Top 10 cartoons to watch this summer

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Addie Gleason

This picture represents all the shows and characters you can hope to find in this review.

Are you feeling nostalgic or need an escape? Do you love cartoons? Hopefully, this will connect you to some childhood memories and bring back your elementary school day nostalgia.

Drawing of “Spongebob Squarepants.” (Kaelin Kerpash)

10) “Spongebob Squarepants” 

“Spongebob Squarepants” follows the everyday life and misadventures of Spongebob, an energetic and overly optimistic Sponge. He works as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab, a popular restaurant all over Bikini Bottom. He serves Krabby Patties with his narcissist coworker and sarcastic neighbor, Squidward. Unfortunately, Mr. Krabs is the boss of the Krusty Krab, and Plankton, an evil scheming restaurant rival, attempts to steal, copy or destroy the Krusty Krab. Spongebob is best known for his silly adventures and his love for jelly fishing. 

As a kid, I watched “Spongebob Squarepants” for hours. I would stare at the TV, mesmerized by the colors, movement and pictures. I loved this show when I was little, although I don’t enjoy it as much now. I’m disappointed to say this show sometimes felt too predictable. This show is often intended for younger audiences but can sometimes be enjoyed by teenagers with adult humor. I acknowledge being an older audience member affects my view. I find SpongeBob to be a little more irritating. I must admit “Spongebob Squarepants” made up a piece of childhood for many others. The exciting visuals were just a distraction from the lack of plot. The episode’s main idea repeated itself without any change or purpose. Despite the many things I disliked, the visual appeal never disappointed me. Some characters kept me watching. Even though Spongebob got the most screen time, I found the supporting characters attention-grabbing. Plankton and Squidward caught my attention because they differed from the other characters. They often were sarcastic and selfish, offering conflict to Spongebob.

You can watch this on Amazon Prime and Paramount+.

Drawing of “Steven Universe.” (Kaelin Kerpash)

9) “Steven Universe”

“Steven Universe” follows Steven, a teenager living in Beach City, Delmarva. The town is secret, made to shield humans from monsters. However, responsibilities fall on Steven when immortal alien Gems reveal Steven he might not be just an ordinary boy. The fate of the universe depends on him and his powers. 

I watched “Steven Universe” for quite some time, but I recently lost interest. I know the show wanted to be accepting and teach lessons, but the morals often felt a little overwhelming and forced. Besides that, I enjoyed the animated style with the vibrant colors and aesthetic images. The characters’ designs took my interest, including how they were drawn. I especially liked the facial features. Each face was unique to its own. In addition, I liked seeing drawings of humans; it gave the show a sense of realism. Something else that stood out was the influence of anime art on the animation style. For example, during fight scenes, it had elements an anime battle would possess, such as sound effects, fast-moving frames, dramatic features and details. I recommend watching this show for a feeling of escaping reality. 

You can watch “Steven Universe” on Cartoon Network and Hulu.

Drawing of “the Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy.” (Kaelin Kerpash)

8) “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy”
“The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” follows the story of two young kids, an unintelligent and optimistic boy, Billy, and his opposite, a dark, evil girl named Mandy. Mandy is by no means ordinary, as the Grim Reaper is sworn to friendship with her. Over time, the Grim Reaper forms a closer bond with Mandy. This show can be dark at times, showing how genuinely unpredictable kids can be. “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” is low on my list for the underwhelming animation. I think this cartoon could have better quality, but that wasn’t the only issue. At the start of its run, the characters were hard to watch. They were simple, two-dimensional, without personality and had nothing setting them apart from each other. Still, over time, this show managed to improve the characters. They became more complex when they developed empathy, kindness and deep emotions. The characters served a purpose more profound than just being a source of comedic relief when the show breaches into dramatic territory.

You can watch “The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy” on HBO Max.

