Let’s Get Animated!
Posted: November 21, 2011 Filed under: Television | Tags: aqua teen hunger force, archer, cartoons, futurama, home movies, josh tuper, mission hill, south park, the animaniacs, the boondocks, the critic, the simpsons
A list of what I believe to be the all-time best animated sitcoms.
By Josh Tuper
The idea of grown ups enjoying cartoons has always been amazing to me. I suppose it could just be the general idea of never wanting to grow up that I love so much. While I, personally, feel like a crotchety ninety year old man on the inside on most days, there is still a vibrant and youth Peter Pan-esque side of me. The latter side enjoying animation. It’s a fantastic medium whether it’s innovative like the geniuses over at Pixar, or a crude two dimensional comedy with fart jokes.
The reason for animation being so great is that the possibilities are literally endless. This becomes especially great and true when dealing with animated sitcoms. While in the traditional “real life” sitcom, you are limited to those lame laws such as aging or general physics. But when animated, our main characters, though usually everyday seeming people, can do extraordinary things. If The Simpsons’ writers want Homer to fly, dammit Homer will fly! Not to mention Bart and Lisa will stay the same age until they’re kicked them off the air.
However, normally we do deal with normal (kind of) people in typical (sort of) situations. But it’s all brand new because it’s in a colorful world unlike our own. I truly feel the animated sitcom is one of the greatest televised mediums. Therefore, I have compiled a list of what I believe to be the ten best animated series ever on television.
First, a couple notes:
A. I’m not talking about cartoons in general, so don’t comment saying how your favorite nostalgic 90’s Nickelodeon cartoon is the best. I could go on about those for days!
B. No, Family Guy isn’t on this list. I don’t much care for it. Sure it’s funny most of the time, but I feel it’s whole schtick is random, usually cheap, jokes that have nothing to do with the plot. Sorry.
That said, here are the best of the best as far as I’m concerned:
10. South Park
I’m not the biggest South Park fan, which is why they are last on my list. However, I can respect them. I used to be a big fan when the series first began, I remember it being one of the first “adult” cartoons I had seen and it was hilarious. Another big reason they made my list is, to put it delicately, they have balls. Never afraid of the critics, the network, or even Muslim extremists.
9. Aqua Teen Hunger Force
I don’t understand this show. It’s weird and it makes me feel uncomfortable. But I’ve never not laughed at any of the bizarre fifteen minute episodes. Simply for the laugh out loud nature, they get my thumbs up.
8. Mission Hill
This short-lived animated gem is one of my favorites. Created by Simpsons alums Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein,Mission Hill followed a struggling cartoonist, his nerdy younger brother, and his roommates in a city neighborhood mirroring today’s Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Definitely ahead of it’s time but sadly only aired for thirteen episodes.
7. The Animaniacs
Okay, this show wasn’t an animated sitcom, but more of an animated sketch show. However, for me, it was a huge influence. It was a great sketch comedy show by definition; it had great recurring bits, hilarious characters, and it was witty and sarcastic. All helping to shape the comedy mind I have today!
6. Home Movies
I recently began re-watching this series on Netflix and it never gets old. The idea of a young kid and his friends creating short films is awesome. Also, it’s amazing simply for Coach McGuirk, voiced by the great H. John Benjamin. Why doesn’t he narrate everything? Screw Morgan Freeman. (Just kidding, I love M.F.)
5. The Boondocks
Even better than child filmmakers, is a child revolutionary. I fell in love with The Boondocks in high school, when it was only a newspaper comic. There was one I had taped to my wall for a while that had a tongue in cheek joke about G.W. Bush doing coke. Huey Freeman and I understood each other. But I digress. The show is incredible, hilarious, and really even beautiful at times.
4. The Critic
It stinks! The show doesn’t, but everything else does according to film critic extraordinaire Jay Sherman. Another from a former Simpsons producer (see the pattern?). I believe this show helped shape me into the cynical critic I am today. For better or worse. Plus, the writing in this show was phenomenal. On top of the great plots and dialogue, they showed fake clips from fake movies, usually parodying famous films. All of which are greatly amusing. Watch both seasons now if you like comedy in general.
While a very new series still, I put Archer near the top of my list. It’s one of my current favorite television shows on the air, and features H. Jon Benjamin once again. The lead character Sterling Archer is one of the worst people in the world, but he’s oh so good at it. It’s also a very original concept and parodies the spy movie genre really well.
Good news everybody! Futurama is on the list! If you don’t get that reference, then you’ve never seen the show. Top notch characters, great stories, and highly original overall. Science fiction is fun again! What I really love about this show is how much heart it can have. Multiple episodes have made me teary eyed, and they can deal with hard topics like love, death, and philosophy, all while bringing the laughs. Plus, there’s Zoidberg.
1. The Simpsons
Well, duh. Seriously, look up a list of any top sitcoms, and The Simpsons will undoubtedly be at the top. Animated or not. Sure, while the series has seriously fell off in recent years, no one can deny it’s impact. The show has given starts to some of the greatest comedy writers in the game today. Conan O’Brien, Bob Odenkirk, Mike Scully, Greg Daniels, well, you get my point. If you like comedy, you like The Simpsons. The end.