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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

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You Are Never too Old to Watch Cartoons

Akina L (Year 12)

In media, cartoons are often depicted as content that is meant for kids. Companies such as Cartoon Network and Disney have often marketed their animated shows towards kids, with their content always ensuring to be at least PG rated. However, whilst these companies may market towards kids, that doesn’t mean it’s purely for kids.

I believe that no one is ever too old to be watching cartoons, despite the stigma that’s often associated with them. Cartoons are amazing celebrations of art, storytelling and, often humour as well. Shows such as Steven Universe, Amphibia, Gravity Falls, Adventure Time, and The Owl House (My personal favourites) are all examples of shows that are catered towards younger ages, however all of them have their own unique stories which explore different and captivating ideas. They each tackle complex topics, that have the effect of both being lessons, that teach children new ideas and help build empathy, and being able to resonate with older audiences. These include exploring sacrifice, loss, and challenges with self-worth. YouTuber, Thomas Sanders, has a great series called ‘Cartoon Therapy’, in which he explores the ideas that are presented to us within different cartoons. These include, exploring relationships through Steven Universe, what Avatar: The Last Airbender, teaches us about self-worth, and more.

Storywise, they can hold their own as well, with their premises each being interesting and incredibly unique due to not having to abide by physics like in live action media. My personal favourite of these stories being The Owl House, where a teenager named Luz Noceda is struggling with school, especially the social aspect of it, and then finds herself in a world full of witches and demons named The Boiling Isles.

Even if a cartoon’s story isn’t the most captivating, or doesn’t have the best art, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy them. If a show, or movie, that just happens to be animated, appeals to you, and entertains you, that should be enough, you should be able to enjoy it without feeling bad for doing so due to stigmas that surround it.

We’ve discussed why cartoons are for everyone, and why any ages can and should watch them, but where did the stigma originate from? The origins of this idea were started all the way back in the 1940s, with Disney, who primarily used the medium of cartoons to create child-friendly content. This was reflected in their characters, such as Micky Mouse, who had a simplistic, recognisable design, who wore exaggerated expressions, and found himself in silly scenarios, which were seen as ideas that resonated more with younger audiences than older ones. Despite this stigma beginning over 80 years ago, it’s continued to stick even in the modern day, even though there’s no reason to continue to think of cartoons as only for children.

People also tend to mistake ‘child-friendly’ shows and movies with media that’s specifically made for children. Classic Disney movies such as Aladdin, Princess and the Frog and Peter Pan, were never specifically meant for children, however, due to their relatively inoffensive language and animated style, they’re categorised as being ‘kids movies’. This is a sentiment that even Walt Disney was opposed to, stating “Animation is often misunderstood as childish entertainment, but in reality, it has the power to touch hearts, provoke thoughts, and inspire imagination.”

So, if you feel that cartoons are meant for kids, I’d encourage you to rethink your stance. Cartoons such as Adventure time, The Owl house, and Gravity Falls are amazing for their stories whilst being targeted towards younger audiences. Cartoons have the potential to resonate with more mature audiences, as explored in Thomas Sander’s, Cartoon Therapy. Overcome the stigma that’s surrounded cartoons since the 40s, and simply enjoy them as celebrations of entertainment, storytelling, and art.

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  • Mrs KrollApr 10, 2024 at 11:40 am

    I agree, cartoons and animations often have more social and political depth then we expect. In our English Faculty staffroom we recently discussed our favourite movies of all time, and a great number of those were animations.
    Our faves include: an adaption of Shakespeare’s play ‘Hamlet’ – Lion King, The Road to El Dorado (Elton John’s soundtrack :)), Finding Nemo (what a great quest narrative!), My Neighbour Totoro, The Lorax (a reminder to protect our environment), The Iron Giant (powerful political commentary about Xenophobia), and Moana to name a few.

  • Daniel WMar 4, 2024 at 11:45 am

    Great article!