Calm Cartoon, Cartoons WITHOUT LOUD NOISES.
June 23, 2013 10:05 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some excellent mellow and relaxing cartoon suggestions à la Hey Arnold! - See, i think that show is so damn chill with the nice smooth Jazz playing in the background, soft pleasant voices and oozy coolness - it's perfect for when I'm getting ready to sleep and trying to relax after a long day (I've been in a 90s-and-earlier-cartoons-at-bedtime mood as of late) . I can't stand how many cartoons these days ARE LOUD AS SHIT with constant random bells and whistles and noises and needless yelling and shouting and noisy irritation constantly going off. So I don't want those. I'd love suggestions of mostly uniformly quietish yet still entertaining (preferably older) Doug, or I just watched Top Cat and it was lovely as well because no jarring sudden noises! You get the idea... I very much appreciate your suggestions, folks!
posted by slightlyamused to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
If sleepymaking is what you want, it does not get any better than Kipper.
posted by justonegirl at 10:06 AM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Franklin, Little Bill, Max & Ruby, and 64 Zoo Lane are also pretty chill.
posted by justonegirl at 10:08 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Moomins is kind of trippy and calm. It's chill enough that I've been able to watch an episode before bed.
posted by txsebastien at 10:18 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Two inspired by SW London (I used to live along from Festing Road, which inspired Mr Benn's Festive Road address):

Mr Benn (example)
The Wombles (70s TV series) (example)

Some other British(ish) ones:
The Magic Roundabout (example)
Anything by Smallfilms but in particular The Clangers (example)

Danger Mouse (example) is also good, but is perhaps not quite as chilled out.

Finally, I'd check out Albert the 5th Musketeer (example).
posted by Talkie Toaster at 10:21 AM on June 23, 2013

Shaun The Sheep might work too.

Both it and Moomins are available on Netflix if that's your provider of choice.
posted by txsebastien at 10:25 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Younger kids' cartoons are my go-to for this - Little Bill (as mentioned above) is perfect, and I also really like Little Bear.
posted by DingoMutt at 10:29 AM on June 23, 2013

Seconding TT's recommendation for Smallfilms, but even more especially Bagpuss.
posted by scruss at 10:31 AM on June 23, 2013

Seconding Kipper.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 10:33 AM on June 23, 2013

Mary Mungo and Midge
posted by pipeski at 10:35 AM on June 23, 2013

Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat; Little Bear; and the Redwall animated series (Canadian series all, for what it's worth--they've produced tons of excellent children's programming in recent years)
posted by drlith at 10:55 AM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Pink Panther did the Henri Mancini thing. Daria is good (I had to throw that in there.).
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:56 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

David the Gnome? I remember it being kind of mellow.
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:00 AM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ivor the Engine is about as subdued as a cartoon gets.
posted by pipeski at 11:02 AM on June 23, 2013

Best answer: Dr. Katz comes to mind, if you're not exclusively interested in kids' Saturday Morning style stuff. The concept is that Dr. Katz is a therapist, and his patients are all voiced by early 90's stand-up comedians and the neuroses are their comedy schtick.

You might also like The Critic, which was part of the same post-Simpsons Cartoons For Grownups trend, and stars Jon Lovitz as a film critic. I vaguely remember that the conceit is that he reviews fake/parody movies, Siskel & Ebert style, but there are also storylines that involve his coworkers, family, etc. It's sort of halfway between something structured more like Dr. Katz and something a little more sitcom-ish like The Simpsons.
posted by Sara C. at 11:06 AM on June 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

It's been a while, but Caillou might fit your requirements.
posted by eralclare at 11:08 AM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also I'm surprised that Rocko's Modern Life hasn't been mentioned yet.

Old school Peanuts specials are great for this, too. And you've got that nice Vince Guaraldi soundtrack.
posted by Sara C. at 11:08 AM on June 23, 2013

Avatar has some action-y scenes, but a lot of it is very beautiful art with pretty music.
posted by chaiminda at 11:12 AM on June 23, 2013

Thirding Little Bill, also Charlie and Lola, and Caillou and seriously the Teletubbies.
posted by headnsouth at 11:14 AM on June 23, 2013

It's been a while since I've seen it, but I remember Rupert being pretty calm.
posted by Dismantled King at 11:40 AM on June 23, 2013

If you can get "George and Martha" (with Nathan Lane as George the hippo) it's awesome.
posted by nkknkk at 11:42 AM on June 23, 2013

What about Arthur?

