Last week’s “Thor’s Day” and “Department of Estrogen Affairs” features were pushed back due to technical and personal conflicts. Both will be presented today. The “Estrogen Affairs” entry will post late this evening and run through tomorrow afternoon.
Young Justice, DC’s latest foray into animation does something that a good many cartoons seem to have always away from, and that’s put teenagers into actual life and death scenarios. Each episode is wrought with danger, villains actively trying to kill the kids and the kids having to actually fight for their very lives with very little adult supervision.
The show also takes the “risqué” quotient up a notch by having teenagers at like actual teenagers. No, they’re not all trying to get laid, but the dialogue, mannerisms and reactions all seem to come from a flesh and blood place. Not bad for a cartoon.
Add both of these factors together, and, well, I have to admit that I’m a little perplexed. Cartoons, with a few notable exceptions, have always had a knack for talking down to their audience. Producers seem to associate “child” with “stupid” and what we’re often left with is something that’s largely unwatchable after you reach a certain age, and sometimes unwatchable for the age it’s intended for.
And I really don’t get that. Most kids I meet and interact with are keenly aware of the world around them and wildly intuitive. Anyone who’s ever tried to sugar coat a terrible situation for a child can tell you that. Hell, anyone who’s ever tried to hide a Christmas present can as well. So why do we give them so often terrible entertainment?
When I was a kid, the movies and shows I held in the highest esteem were ones where the dangers and realities of life weren’t carefully tucked away, even in fantasy. The Goonies were running for their very lives from killers, E.T. died after being hunted by the government, the kids in the Monster Squad actually cursed when their parents weren’t around (name me one kid who never did, just try), and Optimus Prime was brutally murdered by Megatron while a planet-eating robot was committing planetary genocide.
And you know what? Me and the entire generation that saw those exact same things, between the ages of five and twelve, weren’t scarred for it. In fact, I’d wager the reason movies like E.T. and The Goonies are now considered timeless classics is because they stand a part from the typical fare of kids entertainment in refusing to talk down to the audience. Kids appreciate that kind of thing. I know I did.
So to see Young Justice, a show about super hero teenagers, dealing with actual crises, danger and death all while mainaining a lighthearted feel, well, it just makes happy that there’s someone out there who doesn’t think kids are complete imbeciles.