I grew up in the Dominican Republic, where Cartoon Network was a completely different beast: it introduced me to anime and had Boomerang cartoons playing throughout. Not to mention my other right hand: FOX Kids, which later on became Jetix. Over there, most animation channels played anime as much as western style animation. It was a big culture shock when I came to live in the US, and only Toonami had my back. However, is one day a week ever enough? Thankfully, we now have streaming…
Cartoon Network was a few years behind when it came to filler cartoons over there, and I grew up watching cartoons that my Dad told me he watched as a kid, too, like some of my favorites: Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes (the really old ones that were mostly merry melodies and looked as if it had an eternal tinge of blue), The Banana Splits, Droopy, Whacky Races, The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo… but then we also had the more recent wants in which they were kids. I used to love those so much and still sing to the A Pup Named Scooby-Doo theme song as well as the Banana Splits.
I have very fond memories of Cartoon Network growing up; and will always feel Hanna-Barbera and Tex Avery shows are a very strong bond with my Dad. Books and cartoons are something we tend to discuss a lot, even when he mocks me for still watching them… However, the joke is on him since he keeps comparing things and people to all those cartoons. Hate to break it to you, Dad, but you are as big a nerd as am I. Cartoon Network will always be my favorite channel after introducing me to other favorites growing up, such as the Cartoon Cartoon segments, Dexter's Lab, The Powerpuff Girls, Two Stupid Dogs, Swatcats, Cow and Chicken, Johnny Bravo, I am Weasel, Beetlejuice, Freakazoid!, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
I can still never get used to the fact the over there Cartoon Network would show anime throughout the day and at night, every day, not just during Toonami. This was one of the hardest things for me to get used to when I moved here: barely any channel played anime! I do not think I will ever get used to how rights work. Cartoon Network introduced me to some gems: my forever favorite Cardcaptor Sakura (or as I knew it back then, "Sakura Card Captor"), Corrector Yui (another one I loved), Pokémon, InuYasha, Hamtaro, Samurai X, Super Doll Licca Chan, Tomorrow's Nadja. Later on, it also showed some other shows I liked as Saint Seiya, Ranma 1/2, Naruto, and Dragon Ball (including Z and GT).
Then we also had another channel that brought me immense delight with their show selection, FOX Kids/Jetix. This channel introduced me to others on my top list, including Digimon, Shinzo, Shaman King, Shin Chan, Mon Colle Knights, Cyber Team in Akihabara, Tonde Buurin, Angela Anaconda, Monster Rancher, Dinozaurs, Patlabor the Mobile Police, Flint: the Time Detective, Medabots, Beyblade.
Most of these shows, especially Cardcaptors and Digimon, shaped me into who I am as an adult. Not only did I gain my love for art and animation and also magical aesthetics I love, but I think it helped me learn about life, friendship, and dealing with anxiety and depression. Much like the Harry Potter books, these also were my escape from the real world and magical places I could be myself with no fear of judgment. These have also been the grounds on which I have met amazing people and made great friendships over. Thanks to these while growing up and even now, I have never felt really alone, even when I have been. During times of trial, these have been my comfort.