By Jacob Perrett, Director of Broadcasting
Let’s reminisce for a moment. When I was a kid, cartoons were my life. I fondly remember looking forward to watching new episodes every Saturday morning, and I definitely wasn’t opposed to acting sick just so I could stay home and watch them. While I enjoyed mostly every episode of programs such as Spongebob Squarepants, or Courage the Cowardly Dog, there were a few episodes that had a lasting effect on me. This lasting effect was not always a good one. I can remember a few occasions where an episode actually gave me nightmares, rather than entertain me. Looking back at some of these moments, it’s a wonder how the writers got away with some of the disturbing content.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog: Perfect
Courage the Cowardly Dog has always been known for its controversial topics and dark imagery, but this episode really pushed the buttons. In an episode called Perfect, Courage finds that he is unable to help Eustace and Muriel achieve simple tasks. Soon after the figure of a woman named The Perfectionist comes to Courage and attempts to make him perfect. She is disgusted by the fact that Courage has so many imperfections and begins to teach him how to walk and talk perfectly. That night Courage falls asleep and the episode takes an unexpected turn. As Courage sleeps, the image of a blue creature appears. Its head slowly bobs around and then it looks into the camera bellowing the words, “You’re not perfect.” As you’d expect, Courage then wakes up screaming. The episode is one of the most well known of the series, and to this day it still sent shivers down my spine as I rewatched it.
- Tom and Jerry: Heavenly Puss
Tom and Jerry was one of those cartoons that was on for an hour straight. Mostly every episode showed Tom trying to eat Jerry, but Jerry always eluded his grasp while adding in some slapstick comedy. The show was good fun. One episode in particular however took things differently. The episode Heavenly Puss began as usual with the Tom and Jerry chase, but shocked many when it decided to have a sliding piano kill Tom. He lays there motionless as a light shines down from the ceiling, revealing a golden escalator. Tom then proceeds to get up and make his way to the gates of heaven, but stops when a white cat in a suit tells him that his fate lies in the hands of Jerry. His worst enemy. In order to make it into heaven Jerry must sign a slip of paper saying that he forgives Tom for all the things he has done to him. Tom desperately tries to persuade Jerry to sign it as the devil (portrayed as Spike) periodically comes to him telling him he is running out of time. Just as the episode comes to a close Jerry signs it and saves Tom from burning in a pot of fire. The concept of heaven and hell has rarely ever been brought up in cartoon history, and after watching this episode it’s evident why.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog: Courage in the Big Stinkin’ City
Oh boy, here we go. In this episode Muriel wins the family a trip to the city. When they arrive, they are greeted by a cockroach who shows the three to their rooms before requesting Courage to deliver a package to a nearby building. When he arrives, the place looks empty, but we quickly find out that it is quite the opposite. Courage enters and begins looking through the doors revealing all sorts of creepy images. He then climbs some stairs and opens a door. Behind it we see what looks like real footage of a girl seated, playing the violin. Her back is toward the audience so all seems innocent enough. Courage is relieved as well. Then in a split second she turns around revealing a terrifying claymation face, with eyes popping out of their sockets. She screams and so does Courage. He slams the door shut and moves on. Even though the show had its traumatic moments it lasts as a cult classic. I would definitely recommend it.