For all its debated faults, at least the animated Trek did NOT force a cute mascot comic relief character upon us. If that had happened, I don't think there'd be ANY debate whether or not Kirk and company had those missions! Fans would demand the master negatives be burned!
Then how do you explain Wesley Crusher?
(Sorry... couldn't resist the cheap shot.)
For that matter, Chekov was kind of a cute mascot comic relief character himself....