Hello everyone. I wanted to tell you about Grounded videos and how they affected the GoAnimate community. Using my savvy brain and research techniques, I found some facts about what's wrong with grounded videos in the GoAnimate universe and how I'm glad the craze ended. GoAnimate is a website that allows people to make their own animated videos, using a Flash Animation app. It has been used even by some noted Animation personalities such as Paul Dini, who used it to produce his web series "Super Rica and Rashy". Signing up is free for 14 days, though you must upgrade to a paid account if you want to have access to their full resources. You must be at least 13 years old to join. However, a lot of the community lies about their age.
There are two ways to make the videos. One is the "Quick Video Maker" which offers several ready-made "animated shorts" (some of which are based on licensed properties) with the settings and actions already selected, and a small cast of characters to choose from (different for each); all you have to do is write the dialogue.
There's also the "Full Featured Video Maker" that allows you to start from scratch and select almost everything by yourself- settings, actions, sounds, FX, etc. (though again, you have a limited cast to use.)
You can also make more characters and post your videos on YouTube, but that requires a paid account. Note that the any videos you publish will have a watermark indicating they were made by GoAnimate (though you can pay to have it removed.)
GoAnimate also has a forum with an active creative community that gives advice and offers examples and contests. However, you must have a paid account to use it.
But while GoAnimate has its advantages, it has disadvantages as well.
GoAnimate would just be another video-making website if it wasn't for the series of videos that sent the website and video maker into infamy: The "X Gets Grounded" videos. Primarily made by young kids, the grounded videos detail the misadventures of various kids as they cause or get themselves into trouble in all manner of ways, followed by them getting busted and grounded by their parents for absurdly long lengths of time. These videos are especially known for the trouble-making kids usually being characters from TV shows aimed at young kids, such as Caillou and Dora the Explorer.
In late 2014, the site switched to a pay-only site for professionals and businesses.
In early 2015, the GoPlus account type was phased out, turning GoAnimate into a business-only website.
Later that year, the company announced that the company would move to the new HTML5 standard in January 2016 and remove any video-making feature not centered on business. The other themes were immediately incompatible with HTML5, with the business theme rebuilt in the format for its business customers; it isn't known if other themes will ever return.
The removal of these themes resulted in users unfamiliar with the HTML5 standard lashing out at the site's employees for removing them, though the major decline of Adobe Flash and growing importance of mobile devices that work with HTML5 meant GoAnimate had to do something to keep up with current trends, and, possibly, to stop the grounded videos altogether (it may be the only case where a site's fanbase doesn't want to move to HTML5; YouTube converted pretty easily, along with most other video providers). Alvin Hung also took large amounts of abuse, but it's likely he knows about the grounding fanbase and was growing tired of the platform being used to make that type of content. This might be why GoAnimate switched to HTML5, to stop people from making any more grounded videos in the first place.
This might be a good thing, though, as there are many reasons why the grounded video fad had to stop.
Let's start with the fact that almost every grounded video is titled in this format: "X Does Y (And Gets Grounded)."
Parents in Grounded videos will often ground the child for a very long amount of time (ex:112233445566778899 years) or forever. That really doesn't make any sense, because how can a person live for that long?
The troublemakers are always scheming, even if they're doing something nice. The troublesome children's lives are very abusive, and child abuse is not funny at all.
Cruelty is certainly an aspect of many of the Grounded videos as the kid-types will pull dangerous or even deadly pranks (or sometimes, not even needing to be pranks and just be malicious) just to be mean.
If the kids can't get any worse, the teenagers are more cruel than the younger children. This is more noticeable in the "X misbehaves at Y" videos as the thing that prompts them to go to "Y" is being laughed at by their peers for not having the product that they have.
The more vitriolic "Grounded" videos aimed at Caillou, Dora, and other such characters can basically be described as revengeful hate-fiction. Often the only reason given for targeting them is just because "they suck" and they're "baby show" characters. The only reason the videos don't go straight into the hate-fiction territory is because the other characters from the targeted character's show rarely are targeted along with them. (In fact, Caillou's Dad/Boris seems to be something of a bad guy among the non-ironic fanbase.)
