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We finally made it! Here, I’ll be reviewing the top 20 Saturday morning cartoons that impacted me as a child. I’ve loved these episodes when I was a kid, and I still love them now. If there was a TV channel that only aired Saturday morning cartoons, I’d make sure that these cartoons pass an episode threshold because I experience nothing but nostalgia and good memories from watching these cartoons.


#20 Ren and Stimpy

  • Created by: John Kricfalusi
  • Channel: Nickelodeon
  • Release: August 1991 – December 1995
  • On August 11, 1991, three cartoons aired on Nickelodeon: Ren and Stimpy, Rugrats, and Doug.

    Together, the three cartoons represent the Freudian trio. The first cartoon I’ll talk about is Ren and Stimpy, the “id” of the first three original Nicktoons. I have mixed emotions about this show. Keep in mind that Ren and Stimpy already ended by the time I was born, so I never got to watch it when I was a kid, but I learned about the show years later, watched a few episodes, and everything about the show is insane!

    Unlike many of the other Nicktoons I grew up watching, Ren and Stimpy has a premise that doesn’t make sense. The titular characters include Ren – a psychotic chihuahua who speaks in a Hungarian accent (impersonating Peter Lorre), and Stimpy – a dumb, obese cat with a brain the size of a peanut.

    Many episodes of Ren and Stimpy contain gross-out humor and disturbing imagery, something you wouldn’t find in a children’s show. This show received so much controversy for its off-color humor and sexual innuendos. Even though the show mostly focused on Ren and Stimpy, there were a handful of side characters like the Powdered Toastman, who looks like a parody of a breakfast advertising mascot. On top of that, there was Horse – an early design for Bojack Horseman, and Muddy Mudskipper – the estranged cousins of Ed and Beverly Bighead.

    Despite Ren and Stimpy being an incredibly controversial animated show, I still loved it and it developed a cult following among viewers. Never in my life did I see something as fresh and as off-the-wall as Ren and Stimpy, and for a kid’s show, they were really pushing the envelope.

    I feel like this show could’ve worked better if it ran on MTV like Beavis and Butthead, but Nickelodeon was the gold standard of channels featuring cartoons. This show was primarily responsible for my twisted sense of humor. A revival of this show, Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon aired on Spike TV in the early 2000s, and the show was even more fucked up.

    Sick and twisted shock gags do not make a cartoon any funnier. I’m dead serious. Also, Nicktoons is releasing a Roger Rabbit-like movie featuring all the classic Nicktoons characters and there have been rumors that Ren and Stimpy won’t make it into the movie. I’m not super hung up about Ren and Stimpy not appearing in the movie, but I’d rather see them than SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward.

    Everything about this show was dysfunctional, and that’s what made Ren and Stimpy great. Has anybody actually taught their grandmother to suck eggs?

#19 The Harlem Globetrotters

  • Created by: Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera
  • Channel: CBS
  • Release: September 1970 – September 1972
  • For a long time, I had apathy for sports.

    It wasn’t until high school that I truly began enjoying sports. Firstly, all my friends played sports, and secondly, I was a dude, and I was under the impression that any guy who didn’t like sports was stigmatized as “gay.”  But we were high schoolers, of course we were judgmental back then!

    My favorite sport is basketball. I love basketball because the sport is very fun, gives you a rush of energy, and basically an excuse to get loose. The main objective of the sport is to throw an orange ball into a hoop while simultaneously blocking your opponents from grabbing the ball. I also enjoy telling jokes. Combine these two elements together, and you have The Harlem Globetrotters, the only major basketball team that’s not a part of the NBA. They were so popular, Hanna-Barbera gave them their very own cartoon.

    Remember when I said that Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids was the first SMC to feature a predominantly black cast? Well, I take that back, because The Harlem Globetrotters was actually the very first Saturday morning cartoon with a predominantly black cast.

    None of the Globetrotters voiced themselves, but they brought in Scatman Crothers to do the voice of Meadowlark Lemon, and Crothers is hilarious as always.

    Stu Gilliam voices Curly Neal, Robert DoQui voices Pablo Robertson, and Johnny Williams voices Hubert “Geese” Ausbie.  Most of Hanna-Barbera’s cartoons from the ‘70s were forgettable and cheap, but this cartoon was really good and there’s a lot of chemistry between each of the characters.

    Like many Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the ‘60s and ‘70s, this show contained a laugh track, and yeah, it can get annoying at times. This show had a funky theme song, and I mean FUNKY! Most of the music I listen to is from the late ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s, and I’m very fond of the time period when funk music was thriving and Soul Train was our form of entertainment.

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    Also, when are the Harlem Globetrotters gonna do their variation of the Harlem Shake?

#18 Beverly Hills Teens

  • Created by: Jack Olesker, Michael Maliani, Barry O’Brien
  • Channel: ABC
  • Release: September – December 1991
  • Beverly Hills is known for its smart people, luxurious houses and businesses, and obnoxious drivers.

    Imagine if there was a cartoon encompassing all of those descriptions. Well, there is a cartoon that features all of that, in the late ‘80s SMC Beverly Hills Teens. We’re all familiar with the sitcom Beverly Hills: 90210, but before Aaron Spelling brought that show to life, we got an obscure cartoon about a bunch of teens living the California life. It was produced by DIC Entertainment, and most of their cartoons were bland and insipid, but Beverly Hills Teens was a surprisingly good show.

    You ever heard the phrase “so bad, it’s good?”  No show fully matches that description that Beverly Hills Teens. It is the embodiment of every tacky aspect of the ‘80s, doesn’t know what kind of demographic it wants to appeal to, and the characters are generally one-dimensional. Despite all this, Beverly Hills Teens still manages to be very charming and can actually be really funny at times. What do we know about the characters? The main character of the show is Troy Jeffreys, and he’s supposed to be a jock but I honestly think he’s supposed to be the everyman.

    I can easily relate to Troy because he’s a good guy and admired by all of his peers. He’s dating Lark Tanner, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty who drives a pink Ferrari. I always thought Lark looked like the cartoon equivalent of my crush, but maybe it’s because she’s also blonde-haired, blue-eyed and good-looking.

    Other characters include an obnoxious boy named Pierce, a nerdy black girl named Shanelle, a geeky kid named Chester McTech, a gregarious girl named Blaze, a superficial brunette named Bianca, a surfer dude named Radley, an aspiring actress named Nikki, and a taxi driver named Wilshire Brentwood. If you’re a trust fund baby, you’ll probably like this show – but it was a very short-lived show and with 65 episodes for one season, it’s understandable why Gen Xers won’t remember this cartoon.

#17 Johnny Bravo

  • Created by: Van Partible
  • Channel: Cartoon Network
  • Release: July 1997 – August 2004
  • Before we talk about this cartoon, I’d like to point out that The Brady Bunch was the first to utilize that name.

