How Would You Make An Adult Cartoon

SweetShop209

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The title explains itself. It's no secret that adult cartoons these days are mixed. There are good ones like Rick And Morty, but then you have shows like Brickleberry and Mr. Pickles, which are just shock shows. This is usually why I stick to kids shows because, with a few exceptions, they can ironically be more mature than adult cartoons. This brings the question: How would you make an adult cartoon? I've also noticed how many adult cartoons, good or bad, are animated sitcoms like Family Guy, The Simpsons, American Dad, and more. It doesn't bother me, but it's something I noticed.
 

Mostezli

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Step 1: Get out of the comedy genre (humor in lighter doses and not the primary intent; in response to "this is funny because it's ridiculous"...'ADHD' is ironically accurate to the state of adult animated shows)
Step 2: No superheroes as much as I love Spawn TAS and The Maxx
Step 3: No school setting as much as I love MTV's output
Step 4: I want interesting/thrilling adult dramas with well-developed characters and, to a much much lesser extent, concepts that justify the medium when you could just do a live-action show.
 

Goldstar Neo

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It's funny. I'm over 40 and I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to go about making an "adult" cartoon. Sure, one could try to make something in the non-comedic genre, like say an animated drama or something more action or mystery oriented, but I personally have neither the desire nor the ability to make a cartoon like that. Mind you, I don't consciously make my cartoons for kids either; I make them for me. I just make the kinds of shows that I want to see and write whatever I think is funny.

The late Maurice Sendak (author of Where the Wild Things Are, Really Rosie and The Nutshell Library) once said when he being interviewed on The Colbert Report about writing children's books, responded with "I don't write children's books. I wrote books and people say 'That's for children'."

Ironically, I find many kids' cartoons to be far more entertaining and imaginative than most of the adult TV cartoons that are currently running (with only a small number of exceptions).
 
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CoolEric158

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Create characters and stories and a style that would appeal to me, and if they happen to appeal more to adults than kids, then that's that.
 

JoeMabbon

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I've also noticed how many adult cartoons, good or bad, are animated sitcoms like Family Guy, The Simpsons, American Dad, and more. It doesn't bother me, but it's something I noticed.

Sitcoms and police procedurals are the mostly widely watched and popular scripted genres with mainstream audiences, at least according to all the major networks. Which is where the shows you mentioned air or aired. Every other adult show that breaks out of that mold is either on cable, streaming, or the internet and is supported by a niche fandom.

Has anyone ever attempted a serious police procedural in western animation? There doesn't seem to be any point to making one when there are so many live action cop shows. But there's also a glut of sitcoms and animated sitcoms continue to be made.
 

90'sKid

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Simple, I would right an engaging show that appeals to the adult demographic, without relying on shock humor, gross-out and racism.
 

Golden Geek

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If I were doing a serious show I'd want to keep in the league of shows like Nana, Usagi Drop, and Honey and Clover; shows that are for adults because of their adult plotlines, not pointless 'adult' content.

If I were doing a comedy I'd keep it at Clone High level; some risque/off-color humor when it feels best, but not for shock value or because I'm out of ideas.
 

PapaGreg

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Eh, first I go the Japan route and adapt famous comics books like Southern Bastards, Invincible, The Authority, Chew, Preacher, Ex Machina, The Runaways, and Saga so I'll get the business booming and afterwards I'll make original adult content
 

Troy Troodon

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If I made an adult cartoon, I wouldn't go too far with the profanity (At most I'd use Damn, Hell, and ***) and I might include some sexual innuendo, but for the most part the show would be fairly Manilla, something like the Simpsons as apposed to Family Guy or South Park.

There'd be humor, but I'd try to focus on more self contained story telling.
 

Gear3dGryph0n

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Getting out of this stereotypical funk that adult cartoons are shock humor comedies with broken satire and crude/ugly art styles would be priority number one. Although there's still room for comedy in this business, most of these shows try to imitate each other on a superficial level, operating under the false pretense that comedy is easy to write.

Comedy is not easy to write. It's the most subjective genre there is, and the most saturated genre there is. You really need to be original and understand context and structure to make a good joke, and not be dependent on riding the coattails of past successes. Even though Family Guy has the same character dynamic as The Simpsons, it initially stood out because of the more risque comedy style. Now many people find it stale because not only has the style been done to death, but the characters are not likable or original enough to carry the show on their own without doing something that has been done before (hence "Simpsons Already Did It") or altering the characters.

