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The Great Cartoon Debate, Part II: Open Discussion on Nick Toons

I first started watching Nickelodeon in its infancy, when I spent a lot of time babysitting for my cousin. She was enthralled with Pinwheel, which was a precursor to Nick Jr. Pinwheel was a block of cartoon programming aimed at the pre-school set. It included the Japanese cartoon Maya the Bee, David the Gnome and The Littl' Bits and The Noozles (upon searching, I'm suprised to find that not only does Maya still air in places, but she's got her own video games). I hated these cartoons. Crappy animation and morality tales did little to hold my interest. The voicing on Maya was flat and the story lines seemed to repeat themselves. Everytime the theme song came on (i>Maya. Maya the Bee. Maya.. Maya the Bee), I would try to get teach Krys to sing the Monty Python song Eric the Half a Bee instead (Half a bee, philosophically, must, ipso facto, half not be). Never worked. David at least ad the voice of Tom Bosley going for it, but there were just too many lessons crammed into one half hour show. I wanted fun and mayhem in my cartoons, not morals! Unfortunately, my cousin couldn't take her eyes off of Maya or David, so I was stuck, as television was the only thing that kept her from bugging the crap out of me with her incessant why questions. Eventually Krys went to school and I stopped watching Pinwheel. Well, no. That's not entirely true as I was pretty taken in by Eureka's Castle and still wish that Nick would rerun those shows. But that was not a cartoon, so it's not important now. Later on, Nickelodeon would produce many fine cartoons, none of which approached the sugar coated fantasy land that Maya and David lived in. Which is a good thing. I mention these Nick cartoons because I opened the discussion up to other cartoons and I think it we would be sadly remiss to not include the following: Ren and Stimpy Rocko's Modern Life Angry Beavers Invader Zim Fairly Odd Parents SpongeBob SquarePants There are plenty of other Nick Toons to be talked about, especially the Klasky-Csupo shows (Frankly, the only K/C toon I liked was Rugrats). Just do not get me started on CatDog. That show freaked me out. Unfortunately, circumstances beyond my control (read as: family dropping by unexpectedly) preclude me from waxing nostalgic or fawning over these stellar shows or beating up on the shoddy ones. I leave the discussion of the merits/demerits of Nickelodeon cartoons - old and new - up to you. I'll include some of your comments in my final analysis when I eventually wind this discussion up sometime in the distant future.


Nikelodeon has given a few great cartoons their start, but then they have turned around and butchered them.

"Ren & Stimpy" and "Invader Zim" in particular.

At least they didn't farm Zim out to another cartoonist to ruin like they did R&S.


Nickelodean redeemed anything from the past with Fairly Oddparents. Good stuff! As the parent of a two year old who loves Clifford (it's the only show she watches for the most part), I like that the voice of the super-nice Emily Elizabeth does the voice of Vicky, the evil babysitter.

Rocko's Modern Life always made me crack up, and only 32% of that was attributable to weed:

"A sad, crying clown in an iron lung... I've always wanted one."


Rocko's Modern Life was bril, as is Invader Zim and Fairly Oddparents.

The first thing that comes to mind though is "AHHHG! Real Monsters". I forget the name of the teacher on that show, but that's the most gender ambiguity I've seen in children's television in a long time.

I loved "Aaaah! Real Monsters", in fact I have stuffed versions of the 3 leads: Oblina, Ickis and Krumm. (Bought on Ebay 6 years ago for more than I want to admit.) Invader ZIM really is the best, though I also adore "Ed, Edd, and Eddy" (along with my son, who is 14).

At its best, "Ren and Stimpy" was the best cartoon ever.
Kricfalusi was a mad genius.

Let me just say that although my kids (5 and 7) have the ability to watch the full range of Nickolodeon and other cartoons being made today -- and I pretty much leave them alone about it -- they still choose the classics.

The shows they don't want to miss on Cartoon Network are "The Flintstones," "Scooby Doo," "Wacky Races," "The Jetsons," etc. And of course, Looney Toons and Tom and Jerry.

Maybe it's because they're young?