    In the final season of The Brady Bunch, Greg is discovered by a talent agent, launching him a singing career. He picks the alter ego “Johnny Bravo.”  Fast forward two decades later, and a Filipino man has an idea for a cartoon about a buff Casanova wannabe. He’s got the charisma of Elvis Presley, and the muscles of Arnold Schwarzenegger. You ever had this friend from grade school who went on to become a college athlete and learn that he flunked his classes because he thinks athletics are a bigger priority than academics?

    Yeah, that’s Johnny Bravo. No lady wants to be with him, and not all women want strong, muscular men.

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    I will admit that I am currently single, and have been on multiple dates with a gorgeous girl (I’ll reveal her name for comparison purposes [and explain in depth why I want to date her] when I review my #1 cartoon), yet I’ve been oscillating whether or not I should convince her to be my girlfriend.

    I am totally aware that women are not objects, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Johnny Bravo, on the other hand, approaches women, immediately flirts with them, and gets rejected because they’re appalled by his self-centered demeanor. Like Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants and Doug, this show went through many changes. Halfway through Johnny Bravo’s run, Van Partible (the creator of Johnny Bravo) left the show and from there, the show went downhill.

    The animation changed, the episode plots became weaker, and Johnny Bravo became a straight moron. I will admit that Johnny Bravo can be really good at times – but mostly because some of the musical segments are homages to Schoolhouse Rock.

    Johnny Bravo isn’t a very interesting character, but I do like the side characters.

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    Carl is a nerdy guy who looks up to Johnny Bravo and definitely better-looking than Carl from ATHF.  Adam West voices a cartoon version of himself and a main contributor to the show’s humor. Bunny Bravo is Johnny’s loving mother who is probably a stay-at-home mom. Little Susie is a 10-year old girl from the neighborhood who likes to torment Johnny. These characters don’t get as much screen time as Johnny, but they’re still important characters on the show.

#16 Hong Kong Phooey

  • Created by: Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, Iwao Takamoto
  • Channel: ABC
  • Release: September – December 1974
  • Scatman Crothers was a legend.

    He voiced Scat Cat in The Aristocats, played Louie the Garbage Man on Chico and the Man, played Dick Halloran in The Shining, voiced Meadowlark Lemon in The Harlem Globetrotters cartoon, and now he’s voicing Hong Kong Phooey. This show centers around a mild-mannered dog named Penry Pooch who works as a janitor at a police station.

    I suppose they gave him that position because he’s a canine. But he’s not just any canine, he’s a canine who can do martial arts. Penry Pooch will always jump into a filing cabinet and disguise as his alter ego, Hong Kong Phooey.

    This was a very imaginative idea for a show, and there’ll never be a cartoon like Hong Kong Phooey. On top of that, Scatman Crothers sings the opening theme to this SMC. Many of the episodes focused on Penry Pooch/Hong Kong Phooey, but this show had a lot of side characters. You had Rosemary, the telephone operator, who seemed to have a crush on Penry, Sergeant Flint, Penry’s boss, and Spot, Penry’s feline friend. Hong Kong Phooey would drive a badass vehicle called the Phooeymobile.

    This vehicle is an homage to one of Hanna-Barbera’s earlier cartoons, Wacky Races. However, many cartoons featured distinctive vehicles.

    Scooby-Doo had the Mystery Machine, Inspector Gadget had the Gadgetmobile, and Batman had the Batmobile. Despite Hong Kong Phooey being proficient in martial arts, it was Spot who did most of the work. That’s about as convincing as Thomas Edison claiming he invented electricity when in actuality it was Nikola Tesla. For a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, HKP only ran for 16 episodes, but to be fair, they were divided into two segments.

    The two segments in each episode were totally unrelated to each other, but maybe that’s what made this show very great. People remember HKP for being incredibly imaginative.

#15 Rugrats

  • Created by: Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo, Paul Germain
  • Channel: Nickelodeon
  • Release: August 1991 – August 2004
  • You all saw this cartoon coming… When I was growing up, Rugrats was the king of animated cartoons and there’s evidence of that.

    The cartoon’s success led to three theatrical movies and a spinoff series called All Grown Up, which depicted the Rugrats as teenagers.

    On top of that, Rugrats received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Along with Ren and Stimpy and Doug, this was one of the three original Nicktoons that premiered on August 11, 1991 – and I’d like to call this the “ego” of the original three Nicktoons. This was one of the very first cartoons to be created by a Hungarian-American, and by Hungarian, I mean, he was born in Hungary – his name is Gabor Csupo.

    I’m glad I watched this show when I was younger because I was a toddler and the main characters on the show happened to be toddlers. One thing I’ve always noticed about the show is that the adults never pay attention to their children. Granted, they were not perfect parents, and were much better role models compared to Peter and Lois Griffin from Family Guy, or Randy and Sharon Marsh from South Park, but they never took the time to supervise their kids.

    Even though the parents truly cared about their children, they always relied on Dr. Lipschitz. That’s real mature of you, Klasky-Csupo. Honestly, there are a lot of adult jokes that get past the censors. Remember that episode when Grandpa Lou made a porno joke after admitting that he rented Lonely Space Vixens?

    I can’t believe what I was watching. This show had a unique theme song done entirely on synthesizer by the musicians of DEVO, and a colorful cast of characters. Tommy was the hero, Chuckie was the smart coward, Phil and Lil were the twins and Angelica was the bitch.

    As the series progressed, Susie was the token black character and the voice of reason, Tommy gained a younger brother named Dil, and Chuckie gained a stepsister named Kimi. While the kids were cute and innocent, I really liked the adults.

    Stu is a purple-haired, unsuccessful inventor, Didi is a housemaker with the hair the shape of Texas, Charlotte is a businesswoman always talking on her cell phone and cheating on her husband with a guy named Jonathan, Drew is an accountant, Howard is a sissy, Betty is a badass feminist and Chaz is a bureaucrat.

    Also, why haven’t they put Grandpa Lou in a retirement home yet? One thing I’ve noticed in the show is they’d do an extreme-close up of something, and then eventually zoom out to show us what it is. It didn’t bother me as a kid, but I did find it awkward. This show lasted a mighty long time too, from 1991 to 2004, and that’s pretty impressive, because the show mostly revolved around toddlers and their imaginations.

#14 Dexter’s Laboratory

  • Created by: Genndy Tartakovsky
  • Channel: Cartoon Network
  • Release: April 1996 – November 2003
  • Dexter’s Laboratory was one of my favorite cartoons growing up.

    It centered around an 8-year old boy who has a clandestine science laboratory hidden behind a bookcase in his bedroom. The main conflict of the show revolves around him getting bothered by his older sister, Dee Dee, and trying to kick her out of his laboratory.

    Did I just review a cartoon that had a character named Didi? Granted, they’re different spellings, but pronounced exactly the same. Also, Dexter looks like Chuckie and is voiced by the same woman who voiced Chuckie: Christine Cavanaugh.

