Don’t Just Stand There…DO Something!

You know what’s been grinding my gears lately?

These nonstop internet threads, rants and YouTube videos of people whining, “I want my old Nickelodeon back!” or “I want my old Cartoon Network back!” These things have been sprouting up like weeds online; I’m currently on 2 message boards, and invariably, we’ll get a “ways to improve Nick” or “How would you improve Cartoon Network?” thread; it never ceases to amaze me how so many peoples’ idea of “improving” these networks entails booting off all of the current shows and bringing all of the 1990’s shows back. The final straw for me was this obviously fake news bulletin stating how Nickelodeon was basically dumping all of its’ “terrible” current shows like iCarly, Big Time Rush and T.U.F.F. Puppy and would be resurrecting their 90’s cartoon franchises like Doug, Rugrats and Hey, Arnold! with new episodes. What’s scary about this is that many people actually believed this to be true.

Sadly, this attitude is all too prevalent on the net nowadays. To all of the people yelling, “I want my old Cartoon Network back!” or “I want my old Nickelodeon back!”, I’d like to say just three little words:

Let. It. Go.

Seriously, get over it and get on with your lives. Yes, the 90’s were a great decade for both channels, but it’s Reality Check time: CN and Nick are never going to go back to being the way they were in the 1990’s. Never. You know why they aren’t? For one simple reason: it’s not the 1990’s anymore. The 90’s were 20 years ago. If you’re old enough to fondly remember the 90’s then you’re officially out of CN and Nick’s target demo and are therefore invisible to these channels. CN and Nick aim their programming at kids, not adult nostalgia buffs, but kids. And that means people who are kids now, not people who were kids 20 years ago. I get that you’re fans of the 90’s era shows (I enjoyed several of them myself), but don’t let your fanboyism blind you into believing that a schedule devoid of anything new and which endlessly loops all of the shows that you grew up loving would be better for the network. That’s not how it works. Nick and CN constantly re-running their 90’s shows and not making any new shows might please some fans, but from a business perspective it would be a terrible idea. TV is a business, and no bsuiness has ever gotten ahead by constantly looking back. Just because the majority of the 90’s cartoons were great doesn’t mean that nobody should ever try to make new ones: people would be out of work that way, and eventually, with nothing new coming down the pike, these networks would eventually start to lose money. And losing money is never good for business.

I think that instead of wishing for Cartoon Network and Nick to bring the old shows back, we should hope for these networks to produce new shows with the same level of creativity and commitment to quality as the shows of the 90’s.

The problem with the rallying cry of “I want my old (fill-in-the-blank network) back!” is that Nick and CN aren’t “our” networks anymore. They’re for the kids of today. While it would be great if their parent companies would show viewers our age some love with the occasional returns of the shows from our era onto their schedules for a little while as well as some decent DVD sets, we really should let today’s kids have these channels, since that’s what matters for the survival of these networks. The shows that Nick and CN run currently may not appeal to you or I, but that’s not a requirement; it only matters if today’s kids like them. CN and Nick are “their” channels now, we should let them have them and form their own fond memories.

I generally don’t take much stock in nostalgia because it’s circular; in 20 years time, in 2031, we’ll be subjected to piles of threads videos and rants from people who are complaining that they want their 2011 Nick and CN back.

Another thing that bugs me about the TV nostalgia complainers is how so many of them aren’t willing to put forth any effort to satisfy their needs. All too often they just sit on their saw-horses and kvetch about how their desires aren’t being met and wanting the networks they watch to do everything to accommodate their wishes. Last year on 1 of the forums I’m on, there was this guy who would come on there every week just to whine, complain, crab and moan about Boomerang: he would go on and on about how he didn’t like that Boomerang was now airing newer cartoons and what he called “Japanese fighting shows” like Swat Kats, Teen Titans, Samurai Jack and Pokemon (never mind that 3 out of those 4 shows are in fact American and the 4th isn’t a fighting show, but a collecting show) and how he wished that Boom would go back to showing Looney Tunes, Superfriends and Mr. Magoo (never mind that those shows are all property of Warner bros. and if Turner ever wanted to re-acquire them, they’d have to pay Warner a whopping royalty). Around this same time, there was another forum member who wouldn’t stop yammering about how he wanted to see Kekaishi moved from [adult swim] to the Cartoon Network schedule; apparently this kid had once watched something on [adult swim] when he was younger and was so freaked out by what he saw that he refused to watch [as] anymore, and he wouldn’t stop going on about how he wanted Turner to move Kekaishi to CN (Never mind that currently the only anime that CN runs are the toy-based ones like Pokemon, Bakugan and Beyblade).

To these couch potatoes, I ask this: instead of wishing, hoping and dreaming that these networks will change their ways for you, have you ever considered, I don’t know, DOING something to remedy your predicament? Crazy thought, I know, but you could actually DO something instead of just spiting what CN and Boom are doing now.

And when I say “do something about it” I don’t mean creating an account on a message board just to complain. That doesn’t work, because most of the time the people in charge of programming on these networks don’t hang out on public message boards. Nor do I mean signing some online petition or starting some “revival project” on Facebook. Online petitions are like miracle diets: they don’t work because they’re too easy to doctor, and a gathering of people on Facebook to talk about how great a show is and post really bad fan art isn’t a “revival project” because neither of those things are going to get your favorite shows back on the air.

If Da Boom or CN aren’t running the shows that you want them to or they’re not running them at a convenient time for you, DO something about it. If these shows aren’t airing at a convenient time for you, record them and watch them at a time that is convenient. If these shows are on DVD, buy the DVDs and watch them at your leisure. Find out if these shows are on a legal streaming video service and subscribe to that service. If a DVD distributor isn’t producing DVD sets of your favorite shows, then write to them and ask them to; let them know that you’d be willing to pay for your favorite shows on DVD. Heck, you could even study the art form you love, learn to write and draw, take a course in animation or art or creative writing so you can 1 day actually MAKE the sort of cartoons that you want to see. And I don’t want to hear stuff like “That’s too expensive” or “That takes too much time” or “It’s not the same as watching them on TV”. Stop making excuses. Think of getting to see these shows again as a drug or a bottle of booze: if you want your fix badly enough, you’ll find some way to get it. If you had your own kick-ass cartoon collection on DVD or streaming video, then it wouldn’t matter what these channels do. Ultimately, it comes down to ‘just how bad do you want it?’

It seems to me that being proactive and doing something is better than just sitting on your duff and hoping that 1 day one these networks will come around to your way of thinking, ’cause that may never happen.

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