Michał Sapka's website

The Pacing of Modern Cartoons Is a Rollercoaster

I watch cartoons with my 4-year-old. Not much, but still. What would a childhood be without cartoons? We are fresh out of the full-year phase of Paw Patrol, and I couldn’t be happier not to see Ryder ever again. Somehow we jumped to the classic “Scooby-Doo, Where Are you!” and “The Scooby-Doo Show”. It strikes me how differently paced the old series were.

Scooby’s shows give the kid a lot of space to breathe. We have constant jokes, but in between, there are moments of tension and mystery. It takes 20 minutes for the mystery to be solved, and the show takes full advantage of this runtime. We start with a banger, get some detective work, and only then do we go to the fireworks - the chase. The action takes a few minutes, and the kid is prepared for it.

In Paw Patrol? There is not a moment for rest. Everyone is loud, everyone is running around the screen, and the story jumps from action scene to action scene. There are like a dozen payoffs per episode. It’s closer to a skit show with the story just as an excuse. My kid was jumping all around the couch watching it, and no wonder - it was a rollercoaster ride of excitement.

And if that is too slow, Youtube to the rescue! Search for any popular modern cartoon, and you’ll find hundreds of “12 hours of Paw Patrol’s best actions”. Screw the story. The kid wants some ACTION! So let’s cut the episode to 3 minutes of ACTION and glue it together. The kid won’t be able to breathe, let alone get off the couch. We’re all afraid kids will learn to make amphetamine when watching YouTube, but this seems worse.

Luckily there’s also Bluey, which not only makes me believe in the modern world but also wants me to be a much better father. It may very well be the best cartoon I have ever witnessed, and I can’t get enough of it.