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    Dexter doesn’t sound entirely like Chuckie though – in fact, he speaks in a very thick Russian accent. That’s because the creator, Genndy Tartakovsky is a native Russian.

    I can easily relate to Dexter because I was a very brainy kid, even at a young age. I was diagnosed with hyperlexia, and then with Asperger’s, and those mental illnesses heavily contribute to my intelligence. Dexter and Dee Dee live with their parents, and they’re seriously one of the best cartoon couples displayed on Saturday morning television. Sure, they weren’t nerdy like Dexter, and were totally unaware about Dexter having a secret laboratory behind his bookshelf, but they truly loved each other and treated each other with kindness and respect.

    Dexter’s Laboratory was the very first original cartoon on Cartoon Network. It’s an homage to all things nerdy – it had video games, books, board games, mysteries, space adventures, aliens, super heroes and robots. In terms of style, the animation was a bit simplistic but still creative at the same time. Come to think of it, I feel like Dexter’s Laboratory takes place in the same universe as Rugrats, but focusing on Dexter (an expy of Chuckie) being a child genius.

    Isn’t Dee Dee a lot like Angelica, or the father a lot like Drew Pickles? Hell, even Stu Pickles was a bit of a nerd by working on inventions in his basement. I can’t believe I’m just now realizing the similarities. I would like to see Dexter’s Laboratory do a crossover episode with Family Guy sometime in the future.

    I honestly think Dexter and Stewie Griffin would get along great.

#13 Pokémon

  • Created by: Satoshi Tajiri
  • Channel: Kids WB
  • Release: April 1997 – present
  • This was a big part of my childhood.

    My brother got me hooked on the video game, which led to a card game, which led to a multi-million-dollar franchise that still exists today. The video games were the best part about the franchise, and one of the few things that made the franchise salvageable. I’m originally against cartoons based off video games, but as a kid, I actually liked the Pokémon anime – at least during the Kanto and Johto seasons. Once they eradicated Misty and replaced her with May, I quit watching this show.

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    As you can tell, I’m a diehard Pokémon fan. I was in the first grade when Pokémon was popular. My friends and I would constantly talk about Pokémon during lunch and recess. I grew up, stopped watching Pokémon for a while, re-watched the classic episodes many years later, and while it’s still good and the definition of nostalgia, I understand why so many people didn’t like this show.

    The characters were kind of flat and didn’t have as much personality as characters from Dr. Suess books, the jokes were unfunny, and the fact that Pokémon communicate by repeatedly saying their name gets incredibly annoying.

    The nomenclature for many of the Pokémon names derive from portmanteaus. For instance, “Squirtle” is a portmanteau of the words, “squirt” and “turtle.”  They all represented some sort of species, plant, robot or object.

    The characters are somewhat admirable. Ash Ketchum is the protagonist of the show, and he’s probably a Japanese-American, seeing how the anime was based on a video game made in Japan. His best friend is a former Gym Leader named Brock, who specializes in rock-type Pokémon. I never understood why he has squinty eyes.

    If Brock is also supposed to be Asian, congratulations, you’re fucking racist. They are joined by another former Gym Leader, a female one named Misty – who specializes in water-type Pokemon. She reminds me of my friend Merrill with her strawberry blonde hair and Daisy Dukes. Oddly enough, there actually is a Pokémon named Marill, and, you guessed it, he’s a water-type. For some reason, Misty always had anger issues, especially when Psyduck inadvertently came out of her Pokéball.

    This raises the question, “why did you bother catching Psyduck if you knew he was gonna get on your nerves?”  Also, I’m not sure if Pikachu is a boy or a girl, but like most cartoon characters, it’s hinted that Pikachu is a dude. He looks like a rat dipped in cheese, but is actually an electric-type mouse. Ash will sometimes have encounters with a douchebag named Gary Oak, whose name sounds like “karaoke.”  We get it Pokémon, you’re a Japanese product.

    Brock spends much of his time flirting with Nurse Joy, Officer Jenny, or any other attractive female. I blame Brock for my Casanova demeanor. Most of the conflict on the show centers around Team Rocket, a villainous trio based off of Dick Hickok and Perry Smith from Truman Capote’s magnum opus, In Cold Blood.

    The humans are named Jessie and James (a nod to the famous outlaw), accompanied by their feline sidekick, Meowth, who can somehow talk. Chaos ensues whenever they appear, because they want to steal Pikachu. Also, how the hell can they afford all the Meowth hot-air balloons if they get blown up in many episodes?

    Here’s another piece of trivia for all you Pokémon enthusiasts: the fighting Pokemon, “Hitmonchan” and “Hitmonlee” are named after Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee.

#12 Jonny Quest

  • Created by: Doug Wildey
  • Channel: ABC
  • Release: September 1964 – March 1965
  • I fucking loved this show growing up.

    Jonny Quest was the first Hanna-Barbera cartoon to realistically depict human characters in a science fiction environment. Jonny Quest is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy who travels the world with his father, Dr.

    Benton Quest. They are joined by Roger “Race” Bannon – a friend of Dr. Quest, Hadji – the token Indian character, and Bandit, the family dog. Where’s the mother? Are Jonny’s parents divorced? Is she dead? I would appreciate it if someone gave me an explanation. Jonny Quest was my dad’s favorite cartoon when he was younger, and this show was intended for both an adult and kid audience. This was the very first cartoon where the humans looked like actual humans, and unlike many Hanna-Barbera cartoons, this one focused less on slapstick and more on an action-adventure story.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love slapstick comedy, but it was nice to see Hanna-Barbera do something totally different for once. This cartoon was probably the precursor to the 1966 film Fantastic Voyage.

    Jonny Quest only lasted for one season and 26 episodes, but a reincarnation eventually made its way to the television screen in the late ‘80s, almost destroying the franchise.

    Strangely, the ‘80s revival of Jonny Quest looks more like a Hanna-Barbera cartoon than the original ‘60s version. The characters were very likable. I think Jonny Quest is a great role model, despite being a young boy. He can pick up a talent and just dominate it – whether it’s scuba diving, firing a gun or doing karate.

    On top of that, he’s a very mature character with good morals.

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    Benton is a very conscientious dad and he works as a scientist. For some reason, Benton reminds me of an adult Archie. Hadji is your typical Indian character who introduces elements of mysticism via his abilities of levitation and hypnotism.

    Despite the show having many flaws, Jonny Quest did raise the bar when it came to animation and story. It also demonstrated that it was possible to make an animated show that would appeal to grown-ups.

    Not every cartoon is a cookie-cutter process where the parents are useless, the children are the heroes, and the animals are incredibly zany. Jonny Quest was an incredible show, and definitely a cartoon that my children will watch.

