This was the Of Mice and Men of 90s cartoons, in that it centred on a psychotic chihuahua, Ren, and his big-boned idiot cat friend, Stimpy. In retrospect, this show really wasn’t appropriate for kids; it was a world of deceit, brutality, mucus and farts. Even cute babies in Ren & Stimpy had the dark-ringed eyes of debt-ridden fathers in lowly office jobs. What kind of person watches this? A pathological sadist with no inkling of empathy, who can only indulge his or her fetishes on the deep web, that’s who. What we call, in 2015, a politician.
If you liked this: try King Star King. It has a stunning anthology of butt jokes.
Oh Doug, with your brown trouser shorts, moss-coloured sweater vests and unrealised crushes. In the 90s, this was the archetypal wimpy school kid with the dreary internal monologue, failing to blend into a life they felt misshapen for. The irony is, in this present post-beefcake world of normcore, nerd power, and confessional first-person Medium essays, these anxious sweater-vest kids have become kings among men, societal pioneers, envied sex symbols, and dare we say it, gods. Modern day Dougs are stealing your bae.
If you liked this: try Adventure Time. Everyone else has.
Biologically mash together the bodies of a snooty, intellectual cat with a dim and excitable dog so they look like the freakish work of a crazed German surgeon, and what do you get? A hit kids’ show, that’s what. There was so much to learn from CatDog: are we not all part cat, part dog? Do we not all wear the veil of a someone who enjoys fine wine, classic books and acid jazz, but deep down yearn to chase the binman and rabidly nosh on discarded Ginsters? The message of CatDogapplies to no one person. We are all Catdogs.
If you liked this: try the limitless multi-verse of Rick & Morty.
Rocko was your everyday, straight-up Australian immigrant wallaby, who’d moved to the USA to discover a better life. All he found, though, was a cyberpunk cow and a dead-end town monopolised by the evil fat cats at Conglom-O Corporation. This show thrived on slapstick for the kids, subtle genital euphemisms for the dads, but also carried odd, anti-establishment undertones. A pretty influential concoction for a pre-teen brain – no doubt the Rocko’s Modern Life fans of yesterday are the Corbyn voters of today.
If you liked this: try Squidbillies – another dispatch from Nowheresville, USA, but from the perspective of a redneck squid.
Rugrats arrived in 1991 with one revolutionary idea: growing up is a curse, being a baby is the coolest. While the adults of the show were whimsical dopes that galumphed around their mundane lives with eyes wide shut, the toddlers were the ones who truly understood happiness, and consumed the world around them with clarity and wonder. If you loved Rugrats, you loved life. Next time you see a baby, drooling over a rusk, swigging formula from a beaker, quietly defecating on itself, sit down slowly and ask: “Please, baby, teach me what I cannot see.” Props also to Phil DeVille for pioneering a proto-Hackney lad haircut.
If you liked this: try Steven Universe. It’s like Rugrats meets ET meets Prometheus.
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