Founded by Betty Cohen as part of a subsidiary of multi-media corporation Time Warner, The Cartoon Network was a new avenue of children programming launched on October 1, 1992. Premiering on cable television, the channel quickly took the world by storm with its mix of animated comedies aimed at young children and teenagers. At first, the channel only screened reruns of classic Warner Brothers cartoon such as Looney Tunes and Popeye but has since grown to include original content and cartoons acquired from other studios. Although aimed at children, many of the shows broadcast include adult jokes while the late-night programming block known as Adult Swim features original adult orientated cartoons for those over the age of 15.
This year the channel celebrates its 25th year on the air, coming a long way from its humble beginnings. The Cartoon Network has diversified into screening not only cartoons but also live-action shows, along with producing mobile apps, video games, and creating online content. The channel is also responsible for now classic shows such as Adventure Time, Samurai Jack, Johnny Bravo, and Regular Show, but with every hit there comes an unfortunate miss. Despite a pretty good track record, there are quite a few shows on The Cartoon Network that just don't work for a variety of reasons. From poor animation through to bad voice-over acting and strange plots, here isat look at 20 horrible shows The Cartoon Network wants you to forget.
A television show about a talking orange sounds ludicrous and that's exactly what The High Fructose Adventures Of Annoying Orange is. Based on web series The Annoying Orange, the show revolves around the obnoxious and loud-mouthed Orange as he gets up to all sorts of mischief with his friends the Fruit Gang, consisting of Pear, Passion Fruit, Midget/Little Apple, Marshmallow, Apple, Grandpa Lemon, and the antagonistic Grapefruit.
While the web series has its moments, the television version just doesn't work. Not only did the creators have to stretch the 4-6 minute episodes into 11 minutes, but they moved the setting of the show from a kitchen to a supermarket, altering the directive of the show and taking away from the original idea. The humor also sucks, and while Orange is known for his bad-puns, they are just plain awful in the cable series.
Of all the shows on this list, Secret Mountain Fort Awesome is one that often divides people. Highly influenced by Adventure Time, the series revolves around five monsters who pull stunts on the public. The show has won a number of high profile awards (including an Emmy) and is often praised for its animation, but that's also its downfall. While I understand the characters are supposed to look strange and funny, I find them off-putting and the animation is poorly drawn. The humor is also a little crass at times, but when there is a character named The Fart (made up of butts who lets off stink bombs every time he's touched), it should be expected. While it might appeal to young kids, after a few fart jokes, things wear thin and you're better off switching the channel.
Somehow Johnny Test managed to run for six seasons before finally coming to an end in 2014. The show's premise concerns the 11-year-old title character who lives with his talking dog Dukey and twin 13-year-old scientist sisters Susan and Mary. The sister often uses Test as a subject for their zany experiments, resulting in all manner of crazy adventures. While it sounds nifty, Johnny Test borrows heavily from an array of similar shows (particular Johnny Quest and Jimmy Neutron) and features simple and boring animation. The voice acting can be grating at times, the jokes often dull and uninspired, and the storylines revolve around the same things. This is one show The Cartoon Network really should have passed on.
The Problem Solverz follows the adventures of Alfe, Horace, and Roba, a group of detectives who live in the fantasy town of Farboro. The three find themselves completing cases while getting into trouble and are aided by Tux Dog, an extremely wealthy dog who often hinders the group as much as he helps them. The show's characters were created by Ben Jones while he attended college during the 1990s, and this is the main source of The Problem Solverz's issues. The animation is absolutely terrible and the psychedelic color scheme quite off-putting. It's like watching a bad acid trip come to life and it's surprising people haven't had seizures from viewing the show. The humor is also non-existent, making The Problem Solverz one to stay away from.
Billed as an "animated American surreal humor and psychological thriller television show," 12 oz. Mouse is an extremely strange watch. There are elements of comedy, drama, action, and thriller stereotypes in the plot that finds main character Mouse Fitzgerald trying to recover from amnesia as he discovers he has a wife and child who have vanished. He spends the two seasons looking for answers as to the whereabouts of his family and comes up against evil forces looking to control the world. It's actually a refreshing plot, particularly for a cartoon, but it all comes unstuck due to the poor animation. The characters in the show look like they've been drawn using Microsoft Paint with the animation almost unwatchable. I've seen better drawings by kindergarten kids. For this alone, 12 oz. Mouse deserves a place on this list.
It's not just cartoons that feature on The Cartoon Network, with the live-action game show Destroy Build Destroy running over four seasons. The show is pretty simple; two groups of three teenagers have to destroy various objects then rebuild them as vehicles. The winning team receives a cash prize and the losing team has their creation destroyed, hence the title Destroy Build Destroy.