The grounded videos are known to be sadistic. They apparently take place in a world where even one little slip-up will get you grounded, arrested, or even murdered whether you deserve it or not. It doesn't help that in some videos, people seem to take glee in dishing out the punishments on the grounding victims, and will even celebrate their getting grounded/arrested/killed. Woe betide you if you're a "baby show" character, too, as literally everyone in the world (including your own family) will hate your guts and will gladly inform you of this fact, show no sympathy when you get yourself in trouble (even if you just badly injured yourself), and will gladly punish you in severe ways if you even just step slightly out of line. The level of sadistic-ness in the videos tend to fluctuate, with some users' grounded videos being more silly than cruel, while some other users' videos have characters (especially "baby show" characters) getting grounded or arrested for simply existing.
The parents of the troublemakers are abusive and ground their kids whenever they have the chance. The adults are useless, as in some Grounded videos, many of the adults seem to be (sometimes willfully) blind to what the kids (usually the troublesome "baby show" ones) want or need. (At least until they start acting out.) Sometimes a trouble-maker will realize that they screwed up horribly and run to an adult figure, their parents, or the police for help. As soon as the trouble-maker reveals that they caused the mess, they instantly get arrested or grounded without being given a chance to explain themselves further. Characters will get grounded or otherwise punished even if it's clear to the adult characters that the mess the target character caused was an accident and/or it was something the character clearly didn't expect or want to happen.
There are a number of videos that attempt to hand out social advice, but wind up unintentionally falling under this for numerous reasons. Usually this is because what the user deems as "awesome" still comes off as somewhat socially awkward, among various other reasons.
A number of characters are liable to cause mass mayhem or beat up or murder people at the drop of a hat. Caillou's dad Boris, in particular, is often portrayed as this (either intentionally or unintentionally) by a number of users.
Many of the grounding victims tend to have it coming, but the fact that in some of the more sadistic videos, their parents may go to some rather extreme measures in punishing them (sometimes they'll even kill the troublemaker) and, in some cases, even enjoy punishing the kids or celebrate their groundings, can make it difficult to take sides with anyone.
Outside of the rare occasion where they get thrown a bone for it, Caillou, Dora, or others of their ilk will always be grounded for some contrived reason no matter how good they are, which, like I said, is very abusive, and that's not good.
The parents of the troublemakers have no sympathy whatsoever. Sometimes the parent characters will act incredibly callous toward their kids even when they are scared or if the trouble the kid(s) caused resulted in them getting severely injured or left them in a state of shock.
The punishment-happy parents are far from immune to getting themselves in trouble and grounded.
Most of the characters getting grounded or however punished are intended to be obnoxious jerks. (However, it doesn't always work.) Other characters wind up being this when they provoke the troublemaker of the day just to be mean, and it results in the troublemaker retaliating.
A troublemaker in the grounded series may be considered born unlucky, as their parents hate them no matter what they do. Sometimes the grounded series will start with them being grounded for nothing at all or something that wasn't even their fault. It seems to me that none of the two would work on them, as they are ineffective in any way.
Oftentimes, the kids act completely civil and nice until they are wronged or don't get their way, after which, the gloves come off. This is more evident in the "(Character) Misbehaves at (Place)" videos.
At times. the groundings and the things that cause the groundings can be a bit gruesome, in the form of black comedy. Seeing as how many of the users on the site are/were little kids, and there's an effect that makes people vomit, you can expect a lot of GoAnimate videos to have gross-out humor.
The "Grounded" videos that involve Dora tend to reach absurd levels as no matter how impossible it is for them to know, Dora will always be ratted on by students, police, video cameras and even fired teachers. This often applies to just about anyone else who decides to be a troublemaker, as well.
In some videos, Caillou has an identical twin named "Daillou". Although he's obviously never appeared in the original cartoon, many users have created videos about Daillou's adventures... which usually involve getting grounded.
