Top 10 Common Cartoon Cliches


The Top Ten

1 The Good Guy Never Gets Hurt

I hate this so much! It also sends an untrue message that if you are a good person, nothing bad will happen to you.

Ahh, I hate this cliche. - WoolenArale

One word: Pokemon - FluffyBanana

So repetitive and bland.

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2 Characters Impersonating Other Actors or Characters

This has Johny Bravo written all over it! Laugh out loud - NerdyPweeps

3 Satire & Cultural References

AKA The cheapest way to write jokes.

They're actually pretty funny.

South Park, The Simpsons, American Dad, Family Guy, Etc.

Baby Blues: Mirage Las Vegas and Steve Wynn reference in 1 episode
Hercules: the Animated Series: Hermes says “Cloud 33” in the episode “Return of Typhon” (reference to Disneyland’s Cloud 33)

4 The Damsel in Distress

Girls are the best and boys don’t need to come into it all! How about for once girls are NOT in jail and are NOT the ones in trouble for no reason

I want to hit my head against the wall every time I see a really weak character who needs saving. Like- come ON! If you want to put a girl character in danger, at least don't make her stupid enough to get into it! Make her put up a fight or something- realistically, people don't just let you grab them and throw them into cages. Or don't do it at all! Here's an idea- what if she gets captured and then escapes *without* the hero's help?

Hate this one - blackflower

This literally tells kids that women are weak. Almost every show has a damsel in distress in it that the main character (of course, a guy) has to constantly save. I mean, come on. Give the woman powers and the guy a break already.

5 Villains with Dumb Henchmen

Argh! Why not get a real smart henchmen dudes!?! It’s real annoying seeing that the smart villain has a stupid guy following him EVERYWHERE

It doesn't even make sense to hire incompetents!

All fat and dumb imbeciles talking in slow motion. Why are they normally bald?

All of the sonic cartoons…

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6 Bad Guys Always Lose

Um, this isn't really a cliche. It's just kind of how stories work. The interesting part of the movie is finding out WHY the good guys win, how it happens, and if they loose anyone in the process.

Seriously, sometimes movies let the bad guy win but this is to much these bad guys have thing that are 10 times better then them. But then boom the good guys win, how does this even work? Seriously I hate this.

I know that the good guy is SUPPOSED to win, however sometimes the bad guy will lose so much that he will be a complete failure. (Hint Doofinshmirtz and Perry)

I mean the bad guys need to to have glory at least SOMETIMES.

It's weird how "The Fairly Oddparents" can demonstrate this cliche so easily. That...and all the others listed.

7 Cat and Mouse Chases

Example: Tom and Jerry, Wile E Coyote and The Road Runner. - egnomac

8 Traps and Weapons Backfiring on the Bad Guys

Poor Team Rocket...

This. Happen. So. Many. TIMES! I hate this, what WOULD be cool to see is the traps and weapons ACTUALLY WORK!

9 Characters Wearing the Same Clothes Everyday

This is used because it is easier yo draw and animate.

Every Cartoon Basically - 23windomt

Sorry cute little animal children but the backyardigans. - Ilovestephanie

I'm gonna use this idea ok, for the win

10 Parents Never Around

Charlie Brown

The backyardigans but we never see their parents. - Ilovestephanie

And even when they're around they never seem to keep an eye on their kids.

Has anyone ever seen Ed, Edd'n Eddy Parents or even Beavis and Butt-heads parents for that matter. - egnomac

The Newcomers

? Here We Go Again! Ending

The Contenders

11 The Dumbass Dad and the Mom Too Good for Him

Bob and Linda aren't perfect, but they're there for each other. I like that.

That should be number 1! because it s very sexist - Iamcool

Marge and Homer, Peter and Lois, Timmy's Mom and Dad, Richard and Nicole Watterson. It just gets old. - PatrickStar3

Lois is a terrible wife and Timmy's mom is just as dumb as his dad. - RobertWisdom

Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin, Hugh Neutron, Goofy, Billy's Dad from Billy & Mandy, the list goes on!

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12 Innocent Characters Who Immediately Become Targets for Abuse

This has Timmy Turner all over it - 23windomt

Only two little words:Modern and Spongebob

Yeah. Mickey Mouse in the 2013 series, for example, doesn't deserve any of the abuse he goes through

Hate this one! Stop with this, it's just sad.

