Not Everything is For You

Well, I was never fond of Jeni,either!

When I was a kid– it was 1987, maybe 1988– I saw an episode of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show that changed my life forever.

The last act that night was the late, great stand-up Richard Jeni, doing a bit about renting all four Jaws movies and watching them right in a row. This is something I’d wager even our own Josh Flanagan (the world’s greatest Jaws fan) has never attempted, because each film gets exponentially more terrible. This was Jeni’s point, because he had a thing or two to say about Jaws 4: the Revenge.

“Did you ever see a movie so bad,” he asked Carson’s audience, “they slap you in the face with how bad it is? You can’t even pretend. You go, ‘Maybe the movie isn’t that bad; I’m not wasting my life,’ and they just go [SMACK SMACK] “Yes! You are!… You’re watching a shark that only kills one family out of an entire ocean full of perfectly edible people for no reason that we ever explain, and you won’t turn it off because you think it is going to get better [SMACK SMACK SMACK SMACK].’”

You should really watch it for yourself. It holds up, all things considered.

This was a bit tailor-made for the comic book fan. Most (if not all) of us have, at one time or another, spent good money following a book we don’t like anymore in the hope that it will “get good again.”

Twenty-five years after seeing that Tonight Show, every time I hang onto something too long, I still think about that routine. I buy yet another issue of an underperforming comic or watch yet another C- episode of a television show still on the DVR, and I unfailingly hear Richard Jeni in my head, going, “And you still think this is going to get better [SMACK SLAP SLAP SMACK SMACK SLAP].”

Ultimate Spider-Man is the show that’s had me thinking about Richard Jeni the most lately. So far, I have recorded every episode of DisneyXD’s latest iteration of the Parker mythos, and I have risked spinal damage bending over backwards to give it the benefit of the doubt each weekend. I’ve loved the comic for twelve years; I love Paul Dini; I love Brian Bendis. Their show makes me want to burn Disneyland to the ground and pee on the embers. But I keep sticking by it and sticking up for it, like it is going to get better.

“Get better” is even the wrong way to look at it. More accurately, I keep watching the show as if it is suddenly going to be made for me.

“Sure, you enjoyed Spectacular Spider-Man much less self-consciously than this. And yes, this series’ dependence on… let’s call it ‘Ferris Bueller bullshit’ (pausing the action so Peter can turn to the camera and make witty wink-wink asides) followed by ‘Family Guy hogwash’ (yuk-yuk cutaways and references that barely have anything to do with anything) has left you wanting to teach a class on What Spider-Man Is at the local community college… but what if the audience isn’t just you?”

That’s the one question we (especially the childless among us) tend to neglect.

In simpler times. (Like 18 months ago.)

No, of course Ultimate Spider-Man doesn’t float your boat. You aren’t eleven years old.

In other words: no, I’m not enjoying this program about my favorite character by my favorite creative team, but what if this particular children’s show about a colorful superhero was a cartoon on the Disney Channel intended for little kids, as opposed to an epic meant for 37-year-old homeowners?

The world doesn’t owe me everything. The whole menu wasn’t drafted with me in mind. I don’t need to plant myself on the sidelines, shouting “BOOOO!” waiting for it to get “better.”

Maybe the old niches made us too possessive. Some of us grew up in a time when anything comic-related was rare, so we developed the attitude that “if it’s about comics, it’s mine.” Today, that covers everything from Super Hero Squad to Avengers XXX: A Porn Parody. (A real thing. Look it up. Just not at work, necessarily.)

We need to remind ourselves (which is to say, “I need to remind myself”) that not everything is made with us in mind. We also need to remind ourselves that we can give up on a comic book thing, as opposed to keeping it on our DVRs for weeks on end and then seething when the thing that wasn’t made for us turns out not to please us, all because we think it’s going to get better. Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends isn’t the only game in town anymore; there’s also this Robert Downey Jr. thing, and also The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is on in half an hour and that ain’t half bad either. This entire paragraph may have been just for me. Although I’ll bet more than a few people related to it.


Jim Mroczkowski knows there are prints of Marvel’s The Avengers just sitting around out there somewhere, and it is driving him crazy.

Comments

  1. JudgeJoyce JudgeJoyce says:

    I’m glad they have a show for Kids. I loved the Spiderman cartoons when I was a nipper. Hopefully the new generation will move into the world of comics as they grow.

