Or: How Thundercats (2011) was the end of the North American animation/Kids Business (in a way)
Note: The Opinions shown on this essay does not reflect the views of Toon Barn and its affiliates.
Its Saturday – winter is only a few days away and after that – Christmas on Friday and then – Saturday rolls around again, the next Friday is 2016 and then the first day of the new year – Saturday rolls around again.
But the room is empty.
Children are sleep – or trying to go into lessons of music, art or sport in a what has become a rarity in this late 2015 – frost. Not much snow, not much of a winter. And some on twitter worry that its a bad omen…even those that dont believe in a creator.
Its strange to hear that – those who are my friends on twitter usually are headstrong, racing against those with differing opinions – sometimes in a passive aggressive way, other times for legit reasons, still others to talk in jest, tact etc.
But some say the spirit of Christmas overrides these worries.
They may have been right in a past time – before things changed – some for the better – and some for the worse.
But all changes effect us in many ways.
This year – the Christmas spirit seems to be tempered by the Star Wars machine. And as the new engine of the creation of a “Corporate Safe Space” start in earnest, three films before 2020, many TV series – other animated spots – video games, toys and other trinkets; its more of a cynical promotion of the greatest and most secretive fan fiction ever created.
In any other time – it would have been just one of the many major blockbusters – didn’t effect next weeks numbers or so on. We would have other things to pass the time. But the concept of the “Corporate Safe Space” is much more insidious – it promotes the other products from other companies it competes with as the literal manifestation of evil, and their own product – as the good work – the holy work – the one you turn to when all is lost.
Made simple and plain by this post on twitter:
to people who complain about some movies being too long: do you realize your own garbage life goes on like forever
make good movies last as long as possible. 3 hours, 100 years, forever. put us out of our misery
And Misery loves Company. Its the end as entertainment as a way to relax, and at times to wonder about our human condition, or even to have fun. It now has become a cradle to grave mantra of endless content creation for the content men who via their advertising agencies promote a existence that doesn’t exist in reality.
I could tell other stories. How, why and for what reason things arnt the way it seems anymore. But more often than not – its because people, companies, multi-nationals, educators and even those who were meant to represent us dont. They turn out to be more of a maguffin. A sad fate of madding ideals mixed with the most banal pragmatism.
I just want to focus on us. The fans of animation.
Its hard to deal with but – just because a show has some merit doesn’t mean its good.
We have seen with My Little Pony (and Equestria Girls), Steven Universe – and even the weaker shows such as Regular Show and Gumball – the sense is that they talking above the adults and the children are just asking questions about things that are in the show and they just become so lost. Their fanbases are taken over not just by adults who just love the show by its own merits, but by those who feel the show creates a space where everything else feels lost to them. They didnt develop strength and character even when the show was dark – now as the animated series promote a light hearted fare – it becomes a way to promote all sorts of dank memes and even more politically charged language, and using the concept of sexuality as a way to ease a man or a womens shadow natures into quiet repose. In the west and most western animation Its a sad, banal attempt to extend ones love of a work of fiction or genre. The east handles this better – and sees it as it is – integration, fashion, technique and embracing the work as is and nothing more or less.
We talk about what happened to Zamii, and the media has done so in many ways. But what people dont realized is that when the creators backed down from comments made by those who wished Zamii dead, it proved to me that nobody knows when to stand their ground and say – enough. It started from the day the Thundercats got canned, to the day that they made the move for Korra, to the issues with Steven Universe and the issues with their fanbase. The Internet given voice, the voice given form and now it has power even over the creators of these shows.
Its because the executives and the fans are from the same economic structure. The creators not only have to cowtow to said executives when it comes to content – which always been a problem for years, now have to deal with the views that has the money. The advertising agencies may aim for most viewers, but we seen now, even despite advertising laws made in order to make sure that children dont become mindless consumers, it just made things worse for all involved.
It has been mentioned before about education and the E/I. I also mentioned about the scandal concerning the lowering of wages and collusion in the theatrical animation sector. Did you know that Ed Catmull bought a 12 million dollar house? This is after the trial finds out that the Disney board knew about these issues.
Welcome to Poof Poof, Glitter Boots, the force is with us. Netflix is about to spend five Billion dollars on “content creation” while Netflix is overvalued in the stock market by a value of 400X its price. Its the time of complaints of how a animated character looks via the eyes of a fan. Its the time when ratings “dont matter”, its audience share, that # social network outreach, insta connections and all the rest. In a world when ignorance is awarded, all those who run entertainment – and in animation, “create”and manufacture the look and feeling of a inglorious look. Not for satire, not even to make fun of the world – but to create safe spaces that don’t challenge the characters, nor the setting – and most important the viewers.
