10 Kid-Oriented Cartoons That Adults Can Dig As Well

Think animation is just for the elementary school set? These 10 kid-oriented efforts are so much fun, even adults can enjoy their cartoon capering.

5 - 1

#5 - Animaniacs
The alternative title, Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs, says it all. The man behind multiple big screen blockbusters, including Jaws, ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jurassic Park, wanted to take Warner Brothers back to its Looney Tunes glory days. When Tiny Toon Adventures became a massive hit, he decided to go deeper into "the vault" so to speak. The result was a show built around three forgotten WB icons who, in the modern world of the '90s, became a cartoon combination of Airplane! and any Mel Brooks spoof. While the tots took to the simplistic characters and concerns, their parents giggled at the numerous homages and parodies.

#4 - The Ren and Stimpy Show
John Kricfalusi will argue, to this very day, that he can't believe how much he got away with during this celebrated series' initial run. There are jokes that, to this day, never re-aired once the show went into syndication. At the time, Nickelodeon was known for their cutting edge entries into the genre, and kids ate up the goofy gross out humor. But with his constant nods to Ralph Bakshi and the entire underground comics scene, Kricfalusi became an instant icon, and a source of much parental consternation. The show couldn't survive the hype or the hate, and was quickly lost into the realm of pen and ink legend.

#3 - The Flintstones
Okay, this may be a bit of a cheat. We recognize that when William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were out to capture a prime time audience, kids were not their primary concern. They were desperate to evoke the adult audience lost on such shows as Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw. When it debuted, this Honeymooners mimic became an instant smash with both demos, cementing its status once it hit syndication. It would remain popular for over three decades, spawning spinoffs, tie-ins, and even a proposed reboot by Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane. Kids today still love its stone age silliness. For parents, its neverending nostalgia.

#2 - Adventure Time
Yes, this show is that great. It's imagination is so limitless and its approach so novel that it presses Pixar for a place at the animated masterpiece table. Two brothers, Jake the Dog and Finn the Human live in the Land of Ooo. There, they have numerous adventures while battling baddies and saving princesses. The show, centered on the unbridled invention of its underage heroes, has such heart and heroism that you won't believe an episode only lasts 15 minutes. Creator Pendleton Ward cut his teeth on shows such as The Bravest Warrior and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. Adventure is his clever classic.

#1 - Spongebob SquarePants
Few entries on this list demand more respect, and earn more resistance, than this oddball undersea weirdness. After an initial run from 1999 - 2001, the series was revived...twice. Once in 2005, and again in 2007. It is such a part of the planetary zeitgeist that individuals of all ages line up to experience Spongebob amusement park rides, get Squidward tattoos, and long for a bite of a real Krabby Patty. In fact, while kids still adore this title, the adults have long since usurped its absurdist qualities for themselves. Some argue that it's past its heyday, yet it remains one of the most singular examples of kid cartoons appealing to an older demo ever.

Prev Page






How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.


Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.


Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.


Hip-Hop's Raashan Ahmad Talks About His Place in 'The Sun'

On his latest work,The Sun, rapper Raashan Ahmad brings his irrepressible charisma to this set of Afrobeat-influenced hip-hop.


Between the Buried and Me's Baby Pictures Star in 'The Silent Circus'

The Silent Circus shows Between the Buried and Me developing towards the progressive metal titans they would eventually become.


The Chad Taylor Trio Get Funky and Fiery on 'The Daily Biological'

A nimble jazz power trio of drums, tenor sax, and piano, the Chad Taylor Trio is free and fun, funky and fiery on The Daily Biological.


Vistas' 'Everything Changes in the End' Is Catchy and Fun Guitar Rock

Vistas' debut, Everything Changes in the End, features bright rock music that pulls influences from power-pop and indie rock.


In Amy Seimetz's 'She Dies Tomorrow', Death Is Neither Delusion Nor Denial

Amy Seimetz's She Dies Tomorrow makes one wonder, is it possible for cinema to authentically convey a dream, or like death, is it something beyond our control?


Maestro Gamin and Aeks' Latest EP Delivers LA Hip-Hop Cool (premiere + interview)

MaestroAeks' Sapodigo is a collection of blunted hip-hop tunes, sometimes nudging a fulsome boom-bap and other times trading on laid-back, mellow grooves.


Soul Blues' Sugaray Rayford Delivers a "Homemade Disaster" (premiere + Q&A)

What was going to be a year of touring and building Sugaray Rayford's fanbase has turned into a year of staying home and reaching out to fans from his Arizona home.


Titan to Tachyons' Experimental Heaviness on Full Display via "Earth, And Squidless" (premiere)

Featuring current members of Imperial Triumphant, Titan to Tachyons break incredible new ground in the realm of heavy music.


Jerry Leger Teams with Moby Grape's Don Stevenson for "Halfway 'Til Gone" (premiere)

Reminiscent of Lee Hazlewood and the Everly Brothers, Jerry Leger's "Halfway 'Til Gone" is available on all streaming platforms on 6 August.


The 10 Best Experimental Albums of 2015

Music of all kinds are tending toward a consciously experimental direction. Maybe we’re finally getting through to them.


John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, and Their Fellow Freedom Riders Are Celebrated in 'Breach of Peace'

John Lewis and C.T. Vivian were titans of the Civil Rights struggle, but they are far from alone in fighting for change. Eric Etheridge's masterful then-and-now project, Breach of Peace, tells the stories of many of the Freedom Riders.


Unwed Sailor's Johnathon Ford Discusses Their New Album and 20 Years of Music

Johnathon Ford has overseen Unwed Sailor for more than 20 years. The veteran musician shows no sign of letting up with the latest opus, Look Alive.

Jedd Beaudoin

Jazz Trombonist Nick Finzer Creates a 'Cast of Characters'

Jazz trombonist Nick Finzer shines with his compositions on this mainstream jazz sextet release, Cast of Characters.


Datura4 Travel Blues-Rock Roads on 'West Coast Highway Cosmic'

Australian rockers Datura4 take inspiration from the never-ending coastal landscape of their home country to deliver a well-grounded album between blues, hard rock, and psychedelia.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.