4 Cartoon Characters You Won't Believe Are Real People

Is there anything better than cartoons? Steak. Beer. Money. The beach. Vacation time. Sex. Roller coasters. The moon. Dropkicks. Shut up, is the point. Cartoons can be pretty awesome, and there was a point in all of our lives when we thought cartoons were surely the best thing that ever happened to us.

bhofack2/iStock/Getty Image
Admittedly, we can be a bit promiscuous with what we call "best thing ever."

As you get older you begin to appreciate the subtle differences in cartoons. Some cartoons toss in sly jokes for adults. Some cartoons are just not meant for kids at all. Other cartoons treat your kids like helmet-wearing mouth-breathers who are being raised by dim-witted swamp mollusks and can barely count to potato. But they're all delightfully colored and attention-grabbing, so what's not to love?

As it happens, not all cartoons are born from some artist's desperate need to have their creation featured on the side of a box of pre-moistened baby asswipes. Some of these characters were born from the most uncartoony place of all: live-action. Characters played by real people inspired these bizarre beings and gave them pseudo-life. But what manner of weirdo could possibly inspire a cartoon? These manners! Or whatever is grammatically correct there!

#4. Arleen Sorkin Is Harley Quinn

NBC/Warner Bros Television

While The Joker has been awesome for about 75 years now, his crazy-lady sidekick Harley Quinn has only been awesome since the '90s. She first appeared in Batman: The Animated Series and was quite a hit, because really, the only thing fanboys would love more than The Joker was The Joker with boobs.

Warner Bros Television
They even gave her collar boobs just to be safe.

When Quinn first appeared on the show, she came complete with an over-the-top cartoony voice that was just this side of maddening. This was no coincidence. The voice, provided by actress Arleen Sorkin, was a pretty important part of Harley since Harley herself was inspired by Arleen Sorkin, and specifically this scene from the soap opera Days Of Our Lives.

Isn't that ridiculous? It is. From that one appearance as a really off-putting clown, Paul Dini created another really off-putting clown to assist a third off-putting clown in his campaign of mayhem in Gotham City, and thus Harley Quinn came to be.

#3. Cartman Is Archie Bunker

CBS/Comedy Central

Eric Cartman is one of the greatest characters in television history. A child with an insidious and spiteful mind, a weight problem, and a love of kitties. So, like a Cracked columnist. Oh, and his mom used to be a bit of a sloot. Maybe that warped his young psyche; who are we to say? What we do know, thanks to a podcast with Norman Lear, is that Cartman is Archie Bunker.

In Archie's best episode, he's put in his place by Sammy Davis Jr.
In Cartman's best episode, he feeds two parents to their son. Line on line!

For those who don't know All In The Family: It was a sitcom created by Lear about someone you'd never want to spend time with and his wife, who was a flightless bird in an apron. Archie Bunker was depicted as a gruff, blue-collar everyman and a terrible bigot who was also abusive to his wife. Not physically abusive, of course, but verbally so. Through some paradox of forgiveness the character himself and our understanding of him has somehow weathered time to the point where we forgive and even love him -- he's often voted one of, if not the, greatest sitcom characters of all time. His bigotry is written off as being part of the character and how he was supposed to have been raised. He's not really a bad guy; he just doesn't know any better. Sure!

This gives a lot of insight into Cartman as a character, especially with the added dimension of being a child. Of course he doesn't know any better. I mean, he obviously does, but that's what we say.

Comedy Central
"I'm not bad; I'm just drawn that way."

So he can be this kid who does every egregious thing, because he's testing the waters, he's a product of his environment where anything goes, and he doesn't know any better -- a sort of monster by accident. Plus he's funny as shit.

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Felix Clay

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