Thursday, May 30, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Gargoyles: Season One, Episode One

In the last post, I talked about Lego Ninjago, and how it's very heavily marketed toward boys. So I thought it would be nice to kick off the first "Throwback Thursday" post with a classic cartoon that crosses gender lines--the 1990s cartoon, Gargoyles.

I'll admit Gargoyles wasn't at the top of my list of throwbacks to review. But one day, when I was feeling nostalgic, I posted a Gargoyles video on Facebook (Yes, I'm outing myself--I'm a child of the 1990s!) All the people who commented on the video were female. Hmmmm, I thought. That's interesting. Using today's standards of what would make a good show "for girls" the show doesn't seem to have much girl appeal. Lots of fighting. No (cutesy) princesses. No pink. So what is it about Gargoyles that fans, both male and female, love?

The opening sequence of the first episode is action-packed, chock full of falling boulders, fire, and screaming people. It makes the viewer ask, "What the heck is going on?" Five seconds later, a beautiful but obviously strong woman detective comes on the scene, only identifying herself as "Maza." (I liked that they used a less-common Latin last name like Maza. The name firmly establishes her Latin identity without making her the token minority, which would have happened if they used a more common name like Lopez or Gomez). Maza's strong, yet attractive and not too overly-primped character makes the viewers want to know more about her and also gives the female viewers someone to identify with.

Edit I just checked the Wikipedia entry for Elisa Maza. It turns out that she is not Latina, but half-Nigerian, and half-Native American. Of course, this wasn't revealed in the first episode, which was the only episode I watched. According to the creators of the show, Maza's parents' relationship is supposed to parallel her later relationship with Goliath. Whoa! Inter-species love!

Flash backward to Scotland, A.D. 994. The origin of the Gargoyles is revealed. There's betrayal, murder, friendship, and true Gargoyle love all rolled into one. There's also tension between the Gargoyle and Human races. In spite of their service to the humans, the gargoyles are under constant threat of violence and vitriol. At one point, Goliath, the head honcho, wisely says, "It is human nature to fear what they don't understand."

So what's so great about Gargoyles? Everything! Both male and female fans can enjoy the great story, wise lessons, deep characterization, interesting relationships, and of course, action. It's a cartoon worth watching. No pink or token characters required.

To purchase Gargoyles, visit Amazon.

Please be advised that due to violent content, Gargoyles may not be a cartoon for very young children. I would personally rate this a cartoon for kids 11 and up, but the best thing would be to watch it first before showing it to your child.

Photo Credits

The picture of Demona kicking butt was taken from here.

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