[[quoteright:200: http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/200px-Underdog.jpg]]

-->''"There's no need to fear -- Underdog is here!"''

One of Total Television's most famous AnimatedSeries, '''''Underdog''''' was a canine parody of ''Superman'' which debuted on Creator/{{NBC}} in 1964 and moved to Creator/{{CBS}} in 1966. Usually, each half-hour episode consisted of two chapters of a four-part ''Underdog'' story, separated by an unrelated TTV short.

Underdog's alter ego was "humble, lovable Shoeshine Boy". When summoned by TV reporter Sweet Polly Purebred[[note]]"Oh where, oh where has my Underdog gone? Oh where, oh where can he be?"[[/note]], Shoeshine Boy dashed into the nearest phone booth and emerged in his heroic costume. For some unexplained reason, Underdog always [[RhymesOnADime spoke in rhyme]]. His foes included the mad scientist Dr. Simon BarSinister and his henchman, Cad Lackey (voice caricatures of [[Film/ItsAWonderfulLife Lionel Barrymore]] and HumphreyBogart), and the lupine crime boss Riff Raff (based on George Raft).

Supporting segments included ''TennesseeTuxedoAndHisTales'', ''Go Go Gophers'' and ''Klondike Kat''. The series' voice talent included Wally Cox as Underdog/Shoeshine Boy and Norma [=McMillan=] as Sweet Polly Purebred.

A live-action film [[InNameOnly that just happened to be called]] ''Film/{{Underdog}}'' was released by Walt Disney Pictures in 2007.

Underdog also inspired a well-remembered, well-loved Macy's UsefulNotes/ThanksgivingDay balloon, as evidenced by [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiMf5cCDy1I this commercial]], made 35 years after the balloon's debut.

You might've heard the theme song thanks to being SampledUp by Music/WuTangClan on their "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F' Wit". Parts of the ''Underdog'' theme song could also be heard in ''Wheels!'', an AppleMacintosh game aimed at disabled children.

''(For the Japanese manga of the same name, [[Manga/{{Underdog}} click here]])''
----
!!''Underdog'' provides examples of:

