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  • Seasons 3 and 4 of Dexter's Lab.
  • Season 7 of Family Guy, at least according to TV Tropes. Luckily every season afterwards was able to step away from (and even poke fun at) the nadir of quality that was "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven".
  • In general, classic cartoon characters hit Seasonal Rots when their owner studios tried to make them cuter and "safer" - visually symbolized by the once Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal (or human) gaining a full middle-class wardrobe. Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop are the best examples.
    • When you see Mickey fully dressed with a hat and long pants, you know he's not going to be any more interesting than your neighbor. Disney historians fully admit the increased emphasis on Donald Duck and Goofy was partly caused by Mickey's iconic fame making him slightly inflexible and too 'sweet' to put funny cartoons or as anyone's foil. Earlier -- and thankfully, more recently -- he was a mischievous adventurer . The shorts where Seasonal Rot kicks in have Mickey sits at home and gives Pluto orders like a bossy, boring parent.
    • In 1995, they released a new Mickey short, Runaway Brain, where Mickey was seen for the first time in years as a flawed (lazy, forgetful, running head first into things), but kickass hero. The dark themes of the cartoon horrified parents and Moral Guardians though, particularly a monstrous Mickey Mouse, and Disney's been trying to bury it ever since
    • Disney has never tried to deny Runaway Brain's existence. The short got nominated for an Academy Award, and was even proudly included on Mickey Mouse in Living Color Vol. 2.
    • A New York Times article in 2000 described how boring Mickey was. Disney's overly restrictive guidelines prevent writers from doing much with him. Disney tried to inject some creative juices by having Mickey redrawn by various artists (big fan of Mickey with "M-shield" a la Captain America) but they haven't moved ahead until recently.
      • Lampshaded in the Disney Vault TV Funhouse sketch ("You're supposed to be funny?"). That line came about from Robert Smigel's puzzlement of Mickey Mouse being such an iconic kids character when most kids can't actually name a defining trait or characteristic for him.
    • What happened to Betty Boop, who used to be a sexy chanteuse, was that the Moral Guardians forced her to be Bowdlerised. This led to a serious drop-off in the quality and popularity of her shorts, since her character is a sex symbol (yes, even with her big, giant head). When you see Betty dressed like a businesswoman, you are in for a boring cartoon.
    • Popeye had this happen as well, after the shorts became headed by Famous Studios. Granted, it didn't get too bad until 1950 or so, when Seasonal Rot set in and the writers just didn't know what else to do with Popeye, ending up resorting to Recycled in Space plots.
  • Woody Woodpecker fell into this during the 1950s--apparently, Walter Lantz wanted Woody to appeal more to kids, so he slimmed down Woody's design into a pinty, stiff looking "cute" design. On top of that, Woody was completely derailed as a character - whereas earlier he was a selfish heckler who only stood for himself, this Woody was watered down into a bland hero-type character. On top of that, from the mid-1950s onward, Paul J. Smith took the directorial reins and brought the series down even further with sloppy animation, not to mention lousy jokes and timing (surprising, considering his earlier efforts such as "Hot Noon" were among Lantz's best cartoons). It's a wonder the shorts were able to last through 1972.
  • Looney Tunes suffered in the Sixties as well (you know something has gone terribly wrong when they have Daffy Duck chasing Speedy Gonzales around for some reason) after the original animation unit was shuttered and work was turned over to DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. Fortunately, this Seasonal Rot comes with fair warning: if you catch a cartoon that opens with a weird version of their theme song set to trippy graphics spinning around, and the cartoon is not Chuck Jones' Now Hear This (or maybe]] Norman Normal), you're going to get to see their Seasonal Rot.
    • What about the Wile E Coyote and Road Runner cartoons of that time? Rudy Larriva, who had animated for Warner Bros in the 1940s (but hadn't worked on anything Looney Tunes-related for about 15 years), took over the series from Chuck Jones. Larriva's character designs were very Off-Model, the loss of Maurice Noble robbed the desert landscapes of all their scale and range, and the less said of William Lava's music, the better. The more complex schemes were replaced with sluggishly-paced crude gaggery, and to accommodate them the Roadrunner was completely derailed into actively fighting back against the Coyote, firing cannons at him and so forth. Watch "The Solid Tin Coyote" for a good look at how far off-base the series got. Better yet, don't (and just so that you know what we're dealing with here, keep in mind that "The Solid Tin Coyote" is pretty much universally regarded as the best of Larriva's efforts in this series).
    • And then It Got Worse. If you ever see a cartoon with the opening described above, except with a company credit that reads "Warner Bros.-Seven Arts" instead of just "Warner Bros." then you should run for the hills. Because there is absolutely nothing good that will result from the cartoon that you are about to watch.
  • Tom and Jerry whenever Hanna and Barbera didn't directly make the shorts.
    • Put it this way: maybe you've seen reruns of the Gene Deitch shorts? How often (if at all) do you recall the television shorts from the 1970s?
    • To someone who never saw the 1975–77 shorts (which, yes, does say a lot in and of itself), the Gene Deitch shorts are the Seasonal Rot
    • If you see Jerry wearing a red bowtie... run, just run.
  • The Games Animation seasons of Ren and Stimpy .
  • The post-movie seasons of SpongeBob SquarePants are notorious for this. While Season 4 wasn't that bad, it served as more of a warning sign of what was to come. Season 5 introduced a "movie" that served as an annoying exercise in musical tedium, while seasons 6 through 8 were unessescarily Darker and Edgier and Bloodier and Gorier, with things like Squidward having his toenail ripped off, Mrs. Puff trying to get SpongeBob killed in a demolition derby, Mr. Krabs 'driving Plankton to suicide', Patrick nearly burning Gary alive, and Squidward seemingly attempting suicide.
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