Animation Domination Part 1: Top 10 Greatest Animated Sitcoms Ever Made.
We all love a good cartoon. These are the types of shows we all grew up on, Saturday mornings we got up at the crack of dawn, got the big bowl of cereal whether it was Fruit Loops, Captain Crunch, Frosted Flakes what have you, and milk ready for hours of cartoon goodness. But the scope of an animated series goes beyond the Saturday morning fare for the kiddies. Going all the way back to The Flintstones in the 60’s to Fox’s animation domination line up today, animated sitcoms have grown up over the years and proved popular with both kids and adults. This will be part 1 of a three part series of my choices for all time greatest animated series and movies.
10. Archer. 2009-Present.
For twelve seasons now this James Bondesque action comedy has smartly and hilariously parodied every spy\action trope there is and audiences still seem to not have had enough. The show has garnered four Primetime Emmy Awards and Four Critics Choice Awards.
9.Family Guy. 1999-Present.
At its prime Family Guy was truly the most irreverent, raunchy, bitingly witty and outright hilariously funny animated sitcom on the air, and perhaps even as a television comedy in general. The 2007–2008 season especially was the show at its all time heights of popularity. Everyone knows the famous story of how the show was cancelled twice and that successful reruns on Adult Swim and DVD sales saved them so I won’t get into that, but, I will say that I look back fondly as a kid watching and laughing non stop at Family Guy and I’ll always treasure that time.
8. American Dad. 2005-Present.
“Good morning, USA!” American Dad had a bit more heart and depth than the other Seth MacFarlane animated comedies but was still hilariously funny as well as witty and brilliantly satirical in its prime, and frankly stayed funny longer than Family Guy and The Simpsons did.
7. The PJs. 1999–2001.
This vastly underrated Eddie Murphy\Larry Wilmore series told the story of a super, his wife and their tenants\friends in the projects. The claymation\stop motion animation was pretty innovative at the time and the show had as much heart as it did hilarious satire. When you boast a voice cast like Eddie Murphy, Loretta Devine, Ja’Net Dubois, Jenifer Lewis, Kevin Michael Richardson, Marc Wilmore and Phil Morris as well as having a theme produced and sung by Quincy Jones’ son QD3 and George Clinton you know you got something special. One of the few black situation comedies to receive three Primetime Emmy Awards and one Annie Awards.
6. South Park. 1999-Present.
This ridiculous, wildly and hilariously offensive show about four kids in South Park, Colorado told the truth about how little kids really act like and speak that the grown ups didn’t know about. This little odd cardboard cut out show not only pushed the envelope, it ripped it wide open and used it to wipe its butt. Perhaps the biggest contribution South Park provided the world was the iconic character of Eric Cartman, the sociopathic, aggressive and bigoted fat little bastard who became a character that everybody loved to hate and hated to love.
5. Beavis and Butthead. 1993–1997.
The show that introduced us to America’s favorite pair of idiots, Beavis and Butthead was as much a cultural touchstone of the 1990’s as Nintendo Game Boys, the Gumby haircut, Michael Jordan, and SNL still being mostly funny. This crazy little series put MTV on the map as well as catapult Mike Judge to the top of the animation empire. Stupidly funny yet slyly witty and satirical of 90’s youth culture, Beavis and Butthead have made their mark… Too bad they never could score, though.
4. The Boondocks. 2005–2010.
There may not have ever been or ever will be a show, animated or live action that had more sharp criticism of sub cultures and the world at large than The Boondocks. Starting off as a famous comic strip, the world of the Freemans got too big for the papers and made it to the small screen on Adult Swim. Nothing was off limits to be made fun of or criticized such as social class, the flaws of both black culture and white culture, to Oprah, Bill Cosby, BET, R Kelly and Tyler Perry. And all in a sharp, hilarious way. The show had an amazing cast from the regulars to guest stars like Regina King, John Witherspoon, Gary Anthony Williams, Cedric Yarbrough, Jill Talley, Gabby Soliel, Ed Asner, John C McGinley, Charlie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson, Busta Rhymes, Katt Williams and Snoop Dogg.
3. The Flintstones. 1960–1966.
Of course this list wouldn’t exist at all without the influence of The Flintstones. The very first animated series put on primetime and aimed at adults as well as children. The stone age comedy was very much inspired by The Honeymooners and developed a similarly devoted fanbase of millions and influenced both pop culture and the worldwide culture. At the end of the day, though, The Flintstones is just a good old fashioned funny and sweet sitcom with heart, laughs and a whole lotta love.
2. The Simpsons. 1989-Present.
If The Flintstones started primetime animated sitcoms aimed at adults than The Simpsons reinvented it. Back in 1989 it had been over twenty years since an animated series was considered good enough to be placed in the coveted primetime spot instead of being stuck on Saturday morning, but when Fox decided to spin off the little animated shorts starring The Simpson family on The Tracey Ullman Show, history was made. The show would go on to heights not reached by most shows animated or live action and would win 23 Primetime Emmy Awards as well as a whole bunch of other fancy accolades. Now, I will agree with many that The Simpsons after now thirty years has long overstayed its welcome, but when it was gold (Like seasons 1–8) it was something truly special and outright hilarious. It set a new gold standard for television comedy that inspired many comedies animated and live action down the line.
- King of The Hill. 1997–2010.
If there ever was a love letter to the state of Texas than King of The Hill was it. The show may have been somewhat outshined by The Simpsons, Family Guy and others on the Fox Sunday night lineup but it has certainly got its share of love from critics and fans alike as well as winning multiple Emmy Awards as well as being named one of the top 60 greatest tv cartoons of all time by TV Guide, and for my money King of The Hill deserves all the acclaim due to its amazing blend of subtle and satirical comedy with observational and sentimental look at the characters and their relationships. King of The Hill is perhaps the most realistic animated show ever made, looking and feeling more a live action sitcom than a cartoon, which was by design by creators Mike Judge and Greg Daniels of The Office and Parks and Rec fame. It was also a bit more family oriented and sweeter than the other shows, but also still had that edge and biting wit that made it so funny. All the characters are impossible not to love and are so recognizable and identifiable in our own lives whether we’re from the south or not. Deeply human and funny in a relatable puts King of The Hill at the top of the animated sitcom pedestal for this writer.
To Be Continued.