This nostalgia trip was brought to you by the letter “c” for “cereal” and “cartoons”

At the beginning of “Breakfast Club,” rapper Murs alludes to the notion that we should all be able to relate to the following childhood memory: waking up on Saturday morning, grabbing a big bowl of sugary cereal, and watching cartoons.

Sounds pretty sweet, right? If that’s how you remember your childhood, then bully, just bully! I, for one, harbored a very similar routine, only sans the sugary cereal.

You remember the whole “anti-dentite” routine from Seinfeld? Well my folks were “anti-sucrose-ites.”

That joke sounded funnier in my head.

Actually, no it didn’t.

Anyway, for a good portion of my youth, “sugar” was like a four-letter word in my house. My parents, through not the crunchy-granola types, constantly sought out healthy alternatives to the world’s deadliest of sweets, one of which was those awful, sugary breakfast cereals. You know the ones. Your Froot Loops and Cookie Crisps  and Lucky Charms and…

Be still my beating 10-year-old heart!

None of that for lil ol’ me and my siblings. Nope, not a crispy “berry”-flavored cereal bit in sight for any of us. Instead, our pantry was filled with the likes of Shredded Wheat (unfrosted, of course), Cheerios (plain), Wheaties (yuck), Grape-Nuts (blech), some other wheat cereal that pretty much looked like twigs (really?), and the worst of the worst…puffed wheat and/or rice.

Both of which pretty much tasted like the boxes they came in.

My foray in trying out the cereals that I was once denied happened in college, y’know, because breakfast cereal is totally one of the most salacious discovery-routes a nubile young freshman can take…right? RIGHT?? I did develop a temporary addiction to Lucky Charms and Corn Pops. Oh, and then there was this one that I OD’ed on Cocoa Pebbles. Ick. (Thank god I wasn’t alone – haven’t been able to touch chocolate cereal since. Much like with Jagermeister. Not that anyone would ever combine Cocoa Pebbles and Jager, I mean…psssht, that’s just…well…just…it’s like…[sigh].)

Terrible memories of being a youngin’ slurping up sad, wheat-flavored milk out of bowls aside, if I had been allowed to indulge fully in this common Saturday morning ritual of overly-sugared foodstuffs with milk and vapidly brilliant entertainment, I likely would have had preferences. Going back to the “Breakfast Club” song, it makes sense that some cereals would go better with certain cartoons over others. (I think both kid logic and adult logic apply.) So I’m going to play a game. I’m going to take my top five all-time favorite (that I can currently recall) 1980s Saturday morning cartoons, and pair them with the sugary cereal that I think I would have chosen for each back in the day.

Let the listing, in no particular order, commence!


Voltron and Trix

Though Voltron didn’t have a huge run in the U. S, I truly enjoyed the bejeesus out of it as a kid. There was just something particularly wonderful about large, formidable robotic lions (each overseen by some of the best space defenders around!) that connected together to form an even larger and even more formidable peace-keeping robot — Voltron! We even had the full playset with all five lions. (Though I seem to remember there being a pink character – a girl – at some point in the run? I don’t recall there being a pink lion.) But why choose the “fruit-flavored” sugar blast of Trix as an accompaniment? Because in the same manner that one might not think that five robotic lions could come together to form something so wonderful, so to do Trix’s disparate shapes come together to form a ton of delicious, “fruit-filled” goodness. Having a few single bits of Trix is okay, but mash them together into the Voltron of cereals, and you’ve got something that’s more than special.


Jem and Fruity Pebbles

To be frank, the wonderfully sparkly cartoon Jem is as much about empowerment and self-esteem as it is brightly-spangled clothing, make-up, and music. So why not pair it with another classic, “fruit”-flavored (I guess?) cereal: Fruity Pebbles! Just like Jem offered up a mix of the level-headed Jerrica and her wild(ish) alter-ego Jem, Fruity Pebbles mixes together your mainstream crisped rice with neon-colored counterparts of the same ilk. Together they form a blast of texture and flavor that can be matched only by Jem’s unique sound (/internalsnicker) and sequined get-ups. Plus, Fruity Pebbles does look a little like neon-colored sequins. And nothing says “flavor” like…uh, plastic sequins?


