I can remember a time when I often wished that I would hurry up and grow out of watching cartoons so I could finally officiate that transition from teenybopper to full-fledged angsty teenager. Fast forward fifteen years later, I can’t recall a time when I needed cartoons in my life more than ever.
The older we get, it becomes harder to deny that reading and our love for books is put on the back burner as we pursue other easier ways to relax our minds and unwind after living stressful lives during the day. I still carry a book everywhere with me out of sheer habit, but after a long day of looking at tiny words, reading, writing and typing in tiny fonts on tiny screens, even looking at a paperback can prove to be a challenge. Nowadays, cartoons are my drug of choice; the boisterous mistress I keep in an easy yet meaningless affair as opposed to the brooding, aging hardback waiting for me at home. It’s just simple, quiet moments in my day split into thirty minute episodes that I can choose to laugh at or just stare at for hours and hours on end while curled up in bed.
Watching cartoons does to my brain the equivalent of listening to One Direction’s “Kiss You” while driving home on a dark road at three in the morning. It puts my mind into a calm, peaceful state where nothing can hurt me and there are no murderers sitting in my backseat and no ghosts crawling down the window. Because, hey, even if there were, I wouldn’t be able to hear it because I’m too busy bopping my head and jamming out to the ultra catchy chorus (also, let’s be honest, even if there were murderers or ghosts lying in wait to scare me, they’d probably do a really bad job because they’d be too embarrassed for me anyway).
Even while I was an intern living on my own in the city, cartoons were my everything, especially when I had no friends. I would watch Upin and Ipin while getting ready for work, even if it meant having to walk a little bit faster to get to my office since watching it until the end always made me late. Later on as an exchange student in a different city where thankfully I had more friends this time, every half past four in the morning after a night out, I could always rest assured knowing I could come back to my apartment, collapse on my bed and fall asleep laughing to a hilarious episode of Fish Hooks.
At night when the rowdy neighbours upstairs had guests over or were playing their music too loud with the windows open, I could always blast Baby TV’s bedtime lullabies at maximum volume and I could count on falling asleep like a baby to that despite the ruckus going on overhead. I don’t think I changed channels much during that entire year abroad other than the lone 5% of the time when I missed pretending to be an adult and driving my car around.
At the ripe old age of twenty-four, my love for simple, no-fuss, 2D animated cartoons has only gotten stronger and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon much to my delight. While others believe in talking their stress out, eating ice-cream or writing a letter they’ll never send, I can’t imagine a better way to blow off steam than to indulge in the “comfort food of comedy” such as Bob’s Burgers absurd humour or the snort-worthy nonsensical antics of Clarence.