Monday, December 8, 2008

Ugliest Cartoons of the Nineties

Note: Instead of compiling a list of the most wretched looking cartoons, I wanted to also focus on ugly cartoons that are stupid or unpleasant in their design. For example, shows like "Ren and Stimpy", "Rocko's Modern Life", "Rugrats", and "Home Movies", while ugly in their own ways, will not appear in this list because they've proven themselves with likable characters, clever premises, good writing, and/ or being hilarious. Instead this list is for ugly cartoons with no additional merit.

5. Doug (1991-1994, 1996-1999)
The makers of "Doug" seem to think that you can build a show around a dorky guy and his equally dorky friends. While the animation isn't awful, it is bland to the point of being ugly. Most characters are strangely coloured and outright horrible to listen to. You know a show is bad when the main character is smitten by a plain-Jane girl with a stupid name who sounds like she has a cheese grater lodged in her throat. Also, I don't recall the show ever having any serious conflict to move the story forward.

4. Beavis and Butt-head (1993-1998)
I know I'm asking for trouble because plenty of people really love this show (it was on the air long enough). But I personally couldn't stomach more than 5 minutes of these two social rejects without being repulsed. The show looks as if it were animated with a ballpoint pen in the margins of a textbook, and everyone was ugly to look at. If there was any clever dialogue to draw from this cartoon, it was lost on me since it seems 80% of the show was spent letting the two idiotic characters grunt, guffaw, and wheeze while quivering through a cycle of the same four cells of animation.

3. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters (1994-1998)
As far as I can tell, Nickelodeon believes that no matter what ... gross = fun. This show was about three hideously miserable monsters that live under a dump and learn how to scare people. Genius. The main monsters were a goblin-thing, a reeking hairy gnome thing that carried around it's eyeballs, and a black and white candy cane that could transform and remove her own guts. All I know is that it was 22 minutes of slime, garbage, and greasy armpits.

2. Pepper Ann (1997-2000)
The makers of "Pepper Ann" seem to think that you can build a show around a dorky girl and her equally dorky friends. In a world where everyone wears overly baggy clothes designed for psychedelic clowns, Pepper Ann deals with the daily trials of going to school and having a younger sister who sounds like Barry White. I always thought it was weird that the show seemed to be inhabited by Fido Dido's, and I only just discovered that the woman who invented that 7-up mascot was the one who pitched the Pepper Ann show. Cripes.

1. Hey Arnold! (1996-2004)
The makers of "Hey Arnold!" seem to think that you can build a show around a dorky guy and his equally dorky ... you know what? I think I'm starting to see a trend here. Why is that the eighties were filled with cartoons about warriors, dinosaurs, magical creatures, and giant battling robots, but the nineties gave birth to dozens of shows about regular kids? Ten years earlier any cartoon show would literally blow your mind with an epic opening theme filled with action, adventure, space wars, and lasers. But the shows I've listed might put you to sleep before they even starts. "Hey Arnold" begins with Arnold the football head kid and his ugly friends just walking around. That's it! And what ugly characters they are. It's like a grade school of circus freaks where everyone is jagged, gangly, uni-browed, and misshapen. If you're going to make a show that is hardly interesting enough to follow, why are you making the characters nearly unbearable to look at?

1 comment:

Cole D'Arc said...

I would argue that Beavis and Butthead had a lot more merit than Rocko's Modern life. Yes, it was ugly but at least made fun of the apathy and shallowness of the youth of the nineties (like me!) while Rocko was a bunch of weird shit paving the way for Sponegebob Squarepants. And Mike Judge learned his lesson and made King of The Hill look presentable.
Way to slam it to Doug and Hey Arnold, though.
I'd successfully purged Peperanne from my memory until reading about it here so damn you for that.