Isn't Dog the dumb one?
Community Login: (Create an Account)
Search the Site:
Why do some cartoons seem to send the message that it's bad to be smart?
The Smurfs might be the best example. Besides maybe Jokey, who is the most annoying character? Brainy, of course. And when he starts to bore our little collective, what do they do with him? They throw him up and the air and make him land on his head, obviously trying to damage his brain and the source of their discomfort.
Many cartoons also used to feature lovable, kinda dim, losers that often had a smarter friend that saved their bacon, like in Inspector Gadget. But after Ren and Stimpy there were several cartoons where it seemed like the smarter characters were always put upon and the dumb ones, like Dee Dee, Cow, Heffer, Dog from Catdog, Spongebob and Patrick were always rewarded for their stupidity and were usually portrayed to be right while the relatively smarter characters such as Dexter, Squidward, Rocko and Cat are wrong and suffer.
The dumb characters often torment the smarter characters, but innocently, only through their innate stupidity. Despite their seeming simplicity, the dumber characters also often show a savant like ability to do anything needed in a much better manner than the smarter character if it serves a joke, like Spongebob's art being better than Squidward's.
Any more examples? Why is this? Is it an example of the romantic ideal of "primitivism" where the less sophisticated, noble savages are somehow superior because they are closer to an uncorrupted state and thus closer to nature/God?
And stay out of Riverdale!
Isn't Dog the dumb one?
Exit... Stage Van
Why? Take a look outside your window, and you'll see why. Anti-intellectualism is a plague. A real one, a serious one. It's why dreck like "Rise of the Silver Surfer" makes a profit and no one goes to see "A Mighty Heart".
Politicians run on anti-intellectualism, and appeal to the lowest common denominator.
Look at MTV!
The sad thing is, the people behind this are mostly not anti-intellectual, they are very smart, they just know how to package a product and make money off the dumb.
It's the culture.
Shonen anime is one of the worse offenders. I can only think of two such series where the hero isn't the genki, undisciplined, clueless sort except in Really Major Important Battles. Kiyo from Zatch Bell is cool, and handy in the battles because he's smart. Light from Death Note is a psychopath ******bag.
...It's probably just because dumb people are funnier.
Keep in mind cartoons are unfortunately aimed primarily at children. Make the humour too intellectual and the jokes will fly over their heads. So you need dumb humour, and therefor dumb characters to pull off that humour.
Then again it could be a government conspiracy to put the idea that being smart is a vice into your head at a young age, making you easier to control later in life... You never know... *shifty eyes*
It has nothing to do with being against smart people; dumb people are just funnier. Someone who's always wrong is funnier than someone who's always right. It's not propaganda; we're laughing AT them. This is a strange theory to come up with; why would anyone think this?
Visit my website! It's comfy and easy to wear!
THIS WEEK: When you think about it, TV shows with cult fanbases have actually returned more times than they haven't. The results have been mixed, but it's a thing, and it totally happens! Join us as we examine many recent examples in..."YOU CAME BACK!"
I should note, Intellecuals can also decend into anti-intellecualism.
So were do I begin? The real threat of Psuedoscience is not in portraying the brainny guy as annoying (which ShawnHopkins I think you're reading in too much at this).
Instead, it is helping spread pesudoscientific concepts. Bigfoot, UFO's (not aliens, but rather the UFOlogy in real life), hollow Earth, conspiracy theories without subtancial evidence, pop psychologigy, and alot more stuff in cartoons in general. The worse offenders, ironically, is the anime and older audience oreintated cartoons.
It's sad that in the end, so much evil is done all in the name of 'Everyone Else is Doing It'.
“Love is a mutual self-giving which ends in self-recovery.” - Fulton J. Sheen
Christ is risen ! HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!
Well that's debatable. Other than the fact that Frasier and Niles are at their funniest when they're being stupid or near-sighted.Frasier and Niles Crane are both funnier than... Homer Simpson
"You still race in the games, do you... guardian?.. For what!? Putting a show on for the masses are we? The young pretender!? To mend and defend... who will defend you the next time we meet!? Have your fun boy... while you can." - Megabyte
"They took everything, Bruce. My dad, my life... you. I'm not saying it's right or even sane... but it's all I have left. So either help me or get out of the way!"
Don't forget Goofy and Pete in Goof Troop. While Pete isn't exactly a genius, he is a lot smarter than Goofy.
Also, the dumbness has to be in physical form on the cartoon. If it's just dialogue, the kids won't really get why it's funny unless they actually listen to the dialogue. I have a 6 year old cousin that eats up The Simpsons, and not just for the physical humor but because of the stupid things Homer says...and most kids that age would only laugh when he has a pratfall.
And at any rate, when cartoons do deal with this kind of stuff, they almost always put it exactly where it belongs. In the realm of fantasy.
In media there is hardly ever a conspiracy. That doesn't mean there aren't societal messages in it, media is created by people and the things that are ingrained into them, social pressures and the like, get passed on. Sometimes they don't even know they're doing it, in fact usually they don't. I'm just interested in talking about what the treatment of the dumb guy in cartoons says about our society, prevailing attitudes and some of our philosophies.
