Words by Caitlin Johnston Art by Rebekah Rose
As times change, so do the lives of our beloved television shows. With teary eyes, we say goodbye to programs after a healthy run on our telly screens. But we’re all grown up now and some of our childhood TV shows are still running!
They’re kept alive with strange or recycled storylines and worse of all—now have CGI designs which morph these characters into a high definition fever dream. As someone who was semi-raised by these glorious cartoons, I have some strong opinions about the changes.
First of all, let’s discuss Angelina Ballerina. Based off a book, this innocent 2002 show was simply about a little mouse who wanted to be a ballerina. It had a solid run until 2006, and by then I had already given up on my personal ballerina dreams, so I wasn’t that mad. But then… they decided to revive the show into a shitty version called Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps. I. KID. YOU. NOT. It’s a G-rated version of Step Up 2, that was only released one year prior! Basically, Angelina move schools, all the supporting characters change, and the animation shifted from being beautiful 2D animated drawings with a soft colour palette to an uncomfortably bold early 2000’s dodgy video game aesthetic. Obviously, they received a ton of criticism and the revival did not last long. Angelina Ballerina (Step Up 2), you get a 3/10 from me.
Next up we’ve got Blue’s Clues. This ripper show would absolutely blow my mind back in the day seeing a human talking to a cartoon. The episodes follow Steve and the animated blue-dog named Blue—these were the days of peak creativity, clearly. Blue would leave clues around for Steve and the audience to figure out what her plans for the day were. Now, I haven’t actually seen the revival renamed as Blues Clues & You! because it airs this November. But I have seen teaser trailers and they’ve transformed Blue into a three-dimensional animated dog—the nerve. It may be unfair to jump straight to judgements, so I’ll leave you with a few of my favourite YouTube comments from the trailer: “Why do I hate it?” “#bringbackSteve” and “how dare you sit where they sat”. From what I personally saw, I’m going to be more lenient with this one and give it a 7/10 for not completely fucking up my beloved Blue’s Clues.
Now onto something very upsetting, Bob the Builder. In my eyes, the 1998 original could do no wrong. It had stop animation, there were builders building things and a boss ass gang of anthropomorphised vehicles and equipment. What more do you want? Except just like everything else in 2015, the show wanted to flex their CGI skills and—in my humble opinion—butchered it. Wherever you are right now, please do yourself a favour and type in ‘Old and New Bob the Builder’ into Google Images. I guarantee reactions of dropped jaws and speechlessness. Showing the picture to my nearest friend, they whined, “nooo he’s a real man now? I want his weird round head back!” On that note, Bob the Builder, you get 0/10. I ain’t impressed.
Last but not least, the crème-de-la-crème for disappointment and possibly the most horrific of all… Bananas in Pyjamas. I have one question: why are you like this? It stood as one of the most iconic and most recognised home-grown Australian children’s television shows of all time. We follow the shenanigans of B1 and B2 whose hobbies include wearing pyjamas, chasing teddy bears and hanging with old-mate Rat in a Hat. This used to be live-action with actors wearing costumes that they described as “hot and stuffy”. This most likely contributed to them going digital, but it’s just not the same as seeing human-sized bananas running around with unchanging facial expressions. You know a show is taking a bad turn when they used to get nominated for Logies and ARIAs, but now can’t even get more than a 2.5-star rating on IMDB. Bananas in Pyjamas, you get a -1000/10.
As you can see, my request is quite simple. This whole thing is honestly really starting to freak me out so please stop animating or re-animating my childhood cartoons. Thank you.