Everyone likes cartoons. I’m not talking about stupid shitty children’s cartoons, I’m talking about adult cartoons. Not like porn, get your head out of the gutter you animal, but like, just cartoons for adults, y’know? With, like, curse words and stuff. You know the ones.
OR DO YOU?! I hope you don’t because otherwise the premise of this article is extremely flimsy!
I’m about to give you a list of some seriously good cartoons to check out (if you are over the age of *insert the age of adulthood wherever you are from*), and, because I’m nice / I need to write some kind of content in order to get this thing published I’m also going to write a mini synopsis and maybe I’ll do a ranking system or something.
Let’s start with something you’ve almost definitely heard about. Bojack Horseman is a Netflix original series about a washed-up actor from the 90s who happens to also be a horse. We join the story 20 years after his hit sitcom has ended and watch as Bojack’s suppressed emotions and substance dependence challenge all of his relationships.
It’s dark, it’s depressing, it’s hilarious, and it’s actually pretty clever and deep too. It has a great cast (Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Alison Brie, Amy Sedaris, Paul F. Tompkins, Patton Oswalt, Kristen Schaal), great soundtrack, and just generally is a great show.
I heartily—that’s right, HEARTILY—recommend this to you.
I haven’t decided on the rating system yet, so I’m going to give this 7 lucky rabbit feet out of 8.
You’ve probably heard of Archer, too. But on the off chance you haven’t: Oh my god, what are you doing with your life? Archer is a super-secret agent in the style of James Bond. He’s always drinking, womanizing, and killing bad guys. But what makes him different is that his boss is his mother, and he is basically a drunk, petulant child.
This is another star-studded cast (H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, Chris Parnell, Lucky Yates, Adam Reed) who each steal the show regularly. There are nine seasons to get stuck into, which might seem slightly daunting or off-putting, but it is absolutely worth your time.
I give Archer 4 martinis out of 5.
Big Mouth is relatively new and could be something that has flown under your radar. It came onto Netflix for its first season in 2017 and has had some seriously strong reviews (it’s got an 8.1 out of 10 on IMDb). Essentially, it’s a cartoon about a bunch of kids going through puberty. It challenges a lot of potentially hazardous topics – masturbation, menstruation, a lot more masturbation – in a pretty funny way, without ever overdoing it. The kids are joined in the show by two hormone monsters that appear and guide them through their respective situations extremely poorly (Connie the Hormone Monstress is incredible).
There is a host of famous voices in this too (Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, Maya Rudolph, Jenny Slate, Fred Armisen, Jordan Peele). Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Nick Kroll, but this is actually a really well-executed idea.
Let’s score this is a 3 and a half-minute guitar solo by Slash, out of a maximum possible 5-minute guitar solo by Slash.
Where do we start with The Boondocks? Firstly, it’s hilarious. It’s seriously funny, it’s very political, and it’s a great watch. It focuses on the Freemans, an African-American family living in a mostly white suburb. The show largely tackles issues of racism and social injustice through some biting comedy and blunt dialogue. Not to overstate it, but the character of Uncle Ruckus is one of the most memorable characters of all time *mic drop*. It also leans heavily on manga and has some really cool stylistic blends.
The show was created by Aaron McGruder and is based on his comic strip of the same name. It ran on Adult Swim for four seasons from 2005, but the fourth season had no involvement from McGruder, so doesn’t really count in my opinion. It’s got a great cast (Regina King, John Witherspoon, Cedric Yarbrough, Gary Anthony Williams, Jill Talley, Gabby Soleil), is extremely well written, and the animation is fantastic.
5 out of 7 horcruxes.
F is for Family
Another Netflix original, this time from the mind of comedian Bill Burr. In many ways, it seems like your classic cartoon sitcom set up. It’s an angry, disillusioned, Irish-American dad, struggling to cope with the reality of his life not living up to his dreams. It’s like of Peter Griffin or Homer Simpson was upsettingly gritty. It’s set in the 1970s, which gives the show a bit of an angle to tackle the changing roles of different groups of people in society. The show shines an uncomfortable light on racism and sexism, whilst managing to retain humor throughout.
As it’s set in the 70s there is a pretty excellent soundtrack, there is some good writing, and there is a surprisingly deep cast (Bill Burr, Laura Dern, Jesting Long, Debi Derryberry, Haley Reinhart, Sam Rockwell). There are two seasons on Netflix, and it’s been commissioned for a third that should release later in 2018.
I score F is for Family, 11 cups of coffee out of 15.
Rick & Morty
You have DEFINITELY heard of Rick and Morty. You’ve probably either watched it, or you’ve decided that you’ll never watch it because of those idiots trying to get hold of Szechuan sauce from McDonald’s. Basically, Rick and Morty is a show about a grandfather’s adventures with his grandson. Except the grandfather happens to be a super genius who has perfected interdimensional travel.
It is weird, it is dark in places, it is smart, it is funny, and honestly, it is just an all-round great show. Honestly, Rick and Morty is a show that seems dumb on the surface, and then suddenly an episode finishes and you find that you’ve been thinking about it for hours, days even.
Another show with a great cast of voice actors (Justin Roiland, Sarah Chalke, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer), Rick and Morty is aided by brilliant writing and has been driven by the creative excellence of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland.
9 quesadillas out of 10.
Happy Tree Friends
To round this thing off, let’s talk about Happy Tree Friends. It’s a show about a bunch of super cute forest animals with names like Cuddles, Flippy, Lumpy, and Giggles, but in every episode is filled to the brim with extremely graphic violence. The Wikipedia page specifically mentioned ‘bloodshed, pain, dismemberment, evisceration and/or death’.
Happy Tree Friends has been going for years. It first popped up in 1999, and there are now 133 episodes in total. 4 seasons have been online and there was one TV season made in 2006. Unlike the other shows mentioned already, Happy Tree Friends has a relatively unknown cast (Kenn Navarro, Rhode Montijo, David Winn, Dana Belben, Aubrey Ankrum). It is also a lot shorter than the other shows, with each episode running at just 1-7 minutes. It’s definitely worth checking out, even if you don’t make it through all the episodes.
I’ll give this 7 bloody acorns out of 10.