Existentialism in Cartoons: Bojack Horseman and Rick & Morty

Existentialism in Cartoons: Bojack Horseman and Rick & Morty

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions, Featured Posts
To the average person, cartoons are viewed as a form of stress-free entertainment targeted at children. This category of television is rarely expected to dive deep into philosophical concepts centering reality as we currently know it. And it is most definitely not synonymous to an immersive vehicle that evokes thought-including questions about life, death, and existence as a whole. However, the series Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman have truly altered the way in which many people view television animation, in that they have introduced an abundance of blunt self-awareness which centers many plot points and character qualities within the two programs.   More importantly, these elaborate series have showcased the fact that animation as a genre can have a relatable layer of existential complexity within its storytelling.   Existentialism is the philosophical thought that "existence…
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Cartoon Network’s Scheduling Woes

Cartoon Network’s Scheduling Woes

Blog, Cartoons, Uncategorized
Recently, the "Big Three" animation television networks—Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney XD—have been relentlessly targeted for their less-than-favorable program scheduling. Cartoon Network specifically has been receiving quite a bit of cyberspace hate from grieving animation fanatics for months on end. Cartoon Network is being accused of selling-out creatively, for profit—two elements that are, by nature, polarizing. But ever since the release of Teen Titans GO! the checkerbox network has been coming under relentless fire.   Let's take a look at this week's schedule. Out of all of the series that Cartoon Network currently airs, 46% (164 episodes) during the second week of August was occupied by Teen Titans GO! reruns. Now anyone who has seen a video of why Teen Titans GO! is an absolute disgrace is aware of the complaints plaguing the series and…
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Watching Animation Critically.

Watching Animation Critically.

Blog, Critical Discussions, Featured Posts
Progressive. Deep. Intriguing. Complex. These words are not often associated with Western animation.   In most cases, cartoons are presented as naïve works that double as a stand-in babysitter for young children. Animation is historically not meant to be taken seriously. But I believe that all media content that we are exposed to should be approached at least partially from a critical perspective. We should analyze the content that we consume, whether it be music, television, film, or video games, as each of these cannot escape socialized structures that we live within—and in many cases, are desensitized to. The reason why animation, along with other media, should be viewed critically is because they are created within structures that both emphasize and reflect our daily lives. As a result, many animated…
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Teen Titans GO! Does it Really Deserve all of this Hate?

Teen Titans GO! Does it Really Deserve all of this Hate?

Blog, Cartoons, Reviews
When you hear the words Teen Titans you probably think of a kick-ass superhero team consisting of an alien, shapeshifter, humanoid robot, half-demon witch, and a regular boy in a mask who, for whatever reason, is unanimously selected to lead the team. In terms of the Teen Titans' place on television, you probably reminisce about the animated series that aired from 2003-2007—a series that is full of action, story, character development, and most importantly, heart.   Many animation enthusiasts who were born in the 90's and raised in the 2000's, remember Teen Titans as one of their favourite animated series growing up. Many have fond memories tied to it that has defined their childhood right alongside the popular titles of Danny Phantom, Kim Possible, Justice League Unlimited, and Avatar: The Last Airbender.  The early-to-mid 2000's didn't showcase anything notable in the world of animation aside…
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The Loud House: A Charming Series About Family

The Loud House: A Charming Series About Family

Blog, Cartoons, Reviews
Chris Savino and Nickelodeon bring cartoon fanatics alike the hit series The Loud House. With modern animated series about crystal gems protecting Earth, magical princess from alternate dimensions, and ladybug-themed superheroes wielding indestructible yo-yos, it’s oddly refreshing to watch a slice-of life animated series with its simple central premise being life in a large family. The Loud House stars Lincoln Loud, an 11-year-old kid and his daily life in being the only boy in a family of 13. Along with his two parents who are typically faceless characters, Lincoln has five older sisters and five younger, being the exact middle child.   The series has been receiving much praise for its heart and old-school charm. Some vocal animation enthusiasts even go as far as to call it Nickelodeon’s trump card and savior. Although these…
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Sym-bionic Titan: Why Merchandising and Quality Animation Don’t Mix

