Animation TV shows have almost always been exclusively intended for children audiences. Of course, some adult tuned in as well, but the target audience was kids. Now, the tables have turned with shows like Big Mouth and F is For Family. These shows are most certainly not intended for kids. They are though, intended for adults who can watch mature content. According to Holly Randell Moon and Arthur J. Randell in Television Aesthetics and Style, when talking about animation, “..narrative action and humour can be achieved with remarkable economy.” This notion makes sense, which could be an argument of why raunchy animation shows intended for adults are coming in droves. For one, these shows reach a large audience, say 18+. and two, if the humor is still comedically interesting to this audience, why not use animation as a different medium that is also more affordable.
Big Mouth tells the story of teenagers experiencing the ups and downs of puberty and some very accurate coming of age experiences. Unlike F is For Family, this show can be relatable for even younger ages as well. Anyone who is going through middle or high school could easily relate to this show- however, whether or not their parents would allow them to view the show is another question due to the vulgarity of the content.
The highly popular opinion that animation is ‘below’ live action has been a consistent theme and opinion by many for a while. In many ways these shows can be less popular sure, if intended for child audiences, but some animated shows and films win more awards than many live action shows combined. Looking at animation with a narrower lens, only within Netflix, the argument could be made that live action shows do much better in popularity on the streaming service, but that should not dictate which shows are better strictly off of popularity. As with all mediums and genres, there is an intended audience for certain types of productions. Just as some people love horror shows, animation has it’s own die hard fan group who are waiting to be awed. Strictly stating animation is not as good as live action should never be a valid argument unless a particular show has elements that make it bad such as bad voice actors, boring script etc…
F is for Family also is intended for mature audiences, however focuses on the life of one main family in particular. This can be seen as a humorous reminder of what family life is like in the suburbs for many. This show though, feels family to Family Guy and American Dad. On a side note, personally this show feels redundant ad very similar to the above shows mentioned. It is humorous, but not overly unique which could be a reason why animation is belittled by many.
However, when animation is done right, in a unique and well produced fashion, there should be no reason why this style of TV is less than live action. Part of the speciality to animation is that it is obvious that the show is not meant to fully replicate real life, because characters are not real humans. Of course their voices are, which in many ways can still draw an audience based off a famous voice.
Animation though, can also in many components be even harder than live action in terms of producing. The art has to look perfect, and directors have to tell a story without any real life human characters. Voice actors have to sound perfectas well. There should be respect for this when thought about in this way.