Ian Jones-Quartey's OK K.O.! Has Some Very Important Health and Mental Wellness Advice

KO explaining to his friends why they need to watch their asses.
Image: Cartoon Network

For reasons that are still a mystery, people on the internet recently became very interested in telling the world about their lack of bathing habits, as if that were something to be proud of. Coincidentally, one of the newest episodes of Cartoon Network’s OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes recently touched on this video idea with an important episode about mental health and wellness.

Illustration for article titled Ian Jones-Quarteysi OK K.O.! /iHas Some Very Important Health and Mental Wellness Advice

In “KO’s Health Week,” the show’s spiky-haired protagonist reveals that even though he’s the youngest hero working at Gar’s bodega, he’s still plenty wise about life in many ways that his friends and coworkers aren’t, particularly when it comes to some very basic habits that are crucial parts of taking care of one’s self. Normally, everyone at Lakewood Plaza would participate in Health Week under Mr. Gar’s supervision, but an incident involving the muscle man farting at a local yoga studio prompted him to temporarily give up on group fitness, leaving it to K.O. to get folks inspired to work out.


But because Mr. Gar isn’t the one leading Health Week, not everyone brings their A game to the Plaza, prompting K.O. to go all-out with his advice about how to maintain a healthy body and mind. While Enid, Radicles, and Mr. Gar might not see the use in regularly brushing their teeth, wearing deodorant, and washing their legs, K.O. does because he’s a Good Boy™ who understands that little habits like these are important.

But rather than shaming his friends for being crust punks, K.O. pushes them to see things from his well-washed, enlightened perspective and appreciate “wellness” as a concept that goes beyond just the physical. In addition to exercising and maintaining a balanced diet, K.O. also stops to remind the people of Lakewood Plaza that they’ve got to take the time to tend to their headspace.

“K.O.’s Health Week” doesn’t explicitly mention depression, but it touches on what it’s like to become used to being down on yourself and sinking into the kind of existential malaise that has both psychological and physical manifestations. A big part of dealing with dark, negative emotions is simply accepting them as being a part of who you are, while also knowing that it’s healthy and important to express those feelings and share them with others in moments where they feel like they might overwhelm you. Everyone’s got a little voice in their head saying negative things about them, and it’s important to listen to it every now and then, because the things it says can sometimes be helpful.


It’s easy to get trapped in your head if you don’t try to reach out to others or have a regular means of emotional self-expression, which K.O. sagely warns his friends against by insisting they find some kind of outlet. Most importantly, K.O. points out that if meditating or yoga isn’t your thing, it’s perfectly chill to seek out help from a professional doctor because, and I can’t emphasize this enough...that’s what doctors are there for.

But the most important lesson K.O. ends up learning during his fitness tear is that sometimes the thing a person needs to do the most is stop whatever they’re doing and get some sleep, because there’s no sense in running yourself ragged trying to be healthy if you never have a chance to recuperate. None of K.O.’s suggestions are especially groundbreaking or out of the ordinary, but they’re the kinds of small, everyday practices we could all stand to turn into second natures because they really do end up making you feel great in the long run.


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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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A bit TMI, I know, but one of the ways my frequent depression manifests itself is with a total breakdown in self-care. I start finding excuses not to shower, etc - “I’ll do it later, I’m not that bad” or “I don’t want to brush my teeth right now as I want a snack” - that sort of thing. It’s actually become a sort of flag system for me now; if I find myself starting to tail away from my self-care routine, it means I’m about to get hit by a big bout of horrible up in my brain and it lets me try to focus and push on these things to keep the routine going - which in turn helps just a little bit with coping with the depression.

When I’m not depressed, I’m fine - although I don’t wash my hair every day because it dries out like crazy when I do. It becomes a horrible balancing act, as my scalp dries out when I don’t wash my hair, but my hair dries out when I do. It’s a pain in the ass. Or the scalp, I guess.