Chasing puberty: Our favorite cartoon characters, all grown up

Words by Maine Manalansan and Tin Sartorio
Art by Bernard Gatus

We spent most of our days in front of the television. We were switching between three cartoon channels for hours and not even minding if it was a rerun of last month’s episode. In fact, we often got in trouble for it. Especially when we tried to watch Cartoon Network after dark. (Adult Swim, anyone?)

Now that we’re older and a little bit wiser, we can finally say that we have outgrown those cartoons, right? In a time when Only ‘90s Kids Remember articles fill our social media feeds, it’s safe to say that our generation lives for nostalgia. Like a bunch of grade-schoolers discussing last night’s episode on the school bus ride home, we still love talking about our favorite cartoons. On a catch-up holiday dinner with our childhood best friends, we debate how much we saw ourselves in our favorite characters and how ours is way cooler than theirs (#mature). But somewhere between our third and fourth bottle of beer, the conversation starts to get a little deeper. Why did we even stop watching TV? How come they stopped airing our favorite cartoons? How am I supposed to find out if Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable ended up together? So many questions, not a lot of answers.

So if the networks are gonna be a d-bags about it, we might as well take the matter into our own hands. Here’s a list of eight of our favorite cartoon characters and what they might be like today.

Deedee from Dexter’s Laboratory

Deedee all grown-up is that basic b*tch you permanently mute online. She believes herself to be a complete catch (Latin honors and a hot bod? K.) but she’s ridiculously unaware of her boring personality. She swears by the existence of unicorns and quotes Mean Girls all the damn time. Her favorite holiday is Starbuck’s Red Cup season. On days when she’s not tweeting like a fortune cookie, she updates everyone about her drunken night at Tipple or posts selfies with captions straight from Lang Leav and Murakami. She sarcastically annoys the sh*t out of you but you still love her anyway, because you guys are practically sisters after going through high school together and that’s, like, a lot. —TS

Eliza Thornberry from The Wild Thornberries

Eliza was backpacking around Southeast Asia for a series of animal rescue missions when she met her travel photographer boyfriend. Now, she’s one of those fulltime travel bloggers with over four million followers on Instagram. Together, they are what #RelationshipGoals are made of. She still helps animals by being the ambassador of PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals). But these days, she focuses on living out her restless soul — satisfying her insatiable desire to explore the world, one commissioned Instagram post at a time. She likes sunsets, mountain peaks and long reflective captions about how beautiful life is. #wanderlust. —TS

Ed and Plank from Ed, Edd and Eddy

As a teenager, Ed was seen as the weak and gullible one, often being bullied by his friends and his sister Sarah. But he powered through. After countless leadership training and Zen retreats in Buddhist temples, he has finally found his calling. He’s now an owner of an artisan furniture shop in Portland. Together with his business partner Plank — who finally ended his longtime friendship with Jonny 2×4 after he was replaced with his new friend, Branch — they rock the furniture industry one Pinterest-worthy chair after another. Their ultimate dream is to collaborate with Kenneth Cobonpue and be the next Charles and Ray Eames. —MM

Ron Stoppable From Kim Possible

 

Fighting crime beside your best friend could be fun. But it won’t be long until your spotlight dims fully when she finally gets a Nobel Peace Prize and you don’t. Two months after his brief romance with Kim Possible ended, he saw her Instagram account peppered with weekend beach getaways with her new flame. Hasn’t she heard of the three-month rule? Unfortunately for Ron, he has invested too many feelings in Kim. Five years later, he is still knee-deep in fond memories and he can’t seem to get out. First love may never die, but it’s not the only love you will ever have. Maybe he should finally get on that dating app, matching naked mole rat owners with one another. —MM

Gerald Johanssen from Hey Arnold!

 

Straight outta P.S. 118, Gerald grew up to be that friendly neighborhood hype beast. He is the multi-hyphenated photographer, musician and even model upon special request. His art is about his struggles as a creative and he’s often inspired by the urban legends from his town. He is usually spotted wearing items from a new independent streetwear designer or checking out the coolest exhibit in town. Everyone loves having him around because he makes people feel “cultured” even just by association.—TS

Gretchen Grundler from Recess

It was when Gretchen traveled to Paris for an academic conference that she realized her taste in fashion wasn’t all that weird. A few pep talks and a Parson’s fashion design degree later, she has officially turned from geek to chic. She is now that vintage artisanal clothing designer known for her feminine details and pastel hues. Her quaint little atelier looks like it came from a Wes Anderson film and the hipsters can’t get enough of her. She is awkward but in, like, a really cool way. And yes, she is all of that and has a PhD too. Grrrrrrl power! —TS

Princess Morbucks from The Powerpuff Girls

Princess Morbucks seemed like she had it all: a lot of money, relentless passion and cute curls. All she ever wanted was to fight crime alongside The Powerpuff Girls. She didn’t have superpowers so she was rejected. But let’s be honest, that’s not her fault. Not everyone’s born in a laboratory. If there’s one thing that’s admirable about Princess Morbucks, it’s her drive to make her dreams come true. At 21, she’s now Stan Lee’s favorite intern. They create the best superheroes known to Townsville and beyond. Together with Christopher Nolan, the trio creates one superhero epic after another. If you can’t beat your enemies, create their competition. —MM

Johnny Bravo from Johnny Bravo

Johnny Bravo is tired of being called a dumb blonde. In fact, he’s also sick of other people calling women dumb blondes. After being a “ladies man” for years (he cringes at that term now), he finally realized that women are not objects to be toyed with. Newsflash: they’re human too. Now, he’s exploring major cities around the world, spreading the word about respect and equality with his trusty Canon G7x. He’s not a certified YouTuber yet, but it won’t be long until his daily vlogs reach YouTube’s homepage. After all, the Internet loves attractive people with a good heart. —MM

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