->''"I can't believe I let these idiots come with me..."''
-->-- '''Ralph Zinobop'''

''[[http://www.melonpool.com Melonpool]]'' (originally/alternatively titled ''The Adventures of Mayberry Melonpool'') is a [[NewspaperComic newspaper]]-style ScienceFiction {{webcomic}} created by Steve Troop. It updated fairly regularly from early 1996 to late 2005 and infrequently, though with full story arcs, through 2012. It features the incompetent crew of the ''Steel Duck'', usually stranded on Earth with a broken ship, which they repair and set off...only to wind up back on Earth with a broken ship again, which they then repair... As well as having full stories, usually involving [[MesACrowd duplication]] and TimeTravel (most TimeTravelTropes end up being used), it features [[AffectionateParody affectionate parodies]] of a wide range of ScienceFiction works and classic TV shows.

After a two year hiatus, the strip's setting was retconned and revived in October 2014.

The author has also created a puppet show version.

Crew members include:
* Mayberry Melonpool, the [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Star Trek]] and StarWars obsessed and incompetent [[HumanAliens alien]] captain from the planet Melotia.
* Ralph Zinobop, a bad tempered MadScientist (he built the ''Steel Duck'') that looks down upon the rest of the crew. He's also an exiled prince from the planet [[PlanetOfSteves Zinobop]].
* Sam T. [[SpeciesSurname Dogg]], an [[IntellectualAnimal telepathic dog]] and the pilot of the ''Steel Duck''. One of the only crew members with any common sense. From the planet [[StealthPun K-9]].
* Sammy the Hammy, a [[RodentsOfUnusualSize giant hamster]] (one of Ralph's experiments) that serves as the engine (runs in a hamster wheel) and is [[BigEater always hungry]]. Not very intelligent.
* Ralphie Zinobop, an opposite-personality ''nice'' clone of Ralph. Ralphie is very kind but also a nervous worry-wart.
* [[OverlyLongName Roberta Smeffinfeffer]], a female Melotian and the ship's doctor, despite having almost no medical experience. Arguably TheChick, though she did leave the group temporarily out of frustration. Has an on-again, off-again romance with Ralphie.
* [=J-LB8=]/Jalea Bates, a former protocol droid that was turned into a [[IdolSinger singing]] {{fembot}} by Ralph; she later obtains a human body in a bizzare accident and becomes much more [[CharacterDevelopment likeable]].
* An Earth duck and Maddie the cat, who are occasionally given a crewmember's job despite being normal animals (or at least ''appearing'' to be normal...).
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!!Contains examples of the following tropes:
* AbortedArc: More than once, including the post-time-travel-induced-[[ApocalypseHow Class Z]] reboot, which was replaced - completely - by a more modest reset.
* AbridgedSeries: [[http://www.melonpool.com/?page_id=9597 Steve was kind enough to draw one]] for the major story arcs for those that don't wanna completely go through the archives (And seeing how this reads like a newspaper comic, it is very helpful).
* AliensStealCable: Melotians pick up Earth television signals through [[BizarreAlienSenses their antennae]]. [[HilarityEnsues Couch potatoness ensues]].
* TheAlternet: A time travel arc shows that the Ubernet now hosts all the actually useful stuff available online.
* ApocalypseHow: A [[ApocalypseHow/ClassZ Class Z]] occurred as a result of so much TimeTravel [[GoneHorriblyWrong going horribly wrong.]]
* BareYourMidriff: Jalea.
* BestServedCold: It takes five years and a universal reset, but Jalea manages to get revenge on Ralph for once [[BodySurf sticking her mind in a household appliance]] when she makes an artifical arm for him...out of a desk lamp.
-->'''Jalea:''' [[ContinuityNod Two words:]] '[[BalefulPolymorph vacuum cleaner.]]'
* BigEater: Just saying the word "food" is enough to make Sammy abandon his post and rush for the fridge.
