The article presents analyzes of individual series of popular cartoons from the standpoint of assessing their educational message and influence on young viewers. The series were selected using a random number generator.
“Tom and Jerry”
- Information about the animated series: “Tom and Jerry” – a series of short animated films created by American animators William Hannah and Joseph Barbera. In the storyline of each part shows the rivalry of the main characters – Tom cat and mouse Jerry.The pilot issue of the project was created in 1940. After the success, the duet Hanna-Barbera wrote the script for the 113 series that were shown in cinemas before the screening of full-length films until 1958. After the closing of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer animation department, starting in the 1960s, the cartoon was created at other studios. Total created 164 series “Tom and Jerry.””Tom and Jerry” quickly gained recognition from the audience and gained popularity throughout the world. Throughout its history, the cartoon won 7 Oscars for the best animated short film.
- Age Rating: Unknown
- Series: No. 34, “Kitty Foiled” (1948)
- Contents of the series: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitty_Foiled
Analysis: In the series there are three acting heroes – Tom the cat, Jerry the little mouse and the nameless (or with an undeclared name) canary. The plot is simple and comes down to Tom’s fight against Jerry and the canaries, who alternately help each other escape from the cat. The reason for the hostility of Tom and Jerry implies instincts, Tom and the canary – the cat’s dissatisfaction with the bird using its victim, and the mutual aid of the little mouse and the canary – solidarity. The narrative is based on a dynamic transition from one scene to another, in which the characters in various ways try to catch / cripple / kill each other and, accordingly, escape from each other. The heroes practically speak no words (the only time is when Jerry portrays an Indian, says a greeting Howe). Active actions of the characters are accompanied by energetic music. The sounds of blows, crashing objects, etc. – are served “bitingly” sharply and in large numbers.
The whole cartoon is tied to images of extreme violence, trauma and destruction: Tom smashes the house of his owners, trying to catch a mouse / Jerry knocks out Tom’s teeth with a hammer / Tom almost eats a canary / canary imparts a gun / canary to Tom’s neck with sharp fangs of a bearish effigy / Jerry beared a scarecrow / Jerary Tom, deliberately trying to cause a heart attack / Tom is trying to move Jerry toy train / canary punches the floor with a bowling ball, etc. Some aggressive, unhealthy images are replaced by others, even more frightening. A characteristic moment: all the injuries received by the heroes in the subsequent scenes are immediately “erased” and straightened, falsely demonstrating to the viewer that violence and injuries are harmless, do not have any consequences for life.
Heroes constantly experience destructive emotions: gloating, anger, fear, etc. – that is served vividly through pronounced mimicry and “body language”. Particularly frequent is the feeling of gloating that both striker Tom and defending Jerry and the canary are experiencing. At the moment where Jerry and the canary believe in Tom’s death (they believe that his heart sank with fear) – they are happy and have fun dancing to the music. When Tom falls to the basement of the house, breaking up, Jerry is also happy, smiles, and later sings a funny song with the canary. In other words, the viewer is systematically “tuned” to respond to pain and death as an excuse for joy.
In this series, vulgar jokes related to the buttocks also appear three times: the canary’s heart beats through fear from behind / Tom moves its buttocks to escape the canary / Jerry and the canary solemnly beat each other on the buttocks, congratulating each other on the victory over the cat.
To make rough and aggressive cartoon content acceptable for viewing, the creators have focused on a pleasant visual component. The characters are drawn very attractively and professionally, visually appealing / the house in which the events take place is also visually pleasing / used a lot of pastel, pleasant for perception colors: pink, blue, yellow. Along with the dynamics of what is happening, the visual range is calculated delays the viewer’s attention.
Characteristically: the moment Jerry and the canary disguised as Indians to escape from Tom was cut out in some cartoon shows in the USA. The reference to the Indians who survived the large-scale genocide before the new state of the United States was erected in their territories is a very significant moment conveying the criminal, aggressive nature of this cartoon.
Moral: the plot of the cartoon is based on incessant extreme violence (knocking out teeth, causing a heart attack, trying to swallow a victim, etc.) / negative role models are given through the characters: hostility with serious injuries, constant gloating, the desire for destruction, etc. / heroes quickly recover from injuries, which is misleading the viewer regarding the consequences of violence / contains vulgar jokes “below the belt”.
