It’s 7 o’clock in the early nineties. My routine, as for many of us back then, was to get up and lay down on the couch and prepare myself for several hours of quality cartoon action. Ghostbusters, Garfield & Friends, Loony Toons, the list went on and on. This was my bread and butter as a kid. I looked forward to Saturday morning for years and years. Probably too many years. However, as I grew up I noticed something. The cartoons on in the morning were thinning out. Not only were they thinning out but the quality of the ones that remained were steadily getting shittier. I mean for crying out loud, how many times can I re-watch Adventures of Winnie The Pooh? I didn’t even want to watch that show the first time I saw it, let alone the bunch of other times I watched them later out of desperation.
I should make it known, I did not have cable while I was growing up. All I had was Saturday morning cartoons. I am talking about the state of cartoons now though. I’m one of those guys that never grew out of cartoons. I have been watching cartoons my whole life, so why should I stop? Once I hit college, I got access to cable and I’ve been horrified with the quality of cartoons. For the longest time all there was that seemed anywhere close to good was Spongebob Squarepants. There were several scenes in the movie where I nearly puked from laughing so hard (drunk on ice cream much?) but even that show had run its course. Then there was Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends. Another diamond in the rough. Other than these two cartoons though, in the last decade there hasn’t really been anything that was unique or cool that really stood out. All this pseudo anime bullshit has flooded the market and just like Japan, the motto has become quantity over quality.
However, there are two new kings that have shown their face that makes me feel that there is still hope yet for the next generation. The names of these fine programs are Regular Show and Adventure Time. These shows are unique in that they really don’t have anything that compares to them. I have watched all the episodes multiple times and I still can’t get enough
Adventure time had a rocky start. It’s creator, Pendleton Ward, originally made created Adventure Time as a short for Nickelodeon in 2008, although he had hoped to make it into a series. The series wasn’t picked up till later by Cartoon Network, after it had gone viral online.
Adventure Time tells the story of Finn the human and Jake the dog. These two best friends go on crazy adventures in the land of Ooo, upholding justice. That might sound played out, but it really has its own unique feel. The style is quirky and fun. The show always manages to get a laugh from me just by having the characters make stupid faces or do stupid dances (which happens often). The pacing is fast since each episode is only 11 minutes long, however they manage to pack in a lot of substance into that time.
The show has a lot of cool repeat characters, and as you watch, the history and background of Ooo and the characters unfolds which only sucks you in more. If that wasn’t enough, Finn and Jake’s banter just rules. Jake is voiced by the one and only John DiMaggio, who is also the voice of Bender on Futurama. It might throw Futurama fans at first to hear Bender’s voice coming out of Jake, but you get used to it. Really, all the voices and characters are great on this show (love Fluffy Space Princess and the Ice King).
The show is on Mondays at 7:00 PM central time. I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t seen it to take a gander. In fact, take several ganders.
Regular Show is about Mordecai (the blue jay) and Rigby (the raccoon), who work and live at a park together. My friends and I are convinced that this show isn’t even geared towards younger kids, but the generation that these characters represent (they are 23). Each episode consists of the following, Mordecai and Rigby are just going about their daily business when SHIT HITS THE FAN. It could be something as simple as going to Cheesers to buy some grilled cheese. It really doesn’t matter. They will eventually end up fending for their lives. The episodes are so over the top and great. They are extremely quotable and will inevitably make their way into your own daily vernacular.
The show’s creator, J.G. Quintel, who is also the voice of Mordecai, based the show off of his student films, 2in the AM/PM and The Naïve Man From Lolliland. He also written for the shows Camp Lazlo and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. Regular Show, though, is what has made him famous and rightly so. Much like Adventure Time, Regular Show runs only for 11 minutes per episode so everything moves really fast and manages to pack in a lot of content. Also like Adventure Time, Regular Show has tons of great characters and voices. Mark Hammill lends his voice to the character Skips, a large white gorilla who skips everywhere he goes. I could list the other characters but you are better off just watching for yourself. Regular Show plays right after Adventure Time on Mondays at 7:30 PM central time.
Both of these shows are huge hits on Cartoon Network and already have been confirmed for another season. My hope is that these shows inspire other people to make shows of a similar quality. The way I sees it, kids are getting nothing from school here in the US, so they might as well have a good sense of humor when China takes over and they are all forced to work in the acid mines.