The Husband recently introduced me to a cartoon series I'd never heard of before, based on a video game from the 1990's, called Earthworm Jim.
The premise is that a common earthworm acquires a Super Suit that falls on it from outer space, transforming the worm into dynamic superhero Earthworm Jim. He has a loyal sidekick in Peter Puppy, a cute, timid little fellow who occasionally transforms into a gigantic, rampaging purple demon whenever he's angry or scared. He usually takes out his aggression on Jim, who can return Peter to normal by tickling his armpit.
Jim also has to combat a host of bizarre foes, like the cocksure space bandit Psy-Crow, Professor Monkey-For-A-Head (who shares his eyes and brain with a monkey attached to the top of his head--the monkey's name is Monkey Professor-For-A-Head), Evil the Cat, Bob the Killer Goldfish, and the hideously insectoid Queen Slug-For-A-Butt. All of them want to try to get control of the Super Suit in order to conquer the galaxy, but they're thwarted by Earthworm Jim and his gung-ho laser cannon.
Funny thing about that--Jim and his cannon remind me A LOT of Sgt. Schlock from "Schlock Mercenary." I need to ask Howard Tayler if there's a connection.
The character designs may look weird, but the animation is fantastic. The voice acting is great, too, led by Dan Castellaneta as Jim (He's the guy who does Homer Simpson, BTW. Totally different voice.)
The violence mostly takes place offscreen, with the other characters reacting with flinches. The on-screen violence is of the Looney Tunes variety--explosions singe but don't kill, giant anvils squash flat but the character re-inflates and comes back slugging.
The jokes fly thick and fast, and many are quite literate. And Jim has several allies, among them the superhero Hamsternator (whose superpower is an ability to stuff anything into his cheeks) and Queen Slug-For-A-Butt's ugly twin sister, Princess What's-Her-Name...well, ugly in the eyes of her insectoid people. She's actually a hot redhead in a tight-fitting bee leotard. Jim's smitten with her, but she's fairly oblivious. Oh, and there's this cow that...well, never mind the cow. It's too surreal.
I really didn't expect to like this series, but I'm laughing my butt off. It's available on DVD, but only a few random clips are on YouTube, or else I'd link it for you.