Increasingly, the Holiday classics take more importance. Years ago, they were apart of a extended program of network kids shows and which many popular shows joined in specials during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Today these holiday specials stand as the guard of a time long past. For the shows now air on Cartoon Network/ Nick and Disney XD are now run by feckless creators, some who feel that kowtowing to powers and those that perceive they have power, only hurts the show in the end of the day. They are not creators, they are PR men, propaganda for either a education mandate that doesn’t work, a form of social uplifting of the misfits of the world that doesn’t uplift anything but Pateron accounts and Kickstarter Funds, and content that all dines in the mesh and morrass of pesudo-scarlet letter trigger warnings, slights of political gotcha checks, and all and all out purriance. Its the wonderful world of dung emoji and it been that way since that’s all what the “Corporate Safe Space” will give us.
And in one of the sad ironies of the time, Toys has lost wonder – even Lego uses Japanese culture tropes to sell product. You usually have team ups with diffrent shows in many of a Japanese product – but it doesnt happen in the states…unless you Lego and have more clout than most other franchiser in the kids business.
It even reaches Toonami in a sense. After the announcement that they were bringing back Samurai Jack, Mr Demarco stated he wanted one of the newer Lupin series, Yukyo Mine. Not the best of the Lupin works. But even he was told by the censors he couldn’t. Its strange. Lupin hasnt been apart of American culture – so it becomes to most hardest of sells to even put it on Toonami. Of course he would get Wakfu, but then they are on Netflix.
The fact that a dude who makes Adult Swim money over fist – gets denied a show – while the Creators of the Steven Universe are allowed to get away with everything – and the creators bows down to pressure from people who wish other fans of their show dead, is sad to me. Mine(And Lupin for that matter) isn’t going to cause your network problems, the show you promote next to the 5th iteration of legendary Looney Toons characters has become more problematic and the fact they don’t see this tells me all i need to know.
They have given up on us. The American people – the American audience. who they feel are too lost in their “common sense” to talk to. We got so many was to view the content – they think its OK to delay shows for months on end. They will watch it again and again, old episodes – six, seven times a week. It will be greater than everything we have done before.
Then the holiday classics come on. The humanity. Coming from puppets, from animation, from the voice overs, the backgrounds. They stood, even when things were being built for children around, and torn down by government edict. Yes, animation is for all.
But at times, the little ones are to be reminded there are things beyond numbers, letters, and such things we as people need to be in the world. They need the journey of the heroes, the power of belief and the joy of overcoming life’s grand trials. And these folks who would easily falter to the hands of those willing to kill don’t understand and never did truly loved the work. They loved the fame, and sold their souls to the oligarchic power structures they trying to fight against and say they are against, but in reality work for them and are in tandem with them.
They are nothing more than the Grinch.
He could be redeemed, but I doubt they can.
Can anybody be redeemed?
Thats why these specials, are truly are. They show us were we have fallen – the simple reasons why – and putting complications on it – and excusing it only causes us to lose the plot.
“Baby stuff”, Charlotte said to Virgina there is no Santa.
“Baby stuff”, when those demons said to Zamii when they said to her kill herself – “You know how she looks LIKE!”
But its that spirit of Christmas, that these specials represent show the best of ourselves, the hope in a manger. The hope in a child born in poverty gets the only thing that can get him out of it, a football. The hope in a woman who is homeless – to get 100 bucks from a man, not for favor, but out of his heart and his own reasons. The hope of a man, who after being told after he comes back from war, that the people he fought for calls him names, cishet, warmongerer, etc. That he – suffering from a lost hand, and lost heart and mind, can find a home, an honest job, and finally a smile from a grateful nation.
But for 345 days of the year, America is “We The Spiteful”. It feels more like pity.
We don’t know what we had until its gone.
And these holiday specials remind us every year of what we truly lost, the sense that good will truly win, and hope never truly dies.
They used to be apart of a place children could go.
Now these shows, these specials that only come one time a year, are now the gold standard of the industry.
Its not a popular opinion.
But in the end, the facts remain.
Maybe we adults can never be redeemed.
But Tomorrow isnt not the far away…
And the young must find that tomorrow.
Even if time runs short.
This Saturday and for the foreseeable future of every Saturday, the rooms of the American living room is quiet like the grave…
But its never silent.
Yes, Virgina there is a Santa Claus…
If only they just believe…
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.