Top 5 cartoons every college kid should watch

Our generation is famous for feeling incredibly nostalgic over old shows. Nothing was better than coming home from school every day and watching SpongeBob Squarepants or The Fairly Odd Parents. Heck, Fuller House was created because of how many people wanted a show similar to Full House to return. Despite our fond memories, we can all agree that our favorites back then have changed drastically (have you seen one of the newer SpongeBob episodes? Friendly advice—don’t), and it’s made us a little wary of new cartoons. With all of the changes that are being made to older cartoons, it makes sense that our generation would feel too distanced from the themes and characters to appreciate anything new that’s coming out. However, I’ve found that there are some diamonds in the rough. Hidden beneath all of the shows that are trying too hard to be “hip” are shows that are bringing up real issues that children and adults alike need to see and understand. I’ve compiled the top five recent cartoons that offer insight and cheesy hilarity that people of all ages can enjoy.

1.     Adventure Time

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Premiering in 2010 on Cartoon Network, Adventure Time tells the story of Finn, the last human left in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo. Finn lives in an elaborate treehouse with his best friend Jake, a dog that can change his shape and size at will. The two go on a variety of outlandish adventures in order to help the inhabitants of Ooo, including Finn’s one-time-crush Princess Bubblegum and the vampire princess Marceline. It’s cheesy at times, and Finn’s “hip” style of speech is endearing if a little outdated. Throughout its run, Adventure Time has offered its viewers relatable quotes and quite beautiful moments that have given some solace in rough times. The show is currently in its seventh season, and has inspired a variety of comic books and video games.

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2.     Over the Garden Wall

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This is a show I hadn’t heard of until very recently. Over the Garden Wall was a mini-series produced on Cartoon Network that ran for a week in November of 2014 (making it perfect to binge watch after reading this article). It was centered on two half-brothers, Wirt and Greg. The two travel through a mysterious forest called the Unknown in an attempt to find a witch who can return them home, all while being pursued by the mysterious Beast. Along their journey, Wirt and Greg meet various friends and foes that teach them valuable lessons. The storyline is positively charming. Despite featuring the voice talents of Elijah Wood and Christopher Lloyd and winning an Emmy, the show never got the advertising or public following that it really deserved. The artwork and fantastical creatures, combined with the surprise twist at the end, made it well deserving of the Emmy and its small cult following. It can be bought on DVD and found on streaming sites.

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3.     Bravest Warriors

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While not a TV show, Bravest Warriors deserves to be on this list. From the creator of Adventure Time, and featuring the same sense of humor, this show focuses on four teenage heroes living in the year 3085. They travel through the universe, saving aliens using “the power of their emotions.” Though you might not have heard of the show, you probably haven’t missed the adorable character of Catbug, voiced by equally adorable 9-year-old Sam Lavagnino.

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Although it’s only in its second season, this is another show that has gained a loyal cult following. You can catch Bravest Warriors on the YouTube channel Cartoon Hangover.

 

4.     Gravity Falls

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Gravity Falls just recently finished its second, final, and weirdest season, which makes this the perfect show to binge watch right after watching all of Over the Garden Wall. The show is about a set of twins, Dipper and Mabel, who are sent off to live with their great-uncle, or “Grunkle,” Stan, who owns The Mystery Shack. The shack is a tourist trap located in the middle of nowhere. Within the first few hours of their arrival, the twins realize that the town they are living in isn’t what it seems, and they spend the rest of their summer finding and fighting a variety of strange creatures. Gravity Falls began as a cutesy, albeit kind of strange, show, but by the beginning of the second season, it became something that had its followers trading theories and suspicions about every character. It’s available to watch on a variety of streaming sites.

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5.     Steven Universe

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Now we’ve reached my favorite on this list! Steven Universe premiered in 2013 and is still running, interspersed with (too many) hiatuses. It’s the story of a boy named Steven, who lives in the fictional town of Beach City with his three guardians. They are called the Crystal Gems. These three—Pearl, Amethyst and Garnet—are magical aliens from another galaxy, who have sworn to protect the Earth and Steven, who is half gem. His father is a human who lives in Beach City, and his mother was Rose Quartz, an extremely powerful Gem who led the effort to protect earth and ultimately sacrificed herself for Steven to be born (it’s complicated—just watch the show). The show’s ultimate focus is on Steven’s training to become a Crystal Gem in his own right and on the four Gems’ efforts to protect Earth from invading Gems. Steven Universe is an extremely important show, dealing with important topics like loss, grief and death, and even LGTQ+ relationships. I can’t think of a more essential show for young children to watch, and I know many college students who could benefit from watching it. The third season is set to premiere in June 2016, and the first two seasons are available to watch on Cartoon Network’s website, as well as other streaming sites. 

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About The Author

Stephanie Schwartz is a senior at Berry College, majoring in English and Theatre. Steph was born and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, but graduated from Father Ryan High School in Nashville, TN. Her hobbies include watching YouTube videos, reading, improv, and pretending that there wasn't homework assigned over the weekend. After graduation, Steph will be working at the Acting Out! Acting School in Brooklyn as a resident ASM.