When you were a little rascal, everything was simple. Ice-cream was delicious but broccoli was not. Imaginary friends existed but relationship problems did not. Then adulthood kicks in and now the simplest task suddenly requires an elaborate strategy that usually takes you back to square one. All that’s left to quiet the frustration is entertainment with immediate results. A heavy drama won’t do; a lighter approach is needed. With family-based plots teeming with obscure characters, here are five cartoons adults can relate to.
Cue “You’re Standing on my Neck” by Splendora and you’re instantly pulled into the highly defensive world of American teenager, Daria Morgendorffer. She battles failure and resentment from her parents Helen and Jake with the help of her best friend Jane Lane. Their weapons of choice are sardonic barbs that ricochet into Daria’s superficial sister Quinn. This bone-dry view of teen adolescence forces you to recognise the stain of high school hierarchy in your adult life.
#2 Hey Arnold!
Featuring the football-headed kid who lives with his grandparents, this brightly animated series highlights the importance of learning from your mistakes. Arnold calls on his best friend Gerald to assist in deflecting the playground bully who is secretly in love with him. All eyes are on you Helga Pataki. Creator Craig Bartlett allows you to sit on the stoop of American Society as you view a display of community through a racially diverse cast. A hangover is much easier to deal with when you have this series humming in the background.
#3 Aaah! Real Monsters
It’s Stephen King for youngsters. Enter Ickis, Krumm and Oblina who attend a school for monsters set underground in New York City. By using toe-nails as currency, the trio venture to the surface to perform ‘scares’ on humans for class assignments. Dealing with the pressure of having a famous father, Ickis rebelliously leads the other two young monsters as they confront very adult themes such as abuse, overbearing mothers and handling authority. If there is one thing you can take away from this European-style comedy, it would be unbearable armpit odour.
#4 Death Note
The ultimate power as a writer would be to have the ability to kill someone with the stroke of a pen. High school genius Light Yagami stumbles upon a notebook that does just that. It comes into the human world when a Shinigami (god of death) drops it out of boredom. Light takes it one step further by utilising his new found power in an attempt to create a crime-free world where only morally upstanding citizens live. You may not believe in the supernatural, but you sure as hell will question your morals. A dark psychological thriller with eerie graphics that’ll change your perspective on how you view death.
#5 Madaya Mum
This one has to go on the list although it’s technically a digital comic co-produced by Marvel and ABC news. They deserve a pat on the back because they aren’t afraid to portray the tangled mess in Syria through the eyes of an instinctive mother of five. She and her family are trapped in the Syrian town of Madaya as they face violence and starvation in the midst of the civil war. Courage and empathy resonate throughout each and every graphic image.
Image Source: Culture Honey, Consequence Of Sound, Variety, Bustle, Death Note Wiki, ABC News.