If you missed our earlier post on the legend of Cree Summer, go back and check it out.
Voice acting is a pretty cool, but demanding business, so for one person to have been part of so many roles is an amazing feat. Tara Strong voiced every character you know. Everyone. Her resume and catalog extends longer than the note that Bill Withers held on “Lovely Day”. She’s done everything from early children’s television to more adult themed projects and her voice is iconic as anyone’s. So what are our favorite roles for this incredible powerhouse of raspy voices?
Lemmy/Iggy (“Hip and Hop”) Koopa from The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3/Super Mario World
The old Super Mario Bros. cartoons were an odd bunch and a really perfect blend of 80s/90s animation. It was clearly a show whose only purpose was to further the brand of the video games they were based off of and generate merchandise. They just weren’t that good, and I’m saying this despite the nostalgic part of me wanting to kick my own butt. Still, this came early into Tara’s career and you wouldn’t have realized it unless you went back and heard it, but once you go back and hear it, it completely makes sense that is indeed her.
Omi from Xiaolin Showdown
One of the great traits of a voice actress or an actor/actress in general is their versatility. While Tara Strong rose up through more comedic roles, Omi gave her the chance to have a more “serious” tone in a children’s show while also being able to maintain that comedic side. Xiaolin Showdown was not a super serious show by any means, but it did have an overarching story and Tara got to take on the lead role along side some pretty damn legendary voices: Tom Kenny, Jeff Bennett, and Wayne Knight just to name a few.
#7. Raven (Teen Titans)
While Xiaolin Showdown was more comedy than serious, Teen Titans took the opposite approach, and Raven was probably THE most stoic of the crew. What’s even better is that Raven had the most growth and a very important character arc whose conclusion was supposed to be the end of the series as well. Tara does a fantastic job of playing Raven and making her a believable character, it really shows the range of her ability.
#6. Ashi (Samurai Jack)
Talk about tugging at heart strings. Ashi’s only season in Samurai Jack was one that truly evolved with the audience and had our own Courtney glued to the screen the whole time. We see Ashi push from a villain to love interest and a key part in the series’ eventual end and Tara delivered every step of the way.
#5. Dil Pickles/Timothy McNulty (Rugrats/All Grown Up)
While young Dil was nothing but baby noises and spittle, All Grown Up Dil was the spunky, unpredictable being we thought he would eventually be. Make no mistake though, the main emphasis in this entry is one Timothy McNulty, who appeared as Angelica’s counterpart starting in Season 4. McNulty was the leader of the McNulty babies who were each counterparts to the Pickles/Finster/DeVille crew and was as big of a liar and cheater as Angelica herself. It’s the only straightforward “non-heroic” role on this list.
#4. Princess Clara (Drawn Together)
Drawn Together was such a fun concept, poking fun at the Real World/Surreal Life type reality shows but with various animated tropes. We had our sassy expy of Valerie from Josie and The Pussycats, our Superman expy, Pikachu, Porky Pig, Link and Betty Boop. Tara Strong voiced Princess Clara, an expy of the early Disney princesses and boy was her character stooped in ignorance. Clara was written as the naive plucky girl who has never really been exposed to the world outside of her community, it’s a character outside of the “norm” for Tara and she does it extremely well.
#3. Raven (Teen Titans Go!)
Is this a cheap entry? Sure. Do I care? No. Raven from TTG is a completely different character than her TT counterpart. While Raven had some humorous lines in TT, they were few and far between as her character was much more serious. TTG! makes fun of that, frequently. Giving Raven a much lighter side that she hides from the others, making her the “typical” angst-filled teenager who is seemingly only doing it for show. I don’t care how you feel about TTG! it is a marvelous piece of comedic television that deserves your respect.
#2. Timmy Timmy Turner (The Fairly OddParents)
Timmy was originally voiced by the late Mary Kay Bergman (Liane Cartman, Sheila Brovlofsky) in the original Oh Yeah! Cartoon pilots until her untimely passing in 1999. From there Tara Strong picked up the role for the entirety of the show’s 10 season, 16 year Nicktoon run. Timmy’s raspy voice is legendary and could be placed by anyone who grew up in that era just from hearing it. Add to that the fact that FOP was a damn good show and you have the formula for a character that lasts the test of time. It really says something that despite all the really bad changes FOP went through from Poof onward (who really wasn’t that bad of an addition), Timmy’s character remained one of the steadiest, consistent parts of the series (sure he was a bit flanderized, but the core of him was still there).
#1. Bubbles (The Powerpuff Girls)
There’s something about a character’s voice matching their name so perfectly. Tara Strong will forever and always be the original Bubbles. She brought out the true sweet sugarplum nature of the character, a pure innocent being who only knows love and happiness for those she cares about. The Powerpuff Girls themselves were part of a groundbreaking trio, young female Superheroes weren’t exactly a mainstay in pop culture despite attempts from Batgirl and Supergirl. Although Wonder Woman was a pop culture icon, PPG gave young girls someone they could relate to at their current age instead of just aspiring to be! Also, we had this fun commercial come from it: