It’s as if cartoon occupy a realm where science fiction is in fact science non-fiction, as if every episode of the Twilight Zone, Star Trek, and Flash Gordon were some kind of documentary. Simply put, in cartoons, it’s just taken for granted that when you enter out space, you are bound to encounter alien lifeforms (e.g. Marvin the Martian). And of course all of those aliens are just as human like as the ducks and pigs who visit them (and just as petty).
And the detective work was always left to a bunch of high school stereotypes (e.g. jock, stoner, nerd, prom queen) who traveled around in a psychedelically-embroidered VW Bus. In the real world, crimes are committed by troubled youth, drug addicts, and burnt-out math teachers; not ex-circus ringleaders, or janitors with access to convincing prosthetics and horror performance training.
They can also play piano, be self-aware, and operate machinery only creatures with opposable thumbs are capable of. They--in every way but physical appearance--are like sentient human beings. Meanwhile, in this alternate version of an ostensible planet Earth, there are no actual humans in sight (yet there are houses, skyscrapers, and railroad tracks--every product of a human civilization). You hear of owners looking like their pet, and perhaps exhibiting similar personality traits, but you never hear of the family dog drinking at the local tavern or working a day job. That is unless you are living in a cartoon.
And there is good money in the four-fingered glove business (just ask Mickey). Of course this seeming arbitrary finger omission would make life a little difficult; typing and playing the piano would be severely challenging (although not so for Bugs Bunny) and you could never flick someone off properly. Though you could very well hand-deliver someone a giant black bomb with a lit wit, because all that would result in is some minor burns and scuffs. But what better way to insult someone.
Because apparently all lifeforms are nothing but stomachs with arms and legs, a rapid succession of bullets do no more damage than they would to a cardboard box. Of course you wouldn’t need to go see a doctor; you could just plug all the holes up with some wine corks (or just wait until the next episode, whereby all previous happenstances are forgotten).
In cartoons, animals are humanized in every way except when it comes to having a sense of accountability. They can talk, stand upright, and even lie, but they are totally not judged for what other questionable actions they perform. Take Pepe Le Pew. He’s charming because he’s a hopeless romantic and speaks in a French accent. But when he aggressively pursues and sexually assaults that cat and a completely non-consensual manner, it isn’t treated as the wicked transgression it is. Imagine a grown man endlessly stalking some defenseless young woman, ultimately squeezing and smooching her as she struggles to escape (not to mention breathe). The reality of the situation is far from cute.
The modern Stone Age family being implicated is the Flintstones, who lived in a house made of stone, complete with every amenity we rely on today, the only difference being that such devices were powered by prehistoric lifeforms and talking pelicans. And of course, dinosaurs and saber-tooth tigers made great pets and were in no way tempted to eat their owners (also, dinosaurs and humans coincided...).
Seriously, all anybody does in cartoons is play tricks on each other. Which begs the question, how do these characters support themselves and their lavish expenditures on thing like exploding cigars, guns that shoot flags that say “BANG!” or spring-loaded boxing gloves? Surely ACME isn’t just giving out giant rubber bands or disintegrating pistols or earthquake pills, or other devices that have yet to be released to anyone but NASA scientists. Its about time these lisping housecats and swimsuit-clad starfish buckled down and got a job (if only more cartoon characters shared Spongebob Squarepants’ work ethic...).
You can float in mid-air in defiance of gravity (that is until you look down for the first time), go into outer space without a space helmet (or any particular need for oxygen), and you can take a bath underwater (just ask Spongebob Squarepants’ neighbor Squidward). The cartoon world sounds like an incredible place; so incredible it can only exist in ink and paint.
And if death does exist, it wears a black cloak and carries a scepter and is easily outsmarted. Death is little different from the burglars in Home Alone. How else do you explain a coyote plummeting from a cliff and suffering little more than a black eye? Or a Tazmanian Devil swallowing dynamite, only to hiccup smoke? Or anyone taking a piano/anvil/safe to the noggin without having it flattened like Silly Putty. And if anybody actually does die, they are fully capable of persuading St. Peter to give them a second chance (or they just, in spirit form, just jump back into their own bodies as if it were just a sleeping bag). This, by far, has to be the most enviable creative license cartoon characters are granted.