Everyone has a favorite cartoon, whether it was back when the Thundercats reigned supreme, or during the golden age of Hanna-Barbera. While a lot of great shows have passed, leaving all of us with wonderful memories of a happy childhood, this new era brings a new wave of cartoons that this generation of children can enjoy. Still, there’s a kid in all of us who, deep down, never really grew up. Cartoons will always be as enjoyable as they were before, and these three children’s shows prove just how much of a guilty pleasure they can be, even if you’re all grown up.
Never ask any aficionado what time it is, if you don’t want to be met with an enthusiastically resounding “ADVENTURE TIME!!!” (Yes, in all caps and with three exclamation marks). The top-rated show on Cartoon Network has not only dominated its genre, but it has also penetrated the world of toys, apparel, and even the mecca of Comic-Con. And why wouldn’t it? It’s a show about two best buds doing the most awesome things imaginable-fighting off demon beasts, saving princesses, hanging out with a thousand year-old vampire, and helping an adorably elderly elephant bake some apple pie. The bright backgrounds and colorful characters may fool you into thinking it’s all about the kids, but Adventure Time is chockfull of subliminal messages and witty humor that will entertain adults the world over. Finn the Human and Jake the Dog live in the Land of Ooo along with a multitude of other creatures, including candy people that explode when frightened, a cute sentient Gameboy-looking house assistant called BMO, and a spoiled Lumpy Space Princess who ran away and lives in the woods with a penchant for abandoned cans of beans. It’s a funny and wacky setup, but underneath the vibrant adventures lies a dark history-the world is set in a post-apocalyptic timeline where a great war destroyed everything, leaving Finn as the only human left and everyone else as mutated creatures. It’s a pretty twisted tale for a children’s show, don’t you think? Still, the show’s dark past never gets in the way of its fame-people of all ages love Adventure Time despite its numerous quirks. It may be set in a magical land, but its messages of friendship, love, and loyalty are all realistic. It also deals with issues on relationships, having and raising kids, aging characters each year, debunking female stereotypes, and gray areas on what’s right and what’s wrong. Its morals come with twists at the end. Creator Pendleton Ward says that they did the show writing things that they themselves would enjoy, which is why adults are loving it as much as their little ones are (http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2012/sep/07/adventure-time-weirdest-show-ever). So if you’ve never seen a Toast Princess before and you really want to, then Adventure Time is perfect for you, no matter how old you are.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Obviously not your average cartoon character. The lovable yellow sponge has captured the hearts of millions of viewers since Nickelodeon first aired the show. Spongebob, with his sweet naiveté and genuine heart, loves to help people out and always has the best intentions, even if his actions may not always produce the best results. Just ask his cranky neighbor Squidward Tentacles, or his greedy boss Mr. Krabs. Spongebob and his best friend, Patrick Star, are both just happy-go-lucky citizens of Bikini Bottom who live each day as they see fit. Wacky misadventures aside, the show also stumbles upon a lot of mature elements like the concept of work and overtime, watching sea-porn (arguably), foul language, and panty raids. Still, creator Stephen Hillenburg did pitch it to be a show for all ages, so we can let those things slide (http://www.neatorama.com/2009/10/26/10-neat-facts-about-spongebob-squarepants/#!D8whJ). Overall, Spongebob Squarepants will always bring wonder and entertainment for both kids and adults alike, because in a world where a crab can have a teenage daughter whale (we kid you not), anything can happen.
Phineas and Ferb
Like any normal kid, Phineas and Ferb are simply looking for ways to make the most out of their summer vacation. They hang around in their backyard under the watchful eye of their kooky older sister Candace, but when Phineas says, “Ferb, I know what we’re gonna do today”, the crazy escapades begin. Wildly imaginative Phineas and silent Ferb (who only speaks when a comeback needs to be said, in a British accent, no less) bring life to each episode of the show with over-the-top inventions like building their own extreme theme park or building a time machine, much to the dismay of Candace, who’s always looking for ways to bust her younger brothers. She may be obsessed with telling on the little boys, but she has her own storyline for each episode, too-she goes through the ups and downs of being a love-struck teen in her adorable silliness. A third subplot involves the family pet named Perry-a docile platypus at home but actually a courageous top secret agent who saves the world daily for the OWCA, the Organization Without a Cool Acronym (http://yadirae.hubpages.com/hub/Watch-Phineas-and-Ferb). Do see why this Disney Channel gem is such a hit? The smart wit of its humor is far from any of the goofy children’s shows that only focus on brainless antics. Numerous pop culture references and inside jokes like having a construction area with a huge sign that says “Big and Obvious Construction Site” are what make this show appealing to grownups, too. And with a lovable villain whose foiled inventions range from the “Make-Up-Your-Mind-inator” to the “Hot Dog Vendor Revenge-inator” and the “Chinese Platypus Trap Disguised as a Monster Truck Locate-inator”, there’s no way you won’t enjoy this intelligent show. And did we mention there’s a killer song track in every episode?