The best comedies remain hilarious every time you watch them, even though you know what’s coming. After all, as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing. That’s what cartoon producers thought at least when they turned some of the best — sometimes adult — funny movies out there into animated TV shows, but since they mostly flopped or faded away, you probably never heard of them. Watch these animated shows if you loved the movies, whether you’re in a nostalgic mood or you want to see if they can make you laugh as hard as the film versions.
“The Real Ghostbusters”
“The Real Ghostbusters,” not to be confused with a completely unrelated earlier cartoon show called “Ghostbusters,” was based on the 1980s comedies “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters 2.” Running for six seasons from 1984 to 1991, you may have actually heard about the cartoon if you were watching Saturday morning TV at the time, but if not, chances are the movie is a definite favorite but the cartoon doesn’t ring a bell.
As Tor.com indicates, “The Real Ghostbusters” was aimed at kids, but it certainly didn’t dumb down the franchise. Bringing in writers who would one day make their mark on comics, “The Real Ghostbusters” was fairly continuity-driven, building on what worked in the films and expanding on it, like the technology the Ghostbusters used to capture spirits. The cartoon is perfect to show your kids who love the film — but chances are you’ll appreciate the writing and humor, too.
A 1994 indie film named “Clerks” turned Kevin Smith into a well-known filmmaker. Although he’s made big budget films and independent films alike, the characters introduced in “Clerks” would go on to become some of Smith’s most famous creations. In 2000, six years after the film’s original release, Smith continued to capitalize on the “Clerks” characters with “Clerks: The Animated Series.”
A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it run of two episodes aired on ABC originally, “Clerks: The Animated Series” consists of just six episodes, which eventually would air on Comedy Central and were released for home video in 2001. Meant for adults without being too offensive for older children, the cartoon version of the show has little in common with the movie, but it has a humor of its own that makes it a must-see for fans of Smith’s works and adult cartoons alike.
“Police Academy: The Series”
Beginning with the 1984 film of the same name, “Police Academy” was a long-running franchise of comedy films following the zany and sometimes incompetent members of a police department. Although the original is rated R for adult situations and language, the characters’ silliness lent well to kids-friendly comedy, which is why the series eventually became an animated series in 1988.
“Police Academy: The Series” lasted two seasons and introduced an arch-villain, the Kingpin. While very kid-friendly and heavy on situational comedy, the animated series is true to the slapstick of the series.
“Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: The Animated Series”
Another somewhat adult movie translated into a kid-friendly cartoon series, “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: The Animated Series” didn’t air until 1990, twelve years after the movie was released. Kids who laughed at the monstrous, chomping tomatoes in the original may love the cartoon’s similar creatures. What’s more interesting, however, is how the parody aspect of the film translates to the cartoon. Since the movie was a parody of low-budget 1950s monster movies, the cartoon breaks the fourth wall to parody the low-budget film genre.
While some of these cartoons were created for children, they all are valuable to a fan of classic funny movies. See for yourself whether or not the animated version of your favorite comedies deserved to fade into obscurity. At the very least, you’ll impress a few people the next time you want to show off your trivia knowledge at a gathering. “Did you know that “Police Academy” was once a cartoon…?”