  2. Wentos Wentos says:

    I have to disagree with you. While it’s true that the vast majority of cartoons are aimed at kids, there are quite a few that are well-written enough to entertain adults as well. Just look at shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender or Batman: The Animated Series. These shows were most certainly aimed at kids, but the writing refused to talk down to its audience and were critically acclaimed as a result. There is most certainly room for excellence in the realm of children’s television. Handwaving subpar material because kids won’t know the difference is enabling mediocrity.

    You know how sometimes you’ll go back to a cartoon that you loved as a kid and think to yourself, “Wow, this does not hold up at all. What did I see in this?” Kids now are going to be doing that with Ultimate Spider-Man in 10 or 15 years.

    • vadamowens vadamowens says:

      I don’t think the producers are worried about these kids in 10-15 yrs. It’s who likes it now that matters to them.

    • MisterKyleW MisterKyleW says:

      @Wentos But I think what Jimski is saying is that while certainly those kind of shows exist, Ultimate Spider-Man is the other kind. It doesn’t have to hold up for kids 10 or 15 years later. in 10 or 15 years, those kids won’t be the target audience. And that’s fine. Not everything has to be “all ages.” I haven’t watched USM, but I would suggest that just because it doesn’t meet your standards of excellence maybe it does for a 10 year old. Hopefully that gets him interested in the superhero genre and leads him to comics.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      @vadamowens: Right on. I loved the X-Men cartoon back in the 90s — it’s probably the thing that fostered my love of comics at the time.

      Now? Like @Wentos mentions, it’s entirely unwatchable. But I still love it for what it enabled (most of the time…I look at all those Extreme books I bought in the mid-90s and wonder sometimes).

      So what if I don’t like Ultimate Spider-man? I’m 30 years old, so a cartoon I don’t like isn’t going to turn me off from comics. This show doesn’t have to appeal to me, because I’m already in that world. And I already have more than enough content to read and watch than I will EVER have time for in my life.

      Can animation aspire to something excellent? Hell yes. Avatar, Young Justice, Wolverine and The X-Men — all a ton of fun even though they aren’t “for” me. Should every animated series always aspire to that level of quality? Maybe, but I don’t care. I’ve got lots of better things to do, watch and read, so I don’t sweat it if it’s not for me. I’ll come around when there’s something excellent.

    • @ken–yeah i loved the X-men back in the day (even though i wasn’t a fan of the animation) but i tried watching it again now..man it does not hold up at all for me.

    • USPUNX USPUNX says:

      Oh man, I sat down and watched the first episode of the 90′s X-Men cartoon on Netflix with my wife and couple weeks ago and it was awful. I kept telling her how great it was and then we finally watched it and I was like, “What I meant was how great it was THEN.” Cause it is unwatchable now.

    • camerlane camerlane says:

      @wally @USPUNX Well no matter how we feel about the 90s X Men show now, the intro theme song will always be awesome.

    • vadamowens vadamowens says:

      @Ken Yeah. I had just gotten into comics during the Image revolution and X-tinction Agenda. The show just added to my love of comics. I just recently tried to re-watch the entire series and was barely able to get through the 1st season. Oh well, it served it’s purpose and made a young Adam very happy.

    • JesseCuster says:

      No offense, but you are the person that this article is DIRECTLY addressing.

      Yes, you can have some ‘intelligent’ toons that appeals to all ages.

      But not every single one needs to be. I don’t hear you crying about Dora the Explorer, do I?

      That you immediately go to the argument about ‘there have been better shows for all ages”, is so ironic because you absolutely can’t see past the end of your own nose to get the point, and became the very thing it was trying to explain. Its pretty funny actually.

    • X-Men the animated series aged very well for me, watched the entire thing again a year or two so when they hit DVD, excellent stuff. It’s aged better than a lot of the 90s comics even.

  3. flapjaxx flapjaxx says:

    Yes. Great article.

    Even with comics/shows/whatever that I like, I sometimes find myself asking “Would younger readers like this? Would I like this if I was 12? Are there other options out there for this character/franchise, which maybe other types of people would like?”

    Often on comics sites I feel like everything is examined from our own general 30-40-year-old viewpoint. That even goes for comics that are ostensibly “for kids”. I find myself thinking things like “Thor the Mighty Avenger” sure appealed to a lot of us 30-somethings who already like Thor… but would it REALLY catch on with very many kids?” Obviously, answers to questions such as things remain up in the air, but I think asking things like this does kind of put our entertainment in context.

