â€œThe Simpsonsâ€ is the longest-running primetime scripted series in the history of television. â€œSouth Parkâ€ received a Peabody Award, an award given for excellence in television and radio broadcasting. â€œFamily Guyâ€ became the first animated program to be nominated for the Best Comedy Emmy since â€œThe Flintstonesâ€ in 1961. FOX dedicates two and half hours of primetime to animated shows. Â Adult Swim has created an entire channel built almost entirely on animated shows for viewers 18-35. Seth McFarlane, a writer and producer famous exclusively for voice work and animated programs, is hosting the Oscars this weekend.
All this being said, variations on the phrase â€œanimation is for childrenâ€ or â€œIâ€™m too old for an animated showâ€ are still common in the conversations of viewers across the television landscape. I would hope most college age readers of this column know better, but if you catch yourself, I am here to tell you that you are dead wrong and potentially missing out on some of the smartest and most hilarious comedies available.
Not only is â€œThe Simpsonsâ€ far from a childrenâ€™s show, in many respects it is a national treasure. When I do catch an episode I am rarely unimpressed or not enjoying myself. If not for its influence on all modern animation and TV in general, the show must be appreciated for its contribution to the world of comedy by starting the careers of Conan Oâ€™Brien, Greg Daniels and countless other writers for â€œSaturday Night Liveâ€ and every late show in existence. If you have never tried â€œThe Simpsons,â€ you are doing yourself a disservice.
Although â€œThe Simpsonsâ€ is the cornerstone of FOXâ€™s â€œAnimation Dominationâ€ lineup, the rest of the lineup is no slouch either. â€œFamily Guyâ€ is in a similar boat with critics, but, when the show wants to, it can still be one of the most biting and entertaining shows on television. If â€œFamily Guyâ€ has lost your interest, the younger â€œAmerican Dadâ€ tends to take more risks and often outperforms because of it. Even more on the side of wild and revolutionary is the newest edition to the lineup, â€œBobâ€™s Burgers.â€ Occasionally so strange and bizarre that it could be considered â€œdada-esqueâ€ this gem of a show is only three seasons old but has already accumulated several of the funniest episodes in the genre.
Pushing beyond the broadcast networks are strong lineups of animation from both FX and Comedy Central. Â FXâ€™s â€œArcherâ€ is consistently ranked as one of the best comedies on television by critics across the industry. Comedy Centralâ€™s â€œSouth Parkâ€ is still able to deliver one of the most consistently hilarious and intelligent cultural commentary available. Cartoon Networkâ€™s late night counterpart Adult Swim continues to push the envelope of TV conventions with shows like â€œAqua Team Hunger Force,â€ â€œRobot Chicken,â€ and a host of other claymation shows.
If you havenâ€™t, do yourself a favor and check out any or all of the shows I have mentioned because, if you donâ€™t, I guarantee you are missing out. Animation isnâ€™t just for children anymore and, in many instances, is the best comedy that can be found on television.