Do you miss your childhood? Coming home after school, I would always plop down on my bed and start flipping through the channels, looking for my favorite cartoon. Back then, there were a lot of great choices: “Teen Titans,” “Jimmy Neutron,” “SpongeBob,” “Courage the Cowardly Dog,” “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” and the list goes on and on.
Today, kids have a similar routine, but their options pale in comparison. Modern cartoons feature lazy writing filled with weak humor and little story. Take for example “Teen Titans Go!,” the 2013 successor to the brilliant 2003 animated series “Teen Titans.”
“Teen Titans” was a television show on Cartoon Network that ran for five seasons and was a fantastic representation of the comic series by the same name. Each main character, with the exception of Starfire, who had a movie, had an entire season dedicated to their own development. Each one of them has complicated issues that are well explained and relatable, such as Cyborg dealing with his lack of humanity the same way we deal with popularity–feeling excluded and having to pretend one is something they’re not for the approval of others.
The series was not all grim moments of self-discovery, however, the mature comedy is abundant. Beyond the writing and story elements, the show features animated and choreographed fight scenes that are entertaining and relevant. The popularity and critical acclaim proves that it is not impossible to make shows for children that appeal to adults as well.
Now for the terrible revamp, “Teen Titans Go!” is an immature supplement for its predecessor. While it inherits the goofiness from “Teen Titans,” that is the only quality it bothers to represent. The show is abundant of lazy fart and excrement jokes and tosses any action scenes out of the window almost entirely.
“Teen Titans Go!” only goes downhill from there, delivering nonsense plots that allow for little character development and absolutely no continuity. This series attempts to relate to its audience by sacrificing character traits in favor of story lines following petty problems as though it were a crappy sitcom. Take for example Raven, the daughter of a demon, being a fan of a “My Little Pony” clone, a feature that makes zero sense for the character first introduced over 30 years ago.
Sadly, “Teen Titans Go!” is a too accurate representation of nearly all the children’s cartoons running today. Producers now prioritize quantity over quality, and the result are shows that write for the intended audience and absolutely no one else. This narrow view causes the writers to feel no connection to their product. How would you feel about writing exclusively for 8-year-olds? Probably just as depressed as these writers seem to be, since nothing credible has come out of their work.
The only silver lining is that current shows only take away from the past if you allow them to. “Teen Titans” is not any worse because of “Teen Titans Go!,” so think back to your favorite show from the 2000s and just watch it. Pay no mind to the pathetic shows of the present; we’ve got the best cartoons to date and we should take pride in that.