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Popular Cartoons of the 90s

Puja Lalwani
The 90s have often been referred to as the golden age of cartoons. With so many types being aired that decade, it was full of entertainment for those who loved to sit back and enjoy any of these cartoons. Here, we reminisce about the golden era, and take you back in time to revisit some very loved cartoons.
The concept of cartoons among those who grew up in the 90s and those who watch them now is very different. Anyone who has enjoyed them in the 90s would definitely agree that it is relatively difficult to relate to the cartoons that are air today, unless they are a continuation of what they watched in the 90s.
Even then, some viewers complain about the waning quality, in terms of their content. Whatever the case may be, it is just lovely to reminisce about them.
Whether it was during weekends, squeezing in a show during study break or a show we looked forward to watching right after returning home from school, there is no arguing that these cartoons were some of the best of our times, and are those that we can easily relate to, no matter how old we grow.
Just to bring back those old days, here's a compilation of some of the most popular cartoons of the 90s.

The Golden Age of Cartoons: The 1990s

Viewers have called the 90s the golden age of cartoons, and with reason. With these cartoons veering into different areas such as satire and dark humor, there was always something new to look forward to, masked under the humor that each show represented. To revive the newness that each show brought with it, we discuss some of the best cartoons of that decade (in no specific order).

The Simpsons (1989 - Present)

Homer: I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me, Superman.
Yes, The Simpsons did begin in 1989 but in December, so we have taken the liberty to include it in this list. A satire on the American way of living, the Simpsons made waves in the 90s though now its popularity has slightly waned.
With the lazy and feeble-minded Homer, the sophisticated Marge, the always-getting-into-trouble Bart, the intelligent-vegetarian Lisa, and the cute little Maggie, the Simpsons have always provided 100% entertainment as the longest running cartoon series on television.

Beavis and Butt-head (1993 - 1997)

Beavis: They should have a name for this kind of music.
Butt-head: They already do, Beavis: Crap.
Centered on two teenage boys, Beavis and Butt-head, the show featured their rude, dimwitted, but instinctive nature in dealing with others, which often ended up being extremely hilarious. With their love for rock-metal, Beavis and Butt-head became one of the most popular cartoons of that decade and the show is still deeply missed by those who watched it regularly!

Pinky and the Brain (1995 - 2001)

Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!
Their occasional presence in the Animaniacs soon earned them their own show. Featuring two laboratory mice that were genetically enhanced, Pinky and the Brain was all about the sharp and intelligent Brain's plans toward taking over the world, while because of Pinky's lack of intelligence, or the extraordinary nature of the plan, it always ended in disaster toward the end of the show.

South Park (1997 - Present)

Stan: You know, somebody once said, "Don't try to be a great man, just be a man."
Jesus: Who said that?
Stan: You did, Jesus.
Jesus: You're right, Stan. Thank you, boys!
Kyle: Wow, did he say that in the Bible?
Stan: Nah, I saw it on Star Trek.
Another very popular cartoon, South Park features four third-graders: Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman, who use the crudest language to put across a message to their audiences in a humorous manner. Intended for a niche audience due to its dark humor, South Park soon became extremely popular across a variety of audiences, and is still a favorite among many.

Batman: The Animated Series (1992 - 1995)

I am vengeance! I am the night! I AM BATMAN!
Having been adapted from the comic book to a cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series, turned out to be so popular that it won an Emmy award in the category of Outstanding Animated Program. Batman was intended for an adult audience as it showcased violence and bloodshed. However, its popularity soared across all age groups, and the show even received critical acclaim for its sophisticated concept.

Animaniacs (1993 - 1998)

Yakko Warner: We protest you calling us "little kids". We prefer to be called "vertically-impaired pre-adults".
Presented by Steven Spielberg, Animaniacs primarily featured good old slapstick comedy. Featuring Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner, three cartoon stars of the 1930s, the show revolved around them being trapped in the Warner Bros. water tower until the 1990s when they managed to escape.
The show featured their interaction between famous persons from the past and other characters from modern television. A light cartoon show with simple humor, Animaniacs can definitely be mentioned in this list.