As for Nick Jr, while "Dora the Explorer" is the most annoying show on earth to watch as an adult, it is the most popular show with the kids, and it is excellent for kids who are having trouble just learning language, because the language is way simple (far simpler than "Blues Clues" or "Sesame Street") and everything is repeated a million times.

The most wonderful show now on Nick Jr? "Max and Ruby." Best show about siblings ever.

I notice that Ren and Stimpy haven't been reissued on DVD. Monstorous injustice, that. I hope nick gets around to it. I'm sure most of us who watched cartoons in the mid 90s would spring for the set- as long as they market it in a big candy red button package.

Hated, hated, HATED Ren and Stimpy. Bored me stiff - I TRIED to like it, but it just never took.

That whole genre of species-mismatch cartoons left me worse than cold - "Cat/Dog" was awful, and "Cow and Chicken" was worse.

"Fairly Oddparents" isn't bad.

The Klasky-Czupo cartoons - "Rugrats" is irritating but occasionally watchable. But "Rocket Power" and "All Grown Up" - ptui. Vile.

I just can't stand Rugrats. For some reason, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. (Probably because I'm not 8 any more). Rocket Power and ALl Grown Up are the same way.

I do like SpongeBob and I agree that Oddparents is weird and silly enough to redeem itself.

Of the little-kid cartoons, I've always been fond of Little Bear. And I kind of liked David the Gnome, back in the day.

He's the greatest
He's fantastic
Wherever there's danger he'll be there
He's the ace
He's amazing
He's the strongest he's the quickest he's the best
Danger Mouse
Danger Mouse

He's the greatest
He's fantastic
Wherever there's danger he'll be there
He's the ace
He's amazing
He's the strongest he's the quickest he's the best
Danger Mouse
He's terrific
He's magnific
He's the greatest secret agent in the world
Danger Mouse
Power House
He's the fastest he's the greatest he's the best
Danger Mouse
Danger Mouse

I was waiting for someone to bring up Danger Mouse!

DM > *.Nick toons


No other toon has a greater pun to joke ratio.
No other toon has catepillar as a pet to the Bad Guy (Baron Greenback)
No other toon contains such gratuitous use explosives (Well except Wile E Coyote).
"The flying car. Chicks dig the flying car" (/Val Kilmer)
The strangely addictive theme song
Banana Man!!! (Ok I admit, Banana Man is kind of a tard forget this reason.)

Crumbs, I forgot all about Danger Mouse..but it was one of the best.

I've liked the little I've seen of Zim so far, and I've bought the DVD.

Back when I was actually part of Nick's target audience, I enjoyed Dangermouse and it's spinoff, Count Duckula; but my favorites were "The Mysterious Cities of Gold" and "Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea".

MCoG had it all; appealing characters, cool toys, historical setting, chariots of the gods, and it was arguably anime before it was cool.

Spartakus was imaginative enough for you to forgive the musical padding sequences that lasted for ages, and it's one reason I can't flat-out loathe the French. Still, the Menudo theme Nick brought in was an abomination.

From where I stand:

I have 5 1/2 yr old twins, and they prefer Rugrats (both versions), Fairly Oddparents and Spongebob (of course). Zim never caught on - with them or me - and they don't like CatDog or Ed, Edd & Eddy (a good thing, too). We're selective with the Spongebob episodes because we know 'em all, so if there's one we don't like, we turn on something else.

Personally, I find the Oddparents to be the best of the lot - my daughter's name is Vicki, so there's always a lot of ribbing when that's on. Cosmo cracks me up, as does Timmy's Dad. This new 'Danny Phantom' isn't bad either, but that may just be because it's something different.

We have that NickToons channel, which still shows the old K/C stuff. My son likes AAAH! Real Monsters, and I have steered him to Rocko's Modern Life - to my wife's dismay. They don't show a lot of R&S, as far as I can see, but he has enjoyed that with me - my wife isn't happy about that either.

My son doesn't watch much of the anime yet, but he has taken a liking to Scooby Doo. I want to destroy things when I hear Casey Kasem's voice, but that's just me.

