Show you watched as a kid that had the most lasting influence


#1

SY300
Hey y’all, I want to reminisce about the effect that cartoons or live-action shows produced for younger audiences had on you when you were within that audience, and talk about which one stuck with us through the years the most. I know that there are a lot of high-quality cartoons out right now for kids that everyone watches, but I’m kind of looking for a conversation about old shows that endured rather than current shows that have a flexible audience.

For me, that cartoon was Courage The Cowardly Dog. It had bizarre humor, creepy characters, the strangest voice acting and incredible visuals that mixed 3D rendering with hand-drawn animation and occasionally real photography. It had a great quirky soundtrack and storylines that often ended on an extreme down note, prepping me for the narrative style of horror movies as a child. It also appealed to that childlike feeling that no one noticed the things you did or listened to you, by having Courage be a Cassandra, the lone character in the show that sees all the weirdness going on but is constantly dismissed when he tries to communicate it.

The director was apparently inspired by Ghost In The Shell, particularly the effect our increased reliance on technology would have on our lives. The amount of horror and hopelessness that takes place within computers, televisions and radio waves in the show inspired me to imagine these things as having endless possibilities for creepiness as a kid. I still do love any horror that takes its victims through a technological medium.

Here’s a clip of the hilarious and unsettling atmosphere that Courage was effortlessly able to produce.

AND NO COPS!


#2

I know it’s rote and cliché to say Evangelion, but…


#3

courage the cowardly dog was wild. it’s cool to hear what the director was inspired by; that cartoon has always been such an enigma to me. while i didn’t watch a whole lot of it (too much of a coward, haha) i can still remember scenes from it vividly years later.

remember the banana episode? that was fucked up.

as for other cartoons that had a lasting influence on me from my childhood: not many? i mostly watched nature documentaries that weren’t made for kids. i think pokemon was the only cartoon i watched with any consistency at that point. lately i’ve been watching the new pokemon sun & moon anime in its original japanese and it’s super interesting to see the differences between the dubbed pokemon animes i grew up with and the original voice acting


#4

Boy Meets World is not a particularly great show, but it had an absurdist (and at times surrealist) bend to it that I genuinely believe informed my taste in art and humor going forward. Even Stevens falls into this same camp.

The show I want to say is Ed, Edd, and Eddy, but in reality my brother watched that show and I just caught episodes through osmosis. That show is so good, though.


#5

As a kid I mostly watched anime, which probably explains why I feel so much more comfortable wih common anime tropes than I do with more traditional, North American cartoons. Gundam was a huge influence, along with FLCL, Cowboy Bebop and a smattering of other shows I’m sure I’m forgetting. I think this was due to my brother having a pretty sizeable archive of pirated anime and my family not having access to anything but the local TV channels that didn’t run a lot of cartoons.

I did watch a fair amount of Disney’s Recess and Spongebob Squarepants at my grandparents place though (they had cable), and I think both those shows have stuck with me. Recess for taking the school yard clique thing to the extreme (in some bad ways, sometimes. The Kindergardeners are depected using pretty racist imagry), and Spongebob for just being so absurd.


#6

oh shit, i totally forgot about ed, edd, and eddy! i watched a lot of that show.

is it just me, or were a lot of cartoons airing in the 2000s really strange?


#7

Hey Arnold! Love that show to death. It has such an admiration for the diversity and buzz associated with inner city life, it resonated with me a lot as a kid. Also, and I didn’t fully appreciate this until recently, but it touched on a huge array of complicated issues like poverty, anxiety and mental health in general, broken homes, you name it. The whole thing is just such a touching exploration on some of the serious issues that even kids can come up against.


#8

Courage the cowardly dog is a really great choice. That show is super underrated.

Probably Hey Arnold? That show was really great about teaching kids lessons without being overtly pedantic and sometimes about really complicated issues like class, family, anxiety, etc. Plus, everything I know about opera I learned from that episode.


#9

The entire late 90s PBS lineup imprinted pretty deep on me, but Arthur in particular still takes up a lot of my headspace. The show managed the neat trick of balancing a well-realized ensemble cast, impeccable story structure, and pop (as well as obscure) cultural awareness. Like Hey Arnold, it a had a real awareness of how adult issues intrude on the world of adolescents, without abandoning the many strange joys of youth. It offered a thoughtful model for kids-- personally, between shy writer Fern and perfectionist brainiac Brain, the show helped me see how I could exist–and even belong–in the world. Honestly? I think it does everything I like about The Simpsons without some of the crueler or easier jokes that the other show can fall into.
Also, between Dexter’s Lab and Bill Nye, I am obsessed to this day with weird, incongruous entrances to laboratories.