#11 DuckTales

  • Created by: Jymn Magon
  • Channel: The Disney Afternoon
  • Release: September 1987 – November 1990
  • In 1987, Disney struck gold and created a cartoon that centered around Scrooge McDuck watching over Donald Duck’s nephews: Huey, Dewey and Louie.

    I mostly remember the show for the catchy-as-hell theme song, but it was the first Disney animated television show that was worthy of Disney’s legacy. Cartoons prior to DuckTales were low budget – and used limited animation, sometimes recycling the animation. This is why Robin Hood borrows many elements from The Jungle Book.

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    This is why the backgrounds on The Flintstones aren’t as impressive as in movies like The Lion King. Scrooge McDuck is responsible for supervising Huey, Dewey and Louie, because Donald Duck ships off to the Navy. That makes perfect sense, because Donald Duck wears a sailor’s hat, a blue blazer, a bow tie and no pants.

    You’re probably wondering how to tell Huey, Dewey and Louie apart, and I’ve got an explanation: Huey wears red because “red” is the brightest of all the hues, Dewey wears blue because “dew” is water, and water is blue, and that leaves Louie, and “leaves” are green. I think there’s another trio of cartoon characters that wear red, blue and green shirts. That’s right, they’re basically Alvin and the Chipmunks, except they’re ducks and they don’t sing. We get a lot of great secondary characters like Gyro Gearloose – the inventor duck, a butler named Duckworth, who is surprisingly, not a duck, Launchpad McQuack – the aviator who would go on to appear in Darkwing DuckThe Beagle Boys – two brothers who want to rob Scrooge McDuck of his fortune, Flintheard McGold – Scrooge’s rival and the second richest duck in the world, and El Capitán, who is probably the coolest character in the entire show.

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    Seriously though, El Capitán is essentially McGruff the Crime Dog if he joined the cartel. Like everybody else on the show, he’s searching for gold. Dude, this isn’t the California Gold Rush of 1849, you can’t live your life consumed by money. I loved El Capitán, he was really funny and spoke with a Spanish accent while simultaneously talking in cursive. For some reason, I always liked the villains of Disney cartoons and movies, because they had more depth than the actual characters themselves.

    Even though the focus of the story continues to reward the 1% percent, this show has left a legacy and redefined Disney’s image. While The Gummi Bears started the Disney Afternoon, DuckTales perfected it. Everything about this animated show is stellar.

    Cartoons were very expensive to make, but Disney threw money and actual effort into the show, and as a result, DuckTales became a phenomenon. From a technical perspective, DuckTales was leagues above anything else, and that drew a crowd. Local television channels were drawn to this show, and paid the premium to air it.

    Disney made a gamble by investing millions of dollars into DuckTales and its production: a combination of semi-familiar and brand new characters, avant-garde stories and the insanely catchy theme song.

    DuckTales seriously broke new ground, and the success of the show led to a spinoff series called Darkwing Duck, and other action-adventure animated shows such as GargoylesChip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers and TaleSpin. It was so nice to see Disney proving to be the gold standard of animation.

    However, Disney was not the only major company to redefine animation. Onto the next cartoon!

#10 Looney Tunes

  • Created by: Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, David DePatie, Friz Freleng, Bob Givens, Bugs Hardaway, Chuck Jones, Michael Maltese, Robert McKimson
  • Channel: ABC, NBC, CBS
  • Release: 1930 – 1969
  • I love the Looney Tunes.

    They’re very funny, but can also be passive-aggressive. Two major companies were the frontrunners of Golden Age animation: Disney and Warner Bros. You all know Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy, but there were other characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig.

    Unlike Disney, which did a good job at balancing the male to female ratio, Looney Tunes had a distinct lack of female characters.

    In other words, Looney Tunes is essentially one big sausage fest. Yeah, there were a few female Looney Tunes characters that existed at the time, but they weren’t enough to truly represent the Looney Tunes franchise.

    There were only four virtually known female Looney Tunes characters that existed during the Golden Age: GrannyWitch Hazel, Penelope Pussycat and Petunia Pig.  While these characters were good, I didn’t find them very interesting. Later on, animators went on to add Lola Bunny and Melissa Duck as counterparts to Bugs and Daffy.

    I really liked both of these characters, but it did make me realize that they looked more like sex symbols than actual women, and I despise the objectification of women. Thankfully, The Looney Tunes Show, the most recent revival of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons, dispels the stereotype, and not only adds many other female characters to the show, but actually gives them personalities outside of being attractive female characters.

    There’s some debate over whether Tweety is a boy or a girl, and despite sounding like a girl, it’s been confirmed that Tweety is male.

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    I always thought Road Runner and Wiley Coyote were really awesome characters, with much of the humor involving the latter chasing the former. Foghorn Leghorn is a chicken based directly off of Senator Claghorn, a blustery, Southern politician played by Kenny Delmar on the WWII radio show The Fred Allen Show. Elmer Fudd is a bald hunter always trying to murder Bugs Bunny, Sylvester is a black and white cat whose culinary claim to fame is Sufferin’ Succotash, and Yosemite Sam is a famous outlaw who looks like an expy of one of the Seven Dwarves.

    Other characters include Speedy Gonzales, a racist Mexican stereotype, and Marvin the Martian, an alien from Mars. While most people credit Chuck Jones as the animator for all the Looney Tunes characters, there were many other animators who contributed.

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    Tex Avery is responsible for creating Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck; Friz Freleng is responsible for creating Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, Sylvester, Speedy Gonzales and Granny, Bob Clampett is responsible for creating Tweety Bird, and Robert McKimson is responsible for creating Foghorn Leghorn and Taz, who looks absolutely nothing like a Tasmanian devil.

    They brought comedy to the big screen.

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    Yeah, there wasn’t a whole lot of slapstick comedy and most of their comedy revolved around the words they would say to one another in between the violence, but these cartoons drew big crowds and attracted both children and adults. Another thing worth mentioning is that all the Looney Tunes are voiced by the prolific Mel Blanc, who has received the nickname “The Man of A Thousand Voices.”  For many of us, Looney Tunes was the very first thing we watched.

    They’ve been there for us through thick and thin, and in a way, the characters have taught us to be ourselves.

    The Looney Tunes were all so distinctive, they stood out from the rest of the crowd. There will never be another cartoon character as clever as Bugs Bunny, as smart-alecky as Daffy Duck, or as tenacious as Wiley Coyote. What the hell is acne?

    I’m pretty sure the best well-known company in the Looney Tunes franchise is Acme! On top of that, they’re the only cartoon characters who got to meet Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time.

    That’s right, Space Jam was a great movie. Why? Because it combines the Looney Tunes with Michael Jordan, and honestly, that’s as great of a combination as chicken and waffles!

#9 Rocket Power

  • Created by: Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo
  • Channel: Nickelodeon
  • Release: August 1999 – July 2004
  • Rocket Power is one of those shows that hasn’t aged gracefully.

