FANDOM


WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic
  • Looney Tunes: The early shorts started as shallow, musical oriented Disney ripoffs, but in 1935, Tex Avery and Bob Clampett decided to bring back the fun of old rubberhose cartoons (at a time when Disney was becoming a major force in the industry) which slowly led to the creation of beloved stars like Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, and the rest of the Looney Tunes ensemble, while previous Disney-derivative stars like Beans the Cat and Oliver Owl faded into obscurity.
  • Speaking of Classic Disney Shorts: While these old shorts are generally well liked among classic animation fans as a whole, its near universally agreed that these shorts reached their peak in the mid 30's to early 40's, with hits like The Old Mill, Clock Cleaners, Lonesome Ghosts, and Thru The Mirror.
    • In fact, Disney as a whole gradually grew the beard in the 30's, when Disney pushed for higher quality, more naturalistic animation, ditching the crude rubberhose style of the early cartoons for the most part, with the epitome of their beard growing being the first five Disney features: Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi. The studio artists grew from animating rubber-hose cartoons to naturalistic, classical, anatomically-correct humans, animals, and scenery... in the span of 3 years!
    • If you ever find the shorts produced by Walt Disney's first animation studio, Laugh-O-Gram Studio (your best bet would be the Beauty and the Beast Blu-Ray), watch them in chronological order. You may notice a gradually reduced reliance on Overly Long Gags, and a stronger desire to actually tell a story, featuring endearing characters. Even then, the visuals have nothing on the shorts and movies later produced at Walt Disney Animation Studios.
  • The early Woody Woodpecker shorts have not aged well, and it's easy to see why: in Walter Lantz's attempt to imitate Tex Avery and Bob Clampett's fast paced slapstick style of comedy, he missed the point. The gags were very Warner Bros. deriative and presented without much conviction, Woody didn't have much consistent characterization, the timing was slow and mushy, and the animation was some of the sloppiest of any cartoon from The Golden Age of Animation. Fans agree that things got much better when Disney veteran Dick Lundy arrived at the studio in the mid-40's and took the directors reign-he improved everything, the timing, the animation, the pacing, the gags, everything, bringing the series to what is considered its peak with classics like "Solid Ivory," "Banquet Busters" and "Wet Blanket Policy." And prior to Lundy, Shamus Culhane also beefed up the quality and direction of the series over Lovy.
  • While not considered bad, the first season of The Simpsons seems jarringly different than other seasons to more recent viewers, due to the show's slower pace, Homer's voice, the quirks of the animation style, etc. The show really picks up in the second season, and then really hits its stride by the third season. The reason was largely financial: the initial Tracey Ullman shorts were done on the cheap (starting with a two-man animation team, one of whom was Matt Groening), and improved as more funding was added. The first season was a half-length trial - with the second season, they got a full whack of funding and were able to set down a regular writing and production cycle and firm up the designs.
  • Debatable, but the third season (specifically, "Parasites Lost") is the first real glimpse of what Futurama is most highly regarded for -- the ability to mix comedy and melancholy, which leads into its centerpiece plot.
  • The Marvel Action Hour, the 1990s Fantastic Four and Iron Man cartoons both grew their beards in Season 2; while not rejecting their first seasons, the shows suddenly took a leap forward in quality. Basically, the entire production crew from the first season was fired and replaced. The animation style changed for both shows and most of the Force Works characters from Iron Man were written out to concentrate on better solo stories.
  • Transformers: Beast Wars was very episodic, though still enjoyable, in its first season, but the first season finale and follow-up in the second season began an "Epic kick". By the third season the plot threads were woven much more tightly and characters gained depth. It may not be incidental that the first season was also the longest (in fact as long as both of the other two together).
    • Transformers Animated was fairly disliked early on for its exaggerated animation style, the episodes were merely decent but not spectacular. Thrill of the Hunt introduced some of Ratchet's backstory in the original Autobot/Decepticon war and the results were both shocking and mature. It also introduced a popular rivalry between Prowl (Ninja) and Lockdown (Pirate).
      • Megatron Rising is also a possible point for Beard Growth, setting up the more sustained arcs of the second season.
      • It also features some big development for Megatron, who rapidly became one of the character's finest incarnations.
    • Transformers Prime started off fairly strong but some people complained that it was too reminiscent of the Transformers film series in both look and story structure (although with a greater focus on the robots). Once the initial miniseries was over and the series proper got started, fans started to really pick up on the high-tension/horror-themed episodes like "Scrapheap," "Predatory," "Operation: Breakdown" and "Rock Bottom." Those episodes in particular started to show how dedicated the series was towards balancing both story and characters.