Someone may break the fourth wall by mentioning their voice changing to something when they're sick, or have their voice changed as a punishment.
A lot of times the naughty kid will begin apologizing to people or their families for what they did wrong once they get caught. The apologies really don't hold much water if the bad thing they did resulted in mass mayhem and panic, massive property damage, or people getting hurt or killed. This can also be reversed when all the naughty kid did was, for example, steal someone's cookies, and their parents still refuse their (more reasonable) apology.
A lot of "Grounded" videos feature the parents giving all sorts of unusual punishments to the kids. They make their kids watch shows for little kids, eat weird things, and maybe even put a diaper on them. Sometimes the grounded kids will be turned into infants as punishment. In some videos, characters will be punished by being forced to watch random TV shows, including completely innocuous sitcoms like Seinfeld or Friends. This is treated as some kind of horrible punishment by the people getting grounded. Sometimes, the shows being forced to watch tend to be the "inverse" of what is considered acceptable. For instance, it's not uncommon for a "baby show" character to be forced to watch shows that are for older audiences.
Disproportionate retribution is literally the only form of retribution in the infamous "Gets Grounded" videos. Make one small slip-up and you'll find yourself grounded for an impossibly long time. Sometimes your parents will violently attack you. And you can even get grounded for no reason at all.
Worse, there have been videos made of users the uploader doesn't like being executed and their deaths being celebrated. All this over petty things like making fake VHS openings!
Not to mention that you can get expelled from school just for getting a mathematical problem wrong. (granted, most of the time the grounding victims come up with answers not even remotely close to the actual one, but still).
In many "(character) Misbehaves At (restaurant)" videos, the troublemaker flips out and trashes the restaurant because the restaurant was out of one of the things they ordered. In other videos, they freak out over the restaurant being closed.
There are videos where one character will litter on the ground, only for another to walk up to it and instantly get arrested and sent to jail. It's occasionally inverted; characters will sometimes do terrible things like killing people, causing natural disasters, etc. All that happens to them is that they get grounded by their parents, which makes this very disproportionate.
A lot of people have been known to deconstruct the GoAnimate community.
For instance, After Tumblr discovered the GoAnimate community, several attempts at deconstructing grounded videos have been made, but they just satirize the absurdity of grounded/dead meat videos.
However, users like NotSmirks and Warrun Cookie have been known to deconstruct, although in a way that evokes the darkest side of YouTube Poop.
One of the most popular ways of deconstructing the Grounded videos is to show the parent characters' questionable disciplinary methods coming back to bite them in the rear when the troublemaker exposes their abusive ways in some way to one or many people. These videos usually end with the parent characters being arrested and the troublemaking kids earning their happy ending.
If you're wondering that deranged animation is common on GoAnimate, then you can rest assured. Deranged animation is very common in the satirical videos by users such as NotSmirks, Warrun Cookie, and NotZick Zick, though it's not unheard of this to happen in the non-satirical grounded videos as well. Those users, in my case, make videos that make absolutely no sense at all, and they can be very random and unrelated.
Some of the more sadistic videos have folks considered to be "baby show" characters be hated by their peers so much it could almost be called slight racism.
Felony misdemeanor is common in the GoAnimate universe as well. The GoAnimate community wants to kill a troll called Warren Cook for making fake VHS openings! Not only that, but in a lot of the videos where someone gets arrested, they get sent to jail (often for long periods of time and without a fair trial) over crimes like littering a single hamburger (or even walking up to a littered hamburger). And of course, no matter how minor the mistake or trouble a person causes, they will always be grounded for a ludicrously long time, even if someone just accidentally pushed someone else over or broke something. Even worse, founder Alvin Hung has gotten death threats from the site's users after GoPlus and many of the site's most popular themes were removed. Woe betide them once the website moves to HTML 5 in January 2016 and effectively does away any video-making features not centered on business. How cruel is that?
