As he notes, one of the thing that made TV cartoons so dismal in the early '80s is that the two styles of cartoon -- action-adventure and comedy -- had sort of blended together into one all-purpose style, so all the humans had stodgy "realistic" designs with those scary flesh-colored eyes. A commenter on my blog once called this era of Hanna-Barbera something like "the flesh-colored eye era," and nothing sums up that era for me quite as much as the idea that cartoon humans would look more like humans if they didn't have eyeballs.
Having said that, here's kind of a pointless question: of the big Sat-am providers in the early '80s, which is your favorite? Or least un-favorite? I think the scripts at DePatie-Freleng/Marvel/Sunbow were sometimes a notch above the others (and their musical shows had some decent songs, courtesy of Broadway songwriter Barry Harman).
And while Ruby-Spears had the ugliest-looking cartoons of the era, they did have some pleasantly insane premises from contributors like Steve Gerber. Though I'm only bringing that up so I can post this intro again, a show that appeared to be Ruby-Spears' mashup of Richie Rich, Aaron Spelling, and Jack Kirby (who was a character designer for the show).
On a message board, Buzz Dixon recalled that the network wanted Goldie Gold to have her own Freckles-style friend:
I remember one network imbecile wanting Goldie to have a homeless friend who lived in a cardboard box and I said, "Would that make Goldie a real yutz, having all that wealth and not being willing to shell out a few bucks to rent a warm room for her friend?" and the network moron said, "Oh, no, he likes living in a cardboard box."
And that anecdote may be all we really need to know about cartoons in the early '80s.
Addendum: Though I actually think Saturday morning cartoons were a little worse in the '70s than in the '80s. The quality of animation in the early '80s did not improve, and the design probably got worse, but the scripting got... not good, just a little bit better in some places.