ByGrant Hermanns, writer at
I know way too much about movies, my mind is like a walking IMDB, only not perfect. Don't forget to hit up my Twitter: @grantheftautho
Grant Hermanns

As we grow up, the animated shows we loved as kids start to feel out of reach. The plots become tougher to connect to, the characters less relatable. There are still some animated shows that appeal strictly to adult audiences, however, featuring humor and stories that young audiences can't appreciate, or shouldn't be hearing. Let's take a look at some of the best animated shows that aren't for kids.

Rick and Morty - Adult Swim

[Credit: Adult Swim]
[Credit: Adult Swim]
  • Original Release: December 2, 2013
  • Seasons: 3 (Set to premiere Summer 2017)
  • Stars: Justin Roiland, Sarah Chalke, Chris Parnell, Spencer Grammer

If you haven't seen or even heard of Rick and Morty, you must be living under a rock. The show has become one of the most celebrated animated sitcoms in both Adult Swim's history and recent TV history.

already solidifying itself as a cult classic series while still on the air. The series follows mad scientist Rick Sanchez as he and his teenage grandson Morty go on adventures throughout the multiverse that get them into trouble with everybody from Morty's parents to aliens to a council made up of other Ricks and Mortys. The series' brash humor, graphic content and complicated themes make it difficult for younger viewers to follow, but all the more enjoyable for older audiences.

The Boondocks - Adult Swim

[Credit: Adult Swim]
[Credit: Adult Swim]
  • Original Release: November 6, 2005
  • End Date: June 23, 2014
  • Seasons: 4
  • Stars: Regina King, John Witherspoon, Gary Anthony Williams, Cedric Yarbrough

Any series that features a character with racism towards what is seemingly his own race and features a three-part story arc centered around a "n***a moment" is bound to not be catered for kids, and The Boondocks fits that bill. The Aaron McGruder series based on his comic strip of the same name follows the Freeman family, Grandpa, Riley and Huey, as they win the lottery and move into the white suburb of Whitecrest. The series offered a number of intelligent insights and satirical themes that older audiences will find brilliant, as well as plenty of raunchy and low-brow humor that caters to the masses.

Black Dynamite - Adult Swim

[Credit: Adult Swim]
[Credit: Adult Swim]
  • Original Release: July 15, 2012
  • End Date: January 10, 2015
  • Seasons: 2
  • Stars: Michael Jai White, Byron Minns, Kym Whitley, Tommy Davidson

Though the series took a much more stylized and cartoonish approach to the characters and their action, the follow-up to the hit Black Dynamite movie was an animated series that still was never a good fit for younger viewers. Granted, neither was the original film, so an animated version certainly wasn't likely to be toned down. The story of the titular hero as he and his gang from the Whorephanage (a whorehouse and orphanage combined) continue their misadventures featured the same parody tone from the Blaxploitation genre from the film, resulting in a hilarious and stylish follow-up worthy of viewing.

Mike Tyson Mysteries - Adult Swim

  • Original Release: October 27, 2014
  • Seasons: 3 (Set to premiere May 14)
  • Stars: Mike Tyson, Jim Rash, Norm Macdonald, Rachel Ramras

Taking much inspiration from the Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the '70s, most notably Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, the Adult Swim series Mike Tyson Mysteries follows the retired boxer as he tackles mysteries with adopted daughter Yung Hee, the ghost Marquess of Queensbury, and a talking Pigeon. In short 11-minute episodes, the group often accepts a mystery through their pigeon-coop message service, but many shows end without them solving the mystery. Some even end on unresolved cliffhangers. The quirky tone, adult humor and bizarre stories make this show perfect for older audiences still wanting to watch an animated series.

South Park - Comedy Central

[Credit: Comedy Central]
[Credit: Comedy Central]
  • Original Release: August 13, 1997
  • Seasons: 20 (21st set to premiere Fall 2017)
  • Stars: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mona Marshall, Eliza Schneider

Arguably one of the most popular and one of the longest-running series on the air, South Park has continued to be a staple on TV and in popular culture. The long-running Comedy Central series of a small town in Colorado and the exploits of four young boys, Eric Cartman, Kyle Broflovski, Stan Marsh and Kenny McCormick has received rave reviews in its time on the air, including winning five Emmy Awards, as well as receiving a lot of controversy for many of its storylines and characters. But the show's intelligent satire into real-life events, ranging from Michael Jackson's accusations of pedophilia to George Zimmerman's murder of Trayvon Martin to the recent 2016 Presidential election, have solidified it as one of the best animated sitcoms of all time, as well as one of the best not for younger viewers.

