Even though Canadian shows get a bad rep, some of the cartoons are worth checking out.
Thanks to CanCon (Canadian content) requirements and regulations, Canadian radio and television broadcasters must air a certain percentage of content that was at least partly written, produced, presented or have contributions from people from Canada.
This is great, in theory. It allows creators in Canada to have a chance at success, and lets us consumers support the citizens of our country.
The thing is though, is that due to CanCon, a lot of the shows produced are just, well… not very good.
A good chunk of them are created with filling a quota in mind, and not actually creating great content. That said, there are some great shows that have come out of Canada. It’s just hard to find them sometimes.
With that in mind, I created a list of top 7 Canadian cartoons from the 90s and 00s that don’t totally suck (in no order):
6Teen followed the misadventures of six mallrat teens as they try to navigate their first jobs, friendships, relationships, and the trials and triumphs that come with growing up. Each episode, with the exception of a few, is set in the fictional mall of Galleria filled with stores that parody real-life shops. If there was one thing that we could always be sure of, it was that Jonesy would be fired by the end of the episode.
Also, I played the theme song on my 16th birthday so you know it’s legit.
Stickin’ Around (1996 – 1998)
Stickin’ Around is one of the more interestingly animated series on this list, and had its start in a series of 1-minute vignettes in 1994. The show is created to look as though it was children who actually worked on the animation, which can explain the not-so-straight lines, squiggles, and stick-drawings. It revolves around two best friends, Stacy and Bradley who are seemingly able to bring their fantasies to life, with various outcomes.
Reboot (1994 – 2002)
Reboot was the first half hour completely computer-animated tv series, and that alone is pretty awesome. Set against the backdrop of the inner world of a computer system, the story follows the main characters’ adventures as they try to fight viruses such as Megabyte. I’ll be honest: this was not my favourite show growing up… the CGI was too jarring for my young, computer-animation deprived eyes. But my mom loved it, and it has gained a very loyal fanbase, so it obviously wasn’t too shabby!
Total drama island (2007 – 2014)
Total Drama Island is an animated parody of the competition shows we’ve grown to love, most closely emulating Survivor. Each episode sees contestants compete in a series of ridiculous challenges in hopes of earning immunity. After a dramatic Marshmallow Ceremony (tribal council), the player who is voted off will have to walk the Dock of Shame to board the Boat of Losers. It’s hilarious, dramatic, and totally worth checking out.
Undergrads followed the lives of four college kids as they embarked on freshman year. A short 13 episodes later, it met its untimely demise as the series was canceled before a second season could be made. As late as 2013, creator Pete Williams was still trying to get the show its second season, but to no avail. The theme song is Good Charlotte’s The Click, making Undergrads the ultimate throwback experience.
Totally Spies (2001 – 2014)
Totally Spies is a French/ Canadian cartoon that was also my before-school show through the better half of Elementary. It revolved around 3 high school girls who double as spies and save the world from one catastrophe to the next, and still make time for boys and typical teenage drama. My friend and I used to pretend we were one of the characters as we tried to navigate our way from one side of her living room to the next. And no, we couldn’t just walk.
Clone high (2002 – 2003)
Clone High was a Canadian/ American show that centred around a high school filled with historical clones ranging from Cleopatra to J. F. Kennedy. Although a part of the humour of the show was having the clones behave in radically different ways than their historical counterparts, hundreds in India took offense to the depiction of Ghandi, which ultimately led to its cancellation.
Also, in grade 9 my ringtone was “g-spot rocks the g-spot!” and no one questioned it.
CanCon may have given us an abundance of shows that we never asked for, but every once and a while, Canada is able to hit the nail on the head and produce something fun, entertaining and totally worth your while.