* When you see WesternAnimation/MickeyMouse [[FullyDressedCartoonAnimal fully dressed with a hat and long pants]], and it's not a costume trying to invoke a certain setting or role, you know he's not going to be any more interesting than your neighbor. Disney historians fully admit the increased emphasis on WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck and WesternAnimation/{{Goofy}} was partly caused by Mickey's iconic fame making him slightly inflexible and too 'sweet' to put in funny cartoons or as anyone's foil. Earlier, he was a mischievous adventurer (''Franchise/KingdomHearts'', [[OlderThanTheyThink ironically]], is fairly close to this depiction). DorkAge Mickey sits at home and gives Pluto orders like a bossy, boring parent. Another indication of DorkAge Mickey is if he had eyebrows on him (as in, eyebrows below face borders[[note]]The lines that separates Mickey's black fur from his white or cream face[[/note]] that normally function as [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment eyebrows]]). {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in the Disney Vault ''[[Series/SaturdayNightLive TV Funhouse]]'' sketch ("You're supposed to be ''funny''?"). That line came about from Robert Smigel's puzzlement of Mickey Mouse being such an iconic kids character when most kids can't actually name a defining trait or characteristic for him.
* What happened to WesternAnimation/BettyBoop, who used to be a sexy chanteuse, was that the MoralGuardians forced her to be {{Bowdlerise}}d. This led to a serious drop-off in the quality and popularity of her shorts, since her character is a [[MsFanservice sex symbol]] (yes, even with her big, giant head). When you see Betty dressed like a businesswoman, you are in for a boring cartoon. More specifially, pre-Hays Betty would often go on exciting and surreal adventures, where she was sexy but also had a place in the plot and was an active character. Post-Hays, her shorts can be summarized as "Betty sings, Betty has a problem, Grampy comes to fix it."
* WesternAnimation/{{Popeye}} had this happen as well, after the shorts became headed by Famous Studios. Granted, it didn't get too bad until 1950 or so, when SeasonalRot set in and the writers just didn't know what else to do with Popeye, ending up resorting to RecycledInSpace plots.
* WesternAnimation/WoodyWoodpecker fell into this during the 1950s--apparently, Creator/WalterLantz wanted Woody to appeal more to kids, so he slimmed down Woody's design into a pointy, stiff-looking "cute" design. On top of that, Woody was completely derailed as a character - whereas earlier he was a selfish heckler who only stood for himself, this Woody was watered down into a bland hero-type character. On top of that, from the mid-1950s onward (when Woody's eyes became black rather than green - another tell-tale sign, by the way), Paul J. Smith took the directorial reins and brought the series down even further with sloppy animation, not to mention lousy jokes and timing (surprising, considering his earlier efforts such as "Hot Noon (or 12 o'Clock for Sure)" were among Lantz's best cartoons). It's a wonder the series was able to last through 1972 in theaters.
* ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' suffered this trope, as well:
** This show suffered in [[UsefulNotes/LooneyTunesInTheSixties the Sixties]] (you know something has gone terribly wrong when they have WesternAnimation/DaffyDuck chasing WesternAnimation/SpeedyGonzales around for some reason) after the original animation unit was shuttered and work was turned over to Creator/DePatieFrelengEnterprises. Fortunately, this Dork Age comes with fair warning: if you catch a cartoon that opens with a weird version of their theme song set to trippy graphics spinning around, and the cartoon is ''not'' Creator/ChuckJones's ''Now Hear This'' (or possibly ''Norman Normal''), you're going to get to see their Dork Age.
** "The Larriva Eleven" is the name given to a series of eleven [[WesternAnimation/WileECoyoteAndTheRoadRunner Coyote & Road-Runner]] cartoons produced by Rudy Larriva who had animated for Creator/WarnerBros in the 1940s (but hadn't worked on anything ''Looney Tunes''-related for about 15 years) after he took over the series from Chuck Jones. Larriva's character designs were very OffModel, the loss of artist Maurice Noble robbed the desert landscapes of all their scale and range, and the less said of William Lava's music, the better. The complex schemes of the Jones shorts were replaced with sluggishly-paced crude gaggery, and to accommodate them the Roadrunner was completely derailed into actively fighting back against the Coyote, firing cannons at him and so forth. Watch "The Solid Tin Coyote" for a good look at how far off-base the series got. Better yet, don't (and just so that you know what we're dealing with here, keep in mind that "The Solid Tin Coyote" is pretty much universally regarded as the ''best'' of Larriva's efforts in this series).
