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Moderness in cartoons, how much is acceptable?

Discussion in 'The toonzone - General Animation Discussion' started by TheMisterManGuy, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. TheMisterManGuy

    TheMisterManGuy Active Member

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    Many cartoons recently have a tendency to put it's characters in modern situations, such as giving them smartphones, having them do selfies, watch YouTube-esque videos, and use 2010s era terminology and memes. Some may see this as being dated and unnecessary, while others see it as just the world we live in now. Shows like Powerpuff Girls 2016 have been harshly criticized for including this stuff, yet when shows like The Loud House or We Bare Bears do it, nobody bats an eye. How much are you able to tolerate in terms of this kind of modernization in a cartoon? As long as it fits the context of the setting, characters, and/or premise of the show, then I don't really mind it. A show with characters using smartphones doesn't really make it any less timeless since Smartphones will likely be around for quite a long time, as will things like Video Streaming and social media.

    The problem is when the show uses these things to brag about it being hip and trendy rather than tell a decent story. The reason why it doesn't work with Powerpuff 2016, is because they lack context or relevance and are just thrown in haphazardly to try and make the show seem fresh. We Bare Bears has no problem doing it since the show uses these things for either plot and/or satire. Same with The Loud House or the new Duck Tales series. They treat these things as normal "okay, the characters have phones and take selfies once in a while". They're just everyday occurrences in the world, rather than bragging about how cool they are because the characters have Smartphones, and take Duck Lip selfies and use memes.
     
  2. Toon4Thought

    Toon4Thought Giving a slightly closer look.

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    This is surprisingly difficult to decipher, but I think it's largely a matter of how frequently it's done, the context where it's used in, and how quickly dated the technology used is bound to become.

    For example, in PPG 2016 I think it makes perfect sense for the girls to use smartphones in lieu of their old hotline, not just because most people seem to have those now but also nobody uses landlines anymore. However, Bubbles' 'no me gusta' moment - although brief - feels out of place because it comes completely out of left field and gives Bubbles a facial reaction that doesn't fit her in the slightest (she doesn't even have a nose most of the time).

    To name another good comparison, the infamous "duck lips" running gag in the Fairly Oddparents mostly stands out because they pound the reference into your face multiple times. It wasn't enough for them to merely show it, they had to directly announce it, and on top of that it had nothing to do with anything. Meanwhile, "Equestria Girls" also once had a moment where a character took a duck-lip selfie (plus a photobomb), but none of these were ever directly stated, and it was inserted in a moment when the girls were just hanging around, fitting the context of the scene.

    So, yeah, it's surprisingly complicated when a modern reference is and isn't acceptable. I'd say it's more a combination of factors than anything, as is true with most other forms of comedy really. You just gotta know what specific things to reference, and if the inclusion of it really adds anything either story-wise or comedy-wise.
     
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  3. 90'sKid

    90'sKid Well-Known Member

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    I feel that things like memes and Duck Face should be avoided, as they will become dated rather quickly (memes especially) which can date your show. Plus it often just comes across as cringy and unnecessary (looking at you FoP!). I don't mind things like newer phones showing up, if it's not done simply to say "Look look we are hip and cool!". What I give the new RML movie props for is actually satirizing things like smartphones and such, which is very in-line with the original series, which satirized life in the 90's.

    As for memes, I'm not a fan of them in general, and in certainly not a fan of them in cartoons. The only time I laughed at a meme in a cartoon was the "One does not simply..." meme in Gravity Falls.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  4. Checkerboard

    Checkerboard THE HOME OF THE TOP TOON STARS

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    One thing I often really despise in cartoons is political correctness. Especially if it's in your face. That too sadly is a part of modern cartoons.
     
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  5. Red Arrow :D

    Red Arrow :D Proud Beneluxer

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    Examples? I can't think of any.
     
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  6. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    Political correctness is just another word used to describe what my Mama called "being polite." How tragic that is such an unfathomable burden for you.

    Edit: As to the topic at hand, animation is an art form, and I feel uncomfortable telling creators what kind of tropes they should and should not use in their art. If I don't like it, I won't watch it. I'm not going to tell a creative person what is and isn't acceptable for them to create.
     
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  7. Checkerboard

    Checkerboard THE HOME OF THE TOP TOON STARS

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    Well, to be more concrete, the amount of LGBTQ characters and amount of characters of color that have been popping up in the past 5+ years. Be it on or off screen or subtly in references or directly. It has become a trend and focus lately just because society is shifting that way and giving these things attention. There have been black/asian/gay characters in cartoons well before, and so were to a degree politics, but this decade it really picked up pace and I don't like that. Things like that shouldn't be in animation aimed at kids. I consider it brainwashing. Unlike adults, kids can't defend themselves against any of this, let alone know what is right for them in general. They just watch and give in. You want such topics in animation? Fine, but reserve it for things watched by teenagers or adults. Not to mention it's regardless just disruptive and destroys the immersion. If I want to get in touch with such things I look for them myself by for example turning on the news. You don't need to be correct to have a good cartoon or make a good point. The show should sell on its own without injecting it with stuff people think they want to see. I hope what I wrote makes sense and at least someone will get where I'm coming from. Nothing against minorities. It's just that I think enough space exists for that outiside of children-aimed content.
     
