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.
What do you get when you cross a character whose motives are rather simple and ingenious, with some really garish clothing that really doesn’t suit anyone in the world? Or how about when you cross a character who wears a full suit to a gymnasium and ends up schooling those guys in their workout wear? Generally, you end up with one rather eccentric character, someone who breaks conventional norms.
Yes, the eccentric is often an integral part of a story; They’re there and they help progress the plot, though you might not always expect what they are going to do. This is because the eccentric has a mind of their own, a purpose only they can determine… and we just get to sit back and watch how they go about a rather simple world. This is our salute to the men and women who are seriously out there.
10. Donkey – Shrek
It’s hard to be normal when you’re a donkey that talks. There’s no need to sing, or hum, or whistle, or dance, or talk to absolutely everyone until they hate you, imprison you and generally belittle you in any way possible but dammit if you’re not going to try to be friends with them all. Donkey is enthusiastic and so filled with nervous energy that it repeatedly gives him very close to death, one such incident resulted in an unlikely wedding and a brood of half-dragon donkeys.
Comedy foil to Shrek’s serious performance (a rarity for a Mike Myers role) Donkey provides most of the goofiness and very obviously Eddie Murphy style shenanigans, but there’s a quirky charm to Murphy that he lost somewhere around the Nutty Professor sequel that he manages to reclaim as the loveable misfit ass with a love of music and absolutely everyone.
9. Emmet Brown – Back to the Future
A student of all sciences, Emmet Brown (“Doc”) is the inventor of the very first ever time machine… A freakin’ DeLorean. I’m sorry, I could stop this entry right there. I mean he decided that the best machine to build a time machine around is a DeLorean?! Alright, whatever. Let’s think about some of the less practical aspects of his life.
Well, he came from a rich family – And decided that the best use for all of the money is his Time Travel project. Don’t get me wrong, it’s clear that spending all of that money was a good thing, because he actually managed it… But when you think about it, all of that money is gone and all he’s got to show for it is a DeLorean. With catch phrases such as “Great Scott”, the Doc is certainly more than a little bit out there.
8. Johnny Bravo
I want you to go to a beach – I know this is a weird thing for a geek to ask a fellow geek (I don’t get along well at beaches personally). I want you now to look around at all of the people on the beach. You’re going to find a man who is similar to Johnny Bravo there. Crass, crude, a little bit rude, but over all they’ll have a very toned body. Does it necessarily make them strong, or manly, or even heroic? Not in the slightest.
But what separates Johnny Bravo from the boys on the beach is his incredibly diverse set of… Shall we say interests? He’ll chase any woman, even alien women, but he’ll always blast out his catchphrase “Ooh mama!” even to his own mama! Sadly, perhaps Johnny Bravo isn’t too different to some of the muscle heads out there, but if there’s one thing he knows how to do better than anyone else, it’s The Monkey. Dance on, Johnny. We salute you!
7. Mr Satan – DragonBall Z
Mr Satan, or Hercule, if you saw the English versions of DragonBall Z, is a bit of a light relief from the otherwise generally serious show that is DragonBall. On Earth, he is considered the strongest human (Although this is certainly something that belongs to Krillin… I mean even Yamcha could probably beat Mr Satan). No matter, he’s got his own sense of style and with his image to protect, he has plenty of powers which makes people not only question him, but kind of pity him.
For instance, he believes his own hyperbole, which he puts so much conviction into. If you think that’s not bad enough, he worked for ages on developing a technique, which goes by many names. Be it the Dynamic Mess Em Up Punch, the Megaton Punch or otherwise, he believes this is the most powerful punch in the world, to which Android 18 was rather unamused by. Still, it’s with his showmanship attitude and flair for hamming it up that Mr Satan gets through so much. He won the Cell games, did you know?
6. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
“HOOOOOO!” – ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan
Okay, this man is utterly barmy and we have to love him for it. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan is a retired professional wrestler, who was infamous for shouting out “Hooooo!”, being damn proud to be American and for being incredibly loud. When he had his eyes set on something, he became hell bent on getting it, often to his detriment. With this said, he is an iconic character from the world of what was then called the World Wrestling Federation.
For the wrestling fans out there, you may be wondering why we chose Hacksaw over the one and only Macho Man Randy Savage? It’s simple: Macho Man was indeed pretty darn out there, incredibly eccentric and outright entertaining as all hell. But “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan didn’t even need clothes, or to constantly say “yeah” to be eccentric. Macho Man is amazing, don’t get me wrong for a second, but the “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan deserves a little respect. Besides, he’s the only character I’ve ever known to be so out there that he’s allowed to carry his 2×4 everywhere with him. I mean that… Everywhere.
5. Professor Elemental
Character and stage persona of the exceptionally British rapper Paul Alborough, the Professor is a pith helmeted adventurer and steampunk airship captain with an orangutan butler named Geoffrey who’s hopped all over the world, through time and into untold levels of peril. He’s bounced across time, space and a variety of dimensions in pursuit of… something, probably a better brew than he can find at home but it doesn’t seem likely. More recently in pursuit of aforementioned orangutan butler who appears to be missing.
And yes, I got to interview the man behind the lunatic, and I am far too proud of the fact.
Anyway, the man himself is comparatively down to earth and approachable, with only a few traces of the personality bubbling and brimming behind the amicable smile. To say that the Professor is a character is true enough, but it’s a character deeply rooted in his creator, that maniacal and gleeful fiend that Paul Alborough has been sitting on for far longer than he’s been bringing him to the stage.
4. James – Pokemon
One of the Team Rocket duo, James deserves a spot in this list, simply because he’s a man who happens to have some of the most incredible sense of style and timing. I don’t think he does it for dramatic effect, I think his brain is wired in such a way that he only sees himself being prepared for any event. Of course, with Team Rocket, the plan is pretty simple: Capture that Pikachu as best they can.
So whether he’s dressing up as a lady and having a larger bosom than anyone else, or he’s crying over his belt buckle, James is a man who puts his sense of fashion first. He’s faked amnesia, because he sort of believed his own amnesia, at least whilst it was convenient. He’s an oddball, he’s not really afraid to revel in that fact. Still, if you’re going to steal a Pikachu from some snivelling children, the best thing to do it in is a hot air balloon in the shape of a Meowth face, right? No one will see THAT coming at all…
Oh and James is loyal, but in bizarre ways too. He once gave up his entire bottle cap collection for Meowth… And not only that, he even cares for his opponents, having told Ash that he’d rather take an honest Pokemon battle over underhanded tactics. If nothing else, James does his dastardly deeds with style and class.
3. Ruby Rhod – The Fifth Element
Chris Rock in an elegant evening dress with multiple hair bobbles and a stick mike should paint a clear enough picture in your mind for interstellar DJ extraordinaire, lover to the stars, in the stars and personality super-titan Ruby Rhod but it doesn’t quite capture the character. I don’t actually think words are adequate to sum up the strut, the wildly swinging pitch of his voice, the leopard print that somehow seems to have reached into his mind and taken control.
Even once the action steps up several notches, bullets start flying and bombs start being thrown around indiscriminately, Ruby Rhod’s panic stricken screams somehow manage to keep the same level of ferocious energy, and faced with the end of the world and being one of the only people who can stop it he’s still giving it every ounce of energy he has, and that’s a lot of energy.
2. The Mad Hatter – Alice in Wonderland
Interestingly, the Hatter started this list much lower down until someone screamed “change places”.
Tea is a noble enough pursuit, some might even call it a lifestyle. In a world entirely dominated by pervasive madness we find a man who seems to have particularly taken it all to heart, master of ceremonies to the eternal tea party in the middle of the woods, a mere throwaway character in the original tale who has become some great mythological figure to fans of Lewis Carol’s epic. The Mad Hatter has seen many hundreds of iterations, including DC’s villain Jervis Tetch, variations in Tim Burton’s interpretation, Once Upon a Time, and the terrible pawn of the Jabberwock in the Zenescope darkly reimagined version.
