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Latest Topics

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Steven Universe and Huxleian Collectivism

Every brief glimpse the audience of Steven Universe is allowed into the nature of the crystal gems’ Homeworld conveys it to be an environment remarkably Huxleian in quality. The denizens of the planet are all created for highly specific purposes (from which they are not allowed to deviate): Pearls are personal attendants, Rubies are soldiers, and of course, Diamonds are monarchs who rule over everyone else. Such a social structure is reminiscent of that which is present in Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World.’ Is this a valuable comparison to make? To what extent is it true? Additionally, in what ways (with the characters’ interactions on Earth) do the cast of Steven Universe affront Homeworld’s status quo? Is the message their resistance sends to watchers valuable? If so, how?

  • I think Homeworld's message is "everyone in their place, and the places are preassigned," while the Crystal Gems say, "Everyone finds their own place." There should definitely be discussion of class and aristocracy regarding the Homeworld. – IndiLeigh 3 weeks ago
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Surrealism USA and the Cartoon Fever Dream

Surrealism was introduced into the U.S. through a series of exhibitions in the early to mid 1930’s at the height of the Great Depression. For the most part Surrealism existed in the popular consciousness as a sideshow act, a cartoonish form of entertainment. Discuss some of the works shown at these early Surrealist exhibitions and compare them to American cartoons of the time. Do they actually mirror elements of the Surrealist aesthetic? What is it that is potentially surreal about cartoons in the first place? Paintings by Dali can be compared to Walt Disney, etc.

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    Samurai Jack Season 5 - how did it become more mature

    So far, Samurai Jack’s Season 5 has been receiving positive responses. Despite it becoming darker in tone, the show contained the balance between seriousness and humor. Its transition to Adult Swim allowed more freedom in terms of subject matters, especially with violence. But the show retained the feel of the old seasons though it became darker. Jack killed a person for the first time, and he suffers from guilt and hallucinations. But despite the shift in tone, the audience can still feel that this is Samurai Jack they used to know and love.

    It would be worthwhile to examine how the Season 5 of Samurai Jack retained its essence despite the change in the mood. For example, how does the violence in Season 5 compare to the old seasons? Was there a precursor to Jack’s dilemma in the old episodes? How effective was the transition?

    • I think it would also be interesting to contrast the shift in narrative between the previous seasons and season 5. We can see the maturation of the shows content and also of the protagonist. Jack is not the same person, but is the same hero/samurai, which represents a moral/warrior code that is alien to the futuristic settings at the beginning of the series. I think it would be a really interesting topic to write on especially with the introduction of Ashi, and her role as a foil to Jack. – JConn13 1 month ago
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    Taken by aprosaicpintofpisces (PM) 4 weeks ago.
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    Living Vicariously Through Cartman: Cartoons, Free Speech and Taboo

    Cartoons like South Park and The Boondocks are known for their provocative humour. However, its hard to imagine the same jokes and subject matter in a live-action format being tolerated in mainstream culture. Consider whether the worlds of cartoons, due to their overt incongruence with real life on the superficial level, make this kind of humour more palatable. Also, discuss the significance of cartoons for public conversation and free speech. Do cartoons and the universes they create allow us to indulge in taboo conversations in a way that is more difficult with more realistic material?

    • Definitely. I mean having these topics brought up in an 'unreal' world surely makes these things easier to say, and therefore, easier for viewers to stomach? Same kind of logic that applies to depersonalisation through online communication I suppose. – TomWadsworth 2 months ago
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    Pearl and Rose's Relationship in Steven Universe

    It’s essentially impossible to deny now that Pearl and Rose’s relationship in Steven Universe wasn’t romantic in at least some fashion. One of Steven Universe’s best qualities is arguably it’s queer representation. However, Pearl’s relationship with Rose as we understand it is infinitely complex and intersects with their standing first as a Rose and a Pearl, as a leader and as a subordinate, and as near equals. I’m interested in the nature of their relationship (i.e. whether it was healthy or not or the extent of it) and it’s lasting implications for Pearl’s character. I’m also interested in how it compares to Pearl’s relationship with characters like Amethyst and Steven especially. Basically, I think it would be interesting to explore how Pearl’s relationship with Rose and it’s healthy or unhealthy nature frames her current relationships in the show.

