As the father of a 4-year-old, I watch a lot of cartoons. Ok, confession, most of my favorite programming is animated as well. Anyway, I’ve lately become obsessed with watching the characters blink. It seems that the vast majority of cartoons make the characters blink rather frequently. It’s interesting, because it usually passes completely below my consciousness radar and yet when I’m thinking about it then it’s all I can pay attention to.
Anyway, my question is whether anyone knows the history on when cartoon characters started to blink and why it’s so common to have characters blink. Were there focus groups where audiences freaked out due to non-blinking characters? Some psychology study somewhere? There’s at least one show I know of, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, where characters don’t regularly blink, but perhaps that show is already so disconnected from reality that show that it doesn’t matter?