One Piece Of The Puzzle: Downplaying Of Romance In Family Friendly Animation In Recent Years

SweetShop209

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Messages
14,077
You might be wondering what I mean by this. Let me explain. The way romance is portrayed in family friendly animation in recent years has definitely changed quite a bit. For one piece of the puzzle, you still have traditional boy girl romances. For another piece of the puzzle, you have the increase of LGBTQ romances. For the third piece of the puzzle, you have original shows that place more emphasis on family and friendship while established franchises severely downplay romance (or just don't have it). This thread is about that third piece of the puzzle.

Now when it comes to shows and franchises that more specifically target young children, it makes sense to not have romance be a major part of it. They're at a point in life where they aren't really considering any kind of serious relationship. If there is romance, it's usually a more minor element to it (with the second half of Lion Guard season 3 being the only major exception). I'll give some examples. Season 2 of Little Ellen sets up a two women couple in the premiere, and they get married in the finale. However, it's only 2 episodes that focus on it, with the rest of the episodes being the show's usual slice of life fare. For Craig Gerber shows, Sofia The First had Aunt Tilly and Sir Bartelby get married in late season 4, but while she appeared often, he only appeared like twice, and doesn't even speak in the wedding episode. Similarly, Elena Of Avalor has Armando get into a relationship with Marlena, but it's very late into season 3, the final season. Even with these examples, they usually have other things going. The Little Ellen wedding episode focuses more on Ellen and everyone else getting ready for the wedding. Sir Bartelby's debut episode has a subplot with James trying to be a knight, while the episode where he married Aunt Tilly focuses on Amber and James, with the wedding just being in the background.

When it comes to established franchises, specifically non-preschool family friendly programming, earlier projects that at least toyed with the idea of romance would have later incarnations severely downplay it or omit it. Take the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. You can recall how the 2012 series would put great emphasis on Donnie having a crush on April, but most people didn't like how both characters were written. In contrast, when it came to Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they're portrayed as just really good friends. Yeah, they get into conflict with each other at times, but it's not romantic conflict, and more emphasis is placed on them overcoming problems together. Look at DC Comics, with some examples from Justice League Action. The show did toy with the idea of pairing Superman and Wonder Woman, but it's only the focus of like 1, maybe 2 episodes. Firestorm and Stargirl are implied to be mutually attracted to one another, but it doesn't go further than that. Booster Gold apparently married someone, but that's otherwise not brought up until the series finale. The show otherwise doesn't place much emphasis on romance. Look at the DC Superhero Girls shows. In both shows, there's ship tease between Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor. In the 2015 series, it's played more subtly, where there's some awkwardness, but they otherwise can at least talk to each other. The 2019 series makes her much more obsessive over him, but it's portrayed comically while he's oblivious to it. Because he didn't appear in season 2 (made under a new creative team), she no longer crushed on him due to more emphasis being placed on her familial relationships and friendships. Zee crushes on guys, but it's all played for laughs. The upcoming My Adventures With Superman seems to have romance as an element, making this the first family friendly DC show in a long time to have romance.

Now, note how I said family friendly. When it comes to adult animation, there's almost always some kind of romance. I fully expected the Harley Quinn series to have some kind of romance. I also excepted the newer seasons of Young Justice to have more romance since the earlier seasons also had them. I just didn't expect them to be meaningfully explored in family friendly shows.

There's more I could talk about, but I want to hear what you think.
 

Pooky

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2010
Messages
1,357
Location
UK
Take the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. You can recall how the 2012 series would put great emphasis on Donnie having a crush on April, but most people didn't like how both characters were written. In contrast, when it came to Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, they're portrayed as just really good friends. Yeah, they get into conflict with each other at times, but it's not romantic conflict, and more emphasis is placed on them overcoming problems together.

Isn't it more likely this is just because Rise of the TMNT is just the latest of a string of a TMNT adaptations, and that they didn't want to xerox an element that had only been previously featured in the prior adaptation?
 

Classic Speedy

Come back soon!
Staff member
Moderator
Reporter
Joined
May 13, 2003
Messages
41,950
She-Ra ended with a kiss between the two main characters, so I'm not sure I agree romance is being downplayed.
 

Petran Markou

Active Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2012
Messages
132
Mysterious Cities of Gold in the final season has a mouth to mouth kiss between Esteban and Zia. Supposedly they are 12 years old.

Though it shows plenty of kiss scenes between the adult characters.
 

Leviathan

"It's against nature!"
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Aug 4, 2004
Messages
6,093
Location
Katy, Texas, United State
There's a general tilt away from romance in all entertainment. Even with live-action film for adults, romantic comedies have seen much better days in terms of number of releases and popularity.

I read that companies are still trying to figure out what won't be controversial post-#MeToo, particularly when social media is putting every old film under the microscope.
 

Spotlight

Staff online

Who's on Discord?

Latest profile posts

I just want to say that I totally called it that Diamond White could voice Moon Girl 3 years in advance.

Today i learned that David Cronenberg (The Fly, Scanners) has a son who’s also a director and i saw a very psychedelic arthouse film made by him called Infinity Pool. I hope he becomes a more high profile director some day.


I wouldn’t recommend it to people who don’t watch arthouse movies though. It’s also very adult-oriented if you know what i mean
Update on the M&M's situation. He has reliable sources in this video.
Review Metabee wrote on DaGangOfToonz's profile.
is there any chance you are stoonsarchvie/sheetposter

Featured Posts

Top