*exclusing The Simpsons
5. The Drinky Crow Show, Adult Swim/Cartoon Network 2007-2009
I don’t really even know how to describe this show. Created by Tony Millionaire (Andy Richter’s brother in law through marriage), based on his Maakies comic strip, this 13 minute show is one of a kind. A borderline suicidal crow navigates the sea with his dimwitted uncle, a monkey and handles mundane situations with his girlfriend, all while completely intoxicated. It’s weird. It’s funny. The drawings and animation alone are worth watching.
4. Robot Chicken Adult Swim/Cartoon Network 2001-2016
Is admitting that I love this show the same as admitting I’m a burnout? In my opinion this is Seth Green’s best work. While his work technically appears later in this list, I will admit here that he is the most annoying character on that show, but on Robot Chicken, he feels like a genius. Maybe that’s a stretch. I like stop motion animation anyway, but this show uses all the toys from my childhood and puts them in unlikely scenarios that are usually pretty funny. . . or at least worthy of a chuckle. I also like the quick cut jokes that either refer back to something unimportant from another episode, or that make no sense without another quick cut joke earlier in the show, which is a page from Seth McFarlane’s book. At any rate, while it took awhile for me to warm to this show, I didn’t miss it at 11 p.m. on Adult Swim for many years.
3. King of the Hill Fox 1997-2010
“Dammit, Bobby!” Why do I laugh at this show? In what is mostly a glimpse into the lives of Beavis and Butthead’s neighbor character, this show, which I only really watched on accident, is a goddamn treasure. There’s something about Hank’s inability to accept change because he is solidly principled and Peggy’s earnest attempts to change anything and everything all the time that are both heartwarming and hilarious. Also, Hank’s friends are some of the greatest supporting characters on television.
2. Daria MTV 1997-2001
I know. I know. I keep bringing up Daria. But I like it. It’s good. It is the 90’s all angsty and cynical and combat boot laden, all wrapped up in a little 30 minute package complete with music that pairs so well with a giant flannel.
1. Family Guy Fox 1999
I know that the other two people who read this blog are going to shun me when I say that I actually like Family Guy more than The Simpsons. Don’t get me wrong, The Simpsons is an institution and it deserves its many accolades, however, the Griffin family just happens to better appeal to me. I think it mostly has to do with it being in its prime when I was in mine. I love a Stewie/Brian heavy episode, the production that goes into any musical number, the expansive minor character universe and the humor that comes from something being some completely unfunny, for so long, that it becomes funny. All told though, Family Guy could not exist without The Simpsons. In many ways it is simply an updated, raunchier version of its predecessor but it also has some originality in story lines and on point social commentary.