Hey there and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast – the weekly English show where we speak about everything under the sun. The major goal of this show is to help you improve your English and of course learn something new. My name’s Katya, I’m your host and today with me…
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Actually it was her who sent us an idea and the question like hey guys, why don’t you talk about cartoons and nursery rhymes. So here we are, talking about cartoons. And first of all, I haven’t seen you for a while. What’s up? How have you been? Nina?
I was teaching actually and it was perfect here in BigAppleSchool and now I have injected of Covid and I feel better. Better than ever, thank you.
Was it the double dose or was it the first dose?
It was cool. I think I’m ready to watch every movie because I’m ready with all positions here. With all of my injections.
Yay! Congratulations. I’ve been trying to get mine, but the places that I went to, the points, they ran out, they had run out of vaccine by the time I went there. So I’m like…
I was a really bad guy there in, you know, in the room full of the doctors. Just like you give me this vaccine or I will kill you.
Yeah, like this. I was really serious there and I mean it when I talking with them. And they gave me the vaccine and to all of my family too. I think sometimes it’s very good to be aggressive. But I’m not aggressive here in BigAppleSchool at lessons with children. Never.
So your advice is don’t’ be afraid to stand your ground when you’re trying to get one.
Well that’s so cool that you got vaccinated, congratulations. Benjamin, what about you?
What’s new? I went to Akademgorodok last week, had a little…
Was that your first time there?
It was… So I went on both consecutive weekend, yeah. So I went to Akademgorodok for the first time two weeks ago. Went on a bike ride, it was pretty fun.
No I don’t have a bike yet, but…
Cause I remember you were planning on buying one.
Yes, I’m definitely planning, it’s just storage options, I’m thinking about where to keep it. I definitely wanna get a bicycle.
So how do you like Akademgorodok?
It’s a really cool place, it has a nice woody forested area around it. The only thing is you have to be careful with the ticks, that you don’t get bitten by ticks. Other than that it’s a really cool area.
agree. I used to live there, I loved it.
Well you can say so, yeah. You can easily, you know, distinguish people from there, from that part, who used to live there for a long time, from the city people. There’s just something about them, I don’t know.
I got the number 8 bus down to Akademgorodok. I don’t know if you know the number 8 bus, but it’s like an old pazik. You know pazik, the PAZ? PAZ.
It’s a really old bus. It was a real experience.
I didn’t know they still run, you know, on the route. Cause I used to take it, I used to live there. Oh. Wow. Oh god.
This bus is such an experience.
It was packed, filled with people.
Yeah why would you do that to yourself?
Cause I just wanted an adventure, I just wanted to see what it was like. It was mostly elderly people on the bus. So I wasn’t gonna sit down and not let an old person have my seat. So I had to stand up the whole way and everyone was saying pass the change to the driver. So it was quite funny.
Wow. You know, like, people hate these things, you know like, taking a public transport and whatnot. And Ben is like woo-hoo, adventure time!
So yeah. So and tell me guys, what’s your situation like with cartoons? Do you ever watch them? Cause this is what we’re gonna talk about today. So, where are you standing?
I don’t have a problem with cartoons, I just don’t watch too many cartoons. But I do have some favorite cartoons.
Well I have to say South Part and Beavis and Butt-head are my two favorites.
Okay, so this is like a separate category of cartoons that should never be watched by kids.
Alright. Nina, what about you?
I think I love animation a lot. And it was my hobby since childhood. I love hand-drawn animation, I like CG. I like different series and, you know, some monumental cartoons like Princess Mononoke. I’m really open here and I like to watch different styles of animation. I like experimental animation.
Wait, what does that mean, experimental?
Sometimes when people combine different styles of hand-drawing in one project. And everyone can, you know, like, have the same topic buy they can realize it different ways. It was just like the project like Love, Blood and Robots as far as I remember.
Like an almanac different stories combined together. And there you can actually see different hand-drawn animation. From anime style to some classic. I like Disney pictures and all you can find different CG.
I was about to say when you explained it I was like oh I think that’s what Love, Death and Robots is. Cause yeah, they have different styles. But to be honest, when I was watching it, I was starting the episode and I was like oh, I don’t like the drawing. Like the style. So I wouldn’t even finish, like finish the episode, and just turned to the next one. But yeah, they have so many different ones.
Yeah and its’ really good because there are as far as I remember only 13 episodes and they’re all different. And for me just like a visual maniac, I like them all, I enjoy it. Because I understand animation. Not only like a picture, but it’s motion picture. And in my head I have a lot of experience that, you know, like, separate scene by scene to watch it like a mathematical scheme and I like it, I don’t know why.
Oh wow. So you don’t look at it just, you know, just for the story.
You look deeper. Oh wow we have a professional here, that’s so cool.
Just like a bit, yes. A home-made professional.
Wow. Have you ever thought about trying to make your own cartoon?
Yes. I think it’s really cool experience and you can actually have it everywhere you want.
It was some classical animation with some friend.
So is that like stop motion animation where you draw frame by frame?
Yeah. Frame by frame. And it was good.
It was a little story about two people, they love each other a lot and it was maybe a love story under the sky full of stars with epic music. And as far as I remember we used the song Patience by I forget who. I guess maybe it was the ex group of Robbie Williams as far as I remember.
And it was good. The result was good. And we showed this little picture, little part of us in our university. And everyone was like oh it’s so sweet, it‘s so cute. They loved it.
How long did it take you to make it? Cause I, as far as I am from the process of creating this, I would think like oh my god you have to think of the plot, draw it, you know, create the motion and everything with the program. And then you also have to think about music. And I would just explode from all the tasks.
I think it’s really interesting and as you’re inspired and you like what you do. It’s really easy cause everything’s inside your head. The only one problem – you have to be very quick actually, to try to overrun yourself in this process. And it’s really good. It wasn’t long process, maybe about two or three hours. It was enough. Our video was about maybe three minutes. And it was good.
Even just making 10 seconds using a classical style or stop motion animation style, it takes forever.
