This weekend, I babysat two kids that go to the camp I worked at this summer. The issue arose that always does: How do you keep kids entertained? This particular pair of siblings, 11 and 9, seemed content to do anything that I deemed “cool”. We had just put some brownies in the oven when one of them brought up Netflix.
I love Netflix. But what could I watch with them that was even remotely appropriate?
I picked Jimmy Neutron.
I loved that show as a kid. Most kids my age did. It had just the right mix of nerdy, goofy and stupid humor that you would expect from a Saturday Morning Cartoon.
They loved it.
So what’s the difference between the cartoons that they were used to and the cartoons I grew up with? I’d say it comes down to the type of humor, the animation, and the basic plot. I checked out the DVR on their TV, and it said it all. They watched Clarence, Teen Titans Go, Star Vs. The Forces of Evil.
When it comes to the humor, newer shows have less gags and more subtle humor that’s supposed to come off as continuously entertaining throughout. Jimmy Neutron and Fairly Oddparents had serious moments sprinkled with gags like stupid parents or bumbling friends. In fact, I would say the “serious” episodes of those shows were my favorite. Like when Timmy’s friends were upset that he was ignoring them for the popular kids. They weren’t teen drama, just a change of pace. That’s probably why I enjoy Adventure Time, as it’s more similar to the older cartoons.
The animation is different too. The shows now focus on rounded lines and less realistic color schemes, which allows for simpler and smoother animation. The camera angles are amazing, I will definitely give them that. The old cartoons are more realistic coloring, using vibrant colors constantly. They are very hesitant to use black. The animation isn’t half as smooth, but I kind of like that.
The plots are the main thing that I notice. They haven’t changed too much; main character has issue and go through a knee-slapping hilarious method to solve them. The newer ones come across as less Saturday Morning Cartoon, however. They don’t seem to have as much of a solid, clear plot that you can expect from turning it on. I kinda like that about the newer ones, since you have more of a story to follow.
When it comes to “Older vs. Newer”, both sides have their strong spots. There are shows I love now, like Gravity Falls, and show I hated back then, like Squirrel Boy (yeah, I can’t believe I remember that show either). Every generation has it’s Teen Titans.