Drawing of “Invader Zim.” (Kaelin Kerpash)

7) “Invader Zim”

An alien crashes on Earth, originating from the planet Irk. This strange little creature calls himself “Invader Zim.” Banished from his home planet, he arrives on Earth and begins a mission to create chaos and take over the world along with his robot partner in crime, GIR. He is curious about how humans function, so he pretends to be normal and joins a school, or “Skool,” where he meets Dib, who recognizes Zim as abnormal. Will his secret be revealed? Is he truly evil or just misunderstood? You could say this show is out of this world. 

I loved “Invader Zim,” but it was simply too short. Good things don’t last forever, and let me assure you, this show was extraordinary. This show stood out to me when I was a kid because I was able to see an alien do human things, which fascinated me. Unfortunately, the show was canceled after two short seasons. It had so much potential. If it had one more season, I believe it could have gained more traction and become well-recognized.

Another thing that stands out about this show is the art style. I don’t see cartoons animated like this very often. Geometric shapes and eye-catching scenery made the animation unique to the show. In addition, the plot showed some content of themes for more mature audiences. I also found the comedy to be interesting and different. Despite being a kids’ show, they stuck by dark humor. I’m glad they stayed with a similar spirit throughout the show. If they didn’t, this show wouldn’t be funny, and it wouldn’t feel the same. 

You can watch “Invader Zim” on Paramount+.

Drawing of “Courage, the Cowardly Dog.” (Kaelin Kerpash)

6) “Courage The Cowardly Dog” 

Courage, The Cowardly Dog discusses a scared, jumpy dog, Courage, and his owners, Muriel, a kind old woman, and Eustace, a grumpy old farmer living in Kansas. Monsters are constantly terrorizing Courage and his family but don’t be afraid. The lessons are to get over fears even when it’s difficult and learn you’ll never solve a problem if you don’t try first. The audience is guided in overcoming obstacles. There were a lot of spooks but lots of laughing too. I have always thought Courage was adorable. Despite being a dog, that didn’t stop Courage from saving the day. I remember cheering at the TV, knowing Courage could face his fears and get out of his comfort zone. He always defeated the villain, walking away with a new victory and making him even more lovable. The only thing I would change was the plot, which felt repetitive. In every episode, Courage would fight monsters with no new pursuit. I think there are plenty of good morals you can take away. 

You can watch “Courage The Cowardly Dog” on HBO Max and Amazon Prime.

Drawing of “Phineas and Ferb.” (Kaelin Kerpash)

5) “Phineas and Ferb”

In “Phineas and Ferb,” two young boys spend their summer creating gadgets, machines, buildings and inventions that seem nearly impossible. Their older sister Candice often pestered Phineas and Ferb, who always tried to get them caught in the act. But the boys aren’t the only ones on adventures. Little do they know that their pet, Perry the Platypus, is a secret undercover agent battling against the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Dr. Doofenshmirtz makes evil plans and weapons of ultimate destruction to take over the entire tri-state area.

“Phineas and Ferb” was very creative, constantly keeping the audience hooked as they went on imaginative adventures and made inventions every day. Each episode offered a new rush of excitement. This show was unpredictable, keeping you on your feet and wanting to watch more. I loved this show because I was inspired when I saw Phineas and Ferb building impossible things, knowing they were just two ordinary kids. They were capable of so much, and I realized anything was possible. Just because I was a kid didn’t mean I couldn’t do amazing things.

You can watch “Phineas and Ferb” on Disney+.

Drawing of “The Amazing world of Gumball.” (Kaelin Kerpash)

4) “The Amazing World of Gumball”

“The Amazing World of Gumball” shows the story of the Waterson family. Starring Gumball Waterson, a middle schooler with silly misadventures at school. He lives with his brother Darwin and sister Anais. He is guided by his parents, Nicole and Richard. I will admit this was one of my favorite shows as a kid. Although intended for tween audiences, I found the blunt adult humor entertaining. I remember watching this right before I left for school in the mornings. “The Amazing World of Gumball” deserves number four on the list because it helped me connect to my family. This cartoon brings people together. They have content for everyone to enjoy. This show also taught me right from wrong. Gumball often got in trouble and had to make it up, so I avoided his silly mishaps. Even though he misbehaved, Gumball was relatable and an enjoyable character. 