13 Characters Walling Off the Edge and Not Falling Down Immediately

This isn't a bad cliche to be honest. it's just for the humour - Ohno

They fall.
They hang there in mid-air.
They fall.
They scream.
Nothing bad happens to them or they go to the hospital for 2 minutes.
New episode. - Miauzer

14 Greedy Characters

The only greedy person that I know is Angelica pickles from rugrats because she can be really annoying

Greedy characters: Scrooge Mcduck, Mr. Krabs, Mr. Burns, Montana Max & Cat from Catdog. - egnomac

Scrooge isn't that greedy; at least not in the reboot. I never watched the original so I don't know. - 23windomt

15 Main Character always has a crush on Latin-American Character

The Loud House. Lincoln and Ronnie Anne (or whatever her name is), Lori and Bobby. Period.

What the heck kinda cartoons are you guys watching? LMAO - RobertWisdom


In Star vs. The Forces of Evil, it is confirmed the protagonist has a crush on her bestfriend, which is a Latin-American.

16 Angry Mobs

You see these all the time in cartoons, with regular civilians carrying torches and pitchforks against the main character

Of course! They always try to kill someone over the littlest things!

17 Good Guys vs. Bad Guys

Yeah, characters need to be round, not flat with one stereotypical trait.

There is nothing which grinds my gears more than a good guys vs. bad guys plot. Such plots are black and white, portraying the main characters like they are perfect and their enemies like they are completely evil. Despite what many people want to think, real life is nothing like this! People in real life start wars because they want to protect their own interests, not because they feel like they have a moral obligation to get rid of the "bad guys". Although real-life people we label as "bad guys" tend to be terribly mislead or brainwashed, it is still extremely naïve to say that they are purely evil. Also, it is possible to make an action genre without a good guys vs. bad guys plot. This can be done by depicting both sides of a conflict neutrally.

I agree so much with the one below! Like in Pokémon I liked Team Rocket more than Ash and his friends because Team Rocket had more personality, they dared be rude, silly and they never gave up even though they kept failing. It was more motivational than Ash's journey of becoming a Pokémon master It felt sad when most of all sad, awkward and dumb things happened to Team Rocket just because they are supposed to be the bad guys. We need a grey cartoon(this sounds more boring than what it is)!

18 Talking Dogs

Johnny Test, Snoopy, Paw Patrol, 101 Dalmatians, Jake from Adventure Time, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Toy Story (with reason), Ren from The Ren & Stimpy Show is a chihuahua, The Fairly Odd Parents recently got a dog, Pound Puppies.

Adventure Time, Scooby Doo, The Fairly OddParents, Tom and Jerry, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Family Guy. - PatrickStar3

19 Characters With Faces Never Shown

Mrs. Sara Bellum from PPG. - starryrcad

Dr. Hook. anyone?

Rita and Lynn Sr from the loud house have their faces shown idiot

Mammy Two Shoes, Rita and Lynn sr Loud. - PatrickStar3

20 Teenage Girls Who Secretly Fight Crime

Examples include Kim Possible, Totally Spies, Atomic Betty, etc.

Starfire can fight crime! - DynastiSugarPop

Heck its not even just Girls,how many Cartoons have you seen about a Kid/Teenager that was Born with Superpowers/Achieved Superpowers that is Fighting Crime and a Silly Villain that has a Moronic Sidekick which is the reason why his Plans Backfire at him
this Cliche started around the Late 90s with the Powerpuff Girls and started Rocketing in the 2000s with Cartoons such as Kim Possible,Teen Titans,MLAAR,Totally Spies,Ben 10,Danny Phantom,American Dragon and Others
this Cliche isn't bad its actually good and enjoyable - MarsBlast

21 Villains Boasting About How Evil They Are

Realistically, no one would boast about how evil they are unless they are a sadist. Usually, if someone is going against you, they would have reasons. Those reasons do not include taking over, or destroying the world. These reasons are usually the villain doing what they think is the right thing to do, and defending what they need to defend. So, a villain wouldn't boast about how evil he is because he's doing what he believes is right. Unless he's a sadist.