Evaluation of the series: “red” (harmful cartoon, unacceptable for children to watch).
“Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir”
Information about the animated series: “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir” (fr. “Miraculous, les aventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir”; also known as “Miraculous Ladybug” or “Miraculous”) is a French-Korean animated series produced by Zagtoon and Method Animation.
The action of the series takes place in Paris today. In an ordinary French school, a girl named Marinette Dupain-Cheng and her classmate Adrien Agreste are studying, and she is in love with him. It would seem that the classic story of first love, but these guys are not at all those whom they claim to be. When the city is in danger, with the help of small creatures “kwamis” Marinette turns into a superheroine Lady Bag, and Adrien into a superhero persona Cat Noir. Their incredible abilities help them fight evil in Paris together, but neither do they know who is hiding under the mask of the other. Superheroes are trying to overcome a common sworn enemy – Hawk Moth, who sends akuma (dark butterflies) around the city, turning ordinary people into enslaved villains.
Age Rating: 12+
Series: Season 1, Episode 3 (The Double)
Description of the series: Marinette tries to invite Adrien to the cinema by phone, but accidentally sends an awkward voice message and rushes to delete it before Adrien hears. Meanwhile, a sculptor named Theo represents a statue in honor of Lady Bug and Cat Noir. He is in love with the heroine and would like to see her at the presentation of the statue, but only the Cat Noir comes. After the event, the Cat Noir deceives Theo that he and the Lady are in a relationship. This makes the sculptor jealous and hate the Cat Noir. The villain Hawk Moth turns Theo into the Doubles of the Super-Cat and orders to destroy the real …
Analysis: The cartoon immerses the viewer into the lives of two teenagers, Marinette / Lady Bug and Adrien / Cat Noir, each of whom leads a double life: 1 – normal, including communication with peers, study, hobby, and 2 – superhero, including the use of super powers and battle with evil. At the same time, only the teenager himself and his kwami, a small magical creature who turns the character into a superhero, know about his superhero hypostasis.
The intrigue on which the series is built is that superheroes work in pairs, and they do not realize that they are familiar in everyday life. At the same time, a paradoxical moment was introduced: in superhero life, Adrien is in love with Marinette, and Marinette rejects him / and in ordinary life – Marinette is in love with Adrien, and Adrien is indifferent to her.
At first glance it may seem that the heroes are in love with each other, just for the time being they don’t know about it – however, in reality, it turns out that young people do not match each other and will not make a harmonious couple. What makes such a conclusion?
In ordinary life, Marinette practically does not know Adrien, but simply “fan out” from him at a distance: she tracks and schedules his activities, presents his face in the sky, praises his beauty in conversations with her girlfriend, wants to go to the movies with him, when such a chance is granted, is in seventh heaven. At the same time, in a superhero life, she quite well knows this young man (!) – she knows what he is capable of, and what he does not (in the series he says that “Cat Noir is capable of much, but not of stealing”) / not loves the way he talks to her (“Don’t call me a doll”) / confesses that he often infuriates her / considers himself better than him (words to him and his twin: “I am better than both of you”) / rejects his advances (moment in credits, where Lady Bug dodges a Cat Noir’s kiss) / disgusting refers to the possibility of a romantic relationship between them (shows in one from scenes facial expressions). But after all, in reality, this is the same guy for whom she is so languishing in ordinary life! In other words, we can conclude that the girl is waiting for massive disappointment in the future. It turns out that Marinette is in love with absolutely the wrong person and senselessly wasting herself on the dreams of him.
As for Adrien, who is in love with Marinette’s superhero hypostasis and indifferent to her in ordinary life, here, it turns out, the scenario is the opposite. If during the disclosure of superhero personalities Marinette is waiting for the destruction of illusions, because the coveted Adrien will be well known to her and repulsive Cat Noir, then for Adrien the discovery will be much more enjoyable. Invisible classmate opens for him in an amazing way. However, Marinette doesn’t like him and still doesn’t like him: considers herself better than him, treats disgust, annoyed by his behavior, etc. These are all factors of unpleasant and unsuccessful relationships.