You can watch “The Amazing World of Gumball” on Hulu.

Drawing of “Adventure Time.” (Kaelin Kerpash)

3) “Adventure Time”

In “Adventure Time,” Finn and Jake are the main focus. We got to grow up with Finn and his dog, Jake, who possesses the ability to shapeshift. These two always strive to help others and be good people, pursuing heroic conquests. They learn that there are some fights you can’t win even when they fought with everything they had, whether love, hate or violence. This show was well-known for its original songs, becoming more popular over time. Their friend, Marceline, the Vampire Queen, often performed rock songs, never failing to hook the audience with her soothing voice and awesome guitar. But this show had so much more than just starstruck songs. “Adventure Time” had funny misadventures, following the everyday activities of a tween. I watched this show when I was 12. It was comforting to see Finn in the show, knowing he was close to my age. It made me feel represented, almost making the characters come to life. When seeing their adventures and listening to them sing, I felt connected. It felt natural, almost as if they were there with me every step of my childhood.

You can watch “Adventure Time” on Hulu.

Drawing of “Gravity Falls.” (Kaelin Kerpash)

2) “Gravity Falls”

“Gravity Falls” follows the adventures of what, at first, seems to be two ordinary twins, Mabel and Dipper Pines. They spend the summer in a wacky little town, Gravity Falls. They stay with their Uncle Stan in The Mystery Shack’s gift shop. Working at The Mystery Shack are employees Soos, a lovable man-child, and Wendy Corduroy, a cool high schooler. If you’re looking for laughs, Soos is silly, blunt, relatable and sometimes lacks social interaction, which is relatable to audiences. Everything seems normal until Dipper and Mable start to see monsters and magic, but no one else in the town admits to it being authentic. Are they right? Secrets will unravel when old enemies return, possibly taking the whole town down with them. Who can anyone trust?

Despite being fast-paced, I wasn’t disappointed. ”Gravity Falls” wanted to reach out to kids as they grew up over the summer, and that’s exactly what it did. I remember when the season finale came out. I was in fifth grade, and when it ended, my classmates and I did not stop talking about the epic finale for weeks. I still wish I could turn back the clock and experience the show for the first time again. I’m still hopeful they will resume this series one day even though it’s unlikely. This is worth the watch if you’re looking for a trail back down memory lane or want to discover something extraordinary. The show began light-hearted, but as the second season approached, it started confronting growing up, being a teenager and distancing from family. Mabel and Dipper always had each other’s backs despite weird occurrences in their strange town. So I wonder how it could end?

You can watch “Gravity Falls” on Prime Video, Hulu, Disney Plus or Apple TV.

Drawing of “Regular Show.” (Kaelin Kerpash)

1) “Regular Show”

Don’t be fooled; this show contradicts its name and is anything but ordinary. “Regular Show” follows the story of several park employees. Rigby and Mordekai are the comedic relief and dynamic duo. MuscleMan is a master prankster, and Skips is a mysteriously immortal handy repairman. Pops is an innocent man with a youthful heart of gold, and Benson is a misunderstood raging boss. If anything, “Regular Show” is recognized for silly montages, pop culture references, parodies of bands, movies and iconic 70s, 80s and 90s feel-good songs. 

With silly plot twists at every corner, I would be lying if I didn’t say this show is bizarre at times. However, it always grabs your attention with parodies, commercials and montages. If you ever feel weird or like an underdog, this show embraces it, showing how all different types of people can come together. You will laugh, and the silly jokes will be sure to stick with you even after finishing the show. The plot also confronts changes in friendships, relationships and responsibilities. They came back to each other knowing their friendships were irreplaceable, even if they took some time to discover. They proved the bond of a friend is one of the most important things you could have. I remain a “Regular Show” forever fan. It may sound a little corny, but it taught me to be there for those I care about. I was so glad to watch, knowing it changed me for the better, helping me have a positive impact on my friends. With this show, I learned to improve myself.

You can watch “Regular Show” on Prime Video, VUDU, Vudu Movie & TV Store, or Apple TV.