Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow
Grumble: Cartoons aren’t as good anymore
When I saw the news, my heart skipped a beat.
A new episode of “Rocko’s Modern Life” had been made and was airing on Netflix. “Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling,” the new 45-minute mini-movie, takes place more than 20 years after the last episode in which Rocko and pals Heffer the steer and Filburt the turtle were blasted into space by a rocket that pierced Rocko’s house. They’ve been floating in space ever since.
While “Static Cling” didn’t live up to my expectations, it still was full of the goofy slapstick, gross-out moments and satirical elements that defined the show in the 1990s. This time around, our ridiculous reliance on technology, new food fads and the pain of change are skewered. Even the LGBTQ community is included, though not satirically.
I haven’t watched many cartoons in recent years.
It’s hard to find ones that catch my attention. There are elements of “SpongeBob SquarePants” that I like — specifically the character Plankton — and “Family Guy” can make me laugh sometimes.
The Warner Brothers cartoons that initially were shown in movie theaters and starred Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig, among others, were (and are) amazing, especially episodes directed by Chuck Jones. But there are a few made-for-TV cartoons that I remember fondly.
As a kid, I remember watching the original “Jonny Quest” (1964-65) because what young boy wouldn’t want to be in James Bond-ian adventures with evil technology and strange creatures?
› “The Ren & Stimpy Show” (1991-95) wasn’t for everyone. Its sick, dark humor, frantic, screamingly loud production and never-ending bits of grossness and violence turned off a lot of people. Not me. And I’m not going to examine what that says about my psychology.
› “The Tick” is a brilliant spoof of superheroes that began as a comic book in 1986, graduated to TV as a cartoon (1994-96), moved to TV for one season in 2001 and came back with a new cast in 2016 — and it’s still running on Amazon Prime. Follow the adventures of the invulnerable and profoundly stupid Tick for a good bit of fun.
› “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends.” (1959-64) had the none-too-bright Bullwinkle the moose, Rocky the flying squirrel and separate cartoons like “Dudley Do-Right,” “Fractured Fairy Tales” and “Peabody’s Improbable History.” The show gave you a wide variety of choices, all well-written with jokes that would make kids laugh and others that only adults would understand.
And that’s what I’m looking for: Adult humor that brings out the kid in me.