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Why are cartoon fans so puritanical about adult cartoons?

SuperL

Member
Nov 27, 2017
386
I'm serious. Anytime cartoon fans talk about adult cartoons (such as Mr. Enter), they bemoan that they actually have adult content. The y hate when adult cartoons have cursing, they hate when adult cartoons have sex or violence or dirty jokes or anything like that, and they constantly talk about how kids shows are BETTER than adult cartoons, because they handle adult subject matter MATURELY (aka via clumsy, obtuse BS&P-friendly metaphors).

This video complains about how adult cartoons are too cynical, because they're a smidgen less watered down than the fucking Care Bears.


And this article bemoans Love, Death and Robots for being "edgy", Hazbin Hotel for also "being edgy" and other nonense. It's like the worst thing an adult cartoon can be is "edgy".


I don't get it. Do cartoon fans want to go back to the days of the Hayes Code?
 

Rackham

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,920
Hazbin Hotel has awful dialogue and is bad because of it. I don't agree with a show that has cursing or adult related content being automatically bad. I just think that this particular example is actually pretty low quality in terms of writing.
 

Weiss

Member
Oct 25, 2017
22,023
It's a natural backlash to the likes of Family Guy ruling the Adult Animation label for two decades.
 

Rhomega

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,209
Arizona
I've heard the complaint that adult shows rely too much on sex and swearing, so they aren't really adult shows, they're teen shows that make them want to feel like they're adults. Why not tackle mature, adult concepts without the aforementioned clumsy, obtuse BS&P metaphors?
 

Inuhanyou

Member
Oct 25, 2017
12,636
New Jersey
its weird...there are certain adult cartoons that try to revel in being adult with cursing and sex to their detriment, and there are certain kid cartoons that are awesome because they are good for adults and kids.

In general it all has to do with getting away from the stigmata that cartoons are for kids by default
 

Dishwalla

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
10,081
Boise, Idaho
I think it's because they are talking about things like Sausage Party which are more juvenile takes at adult humor aimed squarely at the teenage/early 20s demo. But there are things like Bojack Horseman that have adult themes and eschew much of the purposefully up front raunchiness in favor of meaningful story telling.
 

Aaron

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
12,549
I've heard the complaint that adult shows rely too much on sex and swearing, so they aren't really adult shows, they're teen shows that make them want to feel like they're adults. Why not tackle mature, adult concepts without the aforementioned clumsy, obtuse BS&P metaphors?
I'm reminded of the Bojack crew admitting the first few episodes are so much different in tone because Netflix viewers expect Family Guy-level humor from cartoons, so they roped people in with juvenile humor and hoped they'd stick to it when the series moved to more mature storylines.
 

Crossing Eden

Member
Oct 26, 2017
21,460
It's because a lot of adult cartoons are adult in a very juvenile sense. Comparable to all those fan translation of manga that contain a metric fuckton of added swears for the sake of it. And often times there is no substance once you get past the surface level edginess.

Love, Death, and Robots is one such example, although each short is beautiful, they aren't very good or memorable outside of the visuals. They certainly are grotesque, violent, grimy, and sexual a lot of the time, but it's hella telling that the most memorable shorts have little to none of that at all. Worse, these shows are often watched more by younger people than actual adults because the writing tends to be the equivalent of "adult" as viewed through the lense of the teenage rebellion phase.
 
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Dyle

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
9,377
Wisconsin
Blame shows like Family Guy, Rick and Morty, South Park, etc. for poisoning the well and creating the impression that adult oriented cartoons have to be crass. Bojack is one of the few shows that has managed to get away from it and even they had to lean into it somewhat early on
 

Dongs Macabre

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,476
Interesting. I think you've stumbled on a revolutionary new system where twelve year olds on Xbox Live are the most adult of us all.
 

Aaron

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
12,549
Didn't get that show when I was younger, as an adult it's one of my favorites.

Man, this might be the ur-example of a genuinely adult cartoon.

Didn't care for it as a kid, all it was to me was that weird redneck show they played after Simpsons.

Simpsons, South Park, Futurama and Family Guy may have been "adult" but still had plenty of wackiness for the kids (like me). Even when King of the Hill was crass it felt a lot more domesticated.

