I was born in the 80's but brought up in the 90's. That means that, in theory, I got the best of both worlds—everything was “eXtreme!” and Calvin Harris would still do things to my mouth after checking the appropriate birth certificate.

While many of the products children of the 80's got to enjoy were powerfully insane, the 90's heralded a different brand of batshit in its TV, toys and games. Mostly based on the aforementioned cultural phenomenon of “eXtreme,” where you took a completely benign interest and pumped the exclamation factor up by a factor of monster truck. NOTE: This only occasionally resulted in an observable increase in awesome.

To new parents, Darkwing Duck must have looked like The Hills Have Eyes. He dressed like a villain, acted like Batman, and fought like a pussy.If the 80's were Gary Busey, then the 90's were Gary Busey after several pounds of pure, uncut Colombian nose candy. Which, if you think about what was going on in the 80's, is a better analogy than it initially sounds.

However, my parents were always finding new ways to tell me to use my fucking imagination and go outside. Which is why I found it amusing that they couldn't suggest I do anything more imaginative than go outside. Also, I lived in the Southwest where the average rainy season lasts two millennia and you always ran the risk of wandering into the wrong field to be mauled by cows or drunk cider farmers. The outside was and still is, awful. It's where society keeps all the worst kinds of people and if you wake up and they're already in your house, it's probably too late to stop all the rape anyway.

So like many kids, I developed a crippling addiction to terrible television. And judging by all the brutal logic posterity allows, it's surprising that the 90's generation grew up to be 90% stupids; when the kind of TV we had growing up suggests we should have all become skin-suit wearing maniacs. Not just me.

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1. Battletoads


Battletoads is what happens when you mix avarice with laziness. It failed to kick ass in so many directions at once that it never made it past a pilot and looks like a Korean animator dared his colleague to make slimy amphibians homoerotic.

Written by the same guys who made the beloved Ninja Turtle cartoons with precisely none of the same care and attention, the show starred three ordinary kids who could transform into naked-buttocked toads who could then transform their arms into drills, hammers, and cymbals for no adequately explained reason other than fuck you for asking.

It was disappointing for every sector of its intended audience. Especially viewers who didn't like their cartoons to call them stupid and gay. There were already enough confused young boys watching this without the theme tune sounding suspiciously like Greased Lightning.

Serving primarily as a blatant cash-in on the success of the Battletoads video game series (still regarded as one of the most pointlessly cruel and punishing tests of reflexes since Knife Roulette), it'd be hard to find a more cynical abuse of intellectual property were the 90's not full of exactly that sort of thing.

Watch the whole ill-fated pilot here.

2. Darkwing Duck

Darkwing Duck cartoon

You could never have got a series like Darkwing Duck aired in the eighties. Back then, you couldn't hit a villain with anything harder than a paper aeroplane and plots tend to get pretty incoherent when you can't legally show threat. But DW's motto was ‘let's get dangerous!' and his episodes would usually open with someone getting nailed over the head with a sack full of loot hard enough to erase the memories of their formative years.

To new parents, it must have looked like The Hills Have Eyes but it proved an important point in cartoon development when, in true Disney fashion, creators stopped assuming the only viewers were (like many of their characters) victims of severe head trauma and started including actual jokes. Darkwing himself dressed like a villain, acted like Batman, fought like a pussy, resented his brood of more capable sidekicks and his only superpowers were deus ex machina and blind luck. He was basically the incarnation of everything ridiculous about crime-fighters up to that point.

It was a pretty insanely brave direction to take considering how much Disney borrowed from Hanna-Barbera, the very people they were constantly taking the piss out of. Characters see rings of stars whenever they take a hit to the bonce (which is about once every negative ten seconds) and only leave buildings via them-shaped holes in the walls. And you know what's really crazy? It's still fucking hysterical.

Watch pretty much all this genius at work here.

3. Mummies Alive!

Mummies Alive cartoon

Mummies Alive! was more disrespectful to Egyptian culture than the British Legion. Combining the high energy thrills of archaeology with the extremeness of modern extreme teens! A formula that Kids' WB would continue with Jackie Chan Adventures in 2000. Except with slightly more Jackie Chan and even more racism.

The artists' idea of a believable memetic heir (or reincarnation? It's never made especially clear) to an ancient pharaoh is a San Franciscan, skateboarding schoolkid with a good tan. Way to bring profiling into the modern age, mummies. Why do they even have a huge cache of Egyptian relics in San Francisco? Because, America. Fuck yeah. Look past the creators having basically gone back into the ancient history of the East to make it even whiter and you still have a program with a rocky relationship with sanity.

