Cool class: Watch cartoons for homework

Megan Moore

Class called third coolest in U.S.

The third coolest class in the country is taught exclusively at Kent State.

According to a video on G4TV’s Web site and an online Mental Floss magazine article, the Cartoon Network Adult Swim class, taught by adjunct film professor Ronald Russo, is ranked among the coolest college courses in the United States. 

The class developed out of a session in Russo’s Film Comedy class five years ago when there weren’t any textbooks about Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.

Russo wrote the only book on the subject, “Adult Swim and Comedy,” which is now in its second edition.

Some of the cartoons that are studied in the class include: “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” “The Brak Show,” “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” “Robot Chicken,” “Family Guy,” “Futurama,” “American Dad” and “The Boondocks” along with many others.

“History is a good thing, so we include some historical things, but it’s something that is happening right now,” Russo said. “We’ve actually been able to watch the network grow leaps and bounds.”

Russo said one of the homework assignments they are doing now requires students to pick one night to watch the entire four-hour block of Adult Swim, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Students get to choose one of their favorite shows to do a research paper on at the end of the semester.

“If students or people in general like something outside of class, then it’s much easier to give them complicated material because they’re actually interested in it on their own time,” he said.

Russo said the class has teleconferenced with Mike Lazzo and Keith Crofford, the producers for all of the Adult Swim shows. The class has also talked to Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, better known for the characters on the “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” program and many other Adult Swim celebrities.

In this course, Russo said students are expected to learn how a network grows, how TV shows are put together and get a better idea of how things work in that market.

Because of its high demand, the course will be offered every semester. Russo said he has taught 16 regular courses and two honors courses since he began teaching the class in 2004.

He said he likes teaching the course in his hometown of Kent and wants to be a role model for people who think they have to move away to have a fulfilling career when they can actually do it at Kent State.

“I’m going for No. 1 coolest class in the country,” Russo said.

Contact features correspondent Megan Moore at [email protected].