Top 20 Animated TV Moments We Waited Years to See
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Top 20 Animated TV Moments We Waited Years to See

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
Cartoons characters might not age, but these are the animated TV moments we waited years to see! Our countdown includes "Gravity Falls," "Avatar: The Last Airbender," "Samurai Jack," and more!
"Script written by Nick Spake

Top 20 Animated TV Moments We Waited Years to See

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Animated TV Moments We Waited Years to See.

For this list, we’ll be looking at moments from animated shows that were built up over the course of multiple seasons. We’re saving anime for another day, so Ash’s long prolonged victory will have to wait until then. Beware of spoilers!

Which animated TV moment did YOU wait years to see? Let us know in the comments!

#20: Ahsoka Tano Survives Order 66
“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (2008-14; 2020)

When “The Clone Wars” initially ended in 2014, there were still a few gaps in Ahsoka’s character arc. Ahsoka would go on to appear in “Star Wars Rebels,” which takes place between “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope.” While this clarified that Ahsoka did survive Order 66, fans wanted to see how she survived the infamous protocol. When “Clone Wars” returned for its final season in 2020, this plot point was finally explored from Ahsoka’s POV. Her face says everything as she realizes that Anakin has turned to the dark side. Ahsoka isn’t given much time to process this, however, as she finds herself surrounded by clone troopers, including Rex. Although she escapes and restores Rex’s free will, the fight is only beginning.

#19: Adora & Catra Kiss
“She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” (2018-20)

Adora and Catra’s relationship goes through a fascinating evolution over the course of this show’s five-season run. They begin as best friends, but turn into bitter enemies once Adora finds the Sword of Protection. Even when they’re at each other’s throats, the audience can sense a clearly romantic tension between these two. As “She-Ra” introduced multiple LGBTQ+ couples, it became increasingly probable that Catradora would become canon, especially after Catra joined the Rebels. In the final episode, Catra lets down her defenses and confesses her love for Adora, pulling her back to reality. Adora responds with an “I love you” and the two share a kiss that had fans swooning with satisfaction.

#18: Goliath & Elisa Get Together
“Gargoyles” (1994-97)

They may come from different worlds and time periods, but Goliath and Elisa shared chemistry from the moment they met. Being different species, the two aren’t sure how to address their mutual attraction for each other. After two seasons and sixty-five episodes, the beauty and the beast find that they can no longer deny their feelings. As the sun rises, a new relationship dawns with Elisa giving Goliath an overdue kiss. Goliath is usually such a brooding figure, which makes the smile on his face as he turns to stone all the more gratifying. While their relationship would face other hurdles in the continuity of the comics, this moment was the perfect way to cap off what many fans consider “Gargoyle’s” golden age.

#17: Archer Wakes Up from His Coma
“Archer” (2009-)

Season seven of “Archer” left us with a major cliffhanger as the titular character finds himself severely wounded, lying face-first in a pool. In the season eight premiere, it’s revealed that Sterling Archer survived, but has fallen into a coma. Over the next three seasons, Archer dreamed about being a hardboiled detective, an adventurous pilot, and a space traveler. Although this new direction provided some humorous storylines, it was hard to get that invested in inconsequential dreams. Viewers were growing restless and in the season ten finale, Archer finally woke up. Archer learns that he’s been unconscious for three years and although not all of our questions are immediately answered, we were just glad to have Archer back in action.

#16: Timmy Tells His Parents About His Fairies
“The Fairly OddParents” (2001-17)

Since the first episode, it’s been established that if Timmy Turner reveals his fairy godparents to anyone, they’ll be forced to go away forever. Thankfully, most of the adults in Dimmsdale are… well, dim. The only one who’s suspicious is Timmy’s fairy-obsessed teacher, Denzel Crocker. We always wondered what would happen if Timmy’s fairies were exposed or if Crocker succeeded in capturing them. In the television movie “Abra-Catastrophe,” we get to see Crocker take over the world using Cosmo and Wanda’s magic. Backed into a corner, Timmy only sees one’s solution: telling his parents about his fairies and thus sending them away. While an anniversary wish sets things back to normal, it was cool to see this scenario play out.

#15: Bonnie Gives Birth
“Family Guy” (1999-2003; 2005-)

Although we considered including Stewie’s big confrontation with Lois on this list, that was technically a simulation. So instead, we’re focusing on another baby: Susie Swanson, who spent a good portion of this show’s run in her mother’s belly. When Bonnie was introduced in the first season, she appeared well into her pregnancy. As the years went by, however, Bonnie showed no signs of giving birth. Peter even called her out on this when “Family Guy” returned for a fourth season. Yet, it wasn’t until season seven that Bonnie brought Susie into the world. So, does this mean that the past 116 episodes took place in under nine months? Man, cartoon logic is weird. Regardless, Stewie was no longer the only baby on Spooner Street.

