Top 10 Cartoon Moments That Made Fans Rage Quit
While most cartoons make for an entertaining TV experience, these moments crossed a few serious lines.
Is it just me, or did Spongebob get dark real quick? Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Cartoon Moments That Made Fans Rage Quit." For this list, we’ll be looking at 10 controversial moments from cartoons that made fans rage quit in disappointment.
These scenes were either immediately detested, or hated in hindsight for leading to a decline in a show’s overall quality.
Eleven minutes is all a show needs to send its reputation down the toilet. Case in point—the short episode “Everyone Knows It’s Bendy.” Throughout the episode, newcomer Bendy commits a ton of bratty actions like writing on the walls, breaking vases, and walking through the house with muddy shoes. Unfortunately, other characters like Bloo and Wilt are framed and accused of Bendy’s wrongdoings, and he eventually gets off without repercussions. Bendy was such a detested character that he was never brought back, and the episode’s writer, Lauren Faust, apologized to fans for writing him into the show.
"American Fung" was an experiment that just did not work. In this meta episode, American Dad! creator Seth MacFarlane sells the show to a Chinese businessman named Fung Wah. It’s kind of an interesting concept that could have yielded some funny scenarios, but… it didn’t. It was immediately disliked by fans and currently sits at a quite abysmal 4/10 on IMDb. Common criticisms include the purposeless inclusion of Fung Wah, the lame, repetitive jokes, and the total absence of a plot. Viewers were left staring at their TV screens in total disbelief as this bizarre and humorless event played out in front of them. And let us tell you, they weren’t very happy about it.
We hate to say it, but the future legacy of Archer could be in question. If it ended around Season Seven, it may have been praised as one of the best animated shows of all time. But Seasons Eight and Nine have done significant damage to its reputation, and it all started with Archer falling into a coma. The subsequent seasons—Dreamland and Danger Island, respectively—have been fiercely criticized by the fanbase for being inconsequential. Yes, Archer’s coma has allowed the writers to experiment with different settings, time periods, and situations, but it also means that none of the onscreen events hold meaning. They’re essentially two seasons of filler, and unfunny filler at that.
Introducing new characters into a beloved show is always tricky. Some, like the cherished Desmond Hume on Lost, become instant fan favorites. Others, like Poof, are so bad that they single handedly ruin what was once a great show. The death knell of The Fairly OddParents arguably rang with the Season Six premiere Fairly OddBaby, which introduced fan-not-favorite Poof to the show. And things only got worse. Sparky joined the Turner family in Season Nine, but was instantly hated by the fans and written out. And then Chloe was introduced in Season Ten and broke the proverbial camel’s back. A show can only withstand so much!
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the TV business throughout the years, it’s that South Park can survive anything. Whether it’s seemingly world-ending controversies, political enemies, or proclamations of declining quality, the show has weathered it all. Except maybe the whole Mrs. Garrison thing. The sex change storyline was criticized for being lazy and clichéd, with many considering it little more than an excuse to be controversial. This is reinforced by the inclusion of graphic footage from a real sex change operation, which Trey and Matt only included because they were out of ideas. South Park can be intelligent and thought-provoking when it wants to be, but this was not one of those times.
Sometimes a show is a little too cheeky for its own good. This infamous episode began with Robin breaking the dramatic news of the evil Slade’s return. But it then cut straight to the battered Titans emerging from the tower and talking about how great the battle and associated storylines had been. As you can imagine, this royally pissed off fans, and many were quick to denounce the show’s manipulation. Others hated the episode’s message about how childish nostalgia can be. "The Return of Slade" currently sits at a 2/10 on IMDb, a clear indication of the utter disdain the fans have towards this episode.
Honestly, what the heck happened to SpongeBob SquarePants? What was once a charming show about an eccentric sea sponge is now… whatever it is. We can think of two specific scenes that are emblematic of the show’s decline—the disgusting toenail sequence from "House Fancy," and Plankton’s suicide attempt in "One Coarse Meal." The former represented an unwelcome shift to gross-out humor while the latter was something that just didn’t belong on a children’s TV show. Fans hated that Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob prayed on Plankton’s fears to the point of suicide, and harshly condemned the writers for treating a sensitive topic irresponsibly. There’s nothing like a good suicide joke to get the kids laughing... said no one.
Jumping the shark is a term that represents a show’s instantaneous decline in quality, and it’s named after a scene in “Happy Days” where Fonzie literally jumps a shark on water skis. If “jumping the shark” never caught on, we could have used “meeting The Great Gazoo,” because this little green alien effectively killed The Flintstones. While Gazoo wasn’t introduced until the final season and only appeared in a handful of episodes, critics immediately lambasted his inclusion for being nonsensical and stupid. Why on Earth did they decide to write an alien into the show? No one knows, and to this day it remains one of the most baffling decisions in TV history.
Brian Griffin’s death will always have a place in the TV history books. Just not for the right reasons. The whole fiasco began with the twelfth season episode "Life of Brian." In it, Brian is graphically mangled by a car and later dies with the tearful Griffins by his side. His surprisingly poignant death made headlines and reinvigorated mainstream interest in Family Guy, but met with terrible ire from the show’s fanbase. IMDb was pummeled with bad reviews and a petition to bring back Brian was started on Change.org. And while Brian did indeed return only two episodes later, this too received criticism, as the temporary death was considered a manipulative ratings ploy. It was a lose-lose situation.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are some dishonorable mentions.
- Master Shake Microwaves a Cat—Aqua Teen Hunger Force
- The Introduction of Scrappy-Doo—Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo
- Arnold Betrays Iggy—Hey Arnold!
- No Such Luck—The Loud House
- Ben & Julie Break Up Over a Video Game—Ben 10: Omniverse
The weird thing about The Simpsons” decline is that no one can agree on when it started. Many critics point to the evil elf jockeys from Season Eleven’s "Saddlesore Galactica." But mothers argue that the decline came sooner, in Season Nine’s "The Principal and the Pauper." This is the episode that reveals Seymour Skinner to be an imposter named Armin Tamzarian. Fans absolutely hated this revelation, and it’s often called the definitive end of the show’s Golden Age. Even those associated with The Simpsons, including Matt Groening and Harry Shearer, consider the episode to be a horrible mistake and one of the show’s worst. With this one simple storyline, a TV empire began to crumble.