Animated Characters and the Meaning of Life [infographic]

BreakingModern — How much are we, any of us, defined by those hand-drawn and computer animated characters of our youth? Tarzan, Spongebob and Pocahontas enchanted years of childhood wonder and now, for the most part, we’ve grown up into fully functioning adult humans. But we carry a piece of our favorite animated heroes with us.

The infographic (below) inspired and rekindled some of the simple, straightforward truth about life that these characters dole out.

animated characters

Life Advice from 50 Beloved Animated Characters infographic: AAA State of Play and DailyInfographic

A few of my favorites (and personal heroes) may date me. Adventure Time characters are reminiscent of college, not my youth, and Phineas and Ferb is only on my radar because of nieces and nephews.

You see, I’m a Hey Arnold! kid. Gerald’s quote, “It’s real life, and in real life you can’t always win,” feels like a perfect encapsulation of that show. We learned about Arnold’s semi-awkward and yet endearing antics, his football-shaped head and, yes, that real life will sometimes spit you out. Talk about calling it.

Video: Hey Arnold I’m Crazy

Patrick Star, meanwhile, will forever remind of me of underwater hamburgers. His quote, “Sometimes we have to go deep inside ourselves to solve our problems,” was probably voiced in a ridiculous, slightly dull manner, but its lesson is pure. I’m doing precisely what he said 15 years later: searching inside for what is important, what I value and how to find my own happiness. It’s not easy, and Patrick knew that. If I only I lived under a rock …

While this list of 50 is excellent (hats off to AAA State of Play), there are a few personal icons missing.

Ren and Stimpy. At least Ren. His quote would probably be, “What’s weird? There’s no weird, man. What’s normal? There’s no normal.” The severely slapstick and dark sitcom freaked me out, just like a bunch of other strangely entranced children, and signaled that everything, and everyone, is valid.

Video: Ren & Stimpy: Don’t Whiz on the Electric Fence!

Following in the disturbed vein, I would say Rocko, an Australian wallaby, is the stalwart hero of my childhood. Here’s a great quote from Rocko’s Modern Life: “You know, Spunky, sometimes grocery day can be a very dangerous day, but at least we got food.”

The randomness that this show allowed filled my brain with creative wonder. I’m a writer now (clearly) and, thinking back, the inane plots with precise, often highly ironic and sarcastic humor gave me permission to explore the natural phenomena of a sometimes-dull life with madness and humor.

Video: Rocko’s Modern Life Clip: Pain and Relief

Hats off to the creators of these animated characters, and to continual years of this tradition. I mean, have any of you seen Yo Gabba Gabba?

For BMod, I’m Daniel Zweier.

Featured Image Credit: Hey Arnold! Nickelodeon

Daniel Zweier

Author: Daniel Zweier

Based in Oakland, Daniel Zweier covers culture, travel and tech here at BreakingModern. Follow him on Twitter @dbzweier and on G+ at +DanielZweier

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