Top ten 90's cartoons Part 1

A brief overview of what IMHO are the best cartoons that the 90's had to offer.
June 14, 2007
For years I have constantly heard the assertion that cartoons reached their peak 1980s, and that nary a decent cartoon has been produced since December 31st 1989. While I will not deny that the 80s did comprise much of the golden age of cartoons, but I also contend that the 1990s did offer a plethora of quality animated programs. Thus I give you part one of The Top 10 Greatest Cartoons of the 1990s Part 1.

In the late 1980s Disney had established its place in the after school cartoon line up with a series of shows that put some of its classic characters in all new situations. While these shows had previously focused on more peripheral characters such and Chip and Dale and Scrooge McDuck, in 1992 Disney decided to cast one of its holy trinity into one of these shows. Thus my #10 pick premiered.


This show let us in on a later point in Goofys life in which he had given up his bachelors ways of carousing with his pals Mickey and Donald and had settled down into suburban life and fathered a son, Max. How Max had come to be was left a bit ambiguous as Goofy was apparently a single father and the identity and ultimate fate of Maxs mother was never revealed. Whatever the case Max, a reasonably intelligent lad, had apparently gotten his brains from his mother, however this young dare-devil had inherited his fathers love of extreme sports and penchant for finding trouble.
Goofy was hardly the only classic character to be featured in this show as his next door neighbor was none other than the classic Disney villain Peg-Legged Pete. Although Peg-Legged Pete was often presented as a vicious pirate in the classic Disney cartoons he had here been down graded to modern equivalent of the high seas pirate, the used car salesman. Pete no longer sported his peg leg and had appropriately dropped the moniker Peg-Legged though homage to his old self was paid via his wife whose name was Peg. While Pete was somewhat unscrupulous and often attempted to make The Goof the unwilling accomplice in his schemes, Pete was a good family man who with Peg (who unlike Goofys significant other was very much present) had fathered two children, a young fire cracker of a daughter, Pistol, and mild manned son PJ who was also Maxs best friend.
This show was quite enjoyable because it perserved all the clumsy, bungling antics and oblivious nature which made ups fall in love with Goofy in the first place, yet despite these traits Goofy always managed to be there for his son when he was needed thus adding a whole new dimension to the character and giving us reason to fall in love with him all over again.

Two years before Goof Troop hit the airways Disney had already hit 1990s pay dirt with the fast paced, edge of your seat action of its first success of the that decade and my #9 pick,


Unlike Goof Troop, which took place in modern times and featured one of Disney’s most recognizable characters, Tale Spin took place in a 1930s type setting and featured some of the most obscure Disney characters, the stars of the classic film, The Jungle Book. The shows main character was Baloo the bear who seemed to have moved beyond the Bare Necessities as he now sported and button down shirt and pilots caps and had become the proud owner of a Conwing L-16 dubbed, The Sea Duck. As a citizen of the capitalistic island nation of Cape Suset Baloo is employed by Higher for Hire a delivery company run but the strait laced, button down business she-bear, Rebecca. Much of the shows comic relief was provided through the argumentative interactions between Baloo and Rebecca (whose relationship was very reminiscent of Sam and Rebecca from Cheers).
As a laid back slacker and frequenter of his favorite island bar owned by none other that his old pal King Louie (also of Jungle Book fame) Baloo is often criticized by Rebecca for his irresponsible ways. In addition to Rebecca’s criticisms Baloo must also contend with the schemes of the man eating tiger turned unscrupulous business tycoon, Shear Kahn (the Donald Trump of Cape Suset), attacks by the socialist warthogs of neighboring country Thimbria, or raids upon his cargo by his nemesis the goofy and befuddled but untimely deadly air pirate Don Carnage. Despite all these adversities Baloo always comes through with his deliveries in the end. More importantly Baloo also comes through in a much bigger way as he plays father figure to the orphan bear cub, Kit Cloudkicker whom he takes on as navigator of The Sea Duck.
In addition to the classic Jungle Book characters Tale Spin introduced many unforgettable original characters including the cloud surfing Kit Cloud kicker, Baloos befuddled mechanic Wild Cat and the most underrated Disney villain of all time the Spanish accented Jackal pirate Don Carnage. With its blend of lovable characters and aeronautical hijinx, tale spin never failed to deliver the side splitting laughs and fast paced adventure that we all so craved in our childhood.