#14: Defeating Shredder
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2012-17)

For over 100 episodes, the Ninja Turtles were locked in an ongoing struggle with the Shredder, sometimes prevailing and other times failing. Tensions climaxed in season four when Splinter tragically met his end at the hands of Super Shredder. This set the stage for a kickass final battle in the season finale, accumulating with a showdown between Leonardo and the turtles’ archnemesis. Not only did this fight deliver, but it also totally made up for that anticlimax in “Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.” Remember in that 1991 movie when Super Shredder just gets crushed by a pier and that’s it? It took almost twenty-six years, but we finally got a real Super Shredder fight with Leo coming out victorious.

#13: Smithers Comes Out
“The Simpsons” (1989-)

A lot has changed since “The Simpsons” premiered in 1989. LGBTQ+ characters have gained more prominence on television and in season 27, the writers felt it was time for Waylon Smithers to come out to Mr. Burns. This decision received a divisive response when it was announced, as Smithers’s infatuation with Mr. Burns had been one of the show’s most famous running gags. Others welcomed the progressive storyline given the shifting television landscape. While Smithers gets cut off before he can confess his love to his boss, it is implied at the end that Mr. Burns knows Smithers is gay and accepts his sexuality, even if he doesn’t reciprocate his feelings. It’s a sweet moment, although we still say the boathouse was the time.

#12: Fry & Leela Hook Up
“Futurama” (1999-2013)

For its first four seasons, the will-they-won’t-they tension between Fry and Leela kept “Futurama” viewers coming back for more. When the series was initially canceled, it ended on a romantic note between them, although not one that solidified their couple status. Their relationship was further explored in the subsequent straight-to-DVD movies, which essentially served as the fifth season. The fourth film concluded with the two declaring their love and kissing before venturing into the unknown. After “Futurama” returned for another season, it was confirmed that Fry and Leela were now officially dating. The following seasons gave the fans what they wanted, delving deeper into their romance. Of course, we didn’t expect them to consummate the relationship in Zoidberg and Farnsworth’s bodies.

#11: Plankton Gets the Krabby Patty Secret Formula
“SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-)

First appearing in season one, Plankton has dedicated his life to stealing the Krabby Patty secret formula. He’s come close on numerous occasions, although the villain has only gotten the recipe once. Released after season three, “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” saw Plankton frame Mr. Krabs. With Krabs frozen and SpongeBob on a quest, Plankton seized this opportunity to make off with the formula. Since the film was initially conceived as a series finale, it made sense for Plankton to finally succeed, setting the stage for the ultimate fast food showdown. Considering that “SpongeBob” is still going years later, though, we’re a little confused where this fits in chronologically. In any case, we like to think of this as the end of Plankton’s story.

#10: The Joker Learns Who Batman Is
DC Animated Universe (1992-2006)

Since “Batman: The Animated Series” was mostly episodic, it seemed unlikely that the Joker would ever discover Batman’s secret identity. Almost eight years after Mark Hamill made his debut as the Clown Prince of Crime however, the truth came out in “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.” In a flashback, we learn that the Joker and Harley Quinn kidnapped Tim Drake, subjecting the young Robin to three weeks of torture and brainwashing. Through these unspeakable experiments, Tim was molded into a mini Joker and exposed the man behind Batman’s mask. When the Joker confronts Batman with this information, the moment is the perfect balance of suspense, drama, and dark humor. We also get two versions of the Joker’s demise, both of which were shocking to see.

#9: Kim & Ron Become a Couple
“Kim Possible” (2002-07)

Initially, “Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama” was supposed to wrap up the Disney series. What better way to go out than by canonizing Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable’s romantic attraction? Fans had been shipping these two from the beginning and on several occasions, it was strongly suggested that they could one day become more than just friends. After almost three seasons, Ron expresses his true feelings to Kim, who shows him how she feels at the junior prom. We definitely shared the cheering crowd’s enthusiasm. Although their first kiss would’ve been a high note to leave on, we’re glad the series was given a fourth season, as it allowed more time to flesh out Kim and Ron’s relationship.

#8: Phineas & Ferb Meet Agent P
“Phineas and Ferb” (2007-15)

About four years into its run, “Phineas and Ferb” shook up its usual formula with the TV movie, “Across the 2nd Dimension.” Not only do Phineas and Ferb meet Dr. Doofenshmirtz, but they learn that their pet platypus Perry is a secret agent. When a Doofenshmirtz from another dimension threatens everything they love, Phineas, Ferb, and Perry must thwart the evildoer while also trying to adjust to their new dynamic. While most of the characters have their memories erased in the end, its execution doesn’t come off as forced and it was fun seeing the gang interact with Agent P. Isabella’s kiss with Phineas is also wiped from their minds, but don’t worry. That wouldn’t be the last kiss between those two.

