The Societal Roles of Characters in Family Situated Cartoons

A large part of the development that a person experiences happens during childhood and the amount of animated visual stimulants that children are exposed to continues to grow exponentially partly because they are compelled and fascinated by the colorful images. Not only are cartoons someone’s imagination projected but they have always contained the artists’ social and cultural commentary about themselves and the way they have viewed the world.
The three family situated cartoons that I have chosen to focus on are Popeye, The Flintstones and The Simpsons. Even just looking at the names of cartoons a progression is evident. The development of the characters in these families moves from being focused on the development of the father with a supporting family cast to the development of the family as a whole.

Popeye emerged as a cartoon during the late 20’s which was a time when censorship wasn’t plentiful and media tends to view cartoons as less detrimental to the outcome of societies views so the obvious relationship that Popeye and Olive Oyl openly held was not publicly condemned but (unintentionally) encouraged. Little Swee’Pea was found on a doorstep and raised by the dysfunctional duo out of wedlock.

First, I used an excerpt from Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp as a Synopsis for Olive Oyl because this was the most developed episode of her character that I saw. She typically is a dingy damsel in distress that is skinnier than any cartoon character that I’ve ever seen. She’s definitely a factor that led to models heading towards the size toothpick. Prior to characters like herself an average height woman that weighed around 165lbs was thought of as voluptuous and sexy and paintings are proof of that. She rarely says anything that substantiates her personality and she appears to be more of an accessory of Popeye’s than her own person. There isn’t much definition to the depth of her character. I choose to dissect the first few minutes. Excluding the prelude in which I could understand Ms. Oyl a little more clearly, the rest of the episode is a spoof of Aladdin and his Lamp and doesn’t speak to the true development of the other characters.

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The Best Animation Shows and Movies

The dirt is there will only be three animated feature films nominated for the Oscar in 2010. By my count, there is approximately 15 films distributed theatrically. So don’t mind me if I see this as another snub by the old guys running the Academy. Also, four of the top ten money making features of 2010 were animated (and a fifth, “Tangled,” well on its way). The reason, simply, is quality. Give me a “Toy Story 3,” “Despicable Me” or “How To Train Your Dragon,” over “The Expendables,” “Eat Pray Love” of “Salt” any day. Yes there were excellent live action films from “Shutter Island,” “Howl” to “True Grit,” but quite frankly the overall original storytelling, daring direction/cinematography and, quite frankly, plain old acting is far superior on the animation side.

In fact, the quality level is so high trying to come up with a top five was really tough this year. Any on my list would have been my top choice in previous years. Also encouraging is I’m starting to see more European imports entering the domestic market, providing a much needed third option to standard American family comedies and East Asian anime.

Quite frankly, after writing about animation for slightly over 20 years, I couldn’t ask for more. So let’s review my personal Top Films of 2010.

#1) (tie) “The Illusionist” (Sony/Django) & “Toy Story 3” (Disney/Pixar) – The monolithic Pixar did it again. Just when you thought they couldn’t surpass the storytelling mastery of “Wall-E,” they “Up” the ante with “Toy Story3.” Then there’s the very French “Illusionist,” a wondrously super-traditional tour-de-force from director Sylvain Chomet (“The Triplets of Belleville”), who is rapidly becoming a force in animation all on his own.

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