The Critic [1994-1995; ABC/Fox]
Self-deprecating humor was commonly employed as we all watched the the ups and (many) downs of Jay Sherman’s life. My 8-year-old mind found this series on par with that of the much more age-appropriate Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. His perpetual “Charlie Brown, just missing the football” attitude and the many movie parodies, weren’t ahead of their time per se, but they were witty (an unappreciated trait in animated series at the time). With American Dad still going strong, it makes me feel like it wouldn’t have killed Fox to give this show another few seasons to reach Simpson-level popularity.
Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man [1994-1997; USA]
Duckman was low-brow and foul (I considered making the fowl joke, but I thought it would be dumb….yet somehow not dumb enough to mention that I considered it.) The show had simplistic animation and was an acquired taste that you either found hilarious or stupid (Beavis and Butthead got there first, but the creators did provide some of the comedic DNA for South Park). Duckman was sexist and self-centered….and funny. Not having the necessary love from the youth consumers (this could have been due to the time slot or channel) was considered a death sentence for all things amazing during this time and so, this show was cancelled.
The Oblongs [2001-2002; The WB]
A smart and dark comedy that provides social commentary on the relatively twisted nature of the class system in our society….and if they would have marketed it that way and the show came on now people would have been all over it. Unfortunately, disabilities and the effects of living near radiation weren’t funny to the masses. Bob (the father with no limbs) and Beth (the daughter with the
penis growth on the side of her head) were among the most disfigured, yet had sunny dispositions that would piss off Barney. The characters were colorful and this weird show made sense. The WB was never known for its classy programming but somehow this show only proved worthy of 13 episodes.
Kid Notorious [2003-2004; Comedy Central]
Kid Notorious was the prototype for Archer (great series, Aisha Tyler is my girl-crush and will be for the rest of my days). You may not have found this show all that funny (or even heard of it), but you have to appreciate the sheer hubris it took for Hollywood producer Robert Evans to create a show about himself and voice a cartoon version OF HIMSELF. I’m still not sure what drew me to this show, but it was funny and memorable enough that I still bring it up in semi-casual conversation. I still wait for the day I meet someone in real life that has seen this show and can appreciate my favorite line (“I can’t believe you slept with my wife/It was a threesome. Heh heh. Nobody slept”).