#7: Finn’s Father & Mother
“Adventure Time” (2010-18)

While most shows give us plenty of exposition, “Adventure Time” dropped us in the Land of Ooo without explaining anything. Over time, we gradually learn more about this world and its inhabitants. By the end of season five, we know that Finn was abandoned as a baby, raised by dogs, and is seemingly among the last humans. Season six kicks off with Finn meeting his father, who isn’t exactly parental material. In season eight, the “Islands” miniseries explores how Finn’s parents met and how baby Finn ended up alone in the woods. Finn also meets his mother, who is now an A.I. While they also hit a couple of rough patches, Finn and Min ultimately get to develop the mother-son bond they always wanted.

#6: The Author’s Identity
“Gravity Falls” (2012-16)

“Gravity Falls” immediately had us hooked with a dozen questions. Above all else, we were eager to learn who wrote the strange journal that Dipper stumbled across in the forest. The mystery only grew more fascinating as two other journals were uncovered with all three seemingly having a connection to the machine in Stan’s secret bunker. At one point, we’re almost tricked into believing that Stan is up to something devious. As we discover halfway through season two, though, Stan was attempting to open a portal. From the other side emerges Ford Pines, Stan’s twin brother and the author of the journals. Whether you predicted this twist or not, this long-awaited reveal totally lived up to the immense hype.

#5: Aang Defeats Fire Lord Ozai
“Avatar: The Last Airbender” (2005-08)

Early in season one, Airbender Aang is informed that he must master the other three elements before Sozin’s Comet returns. If he fails, the comet will give the Fire Nation an advantage, allowing Fire Lord Ozai to take over the world. Ozai remains one of the most enigmatic figures in the series, not revealing his face until the third season. As Sozin’s Comet draws closer, Aang gets all four elements down pretty well, but he isn’t prepared to take Ozai’s life. Ready or not, Aang faces off against Ozai in the series finale and their battle proves every bit as epic as we had hoped. Gaining the upper hand, Aang finds a way to defeat Ozai while maintaining his morality, taking his bending ability away.

#4: Arnold & Helga’s Happy Ending
“Hey Arnold!” (1996-2004; 2017)
In the football head’s first movie, Helga confesses her feelings to Arnold after nearly six years of buildup. Although the ending reverts their relationship back to the status quo, creator Craig Bartlett wanted to give viewers closure in a second movie. This planned follow-up would also unveil what happened to Arnold’s parents. Even after the intended final episode set all of this up, however, Nickelodeon decided that another feature wasn’t worth their investment. Regardless, Barlett spent almost a decade and a half trying to get “Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie” made. In 2017, more than twenty years after “Hey Arnold” premiered, Bartlett got to finish the story as a TV film. Arnold reunites with his parents, reciprocates Helga’s love with a kiss, and they all live happily ever after.

#3: Cartman’s Real Father
“South Park” (1997-)

The season one finale of “South Park” left us all guessing who Cartman’s biological father was. Fans weren’t pleased when the season two premiere trolled us with a Terrance and Phillip episode instead. Even after we got a proper follow-up, the big reveal that Cartman’s father was his mother left something to be desired. We had to wait until season 14 for a satisfying explanation. In the 200th and 201st episodes, Cartman uncovers a conspiracy that leads to the identity of his real father: a Denver Bronco named Jack Tenorman, as in Scott Tenorman’s father. This doesn’t just mean that Scott is his half-brother, but Cartman chopped up his own father’s remains into chili. Even more traumatizing, Cartman’s half ginger!

#2: Aku’s Defeat
“Samurai Jack” (2001-04; 2017)

For almost fourteen years, “Samurai Jack” was often listed among the best animated shows that ended on unresolved cliffhangers. Jack never got back to the past or defeated Aku. The same year “Hey Arnold!” made a comeback, Jack’s story was given its due with a fifth and final season. Since the kids who grew up with “Samurai Jack” were all adults by this point, it made sense for the new season to have a more mature edge. It also made sense to reflect the passage of time, revealing that Jack has been stuck in the future for fifty years. With some help from a member of the Daughters of Aku, Jack fulfills his destiny, traveling back in time to deliver the final blow. It was well worth the wait.

#1: Wile E. Coyote “Catches” the Road Runner
“Soup or Sonic” (1980)

Believe it or not, this actually happened and we’re not talking about the Seth MacFarlane version. On one hand, we’ve always wanted to see Wile E. Coyote catch his speedy prey. On the other hand, that would mean no more Road Runner. In the 1980 TV special “Bugs Bunny's Bustin’ Out All Over,” Warner Bros. had their cake and ate it too… without the Road Runner being eaten. In the segment “Soup or Sonic,” Wile E. shrinks down and the Road Runner lets him wrap his tiny arms around his leg. Although Wile E. will need a bigger fork and knife, he did technically catch the Road Runner for the first and only time in the Merrie Melodies mythos. And it only took thirty-one years.