During the 20th Century, cartoon families took to film and television. Everyone is familiar with Disney's The Lion King and the award-winning Simpsons. However, many underrated cartoon families came and went without a lot of fanfare.
15 Underrated Animated Cartoon Families
Some of the cartoon families below are heartwarming and reveal the importance of families, while others share an important social message. But most reveal that family relationships can be comical and whacky, but conflict is a given and family is essential. You can watch most of these cartoon families online.
1. Meet the Robinsons
Meet the Robinsons is the story of a 12-year-old orphan and boy genius named Lewis who longs for a family. Lewis seriously doubts himself and his abilities as an inventor until he makes a time-traveling journey with Wilbur Robinson and meets a family that's beyond his wildest dreams.
2. The Oblongs
The Oblongs are your typical New Jersey family. Except they've been doused in radiation and completely deformed. Dad has no legs or arms. Mom is a bald alcoholic, and their kids consist of conjoined twins, a disturbed psycho, and a daughter with a weird growth coming out of her head. The show only lasted one season, but it's brilliant due to its offbeat humor and its commentary on societal situations. The complete series is available on Amazon.
3. Craig of the Creek
Craig of the Creek is an animated 2018 series about a kid named Craig who has adventures in his neighborhood exploring the local creek with his two best friends. Craig of the Creek is nerdy, playful, and imaginative and noteworthy for its heartwarming depiction of a close, loving Black family.
Daria is a spin-off of Beavis and Butthead that ran from 1997 to 2002. Daria is a high school girl whose smart, cynical, and an outsider at school. Additionally, Daria must deals with a dysfunctional family at home. The complete series is available on Amazon.
5. Brother Bear
Brother Bear is a Disney animated film that tells the story of three brothers, Sitka, Denahi, and Kenai, as well as Koda, an orphaned a bear cub. In the end, this heart-touching animated film is about the importance of family, both the family you're born into and the family you pick for yourself. This is one of Disney's most underrated cartoon films.
6. Home Movies
The main character in Home Movies is Brendon Small. Brendon is eight years old and an ambitious aspiring filmmaker who makes movies in his basement with his two best friends. Brandon is coming to terms with growing up and difficult adults in his life. These include an alcoholic mother who's dating his alcoholic soccer coach. The complete series is available on Amazon.
7. The PJs
The PJs is about Thurgood Stubbs, the chief superintendent of the housing project where he and his wife Muriel live. The PJs, created by Eddie Murphy, follows the Stubbs family's adventures. Although it's often been discounted, it's notable for depicting Black urban life on television.
8. F Is for Family
F is for Family is a Netflix original adult cartoon about a typical middle-class family in the 1970s. The dad is stuck at a job he hates but must provide for his family. The mom tries hard to be the ideal wife and mom. The oldest son is a teenager and a struggling guitarist; the middle child is a boy who is bullied, and the young daughter is her daddy's little "princess."
9. Moral Orel
Moral Orel is a dark comedy about a little Christian boy named Orel Puppington. Orel's father is a cynical alcoholic who hates his job and wife. Orel's mother, Bloberta, appears blissfully unaware of the problems that surround her. Orel's hero is the lonely and sexually frustrated pastor, Rev. Rod Putty. This cartoon family is not for everyone, but it is irreverently hysterical.
10. Lloyd in Space
Lloyd in Space is a Disney show about a group of aliens living in outer space. It follows the adventures of Lloyd, his friends, and his family. Lloyd's mother is the stern but loving commander of the Intrepidville Space Station. His little sister, Francine, has secret powers she uses when mom's not around.
11. Dave the Barbarian
Dave the Barbarian was a fun Disney Channel series set in the Medieval-era that only lasted one season. Dave is a sweet barbarian who's more interested in his family and cooking than battling evil. Dave has two sisters, Fang and Candy, and an uncle Oswidge, a Merlin-like sorcerer who casts spells that do more harm than good.
12. Wait Till Your Father Gets Home
In Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, the father is Harry Boyle. He's a conservative businessman who has a hippy son named Chet, and a sexually liberated daughter named Jamie. There's also a shrewd youngest son, his wife Irma, and a paranoid neighbor, Ralph, who's preparing for the oncoming takeover by the Communists. This 1972 Hanna-Barbra animated sitcom, once underrated, is now considered groundbreaking.
13. The Proud Family
The Proud Family consists of a Black teen girl, Penny, her tightwad father, no-nonsense mother, gruff grandmother, and her naughty twin siblings. Penny mostly deals with minor conflicts with her friend and family as well as at school.
14. Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man
Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man is about an oafish womanizing private-eye duck and a single dad raising three wild, dysfunctional kids. Duckman has been largely overlooked. But Duckman's struggle to balance his life as a private detective with being a single dad provides hours of surreal and entertaining fun. This cartoon series is available on Amazon.
15. The Boondocks
The Boondocks, an adult animated sitcom, is about two Black brothers, Huey and Riley Freeman, who live in a predominately white suburb with their grandfather. It's a unique social satire about stereotypes and the prejudices Black people face in America.
Cartoon Families Are Caricatures
Cartoon family sitcoms exaggerate the family's dysfunctions in order to create a more comic or grotesque effect. However, as author Joseph Conrad writes, "A caricature is putting the face of a joke on the body of a truth."