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80s Cartoons: Golden Age?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:08 pm    Post subject: 80s Cartoons: Golden Age? Reply with quote

I would like to take issue with the general cultural history of animation television presented by “official” cultures like those who produce Wikipedia entries, etc. According to such histories, the 80s was a part of the "down period" after the Golden Age of mid-century and before the Renaissance of the 90s.

This narrative needs complicating.

A look at current Saturday morning television will tell us why. Whether it be Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Saturday mornings today look much like Saturday mornings in the 80s, except that in the 80s such shows were not derivative attempts to relive glory days. They were the glory days. But it’s not just Saturday morning broadcast television. A new He-Man series recently aired on Cartoon Network. The last few years have seen successful box-office movies like Garfield, Transformers, and Inspector Gadget. This year, we await the highly anticipated G.I. Joe movie. Moreover, a stroll through the toy isle of your local Target or Wal-Mart seems, for those of us who grew up in the 80s, a stroll down memory lane. From this perspective, the 80s era looks not like a calm before the storm of renewal, but instead the foundation of a cartoon culture through which we are still living.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah- the '80s cartoons rule! Of course, that is what I grew up with and I think everyone attaches nostalgic value to their own childhood, whether it's from the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s or even '90s nowadays.
In fact, I know some folks that identify more with the early to mid 90s as their childhood and wax nostalgic about Nick shows like Rocko's Modern Life, Doug and even stuff like Rugrats. (Some of those early '90s Nick shows are quite cool- particularly Doug Smile - but I don't get into Rugrats, sorry. Laughing )
However, as far as I'm concerned the 1980s was a golden age for cartoons- there were lots of great dynasties that were formed, as well as some pretty outlandish and creative attempts, as well as shows that tapped on the current culture. (like Turbo Teen or Kidd Video or Lazer Tag Academy- some of my favorite '80s classics I grew up with.)
But it's that same old maxim I've heard that comes into play. Every 20 years or so, everything old becomes new again. Probably because the 20-something year olds that are now the programming directors at TV stations and such are reminiscing on their childhood and wanting to bring those shows and things back that they remember fondly.
You can see this trend through the 1970s as all of a sudden people recalled their youth in the 1950s and we had things like the 1973 movie "American Graffiti" that fondly recalled the '50s, as well as the hit 1974-1984 TV series "Happy Days".
In the 1980s, (and obviously every decade and time period still brings its own essence that is quintessentially and undelibly its own)- but anyway, the 1960s were reminisced through shows like "The Wonder Years" in particular, as well as "Family Ties"- though that show showcased the clash between the '60s and '80s values, etc.
In the 1990s, the 1970s became the subject of nostalgia through the rise of bell bottom jeans in fashion and shows like "That '70s Show" and movies like "Dazed and Confused" and so forth.
And thus, in the 2000s, the 1980s are definitely striking back! There are so many, many things from the 1980s that are all of a sudden new again- in both TV, movies and fashion. I mean, all of sudden kids have mohawks and wear jeans with huge holes in them that they either made themselves or had professionally done. Just today I saw some kids at the store with such fashionable jeans and I'm almost laughing to myself thinking- "You know that's like 20-something years old, right?" I mean- I don't care personally. As far as I'm concerned, ripped jeans have always been pretty cool- but then, I don't really care about fashion. Hair is hair and clothes are clothes. I don't care if it's in style or not. But it is amusing to me to see some things I remember from the '80s that are now considered the current retro-trend.
And of course, we have relaunches of things like Transformers, G.I. Joe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (Though to be fair, none of those ever really went away- they all had their own presence throughout the '90s to today through things like comics and other TV shows- anyone remember "G.I. Joe: Extreme" or "Transformers: Beast Wars" or "Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation"?)
But certainly- Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, and My Little Pony and He-Man- all of those had a resurgence of cartoons and straight-to-video movies and such. And other '80s classics become movies, like the aforementioned Inspector Gadget movies (the 2nd. one isn't as bad as I'd thought it might have been, by the way), Garfield (though technically he's been around since 1978 in the newspaper comics), Transformers, and now G.I. Joe!
And of course, the live action resurgence of the new Knight Rider TV show (which Pilot episode notwithstanding, isn't too terrible- though it'll never replace the David Hasselhoff and William Daniels original as far as I'm concerned)- and the recent Miami Vice movie, and if all goes to plan- we may soon see movie versions of The Equalizer, Magnum, P.I., The A-Team, The Greatest American Hero, and MacGyver! Smile
(Just hope they will all utilize the original stars as much as possible- Tom Selleck still is Thomas Magnum as far as I'm concerned and Richard Dean Anderson is definitely MacGyver! We'll see what happens.)
Just as other '80s stars have made a comeback reprising their original starring roles- like Bruce Willis as John McClane in "Live Free or Die Hard" and Slyvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in, well, "Rocky Balboa" (which was an awesome movie by the way! That was incredible for me to finally see a Rocky movie in theaters! Cool ) and Sly as John J. Rambo in "Rambo" (and by the way, I've already heard talk that he's thinking of a 5th.!) and of course, Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (which was awesome! That was also really exciting for me to finally see an Indiana Jones movie in theaters! And yes- there is talks of a 5th. movie if the script is right! Cool )
And the Star Wars movies made a comeback too with the prequels- though that's sort of its own franchise anyway.
But yeah, there's plenty of examples. The 1980s are back- I just hope some of my favorite '80s properties are handled well in their 2000s incarnations.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Bacchus. I, too, am frustrated that so many of my favorite series are held in such disdain when, in spite of their occasional flaws, they had so many genuinely great episodes, characters, and ideas, and I'm so glad these properties are making comebacks.


Requiem's alternate ending!
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ba-ha! Love the carrot

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

angel10 wrote:
Ba-ha! Love the carrot


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SharpFork wrote:
angel10 wrote:
Ba-ha! Love the carrot


Don't even bother, dude. Sometimes these people join the forum to talk nonsense or post exact copies of another messages posted long ago by real users. It's quite annoying actually.

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