  4. mark. mark. says:

    my version of this was when i started watching the third season of heroes on netflix. i got through one episode and went “oh, just fuck this right in the ear. i am under no obligation to keep watching this.” i turned it off and never looked back. and everyone i’ve talked to has said that this was a very good idea.

  5. ChrisSnell ChrisSnell says:

    Great article! Personally, I feel like my entire worldview has changed on things like this since having a child. My son is five years old, and he loves things like Marvel’s Super Hero Squad and Ultimate Spider-Man. Now, while I wouldn’t have really given these a chance 6 years ago, I watch them through the eyes of my son, and enjoy them with him. I still get to see incarnations of my favorite heroes in the comics; they don’t have to be on a screen, silver or otherwise.

    • geekmonkey geekmonkey says:

      I couldn’t agree more, both with the article and this comment in particular. My son will be 5 in a month, and one of the highlights of his week is watching “Spider-man and all the fat Spider-babies” with Dad every week. It’s not particularly MY Spider-man, and it doesn’t have to be. I watch my son laughing along to the broad slapstick jokes and then talk afterwards about what the episode was trying to convey and it works. Maybe not for everyone, but that’s why there are other great older-skewed shows like YOUNG JUSTICE, AVENGERS: EMH, and the like.

  6. spaceghost15 spaceghost15 says:

    Don’t watch the cartoon. But I have to say. AWESOME. I thought I was the only one ever that say Jeni do his Jaws bit!!!

  7. great article and thank you for saying this. All too often we as adult fans get bent out of shape that the sandbox we’re playing in isn’t built for us. This is a good reality check.

    We had our 7 yr old niece for the weekend a while back and on saturday morning she put on her shows…a bunch of stuff that i’ve never heard of with animation styles that i just did not like…this included a new CGI garfield which to me looked like a crappier sacrilegious version of the series i loved as a kid. But then that little girl is sitting there entertained beyond belief, bopping around and having so much fun with these shows…really thats all that matters, so they are accomplishing their mission.

    I actually think its very healthy for me that i don’t understand the cartoons that 7 yr olds like. =)

  8. bhannaoh bhannaoh says:

    As a fan of cartoons, anime, and animation in general i’m usually down with whatever they create this however is not for me I’m COOL WITH THAT I know a whole bunch of 7 years old are loving it. I hope like my parents they’ll see that there kids like it and will buy them comics so that they’ll read something.

  9. Apotheosize Apotheosize says:

    Young Justice is fantastic

  10. popaklaw popaklaw says:

    Breaking News: Kids like crappy TV!

    I have 3 boys and some of the stinkers they watch make we want to send them to live with an Amish Family.

    Cherish the gems that you can watch together and both enjoy. Always remember, most of us are in the generation that kept He-man on for 130 episodes.

  11. Neb Neb says:

    I used to feel this guilt about not keeping up with everything comic related, like my participation was the lynchpin for any one show or movie being successful. I’ve learned to let go of this because 1) it’s completely stupid and 2) as I’ve gotten older and my free time disappeared, I have to focus on the things I like and not worry about trying to see and read everything. It’s taken a lot of the stress out of being a fan, and this way, when I have time, I always have options for things I can check out.

  12. You’d think that a logical argument like the one presented here would be the end-all be-all to the fans who think that all children shows should be made for them, but I’ve actually seen some “geniuses” (using that term in the most sarcastic way possible) try to refute this by saying “Well I saw a kid who thought that Ultimate Spider-Man was stupid, so that’s all the proof that’s needed that this is a bad show! Case closed!” Naturally, these people are ignorant to the fact that “Not Everything Is For You” ALSO applies to kids. Yes, they’re people too.

  13. sitara119 sitara119 says:

    i’m reminded of when i went to go see star wars clone wars. to say the least, i wasn’t the target audience and i was disappointed. the wooden puppet animation reminded me of christmas specials from my childhood, which i liked. but everything else did very little for me.
    now i have a 2 yr old who is almost 3 and he loves clone wars, which in turn, makes me love it, too. now we share a movie and ongoing cartoon series that will one day open the door to the more adult side of star wars. same thing with justice league. he won’t watch JL: doom, but he’ll watch JL unlimited(which i love on my own as well) all day.
    it’s awesome that some shows are aimed at a younger audience. i love it for what it is: a gateway drug.

    so where USM doesn’t float my boat in the slightest when i’m by myself, it rocks my fuckin’ world when i watch it with my son.

