Everything I Need to Know in Life, I Learned from Cartoons…


Now, I’m a young, professional woman who enjoys wearing power-suits with heels and talking about SEO, statistics, and motivational material, but let me be clear about something: I love cartoons. There is nothing better than waking up on a Saturday morning, grabbing a bowl of Museli Cocoa Puffs and flipping on the Retro Cartoon Network. I love it. Nothing gives me more joy in life than these simple pleasures (that might be kind of sad…). I realised this weekend that, while I love cartoons, they have also taught me some very valuable life lessons.

If I may, I’d like to share these lessons with you in the hopes that you also may share in the life-changing wisdom that these cartoons have given me:

1 ) Transformers: this cartoon taught me to never say anything bad about my car (like, EVER because, one day, it might decide to just come alive), and also to never judge a book by it’s cover, so to speak. I learned that sometimes people are “more than meets the eye”…(I know. Clever, right?)

If you ever find a vehicle for sale and it's called "Optimus Prime", you should buy it...but only if you're a good guy. If you're a bad guy, it'll obliterate you.

2 ) Animaniacs: in my opinion, this was about the greatest cartoon that has ever existed. Animaniacs taught me that every night mice are plotting to take over the world, that pigeons have teeth, that even 6-foot tall chickens can pull off clever disguises, and that it’s okay to call your Mom “Lady”, and your Dad “Mr Man”…they appreciate that.

Best. Cartoon. Ever.

3 ) Ewoks: these little guys taught me that even if you have a large amount of success in life (i.e. featured in a major film like Star Wars), if you’re not careful, you could end up living in a tree. I owe all of my motivation for financial planning to those furry teddy bears leprechauns dogs gremlins things.

Seriously. What are these things?

4 ) He-Man: although He-Man/Prince Adam had superhuman strength and a sword, he was not allowed to use either offensively, nor could he directly punch or kick anyone – he was only allowed to destroy robots who opposed him. Therefore, he taught me that violence is not the answer. Also, that I could be a master of the universe…

All kinds of awesome. (Credit: http://www.ign.com)

5 ) Kissyfur: this cartoon taught me that even if you’re a widower who rides the rails with his son on their way to being enslaved in a circus, and the train derails, flings you into the wilderness, and you have no plan, well, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and enjoy your new life in the swamp – protecting everyone else from dangerous alligators. Kissyfur taught me that no matter how bad you may have it, someone always has it worse…usually Kissyfur. I mean, even his name is unfortunate…

Why were his eyes constantly so wide? Always perpetually surprised, for some reason... (Credit: http://www.sharetv.org)

6 ) The Smurfs: they taught me that if you’re a communist, there will always be people out to get ya. Also, Papa Smurf is kind of bossy but everyone respected him, therefore, I should be bossy if I want respect. People like that, right?

He's got a bit of a snarky attitude, but he gets things done.

7 ) Jem: from this show, I learned that women can run their own businesses and be rock stars all at the same time. I also learned that earrings can project holograms.

She kind of looks like a pink female version of Gene Simmons

8 ) The Flintstones: I must say that this is one show that probably changed the course of my life. From this show, I realised that I should get myself educated and make something of myself, otherwise I could be stuck at home catering to an overweight brute with an anger-management problem, wearing nothing but rags and the same pearl necklace over and over again.

My idea of a non-educated me: bare feet and awkward arms and hands that fall unnaturally by my sides.

9) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: this show taught me that turtles are a force to be reckoned with. Also, you should never kill a rat. They are probably all wise senseis who can teach you ninjutsu.

He may be a sewer rat, but he still enjoys a good cup of coffe in his bathrobe in the mornings just like the rest of us... (Photo Credit: http://www.derok.net)

10) Beetlejuice: this cartoon didn’t teach me anything. My mom told me that it was too scary for my young eyes and forbade me to watch it. She still won’t let me watch it.

If my mom reads this post, she's going to be upset that I even added in a picture of Beetlejuice. "Too scary", she'll say...

11) Inspector Gadget: he taught me that it’s okay if you’re a bumbling idiot who screws up everything you put your hands to, just as long as you have an 8 year old niece who builds computer-books that can do anything (was Penny the original creator of the eReader and/or iPad?)Β  and a dog that is ambidextrous who has a plethora of disguises in order to fool you and everyone around you into thinking he’s a real person. This is how you ensure success in life. Everyone needs a good support team.

This blog post will now self-destruct...

What were your favourite cartoons as a child? What did those cartoons teach you? Do you still watch those cartoons whenever you can? What do I still have left to learn from cartoons that are in production right now?


56 Responses to “Everything I Need to Know in Life, I Learned from Cartoons…”

  1. Very well said, I can’t count the important lessons I’ve learned from my childhood cartoons! Batman and Superman The Animated series taught me a lot about standing up for what right, and that having superpowers would be awesome!