* ChekhovsGun: The G.R.A.I.S.E. [[WaveMotionGun Quasar Pulse Cannon]] proves to be a literal one.
* ChekhovsSkill: Mayberry gets "Jedi training" from No-Dah, which seems to be quickly forgotten...until he uses the Force to ward off a horde of vengeful [[FanBoy fanboys]] in the Webcomic/{{Zortic}} crossover.
* CloningBlues: Oh so much! But mainly with Ralph and Ralphie.
* CloudCuckoolander: Mayberry, in spades.
* CoolShip: The Steel Duck.
* {{Crossover}}: With ''Webcomic/ItsWalky''. Rare in that it had lasting consequences for both comics.
** Ditto for the crossover with ''{{Zortic}}.'' Ralph and Splink are officially half-brothers, making Splink royalty.
*** First in line to the Zinoboppian throne, in fact. [[spoiler:He renounces his claim, having no interest in ruling. Ralph demands he do it in writing.]]
* CueTheFlyingPigs: Ralph and Mayberry working together, [[http://www.melonpool.com/?p=904 mass hysteria]]!
* ElvisHasLeftThePlanet: The King didn't die, he was just abducted by the G.R.A.I.S.E.
* EmbarrassingMiddleName: Ralph is ''not'' happy when Fauntleroy [[http://www.melonpool.com/?p=1082 adopts his name]]...
-->'''Ralph:''' I'll kill that bloodsucker!
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: Most of Ralph's inventions are named in this fashion.
* EvilKnockoff: Mecha-Sammy.
* EvilTwin: Fauntleroy (Fixed-Dup-o-Matic'd Ralph) and Rasputin (MirrorUniverse Mayberry).
* {{Expy}}: No-Dah (Yoda's "grey side" brother), C-3PO'd and Obi-Juan Kenobi.
* FacialHorror: Ralph's face gets horribly scarred [[spoiler:after Fauntleroy drops him into a volcano. He later uses the [[GrandTheftMe Cerebral Swapper]], leaving Fauntleroy [[LaserGuidedKarma with the scars]].]]
* FakeCrossover: Ever wondered what happened to [[{{Garfield}} Lyman]], [[CalvinAndHobbes Uncle Max]] and [[BloomCounty Opus]] (at least before his revival)? Yeah this comic should answer those questions for ya.
* FanBoy: Alien ones, in fact, waiting in line on a space station to see Film/StarWars.
* {{Fembot}}: Jalea, [[spoiler:before the Zinoforming Device makes her human.]]
* FixedForwardFacingWeapon: The Steel Duck's cannon.
* FiveManBand
** IdiotHero: Mayberry
** TheLancer: Sam
** TheBigGuy: Sammy
** TheSmartGuy: Ralph (and Ralphie)
** TheChick: Roberta
** SixthRanger: Jalea
* FusionDance: The Fuse-O-Matic
* GenesisEffect: Zinoforming, a parody of [[Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan the Genesis Device]].
* GrandTheftMe: Ralph, Ralphie and Fauntleroy play with this often. Mayberry and Rasputin do it too.
* [[TheGreys The G.R.A.I.S.E.]]
* HeroicSacrifice: Jalea on the asteroid. [[spoiler: The GenesisEffect revives her, and a little BrainUploading makes her good as new.]]
* IdentityAmnesia: Knocking out Mayberry tends to have him wake up with the personality - and ''skills'' - of a Star Trek character. [[spoiler:Comes in handy when Gil is born.]]
* InterspeciesRomance: [[spoiler:Ralphie and Roberta]] become a couple.
* KidFromTheFuture: Gil.
* KlingonsLoveShakespeare: The {{Zortic}} crossover has the crews of the ''Steel Duck'' and ''Entire Prize'' waiting in line to see the latest [[Film/StarWars Star Wars]] movie on an alien space station. [[spoiler:However, due to the distance from Earth, it turns out the "latest movie" is ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack''...]]
-->'''Zortic:''' I guess it takes quite awhile to get movies out in deep space.
