Does most animation avoid current events?

The Overlord

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Does most animation avoid current events? There are exceptions to this, like South Park and to a lesser degree Family Guy and kinda the Simpsons, but it seems like the vast majority of animation avoids current events, at least after World War II. Outside of something like ''When the Wind Blows'', there was very little animation that talked about the Cold War, GI Joe fought Cobra rather than the Soviets, ditto with the War on Terror in the 2000s. Do you think that is because animation works best through escapism and allegory rather than direct commentary?
 

Pooky

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Do you think that is because animation works best through escapism and allegory rather than direct commentary?

I think it's a mix of that and the decent chunk of time that separates when an animated work is initially conceived and when it hits screens (South Park is famously a big exception to this). Posterity concerns like reruns in syndication and now recycling on streaming are also a factor.
 

EJLD4Ever

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Posterity concerns like reruns in syndication and now recycling on streaming are also a factor.
I gonna have to disagree with that to some degree. But keep in mind that in terms of viewership, most viewers will only watch a "new" episode once or twice and then move on. So when you think about it, most episodes will most likely never have a shelf life beyond maybe a year's worth of reruns at best (this of course depends on the venue, network TV may show a series only once a week, whereas cable channels show any series multiple times a week or day).

So in my mind there shouldn't even be a concern that maybe this joke will date, when the episode itself will be mostly forgotten a year after its debut.

In regards to the turnaround time factor, one of the producers of American Dad was quoted as saying, "You wanna be timely, but not so timely that when the episode is finally finished in [ 9 months to a year ], the joke is no longer relevant." In that regard I couldn't agree more!
 

Pooky

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I gonna have to disagree with that to some degree. But keep in mind that in terms of viewership, most viewers will only watch a "new" episode once or twice and then move on. So when you think about it, most episodes will most likely never have a shelf life beyond maybe a year's worth of reruns at best (this of course depends on the venue, network TV may show a series only once a week, whereas cable channels show any series multiple times a week or day).

So in my mind there shouldn't even be a concern that maybe this joke will date, when the episode itself will be mostly forgotten a year after its debut.

True enough, it does seem like most cartoons don't worry too much about getting a little dated, nor do I necessarily think they should. I think I was mostly thinking of when Syndication and Cable reruns were a big matter.
 

RegularCapital

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Animation doesn't usually cover current events as it takes months to produce an episode (they're usually produced in batches, like an assembly line), by then, the subject matter would or could become outdated, if it's something long-term, made a significant impact or a pre-planned event then it would be possible. South Park is able to do it in the space of a week as they keep their designs and animation very simple, and they've streamlined their production pipeline.
 
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The Overlord

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Animation doesn't usually cover current events as it takes months to produce an episode (they're usually produced in batches, like an assembly line), by then, the subject matter would or could become outdated, if it's something long-term, made a significant impact or a pre-planned event then it would be possible. South Park is able to do it in the space of a week as they keep their designs and animation very simple, and they've streamlined their production pipeline.

To be fair, the Cold War and the War on Terror went on for decades, so there is lead-up time.

Besides adult comedies like American Dad, Family Guy, and South Park, there was an episode of X-Men that seemed to be an animated, more over-the-top version of the attempted coup in the USSR, where some of the old generals tried to maintain power, only in the X-Men episode it was some old generals trying to bring back the USSR in 1993 with fancy sci-fi weapons and a Soviet super-soldier.

But I think you are right, GI Joe would become dated if they were fighting Soviets or Al-Qaeda rather than Cobra, and Cobra Commander not representing any real-world ideology makes him more fun. Still, a lot of animation mentions WWII, even today.
 

cartoo5007

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Not sure how long beforehand an episode of an animated series is complete before it airs. I'd say roughly 5 months. Voices are usually done first.

Could explain why things like covid aren't mentioned in animated series but 9/11 is. Like in Family Guy.
 

Neo Ultra Mike

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A recent episode of Duncanville referenced the Will Smith/Chris Rock Oscars dustup, but that was a dialogue thing, and all they had to do was drag the voice actors into the recording booth at the last minute for that.

Yeah that's something an animated series can get away with if they have the space for it and the situation relates enough; being able to quickly cobble together a reference to current events. Rick and Morty was able to sneak in a reference to Covid in "Never Ricking Morty" in early May 2020 which is pretty impressive for that kind of show.

One show that actually did reference a lot of what was happening in pop culture and parody pretty recent movies or events was CN's Mad. Since that was obviously based Mad magazine who would constantly spoof current events so made sense for the spinoff series to do so as well. Heck some of the opening jokes were based on what was happening during that week so yeah major props to those people in that regard.
 

pacman000

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I gonna have to disagree with that to some degree. But keep in mind that in terms of viewership, most viewers will only watch a "new" episode once or twice and then move on. So when you think about it, most episodes will most likely never have a shelf life beyond maybe a year's worth of reruns at best (this of course depends on the venue, network TV may show a series only once a week, whereas cable channels show any series multiple times a week or day).
That’s the attitude which got most silent films & early TV shows lost.
 

pacman000

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Yeah. It's especially true in that case, since it was the days before home video.
True, tho there were smaller film formats designed for home use, & a few lost films have been found in those formats. (Going by memory.)
 
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EJLD4Ever

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True, tho there were smaller film formats designed for home use, & a few list films have been found in those formats. (Going by memory.)
Yeah. But it wasn't until the mid-70s with the first home video cassette recorders that allowed consumers to tape their favorite TV programs that the home media market really started to take off.
 

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