Enjoy these epic contemporary cartoons, we guarantee you laughter, tears and loads of sarcastic jokes
Sure, you can live that healthy life by spending your weekend exploring these beautiful hiking trails and islands around Hong Kong, kudos to that! But if you’re a homebody, who simply enjoys catching up on the latest TV shows on a beautiful Saturday, that we’ve put together a list of the best cartoons for adults – don’t feel offended by their honest and brutal dark humour!
Best cartoons for adults
King of the Hill
King of the Hill is an animated sitcom that ran from 1997 to 2010 on Fox. Set in a fictional town in Texas, the show revolves around the Hill family and his next-door neighbours and households. This slice-of-life animated show illustrates precisely the issues of discrimination, racism, internalised sexism, complex war politics during that time period. By showing the audience the flaws of certain traditional values that are antiquated, the socio-political humour has won the applause of the majority of its viewers.
Rick and Morty
Rick and Morty is one of the most philosophical and ingenious adult cartoons broadcasting on Adult Swim. The story revolves around Morty, a kid with a learning disorder, and his grandpa Rick, an obnoxious self-righteous mad scientist who travels through universes and dimensions causing catastrophes. Every character in the show is dysfunctional, there is no hero and no villain. The show touches upon the absurdity of existence, and that survival is just romanisation of meanings and ideology that we feed ourselves in order to survive in a numbing capitalistic society as a collective being. Are we alive? Are we just clones? Rick and Morty questions the authenticity of life and provides a very meta viewing experience.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Aqua Teen hunger Force follows the surreal adventures of three anthropomorphic fast foods: a selfish milkshake, a box of smart French fries and a ball of simple-minded ground meat. The protagonists barely get along with their balding middle-aged neighbour, and in the meantime interact with a number of villains and aliens. It’s definitely a funny one for fans of the TV network Adult Swim (the one who broadcasts Rick and Morty).
Beavis and Butt-Head
One of the best cartoons from the 90s has to be Beavis and Butt-Head. The series revolves around the lives of two silly and ill-intentioned teenage delinquents who only find things interesting if they’re associated with heavy metal, violence, sex and destruction. Because of its controversial content, MTV even had to put up a disclaimer at the top of every episode that the two weren’t role models.
Animals is one of the best adult cartoons on HBO. Each episode consists of a different storyline with different types of animals – as representation of different categories of New Yorkers – and a few recurring characters (or animals). It follows the lives of animals that reside in New York, a few human characters, such as a corrupt mayor and officials behind a virus outbreak/propaganda to show how foolish and pathetic human behaviours are in the eyes of other forms of creatures, even if the animals depicted here are probably no better.
Bojack Horseman is another hit animated black comedy on Netflix. It’s set in a world where humans and anthropomorphic animals are living together. The main protagonist Bojack is a self-loathing post-fame Hollywood star that deals with alcoholism, depression and many other problems. It serves as a mockery of show biz and a harsh reality check on how alienated people are, and pokes through the façade of the happily-ever-after ending – there needn’t be a window opened when a door is closed. Definitely one of the best cartoons on Netflix!
Gravity Falls is just another cartoon that is entertaining for both children and adults on Disney Channel. The animation revolves around the adventures of brother and sister Dipper Pines and Mabel, and their great-uncle Stan living in the mysterious town called Gravity Falls that is inhabited by supernatural creatures and paranormal forces. And if you’re a fan of Rick and Morty, Gravity Falls is actually said to be one of the multi-universes shown in Rick and Morty, there’re hints and Easter eggs dropping everywhere if you look closely into both shows – as the writers are really close friends, even though Gravity Falls doesn’t contain such a dark world perspective in comparison.
Regular Show is the only light-hearted and adventurous cartoon to make this list. The animated series is set in a park where surreal and supernatural misadventures always take place. And the residents of the park, which are a mixed bunch including a blue jay, a raccoon, a gumball machine, a man with a lollipop-shaped head and a yeti, are often getting out of their way to put things back to “normal”. The show reeks of creativity and imagination, and is one of the best cartoons for both adults and kids.
F is for Family
Semi-autobiographical animated sitcom F is for Family is a new Netflix original written by Bill Burr – who is also the younger son of the Murphy family as portrayed. It’s set in the 1970s when it’s appropriate and common to smoke indoors, uphold patriarchal notions and deprecate women, and to emotionally abuse your children. The show discusses the problematic side of domestic emotional trauma happening inside traditional household, and it once again reminds us how society needs to progress further on equality and banish unjust stereotypes.
Bob’s Burger is one of the most well-received family-friendly animated series of recent years. It’s about the Belcher family who run a burger restaurant, and the hilarious things that happen around them. The Belcher kids are a mix of awkward teens and troublemakers, and it’s always funny to see a fraction of your younger self being acted out on screen. This series has many uplifting insights and heartwarming messages to offer, and it definitely helps people to overcome obstacles in life.
Having been around since 1989, The Simpsons undoubtedly is one of the best cartoons of all-time. Following the lives of the working-class Simpsons family, it becomes a critically-acclaimed satire of American culture and the American dream. From American politics and religion, to family disputes and personal beliefs, The Simpsons has found the perfect medium to criticise the ridiculous things that happen around us. Every character in the show seems to remind us of someone that we know, there’s always that billionaire on the top, a clown that is tired of the show biz and an inadequate person in a position of power that fails to solve any problems.
Originally broadcasted on MTV from 1997 to 2002, Daria has become the ultimate figure of sarcasm and cynicism. As an outcast being surrounded by a bunch of jocks and cheerleaders in high school, the protagonist Daria Morgendorffer ridicules the superficiality of American pop culture and the education system. Daria taught us that it’s okay – if not better – to be a cynical critic than a happy-go-lucky ignorance-is-bliss type of individual in this Sick, Sad World (pun intended).
Finished watching the best cartoons and looking for cultural things to do in the city? Shop at these local Hong Kong bookstores, learn more about anime culture at Mong Kok’s Sino Centre or check out some photography art with Madelon de Grave from Bamboo Scenes.