In the GoAnimate universe, anyone who isn't the person currently getting in trouble and grounded are basically not any nicer than the troublemakers. This is more evident in the more sadistic grounding videos where the troublesome character is beaten up or murdered by their family and friends for their actions, or "Punishment Day" sequences with more severe (and less humorous) punishments.
The temper that characters have do not make things any better. Parent characters absolutely explode with volcanic rage when they find out their children have misbehaved, often with a demonic, deepened voice. The screen sometimes shakes and/or turns red during their outbursts.
Not that their kids are any better. Many videos have kids either talking in the "Kidaroo" voice, the screen turning red, inexplicably growing enormous, or going going on a rampage (though usually all four at once) when they don't get their way. This is especially common in "(Character) Misbehaves at (Restaurant/Store)" videos when the kids flip out when their order can't be filled exactly how they want it or their parents say no to what they want.
The main plot of a category of GoAnimate "Grounded" videos is getting held back in school, wherein some students (usually one or two) start out in their current grade and proceed to knock themselves down all the way back to preschool by getting themselves in trouble via injuring a classmate or teacher, being disruptive, making messes, merely making someone mad, etc. before being expelled and sent home (with predictable results).
That's not the end of it. Some "Grounded" videos go beyond just the trouble-making kids/teens getting grounded and have all manner of punishments given to them. Sequences (or even entire videos) centered around these are usually referred to as "Punishment Days" by the users.
Nearly if not everyone in the Grounded videos are jerks is some way, some moreso than others. This includes the good guys in the videos, who go to absurd lengths to teach troublemakers a lesson, to the point that they can become heroes, though not in a way we expect. Even then, sometimes they don't even have to be punishing the kids in order to become this, as some videos will have the "good guys" being terrible to the trouble-makers without any provocation from the trouble-makers' end. Other times, they have parties or go on trips to Chuck E. Cheese's, Six Flags, or Disney World and exclude the troublemakers. In this case, though, it's usually because of previous wrong-doings, but there are numerous of times where it's just out of spite. The users themselves can become jerks if someone ticks them off sufficiently, if word gets around that someone's opinion is being disrespected, or if someone does something that they don't approve of. (Warren Cook learned this the hard way.)
Characters can act like angels throughout the whole video, do something heroic, and/or even not be the one who caused trouble in the first place, but they still wind up grounded at the end for no apparent reason whatsoever.
Non-troublemaking characters seem to get a free pass on tormenting the troublemakers or using any means necessary to bust them. Especially in the case of Caillou's Dad/Boris who is often portrayed as a crazy sociopath but never gets in trouble, even when he clearly deserves to be grounded more than Caillou does.
As if the execution videos weren't cruel enough already, most of the time the condemned's parents will visit them just to insult them, ground them, and tell them that they hope they suffer when they die, then celebrate at their funeral. Even in conventional grounding videos, at times the punishments can come off as needlessly cruel.
However, there are some videos where the grounded kid gets fed up with being grounded over stupid reasons and grounds them/gets them grounded/arrested instead and punishes them.
On the other hand, sometimes characters will wind up severely injured, crippled, or killed from normally non-life/health-threatening injuries, which can be pretty overdramatic.
A recurring element of the Grounded videos is plastic surgery. Some videos have characters going to the hospital to get plastic surgery, or characters being punished by being forced to have plastic surgery. The changes can range anywhere from getting a different face and/or hairstyle, changing genders, or even turning into a completely different character altogether. Sometimes these videos are used to explain sudden changes in character designs.
Characters may often be injured severely and then speak in a completely deadpan voice, so it can be a little under dramatic.
In "(Character) Misbehaves at (Store)" videos, a character will go on a destructive rampage when they are unable to get an item they want and are offered an inferior replacement. When they're dragged away and punished, they try to get the offered item instead, but are told that it's too late. Usually, this is because they just destroyed the place the item was at.
