Cartoons are everything that’s wrong and right with what’s going on in the world. They stretch your imagination to infinity and beyond and back again, which is no easy task. And when you add humor to the mix, you’ve got a winning combination. No matter how old (or young) you are, there’s guaranteed to be an animated series for you to enjoy. Here’s our top picks for cartoons every adult should be watching.
It’s more than just a family of misfits who enjoy crafting up a burger. But unlike other family cartoons (The Simpsons and Family Guy), there’s a sweetness from the characters that’s just so endearing you can’t help but root for them with each episode. (And there’s a lot of that to do, because the Belcher family is full of underdogs.) They’re constantly behind on their rent, their enemies are stationed directly across the street (Jimmy Pesto’s Pizza), and the kids’ behavior keeps them from making friends. But everyone in the family – Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene, and Louise – displays the healthiest dose of confidence woven in between grandiose delusions. The breakout characters are Linda and Tina, who truly know the meaning of “marching to the beat of their own drum.” When you add the musical numbers in each episode, what’s not to love?
Where to begin: “Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks,” season 3 – episode 7
Bob’s Burgers airs Sundays on FOX at 7:30 p.m.
Phineas & Ferb
The men who helped make The Simpsons and Rocko’s Modern Life are behind this show, so it has to be great, right? Right. Summer may be over, but with brothers Phineas and Ferb, summer vacation is always around the corner. They stretch their imaginations in true child-like fashion. Each episode, they decide on one activity they want to execute with their friends, like building a roller coaster in the backyard, or starting their own rock band – and they do it! That’s not to say there isn’t any opposition along the way from their bratty older sister, Candace. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the evil genius Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz is trying any way he can to destroy the world, a la Pinky and the Brain. If you ever needed some inspiration or the need to feed your inner child, this show is it.
Where to begin: “Dude, We’re Getting the Band Back Together,” season 1 – episode 22
Phineas and Ferb airs on Disney X D.
Lucas Bros. Moving Company
If you want a show about slackers who make things happen, Lucas Bros. Moving Company is it. Voiced and created by twins Kenny and Keith Lucas, LBMC is centered around two weed-smoking brothers with a moving company where they sometimes (maybe?) do work. Because it’s part of FOX’s Animation Domination High-Def lineup, there’s more wiggle room for adult themes. The brothers find themselves in all types of situations, such as meeting their long-lost father – who lives in a moving town of deadbeat dads – by accident, or going on dates with Sister Sister’s Tia and Tamera Mowry. It’s chock full of ’90s references because that’s the golden age for millennials near and far. And they prove you’re never too cool to love your identical bro. Check for voice cameos by Hannibal Buress as their mom, Adult Swim’s Eric Andre, and Jerrod Carmichael.
Where to begin: “Beeper Beeper,” season 1 – episode 5.
Lucas Bros. Moving Company airs Saturday nights at 11 p.m. on FOX.
It’s not a best cartoon list without Adventure Time, the hit Cartoon Network show. It’s centered around Finn, a human boy, and BFF Jake the dog, who can morph into just about any object. They live in a post-apocalyptic world, and it’s their job to save the citizens from the sus characters who roll all nilly-willy into town. The show is true fantasy: there’s dragons and princesses, and it’s good enough to make you feel like you’re in on the plot; you’re a hero right along with Jake. The show is said to really be for adults due to its dark comedy and nature, but it’s surely a show that can be appreciated thanks to the sophisticated, yet lighthearted tone.
Where to begin: “Jake Suit,” season 5 – episode 27
Adventure Time airs on Cartoon Network.
Mordecai and Rigby are two twenty-somethings (a blue jay and raccoon, respectively) who work for the parks and rec department run by a gumball machine. Much like the Lucas Bros., they don’t want to do work either, and when they’re threatened with termination by Benson (the gumball), they put in an overtime’s worth of elbow grease to finish their task. Of course, there is trouble within each episode, but Mordecai and Rigby usually offset things with a song to soften the blow for everyone.
Where to begin: “Cool Bikes,” season 3 – episode 47
Rick & Morty
If you ever wanted to know what happened to Marty McFly and Doc after the Back to the Future flicks, they’ve transformed into Rick and Morty, and they’re a hot friggin’ mess. Rick & Morty is a sci-fi cartoon on Adult Swim about the adventures scientist Rick has with his grandson Morty. The premise of the show involves Rick moving in with his daughter’s family, and he takes Morty under his alcoholic wing (no shade, he’s really an alcoholic) while time traveling through dimensions. And since time traveling isn’t an easy task, the two have to make sure they don’t disrupt anything in the present, which can be a bit tricky.
Where to begin: “Total Rickall,” season 2 – episode 4
Rick & Morty airs on Adult Swim, Sundays at 11:30 p.m.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty