In this next installment of “Bring Back…” I’m going to throw you into a slight frenzy of nostalgia, longing, and depression with these cartoons from the good ol’ days, aka the 90’s. As great as the cartoons from the 80’s were, there’s just something about the programs we were blessed with during this particular decade.
Remember when it was called “Disney’s One Saturday Morning?” Here’s a refresher of the opening theme that set the tone for the rest of the week:
Check out the list below and take your time if you feel overwhelmed by how much your life has changed because these cartoons are no longer a significant presence in your grown-up world. It’s okay, it’s gonna be ok, we are all okay(ish).
I’m lying, just read and weep.
Tale Spin (1990-1991)
“Friends for life through thick and thin, with another TaleSpin!” One of my absolute favorites, Baloo the bear (yes, THAT Baloo) is a somewhat rogue pilot who takes an orphan bear, Kit, under his wing to help keep the skies clear of air pirates. The stitched together family and their enemies include bears, lions, wolves, and orangutans.
Captain Planet (1990-1992)
There was only one person who could take pollution down to zero, and that was Captain Planet, because he’s a hero. Teaching us about the duties of keeping our environment clean, Captain Planet and his five Planeteers would remind us “to be part of the solution, not the pollution.”
Magic School Bus (1994-1999)
What kid didn’t dream of having Miss Frizzle as their teacher, and having every day of school be like an episode from The Magic School Bus? Maybe if that kid was like Arnold and had a panic attack at the thought of any kind of fun and adventure (“I knew I should’ve stayed home today”), but most kids would’ve given their Lunchables and Dunkaroos away for life for a school experience with The Friz. Because The Friz was kind of a savage, and that’s what we want in a teacher
Another favorite of mine, mostly because of the theme song, and Doug’s dog, Porkchop. I remember that day, sitting at the lunch table in 4/5th grade, and we all broke out in a beautiful, spectacular harmony of that melody with so few words.
I have chills.
Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. They wreaked havoc, mischief, and mayhem literally wherever they went. My brothers and I were often compared to these siblings that we found hilarious, so it came across as a compliment to us. The best thing about Animaniacs was the constant rotation of characters throughout each and every episode.
Vince, Spinelli, Mikey, T.J., Gretchen, and Gus. They made fighting the norm a thing before it became a thing. Whomps.
Carmen Sandiego (1994-1999)
If you never heard of or watched Carmen Sandiego (whether it was finding Carmen somewhere in the world or somewhere in time), then I need you to take a step back and reflect on this situation. Let me know when you’ve come to grips with this sad reality, where you were robbed of a childhood milestone, right up there with losing your first tooth and crashing your bike for the first time (these two don’t necessarily have to have happened at the same time, but I’m not judging if it did. I feel you, no worries). When you’re ready, I will enlighten you on the blessing that is Carmen Sandiego.
Nothing was creepier than watching Gargoyles on a bright, sunny, promising morning, only to have your entire life ruined if you came across anything made of stone at night. What’s worse is that we all just kept watching the next Gargoyles episode each week, like we didn’t know those stupid stone angels, frogs, cherubs, and trolls our mamas kept on the porch or in the garden weren’t going to scare the bejeesus out of us once darkness fell. Nevermind that the gargoyles kept us safe by fighting crimes and evil at night, we were all slightly traumatized at this thought. And we might still be.
Street Sharks (1994-1997)
Hey Arnold! (1996-2004)
Hey, Arnold! How’d you fit that shirt around that football you call a head?
I mean. Do I need to say anything? Here, I’ll give you 9 words: Angelica, Reptar, Tommy, Spike, Phil & Lil, Chuckie, Dil, and Cynthia.
Pinky & the Brain (1995-1998)
Aaahh! Real Monsters (1994-1997)
Rocko’s Modern Life (1993-1996)
Darkwing Duck (1991-1992)
Bobby’s World (1990-1998)
Also, nobody looked cooler than Bobby did riding a Big Wheel.
Goof Troop (1992)
Freakazoid (1995 1997)
“Freakazoid, Freakazoid! Runs around in underwear!”