Behind the bright animation and lovable characters cartoons can have a dark side and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten darkest Cartoon Network episodes. For this list, we’re looking at some of the darkest and most thought-provoking episodes ever aired on the Cartoon Network.
Fillet of Soul – Dexter’s Laboratory
Fillet of Soul from Dexter’s Laboratory Cartoon, death isn’t inherently dark after all it’s a natural part of life but when eating in Dexter’s pet goldfish fishy passes away the brother and sister duo is left to deal with the fallout.
The family decides it’s best to simply flush fish down the toilet but DeeDee and Dexter decide to leave him out for the night, the fishy spirit begins haunting the house and the siblings are confronted with their demonic toilet seeing.
Fish’ lifeless form and contemplating the souls of the deceased is anything but light-hearted early morning is daddy’s special bathroom privacy time.
Jack in The Haunted House – Samurai Jack
Jack in The Haunted House from Samurai Jack, when Jack stumbles upon a large rundown estate. After following a crying girl into it the audience knows they’re in for a classic haunted house tale. After suffering strange visions while looking for her, Jack sits down with a family to share a pot of tea.
Things seem innocent enough but really nothing is ever as it seems. The room begins to warp and through a series of black and white flashing scenes we see Jack confront an ever-morphing supernatural.
Being the lack of dialogue paired with the distorted sounds of screaming and thunder creates an unforgettable scene and really captivates the audience with its visual intricacy. The family’s tragic backstory paired with the urgency of Jack’s mission to save their souls makes for a gripping episode.
The Night – The Amazing World of Gumball
The Night from, The Amazing World of Gumball Cartoon. They drift to a distant place not bound by losing time, human space, a place of wonder for sounds, and sights. A place of joy we go to sleep every night but how many of us consider.
The thoughts that take over our brain during this time. This episode explores the Elmore residents’ dreams and as we look into each character’s mind, we encounter some pretty unnerving stuff although there’s some comic relief thrown in like Richard.
Imagining himself as a piece of dough being made into a bun, we also see things like gumballs falling through the sky with no support insight. The night also explores the divide between our conscious and subconscious. Like when Larry acts foolishly in front of a cop because he thinks he’s dreaming only to get thrown in jail.
Speed Demon – The PowerPuff Girls
Speed Demon from The PowerPuff Girls, in this episode, what starts out as a friendly race between sisters turns into a horrifying Odyssey through time. After traveling 50 years into the future. The PowerPuff Girls find themselves in a dystopian society.
The demonic him has taken over Townsville and the citizens are suffering in their absence. This episode reveals the true weight of the PowerPuff Girls’ responsibilities, in particular the scene where the townspeople blame the girls for letting them down. Illustrates the immense amount of guilt, the girls must hold for the times when they couldn’t protect their people.
Holly and Jolly Secrets – Adventure Time
Holly and Jolly Secrets from Adventure Time, “hello my name is Simon Petrikov I am recording this tape so that people will know my story Oh No the secrets revealed”. In these two episodes are anything but holly-jolly Finn and Jake who vowed to discover the Ice King secret, and even fight off an army of snowmen to keep access to his precious VHS tapes.
Eventually, the ice king relents and the three sit down, to watch his life story unfold we find out that the King was once a man named Simon Petrikov, who fell prey to the allure of a powerful but dangerous crown. Watching his mental state deteriorate is heartbreaking because we have the power of hindsight suddenly.
It becomes clear that the ice came through everything in his life away including his fiancee because of the pull of the crown braid and regained my sanity and then maybe Betty. My friend says maybe you all will love me again please love me again.
Change Your Mind – Steven Universe
Change Your Mind Steven Universe from yourself but you can’t hide from me pink Steven is no stranger to tackling problems around. The universe but in this episode, he faces his biggest challenge: his family Steven comes to realize the reason the pink diamond left home as he witnesses firsthand.
