Before my little brother was born, I had never been a TV fan. And yes, I realize the profound irony of that statement – a statement I type as a writer for the Michigan Daily TV beat. But, despite how incredibly boring it makes me, it’s true. My youngest brother was born in 2007. George W. Bush was president, the last Harry Potter book came out (no, not “The Cursed Child”, because that book was fake and never happened) and “Spiderman 3 “, my least favorite of the series, is out. In short, an eventful year. My brother would say his birth was unequivocally the biggest thing to come out of all of 2007 (he’s a Leo), but for me the biggest thing to come out of 2007 was Netflix’s streaming service.
We never had cable when I was a kid, and I never spent an afternoon watching Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, or Cartoon Network like some of my peers (a fact that turned me into a adult with little to no knowledge of pop culture and a terrible trivia partner). But as I grew up, my brother began to pull me into his love of flashy, colorful cartoons, brought to our screens by the magic of Netflix. He didn’t care what they were talking about or how old the cartoons were – this kid was a cartoon-watching machine. “Ben 10”, some random “Spiderman” cartoons (including the series that the same of all the Spidermen pointing at each other is from) and literally every season of “Pokémon” – if it was animated, he’d be watching it. And by “he”, I also mean me. I sat in the chair in the corner, obnoxiously pretending not to be interested in my little brother’s children’s shows. But with each episode I got closer and closer to TV, letting the animated action pull me in until I realized I was actually finding myself interested in a 60s cartoon or Ben 10’s alien battle escapades.
From then on, I was on a cartoon mission. I was excited to go on vacation, not for the beach or family outings, but to finally have the opportunity to watch Cartoon Network, exploring all those shows I had never seen outside of our bedroom. hotel (and which I’m sure everyone had seen before). As I got older, I was still able to satisfy my cartoon craving at home with weird PBS shows, which were always so ridiculous and educational they were practically coming out of a fever dream. For a while, however, I was permanently on a cartoon hiatus. In high school, I was a woman on a different mission — I was too busy working, maintaining my GPA, and cramming AP classes into my schedule to have time for little kids’ shows. I didn’t know how badly I needed cartoons – until I did.
Winter semester 2021. I was a sophomore freshman, back from the worst (and first) semester of my life and working two jobs on top of a full course load. Every day, I would wake up for my 10 a.m. virtual class, eat a quick lunch, and quickly head to my nanny job (which I was always late for) where I would take my final two classes while trying to ensure that a kindergarten and a third graders have taken their own Zoom lessons. As I was helping the 5-year-old cut out shapes for his school project while desperately trying to listen to my political science class, I realized: I’m so tired.
The best part of my day came at 3:30 p.m. The kids would log out of Zoom, rush to the couch, and start watching — you guessed it — cartoons. The world may have outgrown Netflix’s monopoly on streaming services, but their cartoons are still alive. I found myself in a trance, mindlessly watching their shows from across the room as I gradually paid less and less attention to my (probably very important) homework until I finally found myself enraptured by their TV. smart giant, reminiscent of how I let fall in love with those cartoons I reluctantly watched with my little brother. These 3:30 cartoons have become my comfort, my only little break to think about classes, the pandemic or my weekend shift. I was able to find a spark of peace in my otherwise chaotic day that really made me happy. And so, I take it upon myself to share this little bit of light and happiness with you. Here are five cartoons to bring you a bit of your own happiness during our worst week of the year.
- adventure time
We’re starting this list off on the right foot with a bit of nostalgia. I don’t think this show even needs an introduction; I could just stick it on the list and leave it at that (there’s a reason it’s number one). Of all the brief moments I’ve been able to steal from family vacations to watch cartoons on hotel TVs, “Adventure Time” would always make me the happiest. Something about this show is so incredibly wholesome that if I watch too many episodes, I’ll start crying tears of joy. They are all so perfect and cute! Plus, let’s be honest, we probably all need a really good shout out this time of year. Then try the adorable animation and heartbreaking familiarity of “Adventure Time.”
- star vs the forces of evil
This is just another one of those absolutely adorable shows that I can’t help but love. In fact, maybe the adorable is why I watch cartoons. Either way, “Star vs. the Dark Arts” is incredibly endearing, and it’s a great opportunity for you to embark on a world of adventure. Star (Eden Sher, “The Middle”) is the magical heir to the throne from another dimension who is sent to a human high school as punishment for causing trouble. Seems about right. She and her new best friend, Marco (Adam McArthur, “Shadows House”), tackle school and other dimensions, jumping from crazy place to crazier place, fighting (duh) the forces difficulty. With a super cute animation style and two (two!) fun adventures per episode, “Star vs. the Dark Arts” is the Disney Channel show I wish I could have watched since it was airing for the first time. So heal your inner child with me, and look at it now.
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
The magical rebellion of mystical power-wielding princesses against an evil and tyrannical government? Yes please. Think of it as “Star Wars,” but with a lot more pastels and a lot more Princess Leias. The story follows a feisty younger sister, Adora (Aimee Carrero, “Elena of Avalor”), who is thrown into the ethereal world of powerful princesses when she discovers she has magical powers herself. “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” is a vibrant and compelling story, and while its themes and plot might seem a bit intense for the final escape material, its colorful and beautiful fantasy world makes all the problems seem far away – and it will make all your exams and essays seem far away too.
- my hero academia
Yes, we have come to the secret part of the list (getting people watch anime). Since my original plan for this piece was completely anime-centric, you get away with it easily. Sneaky tactics aside, “My Hero Academia” is cartoon perfection. The setting is literally a high school for training superheroes, and it’s adorable. Plus, there are plenty of super fun fight scenes with cool hero powers and a vibrant cast of characters. So don’t let the stigma keep you away from “My Hero”. Let the action scenes and creative, enigmatic villains distract you from the real villain of the final exams.
When the kids I fed turned on their daily cartoons, I cursed under my breath every time they passed on “Pokémon” for something 100% more boring and totally irrelevant. But maybe I’m a little biased. Anyway, I decided to save the best for last on this cartoon survival guide because whether you know it or not, you need a little Pikachu in your life. What I wouldn’t give to be a 12-year-old kid traveling across the country, doing little quests and collective little fantastic animals. I guess I’ll have to limit my adventures to Pokémon Go. Do you even need me to explain “Pokémon” to you? The only reason you haven’t watched it lately is because it never occurred to you that you could. Well, you can. So go watch it. Grades are temporary, people, but Pikachu is forever. Kidding aside, “Pokémon” is just the right combination of inspiration, nostalgia, and adventure that I know you’ve been missing. And if Ash and Pikachu can take on Team Rocket, you can pass your stat exam.
Everyone knows that final exams are the worst. So take the time to take care of yourself during this ridiculously stressful week. Go make that feel-good moment happen for yourself, whether it’s rebel princesses overthrowing the regime or a high school anime hero – you deserve it. I believe in you guys, and everything will be fine.
The daily’s editor Annabel Curran can be reached at [email protected]