Top 10 Common Cartoon Cliches


The Top Ten

1 Characters Impersonating Other Actors or Characters

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

2 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

However, there are a few exceptions, like Steven Universe, where many of the good characters were poofed and destroyed/shattered.

3 Satire & Cultural References

They're actually pretty funny.

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

4 The Damsel in Distress

This one seriously, it's so boring. Come up with something new.

Especially in some of the old cartoons were the female character is kidnapped and it's the job of the hero to save them, for example: Olive Oyl from Popeye, Sweet Polly Purebread from Underdog and Minnie Mouse in the Mickey Mouse cartoons. - egnomac

Can't the damn damsel fend for herself? - Miauzer

All of the Mario cartoons…

5 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 kinda how the stories work but sometimes I feel like heroes only win because they're for some reason lucky,like how bill cipher in gravity falls is literally a REALITY WARPER and failed to beat two 12 year

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6 Villains with Dumb Henchmen

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…


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

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

Poor Team Rocket...

9 Characters Wearing the Same Clothes Everyday

I am aware this saves time for the animators. Instead of having to come up with a lot of character sheets references wearing all the different clothes they just need one(or a lot fewer) but it would be nice to see what different characters' style of clothing would be! That's also a way to learn to know a character. Like in Sailor Moon, the characters wear different clothes, and damn do I love me some good Sailor Moon fashion.

It was funny when the characters in The Amazing World of Gumball made fun of this cliche in their own show

Agreed, one of the worst! Seriously, doesn't it stink? And I'm bored seeing this! Example: Mickey Mouse, from 19's to this day. His shorts must stink by now.

I laughed so hard when TAWOG pointed out this cliche!

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10 Parents Never Around

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

The Contenders

11 The Dumbass Dad and the Mom Too Good for Him

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

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

Yep, we live in a world where only idiot males get married, and all of them to women out of their league. There's nothing new to be done with this cliché. Homer Simpson by himself exhausted all the possibilities.

12 Innocent Characters Who Immediately Become Targets for Abuse

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 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

14 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!

15 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)!

16 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

17 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

18 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.

19 Getting Hit by an Anvil and Not Dying

Tom and Jerry and Oggy and the Cockroaches - BlueFrostOfThunderClan

20 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

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List Stats

100 votes
43 listings
3 years, 217 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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