One of the saddest things about growing up is the impact it has on your Saturday morning rituals. Saturday mornings were sacrosanct in my youth; they were my sabbath. Even if I had to attend a 7 a.m. practice (the swimming world is intense in Florida), I would eschew crawling back into bed in favor of planting myself in front of the TV with a bowl of some cereal that was basically a sugar delivery system, watching my favorite cartoons. Recess was a particular favorite, along with Animaniacs, which gave me my first taste of off-the-wall humor. We didn’t have cable, but on vacations my siblings and I would sit, captivated, before Nickelodeon shows like Angry Beavers, Rugrats, and The Wild Thornberrys. (Plus about a hundred I’ve neglected to mention.) These were shows I could relate to and enjoy, with interesting (if occasionally simplistic) animation.
I’m not sure why, but my parents allowed me to watch the brilliant Batman: The Animated Series, despite the fact that I was all of five years old when it started.
This is an incredible show: dark but still humorous, with an arrestingly elegant visual style that all the same didn’t seem too sophisticated for a, uh, five-year-old. (Jesus, was I really only five when this series started?) It told stories that I could easily grasp and relate to, emotionally, but it also contained a lot of subtleties I can only now appreciate. I know the movies weren’t based on the TV show, but, just for fun, compare this to some of the Batman movies before Christopher Nolan stepped in– specifically, the Joel Schumacher ones. Go on. I’ll wait.