Escapism Through Childhood Cartoons

<p>Ok, hear me out. Cartoons. Nostalgia. The feeling that everything is fine and nothing matters but the silly old jokes you remember from your childhood.&nbsp;</p>

<p>I'm sure by now, you're so tired of hearing about the quarantine and the pandemic, and I'm equally sure that you're tired of living through it. That's why I've been using my childhood cartoons as a form of escapism. Not only am I tapping into the warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia, but I've also found that this is a great way to let your brain shut down for a little while since many of the cartoons were written to be silly and light. Fortunately, with all of the streaming websites available in addition to YouTube Livestreams, finding cartoons is easier than ever. And if you're family is like mine, you have a ton of old DVDs that you can watch if your favorite cartoon doesn't exist on any of the streaming sites.&nbsp;</p>

<p>Also, if you're like me, finding the right cartoon for your mood might be challenging, so I'm going to write a few arguments for my favorites to help you jumpstart your marathon. &nbsp;I also want to introduce you to some cartoons that I've discovered as an adult that are still charming and witty enough to be enjoyed. So make some popcorn, wrap yourself up in your favorite blanket and plop yourself in front of the TV for a true Saturday morning experience.</p>

  1. 1. "We Bare Bears"

     I have to admit, this cartoon isn't from my childhood technically, since I discovered it when I was in high school, but "We Bare Bears" is an adorable show to watch. It's everything you want for escapism. It's binge-able, light-hearted, witty, and it touches on nice things such as compassion, family, and friendship. The three brother bears go through ridiculous antics like trying to attend college, discovering Bigfoot, and addressing concerns in wildlife preservation and conservation. You can watch shorts on YouTube and full episodes are available on both Hulu and Netflix as well as the Cartoon Network website. 

  2. 2. "Ben 10"

    The original series of "Ben 10" was a major part of my childhood. Who doesn't love shape-shifting and totally beating the bad guys? "Ben 10" is about a boy who finds a watch-like device called an Omnitrix that has alien DNA inside of it from ten different species. Using this watch, he can transform into the appropriate alien needed to defeat the villain of the episode. This one has a lot of humor but is definitely action oriented. It's definitely less laid back than "We Bare Bears." The story is easy to invest in and though your brain won't totally turn off, it'll be focused on the antics and adventures of Ben and his family. The original series of "Ben 10" can be found on Hulu.

  3. 3. "Gravity Falls"

    "Gravity Falls" is another show that I didn't watch until I was in high school, but it is so great, I've watched it at least three times over. Lasting only two seasons, this sci-fi, supernatural, summertime adventure cartoon brings you into the whimsical world of Gravity Falls, Oregon. Dealing with ghosts, gnomes, psychics, time-travelers, and more, a set of young twins discovers the mysteries that have been covered up and overlooked in the town for centuries. The humor in this show is spot-on. I'm currently rewatching it again and I'm still prone to laughing out loud at the puns and sophisticated jokes. This show is so hard to explain verbally because it is so out there and strange, but I highly suggest that this be on your list. "Gravity Falls" can be found on Hulu and Disney+.

  4. 4. "Danny Phantom"

    "Danny Phantom" is an absolute classic of early 2000s cartoons. Danny Fenton is a boy who lives a normal unassuming teenage life until his ghost-hunter parents develop a portal machine to travel to the ghost realm. Danny accidentally gets trapped in the machine as it is running making him become both human and ghost at the same time. From then on, he uses his ghost powers to defeat the poltergeists and other evil ghost enemies that travel into the world of the living while simultaneously trying to keep hold of normal teenagehood. Full of fun fight scenes and cringey romance, it's a great show to immerse yourself in. "Danny Phantom" can be found on Hulu.

  5. 5. Phineas and Ferb

    "Phineas and Ferb" was such a cool show and a lot of people have been making quarantine memes about it. Two stepbrothers spend their summer having nothing to do except use their own imagination to come up with outrageous and seriously impressive contraptions and machines to entertain the rest of the kids in the neighborhood. Much more light and airy than the last few cartoons I mentioned, this one also has many musical aspects. And I can't lie, some of those songs are still bops today. This is another good one to get you to smile in case you're in a funk. This one can be found on Disney+.

There are so many more cartoons that I could write about, like "Ed, Edd, and Eddy," "Teen Titans," "Jimmy Neutron," "Adventure Time," "The Wild Thornberrys," "Hey Arnold," etc. but I want to leave you with some cartoons that I discovered in my adulthood that I've grown fond of.

"Star vs. The Forces of Evil" is phenomenal. It has a great story, interesting and diverse characters, and really cool dynamic villains. This is among my top favorites. It can be found on Hulu and Disney+.

"Over the Graden Wall" is another amazing show that I've watched at least six times through. It's a Halloween mini-series that first aired on Cartoon Network in 2014. It's about two stepbrothers getting lost in the woods on Halloween night and their adventures trying to find their way home. Ths show has so many wonderful magical elements to it, but it was a Halloween special so it can be creepy at times. Elijah Wood is the voice of the main character, Wirt, and he did a great job. If you don't mind a little bit of creepy, you must watch this one! It's only 10 episodes long and can be watched in full in about two hours. It can be found on Hulu.

"Steven Universe" is a popular favorite that I've been taking some time to watch. I haven't gone through most of it yet, but I do enjoy it. It has a good mix of light and serious topics and I like the characters and art style. Since I haven't watched too much of it yet, I don't have too much to say on it, but I do think it's worth a watch. It can be found on Hulu.

Last but not least, I leave you with "Hilda." This is another cute and whimsical show based on Scandinavian folklore. A girl who lived her entire life isolated in the wilderness with her mother and the forest creatures she has grown to love is forced to move into the city after an incident. She finds out soon enough that the city isn't as boring and terrible as she once imagined. With forest sprites, mountain giants, and more, this cartoon is sure to make you feel an appreciation for the beauty on earth. "Hilda" is a Netflix Original. 


I hope I've left you with enough fuel to be inspired to get back into cartoons. Like I mentioned before, cartoons are a great form of escapism and can relieve a lot of stress. Please enjoy!