Political Messages in Kids’ Shows

Political Messages in Kids’ Shows

So earlier this month the brand-new Rocko’s Modern Life revival special premiered on Netflix If you haven’t seen it yet and you don’t want it to be ruined I suggest moving this video forward to this timecode Static Cling is absolutely remarkable The creators brought forth the original tone and comedy the series in such a way that it felt totally seamless the animation quality in particular felt like it had been animated by the same team as before but in a higher resolution Which is something that I certainly haven’t felt about things such as hey Arnold’s the jungle movie But the greatest part of the special was its intelligence. With a title like Rocko’s Modern Life It’s not a great shot that the original show often intended to form some Commentary on the modern world, being very political in the process. And Static Cling followed in this pursuit daring to ask why people want or need a revival of a 90s children’s cartoon 20-some odd years later and what it says about our relationship with our past and our future The plot revolves around Rocco and his friends some 20 years after being trapped in space due to the rocket ship in the finale Landing in our time and trying to learn to fit in with the culture of the late 2010s Rocco finds himself in shock and decides to put on his favorite show The Fatheads only to find out that it’s been off the air for years due to the country switch to HD broadcasting Rocko insists that they have to bring the show back but learns that its creator left years ago to do soul-searching and hasn’t been heard from since An obsessed Rocco decides that he needs a Fathead special and decides to hunt down the original show’s creator A character who in the original show had been characterized by a persistent Unhappiness and a tendency to snap at those who are close to them. The reason why that is important Is that when Rocco finally finds the creator it’s revealed that she is now a woman having transitioned off-screen Character: “I’m not your son, I’m your daughter. And I’m finally happy.” and what follows is a brilliant illustration of how bringing about something great and finding one’s happiness and what follows is a brilliant illustration of how bringing about something great and finding one’s happiness often means embracing the past while allowing things to change. And while many people have grown quite red-faced over this and have tried to claim that the storyline distracts from the rest of the episode In reality, it truly helps bring about the special’s take on what nostalgia really is and how we should look at it. Shows like Rocko’s Modern Life are overall important because they can help young viewers understand important issues from the starting line up to this point most illustrations of trans culture and the sort of medium had been greatly Up to this point, most illustrations of trans culture in this sort of medium had been greatly inflammatory, featuring storylines of characters changing gender for the sake of tricking others or Using it as a tool to commit a crime and while it’s easy to laugh this off as pure edginess It’s not really surprising that these are qualities that many people still associate these groups with As subdues as this is, representation is basically just showing a person casually existing. The reason it deserves commendation is that illustrating trans women as regular people who have simply found a means to become healthy and happy is something that Entertainment has long avoided and the fact that I see people trying to argue today that these shows have suddenly become political Astounds me because these sorts of messages have always been presented in these shows It’s just that a lot of us Weren’t smart enough at the time to notice the details and that’s why today I want to highlight a few examples of programs that have proved willing to push the boundaries of their networks comfort to tell their audience something about the world outside of What was regularly expected In short: political messages in kids cartoons So this first one is the tiniest bit of a stretch and I’m pretty sure that what I’m Implicating isn’t actually what the writer intended but I think it’s a really interesting topic to cover anyway, so I’m gonna talk about it [Fairly Odd Parents Theme Song] At its peak the fairly oddparents was one of the smartest Nicktoons to ever hit the air. Near its end it got a little lethargic But those early Stories were still some of the best TV I ever saw growing up and I still think about a lot of them today One episode that stands out in general is titled The Same Game and featured in it One of the most important lessons that one can come to realize about the world so the story goes that Timmy and his friends are playing with their ball when they accidentally knock it over the fence and into the Yard of dr. Bender, the streets dentist, who was portrayed as very cruel and judgemental Bender soon arrives and takes the ball for himself and tells Timmy that he simply doesn’t deserve to have it His reasoning? His teeth are Imperfect and thus he doesn’t deserve things as nice as his lost item If you’re thinking that sort of sounds like a mild extension of Foppington’s Law Then you’re already on the same logical path as I am. Timmy sulks home and has a bright idea no one can taunt him for being different If everything is exactly the same thus he adapts that thought into a wish and soon everyone in the universe looks identical An army of gray blobs many consequences Befall this wish, the greatest being that every fairy on earth has trouble finding their child and thus face Wish Back-up, but timmy decides To trek on with his mission. But, much to his shock, his neighbors still refused to give him back his ball Timmy: “You’re a big, gray blob just like me! [Laughing] Blob: “Actually, we’re the grayest and the blobbiest! In fact, only blobs as gray and blobby as we are, can have a gray ball as one like this!” Now in some sense the moral of this seems blatantly obvious Everyone is the same on the inside, jerks are always gonna be jerks cuz that’s just how they are blah, blah blah But I think there’s a much bigger lesson to be taken from all