5 of The Absolute Best Adult Swim Shows
Adult Swim shows have always been there for me. Whether it was during my middle school years when Aqua Teen Hunger Force permanently warped my developing mind with its excessive violence and crude, but awesome jokes. Or to the present day with the maniacal Eric Andre Show and irreverent Rick and Morty.
The network has always had something for everyone, and that’s what makes it great.
I always liked that Adult Swim got progressively weirder as the night went on. At 9 pm you’d be watching Mike Judge’s King of The Hill, a classic that could’ve had some episodes air on the earlier Cartoon Network.
But by 12 am and beyond you were in for weirdness: Robot Chicken, Squidbillies, Frisky Dingo, and the mind-bending fake infomercials that were geared towards anyone baked out of their mind.
In short, every night Adult Swim would bring the heat (and still does).
And don’t get me started on Toonami, Adult Swim’s alter ego that introduced the Western world to contemporary anime like Naruto, One Piece and Dragon Ball Z. I’m getting shivers down my spine just thinking of the number of childhoods that Cartoon Network, Toonami, and Adult Swim have sculpted.
So today let’s discuss our five favorite Adult Swim shows.
5. Rick and Morty
I’m always apprehensive when it comes to letting rookies on a list of legends. Rising NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo or recent Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, while both incredible, they better stay out of your mouth when it comes to comparing them to the legends.
Conversely, Rick and Morty might be the new kid on the block when compared to other Adult Swim shows, but it’s already cemented its legacy. The show has singlehandedly brought Adult Swim into the next decade.
Popularity aside, however, there is something special about Rick and Morty. Its impromptu nature, voice actors laughing in the actual takes, or watching a pop tart drive a toaster to work. All mixed with heavy themes of philosophy and ethics makes the show feel like Star Trek meets Tim and Eric.
It does have a toxic, high-brow fanbase, but who the hell cares anymore? Wubba lubba dub dub you sick bastards.
4. Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
Tim and Eric is one of those Adult Swim shows that influenced pretty much everything we see today. From internet hangouts like Reddit and 4Chan to view hungry Tik Tokers and the aforementioned Rick and Morty.
When it comes to irreverent comedy in 2020, it’s likely that Tim and Eric had an impact on it.
Their sketches are still some of the best in comedy and rival shows like Dave Chappelle’s Show and Monty Python.
Yeah, it was that good, and certainly that influential.
3. The Eric Andre Show
You don’t get The Eric Andre Show without Tim and Eric. The comedic duo actually produced the Adult Swim show back in 2012 and played a huge part in its success. That shouldn’t be a surprise as The Eric Andre Show is Tim and Eric on cocaine (which is saying a lot).
The show stars the manic, delusional and impromptu comedy king Eric Andre and his mellow comedic sidekick, Hannibal Buress. And from start to finish these two comedy stars send you a twisted, anti-comedic trip to hell.
Eric starts every show anew by tearing down the studio, beating his band half to death, and usually running around naked while he sets everything on fire (usually breaking a few desks in the process).
After he tires himself out his crew puts the studio back together in a matter of seconds and his co-star Hannibal makes his way out. This is only the first two minutes of The Eric Andre Show. From there you’re in for a deranged experience filled with street skits, celebrity interviews, and dry comedy that words cannot do proper justice.
2. The Boondocks
I remember the first time I showed a group of white friends Aaron Mcgruder’s The Boondocks. The episode: “A Date with the Booty Warrior.”
Throughout the runtime, my friends all sat there greatly disturbed; not believing a show could address the subject matters it did or use the n-word so liberally.
But in the middle of all the profanity and raw subject matter was a great message (though not in that particular episode besides how not to get raped in prison).
Funny enough, these were friends who enjoyed Adult Swim shows like Family Guy and Robot Chicken, but The Boondocks took satire too far for them, or perhaps to uncomfortably.
The Boondocks does what all great satire does, it makes the viewer uncomfortable. It attacks topics like the racism and ignorance of white America but in that same episode, it might address the black community’s self-sabotage through our destructive culture.
What we consider to be satire of today is piss poor compared to The Boondocks, Chapelle’s Show, South Park, and Sacha Baron Cohen’s performative stunts.
SNL? Late Show with Stephen Colbert? Full Frontal with Samantha Bee? Get the fuck out of here. Can these shows poke fun of anything that isn’t Donald Trump? Nope, because they’re fucking scared of getting canceled if they go after anyone that isn’t Trump or [insert white nationalist of the week].
But I digress. The Boondocks wasn’t scared of anyone; they went after republicans, liberals, blacks, whites, hell, they even went after former president Barack Obama. Even though the show was created by a black man, I doubt it could survive the cancel wars of today.
1. Space Ghost Coast to Coast
Standing at the top is one of the shows that started it all, Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Tim and Eric influenced Eric Andre, Rick and Morty, and modern-day sketch comedy; but without Space Ghost, there wouldn’t be a Tim and Eric or any Adult Swim shows for that matter.
Space Ghost embodies the Adult Swim spirit and creativity. The series follows a 1960’s animated character who now hosts a spoof talk show with real celebrity guests and esoteric comedy.
Without this early Adult Swim show, there’d be a butterfly effect of tragic proportions leading up to the comedies of today. But influence aside, everything about this show is fascinating.
The show had no budget, just 8,000+ hours of 1960’s Hanna-Barbera animation and Mike Lazzo, the former mailroom guy, spearheading the project.
In an interview with Syfy, Lazzo says he asked network president Ted Turner for a budget, but that he turned them away.
“We went to Ted and said, ‘Please can we have some money?’ And he said, like any parent would, ‘Use what you’ve got, and then maybe we can talk later about this.'”
So Lazzo and team dug into the Hanna-Barbera archives and created Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
The Adult Swim show came out in the middle of the Late Night wars between Leno, Lettermen, Conan, and Arsenio Hall, but had no problem taking off on its own. The show still holds up today (and you can see the Eric Andre influence all over it) and is the best Adult Swim show to date.