15 Adult Cartoons That Are Way Better Than Family Guy
When Family Guy was in its prime, it clearly was among the top adult cartoons out there. Yet, as time has gone by, this show has taken a massive step back in quality, which is a shame. This series used to be hilarious, but its flaws have been showing far more over the years. This has soured its reputation for many, and, at times, some newer episodes have been so bland that it is difficult to believe it is still on the air.
Even with this being the case, there are, thankfully, a lot of shows in its genre that outclass it. Whether they are old or currently still on the air, they all have qualities about them that have allowed them to be immensely strong in quality.
Update Oct. 5, 2021: It’s true that one-time archetypes of adult animation like Family Guy and The Simpsons have recently waned in both popularity and quality, but the last few years have seen newcomers like Rick and Morty and Big Mouth contend for the after-dark TV throne.
Obviously, few series have enough staying power to remain on-air for over two decades like Family Guy, but, given how stale Seth MacFarlane’s 2000s darling has become, it’s time for fans to look elsewhere to get their daily dose of profane humor.
15 American Dad
Another one of Seth MacFarlane’s creations, American Dad is often noted for its fantastic comedy and great group of characters. It can be argued that it is simply far better than Family Guy, as it possesses stronger storylines and simply more heart.
In terms of creativity, this series tends to always be evolving, which is a necessity for a long-running show. American Dad characters such as Steve and Roger are simply adult comedy staples, as they bring a lot of marvelous components to the show, whether it be their dialogue or wacky hijinks.
14 Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Focusing on a band of anthropomorphic fast food superheroes, Aqua Teen Hunger Force ran on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim from 2001 to 2015. Varied to the point that the show didn’t even bother to keep a consistent name, Aqua Teen was one of the most out-there shows on an already out-there network.
Though often more crass than Family Guy in many areas, Aqua Teen arguably offered up a suite of more memorable characters. From the ever-hilarious Master Shake and the quick-to-anger Carl to the straight man Frylock, each and every Aqua Teen character is consistently comical.
13 F Is For Family
A Netflix original series, F is for Family is criminally underrated. This show is truly incisive, and, although it is a comedy, it does a marvelous job displaying the true struggles dysfunctional families face with one another.
Set during the 1970s, the show has an emotional, raw feel to it that’s almost totally absent in a series as irreverent and low-brow as Family Guy. An ongoing Netflix staple since it debuted in 2015, F Is For Family has proven to have more staying power than most newer adult series.
12 Big Mouth
Known for its raunchy comedy, Big Mouth has become one of the most popular adult cartoons today. The way it focuses on gross-out humor is unlike anything viewers have ever seen, which definitely has allowed it to gain a lot of attention.
However, what is often not spoken about is the fact that it does an immensely solid job tackling real issues that adolescents experience during puberty. It may be a hard sell due to its unique style, but fans of adult-oriented comedy series owe it to themselves to check this one out.
11 The Simpsons
For the record, it should be noted that The Simpsons has dropped off in quality much like Family Guy. However, at the end of the day, it is a necessity to classify it as the superior show, as it was the trendsetter that spawned the genre.
Both of these television shows were golden when they hit the air, but The Simpsons completely changed the TV landscape and made adult cartoons relevant. During its prime years, it was a show that possessed so much heart and had some of the funniest writing that we have ever seen. Thus, it clearly deserves the win over the competition.
10 King Of The Hill
Focusing on the relatively mundane lives of the Hill family, King of the Hill may, at first glance, come across as a bit dry. However, once viewers gave it a chance, they quickly would become massive fans of it. Series creator Mike Judge did a spectacular job with not only the comedy, but also the effective storytelling.
This show is as real as it gets when it comes to cartoons, as it stresses the importance of character development. For example, Bobby Hill continues to grow throughout the series, while also teaching Hank lessons in the process. This is simply a hilarious series that is a must-watch for those who have yet to.
There is no question that Futurama is worthy of its popularity. The entire premise of this show is extremely unique, as it took a new twist on time traveling. The show’s protagonist, Fry, is the perfect character for this role, as viewers observe his struggles to adjust to the future while also learning about his life.