#10

I was gonna say Courage the Cowardly dog but that’s already taken. It’s about the only cartoon I actually liked watching as a kid.

As, like…a teen, Stand Alone Complex. There was a channel that basically aired only Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the shell really late at night so I watched most of it there. It was pretty much the basis for my love of robot anime and seinen manga.


#11

I’d like to be able to say Moomins, but I was a six-year-old hipster and decided that The Books Were Better, which is maybe more understandable considering they were the first things I read by myself? There’s also… like… a whole bunch of different Moomin series that I’ve never been able to keep track of.

The show I saw, I think maybe the 90s Japanese one, felt alright but not great at capturing the spirit of the thing, which is generally “fun and slightly goofy adventures but tinged with vague melancholy, psychological depth and some heavy stuff”. Comet in Moominland is a children’s story that’s very clearly alluding to the threat of nuclear war, for instance. I think especially seeing it in colour was a bit of a shock after getting used to Jansson’s excellent black&white illustrations.

I’m a complete broken record and I try to sell everyone in my life on the mooms, but I promise you they’re worth it.


#12

The Simpsons, hands down. I’d venture to say about 35% of my personality consists of reciting Simpsons quotes.


#13

Codename:Kids Next door and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy were pretty weird and cool.

Kids next door kind of reminds me of the phantom thieves from persona 5 with all the fighting evil adults stuff.


#14

Pokemon, for sending me down the dark path of anime


#15

I can’t remember the exact title, but Steve Irwin’s show, and just about every other program on animal planet, making me the biology grad I am today. I watched cartoons too, but none I remember that fondly (I found a lot of Cartoon Network cartoons too scary and strange). Standouts are things I remember watching with my family, like getting up at 6am to watch Zoids or Pokémon with my brother, CBBC shows with my Mum (we loved Art Attack), or my dad taking the piss out of Yugi-oh every time we insisted on watching it (“but he can’t play that card! It’s Tuesday! And he has an orange in his pocket!”)


#16

I don’t want to say ‘digimon made me gay’ but I do wonder, in hindsight, how much angemon being my favourite was down to him essentially just being a buff dude


#17

@JCrawford: “I know it’s rote and cliché to say Evangelion, but…”

Yeeeaaah. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t the case, but there’s just no way something that layered and confusing and angsty and messed up and visually arresting can not blow the tweenage mind! I still recall defending the interminable still frame Shinji face or Japanese Cicada scenes as being high tension artistic decisions of the highest calibur simply because I hadn’t learned about animation budgets apparently. You’d think Voltron transformation sequence recycling would have clued me in on how anime is actually made, ha ha ha!

Good thing we all grow up eventually and learn to value time.

Oh, I should contribute instead of just commenting on other people’s shit, right-

In reviewing my obsession with technorganic stuff and Eva’s influence on my life, I uncovered a gem that I forgot about which may have actually had an even greater “Second Impact”: Detonator Orgun!

I rewatched this three part gem of an OVA recently expecting hawt early 90s trash and was surprised to find that it mostly holds up and remains quite relevant.


#18

Fuck I’m old. Electric Company and Sesame Street. It’s actually creepy to me to go back and watch some of those old Electric Company episodes with Bill Cosby.


#19

Honestly Megaman Battle Network, it just sort of really got to me the idea of interacting with computers in the way they do in the show. I never even played battle network games until like 2 years ago when I found em at a used game shop. But the show just spoke to me.


#20

i wish i could say moomin myself; i hadn’t discovered it until a few years ago! honestly the 90s animation is a wonderful thing; at least (apparently) far better than what the original 1969 animation, and I quote:

"Tove Jansson, the original author of the books, said, angrily: ‘My Moomin is no driver, fighter or money maker’ "

got the full original tove comic coming in the mail so i’m excited to read all of it!

as for a show that really defined me as a kid: Case Closed. would stay up late just to watch that on adult swim, maybe near the end of elementary school. transformed me enough to pursue an interest in writing.