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  8. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    Having black characters in cartoons is brainwashing? Dude, your thinking is outright warped.
     
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  9. Toon4Thought

    Toon4Thought Giving a slightly closer look.

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    If anything, more people would probably complain if it wasn't becoming more prominent.
     
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  10. ToonJay723

    ToonJay723 Bingo Bongo

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    What is wrong with you? How is having an Asian or black character brainwashing kids? Black people and Asian people have been in this world for a LONG time. Kids know they exist. They see them at school, at the grocery store, and in the parks. I don't know why you hate Asians and blacks so much, but children knowing they exist isn't going to brainwash them.

    Now about the actual topic, I don't mind smart phones or social media in modern cartoons. As long as it's not in your face. For example We Bare Bears uses smart phones in a lot of episodes, so it's now weird when they use one. But a season 9 FOP did an episode specifically about smart phones, 6 years after they were created, it was in your face and the typical episode didn't use smart phones. I think in situations like that it can be unacceptable.
     
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    #10 ToonJay723, Sep 25, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
  11. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    Don't forget gay people. They exist too. Minorities and gays are not going to just disappear, no matter how much their mere existence threatens and scares some people.
     
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  12. Checkerboard

    Checkerboard THE HOME OF THE TOP TOON STARS

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    @Toon4Thought And to a degree I believe that is a part of the problem. It's a fictional animated world, not real life. It should be addressed in real the world or in live documentaries/movies/shows. Not animation, most of which is aimed at kids. At least that's my point of view.

    @ToonJay723 Obviously you didn't read properly everything what I wrote and misunderstood.
     
  13. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    No, Checkerboard, the problem is that everyone understood everything you just said. If we didn't, we wouldn't be mad.
     
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  14. Red Arrow :D

    Red Arrow :D Proud Beneluxer

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    American cartoons are first and foremost targeting at American children. Black people are part of their life. Of course they deserve a place in cartoons.

    This isn't America trying to be politically correct. This is America caring less about what Europeans think. The USA doesn't need Europe's approval and they know it.

    Just think about it. If European kids don't mind seeing talking mouses and giant monsters with 2 heads and 10 tentacles on TV, why would they mind seeing black people, which is a real thing elsewhere...
     
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  15. TheMisterManGuy

    TheMisterManGuy Active Member

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    Can we please get back on track?
     
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  16. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    Sure, rereading your original post sort of makes me find it a little strange. Your metrics about whether or not it's okay for characters to use modern appliances seem to be based solely upon whether or not you like the show. I don't think that should be a measure of any show engaging in that trope, but you are certainly entitled to simply not watch shows like PPG if they bother you so much.

    P.S. I hate that show too. Solidarity, brother. :D
     
  17. Checkerboard

    Checkerboard THE HOME OF THE TOP TOON STARS

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    @Red Arrow :D You too picked from my long post only a short part as an argument and ignored the rest when it was meant as an opinion as a whole and I even mentioned that I have nothing against said minorities. I think I expressed myself quite well without the need to being attacked for it. Sadly nobody picked up on the message yet properly in a capacity I imagined. At least we can agree that indeed American production first and foremost targets Americans and that's why it isn't always compatible with other markets - even though they are blending slowly into one, which is another thing I dislike, but an entirely different topic.

    @TheMisterManGuy I guess this isn't the place to discuss this then even though it is a part of the topic and these boards are about animation. Kind of a shame, I don't believe I have said anything wrong, but nevermind. It's your topic. Forget that I participated if you feel I'm derailing it.
     
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  18. TheMisterManGuy

    TheMisterManGuy Active Member

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    Like I said, modern elements in a cartoon like selfies and smartphones are fine as long as they're either subtle, satirical, or have context in terms of plot. The problem is when shows like Powerpuff 2016 or modern Fairly Odd Parents use these elements, it's always with the subtext of "look, look, we got memes and smartphones and twerking! We're so cool and trendy and hip with the kids!" Whereas shows like We Bare Bears or even The Amazing World of Gumball either use these elements in service of the plot, or use these elements to satirize them.
     
  19. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    I actually think they use these things for the exact same reasons, but because the show don't suck, the viewer doesn't mind. I think We Bare Bears is a WEE bit too trendy for its own good, but I'm not mad because the show is actually decent. But the use of social media in that show is definitely as cynical as PPG, and used for the same reason. I just forgive it.
     
  20. Dr.Pepper

    Dr.Pepper Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a problem with stuff like smart phones, tablets, social media, etc being in cartoons if they are subtle or are part of the plot. Examples include somebody using a modern cell phone to take a picture or a plot about somebody becoming a viral sensation. For me the problem is the use of memes. Memes come and go so fast oftentimes by the time a show comes out the meme is already out of style. I also feel that people who do not spend a lot of time on social media are not going to get the reference. Not from a cartoon, but a year ago my parents got my aunt a Grumpy Cat balloon for her birthday. Neither of them heard of Grumpy Cat and thought it was just a funny balloon until my dad saw something in the newspaper about her.
     
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