If you ask a kid why they love Saturdays, you’ll probably get one of two responses:
- It is the weekend
- It is not a weekday
The average kid is stupid on a number of fronts (can’t perform surgery, can’t drive, can’t hold down a steady job), but they usually understand the concept of “Saturday” pretty well. A whole day dedicated to doing whatever you want, and a whole morning dedicated to cartoons and sugary indoctrination.
The Jets: fun-lovin’ Kool Aid endorsers, or actual musicians? You decide.
I had what was likely a stereotypical (not in the racist way) Saturday morning routine for a child of the 80s/90s: wake up at 7am, grab a bowl of cereal, and spend the next 5 hours glued to the television. Cartoons were your other teachers, the ones you didn’t mind seeing Saturday morning, and whose only homework requirements were to play with action figures following each episode.
Clockwise, from top left: Reading, Social Studies, Recess, and BASIC.
Often, cartoons imparted valuable life lessons upon us, some even going as far as to include PSAs. Unfortunately, I don’t know of even one that included the most important advice a child can ever receive: don’t be an asshole.
Cartoons were chock full of assholes. Know-it-alls, slimeballs, show-boaters, and talking animals – I could go on for weeks. Hell, most of the assholes were technically the good guys. We here at Hamsterdam decided to highlight a few that make for good representatives of the whole bunch. Jerks.
Ace McCloud (Centurions)
Identified as: Daring air operations expert
Telltale asshole signs: playboy attitude, sarcasm, flight capabilities
The dish: Looking back on this show, Ace’s devil-may-care attitude probably made it harder for the team to apprehend Doc Terror. This should’ve been a miniseries, but somehow was extended to 65 episodes. Why give a guy a jetpack and missiles if he’s going to be lackadaisical for 64 of them? This only ended up reinforcing my notion that I wouldn’t have to work as hard as everyone else since I was also blond.
Orson Pig (U.S. Acres, Garfield and Friends)
Identified as: Pig; leader of the farm animals
Telltale asshole signs: worrywart, stickler for the rules, avid reader
The dish: I’ll be damned if I can identify a more persnickety character in the Saturday morning cartoon lineup. Remember the kid that would remind the teacher that homework is due? His middle name was probably Orson, or at least Pig. Orson was always concerned about doing things the right way – a 180 from Ace McCloud, which probably makes him an even bigger asshole. If you have a friend try to lead you down the path to righteousness through either fable or fairy tale, tell them to keep their kindle to themselves.
Beavis and Butt-head (Beavis and Butt-head)
Identified as: “the tall one” and Cornholio.
Telltale asshole signs: moronic behavior, disgusting behavior, violent behavior…well, just a lot of behavioral problems.
The dish: Few cartoons are worthy of commentary extending outside the show itself, but I think Beavis and Butt-head merits it. This is one of only a handful of cartoons that I would characterize as “revolutionary” – and there honestly hasn’t been anything like it since. Innovative and willing to take on the establishment, both of which I like. And while those are positives, this show seemed to harness something very, very awful in its audience. Mike Judge basically turned an entire generation of teenagers into idiots in the mid-90s with characters that showed an affinity for poop jokes, heavy metal, violence, and pyromania. He has to shoulder at least some of the blame for that. I give kids these days a lot of old man gruff for their hip-hop and their Twilight, but imagine being a parent 15 years ago and having to deal with a son that aspired to be like this. These guys are definitely high on the asshole list.
Identified as: Colonel Bluegrass; the cowboy.
Telltale asshole signs: Seriously?
The dish: Fashion statements have a way of going horribly awry in space. But this one takes the cake. It’s almost like an animator traveled back in time 25 years to bring us the superhero equivalent of George W. Bush. There are like five separate levels of ridiculousness packed into this single character. I can’t even look away.