What are the best cartoons of the 2000’s aimed at kids? Many cartoons today are just as fun for adults as they are for kids, and the best animated series of the 2000’s do a great job at being just mature enough to keep adults interested (while making you feel like a kid again with their imaginative colorful worlds). From a food-lover’s fantasy world to aliens, imaginary friends, and fairies, these cartoons of the 2000’s definitely became instant classics:
Chowder – This is one of the best cartoons of the 2000’s not just for its colorful culinary world, but for its use of multiple forms of animation (traditional, stop motion, and puppetry), as well as the show’s unique use of patterns on character’s clothing (they don’t follow the character’s movements, but appear like a nonmoving background). It’s set in the fictional world of Marzipan City, and reminds me a bit of something Dr. Seuss would have come up with had he been obsessed with cooking. Chowder is an apprentice to a master chef who finds himself in many sticky situations (stickier than grubble gum, even), including deterring a girl with a crush on him, getting captured by a board-game playing monster, eating too much thrice cream, becoming a monster, and cooking difficult dishes (like beans that sing). So for its imaginative world full of kooky cooking characters (including some rather frightening ones), ‘Chowder’ is definitely one of the best cartoons of the 2000’s (but one that you can’t watch on an empty stomach; meaches and meviled eggs do sound delicious).
Invader Zim – This is one of the cartoons of the 2000’s that definitely has a cult following, and it’s a shame that the Nick Toon came to an end so soon. Zim is a very short alien from a planet obsessed with height (the taller you are, the more power you have). He’s also very obnoxious and annoying, so his leaders send him on a seeming suicide mission with secondhand equipment. However, he happens to make it to a planet: Earth. And so overzealous Zim proceeds to try and come up with a scheme to take over the planet, while annoying his leaders with updates on his success (or rather lack thereof). Disguised as a child and accompanied by a robot in a terrible dog costume, he tries to appear like a typical Earth child, while having to deal with one kid convinced that he’s an alien and determined to reveal the truth about him. His misadventures include having to rely on robotic parents to fool his teachers at school; becoming a germophobe after seeing ‘War of the Worlds’; and stealing his classmates’ organs in order to pass for a human with the school nurse. For his can-do abrasive attitude and the dark and satirical humor, this is one of the best cartoons of the 90’s for the kids that would grow into the fanboys and fangirls of today (there was even soap made out of bacon in one episode!).
Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The 2008 version of these ‘Star Wars’ stories is definitely one of the best newer cartoons of the 2000’s on the list, a sleek CGI epic adventure full of plenty of awesome intergalactic battles (the Zillo Beast from the recent episodes was pretty amazing). When it comes to sci-fi cartoons, as much as I hate George Lucas’ obsession with his money-making machine, I’ve got to admit that this animated series is one of the best you’ll ever see (and it’s much easier to watch than any of the newer ‘Star Wars’ movies).
Fairly Odd Parents – What’s a boy with flaky parents and a truly evil babysitter to do? Luckily for Timmy, his bad situation turns into one of the best imaginable when his fairy godparents Cosmo and Wanda reveal themselves to him, letting poor Timmy know that they are there to make his life better with unlimited wishes (as long as they don’t break any of ‘Da Rules’). However, Timmy quickly learns that his wishes can backfire, and it’s usually up to Wanda to use her wand to get him out of any sticky situations (if Cosmo ever helps, it’s usually by accident). Timmy also has to worry about his mean, fairy-obsessed teacher, Mr. Crocker, finding proof that he has fairy godparents (meaning he would lose them forever). Even if it gives kids in tough situations false hope, this imaginative and magical animated series is definitely one of the best of the 2000’s.
Camp Lazlo – And here’s one of the best cartoons of the 2000’s that might be just a bit underrated. This silly animated series about anthropomorphic animals at camp reminds me a bit of some of my favorite classic Nick Toons like ‘Rocko’s Modern Life’, except not quite as twisted (and it aired on Cartoon Network). Lazlo is a friendly, optimistic and upbeat spider monkey attending Camp Kidney along with his friends. They go on many typical camp adventures, including getting mistaken for aliens, hunting for snipe, learning how to burp, and faking yeti attacks. With so many cartoons of the 2000’s focusing on futuristic themes, the silly simplicity of Lazlo’s ramshackle camp (and how his can-do attitude makes it more bearable) proves that this animated series deserves a whole sash of special scout badges.