      • Now we have "Partners", where Starscream defects from the Decepticons and becomes neutral.
      • The beard-growing became arguable in the second season, which was met with extremely polarizing fan reactions. While there are still standout episodes that much of the fandom seemingly agrees are good, the season suffers from severe pacing problems, from not taking full advantage of potentially interesting storylines, and the stakes set high by the season 1 finale also seem to have been lowered again.
  • The DCAU has some examples:
    • Batman the Animated Series started off action oriented, with early episodes like "On Leather Wings," "Christmas With The Joker" and "The Last Laugh" being primarily fast paced and minimal plot. "Heart of Ice," though, is generally regarded as one of the best of the entire series and legendary for reinventing Mr. Freeze as a tortured soul who lost his wife.
    • Justice League Season 2 is considered a vast improvement over Season 1. Mostly thanks to writer Dwayne McDuffie joining the crew, but also managing to seriously think a few plots through such as "A Better World" and especially Foreshadowing of the events of "Starcrossed". This was all largely evident in the season opener "Twilight" which was more aggressive in scope and personal in the stakes than almost anything in the first season.
    • During the commentary track on "Twilight," Bruce Timm and those with him also say that starting with Season 2 they wanted to push themselves more than they did with the first season. They use the metaphor of ringing a bell; that if you're going to ring a bell, do it as loud and as hard as you can.
      • There's also Hereafter, where Superman gets sent onto a desert planet with a red sun and has to survive without his powers. Not only is the first part, where the people of Earth think Big Blue is dead, genuinely touching, but Supes' interaction with the only intelligent inhabitant of the desert planet is some of the best-written stuff the series saw. It broke the mold of him having The Worf Effect to showcase the other league and put him by himself in a hostile and unfamiliar environment.
  • The Duck Dodgers episode "Of Course You Know, This Means War (and Peace)" provided a very compelling, drama-laden episode that didn't break the tone of the rest of the series, the following episode actually being used for the Snap Back.
  • Re Boot, mostly a highly episodic children's show in the first two seasons, abruptly became much deeper and somewhat darker in the third season, with a season-wide plot arc that made the show much more entertaining to an older audience. This is likely because they went into syndication in the third season and were no longer subject to ABC's Broadcast Standards and Practices which had constrained them up until that point (including giving Dot a "uniboob" because they didn't want things to be sexual at all).
    • Near the beginning of season three, Enzo loses a game which ultimately results in him becoming older and literally growing a beard.
    • Actually, it was near the end of the second season when the story began to pick up, starting with the introduction of Andria and culminating with the Wham! Episode finale.
  • The Raccoons when the human characters were dropped in the second season and the setting changed to a fully Funny Animal world. With that new focus, the plots became more original and the characters more complex, such as Cyril Sneer becoming more sympathetic as a Anti-Hero.
  • American Dad is widely regarded as becoming a more coherant and original show after the two part episode "Stan Of Arabia"; stepping out of the shadow of its predecessor by avoiding that shows excessive use of flashbacks and focusing on plot elements that weren't just easy political targets.
  • Most X-Men: Evolution fans agree that that show stopped being a "kiddie cartoon" around the season 2 finale. Then came season 3...
  • The first season of Teen Titans was slow, Anvilicious, and couldn't escape the label of "Justice League lite." Something at the end of Season 1 just clicked and showed that yeah, they can do drama. Then Season 2 said "Yeah, we can also do superhero comedy!"
    • In particular, "Masks", the episode that kicked off the Robin story arc at the end of the first season, introduced the Not So Different dynamic between Robin and Slade, and started developing Slade's motives and plans beyond the generic evil of his first few appearances really marked the moment of beard growth for many.
  • The first season of WITCH was okay, but then Greg Weisman was called upon to produce its second season, which many consider to be a vast improvement. Sadly, the show was cancelled afterwards.
  • Megas XLR was kinda undercooked before "Dude, Where's My Head?" found the right balance of Character Focus, snark and shout outs. And of Coop smashing up Mecha-Mooks/New Jersey.
  • Although Daria was golden from the first episode, "Cafe Disaffecto" was the episode where the show began to hit its stride creatively with regards to Daria being a force of nature within Lawndale, wreaking havoc against the status quo in her own passive-aggressive manner, via causing a riot with her anti-communist "Melody Powers" spy stories after being pressganged into participating in a coffee house open mic night event by her parents and her school.
    • Another good example would be the third season's first (production-wise) episode, "Through A Lens Darkly", where the title character diverges from being an Invincible Hero-like protagonist and made her into more of the Broken Ace she would become in later episodes.
