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Top 10 Dysfunctional TV Cartoon Families

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Trevor J Fonvergne
These are the families that make you glad for the ones you have. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 most dysfunctional cartoon families on television. For this list, we’re looking at those animated small screen families who struggle to maintain amiable relationships with one another. Since we’ll also be talking about new additions to some of these families that occur later in the series, there are some minor spoilers ahead.
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These are the families that make you glad for the ones you have. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 most dysfunctional cartoon families on television.


For this list, we’re looking at those animated small screen families who struggle to maintain amiable relationships with one another. Since we’ll also be talking about new additions to some of these families that occur later in the series, there are some minor spoilers ahead.



#10: The Belchers

“Bob’s Burgers” (2011-)



In a TV landscape saturated with unique cartoon families, the Belchers manage to stand out as one of the most eccentric. It seems to be in the nature of the children to cause problems for the family, particularly Louise, who appears even to take pleasure in doing so. None of the family members seem to understand the others, which is at the root of most of their hilarious conflicts. Many residents of the unnamed town prefer to avoid them, because their tornado of shenanigans often sweeps up everybody around them. We couldn’t imagine having to deal with the problems that they present to their father Bob, who’s also the straight-laced protagonist.







#9: The Pickles

“Rugrats” (1991-2004)



At only one year of age, Tommy found his mortal enemy in his cousin, Angelica. There’s also no love lost between their fathers, brothers Stu and Drew. Tommy’s penchant for misguided adventures often causes all of the babies’ parents to scramble to keep them safe, but Stu and Didi are always the most put-upon. Not to mention Grandpa Lou, who isn’t the most attentive babysitter. Even little Dil proved to be a troublemaker when he became the newest Pickles. Obviously, any family that has to deal with a group of babies will have some trouble, but no children seem to be quite as troublesome as these rugrats.







#8: The Turner/Fairywinkle-Cosma Family

“The Fairly OddParents” (2001-)



Timmy Turner was so depressed, he was awarded Cosmo and Wanda, two fairy godparents who could grant his every wish. However, they brought their own dysfunction with them. Both are very loving, but Cosmo is hilariously stupid while Wanda has a bit of a temper. As for his real parents, well... they allow TV’s most evil babysitter to watch Timmy. Enough said. In later seasons, the family has grown to include baby Poof and Sparky, a fairy dog, both of whom also manage to contribute quite a bit of trouble to the family. But, this large and complicated family loves one another immensely at the end of the day.







#7: The Ventures

“The Venture Bros.” (2003-)



Heavily inspired by characters from “Jonny Quest,” the family consists of Dr. Thaddeus Venture, an insecure and moderately successful mad scientist, as well as his titular sons, Hank and Dean, who serve as each other’s foils. Thaddeus doesn’t hesitate to show favoritism to Dean, and seems to have no problem replacing his sons with clones when they inevitably die on adventures. His failure in relation to his father is arguably the driving force for the most of the family’s issues, as his obsession over being successful often pushes him and his sons to their very limits.







#6: The Hills

“King of the Hill” (1997-2010)



The Hills are a typical middle-class American family, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t immune to defective familial relationships. Hank, the father, is a product of a bygone era, and has trouble adjusting to unfamiliar situations, which are aplenty. His personality often conflicts with that of his son, the adolescent Bobby, who prides himself on being artful rather than athletic. Peggy manages to be more level headed than the men in her family, but every so often she gets a little crazy herself. The show prides itself on being a slice of life portrayal of an average American family, but truth be told, the average American family isn’t without its own degree of dysfunction.





#5: The Archer-Kane Family

“Archer” (2009-)



From the first episode, it was clear that Archer’s most complicated relationships were with his controlling mother, Malory, and on-again-off-again girlfriend, Lana. These relationships grew exponentially more complicated when Lana became pregnant with Archer’s child, without his permission, of course. Lana may be one of the show’s saner characters, but combining these two families was probably a poor decision. No two members of this family are able to hold a conversation without some serious snarkiness rearing its head. It’s also worth noting that Archer tried to have a threesome with Lana’s parents, which is just one of the many ridiculous moments that exemplify this non-nuclear family.





#4: The Smiths

“Rick and Morty” (2013-)



We can all relate to having an alcoholic, dimension-traveling, nihilistic grandpa, right? The cast of “Rick and Morty” has been able to resonate with audiences not only due to the family’s hilarious quirks, but also due to their humanity and complexities. At the center of the family is the conflict of Rick’s pessimistic ideology with the more optimistic views of the others, which often strains familial relationships. Despite being an outlandish sci-fi outing, the Smiths’ dysfunction resonates on an emotional level, balancing the intelligently ridiculous comedy with some surprisingly affecting quiet moments.




#3: The Smiths

“American Dad!” (2005-)



The Smiths may be the most collectively sociopathic family on this list. An uncompromisingly conservative father oversees (or at least tries to oversee) a family of an off-the-wall mother, nerdy son, liberal stoner daughter, talking goldfish, and psychotic, pansexual alien. Pairing any of these characters together always results in comic gold, with each having huge and distinct personalities. Though there’s usually a lesson to be learned by the end of most episodes, they seem to be quickly forgotten as these crazies will turn on each other at the drop of a hat, often severely injuring each other. Just to drive the point home, Stan’s father eventually takes up the mantle of Krampus, the Christmas demon.





#2: The Griffins

“Family Guy” (1999-2003; 2005-)



It goes without saying that Seth MacFarlane’s dark brand of humor doesn’t ever result in functional families. Put the six Griffins in a room together and there’s sure to be no shortage of conflict. It’s a wonder Peter and Lois’ marriage has managed to survive all of his absurd antics. The most dynamic relationship, though, is between best friends and occasional enemies baby Stewie and family dog Brian. Their dysfunction has been providing us with consistent laughs for over a decade, and that’s not even mentioning the way the family treats Meg. But you really can’t blame them, because... we mean, it’s Meg.






Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.



The McCormicks

“South Park” (1997-)






The Horsemans

“BoJack Horseman” (2014-)






The Fire Nation Royal Family

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” (2005-08)






#1: The Simpsons

“The Simpsons” (1989-)



It was a tough choice between the Griffins and the Simpsons, but we couldn’t ignore the family that was the precursor to every other one on this list. Homer is an infamous imbecile, Bart is an unscrupulous troublemaker, Lisa is smart but a know-it-all, Marge is a neurotic worrywart, and baby Maggie sometimes shoots people. They proved controversial when they first premiered, since it was one of the darkest TV depictions of an American family to that point. As it turns out, it’s this very brand that made the yellow family one of the most enduring pop culture images of all time.
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