As some of you may have read this part weekend, this was the first Saturday without Saturday Morning Cartoons. Let me just say, as a fan of animation and cartoons, I mourn the passing. However, I won’t sit on my rocking chair, lamenting the loss of the good ole days. For starters because the good ole days weren’t THAT good. I remember whole blocks of time during Saturday morning filled with cartoons that were just patently unwatchable. I also know that a lot of the cartoons I love from that era, I’ve only seen recently because only so many cartoons were carried in some regions (a very small segment of society actually watched Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors or the Visionaries, and that’s a shame).
The second reason is that what we’ve lost pales in comparison to what we’ve gained. Saturday Morning Cartoons were a great ritual for many kids, but with Cartoon Network, Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, and so many other options, the entertainment hasn’t been lost. Quite the opposite. Children – of all ages – have never had access this to much quality entertainment in all of human history. And no, that is not an exaggeration.
I will concede that the ritual of getting up on Saturday morning to watch cartoons, cartoons that were specifically designated as Saturday Morning Cartoons, is a bit sad. It provided a universal experience that so many kids shared in. At school and on the playground, kids could talk about their favorite shows and discuss the common entertainment they all took partook from. And the loss of that common language of entertainment isn’t trivial. But even still, it is a small price to pay to be able to watch any cartoon or any kids’ show from any time across pretty much all of the history of television, in any country! Oh, sure, the collection is far from complete, but we’re not too far off from being able to share with our kids/nieces & nephews/grandkids all the great shows we grew up with.
The passing of a cultural touchstone is always sad, but we lost a morning to gain all of history.