GoAnimate is also used to using malaprops quite often. Probably the most famous example is "getting in dead meat", which doesn't make any grammatical sense, although other examples such as "grounded for bigger time" crop up with alarming frequency in many videos. Many of the Dora "Grounded" videos seem to have the parents claiming she is grounded for "tranquility".
Barely any GoAnimate videos make sense. Some are more nonsensical than others, but almost all of them involve at least some surreal aspects, especially due to the cheapness and limitations of the software. This is especially true for the satirical videos or "Tlt Uolliac" videos. If Caillou is deformed and/or speaking with the "Jennifer" voice setting in one of these videos, things are likely about to get weird with a capital W.
Characters can do whatever the heck they want regardless if it's unlawful or has gotten someone grounded/arrested in the past as long as they are using it against the troublemaker.
Unless you're willing to believe characters can survive the abnormally long grounding periods, characters will usually not be grounded next video. Characters who get killed, turned into something or someone, badly injured, or otherwise as punishment also tend to quickly return looking none the worse for wear as well, though some users do provide explanations for some returns.
It's kind of surprising when a character is grounded, jailed or worse because they fessed up or they stopped something or performed some sort of kind action - even if they're "baby show" characters, they don't deserve punishments. They don't necessarily have to do bad things. They can also do good things, since their real life counterparts are good in canon.
Sometimes, the troublemakers will act like the chaos they caused was never their fault. In the "(Character) Gets a Job At (Store/Restaurant)" videos, the central character gets a job, only to insult, confuse, or otherwise hack off or drive away every customer they meet while on the clock. When they get fired by the manager, typically the main character will see no fault in their behavior if if they don't outright blame the supposed "stupid idiots" they drove away in the first place.
Considering that the fanbase is mostly made up of kids who love adult cartoons, some videos have the characters swear a lot.
With a good number of kids using the site, what's bound to happen is toilet humor.
An overly long gag in the Grounded videos is "You are grounded grounded grounded grounded grounded for [ridiculously large number] years". Sometimes characters can spend up to over a minute just saying numbers. Sometimes the character will follow that with a ridiculously long list of oddly specific things the grounded character is not allowed to do. In other videos, the character will rattle off a massive list of television shows that the grounded character will be forced to watch.
The average "behavior card day" video will involve dozens of characters receiving behavior cards, and then telling the teacher one by one what color card they got and receiving their corresponding punishment/reward. These videos can sometimes stretch into the hours.
It's not uncommon for the troublesome kid's siblings to be favored over them by their parents, whether for being more well-behaved or just because. It's especially noticeable in the Caillou videos, where Rosie is often treated like a queen by Boris and Doris, while they only acknowledge Caillou's existence when he gets in trouble, (if they don't just outright hate him for existing).
Several longer videos don't make much sense, and are mostly just montages of characters repeatedly getting grounded. Special mention goes to GoAnimate: The Movie, which has a completely incomprehensible plot (though this is because it's a ripoff of Greeny Phatom: The Movie, and that series is know for being FILLED with these).
Many of the teachers come off as sadistic seeing as how they fly off the handle and suspend/expel students or send them to the principal over the slightest offenses. And even then, they sometimes come off as sadistic or unfair even before someone misbehaves: What sane teacher would make it so that coming in last place in a swimming race would get you suspended?
Some of the teachers in the "Gets Held Back" videos come off as sadistic, particularly the ones that get mad and demote the misbehaving student over petty, illogical, or unfair reasons such as crying or not having homework, which they don't have, thanks to them just entering the class right then.
Even worse, there are instances in some "Gets Held Back" videos where the troublemaker gets held back because they brought in their homework when the class was going on a field trip.
There have been a few movies where Caillou either creates or meets more duplicates of himself, which is not considered canon outside of GoAnimate.
Grounded videos often feature enraged authority figures speaking in voices that lean towards sensory abuse. NotSmirks' videos parody this by cranking it up to unusual heights (ala YouTube Poop).
Said videos also tend to have the background music turned up louder than can be necessary, as well. This is also often a subject of parody in NotSmirks' videos.
