I don’t watch a lot of television, only two or three hours per week, but I love cartoons. Especially cartoons made for grown-ups, with animated families! They’re hilarious, and so true-to-life! Granted, my father’s not yellow and my mother doesn’t have a four-foot blue beehive hair-do… but the Simpsons, and most other animated families, are pretty realistic. Here’s my list of the eight funniest cartoon families… enjoy!
1. The Simpsons from “The Simpsons”
Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, even Grandpa and Marge’s sisters, Patty and Selma, make up the Simpsons family. We’d loved watching their weekly animated series for a record-setting 21 seasons. They’re the perfect picture of an average American family in an average American town… but they’re all a little skewed, but somehow endearing for all their faults — Homer’s complete lack of social skills, Marge’s over-the-top sweetness of temper, Bart’s endless stream of pranks, Lisa’s frustrated brilliance, and Maggie’s… well, isn’t she the one who shot Mr. Burns?
2. The Griffins from “Family Guy”
Though the Griffin family is clearly inspired by the Simpsons family, they’re different enough, and the plots on the series are different enough, to still be incredibly entertaining. The dad, Peter, is as much of an idiot at Homer Simpson, the mother, Lois, is as nurturing and loving as Marge Simpson, and their three children are parodies of the stereotypical teenagers… and the baby, Stewie… I’m not sure where he picked up that British accent, but I love it! It makes his re-telling of his maniacal plans that much more hilarious!
3. The Hills from “King of the Hill”
Hank and Peggy Hill, their son, Bobby, and their niece, Luanne, are another typical American family living in a typical American town, with a tongue-in-cheek satirical twist. Their neighbor has been having an affair for years, and her husband has no idea… their other neighbors are recent Asian immigrants, and Hank himself sells propane (and propane accessories), while Peggy is a school teacher and Bobby battles childhood chubbiness.
4. The Flynns and Fletchers from “Phineas and Ferb”
This is one of my all-time favorite animated shows, mostly because of the brilliant family dynamics — this is a blended family, and it operates much the same as any other blended family. The step-brothers get along brilliantly, but their older sister, Candace, isn’t amused or impressed by their daily plots, and tries (in vain) to bust them. I’ve been completely hooked since the opening theme song…
5. The Fosters from “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends”
This show is sassy and sweet in a way that few animated or even dramatic series are. Sweet little old lady Mrs. Foster and her childhood imaginary friend open a foster home for other imaginary friends that don’t have children. Her granddaughter and grandson help her run Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and try to find new homes for some of the imaginary critters… of course, this is a comedy, and it’s wickedly funny.
6. The Turners from “Fairly Odd Parents”
Poor Timmy Turner! His parents are clueless but sweet, and obviously adore him, but they’re gone all the time, so they leave him with Vicky, an endlessly cruel baby-sitter. Luckily, he has Cosmo and Wanda, his fairy god-parents. The family dynamic in this show is funny but sweet — it’s plain to see that Timmy loves his parents, and they love him, too.
7. The Flintstones from “The Flintstones”
Both the Flintstones and Rubbles remind me a lot of typical families back in that era — Dad works, mom stays home, Dad is gruff, Mom is sweet… and there’s a dinosaur instead of a dog? Well, aside from that, the Flintstones are an average Stone Age family…
8. The Pickles from “The Rugrats”
After watching countless episodes and all three “Rugrats” movies, I want to know how Didi and Stu Pickles keep custody of their sons. Where are Child Protective Services while these stay-at-home parents manage repeatedly to lose their toddlers? I know it’s a children’s show, but still… how many times can the Pickles family get away with losing their children in Las Vegas, Paris, and even the wolf-infested wilderness before the law intervenes for Tommy and Dill’s safety? Those are the eight funniest animated families, but I have to say I also adore Dexter’s family from “Dexter’s Lab” (especially Dexter’s mom) and of course the Thornberry family from “The Wild Thornberries” (especially Debbie). Which of these cartoon families do you like best, and why? Or is there another animated family I’ve forgotten? Please let me know!