Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Science Project #1: Will Watching Saturday Morning Cartoons Make My Life Less Miserable?

This blog is a byproduct of my quarter-life crisis. (Though, I feel uncomfortable using "quarter-life" to describe my current "crisis" because the term seems presumptuous. Like, who's to say that it isn't a mid-life crisis? Or some other fraction that's greater or smaller than 1/4 that I can't even write here for you because I got a "C-" in Algebra.) I celebrate the past because things in the present are so totally stressful and frighteningly adult. But just blogging about old stuff isn't enough. So, in an attempt to reclaim some of the innocence and simplicity of my youth, I will be conducting a series of experiments in which I will very literally try to replicate my childhood in the present. Here is Experiment #1, which was completed this past Saturday. 


Purpose: Relieve some of the anxiety and stress brought on by mounting debt and career dissatisfaction by watching Saturday morning cartoons, which were at one time a highlight of my weekend.


Hypothesis: This crap isn't going to work.


The Subject:


Materials:
In a perfect world, Pepper Ann would've been incorporated into the morning's proceedings but the show hasn't been released on DVD yet and it was crucial that every cartoon be viewed on my television and not on my computer to minimize the effect of modern-day, result-shifting variables. I chose The Real Ghostbusters, ALF: Animated Adventures, and X-Men--not the most obvious line-up or even one that you might have picked but lay off me, okay? When you do the experiment you can pick the shows. Until that day, I do the picking.
My original plan was to eat a bowl of cereal as I watched cartoons (for optimum wholesomeness) but I forgot to go to the grocery store Friday night and the liquor store down the street was charging $5 for a dust-covered box of Fruity Pebbles--which I should have bought for authenticity's sake, since the box has probably been on the shelf since 1992. I opted, instead, to throw caution to the wind and eat a sugary, artery clogging glazed twist because that's what a kid would do. 

Procedure: Eat fattening breakfast goodies while watching classic Saturday morning cartoons. Record emotional response and immediate reactions. 

Data/Observations:
Start Time: 8:45 AM
Cartoon #1: Ghostbusters (1986-1991)
Episode: Ghosts R Us
Field Notes: Watching this rekindled my preadolescent outrage over Slimer's transformation from a ghost the ghostbusters busted (in the movie) to their scrappy little mascot/pal. So, I suppose that's a minor step toward recapturing my youth. At the same time, it was hard for me to ignore the poor sound quality and the fact that Egon and Ray have blond and red hair (respectively) when they both had brown hair in the movie. 

(these are Ghostbuster "action-figures" from my toy collection)

The doughnut was tasty, everything I remember doughnuts being. I haven't eaten one for a couple of months as I've been trying (though, mostly failing*) to eat more responsibly--I get sick all of the time and my mom (who is actually a scientist) says it's because I don't eat right. But immediately after inhaling the thing, I couldn't stop myself from thinking that I should probably do some sort of exercise later or at least eat a plate of broccoli for dinner to counter the effects of the doughnut. In keeping with the spirit of the experiment, though, there will be no exercise/broccoli and the doughnut will just have to congeal in my stomach with the massive burrito I had Friday night. I only had 3 or 4 sips of the orange juice because I think I've just realized that I don't like orange juice anymore. Sad.

Cartoon #2: ALF: Animated Adventures (1987-1989)
Episode: Phantom Pilot
Field Notes: This wasn't too funny or even very entertaining and I couldn't stop staring at this guy's crotch:
Judging from the way it's so gloriously displayed, I don't think that I was supposed to be ignoring it. I'd been antsy/anxious while watching Ghostbusters but the feeling began to subside while sitting through this. I don't know how to account for the change. Maybe there's some correlation between anxiety and animated alien crotch bulge. Probably warrants further investigation. 

Cartoon #3: X-Men (1992-1997)
Episode: Obsession
Field Notes: This was my favorite Saturday morning cartoon when I was in the fourth or fifth grade. Because each episode is rooted in the long-running comic book series, the show holds up. The opening theme song still gives me chills.
(I'm pretty sure I just provided you with the most epic 59 seconds of your day, possibly your life.)

In the time it took to switch the ALF DVD with this one, that non-specific anxiety from earlier returned. But then I noticed all of the crotches.
And when I saw Apocalypse's package, I started imagining what his apocalyptic junk must look like.
Then I became preoccupied with Rogue's large and inappropriate chest area. And yes, I  was jealous.
(look how lovingly her boobs were shaded by the artist)

End time: 10:20 AM

Conclusion: Are Saturday morning cartoons a stress reliever? Yes and no. It was almost impossible for me not to obsess over things--crotches, boobs, story flaws--that I was too innocent/dumb to pay attention to as a child. Nostomanic is all about scrutinizing old TV shows, movies, etc. as an adult and that's definitely fun. But it's also kind of depressing. It would have been nice to enjoy these cartoons in the way that they were meant to be enjoyed. With the exception of the X-Men episode, I had to mentally pick the shows apart to be entertained by them--which I think explains why I was so antsy. 

