It's been a while since I've watched Saturday morning cartoons, so I don't know if the shows are what they used to be. In my time (and believe it or not, there was a time when the best cartoons weren't on
time and were actually geared toward those under the age of 15) the adults making cartoons would do their best to inject a little rock & roll into the flickering images.
Usually their efforts
came off as forced and derivative, but we were kids (read: stupid) and it spoke to us
anyway. So here's a list of some of Hollywood's best tries at
introducing the prepubescent world to rock as well as some of today's attempts to carry it forward for those who grew up during the golden age of Saturday morning television.
1. and 2. Jem and the Holograms/The Misfits –
A cartoon that taught young girls about fashion, empowerment and
compassion. It's hard to beleive Hasbro had a hand in this one. If you
thought Hannah Montana was the first TV character to have a secret rock
star alter ego, you're mistaken. The plot followed the adventures of record
company exec Jerrica Benton who moonlights as the front woman for Jem
and the Holograms (think of a poppy Lita Ford). The setup was surprisingly complex and involved the use of top-secret
computer technology which transformed Benton in to Jem so she could rock out to raise
money for her non-profit foundation which helped foster kids. Her job would have been easier were it not for the shiftless machinations of girl band the Misfits who
were always trying to upstage the Holograms.
3. Emmet Otter and His Jugband –
Though not a cartoon, it's the next closest thing–a bevvy of furry
critters created by late puppeteer extraordinaire Jim Henson. If
you didn't have HBO in the '80s, you probably missed this annually
featured special about an otter named Emmet who enters a music contest to
help raise money for his beloved Ma. The one-hour special featured blue grass
songs penned by Paul Williams, writer of such classics as “We've Only
Just Begun,” “Old “Fashioned Love Song” and the “Rainbow Connection.” Dig
this little ditty that rocks the lyrics “When you meet someone who
don't like soul food/ they still got a soul/ And it don't mean that you
don't got rhythm if you don't like rock n roll.” With all the found
instruments being plucked and pounded by these little furries, one has to wonder where
today's hipsters got all their ideas.
4. Sadgasm –
You didn't think we'd get through this list without a Simpsons
reference, did you? Sadgasm was featured in a flashback episode where
Homer and Marge recount their early courtship, which started in the
'90s. After a temporary breakup, Homer experiences despair and starts
making bleak music bearing an uncanny resemblance to Nirvana.
5. Dethklok – The band
featured in Adult Swim's ode to all things metal. It won't embed, but here's a link to a
clip of bassist Murderface demonstrating his songwriting abilites to
his band mates. Titty fish!