If you experience it. If you know what to do and you know how to do it, it’s actually make everything easier.
So I remember at school I used to… We would get like a big blank book and try to make our own animation. You know the flip book animation.
Oh yeah, but they you do like.. You don’t draw something like very complicated.
Yeah just like a ball and a stick man and something like that.
That would take forever, but that’s cool.
I never had the, you know, the patience to do that. Cause I thought oh my god, you have to draw… Oh no no no, that takes too much time and effort. So that’s why when I saw some videos about how people used to make cartoons at Disney, you know, all those old Mickey Mouse cartoons.
I thought Jesus, they were drawing all that, you know, by hand. Oh my goodness. I cannot even like understand how long, what kind of commitment they had to the process. That’s fantastic, yeah. So Nina, does that mean that since you love all styles and different styles, you don’t have a favorite cartoon?
I have maybe favorite stories and some things that I really like it’s about maybe fantasy world and when all of the characters are very complicated. When you can’t say from the first sight who’s bad or who’s good.
I think these stories are the most valuable for humanity because you can watch this movie as a child and then you can get older and rewatch it and rewatch it again. And one of my favorite stories of course it’s Sponge Bob.
I like it very much. And I remember it from Nickelodeon channel and in my city we didn’t have that. And I only can watch, could watch form my grandma who lived in Leninsk-Kuznetsky. And every winter I was really bursting with joy just being there in a little little small city in Siberia watching this perfect cartoon.
And the last story actually about Nickelodeon again, this channel, it was Aang: The Last Airbender and it was really really good.
Aang: The last Airbender.
I have never heard about this one.
Yeah I haven’t. So it’s a bender, like the character from Futurama.
On, ho, actually this is a story about four different worlds of magic: the earth, the air, the water and the fire. And fire nation. They’ve got war over the world and Aang is the last avatar of all kinds of magic. And he need to fight, he need to save the world and he need friends and he gets, you know, like older and more experienced. He get bad guy. I like it a lot.
It’s kinda like, but it’s American version, it’s not Japanese cartoon.
I have a feeling that I’m gonna sound ignorant if I ask – is there a difference between American anime and Japanese anime? Is it… What is anime then? Cause I thought it’s just the style of drawing.
It’s a style, yes, of hand-drawing animation and for me just if we speak about classical anime, it’s an… Must be made in Japan or have like Japanese roots. And when we speak about American anime style, it’s just more about having American stories but actually drawn by anime style. It’s not typical Japanese filling inside them.
Wow, I haven’t even heard about that, that cartoon. Wow. So many things I haven’t heard about. As for mine, it was really hard to, you know, think of a favorite. I mean I like all the typical Pixar cartoons like Ratatouille or what else? How to train your dragon, it’s an old one, but I love it so much.
Oh my god it’s so adorable. You should watch it. The first one is hilarious. No matter how many times I watch it, and I keep rewatching it once a year, I laugh like a lunatic, really. I’m like oh my god, look at them. So yeah.
Have you read a book? How to train your dragon.
Yeah, that’s a children’s book about maybe 10 or 15 pages. And all of these, as far as I remember, Dreamwork companies, they made a lot of effort to make it actually a three part videos and they were good.
I’m gonna check out the book then. Yeah.
Yeah, the book is really childish. Just like for children.
Well it’s a children’s book.
Yeah, yeah. But still, and it’s make it maybe even more immersive than people can create something just like based on two sentence book.
You know, actually a couple of days ago my partner and I, we watched… We decided to watch Toy Story, cause we thought you know, oh…
What the original Toy Story? 1, 2, 3?
Cause I realized that I had never watched it. You know, only somewhere in the background on a tv and it was so interesting to see, well, to look at the characters and their faces. Cause after, you know, watching some cartoons that came out like a year ago or something, watching this cartoon that came out in 1995 or 1999 I think was so fun.
Cause the toys themselves are drawn way better than people. And I thought why is that? If you look at people and their faces, they look weird. And apparently it’s, they said that at that time, in the 90s, the more realistic you drew people, the, you know, the scarier they looked maybe.
So it would make you cringe. So and I thought oh, wow. So that’s why they mostly show their feet. You now like in Tom and Jerry we only see the feet of the woman. We never see her face. I think only once we did that.
Yeah, of the maid in the house.
So it was like oh wow, the kids look so horrible. They also look alike. Like, if you pay attention, you will understand that all of the faces are the same. You know, with a little bit of a detail added to it. It was like strange, yeah. But I also love cartoon tv shows. So like you’ve mentioned South Park. Like, I like Bob’s Burgers, I don’t know if you’ve…
I don’t’ know this one, Bob’s Burgers.
Bob’s Burgers is a… It’s a modern cartoon series about a family of parents who keep a burger place and they have three kids. And all of them, you know, have different personalities and so on. So, a poor family, owning a burger shop, trying just…
Living in a small town somewhere in New Jersey. Well as far as I remember it’s New Jersey. So yeah, it’s fun, it’s fun. It’ good for English too. I mean, for those who are learning English, cause it has real life situations, you know. Stuff that kids do, school life, business life, so yeah. They are trying to pay off their debts, pay the rent and so on.
What about the Simpsons? I guess you must’ve watched the Simpsons at some point.
I’ve never watched it, you know, on purpose. Like, you know, from episode one till the last episode.
But I’ve never watched it, you know, consistently. So an episode here, an episode there. So sometimes I would watch some of the newer episodes I’m like who is that? Who’s that? But I thought about doing that but then you know there are so many seasons.
Well the Simpsons is huge in America and in the UK. Everyone in the UK would get there, understand it. Well people would, yeah, get their understanding of what America was like through the Simpsons mostly.
I love Simpsons a lot actually. I think it’s really good, not just like fun, but analyze the situation inside the world. And I love it.
Well I haven’t watched since the 20… Yeah since 2010 I stopped watching it, but yeah, there’s so many episodes. So many cultural references.
Oh yeah, oh yeah. About the political situation, everything.
