->''"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; while not ''officially'' ended it has only updated once (as a memorial strip) since. 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.

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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