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PK Draft: Adapt This

He Said/She Said: The Cartoon Shows of our Misspent Youfs

He Says: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: It was years before I actually found the original comic books, and I was horrified to discover how completely different they were from my accustomed afterschool viewing. TMNT wasn't just "must-see" viewing, it was "stand outside school, anxiously await one's parent, whine at them to drive quickly all the way home" viewing. My favorite turtle was Raphael, as the nominal outsider (he also had the cute iguana-mutant girlfriend in the cruise episode), but I'd concede that Donatello had his virtues. Leonardo was universally despised. The early episodes were pretty good, but the later seasons, when the TMNT universe had expanded to include Krang, Dimension X and a score of zoological monstrosities - those were brilliant.


She says: Talespin. Of all the Disney Afternoon cartoon shows, I was particularly obsessed with Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers (Gadget! for the love of god don't run an image search for her) and Talespin.  As I got a little older I found my interest in the latter edging out the former.  Talespin featured an unusually lush and well-conceived setting, a Depression-era South Pacific island world inhabited by airplane-flying anthropomorphized animals based loosely on Disney's 1967 version of the Jungle Book.  In addition to stories of surprising depth and emotional resonance (for an afternoon cartoon), Talespin also featured a thinly-veiled stand-in for Stalinist Russia, a Stringer Bell-esque business tycoon, and air pirates.  Yes, these are all wonderful things.  What sold me on Talespin, however, was the eminently quotable, wonderfully louche air pirate captain Don Karnage.


Today in My Childhood is Ruined: The internets are full of naked Karnage fan-art.

He says: Tiny Toons: The wacky modern updating of Looney Tunes was irreverent, clever & funny in a way that many juvenile reboots never were (see, "Unfortunate Muppet Babies"). Splitting Bug Bunny's protagonist role into two characters was genius - as it allowed for a witty repartee that was sometimes missing in the original. The surreal musical episodes were clearly pet projects from the writers, but ones that helped define a generation's sense of humor.


She saysAnimaniacs.  Can't mention Tiny Toons without talking about its follow-up, Animaniacs. More scattershot and more screwball even than Tiny Toons, Animaniacs delighted and occasionally confounded me with its "everything but the kitchen sink, except sinks are funny, so let's include sixteen of them, too" approach to humor.  My girlfriends and I used to sing Animaniacs songs during breaks from marching band practice. For some reason, no one ever asked us to dances.

He says: Beetlejuice: Well, this one is just weird, and, I'll admit, slightly coloured by my childhood (& adult) crush on Winona Ryder. Based on the Tim Burton film, the short-lived Beetlejuice cartoon had Ryder's character bounding around her dull suburban home with the titular character in tow. On one level, it was a trippy, noisy, chaotic mess. On another level, it was,... the same, but with slightly more clever wordplay. The idea of a bored, gothy, creative pre-teen - with a magical means of escape that makes the "real world" so much more exciting... well, that's going to appeal, isn't it? A couple years ago, I saw Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends for the first time - loveable, and weirdly similar.


She says:  Batman the Animated Series.  I'll see your Beetlejuice and raise you one Batman.  Grim, dark, and very carefully controlled (for the most part), Batman is the exact opposite of everything a cartoon show is supposed to be.  And it works.  I was enthralled by the show's smooth deco aesthetic and character design from the first episode I watched, and with episodes like "Heart of Ice" to back me up, it's an adolescent obsession I'm not even sort of ashamed of.  Plus: Luke Skywalker voiced the Joker.  Super-double-plus:  Catwoman was hot.

Pornokitsch does not recommend image searches for "Catwoman," either.

He says: Garfield & Friends: This show was made by voice actor Lorenzo Music. His relentlessly deadpan delivery brought a layer of sarcastic brilliance to the otherwise commonplace humor of the long-running Jim Davis strip. The flat-voiced cat still a) liked lasagna, b) hated Odie and c) mercilessly mocked his hapless loser owner (repeat 121 times, according to Wikipedia. Crikey.), but did so in such a wry way that it warmed the cockles of my youthful heart.


She says:  She-Ra.  There's nothing remotely salvagable about my childhood love for She-Ra, the atrocious girl-friendly spinoff of the excreable tie-in products-moving He-Man.  But as today so in childhood did I love me some barbarian cheesecake.  Also, I didn't really watch much tv during the 80s, so what of the show I knew was from videos I begged my parents to rent for me.  I don't think She-Ra launched my lifelong obsession with high fantasy, but it sure didn't hurt.

Picture 1
Someone on Wikipedia takes She-Ra very seriously indeed.

We say:  X-Men. 

Jared says: The arrival of the X-Men cartoon show pierced the goldfish-like, momentary existence of my childhood to become the first television that I ever remember anticipating. And it didn't disappoint (ok, the redshirt "Morph" in the first episode was annoying, but I got over it). The show's faithful interpretations of some of the best X-Men storylines far eclipsed the ponderous animation, sonorous voice-acting and achingly repetitive theme music. The show was a catalyst for my youthful imagination - just enough happened on-screen for me to fill in the blanks on my own (and later, with six friends on the playground. I never got to be Wolverine, dammit.). 

Anne says
:  All that (minus the playground bit - I was in the 8th grade, after all, sniff sniff), and X-Men gave me something to talk about with boys, who had recently gone from "uninteresting" to "baffling but compelling," and it got me into comic books and Gambit is hot.  Hot hot hot hot hot.
What about you? What are your favorites?