Dexter's Laboratory (1996 - 2003)

Dexter: Dee Dee, how long have we known each other? Our whole lives, you say? No, in truth? Never? Or should I say, you never knew me? Because if you did, you would know I am a soul who requires peace, quiet and, most importantly, solitude. But every day, that solitude is inevitably broken by *you*.
A unique show featuring the child-genius Dexter and his secret laboratory in his home, Dexter's Laboratory won the hearts of all its viewers. Of course, the show was absolutely incomplete without Dee Dee, his annoying older sister, who somehow found her way into the lab, no matter how hard he tried to keep her out.

Rugrats (1991 - 2004)

Chuckie: So, we got a baby now.
Lillian 'Lil' DeVille: I wished we'd talked about it first. I don't know if I'm ready.
Communicating with each other through baby-speak that was translated for the convenience of viewers, Rugrats was a much-loved cartoon show based on 4 toddlers: Thomas Pickles (Tommy), Charles Finster (Chuckie), and twins Phillip (Phil) and Lillian (Lil) DeVille who ventured into the different areas of their house.
They used their imagination to make their expeditions adventurous, and dealt with different challenges such as their cousin Angelica who could understand the language of both, the adults and the toddlers, and used it to her advantage to get them into trouble.

Rocko's Modern Life (1993 - 1996)

Rocko: If this marriage is going to break up our friendship, I'd rather be deported!
Based on the life of a wallaby, Rocko, who migrates from Australia to America, Rocko's Modern Life is all about his adaptation to life in America with his other animal friends. It is believed that the show had a lot of sexual innuendos and was written by a man who had not kept any specific niche in mind when writing the series, which was originally a comic book. Though it had a short run on television, Rocko's modern life is a very memorable show.

Tiny Toon Adventures (1990 - 1995)

Babs: I'm tired of dating silly, immature little boys. I'd like to meet a sophisticated older guy with a special affinity for rabbits.
The predecessor to Animaniacs by Steven Spielberg, Tiny Toon Adventures features tiny versions of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, and Sylvester the cat. Though the premise of the show was based on the characters learning how to be funny at Acme Looniversity, the school was not featured on every show.
It did however, feature the classic Warner Bros. slapstick comedy. Since it was an offset of the popular Looney Tunes of the 60s, it was unfailingly followed by kids and adults alike who enjoyed the adventures the characters on the show regularly embarked upon. It even won two Daytime Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Animated Program!

Special Mention

The aforementioned list, though includes some very popular cartoons from the 90s, is incomplete without a special mention to several others that made their way into the hearts of animated show lovers in the 90s. So here's a look into some more of the many cartoons (in no specific order) that we have all loved and grown up watching.
  • Family Guy
  • Captain Planet
  • Swat Kats
  • CatDog
  • Ren & Stimpy
  • 2 Stupid Dogs
  • Johnny Bravo
  • Powerpuff Girls
  • X-Men
  • Spongebob Squarepants
  • The Angry Beavers
  • Dong
  • Hey Arnold!
  • Darkwing Duck
  • Duck Tales
  • TaleSpin
  • The Tick
  • Gargoyles
  • Pokemon
  • Earthworm Jim
  • Freakazoid
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast
  • Daria
  • Futurama
  • Recess
  • The Critic
  • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
  • Duckman
  • The Wild Thornberrys
  • Dragon Ball
  • New Adventures of Jonny Quest
  • Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers
  • The Mask
  • The Animals of Farthing Wood
An attempt has been made to include as many popular cartoons as possible. Obviously, all of you will have your own favorites. These cartoons bring back beautiful memories. Relish them and if possible, catch some of the reruns of these shows. You are bound to be transported back to a beautiful time where everything seemed simple and enjoyable!