Top 11 Nostalgic Animated Shows
September 29th, 2008
Footage of NC running to fight the Nerd (Verdi's Dies Irae plays in the background)
Announcer: The Nostalgia Critic cannot be here right now due to reasons of vengeance, but he has left a recording before he left, for you to enjoy.
Placecard saying "Previously recorded"
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Our childhoods kicked ass. Why? Because we were a generation raised by television, and television had cartoons, and kids loved cartoons hence we loved television. But what were the best Nostalgic cartoons, what were the groundbreakers of the 80s and 90s, the biggest innovations, the shows everyone tried to ripoff but could never quite duplicate? ...I don't know. But that doesn't mean I can't make up a Top 11 list that claims that I do! Why Top 11? Because I like to go one step beyond. So, sit back and enjoy the best of memory lane, the cream of the crop, the ultimate of ultimates. This is the Top 11 Animated Nostalgic TV Shows.
There is a title sequence labeling the video as as such; interlude
NC (voiceover): Number 11--Ghostbusters.
Footage of the cartoon
NC (voiceover): Even though it was based on a movie, Ghostbusters was a very original, very funny and sometimes even very scary cartoon show. I always had a theory that kids like being scared more than they let on, so as long as there's a bunch of funny lines and action sequences to go along with it, chances are you'll have a really fun and inventive kids show. It was kind of like being a fireman, except instead of putting out fires, we were chasing ghosts, which is a hell of a lot cooler. In every episode you would see a new ghost, and every one of them was well thought out and creatively designed. And of course the Ghostbusters themselves were incredibly funny, capturing the personalities of the movie to a T. And, of course, there's Slimer.
Short clip of Slimer doing something
NC: I really fucking hated Slimer.
NC (voiceover): But, everyone else seemed to like him, so what can ya do? Despite the flying snotball, Ghostbusters was a heck of a lot of fun. If there's something strange in the neighborhood, you know who to call.
NC (voiceover): Number 10--Fox's Peter Pan and the Pirates.
Footage of the show
NC (voiceover): You wouldn't think a TV show shown everyday about Peter Pan would be anything to get worked up over, but the fact of the matter is, this show was very well put together. What made it so great is that it didn't look like any of the other incarnations of Peter Pan, but to be honest, I think it's the closest it's ever come to the original J. M. Barry story. The stories were fleshed out, the characters were well-developed, and the creative logic was actually pretty clever. For example, there's an episode where Pan steals the shadows of all the pirates. Because of this, they lose their balance and have to walk upside down. That strangely kind of makes sense. There's another episode where they actually make cloud sculptures in the sky. Dude, that's just fucking cool. Plus, it had Tim Curry as Captain Hook. Seriously, how can you go wrong with that?
Hook: Disgrace the Jolly Roger today, scum, and I'll lay your bones bare!
Dr. Frank N. Furter: It's not easy having a good time.
NC (voiceover): Peter Pan and the Pirates could have been a cheap knock off that only lasted a few episodes, but they put a lot of time and effort into it and created something really original, as well as staying true to the original story. All of this is more than enough for Peter Pan to take the Number 10 spot.
NC (voiceover): Number 9--DuckTales.
Footage of DuckTales
NC (voiceover): Even though Disney had a few shows like this before and A LOT more shows after, Duck Tales was the first Disney cartoon to combine some of our favorite childhood characters with old-fashioned adventure. It was mostly a treasure hunt show, which meant it led to a lot of creative locations as well as some cool booby traps. It was kind of like Indiana Jones...but with ducks. It didn't need any pop cultural references or subtle in-jokes, it just relied on good old-fashioned characters having good old-fashioned adventures. And, of course, need we forget the catchiest theme song of all time?
NC: It will never leave, it will never leave!
NC (voiceover): Plus, how DOES Scrooge McDuck dive into all that money without breaking his skull. Hasn't he converted to dollar bills yet? Well, questions like this don't really need answering when you're having oodles of feather flinging fun. DuckTales...
NC: It will never leave!
NC (voiceover): Number 8--Ren & Stimpy.
Footage of Ren & Stimpy
NC (voiceover): This cartoon was just nuts. The animation was insane, the voices were insane, the stories were insane, and we loved every minute of it. This is pretty much what kids saw when they were on a sugar high. Absolute madness mixed with undiluted energy. It was so chaotic that even the characters didn't always look right. Like, here's Stimpy in one scene, and here he is in another. They don't even look like the same species. Or how about some of these weird jokes?
Ren: I'm so HAPPY! I. Must go. Do. Nice. Things!
NC (voiceover): Why the hell is the word "go" in his mouth for a second? or how about the scene where Ren irons Stimpy's underwear?
