Cartoons Aren't Just for Kids

Cartoons go beyond the means of childhood entertainment. They are imaginative forms of education. They teach kids how to interact with others, how to be good to the planet, how to add and subtract, how to sing and dance — you get the point. They deliver tremendous life-long lessons that live on through generations.

These animated life lessons shouldn’t end in youth. Why not continue this developmental progression through the narrative of a good ol’ animated dog, a fire-breathing dragon, or perhaps an over-dramatic furry monster who teaches tweens about bodily changes during puberty?

With the power of a few open minds, along with several streaming services, creators are bringing cartoons to all ages and to all platforms. Here are a few new cartoons that are catered toward an older audience that I recommend giving a watch.

1. Big Mouth

Starring comedic geniuses Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Maya Rudolph, Jordan Peele, and Fred Armisen, along with several other notable names, this Netflix series follows a group of middle schoolers fighting the battles of puberty and the changes that come when entering adulthood. The show brilliantly tackles the issues of depression, body positivity, shame, and sexuality. The series explicitly depicts all the strange things you thought you did alone as an angsty, curious tween. Through hormone monsters, shame wizards, depression kitties, and grandiose musical numbers, this show has it all! 

2. People Watching

People Watching is a brilliant YouTube web-comic which follows the lives of several young adults in their 20s and 30s dealing with a plethora of problems ranging from the struggles of dating and mental illness, to job insecurity and religion. How do people navigate themselves or navigate human connection? Each episode lasts around 10-15 minutes and delivers such incredible real-life moments that make you feel like you are having an open conversation with your best friends when you watch it.

3. Sausage Party

A social commentary on complicated international dynamics between countries and cultures, along with racial discrimination, but shown through derogatory acts performed by foods in a grocery store? Yup, that’s Sausage Party. Seth Rogen (hot dog), Jonah Hill (hot dog), Michael Cera (hot dog), Kristen Wiig (hot dog bun), and Salma Hayek (taco), go on a journey with their fellow shelved and refrigerated counterparts to escape the confines of a supermarket and get to “the great beyond.” They go through a series of obstacles and villains to get out, only to discover that “the great beyond” is not what they expected.  

Don’t be fooled by talking foods, singing animals, or head-to-toe tattooed characters, these cartoons pack powerful messages that audiences of all ages can learn and grow from.