 

Calles

Member
Nov 1, 2017
5,259
Cartoons when they were first being shown weren't considered only for kids, they were for everyone. It was only decades later did it become a viewpoint that cartoons were for children. You have shows like Looney Tunes that if you were like me watched so many times over growing up you realized it wasn't always exactly kiddy. There was often wit, maturity and comedy beyond basic jokes. And that's because they were made for more than just kids. Like video games, cartoons have had the devils time trying to change the viewpoint that it's "only for kids", but thankfully that viewpoint is being washed away as newer generations come into being.
 

Apollo

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,072
I think part of it is that (in my experience) it’s often considered weird to watch cartoons unless it’s something like Family Guy. If people like those then I’m not gonna judge them, that’s totally valid. But it’s frustrating being shamed for liking cartoons that are ostensibly aimed towards younger audiences. I don’t need you to like them, but I would like you to respect that I find value in them
 

Rhomega

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,209
Arizona
there's a lot of them that aren't pop culture related and instead are simple sex appeal jokes

and there are at least two cartoons that feature images of topless females, 1943's "Daffy The Commando" and 1944's "Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears".
Oh yes, Red Hot Riding Hood, as well as that bit in House of Tomorrow with the channel for the "tired businessman".
 

Calvarok

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,527
i mean a lot of the more violent and sexual cartoons are pretty clearly aimed at teens. so i think that explains the whole thing? stuff that is all ages can often be more mature in its storytelling because its audience isn't just waiting until the next bit of gore or thing to remember when they jerk off later.

violence and sexuality can be part of genuinely mature stories though, yes. i highly doubt anyone you're talking about would disagree with you if you put it as non-confrontationally as i just did.
 

Dishwalla

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
10,081
Boise, Idaho
also numerous pre code cartoons that depict rampant drinking and club going

we won't get into the many many examples of racial "humor" that was used throughout the WB cartoon filmography
 

Carnby

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,948
Personally they don't offend me I just think the edge lord cartoons of Adult Swim have run their course.
 

Aexact

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,550
I mean, if adult content is cursing, ultra violence, and sex, that’s fair. It frequently does feel mindlessly edgy, if we are using Love, Sex and Robots as the barometer.
 
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Oct 29, 2017
5,104
I think there is the case that what is being criticized are shallow shows that try copy popular ones and only carry over all the surface similarities but fail to back that up with good writing.

Look at how some Archer clones are trashed by people who do love all the crassness of Archer.

It is obvious when a show tries to pass excessive swearing, violence, and sexual content for actual adult humor. People who detest those shows often love all the shows that actually pull it off.
 

N_Cryo

Avenger
Nov 6, 2017
1,382
west coast
Adult animation like Love, death, and Robots isn't anything new. Anime has already done all of that. Its different for adult animation humor because it's only gotten more crass.
 

patientzero

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,942
Look at how some Archer clones are trashed by people go do love all the crassness of Archer.

It is obvious when a show tries to pass excessive swearing, violence, and sexual content for actual adult humor. People who detest those shows often love all the shows that actually pull it off.
The thing is, Archer can be extremely crass and low-brow one second and then devote a series of running jokes to the use of idioms in English for multiple episodes. Plus references to Emily Post, Elisha Otis, and an on-going joke about Archer not knowing classic literature and then throwing out an analysis of Animal Farm. The audience then knows they can trust the writers to mix their literate and scatological humor.

Or take Big Mouth, which is as juvenile as humanly possible, but doing so for a greater goal of addressing all the things we don't talk about regarding puberty.

And both shows mix that with a deep sense of pathos toward their characters.

Lesser shows aim for caricatures spouting nothing but the lowest-common denimator diatribes of a middling 90s comedian.
 
Oct 29, 2017
5,104
The thing is, Archer can be extremely crass and low-brow one second and then devote a series of running jokes to the use of idioms in English for multiple episodes. Plus references to Emily Post, Elisha Otis, and an on-going joke about Archer not knowing classic literature and then throwing out an analysis of Animal Farm. The audience then knows they can trust the writers to mix their literate and scatological humor.

Or take Big Mouth, which is as juvenile as humanly possible, but doing so for a greater goal of addressing all the things we don't talk about regarding puberty.

And both shows mix that with a deep sense of pathos toward their characters.