Ren irons a pair of underwear, which gleams in the light, and he hands it to Stimpy, who simply sticks it to his front
NC (voiceover): Okay, first of all, why does Stimpy wear underwear when he wears no other clothes? Why does he just place it over his crotch and not actually wear them, and why does it suddenly look and sound like a 1950s film strip?
NC: I don't know, nobody knows, it's just that kind of insanity that made this show crazy and fun to watch.
NC (voiceover): It also pushed the boundaries of what kids shows could do. With controversial episodes like-
Commercial: (singing) Don't whiz on the electric fence!
NC (voiceover): Or strange lines like-
Stimpy: Something came out of my...butt!
NC (voiceover): Or how about weird morals like-
Stimpy: Wetting the bed is nothing to be ashamed of. You and I still do it.
NC (voiceover): Yeah, this was a weird, weird show. Just the kind of kinetic energy, ludicrous logic and crude humor kids know and love. Ren & Stimpy, if you didn't like it, you're an eediot!
Ren: You sick little monkey!
NC (voiceover): Number 7--G. I. Joe.
Footage of the old cartoon
NC (voiceover): If Barbie was considered an all girl phenomenon, then G. I. Joe was definitely the all boy phenomenon. This show embodied everything that boy's wanted to be when they grew up: action heroes. It had guys with guns, teamwork, kick-ass gears, huge vehicles, and professional wrestler Sergeant Slaughter.
Sergeant Slaughter: So let's celebrate by givin' away Sgt. Slaughter action figures!
NC salutes while the commercial shouts "GO JOE!"
NC (voiceover): Now, the show and characters WERE kinda bland, but let's face it, we didn't watch it for the characters, we watched it for the action. It's like someone made a show out of the army games that we were already playing as kids. If someone made a cowboys and Indians show at that time, my guess is it would have been successful too. ...if it had tanks. With all that spywork, military command and action/adventure, G. I. Joe knew how to give the bloodthirsty marine in every little boy exactly what we wanted.
NC (voiceover): Number 6--Transformers.
Footage of the old cartoon
NC (voiceover): It's no wonder that one of the best marketing ideas of all time was also one of the best animated shows of all time. Again, kind of tailoring to every boy's indulgent fantasies, Transformers combined cool, kickass vehicles with giant alien robots. The show was about a war between the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, and the Decepticons, led by Megatron. Yeah, okay, it sounds pretty retarded, but they gave us exactly what we wanted: transforming robots beating the crap out of each other. The great thing about this show is how creative they got with all these robots. I mean, I know they made up half these characters just to sell more toys, but the possibilities for these things were just endless. You had trucks, you had bikes, you had tanks, you had guns you had tape players--well, okay, that's a little lame, but at the time it was pretty cool. Transformers--hell, it just kicked ass.
NC (voiceover): Number 5--The Tick.
Footage of the cartoon show
NC (voiceover): With all the superhero shows out there, this was the satire that handled the ludicrous nature of the genre the best. The show was about a big blue man who literally comes out of nowhere to fight crime. Nobody knows who he is or where he came from...including him. All he knows is that he wants to fight crime and shout horrible catchphrases.
Tick: Evildoers, eat my justice!
NC (voiceover): He has a simple mind, very little intelligence, but luckily, his neurotic sidekick Arthur is there to keep him in line. It was a great show because it did such a great job mocking what most kids were growing up with at the time. In the show, they didn't have a secret crime solving lair, they had an apartment that can barely hold two. His supervillains aren't always rich, misunderstood madmen, sometimes, they're just children, making death rays in their treehouses.
Tick: Put the moon back, demon waif!
Brainchild: Make me!
NC (voiceover): And the heroes don't always shout good catchphrases, sometimes they just shout...
NC: Okay, well, maybe it didn't ALL make sense, but this strange blend of reality and surreality made the show so enjoyable to watch.
NC (voiceover): Written half the time more for adults than for kids. Granted the animation wasn't always top notch, but it made up for it with its great writing and bizarre sense of humor. The Tick--
Tick: We are a justice sandwich, no toppings necessary!
NC: ...what he said.
NC (voiceover): Number 4--Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Footage of the old cartoon
NC (voiceover): Looking back, I realize this is the stupidest idea in the entire world. I mean, just listen to the title.
Theme Song: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
NC: What lobotomized monkey came up with that?
NC (voiceover): I mean, it doesn't even seem real, it seems like a satire of another idea. But hey, it took the world by storm, me included. Why? Because it had action, big animals, and, of course, a great sense of humor. I mean, they had Uncle Phil as The Shredder for crying out loud.
Shredder: I want this city to grovel at my feet, now!
Uncle Phil: I want all these freeloading parasites OUTTA HERE!
