We loved cartoons, but nothing manic like today….the old Merry Melodies, TerryToons and the like were our main staple.
These cartoons would commonly borrow themes from each other, sticking different characters in roughly the same situation.
One moralistic theme was redone again and again, with early Porky Pig, and I think Andy Panda, and even with Gumby….that of the little kid glutton.
In this theme, a pig (or panda, or green slab of clay) is shown eating far more than he should during the day, obsessing over food, and gets reprimanded by adults, to no avail. He doesn’t learn.
Later they have a nightmare, where they are abducted, and force-fed in horrible ways by someone, until in the end, they are a distended, obese monstrosity. They wake up and either recognize the error in their ways, or not.
Similarly, there was a rash of cartoons which dealt with kid smoking in the same light, along with the nightmare of forced over-indulgence, but the worst thing that would happen was the kiddie victim would turn green and sick. In these food cartoons though, the objectifying of the piggy as something that can be “stuffed”, rather than as a little kid (I know…pig), always had me feeling ill, and would come to haunt my dreams. They were helpless and physically being modified against their wills, to the amusement of someone else. I think the fact that someone derived pleasure from “fattening” someone up to incredible levels felt so unbelievably wrong in our minds that I couldn’t shake it.
I remember one paraphrased line, where the pig is strapped in a chair and fed tons and tons of food as part of an assembly line by a mad scientist. The scientist laughs and says, “Had enough?,” to which the pig, stutters, y-y-yes, sir”….and instead of it ending, he cranks the machine on high, laughs, and says something along the lines, of “We’re just getting STARTED! Ha Ha HA….”
Needless to say, neither my sister nor I were ever heavy.
We were watching SLITHER the other night, and the ridiculously bloated girl in the barn, filled with the parasites to the point where she was unrecognizable really got to me, and made me turn the clock back to this.
Another similar ill feeling came as Pink Floyd’s THE WALL kids marched into the meat grinder.