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Top 10 Memorable TV Cartoon Characters of the 2000s

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Nathan Sharp The new millennium saw the rise of the adult cartoon, but children’s cartoons were still going strong as well. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 memorable TV cartoon characters of the 2000s. For this list, we're looking at the cartoon characters that made a significant cultural impact and were praised by critics and audiences alike during thefirst decade of the 21st century. Special thanks to our users nathansharp28 or submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Nathan Sharp


Top 10 Memorable TV Cartoon Characters of the 2000s



The new millennium saw the rise of the adult cartoon, but children’s cartoons were still going strong as well. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 memorable TV cartoon characters of the 2000s. 

For this list, we’re looking at the cartoon characters that made a significant cultural impact and were praised by critics and audiences alike during thefirst decade of the 21st century. To be clear, we’re including both cartoons meant for children and for adults. We’re also including shows that began during the 1999-2000 TV season, as technically, this means its first season was being broadcast during 2000 as well.

#10: Ferb Fletcher
“Phineas and Ferb” (2007-15)

The quieter one of the titular duo, Ferb stands out thanks to his green hair and long face, as well as for being “less talk and more action”. When helping to devise ways for him and his stepbrother Phineas to have fun over summer vacation, Ferb is known for using his genius intellect and knack for engineering more than his words. When he does speak, it is rarely more than a mumble, but it always ends up being a fantastic line due to his dry wit. He’s extremely smart and hilarious, and a truly unique character for children to enjoy. 

#9: Aang
“Avatar: The Last Airbender” (2005-08)

While the live action movie was questionable at best, the animated TV series it was based on is a whole different story. At the heart of “Avatar” is thefantastic character and protagonist, Aang. The last surviving Airbender, Aang is a human incarnation of the Avatar, and as such, can control the four elements to his desires. While he may be badass, he’s also just a kid - meaning he’s just as flawed and excitable as the show’s demographic. He’s relatable to so many children due to his personality, but he also provides some welcome excitement for the young-at-heart that happen to enjoy theshow.

#8: Jimmy Neutron
“The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” (1999-2006)

The protagonist of several animated Nickelodeon shorts, Jimmy Neutron is, plain and simply, a genius. We’ve seen many intelligent children throughout our cartoon lists, and Jimmy is known for his clever schemes and for creating various devices. The shorts and Jimmy’s character were such a hit that various spinoff-related products were made, including a feature length film, and two TV spin-offs. The 2002 animated TV series, titled “The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” just like the film, ensured that Jimmy Neutron has made a significant impact within the cartooncommunity.

#7: Huey Freeman
“The Boondocks” (2005-14) 

Taking a more mature approach to the list, we’ve got Huey from this adult animated sitcom from the Cartoon Network. Huey is not only a fantastic character because of what he brings to the show, but also because of his political approach to American culture. A self described “revolutionary left-wing radical,” Huey often speaks ill of the treatment of African Americans in the USA and brings his characteristic pessimistic attitude to many issues regarding American society. It’s no wonder, as the character is named after a co-founder of the Black Panther Party, which gives his already critical character even more power and influence. 

#6: Jack
“Samurai Jack” (2001-04) 

Another character of few words, Jack, as the futuristic locals call him, is a true samurai in every sense of the word. This American animated series is well known for its cinematic scope and style as well as its lack of dialogue, and the character of Jack helps to uphold those unique characteristics. He is the typical quiet, brooding figure, and his lightning-fast reflexes and battle capabilities are reminiscent of classic samurai films. Jack is a terrific character to help you get your dose of Japanese-style action, even if he is just a cartoon on the small screen.

#5: Phineas Flynn
“Phineas and Ferb” (2007-15) 

The more talkative one of the titular duo, Phineas is perhaps even more memorable than Ferb because he has a few more things to say. While his stepbrother is the master builder, Phineas is intelligent in his own way, often designing outrageous contraptions such as roller coasters and a backyard beach. He’s more excitable than Ferb and is often unable to sit down due to his constant fidgeting. But his energy translates well to a younger audience, giving them a character by which they can both be amazed and terrifically entertained.

#4: Kim Possible
“Kim Possible” (2002-07) 

What makes this cartoon character more realistic than many live action superhero characters is that we get to see her balance her crime-fighting schedule with her regular teenage life. On the one hand, Kim is your basic teenage girl; popular at school, a perfectionist, and even leader of the high school cheerleading team. However, when she’s not being normal, she’s kicking butt and thwarting various evildoers. She has a relatable side to young female watchers everywhere, and is extremely entertaining for others because of the show’s exciting fight sequences and her swift abilities.

#3: Bender
“Futurama” (1999-2013) 

Everyone’s favorite talking robot from the future, Bender is probably the funniest and the most vulgar – well maybe only about 40% vulgar – memberof “Futurama”’s core group. While protagonist Fry is a great character in his own right, Bender is simply too amazing to beat, with his don’t-care attitude, and his love of booze. His harsh-sounding voice only adds to the roughness of the character. He’s lazy, inconsiderate, and rude, but that’s all part of this anti-hero’s charm!

#2: Stewie Griffin
“Family Guy” (1999-2003; 2005-)

Though he’s not the titular Family Guy, Stewie is hard to ignore or forget as the Griffin baby hell-bent on world domination and killing his mother. It’s a unique twist on the cartoon toddler, as Stewie is by far the smartest in the family, creating various elaborate contraptions. He’s also the meanest, as he often plots with hurtful intentions. At the same time, Stewie’s hilarious due to his purely insane and wacky behavior, but his best side comes out when paired with the family dog Brian. While his father Peter definitely has his moments, Stewie gets the spot due to his originality and outlandish behavior.
 
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
-    Tino Tonitini
“The Weekenders” (2000-04)
-    Roger
“American Dad!” (2005-)
-    Ed, Edd (Double D) & Eddy
“Ed, Edd n Eddy” (1999-2009)
-    Timmy Turner
“The Fairly OddParents” (2001-)
-    Courage
“Courage the Cowardly Dog” (1999-2002)
-    Zim
“Invader Zim” (2001-06)
 

#1: SpongeBob SquarePants
“SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-)

One of the most popular cartoon characters of the early 21st century, SpongeBob provides great entertainment for viewers of all ages. The sea sponge’s naiveté is always hilarious, which makes him an amusing watch for children. While his best friend Patrick is equally hilarious, SpongeBob has made a name for himself all over the internet, and has become the first animated character to have a wax sculpture made of him by Madame Tussauds. His popularity has far exceeded what anyone would expect, and he has become the modern face of cartoons for adults and children alike.

Do you agree with our list? What cartoon character from the 2000s is your favorite? For more animated top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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