!!Inspector Gadget

* AccidentalHero: Believe it or not, there are actually a number of times when Gadget is legitimately helpful and actually contributes towards solving the case. It's just that he tends to do it purely by accident.
-->'''Repeated line whenever Gadget is congratulated for solving the case''': I did?
* AdultsAreUseless: However, when Gadget knows Penny is in danger, he becomes scarily competent.
* ArtificialLimbs
* BadassLongcoat
* CatchPhrase: "I'm always on duty."
* ChekhovsSkill: His sheer clumsiness, as proven when Quimby shows up and there's an impostor in the same room. Quimby knows which Gadget is which just because one of them happened to attack him with a stray mallet [[SpannerInTheWorks that just happened to go off by itself at exactly the right moment...]]
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: During rare moments when he shows competence.
* {{Cyborg}}
* DefectiveDetective
* TheDitz
* DrivesLikeCrazy: It's amazing he still has a license, really.
* ExpressiveHair: Gadget's hair droops when he's sad, disappointed, or surprised.
* {{Expy}}: Of [[ThePinkPanther Inspector Clouseau]] and [[GetSmart Maxwell Smart]].
* FakeUltimateHero
* FearlessInfant: Gadget was shown to be one in a flashback of the final episode, where he is seen as a baby witnessing crime boss Spuds Malone gun down people with his potato gun the Red Rose and being completely unfazed by the chaos.
* {{Flanderization}}: In the pilot, Gadget was bumbling, but not nearly as oblivious and managed to fend off most of MAD's schemes via competance. Early episodes [[DependingOnTheWriter occasionally flip flopped]] between this depiction and his iconic AccidentalHero persona before finally settling for the latter. This was taken UpToEleven where most spin offs such as ''GadgetAndTheGadgetinis'' are concerned.
* FlippingTheBird: Surprisingly in a children's series, he does this in the OPENING sequence! Granted, he wasn't trying to be deliberately offensive; his bird just happened to be a flashlight.
* TheFool: Despite his idiocy, Gadget continually helps Penny and Brain out in one way or another, which leads to some {{Alternate Character Interpretation}}s among fans that he's merely ObfuscatingStupidity.
* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: Gadget ''always'' believes the lies MAD agents tell him. He'll even trust MAD agents that aren't even bothering with deceiving him and are just trying to kill him ("Ah! The welcoming commitee!"). This goes all the way to the opposite end of the spectrum. He'll spot Brain in disguise, and instead of recognizing Brain, he'll think Brain is the MAD agent!
* HyperspaceArsenal
* IdiotHero
* InspectorOblivious
* InvincibleIncompetent
* KindheartedSimpleton: Gadget means well in his antics and is trying to save the day, he's just completely inept about it.
* LastNameBasis: In the animated incarnations. In the movie Gadget is just a nickname given to him by the press and his real name is John Brown.
* LawfulStupid
* LetsGetDangerous: Very, ''very'' rarely, Gadget showed competence and was able to avert disaster all on his own. This tends to happen when Penny is in danger.
* NiceHat
** HatOfFlight: It can become a helicopter hat.
* PapaWolf: When he ''knows'' Penny is in danger, Gadget becomes virtually unrecognizable (and unstoppable) as he becomes the superhero he is ''supposed'' to be. For what it's worth, one of his few talents seem to be as a guardian, when not oblivious to some villain on her tail, he raises Penny rather well and [[AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle gives rather intelligent life lessons]].
** This also extends to other people Gadget cares about. He's gone to similar lengths to save Brain (when he actually knows that he's dealing with Brain, as opposed to thinking the disguised Brain is a MAD agent) and Professor Von Slickenstein, the scientist who gave him his gadgets.
* ParentalObliviousness: Gadget has no idea that it's his niece solving his cases and saving the world.
* PoliceAreUseless
* SwissArmyAppendage
* TooDumbToLive
* TrickedOutShoes
* UselessProtagonist: Half the time, the other half his bumbling [[TheFool inadvertantly comes handy]] (about five or six times throughout the show [[LetsGetDangerous he actually saves the day through competance]]).
* WeCanRebuildHim: His origin in the movie.
* WhereDoesHeGetAllThoseWonderfulToys
* [[WackyParentSeriousChild Wacky Uncle]]: To Penny's [[WackyParentSeriousChild serious niece]]

