Keeping In Toon: The Best 90s Cartoons

Growing up in the 1990s was by all accounts a great experience. The Celtic Tiger was roaring at its loudest, bands such as Oasis and 5ive were at the peak of their success, and television was, let’s be honest, DEADLY!

Yes, life was so much easier back then. For instance, there were no worries about college assignments, along with the fact that my mother still thought I was lovely so I was spoiled and doted on 24/7 (oh, how times have changed!) So as a kid I was lucky enough to have the luxury of sitting in front of the TV and watching Nickelodeon for hours upon hours, observing some of the best cartoons to ever grace mankind.

Thus, in my research for this story, I put the following question to my friends: What was your favourite cartoon from your childhood?

Having listened to their answers, I made the discovery that most 90s kids sourced their cartoons from either Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network, with very few crossing over and giving me answers from both.

So, bearing in mind that I did not have the luxury of Cartoon Network in my humble, satellite-less home, I will now invite you to take a trip down memory lane with me while I discuss some of my personal favourites that were shown on the terrestrial channels. They may not have been your own favourites, but nonetheless I’m sure you’ll still appreciate them.

Doug (1991-1994)
This classic follows the adventures of an 11 year old boy as he finds his feet in a new town. Doug quickly falls in love with one Patti Mayonnaise and befriends another guy called Skeeter Valentine. However he also had to avoid trouble in the form of bully Roger Klotz and Vice-principal Lamar Bone. Doug’s favourite band was The Beets whose biggest hit was ‘Killer Tofu’.

Hey Arnold (1996-2004)
Probably my personal favourite, this show is about a young fourth-grader in an unknown city that had an odd resemblance to Brooklyn. Living with his grandparents, the show followed ‘football head’ Arnold and his best friend Gerald as they tried to cope with inner-city life. Arnold was also constantly having to deal with the Helga; a bitch to his face but only because she secretly loved him.

Rugrats (1991-2004)
Easily one of the most popular answers when I asked the question, Rugrats was undoubtedly one of the best cartoons of the 1990s. It followed the adventures of four babies; Tommy Pickles, Chuckie Finster, and twins Phil and Lil Deville. The cartoon also featured Tommy’s mean and spoilt cousin Angelica, all the kids’ parents, and in the later series Suzie Carmichael.

Dexter’s Laboratory (1996-2003)
This series followed boy genius Dexter in his secret lab filled with an endless collection of his own inventions. However, he constantly found himself battling with his annoying Sister Dee Dee, who easily gained access to the lab despite his best efforts.

Arthur (1996 -)
When eight year-old Aardvark Arthur isn’t being harangued by his little sister D.W. and his parents, he likes to spend his time hanging out with his friends Binky, Francine, Muffy, Brian and best pal Buster. Needless to say, the gang had a tendency to get into all kinds of crazy situations.

Animaniacs (1993-1998)
Animaniacs was a Warner Brothers show that consisted of several smaller shows in a single episode. Wakko, Yakko and Dot Warner were WB Studio creations that were just too crazy for studio work. ‘Pinky and The Brain’ were two mice determined to achieve world domination. ‘Rita and Ruth’ were a cat and dog team who always managed a sing-along despite the terrifying situations they frequently found themselves in. The other shows that made up the Animaniacs were ‘The Goodfeathers’, ‘Slappy the Squirrel’, ‘Buttons’, ‘Boo’ and ‘Flavio and Marita’.

Cian Murray

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