Dammit now I have Arthur's song about the library in my head... (Having fun isn't hard/When you've got your library card!)
posted by Sara C. at 11:53 AM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Seconding Dr. Katz. Also Home Movies, but Dr. Katz is in a class by itself as far as your requirements, and it is fantastically good as well.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 12:36 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Salad Fingers was quite quiet; is on YouTube.
posted by rr at 12:49 PM on June 23, 2013

King of the Hill!
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:49 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you have Netflix, musashi .
posted by squirbel at 1:00 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

I cannot believe no one has mentioned Oswald yet! It's like televised Valium. Every time we'd put it on for the kids Back in Tha Day, the ENTIRE FAMILY would go all glassy-eyed and slack-jawed and get kind of goofy and sleepy.
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:21 PM on June 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Maybe try Maisy Mouse? And on preview, Oswald is perfect. Very sedate. If whiny children's voices annoy you like they annoy me, you can give Max & Ruby and especially Caillou a pass.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:23 PM on June 23, 2013

How do you feel about anime? For example, Mushishi is eerie but peaceful. I can't actually vouch for the whole series as I fell asleep at the end of one episode.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 1:29 PM on June 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Mushishi is usually pretty quiet, but it can be fairly creepy. Maybe not something before bed, though perfect as making-dinner-background noise. Kino's Journey and particularly Haibane Renmei would be other lovely quietly-talky animes, if you like them.

Shawn the Sheep mentioned upthread has a busy foley department but isn't loud, and has a pretty gentle humor.
posted by tchemgrrl at 2:08 PM on June 23, 2013

Usagi Drop is super mellow....there's not many of them, but its quiet and charming. Nothing in particular ever happens, but in a mesmerizing, comforting perfect for bed time kind of way. My husband and I loved it. We found it at our local library, but I'd bet its on Netflix too, possibly YouTube.

It's kind of like the Japanese version of Little Bill, which I also love; although this is also okay for kids, it was written for adults whereas Little Bill is a 'kids show'.
posted by jrobin276 at 3:56 PM on June 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh man, I'm so glad I asked this question. Tons of excellent suggestions I'd not thought about or heard of that and looking forward to looking into. You guys are excellent.
posted by slightlyamused at 4:25 PM on June 23, 2013

There's a restaurant I go to that is always playing DVDs of old cartoons (1920's - 1940's) with the sound off. My 8 year old son loves going there so he can watch the cartoons while he eats - which means that those old cartoons are very good at telling a story visually without any sound required.
posted by ShooBoo at 4:45 PM on June 23, 2013

Best answer: I came in to recommend Oswald, so I'm strongly seconding julthumbscrew! Oswald is lovely and relaxing, sometimes there is jazzy music too.
posted by Joh at 9:26 PM on June 23, 2013

Untalkative Bunny, from the early 2000's. Totally chill upright bass / conga soundtrack.
posted by Soap D. Spencer at 10:34 PM on June 23, 2013

Best answer: Many of the British cartoons mentioned above (Mary Mungo and Midge, Bagpuss, Mr Benn, etc) were shown as part of a programme cycle called "Watch with Mother" ("Father" was no doubt assumed to be out driving a steam train, governing Ceylon or something else manly). The shows were intended for pre-schoolers and were scheduled just around afternoon nap time - and before parents and school kids returned home. For this reason many of the shows are an exact match for what you were after: mother was sure as hell not going to put up with anything noisy or disturbing. Others in this serious not mentioned so far include The Herbs, Barnaby the Bear (known as Colargol in the original French), Bod, Camberwick Green. The animation was normally a bit limited - but the music and narration were used to get more mileage.
posted by rongorongo at 4:30 AM on June 24, 2013

You want The Good Night Show, which is an evening block of programming on the PBS Sprout channel. 64 Zoo Lane, Kipper, Pajanimals, Driver Dan are all especially good.

I would recommend skipping Calliou, because he's a whiny little bitch.
posted by jbickers at 6:27 AM on June 24, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I cannot favorite jbickers comment RE: Calliou above enough.

That kid is a straight-up bitch.

Seriously...screw the people who came up with this bald-headed freak.
posted by kuanes at 6:42 AM on June 24, 2013

If you like anime, Natsume Yuujinchou (aka Natsume's Book of Friends) is another one vaguely in the same vein as Mushishi. It's an atmospheric slice-of-life show starring a teenage boy who can see spirits. I don't think it's on Netflix, but you can watch the subtitled version free and legally at You get dramatic tension, but it's inevitably punctured by light comedy or the situation resolving itself, no great battles or anything.

Aria is another low-key slice-of-life anime, available in DVD on Netflix, I think.* The main character moves to Mars for a job as a tour guide gondolier, as the main city has been built to look like Venice. The series is about her exploring the place and making friends.

And I nth the recommendation for Mushishi, which I didn't find creepy at all, just atmospheric. Your mileage may vary.

* It's not available streaming and as we have only the streaming subscription at the moment, Netflix isn't letting me search for DVDs. But I watched Aria via DVD from Netflix a few years back, so it was certainly available at one time. why oh why wouldn't you try to tempt us back to DVD rentals by letting me see what you have on DVD, Netflix? Because that would make SENSE
posted by telophase at 10:31 AM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

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