But the man himself was of little consequence to the story compared to the many weird and wonderful characters, the Red Queen, the March Hare, the Mock Turtle, and yet ask someone to name a character from Alice in Wonderland how many would say the Mad Hatter before Alice. But still, there are more important things to discuss over a nice hot pot of tea, such as the time for example, and how much of it there is.
1. Sheogorath – The Elder Scrolls
The Daedric Prince of Madness himself makes it to our number one slot, because of many reasons, but I’m going to focus purely on a few things. Shall we begin with this demons attire? As you can see above, his demonic armour is a little bit of a miss-mash. He likes the colour purple, a colour of royalty, but the armour seems to be a little bit… Unfinished? But he’s a man of class, he walks with a cane, with well kept hair and a trimmed beard. He loves his luxury and it shows in everything that he does…
But then, we move on to how this demon talks to you. He talks to you as if you have even the slightest bit of an idea what he’s going on about… But there’s a lot of method in everything that he says. You feel as if he has an important message behind everything he says, so let’s end this list on quotes from the master of madness:
“You are the best Septim that’s ever ruled. Well, except for that Martin fellow, but he turned into a dragon god, and that’s hardly sporting…”
“Do you mind? I’m busy doing the fishstick. It’s a very delicate state of mind!”
“The game is a foot. Or a leg. Or all manner of severed limbs!”
Woah, hold your horses there. We’re not done with our list just yet. There were way more characters that we considered, but we thought we’d throw in these two extras as usual. They might not have made the list of our Top 10 Eccentric Characters, but they certainly are eccentric in their own right. A little out there, or even wholly bizarre, these two deserved a nod from us at the very least.
The Taunting Frenchman – Monty Python
ARGH. It was so hard to narrow all of Monty Python down to a single, solitary character, a single eccentric individual that serves as a prime example of the comedy collaborative that sums up what British eccentricity is. Had we called this list some like “eccentric groups” or something…
Anyway, such is life, and so we find lurking in those most honourable deeps the continental gargoyle, cow thrower, ballistic flatulator and general all round silly person the Taunting French Guard from The Holy Grail. Why? Well there was probably a better pick, but in addition to the creative insults carved from the frenchman’s second language and the ballistic use of cows, you can’t help but love the sniggering behind the crenelations and general helmet-tapping, raspberry blowing, barefaced cheek of John Cleese’s most memorable moment from the film.
Jayne Cobb – Firefly
It was a tough call between Jayne and Wash, and while Wash’s fascination with kids toys and Hawaiian shirts was great, somehow we just couldn’t pass up on the man they call Jayne.
Gun toting for some is a profession, a job, a calling perhaps, rarely a hobby, but there’s just no describing the way with which Jayne embraces the thug life. While he does not fit in with the unconventional sort in a conventional way, with his permanently fixed dour and/or grumpy expression, there’s no small amount of pleasure to be found in the grin his bobble-hat brings to his down-turned face, or the way he feels that a gun is adequate exchange for a person.
Okay, let me try to get a hold of this list. We need a dose of daily sanity to counteract this list of whacked out nutjobs, but hey – At least they have their purposes. Sure, some of the characters are literally written to be eccentric, such as Sheogorath, but at least he fits the mould so beautifully. Now I turn to you to help us cast our vote to next week:
For next weeks list, if you’d like to get involved and write it with us (Joel and I get together on Thursdays to discuss the list), then please just drop us an email. As always, thank you very much for reading, please remember to vote for next weeks’ Top 10 and let us know what you thought of this list. Did you enjoy it? Were there any characters we missed, or you felt deserved higher on the list? Perhaps you feel some of our character choices were spot on? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. As always, keep being you: because you rock, much like the characters in this list!