Western cartoons

I‘ve been working my way through old Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons and I’d recommend giving them a shot. The writing is astonishingly witty and snappy and you‘ll be exposed to some extreme puns! They’ll cram three jokes into one joke and I think the result's pretty fantastic.

There are a few caveats though: any time they portray a non-white-American/European culture (mostly in Peabody & Sherman) it's pretty bad. And because of how it aired there's an unnecessarily large number of intro sequences, the version you'll find now also includes bits where Rocky & Bullwinkle are supposed to be introducing a commercial but without the commercial which is awkward and clunky, making the whole show feel very padded. And of course the show is around 60 years old and the animation budget was low, so that's a thing!

I rewatched Garfield and Friends early into the pandemic and thought it held up surprisingly well and is actually funny in a way that the comic wasn't. Although you probably already know if you are or aren't a Garfield-type. And the US Acres segments are terrible.


@“rejj”#p82076 I recall enjoying Rocco’s Modern Life, but that was 30 years ago and I have no idea if it holds up at all.

I rewatched Rocko's Modern Life a few years ago and it holds up well! IMO it's the best Nicktoon.

The recent Rocko Netflix movie was very well-received, for whatever that's worth.

Yeah, Static Cling was good! It felt like a very consistent continuation of the series‘ rhythm and humour, just in HD. I don’t know how I‘d feel about it if I’d never watched the show though.

@“穴”#p82088 Avatar and Korra are both phenomenal. Some of the people involved went on to make the Voltron reboot on Netflix, which is great as well.

@"hellomrkearns"#p82099 Home Movies is one of my all time favorite shows. The creators went on to make Metalocalypse and Bob’s Burgers, both of which I really like, but there was a short-lived show called Lucy, Daughter of the Devil that is great and stars H Jon Benjamin as the devil so how can you go wrong?

Some other shows I’d recommend: My wife and I also watch the Ducktales reboot on Disney+ and it is legitimately very funny. I also watch Great North which is not like, ha ha funny, but chill and very enjoyable.

Batman Beyond is worth checking out if you were already into Batman the Animated Series. Many of the same people are behind it and it's a direct continuation of the story.

I still watch older western cartoons all the time. There are the staples like King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Nickelodeon Ren and Stimpy, early Spongebob, the first 10 seasons of the Simpsons, the first 4 seasons of Futurama, the non-racist Looney Tunes from the 40s-60s, and South Park. But I do have a decent list of obscure shows.

  • - Invader Zim

    Sci-fi, irreverent and full of dark humor with great art and animation. Fairly short too since it‘s just 3 seasons and a recent Netflix movie. You really have to pay attention when watching since the show is full of sight gags, but also makes it easily rewatchable. Most episodes are standalone with various levels of scope, from planets being stolen to a man thinking he’s a cryptid because he is trapped in a chicken suit. One my all time favorites.

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  • - Freakazoid

    The most sporadic and bizarre cartoons ever created by a major studio. While only a couple seasons, it‘s crazy this show even exists. It’s like the people working on shows like Tiny Toons and Animaniacs got to vent and make something insane. You really never know what to expect. Plots range from a cloud that turns people into clowns, to Norm Abrham building a giant wooden horn for world domination, to Ricardo Montelban running a computer company and interrogating a cat. Tons of little side gags, breakaways, MST3K level obscure references, and general non-sense.

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  • - The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack

    Imagine a nautical, less intense Ren and Stimpy without the baggage. A show about a plucky youth paired with a grizzled old sailor living on a late Victorian era pier in search of a candy island. Except it gets incredibly disturbing, gross, weird, but never gets too mean spirited. Stories include getting stranded on a mechanical genie island, a bar tender who is domineered by a wife he made out of candy, and pet plague rats.

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  • - Sam & Max: Freelance Police

    Steve Purcell worked directly on this show, so if liked the game‘s or comic’s humor it‘s everywhere here. It’s fairly referential again and definitely more for adults. Snappy dialogue and dead-pan one liners abound - at a sometimes blistering pace. Several bizarre scenarios including a super fan trying to kill them, forcing a food critic to like a terrible snack, and an evil Howdie-Doody puppet terrorizing the city.

