People tend refer to themselves as a “kid” from a particular decade. I consider myself an 80s kid, but in reality that doesn’t quite cover the breadth of my childhood experience. What I mean is that you’re basically a kid for more than just ten years, and if you happen not to be born on the first year of a particular decade, you’re childhood bridges into the next. My point is that while I consider myself an 80s kid, I’m also part 90s kid as well, especially in regards to cartoons.
80s cartoons were awesome. If you don’t think so, you weren’t an 80s kid. He-Man, Ghostbusters, Thundercats, The Smurfs, Duck Tales, Darkwing Duck, and Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers, are all prime examples of why the 80s was the best time to be a kid, at least in terms of cartoons. But moving into the 90s, there were some cartoons that deserve mention. These cartoons were awesome for reasons different than those in the 80s. These cartoons hearken back to the complete and utter insanity of old Warner Bros. cartoons. I’m taking about Animaniacs, Freakazoid, and the lesser known, Histeria.
Before I go any further I want to clarify that I’m not ignoring such animated gems as Tiny Toon Adventures, Batman the Animated Series, X-Men, Beetlejuice, and Power Puff Girls, among others. They were awesome in other ways. What I’m focusing in on are three cartoons that were particularly insane…like, padded room crazy. If you watched Freakazoid you know there are just no words to describe it. Along with Animaniacs, and Hysteria, these cartoons fall squarely into the category of “loonier than Daffy Duck on a bad day”!
There was a time when kids “in the know” said “faboo”, “zoink”, “narf”, “froinlaven”, and “hellooo nurse”!. Animaniacs was an exercise in mindless lunacy, but was no less brilliant for it. Yako, Wako, and Dot, are as integral to my childhood as Lion-O, He-Man, or Uncle Scrooge. What 90s kid doesn’t remember the first time they saw Wako burp on stage, or Yako sing all of the world’s countries? The earliest memory I have of the phrase “poo-gas” is from Freakazoid, a show about a freak running around in his underwear with his hands in front of him pretending to fly. I remember just laughing my ass off watching every episode because it was so wacky. And that’s what these cartoons had that was so special. They were completely off the wall!
One cartoon I feel needed mentioning, but is woefully lesser known is Histeria. This show may have been the most insane out of all the 90s cartoons. Virtually unknown, this pseudo-history-based cartoon was similar in style and presentation to Animaniacs, but was completely bat-shit crazy. It came on towards the end of the great run of 90s cartoons, but if you remember it, you know it deserves mention.
I’m not going to say that cartoons today aren’t as good today as they were when I was a kid because I’m not quite at the point of “crotchety old bastard” who thinks noting beyond “my day” is any good. I’ve seen some cartoons from recent decades, including today, and in my opinion they’re all fine and good. But I will say that I have an inkling that we’ll never again see cartoons as completely and utterly out of their minds as we did in the 90s. And for that, I weep for future generations!