Thundercats and Super Sugar/Golden Crisp

Of all the superhero-esque cartoons of the 1980s, from Spider-Man to Super Friends, Thundercats was far and away my most favorite. I mean, I adored cats back then (still do, of course), and here were a bunch of cat people saving the galaxy! I even made a very poor and ill-forseen attempt at being Cheetara once by drawing black spots all over my right shoulder, which pleased my mother immensely. As a kid, the Thundercats were nothing less than super, and so to was, in my eyes, Super Sugar Crisp, or Super Golden Crisp once the breakfast cereal people decided that maybe it wasn’t great to advertise the word “sugar” outright in kids’ cereals. It was probably the one cereal that I coveted most out of all the eye-searingly-colored cereals back then. (Okay, so it’s just super-sweetened puffed wheat, something I didn’t know back then.) A super cartoon like Thundercats deserves nothing less than this “super” cereal, even if it’s mascot is a little, um…less than super.


Inspector Gadget and Apple Jacks

While most cartoons simply offered flash-in-the-pan entertainment, some were edutainment in disguise. Though hardly advertised as “good for young minds,” Inspector Gadget proved to be something of a training ground for a young me. The truth that I found wasn’t in Inspector Gadget’s crazy, wacky gadgets, but it was in Penny, the techno-wiz niece of said crime-fighter who really solved all of the mysteries, with the help of her dog, Brain. Penny’s fortitude and problem-solving skills still stick with me today, not only in a “girl trying to make it in a man’s world” sense, but also in remaining pragmatic and humble. With that, I offer the pairing of Apple Jacks, a sweet cereal that tastes like neither apples nor jacks. It’s a cereal that’s been around the block a few times and knows how to get things done. It doesn’t need any applause to feel like it accomplished something. It is and will always be. Just like the all-knowing and all-seeing Penny.


He-Man and Frosted Flakes

I imagine that many of us have stories revolving around massive toy collections that were eventually ditched by one’s parents. For us, that was He-Man. Not only was the cartoon an absolute Saturday morning staple for most of its run, but for several years we had He-Man figures for miles, along with couple of the castle playsets. (All of it eventually ended up in yard sales and the trash.) The cereal pairing here is a an easy one that’s really all about tigers. With Frosted Flakes, you got Tony the Tiger, a mascot for the ages. With He-Man, you had my favorite tiger sidekick, Cringer/Battle Cat. Man, Cringer was a really goofy tiger, but he always made me laugh. And I’m sure that if I had been hopped up on Frosted Flakes at the time, I probably would have laughed even harder at him.


Alrighty folks, sound off in the comments with some of your favorite childhood cartoons, cereals, and/or pairings of the two!

15 thoughts on “This nostalgia trip was brought to you by the letter “c” for “cereal” and “cartoons””

  1. What a fun post and major nostalgia! 🙂 I find it funny how cereal and watching Saturday morning cartoons became synonymous with each other. A little strange when you think about it, but it sort of works? I remember eating most of the cereals you name here as a kid, but I doubt I would pick these up at a store now that I’m older. Different tastes and all that, right? 🙂

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    1. Exactly. 🙂 There’s no way I could handle the super-sweetness of any of these cereals first thing in the morning. Hell, even if I could, I’d probably end up in a sugar crash halfway through the morning. But there is a strange joy in remembering those days when sugar didn’t seem to matter and Saturday morning cartoons were the best thing ever on weekend mornings. Good times, they certainly were!

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  2. I feel bad for the poor kids these days. Sure cable, satelite, internet, smartphones, etc. Have taken over and now kids can watch whatever whenever, well rich kids anyways, but like the one guy said (and is 100% right on) 1/6 of americans still rely on broadcast tv for news and weather and entertainment. they should definitely bring back some kind of saturday morning cartoon lineup for those kids, im sure they would get better ratings than whats on now. Bottom line is that taking Saturday morning cartoons off broadcast tv is just another part of the outright assault on broadcast tv, just another ploy to force people to buy into cable or satellite. the assault on broadcast tv needs to stop.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m kinda with you there. As much as I use streaming services to watch stuff (and there’s still nothing on, really), I rely pretty heavily on my local channels for news (cable news downright stinks) and a few regular shows. And I know plenty of folks who live in rural areas who *only* use broadcast TV. It is a shame that so much of what use to be considered good TV just isn’t available anymore. There was something really special about tuning in Saturday mornings to catch up on one’s favorite cartoons. Now kids can stream thousands of episodes all at once. “Anticipation” just isn’t a thing anymore because nobody has to wait for anything anymore. The thrill is gone. And that’s too bad.

