Old vs New: A Lose-Lose Battle

On Sunday, January 27, 2013 0 comments

Woman-child that I am, I still love Saturday morning cartoons. This year was great, with awesome shows like Legend of Korra, MLP, Young Justice, and Adventure Time all putting out new episodes. And being an over exuberant nerd, I had to tell all my friends just how much I was enjoying the good variety of shows coming out. To which I often encountered the same dismissive response: Cartoons today aren’t as good as they were in the 90s.

My childhood in one picture

Is that true? Were the cartoons of the late 80s/early 90s really better, or is it just nostalgia? The people I talked to weren’t “cartoon connoisseurs” like mwah, but I hear the same thing even among animation aficionados. See, there was the golden period known as “the Animation Renaissance” back when I was young. It was a time when cartoons shifted away from being glorified toy commercials to original, quality stuff. You had amazing shows like Animaniacs, Batman: the Animated Series, Adventures of the Gummi Bears, on and on. Saturday mornings were an explosion of awesome shows. This lasted until the late 90s, when cartoons slipped back into the toy-driven model.

Anyways, the Animation Renaissance was the first time since the 1950s that high quality cartoons were made for artistic merit, not a quick buck. That time period paved the way for all my favorite cartoons now. But does it mean those cartoons are better?

I’m not the best person to judge. I have nostalgia for those shows, so it would be hard for me to objectively compare them to modern shows (I’ll probably do it anyways in future posts). However, I think that if people write off modern-day cartoons as inferior, then they’re cheating themselves. There comes a point where “respect for the classics” stops people from moving forward.

Don't be this person. Nobody likes this person.

Like the irate fanboy who only plays old-school Nintendo, or the retro-hipster who only listens to things on vinyl, there comes a point where you need to put aside old favorites in order to try something new. That doesn’t mean classics aren’t important, but people shouldn’t believe that the best humanity has to offer has already occurred. Who knows, your favorite work could still be a couple of years away. So don’t stick to what you know. Be willing to give new things a shot, even if you love the old.

And for goodness sake, stop saying everything was better when you were a kid!


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