  14. Mmanie Mmanie says:

    Like the Headline of this post “Not everything is for you” i feel that this show is geared towards a younger generation, it is not hard to say that we all love spider-man but what i am trying to convey is we should not be watching this this is a cartoon most people here are as old as 40 and they are complaining on a show that is geared towards 10 year olds and so on and you can see the 30 year gap so i feel that all of you that are complaining are just out of sync if you want to watch good spider-man on tv there is spectacular spider-man on dvd but i feel that if anyone should complain that the show lacks depth is the kids watching it and maybe movie/tv series critics if you want good spider-man go buy the dvd or look for a site that has the episodes you dont have to complain like your life depends on watching spider-man and bashing the show because you feel like you are still 10.. Marvel entertainment didn’t make the show for our age demographic but for a younger generation. so feel free that when the show airs every Sunday you don’t watch it, you could as well pick up a good spider-man comic or go get spectacular spiderman and watch

  15. Totally agree.

    I’d love Spectacular Spider-Man. It was a cartoon aimed squarely at the kids waking up on Saturday mornings, but it had a real heart and wit to it. There’s an emotional depth to it’s characters and the various relationships in it’s world, relatable to people of all ages. It never talked down to you, never cloying and childish in it’s storytelling. It captured a small, dedicated fanbase of people from 14 to 40, who sung the show’s praises but couldn’t keep it on the air.

    Now Ultimate Spider-Man comes around, and it’s gotta a hell of a creative team. You expect the same awesomeness of Spectacular, and yet…it’s all wrong. The jokes are flat-out stupid and corny. 4th-wall breaking is all over the place, goofball shenanigans. Drake Bell has Spidey’s funny voice down, but doesn’t have nearly the range of emotion Keaton’s Peter Parker showed, and that really represents the show’s concept pretty well. It’s kids stuff. It’s the kind of thing that you come back to 10-15 years later in a bit of nostalgia and realize it wasn’t all that great in the first place, but you kinda enjoy it anyway in that “yeah this reminds me of my childhood!” phase.

    So it’s whatever. I think the backlash towards the show is because of how it was marketed. It was the next Spidey show after Spectacular, so fans expected the same level of skill and maturity that show displayed on a regular basis. They had a super awesome team of creators like Men of Action and Paul Dini, so surely they would produce something great, right? They promoted constantly at comic-cons, to rooms full of adults, with the idea the show was gonna appeal to them. So all this stuff comes together and you get the show and it’s corny children shit, you seem a little disappointed, right?

    So I get it. I do. I was one of them. But, I’m past it. I need to catch up on Game of Thrones anyway.

    • Batcaptain says:

      This hits on all the problems I had with this series. I really, REALLY liked Spectacular Spider-Man. Probably better than Batman: TAS. It was a serialized, kids show that polished all the elements of Spider-Man. It felt a lot like the Lee/Ditko issues. I was pretty god damned sad it was cancelled, but I figured Ultimate Spider-Man would fill that void. It did replace Spectacular, after all, and with Dini and Bendis, it seemed like there was a lot of potential for a good, adult-friendly series. And maybe I didn’t pay enough attention to the trailers or press releases, but I was under the impression that was what they were aiming for.

      I watched Ultimate Spider-Man with my little brother, they aired the first few episodes together in one night, and I haven’t seen it since. It’s Family Guy for kids, with a plastic superhero sheen. The episodes I saw barely had anything to do with “Spider-Man” either; there weren’t any Spidey villains, almost none of his supporting cast, and no moral dilemmas. In other words, the things I love about Spider-Man were practically absent. I’ll say though, it had some great animation. People talked about the part where he jumps on the tables; that was amazing. There’s a great kinetic feel to the show that I didn’t get in Spectacular. And Stan Lee is a regular character. And J.K. Simmons is Jonah Jameson again, let’s hope they use him more. And, one more negative, all the character designs look a little too complex.

      It’s okay that this cartoon exists, I think I’m still just bitter that Spectacular was cancelled.

  16. cromulent cromulent says:

    I don’t love the show, but it makes me laugh a lot, even though it’s totally cornball. I’ll still watch it even though it’s not my favorite Spider-man cartoon.