Although the contestants get to destroy objects with a wide range of powerful weapons, it just isn't that fun watching other people blow things up. Many of the recreated vehicles were pretty boring and host Andrew W.K. (better known for his musical endeavours and hit 2001 single "Party Hard") although enthusiastic, just doesn't cut it as a television personality.
The original Teen Titans comic books series about a group of superhero teens is one of DC's long-standing favorites. The comic was successfully turned into an animated television series running five seasons before coming to an end in 2006. But like all good shows, a reboot was in order and a new version called Teen Titans Go! premiered on the Cartoon Network in 2013. Unfortunately, there is little this new show has in common with the previous series or the comics apart from the general plot. Teen Titans Go! lacks the humor or emotion seen in the comic series with many of the characters personalities different from that of the original versions. The animation is quite childish and doesn't really gel well with some of the adult plot lines, taking away many of the serious points the cartoon is trying to make. Despite all this, the show continues to draw good ratings with a movie set for release in 2018.
Modern day children shows have a tendency to be bonkers when it comes to what makes up the plot and Almost Naked Animals is no different. The series takes place on a tropical resort called the Banana Cabana, staffed by strange looking animals who have shaved off their fur and wear underpants. Howie the dog is the animal in charge who leads his ramshackle crew through various adventures on the island. It's a pretty weird concept matched by the scatterbrain artwork, although I must admit some of the jokes had me laughing out loud. That said, there isn't anything you'll remember after watching an episode and you're better off investing in The Regular Show or Adventure Time for some surreal laughs.
The second live-action show to feature on this list is the terrible game show BrainRush. Hosted by the cheesy Lamorne Morris, the show entails unsuspecting people being quizzed while riding a rollercoaster. The players have to go through a number of rounds where they earn money and then have the option to take what they've won or risk it all on a final question where they can also double their money. There is no doubting the concept is original but the show just isn't engaging enough and some of the questions and brain games the players are put through are boring at best. It's not just myself who doesn't like this one, with the show only lasting six episodes before getting the boot due to extremely negative reviews from critics and the Cartoon Network fan base. And if anyone is wondering what became of poor Morris, don't fret, as he got a pretty swell gig on comedy New Girl.
The second entry from writer, voice actor, animator, and producer, Peter Browngardt, Uncle Grandpa is a spinoff of his annoying series Secret Mountain Fort Awesome. Like his previous creation, Uncle Grandpa is a surreal comedy relying on visual gags and catchphrases to get laughs, although they are few and far between. The animation is colorful and crude and not that easy on the eye. The character of Uncle Grandpa is also annoying and the fact he has a talking fanny pack as his closest friend says all you need to know about this show. Somehow Uncle Grandpa lasted six seasons despite mixed reviews, but thankfully, has finally come to an end, meaning I won't ever have to hear the catchphrase, "Good morning," in Uncle Grandpa's grating voice again.
Following the misadventures of teenager Robot Electro Jones during his high school years in a futuristic 1980s setting, Whatever Happened To... Robot Jones? is another interesting concept that just doesn't quite work. The idea of robots integrating with humans is a more relevant than ever as the introduction of self-driving cars and other robotic creations become part of our every day lives, but it's just not enjoyable when watching this cartoon. Robot Jones originally had an electronic voice created by using Microsoft Word 98 text-to-voice software. This was later changed at the end of the first season to a human voice by the higher-ups, which ended up being a bad decision as the robotic voice added to his personality. The animation is also a throwback to the 70s and 80s style of drawing but I found it to be sloppy and distracting, much like this show.
Any show that's associated with Nick Cannon is already struggling to capture my attention so it's clear from the get-go the Incredible Crew was never going to be my cup of tea. Even though Cannon wasn't on the show, his presence can be felt through the horrible laughs and pranks pulled on this teenage sketch comedy. The six stars of the show all had their own personalities and while none come across as over the top or annoying, the jokes are often hit or miss and just not that funny. The show also includes in-show commercials and music video clips for diversity, but these still don't make the show watchable. Remarkably two soundtracks were also released for the Incredible Crew, although the fact Cannon had a hand in writing and composing both will make you understand they didn't really sell very well.
The Adult Swim portion of the Cartoon Network is certainly aimed at an older audience if Mr. Pickles is anything to go by. Mr. Pickles centers around the Goodman family, particularly their young and innocent 6-year-old son Tommy and his pet border collie Mr. Pickles. The two are best friends and do everything together, but unbeknownst to Tommy and his family (aside from his Grandfather), Mr. Pickles is actually a demented and evil animal who slaughterers countless victims during the show.
The entire concept of the show is eye-opening and even though it screens late at night as part of the Adult Swim programming, it's hard to believe a cartoon series depicting a murderous dog would get past the sensors. As well as the unbelievable plot, the animation is rudimentary, with the show's only saving grace being the guest voice-over work from the likes of Iggy Pop, Rob Zombie, and "Weird Al" Yankovic.
