One of the most interesting TV trends of recent years is the rise of animated adult shows. The traditionally younger-audience genre has been rocked by series like Archer, Bojack Horseman and Rick and Morty, each one tackling delicate themes; sexuality, mental illness, and violence, in ways that you would definitely not see on Cartoon Network. If there is one group that hasn’t been caught up in the rage, however, it’s the ‘Awards Elite’.
Released in mid-December, the Golden Globes nominations list still does not include a single animated show. Not the critically acclaimed newest season of Bojack Horseman, or the fanatically beloved Rick and Morty, or even genre stalwarts like The Simpsons or South Park. In an age where cartoons are some of the most intelligently written shows around, it doesn’t make sense that they are being forgotten.
Instead, the five nominations for ‘Best TV Series – musical or comedy’ include Master of None and Will & Grace, two shows that received cold receptions and barely hold up in popular culture compared to, say, Rick and Morty. Whilst some of the other nominations in the category are deserved (or confusing, because the shows didn’t really make their way over to the UK), it is clear that an animated show belongs in this category far more than some of the actual nominations.
The lack of animated nominations is sad but hardly surprising – it speaks to longstanding stigmas and tendencies to assume animation is exclusively for children. This isn’t exactly a baseless assumption either – all but one film nominated in the Golden Globes for “Best film – animated” are kid-orientated animated pictures. Among the nominations include The Boss Baby, bogglingly enough, which suggests many of these nominations were picked at random but also clearly shows how animated films tend to target younger audiences. Confusing TV audiences with film audiences, in terms of genre, is a huge error, and one the Golden Globes constantly seems to make.
It’s possible that in future awards seasons, new seasons of shows like Archer or Family Guy will be nominated. It’s highly unlikely, but possible. It’s perhaps more possible that an animated category is created, like for film, which will allow mainstream recognition for awards. But until this hypothetical event, incredible ideas are falling under the awards radar due to the medium of their expression, which is criminal. The awards elite need to buck their stigmas and recognise animated shows for what they are – as some of the most insightful and cutting shows around.