Do you remember this joke that like they must have some kind of a powerful psychic over there cause whatever they show it comes to life later on.
Yes, yes. Have you seen the picture of Bart Simpson holding up a magazine which had the number 9 on it and then the twin towers next to it. They looked like the magazine cover looked like 9/11. And this was done before 9/11. Everyone says this is a conspiracy theory.
I’m telling you, they have someone over there.
I’m sure it was just a coincidence but a lot of people are freaked out by that. Type it in on Google, Simpsons 9/11 and you will see an image of Bart Simpson holding up a magazine.
I think there is like a whole thread on different websites, on Reddit for sure where they post screenshots from the Simpsons and then the real life event that happened, you know, that came to life. So yeah.
Oh my goodness. And that’s scary. You know. Not suspicious, but you know. A little bit spooky. And what about your childhood? What kind of cartoons did you watch as a child?
It was the Simpsons and also Johnny Bravo, Dexter’s laboratory.
Do you know Dexter’s laboratory?
I only know Dexter as a tv show. And that’s a very…
Yeah that’s different, yeah.
Dexter’s about… Well the Dexter you’re referring to I believe is a murder…
Yeah, it’s about a serial killer who works in police as a forensic.
Yeah, it’s completely different to Dexter’s laboratory. So it’s just a little boy with ginger hair. And he has his own laboratory and it’ quite a funny show.
Do you remember there as a show about a boy who was like super smart on Nickelodeon? Like Jimmy Neutron or something.
Yeah, Jimmy Neutron, yes. What else? Rug rats.
Oh god, it was… I remember that one, yeah. I watched it, you know, when I came home from school. like oh oh oh, I need to watch it, an episode.
I remember Pokémon actually.
Old school tuff and it was really good to watch it.
It’s so fun how Pokémon made it, you know, its way back to popularity now. You know, with Pokémon go and everything. Yeah. Oh god, oh god. Yeah I have a funny story about Pokémon, cause my ex partner was crazy about Pokémon. And at some point they even trespassed someone’s territory to catch like a rare Pokémon. Why? It’s trespassing, it’s illegal! You could’ve gone to jail!
Wait wait, so you mean they trespassed in real life to steal a Pokémon card?
Not a card, but you now how in Pokémon Go! Like you…
Oh you don’t. So the thing is that you have a map on your phone so you have to walk so and then on your screen you see a Pokémon and you try to catch it. And initially the idea was that that would make people walk more, you know, move more.
And some people actually do that. But some people also drive and try to catch Pokémon which is dangerous, don’t do that. So and yeah. And well, and they actually trespassed the territory of a yacht club.
So this was on a smartphone, not on a…
Cause I only remember the Pokémon games on Gameboy.
Yeah no, now it’s like an app. Yeah, so you see a map on your phone and you’re like oh a Pokémon! So you try to catch it. And sometimes there are life fights and clubs. And if you see like at some point there was a moment that if you see a group of people like 5 people standing, but all of them looking at their phones – they’re in Pokémon Go.
That was a big thing like 2 years ago, 3 years ago. Yeah. So okay. What else? In childhood? Nina.
In my childhood there were not so many possibilities to watch actually different tv shows. We could only allow ourselves VHS with Volodarsky translation of some Disney classic. And it was good to watch it. And you know like enjoy the atmosphere. And maybe it is the reason why I like English because of my childhood.
I was listening to the English language first or some French language first and only then after that phase comes Volodarsky translation like the 10 words and he gave maybe about 1 or 2 words translating them. It was strange actually.
But still I enjoy a lot songs by Disney. And I think it’s bad thing that now they are translated to Russian. Because I think you don’t need to understand the song. You can use the language of music actually to understand the emotions. You can see the picture. And sometimes words they are not necessary here. Yes. And I watched just like Biker Mice from Mars, it was a really good one.
Biker Mice, so like motorbiking mice. It was pretty cool.
Yeah. It’s really pretty cool.
I’m gonna write this down and check this out.
Cause I have never heard about it, really. Wow. So many different… Okay, what else?
Different Miyazaki’s pictures too.
Actually my parents, they were pretty serious about their children education or something like that. And we can find different movies, different cartoons, different books in almost every language we want to. And they actually did a lot for us from this point.
And I think it’s actually the language of art and it doesn’t matter actually how you can enjoy it through the cartoons, through the different albums with pictures. So I did it in childhood and it was good. I also remember some French tv show as far as I remember.
But I don’t remember the title because again seeing, reminding actually Volodarsky, I can’t say what is the even name of it. Cause the translation was like very-very poor. But I remember the story about the family and they were all pretty European.
And we with my little sister, we didn’t get a point of it actually. Why there are maybe five episodes. We had two vhs with this movie and why it is so, why people watch it.
Have you ever tried to find it now that you’re an adult?
Yeah, but I have almost no information. I have only maybe the visual image inside my head and I can google to my brain to watch it again.
When you say the translations are poor, do you mean the voiceovers are poor or the subtitles?
Oh, no subtitles, of course, it was Russia. And maybe the voice itself was really strange and funny and actually the information the translator gave to people were also strange and funny too.
Yeah because it kinda hinders people’s language learning capabilities if people always just watching voiceover cartoons and videos. Whereas if you go to the Netherlands for instance, all the tv has subtitles. So you watch cartoons and tv shows in English or in the native, or in other languages.
Well because they have several official languages, so I guess..
Well Holland, so the Netherlands only has one.
Oh okay, and Belgians have a lot, yeah.
But yeah, the Dutch have such a high command of English, they speak excellent English cause they watch so much tv. In English with Dutch subtitles.
Yeah I wish we had subtitles.
Right? I in general wish we had more English, you know, to be exposed to in the 90s. You know, when I was trying to remember the, well, the cartoons that I watched as a child, I remembered, well I think just like any other Russian kid, I watched Ну, погоди! Cause, you know, it was everywhere. And then I remembered, oh god, I remembered Sailor Moon.
Oh I never saw Sailor Moon.
