For every timelessly adored cartoon series to come along, there seems to be an equal, if not greater, amount of animated shows that fall flat on their face. While some of these misfires receive the quick, merciful death of merely being forgotten with time, some are less fortunate. These unhappy few remain remembered not for their cherished achievements in the medium, but rather for just how bad of an impression they left on the general public.
For a show aimed mostly at children, whether popular or not, to acquire so much disdain from its viewers, there must be something going on beneath the surface to incite such a visceral response. Some shows may have a completely unlikeable cast of characters, gruesomely hideous art style, poor writing, or just a plain lack of care. It’s time to take a look at a collection of some of the most negatively received cartoon series out there and see if any have cause for redemption, or if their crimes are too unforgivable to look past.
7 Uncle Grandpa
Released in 2013 and having an impressive five-season run, as well as winning a Primetime Emmy Award, it can be a surprise to see just how much people who are aware of Uncle Grandpa or do not care for the cartoon as a whole. Being an episodic comedy revolving around the titular character and his colorful cast of friends, random humor and slapstick were the show’s bread and butter. While not necessarily offensive or lacking in creativity, the main culprit for the bevy of Uncle Grandpa hate seems to stem from the fact that it was a show out of its time.
When it was released, more story-driven shows were changing cartoons and taking over on Cartoon Network, such as Adventure Time and Steven Universe, and those looking for their next animation fix weren’t interested in a traditionally wacky romp that seemed reminiscent of shows relevant 10 years prior. Though the bizarre comedy wasn’t without its fans, and it had a large amount of fourth-wall breaks and crossovers yet unseen by any other show of its kind. The world may not have been kind to Uncle Grandpa during its run, but hopefully many can look back on it and see the innocent and imaginative trip for the fun that it was.
6 The Problem Solverz
It feels almost too easy to describe why The Problem Solverz ultimately failed to impress; lasting for about 26 episodes, the 2011 series had one big problem — it was almost literally painful to watch. Another episodic comedy about a trio set on solving any problem they come across, seizure warnings were bountiful before airings of this Technicolor attack on the retinas. Character designs were also incredibly unappealing, and the writing for each episode never seemed to go anywhere beyond immensely overdone ideas and tropes seen in countless other shows.
Where it counted most, The Problem Solverz just didn’t stand out among the other creative ventures of the era. However, what did leave a lasting impression would be the migraines left from sitting through the visual mess. It’s hard not to feel bad for the show, seeing as it’s only brought up when people discuss animation failures, though thankfully its creator, Ben Jones has gotten to be part of more successful animation projects since.
5 Fanboy and Chum Chum
Two young kids obsessed with superheroes, snack foods, and causing trouble. On paper, the concept seems like a pretty run-of-the-mill show, however in practice, the 2009 animated comedy was not a very welcomed sight on most people’s televisions. Fanboy and Chum Chum had a very particular audience in mind, that being young boys who love anything immature and loud. Needless to say, everyone else who gave the show a chance would be overloaded with constant yelling, grating voices, and overly-simple humor making lowest common denominator jokes.
Often touted as one of Nickelodeon’s worst outings in their long history, it would be incredibly rare to hear Fanboy and Chum Chum be mentioned in any other context outside of disgust. Though the two-season long obnoxious parade of noise is sneered at by most, it did manage to entertain the young crowd that it was aiming for, in which case it was a mission accomplished. Though for anyone who still needed convincing of how brain-numbing the show could get, they need not look any further than the theme song.
4 Johnny Test
Known by some as “the cartoon that will never die,” Johnny Test has been hopping around networks since 2005, being canceled and brought back numerous times. Just when it seems as if the show is gone for good, it gets a reboot series and begins all over again. Following the adventures of a mischievous boy, his talking dog, and genius sisters, Johnny Test wasn’t always hated by the general animation audience. Like any popular cartoon, an over-abundance of air time can lead to fatigue in viewership, and with the boy and his dog taking up large swaths of Cartoon Network’s programing block, people were really beginning to despise that head of flaming hair.
Tensions towards the show have cooled since its original run’s cancellation in 2014. Despite the over-use of catchphrases, stock sound effects, and somewhat bland Adobe Flash animation, there really isn’t much to get legitimately annoyed about when it comes down to it. With the new Netflix reboot getting positive reviews, it seems as if people are ready to un-banish Johnny Test from the realm of hated cartoons, at least for now until the new show overstays its welcome.
3 The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange
Stemming from the successful YouTube show, The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange may not need too detailed of an explanation as to why it fell flat. Superimposing the eyes and mouths of the performers on to images of fruit, the concept pretty much spoke for itself. Being a popular web-show turned television program made it a pretty groundbreaking series for its time, with its billions of collective YouTube views hoping to translate to a successful cartoon. However, the more easily absorbed online video format seemed to have suited the self-described “annoying” characters better than the average television runtime that they now were stretched to fill.
Despite the poor reviews of the ultimately grating and uninteresting program, kids did turn out in large numbers to watch their favorite web series now on their favorite cartoon channel. Though the viewership wasn’t enough to prevent its eventual cancelation, due in part to a plagiarism suit against the creators. It seemed as if the ever-annoying cast of fruits just weren’t meant to live beyond the internet, which is exactly where they returned to after the show, going back to creating shorts for their YouTube page as they always did.
2 Teen Titans Go!
Perhaps one of the most despised cartoons of recent years, Teen Titans Go! reinterprets the characters and settings of the original Teen Titans show to be more comedy-focused. While the jokes and fast-paced humor may put off fans of the original program, something that they remain very vocal about to this day, there’s no denying the popularity of the series for the younger generation. As its eighth season begins production, the show also has a well-liked full length theatrical movie under its belt, and has even crossed over with the characters of the original series in a fun self-aware adventure.
Superheroes get reinterpreted all the time, to varying degrees of success and care for the source material. However, Titans fans were hungry for the continuation of their beloved original series, and having to now watch as their favorite characters go off in a completely different direction can leave a sour taste, causing a lot of backlash and hate. All the drama (or lack thereof in the show) aside, Teen Titans Go! is admittedly a fun and surprisingly witty series that constantly finds new and impressive ways to poke fun at the tropes and norms of the genre, and may just deserve a second chance in the eyes of those who may have been quick to dismiss the colorful comedy.
There’s no competition: the animated four-year-old is definitely the most despised character in cartoon history. Sat among the greats such as Scrappy Doo, the mere mention of Caillou incites rage in anybody who has experienced the misfortune of tuning into the toddler’s misadventures. Often cited as being selfish, whiny, and ultimately insufferable, the bald boy has a penchant for angering any parents who just wanted to put on a sweet innocent show for their child to enjoy; a Distractify article has the headline, “If You Don’t Hate Calilou, You’ve Probably Never Seen the Show,’ for instance. Upon the eventual cancellation of the show, celebrations were had by many for all who grew up viewing it through clenched teeth over the years, along with the parents who were subjected to it.
It came down to Caillou being a bad role model for easily impressionable children. Often pouting, screaming, as well as being violent and rude towards others, the show would always lead to an unsatisfying conclusion when the problem child would only receive a light talking to as punishment for his actions. Taking a critical look, there is a clear problem with the portrayal of punishment for Caillou’s constant bad behavior, though ultimately the show is a generic light program for young kids to hopefully learn how to behave, though many superior options are available these days for just that. Innocent on the outside, devilish on the inside, viewers will always love to hate young Caillou, and whether it be rational or not, the disdain is sure is fun to watch.