In other words, it turns out that the series in an unobvious form tells about unhappy, non-reciprocal love, which does not expect anything good, no future or development. Echoing this, the series demonstrates yet another failed love: The sculptor Theo’s love for Lady Bag, because of the non-reciprocity of which, and because of jealousy, he loses control of himself and becomes an obsessive villain.
In general, viewing any content about suffering in relationships, non-reciprocal love, unmatched partners, obviously moving toward a break – is not, for the most part, useful information that you should spend your time on. Loading into your consciousness of similar images of failed love and love suffering sets the person to a similar personal life, with drama, setbacks and disappointments.
It is also worth noting that the relationship is definitely one of the topics of concern to adolescents, but far from the most important. Much more useful at a young age are the themes of self-knowledge and self-development, friendship, study, work, studying the world and society. The considered serial glorifies the interest of its audience, adolescents, precisely to love – and even so it covertly shows doomed, non-reciprocal love.
The next important point to which we pay attention is a superhero theme. It also shows the harmful effects on the viewer.
A superhero is an outstanding person with extraordinary abilities who helps society, fights on the side of good against the threats of evil. Marinett and Adrien are superheroes due to the influence of some small magical creatures on them, who from time to time turn them into all-powerful fighters. At the same time, the young people depicted do not have special moral virtues, some kind of spiritual purity, are not engaged in a serious development of themselves, and, in fact, are simply obsessed with certain “little men” who provide their superhero status. Remove “kwamis” – and there are no superheroes.
Moreover, the characters of the main characters are deliberately imperfect: Marinette is a clumsy, silly girl, close to anorexia, who is in love dreams. Adrien – pretentious handsome, behaving like a superstar, constantly reminding others, as he is cool. These are not at all superheroist types, if we understand by superheroes outstanding defenders of society – noble, strong, morally elevated, responsible, developing themselves.
Since the viewer usually identifies himself with the main characters of the works, it turns out that teenage viewers are inspired with false guidelines for assessing themselves. By identifying with Marinette or Adrien, a teenager gets a false attitude to rate himself as cool, outstanding, socially useful (= superheroes), while being undeveloped, arrogant, stupid, self-loving (= qualities of the character of Marinette and Adrien). “Lady Bug and Cat Noir” actively interests young viewers with the status of a successful, socially valuable person (= superhero), but does not show either the high qualities that such people possess, nor the ways of becoming them (= Marinette and Adrien are superheroes unreasonably, a magic wand of some creatures, the analogs of which the viewer will not receive in everyday life).
Based on such a scenario, we can conclude that the authors of the series instilled in teenagers the idea of success without any work on themselves. That being a clumsy, nervous, not studying, wasting time on meaningless love dreams about a girl you are not suitable for, or being a narcissist, a pretentious, pretty guy – you can be successfully implemented in parallel as a hero praised by society. The cartoon here also promotes the idea of obsession and compliance to dubious external influences – both heroes are given strength and status not by their qualities and skills, but by “something” from the outside (= magic little men). It is curious that in the series both the villain and the superheroes are obtained through the same mechanism of obsession and outside influence (the main villain Brazhnik turns the sculptor Theo into the villain pawn / magic quami turn Marinette and Adrien into superheroes). As a result, the viewer, in fact, is watching the puppet struggle (maybe the name of Marinette is not accidental here), where the obsessed characters fight the obsessive villain.
The heroes are also depicted as being overly sexualized as regards their superhero incarnations. During the transformation of Marinette to Lady Bag and her appearance in the house of the sculptor, when the Cat Noir fights the double, the viewer’s attention is focused on the curves of her slender body. Both protagonists wear tight latex suits. Adrien wears a feminine costume of a black cat, cat “ears”, false nails, a bells around his neck. In the series there is a scene where the Cat Noir fights with his twin, and one sits on top of another – it becomes finally noticeable that the image of the latex cat is too erotic. When Lady Bug checks who the real Cat Noir is, she uses her sexuality – communicates with the Cat Noir twin, face-to-face, to cause desire and embarrassment in him, also sexually taps his finger on the nose. Both heroes are adolescents 14-15 years old.
It is also worth noting that when creating heroes, a gender permutation was used: Lady Bug clearly resembles the popular male character, Spider-Man (= flies around the city, has a red and blue appearance), and the Cat Noir is inspired by the female character – Catwoman. Those. the creators of the series converted the famous male superhero – into the female, and the female – into the male.
A few more points: in the series under consideration, against the background of the main characters, the policemen, depicted as close, repulsive and not as powerful as Lady Bug with the Cat Noir, are also discredited. In the series there are scenes of violence, decorated with spectacular and entertainment purposes (= “attraction for the eyes”): fighting heroes with the police, fighting with the villain “Double”.
- The cartoon interests teenagers as a successful, socially valuable person (= superhero), but the example of the main characters shows neither the high qualities that outstanding people have for society, nor the ways of becoming such. The main characters of the cartoon are people with deliberate flaws and weak characters (arrogant – both, narcissist – Adrien, wasting time on love fanaticism – Marinette, etc.), and turn into superheroes not because of work on themselves and self-development, but by the wave of “magic men” (which carries a dubious image of obsession). Thus, the cartoon inspires the audience the idea of success without any work on themselves, conveys the qualities of baseless complacency and arrogance.
– The cartoon conceals unhappy love. Adrien loves Marinett as Lady Bug, but she doesn’t know her well in life. When he learns that Marinette is Lady Bug, it will be a pleasant surprise for him and will not cause contradictions in feelings. Marinette knows Adrien well as a Cat Noir and does not love him, but thinks that she loves him in everyday life, although she doesn’t really know him. When she learns that Adrien is a Cat Noir, she is waiting for disappointment and understanding that she wastes herself and her time in the dream of love about him, an unsuitable person for herself. Images of unhappy love in media products are mostly harmful for perception, they are programmed for an appropriate personal life, filled with failures and sufferings.
– The main characters are depicted too sexyized. Wear tight latex suits. From time to time the viewer focuses on the curves of their bodies. The male hero is inspired by the sexy superheroine, Catwoman, wears cat ears, a jingle bell, long claws.
– The series discredits policemen depicted as narrow and weak compared to teenage superheroes. There are scenes of violence filed entertaining.
Evaluation of the series: “red” (harmful cartoon, unacceptable for children to watch).
Information about the animated series: “SpongeBob SquarePants” – American animated series, which is broadcast on the TV channel “Nickelodeon”. It appeared on the air on May 1, 1999 and became one of the most popular animation television programs. The animated series has ten full seasons and 13 episodes of the eleventh. In May 2017, the animated series was extended for the twelfth season. The popularity came to Sponge Bob after the start of the second season and has since remained at a high enough level.
The action of the animated series takes place at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean in a small town called Bikini Bottom, and the main characters are anthropomorphic representatives of marine fauna – fish, whales, crabs, sponges, squid, octopus, starfish, lobsters, etc. Bikini Bottom is similar to an ordinary human city: there are a sleeping area, a suburb, a beach, an airport, a train station, an amusement park, a prison, restaurants, cafes, hospitals, schools, colleges, etc. The main character in the animated series is Sponge Bob. He and his buddies often get into adventures.
Age Rating: 6+
Series: Season 4, Episode 28 “That’s No Lady” (November 25, 2006)
Contents of the series: Starfish Patrick thinks he is in danger. He turns for help to a friend, Sponge Bob, and he disguises him as a girl. Surrounding Patrick seems like a pretty girl, and Squidward (a humanoid octopus) and Mr. Crabs begin to look after Patrick. Then Bob opens it. Mr Krabs and Squidward are embarrassed. When a guy comes to the restaurant “Krusty Krab” who, according to Patrick, threatened him, it turns out that he just wanted to give an advertising booklet.
Analysis: The series features a little adventure of two heroes, Sponge Bob and starfish Patrick. Patrick falsely believes that his life is in danger, and Bob helps him to hide until the moment it turns out that the danger is imaginary.
The visual series of the cartoon, with the exception of views of the town and streets, causes hostility. Heroes are depicted ugly. The main character looks like a yellow dishwashing sponge, although from the point of view of the producers of the cartoon is a sea sponge. Bob, Patrick and the fish-merchant are painted with holes, dots and spots on the bodies (respectively), which suggests thoughts about stained, base, depraved characters. Secondary heroes-fish, cabbage monster and octopus Squidward are depicted in dirty, swampy shades. Emotions of heroes (mostly primitive) are transmitted through unhealthy grimaces associated with severe mental illness.