Oh my goodness, that’s so… It was so fun cause at some point when I was a kid I have no idea we had all of that, but I put on, I tried to, you know, dress like Sailor Moon or Sailor something. So I put on like red cowboy boots, a white tutu, you know like a ballet tutu, something else and I was like woohoo, running around like Sailor Moon. Oh my god.
Wait wait, so Sailor Moon, do they wear like тельняшки as well? What is?
It’s a Japanese anime, classic.
Oh a Japanese, I thought you were talking about a Russian cartoon.
Yeah. I mean, at that time we somehow had a lot of like, you know, not a lot, but some anime, we had some of the Disney cartoons. So I remember Anastasia as well.
I think so, I think it’s Disney.
And then if you have watched it, maybe you remember there was this little bat whose name was Bartok.
And there was a separate cartoon about it and I had a VHS with that, which was called Bartok the Magnificent.
Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, yeah. And then I remember when I was watching, I think it was not like a voiceover, but it was like… It was dubbed and you could hear, still hear a little bit of English. And I remember hearing this Rasputin.
I’m like that does not sound right. Yeah, oh god, yeah. Oh I need to rewatch Bartok the Magnificent. He’s adorable, really. Okay. So and if we think about, so let’s say, Nina and I were growing up in just different parts of Russia whatsoever.
And you Benjamin, well, of course. But we have… But we still have had like, you know, some cartoons that were common for all of us, that wed all have watched in our childhood. Like Nickelodeon.
I guess Tom and Jerry we all watched.
Tom and Jerry, yeah. Cause as you probably know I grew up in Brazil as a little kid.
And there they had Tom and Jerry. Every… Well Brazil also works the same way as Russia, whereas everything is voiced over for everything. So you have the Simpsons in Portuguese, Tom and Jerry in Portuguese, et cetera.
Well since we’ve mentioned, you know, some of the cartoons like South Park and whatnot, I can’t but ask – so do you think that cartoons are only for kids?
Can you elaborate on that?
Well for instance the Simpsons, it’s for all ages. And what makes the Simpsons so interesting is when you watch it as a kid, you get one impression of it. And then when you watch it as an adult, you get a completely different understanding and it’s such an intricate cartoon because it can be viewed from so many different angles. As a child, as a teenager, as an adult.
Is there any cartoon that you used to watch as a kid and then you rewatched it as an adult and you got the point of it? You finally saw what you couldn’t see when you were a kid.
Well yes of course. And I think it’s about Disney classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It was only one VHS actually I guess that I couldn’t finish when I was a little child because it was so scary to me. The music was so serious. And I didn’t get the plot correctly in my little head.
And for me it was scary. But now actually, several years ago I watched it again. It was so, you know, matured as far as I can guess. And it was good, just like pure delight, but for an adult who can understand all the tragedy inside Esmeralda’s heart. All the tragedy about this I guess uneasy times in Paris. And it was good. I love it.
I have never watched it, but I had exactly the same experience with the book. So I tried to read it when I was a kid. I couldn’t. I was like what? It’s soo difficult, no no no no no. And then I read it as an adult I was like oh, OH! Okay.
Benjamin? Anything you can remember?
I mean to be honest the Simpsons, when I rewatched it as an adult, it’s just amazing how many references I didn’t understand as a little child.
And yeah, there’s just so much when you… For instance OJ Simpson, I had no idea who OJ Simpson was as a child, and then you see a reference to it, OJ Simpson.
And I have no idea who OJ Simpson is as an adult.
Yeah, that’s another. That’s a whole of a topic, but yeah. Yeah, he went to prison, he went to court, it was a huge scandal in America. There are so many references, cultural references that you would just not, that you just wouldn’t understand as a little child.
I think it also, you know, it has so many references that you wouldn’t understand as somebody living in another country.
Cause you’ve just mentioned OJ Simpson. I have no clue who that is, none. So, yeah. Okay. Nina do you have any other examples of those cartoons that you rewatched as an adult?
Actually I have some cartoons that I rewatch. If I love the story a lot and I love the music at first place, and then actually all of this animation and CG technology, I can rewatch it. And one of my favorite story to rewatch is Moana. I really enjoy it. I think it’s really summer cartoon, it’s full of energy, of living, of lively energetic inside it. I really…
It’s about Hawaii, right?
Yeah, but I can’t say it’s something historical here or cultural. Just like a story of a girl who wants more and I love it a lot. And all the songs are magnificent there.
Is it a story about a strong independent woman?
Oh no, I think not. Like a story about a girl who needs help and who got it.
Okay. I’ve never watched it, yet.
And Hotel Transylvania. For me it’s just like the perfect idea of a movie that you can… Family movie.
Oh yes, it’s about vampires, it’s about…
I’m intrigued by the oh yes.
It’s really good. And the translation actually into Russian is pretty good too. And I enjoyed it even more than in original language. Yes.
Well that’s good for me cause we only watch cartoons in Russian. I’m not always happy about that, but there is no other choice, so yeah. Alright.
Well speaking of strong independent women, I believe they, well Disney just remade Mulan.
Yes. And they took Mushu away.
Why would you do that? He’s so important. I didn’t watch it.
Yeah, I didn’t watch it either. I didn’t. I just saw it in the news.
Why would you take the dragon away? He’s so cute. Nina you have watched it, haven’t you?
I think that the original story about Mulan from Disney, it’s really good because we can see a girl who wants something, who wants something to do, to do something to her father, to her family. But still, she is a girl, she’s young, she is unexperienced, she is very open-hearted and she is full of, you know, like love.
But in action picture Mulan, the recent one, it’s all taken away. And we can see only just a serious face of a girl, with Chinese eyes and she does almost nothing for herself. And it’s more like to, you know, to visualize maybe some feminism cultures, like this, in ancient China.
I think that’s what Disney does now. Like, they’re remaking all these movies to fit into the current culture.
But it’s very controversial. Cause they have so many people who are against it, and, you know, so many informational conflicts arise from that. Yeah. And especially now after the recent trailer of Cinderella I think it is. It is Cinderella, yeah.
