The Cartoons and Movies That I’ve Grown Up With

Samantha Li, Copy Editor

There’s no doubt that cartoons have an essential impact on my childhood. At a young age, the cartoons and movies that I love and know started off as simple and entertaining. But as I grew older they were one of the tools on how they help me cope through dark times, gave me nostalgia, and move further on my life regardless of how tough it gets. When it comes to shows like Total Drama, Gravity Falls, or The Amazing World of Gumball and movies such as The Land Before Time and The Last Unicorn, I usually watch them on YouTube whether they are full episodes or small clips.

Art by Sasha Cox

To start off, The Amazing World of Gumball exceeds the humor tier of producing jokes that may go over our heads or relate too much for every demographic of the audience. Not only that, the show is never too shy to put some huge pop culture references here and there where we can laugh it off at the end of the day. The show also portrays the perfect broship between Gumball and Darwin that we adore and love.

Although Gravity Falls includes every good show that audiences want to see, like character development, plot, and funny little jokes here and there, the show also has small details and clues that would come together to fuel the continuity and extend the universe and environment. This lets me watch this series religiously. I’m also in awe with the twin dynamics  between Mabel and Dipper, as well as Stan and Stanford. Every mystery seems to be resolved, or are they?

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Compared to other shows that I’ve loved, Total Drama didn’t teach me anything meaningful yet they managed to create one of the most marvelous and diverse number of characters throughout the seasons. The diversity ranges from goth girl Gwen, bad boy Duncan, mean queen bee Heather, dumb blonde Lindsay, Napoleon Dynamite look-alike Harold, sassy queen Leshawna, crazy brazilian nut girl Izzy, big huggable teddy bear Owen and many more. There are some characters that I’ve grown to love such as Jasmine, Sky, Noah, Cameron, B, Dawn and Sha-Lighting! Although all these characters may look stereotypical, they have a lot more going on underneath that is explored as the series goes on. Not only that, the action and the rollercoaster drama has kept me going and hyped.

In addition to that, Avatar The Last Airbender provides the most valuable lessons than any other show that we can apply to our life. When watching the series, I sometimes find out what their message is and how they can be applicable to my life. It also tackles the most serious issues that are not just personal, but also political and cultural. Because of this, the show helped me to write one of my college essays. For that matter, as an Asian American myself, I love how the show’s environment and theme setting was inspired by many different types of Asian cultures. As if it weren’t enough, one of my favorite characters, Zuko, is one of the best written characters within the series where his journey and development grew on me. I also love his relationship with Iroh since no other show relationship like theirs would have what they have.

On top of that, Steven Universe portrays psychological well-being more than any show. It also taught me about how to find self-worth, identity, and acceptance within oneself through Steven’s journey. I remember the time I was so obsessed with each gem in the series on who they are and the fusions that they will make.

Finally, some of my underappreciated cult classic favorites are The Last Unicorn and The Land Before Time. For The Last Unicorn, it portrays a fall in reality through a poetic ending of bittersweetness. Therefore it wasn’t like any typical movie that would make the characters have a happily ever after, instead it was accepting reality as it is  through the life of a unicorn. When I first saw the movie as a little girl, I managed to fall in love with the unicorn due to her elegance, beauty, innocence, and purity that I would never be able to see in this world.

For The Land Before Time portrays unusual friendships that come together and how it can help us go through tough times in order to get to our final destination in life. Furthermore, both movies have amazing original soundtracks, resulting in me to play If We Hold on Together by Diana Ross from The Land Before Time in my last recital as a senior. Moreover, both movies weren’t afraid to show and deal with in-depth content unlike other modern movies being produced today such as loss, conflict, destruction, and struggles.