000 Active Member

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    Most characters in cartoons never age or change clothes unless it's some type of occasion or in-joke. Unless the creators plan on having the show end at some point in several years, they may age them, like Kim Possible and her two brothers.
     
  3. Gokou Ruri

    Gokou Ruri Wielder of the dark arts.

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    It's really a double-edged sword, and it takes some skill to wield it. On one hand, it can prevent writers from getting into a repetitive rut (see: The Simpsons) and allow easy access for more storylines in a show, but on the other hand it may also shoot itself in the foot if there's a drastic change (most seen in live-action shows, where the kids grow up to be adults, so if it's a character well-liked for their rebellious kid antics, they can no longer do that aspect. A lot of the times they introduce a new kid character to take over that role, but it's never the same as the old character)

    There's also shows like Spongebob, and other episodic comedy series where aging is really pointless, or unneeded. A more "realistic" comedy, like As Told By Ginger, can benefit from aging characters and time passing. So it dependson the writers and the type of show.

    Greg Weisman is the only writer I can think of who likes to age his characters and develop time (W.I.T.C.H. did it, and he mentions the next season of Spectacular Spider-Man will be the last half of Peter's junior year at high school.
     
  4. Goldstar Neo

    Goldstar Neo Good Morning!

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    ^Good points, all.^

    My thing is, I don't believe in making changes for the sake of change alone. It's not always the best thing to just do something different. The only way that I would ever consider "time jumping" characters is if it were for an artistically valid reason.

    Some fans feel that The Simpsons has gotten into a rut story and premise wise, but clearly the writers themselves don't seem to think so, and when it comes down to it, it's their show. They can do whatever they want. If the Simpsons team doesn't want to "time jump" the cast, then they shouldn't have to. The characters staying in one age/era doesn't bother them, so it shouldn't bother the fans either.
     
  5. SuperStantzio

    SuperStantzio Member

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    Don't forget As Told By Ginger. The characters aged on the show.
     
  6. Lavenderpaw

    Lavenderpaw Essense Of Love

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    Well,we saw what became of the rats from the rug.

    The TV movie was excellent and highly anticpated (I was a pretty giddy 11-year-old back then when it came out.:anime: ) but the series completely ruined it.

    It's the same thing with Alien Force.They could at least inject a little more personality into their characters,instead of giving only a partial performance.Gwen and Ben would be aghast at their teenage counterparts.
     
  7. kid rabbit

    kid rabbit Active Member

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    I think time jumps are okey like ben 10 alien force and naruto shippuuden
    but for most I think future what if storys like the few the simpsons episodes where they showed what the kid would look like grown up are okey for few and far between episodes
    (do realy want to see bart and lisa age slowly )
    no time jumps are better
     
  8. Kagetsu

    Kagetsu Hooligan

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    To me, they are animated characters and have no reason to age. Aging takes them out of their original story conflict zones and let's face it, subtle story changes especially involving the social conflicts are not the writers strong point. I agree about the Ben 10 / Ben10 AF change. they did loose much of the "sibling/boy-girl yet together as a family" stuff that I really liked. I like the new character designs(except the aliens and Gwen's magic that now looks like green Lantern except it's pink), I just think the story bites now. Maybe it will get better. Kevin and Gwen are the only ones I like and I think both are being stupid.

    Anyway.

    I've yet to figure out how the writers are changed for shows, but aging the characters means it's harder for the writers to flow with the new conceptions. It really becomes a different show.

    it can be done, but only if they really know what their doing.

    You can also take in the idea that as a show moves overs a few years, the animators style is going to change, making them older can hide the changes.
     
  9. zoombie

    zoombie Well-Known Member

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    Crayon Shin Chan did a special episode in which they age all the characters by one year. This episode Shin begins is first day as as 1st grader, also Himawara talks. It was one episode only, than everyone went back to their normal ages.
     
  10. Mad Mod 49

    Mad Mod 49 Active Member

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    I know what you mean. Had Greg Weisman been on board W.I.T.C.H in the first season, it probably wouldn't have gotten canned. :sweat:
     
  11. Kagetsu

    Kagetsu Hooligan

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    :sad:Actually WITCH made it to two seasons and was drawing it's storyline,,, I'll beit half heartedly and after taking much of the emotional darkness out of it,,, from an Italian "manga". I'm not surprised Spectacular Spider Man is time flowing. Peters involvement with both older adults and parent figures almost requires it. and they seem to be doing it well at the moment. A character in the highschool/puberty mode is the most often aged character. How involved they go often depends on whether it's a boy or girl. as Told by Ginger flirted with it, but as far as I know, only Braceface went fpr the whole girl story.
     
  12. Gokou Ruri

    Gokou Ruri Wielder of the dark arts.