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  • - The Tick

    One of the best super hero parodies ever made. It's like if the Naked Gun was cartoon and instead of making fun of cops it makes fun of comic books. At a time when shows like Batman and X-Men where reinventing kids super-hero shows, the Tick was there to poke fun at them. There is a villain with a chair for a face that wants to write his name on the moon, the Ottoman Empire that traps people in comfortable furniture, and Mr. Burns if he was a full-on supervillain full of bizarre 1920s quotes. I did not care for either live action version. The cartoon is the best.

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  • A few final mentions are the works of Genndy Tartakovsky like **Dexter's Lab**, **Samurai Jack**, and the **Powerpuff Girls**. Very creative and great art direction. **Life With Louie** is good comfort show that takes fun stabs at 1950s Wisconsin. **Eek the Cat & The Terrible Thunderlizards** - if you like pre 90s movie references this is the show for you. And **Courage the Cowardly Dog** is often not funny but scary and reflective - good for fans of horror and weird things.

    In light of the Rocko‘s Modern Life recommendation it may be redundant, and I won’t bust out an superlatives for it, but, the first three seasons of SpongeBob are good. Immediately after the release of the first movie (capital-G Good, possibly great) the show became a Pile O' Crap: if you happened to have seen any of it between 2004 and now and summarily decided it was obnoxious and stupid, I would agree. But the first three seasons! Never mean-spirited, just absurd and unexpectedly witty. Check out either “Dying for Pie,” “Idiot Box,” or “Squilliam Returns” for your one-episode test.

    Now that I think about it there are some squelching sound effects in the show. Beware!

    I don't know if specifically Brandon that you will care for it, but speaking of Batman Beyond: I skipped Justice League and JLU and watched Teen Titans instead. I thought it was a million times more fun.

    JL/U always looked so dull and couldn't help but take itself so seriously, while with TT the stakes are smaller and the stories more character-driven (the humour may be too anime for some). It somehow remains colourful in a way not many early digital 2D animated works did (or maybe we were just starting to come out of that dark age while it was airing).

    My cutoff for the more mature Diniverse cartoons is *Return of the Joker* (uncut version), which is definitely grimdark but not so much that it spoils the spirit of the three preceding shows (four if you count The New Adventures as its own thing). After that, all Batman media just dives straight up its own ass.*

    *I keep forgetting about *Mystery of the Batwoman*, most likely because I'd checked out of the show's universe by the time it released. It might be good? I don't know???

    @“copySave”#p82121 oh my god, Eek the Cat.



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    ***Untalkative Bunny* (2001-03)** is a wonderful animated sitcom about a mute rabbit and their squirrel friend living in Ottawa, Canada (wow of all places!!). It is very special and dear to my heart, and the theme song slaps. The bunny goes on such adventures as: getting a "haircut", answering a telephone solicitor and hearing them out, making a clingy new friend at the park, and renting space to do some gardening at a busy intersection.

    One useless fact is that a voice actor from the show was one of my character animation profs in college.

    Some may remember seeing the pilot on MTV or Nickelodeon. All three seasons are up on [youtube](https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1JFv30aMjfhuuZZJ51OEFHVN4SWFRbrf) but (some of?) the show was also released on ~~blu-ray~~ DVD, which seem hard to find now unfortunately **aughhh**

    @“copySave”#p82121 Seconding both Freakazoid and The Tick. They both hold up really well.

    The first season of Venture Bros. is rough to go back to, but it's a rare case of a show getting exceptionally better with each new season. Worth sticking with if you bounced off early. Still one of the few western shows aimed towards an older audience that doesn't resort to "What if cartoons could say fuck?" as the framing for an "Adult Animation."

    Back to Warner Bros productions, If you liked Batman The Animated Series, you might also like the Superman animated series, which I remember also being pretty solid. It's about as stylish looking as Batman, an art style I wish they would stick with more on modern DC animated things. The characters are drawn in a really cute way, Clark is actually charming.

    I found myself really enjoying the Men In Black cartoon as well when I was younger. Loved the art style. Haven't revisited it in a while though.