There is then a comparison of Shredder and Uncle Phil laughing evilly, with text coming up to conclude "He's scarier as Uncle Phil!"
NC (voiceover): I think what made this show so popular is that it was combining two things that kids loved: animals and action scenes. Throw in some outdated catchphrases like--
Michelangelo: Really righteous!
NC (voiceover): And you have a show that's destined to be a hit. I think what really shocks me about this show is that it actually worked twice. I mean, they released the show again recently, and it actually became a hit. So much so that they even made ANOTHER movie based on it. I don't know who came up with this idea or how--well, okay, maybe I do know how
Picture of someone using a bong
NC (voiceover): But it doesn't matter! This show was a ton of fun, combining everything that kids loved at the time. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, an idea so stupid, it HAS to be good.
NC (voiceover): Number 3--X-Men.
Footage of the old cartoon show
NC (voiceover): From one set of mutants to another, X-Men was the comic book show that every kid could enjoy. Why? Because it had a million characters to choose from. Unlike superhero shows like Superman or Spider-Man, X-Men had a huge cast of main characters, so if you didn't like one main character, you had another you could watch. And if you didn't like that character, you could watch somebody else. On top of that, it dealt with an issue that a lot of kids know too well--prejudice. Every kid has to go through a little bit of being made fun of, and if you looked different or acted different, chances are you probably got a lot of it. And X-Men was all about that, people who ridiculed and criticized simply because they were born different. It showed us how to live with our gifts, and how not to hide what makes us different, but to embrace them. And, of course, it had some kickass action and supermodels in spandex. That always helps, too. X-Men gave us a ton of characters that we won't soon be forgetting, each one with their own backstory and psychological issues. It was interesting, it was fun, and it know how to keep us glued to the tube. X-Men, the perfect show to sink your claws into.
NC (voiceover): Number 2--Animaniacs.
Footage of Animaniacs
NC (voiceover): I've never seen a show that came so close to capturing the spirit of the original Warner Bros. cartoons like this one. Yeah, Tiny Toons might've started this fad, but it was Animaniacs that perfected it, with writing that could entertain both children and adults alike. Our generation didn't grow up with shows like Carol Burnett or Laugh-In, so this is the closest thing to a variety show we had, combining great songs, lovable characters, and ingenious comedic writing. The characters in this show seemed so real that they practically leaped off the screen. Characters like the Warners, Slappy Squirrel and Pinky and the Brain were all hilarious constructs that knew how to be likeable as well as funny. It not only did a good job of making us laugh, but also educated us every once in awhile. And actually made it fun. That's really hard to do!
NC: I know now forever that Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana. ...the rest I don't know, but it is one of those kids shows I can still watch as an adult and still totally enjoy.
NC (voiceover): It has an energy and sophistication that very few other shows ha, mostly because producer Steven Spielberg gave a lot of freedom on the show. It was also said that he was present for the majority of the show's production, proving once again that I think he makes a much better producer than a director. PRIVATE RYAN IS OVERRATED! But I digress. Animaniacs was one of those rare shows that allowed a lot of freedom that really paid off. To put it short, it was pure animated gold.
NC (voiceover): And the Number 1 Animated Nostalgic TV Show is--Batman: The Animated Series.
Footage of it. Glorious, glorious footage
NC (voiceover): This is the show that changed everything. It took chances, it took a new look, and it took its audience seriously. At a time when most action cartoons looked like G. I. Joe or X-Men, Batman took a totally different approach with a focus on Art Deco design. It was one of the few shows that had an actual orchestra for the music, and it also got voice actors who didn't sound like typical voice actors. They sounded like real people. On top of that, Batman was dark, mixing high flying action with the psychological drama that the Batman series is infamous for. They didn't always have happy endings, and the bad guys weren't always just bad guys. Sometimes, they were ordinary people like you or me, whose lives got destroyed by tragic events. That's not the kind of kids programming most of us are used to. Now that's not to say they didn't have some real baddies either. Characters like the Joker were just as funny and threatening as many of the film renditions. By the way, did you know that's Luke Skywalker playing him? What made Batman so great is that it was its own creation, and yet somehow also embodied all the previous incarnations before it. It had the drama from the comic books, the subtlety from the Burton movies, and EVEN a little bit of the camp value from the 60s show and Schumacher films. It seemed like the Batman that combined everything and yet somehow seemed to stand on its own. Its morals were dark, its characters complex, and its endings were not always very cheerful. We took the show seriously because it took us seriously. It never played down to us or lightened the tone because we were kids, it gave us the straight Gothic stories that we all know and love. Proof that the legacy of the Dark Knight will always live on. All of this and more is why Batman is the GREATEST Animated Nostalgic TV Show.
NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.