Lesser shows aim for caricatures spouting nothing but the lowest-common denimator diatribes of a middling 90s comedian.
Like copying a recipe thinking the condiments are what made the dish, and then serving raw chicken with a similar sauce.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,813
North Carolina
I mean majority of adult cartoons have sex and violence and swearing for the sake of being "adult" and it just comes off bad. There ARE adult cartoons that pull these things off without looking like a teenagers idea of a cartoon they would make on adult swim in the mid '00s.
 

SchrodingerC

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,081
Love, Death and Robots has some amazing episodes, but how they dealt with ‘adult’ themes could be messy or just gross, coming across as more juvenile tbh. The Witness is probably one of the most egregious example of this issue.

For Hazbin Hotel, I’ll just paste what I and another poster wrote:
There’s an art to swearing tbh.
One can use swearing to spice up their dialogue, and then there’s writing like an edgy 13 year old who’s trying to make a bad imitation of adult swim shows.
The art and animation are fantastic, but the script leaves much to be desired, the dialogue in particular.
This is where I'm at on both shorts/pilots.

Animation is stunning, the designs are fun, colors are nice, voice work is great, the story is interesting, but the writing needs a lot of work.

There is absolutely 100% an art to swearing where it can be used to make dialogue feel more real/natural, and sometimes a well placed/delivered curse can be funny all on its own, but just jamming them in haphazardly is bad. It breaks the flow of the conversation and can even take me out of it and yes, often screams "LOOK HOW ADULT WE ARE, SWEARS!!"

I think if they found someone to punch up the dialogue they'd be in business. Honestly I think they're already in business even with the shitty dialogue but it would really help make it that much better. The core concept of "girl wants to start a redemption clinic for demons" has plenty of room to do fun stuff with.

And something tells me Radio Demon's plan is to use the daughter of the devil to either take over Hell, or skip that entirely and use the redemption portal to escape hell and take over heaven. He's obviously up to something and they make a point of saying how powerful he is and how quickly he was able to take over other sections of their world, would make sense he'd see the hotel as an opportunity to expand his grasp even further.
 

Kino

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,174
I’ve never encountered this attitude. If anything I see more people who want kids cartoons to be more cynical to match their adult life experiences.
 

Aexact

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,550
I’ve never encountered this attitude. If anything I see more people who want kids cartoons to be more cynical to match their adult life experiences.
Yeah, you see the refrain of “just cause it’s aimed at kids doesn’t mean it has to suck” but oftentimes the criticisms are specific desires of plot developments or wanting more cynicism.

... like, I’m not saying that’s true all the time but that does feel like the tone I’m seeing frequently.
 

Z-Beat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
16,780
I like a lot of those modern adult cartoons but stuff like Bee and Puppycat often feels like they're cartoons made for adults who absolutely can not handle the fact that they're adults.

Might be the point and easing them into this realization
 

Gentlemen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,179
3:22: "Shows like South Park and Family Guy make themselves out to look to be like they're this messenger of adulthood, spreading truths about how the real world works. Though quite often, these shows will confuse cynicism for maturity, and in an attempt to appear mature, they will try to paint the world as a vile place where everyone except them is stupid and nothing is going to change because that's just how the world works. Now only is this a defeatist way to look at the world, but it ironically makes the show appear to be more immature than the children's shows that they are trying to distance themselves from. Luckily, more and more shows are realizing that this is a bad way to go about things. Shows like Bojack Horseman, Rick and Morty, and Bee and Puppycat try to bring out more hopeful and mature messages for their audiences."

Rick and Morty
more hopeful and mature messages

Nah.

I get what the video maker is trying to say, it just gets muddied when it puts R&M anywhere near the same space that Bojack or Bee and Puppycat inhabit. More hopeful messages are hard to come by in broadcast media mostly because we're still only just beginning to see a variety of creators responsible for creating this media, instead of the status-quo reinforcing white straight male default perspective of "things are different that means something was taken from you."
 

fontguy

Avenger
Oct 8, 2018
2,394
An awful lot of the western cartoons that market themselves as adult are the animation equivalent of this shit:



None of them have anything approaching the emotional intelligence of shows like Steven Universe or Adventure Time. They’re almost designed to distract from the difficulties and complications in our lives, while “kid shows” will, with increasing frequency, stare them in the face and interrogate them.