How abusive blue diamond, who acted as her mother was through the character of a white diamond. Who also had a mother-daughter type relationship with pink change her mind reveals. How parents or parental figures are often unaware of how they’re creating a toxic home environment for their children and may only realize the error of their ways when it’s too late.
What is this, where is pink she’s gone, what did you say to answer me just as the pink diamond was rejected by her family Steven struggles with his sense of identity and searches for acceptance although Steven finds peace and an accepting family in the end. His journey is filled with a rollercoaster of emotions but I want you to know you could know me if you change your mind.
Freaky Fred Courage – The Cowardly Dog
Freaky Fred Courage from The Cowardly Dog, with the precious pup and husband dear, my I felt so nice and naughty. When Fred arrives in town, we’re not really sure what’s off about him all, we know that he gives us the creeps from his slow nursery rhyme like, narration to his knowing smile. It’s no wonder courage wants nothing to do with him.
I’d never felt so naughty, eventually, we find out that Fred’s preferred pastime is shaping people’s hair against their will and soon courage becomes his latest victim. Witnessing courage all pink and newly shaved with a tiny tuft of hair left on his tail isn’t a pleasant sight and watching Fred gleefully shave courage really makes us wonder what’s going on inside his mind.
Goodbye I’ll miss your farm and Eustace is only on job and farewell courage, what’s the harm if I was slight.
Haunted – Teen Titans
Haunted Teen Titans, how do we know if something’s real, what if it’s just our brain playing tricks on us. After confronting his nemesis Slade in the woods, Robin is convinced that Slade has returned for good.
The only problem is that no one believes him and soon his friends think he’s going crazy, he said he saw Slade. I tried to see him, I truly did but I could not.
I have never seen Robin so angry, eventually, the uncertainty begins to take a major mental toll on Robin, to the point where he wakes up and finds himself in an infirmary restrained to his bed. Overall this episode is a chilling look into Robin’s mind, that reveals the full extent of his obsession with Slade there’s no.
Twisted Sister – The PowerPuff Girls Cartoon
Twisted Sister from the PowerPuff Girls’ Cartoon, everyone knows Bubbles Buttercup and blossom but did you know about the fourth PowerPuff Girl bunny.
The girls decide to create a fourth sister to help them protect the city but after an incident in the lab their new sibling comes out looking a little different, despite this, they send her out to fight crime and she inevitably gets into trouble even though she ultimately ends up saving her sister’s lives.
Bunny is ostracized and the episode ends with her exploding because of her unstable nature, watching bunny come into the world only to be used and tossed aside tugged on heartstrings and really made us question the Powerpuff Girls values.
Honorable Mentions (Bonus)
Only a dream Justice League, what’s more, terrifying than a villain, who can attack you in your dreams. Coming here was the mistake of your life see the closer.
I am someone stronger, I get I’ll be able to go into your brain even if you’re wide awake terror tales of the park five regular show these, Halloween specials never fail to surprise us.
Me SIX and Destroy, Rick and Morty because hiring blue humanoids to do your bidding is never a good idea. Nightmare Hospital Steven Universe, nothing good ever comes from sneaking into a hospital birthmark. Teen Titans because birthdays aren’t always caused for celebration.
Perfect Courage – The Cowardly Dog Cartoon
Perfect Courage from The Cowardly Dog Cartoon, what is wrong, there is almost nothing as dark as confronting your own self-loathing in this series. Finale courage is forced to reflect on his own shortcomings and failures after accidentally messing up a few small tasks at home.
I want to see puffy posture, shoulders back chin up, yes and walk rather than forgiving himself courage is plagued with anxiety and his internal monologue becomes increasingly negative until he begins having nightmares. Many fans will recognize the horrifying monsters, that appear to hauntingly remind courage, that he’s not perfect although there is a positive resolution.
Purges’ mental journey is an uneasy reflection of a nearly universal fear of falling short of our own and other’s expectations do you agree. For more such content, keep watching this space.