12/7/11

Top 10 Cartoons with ADHD

Last Sunday's post explains how literature promotes self-understanding. The same is true for movies and tv shows. Even cartoons can offer insight into human behavior. As I reflect on the characters I loved as a kid, it seems there's one thing they have in common: the spirit of ADHD.

Here's my top ten childhood favorites and the habits that lend them to being diagnosed with ADD:

1. Tigger
Winnie the Pooh
My first ADHD idol, Tigger often encouraged me to stand up and bounce around while watching Winnie the Pooh. His love of “fun, fun, fun, fun, fun” is true of many ADHD’rs, whose minds are driven by dopamine.


2. Michelangelo
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Another fun-loving character, this “party dude” enjoys a good time as much as his pizza. Often missing social cues, behaving or speaking inappropriately, Michelangelo lacks the discipline of the other three ninjas.


3. Dale
Disney, Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers
The comic-relief to Chip's serious demeanor, Dale often goofs around while solving crimes. On my first trip to Disney World I made a point of meeting this loveable, huggable chipmunk, whose silly antics I easily related to. Like many ADHD’rs who express themselves through their bodies, he often acts out his jokes.

4. Stitch
Lilo & Stitch
Check out that energy, that spunk, that inability to control his impulses…You'd be hard pressed to argue that our dear alien friend does not have attention deficit.


5. Wakko
Animaniacs
Like Stitch, Wakko’s mischievous nature resembles the “itch” that drives ADHD’rs to act out in playful and/or destructive ways.


6. Scooby Doo
Scooby Doo
Another classic cartoon, Scooby stumbles into mysteries oblivious to the dangers that lurks around him Typical of ADHD’rs, he’s often goofing off (or gobbling a batch of Scooby snacks).


7. Alvin
Alvin & the Chipmunks
Unlike his studious brother Simon, Alvin embodies the impatience and carelessness of ADHD. I often find myself dropping glasses and spilling coffee on lap because my mind is off on my next task. In this clip, Alvin jests, “Who’s the dumb brother now?” Compared to bookish Simon, Alvin is certainly the less academic of the two, but as the chipmunk’s leader, he also exemplifies many classic ADHD super powers.


8. Roadrunner
Looney Tunes
A true speed demon, Roadrunner is known for his "beep, beep" as he thwarts Wile E. Coyote. I certainly relate to his auto-pilot pace. In life, I'm always on the go or looking for physical outlets to release my energy. Running is a perfect way to do so.


9. Bart
The Simpsons
What would a top-ten list of cartoons be without Bart Simpson? Infamous for his pranks and kamikaze ways, Bart is the poster child for the ADHD personality.


10. The Minions
Despicable Me
I could watch these little dudes for hours. On bad days, I quickly turn to YouTube and start giggling at their antics. Distractible and curious, these endearing yellow minions inhabit the true spirit of ADHD.


My older sister & me circa 1990.


While doing *research* for this post, an idea came to me: the characters who show signs of ADHD are often the comic reliefs. Coincidence? Or do we ADHD’rs simply add life and energy to any situation?

What other cartoons might have ADHD? Did I leave one out? Comment below or email me your favorites at WriteToJulianna





16 comments:

  1. I think Stitch just has an alien psychology.

    And many of these are a real stretch ,i'd say Tigger and Michelangelo are the only real arguable ones here, Michelangelo being a tad more realistic and Tigger being more of a 'theme park version'

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    1. I think i would disagree as i think people with a.d.h.d can be very variable.I know a couple of tiggers myself.However i think the little girl lilo probably has a.d.h.d too.Also would be good to see who you come up with for inattentive a.d.d(part of a.d.h.d)perhaps winnie the pooh??

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    2. That's a great observation that Lilo may have ADD! Let me put some thought into it, and I'll come up with another round of cartoons. And thank you for your helpful feedback.

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  2. "Alien psychology" - I love it!

    Thanks for your comments. I'll do some more digging, and hopefully find a few more cartoons that better match your view of ADHD.