    Reboot remains one of my top favorite shows of all times. It's a little goofball and corny at times, but there's a lot of charm to it. It was one of the most unique shows that hit me in the same way Aeon Flux or The Maxx did. Those two are also great and highly recommended, but definitely aren't part of the "Turn off your brain." group of cartoons.

    "SatAM" Sonic feels like a warm bowl of soup. I love both that and Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog, but it's far less of a sensory overload that Adventures is (still gotta crack open that Adventures blu-ray collection Discotek released).

    Beavis and Butthead is legitimately great to just have on in the background or watch while turning your brain off. It's mostly toilet humor, but it's really well paced, love the music video commentary. The 2011 continuation is also good and adds in MTV's reality TV clips in with music videos. Have yet to see the new-new-new one on Paramount+ because I do not have Paramount+.

    Mighty Max is not available anywhere but I think YouTube and torrent sites. It was an excellent show and another one that features Tony Jay voicing a main character. God I love Tony Jay...

    Want something pretty to look at? Try The Mighty Orbots. This is kind of cheating since it's technically an anime with character designs by Akio Sugino and animation direction by Osamu Dezaki who both worked on Space Adventure Cobra, and it shows. A fascinating watch though for an explicitly Anime Made For The West project.
    It's available on DVD and I'm sure there are _other ways_ to find it.

    Our house has been on-and-off rewatching King of the Hill and it's also incredibly solid. Great show. Highly recommended.

    I keep editing this thing because more stuff comes to mind. I can't believe I forgot to mention The Real Ghostbusters.
    The animation is gorgeous, the writing is great, the voice acting is superb. A delightful show up until it starts going into Slimer And The Real Ghostbusters territory.
    I hear X-Treme Ghostbusters is also good. Only watched a few episodes of it when it first aired and remember actually liking some of it.

    Of course also the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a fun ride up until the last two seasons, and the 2003 TMNT was actually pretty decent! I still need to watch Rise of the TMNT, especially now that it's on Netflix, but it looks like a lot of fun visually. Incredible animation moments in it from what I've seen.

    @“connrrr”#p82126 Omg that image unlocked a bunch of memories for me… I must‘ve watched the show when it aired on Teletoon back in the day. Never knew it was “set” in Ottawa! Love the bunny’s big ol' smile and the whistling credits song.

    I liked Inside Job on Netflix. It's got some real good jokes here and there.

    Disenchantment is pretty good. Fun characters.

    Courage the Cowardly Dog is usually my go to.

    The Fred Quimby Tom and Jerry shows were amazing.

    Scooby-Doo Doo Where Are You? Is still one of my all time faves.
    Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated is a modern spin with an over arching story. Pretty good and gets pretty deep.

    If you dig vampire stories, What We Do in the Shadows oozes with cartoon energy—great core characters, silly premises, supernatural practical effects, goofy voices and great world building.


    Freakazoid is that weird kind of show that somehow dug its way so deep into my brain that I will sometimes just be sitting around doing not so much when some joke from that show bubbles up in my brain and I start cackling like a maniac.

    The Tick, too. And Dexter's Lab and Powerpuff Girls. Probably could just watch these for the rest of my life.

    Love Avatar. Korra is kind of a weird one. When it's good, it's great. But when it's bad, it's real bad. I think the foundational ideas and goals of the show were admirable and held lots of potential, but I think the show often flubbed the execution. Also, considering how solid I felt the worldbuilding was in Avatar, Korra felt a lot squishier at times.

    A show that seemed designed for me specifically to hate but that I actually came to love is Big Mouth. It may be the grossest tv show I can think of though.

    @“connierad”#p82157 it's all explained in a Citizen article that ran before it premiered!

