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Cartoon Network falters in modern era

Characters from the 2000s era of Cartoon Network shows displayed on a pink and white checkered backdrop. Characters include: (top left to right) Flapjack, Bloo, Buttercup, Ben 10, Courage, (bottom left to right) Ed, Dexter, Mandy, Number 5, and Scooby Doo.

(Photo courtesy of: YouTuube) “Many fans are annoyed and disappointed with the new Cartoon Network shows.”

Nate Coady
Connector Staff

My roommate recently started watching “Regular Show” for the first time. I’ve been sitting and watching a few episodes with him here and there and I always forget how hilarious that show is. I love it; whether it be the nostalgia or because Cartoon Network just doesn’t make shows like that anymore. Probably like most of you, I grew up on shows like “Adventure Time” and “The Amazing World of Gumball”. As a kid, you really don’t recognize how clever those shows were or how much comedic wit the writers had. As the years go by, I find myself missing those shows more and more, and it saddens me to know that they are over: That their stories have ended.

That is something you just don’t get from the new cartoons on Cartoon Network. Maybe I’m too old for it, but the characters just aren’t as compelling, and the plot lines of these new cartoons just do not compare. “Regular Show” was and still is remarkably original, far-fetched and, at its best, completely asinine. As I grow up, I understand how hard it is to stay original for so long. I can respect that from what was supposed to be a kid’s cartoon.

The thing is, these shows are timeless, at least if you’re like me. I go back and watch these old cartoons from when I was a kid and they’re just as entertaining now, mostly because they’re so closely tied to my childhood. Or maybe I am just laughing at how I didn’t understand how ridiculous they were back then. Maybe it’s because I’ll catch a double-entendre that never would have as a kid.But it’s more than that.

Every few episodes the writers would slip in some messages that stuck with me. That’s what made them real to me. These ridiculous characters like Finn and Jake, Mordecai and Rigby, or Gumball and Darwin were silly, but you’d get a sense that they would learn from their mistakes and they would have genuine feelings towards people and problems going on in their respective worlds. I learned things from them more or less. Not to mention, they gave me plenty of inside jokes with my brother.

Now, Cartoon Network airs cartoons like “Batwheels”, which focuses on sentient cars that fight crime alongside Batman. They have numerous reboots like “Teen Titans Go” and “Tiny Toons Looniversity”, which is a reboot of “Tiny Toons Adventures”, which was a “Loony Toons” spin-off in the 90s. They’ve rebooted “Ben 10” at least three times now and literally none of them have been as good as the first iteration. I watch as little as five minutes of these and, frankly, it’s easy to conclude that they suck. I can’t stand them.

The reality I’ve come to is that originality is dead. Cartoon Network will only go with what they know gets views from their current demographic, which as a business model is understandable, but it is sad to see it as someone who was alive for some of the best cartoons of the twenty-first century.

The old Cartoon Network defined my childhood. I miss the days when I could tune into a show with characters I was invested in. Not that I would throw on a kid’s show now and expect to be entertained by it, but it is nice to know that there are writers creating something that actually goes beyond what it is supposed to be. And that is not what is going on at Cartoon Network now. I don’t know if that’s a testament to myself or the cartoon industry, but either way, I miss the old Cartoon Network.

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