Why do you prefer cartoons over live-action?


Dec 31, 2020
United States
There are a lot of devoted cartoon fanatics who aren't afraid to admit that they don't care for live-action and say that it lacks many of the elements that make cartoons entertaining. I myself think it really depends on the show/genre whether I prefer animation or live-action, but I will say that I enjoy cartoons for their wacky surrealism and zany characters. My favorites are the ones about kids being kids (e.g. Ed, Edd 'n Eddy, Recess, Foster's, Rugrats) or childlike anthropomorphic characters (e.g. SpongeBob).

As for live-action, I'm mainly interested in sitcoms/comedies, especially ones about kids or adults who behave like kids. My favorites are The Brady Bunch, Leave It to Beaver, Dennis the Menace (1959 series), and Gilligan's Island (most of these being shown on MeTV, the only really entertaining channel that I can get on my OTA antenna). I don't really care for dramas/crimes/horror/sci-fis/westerns and find them too boring to follow, so it must have something to do with the cheery and upbeat nature of comedies that make them in line with that of cartoons.

Anyways, if I had one guess as to why animation fanatics don't like live-action that much, I'd assume it's pretty much the same reason why young children don't like them: because they're more realistic and thus "boring". Since the shows involve real people moving in front of a camera, it'd basically be the same thing as watching your family or friends talk and do things in front of you for 30 minutes, with some added laugh tracks, sound effects and digital editing. The only live-action shows that little kids (under 11) are really likely to understand or be remotely entertained by are the kid-oriented sitcoms found on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel. That was the case for me as a little kid. Other than those, I'm assuming that kids have trouble following live-action because it contains more grownup situations they haven't experienced yet that only adults and teenagers would relate to. Even for non-kid animation fans, I assume they'd see no point in watching real people go through those issues and would find them more entertaining if a cartoon character suffered those relatable problems, otherwise they'd be watching a reality show.

I'm personally a little split on the assessment that all live-action shows are "too realistic". Sci-fis would be the best genre to prove one wrong about that statement. There are also some comedies which aren't too out of line with the wackiness of cartoons in terms of unusual events occurring, such as The Three Stooges, Leave It to Beaver, Dennis the Menace (it was based on the comic strip after all), etc.

Overall I think animation is more entertaining due to the wackiness and surrealism that comes in more varieties than on live-action shows, but I really think it depends on the show/genre whether one is better than the other. What do you think?

JMTV Studios

Well-Known Member
Oct 2, 2020
Miramar, FL
The reason why I prefer cartoons over live-action is because I treat animation as a genre since
it has a wide variety of concepts, stories, and characters that I can actually follow with. It can do whatever it wants to do and bring the artists' creativity to life. That's what appeals to me and it's my passion.

As opposed to live-action, it didn't intrigued me all that much since I find most of them cookie-cutter, bland, same, repetitive, and played it itself way too safe (at least in my experience when it comes to modern Nick and Disney sitcoms, for what I saw). Not to mention with animation, it's a form of escapism for me since I need something distracting from the harshness of reality. With live action, sometimes I can do that, but for the most part I can't.

Granted, there are some live-action stuff I do like from my childhood, but that's was a long time ago. Now, I don't watched any live-action stuff at all. The only live action show that I do watch now was Marvel's Wandavision, which I find to be pretty decent, so far.


N0t 4 3very1 & Th@t'$ OK
May 28, 2014
Because there are far too few live-action shows/movies that exhibit the same energy as cartoons, especially when it comes to adaptations of comics. This is also a visual medium in which you don't need all this expensive technology + effects just to get a creative looking shot or scene.


Staff member
Apr 23, 2007
In the now, man
I can't say that I prefer cartoons to live-action, but clearly I still watch plenty of cartoons. I appreciate art in just about all of its forms, and animation is no exception. Obviously there is plenty of artistic merit in Disney's features, for instance, but I'm able to catch up with and enjoy, say, Craig of the Creek about as much as your standard series that'll top AV Club's Best of TV list.

As mentioned earlier, the ability to create and explore just about anything in animation is a major plus, and a big part of its appeal. I love seeing that explored, and I'll continue to do so for years to come.

Light Lucario

Staff member
May 11, 2007
In a Dream World
I think I prefer animation because of how it has so much creative potential for different stories and genres. There are so many different kinds of ideas that can work well within animation, but would be more difficult, if not impossible, to pull off with a live action series. Plus, a lot of my favorite animated series are just fun, relaxing and/or engaging to watch.

On a subconscious level, I think it might also help that I can have an easier time telling facial expressions of animated characters than for live action actors. It usually isn't a problem for me to read an actors' facial expression, but when it's really clear for an animated character, it just really is appealing to me. Maybe being able to read a facial expression without questioning myself at some point is satisfying.


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