A few days ago while I was getting ready for work, the Barbaloot was watching “Paw Patrol” and pulling on Winston’s tail. In itself this isn’t a cause for comment but I happened to catch that the intro included a brief statement regarding the social educational goals of the cartoon. As a highly qualified and accredited Future Generator I found the statement both amusing and suspect. Is ours a society where even cartoons need to have educational goals now? Additionally, is there anyone out there who actually thinks that toddlers can learn social skills by watching animated puppies?
I began breathlessly ranting to Mrs. RW that “back in the day” our cartoons didn’t have educational goals, they were just cool. Even if they pretended to have them, they CERTAINLY wouldn’t have stated it right out like that because we knew better than to mix our mindless entertainment with education! What’s become of us as a people when you can’t even have a cartoon about super-powered puppies driving tanks around without it having some larger purpose? Isn’t that good enough?
Then I wondered, what would the educational lesson even be for some of my favorite childhood cartoons?!
He-Man teaches children to accept themselves for who they are, even if who you really are is an impossibly muscled and waxed man wearing a fur speedo wielding a giant sword who’s definitely not trying too hard.
Voltron teaches us the power of giving up your autonomy to a mechanical overlord for even the thinnest of pretenses in order to resolve conflicts.
Yogi Bear teaches children the power of positive thinking and that sublimating rational thought and prudence in favor of your id leads to a fun-filled and action packed existence that, while invariably breaking the law, will always work out for the best in the end and everyone will have a good laugh about it.
The X-Men shows us the power of teamwork and that it’s OK to be very different from everyone else provided that you are supernaturally attractive and wear spandex. If you are different and ugly then you must live in the sewers, you filthy Morlocks.
Actually you know now that I think about it, it’s probably a good idea that the comics of my youth didn’t have educational lessons. Of course this isn’t to say that I didn’t learn anything from them. For example, I definitely learned how to end a monologue.