Brickleberry - Comedy Central

  • Original Release: September 25, 2012
  • End Date: April 14, 2015
  • Seasons: 3
  • Stars: David Herman, Tom Kenny, Jerry Minor, Daniel Tosh

In what was practically a combination of Yogi Bear, Family Guy and Tosh.0 in the best possible ways, Comedy Central's Brickleberry was one of the most inappropriate, no-holds barred and unapologetically non-P.C. series during its time. Created by Waco O'Guin and Roger Black, the creators of MTV2's Stankervision, the series followed a group of irresponsible park rangers in the fictional titular National Park and their daily work lives. The writing and humor had no qualms about being vulgar or offensive, delivering some wrong yet hysterical moments that certainly would entertain the older audiences.

TripTank - Comedy Central

[Credit: Comedy Central]
[Credit: Comedy Central]
  • Original Release: April 2, 2014
  • Seasons: 2 (Future TBA)
  • Stars: Ben Wolfinsohn, Eric Magnussen, Brett Gelman, Kyle Kinane

While Comedy Central is best-known for comedy series like Chappelle's Show and Key & Peele, one of their best and most underrated sketch shows is the animated series TripTank. While it does feature some recurring sketches, including "Jeff & Some Aliens" (which has been spun off into its own series), the only real sketch that offers structure and continuity for the show is the "TripTank Reception" sketch, which features the receptionist and janitor dealing with various phone calls and misadventures. The surreal, and often extreme, nature of many of the sketches make this one of the best and trippiest adult shows out there.

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Lucas Bros. Moving Co. - FXX

  • Original Release: November 23, 2013
  • Seasons: 2 (Future TBA)
  • Stars: Kenny Lucas, Keith Lucas, Jerrod Carmichael, Hannibal Burress

Unfortunately for Fox, their Animation Domination Hi-Def block did not fare as well as they hoped and it was subsequently moved to FXX, where it still didn't see a whole lot of success. However, it was still a hilarious hour that featured some great new short series, including Lucas Bros. Moving Co., created by and starring the titular brothers as they run a moving company and get into misadventures thanks to their unusual world and habit for smoking weed. Combining all of the best elements of stoner comedies, surreal comedies and animated sitcoms, the series loosely based on the brothers' real-life experiences as cable installers was a hilarious and original show featuring some simple yet unique humor only these two could deliver.

Archer - FXX

[Credit: FXX]
[Credit: FXX]
  • Original Release: September 17, 2009
  • Seasons: 8 (Renewed through 10)
  • Stars: H. Jon Benjamin, Aisha Tyler, Chris Parnell, Jessica Walter

It's resulted in countless memes, hours of binging the series for the fifth time and constant use of hilarious catchphrases from its 86-episode run. This series is Archer, and the animated spy sitcom of a dysfunctional group of agents (and non-agents) and their misadventures in the spy world has lived in our hearts for close to 10 years and will live with us long after it's over. Archer and Lana's lack of restraint for their sexual prowess, both with each other and without, as well as the other characters' dark secrets and habits make this show an absolute treat for more mature audiences.

Family Guy - Fox

[Credit: Fox]
[Credit: Fox]
  • Original Release: January 31, 1999
  • Seasons: 15 (Current)
  • Stars: Seth McFarlane, Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Alex Borstein

This family sitcom has often been unfavorably compared to the similar Fox series, The Simpsons, as well as received a lot of controversy for some of its subject matter, including a conflict with the Venezuelan government over an episode featuring two main character advocating the legalization of marijuana. However, it's these criticisms and controversies that have helped Family Guy to last as long as it has and continue to strive, pushing every boundary they can possibly imagine and connecting to the side of audiences' minds that love dark and wrong humor. The show has been such a success over the years, it has spawned one spin-off focusing on Cleveland Brown and helped McFarlane create another animated series set in the same universe, American Dad.

Robot Chicken - Adult Swim

[Credit: Adult Swim]
[Credit: Adult Swim]
  • Original Release: February 20, 2005
  • Seasons: 8 (Renewed for Season 9, Premiere TBA)
  • Stars: Seth Green, Alex Borstein, Erik Weiner, Jordan Ladd

I'm going to be completely honest here, I'm not a huge fan of Robot Chicken, however there is no denying the success this show has had since its premiere in 2005. The animated sketch comedy created by Green himself and Matthew Senreich features a loose structuring with many varying sketches, including the recurring "Bloopers" bit that parodies Bob Saget's run on America's Funniest Home Videos. The comedy series has been a major success since its debut, earning rave reviews from critics and has won five Emmy Awards since its debut.

What are your favorite animated shows not for young ones? Do you have any not on this list? Let us know in the comments below!


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