** If you ever see a cartoon with the opening described above, except with a company credit that reads "Warner Bros.-Seven Arts" instead of just "Creator/WarnerBros" and with an even stranger version of the opening theme, then you should run for the hills. Because in most cases, there is absolutely nothing good that will result from the cartoon that you are about to watch. It'll be a REALLY bad cartoon, or in the case of Korean redrawn Porky Pig cartoons, a good formerly black-and-white cartoon ineptly and amateurishly reanimated in color.
** In 2003, Warner Bros. Animation produced several new Looney Tunes cartoons intended for theatrical release. Because the current crew had no experience with the characters, the cartoons had such problems as over-the-top violence, {{Flanderization}} of existing characters, amateurish jokes and more. They wound up never being released theatrically after ''Film/LooneyTunesBackInAction'' failed miserably.
** Ironically, In contrast to the Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop examples above, WesternAnimation/PorkyPig actually managed to avert this. Though he was pretty decisively upstaged by WesternAnimation/DaffyDuck and WesternAnimation/BugsBunny and never regained the star power he had in the 1930's, he was repurposed as a sidekick to Daffy, Sylvester and others and continued to appear in very funny cartoons (i.e. ''WesternAnimation/DuckDodgersInTheTwentyFourthAndAHalfCentury'', ''WesternAnimation/RobinHoodDaffy'') until the end of his career.
** And then, there was ''WesternAnimation/LoonaticsUnleashed'', in which the descendants of the ''Looney Tunes'' characters are {{Animesque}} superheroes in the far-future akin to ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'', though with a less clear direction on what they were doing, given the radical {{Tone Shift}}s from previous incarnations of the ''Looney Tunes'' franchise.
* ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'': ''WesternAnimation/TheTomAndJerryShow'' via Creator/HannaBarbera's television studio in TheSeventies. In other words, whenever Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera didn't directly make them. Basically, if you see Jerry wearing a red bowtie.... you should definitely run away from it.
* The 1996 ''WesternAnimation/{{Flash Gordon|1996}}'' animated series, in which Ming was ''green'' and Flash and Dale rode ''hoverboards''.
* The second season of the 1979 Creator/{{Filmation}} ''WesternAnimation/{{Flash Gordon|1979}}'' animated series, also known as ''The New Animated Adventures of Flash Gordon''. The first season is frequently considered to be both the best screen version of the character and the best Filmation cartoon. The second season gave us [[TheScrappy Gremlin the Dragon]].
* Someone at Turner Broadcasting must really dislike the 1980s episodes of ''WesternAnimation/TheJetsons'' and ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest'', because Creator/{{Boomerang}}'s rerun rotation of the shows go up to the last episodes of their first seasons, but then goes back to the beginning like nothing happened afterwards. Yet they still show the Jetsons' ChristmasEpisode every December. Thankfully, though, this contempt for the later years of ''The Jetsons'' and ''Jonny Quest'' isn't shared by the rest of Time-Warner, because the episodes are being made available in every other place where one can watch the show.
* While each new incarnation of the ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' franchise has its detractors, the ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' sequel ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'' is almost universally loathed by the fandom. For one, the writers were told to [[ExecutiveMeddling not actually continue any story threads]] from ''Beast Wars'' because they wanted ''Beast Machines'' to be its own story. They also brought in the idea of Cybertron as an originally organic planet, a state that the Maximals were fighting to return it to (never mind that the dominant race of Cybertron has been robotic for millions of years), horribly uncharacteristic derailment of several beloved characters, and a number of spiritual aspects that were never present in any of the previous series. This was compounded by the fact that ''Beast Machines'' supposedly exists in the same continuity as Generation 1.
* ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo'':
** The late [[TheSeventies 1970s]] and early [[TheEighties 1980s]]. The addition of [[TheScrappy Scrappy]], the removal of the entire gang except for Shaggy (himself no longer a hippie) and with every episode featuring "[[TangledFamilyTree cousin so and so]]", well, there's a reason that the original 1969-70 version is the most well known. Oddly enough, Scrappy's creator Creator/MarkEvanier wrote a [[http://www.povonline.com/scrappydays/scrappy01.htm six-part essay]] explaining, among other things, how Scrappy actually saved the show. So, yes, Scrappy ironically [[RescuedFromTheScrappyHeap rescued his Uncle Scooby from the Scrappy heap]].