  • Some South Park fans argue that seasons 4, 5 and 6 were the golden age of the show and the time during which it really kicked off, subtly combining the crude humor of seasons 1, 2 and 3 with the extreme Author Filibuster of later seasons.
  • Code Lyoko starts out pretty formulaic in Season 1, but in Season 2 more substantial character development and plots occur, and the show becomes less repetitive.
  • The Batman does this with its first season finale, when the characters begain to gain some depth and it was not so blatantly Merchandise-Driven. Most notably, Joker shows his nasty side for the first time, Batman / Bruce goes through his first real trauma in his career, and one of the show's best villains (Clayface) is created (arguably exceeding his comic and Diniverse versions). It grew the beard again in the fourth season, which was not only a marked improvement over a decent third season that was nonetheless probably weaker than the second one, but probably the best for overall storytelling (as well as introducing their excellent version of Dick Grayson).
  • In the first season of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, most of the episodes were self-contained and centered around the villain of the week. In other words, it looked just like Batman: The Animated Series except in all the noticable ways in which it was inferior to Batman (cruder animation, less exciting violence, less complex villains). The second season kicked off with a season long storyarc, "Neogenic Nightmare", and the show became a multi-part Soap Opera that was less about the villains and more about Peter's personal life, the effect his powers had on his personal life, and the supporting cast. It's this format that has helped this show be fondly remembered...and helped it regularly trounce Batman in the ratings.
  • Recent Disney Channel cartoons (The Replacements, American Dragon Jake Long, The Emperors New School) seem to start with bad to below-average first seasons, then there would be changes made in their second seasons to address this.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Before the 1st season finale, the show was a series of unconnected stories about five kids sticking it to the adults, and a certain bunch of kids who live down the lane. And then said kids whip out a cigar they found at the end of a previous episode....
    • The 2nd season finale (E.N.D.) was also this to a lot of fans, for developing the organization more, putting the characters in more danger, and showing that not every operative is a good guy.
    • The movie Operation Z.E.R.O. was a Crowning Moment of Awesome and a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming that shot the series in a magnificent direction with the introduction of Bigger Bad Grandfather, the mysterious Numbuh Zero ( Monty Uno, Nigel Uno's normally ditzy dad turned Badass Grandpa), the missing Sector Z, the Recomissioning Module, and many, many more strange plot twists.
    • Then comes the splinter cell that comes into focus near the end of the series, followed by mysterious events happening to Numbuh One. It all leads up to a master plan that comes to play in the Grand Finale, Operation: I.N.T.E.R.V.I.E.W.S., giving the show a brilliant sendoff, albeit a Tear Jerker.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars started out with some good points of praise alongside a lot of elements that fans did not care for, such as the goofy battle droid humor. The first season episode "Rookies" is generally cited as the moment the show improved because it introduced the coldly efficient commando droids and was an atypical story focusing on a small squad of clone troopers. It also had two uses of the word "hell" as a swear, stunning most of the viewers who believed it was watered down for kids. However, it didn't slip by the radar for long and got removed from the dialogue on-air.
  • Street Fighter:The first season was mostly stand alone episodes, with a few recuring elements (i.e. Guile's love interest). The second season has several character arcs through its episodes(i.e. Blanka's accidental further mutation, a growing rivalry between Ken and Ryu, Cammy's brainwashing, and Bison's aquisition of an ancient healing statue that, over the course of the season, drives him to world-destroying insanity). All this and Final Fight, too!
  • The Backyardigans from season two onwards; the character designs become cleaner and the animation is much smoother. Even the songs get better.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants in the second and third season with consistent episode plots, improved humor and art styles, and lots of Character Development of the main cast and characters.
  • Ka Blam! was less random and fleshed out the characters more in season two.
  • Most Phineas and Ferb fans consider the episode "Dude, we're getting the band back together!" the episode that made them love the series. After that, the animation got better, there was more character development on even the minor characters, and the show started adding more Parental Bonus and Continuity Nods.
    • Some of the rest, consider the episode just before it, Its about time! for getting truly genre savvy in regards to Doof's and Perry' dynamic. There is also You scream , I scream in which the writers show you just how self-aware the show is (Plus the Fan Service in B.U.S.T.E.D started quite a trend).
  • Johnny Bravo became wittier, funnier and easier to relate to in its second season. It also introduced the characters Carl and Pops which opened the door for more stories besides the standard "Johnny likes women" plot while Suzy evolved from a just a cute little girl with a crush on Johnny to someone more developed and mature and Bunny evolved from the standard mother figure to a louder, more actioney type character.
