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Top 5 Most Influential Cartoons Of Our Generation

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For as long as the entertainment medium has been around animation has always played an important role. Cartoons have had a strong influence not just in society, but in the medium itself. Those are the shows that I will be looking at, cartoons that challenge the status quo, and in one case brought a network back from disaster. These are the top 5 influential Cartoons.

5. Fritz The Cat (1972)


Let us start this list with easily the most controversial cartoon on the list. Fritz the Cat directed by Ralph Bakishi follows the titular character attending a rally in order to meet a group of women. The rally goes wrong as the police arrive and Fritz’s night spirals down a circle of violence, drugs, and sex. The movie aired in 1972, and serve as an interesting look at the counter culture of the time. Police officers were portrayed by pigs, along with other stereotypes. The movie was divisive for its time and it is still looked down upon, despite earning a spot in the Online Film Critics Society List of 100 greatest animated movies of all time.

What the movie does demonstrate is that even cartoons could portray themes such as drugs, and sexuality in a spotlight that was only seen in live-action at the time. As a cartoon, these themes are shown in a strange, even surreal approached making the movie feel like a dream, but at the same time extremely relateable.


4. South Park (1997-Present)


South Park created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone is a show that follows the everyday adventure of four boys living in a small mountain town of South Park. The charm of the show comes from the adult themes that the kids tackle. While Fritz the Cat puts a man (cat) in scenarios that make sense for a man living in his time. Kyle, Stan, Kenny, and Cartman are fourth graders that constantly fight terrorist, demons, and hippies. Going for 23 seasons the reason why I placed South Park over other shows that use referential humor such as Family Guy, and Simpsons is because of the of how current South Park is with its jokes, where other shows film a complete season that airs a year later making the jokes feel outdated, South Park films every episode a week before airing each of them. Despite some recent mishaps, South Park is still one of the funniest TV shows.


3. Flintstones (1960-1966)


When talking about influential cartoons the Flintstones is a no brainer. Created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera the Flinstones is about the everyday life of Fred Flintstones and Wilma Flintstones along with their friends living an average life, the twist they are all cavemen living at the prehistoric era. The Flinstones brought the family sitcoms that were big at the time and introduced them to younger viewers. The show felt casual and you understood every character. The influence of the show can not be underestimated, when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, he yelled yabba dabba doo. The family also broke boundaries as Fred and Wilma were the first TV couple to be shown sharing a bed together. The show still has life today because of the recent crossover with WWE. Not bad for a show from the 1960s.


2. Adventure Time (2010-2018)


Despite being the lastest show on the list, Adventure Time is by far one of the most influential cartoons of the decade. For context back in 2009, Cartoon Network went through a live-action phase, known as CN Real. Shows such as Re-animated, Hole in a Wall, and Destroy Built Destroy ft. Andrew W.K. Cartoon Network’s viewership was at a decline, and it felt that Cartoon Network was not going to recover. Then the first Trailer for Adventure Time aired. The adventures of Finn the Human and Jake the Dog took the world by storm. With its likable characters, and colorful world full of personality, Adventure Time was like nothing audience ever seen. The sheer popularity of the show didn’t just impact CN, but it also influences not just storytelling in cartoons, but also the art style. Modern cartoons are known for the use of thin outlines, instead of the thick outline look from the early 2000s. Adventure Time brought back Cartoon Network, and changed the landscape of modern cartoons, however, there is one show that had a far bigger reach.


1. Batman The Animated Series (1992-1995)


Batman The Animated Series, when talking about not only the most influential cartoons but the best cartoons. Only one show fits both descriptions. Batman The Animated Series, started batman protecting the city from a villain of the week. When people talk about batman the most common things that are mentioned are that he has the best villains and some of the best storylines. A lot of these claims all come from Batman The Animated Series, the show was heavily inspired by nior films. The black and red color palette that, and the internal night of Gotham City makes the show feel timeless. The performers are all amazing, with the standout being the introduction of Mark Hammill’s Joker. The series even pioneer a new genre called Batnior, with such and influence, and performances that have yet to be matched, Batman The Animated Series is my choice for the most influential cartoon.


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