22 Getting Hit by an Anvil and Not Dying
23 Character has only four fingers

The Backyardigans minus Pablo. He has mitten like flippers. - Ilovestephanie

Steven Universe doesn't

The Loud House is a perfect example! - DynastiSugarPop

I know it makes it easier to animate but it's very ugly :(

24 There's Always A Christmas Special!


What's wrong with Christmas Specials - 23windomt

This isn’t a cartoon trope. Many live-action shows have Christmas specials too. - ParanormalFantasy

25 Villains with an "Evil Laugh"

Just imagine a villain with a really cute laugh

Some laughs are good but sometimes, it needs to stop. - WoolenArale

Evil laughing is amazing when it's done right. - Miauzer

26 That Dumb Character

Pablo from the Backyardigans. - Ilovestephanie

To be honest I love Cosmo and Patrick Star as they were before. SpongeBob was good until season 4 came. Pranks a lot was the last awesome episode of SpongeBob. Rip

Examples: Cosmo, Patrick Star, Stimpy etc.

Patrick, Cosmo, Timmy's Dad, Homer, Bart, Ed, etc. - PatrickStar3

27 Always a Dumb Blonde

Oh boy this has Lindsay written all over it
Lindsay: Is Tyler writing this
Lindsay cries and runs away

It got old long ago.

Liv and Maddie - Miauzer

Leni, Lindsay, Dee Dee. - PatrickStar3

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28 Character becomes a werewolf when the moon shows
29 Get Rich Quick Schemes

Ed Edd n Eddy

30 Characters Trying to Blow Out a Bomb and It Explodes

Yea this happy but you got to admit the expressions the character makes when this happens is usually hilarious.

31 Mad Scientists

Jimmy Neutron, Dexter, Lisa Loud, etc. - 23windomt

There's Dr. Two-Brains from the Wordgirl show on PBS Kids.

Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory is a scientist, not sure about a 'mad' one however. Mad scientists aren't as common in cartoons than in real-life shows or movies.

32 Overuse of Surrealism
33 Celebrities Popping Out of Nowhere
34 The Bullies are Cheerleaders

This is so annoying. Cheerleaders can be nice too :c

Bonnie Rockweller is this. - DynastiSugarPop

35 Too Many Confusing Puns

Luan Loud is this trope! - DynastiSugarPop

36 One Dimensional Villains
37 Plot Solved in the End of the Episode
38 Boy Characters Disguises as Ladies

Lincoln Loud in "A Novel Idea" and "Cover Girls". - DynastiSugarPop

Patrick from Spongebob SquarePants in the episode That’s No Lady and SpongeBob in the episode The Slumber Party

39 Character Gets Rolled Into a Giant Snow Ball

ICONIC - 23windomt

I always saw those scenes all the time in Snow Episodes, I hope that's got to be A Cartoon Cliche

Listed twice. - DynastiSugarPop

Seen this so many times and it never gets old

40 Falling off Waterfalls

There’s always one danger being faced until the characters get caught in a river, and once the going gets good, there’s a giant waterfall with a calm pool at the bottom.

41 The Fat Boy

The fat boy who is always talking about food

Examples- Patrick star, Theodore from Alvin and the Chipmunks, etc

Owen from TD

42 Wild Takes
43 The Smart Character and the Goofy Sidekick

Gravity Falls. - PatrickStar3

44 Pink Cake
45 Character Gets Resurrected After He/She Died in the Next Episode

Like that Teen Titans Go! Episode Ghost Boy - 23windomt

*cough* Happy Tree Friends. *cough* - DynastiSugarPop

This is just like a book about Brer Rabbit I read. - Miauzer

46 Tongue Stuck on an Ice Pole

Total Drama World Tour's the only one I can think of. - PatrickStar3

47 Confusing Romantic Subplot
48 Bad Guy Finds Love Interest, But Love Interest Hates Bad Guy
49 Characters catching colds
50 Characters swap bodies

Freaky Friday - 23windomt

Seriously! Swapping bodies isn’t always good! It’s frustrating to watch characters whine if they recently swapped bodies. Also, why should it even be a plot?! It should’ve stayed on fan art!

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List StatsUpdated 16 Nov 2019

200 votes
52 listings
5 years, 145 days old

Top Remixes

1. Characters Impersonating Other Actors or Characters
2. Satire & Cultural References
3. The Good Guy Never Gets Hurt


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