    It’s one of those shows that came from focus groups. It’s the late ’90s, what do children enjoy doing in their spare time? Well, they enjoy skateboarding, surfing, riding bikes and roller skating, throw in some totally rad lingo, and you’ve got Rocket Power! This show is supposed to capture the essence and folly of the ’90s, but it’s honestly more of a 2000’s show – kind of like how Saved by the Bell is supposed to capture the ’80s, but was made in the ’90s.

    The only difference is, Rocket Power doesn’t take place in a high school building, it takes place around the Santa Monica Pier. I understand that the ’90s were a time of anti-authority, and it’s demonstrated well in Goof Troop, but this show is filled with every typical ’90s cliché.

    Despite the show’s flaws, I truly love this cartoon and it was one of the shows I always looked forward to watching when I was a kid. The leader of the gang is Otto and he’s incredibly pompous, always getting in trouble. I’m not sure what Otto’s ethnicity is supposed to be, but from the looks of it, I’m gonna take a wild guess and say he’s Native Hawaiian, as evidenced by his dark skin and reddish-brown dreadlocks.

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    Yeah, his father is 100% white, but Klasky-Csupo animators took the John Redcorn approach (those who watched King of the Hill will know that Dale is Joseph’s father, but his actual father was a Native American) and therefore establishing that Ray is Otto and Reggie’s non-biological father.

    Oh yeah, Reggie is Otto’s older sister and the token girl of the group. Not to be sexist, but she was probably the least interesting character in the entire series. She didn’t have much of a personality outside of being a tomboy. Otto’s best friend is Twister.

    I know that’s not his birth name, but really, Twister? Does he enjoy playing the Twister board game? Nonetheless, he’s a fucking moron, but a very proficient videographer. Last, but not least, you have the nerd, Sam, and apparently he’s from Kansas. You should be glad your family relocated to Santa Monica, California! Aside from the four kids, adults who regularly appear in Rocket Power are Ray, the strict but loving father of Reggie and Otto, and Tito, my favorite character on the show and the most philosophical character I’ve seen in a Klasky-Csupo cartoon.

    Together, they run a restaurant called The Shore Shack. Is this show any good? Yes, it’s actually really awesome and definitely one of my favorite cartoons growing up! However, I am also aware that this TV show has a shit ton of flaws worth noticing.

    Even though Otto is a jackass, a loose cannon and a truant, he does have redeemable qualities and legitimately learns from his mistakes. Being a little boy when this show aired, I wasn’t as concerned with how “EXTREME” Klasky-Csupo tried to be when animating this show, and enjoyed it because it caught my attention and it reminded me of the vacation to Corpus Christi during the Summer of 2000. My uncle was a hardcore surfer, sometimes comparing himself to Miki Dora.

    Come to think of it, this was the very first cartoon where a character wore a camcorder attached to his helmet. In other words, the four members of “Rocket Power” practically “invented” the GoPro. I love using my GoPro. I used it when I went to the lake this summer. I wore a headstrap that tightly held the GoPro and caught a lot of footage while I was riding the jet ski with my stepdad and brother.

    Despite the fact that Twister is stupid, he is a decent videographer and pretty much the reason why the GoPro became an invention.

    I still haven’t seen the episode where the characters skate with Tony Hawk, and if anybody knows the name of the episode, please leave it in the comments below, because I’m dying to see that episode. I wouldn’t say that any of the characters on the show were positive role models, but compared to the cast of Jersey Shore, they’re wonderful.

    For all the slang that’s being thrown at us nowadays, I’m surprised “shoobies” isn’t a very popular buzzword.

#8 The Magic School Bus

  • Created by: Joanna Cole, Bruce Degen
  • Channel: PBS Kids
  • Release: September 1994 – December 1997
  • The Magic School Bus was a very educational cartoon and it made learning fun.

    Based on the children’s books distributed by Scholastic, The Magic School Bus featured a diverse class of eight children, going on adventures with the absent-minded and eccentric Mrs. Frizzle, voiced by Lily Tomlin. One thing I will admit is that Lily Tomlin does an outstanding job voicing Mrs. Frizzle, and it’s hard to imagine any other actress doing the voice for the character. Every time I think of Tomlin, I immediately think of Mrs.

    Frizzle. Let’s talk about the characters before we talk about the episodes themselves. Arnold is a bespectacled American Jew of Hungarian descent who spends the majority of his time conquering his fears.

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    Dorothy Ann is a Swedish-American girl who always has a book in her hands. Carlos is a Mexican-American boy who enjoys telling jokes, but most of the time, they backfire, prompting the rest of the students to groan “CARLOS!”  To be fair, he makes a lot of corny puns and none of the other characters genuinely enjoy his sense of humor. Wanda is the Chinese-American tomboy who is more adventurous than Julie from The Puzzle Place.

    Phoebe is the Irish-American new student in Mrs. Frizzle’s class and doesn’t have much of a personality outside of being a stereotypical nice girl. Tim is the African-American, and honestly, my favorite character on the show. I could totally relate to him with his propensity for drawing, and the fact that he always made astute observations.

    Keesha is the other African-American, and the queen of sarcasm. Last, but not least, there’s Ralphie – an Italian-American and the class athlete. I probably wouldn’t recognize him without his red backwards hat. Every episode involved Mrs.

    Frizzle taking her class on exotic field trips to educate them about science. It’s probable that her students now have PTSD. Yeah, it seems tacky to diagnose fictional characters with mental illnesses, but some of the field trips they went on were insane.

    The Magic School Bus also taught me about responsibility. When I was younger, I repeatedly watched a video called “Kids for Character” which would feature different segments based on the Six Pillars of Character, and the Magic School Bus demonstrated Responsibility.

    Here in this segment, Arnold is caught in the girls’ bathroom, and inadvertently leaves Mrs. Frizzle’s keys in there. Miraculously, Mrs. Frizzle has a spare key and during their field trip to “Waterland”, Liz (Mrs.

    Frizzle’s pet lizard) saves the day by grabbing Mrs. Frizzle’s keys. During that moment, Arnold learns a valuable lesson and comes to the realization that it’s important to take care of things you borrow from other people. Before I conclude this review of this educational show, I would like to say that this show has the best theme song ever!

    That’s Little Richard doing the theme song, and he’s one of the pioneers of rock and roll who is still alive to this day! Yeah, most of the lyrics don’t make sense in context, but I can’t help but enjoy listening to this kickass theme song. Navigate a nostril? Check. Spank a plankton too?

    Check. Raft a river of lava? Check.

#7 Scooby-Doo

  • Created by: Joe Ruby, Ken Spears, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera
  • Channel: CBS
  • Release: September 1969 – November 1978
  • Scooby-Doo was a cartoon that I always looked forward to watching.

