I currently sit practically naked in my new flat drenched in sweat, my stretchy, wrinkled testicles stuck to my leg. As you struggle to get that image out of your head, wondering whether I am guilty of some sort of harassment for forcing the notion of my naked form into your head or you are guilty for oogling me with your mind’s eye without my permission or simply visualising the naked form is neither a sinister act or one to be celebrated as a body is a body and we all need to chill out about the whole thing, I am trying to decipher my own handwriting.
I haven’t updated this blog for some time, seeing as I have been trying to move from my mum’s sofa into a new flat. I successfully managed this some time ago and subsequently spent a week sitting on a deck chair drinking beer. Then, of course, my new flatmate had the audacity to move in, so now I must, at the very least, maintain an illusion that I am a functioning human being.
Some time ago I was on a train. On this train, I tried to distract myself from the depressing reality that I was on a train by writing out my next blog post. Sticking to the ‘write what you know’ method, this turned out to be about my TV viewing habits at the time. This may become a two-parter, because reviewing my notes I see there are numerous pages stuffed with over analysis and wandering thoughts.
One day I will develop a thing called focus, or at least try my hand at this editing business. Anyway, we shall see where I get to in this write-up. Are you sitting comfortably? No, of course, you’re not, it’s too hot for that, unless you’re that one reader in Iceland who regularly glances at my ramblings. I’ll begin anyway.
Whilst I have not quite given up on my dreams, I have started to realise that they may not come true. This creeping realisation – that I might not become a top-selling author and celebrated actor by the time I’m twenty-four – started to make itself known around my twenty-sixth birthday. It’s becoming more apparent that I might need to re-evaluate my life the more I sit in my mother’s flat watching whatever happens to be on TV.
As my ten-year-old sister also lives here (perhaps with a more valid excuse to be doing so), what happens to be on TV is often Cartoon Network. When she eventually grows bored and wanders off to watch some insufferable YouTuber (it saddens me that that is a thing), my mother chooses the channel. This is often Alibi or UKTV Food.
Alibi shows various episodes of yet more varied detective shows. UKTV Food shows various documentaries on the history of Russia.
As I have no right to influence what can and cannot be watched on this particular television, I have no choice but to get up and better myself. Despite this, I remain seated and watch and continue to watch until my brain has melted, and I experience what it is like to be dead.
Instead of setting out into the world and perhaps finding a loving partner, saving up for a house and starting a family as is generally done, I will give a needlessly detailed rundown of my current and bizarre viewing habits.
Cartoon Network was once a safe haven. It was a world that contained Dexter’s Lab, The Powerpuff Girls and that shit Cow and Chicken show. Like most things in life, it has moved on and is no longer for me. I accept this. The world turns and a new generation emerges to lay claim to what was once ours. Unlike the Star Wars fandom, I accept this. I do not get angry, nor sad, nor do I take to the internet to harass actresses. One thing that hasn’t changed is there is still a lot of shit on it.
But it also has some remarkable programming.
The Amazing World of Gumball
Some years ago, Adventure Time come along. Its whacky colourful world was as imaginative as it was funny, rich and well thought out. Unfortunately, stoners got hold of it and started shouting pretentious shit much like they did with the more recent and much more adult Rick and Morty.
In their insistence on saying how good it was, how clever it was and how underneath the quirky characters and silly humour, was actually a very adult show with some serious and emotional stories to tell, which it does in unique and interesting ways, these fuckers allowed Adventure Time’s Ego to swell. In pushing boundaries and doubling down with the weirdness and trying to consistently tell interesting stories, it forgot about the quirky characters and the silly humour and well… how to be entertaining.
Rick and Morty suffered the same fate. There were two fantastic seasons with some of the sharpest comedy writing yet seen, interspersed with some subtle depressing moments that led people to declare it was the cleverest thing, it was so deep and blah blah blah. This eventually led to season 3 which was largely shit. The wit was gone, the characters became too inconsistent (unless we’re watching different Rick and Morty’s in various episodes, which is a theory), and all because they kept trying to prove how fucking clever they were. Some of the silly, sharp humour was simply replaced with smug, self-referential ‘meta’ humour. Meta humour is not clever, meta humour is easy and should be used in small doses. Done right it can add an extra element to a show. Otherwise, it simply becomes easy references or an excuse to use clichés (but it’s okay because they admit their clichés so it’s not a cliché).
What does this have to do with The Amazing World of Gumball? Well, these shows were popular, and as such, spawned copycats. Every show became whacky and self-referential. Every show became ‘lol random!’ every show became ‘quite adult clever, avant-garde and blah blah blah.’
