One of my favorite things about being a kid in the ’90s was pouring a big bowl of Fruity Pebbles and putting on some Saturday morning cartoons. Life—and breakfast—is a touch more complicated now. You can put in a seven-day work week and still end up going bankrupt at every birthday brunch over a mimosa, some goat cheese-and-beet omelette, and a joke of a side salad. Sometimes, you just wish you could retreat back to a simpler time, a time of sloth and sugar.
Well, what’s stopping you?
You may have tossed all your orange Nickelodeon VHS tapes out ages ago, but the magical world of streaming allows you to reconnect with all your animated favs. Better yet, we’re wise enough to know which cereals match up best with the cartoon classics of yesteryear. So tell your brunch date you caught a cough (she’ll deal) and grab a box of these for the perfect old-school Saturday.
This may seem perplexing, because the town of Bluffington is chock-full of colorful characters—like, both in a literal purple-skinned-people sense, and in a Skeeter would legit honk sense. Doug Funnie himself, though? He’s wholesomeness incarnate, really only enticing in the guise of Quailman (and then he can be Honey Nut Cheerios, maybe). Also keep in mind that Doug was one the three first Nickelodeon Cartoons, so it only seems fitting that he would resonate with one of the first cereals you have as a youngling.
Rugrats: Cookie Crisp
Reptar Crunch would be ideal, but good luck picking that up in 2016. Cookie Crisp makes for a solid second pick, though, because it was always a delicacy. You know, probably because your mom bought it only sporadically out of fear of sugar-related fits.
It also seems like, because it was Angelica’s favorite food, she would mess up who tried to put a stopper that low-key addiction. Actually, Angelica seemed like she would mess someone up for the thrill of it. She was really one of the more sadistic toddlers on television at that time.
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Count Chocula
Maybe if your leanings are a bit gothier than the Rugrats fanatics, you’ll call this Klasky Csupo classic your favorite... but is it really, though? In truth, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is perfectly solid cartoon with very few memorable episodes. It’s something you revisit when you’re getting nostalgic around Halloween and you think to yourself, “This is fine seasonally” or “Idk, if I wanted to see Tim Curry in heels I could’ve probably just watched Rocky Horror.” You know, the exact same thoughts you have when you dig into a bowl of Count Chocula.
Johnny Bravo: Mini Wheats
The shredded wheat says, “I have to watch what I eat so I can successfully flex my pecs at random women in LA Fitness.” The frosted glaze says, “I’m closing in on 30 and still living with my mama.” The combo altogether equates to something like, “I’m kind of adulting successfully, but I still need a little sugar.” So, in short, Bravo-approved.
The Ren & Stimpy Show: French Toast Crunch
If there were truly a cereal that captured the absurdity of Ren & Stimpy it would probably be unsuitable for children... and, like, illegal in three counties. Failing that, we have this perfect, pourable homage to Powdered Toast Man. It’s still a crazy concept (miniature French toast, what is this black magic?) and just a liiiiiittle bit revolting if you have too much. Perfection.
Dexter’s Laboratory: Rice Krispies
There isn’t some huge scientific explanation behind this one, Rice Krispies just seems like a perpetually logical choice when you’re stumped about what cereal to get from Shop Rite. And who’s more logical than Dexter, boy genius? Looking back, though, Dexter and Dee Dee actually got pretty eccentric when it came to breakfast cereals, enjoying Frosted Suga Hanks and Pony Puff Puffs, respectively. Actually, if memory serves, a breakfast cereal decoder ring mix-up almost had Dee Dee boiled to death by said Pony Puffs.
Incidentally, my brother and I did not have dramas like that before noon.
Hey Arnold!: Apple Jacks
Apple Jacks are a bit of a misnomer; the name suggests it’s apple-centric, but every commercial ever asserts that their primary flavor is cinnamon. It’s also one of those rare cereals from your childhood that ages well. Though subtly sugar-saturated, there’s nothing shameful about having Apple Jacks in your pantry as opposed to, say, Trix. In fact, most people can agree that even if Apple Jacks isn’t their favorite cereal, it’s a damn good cereal.
And that basically encapsulates the appeal of practically perfect Hey Arnold!, a children’s cartoon that’s below-the-radar mature (and not just in a “pet the kitty” way).
Cow And Chicken: Waffle Crisps
There are plenty of simplistic similarities between the cartoon and the cereal: Doth are delightful “sometimes” treats, both are still somewhere out there in the universe, yet both are pretty difficult to get your hands on in 2016. The reason they’re getting matched together, though, is because you can always order chicken and waffles, and hey, who doesn’t like a side of sausage?
Mama had a chicken, mama had a cow, you’re having them both for brunch. #SundayFunday
Rocko’s Modern Life: Froot Loops
You can’t just assign Froot Loops to a show all flippantly; it’s basically like eating a rainbow. So to explain giving the honor to Rocko’s, another one of the three OG Nicktoons, I have to place it back next to Doug again. Listen, Froot Loops is artificially flavored anarchy, but secretly, many of us prefer the gentle plainness of Cheerios on a day-to-day basis. Likewise, you’re probably more likely to settle in with an episode of Doug, but Rocko’s world of O-Town was truly colorful in a way that Bluffington could never be. Read: Doug was an 11-year-old in a sweater vest, whereas the straight man on Rocko’s was a pantsless wallabee slash one-time sex phone operator.
Leaps and bounds, my friends. Leaps and bounds.
Animaniacs: Lucky Charms
Speaking of anarchy, I really have to give up the most godless of all cereals to Animaniacs. Like, you just have to make a quick stop over to Netflix to double-check was a masterpiece this show was. See, there’s classic old-school craziness via Warner Brothers (and their Warner sister, Dot), there’s a multitude of skits, raunchy jokes, pigeons that parody Goodfellas... just a lot to love. With Lucky Charms you have, technically, a base of a traditional oat cereal, but the joy comes from the wide variety of marshmallows. It’s the same. It is exactly the same.
Captain Planet: Raisin Bran
“But couldn’t Captain Planet be Lucky Charms because of all the elements—” NO. No.
Um, look. We all caught episodes of Captain Planet in passing when we were little, it definitely pushed me to recycle all my gigantic bottles of Pinot Grig’ at the end of the week. If that’s your all-star pick though, if that was your favorite show? I’m sorry you hate fun, here’s a gigantic bowl of fiber.
SpongeBob Squarepants: Cap’n Crunch
Technically, SpongeBob debuted midway through 1999, and it’s definitely still going strong. WHATEVER, that’s because it’s a magical show that’s amazing at all ages... the television equivalent to Cap’n Crunch. Not only is the cereal yellow, square (ok, rectangular), and not-not porous, it has nautical nonsense via the titular Cap’n. You can’t go wrong.
PowerPuff Girls: Reese’s Puff Cereal
Plenty of sugar, not really any spice... but a blend of chocolate and peanut butter constitutes “everything nice,” right? Ok, I don’t know what to tell you, there are only so many cereals with a pastel color palette. What’s important is that I fit the “puff” in there.