Nov 16, 2004

Who's Popeye?

A couple of days ago, my little seven-year-old cousin made one of his trademarked weekend visits. We saw a commercial for the Popeye 3D special video release, and I was like "What did they do to Popeye?" He looked at me and asked, "Who's Popeye?"

For one moment, I was wondering is this kid on something. Afterall, I grew up watching the excellent Fleischer Popeye shorts, the great Famous Studios Popeye shorts, the so-so King Features television Popeye shorts, the uncharacteristic-but-okay Hanna-Barbera shorts, and the abysmal Popeye and Son over the years. I've seen the comics when I went out of state because the Virginia Pilot didn't carry it in its papers (which is not only shocking considering my locale's reputation as Navytown, USA with its shipyards and Naval and Coast Guard bases, but also our paper would rather carry the likes of Shoe, Cathy, and The Wizard of Id). Since Cartoon Network refuses to show anything older that isn't made by Warner Bros., Tex Avery, or Fleischer as well as any older HB show that that isn't Scooby-Doo, Popeye is, unfortunately, in the dark at the network. And since in recent years The Popeye Show was limited to late-night hours, my little cousin has never seen a Popeye cartoon.

So, I showed him my little stash of black and whites that I had on tape. And he laughed and laughed. Needless to say, Popeye's one of his new favorite cartoon characters.

Oh. I supposed you want to say that he could check out Popeye cartoons on Boomerang. Not so fast, you crazy! We both have digital cable, and the only animation outlets are the usual suspects (Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, ABC Family, and Disney Channel), PBS Kids, Toon Disney (which has, somehow, forgotten it was supposed to be an all-animation network by showing Power Rangers and Muppets), and Nicktoons (by the way, if you're not watching the Nicktoons Film Festival, shame on you!). Our cable company has foolishly not acquired Boomerang, probably because Boomerang foolishly decided to ricochet their lineup three times a day with the same shows rather than have a linear lineup. Boomerang is considered a joke by those who have the network as well as critics of the animation industry as a whole. Cartoon Network is becoming more modern and as a result forgotten where they came from.

I remember the days when I could see a Looney Tunes short on a Friday afternoon and MGM-made shorts that weren't Tom and Jerry during primetime in a watchable time. A whole generation is about to forget characters that entertained numerous generations before it, and it's a damned shame. I asked my little cousin if he knew who Bugs Bunny was, and he said "He was in that movie with Michael Jordan."

I'm almost afraid to ask my little cousin if he has heard of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, and other Hanna-Barbera characters.

What's So "Adult" About Adult Swim?

I haven't seen ads for Doom 3, Halo 2, and GTA: San Andreas, three of the year's biggest video game titles aimed towards an older teen/young adult audience on a programming block which is designed for an older teen/young adult audience. I've seen car ads and ads for slightly harder PG-13 movies, but no ads for, say, R-rated actioners like Constantine or Blade Trinity. So, the question has to be asked.

What's so "adult" about Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup? I could kind of understand why the network refuses to advertise Adult Swim programming outside the hour before the block on Cartoon Network. However, that's no excuse to not advertise for Adult Swim on any of the other Turner networks. If the viewership is huge because of the power of the internet, imagine how the viewership would be with the addition of large majority that don't check out the nerd boards that'll check out the block. Of course by adding more "adult" advertisers with the immediate dropping of the ban on R and M-Rated films and video games would be nice. You know, just to let the illusion and allusion of the brand "Adult Swim" be true.

Oh, and create strong original animated titles rather than relying on outside sources would be nice too, but that's a whole other conversation.