Adult cartoons are fun. Animation can get away with things that live action can’t. The producers of these shows don’t hesitate to go all out with offensive jokes and topics guaranteed to spark controversy. These cartoons step out of the formulaic sitcoms and offer something different for the seasoned television watcher.
Anymore, there’s a cartoon to fit the tastes of just about everyone. While the animation isn’t always done to perfection, the dialogue of the characters makes up for their lack of appearance. Adult cartoons appeal to the mature sense of humor with a touch of absurdity. Things that would never work in a regular television show become acceptable.
Here are five of my top picks for adult animation. For anyone who hasn’t tried one of these cartoons, I highly recommend giving them a shot for a fun viewing experience.
1.The Simpsons – This is a classic, so if you’ve never seen it, you’ve undoubtedly heard of it. Making the jump from a short on The Tracey Ullman show, “The Simpsons” debuted in 1989. Bart Simpson was instantly a household name with lines that made their way into everyday conversation. Over the years, “The Simpsons” has proven its lasting power among adult animation. Going into its 19th season, this cartoon follows the exploits of a beer drinking dad, a well-meaning mother, the troublemaking son, the overachieving daughter, and the baby that will never get past the pacifier stage. This show has tackled every society issue from liberalism, to gay marriage, to politics, making it a stand-out for both entertainment and social commentary.
2.South Park – Trey Parker and Matt Stone had an almost instant hit with this one when it debuted in 1997. Centering around a group of third graders (who’ve moved to fourth grade over the seasons) in South Park, Colorado, “South Park” has sparked controversy by making fun of pretty much everything. Religion, politics, abortion, and the entertainment industry are just a few of the targets that the creators have incorporated into this absurd but funny adult cartoon. While the kids are crude and some of the humor becomes a little over the top, “South Park” tends to make a good point by showing the true absurdity of many things we see in everyday media.
3.Family Guy – This adult cartoon is one of the few television shows to ever be resurrected based on a high number of fans. Cancelled first in 2000, then in 2002, “Family Guy’s” recent installation started in 2005 and has been running strong ever since. The creation of Seth McFarlane and making its debut in 1999, this cartoon focuses on a regular family with some very irregular members, including a talking dog and a maniacal toddler bent on killing his mother. Both are infinitely smarter than the head of the household, Peter Griffin, a fat, semi-retarded man who would rather get drunk with his friends than take care of his family. The humor in “Family Guy” ranges from stupid to witty, usually within one episode. The non-sequitirs of the show give it much of its laugh appeal as does the absurdity of many of the plots.
4.The Oblongs – Though not a primetime favorite like the others, “The Oblongs” began to be appreciated by Americans through a mostly Canadian fan base. Still found on many late night broadcasts, this adult cartoon centers around a family living in an area near a nuclear waste and radiation plant that leaves the inhabitants a bit…mutated. Will Ferrell provides the voice of Bob Oblong, the father with no arms or legs who seems to be a bit too optimistic at times. With an alcoholic wife, Siamese twins, a son with severe ADHD, and daughter with a penis growing out of her head, Bob heads the family that comes across as charming and dysfunctional all at the same time. “The Oblongs” finds the humor in making fun of social classes and doing so in an exaggerated way that still makes its point.
5.Aqua Teen Hunger Force – Don’t let the title fool you. This adult cartoon has nothing to do with water, teenagers, or any sort of force that you’d ever come across. As for the hunger part, the main characters do consist of the components of a fast food meal: a shake, a piece of meat, and some fries. A favorite of Adult Swim fans, the humor in this show tends to be more sarcastic. With a smaller fan base than the others, it may take a few watches to decide if this one is likable or not. Why is this on my top five list? Call it the absurdity factor. It’s not every day you can get a laugh out of food products verbally abusing each other and their white trash friend in a New Jersey suburb. To me, ATHF is the epitome of how much adult animation can push the boundaries and still develop viewers.
If none of these appeal to you, try one of the other funny shows on Adult Swim or Comedy Central. Or try something in the anime field. Whatever you choose, make it a point to try at least one adult cartoon episode this week. You might just find a new favorite.