6 Greatest Children's Cartoons of the '90s, Part 2

6 Greatest Children's Cartoons of the '90s, Part 2

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Last time I wrote about some of the greatest '90s cartoons, I knew my list wasn't comprehensive. But it was later brought to my attention that I missed a few big cartoons and/or the cartoons I chose were not entirely '90s cartoons because they started to go into the 2000s. Totally fair points. So here we go with 6 of the best '90s cartoons, part deux.

1. Talespin

Station: Disney

Aired: 1990-1991

Main characters: Baloo, Don Karnage, Rebecca Cunningham, Wildcat, Kit Cloudkicker

Summary: After his air cargo freight business is bought out, Baloo the bear finds himself under new management. The business, now named "Higher for Hire," is owned by a woman named Rebecca Cunningham and they — along with an orphan child named Kit Cloudkicker — make up the company's staff. They use their airplanes to navigate the City of Cape Suzette but, more often than not, find themselves entangled in some type of adventure. A gang of air pirates, led by Don Karnage, turn out to be Baloo, Rebecca, and Kit's biggest problem.

Why it's awesome: Um... adventure? Air pilots? And Baloo? This show takes a character we already love (Baloo from Disney's "The Jungle Book") and not only gives him a hat and shirt, but also turns him from a scavenger in the jungle to a business-savvy pilot. Dreams do come true, people. The show, "Talespin," is actually based on a film called "Plunder & Lightning" that was so good, it won an Emmy. Also, Baloo and Rebecca are said to have been modeled after Sam and Diane of "Cheers," AKA two of the greatest characters of all time.

2. Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers

Station: Disney

Aired: 1989-1990

Main characters: Chip, the leader of Rescue Rangers, a chipmunk modeled after Indiana Jones who wears fedora and bomber jacket; Dale, the agency's co-founder, a chipmunk who wears a red and yellow Hawaiian shirt like Thomas Magnum in "Magnum, P.I."; Monterey Jack (known as "Monty" to his friends), an Australian mouse who loves adventure; Zipper, Monty's housefly sidekick; and Gadget, the only female mouse on the team and a pilot, mechanic and inventor.

Summary: Chip and Dale decide to start a detective agency called Rescue Rangers. With the help of their friends, Monty, Gadget, and Zipper, the group takes on "pint-sized" crimes from their animal clientele. Fat cat and Norton Nimnul are the team's evil enemies.

Why it's awesome: "Rescue Rangers" is another show that took already iconic (or at the very least, familiar) Disney characters and reinvented them. In this case, Chip and Dale got jobs as detectives wearing tiny little outfits! Go ahead and try to find something more adorable than chipmunk detectives... except you can't because that is the cutest.

3. Darkwing Duck

Station: Disney

Aired: 1991-1995

Main characters: Darkwing Duck/Drake Mallard; Launchpad McQuack; Gosalyn Mallard; the Muddlefoot family

Summary: With a subdued alter ego known as Drake Mallard, Darkwing Duck is a superhero who craves fame and attention. But he maintains his mysterious life by living in suburban America with his adopted daughter, Gosalyn. Launchpad McQuack is Darkwing's sidekick and pilot, and the two frequently get into hijinks. Darkwing is often faced with a decision between seeking attention and being a good father to Gosalyn.

Why it's awesome: Darkwing Duck was voiced by Jim Cummings, the guy who has also voiced close to 100 other characters like Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and the Tasmanian Devil. Jim Cummings is pretty cool, and he even recently did a faux Kickstarter about making a "Darkwing Duck" movie. (At this year's ConnectiCon, he confirmed he would actually do the movie if he was asked.) Aside from that, Darkwing Duck definitely had the coolest arsenal of vehicles, most of which were somewhat duck-shaped. Plus, Darkwing Duck had that mysterious and cool but silly and loveable thing going for him.

4. Rocko's Modern Life

Station: Nickelodeon

Aired: 1993-1996

Main characters: A wallaby named Rocko; his dog, Spunky; his two best friends, Filburt (a turtle terrified of everything) and Heffer (a dumb cow with a heart of gold).

Summary: When Rocko moves from Australia to the U.S, he's got to adjust to his new life. He makes friends with Filburt and Heffer, but runs into some trouble with his cranky neighbor, Ed Bighead. Rocko works at a comic book shop; when he and his friends aren't getting into trouble, they can be found at a local food chain called Chokey Chicken.

Why it's awesome: "Rocko's Modern Life" was part of the cartoon line-up Nickelodeon created when the network was trying to create edgier television. It had slapstick jokes, like people getting hurt, but it also had a lot of adult humor. Go back and watch it now and you'll probably think, "How'd they get away with that?!" It was the '90s, man.

5. Animaniacs

Station: Fox/The WB

Aired: 1993-1998

Main characters: The Warners, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot; Pinky and the Brain; Ralph, the Warner Studios security guard; and others. (It's a long list.)

Summary: Yakko, Wakko, and Dot were 1930s cartoon stars who had been locked away in the water tower on the Warner Bros. Studio lot until they escaped in 1993. They frequently interacted with other characters and introduced each cartoon segment in the show (of which there were many).

Why it's awesome: "Animaniacs" had so many storylines that it kept the cartoon fun and interesting. Yet running gags and recurring segments tied the whole thing together. It was easy to choose a favorite among the Warner siblings (mine was Dot, the cute one) and you totally rooted for that character. Also, fun fact: Yakko and Wakko are obviously the Warner Bros., while Dot gets her name from the period at the end of "Bros." Period = dot... get it?

6. The Ren & Stimpy Show

Station: Nickelodeon

Aired: 1991-1996

Main characters: Ren, a hot-tempered, uptight but hyperactive Chihuahua and Stimpy, a happy-go-lucky cat.

Summary: Hmm... what was the plot summary of this show? All I know is it revolved around the gross, violent, over-the-top adventures of Ren and Stimpy, a dog and cat duo who shouldn't have been friends but were.

Why it's awesome: As a kid, I think part of what made watching "Ren & Stimpy" so great was that you knew you kind of weren't supposed to be watching it, but it was a cartoon so your parents let it slide. There was a ton of slapstick stuff and it was funny to watch how angry Ren would get at Stimpy. It was also gross, which kids enjoy, so.


What'd I miss?

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