The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy – When the Grim Reaper takes up the challenge of two kids, one extremely sardonic girl and an incredibly stupid boy, to play a game in order to win their hamster’s soul (‘The Seventh Seal’-style), he loses and is forced to become their BFF. He and the kids then go on multiple misadventures together, encountering other dark otherworldly characters, like the lonely friend-hungry Nergal of the underworld, beasts and barbarians from a video game, zombies, a creepy parasitic tumor with a mind of its own, and a werewolf that they take to a dog show. You’ve also got to love the animated series’ many movie spoofs, including a Harry Potter parody where the kids attend Toadblatt’s School of Sorcery, a musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ episode, and Mandy as the giant demon from the Night on Bald Mountain ‘Fantasia’ sequence. For it’s very dark humor (in one episode Mandy is even implied to display cannibalistic behavior) and kooky cast of creepy characters, this is definitely one of the most unique cartoons of the 2000’s aimed at kids that might grow up into major horror movie fans.
Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends – This is another of the most imaginative cartoons of the 2000’s, a fun look at where imaginary friends go after kids outgrow them. Mac is a hyperactive kid with an even more hyperactive (and extremely selfish and obnoxious) imaginary friend named Bloo (he looks a little like one of the ghost characters from the Pac-man game). When Mac thinks he has outgrown Bloo, he learns of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, a type of retirement home for the many imaginary friends given up by children over the years run by the young-at-heart (but old-as-dirt) Madame Foster. However, Mac doesn’t completely give up Bloo, visiting the house and the many fun imaginary friends in it as often as he can. Most episodes focus on the messes that Bloo gets himself and the other friends into and Mac’s attempts at helping them out, so while the storylines aren’t always that original, it’s the colorful cast of characters straight out of the minds of kids in need of kooky friends that make this one of the best cartoons of the 2000’s.
Courage the Cowardly Dog – Poor Courage just can’t keep the crotchety old couple he lives with in the middle of nowhere out of trouble. The shivering scaredy-dog is constantly having to save Miriam (the kindlier half of the couple) from all sorts of dangerous and devious characters, including space chickens, weremoles, snowmen, and robots. It’s another of the best cartoons of the 2000’s that has that dark humor and creepy factor going for it, and seeing what kind of questionable character Courage was going to have to find the courage to face next was what made it worth watching.
The Wild Thornberrys – This is one of the best cartoons of the 2000’s because it teaches kids to love wild animals by giving them the ability to talk (well, at least to Eliza Thornberry). Eliza is always on safari, thanks to her father’s nature show, and while her teenage sister abhors her boring life in the bush (the family travels in a large RV), Eliza has a great way to keep herself entertained because an African shaman that has given her the power to talk to animals. Most episodes involve her helping a different kind of animal in trouble (and often finding herself in trouble) and her constant bickering with her angsty older sister, and she often learns the hard way that meddling with Mother Nature isn’t always the best idea. So as another of the best cartoons of the 2000’s with a unique premise and for introducing kids to all different kinds of animals, this animated series definitely deserves a spot on this list.
Spongebob Squarepants – And I’ll end this list with the best of all of the cartoons of the 2000’s. You’ve got to love this creative cartoon starring the cheerful, loveable yellow sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea and is perfectly content with being a fry cook (his dream job), his portly, stupid starfish pal, penny-pinching boss, and annoyed nautical neighbor that lives in an awesome Easter Island head. The yellow sponge is a ray of sunshine in his underwater world, blessing everyone below the waves with his bright outlook on life (whether they like it or not). From his meowing pet snail to his hilarious curse words (“Barnacles!” and “Tartar Sauce!”), Spongebob’s exciting undersea life makes this not just one of the best cartoons of the 2000’s, but one of the best I’ve ever seen.
So from creepy critters to undersea antics and animated aliens, the best cartoons of the 2000’s are a fun assortment of animated series that the kid in all of us can’t help but love.