10 Cartoons That Share The Same Universe (Apparently)

A split image of The Flintsones, Homer Simpson, and Archer and Sealab crossover

There are so many rich, diverse worlds that get explored in television, but animated series can really run wild with creativity. There’s a certain limitlessness that accompanies cartoons where it feels like anything is possible. This philosophy can even carry over to the concept of crossovers and connected universes.

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It’s easy for an animated cameo or crossover to take place and audiences will be surprised to learn just how many cartoons are technically set within the same universe. This doesn’t mean that everyday visits from animated guest stars are in the cards, but an exciting precedent is set when cartoons can cross barriers and work together for maximum entertainment.

King Of The Hill And The Simpsons

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There’s been a lot of shared love and goodwill between the various series that have made up FOX’s “Animation Domination” programming block across the years. King of the Hill quietly aired alongside The Simpsons for more than a decade and the more established cartoon offers a lighthearted cameo to the Hill family in the Season 9 episode, “Bart Star.”

The Hills’ cameo is only a few seconds long and only Hank has any dialogue, but it works as an unexpected punchline to a joke. The Hills lament how far they’ve traveled from Arlen, Texas just to watch Bart’s disappointing peewee football game.

9 An Exaggerated World Of Espionage Looks Under The Sea For Some Familiar Faces

Archer, Sealab 2021, And Frisky Dingo

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Archer's ISIS Team with Captain Murphy in his Sealab

Archer is getting ready for its 14th season and the subversive spy series has gone through countless genre transformations over time before settling back into its espionage self. Archer comes from Adam Reed and Matt Thompson, who previously created the Adult Swim series Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo.

There have been some sly nods for hardcore fans that effectively link these eclectic series together. Beyond the shared use of phrases like “boosh” and “kakow,” Sealab‘s Captain Murphy technically shows up during one of Archer‘s underwater excursions. Furthermore, ancillary Frisky Dingo characters like Mr. Ford have also found their way into Archer.

8 An Elaborate Time Travel Joke Pays Off In A Fantastical Blast To The Past

Futurama And Disenchantment

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Fry, Bender, and Farnsworth's time machine secretly appears in Disenchantment from Futurama

The radically different time periods between Matt Groening’s Futurama and Disenchantment makes it seem like the characters from these shows could never meet. However, the impossible occurs in a brilliant Easter egg that’s contained to the background of a Disenchantment episode.

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The Futurama entry, “The Late Philip J. Fry,” features a time machine that can only go forward in time. This pushes Fry, Farnsworth, and Bender to reach the end of existence and start over to get back to their point of origin. This radical act gets included in the Disenchantment episode, “Dreamland Falls,” where Futurama‘s time machine briefly moves through their timeline.

7 Duckman Turns To Homer For Its Big Surprise

Duckman And The Simpsons

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Homer Simpsons eats donuts in Duckman

Duckman was truly ahead of its time and its four seasons on the USA Network can easily go toe-to-toe with some of The Simpsons’ funniest content. Duckman fearlessly eschews different genres and stereotypes, but it also features some inexplicable crossovers that aren’t afraid to cross paths with live-action comedies like Weird Science and Seinfeld.

One of Duckman’s funniest episodes reveals that the Scooby-Doo-esque culprit who’s been driven by a hunger for donuts is none other than Homer Simpson. It’s a shocking appearance considering the shows were on different networks at the time. Homer even sticks around to help read Duckman’s end credits.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force And Sealab 2021

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Aqua Teen's Meatwad and Master Shake play Sealab 2021 video game

Adult Swim’s golden years helped usher in a whole generation of off-kilter animated programming and many of the network’s earliest shows shared a kinship with each other. The Brak Show is a direct spin-off of Space Ghost Coast to Coast and these lines would get increasingly blurred in Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Sealab 2021.

Several incidental crossovers between these shows occur, but one of the most interesting is when the Sealab 2021 episode “Murphy Murph & the Feng Shui Bunch” turns out to actually be a video game that’s being played by Meatwad and Master Shake from Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

5 An Outdated And Controversial Character Is Shipped Off To Springfield

South Park And The Simpsons

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>South Park's Mr. Hankey arrives in Springfield and meets Apu

South Park is one of the smartest social satires of this generation, and it continues to challenge norms and lampoon the world after more than 25 seasons. South Park has a two-part attack on Family Guy that culminates in a fight through the animation studios at FOX.

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However, a proper crossover that connects these worlds occurs in season 22’s “The Problem With a Poo,” which cleverly deconstructs cancel culture and pokes fun at The Simpsons‘ controversy with their Apu character. The South Park episode ends with Mr. Hankey’s banishment from the Colorado town, but he’s ultimately accepted by Springfield, and Apu specifically welcomes him to the community.

4 The Ultimate Problem Child Gets Too Real For An FBI Agent

Family Guy And Bones

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Family Guy's Stewie Griffin taunts Booth in Bones

Bones was a reliable crime procedural on FOX that’s neither a cartoon nor a comedy, but there’s a light-hearted nature to the series that opens it up to experimentation. Bones and Family Guy have both indulged in some unusual crossovers, but the strangest occurs between the two of them.

The Bones episode, “The Critic in the Cabernet,” features an animated appearance from Stewie Griffin, who exits “TV Land” and proceeds to chastise Booth over his fears regarding fatherhood. It’s a strange encounter, especially since it’s triggered by a brain tumor, but it at least gives Stewie a story that compares to the time Bart Simpson worked with Jack Bauer.

3 A Perennial Trickster Sneaks His Way Into Mainstream Subconscious

Gravity Falls And The Simpsons

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Bill Cipher, sitting alongside Moses and a mystical creature in The Simpsons

The Simpsons is arguably the biggest animated series of all time and it’s used its platform to showcase many other iconic cartoons that its creative staff admire. Alex Hirsch’s Gravity Falls is a groundbreaking mix of comedy and mystery that feels like a blend of The Simpsons and Twin Peaks.

The Simpsons includes an appearance from Gravity Falls‘ interdimensional nuisance, Bill Cipher, in season 33’s “Bart’s in Jail!” A mass hallucination sees the Simpson family confronted by a number of deities and Gods. Bill Cipher sneaks into the mix and urges the audience to invest in cryptocurrencies.

2 The Past And Future Collide With This Momentous Meeting Of The Minds

The Flintstones And The Jetsons

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The Jetsons and Flintstones finally meet in The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones

Hanna-Barbera is responsible for dozens of cartoon cultural touchstones and among its most successful series are The Flintstones and The Jetsons. These two cartoons intentionally pull from prehistoric and futuristic extremes, but the 1987 made-for-TV movie, The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, finally unites these iconic animated families.

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This crossover occurs after Elroy’s time machine malfunctions and sends him and his family back to Bedrock in the prehistoric era. The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones essentially writes the book on crossovers of this nature. It’s incredibly effortless, even if it’s fairly simple in its construction.

1 Opposites Attract Once Quahog And Springfield’s Biggest Families Congregate

The Simpsons And Family Guy

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The Simpsons meet the Griffins in

There would be no Family Guy without The Simpsons, yet both of these series have become the animated faces of FOX family sitcoms. There are more than 1000 episodes between The Simpsons and Family Guy, but the two-part “The Simpsons Guy” properly connects these worlds together.

Both The Simpsons and Family Guy embrace the similar natures of many of their characters, which creates some natural comedy out of these pairings. The Simpsons has welcomed in characters from The Critic, Futurama, and even Rick and Morty, but the Griffin family from Family Guy’s Quahog are the most substantial.

NEXT: 10 Old Cartoons That Are As Creepy As Any Horror Movie


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