    It had a great cast of characters who would always solve mysteries together. Growing up with this cartoon, I loved trying to figure out the mystery and admired the fact that each character represented a different aspect of the team, Mystery Inc.

    Here’s everything you need to know about all the characters: Fred is the perpetual bachelor, the leader of the gang, divides up the responsibilities and chooses how they will split up to look for clues – he is voiced by Frank Welker. Daphne is the clumsy, attractive girl who always ends up in sticky situations; however, her independence and intuition compel her to figure out the case – she is voiced by Heather North.

    Velma is the nearsighted, smart girl who looks at everything from a logical perspective, being the most-level headed of the five. Come to think of it, my father remarried a woman who looks distressingly like Velma.

    I mean, my stepmother does have a lesbian sister, and Velma is speculated to be a lesbian, therefore it’s a comparison worth mentioning. Also, Velma is voiced by Nicole Jaffe. Then, of course, there’s Shaggy and Scooby-Doo. I can’t even split these characters up because they have the closest relationship of any of the characters. They love to eat “Scooby snacks” and they’re often seen as the ones who are easily frightened, but they’re still merry participants in the mystery solving schemes.

    Shaggy is a stoner, voiced by Casey Kasem. He’s got a goatee and is often characterized by his green V-neck and red bell bottoms. That might serve as an explanation for why I have a thing for YC chicks in flare jeans! Scooby-Doo, on the other hand, is voiced by Don Messick. He’s a Great Dane. Scooby-Doo had many incarnations and went through various retools over the decades, yet it has survived long enough to outlive all of its original creators, two of the five original voice actors, and the very studio responsible for it.

    You may be thinking, isn’t this a Hanna-Barbera cartoon?

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    Well, yeah, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera helped develop this show and oversaw the production of episodes, but Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, two animators who are still alive today, created the show. The show centered around four teenagers road-tripping in a wickedly awesome van called the “Mystery Machine.”  The van is a huge part of their identity as detectives, and ultimately, their unity and their connection to the vehicle helps them solve their mysteries.

    The main plot of the show involved the gang solving a mystery involving some form of spooky monster, after the Mystery Machine breaks down. This leads them to fighting scary ghosts and monsters, and conquering their fears. Towards the end of each episode, the instigator is revealed and unmasked, and he/she happens to be a seemingly innocuous deviant who was disguising as a ghost/monster and scaring people solely to cover up a crime.

    Sometimes it was an adult male, sometimes it was an adult female, sometimes it was a little kid, and sometimes, it was Scrappy-Doo. OMG, I hate this little turd. Scrappy-Doo was Scooby-Doo’s annoying little nephew who would rush into situations and directly fight the monsters, and naturally, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy would have to rescue him. To be fair, he does mature as the series progresses.

    He’s basically your annoying younger cousin who tends to get on people’s nerves but doesn’t do anything about it. Surprisingly, Scrappy-Doo was a likable character in three made-for-television films: Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo BrothersScooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, and Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf.

    Scrappy-Doo is a perfect example of how yappy small dogs are. Bis the Affenpinscher, while incredibly small, dispels the stereotype, yet gets anxious and lonely whenever Colin leaves for long periods of time. Scooby-Doo was an awesome cartoon that is just as good now as it was when I was younger, because it used a formula that hasn’t been done before, and pushed the boundaries of Saturday morning cartoons.

    If it weren’t for Scooby-Doo, I probably wouldn’t know what marijuana is, as this cartoon depicted Shaggy as a stoner, representing a man of the 60s/70s!

    Catch Scooby and the gang at Woodstock this weekend!

#6 Rocko’s Modern Life

  • Created by: Joe Murray
  • Channel: Nickelodeon
  • Release: September 1993 – November 1996
  • This was a very unique show, and the fourth in the Nicktoons lineup.

    Rocko’s Modern Life was a little bit like Ren and Stimpy, but not nearly as controversial. The only way I can describe this show is that it’s basically all three original Nicktoons combined into one.

    It has the gross-up humor of Ren and Stimpy, the crazy storylines and sexual innuendos of Rugrats, and an admirable character like the “Superego” cartoon that is #5 on my list! The show stars a wallaby named Rocko, and his best friend, a small white dog named Spunky. He has some unusual friends: an obese bull named Heffer (I would say “cow”, but cows are strictly female) and a turtle named Filbert who looks like an aging Woody Allen.

    Most of the show’s conflict revolves around Rocko and his friends getting in disputes with Ed and Bev Bighead, who are about as cantankerous as the Grinch.

    It doesn’t surprise me that Joe Murray used Dr. Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmasas inspiration for two of the characters, because that book is already based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Rocko and his friends are always doing ordinary things, and are usually seen eating at Chokey Chicken, which is supposed to be a parody of KFC or Church’s Chicken.

    Many side characters contribute to their respective episodes, and one of those characters is, and I’m really not joking here, a psychotic mental patient rat named Dr. Bendova.

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    Really Nickelodeon, a prostate exam joke? In all honesty, this was a very wierd show, but I still loved it. I heard that this cartoon is getting a reboot, I checked out a video on YouTube, and while they improved the animation a lot, they stayed true to the classic 2D animation.

    Nickelodeon is finally getting their act together, and finding a way for all of us to relive our childhoods. Unlike many of the Nicktoons, Rocko’s Modern Life lasted a good four seasons, and didn’t annoyingly overstay like RugratsHey Arnold and fucking SpongeRobert SquarePants.  The entire show is basically just a nonstop joyride of hilariously ridiculous scenes somehow constructed together, followed by playful banter and dirty jokes.

    This show had so much adult humor, it would actually make the writers of Animaniacs blush at times by comparison. Not to mention that the voice actors, themselves, somehow manage to completely overact their parts yet nail them in just about every way possible. Rocko’s a very friendly wallaby, and much like Donald Duck or Winnie the Pooh, he doesn’t wear pants.

    The creation for this show had a very troubled history. About the time Joe Murray pitched his cartoon idea to Nickelodeon, and the network executives loved his idea, and thus, Rocko’s Modern Life was born.

    However, two months prior to the production of Season 1 for RML, Joe Murray’s wife took her own life. Why do people think it’s okay to kill themselves? Once you die, there’s no turning back. Maybe Rocko’s Modern Life was meant to be a creative outlet for Murray to express his feelings and become an even stronger person. Think about that. I honestly liked this cartoon a lot more than Ren and Stimpy because they didn’t go so far with their gross-out and off-color humor.

    On top of that, Rocko’s Modern Life was the very last original Nicktoon (subsequent Nicktoons like Hey Arnold, The Angry Beavers and Rocket Power were really good, but it was Spongebob SquarePants that brought down the hammer). The show landed in the middle of the decade’s cartoon renaissance, and remains a manic example of the subversive politics and aesthetics of a generation of children’s programming that seemed to rage itself out of existence.