Hey, isn't R&S on Adult Swim from time to time?


The two most important people in cartoons? Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. Both at WB,Bugs, Roadrunner, all the whole set. Chuck Jones did a few Tom and Jerry's in the late 50's early 60's and they're startlingly different from the others in the series.
I'd watch any cartoon by either of these two. Chracters are, I think, less important than the creators and what they do with the characters.

Gotta go with the Old School cartoons, Dangermouse, Duckula, and Dr. Snuggles, even [which had an episode scripted by Douglas Adams].

Although Angry Beavers are cool. And Michael Dorn's performance in I M Weasel as good enough to go a long way to making up for the rest of Cow and Chicken.

oh, my gosh!

Dr. Snuggles. I had totally forgotten about that one. I remember getting up at 6 am on Saturday mornings, sitting through the Farm Report, just so I could watch it. (I was perhaps 8 at the time, young enough to feel like I could get away with watching a cartoon like that but old enough to enjoy some of the "trippiness" of the Snuggles oeuvre.) I didn't realize Douglas Adams wrote one of the episodes...somehow, it seems fitting.

"At its best, "Ren and Stimpy" was the best cartoon ever. Kricfalusi was a mad genius."

Well, as the father of one of the writers, I have a bit of insight on "the group madness", John K's and all the rest.
But, I ain't telling. LOL.

I LOVE "Fairly Odd Parents"! It is the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" of the next generation. It has all the "Adult Humor" that Jay Ward injected into his work while still preserving the stuff kids love.

Thanks to Scott for noticeing the voice acting on Vicky/EE on Clifford. My 2 year old also loves Clifford, but I never put the voices together until now!

I will TOTALLY be watching tomorrow moring's Clifford with my girl to see if I can recognize the voice!

I tend to be a bit of an old-school purist myself, raised on a steady diet of idiots, explosives and falling anvils. Nothing has yet surpassed Chuck Jones' work on the Looney Tunes, and Hanna and Barbera's work on Tom and Jerry (the jury is still out on Chuck Jones' contributions to T&J, but I tend to like it.) I've written college essays based on failure analysis of Wile E. Coyote's plans.

That said, Fairly Oddparents is probably the best thing to come out of Nickelodeon in years. There's just so many good quotes that come out of that show. I pretty much ignore just about everything else on the network, but occasionally end up watching Spongebob Squarepants. That one exhibits occasional flashes of brilliance ("Goodbye everyone, I'll remember you all in therapy!") but too often tries to stretch two minutes worth of plot into 10 minutes of cartoon. I also tend to think it's overplayed by now too.

Cartoon Network really hasn't made anything of note for quite a while (with the possible exception of Samaurai Jack). The newer Dexter's Laboratory episides are just lame compared to the originals, Ed, Edd and Eddy is about as enjoyable as a dental cleaning, and even the Powerpuff Girls has slipped recently. At least they're not showing quite as much Dragonball stuff (entertaining once or twice, annoying as heck beyond that.)

Disney Channel would probably be my last choice of places to start looking for good cartoons, but surprisingly enough, I actually happen to like Kim Possible. There's a bit too much emphasis on gratuitous action sequences,but some pretty good writing, and at least one or two good lines per episode. And Dave the Barbarian is just pure animated ADD. Someone could wreck the whole thing by slipping Ritalin into the writers' drinking water.

I used love ARGH! Real Monsters! Back in the day, and Rockos Modern Life. Where did they go? I live in Australia, in which all Nik' cartoons are aired on the one channel (ABC) during the "childrens programmes" afternoon section. But those two shows haven't been shown for ages. Recently the only Nick' shows that have been on have been The Wild Thornberries and Rugrats (even that hasn't been on in a while, praise the lord).
That is until last week....or maybe the week before...
That's when they first started showing The Fairly Oddparents. I've already started taping it and making sure I'm always home in time to catch it (pretty sad for a 17 year old, huh!).
This is truley one of the funniest shows I have ever seen, so much so that I intend to get a tattoo of Cosmo when I turn 18....unless I change my mind by then, which I probably will...
The Point of this post?

Oddparents = Good