Batman: The Animated Series taught us to beware The Joker, a gregarious person who could chat up almost anyone, who could convince an army of goons to do his bidding. Beware the people who are the most sleazily charming, the show almost says, it means nothing. Look at their actions.
2. 'Powerpuff Girls' Taught Us About The Fall Of The Patriarchy
The old generation in Powerpuff Girls is weighed down by egomaniacs (Mojo Jojo), idiots who support their way of life (Fuzzy Lumpkins) and dark forces bred into societal DNA (Him). The future will be saved by the girls of today and tomorrow using their acumen and talent to save a rotting society.
3. 'Animaniacs' Taught Us That Only Chaos Can Defeat A Broken Order
Every Animaniacs cartoon involved the Warner siblings being dropped into a place that was set in its ways. And they always proceeded to use chaos and humor — two things order does not understand — to overturn the norm. When order only knows a law followed or a law broken, coming at it from the side with madness is the only way.
4. 'Scooby Doo' Taught Us That The Real Monsters Were Humans
The Gang was never threatened by an actual ghost or monster who wanted to eat bones or break windows or whatnot. They were always threatened by men in costumes who wanted to scare people away because of their greed. The true threat to our world isn't the shadow we fear, but the human casting it.
5. 'Duck Tales' Taught Us That Wealth Is Meaningless Without Experiences And Family
Imagine how miserable McDuck's fortune would be if it was created through manipulating the poor rather than seeking out a unicorn or a kingdom of square eggs. Duck Tales taught us that wealth is only a small detail in a life well-lived.
6. 'Courage the Cowardly Dog' Taught Us To Do Good Even When No One Is Watching
When Bugs Bunny fights Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam, he constantly shows that guns are for the weak and weak-minded. Those with intelligence issues (Elmer) or anger and ego problems (Yosemite Sam) try to use force to get an upper hand, but the peaceful opposition and cleverness of Bugs Bunny takes them out every time. Strategy and humane intentions always beat the bully.
8. 'Rugrats' Helped Viewers Remember The Richness Of A Child's Inner Life
Rugrats helps viewers remember that the world of a child's mind is as majestic and rich as any. Whether it's Chuckie mourning his bug or Angelica regressing to babyhood on her birthday, Rugrats showed that children are, in some ways, just as complex as humans.
9. 'Ren and Stimpy' Taught Us To Accept Each Other Despite Our Faults
Ren and Stimpy were too disgusting animals, and in opposite ways. Where Stimpy was often playing with things coming out of his body, from boogers to farts, Ren was rotting away from within at all times. One was sweet and dumb and one was angry and selfish, yet despite all that, they still loved one another. Friendship is a powerful force.
10. 'Steven Universe' Teaches Kids About Non-Traditional Families And Lifestyles
StevenUniverse is raised by three strong female role models while his dad runs a car wash a few blocks away. It teaches kids very directly that a family is united by love rather than the traditional ideas put into our society by outdated role models. That and the normalization of queerness and homosexuality — as Garnet is the fusion between two female gems — are integral parts of the show.
11. 'Adventure Time' Teaches Kids How To Have Healthy Relationships
Often in a cartoon, whether it's Doug with Pattie, Helga with Arnold or Charlie Brown with the Little Red-Headed Girl, children are taught that obsession and love are one and the same. It's very refreshing to see in Adventure Time thatcharacters deal with the pain of being rejected and then move on in a healthy way. And when Finn makes unhealthy dating choices, they are called out as such. For today's generation of kids this might seem normal, yet teaching that women aren't a prize to obsess over, in a cartoon, is revolutionary.
12. 'Pokemon' Taught Us That Animal Preservation Is A Must
Even though the Pokemon are fictional, the preservationist message of Pokemon is important: Pokemon are your friends. Ash wins not because his Pokemon are particularly good (in fact, a Pikachu is about as basic as you can get in the game), but because his bond with them is so strong and he takes good care of them. The villains, be they Gary or Team Rocket, see the Pokemon only as tools. An important lesson to remember as the White Rhino goes extinct by ivory poachers.