  17. Mmanie Mmanie says:

    Like the Headline of this post “Not everything is for you” i feel that this show is geared towards a younger generation, it is not hard to say that we all love spider-man but what i am trying to convey is we should not be watching this this is a cartoon most people here are as old as 40 and they are complaining on a show that is geared towards 10 year olds and so on and you can see the 30 year gap so i feel that all of you that are complaining are just out of sync if you want to watch good spider-man on tv there is spectacular spider-man on dvd but i feel that if anyone should complain that the show lacks depth is the kids watching it and maybe movie/tv series critics if you want good spider-man go buy the dvd or look for a site that has the episodes you dont have to complain like your life depends on watching spider-man and bashing the show because you feel like you are still 10.. Marvel entertainment didn’t make the show for our age demographic but for a younger generation. so feel free that when the show airs every Sunday you don’t watch it, you could as well pick up a good spider-man comic or go get spectacular spiderman and watch

  18. BCDX97 BCDX97 says:

    Well I like it. I thought Spectacular Spider-Man was really good, too, but in a totally different way.

    If you don’t like it, there are plenty of other shows you can watch.

  19. JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

    good article. I think a lot of Batman fans need to hear this advice too, as it seems we can sometimes be the most narrow-minded of all super-hero fans, when it comes to character interpretation and presentation.

  20. popaklaw popaklaw says:

    I blame Scott Mosier.

  21. BionicDave BionicDave says:

    I not only agree with your take on “Ultimate Spider-Man,” but the general sentiment of your article is an important one to remember in our media-blitzed world. Last week, I was at a party where several friends were complaining about how bad “Glee” is. I reminded them that they are adults in their mid-30s – and “Glee” is made for 14 year olds!

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      GLEE is not made for 14 year olds. Like all prime time television, it’s made for the 18-49 demographic. So your friends would be part of the target audience.

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      emphasis on “18″.

    • BionicDave BionicDave says:

      While networks and advertisers still use the broad 18-49 demo in general primetime marketing, it’s silly to believe all primetime television shows cater to that same wide audience, especially with the advent of primetime cable series (and broadcast net strategies developed in reaction to cable). That’s why shows like “American Dad” are fine with courting younger audiences and selling commercial time to more youth-slanted advertisers – while shows like “60 Minutes” have made their bread and butter with older-skewing demos. Yes, advertisers take into account that some 49 year olds watch “Glee” – but they also realize that most of “Glee’s” viewership is far younger.

      But thank you, Conor, for making an effort to counter my posts now that I’ve disagreed with you about Grant Morrison. I’ve been posting on this site for 2 (?) years now, it’s nice that you’re finally acknowledging me!

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @BionicDave: You’re right, I should have been more specific with my language. All primetime network shows cater in broad terms to the 18-49 demo and in specific terms to the 18-34 demo, with exceptions for venerable programs like 60 MINUTES (but a case could be made, I guess, that it falls more under the purview of CBS’ news division and not its entertainment division, where different standards apply).

      Yes, GLEE and shows like it’s viewership skews to the more valuable younger audience but the idea that it doesn’t also court viewers in their 30s would be news to all the people I know who work in television and at Nielsen.

  22. CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

    Great article, and something I must remind myself more often.

    Incidentally, I’m having fun with that show.

  23. Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

    There is only one Jaws film.

    Pirahna 3-D is a real thing though.

    • mark. mark. says:

      do you mean a real thing like “awesome” or a real thing like “that totally happened once”? i suppose either way is a victory for the world.

    • srh1son srh1son says:

      Jaws 19 opens in 2015. I’m taking my hoverboard out for a spin after…

    • sitara119 sitara119 says:

      ha! i just saw BTTF2 recently.
      where the fuck are all of the flying cars?

    • mark. mark. says:

      a few years ago at christmas i drunkenly cornered my brother-in-law — who is a senior engineer at toyota — and demanded to know where the flying car was.

      his answer was pretty interesting (i think he gets the question a lot): evidently they have most of the technology there, but they’ve held off on producing one for the public because they still haven’t worked out a good mechanism for emergency braking and/or sudden stopping. which makes some good sense to me. so. there you go.

  24. bub64882 bub64882 says:

    Great article…I actually like this Spider-Man show (it’s the Green Lantern one I don’t enjoy)…My kids and I watched it this morning during breakfast. There were peels of laughter when Parker goes “Ferris Beuller” before being hit with the dodge ball. They LOVE that stuff. I get to look at new interpretations of Batroc and Taskmaster and marvel (pun intended) that I’m ever seeing these beloved characters on TV.

