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Animated Shows for Those New to the Genre

Depending on who you ask, animated shows or cartoon shows aren’t considered to be within the “norm” of tv shows. I have always had a soft spot for animated shows and throughout this semester have relied on them to help me de-stress after a long day. I know people who are instantly turned off with just the mention of an animation or cartoon show, but this is my plea with the kind of people who don’t watch animation because of the style. At least give a couple a try before you write off the whole genre! The cartoon/animated genre is dense with loveable characters and with storylines that are entertaining and hilarious. You would be missing out if you didn’t give them a chance. So here are my personal recommendations of animated/cartoon shows that everyone should consider watching. Who knows? You might actually enjoy it!

1. Bob's Burgers (Comedy)

Do you want to laugh? Do you enjoy chaotic situations and random hilarity? You would love Bob’s Burgers. This is the show that made me write about this, and is one of many cartoon shows that utilize the genre well. It’s a family comedy with a range of characters who are imbued with quirks that drive the plot in hilarious directions. The storylines and characters will leave you laughing and at the same time wondering “what just happened?”. The episodes are short and sweet which is perfect for watching with a meal or as a way to quickly relax and have a good laugh. What more can I say? It’s lighthearted, funny, and you will find yourself quickly invested in nuanced plots that carry a deeper significance.

Honorable Mention: Rick and Morty

If you enjoy comedies with some wit and absurdity, then I will also give an honorable mention for Rick and Morty. As over-memed pickle Rick was, I will still vouch for this show with a normal amount of enthusiasm. It’s a fun series worth a go if you are into short-form comedies.

2. Bojack Horseman (Dramedy)

Perhaps comedies are not your cup of tea; you love drama and complex storylines, and those episodes where you are either bawling your eyes out or are in rapt attention of a particularly dramatic plot. Then, you should give Bojack Horseman on Netflix a try. I would label this show as a dramedy due to its comedic tendencies that lean towards dark comedy. The story follows the struggling ex-sitcom star, Bojack Horseman, who has outlived his glory days and is searching for the next big thing in his life. Once you push through the first couple of episodes that are so-so, you will start learning more about Bojack, his life, and all the people in it. It’s full of bad decisions, chaotic storylines, worrisome characters, and dark humor that you will find yourself guiltily laughing at as you watch characters face the big questions and challenges in life. It’s a brutal show that is nuanced enough to still feel rewarding as you go through each season. Also, I forgot to mention, it takes place in a world where animals walk on two feet alongside humans. It’s fun!

3. Avatar: The Last Airbender (Adventure/Drama)

It is almost impossible to not know of this show. From what I have been hearing and seeing, it has had a bit of a resurgence in the last year, so more and more people are falling in love with this beloved show, which is amazing! This was my childhood, so I have nothing but positive words for this show, but I can't say the same for the disaster of the live-action movie. It’s both lighthearted and dramatic with fulfilling storylines and underlying relationships that drive the plot is unique and intriguing ways. Because it is so popular, I feel I should also point you to a less popular but equally amazing animated show.

Honorable Mention: The Dragon Prince on Netflix

This show is actually co-written by the head writer of The Last Airbender, Aaron Ehaz, so it carries a similar style. It is still quite different from Avatar in all the best ways, though. It is set in a fantasy world of humans, elves, magic, and dragons. Season one kicks off with the three main characters venturing across the land to end the ongoing conflict between humans and elves. This show is fun and comes with deep stories and a diverse range of characters that you will love (even the evil ones). This is one of my favorite shows and if you like Avatar: The Last Airbender, you are bound to love this show. You will also probably recognize some of the voice actors as well.

Those are some of my personal favorites, but I thought I might also include the favorites of some friends and acquaintances that come with great enthusiasm. So, if you are looking to get invested in fun stories, unique and loveable characters, and are ready to experience the richness of the cartoon/animated world, you should also consider these shows as well!

Gravity Falls

Carmen Sandiego (Netflix)

Steven Universe

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Netflix)

The Legend of Korra

The Regular Show

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Rachel Gibson

Augustana '22

Rachel is currently studying English and Creative Writing and enjoys reading classics, dreaming up fictional stories, and making lists of all the things she wishes she could do.
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