As long as I live I will never forget those nights in the mid 80s sneaking out of my bedroom an into the TV room the watch the HBO special featuring a comedian whom my parents had deemed inappropriate for a child of my impressionable young age. Ten years and later and loll and behold that so called inappropriate comedian has become the host of his very own kids show. If you have not guessed it by now that comedian was none other that Howie Mandell host of the beloved,

In this instant classic Howie took us into the one place where the greatest adventures and most bizarre tales can be found, a five year old boys imagination. This program followed the everyday life of young Bobby Generic as he dealt with everyday issues that many children face such as his first day of kindergarten, a bullying big brother, the arrival of a younger sibling (in this case two), and yes even the perils of eating your vegetables. At this point you must be wondering how a show that deals with everyday issues could possibly be entertaining; rest assured the Bobbys imagination was always there to save us from the mundane. Always there to egg on Bobbys imagination was his underachieving, Hawaiian shirt warring Uncle Ted. Fulfilling his duties as dedicated creator of the show Mandell appeared as live action host of the show, provided the voice of Bobby (who was based on one of his stand up characters) and even took on cartoon form to fill the role of Bobbys father, Howard (and my parents said this hard working gent was a bad influence). While all the aforementioned characters where overflowing with charm IMHO the show was stolen by Bobbys so-newengland-it-hurts mother Martha. Taken all together this made for one entertaining show doncha know. Perhaps the most important less I took from this show was that underwater the fish don't stink.

Arguably the most successful cartoon spin-off of all time, this running thread from the popular show Animaniacs chronicled two lab mice in their epic quest to take over the world. Not content with life in a cage they would prove their mousy worth, they would overthrow the Earth, they were dinky, they were,


While the dimwitted, fun loving lab mouse, Pinky staved off the boredom that comes with spending ones night locked in a cage by running happily in his wheel, his mentally gifted, megalomaniacal cage mate, Brain was dreaming up bigger things. It was not that Brain was an evil guy, he merely wanted to take what he felt was his proper and rightful place as undisputed ruler of the world. Although Brains plans were quite ingenious and initially successful they were always foiled in the end not by a clever adversary, but by the good intentions of Brains best friend in the world the befuddled Pinky. Despite all this, ever the loyalist Brain remained the best of friends with his faithful sidekick. Though it would seem that such a thing would get repetitive we never got tired of hearing Brain utter his catchphrase -the same thing we do every night Pinky, TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORD.- In fact this show set a president as this phrase has be come the universal answer to the question -What do you want to do tonight?- Although Pinky and The Brain never failed to bring out the belly laughs on their own one of the most memorable moments would have to be when they were temporally joined by a third mouse by the name of Larry, in a parody of the way long running show often try to revitalize themselves by adding new characters. Well with all this being stated there is nothing left to say but NARF!!!!!

He was the terror that flapped in the night, he was the grape juice that spilled in the white couch cushions of evil, he was my #6 pick, he was,


While many of the best cartoons of the 1990s were either shows based on superheroes or shows produced by Disney, this show combined both aspects to bring us the caped crime fighter know as Darkwing Duck. By day he lived an average life as the mild mannered Drake Mallard, but when the sun went down he let his Ego take over and became the sworn protector of St. Canard, DARKWING DUCK!! Joined by faithful sidekick, Lauchpad McQuack, adopted daughter Gosylen and nerdy next door neighbor Honker Darkwing waged his tireless battle against the agents of F.O.W.L as well as the members of the Fearsome Five, including the electrifying Megavolt, the cackling Quackerjack, the cool, refreshing Liquidator, the unsurPLANTableBooshroot and the leader the menacing Nega-Duck (who was either an evil Darkwing from an alternate dimension or Darkwing's evil half depending on which episode you were watching.) One of the recurring themes was Darkwings massive ego which often got the better of him thus making his heroic quest into a laminable mess. However, later in the show Darkwing usually learned from his mistakes, got his ego in check and proved to be a competent crime fighter (as much as I hate to admit it I have to say that there was a lesson to be learned there, I guess). One interesting aspect of the show was the fact that while Drake Mallard donned a mask and took on an alter-ego while fighting crime, Lauchpad apparently felt he had nothing to hide and thus fought crime at Darkwings side as himself. Despite Lauchpad being the best friend of both Drake and Darkwing no one ever put two and two together and figured out that Drake and Darkwing where one and the same, go figure.
Quite a departure for Disenys previous cartoon shows this program did not feature any classic Disney characters, but instead relied solely on a cast of brand new faces. The one exception was Darkwings faithful sidekick Launchpad McQuack who had previously appeared in Disneys Ducktales, however at the time Lauchpad could hardly be considered a classic character as was also a part of the Disney Afternoon generation. (Now-a-day, you bet your sweet bippy Lauchpad is a classic). However, one thing that was not a departure was the quality entertainment provided by this instant Disney Classic.

Well kids, my eyes are getting bleary and my finger quite stiff so I must conclude part one of the Top 10 Greatest Cartoons of the 1990s please stay tuned for Part 2.
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