The 1990’s saw a number of different events that defined time such as the fall of Communism as well as the controversy surrounding former president Bill Clinton. However, it also sparked some of the greatest cartoons that have ever been made and are still talked about to this very day.
In a world of emerging cable TV where you could literally count the amount of channels on your hand, a new wave of toons began to evolve. This was largely in part thanks to the continued excellence of some of the most popular channels dedicated to kids. This includes the likes of Nickelodeon not to mention the Cartoon Network. On the other hand, these particular shows ensured we were all gripped to either the sofa or floor for hours on end.
Animation had certainly evolved by leaps and bounds during this period, while characters and storylines played their role. Although, the 1990’s were really a period in time when cartoons were at the forefront of children’s minds. After all, the PlayStation and Xbox consoles were just a figment of the imagination as kids sat down to watch their favourite characters.
Yet cartoons as we knew them would get into the psyche of pop culture and even politics. Some cartoons have stood the test of time and when it comes to longevity they are few and far between. From Johnny Bravo to Hey Arnold, find out which memorable cartoon characters from the 90’s made the list.
10. Pinky and the Brain
This was a spin off from Animaniacs and featured the loveable duo of Pinky and the Brain. The simple concept of lab rodents trying to take over the world drew in millions of viewers. Their vigorous pursuit of escape kept people gripped each week and it ran for three years between 1995 and 1998. Originally produced by Hollywood icon Steven Spielberg, Pinky and the Brain ran for more than 60 episodes.
9. Tasmanian Devil
This Tasmanian devil was bouncing around our screens in the 1990’s to great effect. Looney Tunes introduced Taz and his adventures which ran from 1991 to 1995. The theme tune is considered to be one of the catchiest as far as cartoon themes are concerned. Based on the fictitious country of Tazmania, Taz appeared in each episode and was a warming but ill-tempered character. His main role was at Hotel Tazmania where he worked as a bellhop.
8. Earthworm Jim
Original running from September 1995 until the middle of December 1996, Earthworm Jim derived from the video game at the time. Jim was accompanied by Peter Puppy as they went around the galaxy with the sole aim of trying to protect it. This earthworm transformed into a full blown superhero thanks to his ultimate robotic suit which ran for a total of 23 episodes.
7. Powerpuff Girls
This upbeat cartoon was a genuine success with kids and especially with the female market. This was due to its main protagonists starring three girls with their main objective of saving the world. It followed the lives of Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup who all possessed incredible superpowers, with their “father”, known as Professor Utonium. The Powerpuff Girls lived in the imaginary city of Townsville. Their struggle to save the world all done before bedtime, but it did go on to receive plenty of critical acclaim. This featured a total of six Emmy nominations. Airing on the Cartoon Network, they also went on to win two Emmys with nearly 80 episodes under its belt.
6. Angelica Charlotte Pickles
We all know a little about Tommy and the ginger haired Chucky, but it was Angelica that stood out from the kiddie crowd in Rugrats. Little Miss Pickles was a spoilt three year old brat with an attitude and was always causing havoc for the little munchkins on Rugrats. Yet all the while, it was as if butter wouldn’t melt as Angelicas parents were kept in check. Rugrats premiered in August 1991 and went on to receive lots of plaudits including for its later Jewish themed episodes namely “A Rugrats Passover” and “A Rugrats Chanukah”.
This eleven year old always seemed to have a huge imagination. Alongside his dog Porkchop, Doug Funnie was no ordinary kid. He had his best friend Skeeter in tow where creativity and day dreaming was high on the agenda. This coming of age show aired in August 1991 and covered a wide variety of themes including bullying and gossip.
One of the most significant characters of a generation, one cannot deny the impact the Pokémon series had on children across the world. Its main character was Pikachu, a small, but cuddly yellow creature and was central to the Pokémon adventures. Pikachu has gone on to become a symbol for Japanese culture, while Time magazine stated that it was “The most beloved animated character since Hello Kitty”.
3. Scrooge McDuck
This feather tailed friend originally dates back to 1947, but Scrooge McDuck only became popular in the 1990’s when he appeared on Duck Tales. Joined by his nephews, Huey, Dewie and Louie, this miser went on a host of adventures in the search of treasure. This was for the sole purpose of increasing his existing fortune. It ran until November 1990 with a total of 100 episodes and made it a short lived success for Disney creators.
2. SpongeBob SquarePants
Arguably one of the most recognisable characters across the globe, SpongeBob was initially developed by part animator, part marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg. It did not hit the screens until 1999 but has won global audiences since and ran for a total of nine seasons. In total, SpongeBob Squarepants won 17 Golden Reel Awards as well as 15 Emmy Awards.
1. Homer Simpson
There are not enough superlatives to describe the influence of yellow bellied Homer J. Simpson on society. Now in its 25th season it has broadcast more than 500 incredible episodes. Currently it is the longest running sitcom in history and has been quoted by many famous celebrities and politicians through the years. For example, George H. W. Bush stated that American families should be “a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons.” With his job at the Nuclear Power Plant, Homer’s blue-collared lifestyle has seen him on our screens for half a century with the term “D’oh!” making it into the dictionary.