The Funniest Adult Swim Shows, Ranked
Cartoon Network is a children’s animation and storytelling genius by day, and a crazy, steamy, cartoonish treasure by night. Declaring “All kids out of the pool”, adult swimming takes over the family-run Cartoon Network as its goofy, experimental, and often surreal late-night alter ego. The programming block includes replays of universal favorites like family guy or Futuramastreams great anime such as cowboy bebopand released a slew of original series that went on to become one of the best adult animated shows of all time, even harnessing the live action on a dedicated anime channel.
adult swimming is more than a niche television block, as its crude sense of humor, gonzo gags and reverence for violence have established a prominent presence in pop culture, influencing animation, comedy and d countless memes; for example, Initiated describes the TikTok trend of creating replicas of something called bumpers, short branded clips played between shows on Adult Swim. So let’s look at the list of the funniest adult swimming shows that helped the alternative bloc become its own beloved network.
12 Check it out! with Dr. Steve Brûlé
From the world of series by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, Check it out! with Dr. Steve Brûlé is adorably unpleasant. This parody of a talk show in the visual style of an old VHS tape is hilarious and more than a little disturbing. John C. Reilly has many brilliant performances up his sleeve; however, he is, quite simply, perfect as the titular character. His character’s eccentric antics and utter incompetence feel genuine – and C. Reilly’s ingenious improvisational skills make it a real knee-jerk.
11 orel moral
orel moral market, so other sadcoms, like BoJack Horseman, Rick and Mortyand Anomalised could run. Appearing as a typical satire of Christian fundamentalism, orel moral got darker in later seasons in a sincere attempt to address heavy themes like family dysfunction, depression, and drug addiction – which made it possibly the most heartbreaking cartoon of all time and ultimately caused the downfall of the series. Despite its cancellation, this stop-motion comedy-drama gem pioneered a new approach to adult animation: not a raunchy dark comedy full of jinks and F-bombs, but a frank and funny comedy-drama. , heartbreakingly.
Metalocalypse is like a satirical limerick of heavy metal culture crammed into an 11-minute episode format. The show centers around Dethklok, the most successful death metal band in the world. Despite the parody, the show’s dedication to metal culture and attention to detail, along with great artistry, is worth noting. The soundtrack is written by guitarist Brendon Small, who also serves as show creator. The animation is faithfully synchronized with the music, with each shot crafted so that the fingers are positioned in the correct chord slots, adding to the authenticity of this fun tribute to death metal; the show’s fictional band even toured.
9 Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Aqua Teen Hunger Force was published in the first original adult swimming programming in 2000. This mad malarkey of a show managed to lock in the much-desired audience of 18-34 year olds, as The Guardian Remarks. It follows an anthropomorphic junk food gang hanging out in New Jersey. Early episodes had loose superhero/detective vibes, but later on, ATHF set up as a casual trip with a hot hip-hop soundtrack. Since its release, ATHF has been considered everything from comical gold to trash to insane art object (and even a terrorist fear) – but above all, a cherished audience and the longest-running show in adult swimming until Robot Chicken took his place.
8 The Eric André show
A fever dream in a bottle, The Eric André show bludgeons its viewers with a nonstop train of absurd and crude sketches – these moments are both outrageous and revolting. The Eric André show has been a perfect meme generator even before the meme appeared as a concept in the public psyche. Perhaps because of Eric Andre’s deranged flippant charisma, this unsanitized punk-rock parody of a talk show catapulted from its niche into a mainstream satire of celebrity culture.
7 Harvey Birdman, lawyer
Excerpt from the cartoon Hanna-Barbera Birdman and the Galactic Trio, Harvey T. Birdman finds himself a defense attorney; a damn good one at that. Harvey Birdman, lawyer is a masterclass in using nostalgia to draw viewers in without destroying the original characters. Familiar animated characters, like Fred Flintstone, Yogi Bear, The Jetsons, and Captain Caveman, are repurposed in an unexpectedly wacky setting resembling a modern world with modern problems. It is also perhaps one of Stephen Colbert’s best dubbing adventures.
6 rick and morty
What basically started as a Back to the future parody, rick and morty broke all viewing records at lightning speed and became number one on Adult Swim most watched series. It wasn’t really the sci-fi elements that made this show so beloved, but rather the dark ethos of rick and mortywhich is a mixture of existentialism, nihilism and absurdism coupled with characters representative of different lines of thought.
Fan theories, episode breakdowns, gag explanations and hidden meanings have set YouTube and Reddit on fire. By playing this game of references and jokes that you will miss, rick and morty becomes a true postmodern tale, the kind that literally invites the viewer to join the titular characters on their adventure.
5 Space Ghost Coast to Coast
Space Ghost Coast to Coast is one of the weirdest talk shows of all time, and its affinity for surreal humor has essentially given Adult Swim its trademark craziness. Eric Andre in particular is known to have taken inspiration from it, trying to emulate the feel of this sheer madness in The Eric André show. Once a famous superhero, Space Ghost uses his network of famous friends to become a spacey talk show host with a knack for witty banter. The magic of photomontage allows legendary guests, from Tommy Wiseau and Jack Black to Zoe Saldana and Conan O’Brien, to appear for an interview with a cartoon character, all of which turn out extremely awkwardly. The show spawned several “spinoffs”: Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Showand others.
4 Robot Chicken
What happens if the Teletubbies are cast as Power Rangers? The end result is repulsive and ridiculous television, a stop-motion parody of everything dear to the average American viewer. A surprisingly successful (and Emmy-winning) modern classic from Seth Green, Robot Chicken ruthlessly parodies American pop culture. The sketches are random, but when they hit, they’re incredibly quick-witted.
3 Tuca and Bertie
Netflix’decision to cancel Tuca and Bertie caused a ruckus on Twitter. Luckily, Adult Swim saw the show’s incredible potential and picked it up. A bold show about women for women, Tuca and Bertie struck a chord with a generation of 20s and 30s who tried to survive in a gig economy while coping with the crippling understanding of being alive – through dark and often self-deprecating humor, of course.
2 The Boondocks
Too often, racially conscious creators end up making colorblind shows, which honestly isn’t the best representation. Politically charged and beautifully animated, The Boondocks walked through this sanitized portrayal of the black experience, instead offering multi-faceted black identities and discussing black cultural authority, referencing hip-hop, Tyler Perry, R. Kelly, Martin Luther, Oprah, and even more. As a result, The Boondocks has its jokes and soul in equal measure, setting itself apart from all the other adult swim shows.
1 The Venture Bros.
The Venture Bros. presents a ridiculous world of superheroes and villains bound by bureaucratic red tape. This Adult Swim staple deconstructs superhero tropes, deftly capturing viewers’ attention by parodying genre clichés, but always in a clever and inventive way. Stunning storytelling paired with crisp, stylized animation elevates The Venture Bros. from a simple parody that depends on its source material, and into a grand self-contained experiment of wondrous character development, clever humor, and opulent absurdity.
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