5 Mass Deaths You Never Noticed Happened In Cartoons
The world of animation has seen its share of horrible atrocities: Teen Titans Go!, post-season-two Family Guy, Caillou, etc. But then there's the other, less-obvious kind of animated tragedy. It's like this: You can't have a good cartoon without some sort of suspense-building disaster or antagonist, right?
Goddammit, Inside Out, I told you to WAIT IN THE CAR.
Well, in the end, all of those things are always defeated/overcome and everyone lives happily ever after. But the problem is that, sometimes, they shouldn't. Sometimes, animated movies and TV shows blatantly ignore the horrific aftermaths of their doomsday plot devices that, logically, should have resulted in millions of deaths. Sometimes, someone needs to call them out on it. Sometimes, that someone is me, and sometimes, that sometimes is now.
At The End Of Despicable Me, Most Major Cities Should Have Been Destroyed By Cataclysmic Flooding
Like I screamed at that cinema worker (and later the judge at my trial for disturbing the peace): Despicable Me is blatantly false advertising. It teaches you no real-life ways of stealing the Moon, which totally ruined my business plan. And you might be asking: Why would I watch Despicable Me for Moon-nabbing strategies? Also: Why would I want the Moon in the first place? In order: 1) The movie's Polish title is How To Steal The Moon so I'm clearly in the right on this one. 2) Two words: Lunar Porn, motherfuckers. Not only would I corner the market, the movie titles basically write themselves: Houston, We Have A Boner, Apollo 11 Inches, One Giant Lick For Mankind, etc.
But even though the entire movie revolves around Gru, a supervillain voiced by Steve Carell, trying to steal the Moon, it doesn't really go into the specifics of such an operation. All it says is: Steal a shrink ray (from where?!), fly to the Moon (how?!) ...
Sit on the toilet (how long?!)
Worst of all, the whole thing irresponsibly glosses over the dangers of having the shrunken Moon in Earth's atmosphere, and it suddenly going back to its original size, exactly like in the movie finale. But where Despicable Me has failed, science stepped in to address that question, and the answer they came up with is: "Oh God, oh Jesus Almighty, they're all dead! My whole family ... so many bodies!"
According to science, if the Moon was just 20 times closer to Earth, its gravitational force would be 400 times stronger than it is now. Now multiply that by at least 100 because that's how frigging close the Moon got to us at the end of Despicable Me.
At "just" 400 times its regular gravitational strength, the Moon would cause global flooding that would put most major cities underwater, potentially killing hundreds of millions of people. Most of the eastern and western U.S. coastline? Gone. Japan? Under water. Half of Europe? Learning how to say "You Americans are so arrogant" in fish.
It would be an almost extinction-level cataclysm, because what most movies about moving the freaking Moon don't realize is that our satellite is like that one overzealous Twitter follower some of us have. Good to have around to illuminate the night sky/favorite our lame jokes, but if you let either get too close, they WILL murder you.
In The Superman Animated Series, Half Of Metropolis Must Have Died From Radiation Sickness By Now
Most people hated Man Of Steel because it turned Superman into Crazy Clark, the Destroyer Of Cities and Snapper Of Necks, but that's not why I disliked it. My problem with the movie is that it stole the idea of Superman ignoring the genocidal consequences of his battle with extraterrestrials from the Superman animated series.
In the show's awesomely named two-part episode "Apokolips ... Now!", the badass villain Darkseid (who should one day be played by Andre Braugher) attacks Earth and tries to turn it into a version of his hellish homeworld, Apokolips.
Yet ANOTHER Superman villain pulling off a real-estate scheme.
First, Darkseid blows up a nuclear power plant. It then starts to sink to the Earth's core (it's a show about spandex alien Jesus; let it go) where it will cause an explosion that results in the planet bukkake'ing humanity's collective face with magma. Naturally, Superman stops it and saves the day, except for one tiny, little detail: the Ayers Island Nuclear Power Plant still mother-sexing exploded AND NO ONE IS FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT SO I GUESS I'LL HAVE TO: AAAAH!
