54 cartoons I watched as a child..ranked
I decided to take a bit of a different approach and provide content that might appeal to a younger demographic aka my peers who also grew up in the early 2000’s. So behold, a ranked list of every animated show that I remember watching as a child. Friendly reminder, these are my opinions and everyone is entitled to their own. I encourage you to share your own in the comments!! (Also, another disclaimer, these are my opinions currently as opposed to throughout my childhood.)
As a child I watched a lot of Noggin (which is now Nick Jr.) and I would always have to change the channel when Franklin came on. There was no entertainment value of watching this turtle. I’d much rather play school with my stuffed animals, thanks.
53. Little Bill
This was another Noggin show that bored me out of my mind but I wouldn’t go as far as to turn the TV off completely. In fact, I enjoyed playing the online tic-tack-toe game! The reason this show has ranked so low is because of recent findings about Bill Cosby and alleged sexual assault. It wasn’t known then, but he is definitely not a role model.
52. Go, Diego, Go!
Dora’s cousin did not need his own show. Diego is as irrelevant as Benny the cow. (Does anybody actually remember him?)
51. Handy Manny
The only reason this show ever had any hint of relevance in my life was because my younger brother enjoyed it. I did not. Femininity was very important to me as a child and Handy Manny made me feel like a boy. Also I will never understand the appeal of working with tools. Sorry Manny.
50. Jake and The Neverland Pirates
This was after even my brother’s time but I’ve had multiple encounters with this show throughout the years. It will not cure your boredom while being the oldest one in YMCA daycare in 5th grade, FYI.
49. Winx Club
I’m unsure as to whether I actually watched this show or not, but thanks to one of my friends I know every single word to the theme song. (close your eyes and open your heart believe in yourself that’s how it starts…)
For those that are unfamiliar, Olivia was a (British?) pig with a little brother. The only thing I recall about this show is at one point the pig family was eating spaghetti. With meatballs. I don’t think that’s morally correct but everything is fine in a children’s cartoon, I guess.
47. Miss Spiders Sunny House Friends
I feel like it was while I was watching this show in 2008 that I realized I might need glasses. Also, this show is slightly relevant because of memes comparing the pale spider to James Charles and Ted Cruz. I don’t remember the plot.
My bath toys consisted of a rubber duck named PeePee Duck (because he was the color of PeePee…) and a red octopus that greatly resembled Oswald (although Oswald was more cerulean than crimson). My brother wasn’t the best at pronunciation so “Oswald” became “Owwo”. The PeePee Duck and Owwo show was much better than the Noggin counterpart.
45. Wow Wow Wubbzy!
I can’t form a coherent memory of this show either. However, I do recall playing the dress-up game online which was enjoyable so I guess it must’ve been alright.
44. Fish Hooks
I kind of assumed this show never really existed and it was just some weird dream I had but… nope, it was real. What made Disney Channel decide that a cartoon about fish going to high school was an amazing idea is unconfirmed (yet it may relate to #22 on this list), but I did watch this circa 2011 when better shows such as A.N.T Farm or Shake It Up weren’t on.
43. Rolie Polie Olie
This is from a much earlier period in my life and I only remember watching it once, and Olie was going onto the ceiling. According to my mother, I watched this show often in the early stages of my life. It must have been captivating enough to entertain a two year old so I decided not to put it at the very bottom of the list….
42. Pinky Dinky Doo
I had to go through a lot of google searches to find the actual name to this show since everyone assumes a “children’s show including pink haired girl” immediately means Lazy Town, but alas Pinky Dinky Doo was existent. For those who have not been enlightened, our pink haired main character had a magical box and whatever she drew in that box became reality. I still want a box like that but my non-existent art skills would result in the actual end of the universe.
41. Ni Hao Kai-lan
This show is only ranked as high as it is because of the inclusion of Chinese culture. Good job Nickelodeon however it’s been years since this show first aired and you’re still far behind.
40. Little Einsteins
This show would be much higher if it weren’t for the theme song. The actual concept of teaching young children about classical music and intellectual topics is great though.
39. The Amazing World Of Gumball
My parents disliked this show and I dislike it now but it was pretty entertaining. This was one of those shows that I watched when I started to become comfortable watching Cartoon Network even though it was a “Boy” channel. (Who decided that? Was it me? Probably.)
38. Alvin and The Chipmunks
This is referring to the older show, not the one that currently is on Nickelodeon. I have seen enough bits and pieces of that show to assess that it would be lower than Franklin. The older version was cute and a lot less ridiculous. Still too squeaky though.
37. Bob The Builder
Even though this show was extremely similar to Handy Manny, it ended up much higher on the list for an unknown reason. I think Handy Manny is just a younger knockoff of Bob, and doesn’t resonate with me as much. Again, sorry Manny you didn’t do anything wrong (except steal Bob’s spotlight!!!)
