I don’t know much but I do know these cartoons don’t exist beyond the deeply vivid and psychologically troubling impressions that they can evoke at the mere mention of their name. Yes ,there are the good childhood shows like The Powerpuff Girls and Scooby Doo. Then there are these ones. The ones I couldn’t tell you the plots of (either because they didn’t manage to have one or because I stopped watching them when I was six) and yet somehow so deeply traumatized by in various ways.
The Gargoyles: Agonizing Empathy
To this day, mentions of this show make me feel empathy that is too big to contain. Some unspeakable loss happened to these Gargoyles. They were betrayed, murdered, abandoned, and yet they continued to try to do good and save people even as they are ostracized. I don’t remember it so I don’t know if these are fair characterizations but it was agony to care for these gargoyles so much then and it’s not much easier now.
Johnny Bravo: Self-Inflicted Annoyance
Johnny Bravo’s face makes me feel like there is construction noise inside my head. I mean like someone is drilling through a wall but I can’t cover my ears to lessen its impact, it’s just in there, inside of my brain. Everything about that show, everything he ever did (which, again, I don’t remember) was akin to the sound of long red nails scratching on a chalkboard. But it’s your fake nails, you’re the one making that unbearable noise.
Ed, Edd n Eddy: Bewildered Disgust
One time I saw this couple who kept passing a gum back and forth between them on the subway. Like, not just once. Not even just passing it through their mouths, letting the pink over-chewed rubber stretch between them. Not only that. They also kept handing it off between them. Just handing it back and forth. This show makes me feel exactly as I did watching that.
Courage the Cowardly Dog: Existential Confusion
When I think about this show, my distinct lingering feeling is: Why? Why does it have to be this way? Why so creepy? Why so unpleasant? How did we get here? Why can’t things be kinder? Why do we treat each other so carelessly?
One thought on “Childhood Cartoons I Only Remember In Terms of the Intensely Vivid Feelings I Associate With Them”
i still watch courage the cowardly dog occasionally, but only at 3am, at least one bottle of wine into an unrelated existential crisis. not only does the show soothe my screaming horror by making everything seem surreal, but the booze mercifully erases any specifics of the plot and characters by morning, so they remain the background hum of dread i’ve treasured since childhood. 8/10, would recommend to a friend.