Presents the 50 Greatest Adult Swim Characters



Ever since Adult Swim debuted when I was in high school–a fact that makes either you or me feel really old, depending on who you are–I’ve spent countless late-night hours in front of the TV with it. And now, all that wasted time has paid off, as has gotten me to put together a list of the top fifty–yes, FIFTY–Adult Swim characters of all time!

I’m a huge Adult Swim fan–well, I’m a fan of everything except Xavier: Renegade Angel, which I’m pretty sure was conceived and executed as a punishment for unruly viewers–but until I sat down to do the research for this article (ie, cartoon-watching), I’d sort of forgotten how good a lot of that stuff is, whether it’s the surreal immaturity of Sealab 2021, the sharp, surprising complexity of the Venture Bros., or that last season of Moral Orel, which is hands-down the most jaw-droppingly depressing thing I have ever seen in my life.

Two quick notes about the list: First, as you’ll notice if you go through the list, I limited myself to shows that were made for Adult Swim, not just the shows they picked up later. It simplified things, but c’mon, nobody from The Oblongs or Baby Blues was gonna end up on a list of top anythings.

Second, this list represents my opinion, so if you disagree with it, you are objectively wrong and probably a bad person.

Just sayin’.

33 thoughts on “ Presents the 50 Greatest Adult Swim Characters

  1. Huey Freeman wasn’t technically created for the Adult Swim show, either(though a lot of the supporting cast was).

    How does Dr Mrs the Monarch rank so low?

  2. I am glad I am not the only one who utterly hated Xavier: Renegade Angel and was confused to why it was ever created.

  3. I’ve been reading your blog but today I unsubscribed because you did something that irked me greatly: You made me click twice. It’s perfectly fine if you want to link to an article you posted on another site. I shouldn’t have to view a splash page on that site and then click-through to get to the actual article. I wish you well in future blogging, but I won’t be along for the ride.

  4. The first 2 seasons of MORAL OREL were good, but season 3 just takes it into a whole new direction that’s just head and shoulders above what they’d been doing before.

  5. And while I’m being Mr. Picky-pants:
    “I limited myself to shows that were made for Adult Swim, not just the shows they picked up later.”

    Shouldn’t that have disqualified Home Movies? Or does it fall into a grey area since it lasted such a short time in broadcast and new episodes were made after moving to TCN/AS?

  6. I’ve been reading your blog but today I unsubscribed because you did something that irked me greatly: You made me click twice.

    Hands down the most hilarious thing I have read all day.

    Shouldn’t that have disqualified Home Movies?

    Already discussed in this very comments section!

  7. Tim and Eric at No. 10? That’s where you lose creditability, Chris. Those two buttheads weren’t funny on Tom Goes To The Mayor, they’re not funny on their own show, and they’ll never be funny. It’s just two chimps flinging their feces against a wall to see how much of it sticks. And John C. Reilly is unfunny by association.

    On a less righteous note . . . Rusty Venture at the top slot? Really? Over the Swedish Murder Machine that is Brock Sampson?

  8. Argh. I never do that. This has got to be the first time I’ve ever just gone to the end to comment without reading the whole thread, but I did this time because I had to bitch about the whole separate-page-per-entry-list thing (which I realize is not your fault, but the people running that site having it set up in a stupid format).

  9. I’m glad to see characters from the much under-appreciated Minoriteam on there.
    I still catch myself laughing randomly over “The Black Coq” episode.

    On the other hand, I still catch myself weeping uncontrollable over the final season of Morel Oral.

    But I must wonder- Am I truly the only person alive that actually watched the short lived buy geniousful “Perfect Hair Forever”??
    “Old, so old… “

  10. Great list. I’m surprised Balactus from Minoriteam didn’t show up though…and Doctor Orpheus deserved a higher spot.

    Actually, I want to see a list of the best characters from just Venture Bros…Manic Eightball and Tiny Joseph need love too.

  11. I always liked the look of The Drinky Crow Show (I know Maakies wasn’t created for Adult Swim, but that show premiered there, so I’m analogizing it to Boondocks and counting it in my own heart). Wasn’t crazy about the voice acting or even the writing really, but the designs were so gorgeous and unlike anything else I’ve ever seen in cartoons.

    You made exactly the right decision sticking with AS-original material, but I still want to give quick shoutouts to my boy Jin, my girl Ed, and the Mighty Boosh!

  12. I’ve been reading your blog but today I unsubscribed because you did something that irked me greatly: You made me click twice and now I’ve got carpal tunnel, my cats are pissing all over my Twlight mpreg fic, my mp3 player won’t play any of my Harry Potter music and MODOK is mad because his legs are too tiny to kick me in the head. IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!!!!!

  13. I was willing to overlook the minor issues with this list, until I got to number two. Murphy should have been one, hands down.

  14. I know he’s a minor character, but I’m still a bit surprised that King Gorilla didn’t make the cut. I mean, dude’s a talking gorilla that sodomized (half of) Vince Neil on national television. Plus he’s a romantic at heart.

  15. The, “shows that were made for Adult Swim, not just the shows they picked up later” rule is so open to debate, interpretation and twisting of the rules that it’s basically worthless and I can only assume thought up to allow the list to stand as a (as stated) “My opinion” piece where the rest of us can go jump in a lake. What are the criteria for ranking and such I wonder? Seems like just, “What I like best.”

    So much weirdness to it too. Tim and Eric are really pretty ingenious guys but they’ve been doing that shtick since the heyday of Bob and David website(s) and they are “original characters?” Might as well thrown them at 50 or “honorable mention” slots with the awesome Dr. Steve Brule. What about Korgoth the Barbarian? The most awesome pilot of a show not to get picked up after ordering 2 more episodes and then reneging ever on Adult Swim! Assy McGee and his partner Sanchez? HENCHMAN 21 and/or 24!?!?

  16. Space Ghost at number 3, glad the originator got his due! Love SGC2C!
    Love Home Movies, one of the top ten shows of all time!

  17. Hey

    I don’t know if you check this still but I couldn’t find this article on Complex and was hoping you had it posted somewhere that I could read. I’ve been reading through your backlog here and love your stuff. I’m also a big fan of Adult Swim.