With HBO trying its hand at a new animated series called Animals, we’re reminded that sometimes the very best cartoons out there aren’t just for kids. In some cases, they are definitely not for kids. Having trouble deciding which are for you? Don’t worry; we’ve picked out five of the best animated shows for adults that you need to watch.
Rick and Morty
From pedophilic jellybeans to a character actually called Mr. Poopybutthole, viewers will see from the first episode that Rick and Morty is not meant for youngsters. Rick Sanchez, an alcoholic scientific genius, and his squeaky-voiced grandson, Morty, travel the universe, going on adventures that are seemingly based on whatever Rick feels like doing that day. Like any madman, Rick has made a lot of enemies, so the two tend to get stuck fighting off aliens bent on revenge. Rick’s exploits sometimes drag the whole family into unlucky situations — from hapless dad Jerry being put into an intergalactic daycare to Paige getting locked inside a homicidal spaceship. But sometimes Rick is the only thing that stands in the way of Earth’s destruction, as is the case when giant floating heads from outer space force Earth into a talent competition (“Show me what you got!”). Rick and Morty is guaranteed to make you laugh, but there’s plenty of profanity-filled dialogue paired with darker themes that makes this show adult-only.
This animated series on Netflix follows a mix of humans and animals living alongside each other in a Hollywood parody. BoJack, the main character, is a washed-up actor with a partying problem, and he’s trying to get back into the industry after riding on the coattails of his successful stint on a sitcom for far too long. The animation is pretty simple, but the characters on the show are surprisingly complex. BoJack has mommy and daddy issues, can’t stay in a healthy relationship no matter how much he says he wants to, and can’t kick any of his many vices that are steadily bringing him closer to an unfortunate end. There’s also a great cast of side characters who walk in and out of his life, like his agent, a cat named Princess Carolyn. You’ll probably recognize some familiar voices as well, since the cast includes Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, and Alison Brie.
Bob’s Burgers is currently airing its sixth season and was picked up through Season 9. If you’re not watching this normcore animated comedy yet, rethink your life decisions and head to Hulu or Netflix to start from the beginning. The series follows the Belchers, a working middle-class family who are trying to keep their burger shop afloat in a small town. Each episode has them working through fairly standard family problems in totally non-standard Belcher style. Bob, the somewhat jaded owner and father, is complemented by Linda, his cheery, optimistic, wine-loving wife. Their children, from old to young, are Tina, a socially awkward, boy-crazy teenager; Gene, a total goofball and aspiring keyboardist; and, last but not least, Louise, the main prankster with a penchant for chaos and bunny ears. But let’s be real — the true star of the show is all of those puntastic burger names (She’s a Super Leek Burger, anyone?).
Starring H. John Benjamin (the voice actor that shows up in almost every animated series you can think of), Archer follows the adventures of Sterling Archer, the world’s deadliest spy and a suave womanizer with major parental issues (we still don’t 100% know the identity of his father by Season 6). Fans from the beginning can tell you the series is filled with terrible human beings who are surprisingly effective at their jobs: Lana Kane, Archer’s baby mama and a skilled agent with abnormally large, strong hands; Pam Poovey, the inappropriate sexual deviant/HR Director; Malory Archer, head of the agency and Sterling’s belligerent mother; Cheryl Tunt (aka Carol/Cristal/Carina), Malory’s dimwitted assistant; and Algernop Krieger, a trilingual “doctor” with a virtual girlfriend.
If you like filthy jokes, action packed scenes, and crazy characters with a penchant for self-destructive behavior all working together in a hostile work environment, get ready to laugh with Archer. Bonus: Benjamin voices both Sterling and Bob of Bob’s Burgers, so the shows have done a crossover before, and it’s a must watch.
F Is For Family
F Is For Family is another animated series from Netflix that is even more normcore than Bob’s Burgers, but fans love it for that very reason. Co-created by comedian Bill Burr and writer Michael Price (The Simpsons), the show is a dark comedy that explores relatable, and sometimes uncomfortable, family dynamics. The stars, the Murphys, are a working class family living in the 1970s, and the show uses many references from that decade. For an animated series, the characters seem very real; their personalities and the problems they face — middle class anxiety, teenage rebellion, etc. — don’t veer into over-the-top or impossible territory. Since the series takes place in an earlier era, there’s less politically correct language, and the characters are completely unapologetic about it. The Murphys aren’t a perfect family, but they have moments where they’re okay human beings, and that’s enough for them.
If you’re a fan of series like Roseanne or Married…with Children, F Is For Family is the animated series about the middle-class family you’re looking for. Bonus: the series also has a great soundtrack with gems from the ’60s and ’70s that will instill a sense of nostalgia.
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