Batman: The Animated Series writer Paul Dini recently turned up in a guest spot on Kevin Smith's podcast, Fatman on Batman, that's setting the internet ablaze. Originally, this interview was brought to this reporter's attention by Dini stating that Beware the Batman is canned. Actually, as Smith notes later this episode, it's only on hiatus. But Dini does note the eerie similarities indicating the show might share the same eventual fate as it's predecessors, Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series (the conversation begins around 21:00 mark).
Here's where the interview Smith had with Dini grew truly memorable. Shortly after they discussed Beware, Dini began talking about the reasons such animated shows are nearly extinct while others such as Teen Titans Go! are flourishing at Cartoon Network (emphasis mine):
Dini: "They're all for boys 'we do not want the girls', I mean, I've heard executives say this, you know, not [where I am] but at other places, saying like, 'We do not want girls watching this show."
Smith: "WHY? That's 51% of the population."
Dini: "They. Do. Not. Buy. Toys. The girls buy different toys. The girls may watch the show—"
Smith: "So you can sell them T-shirts if they don't—A: I disagree, I think girls buy toys as well, I mean not as many as fucking boys do, but, B: sell them something else, man! Don't be lazy and be like, 'well I can't sell a girl a toy.' Sell 'em a T-shirt, man, sell them fucking umbrella with the fucking character on it, something like that. But if it's not a toy, there's something else you could sell 'em! Like, just because you can't figure out your job, don't kill chances of, like, something that's gonna reach an audi—that's just so self-defeating, when people go, like… these are the same fuckers who go, like, 'Oh, girls don't read comics, girls aren't into comics.' It's all self-fulfilling prophecies. They just make it that way, by going like, 'I can't sell 'em a toy, what's the point?'
Dini: "That's the thing, you know I hate being Mr. Sour Grapes here, but I'll just lay it on the line: that's the thing that got us cancelled on Tower Prep, honest-to-God was, like, 'we need boys, but we need girls right there, right one step behind the boys'—this is the network talking—'one step behind the boys, not as smart as the boys, not as interesting as the boys, but right there.' And then we began writing stories that got into the two girls' back stories, and they were really interesting. And suddenly we had families and girls watching, and girls really became a big part of our audience, in sort of like they picked up that Harry Potter type of serialized way, which is what The Batman and [indistinct]'s really gonna kill. But, the Cartoon Network was saying, 'Fuck no, we want the boys' action, it's boys' action, this goofy boy humor we've gotta get that in there. And we can't—' and I'd say, but look at the numbers, we've got parents watching, with the families, and then when you break it down—'Yeah, but the—so many—we've got too many girls. We need more boys.'"
Smith: "That's heart-breaking."
Dini: "And then that's why they cancelled us, and they put on a show called Level Up, which is, you know, goofy nerds fighting CG monsters. It's like, 'We don't want the girls because the girls won't buy toys.' We had a whole… we had a whole, a merchandise line for Tower Prep that they shitcanned before it ever got off the launching pad, because it's like, 'Boys, boys, boys. Boys buy the little spinny tops, they but the action figures, girls buy princesses, we're not selling princesses.'"
It's the sad truth this reporter has known for quite awhile. It's why I follow toy sales to the various action-oriented cartoons that are out there and reported on the numerous failures (both in the line ending and Mattel canceling any hope of collectors seeing the final two figures from the series) of Young Justice figures via Mattel and posted the humorous twelve-step program of Giancarlo Volpe to save Green Lantern: The Animated Series. It's not just Cartoon Network, either. Nickelodeon is equally guilty, as Avatar: The Last Airbender had notorious issues with both live action and cartoon toy lines having not a single female action figure in the entire line, and its successor, The Legend of Korra, has next to nill merchandise.
Cartoon executives are just as behind as the people behind Warner Brothers films who can't figure out how to role out a Wonder Woman movie, yet here we have Marvel dishing out movies appealing to every fanbase and you just know they'll be aiming for a solo-female hero for their Phase 3 movies. Will any change come from this fire that's burning over the internet for this issue? This reporter is ever hopeful, which is why I'm doing my part to spread the word