Saudade: A Trip to the Past

Musings Mar 16, 2020

We often find ourselves looking back on our past, reminiscing about the care-free life we had as kids. But is it possible to remember our childhood without cartoons? After long hours of school, we still had all the energy in the world to binge on our favorite shows. They teleported us to their imaginary worlds, where we hitchhiked our way through the universe, fought the bad guys, flew amongst unicorns, became friends with aliens and whatnot. All thanks to our virtual friends who made our childhood a happy time to muse over.

In this list, let’s board the nostalgia train by remembering some of the iconic cartoons that fondly live in our memories.


‘Phineas and Ferb’ was easily one of the best animated series. Watching the two child prodigies come up with the most outlandish and creative ways to spend their summer vacation was a favorite pastime. It was a show with some of the most iconic non-lead characters like the boys’ overdramatic sister Candace who doesn’t let a chance slip to snitch on her brothers(which was always in vain); Perry, the platypus who was hands down the coolest undercover agent; Prof. Doofenshmirtz, whose ‘inators’ were inspired by some hilariously sad backstories. Aside from all the extravagant madness going around, the show successfully managed to depict some deep characterizations which portrayed Professor Doof as a loving father, Perry as a loyal pet, and even Candace as a caring sister in times of adversity.

From building a roller coaster musical in the backyard, having a one day trip around the world, traveling 20 years into the future, the show had no dearth of innovation, which instilled in kids the love for science and technology.

Elon Musk who? I only know Phineas and Ferb!


This one needs no introduction. Funny how a rat and a cat causing mayhem over a slice of cheese always had us on the edge of our couch. The ruckus caused by the supporting characters like the Little Quacker, the duckling; Spike and Tyke, the father-son duo; Nibble, the diaper-wearing grey mouse were some of the episodes we fondly remember. Needless to say, Tom and Jerry’s comic soundtrack is a musical brilliance. 

This Academy award winning show entertained our parents, our grandparents, us and is certain to be a hit among the generations to come.


For many, this show is our first stance with the idea of feminism. The super-powered sisters Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup accidentally created by Professor Utonium, were cute little girls who also fought criminals and monsters to save their city.

Made of sugar, spice, and everything nice and of course, chemical X, the Powerpuff girls would give Barbie a run for her money as the most popular animated female characters.


And the award for the sweetest, nicest and most compassionate of all characters goes to OSWALD. Honesty, who else would grow a whole tomato garden just to feed the caterpillars? As a kid, if there was one fictional world I wanted to live in, it was the super colorful Big city, home to Oswald, his pet dog Weenie, and other anthropomorphic animals, mystical creatures and humanoid beings.

It is a shame, didactic shows like this are obscure from kids these days.



Popeye, a muscular man with super strength, Sherlock Holmes-like investigative prowess often found himself in weird situations. Popeye was first introduced in a comic strip and later adapted as a television series. Talking about Popeye, we can’t miss out on his iconic pipe which served as a jet engine, propeller, periscope, and often as a whistle. Name a more versatile tool.

If there is one character who can convince kids to eat spinach, it is none other than Popeye.


Pokemon is the most popular anime series with the widest reach around the world, despite having strong contenders like Dragonball, One Piece, Naruto and Death Note. From being adapted into a blockbuster movie to a super hit video game series, Pokemon has stood the test of time as an all-time classic. The dynamics between Ash and Pikachu make them some of the best of friends among all the fictional characters.

Pikachu’s thunderbolt attack doesn’t make him any less adorable.


As a kid, this show was a true embodiment of horror. This has to be the most perplexing of all the cartoons. Couldn’t think of any other kids’ show which portrayed exorcism or petrifying monsters to the extent Courage did, which makes it a very memorable show despite not being as well known as the aforementioned acts.

And I’m still curious about what convinced the writers to name our protagonist ‘Courage’ who was as the title suggests, the most cowardly species ever. 


Scooby Doo, a pop culture phenomenon is another cartoon that revolves around the supposedly supernatural mysteries, which usually turns out to be the deeds of men. It was a delight watching ‘those meddling kids’, Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy along with our Great Dane protagonist put their detective skills to test. Scooby’s endearing lisp was certainly the highlight of the show.


They’re two, they’re four, they’re six and eight 

Shunting trucks and hauling freight.

Red and green and brown and blue,

they’re the really useful crew.”

This has to be one of the catchiest theme songs of all time. Thomas, the blue engine is unanimously known for being a lovable character who is constantly on the lookout to help his friends or anybody in need. Thomas and his friends taught kids the value of hard work, compassion, and friendship to a great extent. What started as stories narrated by author Wilbert Awdry to his recovering son, went on to become a timeless classic in the animation world.


The slapstick comedy series is the best of its kind. Our quirky protagonist often had us hoping he doesn’t get into trouble with Mrs.Wicket and her evil one-eyed cat Scrapper. Mini, his tiny green car, which was many a time, central to his weird antics, looked more fun driven from the roof. Though Bean was oblivious of the people around him, he had his head straight for Teddy. Nothing could swerve him from showing genuine affection to his stuffed friend. 

This classic never failed to tickle our funny bone

Though no list could do justice to the plethora of cartoons we enjoyed, I hope this momentarily transcended you from the hasty world to the good old times.


Miruthubashini M

Miruthu can keep herself entertained for long periods of time. She also enjoys the company of people when she's not repeating her name for the fourteenth time.