Sym-bionic Titan: Why Merchandising and Quality Animation Don’t Mix

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions
Sym-bionic Titan is a series that was unfortunately cancelled before it even had a chance to establish itself in the world of animated television. Created by the legendary Genndy Tartakovsky, who is also responsible for bringing us Dexter's Laboratory  and Samurai Jack, the series was extremely promising. But because it only lived through a short 20-episode run, it wasn't able to establish a strong enough fan base to successfully protest its demise.   The series centers a princess (Ilana) and her two guardians (Lance and Octus) who witness the hostile takeover of their home planet, so flee to Earth for the sake of Ilana's safety. In appearing very human-like, posing as a family to hide in plain sight is the move they decide to make. What drives the series is that these alien characters are borne warriors who can each…
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Star & Marco’s Guide to Mastering Every Dimension: Animation & Book Publishing

Star & Marco’s Guide to Mastering Every Dimension: Animation & Book Publishing

Blog, Critical Discussions, Reviews
Book publishing appears to be moving in an upwards trend in relation to animated television. In selling merchandise, but doing so in a "sophisticated" way, book publishing seems to carry more of a favorable connotation than toy production. Star Vs. the Forces of Evil has recently released the published title Star and Marco's Guide to Mastering Every Dimension, and in being willing to turn away children's merchandising in favor of published works implies that the creators are targeting a slightly older audience- in terms of both tangible and intangible material.   Lets discuss something important before moving on with this topic: Is producing merchandise for animated television series a thoughtless move? As I mentioned in the post about the commodification of female empowerment in animation, this isn't necessarily an issue: In order to create content…
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Star Vs. The Forces of Evil: Emotions Done Right

Star Vs. The Forces of Evil: Emotions Done Right

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions
  With only a couple days left until Star vs. the Forces of Evil's season-2 finale, the downpour of episodes we've been spoiled with leading to this two-part television event has come with many interesting revelations. Plot development and character growth are two significant features of the series that places it in the high-quality & must-watch television categories. Season one only began to find its footing towards its last few episodes, but season two has proven itself to be exceptionally enjoyable, to the point where any viewer uncertainty that came about in season one is long forgotten.   As a character, Star has gone through a large amount of change. At the beginning of the series she was simply a naive and destructive princess battling ill-equipped and incompetent monsters. Now she is a queen-to-be who…
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Star vs. The Forces of Evil Review: Raid the Cave & Baby

Star vs. The Forces of Evil Review: Raid the Cave & Baby

Blog, Cartoons, Reviews
The first two weeks of the Starbomb have been incredible. We've never received this many high-quality episodes of Star vs. The Forces of Evil in such a short period of time. Just so you're all up to speed, Dinsey XD is airing new episodes of the series every Monday-Thursday for the entire month of February. Its final air date is on Monday, February 27th, which will consist of two half-hour episodes- the final one being the season 2 finale.   So far, the first two weeks have given us the episodes:     Raid the Cave Trickstar Baby Running with Scissors Mathmagic The Bounce Lounge Crystal Clear The Hard Way     These episodes are amazing! We've been spoiled with huge doses of insight, growth, and plot development- arguably more than any grouping…
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DC Superhero Girls: Capitalizing on Female Empowerment

DC Superhero Girls: Capitalizing on Female Empowerment

Blog, Cartoons, Critical Discussions, Featured Posts
The conception of female empowerment in modern-day media is beginning to seep into the realm of Western animation. Both Steven Universe (based on popular opinion) and Star vs. the Forces of Evil are presently-broadcasted, highly-rated animated series that portray female characters in a powerful and unproblematic light. In this sense we can argue that the series which are currently of high-status in the world of animation come from feminist perspectives.   But these aren't the series of focus in this article. The series under the critical telescope is DC Superhero Girls, webisodes featuring the prominent females of the DC universe (e.g. Wonderwoman, Harley Quinn, Batgirl, etc.)  interacting in a high school-based setting- one tailored to the superhero lifestyle, of course. The webseries follows a similar format to Monster High and Ever After High, which also consist of short online…
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