Happy Birthday to me again! As you all know I love cartoons. To celebrate my birthday I’m going to run through my top 15 favorite cartoons. Considering I don’t really watch live action shows, this is also my favorite TV shows list too. A lot of these cartoons are inspirations for my work and I want to give thanks to all the show creators for making me who I am today.
Honorable Mentions: King of the Hill, Regular Show, The Long Long Holiday, Star vs the Forces of Evil, We Bare Bears, The Loud House, Infinity Train
15. SpongeBob SquarePants:
This is ranked at the bottom due to the recent seasons being lackluster, but the old seasons still pulled their weight. I like the Hawaiian music from the earlier seasons and the jokes are hilarious. Who could forget such hilarious moments such as “CHOCOLATE!!!” or “my leg!” The ending to Band Geeks is legendary. SpongeBob also has Battle for Bikini Bottom, one of the best tie in video games ever. It’s so good they’re remastering it for modern consoles. Fun fact: My brother put in his name in the Gameboy version password screen and ended up at the final level.
14. Bob’s Burgers:
While SpongeBob started off strong but declined later Bob’s Burger’s started rough but got better over time (both shows feature sea side fry cooks named Bob). One of my main problems with season 1 was that Bob’s kids were annoying, but now I really enjoy the episodes that focus on them. The annual Thanksgiving episodes gives us some of the best Thanksgiving specials I have ever watched. Even though H. Jon Benjamin always uses the same voice for his different characters it’s such a good performance that it still manages to make Bob stand out.
13. Garfield and Friends:
Lorenzo Music is pitch perfect as Garfield and it still hurts me that he’s gone. Garfield’s humorous episodes are balanced out with Orson’s Farm episodes teaching lessons. The quickies adapted from comic strips were a nice nod. I also love how Meta and self-aware this show was like for example one episode has Garfield wake up in a Transformers-like cartoon. Another great episode is where Garfield watches an episode to look for mistakes. In my opinion this show, alongside the holiday specials, are my favorite iteration of the lazy cat.
12. My Hero Academia:
While my brother’s go to anime is Once Punch Man, mine would have to by My Hero Academia, which in my opinion is both my favorite anime and my favorite superhero “cartoon”. I really enjoy the different students of Class 1-A. Each of their quirks (superpowers) are unique and tie into their distinct personalities and character designs. A lot of them get their own story arcs that flesh out their backstories and motives to why they want to be heroes. The show really does remind me of Sky High (a critically underrated movie).
11. BoJack Horseman:
I remember first watching this at my uncle’s house while visiting my brother at college. The writing in this show is amazing and the jokes and puns are really clever. Will Arnett gives so much life, humor, and tragedy to BoJack Horseman’s character. The downsides to celebrity life and fame are perfectly represented in Bojack’s character arc. This show has such a perfect balance between comedy and drama. The penultimate episodes are especially dark and the big highlight of each season. Although the show is gone, it won’t be forgotten.
10. Hey Arnold:
This is one of the most grounded and laid back animated shows I’ve ever seen. There’s something about the setting that has so much life and I think it’s because of the characters. Most of the characters are charming and each get their own episode to truly shine. This setting gets extra points for being inspired by Portland (I used to think it was based on New York City). Despite being laid back there’s a lot of emotional moments here, especially with everything involving Arnold’s parents. Also who else wanted to have Arnold’s bedroom?
9. Avatar: The Last Airbender:
This is a show about how one sexist quote helped save the world (I swear this makes sense in context). This show embodies why I love cartoons with overarching stories. This has some of the best world building, storytelling, character development, and action scenes I’ve ever seen on television. Each character arc is well written, especially Zuko’s redemption arc. There’s something so grand and cinematic about Avatar to the point where you feel like you’re watching a movie that’s just split up into episodes. I still can’t thank Doug Walker enough for encouraging me to watch this.
Only one season in and it managed to make it this high on my list. Hilda is such a cute, adventurous and likable main character and I love the relationship between her and her mum. The environments are warm and welcoming and the creatures are creative and wonderfully designed. Hilda’s dear-fox Twig is my dream pet. Everything from the animation, the style, the color palette, the music, and the atmosphere makes Hilda such a wonderful show to look at. It still annoys me that I’m still waiting for season 2.
7. Gravity Falls:
Big points to this show for taking place in Oregon. Not only is the animation great to look at but the writing in the humor and the mystery aspect is amazing. The clues and codes hidden throughout the show are a wonderful touch and lets you solve the mysteries on your own. Waiting though all those hiatuses was tough but they were worth it. It’s really is the perfect cartoon to watch on both Halloween and in the summer. Seriously why is there no Gravity Falls world in Kingdom Hearts?!
6. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
When my brother told me that people actually liked a show about cartoon ponies I thought they were crazy, but it turns out they were right. The “mane 6” is one of my favorite friend groups of all time because of their great personalities, designs, and dynamics between each other. This show also has some of the best flash animation I’ve ever seen and the colors really pop out. The songs are really catchy and the world building is very well done. At times this show reminds me a lot of Disney.
5. The Simpsons:
Much like SpongeBob the recent seasons aren’t that great. That being said, watching most of the old Simpsons episodes lately reminded me how much I loved this show years ago. There’s a lot of good reasons why this is the longest running animated show ever. The humor is hilarious and well written, the town of Springfield is inviting and the large cast is full of memorable characters. The Treehouse of Horror episodes are also a highlight of each season. It also helps that this show seems to have infinite meme potential. “Steamed hams” brings out the best in everyone.
4. Rick and Morty:
Rick and Morty is basically Gravity Falls but more science fiction and risqué. Rick is one of those characters that you shouldn’t idolize but you can still enjoy. The ideas are so out of the box that I wonder how the creators Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon came up with them. This is one of those shows where, while there’s deep subject matter from time to time, it’s not that important. The most important part of the show is to just have fun. Most of the season 4 episodes already rank in my top 10 Rick and Morty episodes.
3. The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh:
If you wanted an edgy and out of the box adaption of Winnie the Pooh this is the closest one we’ve got. The Hundred Acre Woods literally has a jungle with a tribe a piglets, and heffalumps & woozles exist in this version. The animation and music is great, and the characters are so innocent and likable. Even Christopher Robin acts like a real kid here instead of being usually nice but bland. This show was one of the reasons Winnie the Pooh was such a huge part of my childhood.
2. Steven Universe:
How did this show start with ice cream end with PTSD? It’s not a surprise this show ranks so highly since I talk nonstop about it. This is probably Cartoon Network’s most ambitious show. It’s an emotional roller coaster of a story Rebecca Sugar really wanted to tell. Whether they’re human or gem, the characters are wonderfully fleshed out and have very unique and colorful designs. The music is very atmospheric and the songs are wonderful to listen to. I also love how Steven Universe balances its fantasy and science fiction elements to the point where it feels like its own unique genre.
1. Ed Edd n Eddy:
Is this show perfect? No, but for some reason I’ve considered this show my favorite ever since I started watching it. I think one of the reasons I love this show is that it feels unique and different from not just the other Cartoon Network shows, but also all other cartoons in general. Most cartoons have a large cast but this show is only limited to just 12 distinct characters. Even the animation and music feels unique. This show is also home to my favorite character of all time, that being Ed. He’s my favorite not just because he’s hilarious but also because he has a good heart. Ed Edd n Eddy is such a personal show to me and will always be my favorite cartoon of all time.