Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The Killing My Brain Cells One Cartoon At a Time Top Ten List

10) The Herculoids

The Herculoids, Space Ghost, Thundarr, Birdman, a few more. Hannah Barberra had the stupidest superheroes of all. As always, H-B barely animates their material and the stories are always lame. I love these shows.

9) G.I. Joe

I watched a lot of G.I. Joe when I was younger. I was a real patriot. I also watched a lot of Transformers, which makes me a robot in disguise. TAKE THAT BRAIN CELLS!

8) Wacky Races

We all knew that the races were rigged, but racing never got any better than this. I've never cared for NASCAR because it has never quite been wacky enough. I was a huge fan of the USA Network Cartoon Express. If you don't know what that is, then you missed the train.

7) Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids

"This is Bill Cosby comin' at you with music and fun,
and if you're not careful you may learn something before it's done.
So let's get ready, OK? Hey, hey, hey!"

6) The Smurfs

The Smurfs probably helped my grammar more than any of my schooling. Smurf you.

5) Shirt Tales

This show was based on greeting card characters. How stupid is that? I won't celebrate Mother's Day, but I love this stupid show.

4) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Turtle Power! I aspire to be a party dude.

3) Tiny Toon Adventures/Animaniacs

Irreverant humor. Almost a throwback to the glory days of WB animation.

2) DuckTales

Maybe the best comics-to-tv adaptation out there. There was a brief after-school Disney cartoon revival in the early '90s. There were also some great WB cartoons, including the Batman animated series.

1) The Simpsons

I was gathered around the boob tube with my family for the series premiere of this, the most faithfully brilliant of all brain-dead television animation. I watched most seasons up until the end of college, at the point when my TV access wasn't regular. I haven't kept up, but I do catch an episode now and then. The Simpsons is one of the most consistently brilliant television shows of all time.

Then again, what do I know? All of my brain cells are long gone from watching too many cartoons.

There are at least 100 other shows that I could name. I could write about Pirates of Dark Water or my long teenage flirtation with Anime.

I wasted a lot of time watching bad cartoons, most much worse than what I name above.

I regret that I didn't spend my childhood learning many real skills. But I don't really regret that I watched any of these cartoons. Animation is a marvelous example of creaturely sub-creation of worlds.

If you really wanted to get technical, I would insist that all motion pictures are animations. Really, all films consist of roughly 24 frames of still photographs projected at a speed of 1 second, creating an illusion of movement that is never really there. It has become easy to do this with photography. That anyone at all is willing to do this with hand-drawn cels is a mark of beautiful artistic determination. Or the mark of someone devoid of brain cells.

I take my stand with the deranged animators. I can do no other. God help me.

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