The main characters, Bob and Patrick, are both exaggeratedly stupid. Bob, when he heard that Patrick was threatened by a man with a suitcase, “spins up” the hired assassin’s version on a single basis, after which he screams with fear and begins to sob. Patrick is at the center of the plot, and his dementia is revealed in all its details. At the beginning of the series, he carelessly runs down the street and foolishly laughs / periodically portrayed with one tooth, like a baby’s, which underlines his level of development / when faced with the threat problem, Patrick is immediately frightened, screaming, running to Bob, and heroes start crying like idiots / Bob puts sunglasses on Patrick to disguise, and Patrick gets scared of his reflection in the mirror and runs off, punching the wall / in scenes in a restaurant, it turns out that Patrick does not know the numbers / Patrick eats all the food with a tray and everything on the table, n After that he belches a tape recorder / when the danger has passed, the hero immediately removes his disguise and remains naked in front of others, etc. And with all this, the star Patrick, translated from an anthropomorphic language, is an adult man! The image is simply inadequate.
Almost all male characters in the series are unmanly, ugly, possessing certain evils – including the main character. Spongebob is also a stupid, emotionally inadequate, visually repulsive hero, just a little less than Patrick. The positive moments – that Sponge Bob is efficient, does not walk in his shorts and seeks to help a friend – doesn’t greatly improve the overall situation and doesn’t “pull” the hero up to an example to follow, what should be the central character of a children’s cartoon.
Complementing the ugly visual range and degenerative heroes, the cartoon has a large number of vulgar and low points: the city in which the heroes live is called “Pants from a swimsuit” / the central theme of dressing the male hero into a sexy woman is low and vulgar / commercial fish screaming at Patrick, spitting on him / seeing Patrick in a female attire at the head bulging and bursting eyes / other heroes also start lusting and vulgarly flirting with him / Patrick picks his nose, belches several times / Squidward crawls out of the toilet / as already mentioned, Patrick is exposed to others, his bare buttocks, etc. are shown to the viewer.
The cartoon also cultivates a “low” society: eating fast food, stereotypical shouting of the boss to subordinates, treating a woman as a sexual object (as soon as Patrick turns into Patricia, everyone begins languishingly lust for him, and Mr. Krabs and Skvidvard even fight for a date), etc.
It would seem that much worse, but everything else in the cartoon is also present homosexual overtones. Hidden LGBT-oriented cartoons are often created with the same move: a normal homosexual relationship implying intimacy (friends, relatives) is additionally embedded in the image of a homosexual couple. Here also. Spongebob and star Patrick are obviously intimate best friends – they communicate, have fun together, Bob helps Patrick, in one of the scenes Patrick calls Bob an old friend, etc. But at the same time some additional “factors” are added to their relationship:
- when Patrick comes to Bob’s home, he meets him with a cool drink on the threshold, in the spirit of a “good wife”.
- Bob climbs up with his hands over Patrick’s naked body (= interaction with the naked body).
- Bob lists what he and Patrick do together: at 8 in the morning Bob wakes Patrick, at 9 in the morning they have breakfast, at 10 in the morning they brush their teeth, at 13 they play peeking, at 15 they have lunch — and the list is huge. In fact, the characters live together.
- every time when Patrick is called for a date, it turns out that he has some things planned with Sponge Bob for this time (= image – instead of romance, Patrick has life with Bob).
- at the end, when Patrick undresses in front of everyone, Bob hugs him, naked, and offers to go home immediately to do something from their to-do list, and they happily run away (what kind of things Bob was inspired by naked Patrick – you can guess).
In other words, the relationship between the sponge Bob and Patrick is 2-in-1. Superficially – strong, faithful friendship. Additionally – homosexual communication, the image of which is intentionally created through various, subtle hints.
Moral: the cartoon is drawn in a repulsive, ugly visual style, which brings up the audience a sense of delusion and prevents the development of a sense of beauty role models / primitive social life is cultivated: fast food, vulgar attitude towards women, hostility of the boss and subordinates, etc. / large amounts of trite moments you are: spitting, spit-up, bare buttocks, toilets, etc. / there is a hidden image of a homosexual couple (Spongebob and Patrick).
Evaluation of the series: “red” (harmful cartoon, unacceptable for children to watch).
Translated by Daria Egorova, Yana Chernova