Three mock drafts are in the books around here, with discussions and arguments about breakfast foods, video games and Jax-tivities having dominated the Monday water cooler talk in town so far. Next, we tap back into inner-childhood, ranking our favorite animated programming.
1. The Simpsons
No. 1 for me was simple with The Simpsons. I might be one of the few people who still watches new episodes. Most of my friends have been chosen based upon our mutual love of Homer, Bart and other Springfield residents.
2. The Flintstones
Boomerang was a staple of my adolescent years and with two younger siblings, cartoons still dominated the television landscape in our home even as I got older. The whole family could always agree on watching “the modern stone age family” and it even spawned my favorite bad movie of all time, the live action version with John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Rosie O’Donnell and a young Halle Berry.
3. Family Guy
I had to choose the comeback king of animated series: Family Guy. I remember when the show first started, the Adult Swim pickup, then the glorious return to FOX. It remains one of my favorite shows on TV.
4. BoJack Horseman
I have to thank Scott for this one. I was looking for a new show to get into and he suggested this, due to our mutual enjoyment of Will Arnett. Probably the most deep cartoon I have ever watched. If you haven’t already, check it out on Netflix.
Sterling Archer’s one-liners alone would make this a worthy selection, and taking the rest of the show into account made this an easy pick. One part over-the-top spy show and one part workplace comedy, Archer is one-of-a-kind. I can honestly say that my favorite character on this show changes from episode to episode. If you’ve somehow missed the boat, it’s time to open up Netflix. It’s gonna get weird.
The first sequence of the first episode set up a storyline that was not revealed for another four seasons. The creative process, wit and tomfoolery combined with real science (sometimes) makes for one hell of a ride.
-Jordan de Lugo
7. South Park
South Park has made it through 20 gloriously profane and endlessly inventive seasons without catering to those who demand political correctness. Matt Stone and Trey Parker have seemingly poked fun at every major figure, current event, and pop culture touchstone over the last two decades with a gleefully anarchic spirit and tons of gut-busting laughs. Randy Marsh, Butters Stotch, and Eric Cartman are my favorite characters in a series chockfull with great ones–I love Randy’s reckless naivety, Butters’ relentless optimism, and Cartman’s utter lack of human decency–his feuds with Kyle, Kyle’s mom, Scott Tenorman, Ben Affleck, and Rob Reiner, among others, are all amazing. The show has so many great episodes but as a someone who despises group projects, I have an affinity for the one where Cartman records a bunch of History Channel shows on The American Revolution, jumps into his bathtub with his Tivo, consequently traveling to 1776 Boston just to avoid his responsibility of helping his classmates with their group presentation. Now, that’s dedication to laziness!
8. Tom and Jerry
This was one of the first cartoons I started watching, and it still runs. This is a cartoon that still gets shown to children of all ages. It’s a classic!
9. King of the Hill
Another FOX animated show in King of the Hill is one I constantly watch. My wife and I bonded over our love of Hank Hill when we first began dating. For awhile, I kept a notebook of Hank Hill quotes to live by.
The Nickelodeon version of course. Doug is the spirit animal of every somewhat awkward, new kid in town, which is exactly who I was growing up (on multiple different occasions). Doug seemingly lived out many of my real life situations, and served as inspiration that normal, average guys could be cool.
11. The Boondocks
Arguably a top five cartoon, so getting it at 11 is crazy. The critically-acclaimed show only lasted four seasons, but it is a show that is still culturally relevant.
12. Regular Show
Grew to enjoy this show after I had seen a couple episodes on tv and discovered it was on Hulu. Generally a humorous show, it has it’s moments that got deep on you and kept me locked in until the show’s ending.
13. Rocko’s Modern Life
In the long line of Nickelodeon’s cartoons, I feel like Rocko’s Modern Life flies under the radar. For whatever reason, I always favored it over Ren & Stimpy in the “this is probably too adult for an eight-year-old to be watching” category. Needless to say, marathon sessions of this one were a staple of the mid-to-late 90s.
14. Rick and Morty
While this show is only two seasons and is still in its early stages, “Rick and Morty” has quickly become a fan favorite. Rick, the smartest mammal in the universe is also a psychotic, vengeful and lovable grandfather to Morty.
-Jordan de Lugo
15. Muppet Babies
Muppet Babies is my jam. I’d roll anywhere with this iconoclastic crew of dreamers. Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rowlf, Scooter, Girl Scooter, Dr. Bunson Honeydew and Beaker–these cats were always ready to let their considerable imaginations run wild. As a kid, Muppet Babies was must see TV every Saturday morning and I especially enjoyed its’ homages to Indiana Jones and Star Wars. (Baby Animal as Yoda!) Though it went over my head as a child, I recently discovered the show is actually an incisive look at life in America’s psychiatric hospitals. Think about it, the babies are never allowed to leave the nursery; their only access to the outside world are old paperbacks and edited VHS tapes; and they refuse to look their caretaker in the eye (One explanation could be the Nanny is merely a grad student working on her thesis on the prevalence of mental illness in Muppets. Once she earns her doctorate, they’ll probably show her more respect. That’s just one of my many theories). I presuppose the Muppets have all reverted back to being animated toddlers because of their inability to deal with the pressures of show business. Anyway, I enjoy this cartoon.