this: The plot of this episode is that Timmy faces negative repercussions for some element of his person that is beyond his control And so he creates a world where everyone is Exactly the same but in his new world hierarchies prevail and in order to justify said hierarchies, key players essentially invent Racism to keep their power justified. You may be a gray blob, but we are grayer and blobbier And thus we are superior to you and we have the right to keep certain things from you Despite creating a world where bigotry is supposed to be impossible It persists and is reborn The reason this is so important is so much fiction around this time ended up portraying this sort of both sides Argument for situations like these Well, this episode blatantly makes the case That bigotry is more than just a few people not being able to put up with how different they are Instead, it’s sort of a constant that some people need to justify their place in society A pillar that they use to keep other people down for their own personal gain. What could this ball possibly symbolize? political power, Money, cheap labor, it could be pretty much anything But the main lesson is that someone is always profiting from injustice and indeed they often create Inequality just to profit more and so to them it must always exist No matter the conditions And in these cases the only real way to defeat these people is to rise up and fight them one on one Is this what the teens are calling Praxis? I literally don’t know. Anyways, I’m bad at transitions. I’m just gonna play some static Usually on this show when I do a video like this I usually try and include like three examples But I think for this video it makes a lot more sense to just stop and do a bunch of these in rapid succession In nearly 2000s show Recess a memorable episode featured TJ discovering that his school had adopted a sort of juvenile monetary system of using monster cards to pay for Basically everything on the playground while initially broke because of his inability to buy new cards While initially broke because of his inability to buy new cards, He figures out very quickly that he can get a lot of money very quickly by subcontracting workers to do his job for him He resorts to cheap child labor and hierarchies to collect more cards than anyone else in school eventually He chooses to use his collected power to own literally everything Fixing prices to his own standards and charging wages for everything possible This causes an economic crash and he is only allowed to continue gaining wealth after he signs a contract which guarantees better Standards for those below him. An episode of the cartoon series Spongebob Squarepants feature discussion of how lowbrow humor and poor Representation and entertainment can accidentally lead to the dehumanization of an entire race of people Lady:” Don’t stand too close to a squirrel, Billy. You’ll catch it’s Stupid.” I always bring this episode up because it’s always relevant Also remember that episode when Mr. Krabs’s greed inspires him to make a jellyfish factory, essentially torturing sentient creatures for his own personal gain without any realistic punishment? I usually keep this one locked away in the depths of my mind because it was really upsetting when I was young In Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, one of the bully characters has a secret life as a member of the knitting club Despite this being a group that he and the other bullies torment An ongoing arc in the series involves him wanting to tell his friends But worrying that he would be ostracized for his lifestyle this is probably an allegory for something but I just can’t- An episode of the cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants was so blatantly about how unions are good that you sort of have to turn your mind Off to not see it today Squidward:”Nobody gives a care about the fate of Labor as long as they can get their instant gratification” Oh, and hey, look, there’s also a Rugrats episode That’s about the exact same thing The show Rocko’s Modern Life featured an episode about Rocco’s neighbor, Despite claiming to hate clowns in a society Which also seems to hate clowns, having a second life as a clown and being afraid to tell all of his friends and loved ones about this out of fear of being ostracized Again I feel like this is an allegory somehow but I just – The show Rocko’s Modern Life featured a corporation called Conglomo that is so massive That it owns everything Including the people in the town A huge effort is made in the show of exploring all of the negative side effects of this Depicting those in charge as evil idiots who just want as much money and power as possible The show Rocko’s Modern Life featured an episode where Conglomo has a huge part in destroying the environment Despite the wishes of the people and featured an ending that implied that those who choose not to fight Pollution and the destruction of the planet were tempting death itself And finally the most obvious one of all- Papa Smurf is Karl Marx Okay, that one’s a stretch I know it’s getting pretty passe to trash Ben Shapiro but while researching this topic one of the first clips I found was him bitching about the fact that Sesame Street is leftist propaganda? And it’s so unexplicable to me and yet it’s also a really good example Of how people tend to argue about these things. News Anchor: “You’re taking on Elmo and Sesame Street and Big Bird in your book.” Shaprio:”Yeah, I kind of want to take him out back and cap him Prem time propaganda is really about the liberal bias in the Hollywood industry. I talked to one of the guys who’s at children’s television workshop I talked to one of the guys who’s at children’s television workshop originally, and he said that the whole purpose of Sesame Street was to cater to black and Hispanic Youths who quote-unquote “did not have reading literature in the house”” Quinton: Throughout this clip, These fox news commentators keep claiming that this is somehow evil and bad for children But they won’t give any goddamn examples of why Benny gets mad because the Sesame Street website tells parents to not use gender biases when buying Toys and then this weird guy goes on some rant about how a gay guy was elected prom queen? Shapiro: ‘And by the way, if you go on the Sesame Street website it talks about when you’re bringing up your child, make sure that you use Gender-neutral language, make sure that you give your boys dolls and make sure that you give your girls firetrucks’ Fox New Anchor: ‘Yeah, and that that’s setting up a problem. Just this year a high school in Virginia Named a guy who was openly gay as prom queen.’ Quinton: These people are such snowflakes! They get so easily triggered about everything! My god! It’s a prom queen at a high school you’ve never heard of before! Who cares?! How can you actively dedicate your Platform to bitching about the Rights’ lack of freedom of speech while also getting mad about the Left using their freedom of speech Take a shower, Ben. Your hair looks like you dipped it in olive oil So moving on There’s one final show which was created entirely with the intention of being a piece of political discussion One which was once synonymous with the entire concept of cartoons meant for children that certainly deserves to be talked about [Captain Planet Theme Song] Ted Turner is famous for three things: Being really bad at colorizing old movies, Creating a large amount of networks and organizations Which are still alive today, And having a record for seeking out environmentalist pursuits. It was this final passion which inspired him to create Captain Planet and the Planeteers, a show which has been endlessly berated by everyone under the Sun for being really old and cheesy There’s this strange cycle you go through as you grow up with this show As a kid, you think that this must be an entirely accurate portrayal of the environmental crisis As a teenager, you realize it’s a little cartoony and is probably heavily one-sided And then as an adult you realize it’s an entirely accurate portrayal of the environmental crisis The catchphrase of Captain Planet in the show itself is: The power is yours At first glance, this comes across something like only you can prevent forest fires, as if it’s a call to take Responsibility for how small issues in one’s life can impact the environment indeed the show often goes out of its way to tell its audience about how they Personally can have a hand in saving the world They can recycle they can be careful about how much energy they use and so on and so forth but it’s very overt about the fact that the bad guys who are causing the significant issues in the show are never Representatives of the audience It’s always some cartoonish rat mogul who is polluting the planet and causing permanent damage Who chooses to ignore the destruction they’re causing because it doesn’t really affect them and yeah Yeah, that’s pretty much it If anything the phrase the power is yours isn’t a way of telling you that pollution is your fault But instead of saying that taking action against those who are destroying the earth is the key to making things better With the showrunners literally telling you to find the names and addresses of these specific 100 people and to then attack them with fire? For legal reasons, I have to say no dun dun dun another one bites the dust- The message was very clearly that the earth is something that needs to be saved and Overt activism is the only option that we really have in a modern world But Captain Planet and the Planeteers is also a show that is well-known for very blunt coverage of many other topics From street violence to really dated episodes about the war on drugs but the most famous and infamous out of these is called a Formula of hate which attempted to educate its audience on the topic of HIV awareness Now I sort of have mixed feelings about if I should really include this one because the episode is most known today for having a very strange cheesy early 90s tone that makes the serious messaging feel sort of Harder to take in? Doctor: ‘You tested positive for the HIV virus and that leads to AIDS, but you don’t have AIDS.’ Mother: ‘How could it happen?’ Boy : ‘Who cares how I got it- it stinks!’ Mother: ‘Todd? Todd?!’ During the story the episode’s rat villain begins to spread misinformation about his condition so that those in his community begin to shame him and Treat him like an outsider and it’s only when Captain Planet shows up and begins to educate the town’s folk that things start to take A turn for the better Captain Planet: ‘Deal with the real, people! Get the facts! If Todd had any other disease you’d be cheering him on! Right now Todd needs your support. One of the main reasons I think this episode is worth highlighting despite all of its goofiness Is that it’s actually based on a true story Ryan White was a high school student in Indiana who was diagnosed with HIV after a contaminated blood treatment His family was shocked to find out that instead of his community supporting him He was barred from returning to school by paranoid parents and teachers and was treated like an absolute outsider This eventually led to some death threats and close encounters and they had to leave the county A wave of hatred mixed with homophobia and ignorance caused the American people to turn on anyone diagnosed with HIV a constant comment a lot of people have when they look back at shows like this is this sense of displeasure that Television had to teach kids something that their parents refused to For instance in the 1960s the children of blatant racist segregationists would turn on their TVs to see Mr. Rogers tell them that racism is for chumps and that segregation doesn’t make sense But in the case of Captain Planet and the Planeteers it goes one step further This episode wasn’t just telling kids something that their parents should have it was telling the American public Something that the White House should have The former administration who had left just as the show jerk-off knew for years that Americans were dying from the AIDS epidemic They knew that a parade of misinformation had caused the people of the country to turn on the LGBTQ community out of hate and fear and they chose to do nothing Because they just really didn’t care about gay people dying. It’s not any more complex than that They laughed in the face of people who were asking about this They