It Was Saturday Morning
On these days, I never left my pajamas. With a box of cereal and a gallon of milk I could be found perched in front of our giant wood box television set for a solid morning of cartoon shows. From Bugs Bunny to the Flintstones to Super Friends, I would just float from one animated adventure to the next until my mom had had enough and I was told to “get my ass outside and play.”
Still, it was three to four hours of mind-numbing entertainment. Oh, they tried to be responsible and tossed in some School House Rock educational commercials and soon I was “hankering for a hunk of cheese.” We also followed a bill on its journey through Washington, learning little tidbits before Hanna-Barbera gave us another hour of comedic cartoons with the occasional moral if we paid attention enough to find them.
Saturday morning cartoons was like a child’s reward for going to school Monday through Friday and suffering church on Sunday. This was our time, to waste away with bed head, morning breath, and Marvin the Martian. We spent the time building forts with signs that read “No Adults Allowed.” Nothing was required of us until lunchtime.
Perhaps it’s just me and how I remember my childhood, but children’s television just isn’t the same. Shows aren’t created for the pure joy of ratings alone symbolizing a captured elementary-age audience. Now they are wrapped around merchandising, concerts, compact discs, and clothing lines. I blame Disney. I know the idea is to maximize a marketable show, but really, it’s way over done. I just want a cartoon where a coyote gets blown off a cliff and buried into a crater shaped like his body.
Even those cartoons are different, however. While we were in Mississippi, I sat on the couch with Dylan watching Bugs and Daffy and only felt myself growing frustrated instead of entertained. The script seemed above kid’s head and lacked anything to make anyone laugh who wasn’t on the laugh track. Dylan shrugged her shoulders and we played Angry Birds on my phone, instead.
Special effects have come a long way as has computerized graphics and shows and some are pretty good. I’m a big fan of the Backyardigans. However, as far as we have come in the areas of techniques and animation, I think we’ve slipped on the entertainment level. Children grow up too fast and some of that is due to the subject matter of the shows. We were kids back then and only kids. We watched Bugs Bunny outfox Elmer Fudd and Scooby Doo solve every mystery. We laughed and ate our cereal and then went outside to play in the streets with the other neighborhood kids.
As I said before, it could just be my age and a faulty memory. I often heard my parents talking about the good old days and how a double feature only cost a nickel and included a jumbo popcorn, soda and bus fare home. They’ve complained how the actors of today couldn’t hold a candle to Cary Grant or Bette Davis. I would groan and try to escape the room. However, I’m beginning o understand their complaints the older I get. Saturday mornings just aren’t the same as they used to be in the good old days, and to be honest, I miss my Bugs Bunny. This one’s just not the same.
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