Top 10 Smartest Cartoon Geniuses

Updated on October 14, 2018
Jeremy Gill profile image

Jeremy explores nostalgic topics when not working as a chemist or building manager at his undergrad university.

Who Are the Smartest Cartoon Characters?

Throughout cartoon history, introducing geniuses grants writers several excuses to craft whatever plot they desire, as their characters are smart enough to build any necessary contraption. As both kids and adults, we enjoy the wacky antics of our brainy protagonists, whose inventions often carry an unexpected element that our heroes must tackle.

Yet ingenuity come in many forms, from Velma's mystery-solving in Scooby Doo to Plankton's villainous engineering in Spongebob. So, which characters are the savviest of the bunch? These are the ten smartest animated characters throughout television history!

The Brain from Pinky and the Brain
The Brain from Pinky and the Brain

10. The Brain

Cartoon: Pinky and the Brain

A spin-off from the equally hilarious Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain features two talking mice, the oafish Pinky and world domination-centered Brain. While Brain fantasizes about conquering the globe, he's got humanity's best interests at heart, genuinely believing he'll do a better job of ruling than current leaders.

Brain's schemes inevitably fail, but this is often due to Pinky's interference or unpredictable events, meaning Brain has come surprisingly close to succeeding with his plans. Either way, he consistently demonstrates his smarts with his inventions ranging from high-tech robots to mind control devices.

Susan and Mary Test from Johnny Test
Susan and Mary Test from Johnny Test

9. Susan and Mary Test

Cartoon: Johnny Test

While Johnny Test isn't quite as popular as most of today's shows, few can deny the mental fortitude of Johnny's red-headed twin sisters. Susan and Mary showcase incredible engineering abilities despite only being thirteen years old, often using their younger sibling as a lab rat. Their spectacular inventions include a time machine, cloning facility, and mind-control device, though for all their brains, they're not so talented at winning the affections of handsome neighbor Gil.

Sherman and Mr Peabody
Sherman and Mr Peabody

8. Mr. Peabody

Cartoon: Peabody's Improbable History

Mr. Peabody's initial appearance in Peabody's Improbable History (aka Mr. Peabody and Sherman) depicted a strict, no-nonsense mentor to young Sherman, while his more recent appearances (including an animated film) depict the dog as a loving if overprotective father figure.

Whichever rendition you're viewing, Mr. Peabody is recognized as the smartest person on Earth, and earns bonus points for accomplishing this feat as a canine. Not only does Peabody excel in science, having built time machines and the like, he's well-rounded in other areas, showing talents like athleticism, musical skills, artistry, and more. Guess he really is a Renaissance man, er, dog.

Phineas and Ferb
Phineas and Ferb

7. Phineas and Ferb

Cartoon: Phineas and Ferb

Preteens Phineas and Ferb display incredible amounts of creative genius for their young age, constructing wonders like time machines and giant robot tree houses (because why not?). They're also skilled musicians, surprisingly popular in social settings (unlike many of today's recluse geniuses), and it's hard not to love their optimistic attitude.

Still, their pet platypus Perry manages to conceal his identity as a secret agent from the two, so even their intelligence has its limits.

Donatello from TMNT
Donatello from TMNT

6. Donatello

Cartoon: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Of the four ninja turtles, purple-headbanded Donatello is arguably the most essential member of his reptilian squad. While the four brothers and Splinter are all skilled with fighting, only Donatello brings the scientific brains, constantly inventing new machines, gadgets, suits, and upgrades for his allies.

How did Donatello learn engineering? Where does he get the finances to build his gear? He can't exactly attend a regular school, making this warrior's smarts all the more impressive. The only weird thing is a genius mastermind like him choose to use what's essentially big stick in battle, but hey, it always gives him the best range in ninja turtle video games.

Stewie Griffin
Stewie Griffin

5. Stewie Griffin

Cartoon: Family Guy

Unlike today's many family-friendly entries, Family Guy definitely isn't for kids, but its unique bland of humor and engaging cast have entertained audiences for years. Stewie Griffin's intellect impresses not just for its scope, but the early age it appears—after all, Stewie's still an infant.