ignored calls for action and they let Americans die because most of those Americans were in the gay community And Captain Planet, as goofy a concept as it was, did a better job of representing the seriousness of the HIV epidemic and Fighting the misinformation around it than most anyone else in power did at that time By telling its audience that not supporting the victims of this sickness was something so evil that it had to be personified by a giant Mutated sewer rat Out of all the topics that I’ve chosen to highlight in this episode Captain Planet is arguably the most laughable today But it was heavily ahead of its time in terms of using its stories to prepare its audience for a world that could be just as serious and upsetting as stories like this one and for that I Really think it deserves a lot more praise than it tends to get So some concluding thoughts to wrap us up here I often see people complain about how media has become political and especially entertainment meant for younger people But when one goes back to older stories to things that we all grew up on We come to realize that these elements were always at play. These shows were always ALWAYS political What changes is us, the viewers We get older we start to understand the world and thus we start to see the parallels between the world And what is shown on TV When people cry for entertainment without these elements what they’re really highlighting is that they’re nostalgic for a time where they didn’t understand enough of the world to care about these elements and to some extent these shows have sort of a responsibility to tell their audience about the world, to make them see the differences between right and wrong. And it’s impossible to do that without dipping into topics seen as Political at the time and shows that do manage to do this are usually the ones that we remember and commend as time goes on one other comment about this My friend Sara recently tweeted something that I thought was really important to discussions like this. She said what is and isn’t considered politics is in fact something political in and of itself This is upsettingly true I get so goddamn tired of people saying that video games become political not when they discuss war or actual politics but when they start to feature a greater diversity in your options for who you can play as specifically when games feature lesbian or trans characters as options in their storylines and the question becomes Who profits from these narratives? Of saying that diversity is political and that being political is inherently the worst thing you can be Just imagine for a moment living in a world where people consider your entire identity to be so polarizing in discussion that the idea, of you existing of you breathing in front of their face is Political to the extent that people who are like you shouldn’t be allowed in pop culture No, it’s infuriating, short-sighted and blatantly ignorant The world is political. Things that discuss and represent the world accurately have to be political sometimes If you can’t handle that, there’s a lovely moon sitting in our orbit Just waiting for some idiot to colonize it Sudden tone shift. I am very excited to announce This video is once again sponsored by our friends at Privacy.com I always love when these guys want to do a sponsor because it’s a service that I actually Really love so in a modern age security on the Internet can be a little iffy It seems every few months supposedly secure organizations leak the information of their customers because of basic incompetence and let’s not even discuss the people who are actually Maliciously trying to get your information on purpose in this day and age using the same card everywhere You purchase stuff online is like using the same password on every account that you visit You’re just asking for your bank account to be accessed that way and once that happens You got to get a new card and then you got to find out all the subscriptions that you use that card on and change It out. It’s a pain. But with privacy those worries are a fear of the past. The process is very simple You just make an account connect your new account to your bank account or debit card and then you can create and use an infinite Amount of virtual cards you can set spending limits to make sure that you aren’t overcharged on monthly subscriptions or you can set the card to just one use So even if your info gets stolen it won’t matter because the card was only intended to work for that one purchase This is really useful for all the strange things that I tend to buy on the internet that are probably sort of shady corners But that’s a topic for an entirely different video And when you use my link at Privacvy.com/Quinton, you will get an extra five dollars added to your account That’s a free five dollar credit that you can use Anywhere you’d like and with the chrome add-on the simplicity the service goes one step further Let’s say I want to buy this random book I picked out All I have to do is go to the payment page click on this little logo add in a name and boom Within just a few seconds I’ve added a whole new level of security to my life once again go to Privacy.com/Quinton to get your free five dollars now and use it any way you’d like, that’s p-r-i-v-a-c-y .com slash q-u-i-n-t-o-n A big thanks to my patreon supporters who helped me fund this video without you guys It would be so hard to stay afloat in this day and age I’m doing a deal right now where if I get to a hundred and eighty-five supporters I am going to make a video dedicated to reviewing the infamous film To Boldly Flee and that is something a lot of people have wanted me to do for very long time And if I reach that goal, I’m gonna do it Maybe that’s where you want to spend some of your $5.00 or you know books, charity. Whatever it’s your money I also wanted to end the video by suggesting that you guys check out this two-part video by my friend Jack Saint About LGBTQ Representation in 90s cartoons. It’s an absolutely incredible video from an equally fantastic channel and a really cool dude, and basically if you’ve enjoyed this video, it’s gonna be right up your alley With that- I’ve been Quinton Reviews, and that’s all you need


