But Why?

I remember this show. Or, I should say, I remember the ethos of this show. More than any given episode, I can recall the state of hysteria it seemed to cultivate.

But why? What was it about this show in particular that seemed to drive people so crazy?

Perhaps, it was a timing issue. Premiering in 1993, it was not the first bawdy cartoon for adults–The Simpsons had been around as a standalone show since 1989–but it was an early enough entry into the genre to bewilder people, especially since, unlike The Simpsons, its protagonists were not adults themselves. In other words, the show lived in a gray area: not quite a sitcom for grown-ups, but definitely not a cartoon show for kids. Nowadays, it seems as though Netflix premieres a new series each week that occupies this exact space, but at the time it was likely confusing, and it doesn’t take long for confusion to metabolize into outrage.

Or, perhaps that’s not exactly right. Perhaps it was something about the show’s tone. South Park is controversial, for example, but that seems to be the point. It’s abrasive and in your face about its desire to upset you. Bojack Horseman, on the other hand, opts to forgo laughter for whole episodes at a time, brazenly engaging with serious topics like depression and addiction.

But this show? There was something delightfully unsettling about it. The characters were blatantly nihilistic and undeniably stupid, and yet most episodes were oddly quiet and slow, with an inordinate amount of air time filled with nothing but their bizarre signature laughter. This sense of off-ness might’ve driven people to look a little too deeply into its void-like center, causing them to make wild conclusions about its morality.

Then again, who really knows what it was that made people so nuts about it. And who really cares. What’s important is that it was funny.

And so are these shirts!

heh heh heh heh by CoDDesigns

Pretty smart of CoDDesigns to branch out, you know? We can’t imagine there’s a super big market for cod-related tees. Wait, what’s that? That’s not what his username means? Well, whoops!

Anyway, CoDDesigns is an artist from New Jersey who works on licensed clothing for big stores like Target and Walmart. If you’re an artist, maybe hit him up! He’s always open to collaborations. On the other hand, if you just want to look at some cool stuff, check out his Instagram and Facebook pages, or else look for him vending at a comic convention near you!

But Why?

I remember this show. Or, I should say, I remember the ethos of this show. More than any given episode, I can recall the state of hysteria it seemed to cultivate.

But why? What was it about this show in particular that seemed to drive people so crazy?

Perhaps, it was a timing issue. Premiering in 1993, it was not the first bawdy cartoon for adults–The Simpsons had been around as a standalone show since 1989–but it was an early enough entry into the genre to bewilder people, especially since, unlike The Simpsons, its protagonists were not adults themselves. In other words, the show lived in a gray area: not quite a sitcom for grown-ups, but definitely not a cartoon show for kids. Nowadays, it seems as though Netflix premieres a new series each week that occupies this exact space, but at the time it was likely confusing, and it doesn’t take long for confusion to metabolize into outrage.

Or, perhaps that’s not exactly right. Perhaps it was something about the show’s tone. South Park is controversial, for example, but that seems to be the point. It’s abrasive and in your face about its desire to upset you. Bojack Horseman, on the other hand, opts to forgo laughter for whole episodes at a time, brazenly engaging with serious topics like depression and addiction.

But this show? There was something delightfully unsettling about it. The characters were blatantly nihilistic and undeniably stupid, and yet most episodes were oddly quiet and slow, with an inordinate amount of air time filled with nothing but their bizarre signature laughter. This sense of off-ness might’ve driven people to look a little too deeply into its void-like center, causing them to make wild conclusions about its morality.

Then again, who really knows what it was that made people so nuts about it. And who really cares. What’s important is that it was funny.

And so are these shirts!

Best adult cartoon show ever:

  • Beavis and Butthead
    Beavis and Butthead
  • The Simpsons
    The Simpsons
  • Bojack Horseman
    Bojack Horseman
  • Family Guy
    Family Guy
  • Southpark
    Southpark
  • Bob's Burgers
    Bob's Burgers
  • Something else (comments, please)
    Something else (comments, please)
121 votes