Fondly remembered by the children of The '90s and (to a lesser extent) the early-to-mid 2000s, "Cartoon Cartoons" was the name used by Cartoon Network to distinguish its original comedy programming from older Animated Series imported from other sources, such as Warner Bros. or Hanna-Barbera. It's generally agreed upon that the first Cartoon Cartoon was Dexter's Laboratory, despite it premiering in 1996, a full year before the brand was introduced: that said, like most of the series below, it originated with a short produced for the What A Cartoon! Show. Plus, CN itself counted it as one, so who are we to argue?
As time passed, the Cartoon Cartoons increased in number and acquired a unique identity, along with a distinctive musical jingle and a logonote . Premieres would eventually come to air on a programming block called Cartoon Cartoon Fridays, which was traditionally "hosted" by one of their characters, such as Bubbles or Eustace.
Starting in 2003, Cartoon Network began phasing out the brand, with the last cartoon to be filed under it being Evil Con Carne. Re-runs of the Cartoon Cartoons aired on The Cartoon Cartoon Show, from September 2005 to June 2008. Ed, Edd n Eddy would be the last Cartoon Cartoon to end, completing its ten-year run with a Made-for-TV Movie in 2009, though a Johnny Bravo movie would be commissioned by Cartoon Network India and produced in 2011. Cartoon Network now refers to its in-house productions simply as "Cartoon Network Originals". The name would later see reuse when Cartoon Network revived their internal shorts program in 2021.
- What A Cartoon! Show (1995-1997): Technically not part of the Cartoon Cartoon lineup, but the animated anthology series serves as the origin for five of the shows listed belownote , with its successor series (The Cartoon Cartoon Show) serving as the origin for an additional six.
- Dexter's Laboratory (1996-1999; 2001-2003): A child genius with an inexplicable Central European accent uses his secret bedroom laboratory to create various problem-solving (and problem-creating) inventions. Sometimes we cut to see what some superheroes are doing, but either way — Dee Dee, get out of my la-BOR-a-tory! Created by Genndy Tartakovsky.
- Johnny Bravo (1997-2004): A Casanova Wannabe constantly finds himself in bizarre scenarios wherein his incessant need to flirt with every attractive woman over the age of 18 and his own careless stupidity inevitably makes things worse. Many of these adventures also have him meeting a lot of celebrities both real and fictional, such as actor/comedian Don Knotts and the cast of Scooby-Doo. Created by Van Partible and known as one of the early cartoon writing jobs of Seth MacFarlane.
- Cow and Chicken (1997-1999): Mama had a chicken. Mama had a cow. Dad was proud. He didn't care how! And you shouldn't either. This show was more of a toned-down Ren and Stimpy, but still had its share of surreal humor that felt equal parts ridiculous, gross, risque, and dark (the Devil, er, Red Guy is a main character, after all) and showcased the impressive vocal range of its lead voice actor. Creator David Feiss (who worked on Ren and Stimpy under John Kricfalusi's direction) directed every episode himself.
- I Am Weasel (1997-2000): A spinoff of the above show, starring a successful, hyper-competent weasel (voiced by Michael Dorn) and an unsuccessful, dimwitted baboon (voiced by Charlie Adler) whose jealously of the former results in many mishaps. The Red Guy also appears on this show and some episodes do feature the Cow and Chicken cast.
- The Powerpuff Girls (1998-2005): When a scientist attempts to create "the perfect little girl," an extra ingredient results him creating a trio of superpowered kindergarten-aged girls instead. Lacking in fingers and toes, but having a surplus in crime-fighting prowess, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup dedicate their lives to defending their city from villains. Cartoon Network's first Cash Cow Franchise. Had a reboot in 2016. Created by Craig McCracken.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy (1999-2009): A Freudian Trio of friends who all share the same first name use their summer break to concoct a wide variety of scams on the fellow children in their small cul-de-sac in their quest to get jawbreakers. Unfortunately for them, Failure Is the Only Option. Creator Danny Antonuccinote directed every episode himself. Notably for being Cartoon Network's first original show not produced by Hanna-Barbera (which, by that point, was halfway through its transition into Cartoon Network Studios, making this also CN's first show not to be produced in-house. It's also their first International Coproduction, being handled by Canadian studio AKA Cartoons), as well as the last Western animated production to use cel animation, only switching to digital ink-and-paint in the latter half of its run. It wound up being the longest-running Cartoon Cartoon (lasting all the way up to the late 2000s).
