Watching Saturday morning cartoons, dial-up internet, and holding a game boy for the first time are all memories that today’s young adult will remember fondly. However, In today’s world, the eerie noise that blared from the computer before it informed you that “you’ve got mail,” has been replaced with the taps of thumbs on touch screens. The simplicity of a game boy has been replaced with headsets that imitate reality. Our generation has been able to detach and move on to next best thing, whatever that thing may be, time and time again. Unless you’re talking about television.
As the power rangers gear up for a feature film, Pokémon is celebrating its 20 year anniversary. Nickelodeon and Disney have both dedicated hours of their on-air schedule to shows that haven’t been in rotation in over ten years. Nostalgia alone is driving 2016 to look a lot like like 1998. For some students, that doesn’t seem to be a bad thing.
“Growing up in the 90s, cartoons started becoming this huge thing, so I guess our generation just got accustomed to them,” Lawrence Medrano, a senior integrative studies major at UNT said. “I think we like them in a nostalgic way.”
Nostalgia has turned into a profitable market for TV, and it has moved on from one generation to the next. Remakes of Scooby-Doo and Tom and Jerry are being traded in for The Powerpuff Girls and DuckTales. With our childhoods now being pilfered for profit, it’s resulted in a heist for networks, and an unexpected gold mine for viewers.
“I think it’s popular because it’s convenient to see shows that we really genuinely liked when we were children,” Chassidy Wooten, a senior public relations at UNT said. “It doesn’t prevent us, no matter how old we are, from enjoying them.”
However, there are new programs that still provide us the same fulfillment we have received from past shows, while still offering adult themes and concepts that are usually reserved for “mature” shows. With networks like Cartoon Network allowing very subtle innuendos into their programming, it’s clear that the target audience expanded to include multiple generations of viewers.
“The cartoons that are out right now are geared towards adults, they’re not geared towards children,” Deanna Franklin, a senior pathology major at UNT said. “The children just don’t know that they’re not supposed to be watching it.”
With all the progression animation has seen in the past decade, it is not hard to understand why millienials never left certain parts of their childhood behind. While channels like MTV and FX have lost viewership, Cartoon Network gained viewers in the 18-49 adult demographic, according to Variety. In today’s multitasking world, these shows are more than just funny characters. For some, the shows serve as a relaxing break from an intense schedule.
“You don’t have to think too hard about it,” Victoria Upton, a senior journalism major at UNT said. “Most of them are comedies anyway. It’s one of those relaxing things that you can put on and watch.”
Modern-day cartoons have evolved in many different ways, much like the audience that has been captivated for well over a decade. Implementing real-world scenarios into witty, fictional environments has provided audiences with programming they can easily dive into. Nostalgia or not, cartoons have a measured grip on television, and multiple ways to keep both older and younger viewers in front of the screen on Saturday mornings.