    Click the jpeg below for the original (if the link wasn't temporary and died because my library session timed out):


    [[upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/EifVuzg.jpeg]](https://media.proquest.com/media/hms/FULL/uL5sK?cit%3Apg=59&_a=ChgyMDIyMDgxODE5MzUzNjA4MDo4MDIzMTQSBTQxNzkyGgpPTkVfU0VBUkNIIg8xNDIuMTIyLjEyNi4yMzcqBzQ1NDQyOTEyCjIzMzkyMzIzNTY6D1NpbmdsZVBhZ2VJbWFnZUIBMFIGT25saW5lWgJJUGIERlVMTGoKMjAwMS8wNC8xMnIKMjAwMS8wNC8xMnoAggElUC0xMDA5NzI0LTQ2NTI2LUNVU1RPTUVSLW51bGwtNjMzNzMxMJIBBk9ubGluZcoBVE1vemlsbGEvNS4wIChNYWNpbnRvc2g7IEludGVsIE1hYyBPUyBYIDEwLjE1OyBydjoxMDMuMCkgR2Vja28vMjAxMDAxMDEgRmlyZWZveC8xMDMuMNIBFUhpc3RvcmljYWwgTmV3c3BhcGVyc5oCB1ByZVBhaWSqAidPUzpFTVMtUGFnZUxldmVsSW1hZ2VQZGYtZ2V0SW1hZ2VTb3VyY2XKAgROZXdz0gIBWfICAPoCAU6CAwNXZWKKAxxDSUQ6MjAyMjA4MTgxOTM1MzYwODA6NzcxODA1&_s=rh4Zbfj4p5x5wgaaiRqLLWfV%2FHQ%3D)

    I found the date for that article on a fansite for the show, where can also be found [this weird page](https://www.untalkativebunny.com/vowel.html) about Canadian English vowel pronunciation **"for the purpose of episode re-enactments."** Ok.

    This show is unfortunately another example of partially lost media, I found out. More info [here](https://lostmediawiki.com/Untalkative_Bunny_(partially_found_episodes_of_animated_series;_2001-2004)) including a link to a recently recovered episode!

    @"穴"#p82088 I feel so bad for missing out on Avatar. I had these friends at the time it was on that were super intense about it and that turned me off even giving it a chance. One of them did the same thing for me with the Adventure Time pilot, by watching it multiple times a day in class until I hated it, but I eventually came around on the show itself.

    Later for some reason I skipped straight to watching Korra instead and was really disappointed! One of these days I'm gonna watch Avatar, I swear!!!

    I truly love Avatar…and I've actually never been able to make it past the middle of the first season of Korra. I gotta give it a real try sometime.

    Avatar is awesome. It's silly and fun and then, occasionally, deathly serious. And it never manages to fuck up the way it shifts tones.

    The writing is as good as a sitcom! That may sound like a bad thing, but I mean it as the highest compliment!

    @“connrrr”#p82126 Thanks for this - seems cool! Found a collection on archive.org and just got it

    i love avatar and korra, they are some of my favorite tv shows in general, i‘m young enough that i could’ve watched avatar as a kid when as it was airing but i didn‘t have the discipline or whatever to keep up with a non-episodic show airing on tv. I watched both of them for the first time like 3 years ago and immediately went like "oh shit why didn’t i watch this as a child!"

    korra can be messy at times but i feel like knowing how rough the production of the show was makes it more interesting. that being said i was also having trouble remaining engaged at the beginning of season 2 the first time watching it.
    seasons 3 and 4 are phenomenal though.
    also i think the fact that the writers perhaps accidentally showed how the heroes of the first series grew to become huge >!neo-liberal industrialists cops!< is weirdly one of the series strengths somehow.
    even knowing that avatar is technically the better show and has a better world, i still prefer korra for a how weird it is.

    i love these shows so much that i have watched them in 4 different dubs each just for fun lol

    oh and korra also has windjammers as a sport in one episode @"穴"#p54959

    That neoliberal cop aspect is probably the subtle thesis of the show. Korra's arc is so tied to the futility of purity and the failings of centralized authority and power. I think it sometimes becomes muddled because the bad guys are often sort of the good guys trying to unshackle humanity from authoritarianism.

    And, yeah, I forgive Korra for a lot of the execution because they seemed to never know how many episodes they'd have left or what the budget for new episodes, if allowed to make them, would have.

    Avatar definitely benefits from telling one story paid out over three seasons. Korra had to throw together a series finale on the fly at the end of every season.

    Season three is so good, though! I'd put that season above anything from Avatar.