I'm not a big fan of cartoons. I'm especially happy that as the mother of boys, I will never be subjected to anything with the word "Princess" in the title. If it's pink, frothy, and spontaneously bursts into song, I'll have nothing to do with it.
The exception, however, is virtually anything churned out by Pixar Studios. Now, I know that Pixar, until recently, was computer-generated Disney, but the films are smart, visually impressive, and almost always feature the vocal talents of John Ratzenberger (aka Cliff Clavin from Cheers).
Cars is near Scripture in our home (according to Owen). Finding Nemo will also do in a pinch (there's something about Dude Crush the Sea Turtle that brings a smile to all of our faces). We also rented Wall-E, which is surprisingly subversive and dark for a cartoon. Owen left that film with a fondness for saying "Wall-EEEE" in a high-pitched voice. I left that film with a desire to buy a composter and a hybrid car. We haven't rented any of the "Toy Story" films because a friend of ours told us that the films were "too scary." We'll take her word for it.
Out of all the Pixar films, my favorite, by far, is The Incredibles. Owen has yet to see this film, and I'm convinced that it's not designed for him, anyway. Not only does the film feature superheroes and a flashy soundtrack, but it also features the bit of brilliance quoted below. As you read this, hear the lines of Lucius as read by the one and only Samuel L. Jackson ( in his inimitable fashion):
Lucius: Where's my super suit?
Lucius: Where - is - my - super - suit?
Honey: I, uh, put it away.
[helicopter explodes outside]
Honey: *Why* do you *need* to know?
Lucius: I need it!
[Lucius rummages through another room in his condo]
Honey: Uh-uh! Don't you think about running off doing no derrin'-do. We've been planning this dinner for two months!
Lucius: The public is in danger!
Honey: My evening's in danger!
Lucius: You tell me where my suit is, woman! We are talking about the greater good!
Honey: 'Greater good?' I am your wife! I'm the greatest *good* you are ever gonna get!
I bring this up because I was listening to Owen talk to himself while driving home from the gym. Like the hapless villian on The Incredibles, Owen was monologuing his planned nefarious deeds. He's so pleased with the evil he's about to do (or at least, imagine himself doing), that he gives his entire plan away.
(Mumbling to himself). "I'm not going to take a nap. Mommy is going to put me in bed, and I'm going to get out of bed. Then, I'm going to go into Baby Joel's room and say, 'Boo' and make him cry. Then, I'm going to go downstairs and play, play, play with Mommy and I'm not going to take a nap!"
He's smiling to himself as he says this, hoping for a big reaction on my part, or at least a halfhearted, "You have to be nice to your brother." Generally, my reaction is no reaction, which doesn't bother him like you think it would. Just saying the words out loud is enough for him, because, in its own small way, it makes it real.
People attempt to gain power by making other people feel small. Owen is generally kind enough that he doesn't actually do anything; he just talks a good game.
But... in his mind, he is capable of doing dark, dark, things. Then, he will go downstairs and play with his Mommy.