Childhood might be far away for some of us, but many of us never grow out of certain things. Cartoons are one of those pass times that people never really give up. Whether it's nostalgic re-watchings of our favorite Ren and Stimpy episodes, or it's hours stuck watching our child's favorite shows, cartoons never really disappear from our lives. They tell a lot about us as people too. What our favorite shows were as kids say a lot about the kind of people we are. Do we laugh at the more absurd humor? Or are we fans of the ACME hammers and anvils courtesy of Wile E. Coyote, super genius?
These preferences can even tell us more specific details about who we are, like what our favorite Disney movie might be! Whether we're fans of the old cartoon classics or the new school Disney cool doesn't matter; everyone has a favorite Disney movie, and it's time for us to guess. Pick or pass on these popular cartoons and we'll guess which one it is. We've put together a wide-ranging list of contemporary cartoons and nostalgic classics, just to make sure we've got something for everyone. Go and play, and then let us know if we got it right!
This angry little genius was one of the most hilarious characters on television for a while. Growing up we were stuck with siblings, and annoying ones at that. The brother/sister relationship in this show perfectly highlighted exactly what it was like to live with a sibling who wouldn't leave us alone. Sure, they just wanted to be involved in their (much, much cooler) sibling's life. But, just like in Dexter's Lab, they often ended up causing some mayhem. Is this a pick, or a pass?
This show was one of our favorites, and we're seriously loving the resurgence of SpongeBob in our lives. SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most hilarious shows we watched as kids, partially due to its wacky and absurd style. The combination of live action, underwater footage, as well as graphically detailed still frames, made for an awkward, exaggerated, and over the top cartoon that we loved when we were hyperactive kids. It's no surprise we still love it now as well!
The Simpsons have been running for many, many years, and it's no secret why. This popular family has received accolades from a great many people. The family consists of three kids and two parents, all of whom take their roles very seriously, without being one-dimensional within that. The show itself is topical in that regard, often bringing up subjects and making allusions to contemporary issues that keep it very timely. Many of us only know about certain references through the Simpsons' rendition of them!
Phineas and Ferb
This hilarious show is one of the contemporary cartoons that we've chosen to put on this list, and for good reason. Now in its later seasons, Phineas and Ferb has been running for quite a long time now (IMDb). In our opinion, the show has all the charm of the Rugrats with more fantastic adventures (and, realistically, less children too). The family featured in the show is around just as much as they need to be, allowing these two kids, and us, to fulfill our imaginations.
Courage the Cowardly Dog
This little pink puppy captures hearts everywhere. While the show is a little older now, we still remember watching it when we were kids. It's no surprise that people still like this show. Who doesn't love dogs, right? Not only that, but who doesn't love watching someone overcome a stress or anxiety they have? Courage was not only a lovely pup to have around, but the show in general taught us a lot about compassion, bravery, and general pet ownership.
This newfangled show has taken the world by storm, and for a very good reason. The characters are relatable, hilarious, creative, and lovable. We appreciate all of their points of view, and moreover appreciate how different they all are. The Simpsons has shades of different opinions within the family, but Bob's Burgers really highlights how different sensibilities can still live, laugh, and work together in both a family setting and a work setting. Not to mention how the comedy is spot on for us older folks.
South Park is a show that's been going on for a while, and we're not surprised. Part of the reason that it's lasted so long is due to how fresh and topical it is. The turnaround time on these episodes must be so tight, as world events that happen one or two days before inevitably make it into that week's episode. With a creative art style and a raunchy sense of humor, South Park might not be everyone's cup of tea.
The Rugrats were one of the quintessential cartoons we watched when growing up, and we have a feeling we're not the only ones who had the same treatment. The Rugrats are a charming group of babies and toddlers, and was a show about their double lives. Away from the prying eyes of adults these wee babes had adventures, arguments, and very grown-up curiosities. As soon as Mom and Dad appeared, though, they went back to being regular kids. We felt less alone watching the Rugrats.
Rick and Morty
One of the most incredible shows to ever be released on the internet, we are big fans of Rick and Morty. Not only is it hilarious, creative, and very firmly in the "adult humor" category, but it's also just really clever. The relationship between Rick, Morty, the family, and the rest of the creatures they come across in the universe/interdimensional travel is always spot on. Unique, fresh, and creative, there's not much more to say other than to implore those that haven't seen it to give it a try.
This is another one of our favorite cartoons of all time, but for different reasons. Steven Universe is a show that people quickly fall in love with, and it's no surprise why. The show itself is a beautiful exploration of what it means to be a family, and what it means to love. The musical numbers are catchy, and every episode tends to have an important message. Not to mention the fact that there's magic and universe-saving that happens. It's just the perfect cartoon, in our opinion.
