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Cartoons—Not Just for Saturday Morning Anymore
by Branden Hart
When I was growing up, Saturday morning meant cartoons. I was never the kind of kid who slept in on the weekends. I was usually up by six in the morning, fixing myself cereal and orange juice, and watching whatever was on. Hell, I really can’t even remember what cartoons I used to watch religiously. I don’t think I had any. I just watched whatever caught my eye when I was flipping through the stations.
Things change. As an adult, I can still enjoy some children’s cartoons. But what I really enjoy are the adult cartoons out there. I’m not talking about hentai. I mean, seeing some woman get fucked by a guy with a cock that talks and has moving parts has its plusses, but I’m really talking about shows like the Simpsons. Cartoons are firmly rooted as a viable form of entertainment for all ages.
I found out today that on Sunday, one of my favorite cartoons—King of the Hill—will start its eleventh season. So I thought this would be a good time to share my favorite adult cartoons of all time.
1. King of the Hill
I grew up in Texas, so this show is right up my alley (no pun intended) anyway. But what makes it special is that, unlike recent episodes of The Simpsons or Family Guy, it doesn’t rely on gimmicks. It's a sitcom, through and through. Hank, a stalwart man, trying to fight change, and his family are just a pleasure to watch. This is a cartoon unlike any that are on television. Stories are heartfelt, with subtle references to the subjects being lampooned. It's worth noting that King of the Hill was only the third prime time cartoon to succeed (the first was The Flintstones, the second was The Simpsons). Quite the accomplishment for Mike Judge (co-creator of the series) which leads us to the next entry.
2. Beavis and Butthead
I owe a large amount of my sense of humor to this show. The stories and ten-minute episodes were often hilarious, but looking back on them now, they seem a little stilted and don't really stand the test of time. What DOES stand the test of time is the classic B&B commentary on music videos. If you have not seen Beavis and Butthead comment on videos, you have missed an essential part of American humor. From Beavis imitating Andy Rooney during a critique of the video "Funk That," to Butthead's unrivaled excitement at seeing a Gwar video, these segments are classic in American television. People have screamed in horror when buying early compilations of the series when they discovered that the videos weren't included. But that time has passed, as the Mike Judge collection of Beavis and Butthead has been released, and includes many of the video judgments we all know and love.
3. The Simpsons
Is there anything more classic? The Simpsons have been part of our lives for two decades. From a lowly start on The Tracy Ullman Show, America's favorite family grew into its own. And while the last few seasons have been disappointing, nobody can deny how much this show has influenced television, as well as American society. I remember my mom forbidding me from watching this show because she didn't want me to adopt Bart's flagrant underachiever attitude. Well, I love you mom, but you were wrong. Bart's attitude about life, school, and all things fun is satire at its finest. With distinguished writers like Conan O'Brien, this series has packed more laughs in its run than most TV sitcoms put together.
4. Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist
I'll admit that, for the most part, Dr. Katz was a place where up-and-coming comedians basically did their act in an animated form. But there's something about the squiggly animation (seen most recently in Home Movies) and the interaction of Dr. Katz with his patients, son, and secretary that is simply charming. I used to stay up on Sundays to watch this show. It came on Comedy Central after The Critic (another underrated animated series) and it's downright hilarious. The first and second seasons are on DVD right now—you better believe I have both.
5. Aqua Teen Hunger Force
I know I've left out so many great animated shows. Sealab 2021, Family Guy, American Dad, Futurama—they're all great. But these five take the cake for me. Yet it can't be denied that there is a vast multitude of cartoons that we should all pay attention to beyond this list. So, I leave it up to you readers to tell me what those are.
Uberchief still has Spongebob Squarepants sheets on his bed.