Cartoon Network was a staple of British childrens television in the 90’s and early 00’s. Founded in 1994, Cartoon Network quickly became the go-to channel for all cool kids shows, with the only real rival being Nickelodeon. YouTube wasn’t around, Google was still a small idea, with search engines like AskJeeves and even Yahoo! being relatively comparible. As such, as a 90’s kid in the UK, you typically didn’t have a lot of channels to choose from, but rather just a few main ones. Growing up, a lot of the cartoons I loved the most were airred on Cartoon Network. These are four of my favourites which, if you’ve not seen, you absolutely must.
Going to start off with the weirdest option for a kids show, Johnny Bravo was about a young adult who spends all of his time perfecting his image, trying to get some attention from the ladies. Naturally, because he tries so hard, he ends up in strange situations. His best friend is a little girl who lives next door, a far more grounded person to his outlandish personality. He’ll flirt with any pretty lady, which often gets him in trouble, or worse yet – He ends up meeting celebrities when he really doesn’t want to. Also Adam West.
Johnny Bravo was funny because it mocked the typical stereotype of an overly groomed man. There are scenes where he, with his enormous muscular frame, is completely overpowered by the women he tries to get attention from. Like a true lovable goof, getting rejected doesn’t get him down – He gets back up and tries to find someone again. The adult humour was definitely not masked, which made for excellent viewing as a kid. It was in-your-face, but it wasn’t crude. You always got a laugh out of it.
The Powerpuff Girls
Boys and girls equally loved this series. No one questioned if it was a boy’s or a girl’s show, because it was a beautiful blend of powerful female characters – and badass action that we all came to love. In the opening sequence, you’re led to believe it’ll be a silly show about love and nice stuff, but then in that same opening sequence, you see all the villains getting their teeth kicked out. There was blood, violence – and it was all done in such a fun, innocent way.
It’s such an unbelievable scenario, that if anyone tried to blame 90’s cartoons for leading to a rise in violence, then you really should sit them down with an episode of this. Let’s see if anyone can recreate this amazing series – And hey, it’s still technically going today.
Oh and they were originally called the Whoopass Girls. Huh.
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
As a young kid, I wouldn’t have got it. Thankfully, I was around my early teens by the time Harvey Birdman came about. I had a grasp of the concepts they were going for and the outlandish characters made it a truly fun show to watch. Taking Harvey T. Birdman, a former superhero, transforming him into an attorney was an excellent way to start off the 00’s. This was around the time that the internet was truly picking up, so it meant I was able to go online and find out where this character came from.
Either way, if you like a bit of satire, this is up there. This show will make you laugh the whole way through. It’s a bit zany and some of the jokes are somewhat dated now, but it always had a good place in my heart.
I think just about every kid loved Dexter’s Lab. Featuring the titular boy genius, Dexter’s Lab was funny and was able to occasionally throw in some interesting lessons as well. The show taught kids about dangers such as talking to strangers, being envious and much more. It also brought along one of animations finest opening sequences in my personal opinion. You learned a lot about what sort of things would happen on the show just by this opening sequence. Basically, if you think you’d like a really over-the-top show about a boy genius and the various problems he encounters, this is the one for you.
There are too many good shows from Cartoon Network, but these are the four that always hold dearest to my heart. I could talk about Courage the Cowardly Dog, Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy and more, but I think that’s an article for another day. What about you though? Did you have a particular favourite Cartoon Network show? Share your favourite cartoons with us in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter – And hey, if you have a modern Cartoon Network show that you absolutely love, what is it? Share you love for cartoons with us!