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  2. Captain Planet fucking WENT THERE with the episode about HIV.

    I think that's what I loved so much about television as a kid. They had a message, a moral. They went in on tough subjects and explained it easily for the kids watching it.

    I always think about the Powerpuff Girls episode with that one "superhero" chick that tried to ride the coat tails of feminism, which was actually just blatant misandry and Ms. Keen and Ms. Bellum say the girls down to explain that feminism was about equality, not about women being superior to men. That was so fucking rad, and it's always stuck with me.

    That's the beauty of animation, and it's a shame there aren't more shows out there like this. Don't get me wrong, Steven Universe and Adventure Time and a bunch of others tackle serious. I love it. Rocko showing a trans character was excellent, and if it offended you, go drink some boiling water to kill the hatred in you.

  3. Dislike because you framed spongebob as an old cartoon – spongebob is this new cartoon about a sponge.
    I refuse to be old.
    Spongebob is still new.

  4. 11:50 "Who CARES??!!"
    Telling everyone to stop caring about things gets so boring. A lack of people caring is what got us to the point where free speech is actually in danger. Every time you react with indifference to some minor thing, they push the envelope a little further down the slope until now we're at actual child drag queens promoted on tv.

  5. I love how you disgusting liberal pigs are attempting defile and rewrite history in your image, remake after remake. It will be a privilege to watch you crash and burn. It sickens me we're of the same generation. You betrayed the very fabric of human society and it will lead to a miserable existence.

  6. Im pretty sure showing bender as an example of being trans to commit crime is blatantly false. He is crossdressing to do that but he does not claim to change identities

  7. Prepared for the milkshakes but, is it bad I want GOOD and DECENT entertainment to wash out the culture war full of what I think are communists that have basically taken over every bit of media we held dear once as nerds and fans of the art we love? Gaming, Comics, and Literature to name a few. Thank the Gods though that we can always go underground or become independent or import are entertainment from Japan. I guess what I'm asking is where are all the decent and tactful writers and artists gone? heck where are the hacks that we can have a fun time reading or watching? where's the grace?

