Most cartoon characters don’t have jobs or seem to live in a world in which you can drive around endlessly in your Mystery Machine van foiling ghosts while stealing food from the kitchens of long abandoned mansions. But some characters do indeed manage to score steady employment…only to never, ever advance in their field.
Spongebob Squarepants (Undersea Fry Cook)
Sure, Spongebob is insanely happy to be toiling behind the grill, but that’s only because he may be a manic-depressive whose low-points are edited out of the cartoons since no child wants to see a yellow rectangle convulsively sob in a fetal position for six hours straight. But given that his cheap boss would convert the restaurant into a mandatory work prison if he could and the only other job at The Krusty Krab is a cashier position that’s slowly killing Squidward from the inside, Spongebob will still be flipping burgers until he drops dead and Mr. Krab uses his corpse to clean the counter tops.
Fred Flintstone (Quarry Crane Operator)
Let’s imagine that every day you woke up in a house made of rock, worked at a job in which you dug up nothing but rock, and then drove home through a town made entirely or rock called “Bedrock.” Then let’s imagine that every job you ever apply for has something to do with rock and every single person’s surname has something to do with rock because it’s the prehistoric era (or at least the version of prehistory they teach in school systems where the textbooks consist of 400 censored pages and a psalm). Eventually you, too, would lose your freaking mind from the monotony of it all and believe you were talking to a floating tiny alien only you can see named “Gazoo” while your wife runs off with Cary Granite or Stony Curtis or Wilma Rubble.
Todd Turner (Pencil Factory Employee)
Many of you may be reading this and saying, “Wait, that’s what he does for a living?” (Followed immediately by “Wait, that’s Timmy’s dad’s first name?”) Naturally, not knowing what someone does for a living is the first sign that either he has absolutely no career hopes whatsoever or, well, he makes pencils. (Perhaps mixing the pink dye for the little erasers at the end.) And perhaps a life toiling in an industry that’s about as cutting-edge as “town pewtersmith” is the reason Mr. Turner spends his days in drag or chasing ghosts or being “Nog-Man,” all of which helps him deal with his miserable job as he keeps taking the family one step closer to moving into the fishbowl with the fairy godparents for financial reasons.
Seymour Skinner (Elementary School Principal)
While Homer Simpson is able to find work in almost every professional field imaginable, from country music manager to astronaut to fake Krusty, Principal Skinner has been doing the same job, in the same suit, with the same kids, for almost 23 years, only finding sweet release in the occasional Vietnam War flashback and those moments when his mom goes out on a date so he can have the house to himself. If only he had gone through with his marriage to fellow educator Edna Krabappel, then at least the two of them could have driven glumly to work together every morning…or driven right past the school and then off a cliff to freedom.
George Jetson (Digital Index Operator)
As an employee (or perhaps the only employee) of Spacely’s Space Sprockets, George Jetson has only one job—to press a red button once a day. That’s because everything in the future will be done by robots, meaning either George’s sleeping body is being harvested for bioelectrical energy like in “The Matrix” or Skynet took over only to realize it needed to keep a few humans on the payroll for tax purposes. Add to that the fact George doesn’t even seem to have the slightest idea what pushing the button does (though maybe if the camera panned left we would see nuclear missiles being launched in the distance) and you have a man who will never get a promotion unless he takes the red pill or overthrows the robots alongside John Connor.
Superman/Clark Kent (Newspaper Reporter)
Thanks to breaking news emails, Twitter, and even the occasional panicky Facebook status update, Superman doesn’t need to work at a newspaper anymore to hear about the latest calamity requiring his help. Which is good, because given the current status of print media there’s a very likely chance the Daily Planet will go bankrupt by the time you reach the end of this sentence. Unfortunately, the downside is that without a job Superman won’t be able to afford a smartphone, Internet, or cable to hear what is happening around the world. Meaning he will have to do most of his superhero research on the free computer at the local library, by which time the asteroid would have already collided with Earth.