** Several consider ''WesternAnimation/WhatsNewScoobyDoo'' and ''especially'' ''WesternAnimation/ShaggyAndScoobyDooGetAClue'' to be a Dork Age as well, especially since they came out of Warner Bros. Animation's second dork age of the 2000s (their first was in the 1960s).
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'' has that show where they get new neighbors the Frankenstones, who were basically a prehistoric version of ''Series/TheAddamsFamily'' or ''Series/TheMunsters'' only with an unsympathetic FrankensteinsMonster as a head. Most of the episodes were about Fred having a fight with Mr. Frankenstone. Yes, in the original cartoon some monstrous neighbors were mentioned, but only episodically and never as major characters. It didn't help that the show also featured shorts that were ripping off other shows, so we could watch Captain Caveman imitating Franchise/{{Superman}} (he was even ClarkKenting) with Betty and Wilma as two Lois Lanes, teenage Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm solving {{Scooby Doo Hoax}}es with Dino, as well as Fred and Barney in a BuddyCopShow, patrolling the streets with a goddamn ''Shmoo'', which was constantly molesting Fred.
* The ''Franchise/MyLittlePony'' cartoons had a Dork Age that lasted for nearly two decades (1992-2009). It started with the [[BrokenBase divisive]] ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyTales'' series, and continued with the LighterAndSofter Generation 3 and Generation 3.5, which is considered to be the worst part of it. Generation 2 didn't even get a show. It finally ended with [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Generation 4]] and the rise of [[PeripheryDemographic bronies]].
** ''Friendship is Magic'' has seen its own share of arguable dips. The initial one was the reaction to the departure of Creator/LaurenFaust following the first season, though this was brief and the second season was widely regarded as a good torch carrier by the end. The second (and most prominent) was during the third season, which was shorter than the rest and didn't feel as well-written (with various fandom theories accusing the decision to make main character Twilight Sparkle an alicorn princess [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E13MagicalMysteryCure at the end]] or the introduction of the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirls'' franchise as the main culprits). The show managed to redeem itself with a stronger (and lengthier) fourth season. Finally the sixth season has been targeted as another weak point due to an almost complete change in writing staff, a preponderance of episodes that were divisive at best, and the presence of new cast member Starlight Glimmer, the central antagonist of the previous season and argued to be a SpotlightStealingSquad. The seventh season seems to be allaying those concerns with some highly praised episodes like "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS7E7ParentalGlideance Parental Glideance]]", "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS7E10ARoyalProblem A Royal Problem]]" (which has also helped Starlight Glimmer's appeal in the process), and "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS7E13ThePerfectPear The Perfect Pear]]" and is generally agreed to have returned to it's previous quality.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' plunged into one during Season 1 and its movie (and took the ''Franchise/StarWars'' franchise in general with it). However, it had a good last impression with the introduction of [[EnsembleDarkhorse Cad Bane]] in the season finale, which gave the show [[GrowingTheBeard a boost in quality that it generally managed to keep]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ultimate Spider-Man}}'' is considered this to the ''Franchise/SpiderMan'' franchise on the animated plain this series bears no similarities to [[ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan the comic of the same name]], or, for the matter, with any incarnation of the character. The tone is DenserAndWackier with a lot of comedy slapstick while all drama and dark aspect is removed, Spider-Man is a SHIELD agent learning how to be a superhero with Comicbook/NickFury as TheMentor, he is part of a team of annoying sidekick superheroes, and most villains from Spidey's actual RoguesGallery are dropped in favor of other comic villains. Not at all helped by the fact it replaced ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'' which was largely considered to be epic, and despite the fact ''Ultimate'' had no control over ''Spectacular'''s [[CutShort fate]], people are [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks pretty]] [[ReplacementScrappy upset]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' has ''two'' dork ages in their history
** Many fans agree that the first Dork Age spanned from Season 9 to Season 12, a four-season period lead by showrunner Mike Scully. Although Seasons 9-10 were mostly well-received, they still featured several episodes that never became popular with fans. Season 11 and, to a degree, season 12, on the other hand, are infamous for being two of the worst in the history of the Simpsons. The show's humor became far darker, cruder and more self parodying in these two seasons, with episodes that were considered overly wacky and cartoonish and featured an overabundance of guest stars. This resulted in many fans deciding that the show had JumpedTheShark, and refused to continue watching.
