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Cartoons, and children’s T.V. in general, strive to provide positive lessons children can learn from. This probably isn’t the most conventional list of those lessons, but here are twelve good ways cartoons brainwashed me as a child that maybe weren’t so obvious when you initially watched them.
1. Wile E. Coyote taught me:
Don’t look down.
Classic Scene—Wile E. Coyote is chasing the road runner when all of the sudden, he stops over a large drop off a cliff. But somehow he’s okay—until he looks down of course—until he starts to doubt himself. Bad stuff happens when you start to doubt yourself. Learn from Wile E. Coyote’s failings and don’t look down.
2. Hey Arnold taught me:
Even girls that ‘love’ you try to ruin your life.
The heading is self-explanatory. Helga loves the man, but with a straight face, tries to make his life a living hell. That’s pretty much the only consistent thing about the opposite sex. They’re not a violent bunch, but they’ll kill you with words, ten times out of ten.
This wasn’t as much a positive lesson as it was a warning I suppose.
3. Dora the Explorer taught me:
You should keep an eye on your kids.
I’ve never watched an episode, but from what I understand, her best friend is a monkey and she talks to her backpack. Sounds like drugs or insanity to me.
Maybe if her parents paid more attention, she wouldn’t be a drug addicted psychopath—but hey, what do I know.
Perhaps I’m being a little hard on Dora. Oh well. Take care of your kids and things will usually work out for them.
4. Bevis and Butthead taught me:
Get an education.
Unless, of course, you want to sit on your couch all day and criticize music videos. Then again, that doesn’t sound half bad.
Ehhh, my argument still stands. If the producers, in any way, tried to convince me this wasn’t the way to go—it worked.
5. Captain Planet taught me:
Be a tree hugging hippie.
Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves—I’m not much of a hippie, but this cartoon did convince me that littering was bad and can be harmful to our environment. It encourages kids to get their families to recycle. That seems like a good message to me.
Let’s face it, though. This cartoon was probably the biggest brainwash of them all. Think I’m lying? Check it out yourself (you can watch the entire first episode on youtube). It’s a little ridiculous if you go back and watch it today. Fox News would throw a fit if it still aired on national television.
On a side note: Heart is the dumbest power you could come up with. Really? Who would want to be ‘heart’? Give me fire every time…please and thank you.
6. Doug taught me:
Don’t get caught in the friend zone.
It’s an inescapable black hole. Avoid at all costs. I’m not sure if that was the main message from this cartoon, but it’s pretty much all I got out of it.
Well, that, and there’s always a token black guy in every group of friends—even if they’re green. Shame on Nickelodeon for making Skeeter green.
7. Blue’s clues taught me:
It’s never too obvious to point something out.
Let’s face it, some people don’t always get the obvious right off the bat. No matter how obvious something is at work, it’s important to point it out because a lot of the time, the obvious gets missed. We all know what they say happens when you assume something.
8. Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus taught me:
“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”
In our day and age, this gets translated as YOLO, but it effectively means the same thing. Mistakes are mistakes. We’re all going to make them. Some big, some small. You’re going to make a mess of things when you take chances, but if you don’t—what’s the point of living?
I think we all owe Ms. Frizzle a big thank you for letting our generation know it’s okay to screw up every once in a while.
9. Popeye taught me:
Eat your veggies and you’ll become a superhero.
Okay, so maybe the last part of that isn’t true. It does promote healthy eating, though.
10. The Cookie Monster taught me:
Cookies are delicious.
There’s nothing more to this ‘lesson’. Maybe this isn’t the best example, but dammit, we need to treat ourselves every once in a while.
And yes, I’m aware he’s not a cartoon.
11. Boondocks taught me:
Never take yourself too seriously.
Some aren’t familiar with this cartoon. In a nutshell, it’s the ‘black’ version of South Park. They make fun of every race, culture and religion prevalent in modern American society—and you know what—it’s f’n hilarious.
If you can’t laugh at yourself, everyone else will.
12. Pinky and the Brain taught me:
Never give up on your goals—there’s always another way.
Every episode they try a new idea of how to take over the world, and every episode they fail. Low and behold, the sun comes up the next day, and they try again. Nothing stops them—they’re relentless. That’s what you have to be in order to be successful. Relentless!
…oh, and it’s pretty hard to take over the world; it’s a borderline waste of time.
As you can tell by this list, I was a Nickelodeon child for sure. Feel free to comment with any I may have overlooked.