A few factors led into this being the Question of the Week. One, I noted that ten years ago, Gravity Falls debuted on Disney Channel, and Gravity Falls is awesome. Then, my Star Blazers T-shirt came up in my rotation, so that made me think of cartoons I love (why, yes, I have a T-shirt rotation – doesn’t everyone?). So let’s talk cartoons!
Obviously, there are “adult” cartoons and “kid” cartoons. I’m not going to make any distinction between them, but I don’t care if you do. I know that animated shows can fall into as many categories as non-animated shows, but I’m not going to do that, either! My only criterion for this Question is that the show must be animated!!!!!
My favorite cartoon of all time is the aforementioned Star Blazers. I love every danged minute of it, and when I watched some of it as an adult, I loved it still. Part of it is nostalgia, I admit – I began watching Star Blazers around 1980, when I was not yet ten years old, and I would watch with my two best friends, and we would literally stop whatever we were doing at that time and run inside (we were usually outside) and watch the show (how did we ever survive without streaming services?!?!?!?). So there’s a whole thing of childhood and friendship and even snobbishness, as after it stopped running here in the States, it was hard for years to find anyone who had even heard of the show. One very minor reason I clicked with my wife was that she was a fan of the show. The story of the Argo and its voyage to Iscandar to rescue the Earth from the depravations of Gamilon and its leader, Desslok, is excellent, and the dumb-ass love triangle between Wildstar, Venture, and Nova was just so dumb-ass it became fun. The Comet Empire was, if possible, even more impressive than Desslok. I never saw Season Three, which is a tragedy of epic proportions. The show was a serial, which was a novelty for kids back then, and it dealt in “adult” themes, which now I know was a feature of Japanese animation but was bizarre back then for American kids. I just love Star Blazers. Look at this shirt!
Of course, I only ask for one favorite, but it’s hard to pin these down!!!! I love a lot of animated shows!!!! In the old-school category, there’s Battle of the Planets, which for a long time was even more obscure than Star Blazers. Who didn’t love Jonny Quest? And I always had a soft spot for The Mighty Heroes and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, especially the Juggernaut episode. I watched a lot of cartoons when I was a kid, of course, but those were my favorites.
As an adult, I watch fewer cartoons, but I still like them. The Simpsons, of course, holds a special place in my heart, but like so many others, I stopped watching it long ago. The first, what, ten seasons are comedy gold, though, and there’s just too many great episodes to mention. I liked Futurama when it first premiered, but then it went away for a while and I never got back into it. And of course, there are the two relatively recent Disney cartoons that I love and only watched because my kids were the right ages. Phineas and Ferb premiered in the summer of 2007, when my older daughter turned 5 (my younger daughter was only 2, so a little young for it), and Gravity Falls in 2012, when my younger daughter was 7. Phineas and Ferb is, of course, the more repetitive of the two, as the episodes are basically the same thing, but the jokes are stupendous, the special episodes are a ton of fun (the Star Wars parody is a highlight), and the brilliant songs are just brilliant:
Gravity Falls, meanwhile, is about two kids staying with their great-uncle (“gruncle”) in a small town in Oregon for the summer and finding out there’s all sorts of mysteries in the town, which all tie together into an apocalyptic disaster at the end of the show. Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal are superb as Dipper and Mabel, and it will come as zero surprise to find out that the excellent Wendy, Dipper’s slightly older love interest, is voiced by Linda Cardellini, because Linda Cardellini is awesome. It’s also very, very funny, surprisingly heartfelt, exciting, and occasionally just really, really weird. The finale especially, which I won’t say more about because it’s best to experience it yourself.
What is your favorite animated show? You know you have one!!!!!