Like most children, I wasted a good deal of my early development waking up at near dawn each and every day just to catch the regular lineup of morning cartoon classics. But unlike most children, I wasn’t content with just viewing and enjoying the programs–No! Because even from a young age, and even when it comes to matters we hold dearest to our hearts, I believe there is a limit to how much nonsense a person ought to be willing to accept from their entertainment. And some of the logical gaffes of classic cartoon series are too great to not be called out and challenged directly. In that light, consider this a serious list of grievances that is decades in the making; a wound of hangups I have been nursing for as long as I can remember being a conscious agent. My first venture into social commentary and cultural polemics (and a man never forgets his first), without which I may not have become the blogger that stands…er…writes before you today (and I doubt that’s a world any of us would want to imagine).
So, skipping any further introductions, let’s start with this list of my childhood grievances by order of personal annoyance from least to worst offenders.
3. The Problem With Scooby-Doo: Fred. Just so there is no confusion for those of you not too familiar with the show, this guy is Fred:
Look at him, with that stupid orange ascot. I hope it chafes his neck.
Fred isn’t the brains, he isn’t charismatic, and he sure as hell isn’t the comic relief. All he does is state the obvious aloud, and than comes up with the most imbecilic plan to catch the weekly crooks (“Oh, hey Shaggy, why don’t you and Scooby lure the bad guy to step onto this puddle of oil, so he can slip on it? I’m sure you’ll be fine. FYI, I’ll be hiding safely in the bushes over there.”).
But even if I’m willing to overlook all of this, there is still one major character flaw that makes Fred an irredeemable jackass in my eyes. Scooby and Shaggy are always presented as being 100% convinced that the place the group is investigating is actually haunted (Daphne’s stance is more or less ambiguous, but generally falls into this same line of thinking when the “monsters” appear). In contrast, throughout the show’s run, it is established that Fred and Velma are repeatedly unconvinced that any of the places Mystery Inc. investigates are really haunted, which is why them two always look into alternative explanations right from the start. So far so good. Yet, if Fred is convinced that the unarmed ghost running at him is just some guy clothed in a loosely fitting bed sheet, why doesn’t he just tackle the bastard? Remember, Scooby and Shaggy (and probably Daphne) actually think it’s a ghost, and Velma is too small in stature to be much of a match against a full grown man. Fred, however, is presented as an athletically fit young man. He could do some serious damage to the group’s would-be assailants if he actually bothered to stop just mopping around like a waste of carbon and use his physical traits to contribute to the team. Honestly, I’m glad he was written out off most of the later incarnations of the show, as it gave me the opportunity to imagine how one day he happened to trip over his bell-bottom jeans, fell out of the Mystery Machine, and the rest of Mystery Inc. just never bothered to go back for him because they couldn’t be bothered to care.
2. The Problem With The Smurfs: Their Incomprehensible Gender Issues. Everybody points out the fact that the Smurfs have a serious male-to-female ration problem in their mushroom village. Few people bother to point out that this is only a minor issue in the greater dilemma in the Smurf biosphere.
The problem isn’t that there is only one (later two) female Smurfs, it’s that there are no naturally birthed female Smurfs–Period. Smurfette was artificially created by Gargamel, and than later on in the series Sassette was artificially created by the three young Smurflings.
Just to jog your memory, this one is Sassette. I realize you were racking your brain trying to remember.
Now, I can accept that within the reality the Smurfs inhabit, they are magical creatures that are (literally) delivered by a stork every some-odd season or so. However, since every single occasion of a Smurf being born naturally produces only (presumably) male offspring, this heavily implies that Smurfs are organically a one-gendered species. This itself is not the problem, either. The problem is, how can a one-gendered, essentially asexual population of creatures still feel sexual attraction towards an artificially created opposite gendered individual (i.e. Smurfette), when she isn’t really a natural product of their biological makeup? In numerous episodes the male Smurfs are shown swooning madly for Smurfette’s simply on account that she is of the opposite gender, despite the fact that Smurfs obviously aren’t gender binary (i.e. they have no opposite gender). If anything, all the Smurfs should either feel no sexual attraction towards anyone, or all the (presumably) male Smurfs ought to be getting it on with one another.
At least Vanity Smurf seems to make a lot more sense now.
1. The Problem With Tom and Jerry: Tom was the wronged party in the series, and no one seems to care but me! Let’s look at the facts, shall we? Tom is the unseen homeowner’s pet, thus he is essentially an official resident of the house he occupies. Jerry, on the other hand, is a rodent; a pest that’s constantly breaking entry into the residency to steal the tenants’ food and take advantage of their living fixtures. Jerry is obviously the intruder here, while Tom is just doing what he was probably brought into the house to do in the first place: keep pests away. Sure, it’s all fun and games for Jerry to ravage and plunder someone else’s fridge and horde away their belongings, but what do you think will happen to poor Tom when his owners get fed up with his inability to do what he was (by all estimation) brought into the house to do? He’ll probably be put out on the street, or worse, be dragged off to the animal shelter–where he will eventually be put to sleep if no one takes him (and since he is already an older cat, no one will probably take him, because all those snobbish kids care about saving is that cute little kitten in the back). Are Jerry’s antics still funny to you? Yeah? Then consider the fact that if you pay attention to the episodes, about 80% of the time Jerry is the one that’s provoking Tom (who is, as we have already established, simply protecting his and his care keeper’s property from a commonly disease-carrying vermin). You know what, fuck that mouse. I hope he choked on that ill-gotten cheese.
Yeah, enjoy it. You thievingly amoral home invader, you.
All right, having gotten all of that finally off my chest, the healing process can at last begin.