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Cartoons You Didn't Know Are Post-Apocalyptic (According To Fan Theories)

List RulesVote up the fan theories that make sense to you.

Since the darkest days of the internet when people used to communicate via text-only applications, fans have been throwing theories around about the very nature of that which we all hold dear: Saturday morning cartoon shows and animated movies. Just as it was in the past, the cartoons of today have been picked apart and theorized about by fans who concluded not everything was as it appeared onscreen. The majority of fan theories can be pushed aside, but every once in a while, an argument hits the internet that makes you think, "Could this be right?"

More often than not, those theories posit the story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. Humanity has wiped itself out and left it to the characters of Pokemon, The Flintstones, SpongeBob SquarePants, or Aladdin. Whatever you believe about these amazing animated series and films, the theories about them existing in a post-apocalyptic Earth are compelling.

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  • 1

    Bedrock Is A Futuristic City That Was Blasted Back To The Stone Age

    The Flintstones has long been the subject of online theories, but the one that stands out in chat rooms and places on Reddit involves the series taking place in a post-apocalyptic future, not a prehistoric past. The theory stems from the 1987 TV movie The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones, in which Elroy creates a time machine to check out the future. A malfunction accidentally sends him and his family to the past, but what if the Jetsons are really transported into the future like Elroy planned? Instead of finding a more futuristic society, they see their future, which has been blasted back to the Stone Age.

    The theory seems to make sense when it's coupled with the one that says the Jetsons all live in sky cities above the ground to escape the irradiated wasteland that was once the Earth. The Jetsons would then already live in a post-apocalyptic future; dig a little deeper, and it blends right into the Flintstones as well. If the people of the world were living above ground as they did in the Jetsons, it stands to reason that the remaining animals would be fit to evolve without the machinations of humankind. Could they then revert to dinosaurs or dinosaur-like creatures?

    When the people of the Jetsons' future eventually make their way back to Earth's surface, they abandon the technology that initially devastated the Earth and embrace a lifestyle full of highly evolved humans (capable of powering their cars with their feet) and animals they partner with to accomplish tasks. That world is the one seen on The Flintstones if this theory is to be believed.

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  • 2

    Scooby And The Gang Solve Capers Following An Economic Downturn 

    Sometimes, an apocalypse is the result of a plague or atomic conflict. In other cases, it's what happens when a country's economy completely falls apart. Imagine if that were to occur in the United States, which is the economic driving force for much of the global economy. In the aftermath, might it be possible that a group of kids would team up with a talking dog to fight wrongdoings? One online theorist seems to think so, and it makes a lot of sense.

    If the US government's economy failed, places like hotels, theme parks, and airports would all become run-down and unused just like they are in the show. Various villains might then hatch weird plots to gain money. Most of the rogues on the show are educated people; as scientists or engineers, they shouldn't have trouble finding work in a functioning society. The only answer is that society has crumbled, the economy has tanked, and it's up to Scooby and his friends to keep everyone in rural America safe!

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  • 3

    Nuclear Conflict Devastated The Earth And Transformed Regular Animals Into Pokémon

    Photo: OLM, Inc.

    There isn't a gamer or anime fan among us who wouldn't love it if Pokémon were real, but if one theory is correct, a few bad decisions by the people who can launch nuclear missiles could potentially make it happen one day. What if those adorable yet useful little critters were the result of radiation on various animal populations from a post-apocalyptic nuclear conflict?

    This fan theory has a few points that make it seem pretty reasonable:

    • Pokémon is set on Earth, but it's unlike any Earth that exists today.
    • There aren't many adults around, and the show mostly focuses on children. Could this be a new generation who grew up in the aftermath of a devastating event?
    • Life revolves around Pokémon, but the audience doesn't know much about their history. This suggests they might be fairly new creatures that evolved from other lifeforms.

    If these points are valid, it would explain a lot about the world of the Pokémon. The land might have been reshaped from atomic fallout, the older generations likely perished, and any new species cropping up would be so different it would make sense that not much is understood about them.

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  • 4

    SpongeBob Lives In A Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland Under The Sea

    The theory surrounding SpongeBob SquarePants isn't the same as the others on this list because unlike the rest, the apocalypse that affected the denizens of the deep didn't impact the entire world. The theory suggests Bikini Bottom was underneath one of the bikini atolls used by the United States for atomic testing back in the '50s. So many nuclear detonations occurred in the area that it's possible the adorable anthropomorphic sponge, dim yet lovable starfish, and all the rest of the characters are the result of radiation impacting the local sea life.

    If this theory is right, it might be the only example of fallout helping to create something wonderful. If you think about the cartoon's opening sequence, the theory starts to make a lot of sense. Just as "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea..." is kicking off, the camera shows a small island out in the ocean. That island could have been the site of various tests. After all, it's a good place to fire off a nuke or two seeing as there are no people there. But that doesn't mean there wasn't life just beneath the surface.

    So, the sea creatures evolved and created their society, Bikini Bottom, but what about Sandy? She's a squirrel from Texas, so the theory doesn't support her - unless you also include her as being exposed to that same fallout, which increased her intelligence and made her capable of creating a special suit and home underneath the sea where she can live out her days with like-minded critters.

    It's an interesting theory and one that does make a lot of sense if you aren't willing to accept the existence of a talking sponge at face value.

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