Fall is a great time of year for gobs of reasons: the weather, the colors of leaves, delicious seasonal vegetables and apple-picking. It’s also the best time of year for entertainment. In TV land, audiences are treated to the best collection of new season premieres and exciting new shows. The world of sports features college football, NFL, post-season MLB, and the beginning of both the NHL and NBA seasons. Sports and TV shows often collide, with some of the most memorable Sports moments occurring in animated form. In honor of this meeting of worlds, here are eight of the best collisions where sports meet cartoons.
Boxing | Homer Simpson vs. Drederick Tatum, The Simpsons
The world’s most famous cartoon dad has had a myriad of jobs during the 28+ seasons of The Simpsons. Many of these have been within the sports industry, including mountain climber, mascot, and power-plant softball slugger. But, without a doubt, Homer’s most successful sports career was in the world of boxing.
In “The Homer They Fall“, his unique approach of taking punches until his opponent tires out brought him all the way to a championship bout with The Simpsons‘ caricature of Mike Tyson, Drederick Tatum. Within milliseconds of the opening bell of that title fight, it was clear Homer’s “wait it out” method wouldn’t work. Tatum’s fury of punches overwhelmed Homer so much that he took a break with Charlie Sheen during the middle of the fight. In the end, Homer was gracefully air-lifted out of the ring by his friend and manager, Moe Szyslak.
Baseball | Randy Marsh vs. Bat Dad, South Park
The town of South Park, CO has had its fair share of great sporting moments and matchups. However, the best moments and matchups come when the boys have to face a summer full of Little League baseball. The episode, “The Losing Edge“, is classic Randy Marsh: unreasonable, idiotic, intoxicated, and out-of-touch with reality. His rivalry with Bat Dad (Mr. Nelson), the father of one of the boys on Denver’s Little League team, makes up one of the greatest subplots in the show’s history. The episode as a whole is incredible, climaxing with Randy pulverizing his rival and singing his own montage song from earlier in the story.
Sports Gambling | Stewie Griffin vs. Brian Griffin, Family Guy
The main storyline in this episode of Family Guy involves Peter becoming a successful offensive lineman for the New England Patriots. However, the hands-down hero of the episode is the subplot featuring Stewie as a hard-nosed, violent bookie who wins a small bet with Brian during a celebrity boxing match on TV. Think about your circle of friends and the number of references to “Where’s my money?” Various versions of this famous clip have been viewed millions of times and shared with friends that owe other friends some cash. Stewie finally gets his debtor to offer a trip to the bank after multiple beatings, gunshot wounds, and a very memorable scene with a blowtorch.
Golf | Bart Simpson vs. Todd Flanders, The Simpsons
This very early episode of The Simpsons is an absolute classic. The entire episode centers around mini-golf, culminating in an epic battle between Bart and Todd. However, the rivalry is fueled by Ned Flanders and Homer playing the roles of “overzealous dads of kids playing sports.” The episode features classic moments like Lisa playing Zen master coach, Homer misquoting Vince Lombardi (“If you lose, you’re outta the family”), and hilariously over-the-top announcing of the final match: “One of the most skilled 10-year-olds to ever take back the blade.” The final match-up ends in a draw, which would normally be disappointing. However, in this case, it resulted in Ned and Homer both wearing their wives’ dresses while mowing the lawn. Classic.
Multi-Sport | Doug Funnie vs. Patti Mayonnaise, Doug
What happens when your good luck streak is so good, it takes out the person you love the most? The boxing scene at the beginning of this famous episode is on point as Doug accidentally knocks out Patti. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good. Religious Doug viewers may recall that Patti was the superior athlete. However, Doug’s lucky streak was so hot, that he was even beating his friend/crush at everything while trying to lose. His best pal, Skeeter, tried to help him do every cliche thing to attempt to onset some bad luck (walking under ladders, breaking mirrors, and more). The best moment in this one-episode matchup comes at the end when Patti proves to us that winning is everything, despite Doug’s stereotypical speech about friendship and winning not mattering.
Football | Charlie Brown vs. Lucy and the Football, Peanuts
Charlie. No. Don’t fall for it. Just because it’s Thanksgiving. The football gag is now over 65 years old and has been the result of much pain for Charlie Brown. Without a doubt, Charlie vs. the football is the most famous battle on this list. In many ways, it represents even more: trust, betrayal, tough-love, anxiety, and an endless list of explanations provided by Lucy over the years. In the end, we all hold a minute amount of optimism that Charlie will kick that ball to the moon… someday.
Running | Wile E. Coyote vs. Road Runner, Looney Tunes
Speaking of one-sided battles, the never-ending road race between Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner must make ultra marathon runners tired. In many ways, this battle is the Yankees vs. the Red Sox. It’s a famous rivalry, but most of the success has been on one side of the equation. No matter how fast he ran, no matter what schemes he hatched, Wile E. could never seem to get his paws on his lightning-fast lunch. And like the Red Sox, the coyote did actually win once. However, I think Bostonians would agree that their win was much more satisfying.
Bonus Entry: Basketball | Jordan/Bugs vs. The Monstars, Space Jam
It’s not a TV show, so it technically doesn’t count. Yet, it was hard to ignore what may be the most successful film ever created by an athlete. This live-action meets animation film crushed it at the box offices, grossing over $230,000,000 worldwide. It never hurts to feature the world’s most popular athlete, Michael Jordan, and a lovable rabbit.
Space Jam provided an interesting and family-friendly alternative story of Jordan’s return to basketball. Instead of coming back to prove he could still dominate the NBA, Bugs and a crew of Looney Tunes recruit Jordan to beat the Monstars and save the Tunes from being captured. Jordan’s acting wasn’t on par with his on-court abilities, but he did manage to save Bugs and friends from being a featured attraction at Moron Mountain.