16. Johnny Bravo
This show was about a man who had a hairstyle who always tried to get women to date him. Johnny was obsessed with his hair, to the point of insanity. This show was always one of my favorites with raunchy jokes, and the amount of times he failed with the girls. But take a lesson from Johnny. Always keep trying to get that girl, and it’s all about the hair!
17. Batman: The Animated Series
Batman: The Animated Series is a show I had to see after school in the mid-90s and actually started watching again with it being on Amazon Prime. Every villain and storyline is top notch. My favorite TV episode might be the Batman’s “Almost Got ‘Im” of how villains discuss their failed attempts at ending the Dark Knight.
18. Johnny Quest
I don’t own many shows in its entirety on DVD, but this is one. The exotic locations, diverse cast, bad-ass adventures, all drawn in the iconic Hanna-Barbera 1960s style. It was animated James Bond for kids (and might explain my Bond love now). “Sim sim slabim!”
19. X-Men: The Animated Series
The best X-Men content outside of the comics. I remember trying to rush home from elementary school to catch the latest episodes. Plus, it has one of the most memorable opening credits ever.
20. SpongeBob SquarePants
A staple of my childhood. Surprised I was still able to nab this. Early SpongeBob episodes such as ‘Wet Painters’ and ‘The Krusty Krab Training Video’ still leave me in tears. I quote this show on the regular, too.
21. Hey Arnold!
With the single best Nickelodeon show about the pre-high school life (Doug, obviously) off the board, I had to go with the next best option. Hey Arnold! definitely hit the sweet spot in terms of age – a show about elementary school kids that hit the air when I was seven. I’d like to think that I’d have more to say about this one, but honestly I’m low-key mad that I didn’t manage to scoop up Doug. (Ed. Note: Apparently there is a Hey Arnold! movie featuring the original cast coming out this year. Go to Google now.)
22. Bob’s Burgers
Burgers + teenage angst + H. Jon Benjamin = great success.
-Jordan de Lugo
23. Looney Tunes
Warner Brothers collection of Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies includes over 1,000 short films. The best were written and directed by the legendary Chuck Jones. He created Elmer Fudd, Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner, as well as directing Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck’s most memorable adventures. Bugs’ and Elmer Fudd’s homages to the operas of Wagner, Rossini, and Mozart; Daffy Duck’s face-offs with Marvin the Martian (You’ll have to ask Richard Miller whether or not Duck Dodgers is a “space movie,” as we don’t see eye to eye on this matter); and Wile E. Coyote’s ill-fated pursuit of the Road Runner are some of my favorites. In six minutes or less, Jones reliably told brilliant stories filled with classic characters, hilarious gags, and unabashed joy that always puts a goofy grin on my face.
24. The Jetsons
How this cartoon fell to the end of the 3rd round baffles me. While short lived, with 3 seasons, it is still a popular cartoon, after being brought back in the mid 80’s. The cartoon is about how life is in the future and it’s relevant today because people think we as a society are headed that way with robots slowly taking over. But that is probably still a long ways away.
25. The Ren & Stimpy Show
Late round, I was torn between Ren and Stimpy or American Dad, but the Nicktoons cult show is this mock’s late steal. With these four shows, I won’t be outside until at least August.
My late round wild card, this sketch series featured all time great cartoons such as “Action League Now!” and “Prometheus and Bob”. So ridiculous, slightly trippy, always fun. I still know the entire “ALN!” opening credits by heart. “The Flesh: He’s super strong, and super naked.”
27. Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers
There was some internal debate whether to choose this or “Adventure Time”, but nostalgia wins nine times out of 10.
28. The Wild Thornberrys
A fascinating show during my youth. The thought of talking to animals sounded like the coolest thing to me. Plus, Nigel Thornberry and his signature “Smashing” line is one of the greatest in cartoon history.
29. The Angry Beavers
You can probably tell by now that almost all of my cartoon viewing as a kid was Nick-exclusive… but that’s alright, because I feel like I picked up a good late-round value pick here. Is “Angry Beavers” anyone’s favorite show? Probably not. But, I was always down to check out Dag and Norb’s adventures. And let’s be honest, we all made the obvious joke about the show title at least once.
Who’s that Pokemon?!
–Jordan de Lugo
DuckTales is one badass cartoon. The theme song is incredibly catchy, Scrooge McDuck is a terrific anti-hero, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s interference with their grouchy uncles’ globetrotting adventures made it so much fun. I’m such a diehard fan of the show that I dressed as Scrooge McDuck for Halloween when I was 26. Coincidently, my vision board features my head superimposed onto Sir McDuck’s body (I’m pretty sure he’s been knighted) as he dives into his vault of gold coins. Unfortunately, I haven’t accumulated enough wealth yet to take the plunge. Maybe I can invest in one of Gyro’s latest inventions–I dreamt he had a Kickstarter a few weeks ago and it sounds promising.
32. Ed, Edd n Eddy
One of my all-time favorite cartoons. I’m not sure why I loved this cartoon so much. Maybe it was the fact that the three main characters always tried to get other kids’ money and use it on candy. Maybe it was the constant failure that kept me intrigued to see if they would ever get that jawbreaker they so desired. Whenever it comes on TV, and I’m bored, I usually watch an episode or two.
So what do you think? Let us know in the comments or on @rivercityrogue if you agree or disagree.