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Punish Your Children By Letting Them Watch Cartoons!
Matt - 07/02/00

Parents have long complained that certain cartoons have made their children prone to violence, hate, unsubstanciated fantasy, fear, and anger. Now we can add one more to that list: epileptic fits!

Such was the case over in Japan during the initial viewing of a new cartoon called Pocket Monsters, which we'd all later know as Pokemon. Apparently, there was a scene in the cartoon where Pikachu and Ash were stuck in some sort of computer program, about to face their doom with missles flying towards them. Pikachu electro-shocked and blew up the missles, and the light patterns that followed caused epileptic seizures in around 700 Japanese children.

Now, I'm not one to laugh at the misfortune of others...but you know what they say: tragedy plus time...equals...comedy! Come on...picture mothers sitting on the phone in the kitchen while their children watch the happy-go-lucky Pokemon repeat their inane names over and over again. They walk in the room to find that the show was so good, it inspired their children to thrash around on the floor like it was some sort of 70s breakdancing competition.

Course, there's a silver lining to every dark cloud, and those who taped the infamous program were really creative while coming up with new uses for it. Here's a scenario:

* Mother Smith was asked by Mother Jones to babysit her 'cute' little son, Jeffrey. Mother Smith, reluctantly, agreed. She had seen Jeffrey in action before. Last time she babysat him, he broke her vase, VCR, and even refused to eat the steamed beets she slaved over for hours. This time though, she was prepared. Once Jeffrey started acting up, Mother Smith cheerfully offered to let him watch a Pokemon cartoon on video. The end result? Jeffrey never did anything bad in Mother Smith's house again.

There's other ways to get the most out of a cartoon that inspires mass hysteria...

* Put on the tape, and tell your friends to watch closely at the part with the missles, because the animators stuck some topless girl in the background. They'll be so busy looking for tits that they won't have a shot in Hell resisting the epileptic seizure. Then you can videotape that and have two fun tapes to show around. One for the people you like, one for the people you don't like.

* Need some exercise, but lack motivation? Just watch the cartoon and watch your body let loose for about 20 minutes straight! You'll be getting the greatest workout of your life, with no effort at all!

Being serious now though, stuff like this is obviously a complete accident. Some people complained that it was a premeditated prank, but those are the same people who think Big Bird's nose is too phallic for children's television. The timing of all this was really bad though...anime was already being blasted by various groups for it's more mature content -- the last thing the genre needed was proof that it caused little kids to rev up like jumping beans on acid.

Curious about the clip? Well, I've got it for you. It's been toned down a bit, so it's not going to inspire any seizures, but you should catch the drift of it. It's really not much, but if you want to see what all the excitement is about, you can download the Realplayer clip by clicking here. It's a short download.

But man...I know a lot of you out there aren't Pokemon fans...but I can think of at least 50 shows that I feel are way more geared to cause seizures than that....

Harry & The Hendersons: Now come on, if Pokemon can do it, I'm sure this god awful show could inspire some diseases. You know what's funny about this show? It had nothing to do with the sasquatch. It was all about the trials and tribulations of a really boring cliched sitcom family...Bigfoot took a major backdrop. In fact, there's episodes where he'd appear for less than 20 seconds total. They'd use the whole 'no outsiders can see Harry' deal to give him as little screen time as possible. If they wanted to do a show about a boring family, that's fine...but why put a fucking yeti in then?

The Ropers: Here's another case of a television producer daring another television producer to do a really stupid show. Now, the Ropers were great on Three's small doses. The idea that you had to watch these two for 30 minutes at a time wasn't only stupid - it was flat out cruel. How many times can Stanley smile at the camera before you gouge your eyes out in your own special little epileptic fit?

Teletubbies From Hell: Now that the Teletubbies aren't that popular anymore, the show is broadcast at like 5 AM. Because I don't sleep, I have the sour distinction of being awake at 5 AM to watch television. I saw one episode of this and what convinced I was on acid. There was this 20 minute vignette of little kids collecting pebbles at a beach. It was the most lucid, asinine thing I've ever seen. After that, the purple (and completely hetero) Teletubby screams 'again!', and they show the entire fucking pebble collecting thing one more time! This is why I'm afraid to commit any mortal sins. If there is a Hell, I'm sure it includes Teletubby marathons.

Yeah, so ummm...beware. Some cartoons kill.

- Matt

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