36. Higgly Town Heroes
This was another show I watched and enjoyed at the age of two, but I remember more details about it than it’s counterpart. The first dream I remember having included one of the Higgly Town Heroes dying her body green.
35. The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack
I didn’t even watch this show that much but I remember finding it absolutely hilarious. It was not funny though, and honestly the one episode I have stored in my brain was kind of terrifying.
34. Ben 10
This show was a “boy” show but it was totally worth breaking down gender stereotypes for. I loved watching Ben 10, I think. Worthy episode of mention included Ben and his friends fighting a giant mushroom and then ordering a mushroom pizza afterwards. Bon Appetit.
Did I watch this show for any other reason than my elementary school crush said it was his favorite? Not at all. In fact, my previous infatuation is the only reason this show had any relevance in my life and why it earned such a spot on this list.
We watched this show all the time in the aforementioned YMCA day care. I’m actually unsure if it qualifies as a cartoon or not. It is animated, but not in a cartoon-esque way. Oh well. I love the early 90’s graphics and cheesiness of this show though. Plus the baby dinosaur reminded me of my grandmother??
31. Peppa Pig
My younger cousins absolutely love this show. And I completely understand the appeal. It’s a British pig, similar to Olivia but So. Much. Better. Peppa is adorable and precious. Olivia is annoying (and American… I think). This is a show that I would willingly watch if it was the only thing on.
30. Dora The Explorer
Oh Dora… I loved you so much. My grandparents bought me an excessive amount of your cardboard books. But around age 7 I developed an inexplicable hatred for you. I think that I assumed by watching your show I would be a “baby” but my naivete shadowed the fact that I still was one. Watching Yo Gabba Gabba is not a mature act.
29. Maggie and The Ferocious Beast
The only reason this show has been on my mind recently is because my aunt has a vicious dog named Maggie who accompanied us on our recent beach trip. I shouldn’t say vicious, since this dog has cataracts and is nearing the end of her days. I remember when she was younger and full of sight, she would always try to bite my dad so he referred to her as “Maggie, the ferocious beast”.
28. Max and Ruby
This show was glorious. These two rabbits saved me. Nah that’s an overstatement I do remember getting a minor injury at a friend’s house and watching this show made all of the pain go away. Band-aids and ice packs aren’t necessary friends; all you really need is Max and Ruby.
27. Johnny Test
I watched this show “only because Simon (my brother) did”. Haha nope, I loved this show too. Something about Johnny’s dog being able to talk and the fact that he had genius twin sisters who hadn’t (?) discovered the dog’s ability was a level of irony that I could understand and appreciated. (Too lazy to fact check so if that’s wrong just shoot me aha.)
26. Doc Mcstuffins
Okay I’m definitely too old to justify myself watching this show but that’s fine. My best friend’s younger brother watched this show and I watched some of it with him and I enjoyed it, not gonna lie.
25. Sophia The First
I wish my justification for this was as easily explainable as the previous. That also applied in this situation, but early on in sixth grade the same friend who taught me the Winx Club theme song taught me the theme song to this show as well. This led us to ask our locker neighbors and anyone else who would listen “Were you a village girl doing alright? Did you become a princess overnight?”
24. The Proud Family
I didn’t watch this too much as a child, but I appreciate it at this age. Great job Disney.
23. Dragon Ball
Guess who introduced me to this gem? Yes, it was the same friend. As early as kindergarten, I would go to her house and we would go on YouTube just to search “Vegeta Shaves His Mustache”. If you haven’t watched this iconic scene, do yourself a favor here.
This so controversial I kind of wish I was one of those kids who wasn’t allowed to watch Spongebob. Unfortunately, that was not the case and my sponge addiction was encouraged. My favorite episode was the one where Spongebob allowed the jelly fish into his house and they had a big party and blasted music all night. I’m kind of salted at Nickelodeon for continuing the franchise though; it’s been eighteen years. It’s time to move on.
21. The Backyardigans
Car rides with my grandparents were enjoyable because of one very important factor. The backyardigans CD, of course! What kind of road trip to McDonald’s would it be without Groove To The Music! I knew all eighteen songs by heart. That’s what real music sounds like, folks.
Oh yes when I thought the periodic table was only as simple as four elements. Earth, wind, fire, and water are the only things in existence. (Plutonium? What’s that?) In all seriousness, this show was actually great I just didn’t fully enjoy or understand it back in the day.
19. Scooby Doo
This does NOT apply to that creepy live-action Scooby Doo movie that existed circa 2002. That was terrifying. I’m referring to the good old cartoon. Scooby Dooby Doo… Where are you? (Also Scooby Snacks were the bomb)
18. Little Bear
Believe it or not this show used to fall on the same plane as Franklin in my head, but now that I am older I’ve managed to romanticize this show in a way that simply was not possible with that turtle. The innocence and simplicity of it relaxes me. Plus, I had VHS tapes with this show on it and FACE too!!!
