Comedy is hard; cartoon comedy is even harder. With SpongeBob SquarePants rounding out its 13th year, both kids and buyers are curious to know where the next big animated comedy is going to come from. If Ren & Stimpy proved that animators could indulge their creativity on TV as well as the big screen, SpongeBob proved that kids like originality more than they did the merch-heavy cartoons of the ’80s and early ’90s.
Now that the offbeat animated series has opened the door to even weirder, goofier fare, here’s a look at a few of the up-and-comers in the literally wild and woolly world of kids’ comedy cartoons.
Phineas and Ferb
This one is already a ratings bonanza for Disney, though it skews a little older than most kids’ comedy. The big test for the show’s stars comes next year, when Disney tries to duplicate its success in movie theaters.
Easily the silliest entry on this list, Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids already stole the show from the company’s series of Rayman video games. Nick showed ad buyers a promo reel of the TV show at its upfront that made its pickup look like a cross between the Road Runner and Nick’s late, lamented Invader Zim.
Perhaps you saw the parade float-sized display at Comic-Con; maybe your kids can’t explain why they’re giggling. But you’ve likely heard of Cartoon Net’s prime-time series Adventure Time, a fantasy comedy about a boy and his shapeshifting dog and a some princesses and…look, it makes sense in context.
My Little Pony
Friendship Is Magic
This one has every pony excited. Well, every pony over about 25. The series has inspired “bronies”—bros (and bro-ettes)—who aren’t quite the target demo, but are totally stoked about Fluttershy. The Hub needs a breakout hit. Could this be it? See also the unironic, profanity-laden Onion A.V. Club rave review.
Wander Over Yonder
Craig McCracken and wife Lauren Faust helped to create the much-loved Powerpuff Girls for Cartoon. Now, the two are working together again on McCracken’s new Wander Over Yonder, a series about a sunny space traveler whose optimistic disposition pits him against the evil Lord Hater. Straightforward? Well, yeah: Is that a problem?
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