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Top 10 Memorable TV Cartoon Characters of All Time

VO: Rebecca Brayton
They’re fictional, they’re animated and they made their mark on us through the small screen. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Memorable TV Cartoon Characters of All Time.

 For this list, we’re looking at the television cartoon characters we consider to be the best and that helped define the decades from the 1980s to the mid-2010s. Special thanks to our users Donathan Rogers or submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Memorable TV Cartoon Characters of All Time

They’re fictional, they’re animated and they made their mark on us through the small screen.   Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 memorable TV cartoon characters of all time.

 For this list, we’re looking at the television cartoon characters we consider to be the best and that helped define the decades from the 1980s to the mid-2010s.

 #10: Smurfette
“The Smurfs” (1981-89)

We love all the Smurfs; however the standout has gotta be the love interest of almost every one of these little blue dudes, as she’s the only female on the show until the 5th season. As a female hero on an otherwise male-dominated show, Smurfette is portrayed as very lady-like, with long blonde hair, long eyelashes, and high heels. She provides some much needed female perspective on the show. Originally planted by villain Gargamel to sabotage the Smurfs, she eventually grew to be accepted as one of the family thanks to Papa Smurf. Smurfette thus proved to kids that good triumphs over evil, providing a great role model for young women everywhere. 


#9: Bender
"Futurama" (1999-2003; 2008-13) 

Everyone’s favorite talking robot from the future, Bender is probably the funniest and the most vulgar – well maybe only about 40% vulgar – memberof “Futurama”’s core group. While protagonist Fry is a great character in his own right, Bender is simply too amazing to beat, with his don’t-care attitude, and his love of booze. His harsh-sounding voice only adds to the roughness of the character. He’s lazy, inconsiderate, and rude, but that’s all part of this anti-hero’s charm!

#8: Alvin

“Alvin and the Chipmunks” (1983-90)

The lead vocalist of The Chipmunks, Alvin quickly grew to become the leader of the group, and eventually, the fan favorite. Always impulsive and charming, Alvin is the most charismatic of the rodent brothers, often leading them in hilarious schemes that he devised in order to get what he desires. He’s also the resident troublemaker, often causing wacky problems with other characters and bullying his brothers and human father figure Dave. Despite being the oldest sibling, he seems quite young at heart, and is therefore our favorite.

#7: Michelangelo

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (1987-96)

One of the four popular anthropomorphic turtles named after Renaissance artists, Michelangelo gets the spotlight here due to his fun-loving attitude. When not fighting villains Bebop and Rocksteady, Michelangelo is wielding his badass nunchucks, making jokes or socializing with other characters - as well as exclaiming some of the series’ famous catchphrases. While not the smartest or most conniving of the Turtles, he certainly is the most entertaining, and as such, the most fun to watch for kids and adults alike.

#6: Arthur Read

“Arthur” (1996-)

Everyone’s favorite aardvark, Arthur - and his friends - has been entertaining children for decades. A typical third grader (except for the fact that he’s an aardvark), Arthur goes through typical situations befitting of an 8-year old: he gets into trouble, especially with his sister D.W., hates his mean teacher Mr. Ratburn, and slaves over homework. While he plays the straight man to the other, wackier members of the group, Arthur is intelligent, relatable for children, and just plain entertaining to watch.

 #5: Optimus Prime
“The Transformers” (1984-87)

Leader of the Autobots, this transforming sentient robot is unquestionably the best Transformer and one of the best cartoon characters of the 1980s. While there were other great Transformers like Megatron and Bumblebee, Optimus Prime bested them all due to his strong leadership abilities, his compassion, and his bravery. He’s not only a great role model for children, but he also knows how to kick some serious butt, often providing the “Transformers” series with its greatest action sequences. He’s badass and more human than most actual human cartoon characters.

#4: Eric Cartman
“South Park” (1997-)

Everyone’s favorite terrible person, Eric Cartman helped change cartoons forever and define a generation to come. As one of the first foul-mouthed, immature, narcissistic, and just plain evil animated characters, Cartman quickly made it apparent that, despite its appearance, “South Park” is definitely not for children. However, his terrible attitude is what makes him unique, and he serves as a great vehicle for satire against anything and anyone. 

 #3: SpongeBob SquarePants
"SpongeBob SquarePants" (1999-)

One of the most popular cartoon characters of the early 21st century, SpongeBob provides great entertainment for viewers of all ages. The sea sponge’s naiveté is always hilarious, which makes him an amusing watch for children. While his best friend Patrick is equally hilarious, SpongeBob has made a name for himself all over the internet, and has become the first animated character to have a wax sculpture made of him by Madame Tussauds. His popularity has far exceeded what anyone would expect, and he has become the modern face of cartoons for adults and children alike.

 #2: Stewie Griffin
"Family Guy" (1999-2003; 2005-)

Though he’s not the titular Family Guy, Stewie is hard to ignore or forget as the Griffin baby hell-bent on world domination and killing his mother. It’s a unique twist on the cartoon toddler, as Stewie is by far the smartest in the family, creating various elaborate contraptions. He’s also the meanest, as he often plots with hurtful intentions. At the same time, Stewie’s hilarious due to his purely insane and wacky behavior, but his best side comes out when paired with the family dog Brian. While his father Peter definitely has his moments, Stewie gets the spot due to his originality and outrageous behavior.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honourable mentions.

“Pokémon” (1997-)

 Kim Possible
"Kim Possible" (2002-07) 

Tina Ruth Belcher

"Bob's Burgers" (2011-)
Sterling Archer
"Archer" (2010-)
Finn & Jake
"Adventure Time" (2010-)

#1: Homer Simpson
“The Simpsons” (1989-) 

For us, there is no other choice but the king of animated TV himself. Homer Simpson is your typical father (mostly), with his addiction to television, love of beer, but most importantly, his love for his children – and those are just some of the traits that make him so relatable to pretty much everyone. While his son Bart is a fantastic character, there’s no matching Homer’s heart. There’s also no denying the impact that Homer has had not just on cartoons, but on television in general. He is known across the globe and has become a true small screen icon, even earning a spot, with his family, on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 Do you agree with our list? Who’s your favorite cartoon TV character of all time? For more animated Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to

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