    • BAH!!! I forgot about Spiderman! I can’t believe I didn’t have him added to my list! Yes, he taught me the same things…also that you should let exotic spiders bite you because, if the conditions are just right, you will be able to shoot a web from your wrists. That would also be awesome.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Andrew! πŸ™‚

  2. Oh my goodness. Talk about a trip down memory lane! I remember watching almost all of these with my two older brothers, especially Animaniacs!

    ALSO.. I’m totally being a ninja turtle for Halloween with my boyfriend, thanks for the inspiration πŸ˜€

    • Honestly, all I ever want is to inspire adults to the level that they want to dress up as amphibious martial arts characters…I mean, that’s what life’s all about, right?

      Also, if you are a fan of Animaniacs, I might have to make you my new best friend…

      Thanks for stopping in, Mary! πŸ™‚

  3. That was funny Chris LOL

    Teenage turtles, Inspector Gadget, Blue Smurfs (Pitufos in spanish lol), such a couple of remindings πŸ˜€

    I currently watch Phineas and Ferb with my little brother (he’s 7). I know I’m too old as for seing those cartoon but anyways they are funny, like SpongeBob lmfao

    I’ve never stoped to think if cartoons taught me something. However, I do think that there are always some hidden messages with them. As if they made those cartoons to make children think in other ways of thinking I guess…:P

    • Phineas and Ferb, eh? I haven’t seen that yet…I might just have to check it out. Maybe it’ll inspire me a little more… πŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much for stopping in again, Javi! Your kind words are always appreciated!

      • Yeah, check it out they are so funny!

        The plot is about two brothers who are really clever, that everyday they try ti invent some kind of new creation…well it’s meaningless but funny as well πŸ˜›

        Here you are an image I’ve chosen by hazard πŸ˜‰

      • Ok, I will! Honestly, if someone tells me that a cartoon is funny, then I’m all over it! Haha!

        Thanks Javi! πŸ™‚

  4. I really loved Scooby Doo when I was growing up. I know the Ninja Turtles because my daughter grew up liking them…(she’s fixing to be 22). I owned a pet store back in the early 90’s…we had a huge iguana for a store pet & she named him Donatello after one of the turtles. Great post.

    • I’m going to share a bit of an embarrassing story here with you…it pertains to the Ninja Turtles.

      When I was a kid, I loved that show so much that I would sit in my room and practice drawing each of them for hours on end. Hours. Loved ’em.
      So, that being said, your daughter was obviously way cooler than I was because she only named a lizard after one of them. I spent the majority of my childhood drawing them and practicing Ninjutsu on my stuffed animals. So not cool.

      Thanks again for dropping in, Mindslam! πŸ™‚

      • They were pretty cool…that’s not all she did…her & her buddies had a bunch of the toys from them & all the movies. They loved them which I thought was kinda cool them being girls & all.

      • Yeah, I don’t remember too many girls liking the Ninja Turtles when I was a kid; I was one of the few that I knew who did.

        Tell your daughter that I think she’s awesome. So very awesome.

  5. Clever post and I like your ideas.

    Inspector Gadget was a highly underrated cartoon–and he sure did need a team to clean up his messes.

    • I agree. For some reason, people did not take too well to Gadget. Perhaps it was the trench coat. I dunno…

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your very kind words, Slamdunk! πŸ™‚

  6. 15 sportsattitudes

    The Jetsons (along with the Flintstones) were the two cartoons I remember most from the early years. Honestly, you don’t think Wilma gave as good as she got from Fred? I assumed she wore the same outfit and accessory because she liked them! πŸ™‚

    • Ah yes! The Jetsons! I can’t believe that I didn’t mention them as well! They taught me that I could be as lazy as I’d like because, one day, I would have an apron-wearing robot to pick up after me…

      And I suppose you’re right about Wilma. She certainly wasn’t a pushover, but there is no excuse for wearing the same clothes every single day of your life. I mean, c’mon, Wilma…live a little. Wear black once in a while. πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for dropping by again, Sportsattitudes! πŸ™‚

  7. Yes! A million points for hitting up just about all of my favorite cartoons. I was (am) also a big ThunderCats fan.

    Papa Smurf is even more bossy in the graphic novels by Peyo. He’s always calling other Smurfs “Hey, you!” and is all like “Get to work, you lazy Smurf!”

    I recently found out that in at least one season of Inspector Gadget, IG had a mustache. When was the last time a cartoon character changed an outfit, let alone a commitment to facial hair?

    He-Man is pretty much the best thing ever. And Transformers. Animaniacs is probably the most brilliantly-written cartoon of all time. And hilarious. Great post!

    • I was going to add in ThunderCats but I thought I already had too many!! Honestly, I had to drop about 5 more cartoons from the list otherwise I was pretty sure no one would read it. Well, no one other than you, I suppose. You would probably read anything about cartoons, I imagine…haha.