    I say “raged out of existence” because Nickelodeon simply isn’t making shows like that anymore. In fact, Rocko’s Modern Life has become so hauntingly evocative for an era of TV that lampooned our media-soaked world, it singlehandedly predicted the excessive use of toilet humor and fart jokes in children’s cartoons. If you’re wondering what the “Superego” of the original three Nicktoons is, it’s time to review Doug!

#5 Doug

  • Created by: Jim Jinkins
  • Channel: Nickelodeon (original), ABC (retooled)
  • Release: August 1991 – January 1994 (Nickelodeon), September 1996 – June 1999 (ABC)
  • The last and the “Superego” of the original three Nicktoons, Doug centers around a 12-year old boy named Doug Funnie.

    The funny thing is, he’s mostly the straight man of the show. I loved Doug growing up. When I pledged Tau Kappa Epsilon during the Fall of 2013, my big’s name was Dougg, and I immediately asked him if he grew up watching this cartoon (and he excitedly said, “yes!”)  Doug is about as generic as you can imagine, and his sidekick is an Affenpinscher/Scottish terrier hybrid named Porkchop.

    The more I think about it, Doug really reminds me of Charlie Brown and Porkchop reminds me of Snoopy. At least Jinkins isn’t blatantly plagiarizing Schultz’s work. Each episode would contain two segments, and each segment would begin and end with Doug writing in his journal about his experiences.

    Owning a “diary” seemed kind of lame, but Doug made up for it with his awesome, banjo-plucking skills. Much like Rocko from Rocko’s Modern Life, he’s the new kid in Bluffington, and there he meets a bunch of different-colored people. I guess the different colors were meant to promote diversity. Skeeter Valentine is blue, but Jinkins is simply reimagining him as an African-American or a Native-American. I will admit that Skeeter is a funny name, and works well for a cartoon character, but naming your child that?

    He’ll probably hate you for the rest of your life, no joke. Doug has a crush on a yellow girl named Patty Mayonnaise, an athletic tomboy who is raised by a single father. It’s revealed in the series that Patty’s mother died in a car accident. Wow, one of the main characters’ parents dying in children’s animated shows is becoming a cliché, isn’t it?

    I really thought Patti Mayonnaise was a very confident character, and she’s a true friend to Doug. I sometimes wonder if Doug will ever ask Patti to be his girlfriend, but he’s in middle school and doesn’t need to worry about getting a girlfriend for another few years. Doug’s next door neighbor is a purple pedophile named Bud Dink, who’s always there to give Doug useful advice. When there’s a sex offender living next door to you, you’ve gotta notify the neighborhood!

    However, this was a kid’s show, and maybe I’m being a little too harsh. I just think he’s a wierd character and has this annoying laugh. On top of that, you had characters like Beebe Bluff (purple), Connie Benge (green), Chalky Studebaker (also green), Guy Graham (also purple), Principal Lamar Bone (light orange), Miss Wingo (also green) and Roger Klotz (also green), who looks like the male equivalent of the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz.

    Klotz singlehandedly predicted the “fade” hairstyle. Roger was a total asshole on the show, constantly picking on Doug and his friends.

    I also liked Doug’s family: his loving mother, workaholic father and beatnik older sister. Then, of course, there’s the memorable theme song, and probably the best thing about the show.

    The opening theme was so quirky and so unique, it stood out from all the other cartoon theme songs. Doug is a quiet, good-hearted boy who enjoys drawing, hanging out with friends and listening to music. Doug’s favorite band is The Beets, modeled after The Beatles. Yeah, I still jam to “Killer Tofu.”  In some episodes, Doug would dress up and pretend to be Quailman, whenever he had a problem to solve.

    The methods the hero uses are adapted to fit a real-life situation. Quailman, like many other existing superheroes, is based loosely on Superman. As you can tell, Doug had a vivid imagination.

    In all honesty, Doug was a very great show and I call this show the “Superego” of the original three Nicktoons because it had more depth and more lessons compared to Ren and Stimpy and Rugrats.

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    However, what goes up must eventually come down. After its initial run, the show was purchased and retooled by Disney, and they made so many changes, it was pretty much the end of Doug for me.

    The Beets broke up, the Honker Burger got shut down, Patti got a shorter haircut, Doug gained a younger sister named Cleopatra Dirtbike (yes, that’s her real name) who had no significance as a character, the memorable theme song was replaced with a new, whistling song that paled in comparison, Roger became rich after living in a trailer park, the episodes became full-length, 22-minute episodes and not split into two 11-minute segments, and Connie Benge lost weight.

    Did I like the Nickelodeon version of Doug? I loved it! What about the Disney version of Doug? No, things weren’t the same! It was really disappointing to see Disney butcher Doug, because this cartoon had so much potential in being successful, and it really worked, at least, when the cartoon ran on Nickelodeon.

#4 Schoolhouse Rock

  • Created by: David McCall, Tom Yohe
  • Channel: ABC
  • Release: January 1973 – November 1996
  • It’s great to learn, ’cause KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

    You’re probably wondering how SHR became a Saturday morning cartoon. An advertising executive named David McCall, one-half of the Madison Avenue ad company McCaffrey & McCall, found out that his son knew all the lyrics to rock songs but couldn’t memorize his multiplication tables. Together, they called Bob Dorough, a bebop jazz musician, and hired him to write songs for children to learn their multiplication tables, and naturally, the first season/subject for SHR were the multiplication tables.

    Dorough eventually brought in other musicians, like Grady Tate, Blossom Dearie and Jack Sheldon. Tom Yohe was hired to do the animation for these musical segments, and the animation is very old school. The next subject they tackled were the parts of speech, encouraging children to learn proper grammar. To coincide with America’s bicentennial, the third season focused on American history. There are no songs encompassing World War II, The Great Depression or the Vietnam War, but they made a song about the 19th Amendment, an important milestone in women’s history.

    The fourth and final season, focused on science. When I was in the third grade, I struggled with mathematics, and a teacher introduced me to School House Rock. I was hooked. I understood math better. Everything started to click. I will admit that my intelligence was fueled by my mother drinking excessively when she was pregnant with me, but this marked the first time in my life where cultivating my intellect actually paid off (even though winning first place among the third grade class in my grade school’s spelling bee was a pretty good start.)  I have so many favorite SHR songs, but I have four favorites, each representing a different season/subject of SHR.

    My favorite song from Multiplication Rock is “I Got Six.”  There’s nothing groovier than Grady Tate singing the multiples of “six” while showcasing an African-American meandering around the barbershop and finding a way to stay occupied. There’s so much going on in the song, it’s difficult to comprehend what’s actually happening. Other good songs from Multiplication Rock include “Ready or Not, Here I Come” (encompassing the multiples of five), “Naughty Number Nine” and “Three Is A Magic Number.”  In addition to “I Got Six”, Tate sang lead vocals for “Naughty Number Nine”, and the obese feline billiards player showcased in the song is a nod to Rudolph Wanderone, virtually known as Minnesota Fats.

