Why Adults Should Watch Offbeat Cartoons Made for Kids
Adulting is No Joke
I don’t think I am letting some great cat out of the bag by revealing that, surprise, being an adult is hard work. Bills need paying, errands need doing, budgets need balancing, and the rotted leftovers in the refrigerator need tossing, all of which should have been done yesterday. The weights and measures of an adult are heavy at their best and absolutely crushing at their worst, and unless the great laws of the universe find themselves blissfully rewritten, this is not a reality that will be changing anytime soon.
Which is why we adults have gone out of our way to manufacture for ourselves as many pleasant little life distractions as possible, distractions which are designed to offer brief respites of harmless fun so as to keep our souls light and our minds sane. We make fools of ourselves at karaoke bars (because that’s fun, apparently) we spend a few random minutes of our day playing with easy, mindless apps on our phones, and for the more adventurous folks, we go to overpriced cooking classes downtown so a middle-aged chef with a spray tan can teach us how to make risotto. . . with a twist.
By the way, the twist is usually mushrooms and a lot a garlic.
We do these things because it offers us a chance to escape the challenges of our lives for however brief a time, and they are moments that remind us to always find time for fun in a world where fun is not always as easy to come by as we would like. We need these outlets, these moments of emotional and intellectual rest, and we would be in a much fouler state if we went without them.
It is with respect to this reality that I have, over the years, come to the discovery that few things fulfill that need to rest and recover from the trails of adult life better than that of a good old fashioned cartoon. On more occasions than I can count I have found myself, by the end of the day, worn and tired, feeling thin as an old leaf and twice as fragile. And on these occasions I found out, often through accident, that there was no greater remedy to the exhaustion of my soul than planting myself in front of a television screen and spending the next half hour delightfully chuckling along with some brightly animated romp.
The voice acting done to bring cartoon characters to life, often loudly expressed and wonderfully creative, carves away the foggy memories of a long day and replaces it with something clear and joyful. The colors of the screen, while at first seemingly random and disjointed, eventually soak into the retinas of my eye with ease, soothing away the pinched and tight quality most eyes have at the end of a bad day. The music and the sound effects, the pacing and the presentation, of cartoons all come together to preform a special kind of magic on a mind that needs mending, and it is a magic I am most grateful for.
Why There is No Substitute to a Good Kid’s Cartoon
Now I understand that some may be reading this and proclaiming “but I already have perfectly good TV shows, like my favorite police procedural or primum cable fantasy drama, that help me unwind at the end of the day” and to these people I say well done. I too can spend hours losing myself within complex, gritty television anthologies with top-tier quality acting and million dollar production budgets. I love and binge these shows just as much as the next guy, and I would never for a moment downplay their ability to relax and entertain.
Even still, however, there is one vital element to watching animated programing that most other television mediums cannot claim to have; low impact accessibility. It is no secret that the plots and subject matter of most higher caliber drams, even most mainstream comedies, tend to be rooted firmly in the realm of reality. Crime and broken relationships, death and unemployment, midlife crises and fractured personalities, all tend to own the airwaves in television, making even the most approachable TV shows potential minefields of emotional introspection and investment.
For cartoons, such potential for emotional investment is often wonderfully nonexistent. Plots and character arcs don’t need to be monitored (and for those that do, the task is typically exceptionally easy) and reminders of the daily struggles of life will simply not crop up. Instead, you will be treated to a world where the laws of physics and good sense are tossed cleanly out the window, where the hunt for a good laugh outweighs the hunt for some greater truth at every turn, and consequences are virtually nonexistent. Watching an irreverent, nonsensical cartoon will enrich your life not an ounce, teach you not a single thing, and add absolutely nothing to your artistic sensibilities. And if you are anything like me, you will love and need every single minute of it.
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© 2019 Carson Lloyd