Steve Hillenburg: "The kids that were watching the stuff we made in '93 are now the new generation of show creators."
—Steve Hillenburg, creator of Spongebob Squarepants, quoted from Joe Murray's book "Creating Animated Cartoons With Character"
It was a dark time in television animation. Most of the cartoons from the renaissance era of the '90s and early 2000s had run their course or, for lack of a better word, spoiled. There were good and classic cartoons here and there throughout the 2000s, like Camp Lazlo, Foster's Home, Teen Titans, or Avatar, but they were sparse. And in between them, we literally got dozens and dozens of bad and mediocre shows: Johnny Test, Mr Meaty, 12 oz. Mouse, My Gym Partner's a Monkey, Popetown, Brandy & Mr. Whiskers, Da Boom Crew, Skunk Fu!, Lil' Bush, Tak and the Power of Juju, Adult Party Cartoon, Barnyard, Gary the Rat, All Grown Up!, and so many more, it would take hours to list them all. It got so bad, that Cartoon Network started to think that animation wasn't profitable, and, well, we don't speak its name. And shows like Adventure Time and Regular Show were a distant dream.