The original Powerpuff Girls was an excellent kids series about three girls, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup, who posses superpowers. Along with their brainy father Professor Utonium, the girls spend each episode fighting crime and dealing with everyday issues young children go through. Running for six seasons from 1998 through to 2005 the show was a massive success full of in-jokes and pop culture references only adults would get.
Unfortunately, The Cartoon Network decided to reboot the series and it's a total mess. The original voice over actors and actresses were replaced and the new performers fail to live up to the standard of their predecessors. While the three girls are similar in appearance most of the other charters are wildly different and there is less emphasis on crime fighting and more on the domestic lives of the three girls. Much of the humor and pop culture references feel forced, making The Powerpuff Girls reboot one to miss.
A common theme running through the majority of shows on this list is the simple animation featured, and Clarence is no different. The characters are all odd-looking with the title character a pudgy-looking teen with bad hair and missing teeth. Speaking of Clarence, the show is all about the kind-hearted and lively schoolboy and the adventures he gets into with his friend's Jeff and Sumo.
Aside from the weak animation, the humor isn't funny in Clarence and at times borders on disgusting. While young kids might get a few laughs anyone else will question why they are wasting their time with this show. Clarence and his friends also come across as not the smartest individuals and often get themselves into stupid situations because of this. Stay away at all costs.
Combining animation with live-action, The Cartoon Network's Out Of Jimmy's Head was based on the film Re-Animated. After receiving a brain transplant from a cartoonist following an accident, 12-year-old Jimmy Roberts can somehow communicate with the characters created by the cartoonist, leading to a host of misadventures for Roberts. If the synopsis isn't enough to turn you off already (a brain transplant, seriously?), the actor playing Roberts isn't great, the production cheap, and the animation standard fair. Out Of Jimmy's Head also began the channels obsession with live-action shows, straying away from purely cartoon based series, much to the annoyance of many viewers. Thankfully overly negative reviews meant the show only lasted 20 episodes split between 2007 and 2008, with the addition of the controversial laugh track during the eighth episode the killer blow to this waste of space.
If a show about a trio of kung-fu fighting chickens who reside and work inside a massive shopping mall isn't enough to make you question your sanity than watching one episode of Chop Socky Chooks will surely do it. This incredibly weird concept features the three chickens named Chick P, Chuckie Chan, and K.O. Joe battling with an array of evil villains, including Dr. Wasabi and Bubba.
Unlike most of the shows on this list, Chop Socky Chooks is computer animated, and while this adds a unique element to the show, doesn't make it any more enjoyable. The show also includes quite a bit of violence for something aimed at young children and there are slight hints at racism throughout, with K.O. Joe sporting an afro and dressing like he just stepped out of Studio 45 and Chick P speaking in broken English.
Another live-action series, another failure from the Cartoon Network. Unlike most of the live-action shows on the channel, Level Up has a pretty cool, if not overly original idea. Four high schoolers named Wyatt, Lyle, Dante, and Angie open a portal from a video game called Maldark: Conqueror of All Worlds. The portal allows characters from the game to appear in the real world, with the four teenagers having to constantly deal with these game characters and send them back.
Despite the premise, Level Up isn't that great. The special effects are tame, the acting so-so, and the amount of characters appearing from the game is at times overwhelming. One of the main disappointments with the show is the way the four gamers are portrayed, with three being social rejects and nerds and the other a "closest gamer." This certainly doesn't help the stigma surrounding people who play video games and is another solid reason why this show sucked.
Influenced by the dreams of creator Thurop Van Orman, this genre bending animation focuses on a naive young boy named Flapjack who was raised by a whale named Bubbie and mentored by a pirate called Captain K'nuckles. The three spend most of their days in Stormalong Harbor while searching for Candied Island, a mysterious island covered entirely in candy. Along with the outlandish plot, The Marvellous Misadventures Of Flapjack is populated by an assortment of strange and odd-looking characters, weird plot lines, and animation that's steam-punk influenced. There are horror aspects woven throughout the show and in its animation that make you wonder why it's aimed at kids. This is just a really creepy show that will leave you with a feeling of dread after watching.
A live-action reality show about three teenagers carrying out experiments and schemes to see what happens (basically Mythbuster's for kids) sounds amazing, but Dude, What Would Happen really isn't that great. Hosted by three bland and annoying teens C.J. Manigo, Jackson Rogow, and Ali Sepasyar, the trio often tackle questions that don't need answering, such as whether a piano covered in deflated basketballs would bounce or what would make the biggest splash in a pool of lemonade. Many of the stunts in the series aren't exciting and the camera work can be quite intrusive with the number of close-ups. If that's not enough to sway you, Dude What Would Happen currently has an IMDB rating of 1.7/10. Need I say more?