Oh, how the times have changed. Cartoons are correlated to some of my fondest childhood memories. I remember the ultimate trifecta: Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. Those three channels housed some animated gems that not only taught me life lessons, but made me laugh. Can’t say that for the same networks today. I mean, c’mon: You’re taking Hey Arnold off for Fairly Oddparents? Who’s going to teach me about hard knock life in the city? Instead we’re stuck with a poorly drawn whiny kid with a massive overbite and some repressed homosexual tendencies. Well, ok, maybe not that last part, but it sure does make me mad watching Hannah Montana replace Silverstone. Anyone know what I’m talking about? If you do, read on. I’m about the list (subjective to myself, of course) the top ten best cartoon shows to grace our television screens and VHS tapes (yeah, I’m going back that far). 90’s, here we come!
10) Cow and Chicken : Oh, yeah. It was weird. Weird, but amazing. Remember Mom & Dad, the characters who didn’t have upper bodies? And oh, yes, we can’t forget super-cow and the devil dude. There were some serious hidden meanings in that show, especially when a nest of Asps were attracted to the red guy’s bare bottom. Who says crazy shows belong in Japan?
9) Rugrats : The original baby geniuses. Never so badly did I want to punch an infant in the face until Angelica came on the scene. Oh, the injustice. Easily my fondest memory is watching Tommy come down with a fever and have a pseudo-acid trip in his crib, traveling through space and time with glazed eyes. Wait, this is a kid’s show… right?
8) Rocko’s Modern Life : Bordering Ren & Stimpy with its lewd, gross humor, Rocko’s modern life was a beautiful and hilarious portrait of an especially insightful wallaby and his daily musings. Whether it’s working at “Kinda-a-Lot-o-Comics” or taking care of his retarded dog Spunky, Rocko was most definitely “a hoot.” Don’t forget Heifer, the dim-witted cow raised by wolves. Kids need to see this kind of dramatic irony in TV today!
7) Hey Arnold : He’s one of the only kids on TV who perpetually stayed in the 4th grade all throughout the show’s 8-year lifespan. The original good guy, it was up to Arnold to straighten out his oddly shaped friends and deal with life in the city. Not to mention avoid the obsessive Helga Pataki. Two words, girlfriend: eyebrow wax.
6) Angry Beavers : The title of the show is misleading. Only one was angry, the other cool one was a stoner. I’m tellin’ you, this was the golden age! Without Angry Beavers, I would have no clue how to make prank calls or solicit forest animals for small sums of money. I don’t even wanna think about where I’d be today.
5) Johnny Bravo : Teaching children how to be perverts since early 1998, it’s safe to say Johnny ran a fair race. Making jocks look like Harvard Grads, Johnny’s failed sexual assaults aided us as children exactly what NOT to do to score a babe. Hilarious, nonetheless.
4) Ren and Stimpy : The original cringe-king. Ren & Stimpy is the grossest show to ever hit cable television, and it’s hard to believe it ever did. From pulling out teeth nerve-endings to dismemberment, to every other facet of “gross-out” humor, Ren and Stimpy capitalized on bad taste. We ate it up.
3) Powerpuff Girls : They were adorable. Don’t really know how their oblong heads and oversized eyes made them adorable, but I don’t question life’s natural mysteries. It had the same artistic flair as Dexter’s Lab with twice as much butt-kicking. Remember the Beatles tribute episode?! That would never happen today. Case and point.
2) Dexter’s Lab : Dexter’s Lab was the gem of Cartoon Network, if I say so myself. With episodes containing minimal amount of dialogue and relying on solid animation to convey humor, you couldn’t beat it. I still die laughing when I watch the episodes I torrented. It’s a shame that’s the only way you can get a hold of this show nowadays. Bring it back!
1) Looney Tunes : Sadly, those born after 1998 probably don’t even understand what this title means. Ugh. Chuck Jones is probably rolling over in his grave right now. Whose bright idea was it to take the animation pioneers off the air? The golden age of Daffy, Bugs, Elmer… Aghhh, what is this world coming to?! Half these animators and storytellers could draw circles around the lazy cartooning styles of today’s shows. This was frame-by-frame, people. These guys weren’t just looking to sketch a few lines on the computer and put bread on the table. Animation and cartooning was their livelihood. Do yourself the favor and find some episodes right now. The humor doesn’t age, I promise.