Here are 5 cartoons parents will enjoy as much as their kids!
Cartoons aimed at young children can be incredibly lame and it doesn’t help when they watch them over and over. That’s why we thought it would be useful to show you a small list of cartoons parents will enjoy almost or possibly more than your kids.
We all have that yearning to feel young again. Through countless memories of Saturday mornings glued to the television station, cartoons have always been a part of my life. I can recount numerous arguments whether Goku was stronger than Vegeta in each Saiyan form, or how fast Sonic actually travels and how that would greatly benefit my life. Growing up slowly diminished cartoon time and was replaced with teen drama shows and laughing tracks(traps) that felt forced and “relatable” to our young, ignorant minds.
In the last couple of years, cartoons have risen from mediocrity/targeted towards only children, and instead have underlying messages and characters that any age group can relate to. I call this era “the golden age of cartoons” where you can sip a cold Fresca while watching endless cartoons with your younger siblings or child and laugh at different jokes, but still bonding over the moments that you’re sharing.
Here’s my handy-dandy list of cartoons parents will enjoy that are either ongoing or have finished and are still darn amazing to watch.
There’s a recipe for perfection inside this show: a story about a boy, his dog brother, a princess made out of bubblegum (aka Princess Bubblegum) and The Land of Ooo. If you want a show that you can lie back on your couch, laugh at their jokes and get slammed with some rich characterization, plot and overall life stuff than this is perfect. There are countless times when I sang along to the tunes in a merry attitude while suddenly being hit with an emotional weight that I deem worthy of any other adult show.
I love that every episode is so different, every character feels unique and the writing is genuinely entertaining and real. You never know what will happen next, but there’s a guarantee something super weird will happen and will persist throughout the episode. It’s got many hidden messages for adults that they can easily relate to but tucked under the mirage that a child can easily enjoy (bright colours, “simple” characters, and plot, “the cool factor” and fun). I personally feel that this has been the start of the domino effect of great cartoons to come afterward, giving them a spotlight that is accessible to a much wider audience.
I’m still amazed that this was originally made for kids, and with the huge following and eight ongoing seasons, this has become a classic in my heart and should certainly be considered in your list of cartoons parents will enjoy.
Made by Rebecca Sugar who worked on Adventure Time and even won a Primetime Emmy Award for Short-format Animation nominations for the episode “It Came From the Nightoshere” (song link here) (tell me how this isn’t incredible writing for a kids show). She’s best known for being the first woman to independently create a series for Cartoon Network and her work has risen ever since.
Essentially Steven Universe is about a boy who’s half human and half “gem” (space rock alien) who grows up with his gem “mothers” that train and raise him alongside his old rock and roller father. It’s a complicated family dynamic but you get to see the heart and soul is strong here and why it’s been included on our list of cartoons parents will enjoy.
Steven is the bedrock of the show, never letting the messed up realities ever get in the way of his positive outlook for his family and friends. The gem’s duties to protect the earth from other entities help move the story forward, while a dark past riddled with war and monarchy creates depth. Every song is beautifully simple (usually a ukulele) but the message and lyrics hits the heart where it needs to the most.
In a nutshell: lesbian space rocks raising a halfer kid. What’s not to love?
On the surface this has all the merits of a kids only tv show: a brother and sister are sent to live with their uncle during the summer and must deal with the mysteries of the forest and town members.
But let me tell you something: there’s some intriguing and truly disturbing content here. Things feel simple at first but all of these creatures and moments tie into a bigger picture that awakens later on, introducing depth that you didn’t think possible.
The characters are certainly something else. Stan, for example, tries to make money any way possible, even tinkering with the idea of a baby fighting gambling ring. Mabel, on the other hand, has this sweetheart and funny personality that makes her incredibly formidable. She’s constantly making sacrifices while dealing with problems that no child should be equipped to deal with, but never losing sight on the bigger picture.
If there was ever a perfect ending to a perfect series this has to be it. Nothing has ever scared me to half wits and made me ball my eyes out as it’s triumphant climax just like this. The clues are all laid out in the show to uncover the dark mysteries behind the journals and it’s up to you to find out.
Over the Garden Wall
A shockingly great mini-series that enchanted and drove me deeper into the maddening world. Greg and his brother Wirt (voiced by Elijah Wood) find themselves in a mysterious land that they’re trying to navigate out of. There are so many bizarre and wonderful things along the way that you slowly get more involved and curious about as time wears on.
Danger is always present for these young brothers, but Wirt’s little brother Greg is able to push through it all with an oddly positive spin. Luckily, this allows the brothers to somehow feel at ease through all of their tribulations.
Along the lines of trippy and not being sure what’s real, everything feels grounded by the relatable characters and strong, tension filled writing. I would definitely watch this short series again and I’m hopeful that out of the blue, it will come out with another season (the ending is amazing and had me in tears). We couldn’t have a list of cartoons parents will ejoy without including such a masterpiece.
Age of Voltron
A surprisingly good show (I haven’t watched the original) that had a solid premiere season and kept me interested with it’s progressive characters and amazing action sequences. At the heart this is an intergalactic sized action show featuring four paladins that were chosen to pilot the highly sophisticated lion space crafts that form the legendary weapon, Voltron. At first, the series seemed to be a mash-up of Power Rangers meets Transformers but as events began to unfold you quickly realise that there is so much more to it.
There’s a huge sense of moral and character development that makes you realise why the paladins were chosen to pilot their respective lions. As episodes wear on, you see further progression in Voltrons abilities and the lions as well. The foe is highlighted in a great way, as later seasons help explain his intentions and what motivated him to be a dictator in the universe.
Through many trials and tribulations, Voltron surpassed my expectations of an ordinary space fighting and “hurrah” attitude and is easily something we had to add to our list of cartoons parents will enjoy. The ability to be dependent of Voltron, failures, comedic breaks and great action scenes makes Voltron a complete galactic adventure.
We hope that this list of cartoons parents will enjoy makes your life a little bit easier and less repetitive. We know the pain of not being able to sleep at night because there’s a song from a kids TV show that you can’t get out of your head!
Honorable mentions: Pokemon, Digimon, and Spongebob.