Cartoon Network likes to cancel shows that, while critically acclaimed, perform poorly in the toy sales department.
Every time they’re probed for the reasons behind a show’s cancellation, it always comes down to this same, solitary reason: Their toys aren’t selling, or that they can’t sell a show’s toy line to boys.
“Gendy’s moved on to Sony Pictures Animation. Titan got competitive ratings with other action shows, but what shut it down was it didn’t have enough toys connected to it. If you don’t have the [toy sales], the studios don’t want to renew for another season.” - A Cartoon Network spokesperson on the cancellation of Sym-Bionic Titan
“‘We don’t want the girls because the girls won’t buy toys.' We had a whole… we had a whole, a merchandise line for Tower Prep that they s***canned before it ever got off the launching pad, because it’s like, 'Boys, boys, boys. Boys buy the little spinny tops, they but the action figures, girls buy princesses, we’re not selling princesses." - Paul Dini explaining the reasons behind Tower Prep’s cancellation
”Well, humans have a tremendous capacity to “hope”. I have written so often on this. There is no corporate economic rational to make any new episodes. I’ve read that there have been petitions signed by many many fans that never even got to Cartoon Network. Maybe a campaign of a substantial nature of this kind, that actually got to an exec, would be a provocation. However, the lack of courage by the merchandisers still remains. “Pink” or “fuchsia” dogs will not sell in a boy dominated market place. This is rather complex, but the undercurrent of conservatism in America is strong and easy to intolerance.“ - John R. Dilworth [creator of Courage the Cowardly Dog]
What really bugs me about this entire situation, however, is the fact that this fuckface is still on television.
Johnny Test has been on the air for almost ten years now. I shit you not, ladies and gentleman. Johnny Test has been on Cartoon Network since 2005. They’ve produced over 100 full episodes (consisting of two shorts). I’ll admit, I enjoyed a lot of the earlier episodes of Johnny Test. When I first started dating my girlfriend, we would just veg on the couch with her younger siblings and watch Cartoon Network. By the end of our first year of dating, I had seen every episode of the first three seasons of Johnny Test. They were alright episodes. It’s your run-of-the-mill "wacky adventure” cartoon, but there were some genuinely funny Tex Avery influenced jokes and it had it’s own unique charm.
Then it just kept going. It kept going and going and going, becoming a really sad joke. How many times did I tune in to see that Johnny and Duke were in another race with every other fucking character that’s ever been on the show?! The old set-ups that used to be a little quirky continued to pop up again and again, enough so that one could outline exactly what was going to occur within ten seconds of viewing. It became filler – sub-par filler.
I thought, “How? How is it possible this show is still on the air?"
Full disclosure: I like to collect toys. When I’m dragged into a Target or a Kmart, I usually lurk in the toy section until my party’s finished their tasks. That being said, I realized that I had never once seen a piece of Johnny Testmerchandise. A quick Google shows that the only toys ever produced for Johnny Test came in the kids combo at Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. They also produced some kid’s combo toys for Jollibee, a popular restaurant chain in the Phillipines.
Now explain to me how a show with hardly any toys in major U.S. retailers manages to stay on the air for almost a decade, while brilliant shows with a fair selection of [*cough* overpriced *cough*] merchandise are being cancelled left and right?
Edit: I should have added this a while ago, but I almost forgot I had made this huge-ass rant.
For those of you unaware, Johnny Test is animated using Adobe Flash. I wasn’t aware of this at first since I’m more intimately familiar with the first season, which (not counting the pilot episode) was done using traditional cel animation in-house at Warner Bros. Since the second season all of the animation is Flash. If you’re not familiar with the world of animation, Flash is by far the cheapest way to make a cartoon. Cartoon Network saw that Johnny Test had an audience but didn’t want to budget the same amount of money they used for the first season. That’s not to say that it still couldn’t have been a halfway decent show following executive decision. Compared to some of the other Flash animated programs on CN, like The Amazing World of Gumball and Teen Titans Go!, Johnny Test can’t hold a candle. I’d say CN should let it die with some dignity, but…
So yeah, Johnny Test is cheap as dirt to make. That doesn’t excuse the poor quality of the writing, the lack of toys that should theoretically justify this show being almost a decade old, or the way Cartoon Network has handled some of it’s most acclaimed series. Maybe I’m just pissed off because I recently revisited both seasons of Young Justice, but I guess I’m not the target demographic CN is looking for. Ah well.