It started out (for me anyway) with Space Ghost Coast to Coast. I caught this weird show one late night in middle school and, though I had no idea what I was watching, could not turn away. Confusion led hilarity, and I was hooked. Check out my favorite episode, featuring Bjork, Thom Yorke, and this great exchange between Space Ghost and his new wife:
"You know what? It doesn't matter, because I love you so much...that, it's time for you to go to sleep."
I remember as a freshman in high school trying to convince my older sister that Space Ghost's song in this episode, "Knifin' Around," was hilarious, but to no avail.
It wasn't long until a primitive Adult Swim premiered. One night a week, 13-minute episodes. Space Ghost was joined by a bevy of great new shows: Sealab 2021, Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law (with a character voiced by Stephen Colbert), The Brak Show, and the less funny but immensely more popular Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Sealab was particularly amazing. The first video I ever downloaded (when YouTube didn't exist and Napster was still king), was an episode of Sealab where a French diver helps the crew find Captain Murphy's Happy Cake Oven: "It's not a toy. It makes real cupcakes, with a 40 watt bulb, and there's icing packets....but the secret ingredient, is love....damn it."
Check out this amazing clip.