Tell me more about that. I’m trying to think…
So I think Russian audience does not want to accept the new Cinderella movie because in there the fairy, the aunt, it is…
Yeah. It’s a man. And they’re like a man in a dress – outrageous! We can’t accept that. But well, once they did now accept women wearing trousers, so we’ll see.
I can… It’s a concept actually, because we are speaking about art, it doesn’t matter who is who there.
But I don’t like that it’s, you know, it’s just like a main lead in every picture that is made.
Yeah, they draw attention to that rather than focusing on the story itself.
Yeah, I don’t like this tendency.
Okay. And speaking of, you know, cartoons being for kids/not for kids and whatnot, you know how there are sometimes cartoons that are 18+, so they anything but for the children. So like South Park. So I guess it’s not really, it should not be watched…
Another one is Boondocks.
Oh I really like Boondocks.
With this Riley and Huey and there’s lots of black humor inside it. It’s really black and for black.
Is it one of those cartoons where you laugh at things you should not be laughing at but then you can’t really stop?
Yeah, yeah, it really is. And it’s drawn in a…
Well it’s drawn in anime style I believe.
Yeah some kind of like that.
It’s an anime style but it’s told by Black people and they depict funny aspects about…
Being Black in America. It’s… Yeah. There’s a lot of rude language, but it’s just so funny. It’s hilarious.
It reminds me a little bit of Brickleberry.
Brickleberry is a cartoon, 18+ about a life of rangers at a national park.
And it has so much humor, you know, situations where you should not be laughing but you are. And you’re like oh god, why am I laughing at this? So yeah, 18+. Plus plus plus, really. And you know, Nina you must remember.
Ben, I don’t know if you know, but some years ago do you remember there was this suggestion to ban cartoons like Ну погоди and Tom and Jerry cause apparently they had too, well, they have too much violence.
So and kids should not watch it. So what do you think about that? Is there really too much violence in these cartoons?
Nah, I think kids… I mean kids at some point have to be exposed to real world I guess, at some point. I’m not too sure I’m…
I think there are a lot of people who overthink the situation. Just like that.
Yeah. We have time and we can overthink, I don’t know, maybe every Disney cartoon, every Russian cartoons. Even Russian and the Bear or whatever.
Oh I mean remember those, what was the studio I don’t know. But remember those old Soviet cartoons…
That was so traumatic, you know, basically. You would watch it and like what the hell is going… Did I watch that? Okay. But yeah, people tend to overthink sometimes.
Yeah, there’s no real correlation between violence on tv in general and violence in the real world. I don’t know if you’ve seen this documentary, it’s not a cartoon but a documentary called Bowling for Columbine, have you ever heard of this documentary?
No, but I guess it’s about Columbine.
Yeah it’s about the Columbine disaster and in the documentary they compared Canada and America and obviously people in Canada watch just as many violent films and cartoons as people do in America, but they don’t have the school shooting culture.
Not as much so as they have in America. And in Canada even if they have more strict gun laws, people can still get pretty much whatever gun they like and they don’t have as many shootings as they have in America. So it’s not necessarily what’s shown on tv or what’s shown in cartoons.
Absolutely, absolutely, yeah. Alright, so yeah. You know, I’ve just… Since we’ve mentioned the old Soviet cartoons, it just popped up in my head, one more cartoon I used to love as a kid. Do you remember cartoons about Нафаня?
Yeah, yeah. So it’s about house spirit let’s say, that lives… Usually, you know, lives… Is believed to live in old houses and then he moves or is moved rather to a new apartment and how this house spirit tries to survive. It’s so funny.
It’s just so adorable. And I think we, all of us Russians we know some of the cartoons by heart, really. Like, this one, like Carlsson, which is based on a Swedish children’s book, right? Or Winnie the Pooh, but Russian Winnie the Pooh. Like we know all the songs from there, all the phrases and that’s adorable, really.
I believe there’s a theme park in Moscow which is themed on all these old Russian cartoons. I don’t know what the theme park is called but…
I have never heard about that. I know that two years ago, they decorated the Red Square in winter with the, you know, statues, sculptures from Soviet cartoons. I wish I had seen that with my own eyes, but alas. Alright. Alright.
So and what if we talk about, let’s say, the most popular, iconic characters from cartoons or maybe children’s books. So what would be the British iconic characters?
Well it’s not technically British, but Eric Cartman.
Eric Cartman from South Park, you know, the famous… Everyone knows Eric Cartman.
Oh children’s, it has to be children’s. Then I’d say…
Cartoons or children’s books, so you know.
Yeah. Well then I’d say Bart Simpson.
Bart Simpson? British? It’s not British.
It’s not British. There aren’t too many British cartoons. Are you talking about… Well maybe you have Peter the Rabbit, is that British?
I would say yeah, oh yeah. It is.
You know, its’ interesting, cause you know, I was like oh what is Ben gonna mention? Cause the first that comes to my mind is Paddington.
Paddington Bear, of course. Yeah of course, how can I not think of Paddington Bear, yeah of course. He’s…
Did you read children’s books about Peter the Rabbit or Paddington Bear?
Yes I did when I was very little kid.
Well yeah, it’s like for like 3-4-5-year-olds.
Yeah, I do remember, yeah. It was this one cartoon, I can’t remember what it was called, but it had a Snowman and there’s a famous line called Walking in the Air. I don’t… Maybe you have come across it at some point.
I remember Babar the kind elephant, but I think it’s not about it.
Yeah Babar, that’s French, isn’t it, Babar?
You even… Oh you’ve mentioned French, French cartoons and everything.
I prefer Babar than Paddington.
Why? I don’t know about Babar, but…
Because I think it’s kinder story and Babar was an elephant and he is an elephant and I prefer elephants over bears. I guess.
So it’s just, you know, personal preferences in the animal world. You know, I love Paddington so much, really. I love the books, I love the movies. And god, in 2014 it was 50th anniversary since the first book came out. And for that they put up 50 little statues of Paddington bear all over London.
And these 50 statues were decorated by different people like Michael Sheen, Stephen Fry, some actors, writers. And I was dreaming about seeing those. And the thing is that I was… Well they put them up in September 2014 until the end of the year.
So and I was flying to London that year on the 30th of December. And that was the last day the Paddington bears were up there. So I thought okay, my flight comes to London at like 12pm, I have enough time to find at least 10. Cause some of them, you know, were scattered around Central London, so it was relatively easy to find some of them.
I thought okay, at least, at least those I wanna see. Unfortunately the one with Doctor Who theme was at the territory of Greenwich observatory, so I was like damn it, not enough time to go there. But I thought okay, I had a plan, a map, I’m gonna go there, there, there. And then my flight was delayed. My flight from Novosibirsk was delayed so I was late for my flight from Moscow to London.
15 minutes late. I was so… I was devastated. So I came to London at 6pm which was already too late. So I took the express train from Heathrow to Paddington station and I was just you know, running around and some worker came to me, like, you know and asked are you looking for something?
Do you need any help? That’s gonna sound really stupid maybe, but I know there is a Paddington bear somewhere over here and I hope, you know, to see at least one. And you know the worker was like deadly serious, you better hurry, it’s being disassembled right now over there.
I’m like thank you so much. So that was the only Paddington bear out of those 50 that I managed to see cause all of the other ones had been disassembled by then. And I was so sad.
Yeah it’s a really sad story.
Yeah. I was dreaming about seeing those, cause I love Paddington so much, so so so much.
I just remember another iconic British cartoon, the BFG by Roald Dahl.
Oh the Big Friendly Giant.
2 years, no, 3 years ago it was 100th birthday of Roald Dahl.
And they put, you know, huge jars with some scenes from the books, again, all over London. London is an amazing place to be, you know, apparently, for those things. Have you ever read the book?
When I was younger, yes. I do remember the BFG very well actually, yeah.
A friend of mine is such a huge fan she has a scene from there tattooed on her back. Yeah.
It’s adorable. Yeah. What about Russia? What are our iconic characters?
Well… Yeah but technically it’s Swedish.
Oh right! Oh right! How could I forget about that? Oh damn. I’m… shame on me, shame on me. So what do you know about it? Have you ever watched it?
Yeah a few years ago, so Почтальон Печкин, the mailman, the postman Pechkin. And obviously… How come there’s a dairy company called Prostokvashino? Was it owned by the same?
Is it owned by the same producers or is it just?
No, no, no. I think it’s just the name. Well they must have, you know, they must have regulated some copyright issues, but no, it’s functioning separately. But you’re right. We actually at Wellesley, we acted out some of the scenes from Prostokvahino with my second year students.
Well with those who study Russian like, second year Russian. And it’s always so fun, you know. Okay, so that, for sure. I was also thinking about Masha and the bear. Nowadays.
I’ve heard of it but never actually watched it.
What about Crocodile Gena and Cheburashka?
That was my next call. So let’s talk about Masha and the Bear. Cause you know, it’s popular in Russia. Apparently it’s popular in Italy too for some reason. And I don’t know if you now, but it’s extremely popular in Saudi Arabia.
I don’t like this cartoon.
I hate it, I hate Masha, I don’t like her personality of whatever. She irritates me a lot, I can’t stand her. So that’s why I don’t ever watch it.
Cause she’s a little tyrant who’s turning a life of a bear to a nightmare.
Popular in Italy, how did you find that out?
Well I was talking to some of the language assistants when I was at Wellesley and they were like oh we know that one. Yeah. I was like oh really? They’re like yeah, it’s popular among little kids.
But it’s also popular in Saudi Arabia and I was shocked about that cause, you know, unusual. But apparently it’s popular for one reason. Cause Masha is wearing a headscarf and her clothes are very long, so it’s… She looks very modest. So and that’s why, that’s one of very few cartoons from abroad that can be shown, you know, widely in Saudi Arabia.
So that’s why it’s widely popular. I like showing this cartoon to my students as well just because it doesn’t have too much talking, so which means that, you know, there are not too many words that they can struggle with.
So we start with that. So yeah. And I use some of the extracts from there, depending on the topic, so yeah. And then we have Cheburashka. I think not as many people know about Gena. But Cheburashka has become iconic. So what do you think about that?
What I don’t understand is what does Cheburashka actually mean?
It doesn’t mean anything.
Cause all I think is cheburek, the food.
No no no. It’s like gibberish, it does not stand for anything.
So Cheburashka is just a big puffy-eared monkey character.
As they say in the cartoon, a creature unknown to science.
So we never knew, we never will know what that actually is unless they have some kind of a new episodes where they explain that but I hope they don’t.
Coming out or something like this.
I don’t want to know. So but what do you think about that? Nina did you use to watch, did you use to like this cartoon?
Oh yes, of course, I think just like most watched for Russians. And I remember the songs from this movie. Yeah, because they are delightful and of course very touching, moving, something like this. For me it’s a very sad story. At least it’s fun, but still. If you…
Sad in what way? Is it… It was made in the Soviet union, wasn’t it? So it’s…
The atmosphere inside it, it’s really… It’s maybe sadness, but it’s kind of warm, but still the time was really difficult to live and it was really difficult to find happiness and the joy maybe outside your own world.
And crocodile Gena, actually, he shared all his love with Cheburashka and he makes friend with him. And he introduced him to the world of love and happiness and different allyship. And it was good, it’s a very kind story of self-… and self-evolvement I don’t know.
And at the beginning, remember when he put paper on different like lampposts or whatever saying young crocodile is looking for a friend.
Yeah. I love crocodiles a lot. They are one of my favorite animals and when I was a little girl no one loved Gena. Why? He’s so kind. He is like an adult with little children. He looks after Cheburashka all the way along. He’s a crocodile.
An old retired crocodile working at a zoo, you know.
You know, I loved how… So Washington Post newspaper, they described Cheburashka as beloved misfit of the Soviet animation. And indeed, Cheburashka was a misfit. Like, you know, an unknown creature looking for friends and everything. Yeah.
