Ahhhh animations, where would we be without them?? Traditionally a large part of our youthful TV diet, now we’ve grown up what is there left for those of us that need a visual flight of fancy?? There comes an age when a squeaky sea sponge frying cheeseburgers and chasing jellyfish just simply isn’t enough (although admittedly has its own merits) so fortunately for us there has been an explosion, in the last 15 years, of animations aimed at a more mature audience.
The immediate stand-out examples here are The Simpsons (and Futurama), South Park and Family Guy (with all related spin-offs), all of which have opened up the genre in their own particular ways- whether it be cultural, political, religious or simply unpredictable. Still, these shows are not to everyone’s taste, so what else is there out there for those who think Family Guy’s lost its edge, and South Park, well its still great but want some more?
There are, of course, hundreds of lesser known shows to choose from but the 5 chosen here cover a broad spectrum of themes which, at their best moments, easily compete with the heavyweights. Just take a moment in memory of some of th British shows that failed to make the list (simply for lack of room) – “Aagh! It’s the Mr Hell show!” with Bob Monkhouse, Stressed Eric, Popetown and Modern Toss.
Don’t be fooled, just because it’s animated doesn’t mean its cute and cuddly, this is the wonderful, bizarre and disturbing world of adult animations……
5. Fritz the Cat
Based on the underground artwork of Robert Crumb, this seminal 1972 movie was (and still is) one of the most controversial animations ever made (and is seen as one of the first ever successful adult animated movies). We follow the exploits of Fritz, a naive college student cat, as he leaves University on a voyage of self discovery across ‘60s revolutionary America. Along the way he finds himself in rather extreme predicaments- from drug fuelled orgies to terrorist attacks- as he tries to find his true calling, constantly seeking the approval of his questionable friends thus leading him further into the mayhem he seems to thrive on.
As far as overall depth to the story, Fritz the Cat is hardly the most subtle of movies when trying to make a point. The use of animals instead of humans in this world allowed the filmmakers to push the boundaries somewhat (too much at times, which led to its banning in most territories on release). Within the first 20 minutes we’ve followed Fritz through a gate-crashed orgy, chased by police (represented by clumsy pigs) through a synagogue and then seeking refuge at a pool club in Harlem from a hip and funky group of black crows.
This no holds barred approach can feel gratuitous at times, but behind this is a quaint story of Fritz’s struggle to control his urges and turn his life around. Does he do this? Well, I’ll leave that to you to work out, but the fact there was a 1974 follow up (The nine lives of fritz the cat) should give you a general idea how things work out for this modern Feline lothario.