"What smells like sudden-onset cancer?"
Look at how close everyone is standing to that thing. Superman will survive the blast because he could literally stick his dick into the Sun and be OK, but the people around him are going to get radiation sickness and die painfully in a matter of days. Incidentally, the place they're standing is Sinnott Air Base which is located within blood-vomiting distance of Metropolis, judging by the city skyline seen from the base:
And that's why the animated Metropolis is fucked more than the Sun that night Superman got a little drunk and felt lonely. A nuclear explosion so close to the city would first send out a massive EMP towards Metropolis, messing up hospital equipment, heavy machinery, meat rotisseries, etc. It would result in utter chaos, death, and destruction, and that's just by me because I didn't get my daily kebab. Next, the city would be showered in nuclear fallout, which would irradiate the entire population, and, no, it wouldn't give all of them superpowers because in this series, people die and STAY dead.
And yet, nobody seems to care. Metropolis getting turned into New Vegas in the wake of a nuclear terrorist attack was just kind of ignored, because apparently one of Superman's less-explored powers is super apathy.
A Gargoyles Villain Probably Murdered Tens Of Thousands Of People In One Night
One thousand years ago (or at least that's how long ago it feels like), cutesy animals ruled the world of Disney TV. It was a time of OK-ness. It was a world of cartoons good enough to keep our attention for like two hours. But then one glorious day, it became the age of gargoyles. The Gargoyles cartoon was about, well, gargoyles, who turned into stone by day, and then into warriors by night. The opening has more details.
If you can't view the opening at this time, please inject cocaine into your genitals to simulate the experience.
The thing I loved most about Gargoyles is that it had actual consequences. Like, when a bunch of gargoyles got smashed to bits in 10th-century Scotland while in their stone form? They remained driveway gravel for the entire show -- it was never retconned or forgotten. When shit went down on Gargoyles, the characters always had to scrub feces off the wall in later episodes. Which is why it's so weird that they never addressed the consequences of the four-part episode "City Of Stone."
This particular story arc focused on the female, misanthropic gargoyle Demona (basically the show's Smurfette if Smurfette was evil. And not useless. And bizarrely attractive.)
No, penis. We will not have this conversation again.
In "City Of Stone," Demona broadcasts a reverse-gargoyle spell over TV airways, turning New Yorkers into stone by night and back to normal during the day. Immediately after, the episode shows a helicopter fall out of the sky after its pilot got rock hard by seeing and hearing Demona (been there, buddy). The show also shows like three car crashes resulting from the spell but, no, that is VASTLY underplaying the severity of the situation.
Let's look at some numbers. In May 2017, there were about 20,000 motor vehicle collisions in New York City that resulted in roughly 5,300 fatalities and injuries. And that's just with everyone mostly paying attention to the road. If all 8.5 million people in NYC got literally stoned at sunset, the number of fatal car crashes would be in the tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands.
Rock and rolling kills.
We know from earlier episodes that a smashed living-statue effectively dies and remains a pile of pebbles forever. So at the end of "City Of Stone," NYC could most likely salvage enough gravel from drowned school buses and crashed subway trains to pave every driveway in the city with the pulverized remains of its citizens. And as for what would happen to New York state's nuclear power plants left unattended for the entire night, see the previous Superman entry.
Many Of The Little Forest Animals From The Lorax Were Killed By The Once-ler
I must've been 25 the first time I read a Dr. Seuss book (they weren't really widely available in Poland when I was a kid. As wasn't a bunch of other stuff. God, I still haven't tasted a Jolly Rancher. Describe them to me. Slowly. Sensually.). But even though they weren't part of my formative childhood years, I love Seuss' works. My favorite is probably Green Eggs And Ham because of how it's able to convey complex emotions and build an entire world with so few words.