      Papa Smurf is a jerk. I mean, learn a few names there, Papa…jerk.

      I remember the season where IG had a mustache!! I thought he looked odd and not at all like himself. I was pretty sure it was a disguise, but one that he never seemed to take off. Actually, I’m pretty sure that I only saw that season just a couple of years ago on Retro…haha. Yep, still watch it.

      He-Man was all kinds of awesome. Transformers? Awesome. Animaniacs? So awesome that I can hardly take it.

  8. The Versatile Blogger Award — I’ve nominated you!

  9. I love this!! Especially the edits indecision strike-throughs!

    I grew up on video tapes of Inspector Gadget and Danger Mouse (Penfold, shush!) where I learned that tongue-in-cheek humor can be really funny, and that toads can have asthma.

    I compromised the non-fiction a little and posted the skydiving story because you asked for it. I hope you’ll take a peek.

  10. Haha! Great post, took me back. I remember most of these – really awesome cartoons…not the like the stuff they put on these days. K

    • Yes! Exactly! Cartoons these days are rather lame…not nearly as funny as the ones in our day, huh?

      Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment, Kemi! πŸ™‚

  11. 25 Deborah the Closet Monster

    All these lessons were a delight to read, but I loved what you took from the Flintstones the most!

    I remember that I loved Duck Tales, He-Man and Transformers, but I can’t for the life of me remember why–or what I took from them! Occasionally I’ll watch something like Adventure Time now, which is a treat, but most my cartoons these days are . . . well, one Disney movie, actually: Lilo & Stitch!

    • Yes, the Flintstones one was my favourite lesson to learn as well…haha. I didn’t want to be a cavewoman, always wearing a white dress that simply needed to be hemmed, and having to put up with some guy screaming at me as if I were deaf (i.e. “Wil- MAAAAAAA!!!!!!!). No thanks. Haha.

      I was going to add Duck Tales to the list as well, but I already had too many (the list was originally supposed to have only 10 cartoons…I had to stretch it to 11 because I just couldn’t cut out any more!!).

      Thanks so much for your kind words and for adding in your favourite cartoons now, Deborah! Always appreciated… πŸ™‚

  12. 27 anotherdaysucks

    Some people define cartoons as kids stuffs. But, they are just Visual Arts. Personally, I love them too. I love Vintage cartoons such as Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake, Peanuts and Garfield. Japanese Animes are also cool.

    • Ah, yes…those were some of my favourites too. I especially liked Garfield when I was a kid…must’ve been because there was so much talk of lasagne or something… πŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much for stopping in and taking the time to comment, Another Day! πŸ™‚

  13. 29 Daphne BevAcqua

    That was hilarious! I especially like what you learned from the Flinstones!! haha

  14. You know I love this right? Even if you did drop Jem in there. What? Such a girl. Interesting that you’re not into movies or listening to books but you’ll watch cartoons with such glee. Glad you got Inspector Gadget and HeMan in there, both classics. Really happy about your choice to include Beetlejuice. This makes you a much more important human IMO.

    • Yeah, I know, right? For some reason, cartoons hold my attention…it must be all of the bright colours.

      I’m glad that you think I’m a much more important human after including Beetlejuice. That cartoon still scares me. In fact, the Beetlejuice movie was on TV yesterday but I couldn’t watch it…you know how I am with movies. And I can’t even watch the cartoon because my Mom won’t let me. I guess I’m not really that much more important after all…

      Thanks again for dropping by, Clay! Always love your comments! πŸ™‚

  15. Haha. Even looking through the photos essentially took me through my childhood. Splinter? It’s been a while since I’ve thought about him. Thanks for posting! πŸ™‚

    • I know! I had so much fun reliving my last Saturday morning cartoon binge childhood.

      For some reason, everyone seems to really dig Splinter…there’s something special about him. Maybe that he’s a rat. A rat in a robe…full of radiant wisdom. That’s gotta be it…

      Thanks so much for stopping by, 6 Months to Live! Greatly appreciated! πŸ™‚

  16. 35 wordsfallfrommyeyes

    This was a great blog – so unique. It was particularly interesting because here in Australia I hadn’t heard of most of them. What a great topic – and loved all the things you learned! πŸ™‚

    • What?! You don’t have these cartoons in Australia?? Oh my…did you miss out! These are some of the best cartoons ever created…except for The Flintstones (having a laugh track on a cartoon is just plain weird…).

