The problem with kids TV nowadays is there’s not a sinister undercurrent of oddball trippiness to it.
Sure, it’s glitzy and slickly produced, but will it provide you with visual fodder during acid flashbacks?
Or allow you to befriend a fellow raver at a party when the comedown conversation inevitably turns to what cartoons you liked growing up?
No, it won’t, but these unwittingly trippy as fuck shows sure will!
Forgoing any sense of narrative in favour of twinkly music, lurid colours and the soft bouncy energy of the freshly sedated, The Teletubbies looks and feels like it was designed by psychologists to combat panic attacks.
With its gentle playfulness and sleep-inducing hypnotics it’s the visual equivalent of being wrapped in a duvet and gently rocked to sleep.
With the manic energy, giant pupils and glowstick-pink outfits of the hardcore raver, the Powerpuff Girls are three kids with superpowers created in a lab when their father accidentally spiked their test tube with Chemical X.
They exist in a kind of David Hockney cityscape where they fight crime with the manic energy of Charlie Sheen polishing off an eight ball.
I don’t even need to reach or read into Adventure Time to label it trippy, it wears its unmistakable acid-inspired psychedelic pedigree proudly – like a white guy in dreadlocks wearing a t-shirt that reads “I Take LSD”. It’s that blatant!
When you settle into the mental world with Finn and Jake, you’ll have no choice but to admit that the creators of this are definitely on something.
Whether it’s the sparse alien landscape, the weirdly misshapen sock puppets or the dulcet British narration, something about The Clangers is hypnotically trippy.
It’s like watching a stoned David Attenbrough acting out Waiting For Godot with some sock puppets in his garage, and if that’s not archetypal British psychedelia then I don’t know what is.
Thomas The Tank Engine
Voiced in the sleepy tones of Ringo Starr and featuring the adventures of a talking train, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Thomas is a classic children’s TV show, and not the addled imaginings of a smackhead sat on a platform in Manchester Piccadilly station staring woozily at the passing trains.
Rosie & Jim
Rosie & Jim is basically a forerunner for the more glamorous Toy Story, in which two rag dolls come to life when they hear a sentient duck whistle then commandeer a river boat and go on adventures.
It’s even got a jangly theme song that wouldn’t sound out of place if I told you it was actually a B-side from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It certainly makes more sense than 60 per cent of The Beatles’ lyrics anyway.