Wednesday, July 11, 2012

From The Archives: Is Cartoon Network Christophobic?

(originally published July 21, 2010)

Don't you just love it when fan blogs get all political and/or religious on you?

In November of 1999 Cartoon Network premiered a little show called ...

The show was the brainchild of then Dexter's Laboratory Art Director Craig McCracken (who has since gone on to create another little gem called Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends) Craig based his pitch off a short film he created in art school that he loving christened The Whoop@$$ Girls! Said student film is posted below.

Of course there was no way the Network was going to air a show with that title, so the term 'Powerpuff' was dreamed up at the last second to take it's place. However, according to an interview the now defunct Cartoon Network Fridays: The Fan Site conducted with Mr. McCracken that wasn't the only change the Network asked him to make.

Anyone remember this guy?

What you see pictured above is the PPG's second worst nemesis. A creature so wicked, so evil, so horribly vile that even the mere utterance of his name strikes fear into the hearts of men! This is my friends, is the fiend that the citizens of Townsville could only refer to as ... HIM!

Are you ready for another shock? Originally this character was supposed to be the Devil! Yeah, I know, the designers certainly did a good job of hiding that influence, didn't they?

The Network vetoed that concept on the grounds that they weren't going to allow any religious references into their shows. Okay, fair enough, but I have to wonder. If there aren't going to mention religion then how the heck did this get made?

In case you don't have seven minutes to spare, the cartoon above was a pilot episode for a show that never got the green light. Swaroop as it was called, followed the life of a young Indian boy named (what else?) Swaroop and his family living in New Jersey and his attempts to save a cow from becoming his neighbor's barbecue. It's not hilarious, but it's not bad either though I'm sure it's a kick if you're on the animal rights bandwagon. Still, Swaroop clearly depicts several customs straight out of Hinduism, which are far more religion specific than a general reference to the Devil.

Another interesting thing (and I actually hate to bring this up because I love this show) comes from Samurai Jack. Apparently both the pilot (Episode I) and Samurai Versus Ninja (Episode XL) depict our hero ...

In a Buddhist Temple ...

Now before anyone gets their panties in a wad, let me clarify my position. I have no problem whatsoever with Samurai Jack appearing in a Buddhist temple. I can't say that about Swaroop on the grounds that I really wanted sacred cow to get messily devoured.

My problem is that, or rather would be, that CN feels, or at the very least felt at one time, that one religion was not suitable for their program, but others were. I say, at one time, because a number of shows currently featured on CN do mention Christianity. You want to know what the catch is, though? THEY ALL TEAR IT DOWN!

Seriously, turn on Family Guy, The Venture Brothers, Moral Oral, and you know what you'll find? A seething pot of Christophobia!

If they were biased against religion in the first place, that would be a different matter. It would be fair. But to exclude a single religion and then allow it admittance on the grounds that it can only be run down is nothing short of discrimination.

See, the Powerpuff Girls and the renaming of Him are not the real subject of this piece. They only provide perspective for a growing problem on what was once a haven of geekdom for animation fans (again I saw 'once' because the moment they started airing live action content, yeah, things kind of went down hill after that).

I'm speechless with contempt! Who's responsible for this? Who created this network in the ... oh yeah.

... so that's why they didn't want to have Ted Turn, er, I mean the devil as a bad guy. Silly me.

No comments:

Post a Comment