I've often pondered the cartoons of my youth, and their inexplicable ability to parody the most unlikely movies to be seen by a child in my age group. Specifically, how Animaniacs, Eek! The Cat, *and* Tazmania all managed to do spoofs of Apocalypse Now, so well that though I've never seen the movie, I can give a decent rundown of the plot, characters, and general spectacle.
Now let's think about this a minute. Apocalypse Now? WHAT?? Looking back, I find it strange that these cartoons chose to entertain the youth of my generation by making fun of a serious, dramatic, bloody Vietnam war movie. In that case, why did I find these particular cartoons so funny? I'd never seen the movie, afterall. Was Apocalypse Now so ingrained in the culture at the time that I just sort of soaked it up through osmosis, or did I piece it together after seeing multiple parodies that they were making fun of *something*, and apparently doing it well, so it should be funny.
It's hard to determine after the fact. Kinda like how I got most of my understanding of pop culture through Muppet Babies. That's how I knew what Star Wars was, afterall. It was a fundamental truth of life at the time, I never questioned where it came from, it was just *there*, and I'm certain that I knew all the basics of Star Wars before I ever saw any of the movies. Muppet Babies was definately an educational show ^_^
It's interesting enough to think about this and look at current cartoons, and then try and deduce how this generation's youth is soaking it all up. I also get to see things from a new perspective, I get most of the things being poked fun at. Now that I think about it, I can't remember how my parents reacted to the Apocalypse Now parodies, it was something I just didn't pay attention to.