    • As I understand it, from the very few episodes that I've watched, they were not "near equals" and were in fact the opposite in that Pearls are almost, or are, the lowest gems. This topic is interesting, and I'd really like to see someone explore the deep seated obsession Pearl has with the deceased Rose; it's one of the more dangerous obsessions in television that I've seen. – Steven Gonzales 7 months ago
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    Rick and Morty - Taking TV Animation by Storm

    Although only 2 seasons in, Rick and Morty has already established itself as one of the best TV animation shows in this generation. But why is it so popular? The nostalgia it gives as it resembles "Back to the Future"? The colorful animations? The writing style? Analyze why Rick and Morty is becoming more and more popular.

    • There's really no going wrong with a Rick and Morty topic. The show is teeming with all kinds of topics to be discussed and dismantled. Literally anything from the ending scenes from the Season Two finale to the opening credit scene from Episode 1 can be dismantled and discussed. A heavy focus on the reality and writing of the show could really make for a wonderful article. – MatthewP93 7 months ago
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    • The writing has a lot to do with it. I can't recall the source, but I remember an article referring to Rick and Morty as one of the smartest shows on television. The sci-fi mixed with suburban drudgery may reflect upon the cult shows such as Family Guy, Futurama, and even the really weird adult swim series such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Robot Chicken--which may be one factor contributing to its popularity. Also, creator Justin Roiland has risen to popularity since his Mr. Sprinkles web series, voicing Lemongrab in Adventure Time and other characters on various networks. Nostalgia--yes. The writing style--undoubtedly! And the growing fans are all eagerly awaiting the upcoming season! – DrownSoda 7 months ago
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    • It would be super neat to break down the references inside Rick and Morty since there are so many! But on a more analytical note, I agree with DrownSoda that it's worth looking at Rick and Morty in contrast to other adult cartoons. Rick and Morty breaks away from those shows by having a slightly more linear plot line in each season and plays with the tropes that other sci-fi shows use in an arguably more complex and intelligent way. Either way, a Rick and Morty topic would be great in any capacity. – LondonFog 5 months ago
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    Young Justice Season 3: An Unexpected Return

    Sam Register, President, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Digital Series recently announced that a third season of Young Justice, an abruptly cancelled animated television show that aired on Cartoon Network from 2010-2013 is currently in production. Fans have continued to show much support since its cancellation, fighting to revive the show, and Register acknowledged the fans "rallying cry for more episodes" in the press release. Recount the events of the first and second seasons of the show and explore why it had such a loyal fan following and garnered critical acclaim. Also, look into how fans reacted to the controversial cancellation and the events that led up to its unexpected return.

    • I would also add to the research of this topic how former superhero shows like Justice League, and Justice League: Unlimited, along with Teen Titans and its cancellation in late 2006 helped pave the path for Young Justice and its fan base. – Steven Gonzales 8 months ago
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    • From a gendered standpoint, there was a lot of controversy from the network following cancellation due to poor toy sales and too many female viewers. Perhaps this is an angle an author would like to take when viewing this topic, particularly how female fans may have contributed to the return of the series. – SarahKnauf 6 months ago
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    Cartoon Network: A Heavy Decline, or Sharp Increase?

    Recently Cartoon Network has begun the downward slope towards the employment of playing back to back 11 minute episodes of their shows; along with this, they have also lost a great number of quality shows that started with the discontinuation of Teen Titans in 2006 and Young Justice in 2013. With the loss of shows like Teen Titans, Ben 10, Young Justice, and Star Wars: Clone Wars from Cartoon Network, have we seen the last of well animated television from the network?
    Exploring this topic would also need to include the success or failures of such shows as Adventure Time, Regular Show, Steven Universe, and so on. It should also include an introspective comparison between the differences of audience, plot, and animation style.

    • I think with any decade there's hit and misses and its important to not let nostalgia lead to an obvious bias. Growing up in the 90s I had mostly exposure from cartoons from the 80s and the 90s. There were certainly great ones but also stinkers looking back. All the shows you listed as the classic era are all from 2000s, which I think would be the weaker era if any. Shows like Adventure Time and Steven Universe actually felt like a Renaissance to me with how they handle continuity, character development, and mature relationships and themes. – ivanly 8 months ago
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    • A great video on this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUwiYrOmAuM – m-cubed 7 months ago
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