So here’s the ultimate category. There cartoons are either meant for adults but clean enough for kids, or made for kids but brilliant enough to be enjoyed by all. I urge you to YouTube them all, ASAP.
Honorable Mentions: Johnny Bravo, KaBlam!, Spongebob Squarepants, Samurai Jack,
Fairly Odd Parents, Tom & Jerry, Speedy Gonzales, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Avatar: Last Airbender
8. The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack
I’m a sucker for any show that replaces alcohol with syrup. This show was absolutely wild. The plots were crazy, the characters were all clinically insane/manic/schizo and the animation…wow. I mentioned for King of the Hill you almost forget you’re watching a cartoon, and for that show it’s a good thing. Not on Flapjack. The animation style changes from frame to frame so suddenly…stoner’s delight! This show will have you holding your sides, both from in laughter and from suspecting some hideous sea worm might burst out of your guys. Yeah, pretty sure that’s an episode…
I love how you just type “Doug” into google and 60% of the pictures are of this one Doug, our Doug, THE Doug. Similar to The Boondocks (no, seriously), Doug was a show that always had a sort of low-key mood about it, one that was complimented by Doug’s voice actor, the beautifully muted artwork and the SENSATIONAL original score. Yes, that’s a score people, and the theme song to Doug is the greatest demonstration of acapella singing the world has ever known.
6. Rocko’s Modern Life
Seeing Heffer’s utters repeatedly definitely had something to do with me entering puberty. What a perverted cow. That aside, Rocko is just a spectacular cartoon. You’ve got one of the most pleasant, straightlaced TV characters of all time in Rocko, and damned if the rest of the world isn’t just insane. The show got especially “modern” when there was a cartoon-within-a-cartoon that mirrored Rocko’s life. That’s modernism for ya!
5. Invader Zim
If only Zim had held off a few years and tried to take over the Earth via Adult Swim, I have confidence it would still be on today. Sure, there are whackier, darker cartoons out there, but few of them maintain a coherent plot. Zim’s conquests to take down the human race grew increasingly bizarre, violent and hilarious as the show went on. A particularly gruesome exploit (one that surely grated the Nick censor’s gears) involved Zim cutting open his classmates and stealing their organs. I think that was like, the third episode. Oh yeah, it gets a lot worse.
4. The Angry Beavers
Another great toon, another great theme song. The angry Beavers are a couple of brothers who are, quite unceremoniously, booted out of their parents damn in the opening scene and left to fend for themselves. Through a series of fortunate events the beavs land a SWEET bachelor dam. The Tet-a-tet between brothers Dag and Norb is right up their with Jerry and George, Lucy and Ricky, and plus, none of those couples introduced “spoot” to the public lexicon.
3. Home Movies
Easily the overall funniest cartoon on any of these lists, Home Movies just does everything right. Every character is perfect, unique and hilarious. Each interaction has a new dynamic (Brendan and Coach McGuirk being the prize gem). Like most actually funny cartoons, the animation is poor–and boy is it poor! But there’s something charming about how dangerously pointy Brendan’s nose is…
2. Hey Arnold!
Call me nostalgic, but there’s something about Arnold that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. The city is drawn in a style reminiscent of a children’s book, the characters are vivid, kind, bumbling and cute. And man, are they fun. This show might not have you laughing out loud like The Simpsons or Home Movies, but the best episodes keep you absolutely entertained. If you are feeling blue put on an episode of Hey Arnold! By the time those final, melancholy piano chords are laid down, you will surely have a smile on your face, if not a sweet tear in your eye.
1. The Looney Tunes
Hopefully by being as honest as possible throughout these lists, I’ve gained some credibility, and me putting Looney Tunes as the best cartoon ever isn’t too obvious. But let’s be real, only an uber-hip geek on the fringest of society could claim anything other than the Looney Tunes as the best cartoon ever. And it’s not just reputation. There is something so organic about these shorts, both in the way they are drawn and written individually, and how they pile on top of each other to create an hour of programming. I like Spongebob as much as the next guy, but try waking up and diving into Bikini Bottom. It’s way too loud, the voices are annoying, the colors wild and inconsistent. The Looney Tunes is like therapy. It’s so soft, quick, quiet, clever…it’s what cartoons should be, but almost never are.