      Thanks so much for your very kind comments, WordsFall! It’s always great having someone from the other side of the world drop by… πŸ™‚

  17. Hahaha you are so thoughtful and creative and you take the best out of things, like seriously you took the good meanings from the cartoons where others would just watch them randomly cuz it was exciting
    loved the ninja turtles one lol
    and omg was flintstones taught you that? grrr you should know that without anyone telling you πŸ™‚

    • Well, to be fair, I was only, like, 4 years old when I first starting watching The Flintstones, so I have to give them at least some credit for teaching me that! πŸ˜‰

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Sharvil! I really do appreciate your input…even more so now that I know you loved the Ninja Turtles. πŸ˜‰

  18. Sadly I’m too young to recall half of these (damn the late 90’s/early 00’s) I always thought that the rat in TMNT was really creepy though. I mean look at him, he pratically screams pedophile.

    • Hahaha!!! Yeah, I guess he is kinda creepy if you’re not familiar with him. I mean, he’s a wise rat who bosses other people around and has taken a liking to teenage turtles. Sort of weird, I suppose.

      Too bad you’re so young because you missed out on the greatest cartoons ever! Now they don’t make them like they used to…kids today can’t learn any lessons from them. Well, except that sponges can somehow live in the sea and wear pants, and that anime character’s faces can pass for normal. Because, you know…we all have eyes the size of saucers and mouths and noses the size of a ballpoint pen. Yep, totally normal.

      Thanks so much for dropping in, SilentSarcasm! (LOVE the name, by the way…) πŸ™‚

  19. So funny!! I wasn’t allowed to watch Beetlejuice either… or Power Rangers… or The Simpsons… wow, I was so deprived…

    • You weren’t allowed to watch Power Rangers?? That’s a shame because you missed some really high quality acting with that show…

      Thanks so much for dropping in and taking the time to comment, Amylleblanc! It’s greatly appreciated! πŸ™‚

  20. Wow…talk about nostalgia. I loved these cartoons, and thank you, animaniacs was the best cartoon ever, period.
    If youre looking for some new cartoons to enjoy though, ive found a couple (watching with my nephew of course. I dont watch cartoons because im an adult who enjoys reading and watching foreign films.)

    Avatar The last airbender: awesome series. Every person i showed this series to has been hooked. Just dont watch the live action movie, it sucks horribly.

    Jimmy neutron: this cartoon is actually very funny, and has zero educational value whatsoever despite being about a scientific genius. Kind of like dexters laboratory (which you left out!)

    Phineas and ferb: also hilarious. I cant believe how sharp the humor is sometimes.

    • You are now one of my favourite people, simply because you think Animaniacs was the best cartoon ever.

      I saw The Last Airbender. It. Was. Terrible.

      And, yes, you’re right; as adults, we must no longer watch cartoons. We must always read frightfully boring books, interpret the symbolism in foreign films, and always wear glasses and smoke a pipe. (That’s what adults do, right?)

      Thanks so much for stopping in, itchemeyer! It’s greatly appreciated! πŸ™‚

  21. Hahahaha totally agreee!!!

  22. My daughter just got Jem: Season One on DVD!
    Your list and resulting post are so cool you just may be the Perfect Woman!
    I hope you have someone in your life who appreciates you for the fine specimen of humanity you are!

    • Lol! Thanks very much, Hook, but no…there doesn’t seem to be a man out there who appreciates a woman who still loves cartoons, is rather clumsy, and and uses the winky-face icon far too often in social media. Not sure what’s up with that… πŸ˜‰

      Thanks again, Hook! You’ve made my day! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰


    You learn that french animals always use LE. INPECTOR GADGET the self disistruct note will always explode after youve crumbled it up and throw it at your boss. Thet JSTSONS you can lose your job but by the next episode have it back

    • Ooh…these lessons are even better than the ones I learnt! Especially the ones about the self-destruct note. I guess I never really learned that one all that well…I always read the note, fold it up, and then put it in my pocket.

      And then it self-destructs.

      *Sigh*…should’ve paid more attention to Inspector Gadget than I did, I suppose…

      Thanks for dropping by, Spurwing! πŸ˜‰

  24. I’m fairly certain Suze Orman based her entire financial knowledge on Ewok economics as well. Also, He-Man has trouble defeating something that’s already dead. (I just realized how odd heman looks without his hyphen. Eww!)

    • Yeah, don’t underestimate the Ewoks. They can teach you a lot if you just take the time to listen…instead of just saying, “Aww…look how cute their faces are!” I mean, there’s more beyond just their looks, right? πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for stopping in again, Mediaudio! Always appreciated!

  25. La la la la la la la …….great post! Animaniacs were awesome!

    You might like to check out a similar post I wrote a while back, it started out as an ode to my favourite Japanese cartoons in the 1970’s and 80’s but kind of expanded from there. http://deanoinamerica.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/my-favourite-japanese-cartoons-as-a-kidteenager-in-the-1970s-early-1980s/

    • I certainly will, Deano! Thanks for sharing and for stopping by again! πŸ™‚

      P.S. If you love Animaniacs as well, we are now best friends.

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