Weekend Watchlist: Animated TV series

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Weekend Watchlist: Animated TV series

By The Pitt News Staff

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Cartoons aren’t just for kids. Here are our favorite animated TV series available to stream.

Big Mouth (Netflix) // Diana Velasquez, Staff Writer

There is no time more miserable in a kid’s life than middle school, so why not make a show about it? “Big Mouth” is Netflix’s hit adult animated series about the lives of middle schoolers Nick Birch (Nick Kroll) and Andrew Glouberman (John Mulaney) in Westchester County, New York, based on the actual lives of the writers Kroll and Andrew Goldberg, who have been friends since childhood. “Big Mouth” is raunchy, blunt and downright uncomfortable at times but for many, that’s how middle school was. One of the chief components of said awkwardness is a group of creatures called the Hormone Monsters — voiced by Kroll and Maya Rudolph — who act as a “devil on your shoulder” figure to the middle schoolers. Though the animation is nothing special, the colorful cast of comic stars makes the show a must watch for anyone who loves raunchy comedy, fantastic musical numbers, Nathan Fillion and the ghost of Duke Ellington.

Tuca & Bertie (Netflix) // Maggie Young, Contributing Editor

A cousin of Netflix’s other anthropomorphic animation “BoJack Horseman,” this storyline delves into the lives of city-dwelling birds Tuca — a recovering alcoholic toucan — and Bertie — a neurotic songbird. This crazy duo are longtime BFFs and, up until the first episode, roommates. Tuca now lives in an apartment upstairs and Bertie’s boyfriend Speckle, a fellow songbird, has moved in to Bertie’s “Friends”-style apartment. Season one follows their struggles with isolation, recovery and unwanted advances from men as these lovable birds find their way through adult life. Plucky voice acting by Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong complements strong writing and character development. But try not to get too attached. “Tuca & Bertie” fell victim to Netflix’s capitalist algorithm and was cancelled after the first season because of a lack of viewers — despite stellar ratings from dedicated fans.

Neo Yokio (Netflix) // Megan Williams, Staff Writer

If you’ve ever wondered what the inside of Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig’s brain looks like, “Neo Yokio” is your answer. Despite being drawn in typical anime fashion, this show is anything but ordinary — it focuses on an alternate New York crawling with demons. Neo Yokio’s biggest infestation, though? Capitalism. Kaz Khan (Jaden Smith) is the most eligible bachelor/demon-hunter in the city — he’s unfazed by demons, but haunted by what color suit to wear. Though the color palette is frequently pastel, the food whimsical, the characters eccentric, don’t let Neo Yokio’s flowery exterior fool you — Koenig, the show’s writer and creator, challenges every viewer to reflect on how fear and ambition function in a capitalist society.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Netflix, Adult Swim) // Thomas Wick, Senior Staff Writer

There’s so much to love about “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” from it’s jaw-dropping animation and great main characters to its fantastic villains, concluding with one of the best endings to any series ever. But the story keeps you enthralled — the pacing is well-executed and the character development is thought out well. The bond between brothers and protagonists Ed and Al is one of the greatest pairings in both animated and live-action television. Without their brilliant problem solving skills, cool combat moves and interesting philosophical discussions, this series would be nothing. FMA:B’s themes of civil religion, science and militaristic facism also make it worthy of being considered culturally significant too. Whenever I think of a perfect animated series it is between “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and this show. If you haven’t watched either, then stop what you are doing right now and go watch them.

Recess (Disney+, Disney Channel) // Mary Rose O’Donnell, Contributing Editor

“Recess” is an animated show chronicling the adventures of a group of fourth-graders — T.J., Vince, Gretchen, Mikey, Spinelli and Gus — at Third Street Elementary School and the various shenanigans they get up to on the playground during recess. However, it goes deeper. The playground has its own social structure and is ruled by monarchy, headed by sixth-grader King Bob. Our squad of protagonists often fight against the social rules placed upon them in order to have a freer, more fun recess. “Recess” ran for six seasons from 1997-2001 and was syndicated on Disney Channel for many years to follow, which is how I first became familiar with the show. Each episode is comprised of two 10-minute stories, making it short, sweet and easy to watch while you’re taking a break from studying for finals.

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