Childhood cartoons that changed our lives

Jenna Helfant

Staff Writer

Rocket Power, Doug, Rocko’s Modern Life, As told by Ginger, Wild Thornberrys, The Ren and Stimpy Show, Rugrats, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Pinky and the Brain, The Angry Beavers: ten animated television shows that helped define our childhood. Characters like Otto Rocket and Tommy Pickles became not only household names but also role models for kids living in the 90’s.

I can recall the endless hours spent sitting in front of the TV in an unbreakable trance watching characters travel on new adventures each and every day. In a way we lived vicariously through these television personas. We all remember a time when you wished you could talk to animals, or spend everyday surfing and skateboarding?

Now, as I sit and watch bits and pieces of these memorable shows on youtube, I am overwhelmed with nostalgia and I am left with an empty longing for this extinct part of my childhood.

No television program now can compare to the mesmerizing shows of our past. As the years have gone by and technology has advanced, youth-based TV has transformed from simple (yet undeniably amusing) cartoons, to more digitally innovative shows like Jimmy Neutron, welcoming the new era of live action programming.

Controversy-ridden Miley Cyrus and teenage mother Jamie Lynn Spears have replaced the once innocently naive role models like Eliza Thornberry and Doug Funnie.

So what exactly sparked this change in programming? According to USA Today, company marketers would attribute this modification to the concept of age compression. Basically, kids are getting older younger. For example, when I was eight years old, I had my Barbies, my coloring books, and my cartoons; I was deeply satisfied. Now, marketers are finding that eight year old girls are becoming a part of the target audience for certain make-up companies and clothing labels.

Because of this desire to physically appear older, young girls want to see these qualities depicted in the television programming they watch. Suddenly, watching television characters that wear the same outfit everyday is just not as appealing as watching what quirky outfits iCarly will wear.

Yet the question remains, if the concept of age compression is correct, and current eight year olds insist on non-cartoon TV shows like Victorious, what type of children’s programming will eight year olds in a decade want to watch?

It’s a sad thought that this next generation of children will have to grow up in a world lacking the wonderful cartoons filled with innocent content that we once took for granted.

At least we children of the 90’s can still reminisce about the unforgettable shows of our childhood.