8 Animated Shows That are Not-So-Secretly for Adults

8 Animated Shows That are Not-So-Secretly for Adults
Image credit: Legion-Media, Warner Bros. Television, Netflix

And no, we're not going down the "Family Guy" or "South Park" route. That's just too easy.

1. "Bojack Horseman" (2014-2020)

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First up, the Netflix original that took the world by storm, "Bojack Horseman." Oh, it looks all sweet and cuddly, with a horse for a main character and cutesy anthropomorphic animals everywhere. But don't let the animation fool you, folks. This show is as dark as the inside of a top hat at midnight. It deals with alcoholism, depression, drug abuse, and the consequences of one's actions – not exactly your standard Saturday morning cartoon topics, eh? You could almost say the creators were horsing around with our emotions, but we promise, it's well worth the ride.

2. "Archer" (2009-present)

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Next up, we're entering the dangerous world of international espionage with "Archer." It's like James Bond got stuck in a comic strip, and boy, do the martinis fly. While it may seem like just an animated spy parody, beneath its surface of inappropriate humor lies a cleverly written satire of real-world political issues, sprinkled with more than a touch of social commentary. Plus, where else can you see a secret agent with a terrifyingly Oedipal relationship with his mother?

3. "Rick and Morty " (2013-present)

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With "Rick and Morty," we're not just crossing the boundary into adult territory, we're hopping galaxies. Following the sci-fi adventures of an eccentric, alcoholic scientist and his good-hearted but easily influenced grandson, "Rick and Morty" serves up interdimensional hijinks with a side of existential dread. It's like "Back to the Future " if Doc Brown was a nihilistic jerk and Marty had severe anxiety. This show will take you to the edge of the universe, then casually push you off while discussing the futility of existence.

4. "Big Mouth" (2017-present)

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Lastly for this message, we have "Big Mouth," a hormonal hurricane of a show. Ostensibly, it's about the horrors and awkwardness of puberty, but with a twist that includes hormone monsters, Shame Wizards, and anthropomorphic pillows. Its raunchy humor hides a core of painful truth about growing up. It's like a health education class, but taught by comedians with no filter and a slightly concerning obsession with awkwardness. So, if you want to relive your most cringy teenage years with a side of laughter, "Big Mouth" is the show for you.

5. "Harley Quinn" (2019-present)

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Stepping into the super-villain world, "Harley Quinn" is a show that takes the iconic Batman villainess and reinvents her for a mature audience. Far from the innocent Saturday morning cartoons of the '90s, this one features Harley breaking free from the toxic relationship with the Joker and striving for independence... while still committing numerous crimes, of course. It's a unique blend of dark humor, explicit language, bloody action, and surprising heart. It's like if "Thelma & Louise" met Gotham City in a twisted blend of friendship, self-realization, and casual violence. Plus, who wouldn't love a snarky, carnivorous houseplant?

6. "F is for Family" (2015-2021)

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Traveling back in time, we land in the 1970s with "F is for Family." Co-created by and starring stand-up comedian Bill Burr, this show is an irreverent take on the family sitcoms of yesteryears. It's a nostalgia trip – if your nostalgia includes constant swearing, loads of chain smoking, and an abundance of politically incorrect jokes. As much as it showcases the unfiltered reality of the '70s, the show also delves into social issues and family dynamics with unexpected depth. Imagine "That '70s Show," but with the gloves completely off. The comedy is harsh, the life lessons tougher, but hey, that's family for you, right?

7. "The Midnight Gospel" (2020)

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This is where things get trippy, folks. "The Midnight Gospel" is a head-spinning journey through various bizarre dimensions, created by Pendleton Ward (of "Adventure Time" fame) and comedian Duncan Trussell. It's an existential roller coaster, exploring life, death, and everything in between through psychedelic visuals and deep philosophical conversations. You'll be laughing one moment, questioning your existence the next, and wondering if someone spiked your drink all the while. It's like if Salvador Dali decided to make a podcast in the form of an animated show. Definitely not for the faint of heart (or mind).

8. "Tuca & Bertie" (2019-2022)

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If you were to pass by while this show was playing, you'd see colorful animation and anthropomorphic birds, and you might think, "Oh, what a nice kids show." But you'd be so, so wrong. While it's from the team behind "Bojack Horseman," this show stands firmly on its own two bird feet. "Tuca & Bertie" tackles the adult world from a distinctly feminine perspective, dealing with topics like sexual harassment, mental health, and the challenges of maintaining friendships in adulthood. It's sometimes dark, frequently absurd, and always unapologetically honest. It's like a bird-watching trip, if the birds were sipping mimosas and discussing their deepest fears and aspirations.