However, there is something inherently relaxing about cartoons. The student loan people have been hassling me recently and when I think about the future and my credit score, the ridiculous amount of cash money I owe them weighs on my psyche. This experiment was diverting, maybe not a Paxil substitute, but an hour of mental calm is better than nothing. I still can't get over the orange juice thing, though. I know taste buds can change over time, but that's just weird. 



---------------------------------------
*Things I've eaten recently:

(Bacon Cheese Fries)

(KFC Double Down)

Don't judge me.

30 comments:

miss. chief said...

You know what is awesome to watch as an adult? The old He-Man cartoon. It's so weird, but hilarious.

Kylee said...

PEPPER ANN!!!!!! RECESS!

Also I need to know what the double down was like, I cant bring myself to eat it but I want a play by play.

nitewriting said...

i like you.

Johana Hill said...

Ghostbusters used to be my favorite cartoon! ;p

Double Down! *gasps* I'm not eating that. Don't judge me. :(

soft nonsense said...

1) YOU DOUBLED DOWN?!

I expect a full report ASAP.

2) X-Men was a favorite of mine until I began missing episodes, then got horrifically lost in what was going on. But still awesome/sexual.

3) The fact that you recognized the sexuality I think makes you just as awesome as you were when you were younger, just a different kind of awesome.

4) And then your footy pajamas quadruple your awesomeness.

5) I'll contend that 90s-only cartoons should have consisted of the entirety of this study. Maybe early aughts, but 80s cartoons don't hold up today.

6) Don't discount OJ just yet: Minute Maid is orange sugar water. In the bad way.

Megs said...

Yes on He-Man.

I may have to repeat this experiment at home, but for my purposes it would have to be:

1. Muppet Babies
2. Scooby Doo
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
4. Jem

Although, I did watch an old episode of the Smurfs the other day and it kind of made me want to put a bullet through my brain. So maybe it would be better to remember fondly and not repeat your experiment after all.

Sorry to hear of your student loan troubles. Aren't the student loan people supposed to be the ones that no one actually ever pays back or something?

Christina In Wonderland said...

Oh. I'm judging.

I must conduct this experiment for your experiment to be truly scientific and to see if it holds up. Lol. Or something like that.

Of course, my list would include X-Men, Spiderman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Gargoyles, and Darkwing Duck. But I would have to decide exactly which ones to go with.

nikki said...

You should have added some vodka to that OJ. Then ALF would have been better. In college, we used to watch the old Saturday Morning cartoons while um...herbally enhanced. Also Full House.

The best thing to come from the Ghostbusters cartoon was Ecto Cooler. I was pissed when Hi-C started making that!

Amiee said...

Mine would have to include Jem too! They've started playing Josie and the Pussycats, the Flinstones, Jetson etc on the weekend lately and there are a lot of things watching as an adult you feel the need to disect.

That Kind of Girl said...

DUDE. Henceforth, the phrase: "I started imaging what his apocalyptic junk must look like." will be subtly slipped into the girltalk play-by-play of every date I ever go on.

It is also my current gchat status, but I think that goes without say.

Melissa said...

1) This post made my life.

2) I actually tried this too, once. I decided to watch DuckTales, Doug, and this show called Reboot. Doug is too perfect for words, Reboot was more brilliant than I even remembered, and DuckTales sucked. So. Hard.

3) Thank you for the visit and the comment! I'm super flattered that you like my stuff so far, cause I think you're epic and hilarious.

Jerry said...

I loved X-men when it was on tv. This post just goes to show that you can't go back.

ज़ाकिर अली ‘रजनीश’ said...

Nice Blog. Congrats.
--------
Blogging in AMU.
Last Caveman of World.

erin said...

Holy shitballs. Can you say cholesterol? Apparently, I can spell it.

My ex husband is a comic book artist and he loves big boobs. I mean, he loves drawing them. Dick.

Tina K said...

Beakman's World still comes on sometimes. If I stumble across it, I watch it--it's great.

I recently watched a bunch of PeeWee's Playhouse. It was my favorite show (along with Muppet Babies). I completely enjoyed watching PeeWee's Playhouse--but the whole time I watched I was aware that I was enjoying it as as adult and not the same way I enjoyed it as a child. I can't turn it off.

Also: cartoon crotches and boobs get me all the time too. I can't not look.

Sassy said...

You are hilarious and this post has inspired me to do two things:

1. Conduct a similar experiment, possibly involving my childhood obsession with "racing" all of my McDonald's Happy Meal toys down a slide constructed from the top of my bunk bed; and

2. Stop doing any work and read all of your old posts.

soft nonsense said...

^^ From the blogging queen herself!

Sadako said...

Duck Tales sucks when you're a grown up? Blasphemy! I want to remember it as perfect.

Great blog post as ever! Loved the pic of yourself.

Angie said...

Hahahah!!! loved ALL these cartoons! It bugged me also about Slimer becoming their sidekick. WTF was that about??

TabithaVenasse said...

Is it weird that I never notice the size of crotches on cartoon men?

Jen said...

Amber, I fucking love the shit out of you.

Your feetie pj's are killing me. I want my own pair, covered in pictures of cupcakes, stat.