- Mike, Lu & Og (1999-2001): A young New York girl jokingly asks to be sent to a tropical island as part of a foreign exchange student program; her school acquiesces, dumping her on an uncharted island somewhere in the South Pacific. Befriending the island's bratty princess and soft-spoken inventor, she now attempts to recreate elements of modern life, clashing and learning from the local culture along the way. Created by Mikhail Shindel, Mikhail Aldashin, and Charles Swensen.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999-2002): A Horror Comedy about a dog who lives in the middle of nowhere with his elderly owners. It's a good life, except creepy things tend to happen in Nowhere, forcing our titular character to fight past his fears to protect his home from a myriad of paranormal and supernatural horrors. The things he does for love. Like EEnE above, the creator (John R. Dilworth) directed every episode.
- Sheep in the Big City (2000-2002): A sheep must leave his farm to hide in the titular Big City after learning that the sinister Secret Military Organization seeks to use him in their sheep-powered ray gun. No, the narrator doesn't know why they can't use a different sheep, either. Expect a lot of wordplay, non-sequiturs, lampshade hangings, and fake commercial breaks before and after the actual commercial breaks. Created by Mo Willems, who also did the series The Offbeats for Nickelodeon's KaBlam!
- Time Squad (2001-2003): Created by Dave Wasson. An orphan boy from the early 2000s with a love for history is visited one night by two bumbling Time Cops (one, a phaser-crazy, overly-masculine Texan; the other, a snarky, effeminate British robot) and escapes his hellish childhood in an inner-city orphanage by coming to the future and helping the duo on their mission to make sure historical events happen correctly. Since the show is seen more as a parody of history-based edutainment shows (in the same vein as Sherman and Mr. Peabody's Improbable Histories), do not expect Time Squad to teach you anything outside of Otto's exposition at the beginning of most missions.
- Grim & Evil (2001-2002): Created by Maxwell Atoms. A Three Shorts show that consisted of the below two series, Evil Con Carne and The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, the latter of which was the winner of the first "Big Pick", a contest in which viewers decided the next Cartoon Cartoon from a group of pilots (there was no Evil pilot, just a Billy & Mandy one). The show later split up into:
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (2003-2008): An absurd supernatural horror comedy about a ditzy boy, an evil girl, and death. Death as in The Grim Reaper, that is, who the duo gained ownership of in a game of limbo over the life of a hamster. Starting out incredibly cynical, the series would place more emphasis on the comedy part of "horror comedy" as time went on.
- Evil Con Carne (2003-2004): Also created by Maxwell Atoms. In an Alternate History where the League of Nations was never disbanded and world peace has been established, a billionaire arms smuggler (reduced to being a Brain in a Jar attached to a Russian circus bear) reigns over the titular arch-criminal organization and combats the League of Nations' forces in a grandiose attempt to conquer the Earth.
- Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones? (2002-2003): Created by Greg Miller. In an affectionate parody of 1970s/80s Americana and the artistic stylings of Schoolhouse Rock!, a young robot is given the task to attend a human junior high school to understand humanity. Was the runner-up in the first "Big Pick" and went on to be one of the most screwed of Cartoon Network's originals (first by changing the main character's voice, then by slowly, but surely pushing it off the broadcast schedule and making sure it never gets rerun or released on home media), prompting many a fan to seriously ask, "Whatever happened to Whatever Happened To...Robot Jones?"
- Codename: Kids Next Door (2002-2008): Created by Tom Warburton (credited as "Mr. Warburton"). As part of a globe-spanning operation, a Five-Man Band must protect the sanctity of childhood by fighting adult tyranny with a large arsenal of 2x4 technology. Winner of the second "Big Pick" and known best for its Cerebus Syndrome, as the show went from small adventures poking fun at the usual gripes of childhood to more serious overarching storylines that had the kids tackling world-altering crises. Be Alert To The Lies Every Single Tricky Adult Tells In Obtuse & Nutty Situations. Got it?