Cover Story | Cartoons used to be looked at as something to entertain the children. The older generation might suffer through a few minutes of an episode to appease the younger people in the family, but most didn’t pay them any attention. But during the late 80’s and 90’s older people had to start paying attention. Cartoons weren’t just Mickey, Donald and Garfield anymore. Other, more mature (and entertaining), shows and movies began to pop up and started targeting older teens and adults. After that, animated entertainment couldn’t be ignored. Either the adults were watching themselves or they were trying to make sure the kids weren’t. Here are a few of the more memorable ones.
The PJ’s (1999 – 2001)
The PJ’s was about life in the projects. Eddie Murphy voices Thurgood Orenthal Stubbs, superintendent of the Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs housing project, who has to deal with several eccentric tenants and Smokey the crackhead. The show’s content didn’t appeal to a broad enough audience at the time and was canceled after two seasons. There are plenty of adult situations and references to drug and alcohol abuse in there, but it was the 90’s and that’s what was going on at the time (I saw the same stuff in my neighborhood). I gave it another look a few months ago and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Bébé’s Kids (1992)
This was one of the funniest movies of the 90’s. It didn’t matter that it was a cartoon, everyone has seen Bebe’s Kids. Even the few people that haven’t seen the movie understand what the name refers to (although I haven’t heard it used in years). The “children” were so wild that my views about starting a family changed. Robin Harris (the character played by Faizon Love) and Jamika (Vanessa Bell Calloway) changed my outlook on kids before I was old enough to think about having my own. I’m sure it has frightened off plenty of potential babysitters as well. There were some sexual innuendos and the occasional “damn” throughout the film. Not too, bad but safe to say it was meant for a more mature crowd.
Celebrity Death Match (1998 – 2007)
This had to be one of the wildest shows of the 90’s. It was set up like a pro wrestling match between celebrities. The only difference is that one of the clay celebrities died in almost every match. Not only did they die, but it was always in some incredibly gruesome ways with weapons like chainsaws and MTV Movie Awards (in the Chris Rock vs. The Rock episode). Sounds a bit excessive but this was the 90’s, when MTV was targeting teenage audiences with shows like this and Beavis and Butthead, so it makes sense. And even with all the bad voice-overs and gory clay animation, Celebrity Death Match lasted six seasons.
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