    • Of course, this is debatable since the changes devolved Johnny himself from a social retard to a literal one.
  • In another Cartoon Network example, I Am Weasel's focus strayed away from just "I.R. will never be as good as Weasel" to a wider array of storytelling which may have helped latch it off of Cow and Chicken and into its own show.
    • Really, the fact that Weasel was even able to stray away from being an apendage on C&C and establish itself as an independent show in itself is growing the beard.
  • Cartoon Network strikes again! The second season of Dexter's Laboratory boasts the most focus balance between the show itself and the Monkey and Justice Friends spin offs and even offered the most easily relatable stories in the show which also helped introduce more inventions that Dexter would invent to make his life easier resulting in the most versitile season of the series.
  • Rocko's Modern Life spent most of its first season focusing on just Rocko himself (Not that he's a boring or unlikable character). Things picked up starting in season 2 when Filburt evolved from a background character to a third friend and the series fleshed out the perspectives of the other characters as well and not just Rocko's. We witness Filburt and Hutchinson get married and have children, Heffer become a cop only to get arrested himself, Mr. Bighead evolves beyond a standard butt monkey to a more easily relatable character and even gains an artist for a son. Heck, Season 3's Wacky Deli is considered the best episode of the show (At least by Murray himself).
  • Regular Show also began to tone down the focus on its main protagonists. Whether this is beard growth or a shark jump, however, depends entirely on the viewer.
  • Drawn Together became more versitile with its characters and storyline in season 2 and didn't put as much emphasis on its reality show theme. DT's first season was good. But its second season not only pushed the limits of taste, but also how good the show could possibly be.
  • Sitting Ducks was much better in its second season than it was in its first. The slow atmosphere of the series disappeared and the characterization improved. Bill evolves into a suprisingly braver duck, Ed, Oly and Waddle gain more episodes dedicated to them and they even did better storytelling with Aldo fighting his craving for ducks.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! started out as a strictly episodic action cartoon... and then I, Chiro happened, where it turns out every petty little evil thing Skeleton King had been doing was in effort to resurrect a demon. The show in general got more serious while the comedy went from general kid-targeted sillyness to an Affectionate Parody of anime and science fiction.
  • While starting out fairly strong, Scooby Doo Mystery Inc's handling of some of the mysteries, Story Arc and romance seemed to get better come the second part of season 1.
  • The first few episodes of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron simply felt like a spinoff of The Movie. Around the time Libby got her Expository Hairstyle Change, the episodes started developing better and it started feeling more like a Nicktoon.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes introduced the main characters in a disjointed manner (the first five episodes having premiered online in the form of 20 shorts). The show started improving after the founding of the Avengers, and seemed to really hit a stride in the second half of the first season. By that point, the show started focusing less on finding new Avengers, and more on developing the eight they had, while still expanding their universe.
  • The fandom mostly agrees that at some point My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic grew the beard. When exactly is debated, but generally it is believed to be sometime near the middle of season one, though some believe that it didn't fully grow the beard until season two.
    • The show was only moderately popular when it premiered in Fall 2010 and wasn't too big during its original run. It wasn't until around Spring/Summer 2011, a good time after Season 1 wound down where the show's notability and popularity really exploded. With new fans discovering the show and watching the entirety of Season 1 in their spare time. Know Your Meme backed this up, as MLP was an entry in a "Best of 2011" poll despite debuting in 2010. It also helped that the middle of 2011 was when The Hub aired reruns during the afterschool hours on weekdays, when older children and teens would have free time!
    • YMMV, of course, but some episodes commonly mentioned as the episode where the show grew the beard include Dragonshy (S1E7), Winter Wrap Up (S1E11), or Sonic Rainboom (S1E16).
      • And further solidified with the early episodes of season 2. Which gave us a god of chaos voiced by Q, the return of Princess Luna and Twilight going temporaily insane.
    • Hell, the franchise itself grew the beard when Friendship is Magic came out! By way of some excellent animation, voice talent, well-rounded characters, interesting storylines, humour for all ages and having Lauren Faust in charge of it! This was grown further when people started watching in response to negative opinions on the show. This resulted in the Brony fanbase of today.
  • A good amount of the Recess fanbase say that while season one was good, season two is when the show started to get really good, with the characters begining to use their catchphrases and more Character Development to Miss Finster and Ashley A., among others.
  • Bob's Burgers got better in it's second season. The slow pacing of the show disappeared and the stories began to come to life and grab attention more.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.