Everyone has definitive lists of cartoons they grew up with. Â The big ones that ‘changed their lives’ or something to that effect. Â Honestly, sometimes you get a bit tired of hearing about the exact same cartoons that you, yes, grew up with, but were not the only in a long bundle of growing experiences. This isn’t to say that Gummi Bears and Gargoyles and Darkwing Duck weren’t amazing shows. Â They still reign, in my mind, as some of the best cartoons of my generation, but there are also some underrated – and often overlooked – cartoon shows that I used to get excited to see on and were sometimes short-lived. They’re a bit obscure at times, though some are well known just not as known as others, but all of them offered something to me that made me excited to watch them. Â Obscure cartoons that I think every kid should experience for one reason or another…
While far removed from the movie it took its name from, somehow the Beetlejuice Cartoon remained the kind of quirky, out of the box thing you’d expect from Burton. Â It was equal parts disgusting and fantastic on its best day, and the relationship between Beetlejuice and Lydia was something amazing (unlike the somewhat creepy, older-man rapist vibe you get from the movie.)
It had a decent run, given the content and timing, but ultimately I feel like people don’t remember the cartoon near as much as they do others from the same time period. Â It’s amazing, it’s wonderful, and I think it has something to offer just as much as the other shows that we grew up with.
As an adult, I can probably appreciate the humour even more, given that some of the jokes are a bit quirky and dark, but in the end, it belongs on a list of ‘must-see’ stuff.
Another one that I watched far more than I probably should have was Maple Town – it had these kind of animations that I was absolutely head over heels in love with, and was likely my first true experience with ‘anime’. Â Yes, it’s a Japanese produced show that was ported over and given a new theme song and general feel for American Children – yet somehow I feel like it was lost in a sea of other cartoons of that age.
Thinking back on it now, I’m not sure how I wasn’t terrified at the prospect of another world with bunnies and the like doing every day tasks and teaching each other lessons – and yes, I realise that Beetlejuice should terrify me in the same way, but his existence wouldn’t have made any sense to me, while bunnies and such do exist.
Honestly, I’m not sure what drew me to Maple Town so much, but I remember a few years ago, without even thinking about it, I started singing the theme song to myself and smiled. Â Straight nostalgia to the brain and catchy as hell.
While not offering much in the way of lasting education or anything of the sort, just your general run of the mill do unto others type of daily stories, The Wuzzles was a show that was creative in my mind, even if short lived. Â The idea of inter-species relationships led me to thoughts that I’m not sure I should have had at that age. Â But… y’know, something very interesting about the idea of a Bumblebee/Lion combination, especially when he’s flirting with a Butterfly/Bear combination.
It also came to light that there was a toy line in which they had a Kitten/Penguin combination, not featured in the show, but a toy, and now I want it because that’s my perfect combination of the two animals that represent me the best. Â Wenkmew.
Okay, I cannot begin to explain the love I have for this Canadian show. (I didn’t know it was Canadian when I was little, but still.) Â The Raccoons has the absolute best soundtrack for a cartoon of its age and theme. Â I’m not sure why I was so in love with it, but the combination of music and story-telling had me gaga over it from a young age, and it still kind of resonates with me today.
I also have to admit that I had a bit of a crush on Burt Raccoon. Â I’m not ashamed!
As far as obscure, off the wall shit goes – especially from my childhood - Count Duckula has to be one of the craziest. Â Nanny being bigger than a breadbox, and the ritual of bringing him back to life being screwed by some Ketchup – which makes him a Ketchup vampire – is just so freaking crazy. Â It’s such an 80s cartoon, given the music and the theme of everything. Â I seriously cannot believe how much fun it was to watch this.
The voice acting was key for being both terrible and great all at the same time. Â Good lord, I loved this cartoon.
Not all shows are created equal, no, and while a few of these might be outstripped by their competitors of the time, they still are capable of standing on their own as testaments to my childhood.
The unfortunate thing is I remember, as a child, watching a variety show on some channel that had a lot of little segments in it – like fairy tales and the like – but also this one cartoon about a duck who liked eating worms and always got into trouble, like getting dirty? I cannot find it anywhere, but I seem to recall the phrase Lunchbox, and it’s IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND, I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING.
Honorable mentions would only be for all the popular shows I watched, that while they may not have been as popular as some, were still pretty up there as far as nostalgia goes. Â I even remember for my seventh birthday getting a Tummy Gummi plush with some strawberry candies. Â It was fantastic. Â I still have it, he’s just… lost his hat.
Anyways. Â Seriously. Go enjoy some nostalgia.