R.I.P. Saturday Morning Cartoons 😿
Saturday Morning Cartoons are no longer a thing.
To be honest, I haven’t watched Saturday Morning Cartoons since high school. I don’t even have a TV. There’s not a single cartoon that I can name that I’m certain was a Saturday Morning Cartoon in the last ten years, except for inferior seasons of Pokémon and Power Rangers.
But now that Saturday Morning Cartoons are officially dead, I’m devastated.
Saturday Morning Cartoons taught me to cherish weekends. Saturdays were amazing not just because you’d wake up and there wasn’t school. You’d wake up and there wasn’t school…and there were cartoons! HOURS OF CARTOONS!!! The timeline was a perfect arc into the day, leaving the 6–8 block for shows that no one really cared about if they missed (sorry, Adventures of the Gummi Bears), the essentials for 8–10 (I dare you to not feel fuzzy inside when you think of Eek! The Cat), and the more #mature cartoons like X-Men ((In Stereo)) to top it off before the TV networks awkwardly transitioned into cheap knock-offs of Saved By the Bell and infomercials for stain cleaners.
Saturday Morning Cartoons were tenders to my imagination. They were the way I subconsciously scheduled time for self-care, and probably the only thing that has ever made me actually eager to wake up early on a Saturday. Every week, I couldn’t contain my excitement for the next episode of Bobby’s World, Bump in the Night and Hammerman (don’t front you know you loved it).
I was too caught up in my binge of sumptuous programming to recognize how vital it was to grow up with a weekly regiment of super powers, talking animals and New Jack Swing-inspired public service announcements.
But now, all of this is obsolete. As of October 2016, NBC canceled the last remaining lineup of Saturday Morning Cartoons, making the smart move to replace it with an endless series of videos that lecture you about texting and driving.
Maybe all of this was inevitable. These days, kids are more excited to watch YouTube footage of other kids playing Minecraft than they are to get up at some ungodly hour to flip to CBS. Hulu and Netflix have made it so that cartoons are no longer bound to Saturdays, or mornings. And those of us who grew up watching Saturday Morning Cartoons are now at the age where we like to act like man-childs by saying things like “Of course I still love cartoons, I mean, I’m obsessed with Archer.”
But forever tied to my upbringing are the countless weekends that began in my pajamas, before anyone else was awake, watching the sun rise at the side of my eye while the Porter family did everything they could to escape The Land of the Lost. And though that last example wasn’t even cartoon, I’m sure it’s familiar enough to keep you reading until the next paragraph where I introduce my new project, Cartoons Curated.
I’m so excited to introduce Cartoons Curated 🤗🤗🤗
The demise of Saturday Morning Cartoons has reignited my recognition that we need fantasy in our lives. In the same way we exercise our bodies, minds and relationships, we have to let our imaginations roam around like we used to.
Each week, 1 to 3 cartoons will be broadcast to your inbox, courtesy of my own interest and the miracle of sometimes-sketchy internet streaming services. Purely from my belief that — among our 168 busy, demanding, taxing hours each week — at least one of them should be set aside to enjoy a good old fashion cartoon.
Here’s a sample of what I’m excited to fill your Saturdays with.
Episode 1: The Plucky Duck Show, “Going Up.”
I grew up during a time when TV didn’t give a fuck. We watched things like The Plucky Duck Show, which was a spin-off of Tiny Toon Adventures, which was a spin-off of Merry Melodies. I remember being so juiced when this show came out and lasted for its whole one season. I remember this episode specifically, because I must have repeated “Elellator go down the hoooooooooooole” enough times to shave five years off my mom’s life. This recalls an innocent time, when adults only existed up to the shoulders, and being an obnoxious kid was just a misunderstood method of stopping suburban crime.
Episode 2: We Bare Bears, “Chloe”
Even as an 80’s baby, I’m not too proud to admit that some cartoons today are way better than cartoons I grew up with (sure, we can all pretend like Macaulay Culkin’s Wish Kid was a good idea). One of my favorite new shows is The Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears, which I’m very disappointed that many of my Asian Pacific American activist comrades in the struggle don’t know about. While everyone was rallying behind Fresh Off the Boat, Daniel Chong released this genius brain-child which a Grizz, Panda and Ice Bear go on adventures that involve boba and honey wasabi gummies. This episode from the first season introduces Chloe, a reoccurring character who is undeniably a proud second-generation Korean American, at least until they cast Emily Blunt to play her in the live action version.
Episode 3: Speech of Aristophanes (Discours d’Aristophane)
I’m going to do my best in Cartoons Curated to stay way from the kind of pretentious cartoons that are usually brought up in the presence of exposed brick and mimosas. That said, here’s a French adaptation from Plato’s Symposium. My fiancée showed this to me when we were first dating, and demonstrated that she was The One by exposing me to this amazing work that so beautifully illustrates the roots of love and humanity. I can’t fathom how woke I would’ve been if I grew up watching animations that transcended gender binaries by depicting people getting flossed in half.
If any of this is interesting to you, opt in to Cartoons Curated. Even if I wasn’t behind it, I’d admire it from afar as a pet project worth having.
PS: Holy shit! I just committed to posting cartoons every week for the indefinite future! If you have suggestions for cartoons you’d like me to share on Cartoons Curated, please drop it in the comments.*
*Preferably available online. Bonus points if they’re hosted on websites without porn ads.