    There is SO much to like about animation right now…even if you hate this show, you’ve got Young Justice, Legend of Korra, Avengers EMH, Thundercats, a steady stream of DC DIrect DVD’s….The options that could be FOR are out there like never before.

  25. j206 j206 says:

    YES YES YES! Right on, Jimmy boy. Right on exactly!

    I have made this exact same comment a couple times in threads about this show. Ultimate Spider-Man is made for kids, not 30-40 somethings. Yes, there are cartoons that can appeal to both. But all cartoons shouldn’t. Not at all. Cartoons are for kids. We are a generation that grew up watching cartoons, so we have a greater appreciation for them than past generations. But that doesn’t mean cartoons should now be aimed at us. I wouldn’t have liked it back when I was a kid if my cartoons were made with people 20-30 years older than me in mind.

    If you are someone who is shocked or appalled by how jokey or obnoxious you feel USM is, you need to go watch the average cartoon on Nickelodeon or Disney Channel. Yes, there are some that work on multiple levels, and some that almost feel like they’re being made for an older audience. But for the most part, most cartoons are made for kids. And today’s generation of kids is very different from when you were a kid. They love over the top, in your face, super jokey, silly stuff. Part of that’s just being a kid. Part of it is the extreme ADD/internet/video game/nonstop entertainment age these kids were born into.

    I have friends with young kids who watch these shows. I remember a couple years ago or so when it first hit me just how, IMO, obnoxious a lot of kids shows today are. This isn’t exactly a new development. This is just the first time a superhero cartoon that this community pays attention to has taken notice. Yes, today’s kids shows are fast paced and don’t give the kids watching a second to think about changing the channel. I am not a fan. But that’s 30 year old me’s opinion. My friends’ kids? LOVE THAT STUFF. Their eyes are glued to the tv. Cartoons like Young Justice or Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. They like those shows well enough, and they’ll watch them with their parents or me (yes, that is a hilarious sentence). But it’s nowhere near the same as with USM or the show about the brothers who skateboard.

    The title of this article needs to be stamped on the forehead of any adult or young adult who comes onto a comic book web site and even begins to gripe or complain about cartoons being made for children. It’s ridiculous. If there was a group of people who should demand that children’s cartoons be tailor made for them. Guess what. IT’S CHILDREN. There are other cartoons and other options out there for you, giving everyone a show they can like. You should simply be happy there are any that you enjoy, being so far out of the target demo.

    There is much more of an argument for there being MORE cartoons like USM, than there is for the one being made by the 35 year old complaining about it. Every day the comic book community and industry worries about why kids today don’t read comic books. You want young kids to love Spider-Man. This is how you do it in today’s market. Many of you watched Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. This is a new generation’s version. It’s a good thing for comics and comic book companies. People of all ages and generations should be able to enjoy these characters. And things like this see to it.

  26. edward says:

    There’s kind of a lot of judgmentally, unwarranted advice from the iFanboys to the iFanbase about how they should be living their lives recently. That’s not for me

    • Best moderators I’ve ever seen on a site and if it takes them speaking with God-like authority to keep the masses in check, then I’m all for it (long as they don’t direct it at me . . . )

    • j206 j206 says:

      Well Jim did say that not everything is for you. ;)

      I get your point to an extent. There is a bit of a trend of the admonishing article. But why comment in this particular thread? Are you saying that you advocate 35 year olds complaining that children’s cartoons aren’t made for them? I don’t always love the “tell off the readers” articles. But sometimes they are warranted. This being a perfect example.

    • edward says:

      Well, the site does post a comment thread for each episode and the name plus the interverted comic industry advertised the cartoon as something similar to Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-man. I don’t think the typical comic reader is completely out of line saying “um, what was that?” after seeing a few episodes

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @edward: This is the important bit from the article:

      “So far, I have recorded every episode of DisneyXD’s latest iteration of the Parker mythos, and I have risked spinal damage bending over backwards to give it the benefit of the doubt each weekend. I’ve loved the comic for twelve years; I love Paul Dini; I love Brian Bendis. Their show makes me want to burn Disneyland to the ground and pee on the embers. But I keep sticking by it and sticking up for it, like it is going to get better.”

      It’s not so much complaining about the show it’s coming back week after week and watching the show and being mad that it’s not SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. After a few viewings it should be clear what the show is and what it isn’t and if you like it or not.