And I love it how it looks so cute and everything and that’s why it’s loved by a lot of people. And I don’t know if you know, but in the… After the fall of the Soviet union the country was in a mess. So and during that mess the rights to Cheburashka were sold to a Japanese company.
So and now Soyuzmultfilm no longer owns the rights for him. So that’s why, you know, there are now like disputes, negotiations, conflicts as to who owns the right for it. Who gets the profit, who gets to do whatever.
So and their right, the copyright, expires in 2023. And you know, Soyuzmultfilm, they want the only copyright, you know, for them. And the Japanese company, they are like no.
So they are poised to buy the rights, they’re ready.
So that’s why Cheburashka is so popular in Japan. You can see toys over there, cartoons. They even made a 3D cartoon at some point. So yeah. Because they own the rights right now. But we’ll see what’ gonna happen in the future. And you know… Well Cheburashka is, you know, is thought to be cute.
And it is cute and lovely and we usually show some of the episodes to our students who start to learn Russian. And you know, to learn the words and whatever and just watch it. And I remember once, my first semester Russian students. I was like okay, now we’re gonna watch a cartoon and I turned this on and one of the students was like oh god no!
I’m like Francesca, are you alright? She’s like terrified of him. I’m like are you serious? So and my student Francesca, she has a Russian dad, American mom. So and she says in her childhood she would, you know, come to her grandma and she would have this Cheburashka. So and when she was a very very little kid, she was terrified of it.
So they would, you know, hide the toy somewhere in the closet. She’s like and still now when I see it, she says, I feel like very uncomfortable and you know, I start to panic a little bit. I’m like are you serious? So that’s why we either had to, you know, watch the cartoon when she was not there.
Or just not watch it at all. I was like oh my goodness, the beloved character of millions. But yeah.
Phobia, it’s a good word actually for it.
So yeah. And she’s terrified of it. So that’s why we watched more of Masha and the Bear in the classroom, yeah. And actually once, do you remember the song about Голубой вагон?
Don’t know… Light blue carriage?
Yeah. But there is a song from there and we, every year at one of the universities I was co-teaching at, every year at the talent show, the students sing this song. They dress up as… With Cheburashka ears that we make out of, you know, out of some material, and they just sing the song.
And two years ago on my birthday they also sang the song from the cartoon that they sang. Well in the cartoon they wish a happy birthday to Gena. And my students learned this song and sang it to me on my birthday. It was so cute. Yeah. Alright, alright. So and I can’t but ask about Pixar and Disney.
Cause we’ve mentioned a lot of cartoon from them. But I got a little bit confused when I was watching the Toy Story. Cause at the beginning it was, you know, Disney and then Pixar. So I got very confused like is it the same company now? Did they work together on the Toy Story? Like, do you know what’s the situation like?
I don’t know about the legal arrangement. Maybe Disney bought out Pixar, maybe…
Nina do you happen to know?
I don’t talk about it because it just, you know, make me stressed. I want from all of these pictures and all these cartoons and movies to continue to be art, piece of art. And for now I’m not really interested and trying to be not interested in who owns them.
Whose copyright is that. Who is it in charge, Disney or Pixar or something else. Because the most important thing here is that we’re allowed to watch it. And all of these projects they just come to life. I think it’s more important than…
Yeah it’s a multi-billion dollar industry.
Oh god, yeah. Well I mean Disney is… Yes.
It’s huge. I wonder what the stock price is.
I think it has a lot of zeroes in it.
Given, you know, that they have the Disneyworld… What’s the other one? Disneyworld is in…
Okay so they have Disneyworld in Florida. Orlando, Florida And then you have Disneyland in California and of course Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo. I think there’s another…
Yeah and the tickets are like crazily expensive.
Yeah it’s like $150 at least. And then you have to wait in lines.
We thought about visiting Disneyworld in Florida, but for like 2 days the tickets would be $250 or something like that.
And then you have to wait in lines and there’s no guarantee you would be able to see everything you wanted to see an experience everything you wanted to experience. And then you are not allowed to bring in any food or drinks. Like they are taken away at the entrance, so you would have to buy something there. And like one ice cream is 8 bucks there.
Everything is marked up like crazy.
Yeah. So they know how to make money. That’s for sure, that’s for sure. Alright. And I would like to end on recommendation note maybe. So can you recommend any of the latest cartoons that you’ve watched? Like, something from this year, last year, within the last let’s say 3-5 years?
I think we didn’t mention today Adventure Time actually at all.
Oh yeah. It’s not really new, but.
Yeah but still, it’s really good one I guess like something legendary and iconic stuff to see and to watch. And maybe Luca from the very last one?
I haven’t actually watched it. Can you… What’s the plot? What is it about?
Oh it’s a really good story, just like I said it’s in Italy and it’s about how to be a kid and how to enjoy your fantasy world. How enjoy your friendship, how to identify yourself actually, even in that age.
It’s really, you know, like, emotionally loaded and me as an adult, I burst into tears maybe, at least 3 times during this picture. It’s so cool. It’s very warm, it’s very kind. There is no love stories, there is no even different hints about this, you know, about gender-neutral words, about some, you know, like tendencies, about varieties of something.
It’s just a simple story and you can understand it and you can enjoy it. The music is really cool there because it’s all in Italian and it makes the story even better. I love it at all.
Cause when I was thinking about some of the newest cartoons, I also remembered Soul. I think it came out in January this year. But well, of course I can recommend it, but at the same time it was so thought-provoking, I was like, you know, sitting there as if I had been, you know, hit.
I was like, okay. Cause it talks about the meaning of life, the, you know, the topic of death. And these are not the topics that are easy, you know, to think about. So and I was watching and I’m like kid should not watch this. I mean they can but they will not understand even a tiny bit of it.
So I was like uh-uh. It should have some kind of a warning like existential crisis may follow. May follow.
Definitely. I think it’s more for adults or maybe for people who need some special therapy after something.
After this cartoon as well.
For depression or something like this.