  8. Growing up I couldnt really go out with friends and stuff. Stuffed animals were really my only social outlet. I would cook them food and play with them. Looking back my parents are low key heros for more or less letting me be me.

  9. It is funny how this guy asks for patreon while reminding the viewer that it is there money and they should spend it on what they want to. Where as Alex Jones begs and pleads and strikes fear into his viewers trying to trick people out of their money.

    I prefer people like this guy who ask that viewers think about if they are willing to donate as opposed to right wing groups who try to scare or coerce their viewers into donating.

  10. god that reddit post about tlou part ii was a lot to take in, why are they so mad about queer people and poc just… existing?

  11. Okay actually I can give you another example of what that newscaster Ben has for a hairdo, he looks like a big ass bird basically shit on his head and turn I'm saying maybe Big Bird from Sesame Street. So pissed off at him that he literally just decided to take a shit on Ben's head! In short I agree with you that guy needs to take a shower!

  12. Okay asshole
    Ya wanna know why Ben shaprio and the Fox news guys were so angry? Forcing children to look at gender in a way that you can just choose what you want to is disgusting.

  13. Now I think Captain Planet is not cheesy anymore it make sense to this world we live in and these other shows to

  14. 11:41 Hooray, I'm not the only one who's noticed how so many right-wingers are massive snowflakes, despite calling everyone else snowflakes! 😀

  15. 11:41 so your reasoning that is being a snowflake is because they are reacting to an action in an area no one is aware of? Your argument that popularity is a source of validity if it's an issue. Well that doesn't seem like a very fair system and it ignores the idea that the school (representing an education institution) could be setting a president for other schools.

    Some may look at that as patriarchy due to a male dominated a female place. Some may look at that as progression of society. To some this is an important step in society and you've gone and said the school isn't popular enough to care about it. That's honestly quite childish.

  16. I’ll be perfectly honest, I saw the thumbnail and, having watched Static Cling, immediately started worrying.

    I should trust you more.

  17. a lot of these cartoon conspiracy channels just pull objective thoughts out of thin air and write it off as the truth. man the only thing cartoons taught me is its fun to sit and watch the tv. you full of booshit.

  18. i really appreciate that this video exists, even if im a little late >:( youre one of my favorite creators and this is so rad to see

  19. I came back to this channel to see if it had changed from when I last saw it… it has… but not in the way I’ve expected it to

  20. Great episode, but in the future could you please avoid trigger jokes, even if used ironically at bigots who use them themselves? At the end of the day, calling somebody "triggered" like that still belittles the experiences of people struggling with PTSD

    Also agreed that Captain Planet is pretty alright actually, figures a certain Mr. Walker hates it

  21. Strange.

    This video isn't considering the hand-holding between Korra & Asami in the S4 finale…

    Even Bryke in that time was a pathetic, loser & unsuccesful bitch.

  22. I've always had a soft spot for Captain Planet. It was a show I got looks at views and lessons I didn't get to see with my parents.

  23. Mr crabs never got a "realistic punishment"? Wtf? What do you want them to do, have the government fine his business, or him to have to resign from his position as the head of his company? It's a cartoon, piss off

  24. at 11:38 the prom queen being named a male student does have its own problems due to erasing actual women, but that's not the issue those chucklefucks think is bad, no it's the fact that the school acknowledges that it has gay students.

  25. >includes paid promotion
    >4 ads throughout video anyways

    Isn't that part of what sponsored videos are supposed to negate?

  26. No matter how much everybody, or shows in the matter, try to make an impact on society, there is always going to be someone that doesn't believe what YOU believe. Simple as that. The world will never see gay as normal.

  27. Rocko has ALWAYS had LGBT themes. They haven't always been positive or nuanced, but as a kid it was the show that showed me these things exist and people exist among all spectrums. I can't fathom how you can say you're a fan of the old show and not get that.

  28. If all the white supremacists colonized the moon, would there be enough of them to start a war with the planet below?

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