5. The animation was super expensive (and super inconsistent)


There are those out there that will defend the likes of Street Sharks and Dinosaucers to their dying day, but let's tell it like it is: Saturday morning cartoons were mostly garbage. In all but a few cases, they were cheap, rushed and badly-animated commericals for vast toy lines. We only liked them because we were young and stupid and still on a sugar rush after guzzling the milky pink Fruity Pebbles broth at the bottom of the cereal bowl.

Steven Spielberg saw an opportunity to improve on the format, and suddenly Tiny Toon Adventures sprung whole-cloth from his being like Athena leaping from Zeus' braincervix. The celebrated director of The Sugarland Express wanted a higher standard of animated television for a new generation of kids, and he set a pretty high bar; whereas your regular cartoon of the era had about 10,000 frames of animation per episode, Señor Spielbergo bumped that up to 25,000 individually drawn cels. I'm not great at math, but that's easily a difference of 50 or more frames total.

The problem was, TTA was still in the syndicated cartoon format, which meant that for it to be sold around to different networks, it had to have 65 episodes in its first season alone. To put that in perspective, Breaking Bad only had 62 episodes during its entire of five seasons.  That kind of episode order would take one team years to accomplish, so the job was handed off to six different studios who worked simultaneously. Their styles varied wildly, from the gold standard Tokyo Movie Shinsha to the incompetent (and later fired) Kennedy Cartoons to the uncomfortably sexed up Startoons. Over on DeviantArt, Atariboy2600 did a great job of summing up the styles of each animation house.



You might not have noticed the difference as a kid, but looking back now there's a clear contrast between each studio. Here, let's look at a sample from Tokyo Movie Shinsha.

It's simple, clean and consistent, while still being unmistakably cartoony -- even though this is just Buster talking in front of a curtain, there's a lot of craft here. 

And then there's trash like this, in which a floating Furrball attaches a napkin to his neck, only for it to immediately disappear up an animator's ass.

So while it cost a ton of money, the end product was always kind of wishy-washy. You might only remember the best episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures, but you're forgetting that the majority of your childhood that was disappointing and terrible.


4. The Tiny Toons drove drunk and died in a crash


Pretty much every kids' show out there has an episode or two with a ham-fisted anti-drug message. But producers weren't always doing it out of the goodness of their hearts -- they had a monetary incentive from the government. The Office of National Drug Control Policy exists in part to make deals with TV studios. See, the government is allowed to air a certain number of corny Public Service Announcements, but if anti-drug messages are written into a given show, the ONDCP will waive its right to those PSAs, freeing up that space for valuable ads for Funyun Crunchwrap Supremes. Basically, you have government kickbacks to thank for the worst episode of Buffy and the best episode of Saved By the Bell.

Tiny Toons' in-universe PSA was called "One Beer." As the title suggests, it's about Buster Bunny, Hamton Pig and Plucky Duck experimenting with alcohol. Specifically, the single brewski they manage to smuggle out of a random fridge. Somehow they manage to go on a bender while taking turns swigging their cheap domestic beer.

In addition to instantly transforming into insensitive caricatures of homeless people, the binging trio do what all drunk people do: Steal a police car and go on a joyride on a dangerous cliffside.

You can't drink and drive on TV without soon learning a harsh lesson. Since it's a cartoon, you'd figure maybe they run out of gas and call their parents, who ground them until the next episode and never speak of it again. Even though it's the logical real-life conclusion, the last thing you expect is for Plucky to careen off a cliff and pancake his car horizontally.

That's a long drop, even for cartoons. But still, they're animated characters, they'll bounce ba--

God. Damn. WB seriously resorted to murdering its protagonists in order to prove the questionable hypothesis that beer is bad. And this was just a single beer, too. If the gang had gotten a hold of a six-pack, they'd probably wander into a nuclear facility and we'd end up with 47 stars on the flag. 

There's a little epilogue that shows the characters taking off their angel costumes and heading home, but reassuring the audience that the characters aren't "really" dead didn't stop Fox from banning the segment. It's just a guess, but I'm guessing it had something to do with Tiny Toons getting drunk and killing themselves.