I Love Cartoons…There, I Said it

The only reason I’m in any way familiar with “The Barber of Seville” is because of Bugs Bunny. I can’t hear the song “Michigan Rag” without thinking of a dancing frog. There’s no shame in that, I’m one of millions who grew up on Warner Bros., Merry Melodies, and Hannah-Barbera. Nope, the embarrassing admission I’m here to share is my affinity for a new wave of cartoons, inflicted upon me by my young sons, God love ’em. One disclaimer, this assumes we all understand that the “Simpsons,” “South Park,” “Beavis & Butthead” and “Family Guy,” while brilliant, were never intended for children. No Sir, I’m talking about good ol’ “Dad I’m home from school turn on…” cartoons, the kind you would never admit you were actually enjoying.

After what seemed like a 20-year block of animated crap, 1999 produced a game-changer in the form of a little yellow sponge. Since then, the bar has been raised, and kids aren’t subjected to “Tiny Toons” and “Dark-wing Duck.” Nope, now there’s an entire slew of shows that are a bit darker, a bit edgier, infinitely funnier, and stupidly entertaining.  So once you’ve escaped the Wiggles and Barney, you may actually enjoy when your kids take over the TV. It’s a hell of a lot better than being trapped into “Dancing with the Stars(?)” or “The Bachelor.”

Top 5 that you (I mean, “your kids”) may not be watching:

1. The Regular Show ~ Absurd, moronic, and pretty sardonically hilarious. A show about a Blue Jay and a Raccoon dedicated to slacker-dom, befriended by an albino gorilla, man-boobed mini Frankenstein, pac-man ghost, and supervised by an acerbic talking gum ball machine….somehow, it makes sense. There’s an ongoing joke about “My MOM” that is hysterical in the same way my stupid frat brothers were some 20-odd years ago.

2. Chowder ~ the entire show is a stream of food-related puns; not sure how it was intended to come across, but it’s like a Jewish comedic troupe from the Catskills. Picture Jackie Mason and Buddy Hackett trading zingers, throw in Carol Kane and a bizarre animation style, it’s magic.

3. Adventure Time ~ Classic story about a boy and his jive-talking, shape-shifting wiseass dog. Never a shortage of princesses, Wizards, talking pastry, and the occasional penguin or clown nurse. Would not surprise me to find out years later that psychedelics were heavily involved in certain episodes.

4. Flapjack ~ Not sure if this is a favorite, but deserves a look just as much as the next 10-car pileup. May actually give you the jeebers at times, as the main character is clearly the most effiminate young lad to ever trod the boardwalk (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) There are some freeeeeaky characters on this show, but Brian Doyle-Murray voices one of the main characters and that provides me a weird sense of comfort.

5.  Penguins of Madagascar ~ Can we agree that the best part of any “Madagascar” movie is the penguins? Brilliant to just carve them out of the movie mess & give them episodes of their own. Nothing funnier than a Charlton Heston penguin and his knuckle-head troops squaring off against the Borat-inspired King Julian. What’s not to like? Easily the tamest of this bunch in terms of jokes, language, and under-tones, but those are some funny penguins. Wonder how they remember all their lines?

Hold your head high gents, watch these shows while you still have young kids ~ after that, it’s back to the wife’s assortment of crap.  Remember that….


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