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Okily Dokily!

Sydney Wold, Editor-in-Chief

Over this past decade, there has been a noticeable dip in the quality of animation. Plots are either nonsensical or mundane, the humor is overdone, and the characters are lazily derived from every other show. However, animation makes money, so many film corporations continue to greenlight these, frankly, lame productions.

This low-quality, high-return method has introduced many tropes to the genre, most of which are the result of bad writing. One trope that has caught my attention is Flanderization, which is best described through its namesake.

Ned Flanders, a character in the animated sitcom The Simpsons, is known as the titular family’s extremely, religious next-door neighbor. In the earlier seasons of the show, Flanders’s religion was a part of his character, but he had nuance. He was good-natured, friendly, and though annoying at times, a fan favorite. 

Over time, Flanders was reduced into a caricature of himself. Whether this was intentional character design or not, many were quick to notice this once dynamic character lose his personality. This is Flanderization in a nutshell: the reduction of a previously multifaceted character into one, exaggerated trait. 

Despite the negative reception to this change, Flanderization has become a staple of the modern TV show. The Simpson’s have even reoffended, with fans criticizing the Flanderization of Lisa and Bart Simpsons’ characters as worse than Flander’s. 

As I previously mentioned, Flanderization is a result of poor writing, which is indicative of a larger issue in the film industry: a lack of respect for the medium. Many studio executives either view animation as an easy way to profit or a dying genre, thus they don’t hire qualified writers and animators, pay them poorly, and barely fund the project. This has led to the cancellation of many critically acclaimed animated tv shows and an influx of low-budget fillers. 

Many of these canceled shows didn’t just have potential, they had already exceeded expectations. Shows such as the Owl House, Gravity Falls, and Bojack Horseman had gained cult followings and toward the end of their runs, exploded in popularity and calls for renewal. But, in a market as competitive as the film industry, corporations always prioritize quantity over quality.