This show also would go on to create some of the saddest moments in adult cartoon history, often with Fry being the individual going through them. Although tearjerkers, those scenes are essential for the audience, as they enhance the show’s overall story. This is something typically Family Guy fails to produce.
8 The Ren & Stimpy Show
Airing in the early ’90s on Nickelodeon, The Ren & Stimpy Show was originally intended for younger audiences. However, the cartoon’s vulgar nature and bleak comedic stylings made it a favorite among parents.
Remembered for a slew of boundary-pushing jokes, it’s hard to believe that Ren & Stimpy ever hit the airwaves at all. Frequently featuring gags about politics, religion, substance abuse, and more, it stood out among other shows airing on the network at the time. Additionally, the show later earned a spin-off titled Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon which received a TV-MA rating.
7 BoJack Horseman
Although the title character of BoJack Horseman is extremely agitating at times, it is hard not to root for him. This is what allows this show to be so popular among its audience. Although it has comedic elements, it truly takes on a darker tone as it continues on.
The amount of tragedy that is shown throughout this series is immense, but it adds value to it at the end of the day. When the series finale finally aired, it left no questions unanswered, which definitely has allowed it to be deemed as elite.
6 The Boondocks
Though sometimes shied away from due to its irreverent treatment of third-rail issues, The Boondocks was a major part of Adult Swim’s mid-2000s programming. A social commentary wrapped around the concept of a Black family moving into a predominantly white neighborhood, the show sought to advance conversation surrounding sensitive issues while poking fun at them at the same time.
Family Guy frequently makes light of stark situations, but rarely with the grace or intrigue of The Boondocks. While the latter seeks to provoke dialogue, the former rarely evolves beyond low-brow comedy.
5 Rick & Morty
As time went on, Rick & Morty would gradually get the attention that it truly deserves. Presently, it is easily one of the most popular adult cartoons, as the Rick & Morty series is immensely unique, while also being written in a stellar fashion.
Family Guy writers could learn from this series, as they spent a lot of time perfecting their scripts, which naturally leads to longer hiatuses between seasons. Sure, it can be hard for viewers to wait for new seasons, but it is always worth it in the long run, as these episodes are always spectacular.
4 Beavis & Butthead
Beavis and Butthead, the unfortunately-named protagonists of the Mike Judge-developed series of the same name, were cultural icons in the 1990s. Paragons of MTV culture, the two came to symbolize teenage life at the time.
Famous for propelling otherwise-obscure bands like The Butthole Surfers and Morbid Angel to fame, they were a huge part of the grunge and heavy metal movements of the time. As a result, these characters are far more significant than even the most recognizable characters from Quahog, Rhode Island.
3 Bob’s Burgers
Although this show may not be as popular as Family Guy, in terms of creativity, Bob’s Burgers outclasses it without a doubt. This show does a marvelous job of making its main characters like real people, which naturally allows the audience to relate to them.
Family ties and relatable familial struggles are central to the show, which is part of what makes it so solid. In fact, most of the series is following the Belcher family through their struggles with the restaurant, but also the connections they have with one another. The original music from them is always stupendous, as well.
Another mid-2000s Adult Swim staple, Metalocalypse ran for four seasons and depicted the dialed-to-eleven exploits of the fictional death metal band Dethklok. Poking fun at many of the stereotypes surrounding the metal subculture as well as sociopolitical events of the era, Metalocalypse was absolutely one-of-a-kind.
It stands apart from the likes of Family Guy thanks to its undeniable identity. While Family Guy tackles many subjects and situations, it rarely settles into a definite rhythm of its own. Metalocalypse, on the other hand, feels like its own thing and never makes an effort to replicate or mimick any other pop culture material.
1 South Park
South Park is essentially the opposite of Family Guy in every single way; it’s true that they’re both comedies, but they’re radically different in terms of approach. What allows South Park to be way better is the fact that their jokes stay within the story, which is a necessity for a show to be good.
The series has yet to lose its spark despite having initially debuted nearly thirty years ago. Continually relevant and always able to capitalize on and criticize current events, South Park is one of the best in the business.
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