When I was a kid, my favorite thing to do was to wake up at about 7:30 on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. I would tiptoe into the kitchen so that I wouldn’t wake my parents, pour myself a bowl of cereal, and creep into the basement for about four hours of unadulterated animated shenanigans.
As a high schooler, the idea of waking up at that time during the weekend is appalling; I would much rather sleep in. But my memories of those days are some that I treasure. Cartoons have a way of making people see the world in shades of black and white; where everything is simple and the bad guy can be taken care of in about twenty six minutes.
Following a recent desire to walk down memory lane, I clicked on the T.V. in my basement and went through the T.V. guide to some of my favorite channels as a kid: Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney. I found many of the shows that I remembered, but when I turned to them I discovered they were entirely different!
Recently, the world of animated media seems to have run out of ideas. Instead of producing new shows, networks are creating re-makes, spin-off series, and adding seasons to shows that have already been completed. Some of these include the resurrection of Courage the Cowardly Dog, a new season of Xiaolin Showdown, and a spin-off of Avatar: the Last Airbender entitled The Legend of Korra. Some channels, such as Nickelodeon, aren’t even being creative enough to produce anything new. They have created a block of programming called “The 90’s are All That,” which simply replays cartoons that were new about fifteen years ago.
While normally I would rejoice over the chance to relive some of my childhood, these reruns represent a growing trend in Hollywood that I am absolutely not a fan of. Due to the recession, families have cut back on movies and entertainment. Producers have discovered, though, that if you stick with a brand name, movie viewers are more likely to come out and watch. This accounts for the success of series like Twilight and remakes like The Three Stooges. While watchers don’t want to spend money on something they’re not sure they’ll like, they’re more than willing to dole it out for something that’s tried and true.
Even worse than the re-makes, though, is Hollywood’s newest idea that they can take any classic, fix it up with some 3-D effects, and re-release it to make a fortune. If entertainment creators only take what is known to be good and re-use it, then there will soon be no new material out there. Are we really so far down in a recession that not just our money is depleted, but our creativity as a country is, as well?
While my childhood was fantastic, and there are many classic movies and shows out there, producers need to get out of their creative rut. There are so many stories out there that need to be told, and the media is not giving them their chance.