I was really into Ghostbusters as a kid (and I thought Ecto Cooler Hi-C was amazing), but I'm not sure how I'd feel about it now.

Alf still sort of terrifies me.

I used to come home from middle school, make two cheese quesadillas (oh my god, spell check won't give me the correct spelling, damn) and watch x-men almost everyday.

I'm still a sucker for Jem, in fact I've watched about 30 episodes in the last 6 months on you tube. Which is ridiculous since the plot for every single one is basically the same, just in a new location.

Amber said...

First, I want to say that I fully support anyone who wants to do this experiment.

miss.chief: I've watched He-Man as an adult and you are 100% correct. Totally weird. I couldn't follow the story at all.

Kylee: I think I might have to devote a post to the double down and my experience eating it. That thing took a toll on me and change my perspective on the world.

Softnonsense: (1) check out my response to Kylee. (2) X-Men was really like a soap opera. And I had the same experience as you, trying to watch it when I was older and being totally confused and lost. (3) animators are pervs. I can't believe my mom let me watch half the things I watched as a kid. (4) Footy Pajamas were purchased at Target, which I think makes them even more awesome. (5) You're totally right. (6) I might try OJ again at some later date. But the stuff I had last saturday made me kind of wary.

Megs: I can't believe I forgot Jem. And I'm working on the deferment papers for the loan. Those jerks aren't getting a dime from me. Muhahaha.

Christina: Darkwing Duck is one of my top 10 favorite cartoons! I even had a little handheld Darkwing Duck video game.

Nikki: You're right. I think I need to repeat the experiment with a little alcohol. Better--ecto cooler mixed with vodka. Somebody has to be selling that stuff on ebay.

Amiee: Once again, I'm stupid for not including Jem. But I think that show is so important, culturally speaking, that it deserves its own post.

TKOG: Thanks! But seriously, don't you want to know what is apocalyptic junk looks like?

Melissa: Thank you! And I actually wanted to do Doug but couldn't find it on DVD. I've never heard of Reboot. I'm gonna have to youtube that.

Erin: Haha. I'm thinking about writing a book called "comic book artists and the boobs they draw." I'm pretty sure It's going to be a bestseller.

Tina: I just found some of my PeeWee toys in the garage. Loved that dude.

Sassy:Thank you so much! I think you should go for the McDonald's Happy Meal toy experiment. You kind of owe it to science/mankind.

Softnonsense: Yeah, I know, right?

Sadako: I just bought Duck Tales on DVD, haven't watched it yet, but I'm hoping it doesn't suck. If it does suck though I won't tell you.

Angie: The whole Slimer thing was so weird. And then they gave him a spin-off, which was even weirder.

TabithaVenasse: No, it isn't weird. Actually, I envy you.

Jen: Haha. I'm just imagining you coming home from middle school and making those quesadillas and all I can think is, "I have to do a crayon drawing of that." I'm probably gonna start working on it this weekend.

Heather Taylor said...

I think you need to redo the experiment, this time with Pepper Ann, Doug, Recess, and Hey Arnold episodes. Maybe some of those old episodes of Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark for a late night experiment.

Amber said...

Heather: Yeah, I think I'm going to do a special SNICK version of the experiment with Are You Afraid of the Dark, Alex Mack, etc.

Johana Hill said...

Hey check out my latest post! I've tagged you. ;p

April said...

I love this experiment. I kind of, sort of want to test this out tomorrow morning, but I've got adult shit to do. Plus, I don't have any cereal. I have to admit, things are often not as great as an adult as I remembered them being as a child, which totally sucks what little magic I had out of my childhood memories. Oh, and orange juice sucks.

Powdered Toast Man said...

I loved the opening theme to X-men, that gave me goosebumps.

I didn't know they had a animated version of ALF.

I remember having the ghostbusters ambulance as a kid. I wish I stll had those toys.

BeckEye said...

I had no idea they made a cartoon out of Alf.

I had a bad experience a few years back when I decided to rent a "Deputy Dawg" DVD (I realize I'm showing my age now) to watch and relive its glory. I had remembered it as being one of my favorite cartoons when I was little. I watched in horror as the dumbest damn cartoon series ever unfolded. It only made me wonder if I was a slightly "slow" child.

Sammy V said...

I love your blog...hilarious! I never noticed how erotic X-Men is...I thought the shading in Rogue's crotch was worse than the shading on her chest.

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

My son and I just sat to watch every episode in the Ghostbuster's Animated Series Two DVD Pack that he got me for my birthday.... He's a Ghostbuster's fiend.... We just played (and beat) the Ghostbuster's Wii game together too....

I totally get where you're coming from.... Crotches totally make me uncomfortable.... Yet they're mesmerizing at the same time....

YOU TRIED THE DOUBLE DOWN!!!! Did you enjoy it? Did you feel a little dirty after eating it?

These cartoons were more part of my afternoon series that I would enjoy with 'second lunch'.... My grandmother lived with us, and she would stuff our faces as soon as we got home from school while we watched cartoons and did homework....

I'm going to be humming the X-Men tune all day.... And thinking about ALF's crotch....