** Then, of course, there's the whole thing with the Melotians being addicted to Earth TV.
* KillSat: [[spoiler:The ''Steel Duck'' serves as this during the second {{Walkyverse}} crossover.]]
* LongLostRelative: [[{{Zortic}} Splink]], to Ralph.
* MadScientist: Ralph
* [[HumanPopsicle Melotian Popsicle]]: Mayberry gets [[Film/StarWars frozen in carbonite]] by Ralph.
-->'''Ralph:''' Just keep doing what you're doing. We finally found something you excel at.
** Mayberry and Ralphie later use carbonite freezing to get around a time paradox.
* MisplacedADecimalPoint: Technical guy Ralphie says he "must've missed a decimal point somewhere" [[http://www.melonpool.com/?p=680 during one of the time-travel paradox plots]]. [[ItMakesSenseInContext It makes some sense in the context]].
* MixAndMatchCritters: Merv.
* MustHaveCaffeine: Ralph is utterly addicted to coffee. [[spoiler:Which later winds up nearly killing him.]]
** Coffee proved to be the antidote to food poisoning from spoiled G.R.A.I.S.E. rations.
* MyBrainIsBig: In a Thanksgiving guest strip week, Ralph and Ralphie have oversized [[BrainInAJar brain-jar]] craniums.
* NearDeathExperience: [[spoiler:Sam.]]
* NewTechIsNotCheap: Inverted in [[http://www.melonpool.com/?p=2051 this]] strip. It's because of the OLD technology (engine) that required expensive fuel.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Happens rather often when Mayberry tries to play hero...
* NoFourthWall
* NoQuestionsAsked: And it drives Ralph to homicidal rage towards Mayberry. (Not that much doesn't.)
-->'''Mayberry:''' I was sure surprised when [[Webcomic/{{Walkyverse}} he]] asked me to fire the cannon [[spoiler:at Denver]]!
-->'''Ralph:''' But you did it anyway - no questions asked.
-->'''Mayberry:''' Yeah...pretty much.
-->'''Ralph:''' Lucky for us he didn't ask you to open the airlock...
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: [[spoiler:When Rasputin escapes from Comics Limbo, [[BloomCounty Opus]] is sent after him. Two days of Comics Limbo strips later, we learn Opus defeated him (after Rasputin cut 50% off the Steel Duck's travel time back to Earth).]]
** Roberta tells [[spoiler:Opus]] it was two days, but later Ralphie tells Mayberry it was "[[RetCon over a month]] [[spoiler:[[SpotTheImpostor before we noticed the difference]]]]".
* OneSteveLimit: Avoided. Ralph's clone sticks around and decides to go by Ralphie, and even before that you had Sam T. Dog and Sammy the Hammy sharing a name
* OnlySaneMan: Sam.
* OutrunTheFireball: [[spoiler:When escaping "Fauntsputin's" Zinoform Device.]]
* PercussiveMaintenance: Roberta's method for dealing with the recalcitrant ship's computer.
-->'''Mayberry:''' Funny; those are the same [workarounds] Ralph uses...
* PlanetOfHats: Melotians are (Earth) pop culture-obsessed couch potatoes.
* PlanetOfSteves: All known Zinoboppians are surnamed Zinobop.
* RaisedByNatives: Jalea, [[spoiler:post-Zinoforming]]. [[LampshadedTrope Lampshaded]] in the AbridgedSeries:
-->'''Jalea:''' So I'm supposed to learn to be human...from a bunch of ''aliens''?
-->'''Sammy:''' And a giant hamster!
* ResignedToTheCall: Ralphie.
-->'''Ralphie:''' It sure would be nice if somebody else saved the day once in awhile!
* RodentsOfUnusualSize: Sammy the Hammy.
* RoyalBlood: Ralph has it, and is determined to take advantage of it. [[spoiler: Not that it does him any good when he finally gets the chance.]]
-->'''Ralph:''' [[spoiler: It smelled like ''democracy''...]]
* ScheduleSlip: The comic suffers from this very frequently.
* ScifiBobHaircut: An alternate-timeline Jalea had to become ship's engineer; she has a much shorter hairdo than the primary timeline's as long hair around machinery [[ByTheHair proved a spectacularly]] [[TraumaticHaircut bad idea]].
* SharedUniverse: With the {{Walkyverse}} and the pre-reboot [[{{Zortic}} Zorticverse.]]
* TheStarscream: While the crew (with the (arguable) exception of Ralph) isn't evil, Ralph shows signs of this towards Mayberry, who is ''nominally'' in charge. [[spoiler:Up to and including "fixing" the ship's cannon so it's [[ChekhovsGun aimed directly at the captain's chair]].]]
-->'''Mayberry:''' It blew up [[spoiler:Jalea]]!
-->'''Ralph:''' Never send a robot to do a Melotian's job...
* TemptingFate: When Ralph installs the G.R.A.I.S.E. cannnon, he and Mayberry have the [[ChekhovsGun following exchange:]]
-->'''Mayberry:''' What if I can't [[MoralDilemma decide if someone lives or dies]], just by pushing a button?
-->'''Ralph:''' I wouldn't worry about it. Believe me - [[{{crossover}} your hand won't be]] [[Webcomic/{{Walkyverse}} anywhere near the]] [[KillSat fire button]].
** [[WriteWhoYouKnow Boss]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Plume Plume's]] "alien reservation" in [[RoswellThatEndsWell Roswell]] proves to be just [[http://www.melonpool.com/?p=6604 asking for it]].
--->'''Boss Plume:''' It's the perfect scam, because everyone knows there's no such thing as space aliens!
--->''...as his aide panics, having spotted the crashing Steel Duck through the window...''
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: The reason Ralph saves Ralphie from being eaten once.
-->'''Ralph:''' Nobody kills you except me.
* ThisIsMyChair: Mayberry ''insists'' on having a proper Captain's Chair. [[spoiler:When the ship's front section is rebuilt, Ralph installs a ''[[SwivelChairAntics roller]]'' [[SwivelChairAntics chair]]. HilarityEnsues.]]
* TimeyWimeyBall: And ''how''.
-->'''Mayberry:''' So...now there are two timelines?
-->'''Ralphie:''' I wish. At last count there were over a million...and ''growing!''
* TokenEvilTeammate: Ralph.
-->'''Ralph:''' The crew could be fighting a losing battle in there for all we know! Let's give 'em a few more minutes.
* TwinThreesomeFantasy: Comes true for [[spoiler:Ralphie]] as a result of Ralph and Mayberry's plan to duplicate the ship's girls. [[spoiler:Turns out he wasn't ready for it.]]
* WardrobeMalfunction: Done by Jalea during her {{fembot}} [[IdolSinger pop singer]] career, as her "training" had included episodes of ''Girls Gone Wild''.
** Later done ''deliberately'' by Jalea to distract an audience from the fact [[DreadfulMusician her singing was horrible]]. [[spoiler:She panicked after realising her singing talents were just [=J-LB8's=] programming and hadn't carried over when she was humanised. The other conditioning, however, ''had''...]]
--->'''Jalea:''' ...How'd I make them love me when I was a robot? Think, Jalea, THINK!
--->''[[GilliganCut (Cut)]]''
--->'''Roberta:''' ''(Icily)'' And that was when she took her top off...
* XMeetsY: As the website states, "It's Franchise/StarTrek meets GilligansIsland. 'Nuff said."
* YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame: If it's a plan Mayberry would come up with, you might want to rethink the idea.
-->'''Ralphie:''' Ralph figured out how to make a ''new'' Fuse-o-Matic! It's brilliant!
-->'''Melonpool:''' What's he gonna do? Shoot the Dup-o-Matic into a mirror?
-->'''Ralphie:''' Okay...maybe "brilliant" wasn't the word I was looking for...
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