New Castle News

July 31, 2013

The Couch Potato: Cartoons are not quite what they used to be

The Couch Potato
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The big, new exciting thing for the French Fries to do in the Couch Potato household as of late is something Mrs. Couch Potato has deemed “Movie Night.”  This consists of picking an unseen children’s movie, laying out the sleeping bags on the living room floor, nuking some popcorn and relaxing as a family. 

The majority of movies we own are illogically housed in an old, antique trunk that sits in our living room as part décor, part functional table.  Our DVD player, DirecTV box and remotes sit atop the trunk.  For this reason, it is not very easy to access the contents of the trunk without upsetting the jungle-like wires that run away from the technology.

So when Mrs. Couch Potato asked me to retrieve a movie from the trunk for “Movie Night,” I was naturally a bit hesitant.  I really did not feel like fighting through all of the mess to find a movie, so Mrs. Couch Potato resorted to the “B” stash upstairs.

She returned with a VHS of Disney’s Peter Pan and a DVD of old Bugs Bunny cartoons.  When I was growing up, there was nothing better than Bugs Bunny and his Looney Toon pals, so I opted for the DVD.

The French Fries settled in with their popcorn and sleeping bags and we pushed play on Bugs Bunny.  The DVD contained only three, ten minute shorts, but they were hilarious nonetheless.  Bugs did his usual routine, prancing around in women’s clothing as he tormented Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck and oddly enough, Napoleon Bonaparte. 

The whole thing got me thinking about how much cartoons have changed.  My French Fries love watching Dora the Explorer, Caillou and The Mickey Mouse Club (which is hardly recognizable to the old Mickey cartoons).  These shows are fine, but they really make no attempt at entertainment or comedy.

I guess the new wave of cartoons is to educate and get children involved with the show.  These new cartoons are constantly asking the child to do hand motions, answer questions and play along.  In short, they are boring and the opposite of funny.  However, my kids do watch, sometimes play along or answer the questions, but rarely do they laugh.  I have a problem with that, because that’s not what cartoons should be about (although it is hilarious when my son answers the completely obvious questions wrong).

So anyway, we watched the Bugs Bunny shorts, which were naturally filled with ridiculous violence, falling off cliffs and hard smacks to the head and rear end with a variety of objects.  Not surprisingly, the French Fries were shooting popcorn out of their noses as they laughed and giggled along with their mom and dad.  After all of these years, Bugs Bunny can still get to me, and I was happy to see that he got to my kids, as well.

Believe it or not, the French Fries didn’t wake up the next day bashing each other over the head or jumping off a cliff. They understood that it was in jest, enjoyed it and were not brainwashed into violence.  I’m also happy to admit that they didn’t learn a darn thing, either. 

We resorted back to the usual “educational” cartoons, however, following our movie night.  I must admit, now they are even harder to watch for me.  In the back of my mind, I’m hoping my kids feel the same way.