Fun Propaganda For All Ages!


Since we’re on an Earth Day kick (and lacking the opportunity to write a longer post on something else), I was thinking about those environmentally-correct cartoons they used to make in the late ’80s and early ’90s. For a while it seemed like everybody had to have an environmental message: Captain Planet, of course, but The Smurfs added an environment-friendly character called “Natural Smurf” and other shows did individual episodes about Saving The Environment. Which would be fine, except that the message of all these shows was as follows: polluters all want to pollute for no reason at all, just to be mean. There is no good reason for polluting. Therefore, all you have to do to save the environment is be nice and kind. I don’t recall any of them acknowledging that some level of pollution is required to produce all the cool stuff that’s advertised during the commercial breaks. So they told kids that there is never any trade-off or sacrifice for doing good, which, frankly, is a terrible message and one that probably turned a lot of kids very angry when they found out the truth.

The ultimate in cheerful brainwashing was, of course, “The Smoggies,” an international co-production with a theme song by the late Joe Raposo. Here we learn that a) All pollution is caused by ugly, joyless people who just want to make a mess for its own sake; b) Solar and wind power totally work for everything; c) If you respect the environment, you will be young forever and never have to grow up or die.


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Fun Propaganda For All Ages!

  1. Remember the Saved by the Bell episode when they discovered oil at Bayside and the school prospered, but then there was a spill and the school duck pond got contaminated. Remember Slater holding the duck covered in oil? I don’t remember if the duck died, but I do remember that the gang decided that oil profit wasn’t worth it…

    To save the environment all you have to do is turn the water off when you brush your teeth!

  2. I used to watch the smoggies. The bad guys were weird. Could never work out the relationship between them. Probably best not to probe it too much.

    • The thing that confused me about the show was that it was called “The Smoggies” yet the title characters were supposed to be the bad guys. I couldn’t get my mind around that. It was like being asked to root against the Snorks or the Smurfs or the Shirt Tales.

      And apparently others had that problem, because in the U.S. they retitled it “Stop the Smoggies.”

      • I had totally forgotten that the good guys were called Sun tots.

  3. That Smoggies theme song has always been audio crack (according to Wikipedia, it was from the guy who wrote the Sesame Street theme, so that makes sense). But I remember knowing to turn the channel off, as it had the mark of evil that was “Produced by Cinar” in the credits.

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