Why Katie Ka-boom Was The Worst Thing To Happen To Animaniacs

Don’t look at me with that cutesy smile, you conniving trollop. I know your evil thoughts are brewing…
Source: legion1979.tumblr.com

Last night, my friends and I celebrated the arrival of Animaniacs on Netflix by binge-watching over tacos. It was nice to see how most of the show still holds up after over two decades.

That said, nothing is without sin. And the biggest sin in this show’s record, at least in my mind, is the teenage terror that is Katie Ka-Boom.

If you don’t remember Katie, good for you – you were able to blank her out of your mind and ignore her while waiting for more Slappy Squirrel segments like my younger self. But now, looking back, there is just so much wrong with her as a character and I understand why she never took off as a staple of the show or was accepted by the fans. For instance…

She’s not funny

The entire premise of the Katie Ka-Boom segments is that Katie is a teenage girl who loses her mind with every minor social misstep or foible. The twist in this cliché is that she transforms into a series of grotesque monsters based on the stressor of the day which ultimately result in the terrorization of her family and destruction of the house – usually through a massive explosion; hence her name.

There is a germ of a good idea here that could have been made into a passable laugh, but there is no variation to the theme. They even reuse the same lines and gags. It’s just incredibly lazy writing.

And, of course, when I’m not laughing at the show, I’m asking plot-hole exposing questions that further pull me out of the experience like, “Why does Katie transform like that? Is she related to Bruce Banner” or, “How does she even HAVE a social life to fret over? Wouldn’t the other kids at school be too afraid to talk to her knowing she demolishes her home on a daily basis?”

There are many sins one can commit in entertainment, but not being funny in a comedy (or not entertaining in any regard) is the worst because it can only bring the other problems into clearer view.

She’s a living middle finger to teens and women

There are two things we praise Animaniacs for consistently; it’s desire to treat it’s younger audience as intelligent, critical people and it’s progressive depiction of women.

On the youth end, the show was known for surprisingly informative segments shipped as comedy as well as respecting their maturity with some more *ahem* ‘adult humor.’

As for the women of Animaniacs, they had a knack for independence and proving their capableness in hard times. Even blatantly sexualized characters like Hello Nurse and Minerva Mink demonstrated amazing intellect and cunning; proving they had the brain to complement their beauty.

So, imagine how much of a kick in the head it is to see a character like Katie who basically says that all teens – especially teen women – are irrational, emotionally unstable, sub-humans.

… Yeah. kinda makes you angry, doesn’t it? But not as angry as when you realize that…

She is demonstrably and radically evil

Let’s cut through the crap and get to the big point; this is the story of a spoiled rotten child oppressing and controlling her family through violence in order to get everything she wants. You know what we call that in the real world? DOMESTIC ABUSE.

Yes, in a world of whimsy and cartoon antics, there exist abuse victims. There was one episode in particular (the clip of which I sadly can’t find online) that demonstrated this shockingly well when, for a brief moment after being corrected by Katie, her mother quickly recoils back in fear with arms raised saying, “my mistake.” Speaking as someone with a minor background in psychology, such actions and hyper-awareness in social situations are clear symptoms of an abuse victim.

If the show just had a passable exaggeration beyond the supernatural powers, it could have played itself off as a dark comedy. But, as we have established, Katie Ka-Boom is NOT funny; she’s evil. Like, the ‘monster-that we-need-The-Avengers-to-fight’ kind of evil.

A Long Over Due Retraction: Minaj vs. Trainor

What did they used to call it? “The shiniest of two turds?”
Source: junkee.com

I’ve been putting this off for too long; not for fear of admitting I was wrong, but because I always had something else on my mind that I wanted to say that got in the way.

So, way back in September of last year (has it really been that long?), I criticized Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda for not being the feminist message that it portended to be. However, I made the sorry mistake of saying that Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass was able to keep the theme of booty pride while retaining a more girl friendly atmosphere.

Well, as a few readers were eager to point out, this was not the case.

Upon repeated hearings and exploring the rest of her body of work, it’s hard to deny that Meghan is just as near sighted as Nicki in terms of the definition of feminine.

Nowhere is this more clear then when I finally found a line in All About That Bass shaming petite framed girls by calling them “skinny bitches.” There was also the line where she explains that she “[Shakes] it like I’m supposed to do.” Again, we have the problem narrowly defining what as woman should and shouldn’t be. What if a girl doesn’t want to show off her butt? Doesn’t she have other avenues she can pursue to gain respect and attention?

Also, when I heard her newer single Lips Are Movin’ – a song about distrusting a lover, I started to notice another uncomfortably off-key message of empowerment; promoting women by shaming men. I get that the stereotype is that men are sex-crazed jackasses, but so-called “slut shaming” works both ways and when you say that you “know [we’re] lying ’cause [our] lips are moving” is not only painting with a broad brush, it’s also painting in a very offensive shade. And if it wasn’t cute when the Spice Girls did it, it sure as hell isn’t cute now.

So, yes – I was demonstrably wrong about Meghan Trainor. She is not the saint of female empowerment that I gave her credit for being.

That being said, she is still LEAGUES above Nicki Minaj in terms of likability. Where Nicki is aggressive about her sexuality to the point of trying way too hard to impress, Meghan is more reserved which has the effect making her seem more sweet and good-natured.

Also, and this purely a matter of personal preference, I find Meghan’s 1950’s throwback sound more tasteful and gentle on the ears than Nicki’s ripping-off and butchering of an ACTUAL female empowerment anthem.

Basically, what I’m straining to get out is this; the difference in insulting between Meghan Trainor and Nicki Minaj is the difference between a put-down from Tyrion Lannister and Dane Cook’s “The Finger” sketch… and if forced to choose, I’ll take being verbally slapped in the face by Peter Dinklage over someone flipping me the bird while bouncing around like an amphetamine-fueled Chimpanzee any day.

Of course, I’d rather just settle on someone that didn’t offend my senses and made me happy.

Nicki Minaj and “Anaconda” Are NOT Feminist

Do you want to know what is the most infuriating thing as a sex-positive feminist? People confusing sexual marketing for sex-positive feminism.

Female rapper Nicki Minaj has been stirring up controversy lately with her latest single Anaconda, where she is supposedly (I personally see little difference from her usual schtick) more sexual in her verses and her video then ever before.

Rather than writing her off as another sad example of the trope of sex obsessed rap music though, it seems that people have been flocking to her defense and justifying the existence of Minaj’s new single by claiming it’s a feminist rallying cry.

… We ARE listening to the same song here, right? I mean, I listened to the whole thing from start to finish multiple times and the only message I got from her was, “I can use my booty as a bartering chip to trade for anything I want.”

I guess you could make the argument that if men are foolish enough to be stupefied by T&A, then they deserve to have a beautiful woman fleece him out of everything he owns. But, on that same note, it shouldn’t be the only thing that a lady (or even a man for that matter) should aspire to. What about getting an education? Are you not interested in becoming a respected player in a high-powered field of business? No, you’re content with being your sugar daddy’s sex toy? Okay, your loss then.

More annoying are the people with the gall to claim that Minaj’s blatant sampling of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Baby Got Back is her taking back the song for women and that it was one of the most sexist moments in music history.

As I briefly observed in my article on one-hit-wonders, Mix intended Baby Got Back as an indictment of the fashion and media industries and their narrow minded, sexist, and even racist standards of beauty.

Now, one could claim that Mix was just trading one standard of beauty for another. However, you could also see how other songs, including Anaconda, are even more guilty of that accusation. Plus, any song whose verses include, “I’m tired of magazines / Sayin’ flat butts are the thing,” and, “So, Cosmo says, ‘You’re fat.’ / Well, I ain’t down with that,” is clearly out to make a change.

Do you want to know who the REAL sex-positive feminist icons of music are? Because they aren’t difficult to find.

Meghan Trainor released a single recently about defying the standard of beauty that was handled expertly and was really catchy at that.

One-hit-wonder female rapper Tweet did a whole song with Missy Elliot about how important, natural, and healthy female masturbation is.

And speaking of Missy, she made an entire career out of the phrase, “I have a vagina, I don’t fit the standard, and I’m sexually active; deal with it.”

My point is this; there is a very broad and visible line between using your sexuality to deliver a positive message and being a literal corporate whore and, honestly, Nicki Minaj is either not smart enough or too lazy to be the former.

