8-18 Media Guest Column: Reflecting on horror in cartoons
In many TV shows meant for children, there’s always secret and hidden messages. One thing I seemed to notice throughout the years while watching, for example, Looney Tunes, was cartoon characters committing suicide either because they were mad at someone and couldn’t handle the anger or they weren’t happy with their lives. This sends a shocking and terrifying message to youth and I would love to discuss it.
When I was 4 -years- old I adored Boomerang. Boomerang was a channel (in the Middle East) that had all kinds of cartoon shows: Tom & Jerry, Looney Tunes, and my personal favorite Pink Panther…please don’t judge. While watching these cartoons with a plate filled with grilled Nutella sandwiches beside me (which back then I would say the Nutella sandwich was my own secret recipe that no one could figure out. Please note I watched a lot of Spongebob Square Pants and was not so wise) and observing how Daffy Duck, a character from the cartoon Looney Tunes, was always so stubborn and hated everything around, so each episode, or it seemed like every episode, he would find different ways to end his life. Shocking? Keep on reading to learn more.
But it wasn’t only Looney Tunes, it was every single cartoon show and some that weren’t even on Boomerang. Personally, from my experience as a child watching these shows I always felt terrified of the idea and I would always wonder why on earth would the creators of these cartoons add these hidden messages in shows for children? What creeped me out most of all was the fact that each episode in every cartoon show on Boomerang, featured a new way to end your life demonstrated by a fictional character. Episode after episode would show young ones new ways, but keep in mind that a lot of the times these fictional characters would kill themselves as a joke.
Have you ever wondered why Tom & Jerry was always so brutal? Well obviously, Gene Dietch, who is the creator of Tom & Jerry, knew that young ones would be watching the show. And the idea of each episode was the two characters Tom & Jerry literally assaulting each other in different ways. Like throwing bowling balls at one another, or trying to kill each other using guns! To me, that’s insane. I started to figure out the message the show was trying to show kids back in 2017.
So be careful what you let your children watch on TV. It could be dangerous and violent. Or maybe your kid was like me eating non-stop and watching one of my favorite harmless shows Looney Tunes… again, please don’t judge. I’m very picky with my shows.
I want you as the reader to remember a time where a cartoon show or episode taught you something positive… couldn’t think of one? I’m shocked (I was being sarcastic by the way). Why can’t cartoon shows teach kids about how people of different colors all should be equal or how you should not be judged when you walk out your door due to your weight?
So be careful what you let your children watch on TV. It could be dangerous and violent or sending negative messages. It is important for parents to talk to their about what they watch on tv to make sure that children aren’t processing violence in cartoons into reality.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Fahad Meshal Ali Hussain Baqer Al-Abdullah is 14 years old and is a grade 9 student at the Al-Bayan Bilingual School- Kuwait. He often spends his summers in Marquette visiting relatives. His hobbies include jet-skiing, exploring, playing card games, reading, MUN, jumping off diving boards and watching Game of Thrones.