I studied Ancient Egypt for two years at University and I never came across any references in the scripture to viziers that could transform into insectoid power armor and shoot purple lasers. Because if that were the case, I might have paid more attention. And the side-splitting fish out of water jokes, like mummies not knowing what mobile phones are, would ring a little less hollow if the whole situation wasn't fucking crazy to start with and relegated to the two minutes per episode when they weren't punching clay monsters in half.

Watch the pilot, which seriously called “Ra, Ra, Ra, Ra” here.

4. The Bots Master

The Bots Master cartoon

The mysteriously titled The Bots Master is like a museum of bad decisions. With a cast you couldn't fit on a roll of toilet paper and plotting you'd be equally unwilling to then wipe your arse with. Their names were Zulander! Blitz! Sir Lewis Leon Paradim! Dr Hiss and Lady Frenzy! If Gladiator was casted entirely from a local methodrone clinic, it would make more sense than The Bots Master.

Most confusing of all is the inclusion of hip-hop culture. Scratch that, not the inclusion per se as that's like saying the inclusion of chalk and insect parts in Love Hearts is confusing. You weren't legally allowed to make any kind of video in the nineties without a hip-hop soundtrack written by a composer begging for a swift death.

No, it's all in the execution. It watches like a straight to DVD Transformers reboot directed by Fred Williamson and Fisher-Price. And everyone is Skids. You'd see a more appropriate application of black culture in Harlem Shake v6 (Klan Meet Edition/WHOSE BABY IS THIS?).

5. Animaniacs

Animaniacs cartoon

No animated series tried to sexually confuse its audience as hard as Warner Bros' Animaniacs. The scripts were crammed with more innuendos than the stenograph at Todd from Scrubs‘s date-rape hearing and the two male leads, Yakko & Wakko, couldn't go the full twenty minutes without eye-fucking a nurse or mouth-raping a terrified concert pianist. This is what happens when the corpse of Bob Hope is ground up into animal feed and distributed as Japanese sandwich filling and I'm no expert, but I think that would sound “a rittle bit rike dis.”

Presumably all these references to the adult network, giant cocks and, I shit you not, butt stuff went over most young viewers' heads but at least a degree of sexual chemistry must have slipped in under the radar. Some of the references barely class as suggestive. Even as a child, seeing a buxom cartoon bunnie's boobs, even in silhouette, while two clearly-defined male characters are sniffing her panties with their eyes must have had some effect.

For the many, many double entendres of Animaniacs, see this conveniently concentrated dosage.

6. Biker Mice From Mars

Biker Mice from Mars cartoon

No part of the Biker Mice gave two shits. It was a show about a team of spec-ops alien rodents turned motorbiking conservationists that speak entirely in fist bumps and Schwarzenegger puns, the only language known to originate not from the larynx and lungs, but directly from the cock and balls.

They live and kick ass on Mars as depicted by Mad Max but end up in Chicago as also depicted by Mad Max. A Mad Max world in which nothing doesn't shoot lasers. And that's only one of the many reasons that Biker Mice From Mars is better than Mad Max. The rest of them are here, in this easily digested series of bullet points!

  • The only time the Bikers don't wear helmets is when they're hanging around in the empty void of space. Because they're able to subsist entirely on the galaxy's natural supply of balls.
  • The show is so manly, after watching an episode women limp for days.
  • The mice call every human they meet “citizen” because their only political beliefs are The People's Republic of Dude That Was Freakin' Sweet.
  • The soundtrack is so metal Boris Vallejo paintings masturbate to it.

Half the script of every episode is:


BIKER MICE enter shot in fucking sweet motorcycle jump.







The plot mostly revolved around an industrialist who's also an alien who's also a deep sea angler fish whose mission it is to tap Earth's natural resources dry because his race of alien angler fish were so wasteful with their own. A poignant message of altruism for young men to not give a damn about while Vinnie uses someone's face as a bike ramp. The writers can't have expected you to think about it much because they sure didn't. It's like they only included a narrative to make the pussy demographic of the audience that actually wanted that environmentalist bullshit to go anywhere end up looking stupid.

This show rocked so many tits that thousands of blossoming girls and fat boys ended up with mammoplastys. It rocked so many balls into sterility that since it was cancelled, birth rates have increased by a factor of LASERMOTORCYCLE. Some might call that coincidence. I'd say it was an observable spike in the awesomeness of my childhood.

Watch the entire first series here, and for even more fun, take a drink every time you notice the writers look deep within their own hearts, reach out and find not a single fuck to give.