!!Dr. Claw

* AmbiguouslyHuman: With a voice like that...
* AngryFistShake
* ArchEnemy
* BerserkButton: Just seeing Gadget, or even simply having to mention his name, can make Dr. Claw angry enough to smash holes in his desk or shatter diamonds with his bare hands.
* BigBad
* CampStraight: In the live-action movie.
* CaptainErsatz: Of [[Film/JamesBond Ernst Stavro Blofeld]].
* CatchPhrase: "I'll get you next time, Gadget! ''Next time''!"
* TheChessmaster
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: For the movie. Also any episode that revolved around MAD setting up a legitimate business and then wiping out their competition by some underhanded means, leaving Dr. Claw with a monopoly.
* DiabolicalMastermind
* EnfanteTerrible: Was implied to be one when he was a child. He mentions that he desired possession of the Crown Jewels since his youth in "Gadget's Clean Sweep", his mentor Les Renowned introduced in "Gadget meets the Clan" can be seen in a picture lecturing a younger Claw holding a lollipop, and the 1992 Christmas special had Dr. Claw mad at Santa Claus for never getting him the dirty tricks sled he wanted as a child.
* EvilLaugh
* EvilPlan: Each episode revolves around one.
* EvilSoundsDeep
* ExactWords: From the episode "The Invasion": "I said ''I'' feel like singing!"
* TheFaceless: Not only faceless, but also bodiless as only his hands and arms are ever shown to the viewers. Luckily, in the movie, his whole appearance is [[EstrogenBrigadeBait Rupert]] [[HamAndCheese Everett]].
** His action figure however depicted his face. [[http://archives.progressiveboink.com/mike/img/drclaw/claw1.jpg Click at risk of shattering childhood memories]]. In a ''brilliantly'' devious ploy of marketing, the packaging for the figure covered up his face with a piece of cardboard inviting you to buy the toy and finally see what he looked like.
* FauxAffablyEvil
* HookHand: His origin in the movie.
* JokerImmunity: As shown in the second live-action film and the animated direct-to-video film Inspector Gadget's Biggest Caper Ever, not even capturing him and putting him in jail can stop Claw.
* KarmaHoudini: Usually played straight in that he always avoided getting arrested, but some episodes subvert it and have Claw suffer a minor problem as he makes his getaway, such as being trapped at the bottom of the arctic waters in "Gone Went the Wind", getting frozen in "The Quimby Exchange", and getting hit by the blast of the Red Rose potato gun in the final episode "Gadget and the Red Rose".
* LargeHam: [[EvilLaugh "HeeheeheeheeHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"]]
* MadScientist
* NoNameGiven: While Gadget and the Gadgetinis has George Claw, the movie has Sanford Scolex.
* RightHandCat: What Dr. Claw has (see MAD Cat below)
* SinisterSurveillance: The only thing he's ever shown doing.
* SlouchOfVillainy: Throughout the series, he only watches the events from his lair or car.
* SurroundedByIdiots: Even with Penny always screwing up his plans, you sometimes think he might be ruling the world by now if his henchmen weren't all so stupid.
* UltimateEvil
* VileVillainSaccharineShow
* VillainExitStageLeft: Whenever he's actually at the scene of a MAD activity, he'll typically escape in the MAD Mobile once the Gadget family ruins his scheme.
* YellowEyesOfSneakiness: When his face is briefly shown in the SNES game.

!!Penny

* BadassAdorable
* BoundAndGagged: Happens frequently.
* Creator/CreeSummer: Played Penny for most of the original series. It was her first role.
* DamselInDistress: She is often captured and tied up by Claw's henchmen.
* DamselOutOfDistress: She oftens escapes from Claws' handmen, or arranges for Brain to rescue her.
* DubNameChange: In the French version her name is Sophie.
* GirlishPigtails
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold
* HyperCompetentSidekick
* KidDetective
* {{Nephewism}}
* [[NiceGuy Nice Girl]][=/=]FriendToAllLivingThings: Penny rarely shows anger, hardly ever even gets annoyed (even with her uncle's antics), and the number of people she shows intense dislike for throughout the entire franchise can be easily counted on one hand. As a result, she has a knack for making friends and allies at the drop of a hat.
* NonStandardCharacterDesign: In comparison to the other very cartoony designs in the show, Penny's is noticably more anime inspired and realistically proportioned. ''GadgetAndTheGadgetinis'' gives her a somewhat wackier design, though still slightly more subtle than the rest of the cast.
* NotSoAboveItAll: She may be the most competent and mature person in her household, but mention her favorite singer and she still goes into shrieking fangirl mode.
* OnlyOneName: Penny was never given a last name, though a lot of people just assume it's Gadget.
* ParentalAbandonment: It's confirmed in the second season that Penny's parents are apparently deceased. We only have Dr. Claw's word for it but according to him, Penny is Gadget's only living relative.
* PluckyGirl
* SnoopingLittleKid
* {{Tomboy}}
* [[WackyParentSeriousChild Serious Niece]]: To Gadget's [[WackyParentSeriousChild Wacky Uncle]]
* [[WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes Why Did It Have To Be Ghosts?]]: She gets over it with the help of Gadget.

!!Brain

* ActionPet: Although more wacky than outright action, he still goes through things that one would have to be tough to get though.
* BeleagueredAssistant: Occasionally averted when Gadget actually ''saves'' Brain. This usually happens when Gadget thinks he's a MAD agent and is trying to capture him, and ends up grabbing Brain right before he'd fall to his death.
* DetectiveAnimal
* FacePalm: One of his frequent reactions to Gadget's antics.
* HyperCompetentSidekick: To Penny.
* MyInstinctsAreShowing: Though usually a neurotic StraightMan with more human intelligence than most of the police force combined, Brain sometimes has displays of puppy-like friskiness. For example, at one point when Gadget tries to throw away some explosives, he mistakes it for a stick and excitedly plays fetch with it.
* NonHumanSidekick
* PaperThinDisguise
* SilentSnarker
* SpeechImpairedAnimal
* [[WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes Why Did It Have To Be Ghosts?]]: Unlike Penny, Brain stays afraid of ghosts through the whole series.

!!Chief Quimby

* DaChief
* ChewToy: Without fail his 'self-destructing message' will be near him when it goes off.
* CompositeCharacter: Of the Chief of CONTROL and Agent 13 from GetSmart, which InspectorGadget could be considered a SpiritualSuccessor to. Like the former, Quimby gives orders and mission debriefings to the bumbling protagonist. Like the latter, he has a tendency to hide in different improbable locations while giving messages to Gadget.
* GenreSavvy
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: In TheMovie.
** {{Jerkass}}: In the direct-to-video sequel to TheMovie.
* MrExposition
* SomethingOnlyTheyWouldSay: Apparently, only the real Gadget would malfunction without warning and injure him with his gadgets. Quimby uses that fact to SpotTheImpostor in one episode.

!!MAD Cat

* ButtMonkey: Can occasionally be this to some of [[BadBoss Dr. Claw's]] tantrums.
* CatsAreMean: [[ThePiratesWhoDontDoAnything Supposedly.]]
* EvilLaugh: Has a great one made of cat hisses. It's pretty much [[ThePiratesWhoDontDoAnything the only way you can tell]] that [[CatsAreMean this cat is mean.]]
* RightHandCat: [[CaptainObvious What MAD Cat is.]]
* ThePiratesWhoDontDoAnything
* SilentSnarker
* SpeechImpairedAnimal
* TalkingToYourself: FrankWelker voiced both Dr. Claw and MAD Cat, who are always seen together.
* TeamPet: An evil team's pet.

!!Corporal Capeman

* HollywoodNerd: Capeman wears glasses.
* {{Jerkass}}: One of the reasons why most fans despise him is because he frequently picked on Brain for no apparent reason.
* {{Sidekick}}
* TooDumbToLive

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