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  3. First, this was an awesome post! And by awesome, I mean totally 80’s nostalgia awesome. So thanks.

    Second, the stick cereal was/is mueslix. It’s nasty stuff.

    Third, I laughed pretty hard at your nubile young college comment. I had a picture of a slinky college coed swimming seductively through Cheerios 😀

    And finally, Voltron and Trix all the way. Trix was the only sugar cereal our parents would get us, once a month for a treat and we 3 kids usually ate the whole box before noontime on Saturday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, I do like reminiscing about the 1980s. It was just a …simpler time. Except, you’re right, they still do make mueslix. Ick. So not everything old is new again, ever. I still do like cereal though; have it every morning. But neither the sugary ones nor the ones that taste like wood chips. With middle age comes middle-of-the-road cereal. Damn. I hope that doesn’t mean I’ll HAVE to eat mueslix someday. Just…damn.

      With college comes vices. What can I say. Guess it was sex, drugs, and cereal for me.

      And I just choked on my coffee typing that.

      Man, Voltron was just the best. We used to pit him against He-Man and his cohorts in battles for the ages. Sucky thing was Voltron was too big to fit into Castle Grayskull.

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  4. These days we need to bring back the time honored tradition of saturday morning cartoons. 60 million americans, 1/6 of the population, gets its news and weather and entertainment from broadcast. They would benifit greatly from bringing back saturday morning cartoons, maybe new ones, or even old re runs of g.I. joe or ninja turtles or looney tunes on comet, or this tv, or get tv, or me tv, or one of them channels. Time to bring back saturday morning cartoons!

    Absolutely for us broadcast tv watchers this one magnificent morning crap and ceaser milan stuff has got to go, never anything good to watch on saturday mornings. I may be a grown adult now but I would definitely welcome some cartoons on saturday mornings over the garbage they air now

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would heartily agree. Saturday morning TV used to be entertaining, but now, it’s pretty much only “edutainment.” There’s nothing wrong with that necessarily – even back when cartoons were regularly aired, I remember some channels airing edutainment shows later in the morning (for us kids, that usually meant it was time to turn off the TV, haha). But I don’t see any harm in mixing up what’s become a really bland roster of shows with a little animated fun. I get that most folks these days are probably getting their cartoon fixes from streaming services and the Internet, but that doesn’t work for everyone. It’d be awesome to be able to turn on my classic broadcast channels on the weekends to watch a great cartoon or three again!

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  5. This post was truly outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous.
    …I’ll just show myself out.

    I actually really liked Cheerios. But I was also a fan of Frosted Flakes (with milk) and Frosted Mini Wheats (without milk, used as a snack) when Cheerios were not available. And I loved Inspector Gadget! I also liked the Flinstones and the Jetsons, and my older siblings would watch Daria and little me be in the room sometimes so I found that fascinating, too, and writing all this makes me seem like I was a very odd child so I’m going to stop haha. Oh, and Doug. I really loved Doug. That’s a pretty normal one haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Oh, Jem. 🙂 And all those classic Hanna Barbera cartoons — life just wouldn’t have been the same without them!

      I’ll readily admit that I didn’t mind Cheerios, and I actually really like them now. As we got older, my parents became much more lax with the whole “no sugar” rule. They still never, ever bought super sugary cereals, but eventually the likes of Honey Nut Cheerios and Frosted Shredded Wheat were deemed okay.

      I loved Daria! My friends and I were really into it when it first came out. It it was around the same era that we all developed a pretty strong addiction to Nicktoons. Though when we got together we traded in sugary cereal for nicer breakfasts, the ritual of watching them on Saturday mornings (Rugrats, Angry Beavers, etc.) remained the same.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Saturday lineups used to be really strong! I just looked up a list of Saturday morning cartoons and spent the last five minutes pointing at my screen going, “Omg that one, yes! …OMG YES that one, too!” haha It’s funny going through and seeing how the shows subtly changes over the years. This has been a nice trip down memory lane. Thank you !

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        1. Falling down the rabbit-hole of nostalgia on the Internet is my specialty! Plus, the state of the world is so crappy right now, anything that helps brings smiles to faces is alright by me. 🙂

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