Great Cartoons Are excellent Toys
There's a sense where some imagination could be lost with television, sure. I'm ready to buy that argument - or otherwise part of it. However, there's another side to that argument that supporters of the theory may not be seeing, and that is the concept of toys deriving from said shows.
A great cartoon won't entertain us making us laugh, however it can actually enhance our creativity when developed the right way. For instance, if we're referring to a cartoon in which the main character gets himself into all kinds of crazy situations, the little one playing with the toy can continue to certainly use his / her imagination to pretend their toy in similar binds. Besides that make use of their imagination, but it takes problem-solving skills to find the character OUT of the messes. Add into that the antagonist or two, and we're good.
When there is good writing on the program - especially when humor is utilized - there is a sense when the adventure is never finished, and that can spill over into toy play. If there are lessons taught within the show, then just maybe our youngsters are absorbing these lessons, are associating the characters using the themes, and will have fun with their cartoon toys in a similar fashion. It's just up to us as parents and guardians to get involved with our children's activities and make them learn good play habits.
Cartoons can certainly be abused and made to do something as pacifiers, but we have to remember that entertainment is entertainment and it has been a great source of imagination and creativity provided man has been on earth. It's what we employ it, how we limit the intake, and just how we expand about it that is the key.