By Daniel Fallon
Cartoons and college never seem to be tied together, but recently the two are merging and creating a new culture. There are many de-stressors that college students use, but a large up-and-coming one is cartoons. Not cartoons like “The Simpsons,” or “Family Guy,” but cartoons aimed mostly at children. More and more college students are watching, and loving, shows like “Adventure Time,” “Regular Show,” and “Steven Universe.” These shows have enjoyable art styles, cute topics, and many now incorporate adult undertones that help college students de-stress from their normally hectic lives.
Shows like “Adventure Time” have a huge college fan base, which makes one ask the question, why? According to FSU student Michael Nurmi, Netflix is part of the reason, since allows him to “watch many different show whenever I want.” Because of that, he said, “I got real big into newer cartoons like ‘Adventure Time’ and ‘Regular Show.’ These shows really help me to relax and unwind from school and other adult responsibility.”
These shows let the viewer tap into that imaginative childhood feeling that is often frowned upon while growing up, while still being socially acceptable. Another student, Nick Frederick, said, “After a stressful day of being me, I really enjoy just sitting down and enjoying some mind-numbing, but also pretty clever television. I find ‘Adventure Time’ and ‘Regular Show’ to be mature enough that I can follow along without feeling like an idiot.”
This shows the audience that the show speaks to. These shows tie in childlike fun with adult themes to keep adults entertained and interested, while children can watch with these references going right over their heads. An example of this is in “Adventure Time,” where there are subtle hints to a dark past through the show. On the exterior, to a child this show is just a lovable, colorful show. If you look below the skin, the show is about a war-ridden world, where the genocide of the human race has led one human alive, and the rest of the world horribly mutated. Didn’t see that coming, did you? These are strategies used to keep everybody entertained, and the college culture of cartoons thriving.
Just as it is in any situation, there are those who oppose the show, and think it is nothing more than idiotic. Student Merrick Henry said, “It isn’t appealing to me. I feel like I’d get more enjoyment from putting my feet in the snow. I can’t imagine a more vapid use of my time. If I had the choice between watching this show with a group of my close friends or a sandwich, I’d ask for more mayo.” The students that stand against the show usually throw around terms like “childish” and “ignorant.”
Students seem to be very polarized on this issue: They seem to either love these shows or hate them. A difference in what students see as “mature” seems to drive whether they enjoy the show or not. Either they are clinging to a childhood that they don’t want to slip away, or they are ready to grow up and move on.