So if Dr. Seuss was here today, I'd love to take him aside and ask him: "So, who do you want to take care of first? The producers or the screenwriters of that god-awful CGI Lorax movie?"
"Or do you want to start with their families?"
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax is the story of the Lorax, the bastard love-child of Wilford Brimley and a bottle of Donald Trump's self-tanner, trying to convince the Once-ler to stop chopping down Truffula trees to make a garment he invented. But the book does a wonderful job of not making the Once-ler into a monster. Instead, he's more of a misguided soul who got lost in his own greed. The story doesn't really have a villain as such. The movie then took that balanced and nuanced message, and replaced it with Rob Riggle singing about wanting to kill trees. I'm Cezary, I speak for The Seuss. And The Seuss says: Fuuuuuck yoooooou, movie.
But not being satisfied with merely killing Seuss metaphorically, the movie then decided to kill some of his creations literally. In the book, the Lorax ends up relocating the hundreds of Truffula forest animals, who lost their homes/food, to someplace safer. But in the movie, a lot of them were killed. Straight up murdered because of the Once-ler's excessive deforestation and pollution, and we know that for sure because the movie itself freaking SINGS about it. Almost.
At one point, The Lorax almost featured a number called "Biggering" about the Once-ler not caring about all the animals he's killing:
And the money's multiplying
And the PR people are lying
And the lawyers are denying
Who cares if some things are dying?
I don't want to hear your crying!
In the final version, the song was replaced by "How Bad Can I Be?" and the lyric "Who cares if a few trees are dying?" but it's obviously just a cover-up of the Great Truffula Forest Critter Genociding. So, most of these adorable little guys?
They are all suuuuuper dead, probably from hunger, most definitely lying face-down in a pool of industrial run-off somewhere.
Young Justice Bad Guys Inadvertently Murdered Millions Of Children
My thoughts on Young Justice, an animated show about teenage superheroes from the DC universe, can be summed up by taking everything positive I said about Gargoyles and multiplying it by 1,000, from its complex characters to its engaging storylines with actual, season-spanning consequences. Unfortunately, the "Gargoyles times a 1,000" comparison also applies to the shows' flaws, like when Young Justice killed a 1,000 times more people than the Disney show, and gave 1,000 fewer fucks about it. Let me tell you about the episode "Misplaced."
It kicks off with five magical supervillains splitting reality into two dimensions: one populated solely by adults, and the other by children, making it seem to each group like the other just disappeared into thin air. So, the villains essentially performed a circle jerk ... because they stood in a circle and jerked one demographic from each reality.
YES, I AM pretty sure I'm using the term correctly.
Now, on Kidz World (spelled with wicked flames at the end), the whole situation results in a few car crashes but ... the show does establish that adults are missing ALL OVER THE PLANET, from the U.S. to France and Taiwan. That really should have way deadlier consequences than three or four fender-benders.
Most of the world's drivers are over 18, and if they just vanished, then Earth would turn into one giant demolition derby. There would be car crashes literally anywhere that isn't a high school parking lot, with children in backseats dying by the millions from things like whiplash and fires and vehicles plunging into rivers/oceans. Many more would perish in pilot-less planes falling out of the sky.
This, only, again, times a 1,000.
There are more horror scenarios to consider here, though. Infants in pools? Drowned. Small children undergoing surgery? All bled to death. Sleeping kids being held by their parents? Dead from severe trauma to the head after they came crashing down onto the floor. I honestly cannot think of a single way that the scenario described in "Misplaced" wouldn't result in fun-sized-casket manufacturers becoming the richest people on Earth.
But fuck that, there are VANDALS TO STOP!
And at the end of "Misplaced," is any of this addressed? Nope, because the whole scenario just wasn't thought through. I'm all for "dark" storylines, but when I started to consider how many children must have died in this episode, I had to go and hug my sleeping toddler to get through writing this entry. He did NOT appreciate being disturbed like that, and neither did I. Seriously, Young Justice, think your fucking plot points through.
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist, interviewer, and editor. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter.
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