Armed with inventions like a laser gun, time machine, and teleportation device, Stewie holds a grudge against his mother Lois for his time "trapped her in womb", showing just how fast his memory and intellect developed.

Batman in BTAS
Batman in BTAS

4. Batman

Cartoon: Batman: The Animated Series

Bruce Wayne's tragic past lead him to become the crime-fighting hero called Batman. While he doesn't bear actual superpowers, Batman's peak physique, incredible mind, and wealth of high-tech gadgets make him a force to be reckoned with and a respected member of the Justice League.

Batman's appeared in several cartoons throughout the years, and while his design changes between shows, his incredible detective skills and genius mind remain constant.

Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty
Rick Sanchez from Rick and Morty

3. Rick Sanchez

Cartoon: Rick and Morty

Another program best saved for the adults, Rick and Morty has become a fan-favorite for its zany humor, sci-fi adventures, and willingness to delve into the darker aspects of life. Titular character Rick draws inspiration from Doc Brown in the Back to the Future films, with Rick mimicking the Doc's brains but adding in a healthy dose of skepticism and alcoholism (well, maybe not so healthy).

Still, despite Rick's nihilistic views, at heart he cares about his family, and he's constructed impressive feats such as cloning facilities, near-invincible combat suits, and a compact dimension-crossing portal gun.

Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory
Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory

2. Dexter

Cartoon: Dexter's Laboratory

Despite being a young boy, Dexter somehow manages to finance and build his own secret laboratory, where his genius intellect fuels the creations of several powerful creations. These include giant robot mechs, dimensional portals, and the nightmare-preventing dream machine.

Dexter serves as an absent-minded genius; he's incredibly intelligent but sometimes overlooks obvious flaws or common sense solutions to his problems. That said, his meddling sister Dee Dee is to blame for the many mishaps surrounding his inventions, and Dexter deserves credit for his brilliant successes.

Jimmy and Goddard
Jimmy and Goddard

1. Jimmy Neutron

Cartoon: The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius

Similarly to Dexter, Jimmy is a boy genius who somehow built a full-fledged laboratory despite his youth, but he's better adjusted to life outside his research. Jimmy is far less secretive with his work, maintains a healthy social life, eventually kindles a romance with frenemy Cindy, and is less prone to common sense lapses.

Jimmy's incredible list of inventions include his mechanical dog Goddard, a mattter-condensing hypercube, anti-aging tonic (which can seemingly keep people young forever), and of course, the ever-popular time machine.

Which character(s) do you think are the smartest?

See results

More Animated Geniuses

With thousands of cartoons spanning several decades, we've encountered hundreds of potent think tanks, and narrowing the list to just ten wasn't easy. We'll undoubtedly return to unearth additional intellectual masters, like Gretchen from Recess, superheroes Spider-Man and Iron Man, and the remaining array of anime prodigies. But for now, as we eagerly await more clever characters in upcoming series, vote for your favorite genius and I'll see you at our next television countdown!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Jeremy Gill

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Jeremy Gill profile imageAUTHOR

        Jeremy Gill 

        4 weeks ago from Louisiana

        @Poppy

        Definitely! Unlike many outcast geniuses, the only person Phineas and Ferb seemed to annoy was Candace; everyone else enjoyed their creations.

        The show was fun enough to appeal to kids while clever enough to entertain adults, making it a classic I'd definitely recommend for parents.

      • poppyr profile image

        Poppy 

        4 weeks ago from Tokyo, Japan

        Cool, I was hoping to see Dexter on this list! I loved Phineus and Ferb as well, because as well as being smart, they were nice boys. They were even (usually) nice to their sister, unlike Dexter. That whole cartoon was genius.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        4 weeks ago from UK

        My cartoon watching days were a while ago, but I guess even Tom and Jerry had a genius in there somewhere.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)