Hello and Happy Sunday, dear friends!
I hope you’re doing well as you read this, and you’re currently 2/3rds through your weekend, as opposed to the 1/2 way through. That Labor Day weekend is nice, right?
Here in my world, things have been hectic, but we’ve been holding on to some semblance of sanity in an increasingly insane world, and one of the big things for the wife and I lately has been cooking dinner together.
I hate to sound like every single podcast you’ve ever listened to, but seriously, we started using Hello Fresh and it’s been an absolute delight. For someone like me who has never really been adventurous in the kitchen, and someone like my wife who loves making food but hates meal planning + figuring out what to do with the excess ingredients, it’s been a real joy to spend 4 nights a week knocking out a delicious and healthy dinner together. I recommend it highly — and if this sounds like something you’d be into, why not email me, I can give you a discount code.
Now, some would just go ahead and link that here, but I want you to know that my endorsement is legit. So, yeah, if you want to make awesome things like citrus pork tacos, Korean BBQ meatballs and caesar crunch chicken, shoot me a line. I’ll gladly hook you up.
Now, onto the things…
Twenty years ago this week, Cartoon Network, a channel airing cartoons 24 hours a day, 7 days a week made a realization. A third of their audience was teenagers and adults without children. So why not cater to them?
As one of those teenagers-turned-adults-without-children, it was the smartest idea they could’ve made, as Adult Swim has been a destination for my cable box ever since.
Starting with the legacy of Hanna Barbera classics like Space Ghost and Birdman subverted into surreal series, to imports from Japan, and originals like The Venture Bros and Tim and Eric, the past twenty years have been incredible innovations in both the worlds of animations and comedy, and Adult Swim is to thank.
Appropriately, Sarah Bahr for The New York Times looks back, and gives us a taste of the earliest days:
JIM SAMPLES (general manager and executive vice president of Cartoon Network when Adult Swim launched) Mike came into my office with a deck he’d put together, describing how he was going to produce all the on-air packaging for Adult Swim on practically zero budget, basically on someone’s computer. All the money that was being spent on fairly high-end packaging for the network, he wanted to divert to original programming. I was blown away by the idea. But we were dealing with resistance from our ad sales team. As a kids’ network, how were we going to actively market to adults? Was it a violation of our contract with cable operators? I put my career on the line to say it was a good idea.
OUWELEEN We were given one year to name this thing, brand it and make the content — it was like a gauntlet thrown down. It was a very small group of us doing all of that in addition to our regular jobs at Cartoon Network. I can’t tell you how complicated it was. The creative team I was running came up with four names: “Aviso,” which means “warning” in Spanish; “Parental Block” — on cable boxes at the time, you could set the parental block to stop kids from watching stuff; “Insert Quarter,” like a video game; and Adult Swim. Lazzo always hated the name.
LAZZO Blech! To this day, I hate that name. I still think it should be called “Cartoon Network After Dark.” Adult Swim is too clever by half for my taste.
Here’s something that only those of my generation can recall — spending countless hours, splayed across the living room floor, devouring and redevouring the world of comics and video games, not through their respective mediums, but instead magazines like Wizard, Game Pro and Electronic Gaming Monthly.
Unsurprisingly, the world of collecting, restoring, and reliving these sorts of magazines has become a hobby onto itself, and Cameron Knuzelman digs into the meaning of these simple magazines for Polygon.
As a kid, there was a certain thrill to opening up a new issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly. I lived in a small southern town where Walmart was the only place to buy games, but EGM was a lifeline to a world of constant releases, previews, and industry rumors. Ripping through its pages, most often purchased from a local grocery store instead of the much-inferior Tips & Tricks, I could imagine a world of games that I didn’t have access to. I could read about Japanese imports or the upcoming platfomer where the devs had, shockingly, given the main character a gun. I absorbed opinions about games and series I didn’t know anything about, drawing a map across a whole universe of games that I had no real expectation of ever playing.
I had access to the internet as a kid, but it was scattered and unpredictable across my rural childhood, and so these magazines were my primary connection to the world of games. I didn’t have access to video game news sites or forums for hours of leisure time, as much as I wanted to, but I could get a magazine and pore over every word. I could learn the latest rumors about Devil May Cry or speculations about what the Xbox was going to be. This culture of hints about the world to come still exists, of course, but instead of the flood of new speculation that we now have via the internet, as I kid I read the same article over and over again, trying desperately to connect the words with my mental picture about what the game could possibly be.
Based on a hunch, I’d say the message of this next article is not one which really needs to be underlined for the readers of this newsletter.
But at the same time, Wendy Molyneux for McSweeney’s put it perfectly.
Dear readers, I give you, the incredibly-not-safe-for-work-but-gosh-it’s-worth-it:
“Oh My Fucking God, Get The Fucking Vaccine Already, You Fucking Fucks”
Oh, you’re afraid of fucking side effects? Fuck you. You know what has fucking side effects? Fucking aspirin, fucking Tylenol. You could be fucking allergic to pineapple, you fucking fuckwit. Everything has side effects. You’re being a big fucking baby with a huge diaper full of fucking diarrhea, complaining about maybe feeling slightly tired for a day or two while your asymptomatic COVID case you get and pass to some innocent fucking kid could wind up killing them or someone else. Fuck you, you fucking selfish fucking shit-banana, you unredeemable ass-caterpillar, you fucking fuck-knob with two fucks for eyes and a literal poop where your heart should be. You want a two-month-old to wind up on a fucking ventilator instead of you, a fucking adult, getting a fucking sore arm for a day? What are you, a pitcher for the Yankees? A fucking concert pianist? An arm model? Get the fuck out of here! Fuck you. Get vaccinated. Fuck. Fuck you!
Man, that’s cathartic.
Enjoy your weekend, my friends. A crazy week is coming up for us here, so hey, could you send some positive thoughts my way? It’d be appreciated.
See you next week. Enjoy that Monday off if you’ve got it.