And I think this issue can be traced right back to the schizophrenic nature of TAS. The ideas and stories were often adult level, but the overall execution was touched by a mentality that saw the show as not much better than kiddie fare. It pisses me off knowing that a little extra thought and effort could have made a significant difference yet that little extra wasn't thought worth it.
I don't know where you're getting this assumption from. It's not like there were really any animated US television shows at the time that were made specifically for an adult audience, so you've got no standard for comparison that would make this conclusion remotely valid or fair. Indeed, I would submit that TAS was the most adult-oriented animated production you would've found on American television in 1973-4.
Even a few years after TAS came and went I started to see the show in a different light. Hell, I had some inkling of it even as I watched it as a 14 year old.
I see a missed opportunity. Hell, The Flinstones
was prime-time more than a decade prior to TAS. It was aimed primarily at adults even though the subject matter wasn't as deep as some of the things TAS would touch on. But by putting TAS on the Saturday morning schedule it speaks of a particular mentality, a viewpoint toward the subject matter. And then seeing how certain things were done on the show impresses me of suspecting some of that mentality could have crept into creative decisions in the show.
Hey, I just call it as I see it.