I mean, GregX is right. Being intellectual can get you widely derided. Look at our president. He at least tries to appear to be a go with his gut, simple guy instead of some highfalutin' smarty. Scientists are generally mistrusted. There was recently a conference of respected scientists that came out with some global warming conclusions, but I heard more people siding with and parroting the words of dismissive, blowhard radio and tv personalities after the news.
And stay out of Riverdale!
It's not just cartoons. Our visual media in general (movies and television) display a very anti-intellectual slant. In the case of cartoons, I think it's connected to the fact that the animation companies tailor their products to what they perceive as the current social trend toward meeting the demands of a public that wants its children's programming to be "instructive" rather than merely entertaining. The public school system across the country is run on the principal that self-esteem is more inportant than the pride that comes from accomplishment. Not everyone can be the best at something, so they are taught to feel good about themselves in spite of a lack of accomplishment. The mediocre are risen to the same level as those who excel. To paraphrase some dialogue in "The Incredibles", saying everyone is special is just another way of saying no one is. But this is the way kids are taught to think, and the producers of cartoons convince themselves that they are feeding the social need by pushing this foolish notion. So we have endless examples of cartoons in which second-rater prevails over top competitors by finding some internal fortitude to win in the last moments of the competition, regardless of the fact that in real life, children who have been taught to believe they are better than they actually are rarely achieve this level of self-improvement.
Strangely, I've noticed this trend is a lot more prevalent among male characters than females. Girls in cartoons are still allowed to be smart. Both Kim Possible and Sakura from "Card Captor Sakura" are both good students and top athletes (and given the amount of distraction from their studies they both endure, it's a miracle they get any passing grades). Sam from "Totally Spies" proves that science geeks can be both pretty and popular. Techna from "Winx Club" is one of the gals, and not a nemesis to her less academically-inclined classmates. The girls from "W.I.T.C.H." are often seen agonizing over their school assignments, but the prevailing sentiment in that show is that hard work and sharp focus prevails.
Brainy wasn't punished for being smart! Brainy was punished for being a nagging know-it-all!
Papa Smurf was pretty darn smart himself and often saved the situation, the one who built thing invented stuff WAY beyond middle-age tech like cars and a frickin' ROBOT! Plenty of Smurfs had their moments of intelligence. If anything Brainy wasn't that 'brainy' and rather dumb most of the time.
However I do agree that in CURRENT cartoons the 'dumb male' 'smart female' thing is WAY too dominating -.- why can't guy be smart anymore? Smart and not just nerdy I mean.
manga (at least... not sure about the anime) the main character is REALLY smart and clever. Smarter than you realise at first. It's not until the end that you truly grasp his full abilities
Altough half the time he acts like a goofball to avoid responsability. He can be both the dumb fun guy and the smart one.
"People who meddle with secret identities get their memories erased."
"You murdered your own alter ego? Sounds socially awkward."
I think if the guy is smart, like a Jimmy Neutron or a Dexter, they have to be socially inept in order to balance it out. They can't be smart AND cool.
I agree with the above statements. Why is it that when a girl has a big brain, she's cool, but when a boy has a big brain, he's an awkward, socially inept nerd?
I've seen the formula of the smart girl/dumb boy far too often in shows as of late. Cosmo & Wanda from Fairly OddParents is a good example of this. In the original shorts on Oh, Yeah! Cartoons, Cosmo & Wanda were both equally wacky and zany. But after the series started, the shows' writers made Cosmo progressively more and more idiotic to the point were he's almost retarded in his stupidity. It's also around this point that Cosmo lost his suave voice and gained the irritatingly high pitched voice.
The Wonder Twins Zan & Jayna on Super Friends also followed this example. It annoyed me how the exact same formula would be repeated endlessly. Zan would brag his head off that he could do something, then fail miserably at it, and then Jayna would make some smug wisecrack about her brother's ineptitude. Would it have killed the writers to make Zan the correct, cool, smart twin, just once?
There have only been a few occasions where a male character has been rewarded for being academically brilliant. Egon Spangler from The Real Ghostbusters is one example of this. Interestingly, it was usually Egon whom the women on the show often were attracted to. Another example is Tech E. Coyote from Loonatics Unleashed. I've been to the Loonatics forum at TV.Com, and many of the female furry fans seem to be in love with Tech.
But in most cases, a boy with a brain is usually shown to be a bad thing. Dexter from Dexter's Lab is typically portrayed as being friendless, anti-social and ridiculed by his peers, while his idiotic sister Dee-Dee is often showered with praise on the show.
One of the very few balanced boy/girl pairings that I've seen is Buster and Babs Bunny on Tiny Toons. This was one of the few cases where there was no smart one/dumb one or funny one/boring one. Buster played straight to Babs just as often as she did to him. We need to see more male/female pairings like that on TV, instead of adhering to the usual smart girl/dumb boy formula.
Last edited by Blackstar; 07-10-2007 at 02:05 PM.
Another smart girl/dumb boy paring is Yin & Yang. But I do have to give them one thing... At least Yin is intelligent in the naggy know-it-all way.
|toonzone quick jump|