My wife turned me on to a show called Archer recently. It’s horrendously crass and inappropriate, but it’s a cartoon and it’s hilarious. It’s basically a send-up of a traditional spy agency show from years gone by. However, in this show the spy office is more like The Office than the CIA.
Watching this show it got me thinking a bit about how we view crude humor differently when it comes from an animated character vs a real one. I remember when I was growing up and Bevis and Butthead came out, how controversial it was for an animated show to be so rude and raunchy. In many ways I think they were the first show that got away with more than we ever thought could happen in a cartoon. The Simpsons pushed the limits for sure, so perhaps they could be considered the pioneers, but B&B started a trend that brought us series like Family Guy and Archer.
For many of us who grew up with cartoons that revolved around toys or iconic characters like Scooby Doo, the idea of an adult cartoon seemed to take us by surprise. Though I’m not sure it should have. Many of these iconic shows like the Flintstones and Scooby Doo, had more mature themes woven into them, they simply didn’t come out and say the obvious. The new generation of adult animation has no qualms about simply stating a blatant sexual joke, or putting characters in horrible situations. Because they are cartoons, it presents a caricature of a person. This means that they can get away with stretching the boundaries even farther, without having to worry about getting an actor to convey the right mood and feeling.
Plus, it’s really darn funny. Ok, enough pointless rambling and back to Netflix….