athelind: (hoard potato)
Your Obedient Serpent would up binge-watching the entire second season of BoJack Horseman on Netflix yesterday.

(It was just that kind of day. Don't ask.)

As I watched, I found myself noting a weird parallel between that series and Cartoon Network's enormously popular Steven Universe.

At first glance, one's a fluffy kid's fantasy-adventure show full of goofball humor, and the other is a stock "adult" cartoon full of jokes about sex, drugs, and bodily functions.

But they're both, in the current parlance, "full of all the feels". They're emotionally complex stories of broken people working through the pain in their lives and trying to find meaning and strength.

The Crystal Gems of SU are emotionally scarred from an ancient war we only learn about gradually, and at least as wounded by the loss of Steven's mother.

Meanwhile, the titular Horseman is described by himself and others as "broken inside". He wants to be a better person, but he regularly makes the mistake of believing that he's GOTTEN there, that it's a GOAL and not a PROCESS. Every time he falls into the trap of thinking he's "fixed" himself ... he does something thoughtless and hurtful to the people who care about him.

(Your Obedient Serpent can relate to that. I suspect a lot of people over 40 can.)

athelind: (hoard potato)
Everyone has their quirks and aesthetic preferences, and I always strive not to, as they say, "yuck someone else's yum" -- but I must admit to a recurrent artistic theme in fan art that unsettles me. This is not to assert that artists and fans should avoid this theme, but, rather, to excuse myself in advance if my absence, lack of response, or sudden, shrieking departure might demand explanation.

I must confess that as a small child, I was deeply disturbed by the creepy surrealism of old cartoons of the "rubber hose and black bean nose" era -- the Fleischer Brothers were notorious repeat offenders, but the studios of Messrs. Disney, Warner, Goldwyn, et al., were by no means innocent. That style of art and animation has never been "cute" in my eyes; in fact, it is indelibly associated with a queasy frisson of eldritch horror that even the works of Mr. Lovecraft only seldom elicit.

As a result, when Sonic the Hedgehog resurrected the "rubber hose and black bean nose" style in 1991, my stomach lurched.

Thus, when I am browsing the various art sites I frequent and see Sonic-based art ... I never click the thumbnail. When, in my wanderings around the tawdry wastelands of Second Life, I happen across some hapless individual wearing an avatar in the Sonic style ... I go the other way. Very quickly.

It is, I assert, no reflection on the quality of either the art or the individual. It is wholly the style itself.

It is not so much an "Uncanny Valley" as an Unholy Abyss.

Oddly, the faux-retro stylings of the Animaniacs and their ilk don't disturb me at all. Despite their superficial resemblance to the antediluvian antecedents of animation's Golden Age, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are proportioned, rigged, and animated in the modern fashion.


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