The beleaguered grandfather quickly grabs the television remote and changes the channel of what looked like something he and his grandson could watch while having a late night ‘sleepover’ during the holiday break. However, the two happened upon one of the many adult-themed cartoons that have increased in popularity over the years. Whereas early shows such as ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘South Park’ catered to the adult crowd (and sometimes the older child), a growing number of cartoons with adult subject matter has increased over the years, and sometimes, it gets too hard to distinguish between an appropriate show and one that is geared towards adults. Some look innocent at first, but then ease into racy themes and explicit language, while others, such as Golan the Insatiable, embrace themes of the occult and make other disturbing references.
‘Adult animation’ shown on television has been around for quite some time, and has always attracted controversy with its tendency to incorporate over-the-top themes and subject matter. In the days of MTV’s ‘Beavis and Butthead’ (1993-1997), parents were outraged by the shows’ use of profanity, violence, risqué plots, and brief nudity. While the series was geared towards adult viewers, it was also aired in the afternoons, and some parents claimed that their children would mimic the actions of the characters in the show. It is believed that one young viewer felt motivated to set fire to his bed, which led to the death of his sister, and reportedly got the idea from an episode of Beavis and Butthead. Soon after, MTV chose to air the series at a later time, remove all references to fire from the episodes, and add disclaimers to future episodes that warned people not to imitate the actions of the characters.
As ‘adult animation’ evolved, TV stations showcased the likes of ‘Archer,’ ‘American Dad,’ ‘King of the Hill,’ and ‘Family Guy,’ which happens to feature a highly intelligent baby with adult mannerisms and a talking dog – two characters that would at first seem appealing to a young viewer, but clearly engage in adult activities throughout the show’s storyline.
As the world of adult animation started to really take off, networks started to give more airtime to these types of shows. Series like the Simpsons and Family Guy, proved quite popular – both have been on air for more than 12 seasons. This prompted Cartoon Network to create a programming block called Adult Swim, which is shown from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m, and features animated shows, such as ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force,’ ‘Robot Chicken,’ and ‘The Boondocks’ (the television-animated version of the syndicated comic strip by the same name).
Sometimes, Adult Swim shows have even gone too far, whereas certain episodes or shows have been pulled because they have ‘crossed the line.’ For example, an animated series called ‘Moral Orel’ showed children drinking alcohol, as well as violence taking place against specific groups of people.
Fox Broadcasting Company has also dedicated a programming block to adult animation programs during a popular timeslot that has been dubbed “Animation Domination.” This is where you will find shows like ‘Golan the Insatiable’ – an animated project centered on a ‘mighty godlord from an alternate universe’ that resembles a monster-like Devil character with horns.
In just the first few minutes of the cartoon, it is quite clear to see that the content of this show is not geared towards children, although the main character is a small 10-year-old girl named Dylan. Golan is the scary, destructive invisible friend turned real-life companion of Dylan, who constantly eggs on the beast to destroy, maim, kill, and terrorize her town.
He is intimidating and violent, and in the first episode titled “Ragin’ Fun,” Golan nearly kills Dylan’s sister’s boyfriend by repeatedly hitting him with a brick that the child hands over to him. The very beginning of the episode shows Dylan bursting into a town hall meeting, waving a flag with a horned character’s icon held up with a bone to introduce Golan who announces to the room of the upcoming ‘Sex Moon Feast,’ and that he will be staging a ‘death blood orgy.’
If parents aren’t careful, a show like this or the channel could easily slip through the eyes of someone programming the parental lock on the television. Also, similar shows aren’t good for anyone at any age to view on a routine basis, as many of them condone, embrace, and glorify violence, graphic language, and reckless, rebellious acts against others. It can have a brain-washing, desensitizing effect on all viewers.