** After Mike Scully's tenure as showrunner ended, the quality of the show improved - thus, the first Dork Age ended. From Seasons 13 to ''The Simpsons Movie'', many fans who hadn't yet stopped watching noted that the writing and humor became more consistantly enjoyable, with the good episodes outnumbering the bad ones again. Also, the promise of a theatrical Simpsons film in 2007 allowed older, golden-age fans to become interested in the show again, giving writers good reason to try extra-hard to create solid new episodes. However, up to and after TheMovie's DVD release (Season 19 onwards), the second Dork Age of the show began. This was because the hype of the first theatrical Simpsons film had been lost, giving viewers little reason to continue watching the show. This Dork Age has continued up until the present.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' fell into one of these after the first movie's release in 2004. After the creator Steven Hillenburg left, fans began to notice that episodes were becoming either bland and unfunny or violent and mean-spirited. Characters also became [[{{Flanderization}} flanderized]] to unbelievably high levels, and when they weren't acting like parodies of themselves, they were being tortured miserably by the world around them. Alongside the overabundance of over-hyped specials, it could easily coincide with Nickelodeon's dork age. While Season 4 didn't have much of this, seasons 5-7 are usually reviled among the fanbase for these reasons. Season 8 was a slight improvment and season 9 had a lot of episodes that were really liked by the [=SpongeBob=] fanbase, but the Dork Age had officialy ended in the eyes of many with the second [=SpongeBob=] movie, ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSpongeBobMovieSpongeOutOfWater Sponge out of Water]]'', when Steven Hillenburg returned to the helm of the series in general.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'', following extensive ExecutiveMeddling which included making Janine quote "less slutty," making all of the characters far less sarcastic and more 'wholesome,' and centering the entire show on [[TheScrappy Slimer]]. WebVideo/{{Phelous}} associates this change with the period where Dave Coulier took over the role of Venkman.
* Many ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'' fans believe that the series entered one of these in Season 5 when writers began to add more focus to a LoveTriangle between Mordecai, Margaret and CJ which took up large portions of Seasons 5 and 6. Things were toned down after [[TheMovie the TV movie]] and as of Season 7 the show got back on track with the love triangle subplot being minimized if not completely absent.
* Any sequel to ''WesternAnimation/Ben10''[[note]]''[[WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce Alien Force]]'', ''[[WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien Ultimate Alien]]'' and ''[[WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse Omniverse]]''[[/note]] can be considered as either a Dork Age, a ContestedSequel or suffering from {{Sequelitis}} by fans (but not ''all'' fans):
** ''Alien Force'': Due to its DarkerAndEdgier tone, the {{Retcon}} involving Gwen's powers being alien based than magic based, [[HeelFaceTurn Kevin being a good guy]] in addition to his origins having a {{Retcon}} from mutant to alien-human hybrid, the RomanticPlotTumor storyline of Gwen and Kevin and Ben [[TookALevelInJerkass becoming a jerk]] in season three.
** ''Ultimate Alien'': Due to its DarknessInducedAudienceApathy to the latter half of its first season when Ben planned to kill Kevin, when he reverted back to his [[FaceHeelTurn evil ways after absorbing the Ultimatrix]], Vilgax being the FinalBoss for a second time, the RomanticPlotTumor of Ben and Julie and Ben returning to being a jerk in the second and last season.
** ''Omniverse'': Due to its DenserAndWackier tone, redesign, Gwen and Kevin [[DemotedToExtra demoted to recurring characters]], a VoodooShark plot twist that [[spoiler:Manny, Helen and Alan are humans who were genetically enhanced with alien powers than being human-alien hybrids]], the ArcFatigue of the Incurseans story arc, attempting to [[RevisitingTheRoots be more like the original series]], Ben being a Superboy-Prime type person when he [[spoiler:[[ReplacementGoldfish recreates the entire universe after it was destroyed, implying that everyone from the previous series is dead and that everyone is just an identical copy]]]], a major PlotHole in which [[spoiler:after Ben kills Malware in the past when the latter kills Feedback, which leads to him unable to rescan Feedback's species in the present as it contradicted that his original Omnitrix was destroyed at the end of ''Alien Force'', therefore such a problem would not exist with the newer model]], breaking up Ben and Julie in a very forced way, with Ben ultimately ending up with [[TheScrappy Kai]], several cases of {{Flanderization}} and the SeasonalRot after the second story arc that the show didn't recover as the later six story arcs was not well-received by fans, though one universally praised element from fans and detractors was the inclusion of [[EnsembleDarkhorse Rook]].
