[ZOOMER TIMES] 20 Old Cartoons Older Gen Z Will Recognize


Glenda Chiang, Review Staff

Alike many other shows that we have watched when we were kids, many cartoons are prevalent in shaping us into who we are today. Older Gen Z lived in a weird period where phones were growing in the market and we borrowed our sibling’s iPod to watch YouTube, or played on our regular DS Lite, or even during school when they replaced all the projectors for smartboards and the teachers would take a few minutes to recalibrate the pen. In short, the early 2000s was a weird transition time; going all out with technology. 

From Power Puff Girls to Johnny Bravo, there are a lot of cartoons in general that are memorable. I am very fond of cartoons because they impacted me as much as shows like Hannah Montana or Suite Life of Zack and Cody did. In this list are cartoons made from 1999 to 2019, but the majority of the list are cartoons within the early 2000s for the nostalgia factor — and to cater to the older Gen Z like me.

I am taking these cartoons based off of three personal categories; 

Fondness –  How much of an impact it had on my childhood.

Watchability – How often I watched these shows.

Memorability – How much I remember from these shows.

Possible spoilers ahead.


20. Kim Possible (2002-2007)

It’s not like I don’t like this show — I love it! Unfortunately, I didn’t watch it as much as I would have liked to so, in turn, I don’t think it’s fair to rank a show that I barely watched over others. Aside from that, I always thought that the naked mole-rat was cute.


19. Dragon Tales (1999-2005)

I love dragons, that is all there is to say on the matter.



18. Teen Titans (2003-2006)

I would watch this show whenever my brother would watch it, but never actively watched it myself unless there was absolutely nothing else on. 





17. Ed, Edd, n Eddy (1999-2008)

Same story as Teen Titans, but with my cousin. It was her favorite show and it deceived me about how big Jawbreakers were.


16. 6teen (2004-2010)

This is another one of those cartoons that I liked but never got to watch that much. I like it more because the style was so clean and the designs of the characters intrigued me.




15. Ben 10 (2005-2008)

Like Teen Titans, I only put this cartoon up because I would watch it so often with my brother. Even though I didn’t really get the story, I still liked it.





14. Wow Wow Wubbzy (2006-2010)

The theme song always got stuck in my head. I always thought that the style was cute and watched more so for the cuteness rather than the actual content. We all have our shows like that where we watch because it was pretty more than anything.



13. Curious George (2006-2015)

The Man in the Yellow Hat is an iconic man that literally wears yellow on yellow every day as a choice. I love George and the Mandela Effect around his design sticks with me almost as much as the Rubix/Rubik’s cube one.



12. Max and Ruby (2002-present)

I loved seeing this show and the aesthetic makes me feel super soft. I love the soft florals and the aesthetic of the show in general. That meme where someone said that Max looks like Vladimir Putin haunts me to this day, but what can you do?



11. Little Einsteins (2005-2010)

I just remember having a VCR recording of a few episodes. It’s probably a show that influences how much I like music to this day because of it. Honestly, it’s a catalyst for my love of music along with Phineas and Ferb.


10. Spongebob Squarepants (1999-present)

A great cartoon and still makes episodes today. I would rank this higher, but because of personal preference, some episodes I caught during reruns were really episodes I didn’t really like. I would watch every episode eventually, but now isn’t really the time and I’m not too hung up about it. The musical based on the show is really good though; I would highly recommend. Rest in Peace Stephen Hillenburg, your work is a staple of many of our childhood memories.


9. Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999-2002)

I think every person that has seen this show has that one episode that still haunts them to this day. “King Ramses Curse” (or as I like to call, the Slab Episode) is the episode that haunts me to this day because of ONE SCENE with the ghost of King Ramses. I am very fond of this show because it’s just so different from the rest of the cartoons I watch. 



8. Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends (2004-2009)

I loved the concept as a kid and I still do now. Wilt is my favorite and I loved his entire episode dedicated to him. I thought Cheese was annoying; I would play the Cheese game on the Cartoon Network website because I had so much spite for him as a kid. I loved the different designs of each character and their role in the show and basically exposed me that quite literally everyone was different. 



7. Chowder (2007-2010)

The ridiculousness of that show is one I will remember even decades from now. The animation style and the coloring always mesmerized me because instead of having a flat solid color, the animators chose to have a stagnant texture to color their characters, and whenever they moved, they would scroll against the texture so it was like they were moving without the colored texture.



6. Total Drama (2007-2014)

This was a wild show and I loved the heck out of it. It was one of those shows that even if you were a kid, you know that some of the stuff in here was illegal to do. But the creators got away with it because it was a parody of reality TV shows. There was a teenage contestant who fell into a vat of toxic waste and survived to become a Golem from Lord of the Rings looking character. He was part of the antagonists for some of the seasons after!


5. Fairly OddParents (2001-2017)

Mainly a show to watch when there was nothing else to watch on TV. I basically just projected myself to Timmy’s escapism of regular life and it was great. There wasn’t anything too special about it, but it was a really enjoyable show regardless. The wildest episode I remember is when Timmy confessed to committing a 50-year-old crime by wishing that he would be a kid forever and then wished Cosmo and Wanda to forget about it. 


4. Wonder Pets (2006-2016)

One of my top favorite cartoons when growing up in general. I remember having a VCR tape of a few recorded episodes to watch over and over because I loved them so much. The duck — her name was Ming-Ming — was my favorite. The show was most likely one of the huge factors in festering my compassion for animals. I would also remember playing the only dress up game that I knew of that show because I just loved dress up games as a kid.


3. Phineas and Ferb (2007-2015)

THERE’S ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR DAYS OF SUMMER VACATION, AND SCH- number one Disney show I would watch when nothing else was on on either Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. This show just has so many memorable characters and the wackiness is such a breath of fresh air compared to the number of sitcoms Disney produced and still produces today. The songs are also some top-notch bangers and that’s all there really is to say on the matter.



2. Adventure Time (2010-2018)

Admittedly, I wasn’t one of those people who kept up with updates to the show the entire time. I dropped interest here and there and I have quite the fondness to it because I remember being in second grade searching for episodes that I didn’t know how to find yet. The stories aren’t connected at first glance, but in the end, the story ties together well. I loved the style of the show in its’ simplicity and adored the many characters in it. I SOBBED LIKE A BABY DURING THE FINALE; REBECCA SUGAR, YOU WRITE SONGS TOO WELL.


1. Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008)

My favorite childhood cartoon of all time! I would hog the TV all the time to catch the reruns and of course, I got so emotional when it ended. The writing is fantastic and it definitely has a lot of rewatchability now because of the successful writing that drew me in the first place. This series, in general, exposed me to fantasy settings which were in my interest and still are to this day. I loved the categorization and the story of just one kid learning that he can be great. Unlike any other cartoon storyline, this show had a lot to say and it had an immense amount of heavy stuff. It is a story about a twelve-year-old kid ending a century-year-old war. Who wouldn’t like a heavy story like Avatar?


To recap, cartoons were just a big part of my life and impacted me as a person, and undoubtedly any other person with access to cable TV. These shows make our childhood and influence our entire culture as the first generation with all access to technology.