I hate how people seem to think it’s okay to make fun of people because the thing they like is “childish”. I was being made fun of for liking Sonic when I was still in Elementary school. If that doesn’t tell you something, I don’t know what does. If some adult or teenager wants to like My Little Pony, let them. Someone likes Hello Kitty? Sweet. Someone still likes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Power Rangers? Frigging awesome. I don’t really think “growing out of something” exists. It’s just a term made up by people who want others to feel bad. Just because your childhood sucked, doesn’t mean you have to force other people to let go of theirs.
I did a little study with the third grade class I was helping out with the other day.
First, I asked them what they thought of the current Nicktoons.
SpongeBob Squarepants and The Fairly OddParents got extremely positive reception amongst the kids (though they actually seem to prefer FOP)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was right behind the first two- a lot of the kids love it.
Sanjay and Craig was pretty mixed. A few kids liked it, some of them hated it, and the others thought it was just “okay”.
Nobody really cared about Rabbids Invasion.
As soon as I even said the word “Breadwinners”, I got a collective groan so loud that I felt like I was in a Peanuts special. Yeah, the kids REALLY hate that one.
None of the kids seemed interested in The Legend of Korra, but it also turned out that virtually none of these kids really watched Avatar: The Last Airbender, so it’s justified.
After I did that, I asked the kids what other Nicktoons they liked that I didn’t mention. Most of them seemed to really like:
Rugrats (Seemed to be the most popular) Hey Arnold! CatDog Invader Zim ChalkZone (I wasn’t sure how many kids would know this show since it ended when these kids were born and the repeats were on in early morning timeslots, but I came in wearing my Rudy t-shirt and a few of the kids knew who it was) The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (Second most popular next to Rugrats) My Life as a Teenage Robot Danny Phantom
How did they see these? For starters, just about all of them have Nicktoons. The others saw the other shows via older siblings or cousins.
After that, I decided to ask the kids what their favorite animated shows as a whole were (including non-Nick). The top five were:
5. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic 4. Adventure Time 3. Phineas and Ferb 2. SpongeBob Squarepants 1. The Fairly OddParents
Honorable mentions went to The Powerpuff Girls and Animaniacs (remember that these kids all get Boomerang and The Hub, so they have easy rerun access)
Then I asked the kids what their least favorites were. The results were:
5. Any show made for preschoolers (please remember that these kids are eight years old) 4. Fish Hooks 3. Fanboy and Chum-Chum 2. Johnny Test 1. Breadwinners
10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): with great actions scenes alongside good writing for the best Ninja Turtles material since the 80′s.
9. American Dad: which might be the lesser watched of Seth Macfarlane’s trio of shows yet it is both the funniest and has the best characters of the three. (Pictured below might just be the best episode to date.)
8. Rick and Morty: a show which revolves around darker themes but with insight to life problems with humour and poignant reflection.
7. Archer: which wins me over for its witty, fast-paced dialogue and character interactions, along with a great cast and unique art-style.
6. Adventure Time: it’s something which I initially didn’t think of that well, but grew to enjoy as the series expanded its characters and world to mix nonsense humour with dark undertones, building without having big singular exposition dumps. It was also the inspiration (or one of the first) for a big change in kids’ shows animation style.
5. The Amazing World of Gumball: it can seem too crazy and odd with its various characters from different animation styles and strange plots, but honestly? It’s fun. It’s fun, it’s silly, and endearing for its simplicity and great jokes.
4. Bob’s Burgers: it might have a relatively small following, but is on my list for its great characters, who get fleshed out in their interactions within the family and the characters of the world. There’s often a character for everyone, and the show humour is on-point and witty.
3. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: it is not just a good show, but a great show in its character development, its heart, and its charm, all through writing. The voice actors clearly care about their roles, and the animation is presented with incredibly colour and beautiful style. Maybe it’s made for toys, but fantastic character writing and genuine feelings behind it make MLP:FiM one of the best shows out there. Plus, great music and fun for everyone!
2. Steven Universe: there’s no denying the power of this very new series. It’s beautifully animated and often paired with incredible backgrounds. The music mixes from techno beats to soft piano to add to the world. Like other series on this list, the story is often brought together through a lot of background information, but the world building is well-paced and always leaves the viewer wanting more. The characters and their complex writing help further the series to the number two spot. There’s also great and beautiful flowing actions scenes.
1. Gravity Falls: while it might have the strangest update schedule, Gravity Falls is not just one of the best cartoons currently airing, but among just the best in general. It’s funny, it’s strange, it’s spooky, it has great moments of humour and great moments of heart, in happiness and sadness. It’s plot and back-story are complex but deep and rich. The characters have great arcs, and the episodes are fantastic in their stories and dialogue. A bit Twin Peaks and a bit The X-Files, but with a strong joyful vibe (though there’s always with a sense of some underlying darkness). The animation style is vibrant and moves fluidly, and the backgrounds are detail and often stunning, Voices range, characters grow, and mysteries bring the viewer back to see what strange and all-together unorthodox turns the series will take. Its narratives know how to have fun but still tell complex and emotionally-driven stories.