Here's another cartoon that was created probably with thanks to the Simpsons' and South Park popularity. Thanks to those vaguely irreverent, but always fresh and funny shows Family Guy came into the world and became very, very popular. The show itself focuses on a family, but they're a little edgier than Marge and Homer's brood. With more dramatic and fantastical events befalling them, Family Guy certainly hits that absurd cartoon sitcom niche well. We're fans, and hope that others are too.
The Powerpuff Girls
Unlike Steven Universe, which is our favorite cartoon right now, the Powerpuff Girls was one of our favorite cartoons when we were kids. The idea of three kids saving the day filled our hearts with joy, and our heads with the idea that anything is possible. We can do anything as long as we work together and believe in ourselves. Granted, the fact that they were handmade to be "born" with superpowers was a little different from our upbringing; the essence of the show is still relatable, though.
Invader Zim is the perfect show to bridge that gap between childhood cartoons and grown-up cartoons. With all the energy and creativity of SpongeBob, but with the themes and style schemes of shows like Ren and Stimpy or Pinky and the Brain, Invader Zim was our favorite when we were adolescents. Zim perfectly captured what it felt like to be alone, and to be making life work on his own. Hardworking and determined, Zim is a little alien that we could all look up to.
Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends
Another outstanding show, but one that never really took off. Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is one that people don't seem to remember when we talk about it now. Maybe we were just on the older cusp of watching it, or maybe it was on at an inopportune time. Regardless of the reason, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends feels a little like an imaginary friend nowadays. Rewatching episodes proves that it was just as funny and charming as we thought it was; if only our friends had seen it!
Danny Phantom is one one of those shows that we never spent much time watching, but our younger siblings absolutely loved. Not only do we appreciate the fact that this show made ghosts and ghouls child-friendly (ish) but we also appreciate the fact that this was a cartoon basically about a kid trying to figure out who he is. Danny Phantom might have been a ghost hunter, but he was also just a regular kid trying to live life as normally as he can. Totally relatable, right?
The Care Bears
While they might now be on the punchline end of many jokes, this saccharine show was really oh-so-sweet once upon a time. The Care Bears taught us many important qualities, like sharing and caring. This childhood show definitely was something our parents liked sitting us down in front of, as the show was relatively innocent. There wasn't going to be any surprises when those caring bears went on their adventures. With spin-offs galore, it's impossible to deny the cultural impact this show had.
Pinky and the Brain
Here's another one of those slightly grown-up, but still full of childhood nostalgia shows. We love the way that this show tackled problems. Due to the fact that the main characters were two little white lab mice, the writers definitely had to get creative. Pinky and the Brian were a team, and a duo that couldn't be separated. Who would want to separate them anyway? The Brain needs Pinky, and Pinky needs the brain. We hope they're still out there and trying to take over the world.
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
This is a show that many of us will remember watching, but we can't quite pick out any specific plot lines. While we definitely remember certain SpongeBob plots, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius was a show that might have gotten lost amongst the sands of time; at least in our memories. We're not sure if the show would hold up now, but we certainly would be curious to rewatch it. No doubt there are those that still love the show too!
Avatar: The Last Airbender
This powerful show has a whole lot of societal commentary embedded in it, as well as a fair amount of discussion about the importance of land preservation and environmental issues. We loved this show, and know that it's just as timely now as it was back when it first came out. Don't think it's all "save the planet" stuff, though. The comedy was also spot on, and this was still a show about kids having what are essentially actual superpowers.
This is a contemporary show that's actually been produced for quite a few seasons now. Still very young and fresh in its ideas, characters, topics, and humor, Gravity Falls makes us think a little bit of Steven Universe mixed with Rick and Morty (or, maybe Danny Phantom). Innocent, creative, fantastical, but very deep and developed, these characters are not ones to be played with. They're either going to save the town of Gravity Falls or wreck it, and we can't wait to see which.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Who doesn't love a little Ninja Turtles action? Some of us were so invested in these green guys that we started dropping food down into the sewers in our real lives, just on the off chance that they were really real. While we know that this isn't a documentary show, the turtles were so developed that it really felt like they were our real friends. Okay, maybe it wasn't everyone who felt this way. But it certainly was real for many of us.
Still one of our favorite shows, Futurama was a cartoon that many of us loved to sit down and binge watch between university exams and papers. Not only do we find that the characters were hilarious, but they also had many real emotions and relatable problems. From not knowing where home is to feeling out of place in a time that's not our own, Futurama tackled all the big stuff with absurd, grown-up humor and a clever nod to the zeitgeist.
The Fairly OddParents
This is a show that we watched over and over again, and would rush home from school in order to watch. Timmy Turner was a kid who was relatable to many of us. The only difference? He had a set of fairy godparents who watched out for him and sent him on fantastic adventures. Mean babysitters aside, this show was mostly full of good feels and funny situations. Outside of that, there's not much we don't love about this show.
This show is the only reason we know how to spell the word "aardvark", and we're pretty sure that many others in our generation feel the same way. This educational aspect is part of the reason it was so well loved. Not to mention how generally wholesome the show was. While we're not sure if it's still running or not, it might be a good time to bring Arthur back; the world could use a little more A-A-R-D-V-A-R-K in their lives.
This witty show was one of our favorites, and we're not sure why it ever stopped running. Sure, some of the humor didn't land, and the dry character delivery could only really do so much in terms of commentary. Overall, though, this was a great cartoon. We loved the fact that the characters were dealing with real adolescent stuff, as it made us feel less alone. Reruns will be around forever, but it certainly would be nice to have some new episodes.
This cartoon was about a fourth grader just trying to find his place in the world. At least, that's the gist that we got from watching it. Another young character who comes across as wise beyond their years, Doug was taking it one day at a time. We respect that in a cartoon character. It's no surprise that this show was as popular as it was, though we are surprised nobody has done a remount of it yet. Hopefully one day!
The Magic School Bus Rides Again
Or just "the new Magic School Bus" if we're chatting with our friends. Technically The Magic School Bus Rides Again is a show that's a Netflix-sponsored remake of the classic Magic School Bus cartoon. We haven't personally watched the remake, but the clips we've stumbled across seem like the same old School Bus magic full of educational adventures and lots of laughs. We are missing Ms. Frizzle's hair, however, and are curious as to why she gave up her patterned dresses in this show.
This anime is one that we don't think we could ever forget. Having recently rewatched a few seasons of the original show, we know that it really was a quality anime. Pikachu was just as cute then as he is in all of the more recent pokemon remakes, while the other characters have either held up as show staples (we're looking at Ash on that one) or been transformed into other characters. We love what Pokemon taught us, and are grateful to the pocket monsters to this day.
This show is an odd one, as we don't know many people who personally watched the cartoon. However, we do know a lot of people who went and watched the movie remakes. With an updated art style and more fleshed out characters, The Smurfs' update answered many of our unresolved questions from the original series. That being said, the little, blue, elf-like individuals aren't everyone's cup of tea. Some people really weren't fans of the Smurfs, and we don't blame them!
This show is one that our younger sibling watched, which gives it a slightly sour taste. We felt that sometimes we were forced into watching it too, but not necessarily against our will. Yu-Gi-Oh! taught us about teamwork and about what real perseverance is, as well as thinking outside the box to solve problems. Not to mention all of the comedic moments that shone through even in the heat of a card battle. Those that know this show know it well.
Every so often someone on the bus will have the Kim Possible beeper as their ringtone, and we are absolutely flooded with nostalgic memories of this boss redhead. This teen was just trying to navigate her life, while also trying to constantly save the world. The daughter of doctors and super-intelligent humans, Kim Possible knew that anything was possible. We were always inspired watching this cartoon, and we're very glad that it's lasted the test of time; even if it's not running anymore.
This classic cartoon is one that our parents and older siblings remember, but might not necessarily be in the collective consciousness of kids under a certain age. Inspector Gadget is full of creative capabilities and hapless adventures, and we love the original cartoon just as much as the remake (which is the one we're personally aware of). With so much hilarity packed into one tv show, there's no way that we could skip putting the brilliant Inspector on our list.
King of the Hill
This show was done in a similar vein to the Simpsons, and was often on right before or right after the show. Another family cartoon sitcom, this show followed the likes of Hank and his family during their daily lives. The comedy was dry, sarcastic, and often leaned towards strange. A little topical, but not necessarily commenting on world events, the show ran in the leagues of Futurama, South Park, The Simpsons, and others, for a while. We watched it once and we would certainly watch it again.
Codename: Kids Next Door
This cartoon was all about the kids, and we definitely got excited whenever we made it home in time to watch it. In a similar vein of Recess, but if Recess was combined with Totally Spies or Kim Possible, these kids were given the task of keeping their neighborhood safe. The fantastic adventures that spun out of that included things like treehouse meeting places and spy prep houses. Dramatic, but retaining the innocence of childhood, this is a show we can't help but look fondly back on.
The Amazing World of Gumball
We've never seen this show, but it's certainly going on our "To Watch" list now that we've read up on it. According to IMDb, this is a cartoon that follows the adventures of a boy. That boy is not a boy, though, he's a blue cat. There's a variety of other friends he has, both cat-like and object-like, that help him along in his adventures, proving that friendship comes in many forms. The show sounds great, and is a good example of contemporary cartoon action.