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    I kind of doubt it. The fact it reached 52 episodes with all the schedule changes, and lack of airing it on a widely accessible channel (how many kids watch ABC Family and then Toon Disney, compared to the actual Disney Channel?) was pretty lucky. Hearing Greg's plans for the third season makes me wish it did get another season, though.

    He seems to be following the same path with Spectacular Spider-Man (changing seasons, pointing out new school years, etcetera) I think for an action show (especially superheroes) it's beneficial, like Kagetsu mentioned. It shows them growing not only with their powers, but their responsibility in using them and overall maturity.
     
  13. Taekmkm

    Taekmkm Ribbit

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    #13 Taekmkm, Jul 6, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2011
  14. Ickis

    Ickis Classic Directors Cut Edition

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    Nah, if its a change of clothes to show age I'm okay with that but I don't really like watching one episode of a cartoon where a character looks normal than another where he\shes all taller and different. At times maturing mentally is good but if the character looses their personality than I don't really like it plus its better if the show has 30 or so episodes with a few drmatic bits, that way its not random that the main character gets wise.
     
  15. Wolf Boy2

    Wolf Boy2 Active Member

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    I generally like them. Aging Dick Grayson from Robin to Nightwing in BTAS was a good thing. Aging Bruce Wayne to an 80-year old sounds like a mistake, but Batman Beyond was amazing and I actually liked Old Bruce better than Young Bruce in a lot of ways.

    Its also interesting to see child/teen characters grow up and have kids of their own, like Spike Witwicky in the original Transformers. Spike was 14 when the show began and 37 when it ended. I thought Adult Spike kicked butt, though his 12-year old son Daniel was annoying.
     
  16. Dee

    Dee What?

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    Over 4 years of MIB, they couldn't really age much-- but I did enjoy seeing the character development over the 4 seasons. Jay became a more seasoned agent and while he wasn't as serious as Kay, he wasn't as green as he was in season 1.

    We actually ended up seeing a reversal of time in a few episodes, lol.

    I would have liked to see what the MIB and the agents would have been like 25 years down the road. I wouldn't want it to stay that way. I like the familiarity of characters. The Simpsons is a prime example. I'm happy that they're always there, unchanged after all these years.​
     
  17. Goldstar Neo

    Goldstar Neo Good Morning!

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    Someone earlier brought up Rugrats, which stands as a good example of why animated characters should not time-jump. Before, the Rugrats characters were saccharine and treacly, but they were at least original. Then they became bland and generic after Rugrats mutated into All Grown Up; they became fill-in-the-blank archetypes of every other teen/tween group of kids on TV. It's worth mentioning that I personally felt that Nick should have left All Grown Up as a one time only special. Seeing the Rugrats characters as tweens might have been entertaining once, but turning it into an endless series was pushing it.
     
  18. AlgeaX

    AlgeaX Oh, hello?

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    It seems to me that people her are thinking about big "five years later" style flash forwards. hich to my mind are very different to a more gradual aging of the characters ala Jimmy Jones being 13 in season 1 and being 14 in season 2.

    Whether you want to use this later method depends on whether you want to do a show with a lot of character development with a fluid status quo. If so then I think a gradual aging would be the best way to reinforce that. This seems to be the method Greg Weisman is taking with Spectacular Spider-Man.

    If on the other hand your doing a monster of the week type show where the characters never change and the status quo is etched in stone, then gradual ageing is not your best bet. In the case of the Simpsons this doesn't really bother me as I watch the show more for the individual gags then the story or characters.

    That said I mostly prefer shows with evolving characters and story-lines. One of the big attractions of serialised fiction for me is watching characters grow and develop over an extended period of time. So yeah, I tend to prefer gradual ageing, but that's just personal preference and not anything I'd advocate as a universal law.

    The flash forward is a completely different kind of animal as it usually means just trading one rigid status quo for another.
     
    #18 AlgeaX, Jul 7, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 7, 2008
  19. LivelyLorikeet

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    You took the words right out of my mouth. Rugrats is only one of two cartoons I have watched that has actively aged the characters, and I thought All Grown Up was horrendous. It was a cool idea, but it sapped away everything we loved about the Rugrats.

    The only other show I can think of where the characters visually aged is Avatar: The Last Airbender. But in this show, aging the characters actually makes sense because it is a serial and not an episodic show. In episodic shows where the passage of time is not a plot point, I don't think creators should age their characters just for the heck of it. Like you said, Family Guy would not be the same if all the characters were different ages.
     
  20. Movie06

    Movie06 Active Member

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    It depends on the show itself. For example, if you're making a comedic show like Family Guy, The Simpsons or South Park. Then there's no need to age the characters since the show is already absurdly comedic in tone.

    But if you're doing a serious action show especially if it's an Anime series then there is a need to age the characters.

    But overall, it can go either way depending on the show itself.
     

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