I Saw an Animation Series!

A spoof of early teen, instantaneous and disposable commercial culture. The only things that survive are the relationships between the kids who obsess over the inconsequential products directed at them. Ironically they know nothing of the images or celebrities who are being processed as their culture, but they can’t control their desires to own every last worthless item marketed. They get suckered by evil Bezos-looking “influencers” posing as cute young women to lure them (for Welch’s grape drink) or by Dr. Phil images on a t-shirt (wholly unknown to the kids) who want it because it’s a brand name release (Latrine!).

The fun part of the stories are the earnestness of the kids as they try to navigate this bullshit world created to exploit their naivete. The unexpressed future inevitability is a total mixing of ethnicity and culture, a future where every one of us is a powerful mongrel of some undefined shade, arguing about what youtube channels are the best culture. And while the right is terrified of losing some kind of white privilege, and the left is fighting hard to try to maintain and celebrate a diversity that has been rapidly in decline since the 1950s (and neither side can yet argue if the loss or the maintenance is a good thing), my opinion is solidly with X-Ray Specs and PolyStyrene’s exclamation about Identity being the crisis. The further we invest in this universal market the more inevitable our social hybridization. Once everyone has access to every last corner of the available digital supermarket we are both reduced to identical sameness while equalized in our privilege power. All we will have to argue about will be the choice of the brand toothbrush’s color. Did you choose the one beloved by unmemorable cute boy influencer or the other one?

I was born in the mid-sixties so I was actually raised on a diet of stories that pitted depth against form. I have a punk rock soul not because I sported the fashion or the haircut, but because I believed in DIY (do it yourself). I hope we manage to swing back to a more serious grade of doing skills rather than simply skimming videos of things that celebrate the humorousness of there being nothing below the surface.

But then maybe, a few years of uber marketing and a desire for identity will cause a private revolution and an actual Dostoevsky novel will be unearthed. As a high school teacher I don’t have high expectations, but there are always a few students who have reached an age of realizing the depth is pretty shallow, and the expectations so easily met it’s actually a bore. By the time you reach Fairfax’s spoof of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory you’ve had the joke rubbed in your face enough times. The kids are forced to give up their promised status as “influencers” (in any other culture the “cool”) only clearly identified through products, shoes and hats (the stuff of kid’s marketed dreams), which are taken from them as they try to undermine the giant Latrine (that joke might slip by the younger viewers) vaults.

Our intrepid kid heroes have to rely on their skills and out-of-the-box smarts to survive, but in the end, never indict their being manipulated by corporate greed, they end up only clamoring for more.

Amusing stuff, airing on Amazon Prime (usa), and possibly reminding us elders to check our advantage in experience and outrage (don’t forget to drink your ovaltine!).

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