At first, I assumed The Amazing World of Gumball was just another one of these. Weird animal families, a goldfish that evolved into a member of the family, a whacky world populated with insane characters (one is a piece of toast), but the more I watched, the more I realised its brilliance. With it’s ‘randomness’ it feels like a safe bet that fits in nicely with the millennial trend of said ‘randomness’. However, whereas with a lot of shows offer ‘randomness’ with no substance, The Amazing World of Gumball (in my humble opinion) simultaneously uses this self-aware randomness to its full effect (by which I mean not overdoing it) whilst also satirising shows that try and fail to do the same. It is incredibly juvenile (it’s a kids’ show), but certain elements will appeal to adults (Richard is my spirit animal). There are intelligent, well developed and fleshed out characters that whilst appear insane and ‘out there’ deliver lines of dialogue in an incredibly dry manner. It expertly balances the colourful and quirky with the down to earth and simple.
Most importantly, it doesn’t take itself seriously. It makes no claim to be unique. It does not attempt to be intelligent. It doesn’t try to appeal to both adults and children, it instead does its best to be entertaining, and it succeeds.
Teen Titans GO!
The phrase ‘childhood ruined’ or words to that effect come up a lot. Strangely, they are never said by children, who realistically are the only ones who can have their childhood ruined. It comes up a lot in reference to this children’s TV show. I work in marketing so I can tell you that a children’s show branded something that ruins childhood is not ideal.
The reason so many people have been lamented that their childhoods have been ruined is (fortunately) not due to some chilling realisation that uncle Barry wasn’t actually a doctor and… nope, can’t even finish a paedophile joke, they make me want to cry. Not to mention someone might dig it up in 10 years’ time, successfully getting me fired by Disney.
Note: yes I did add in that James Gunn joke to be topical. I’m trying to appeal to all manner of readers.
Rather, people feel that Teen Titans GO! Is responsible for their childhood being ruined, albeit retrospectively.
Teen Titans GO! Currently has a rating of 4.8 stars on IMDB, which isn’t good news as I view anything below a 6.5 to be unwatchable, and obviously, everyone goes by my technique. To quote the title for one 1 star review “If you loved the first time out for the Teen Titans, don’t watch this”, and the body of another equally negative review
“When I first saw the commercials for this show, I thought, “Oh, hey, they’re remaking one of my favorite childhood shows, I hope it’ll be good.” But I was severely disappointed, and insulted.”
I can see the beginnings of a pattern. The people that don’t like this show dislike it seemingly because it is not like a show they watched at some point in the past. I remember my friends telling me how good the original Teen Titans was and that I should watch it. I didn’t because I was obviously reading Ulysses and had no time for cartoons, titanic or otherwise. This was some time ago. A quick google tells me the final episode aired on the 16th of January 2006. Those who are number savvy will realise that was twelve and a half years ago.
This would mean that even if you were say, as young as eight when you watched the original Teen Titans that would make you currently twenty years of age. Following this line of logic, I can conclude that Teen Titans Go! IS NOT FOR YOU, YOU WHINING CHILDISH FUCK!
I briefly alluded to this current pandemic whilst referencing the Star Wars fandom. These are people that simply can’t let go of their childhood. These are fucking snivelling cowards who can’t accept that time is marching ever onwards and they are now of an age of responsibility, they must take charge of their own lives and make their own decisions. They’ve realised their parents were right when they told them, ‘these are the best years of your life, it’s all downhill from here.’ Rather than sucking it up and accepting their mortality before trudging boldly towards their demise, they turn on Cartoon Network and hope that the magic colour box will give them back their youth.
It won’t. Fucking grow up you creepy adult children.
I don’t see how a children’s cartoon can leave someone feeling insulted, unless a character turns to the camera and says, ‘Graham Smith of 21 Dryden Crescent, you’re a prick!’ (apologies if anyone reading is called such and lives at such, it is mere coincidence). From my limited knowledge, Teen Titans Go! Is actually very respectful of the original, not just due to the many subtle references, but by not trying to imitate the original series. The original series is done. It told a story. Doing the same would serve no purpose and ultimately tarnish a good thing.
So, in this superhero obsessed age of reboots and gritty superpowered punch-ups, where Marvel and DC desperately try and monetise as many of their properties as possible before the bubble bursts, why not reuse the Teen Titans? Except, instead of attempting a gritty, violent reboot like the live action appears to be (which seems very odd. Why market a thing called Teen Titans, which is clearly aimed at a younger audience, Teen is in the title, with gratuitous graphic violence? Unless they’re trying to appeal to the aforementioned fuckers, who will no doubt say that this is shit too before they hang themselves), why not just make it a light-hearted romp in which nothing matters? Wouldn’t it be funny if we took the characters of a show known for its serious story-telling and emotional climaxes and make them caricatures of themselves and put them in silly scenarios? That’s the premise of Teen Titans GO! The Titans are put into comical shorts in which they do surprisingly little superheroing. It’s like a flat share sitcom, starring the Titans.
Sure, the humour doesn’t always land, but at these points, I have to remind myself, I’m a 26-year-old loser watching Cartoon Network.
Well… that got out of hand.
Tune in next post to read why British detective shows are probably racist and how I often can’t tell which version of Law and Order I’m watching.