This last weekend at work, my comrades and I got to talking about something that is both a blessing and a curse: nostalgia. When it comes to reminiscing about high school or days when you felt like you were king of the world, nostalgia can be a bit of a bitch. When it comes to remembering favorite childhood shows, however, nostalgia is sweeter than sugar, especially when you learn that such godsends are now available on DVD. So, here I am to present my personal favorites of nostalgic cartoons. Being that I am a 90's kid, I have to say that I belong to a great generation, if not the best. We had some kickass shows, while the generation after us has Hannah Montana. Is that a downgrade? I'll let you decide (yup).
5. Recess- Ah yes, good old Recess. this was a show with a really simplistic premise that was done very cleverly. The basic plot of the show is that there is this group of fourth grade kids, each of them represents a different archetype (jock, geek, thespian and so forth) going on all sorts of wacky adventures that made us all wish our school was this removed from reality. What is so clever about it is that the show was about things that every kid goes through (detention, stress of school pictures, dodgeball warfare and whatnot), but it was done in such an over the top way that you couldn't help but be sucked in by it. There was one episode where the fourth and fifth graders are playing dodgeball against each other, and the tone and style is done like a spaghetti western. How fucking cool is that?! The final showdown is even done in widescreen with tumble weed, epic western music, the whole nine yards. And that's just one episode. Think about how the epic the rest of the show was!
4. Dexter's Laboratory- This was actually a favorite of mine for years. This was about a young boy with an absurd level of genius who had a laboratory hidden behind a bookcase in his room. Something that I never thought about, but now it kind of bugs me is that his lab is pretty huge. In fact, it's a lot bigger than his actual house! Is part of it under ground? Once again, it's a TV show, so I don't mind it being removed from reality. Seriously though, how does that work?
3. Anything related to old school Warner Bros. or Disney cartoons- I put these in the same category because they are the definitive cartoons that we think of. When people start to talk about cartoons, most of us will automatically think of either Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny. Some might say Tom and Jerry, but you get the point. The sad thing about these cartoons is that they were on all the time when I was younger and now they are barely on ever. They keep getting buried by Chowder, Perry the Platypus (side note: I have a friend named Perry who resented the fact that he shared his name with a platypus) and whatever the hell else they show on kids' channels.
2. Animaniacs/ Pinky and the Brain- Two words: HELL YES. These shows were awesome. I decided that they should share a spot because they were after all sister productions and had a lot of the same writers. These shows were absolute genius. They knew how to entertain kids and also be intelligent enough (and in some cases, naughty enough) to entertain adults as well. These shows were so funny that I would still watch them if they ever came on again. In fact, I'm such a fucking dork that at the time of typing this, I have just ordered a DVD of some of the best Animaniacs episodes. Why not Pinky and the Brain you ask? Simple! I already have one. So there.
1. Batman: The Animated Series- If you have been following this blog at all, you would know by now that I freaking love Batman. I will admit, I've never read any of the comics, but I freaking love all the other media that involves Batman. I've already said that he is one of my childhood heroes and have even listed The Dark Knight as being one of my favorite movies. And this show is just awesome. The characters are great, the stories are great, the animation is very fitting, it's just an awesome show. Like Animaniacs, this is also a show that is good for adults too. The action is good enough for kids but the dark stories and well thought out and developed characters are just astounding. Even some of the villains like Two-Face, The Riddler and Mr. Freeze are very three dimensional. I heard somebody describe Freeze as being almost Shakespearean, and I wholeheartedly believe that. In fact, I think it applies to almost all the villains on this show. This is also the show that has the best Joker. Don't get me wrong, Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson were pretty dang amazing, but the Joker in this show (voiced by Mark Hamill aka Luke Skywalker) is by far the best one. Most fans will tell you that this is their favorite one. You know how Jack Nicholson was mostly clown with little demon while Heath Ledger was mostly demon and little clown? Well, Hamill's Joker is the perfect balance of both. And I have to admit that I never would have expected that out of a cartoon of all places. But that just makes it more genius.