    • edward says:

      @conor: yes, I agree. But moaning about it after 4 episode is fine. Especially considering the Bendis Tapes and promational material that was directed at the usual comic crowd. You get sold a false bill of goods? Yes, you have a right to bitch

    • JesseCuster says:

      Please, if a person bitches about not liking a children’s toon, in some form of public forum, then guess what? They just gave an open invitation to be judged.

      So many people want to talk about their right to complain and vent about the most insignificant things, then get upset when other people do the same back to them.

      Most people who bitch are just looking for affirmation. If they get their affirmation, they’re so smug. If it turns out the general consensus is against their opinion, then they whine about people being judgmental.

      And then, to top it all off… 9 times out of 10, the bitching isn’t even CONSTRUCTIVE. Just a lot of hate being spewed for hate’s sake. (and if you dig deep, more than likely becuase the person just doesn’t ‘get’ something and doesn’t like that they don’t get it).

      Everyone has every right and the freedom to say what they want. But with that right comes other people’s right to respond, and that doesn’t necessarily mean it the response is all rainbows and magic ponys.

    • edward says:

      @JesseCuster: What the average age of someone on IFanboy? 36?

      So Why is there a discussion thread for the cartoon?

  27. princegary08 princegary08 says:

    I agree with you I really want to like USM and laugh at it sometimes but I can’t get behind it. but that being said it still spiderman and i will watch it.

    But i do love Young justice and EMH GL:TAS is not bad so alltough they make the shows for kids adults can like them as well. Also love Avatar and the The leaged of Korra.

  28. TomiH TomiH says:

    Surely there are instances where you can have an opinion on something not aimed at you. I’m no 14 year old girl but I can tell you Twilight isn’t very good and on the flipside I like every Miazaki movie I’ve seen and most of those are for 7 year olds.

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      But 14 year old girls DO like those movies, so what does your objective opinion matter to them?

    • JesseCuster says:

      To use your Twilight example:

      If Twilight is not ‘aimed’ at you, then
      a. When you realize you don’t like it, why would you conclude that its ‘bad’, rather than come to the logical conclusion that ‘its not for me’?
      b. It if its not aimed at you, what in God’s name compelled you to view/read it in the first place?

      I once had a long debate with some friends of mine a long time ago. We all agreed that we hate boy bands. We all agree, that to us, boy bands sucked. My argument was, while WE did not like boy bands, that does not necessarily mean boys bands are horrible or awful because, out there, somewhere, are people who DO like boy bands. “Good” or “bad” is not ruled by majority. One person on the entire planet can like something that no one else likes… then its good.

      Success, now that’s a whole other story that sometimes, and sometimes isn’t, related to ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

  29. SageShini says:

    Okay. For the record, I don’t have much of a problem with Ultimate Spider-Man.* It doesn’t TOUCH Spectacular Spider-Man, but then after that series it was done so well the same approach would have been (and is) a little silly to try in the first place.

    A few things though: Man, kids will watch anyhing.

    Second: The idea was put forward, for some reason I cannot fathom, that some things SHOULD be made just for kids. ….Why? Don’t get me wrong, there should be cartoons for like, 2-5 year olds to watch. But once my child is going to first grade, it’s time for Avatar. I just don’t see giving a child something that’s both entertaining and mentally stimulating as a bad thing. It would be one thing for fans to ask for something like The Ultimates to be made into a cartoon and put on Saturday Mornings. But, to my knowledge, no one’s asking for that. We’re just asking for series of the same quality as Avatar: TLA and TLK, Spectacular Spider-Man, Young Justice, and even Batman: Brave and the Bold (it was funny, light-hearted, and very well-done).

    This idea that there need to be things that are juvenile in nature to appeal to kids “even more” than what’s out there that appeals to everyone…it just seems a little toxic to me.

    That said, I would never insult a parent for enjoying watching a show like this with their children. At least they’re monitoring what their children watch and spending time with them–that makes them heroes of a different sort, in my eyes.

  30. MarkCWarner MarkCWarner (@MarkCWarner) says:

    51 verbose comments. Very success article.

    Jim is correct in his assessment. There are great cartoons and there are good ones. And what that means to everyone is different. 11 year old Mark LOVED Visionaries, 37 year old Warner can not stand it. \

    I have accepted that I am Chris Rock’s Too Old For The Club. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IFwWEBFWZk (I apologise if the link did not go through, as China blocks YouTube). Anyhow, I am not a pre teen or a teenage by many a time. And it is time for me to start realising that. I am grateful for the Young Justice, Avatars, Transformers PRIME, the season of Symbiotic Titan, even Ben 10, and when Clone Wars decides not to suck. But stuff aimed for the older generation kind of sucks as well. I am looking at you Marvel ANIME. But this Ultimate Spiderman makes me giggle. I will just not be invested in them.