    My favorite song from Grammar Rock is “Verb: That’s What’s Happening!”  Much like “I Got Six”, this song features a young African-American going to the theater to watch the afternoon matinée depicting a superhero named Verb “demonstrating” various verbs.

    This outstanding video allowed me to develop an interest in film, and on a wierd kind of parallel, I would end up majoring in Film and Video Production in college.

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    Other videos I enjoyed from Grammar Rock include “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here”, “Conjunction Junction” and “A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing.”  My favorite video from America Rock is “Sufferin’ Till Sufferage.”  Believe it or not, Essra Mohawk – the woman who sang the song, wrote a similar song concerning gay rights, appropriately titled “Sufferin’ Till You’re Straight.”  Preach, sister!

    Other great songs from ‘Merica Rock include “I’m Just A Bill”, “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World”, “Mother Necessity” and “The Preamble.”  Last, but not least, my favorite song from Science Rock is “Electricity, Electricity”, with “Do the Circulation” coming in a close second.

    Bob Dorough, the songwriter for the majority of the Schoolhouse Rock songs, sadly passed away at the age of 94, and he’s already kicking it in Heaven with Aretha Franklin and John McCain. I said this once, and I’ll say it again, “It’s great to learn, ‘CAUSE KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!”

#3 Recess

  • Created by: Paul Germain, Joe Ansolabehere
  • Channel: ABC
  • Release: August 1997 – November 2001
  • Recess was a very legendary show.

    Even though I hated Disney’s Doug, there was one show on One Saturday Morning that I found very enjoyable, and that cartoon was Recess. This show focused on six elementary school students and their interaction with other classmates and teachers. Recess wasn’t just an ordinary Saturday morning cartoon, it was a great social philosophy cartoon.

    This cartoon involved more than a rag-tag group of children congregating for recess and getting into mischief, the show demonstrated lots of life lessons and taught us a whole lot about peer pressure, popularity and self-confidence.

    Recess was a Trojan horse of teaching children about life, and it worked in a way that resonates decades after the show ended. The best thing about Recess were the six main characters and their relationships with one another. T.J. Detweiler, a German-American, is the good-looking, popular, confident and respectful leader of the gang, Vince LaSalle, an African-American, is the tall, athletic guy, Ashley Spinelli, an Italian-American, is the tomboy and aggressive girl who insists on being called “Spinelli” to disassociate herself from “The Ashleys” (a clique of snobby, popular girls), Gretchen Grundler, a Polish-American, is the nerdy, smart girl, Mikey Blumberg, a German-American, is the overweight guy and the most sensitive of the six, and Gus Griswold, a Polish-American, is the new student and military brat.

    Judging by the characters’ names, it’s safe to say that Recess takes place somewhere in the Midwestern United States. Many episodes would deal with the kids’ serious business attitude about simple grade school life, and deal with topics that children go through in life.

    Watching this show as a kid helped get me hyped about grade school and how awesome recess is. Sure, I wasn’t the athletic type, but I still made an effort to make friends with everyone, because I treat others the same way they want to be treated.

    I love how different all the characters were. T.J. was the good guy and the hero, Vince was the tall, athletic best friend, Gretchen was the nerd, Spinelli was the tough girl, Mikey was the lovable oaf, and Gus was the new kid. The characters actually had personalities outside those descriptions, but that’s what people mostly remember about them. I could easily relate to the protagonist, T.J., because he’s German-American, has dirty blond hair, and was short as a kid.

    Okay, maybe I wasn’t “short” per se, but I was still going through development and children tend to be short in stature. Vince wasn’t just an ordinary black guy, he was incredibly athletic, and had a sense of integrity that grounded the group as good kids wanting to do right and unknowingly learning about life.

    In other words, Vince served as the voice of reason when he wasn’t shooting hoops. It’s nice to see characters have personalities outside of their social status. Spinelli is my second favorite character on the show, after T.J.

    She wasn’t just a girl, but a girl with self-confidence and a girl who stood up for her beliefs.

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    On top of that, three of the six children on the show are said to be the youngest children in the family, and people who are the youngest children in the family are incredibly badass. T.J. has an older sister, Vince has an older brother, and Spinelli has an older brother. The other three children on the show are presumably only children, but I could be wrong.

    Perhaps the most underrated aspect of Recess was the world it built. The children were obligated to follow the rules, yet they had the confidence to do what their heart desired. The whole playground lived by a social hierarchy, while simply wanting to have fun. Recess had two villains: a snitch named Randall Weems, and an overbearing teacher named Mrs. Finster, who is not related to Chuckie from Rugrats. Oddly enough, Paul Germain, one of the co-creators of Recess, worked on Rugrats.

    This show tackled a wide variety of topics, from social hierarchy to debating whether or not profanity should even exist. I don’t have a problem with profanity, but I do have a problem with insulting people and do not tolerate bullying. Recess took our entire world in its social complexities, and simplified those complexities.

    The moral of the show is to enjoy life is a kid, because you’ll have so many responsibilities under your belt when you become an adult and have to work a 9 to 5 job.

#2 Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy

  • Created by: Danny Antonucci
  • Channel: Cartoon Network
  • Release: January 1999 – November 2009
  • Three friends, one name and barely a clue among them; Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy centered around three boys who come up with schemes to earn money in order to buy jawbreakers.

    Most of the time, their plans backfire, leaving them in humiliating predicaments. Believe it or not, Danny Antonucci created this show on a dare from a colleague, and the dare actually worked. If we’re being honest here, Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy is the very last animated TV show to use traditional cel animation before switching to digital ink-and-paint in the later seasons. This show was supposed to resemble classic cartoons from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

    The three Eds are a lot like the Three Stooges – each of them having totally different personalities. Ed was the dumb, strong guy, Edd (better known as Double D) was the smart guy, and Eddy was the loud-mouthed con artist. They shared a cul-de-sac with six other children: Nazz, a nice blonde-haired girl, Sarah, Ed’s spoiled and ill-tempered younger sister, Jimmy, an effiminate and accident-prone boy who wears a retainer and spends a lot of time with Sarah, Johnny, a dark-skinned loner who spends most of his time with Plank – a 2 x 4 piece of wood, Rolf, an oddball immigrant who runs a farm in the backyard of his home, and Kevin, a jerk jock who enjoys riding his bike and picking on the Eds by calling them “dorks.”  All the children in the neighborhood are different in terms of personalities, but they all do have one thing in common aside from living in the same cul-de-sac: they all fear the Kanker sisters, a group of sisters who live in a nearby trailer house and have unrequited love for the Ed boys.

    None of the Kanker sisters look alike, and they all have different biological fathers, but we never see any of the characters’ parents in the series. For a show like Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy