From the use of memorable catchphrases to their ability to tap into real world experiences, these ten cartoon characters have had a lasting impact on audiences. Some of them come from childhood shows with themes that resonate with viewers as they reach adulthood. There, however, are a number of characters originating from shows that possess blunt, adult satire. Here’s a look at which famed characters made the top ten list.
10Rocko from “Rocko’s Modern Life” (1993-1996)
This wallaby from Down Under brought hilarity to American audiences in the mid ’90s. So much so that he’ll bring more in a new Netflix special called “Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling” coming next month. The series, “Rocko’s Modern Life,” where his journey first began, follows his life in fictional O-Town. Along with its use of adult innuendos, the series has been noted for its commentary on living through a capitalistic society. Rocko’s antics might indicate otherwise, but “Rocko’s Modern Life” earns its title for a reason.
9Slappy Squirrel from “Animaniacs” (1993-1998)
“Animaniacs” is chock full of colorful characters. From Katie Ka-Boom to Pinky and the Brain, this animated series has plenty of laugh-inducing cartoons. That being said, Slappy Squirrel manages to stand out from the rest of them. Her neurotic wit and no-nonsense attitude make her a memorable yet formidable opponent for her antagonists. Also, her banter with her sweet natured nephew Skippy creates further humor while giving Slappy an extra layer of dimension. Slappy may be quite sardonic, yet her bond with Skippy reveals a softer and almost maternal side to her character.
8Bugs Bunny from “Looney Tunes” (1930-1969)
Next is a cartoon legend who needs no introduction. His famous catchphrase “Eh..what’s up, Doc?” remains a mainstay in pop culture with his thick New York accent and nonchalant attitude acting as character trademarks. Not to mention, at the time of his creation, he was a rare character defined by his personality rather than physical traits the way other popular cartoons were. Besides Daffy Duck, no other Looney Tune has reached the same level of epochal status as Bugs Bunny. Not even his chief antagonist Elmer Fudd who has constantly failed to hunt him down.
7Angelica Pickles from “Rugrats” (1991-2004)
The antagonistic Angelica Pickles is a textbook example of the repercussions of poor parenting. She manipulates and antagonizes her infant cousin, Tommy, and his friends for the fun of it, but there is a method to her madness. Her privileged parents continuously spoil her and give her everything she asks for while still paying more attention to their work than her. As a result of her feelings of abandonment, Angelica tries making the babies feel as bad as she does.
6CatDog from “CatDog” (1998-2005)
Who says cats and dogs have to be mortal enemies? In fact, they can be more attached, literally. In the case of Cat and Dog from the animated series “CatDog,” they’re conjoined at the hip. While they have different personalities, with Cat being sophisticated and Dog more gullible, both still remain close siblings. Things may get “ruff” between them, but their brotherly love is unconditional and reminds viewers that no matter how crazy or difficult your sibling may be, in the end, you’re still family.
5Eric Cartman from “South Park” (1997-Present)
The diabolical Eric Cartman from “South Park” proves that a story is as good as its villain. Cartman is pretty much every bad thing imaginable. Misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, manipulative, gluttonous – you name it. He picks on everything and everyone in his path just like the show itself. This long running satire touches on every hot button topic imaginable and Cartman is a vital component to its razor sharp humor.
4Arnold from “Hey Arnold!” (1996-2004)
Arnold is a character with a heart as big as his football-shaped head. Even when an episode revolves around his classmates instead of him, he still remains the omnipresent voice of reason and support. Given how his parents disappeared when he was young, one would think he’d be broken by his past. Yet, he navigates life with a positive attitude and inspires others to do the same. His strong-willed optimism easily makes him a vital role model for younger viewers.
3Stewie Griffin from “Family Guy” (1999-Present)
While other toddlers like playing with toys, Stewie Griffin enjoys plotting to take over the world. Although he’s moved away from concocting such diabolical plots as the series progressed, Stewie still enjoys crafting chaos wherever he goes. Sometimes, he’ll end up in such situations with Brian, the family dog. Their frenemy-type relationship proves to be a potent series highlight. In fact, they’ve gone on tumultuous road trips across the country before eventually going on a trip into a multiverse.
2Squidward Tentacles from “Spongebob Squarepants” (1999-Present)
Squidward Tentacles is arguably the show’s most dynamic character. When watching the show as a kid, it’s easy to write him off as a miserable grouch since he’s always showing antipathy towards the titular protagonist. But when watching the show as an adult, audiences might find him all too relatable. His neuroticism over enduring the same daily routine while trying to make his artistic ambitions a reality is something grownups know all too well.
1The X-Men from “X-Men” (1992-97)
It goes without saying that the “X-Men” film series has mixed results. Even “Dark Phoenix” ended it on a nearly divisive note. However, the 1990s animated series still successfully brought the comics to life. It retained the relevant themes of bigotry and intolerance present in the source material while incorporating as many mutants as possible. The central team consisted of only nine heroes, yet plenty of other X-Men members had their moment in the sun throughout the series. Plus, the personalities of the characters remain close to their comic book counterparts.