Although adult animated TV series have been around since the 1970s, starting with sitcoms such as Where’s Huddles?, the genre didn’t take off until the 1990s. The releases of Beavis and Butt-Head, The Critic (by Al Jean and Mike Reiss), The Simpsons, and King Of The Hill would take the genre into new heights of popularity.
By the turn of the century, TV companies were producing many more adult animated series to capture the burgeoning popularity they had in the 90s. The genre, today, populates all ‘greatest TV sitcoms’ lists, certifying its position as a genre that resonates with audiences. For every hugely popular adult animated series, there are the lesser-known ones that add to the cultural milieu.
D*cktown is the most Generation-Z show that ever existed. Created by John Hodgman and David Rees, the show follows two Gen Xer detectives working to solve mysteries for their Generation Z clients. The show’s main humor is derived from the social and cultural changes that John and David meet in their clients’ world.
For example, former football jock and popular guy David cannot comprehend that the nerdy kids at school are now the popular kids, while the jocks timidly beg for their friendship. Episode seven, ‘The Mystery Of The Mumbling Rapper,’ is a particularly hilarious satire on the popularity of mumble rappers.
9 Sealab 2021
To watch Sealab 2021 is to watch the original Archer. The show was created by Adam Reed and creative partner, Matt Thompson, in 2001. Reed would go on to create Archer, while Thompson would write and do voice work for the show.
Sealab 2021 has the same silly humor as Archer. From a demanding boss who uses the crew for his own selfish gain, to jokes that make fun of racism itself—with a special nod to interracial relationships—Archer would borrow a lot from Sealab 2021.
8 Frisky Dingo
After Sealab 2021 came Frisky Dingo. Created by the same Thompson-Reed duo in 2006, the show centers on a naked alien (who came to Earth illegally) trying to destroy Earth to gain some respect. Frisky Dingo follows on from where Sealab 2021 left off and takes the nonsensical to an extreme level. There are former-human-giant-lobster characters, a nuclear mutant TV reporter, a moody alien son who breaks things to show his anger, and a cyborg personal assistant in love with a giant-lobster man.
Like Archer, the show also follows a rich man-child using his money to avoid the consequences of his immature decisions.
7 The Life And Times Of Tim
The Life And Times Of Tim is a 2008 HBO animated television series that premiered in 2008. Created by Steve Dildarian, the show follows Tim, a Chandler-esque character, who works at a meaningless job where his boss humiliates him daily.
Bad things consistently occur to Tim, although he is sometimes the cause of his predicament. Tim cannot stand up for himself and allows everyone to bully him and make a fool of him. A character taken out of Kafka’s psyche, Tim’s passivity in life would ultimately end up with his death.
6 Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law
Once Birdman quit superhero-ing to become an attorney, his life changed drastically. For one, he has to deal with the moral dilemma of representing shoddy clients. In ‘Droopy Botox,’ for example, he represents a client who gave Droopy the Dog a botched face lift. An already depressed Droopy spends the episode crying because he can no longer move his face.
Featuring the voices of Gary Cole, Stephen Colbert, and Paget Brewster, the show has gained a cult following in recent years.
An undeniable product of the 2000s, Daria is a cult classic among millennial and Generation X viewers. The teenager from Longdale High School is known as the “misery chick.” She thinks a lot, reads a lot, and wears glasses. During the 2000s, this was seen as social suicide, propelling Daria to immediate outcast status.
Indeed, despite the energy and hope of 2000s culture, Daria deals with issues of death, depression, social isolation, and conformity. On the inverse, it criticizes America’s obsession with beauty, body conformity, wealth, upward mobility, and the enormous pressure that neoliberalist America places on its youth.
4 Home Movies
H. Jon Benjamin, the renowned voice actor, got his big break on the cult classic Home Movies. The quirky, undefinable series premiered in 1999. A show about a filmmaker and his two actor best friends, the eight-year-old children act very much like adults, resulting in very humorous situations. One such example is the inappropriate episode with the sex robot which results in the community’s anger at Brendon’s mom for her lack of child supervision.
Unsurprisingly, the series would end with Brendon’s mom begrudgingly accepting a relationship with a fellow-inappropriate adult, Coach McGuirk, voiced by H. Jon Benjamin. Co-creator, Loren Bouchard, would later create Bob’s Burgers.
3 Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World
Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World is a 2007 stop motion adult animated TV series. The self-descriptive title is, nonetheless, misleading, since the show follows Rick and Steve navigating the ups and downs of a romantic relationship.
An American-Canadian joint production, the series aired on Logo TV in the US, and on The Detour in Canada. The show has a distinct look, because the characters and settings were simple Lego blocks, causing Lego to file a lawsuit against show Creator, Q. Allan Brocka.
2 Our Cartoon President
A documentary crew follows the Trump cabinet as they lead the country from the White House. The Showtime adult animated mockumentary series was created by Stephen Colbert and other producers and animators from The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report. The show started as a recurring segment on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and is on its third season.
The documentary crew has humorously followed key political players such as Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Barack Obama.
1 Father Of The Pride
Father Of The Pride was one of the rare CGI adult animated television shows that was produced in the 2000s. The series was canceled after one season thanks to a disappointing reception. Aired in 2004, the series featured a family of white lions who performed with Siegfried and Roy in Las Vegas.
The lions live with other animals in the Secret Garden and go about their day to day life when not performing with the popular magician duo. Based on the popularity of CGI of the time, Father Of The Bride remains one of the few CGI adult animated TV series produced.
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