Related Videos

Top 10 Cartoon Shows with the Best Parodies

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
These cartoons know how to lampoon! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cartoon Shows with the Best Parodies. For this list, we’ll be going over the cartoons who frequently parody other media, as well as other parts of pop culture, and do it very well.
Share
WatchMojo

You must register to a corporate account to download this video. Please login

Transcript
These cartoons know how to lampoon! Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cartoon Shows with the Best Parodies.



For this list, we’ll be going over the cartoons who frequently parody other media, as well as other parts of pop culture, and do it very well.



#10: “SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-)




He may live in a pineapple under the sea, but SpongeBob, as well as the other residents of Bikini Bottom, seem to have a hardline to humanity’s popular culture; or at least, their writers do. While there are plenty of blink and you’ll miss them gags, such as paraphrasing quotes from classic films like “Rebel Without a Cause,” some episodes are based entirely around parodying their source material, like the Karate Island episode that’s basically just Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon.” In other cases, there are characters that parody others, like Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy being takes on Batman and Robin.





#9: “The Fairly OddParents” (2001-)




The adventures of a boy named Timmy and his fairy godparents, “The Fairly OddParents” features a magical host of references and parodies of things throughout pop culture. These usually consist of thinly veiled caricatures of characters, stories, and even real people with the names slightly changed, like “All My Biceps,” Walt Kidney, or Sylvester Calzone. Timmy is also quite into superheroes, so there’s plenty of opportunities for parodying that genre, from recurring original character, the Crimson Chin, to spoofs of groups like the Justice League.





#8: “The Venture Bros.” (2004-)




Primarily concerned with the titular brothers, their failed scientist father, various bodyguards, and a gigantic supporting cast, “The Venture Bros.” is one enormous pastiche of adventure cartoons like “Johnny Quest” and superheroes; grounding the genres in a somewhat realistic setting and showing the consequences such lifestyles have on people. Besides the broad strokes, there are more specific parodies too, like a dark take on “Scooby-Doo” or a supremely creepy amalgam of Batman and Superman, voiced by Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman himself! “The Venture Bros.” lovingly mocks many bits of pop culture, but it also creates its own mythos out of them to form a unique kind of parody.





#7: “ReBoot” (1994-2001)




The inhabitants of Mainframe may appear stiff and awkward by modern standards, but there’s nothing lacking about their ability to parody other works. Given that it was the first fully computer animated cartoon series, and its setting inside a computer, it seems only fitting that “ReBoot” references several computer games, such as “Doom.” However, the innovative show also drew on a multitude of other pop culture figures and shows in its parodies, which often took the form of “games” that featured heavily in the plots, such as those parodying “Power Rangers” or “Mad Max.”





#6: “Animaniacs” (1993-98)




This animated variety show had some of the cleverest and most subversive writing on TV in the 1990s, and that includes its parodies. The show’s writers managed to get away with parodying surprisingly adult material that went way over kids’ heads, like “Apocalypse Now” or “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.” While one-off parodies were common, “Animaniacs” also built recurring segments around parody characters, such as the “Goodfeathers” trio, who were based on the three leads from “Goodfellas,” or the diabolical Brain of “Pinky and the Brain,” whose appearance and mannerisms are essentially just those of actor Orson Welles.





#5: “Robot Chicken” (2005-)




Parody is the bread and butter of this stop-motion sketch comedy show. “Robot Chicken” features at least a dozen parodies in a single episode, as most of their sketches focus on lampooning some facet of pop culture, with common targets being superheroes, cartoons, and anything from the 1980s. Though the parodies are generally rapid fire and focus on a number of sources, a few episodes have been devoted to spoofing a single subject, such as the multiple specials devoted to “Star Wars” or one based on “The Walking Dead.”





#4: “Rick and Morty” (2013-)




A dark and twisted show following the titular alcoholic scientist and his grandson, as well as the rest of their family, “Rick and Morty” delves into some weird sci-fi territory and it often does so through the aid of parody. Although some parodies are straight-forward (and often straight up savage) “Got-DAYUM!”, many of them are used in the plots of the episodes, often combining several parodies to create their own spin on familiar stories, such as “Jurassic Park” meets “Fantastic Voyage” or “Inception” crossed with “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”





#3: “The Simpsons” (1989-)




Though Matt Groening’s other long-running cartoon series, “Futurama,” also comes to mind, “The Simpsons” just won out. The record-breaking cultural milestone of a series has parodied nearly every major piece of pop culture from the 20th and 21st centuries over its long time on the air. Of particular note are the annual “Treehouse of Horror” anthology episodes, which are almost exclusively devoted to parodies of some kind of horror or sci-fi story or concept. While it can be argued that not all “Simpsons” parodies are all out classics, when it’s good, it’s really good.





#2: “Family Guy” (1999-2003; 2005-)




While this is another case of a creator’s other show, in this case “American Dad!,” also being excellent at parody, “Family Guy” simply has it beat. Renowned for its use of cutaways to tell unrelated jokes, the practice has allowed “Family Guy” to deliver a huge volume of pop culture parodies and references, although, like some of our other entries, entire episodes have been centered on parodying particular sources, from anthology stories to themed episodes, like the “Star Wars” specials. As great as it is at skewering and celebrating other things, though, there’s still one more cartoon with better parodies.





Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:



“Codename: Kids Next Door” (2002-08)





“The Powerpuff Girls” (1998-2005)





“Recess” (1997-2001)





#1: “South Park” (1997-)




When it comes to animated parodies, “South Park” is king. Though other shows have been at it longer and have slightly more frequent lampooning, “South Park” manages to have some of the most creative and biting parody and satire ever put on television. It’s taken the mick out of celebrities, politicians, religions, shows, movies, and even people’s reactions to all those things with precision strikes of parody that remain timely, thanks to their quick output. “South Park” pulls no punches with its comedy, and parody is one of its most potent hooks.
Comments

Sign in to access this feature

Related Blogs