17. Charlie and Lola
This is only ranked so high because I have a Fresh-Out-Of-High-School-And-Unsure-Of-Life-Plans-British-Teen-Who-Misses-Their-Childhood-And-Drinks-Away-The-Pain Aesthetic. There’s an entire subculture of extremely specific meme accounts on Instagram, by the way.
It wasn’t even necessarily the television series that appealed to me as much as it was the picture book series. I remember every week in kindergarten we got to go to the library to check out a book and I always chose the Arthur books until I read ALL of them. Afterwards, I had to move on to Gerald Mcdermott books that gave me nightmares that I’m not fully over.
15. Total Drama Island
This show was great. It really made eight year old me feel like a teenager. Because this is definitely what teenagers watch and I’m certain that this cartoon had an accurate depiction of all teenage culture. It was the only reality show I was allowed to watch, if it even counts as one. (They’re all scripted anyway so what’s the difference?)
14. Regular Show
This show still shows some appeal. Not exactly in the “I need to go watch some Regular Show right now.” way but more of a “Oh that grown man is wearing a Regular Show T-shirt. He must be an interesting person.” way.
13. Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends
I’ve recently discovered that this show was another one commonly banned by parents because it was deemed satanic. Sure, the grim reaper may make an appearance or two but honestly this show was great and I don’t think your children would’ve had their faith ruined.
12. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
I was channel surfing the other day looking for something for my eight year old cousin to watch and I was genuinely disappointed when she said she didn’t want to watch this show. I guess she’s going through the phase where watching this show inherently makes you a baby? Trust me honey in a few years you won’t care about seeming like a baby; Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has a fantastic plot sweetie. (When in doubt, use too many endearing terms)
11. Phineas and Ferb
Hey, where’s Perry?
The best part of this show is every episode had the exact same plot line but they varied greatly. That takes an awful lot of creative thinking.
10. Kim Possible
I love you, Kim Possible. And your mole rat. Powerful females in children’s shows make me so happy. I overflow with feminism. The movie was also vivacious.
This show made me happy but it also really stressed me out. I don’t think it stressed me out at the time but I’ve read conspiracy theories where the whole thing is just a figment of Angelica’s imagination after a traumatic incident and that just bothers me. I don’t want to think of it that way, I want to think of this show as cute little babies. That is how it will remain.
8. The Magic School Bus
You know it was a good day in third grade science class when the teacher pulled out that Magic School Bus VHS (Or the Bill Nye one…). My favorite episode was the one where they shrunk down and went inside of one of the student’s bodies? But thinking about that actually makes me extremely uncomfortable now.
7. Adventure Time
I would willingly watch this anytime. I love adventure time. It’s so cute and nerdy and fits into some part of my heart. Jake the dog and Finn the human!!!! Okay but also the Bubblegum Queen is super amazing. AHh I could keep going but I’ll spare you an incoherent blob.
What kind of childhood would I have had if it weren’t for Pokemon? My favorite Pokemon will always be piplup because I had a thing for penguins. I wasn’t into the video games or trading cards as much, but I loved watching the cartoon on Saturday mornings. I also still sing this theme song. Don’t act like I’m the only one. (Gotta catch ’em all!)
5. Blue’s Clues
We’ve got a letter.. I wonder who it’s from?? Spoiler: It’s fan mail from me. Blue’s Clues was my favorite show throughout childhood. It taught me about the color periwinkle, which I now think is a beautiful wedding color. That was random, but it’s a memory of mine.. ahh. There’s a picture of me at 19 months old with a Blue’s Clues kickball (among a Wiggles pillow and Dora overalls. I was the epitome of fashion.)
4. Gravity Falls
This show was so detailed and intricate and I love Mabel and Dipper Pines. I’ll admit I didn’t watch this show as much as I could’ve but what I did watch I thought was excruciatingly clever. Wow.
3. Sailor Moon
Honestly, this is a sinful entry. I’ve never watched this show at all it’s just here for the ~aesthetic~. I wish I watched it though.
2. Dragon Tales
Okay this show was FANTASTIC! And beautiful. I want one of those rainbow dragon eggs that they have. Brb I’m actually about to go ugly cry over this show’s existence.
- Power Puff Girls
What would the world be without these genetic mutations? An absolute war zone let me just tell you. They have saved us. They have inspired young girls such as myself that it’s okay to watch cartoon network and it’s okay to be a girl because girls are vivaciously awesome. (Also I’m still salted at my grandmother for changing the channel to football while I was watching this show once. Why watch a bunch of men throw a ball around when you can watch three girls save the world? Let’s just think here.)