I’m just going to come out and say it: For the most part, I haven’t liked any adult cartoon I’ve tried watching. Now, when I say adult, I mean a plethora of cartoons that people usually think of: “South Park”, “Family Guy”, “American Dad”, “Bob’s Burgers” and “Rick & Morty” to name a few (I’m omitting “The Simpsons”). Before I go further, let me preface this by saying that I’m by no means a prude. Sometimes crude or lowbrow humor in movies or other TV shows can make me chuckle. I’ve also made a valiant effort to give many of the more popular cartoons a fair viewing chance. But in the end, I just haven’t found a single one that made me go “I HAVE to keep watching this!”
Let’s start with “Rick & Morty” on the more positive side of things. Any praise I have toward what I’ve seen of it has to do with the concept of Rick and Morty travelling to different locales and getting into crazy situations. Sure, sometimes the humor could go lowbrow, but it still feels like one of the smarter shows out there. My biggest gripe with it, however, is the pseudo-improv style of “writing.” Even going back to watch the very first episode, I was easily annoyed by Rick’s constant repetition of Morty’s name in practically every sentence he spoke. I may still give this show another shot some day, but I can say that for now, it’s not something I’m ready to continue.
However, that show gets off easy compared to other stuff I’ve seen. I literally only watched one episode of “Bob’s Burgers” and was just not feeling it. Maybe it was the characters or humor or both, but I couldn’t be bothered to keep going. “South Park” also annoys me at times, definitely because of the characters and humor, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally enjoy some of the material/satire they’ve put out. However, like every adult cartoon I could mention, I’ve only seen random episodes. It’s never been something I felt the need to watch from start to finish.
And then we come to Seth MacFarlane and GOD, I just can’t stand his shows. Any of them. I find pretty much every character annoying and often irredeemable, the shock humor and non-sequiturs hardly ever make me laugh (there are rare exceptions, but they are VERY rare), and I’m so sick of the animation style being the same for each. Yeah, Matt Groening had similar styles for both “The Simpsons” and “Futurama”, but at least in the latter he could create crazy-looking creatures to differentiate the two. I know people consider the early days of “Family Guy” to be the best, but overall it just doesn’t appeal to me.
So, what have I learned from these examples? Well, I think my biggest problem with many adult cartoons is an over reliance of shock humor and, at times, gross out humor. Gross out can sometimes work for me if it’s not too overboard, but shock humor has never done anything but make me shake my head. I know comedy can be derived from pretty much anything, but I draw the line at some jokes. I guess the reason I tend to drift toward shows aimed at a younger crowd is that many of them nowadays are much more engaging and oftentimes more funny to me.
But, at the end of the day, humor is subjective. I won’t criticize someone for liking these shows. They’re all popular and loved for reasons I can understand. But who knows? Maybe I just haven’t found the right adult cartoon for me yet. The only way I’ll know is to keep trying new things.