** The [[WesternAnimation/Ben102016 2016 reboot]] is considered to be this with some fans not happy of the reboot being more comedic than the original series, along with having 11-minute episodes than 22-minutes and not helped by the fact that it gets flack for similar reasons as ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitansGo'' and ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls2016''. This has gotten to the point that the sequels have been viewed more positively, though they're still divisive, with ''Omniverse'' being the most divisive of the sequels.
* Warner Bros. Animation has been said to be stuck in one since the 2000s, particularly with the end of the ''Creator/StevenSpielberg presents'' [[WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures line]] [[WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}} of]] [[WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain cartoons]] and [[CreatorKiller the demise]] of their "Feature Animation" theatrical film division.[[note]]While Warner Bros. Feature Animation has since been succeeded by Warner Animation Group (WAG), WAG has noticeably been designated as a standalone department separate from Warner Bros. Animation.[[/note]] Aside from original cartoons being shoved to the side in favor of more adaptations of existing [[CashCowFranchise cash cows]], the studio seems to have no real idea of how to handle WB's vault of animated properties; with their handling of ''Looney Tunes'', ''Scooby-Doo'', and ''Tom and Jerry'' (as mentioned above) criticized for either being trotted out in polarizing new directions or being [[StrictlyFormula stale rehashes of the original shows/shorts]]. WBA has also garnered notoriety for being a factory [[FranchiseZombie with a unending stream of annual]] DirectToVideo low-quality "[[BlatantLies Original Movie]]" films for their properties not seen since the era of DTV Disney Cheapquels; not helped by recent DTV films shoehorning their characters into [[JustForFun/XMeetsY crossovers]] with either the Creator/{{WWE}} or other unrelated properties WB owns (like ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'', ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest'', and ''Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory'' in the case of ''Tom and Jerry''). While their DC animated films and shows are considerably more acclaimed, they have [[ScrewedByTheNetwork repeatedly been thrown under the bus]] following Cartoon Network's NetworkDecay and respective [[DorkAge dork ages]]. Moreover, if [[https://www.reddit.com/r/television/comments/6jekz1/creator_of_be_cool_scooby_doo_comments_on_the/ this lengthy account]] by one of the former creators for ''WesternAnimation/BeCoolScoobyDoo'' is anything to go by, studio management [[ExecutiveMeddling is set to full ineptitude]], with executives blamed for the show's behind-the-scenes TroubledProduction.
* It's safe to say that Creator/DCComics' [[WesternAnimation/DCComicsAnimated animation unit]] has been experiencing this for their TV stuff for CN (averted for [[WesternAnimation/DCUniverseAnimatedOriginalMovies their DTV line of animated films]] and their CW Seed animated shows for the ''Franchise/{{Arrowverse}}'') when ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' and ''WesternAnimation/GreenLanternTheAnimatedSeries'' got cancelled by Creator/CartoonNetwork, which marked the downfall of the DC Nation block. While ''WesternAnimated/BewareTheBatman'' got a good reception from critics and fans, it was ScrewedByTheNetwork and eventually aired its remaining episodes on Creator/AdultSwim, it's widely agreed that ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitansGo'' is responsible for this happening in addition to CN's overexposure of the show and to the point that ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueAction'' (which has gotten a better response than ''Go!'') was largely ignored by CN. That being said, the unit has regained some goodwill when in 2016, it was confirmed that ''Young Justice'' would be {{Uncancelled}} for a new season in 2018 but it remains to be seen if this will end the current dork age or not.
* DC's competitior Creator/MarvelAnimation has suffering from this from 2012 onwards, following after the premiere of ''WesternAnimation/UltimateSpiderMan'' (see above) and a year later, ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' was cancelled to make way for ''WesternAnimation/AvengersAssemble'', which has garnered flack for similar reasons as ''Ultimate'' in addition to ''WesternAnimation/HulkAndTheAgentsOfSMASH'' and ''WesternAnimation/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy2015'' soon after. While ''Ultimate'' ended and was replaced by ''WesternAnimation/MarvelsSpiderMan'' in addition to the announcement of ''WesternAnimation/BigHero6TheSeries'' and the end of ''Agents of SMASH'', it remains to be seen on when the dork age will end, given that the ''Guardians of the Galaxy'' cartoon has caused [[ContinuitySnarl some major continuity problems]] in addition to making the cartoons to be [[FollowTheLeader more like]] the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse.
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