Growing up is never fun. As we get older, many things change such as losing and gaining friends, having people still treat you like a kid, and dealing with the responsibilities coming your way soon. We all likely came across these shows when we were younger, so they may fill you with nostalgia. Even if you haven’t, these shows are easy to watch and have low stake conflicts that will make the trudge to adulthood easier.
1. “Spongebob Squarepants” – Ages 4 +
Putting aside all the hidden adult jokes, “Spongebob Squarepants” was a staple show in nearly all Millennial and Gen Z childhoods. Each episode follows the titular character and his best friend, Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke), and their shenanigans. Whether that means annoying Spongebob’s (Tom Kenny) cranky neighbor and coworker Squidward (Rodger Bumpass) or checking out Sandy’s (Carolyn Lawrence) next invention. The colorful images keep kids engaged while the jokes will make anyone laugh.
“Spongebob Squarepants” is streaming on Paramount Plus and Amazon Prime.
2. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” – Ages 8 +
Not many would think that a children’s show would include serious topics such as war, racism, and genocide. Those people likely didn’t watch “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” which follows Katara (Mae Whitman) and her brother Sokka (Jack De Sena) following Aang (Zach Tyler Eisen), a 12-year-old Avatar whose fellow Air Nomads were eradicated by the hands of the Fire Nation. Despite the Avatar having to end this war with the Fire Nation and maintain peace, Aang is just a kid who is forced to do a lot of growth over the course of this show. And just like Aang, we all have to face uncomfortable things and learn ugly truths about the world as we grow up.
“Avatar: The Last Airbender” is streaming on Paramount Plus and Netflix.
3. “Gravity Falls” – Ages 10 +
Follow twins Dipper (Jason Ritter) and Mabel (Kristen Schaal) as they navigate the mysterious town of Gravity Falls, Oregon over their summer break. The action and fantasy elements draw youngsters in while older viewers search for easter eggs and clues as the episodes go by. One of the main conflicts near the end of the show is Mabel’s fear that she and her brother will grow apart as they get older. This is a fear many people had in middle school who were transitioning into high school, which is the age the Mystery Twins are at.
“Gravity Falls” is streaming on Disney Plus and Hulu.
4. “Abbott Elementary” – Ages 10 +
After watching the struggles that these Abbott Elementary teachers go through each day, you will want to hug your teacher. Optimistic teacher Janine (Quinta Brunson) tries to give her students the supplies and help they deserve despite the school being underfunded. Younger viewers will enjoy the comedy while the older ones will acknowledge the issues that schools like Abbott go through. The characters also feel like teachers we encountered in school, ranging from idealistic and progressive Jacob (Chris Perfetti) to a longtime lovable teacher Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph).
“Abbott Elementary” is streaming on Hulu.
5. “Modern Family” – Ages 12+
Not only do audiences follow the kids and their issues while growing but we also see how the parents deal with their children’s issues as well. The comedy of the show allows audiences to witness the craziness of dealing with family and raising kids. We follow Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) raising their three kids, Jay (Ed O’Neill) living with his younger wife Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and her son Manny (Rico Rodriguez), along with Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) raising their adopted daughter Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons). The large cast of delightful characters allows any viewer to relate to someone while laughing.
“Modern Family” is streaming on Hulu.
6. “New Girl” – Ages 15 +
Any new adult will likely relate to or even enjoy the shenanigans that cheery protagonist Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and her friends get up to each season. After getting cheated on by her boyfriend and moving out of their house, Jess decides to move in with strangers like Nick (Jake Johnson), Schmidt (Max Greenfield) and Winston (Lamorne Morris). This show reminds us that we will continue to face struggles, act silly and make mistakes even when we are supposed to be fully-functioning adults.
“New Girl” is streaming on Netflix.
Each protagonist can serve as an older sibling that you can view in a raw way. As you progress through the journey of life, make sure to give these shows a watch.