A few things to take note of before this tournament begins:
1) It’s going to incite a lot of rage from specific fan bases
2) Not every show was necessarily a Saturday morning show but rather a kids show. The majority, however, were on Saturday mornings. The greatest time slot in TV history.
3) Cartoons that were directed at a more adult audience (Simpsons, Family Guy, Beavis and Butthead, etc.) as well as Marvel and DC Superhero themed shows are excluded. Don’t worry, they’ll have their own tournament.
4) Many factors were taken into consideration when making these decisions – nostalgia obviously playing a huge part in them.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe vs. TMNT
He-Man, Skeletor and Castle Grayskull were enormous in the 80's, but fizzled out quickly, probably because of characters with names like "Fisto". The same can't be said for the Ninja Turtles, as they're still going strong and their Saturday morning cartoon show catapulted them into the success they've achieved today. This is enough to get them into the semi finals. Good news for He-Man fans though, as a Masters of the Universe movie is slated for 2019.
Rugrats vs. G.I. Joe
I have nothing bad to say about G.I. Joe, but the Rugrats were cultural icons. Find me any collage of the 90's and the Rugrats will be front and center. I'm sorry, 80's fans. I can hear you smashing your commodore 64's from here.
Inspector Gadget vs. Winnie the Pooh
The Inspector Gadget theme song was so good that it's now in your head, you've at least once in your life tried to impersonate Dr. Claw, and even today when I shift into third gear I say aloud "go go gadget wheels!", but who are we kidding? He's up against Winnie the Pooh.
Transformers vs. Ducktales
If anyone from the first round was going to give Transformers a run for its money it would be Scrooge McDuck and Huey, Dewey and Louie, but Transformers is simply in another league.
TMNT vs. Rugrats
The original TMNT cartoon show was an extension of the much darker comic book, reimagined for a younger audience. I was that audience, and I couldn't get enough turtles. It led to one great movie, another great movie if you were an 8 year old, and a third movie that no one remembers. The toys, current cartoon show, and blockbuster movies are still global phenomenons (despite Michael Bay, but more about him later), but, when it comes to the actual cartoon show, the edge will have to be given to Rugrats. My 8 year old self is screaming and throwing tiny hands at me for doing this, but he also ate toothpaste, so what does he know. Rugrats to the Finals.
Winnie the Pooh vs. Transformers
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh gives me the warmest nostalgic feelings of any cartoon show on this list. Winnie the Pooh is part of everyone's childhood, whether it be the books, the movies, or this wonderful TV show. It had so many thoughtful lessons delivered with such beautiful simplicity and depth that even as an adult you have to marvel at its messages. This is why it hurts me so much to have to eliminate Pooh and his friends, but they're competing against a cartoon that is nearing perfection. Transformers move on to the finals.
Rugrats vs. Transformers
This unintentionally turned out to be the 80’s vs. 90’s. If, like me, you lived through the entirety of the 90’s and the majority of the 80’s, then this puts you in a difficult spot. It’s like having to choose between a Walkman and a Discman.
Tommy, Chuckie, the twins and Angelica have made a huge cultural impact since they debuted in 1991. They’re as synonymous with the 90’s as Crystal Pepsi and MC Hammer. They debuted to decent ratings and were brought back in huge demand when they briefly stopped making new episodes. The people wanted these mischievous kids to keep being mischievous, and so they did! The Rugrats went from a ratings powerhouse to cultural icons, catapulting Nicolodeon to elite status in the TV world. They went on to become the eighth longest running American animated TV series, made a number of movies and video games, as well as capturing multiple Emmy’s, Kids Choice Awards, and even have a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Not bad for a lumpy headed Stewie Griffin and a group of nasally toddlers.
If the Rugrats are associated with the 90’s then the Transformers are right up there with Cherry Coke and the crimped hair of the 80’s.
In 1984 this iconic cartoon show was brought to a generation of kids who had never before considered whether or not their microwave oven could turn into a bad-ass robot.
In today’s current climate, there are a lot of grey areas and exhausting analysis about almost everything, so you can imagine how blissfully simple it was to have something that was so straightforward. Good vs. Evil. Autobots vs. Decepticons. Optimus Prime vs. Megatron.
From the opening theme song to the wonderfully creative concept, Transformers was a brilliant show that even to this day retains its cool factor.
It will largely be remembered for the Michael Bay iteration and the enormous entity it has become, but it all started with the original Hasbro toys, comic book and Saturday morning cartoon show. It was home to some amazing characters, engaging plot lines, and innovative approach.
It’s very hard to compare two shows of such a different nature, but overall Transformers (even pre-2007) has seemed to have a longer lasting impact. Taking nothing away from Rugrats, as its an adored show by millions, but Transformers was as close to Saturday morning cartoon perfection as you can get.
Now, let’s ice up some Toaster Strudels and and forget everything we learned at school the previous five days!