Social satire cannot merely portray something negative happening, nor can it be one-sided. You don't just make someone look like an idiot for the sake of it. Show us what we're subconsciously thinking about that person. Root it in truth, and you have the layer of commentary necessary to make satire work. We probably thought that Kim Jong-Il was childish and the UN was ineffective for a long time, but Team America characterized those views on the screen through portrayals of those real-life characters that manifested our views of them.

In addition, parody doesn't mean just copying something that already exists or just name-dropping random public figures and media for the lulz. Parody, like satire, must have a layer of commentary and context, and has to be done in the right moderation. Too much of it comes off as condescending and unoriginal. There's a difference between just saying "Nicki Minaj" and making fun of her clothing and music styles.

That's just talking about comedy alone. There's opportunity for other genres to be done in animation as well. However, the focus in adult animation is on writing first and art second. Once we can focus more on art and, you know, doing what animation was meant to do, then we can think about other genres.

also, take advantage of the animation medium, and don't be afraid to go all out on the insanity

Pretty much this, but the prevailing notion is that it's more about the writing than the visuals. Once we change that notion and make the art more relevant, then we can talk about making adult animation more artistically significant.
 
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Dantheman

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I'd create a sci-fi action comedy show influenced by Futurama, Archer, and Rick and Morty. I'd do things like deconstruct various sci-fi tropes and cliches, but putting a clever spin on them (Like not having teleportation because it's too risky and prone to accidents).

Also, when bringing up current pop-culture references, they would have to be considered in a historical context, because this show would take place hundreds, perhaps thousands of years into the future. Who knows if people in the future will even know of, say, Lady Gaga? (That's what always kind of annoyed me about the pop-culture references in the Comedy Central episodes of Futurama.)
 

Zanneck

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It wouldn't be anything like what's on, now - too bad it wouldn't last long. But I'd be willing to take that risk to make something BETTER than what's forced on adults in the first place.

Too bad I'm not in this career field - I'd love to help Western Animation out with some of the stuff that goes on in my head everyday, that I could translate into cartoons, that is...
 

90'sKid

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^Every time I draw people, they come out like tubby stick figures. I will have to post some art tomorrow.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

SaneMan

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Pretty much this, but the prevailing notion is that it's more about the writing than the visuals. Once we change that notion and make the art more relevant, then we can talk about making adult animation more artistically significant.

To be fair, I'd take a well written show with weak visuals over a pretty looking show with awful writing
12 Oz. Mouse is a prime example of this
 

SweetShop209

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I've noticed how most adult shows are episodic while many kids shows (not all of them of course) have overarching narratives that explore interesting themes. If adult shows want more praise, they should take notes from kids shows on how to tell a good story.
 

EJLD4Ever

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When approaching the concept of an "Adult" cartoon, I would follow the same logic that the producers of the Golden-Age Theatrical cartoons and The Muppet Show used--their shows were made for adults, but with a mind that kids were watching. In particular, some violence, mild language and past-the-radar humor would be in the show, but the show would not go as far as Family Guy or Robot Chicken goes such as using over-the-top carnage or blatant, deliberately offensive stereotype humor.

Pop culture references and topical humor would strongly be encouraged in the show (after all, let's face it: even though a single episode of a TV series may be rerun 'til kingdom come, but out of sheer honesty each individual episode doesn't have that much of a shelf life beyond maybe a year or so worth of reruns), but unlike Family Guy, which makes pop culture jokes just for the halibut, any pop culture jokes in this show would be context-appropriate (think about how Warner Bros cartoon characters have uttered contemporary advertising slogans or radio-show catchphrases in their cartoons and you'll see what I'm talking about).

Also, I would try my hardest to get a high animation budget for pseudo-full animation (Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, Mickey's Mouseworks, and to a lesser extent, Cow & Chicken and Ed, Edd, & Eddy), as I bet we all deserve a break from the stiff, stilted, dirt-cheap Flash animated garbage that is common on cable TV these days.
 

JoeMabbon

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^ The Venture Bros. does that already
so did 12 Oz. Mouse

Metalocalypse and Perfect Hair Forever did this as well. Thinking back, even Squidbillies played around with story arcs early on.

Mike Tyson Mysteries seems to building towards one as well.
 

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