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  3. This is loverley and helps me remember that although i frustrate myself and others at times,i know. I am lucky that people generally find me refreshing and endeering :) thanks x

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    1. Thrilled to hear that you found it helpful! I think we ADHD'rs do have that duality going on - of being both frustrating (to ourselves and others) as well as endearing. Thank you for your note!

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  4. This list was incredibly helpful. As a child, I always felt like I was the only one with the problems I had, but now, come to think of it, there were obvious examples of others that had the same disorder as I did! Thanks!

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  5. ADHD is annoying and frustrating, but at least I indeed make people laugh unintentionally (aka the comic relief around). It happens quite a lot when I'm with my friends or at work.

    My contribution to the list with some more recent cartoons I enjoy a lot:

    1) Timmy Turner (The Fairly Oddparents):
    He has problems coping with his boring school and is always postponing his tasks. Not only that, he often finds life dull and is always seeking new interesting (and dangerous) wishes to make. Furthermore he's had his share of social difficulties among his peers and is easely distracted by something interesting happening around.
    I also find his father (Dad, or Mr. Turner) a fine example of adult ADHD.

    2)Kronk (Emperor's New Groove):
    He cannot understand implicit language and is always bursting out things, not thinking about them beforehand. He has some weird habits and body language and is quite capable of ranting about things that are odd or uninteresting (squirrel talk, anyone?).

    3) Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz (Phineas & Ferb)
    He can rant nonstop, not realising the listener has no interest in it. He is always noticing and impulsively commenting on odd things most people don't even think about. His words are impulsive and show he has no filter watsoever as of what he should and should not be saying at the situation, up to the point of being unable to remain in silence. He is also always inventing something new every episode and is unable to notice some quite basic details in people's appearance.

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  6. Ps. and Johnny Bravo, of course!

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  7. I definitely find myself (unintentionally) making others laugh, Felipe. We're all jokesters in our own ways!

    And thank you for these additions! I'll quote you in my follow-up blog post about Cartoons with ADHD, if you don't mind. It sounds like your very in tune with your own ADHD. You have just given me a whole new line-up of new cartoons and movies to view.

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  8. I was glad to share it! This post was what made me stop to think and take notice of all of these examples, so it's a bit your doing as well. I'm hoping to see even more cartoons at this next post of yours! =)

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  9. Hi Julie,

    Fun breakdown of characters!

    "Or do we ADHD’rs simply add life and energy to any situation?"

    I'd say yes, but we have to be careful not to get kicked out :) Just kidding. I enjoyed the post, keep 'em coming!

    Bryan

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  10. I guess right on Mikey. Even in first series which didn't have offical leader Mikey was quick to act. As fo Lilio and Stitch I don't think are alien freind is only one with ADHD. I think Lilio and her sister Noni fall on the spectrum. I see both lacking ablity to control themselves snapping the way they do is definitely sign of ADHD. Lilio also shares many aspectes with stitch. I also see what you mean with Wako but to be fair all 3 of the Warner children lkke creafures lack impulse control. Personally I think Wako may fall into being somewhere on austism spectrum. I think Wako's behavior crosses into that sectrum. Dot like many young ones with ADHD has tendency to be sweet most of time but very loud when angry. Yako shows least signs of being on spectrum but even he can be bit impulsive.

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  11. I have discovered some new characters on the ADHD spectrum from the show Octonauts Kwazii it is beyond obvious. Also Dashi she is more inattentive but you can see at moments lack of impulse control. Watch Octonauts and gaint syphonphore I mah have spelt last word wrong. When Kwazii and Dashi race off as captian trys to remind them to be careful they are already in the tubes and he knows the words are falling on deaf ears sort of speak you can hear his exasperation.

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  12. These characters sound like great examples, Amanda! I can't wait to check them out.

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  13. And how about Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon? Sometimes, I think about all the cartoon characters I think would make great friends (though it may be a short and high adrenaline life) for all the reasons others have included. That sense of fun, excitement, nothing ordinary. Despite my huge frustration at myself, not to mention the problems it creates in all areas of my life, I'm glad to be ADHD.

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