Frivolous Figures: The Sad Evolution of Cartoon Characters

Daniella Rivera, Co-Editor-in-Chief

With girl power being shown through Powerpuff Girls and long lasting friendship through Spongebob Squarepants, students of this generation got lucky with such inspiring cartoon figures. But as time flies, so do the deep lessons that can be learned from cartoons as new shows like The Regular Show and The Amazing World of Gumball surface.

Growing up, we rushed over to the couches to sink in ever so slightly, watching Spongebob and Patrick skip in sync while catching jellyfish. Many of us aspired then to form a friendship as unbreakable as theirs, and some of us can even secretly admit we still do now. And with three, fearless sisters saving the world, young girls smile in anticipation that one day they can be the same example to other women. “Episodes often feature good-versus-evil battles in which honor-bound child warriors emerge victorious. Conflicts are resolved and characters emerge with lessons learned. Selfishness is punished. Loyalty is rewarded,” says The New York Times. But many parents are fearing for how the evolution of our older cartoon characters to less bright characters may change the way new generations think. There’s no blame in this assumption, when in Regular Show, Muscle Man runs in circles shirtless, screaming for no good reason.

According to Scientific Research Publishing by Stanley J. Baran and Dennis K. Davis, “Whatever children learn while watching cartoons, they tend to act out thereby influencing their mode of socializing with other children and with the world in general.” Will children and future generations be negatively impacted by the less intellectual cartoon characters to influence them? According to MPRA, (Munich Personal Repec Archive), “Young children have limited reading skills, but animated spokes-characters serve as a marketing strategy in storing visual brand in their minds.” When watching the Amazing World of Gumball, children see a blue cat smash it’s face into a wall over ten times. We can infer that developing, young minds will undoubtedly be affected negatively.

It’s sad to face the realization that cartoons may shape people into who they grow up to be, when cartoons that are being released aren’t the best influences. From starting at such a young age, watching television and youtube is one of the few ways to learn basic life lessons, other than being sent to timeout. Youtube videos such as “Johnny, Johnny” have kids watching for hours on end, for no good reason. And with cartoons being dumbed down just to be “funny,” we can hope that kids can learn something important out of it, or America might have to look for a new way to showcase comedic cartoons to children without affecting them intellectually. If not either of these, it’s likely that The Loud House will continue to air for decades to come and hopefully this will make up for the slack.