Hey Cartoon Network! Long time no see! You just turned twenty. Wow. It feels like just yesterday we were growing up together and watching “Hanna-Barbera” shows together and then you starting making your own shows and they were great. I have to confess that I haven’t seen you in quite some time. I meant to post on your Facebook wall, but apparently we’re not friends. I mean, it’s not that I don’t like you. I mean, technically, I’ve never clicked your like button on Facebook. It’s just that we’ve grown apart and I don’t want to get spammed every ten hours with a post on my Facebook feed about “The Looney Tunes Show.” I caught an episode yesterday and it, quite frankly, makes me want to impale myself with one of those pointy Viking helmets that Elmer Fudd wore in “What’s Opera Doc.”
I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on you. I am pretty sure it was Christmas 1996 and you were playing this commercial that revealed that every cartoon character exists in this same, shared universe and my young mind exploded with the idea that Secret Squirrel was friends with Yogi Bear and they solved crimes together with the Amazing Chan and all of the politically incorrect members of his Chan Clan. Episodes of the entire “Hanna-Barbera” catalogue followed, until shows by modern masters made whole families like the Flintstones and the Jetsons obsolete. A new wave of filmmakers inspired by these very shows crafted series like “Cow and Chicken” and “Johnny Bravo” as the successors to a legacy of colorful characters placed into ludicrous situations. The closest your network has ever come to auteur theory involves talented animators like Genndy Tartakovsky, with “Dexter’sLaboratory” and “Samurai Jack,”and Craig McCracken, with “The Powerpuff Girls”.
You weren’t always alone, CN. You had “Toonami,” which provided our first exposure to foreign animation and anime. Waiting for Goku to throw a spirit bomb at Freiza over twelve episodes taught me more about patience than any kindergarten experience or standing in line. Adult Swim is like your older, immature brother who has these casual strokes of brilliance, when he isn’t cautiously structuring his next fart joke. My personal sense of humor became so corrupted by “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” that the idea of any celebrity answering a ridiculous question or providing a ridiculous answers to serious questions triggers a physiological response to smile. However, having to fight past hours of “Family Guy” reruns and shows about hillbilly squids destroys any goodwill I once had. Perhaps the only certainty for your next twenty years will be those endless reruns of that Seth MacFarlane series in the late evening. For a creator who began at your very network, it is only fitting that season 37 of Family Guy will be the one to destroy it.
Our separation was gradual. For each “Ed, Edd and Eddy” and “Codename: Kids Next Door,” there was a “My Gym Partner’s a Monkey” or a “Megas XLR.” If you haven’t realized by now, Cartoon Network, no one has ever cared about “Whatever Happened to…Robot Jones?” Eventually, you started showing live-action series with premises that were taken from the Nickelodeon junk pile. What executive told you that it was a good idea to let Andrew W.K. host a game show involving dynamite and children? You forget your name, Cartoon Network. Cartoon is your given name and you forgot it. Only by stretching your wings with new episodes of “Hole in The Wall”and watching them melt away in the sun did you have the intervention that provided you with a reason to change.
People grow apart. I hear that your new shows like “Adventure Time” and “Regular Show” are pretty good, although I have not seen enough episodes of either to pass judgment. I mean, for starters, we don’t get you on Case cable. Oh wait, I just checked the schedule and apparently we do. Well, this is awkward. Maybe I’ll pass by you when I’m flipping through the channels sometime in the next few years and stop to catch an hour or two. At least we’ll have “Boomerang” reruns to remind us of when everything was right with the world in the meantime.