    Last week, my 9 year old nephew came over to visit me in NYC and we went through all the cartoons on Cartoon Network, XD and Nick. He loved Ultimate Spiderman, and he broke it down to me in a way that was clear and it was enlightening. He said that he liked it because it reminded him of his favourite book – Diary of A Wimpy Kid. Huh… out of the mouths of kids…

    I have decades upon decades of cartoons to relive and enjoy. Lets give a new generation theirs.

  31. xoman xoman says:

    Yes, not everything is for me. But Ultimate Spiderman is AWFUL. Legend of Korra, Young Justice, & Avengers blow doors off of that steaming pile. Green Lantern wasn’t made for me, but it’s not ridiculously bad either. Yes, kids will watch anything and mine watch Ultimate Spiderman. But even they think it sucks. My point is, just because it’s not made for me doesn’t make it bad, but it doesn’t make it good either!

    • MarkCWarner MarkCWarner (@MarkCWarner) says:

      I dont know about the Kids will watch anything comment. I certainly had favourites when I was a kid, and the fact that your kids do not like Ultimate Spiderman and my nephew reinforces that thought in my opinion. Though I feel we are on the same page over all, I will never say it is good. Just like MASK, Spiral Zone, C.O.P.S., and a host of others were not good. But if it captures a moment of time for them that they enjoy later on… then Excelior

  32. j206 j206 says:

    I guess the people who make this show and run Disney could try to be more like comic books, and market all of their shows and product to one specific, ever-shrinking, ever-aging, TINY niche demograph. That’s seemed to work out.

    • SageShini says:

      Yeah, because clearly people are asking for that. Not like, accessible shows that can be for everyone like Avatar, JLU, Young Justice, or Avengers: EHM. Because it’s not like those series are popular at all, right?

  33. register says:

    It’s not that there isn’t room for a lighthearted take on classic superheroes. I was a fan of Batman: The Brave and the Bold (which Dini wrote some episodes of), which dared to take Batman and put him into the middle of crazy, planet-hopping adventures the likes of which the character hadn’t seen for decades. But that show managed, impressively, to actually keep Batman himself grounded and in-character, even when everything around him was so out there. On Ultimate Spider-Man, you have Spidey talking to the audience and constantly imagining weird and silly things we see visualized, so it all feels weightless and like Spider-Man himself isn’t being taken seriously.

    Look, kids will almost certainly love it. And that’s fine. But considering this is Marvel’s most recognizable, iconic character, in the first completely self-produced Spider-Man series Marvel has made, it feels like a missed opportunity for something that truly hit home with Spider-Man fans of all ages.

    • MarkCWarner MarkCWarner (@MarkCWarner) says:

      I personally think they are making a good call. The Spiderman movie looks brilliant and for the more serious and adult minded. I am more that happy to wait on that

  34. I agree whole-heartedly with what your saying in this article. What I’ve always been curious about is why isn’t there more super hero related shows that are for everyone, like Smallville? Why can’t there be more all ages material suited for adults and kids? I don’t think it matter whether its animated or live action but I feel that studios are too quick to build materials that only appeal to kids or only to adults. Why not just try and cater to everyone? Isn’t that what the movies do?

  35. muddi900 says:

    That really is an idiotic argument. I haven’t seen the show, because I thought the trailer was horrible, but culture that is tailor-made for certain audience is cheap pandering and not worth the ammount of words used here. If you ask Maurice Sendak, or would have asked CS Lewis, about their target audience, the answer would have been, I just write. In fact, you can check that out here:
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/406796/january-24-2012/grim-colberty-tales-with-maurice-sendak-pt–1

    Hannah Montana was targeted at kids, but it was done so cynically and sent the wrong messages to them. But since it didn’t target adults, it should to absolved from all criticism.

  36. MrSethypants MrSethypants says:

    Uhm. No.
    Ultimate Spiderman is just a poorly made show.
    Young Justice is a show for kids, yet adults can sit down with their kids to watch it.
    So is Green Lantern. Earth Mightiest Heroes had a bad start but turned up its notched, even so, the format of the show is much more suited for a wide appeal. Ultimate Spiderman is just bleh.