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Top 10 Cartoon Series Created by a Woman

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
Script written by Nick Spake It’s about time you know more about female creators in television! We’ve included series like Big Mouth, Total Drama, Pepper Ann, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, The Care Bears, Daria and Steven Universe, Rugrats.

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Top 10 Cartoon Series Created by a Woman

These trailblazing women prove that animation is far from an all boys club. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cartoon Series Created by a Woman.

For this list, we’re taking a look at animated TV shows that a woman had a hand in creating. We’re including shows that were co-created with men, although we’re excluding anime like “Sailor Moon.”

#10: “Big Mouth” (2017-)

Puberty is an uncomfortable, confusing, and downright messy time for everyone. So it’s only fitting that “Big Mouth” has a solid balance of male and female voices working behind the scenes. While her filmography primarily consists of live-action projects, Jennifer Flackett acts as an executive producer on this adult animated program along with her husband, Mark Levin. Flackett and Levin additionally co-created the series with star Nick Kroll and his childhood best friend, Andrew Goldberg. Their sitcom is crude, disgusting, and about as cringeworthy as you can possibly imagine. At the same time, however, it’s unexpectedly smart, funny, and bound to resonate with anybody who survived the horrors of middle school.

#9: “Total Drama” (2007-14)

Jennifer Pertsch has worked on several animated shows, notably earning a Daytime Emmy nomination for her writing contributions to “Rolie Polie Olie.” However, her greatest achievement would have to be “Total Drama,” which she co-created with longtime partner, Tom McGillis. In addition to creating this animated satire of reality television, these two have also acted as directors, executive producers, and head figures of production company Fresh TV. Aside from poking fun at shows like “Survivor,” each season of “Total Drama” offers a diverse collection of memorable characters. Pertsch and McGillis actually studied what young audiences find most appealing about reality TV, and their research shines through in a truly clever parody for the tween crowd.

#8: “Pepper Ann” (1997-2000)

“Pepper Ann” has the distinction of being Disney’s first animated series created by a woman. Also known for her work on “Angela Anaconda,” Sue Rose molded Pepper Ann into one of the most unique heroines under the Disney banner. Where some female Disney characters have received criticism for being too perfect, Pepper Ann is awkward, insecure, and kind of dorky, but not to the point of being a stereotypical nerd. In her own unique way, she actually manages to be cool without coming off as condescending. Pepper Ann is a 12-year-old who can’t quite be classified, which is exactly what makes her such an identifiable role model for young audiences trying to find themselves.

#7: “Captain Planet and the Planeteers” (1990-96)

As one of the wealthiest and most powerful figures in television, Ted Turner seemed to soak up most of the credit for creating this environmental animated series. However, a lot of people overlook the fact that “Captain Planet” was a joint effort between Turner and Barbara Pyle. After meeting Pyle in 1980, Turner made her TBS’ Vice President of Environmental Policy. Several years later, the two set out to make a show that was eco-friendly while still being fun for kids. As a filmmaker and environmental activist, Pyle helped strike a balance between educational and entertaining. Although the series ended in 1996, Pyle remains an integral part of the Planeteer Movement.

#6: “Star vs. the Forces of Evil” (2015-)

Nearly two decades after Sue Rose gave us “Pepper Ann,” Daron Nefcy created “Star vs. the Forces of Evil.” Additionally developed by Jordana Arkin and Dave Wasson, this over-the-top animated program centers on a female lead you typically wouldn’t find in Disney productions. Sure, Star Butterfly is a princess, but the similarities between her and Snow White end there. If anything, Star has more in common with Kim Possible, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and various anime heroines. She’s clumsy, angsty, an unapologetically weird, but also passionate, witty, and a wrecking ball to be reckoned with in battle. Star ultimately acts as a driving force for a coming-of-age adventure that’s as hilarious as it is imaginative.

#5: “The Care Bears” (1985-88)

Illustrator Elena Kucharik provided the original artwork for “The Care Bears,” which American Greetings’ “Those Characters From Cleveland” created in 1981. Given the popularity of the adorable greeting cards and toys, it only made sense to produce an animated show based on the line. “The Care Bears” television series ran from 1985 to 1988 with Kucharik being regarded as the franchise’s co-creator. Kucharik shares the credit with Linda Denham, who also served as Kenner Products’ Vice President of Marketing. While nobody can deny that the show primarily existed to sell more merchandise, that didn’t stop the animators from putting together a cute, cuddly, and charming program with well-intentioned life lessons for little ones.

#4: “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” (2010-)

Bonnie Zacherle created the “My Little Pony” toy line, but it was animator Lauren Faust who breathed new life into the franchise with “Friendship Is Magic.” Having previously worked on “The Powerpuff Girls” with husband Craig McCracken, Faust knows how to take a product that appears female-oriented and fashion it into something gender-neutral. Faust did such a remarkable job at developing the characters, lore, and world of Equestria that the series not only attracted young girls, but also grown men who proudly identify as bronies. Although Faust exited after Season 2, showrunner Meghan McCarthy has maintained the same integrity her predecessor brought to the table with meaningful morals, self-aware humor, and a delightful ensemble.

#3: “Daria” (1997-2002)

Cold and cynical, Daria Morgendorffer is the kind of character that would usually be limited to a supporting role. As a matter of fact, she started out as a recurring player on Mike Judge's “Beavis and Butt-Head.” As MTV was looking to produce “a show for girls,” Daria was given the chance to take center stage in her own spinoff with “Beavis and Butt-Head” alumni Susie Lewis and Glenn Eichler at the helm. Together, they developed a series that was satirical in its portrayal of high school while also being brutally honest. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Lewis and character designer Karen Disher offered a look at what the animated cast might look like today.

#2: “Steven Universe” (2013-)

Initially gaining attention as a storyboard artist and writer for “Adventure Time,” Rebecca Sugar became the first woman to solely create a Cartoon Network series with “Steven Universe.” Basing the titular hero on her brother, Sugar delivered a character-driven show that is humorous, colorful, and so much more. Underneath its bubbly exterior, “Steven Universe” is a surprisingly deep coming-of-age tale with commentary on gender identity, sexual identity, and how a society governed by labels can prevent individuals from reaching their full potential. As a bisexual woman, Sugar aspired to incorporate LGBT themes that would speak to kids and adults alike. The result is a show that inspires viewers to work towards a more accepting world.

#1: “Rugrats” (1991-2004)

Arlene Klasky has one of the most impressive résumés in all of animation. Rising to prominence for her work on “The Simpsons,” Klasky went on to co-create “Rugrats” with then-husband Gábor Csupó and Paul Germain. Observing the world from the perspective of babies, the series broke out as a cultural phenomenon, attracting fans young and old. In addition to picking up a few Daytime Emmys, “Rugrats” helped put production company Klasky Csupo on the map, making leeway for other successes like “Rocket Power” and “The Wild Thornberrys.” Given the vital impact Klasky had on all three of these shows, she more than earned her spot on Animation Magazine’s list of the Top 25 Women in Animation.

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