“No! How could I have let the quality of my work slip so much!” cried SpongeBob. On the day of the 15th, SpongeBob felt confident in himself of becoming the employee of the month for his job at the Krusty Krab. He explained to Squidward, who was annoyed by him, that he himself works harder and that Mr. Krabs would only give the employee of the month award to him. However, Mr. Krabs over heard their conversation and warned SpongeBob that Squidward could possibly win the next award. That’s how SpongeBob panicked. You may think that the cartoon show, SpongeBob Sqaurepants is just a silly, innocent children show, but could there be something that we are not observing carefully that could possibly affect our children psychological? Perhaps, yes. In the show of SpongeBob Squarepants, SpongeBob may be a little narcissistic at times when it comes to work and being the employee of the month. In addition, Squidward is also a narcissistic squid at times when it comes to talent shows or having to be good looking. Therefore, this show contains a little bit of narcissism within it, but just one more question….has cartoons always been this way? Let’s take a look back at cartoons from the 1970s and compare it with today’s children’s cartoons.
Ok, the first thing that we are going to observe is the cartoons from the 1970s, like Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, The Flintstones, and the Looney Tunes. In the show, Scooby-Doo, there is no sign of narcissism within any of the episodes they show. The main focus of the gang is to solve mysteries, meaning they do not focus on themselves, but more of the safety of others. Also, in the show of The Flintstones, is also no sign of narcissism, or narcissistic characters in any show. The Flintstones were only two goofy, cavemen families and only did silly things and they also thought of other people as well. Now, in the show of Looney Tunes, there is only one particular character who shows a narcissistic personality, which is the skunk, Pepe Le Pew. Pepe is a narcissistic because he shows the lack of empathy, grandiosity, and having the need to be admired by a female cat. However, the cat does not like him and tries to hide from him. She clearly shows him that she isn’t interested, but Pepe like always, is persistent and doesn’t care how she feels towards him. Yet, the cartoons from the 70s hardly shows any narcissism or narcissistic characters in them.
Now that we’ve learned that the 70’s children’s cartoons doesn’t contain narcissism in it, onward to today’s children’s cartoons! Today’s cartoons shows several different cartoons for kids, however will look at Teen Titans GO!, The Amazing World of Gumball, and of course, SpongeBob Squarepants. In the show of Teen Titans GO! Robin shows major characteristics of a narcissistic character. In an episode of Robin Backwards, Robin shows the need for admiration of his good looks, talent, and how athletic he is. Within the show, he pulls up a book on a page where it says, “Rule 75: Robin is the handsome one!” This obviously shows that Robin lacks empathy for how others would feel about him, he craves for admiration by his teammates, and thinks he is better than everyone else (grandiosity).
Another show that also shows a narcissistic person would be The Amazing World of Gumball because in almost every show, Gumball would think he is better than his best friend, Darwin and he craves for admiration of his, so called, good looks. In an episode of Picture Day, Gumball worries of how he looks and asks Darwin to fix up his face, but Darwin ends up doing like a face lift on Gumball instead. By the time Darwin was done, Gumball thought he looked beautiful. On their way to take their picture, a classmate of his shouted, “There’s some kind of hot goblin freak right next to you!” However, Gumball thought Darwin was the hot goblin they were talking about and thought Darwin was jealous of his appearance.
But really, he thought Gumball was ugly. Gumball shows the characteristics of a narcissistic person, which he lacks empathy, craves the need of admiration, and thinks he’s better than everyone else as well. Now then, since we’ve already seen SpongeBob’s side of a narcissistic character, there’s Squidward who shows a lot more narcissistic behavior in a lot of episodes. Squidward, as you can see in any episodes, thinks he’s better than other fishes in the Bikini Bottom. He tries to look handsome and craves for admiration in his talents of playing the clarinet and dancing. Furthermore, he lacks empathy and only thinks of himself instead.
In conclusion to our observations of cartoons from the 70s and today’s cartoons with the lens of narcissism, cartoons have indeed become a little more narcissistic, but the cartoons from the 70s have never been narcissistic. Although narcissistic characters may affect children and act and think of themselves as better and lacks empathy, in these shows with narcissistic characters may also show and teach children how to not behave and learn the consequences of a narcissistic behavior. To sum it all up, parents of any age, should observe cartoons carefully to see whether if it will affect children in a negative or positive way. Maybe it could be both, but be careful of some narcissistic behavior, before some of our children would become narcissistic as well.