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Top 10 Underrated Female Cartoon Characters

VO: Alexandra Maynard WRITTEN BY: Trevor J Fonvergne
There are too many funny ladies in cartoons for them to all get the attention they deserve. For this list, we’re looking at female characters on animated TV shows that don’t get proper recognition. Whether their show itself doesn’t get much attention, or if they’re generally disregarded within their show’s fandom, it’s all fair game. There will be some spoilers ahead! Our list includes “BoJack Horseman,” “Big Mouth,” “Adventure Time,” “Gargoyles,” “Steven Universe,” and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Female Animated Characters.
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Top 10 Underrated Female Animated Characters


There are too many funny ladies in cartoons for them to all get the attention they deserve. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Female Animated Characters.

For this list, we’re looking at female characters on animated TV shows that don’t get proper recognition. Whether their show itself doesn’t get much attention, or if they’re generally disregarded within their show’s fandom, it’s all fair game. There will be some spoilers ahead!

#10: Garnet
“Steven Universe” (2013-)


In addition to being the series’ most badass character, Garnet, as a fusion of two different gems, is one of the few depictions of a gay relationship on a children’s show. Impeccable voice work from singer/rapper Estelle elevates her already funny yet multidimensional character. She’s a powerful crystal gem and one of Steven’s maternal figures, showing compassion and toughness in equal measure. Despite her serious demeanor, she still fits in with the rest of the characters thanks to her charming quirks. Among the fandom, she’s well loved, but considering that she’s truly one of the greatest animated characters of our time, she’s certainly underrated by everyone else.

#9: Francine Smith
“American Dad!” (2005-)


For a show that has been on for over a decade, “American Dad,” rarely gets the credit it deserves. We have to single out the Smith matriarch, Francine, who can get more laughs in a single line than an entire episode of “Family Guy.” She’s a mother and housewife with a seriously dark streak, delivering hilarious non-sequiturs while also managing to carry entire episodes on her own. Kinky, quirky and crazy, her one-liners manage to feel hilariously random, but still somehow characteristically consistent. She may not be the best mother…or wife…or…person, but damn it, we love her anyway.

#8: Diane Nguyen
“BoJack Horseman” (2014-)


In “BoJack Horseman,” most of the characters are filled with oddities and idiosyncrasies, and since Diane is a more grounded character, she tends to fly under the radar. It’s not to say that the neurotic ghostwriter isn’t funny, but she’s certainly more relatable than her kooky counterparts. Her relationship with BoJack is at the crux of the series, as they grow to love, hate, help and hurt each other, with every phase feeling authentic. She makes a fair amount of mistakes, but always tries to grow and find fulfilment within herself. It’s rare for even a live action character to be this dynamic, and it’s a shame she doesn’t get more attention.

#7: Rose / Huntsgirl
“American Dragon: Jake Long” (2005-07)


“American Dragon” had a colorful cast of characters, but none were more compelling than Rose. Though she began as a love interest for Jake, this story arc became complicated when he discovers that she’s also the Huntsgirl, the apprentice of his mortal enemy. She’s able to hold her own against a plethora of mythical creatures, and her story arc deals with loaded themes of predestination and family as she comes to realize her life isn’t quite what she thought it was. Much more than just a pretty face, she was one of the things that made this Disney cartoon one of the best of its time.

#6: Penny Sanchez
“ChalkZone” (2002-09)


Though Rudy may have the chalk, Penny proved a great partner and foil with her intellect balancing out his creativity. A young genius, she joins her friend Rudy on his adventures in ChalkZone, a world he can access with magic chalk and which consists of everything that’s ever been erased from a chalkboard. While Rudy has a bit too much confidence in his ideas, Penny is the brains of the operation, and we don’t really want to know where Rudy would be without her. She was a smart, strong character in a charming show that never really got the attention it deserved.

#5: Connie the Hormone Monstress
“Big Mouth” (2017-)


“Big Mouth” has found a reasonable amount of success on Netflix, but Maya Rudolph’s pitch-perfect vocal performance as the Hormone Monstress is criminally overlooked. She’s the female counterpart to the Hormone Monster, following around the pubescent girls and encouraging them to give into their hormonal instincts. At different times she’ s exuberant, emotional, and enthusiastic, but always hilarious. As a representation of female puberty, she’s appropriately raunchy and hilariously nutty, delivering rapid-fire jokes and advice that’re maybe not all that great. Her presence on the show is a rare and honest depiction of female sensuality and we could listen to her say “bubble bath” all day long.

#4: Calamity Jane
“The Legend of Calamity Jane” (1997-98)


Calamity Jane only graced our screens for a single season in the late nineties, and it’s a shame we didn’t get to see more of her. Loosely based on the real-life frontierswoman of the same name, she prefers to dish out justice in late 1800s South Dakota. Despite being aimed at children, her adventures were dark and mature, while intertwining real-life historical events into the stories. She was an unapologetically badass woman, and one of the earliest examples of this in animation, so it’s strange she doesn’t have more of a lasting legacy.

#3: Betty Grof
“Adventure Time” (2010-18)


Oh, Betty. Prior to becoming the Ice King, he was a man by the name of Simon Petrikov, and Betty was his fiancée. When he briefly becomes Simon again, he’s able to bring her into Ooo, where she gains magical powers and will stop at nothing to make Simon himself again. Unfortunately, the magic made her go mad, and her attempts to save him begin to turn more sinister. She broke our hearts over and over again, but none more than when she made the ultimate sacrifice to save Simon and the residents of Ooo. Her tragedy proves that even though “Adventure Time” is a silly show, it can also be incredibly powerful.

#2: Elisa Maza
“Gargoyles” (1994-97)


Elisa is the human accomplice of the titular group of gargoyles as well as an NYPD detective. Her quick wit, intelligence, and athleticism made her a vital protector to them, and she ultimately forged a strong relationship with leader Goliath. This unfortunately made her a rival to Demona, Goliath’s ex-lover and another underrated female character. A tough adversary to her enemies and a caring friend to the protagonists, her relationship with them was the backbone of the series and its most compelling dynamic. She’s refreshingly heroic and strong-willed, and the standout of an already wonderful series that didn’t get the longevity it deserved.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Patti Mayonnaise
“Doug” (1991-94; 1996-99)

Juniper Lee
“The Life and Times of Juniper Lee” (2005-07)

Hannah Dundee
“Cadillacs and Dinosaurs” (1993-94)

#1: Pepper Ann Pearson
“Pepper Ann” (1997-2000)


Pepper Ann was the vehicle for a frank, honest, and funny look at being a young girl. She’s a bit of a tomboy, a lover of pizza and video games, and her characteristics aren’t defined by her gender. Though she wants to fit in, she always learns to stay true to herself, and this dynamic is one of the reasons she’s such an excellent character. It was rare for such a well-rounded female character to lead an animated show, which makes her feel all the more special. She’s funny, she’s a dork, and as the theme song says, she’s one in a million.
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