Also, it’s hard to take any perceived sex-positive message seriously when it comes from the mouth of a woman that lied about her sexual preferences to sell more records.

Bottom line (no pun intended), I don’t appreciate someone literally sticking their thong-clad butt in my face only to figuratively fart in it.

Debate Time: Agent vs. Anti-Feminism

Source: SparkSummit.com

You mean women aren’t just animate slabs of beef that clean the house and you can put your willy inside of? Preposterous!
Source: SparkSummit.com

Edit as of !0/25/2013: Due to the author need to check multiple sources simultaneously while working on these articles, a link to a misleading article regarding women’s pay in the work place was posted in place of a more reliable one. The author apologizes to anyone who might have been confused or offended by this.

One of my favorite past times is to take a topic and debate or disprove its theory in order to test the thinking of the other party or show the holes in their logic. I may not even particularly disagree with them; I just want to flex my brain power and keep others on their toes.

This time, however, I’m actively trying to fight the party in question because Anti-Feminists are some of the most narrow-minded and personally offensive people I’ve ever encountered. I rank them among homophobes and racists as people responsible for holding back social progress. Today, I’ll take my stand by taking some of the most common arguments and philosophies I’ve heard and spiting them back into their slack-jawed open mouths so they can eat their own words.

“Why Is This Still Even An Issue?”

This is a common argument mostly heard from people who think that, just because an issue started years before their time, it’s not their problem and it was thoroughly solved by their parents/grandparents/et cetera.

What you’re displaying here is what I call ‘unperceptive bigotry.’ It’s the notion that just because we’ve made great strives against a problem that it no longer exists. Yes, it’s true that we’ve come a long way in woman’s rights – they can vote, work, and have more reproductive freedom. The problem is that you can’t touch up the paint on wrecked car and call it fixed and you can’t do a little legislation on a generations long social problem and call it a non-issue.

Women still only make 77 percent what men do in the work place, terms like ‘legitimate rape‘ are still being used in common parlance, and people who don’t realize these and other issues still exist are only hurting the process of fixing them. It’s the classic coda of, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

“Don’t We Have Other Things More Important To Work On?”

Okay, we do have wars, foreign policies, and an economy to work on. I understand that and I try to make allowances for that. But isn’t multitasking (and, of course, insuring even distribution of power) part of the reason we divided our government up into multiple branches and offices ran by large numbers of people?

Even on a personal level, are you saying that you don’t have time to worry about this? Do you know how ineffective I’d be if I couldn’t keep several metaphorical irons in the fire? I wouldn’t be in school, working on the family farm, AND writing this blog if I didn’t have the capacity to share my empathy with multiple issues.

In short, I think we can all sacrifice an hour a day from our daily Facebook binge to consider how an issue affects us and share that thought with someone who can help do something about it. Speaking of how issues affect us…

“Gender Equality Isn’t An Issue That Affects Me.”

Really? Are you suggesting that you have NO gender? Even if you identify as gender neutral, that’s still a gender.

Or perhaps you mean that your gender is unaffected by this debate because you’re a man. Well, wouldn’t that suggest that you don’t care about the well-being of your mother? What about your wife? Your daughter? Are you so content to let them suffer?

Every issue has an effect on EVERYONE – directly or indirectly. Understanding that long web of connections that we call ‘The Big Picture’ is the key to solving any challenges we experience in society.

“Feminism Emasculates And Victimizes Men!”

… How? Tell me it makes you less of a man. You brought it up; now give me your well-thought out factual data, Mr. Unga-Bunga Zug-Zug Macho Man.

This is easily the stupidest argument for anti-feminism I’ve ever heard. I’ve asked the above question of every man who uses this defense and not a single one has given me a reasonable, fact based answer.

Men, hear me now: the world will not end just because you have to share it with the other kids on the playground. Please try to keep things in perspective.

Last thoughts

Before anyone asks or tries to throw my own sex back at me as a counterpoint, no, I’m not saying this just to ‘get in good with women.’ My Coming Out Day Article should have made it clear that I don’t have that particular motive.

I’m just so honestly tired of fighting about something that should be obvious to even the least observant people. Let’s try to be a little more fair in our treatment of people regardless of what our 23rd pair of chromosomes looks like.