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Whatever Happened To Saturday Morning Cartoons?

Updated on January 26, 2014

Saturday morning cartoons have gone the way of the daytime soap

You know something is there and you don't take notice of it or the fact it's starting to disappear figuring it'll always be there until one day you notice it's pretty much gone. I'm talking about Saturday morning cartoons. When I grew up pretty much every channel aired Saturday morning cartoons. It was the one day of the week that TV was for kids. You'd get up early to make sure you didn't miss your favorite cartoons.

From what I've seen only the CW has any kind of cartoons on Saturday morning. Most have Saturday version of their weekly morning shows and live actions Teen shows. But cartoons have gone the way of the soap opera. And the cartoons they do have aren't anything I'd have wanted to watch as a kid. They seem to involve aliens, superheroes or some card playing teenagers. There are none of the cute cartoons I grew up watching.

My favorite was Scooby-Doo. Even though the show was about solving mysteries, there really wasn't any violence on it. You didn't see anyone actually murdered. And there was a lot of comedy to it in the form of Scooby and Shaggy. There was also the silly Scooby Dum and the annoying and irritating Scrappy Doo. But it was a fun show. It wasn't dark the way a lot of the cartoons are these days.

And whatever happened to the Looney Toons. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Elmer J. Fudd, Porky Pig and Woody Woodpecker were staples. When did they disappear from Saturday morning? The same goes for Garfield, Tom and Jerry and Felix the Cat. Seriously, these were cartoon classic and I don't even see any network airing them during the morning or day weekdays on TV stations. Are they even being shown on the Cartoon Network?

I do see a couple of cartoon shows aired during the day on TBS. They're the Cleveland Show and American Dad. I think they all must come from the brain of the people behind Family Guy since there's kind of a similarity. Especially with Cleveland and Family Guy.

Both Cleveland and Family Guy have an overweight father with an older obese son and the younger sons seem to be scheming sociopaths in the making. The only difference between the teen shows is Cleveland's teen daughter is slutty and Peter's teenage daughter Meg dresses like a boy and everyone is always going on like she's ugly and making comments about her sexual gender. I don't know if you could say they're depicting a more realistic family view since most families don't have a talking dog that's in love with its owner's wife.

American Dad may possibly be a slam against the Republican family man. The American Dad is pro-gun and pro-government and always trying to mold his children into what he wants them to be. But I doubt the average Republican father is housing an evil alien that likes to wear wigs and a talking fish that apparently used to be a man. I was just sitting there watching it the other day wondering when did cartoons degrade to this. And I guess the answer is it began with The Simpsons.

You really have to wonder in cartoons like The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Family Guy are responsible for the dark turn a lot of cartoons started to take. The new darker and more adult cartoons seem to take the place of the sweet and innocent cartoons of my childhood.

The really sad thing is the near extinction of Saturday morning cartoons seems to have occurred without anyone even noticing. Kids wouldn't think anything of it to say anything and adults don't generally watch Saturday morning cartoons. So the networks slowly began to get rid of them until they were completely gone and no one even noticed.

I imagine their excuse for disposing of Saturday morning cartoons is the same excuse they gave for getting rid of most of the daytime soaps. They cost too much to make, so they've replaced them with live action teen shows and talk shows. At least fans kicked up a storm when it started happening to the soaps. No one said a thing about the Saturday morning cartoons since the networks did it in such a slick and sly way viewers just didn't notice it happening until they were gone.

I have to say that if I were a kid, I wouldn't wake-up early and eagerly to watch the crap they have on Saturday morning TV. I think there's only a couple of cartoons that have characters that look like normal human beings that maybe you can relate to. Rescue Heroes is about firefighters but they all look like pumped-up Arnold Schwarzenegger types, even the women. Normal firemen don't all look like they're on steroids and trying to compete for the Mr. Universe title. A lot of the other characters are drawn to look like Japanese Anime.

It's just really sad. I feel like an innocent part of childhood is gone. Saturday morning used to be kid time and filled with cute cartoons to entertain them. If I were a parent I wouldn't let my children watch the few cartoons they have left on Saturday morning. I don't think any of them would be suitable viewing for a young and impressionable child.

It seems the networks love for the almighty buck and saving money has made another part of the culture of American TV vanish. I guess I was lucky when I grew up. I still have fond memories of all the cute Saturday morning cartoons the helped me retain the innocent of youth before it was time to grow up and face the hard cold realities of the world. It's sad the young children of today don't have that same gift and instead have cartoons that rob them of their innocence and introduce them at an early age to the darkness of life.


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    • TimArends profile image

      Timothy Arends 3 years ago from Chicago Region

      Holy-Hanna-Barbera! I didn't know that Saturday morning cartoons had disappeared from the airwaves. They were an American institution! I can remember trying (without waking up my mother) to sneak downstairs on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. Later, I watched them all throughout the teen years. It is ironic that this has happened, since modern computer technology makes creating animation all the easier, with far fewer animators than was needed in the past. I also think political correctness helped ruin the cartoons. Cartoons like Scooby Doo could just be funny without having to worry about all ethnic groups being represented in the correct proportions.

    • RaethMorgan profile image

      Raeth J. Morgan 3 years ago from Everywhere and Nowhere

      With the expansion of the cable channels and the introduction of high speed internet has caused a huge vacuum on Saturday Morning TV. As it stands, I think that the normal TV will soon disappear as well. Netflix, HULU and other internet based TV have started airing their own programing. I don't have cable anymore because I can watch my favorite programs via the internet.

    • trusouldj profile image

      trusouldj 3 years ago from Indiana

      I miss Saturday morning cartoons as well. I was just telling someone about how I used to wake up at 5:30am to watch shows that didn't start until 7. I was just so excited and anxious.