One possible punishment troublemakers often receive in "Punishment Day" videos include loud music (which is oftentimes just as loud to the viewers). The authority figure usually tells the viewers to turn down their volume beforehand.
In GoAnimate, everything can be serious business. And by "serious", I mean by "so serious that it's not even funny".
Make fake VHS openings? Then don't be surprised when the GoAnimate community wants your head on a silver platter. Likewise, the community will promptly turn their backs on you (and possibly make you the subject of a Grounded video) if you say anything nice about any "baby show". (Even if you just say you liked said "baby show" when you were little.) And if you like site founder Alvin Hung, they'll want you burned alive. Many of the users tend to be strongly opinionated, and one or more people disagreeing with them (often referred to in-fandom as "disrespecting one's opinion") can lead to them pulling videos from their accounts or even quitting video-making altogether.
In-Universe: Chuck E. Cheese's is treated as such, especially to Caillou. Getting exactly what you want at a restaurant or store is this as well. "Engaging" people or going on a rampage is apparently the way to go if you can't get a Oreo McFlurry with your Happy Meal.
When the character who gets grounded/arrested/killed/whatever is a fictional character, it's safe to assume that periphery hatedom is in effect. Baby shows (or even shows merely perceived to be baby shows by some users) are the most frequent target. Even moreso when someone kills, grounds, or otherwise maims one of these characters and is un-grounded or otherwise rewarded for doing so.
But while there are Grounded videos, there are also Ungrounded videos, a number of videos where the one grounded could end up being ungrounded and/or rewarded for their behavior. If you ask me, we need more Ungrounded videos than Grounded videos.
Many of the kids are just begging to get grounded with some of the things they do. Two of the most common ways of characters being too dumb to live are immediately doing something that they were told not to do less then ten seconds after their parents leave, or continuing to annoy or ask their parents for something even after being told that they will be grounded if they do it again.
No matter how nice an existing character may be in their home series, their GoAnimate counterparts will invariably be a terrible person. Even characters who are normally best friends (such as Caillou and his friends, Arthur and Buster, etc.) will express distaste for each other or get each other grounded without a second thought.
Sometimes characters will actually help other characters, and even right their wrong-doings. Often their parents will still ground them anyway for some contrived reason, just to be jerks, or just to keep up the status quo.
Apparently, GNN News has the world's most clueless news director, since they spend most of their time reporting on stories of deep international importance such as children 'engaging' their parents and destroying restaurants, and chastising parents to immediately ground their children for bomb threats and lockdowns. The former usually has the reporter and witnesses on-scene repeat what occurred during the 'engagement' two or three times, then has a studio interview where the 'engaged' parent repeats the story one more time while parading the child around to shame them publicly. And this isn't even getting into GNN's inexplicable glee while reporting on child executions for troublemakers.
Most of the troublemakers in "(Character) Misbehaves At (Restaurant)" videos are unsatisfiable. The gist of these videos is that the character goes to a restaurant such as McDonald's, but something they order is unavailable. The troublemaker usually loses their temper and either trashes or completely destroys the establishment because they won't take no for an answer when denied the food they were trying to order or refuses any other food options. Oftentimes the missing food isn't even the main thing they were trying to order (such as a certain kind of milkshake), making them downright unreasonable on top of unsatisfiable.
This also extends to "(Character) Misbehaves at (Store)" videos. A character will want a certain type of item, but the parents will not let them, usually because it's too expensive. When offered a cheaper replacement, the character will usually demand the initial item before ultimately flipping out and wrecking the store.
"Getting in dead meat" appears to be a term for getting a bad behavior card and expelled from school, when put in the context of "X Gets In Dead Meat" videos.
All of this is pretty annoying, and grounded videos make absolutely no sense at all! I'm glad that Rachel came up with the Better Choice Video plan. Better Choice videos are safer alternatives to Grounded Videos.
Well, that's all I have to say about the end of the Grounded video craze on GoAnimate. All I can say now is that many users need to learn that GoAnimate was made to make videos other than just people getting grounded.