Yeah, yeah. It’s very, very thought-provoking. Yeah.
To be honest I can’t actually recommend a modern one because I haven’t watched too many cartoons recently. I love revisiting the old cartoons like Tom and Jerry. I guess maybe Pinocchio. Pinocchio, however you want to pronounce it.
What are other relatively new cartoons?
Raya and The Last Dragon actually by the Disney.
There was a new one, something falls. Have you heard of this? Falls as in Niagara Falls, but it was something Falls. It’s a new American cartoon, I never saw it.
Gravity Falls is a tv, yeah, a cartoon show. Oh god, I love it, I love it. I recommend watching it, definitely. It’s all about, you know, supernatural creatures. Has mystery, teenager drama. Yeah, I love it.
Other interesting shows. I guess Family Guy. Sometimes it’s really funny, sometimes personally I find it exhausting to watch because there’s so…
It’s really funny but it’s just so rich in terms of… There’s just so much happening in such a short space of time.
It’s kind of exhausting to watch but it’s very funny.
Yeah there are such cartoons that I tried watching, at least cartoon shows, but I couldn’t just because it was too much. Not too much in terms of oh god, you know, they stepped over the line. No. But in terms of a lot of things happening, yeah.
Yeah. But Gravity Falls, god, I love it. Mable is…
Is a role model actually.
Iconic. Iconic. Yeah, her love for glitter is literally me. Yeah. So what else came out not so long ago? Let’s think.
American Dad. I never watched it, but…
Oh it’s a really good story. Just like a Family Guy, but will aliens.
Yeah, they’re made by the same, yeah, by the same creator. As Family Guys.
So many things to catch up on!
Oh another favorite of mine – King of the Hill. This is 90s or 2000s maybe. Michael Judge, the creator of Beavis and Butt-Head and it’s such a good cartoon. It’s about family in Texas. I think it’s Texas.
Oh does that mean that a lot of Texan accent is over there?
Exactly, exactly. Have barbecues and drink beer and it’s a very simple cartoon but it’s so funny. It’s not…
I try not to… Cause I watch tv show which is Young Sheldon and the action takes place in Texas and I realize, I love the story, but if I watch a lot of it, I later see, you know, some hints of Texan accent. Well, you know, some words with a Texan accent. I’m like oh, oh no, no, that’s too early. No no no no no. But yeah. Yeah, it’s fun though. It should be fun to watch. What is it? King of the Hill you said?
King of the Hill. It’s a very simple cartoon, but it’s just so funny.
It’s very slow and it’s just…
Well sometimes that’s exactly what you need.
It’s slow, it’s easy, but it’s just so funny. Because they… It’s so slow but the details of… The way it depicts the characters is just so accurate in terms of characters from Texas. It’s just such a… The stereotype Texans and it’s really funny.
And by the way, it’s really kind actually. There is no just like bad words inside it. It’s very simple. And it’s about just like family life. Just like simple people struggling their simple problems. Like all of us, but only in Texas.
You know, I have quite a long list now of things that I should catch up on and watch. Which is fun, cause my partner and I, we’ve decided to print out a list of cartoons, you know, Disney, Pixar, something we have watched, something we haven’t watched, even from, you know, our childhood, and just rewatch them or watch them for the first time one by one by one.
Cause I’ve never seen Moana or Luca. Somehow, well, somehow I haven’t, so I’m gonna change that.
It’s really good when you have a perfect journey actually ahead of you.
I’m excited, I’m excited. So and is there any cartoon that you haven’t watched yet but you’re planning on doing that?
That’s a really good question. For now I don’t know how to answer it.
I guess it has to be Gravity Falls. People recommended it to me, I’ve never… I even don’t know what it’s about.
Yeah I do, yeah. Not at the minute cause they’re on summer holiday, but…
Watch that. Cause I remember… I usually don’t teach teenagers, but once I got a new student here and I was like, how to talk to teens? I don’t know how to talk to teenagers, honestly. Like, I used to teach at school, but that was long time ago.
So I was like yeah, okay. So the first lesson I was like what do you like watching? And she’s like you know, bla-bla-bla, and I had no idea what this bla-bla was. And she’s like Gravity Falls. I’m like Gravity Falls? Well now we have something to talk about.
And I even have a whole course, I mean like English course, based on Gravity Falls. All the tasks based on the episodes, so yeah. You should watch it.
Oh Nina, I’ve got a question. So we both work with younger children, do you ever hear the children talking about Brawl Stars?
Yes, but I don’t allow them to talk about it on my lessons.
It’s a mobile game. They really love it.
Oh so it’s not like a cartoon.
No. They’ve got some characters, of course a lot of characters because we are speaking here about children. But it’s just a game, so you have to kill your enemies or something like this. Or be tougher than the others.
Yeah. So I hear this word all the time, Brawl.
Yeah. It’s just like Minecraft, but Brawl Stars.
I can just nod and smile like okay, alright. Alright. Well, I have a question to our listeners- so do you have any cartoons that you would recommend or are there any cartoons that we haven’t talked about that you would like, you know, to mention, to recommend.
So feel free to send you ideas in the comments, cause I’m currently making a list of cartoons to watch. So your help is always appreciated. So, thank you, Nina. Thank you, Benjamin. So that was the BigAppleSchool podcast and today we discussed the cartoons.
So we briefly talked about our favorite cartoons, which ones we used to watch as kids. So whether cartoons should be only for kids or not. And we talked about some of the iconic characters. Thank you for listening and remember, if you struggle to understand our conversation, you’re always welcome to our website which is BigAppleSchool.com/podcast.
You can find full scripts of each episode there, just click on the script button and when you start listening, the words and phrases just pop up. So, and if you want to get even more content which will help you learn English, you can follow us on social media, such as Instagram, Vk, Youtube, Telegram and so on.
And by the way, if you have kids, we also have a kids profile which is BigAppleSchoolKids, we are on Instagram as well. So feel free to follow. Just search our name which is again BigAppleSchool. So that was Katya and my guests for today were…
Stay tuned and we’ll see you around.