News Reel & Blog

Written by Flora Kimberley on 18th February 2019

In a world where we are surrounded by streaming content, adult cartoons are continuously gaining popularity. Ever since the fading quality of The Simpsons in the early 00’s shows like Family Guy and South Park appeared filling the void with crass jokes and dark humour.

Then Adult Swim was created.

Adult Swim aired after 9pm when Cartoon Network started to feature new adult cartoons. They took a new stance on adult humour creating intellectual and situation themed jokes with dark emotional twists. These cartoons included Moral Orel which was cancelled in 2008 after three series for “becoming too depressing” for most viewers. The Stop Motion Show followed a 1950’s sitcom narrative with a young boy who has an alcoholic abusive father (a trope which seems to repeat across adult cartoons). After the cancellation of this show, Adult Swim started creating more adult cartoons and now Netflix have started creating their own originals too.

The most popular adult cartoon in recent years (and probably of all time) is Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty. The show follows the escapades of an alcoholic scientist grandfather and nervous grandson as they travel across multiple dimensions. Ever since its first season it has become acclaimed with fans and critics due to it’s devilishly witty writing. The free form cartoon takes a lucid stance on regular cartoon structure. It allows the voice actor, Justin Roiland, to improvise speech; this causes him to create a realistic identity of the two lead characters. However, the show also manages to forego stereotypes and examines the character’s flaws as though they live and breathe. For instance, Rick often merges between the hero and villain tropes as his intelligence is both a blessing and a curse. Rick becomes relatable to us as we both sympathise with him but also judge him, much like we do to others.

Netflix rivals Adult Swim’s stand out success with its original cartoon: Bojack Horsemen. The comedy starring Will Arnett is about a depressed, alcoholic, former 90’s sitcom star Bojack trying to reignite his career. From the outset Bojack Horsemen discusses controversial issues brazenly. Every season discusses addiction, gender, fame, the industry, parental abuse and relationships. However, poignantly in season five they discussed adoption for a single woman. Princess Carolyn (Amy Sedaris) decides to adopt a baby after many attempts of having her own, it follows the real effect and hardship of this experience for a single women (versus a couple.)

Adult cartoons are most definitely a hit in the modern world. Clearly the older we get the more we need something to express our views in a not strictly realistic way. As Morty says, “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. We're all going to die. Come watch TV”

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Written by Flora Kimberley on 11th February 2019

The popularity of reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race has catapulted drag to the forefront of the media industry. The heart-warming and hilarious show has captured the hearts of millions of people; highlighting the plight of the LGBTQ community and a different form of artist expression.

The pilot series started in February 2009 where ten queens competed against each other in a series of challenges to win one hundred thousand dollars. Fast forward ten years, it may have the same premise, but it has evolved into something much more than a reality show. Drag Race is a cultural phenomenon, one of the most quotable shows on television and a merchandise empire.

The influence of Drag Race has filtered into the mainstream television and film industries. Gone are the tired “it’s a man in a wig” jokes! Drag performers are being given more complex and gritty roles to really show their real talent. A recent example is through Drag Race alumni Shangela Laquifa Wadley and Willam who are featured in the Oscar nominated A Star is Born. The bar scenes are predominantly based at a Gay Bar where Shangela is the owner and MC. According to sources, most of the dialogue between the drag queens is completely improvised as Bradley Cooper (Director) wanted to really capture the community’s essence. Cooper also let the queens create their own looks for the film to really express their personalities.

This drag acceptance is coming through on other productions as well. Valentina (also Drag Race alumni) has recently been cast in FOX’s version of Rent. It shows that these production houses are really allowing drag to have a presence in the industry and celebrate the artists that use it as their expression.

As RuPaul states in his hit song Naked (available on iTunes) “We are all born naked and the rest is drag!”

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Written by Flora Kimberley on 5th February 2019

Friends is everyone’s favourite sitcom from its portrayal of career progression through to its depiction of young life where your friends are closer to you then your family. It is one of the most quotable shows ever to grace our television screens having us yell along “we were on a break!”

Incredibly, even though it finished almost fifteen years ago, Friends is still at the top of streaming site Netflix most viewed. It is quite unbelievable that the show still has so much magnitude after so much time. Especially in the crowded market of scripted television content.

The show is loved by all, old and young. However, it seems to be particularly popular in the five to sixteen age demographic, which is particularly interesting as most of these viewers wouldn’t have been alive when Friends ended in 2004!

In recent years the world has become a lot more varied and accepting than in the 90’s, so the shows continued success has surprised some, especially as there is some controversy surrounding the show. Many people have labelled the show as sexist and homophobic with the character Ross being at the heart of the issues. For example, it is important to highlight the episode where Ross and Rachel hire a male nanny. This episode shows how uncomfortable Ross is when a man evades the stereotypical masculine norm, which ends with them dismissing the male nanny as Ross cannot handle it. Ross often displays his discomfort surrounding issues where his masculinity is tested, like when he refused to admit he is wearing a pink shirt and repeatedly calls it “salmon”.

But despite the critics, the success continues. As a wise man once said it’s “like a cow's opinion. It doesn't matter. It's moo.”

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