Five of the best April Fools’ Day Cartoon Specials

April Fool’s Day is a day of pranks and fun. Words and collage by Marvin Espinoza/ el Don

April Fools’ Day is a holiday where trust issues are at an all-time high. I’ve had bad experiences with this holiday over the years, from prank posts to news from my sister about how one of my favorite celebrities died, only to hear “April Fool!” after I almost cried.

I consider April Fools’ Day my least favorite holiday, next to St. Patrick’s Day, because I never have anything green to wear. It’s a good thing I have cartoons to calm me down during this day of mischief, and some April Fool specials actually make this day seem fun. While you’re in your room hiding from all the possible April Fool pranks, you can watch these episodes to laugh at other people’s pain.

Homer and Marge Simpson
Homer carrying Marge out of the nuclear power plant

So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show – The Simpsons (Season 4, Episode 18) Available on Disney+

Although half of this episode consists of clips from the first four seasons, the jokes from before, in between and after the clips make it one of the best clip montage TV episodes I’ve ever seen. 

When Homer pulled a prank on Bart, a known troublemaker, he found himself in a world of trouble. I was disappointed when Bart was confused about how he could prank Homer since he is typically the smartest when it comes to causing trouble. There’s a reason he writes one sentence many times in detention before every episode.

The lead-up to some pranks were hilarious, like when Homer gets a craving for beer after an anti-alcohol ad shows up on his TV to set up Bart’s prank. I never thought I’d laugh over liver damage.

I believe a Simpsons episode is not complete without Homer displaying his hatred for good ol’ Ned Flanders. It was a great touch that Homer interrupted Lisa’s story about the history of April Fools’ Day so that he could burn Ned alive in the story.

Clip montages almost never interest me because they just recycle clips from previous episodes to fill time. However, the way they set this episode up through Homer’s usual stupidity and a practical joke that backfires to set up a revenge near the end for Homer makes this episode worth watching.

Finn and Jake from Adventure Time
Finn the Human and Jake the Dog in A Glitch is a Glitch

A Glitch is a Glitch – Adventure Time (Season 5, Episode 15)
Available on Max

Unlike the other episodes on this list, this one managed to fool me. I thought my computer screen was glitching out while watching, but it turns out it was supposed to happen. You got me good, animators.

I loved how this episode ditches the usual 2D animation from the rest of the series and goes to 3D animation as an April Fools’ gag. It felt very weird at first because I was used to the original animation, but I got used to it because of how nice this change looked. 

This episode had clever visual jokes like Finn & Jake interrogating glitched pixels and a ‘One second later’ timecard that lasted way longer than one second, but some were quite disturbing. I never thought I would see a spider morph with a snake; now I’m going to have nightmares. As if a close-up of Ice King’s three-dimensional, old wrinkled hand wasn’t disturbing enough. 

‘A Glitch is a Glitch’ was pure nonsense but good nonsense. The animators must have gotten a raise from all the visual effects they made for this episode. The believable computer glitches, the lovable cartoon 3D graphics and even the cursed spider-snake creature were all pleasant to watch when you know your computer is not actually glitching from a virus. 

The Joker from Batman: The Animated Series
Mark Hamil’s Joker in Batman: The Animated Series

The Last Laugh – Batman: The Animated Series (Season 1, Episode 15) Available on Amazon Prime Video

I watched this episode feeling tired, but when Alfred drew Batman a bath, he drew him a bath on a piece of paper; that clever April Fools’ joke really got a laugh out of me. In Batman: The Animated Series, it is April Fools’ Day in Gotham City. And when Joker plots another evil plan on this day of pranks, I knew I was in for a good laugh, especially when he gets everyone in Gotham City to laugh insanely, using a mysterious laughing gas.

This episode made me laugh the most, thanks to the pranks made by Alfred, Joker and even Batman, who is the last person I would expect to pull any kind of prank, considering how serious he is. But then again, it was a bit cruel when he made Alfred think his pay was getting cut over breaking a priceless vase.

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The spotlight of this episode has to go to Joker, who is voiced by Mark Hamill. Almost every line he had was a clever joke like “I never knew Batman could sink so low” as Batman sinks underwater, and as usual, he nails the laugh that Joker is famous for. 

A big honorable mention goes to one of the best one-time characters in the series, Captain Clown. He never spoke, but he proved to be a perfect sidekick for Joker when it looked like he took down Batman without hesitation of any kind, mainly because he was a big robot. I would love to know how Joker managed to get a robot. If he built it himself, it looks like he has way more up his sleeve than those sharp Joker cards

The Ed boys, Sarah, and Jimmy
The Ed Boys pulling a prank on Sarah and Jimmy

Fool on the Ed – Ed Edd n Eddy (Season 1, Episode 8a) Available on Max

Every episode of Ed Edd n Eddy feels like it takes place on April 1st, thanks to the show’s over-the-top gags and nonsensical humor that gets a laugh out of anyone. Which is why it is arguably my favorite cartoon. 

It starts off funny when the Eds prank each other as soon as they go to each other’s houses. Seeing Ed and Double D’s (Edd) attempted pranks at Eddy made me chuckle the most as they backfired on them. I can never get over the classic gags from this show, and this episode is no different from a table being glued onto Ed and Double D flying through a marathon of Eddy’s traps.

Double D is Eddy’s best friend who is forced to participate in Eddy’s scams throughout the series. I never thought he would willingly pull a practical joke on Eddy, thereby turning the tables. This shows why I can’t trust anyone on this day, but It’s nice to know that even Edd likes to have fun sometimes other than creating scam products for Eddy, using his chem set and labeling everything in his house.

Overall, this special is a treat to watch, thanks to The Ed Boys’ 

A fish looking at SpongeBob with an upset expression
Origin of the iconic “YOU WHAT?!” meme

Fools in April – Spongebob Squarepants (Season 1, Episode 19a) Available on Paramount+ and Amazon Prime Video

If anyone were to ask me, “What is the best April Fools’ Day special?” I would say this episode of Spongebob, hands down, and I believe the same would go for many other people, as it is the most well-known April Fools’ special.

This Spongebob Squarepants episode has many things to laugh about, and many don’t involve the pranks themselves. I laughed at one of Spongebob’s pranks, where he made a customer angry and then felt some relief and humor over adding only one ice cube to his drink. The faces he made and his memeable “You what?!” line made that scene pure gold. 

Squidward trying to apologize to Spongebob over his cruel prank was another highlight, as the faces and sounds he made were as hilarious as the ice cube prank. They still make me laugh as much as I did watching this episode as a kid from Squidward choking as he tries to say the word “Sorry.”

‘Fools in April’ also sprinkles in some character development for Squidward once he apologizes to Spongebob without hesitation. I love the thought of Squidward actually liking everyone in Bikini Bottom despite his impatient and inattentive personality. He claims that his apology is an April Fools’ joke, but I can tell from him going insane that he meant what he said. I cannot blame him for hating April Fools’ Day, though. This day can get my hopes up and disappoint me in many ways I can’t imagine.

This episode has many things going for it, from the jokes, development and the lovable optimism Spongebob is famous for. I’ve rewatched it many times, and It never gets old.

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