* AcCENTUponTheWrongSylLABle: "Riff RAFF."
* AdvertisingCampaigns: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiMf5cCDy1I Underdog vs. Stewie Griffin]]
* AnimalSuperheroes
* AnimatedSeries
* ArrangedMarriage: Underdog was forced into a marriage with an alien princess in "Zot." [[spoiler:He doesn't follow through, though, and the princess marries someone else. And that's after Underdog defeats a [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever Two-headed dragon]] that was menacing the aliens, also making it an inversion of RescueRomance.]]
* BadassAdorable
* BeachEpisode: A [[DeletedScene storyboarded idea]] involved Underdog and Polly going to the beach and playing super-volleyball with a horde of robotic aliens in "The Nug of Nog."
* BecomingPartOfTheImage: This happened several times.
* BigBad: Dr. Simon Bar Sinister
* BraggingThemeTune
* BruceWayneHeldHostage: In one episode, Shoeshine Boy is part of a group taken prisoner by aliens and forced to lead a coup in his civilian identity until sufficient chaos arises to allow him to transform without being noticed.
* CaptainCrash: Underdog. One episode where he has to drive an armored car shows he [[DrivesLikeCrazy drives about as well as he flies]].
* CartoonishSupervillainy: Simon Bar Sinister
* CatchPhrase: Underdog is full of them:
** "It's hip, hip, hip, and away I go!"
** "There's no need to fear./ Underdog is here!"
** "The secret compartment of my ring I fill/ with an Underdog super energy pill."
** Simon Bar Sinister would frequently preface an imperative with "Simon says..."
* ChasteHero: He seems to be rather eager to escape Polly's advances.
* CliffHanger: Most episodes were structured as four-part serials, with cliffhangers at the end of the first three.
* CombatTentacles: The Guard from "The Bubbleheads."
* CoolGate: Simon Bar Sinister has one bearing his surname.
* CounterfeitCash: The opening of every episode shows a customer tossing a nickel to Shoeshine Boy, and Shoeshine Boy [[TastyGold biting the nickel]]. This was an old trick dating back to TheGreatDepression, to tell if a nickel was real or just a wooden disc painted to look vaguely nickel-like. (He was adhering to the old adage "Don't take any wooden nickels!" and proving that GoodIsNotDumb.)
* CriminalDoppelganger: One of Underdog's enemies was his exact double, Tap-Tap the Chiseler, who didn't have any of Underdog's powers. It didn't stop Tap-Tap from using Underdog's image to get stuff like bombs without anyone batting an eye.
* DamselInDistress: Sweet Polly Purebred, in practically every episode.
** Subverted in [[spoiler:"The Phony Booths", where Polly takes it upon herself to stop the [[MassHypnosis Phony Booths]]. By that time, Simon Bar Sinister has gotten Underdog under his control, so he sends Underdog to stop Polly. However, LoveRedeems, and because of this, Polly saves Underdog for a change]].
* DepravedDwarf: Simon
* DisneyDeath: Underdog himself several times, ''e.g.'', in "A New Villain" and "The Silver Thieves".
* DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength: Would get him into some serious trouble if it weren't for his HeroInsurance.
* DumbMuscle / {{Evil Minion|s}}: Cad to Simon, as well as Mooch to Riff Raff. Then again, they're not much dumber than the average citizen on this show.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first cartoon has little in common with the others. There's no Sweet Polly (it remains the only cartoon she's not in), no villain, no CliffHanger, and Underdog is a completely moronic, bumbling idiot {{Jerkass}} who demolishes two banks to rescue a boy trapped in a bank vault (at first, Underdog goes to the wrong bank by mistake). The rest of the series portrays Underdog as much more competent.
* ElectionDayEpisode: Simon Bar Sinister disperses treated feathers across the entire United States, keeping every American rolling on the ground laughing on Election Day. Only Simon and his henchman, Cad Lackey, are coherent enough to cast votes, electing Simon as United States Dictator by a total of two votes.
* EveryEpisodeEnding:
-->'''Man 1:''' Look, up in the sky! It's a bird!
-->'''Man 2:''' It's a plane!
-->'''Woman:''' It's a frog!
-->'''Man 1:''' A frog?
-->'''Underdog:''' Not bird, nor plane, nor even frog,/ It's just little old me— ''([[WatchOutForThatTree crash]])'' Underdog.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: In his civilian disguise, Underdog is called Shoeshine Boy because he, er, shines shoes.
* EverythingsBetterWithSpinning: When characters overcame their EasyAmnesia from the Forget-Me-Net, they would spin in the air.
** Underdog once spun so fast that he [[{{Invisibility}} could no longer be seen]]. [[ArtisticLicensePhysics Or heard]]. (Then again, his enemy was on the moon at that point.)
* EvilCounterpart: With a hero called Underdog, it was practically inevitable that there would be a [[CatsAreMean villain named Overcat]]. He's unlike Underdog in every way: whereas Underdog is a small, good-natured dog who uses his powers to help others, Overcat is a hulking, loudmouthed {{Jerkass}} cat who uses his own powers to bully his entire planet into submission.
* FlyingBrick: Although Underdog is occasionally described as having a "computer-like brain" and sometimes devises clever solutions to problems, he's mostly a straightforward fighter type.
* FurryConfusion: Humans and talking animals living together? Say what you want about TheMovie but at least it makes a point of averting this.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
** The "''[[GratuitousFrench barre sinistre]]''" (or in English, the "baton sinister") was a heraldic mark of cadency indicating that the bearer was a ''bastard''.
** Underdog often [[GRatedDrug pops pills]] to boost his powers, especially after having been beaten in a fight.
* GoingForTheBigScoop: Polly. Lois Lane would be proud.
* GrandFinale: Vacuum Gun. Simon brings several old villains, including Electric Eel and Batty Man, BackForTheFinale. The end of the episode apparently has [[spoiler: all the villains KilledOffForReal when, after Simon tries to use the Vacuum Gun for the last time on Underdog, Underdog uses his "[[SuperBreath Atomic Breath]]" and sucks all the villains and the Vacuum Gun towards him, uses the Vacuum Gun on the villains, then exhales into the Vacuum Gun, causing it to [[StuffBlowingUp explode]]]].
* GratuitousIambicPentameter: Underdog speaks entirely in rhymed couplets, albeit not always with much concern for meter.
* HauntedHouse: In "The Gold Bricks." [[spoiler:The ghosts were really all just special effects set up by Riff Raff.]]
* HeroicDog
* HeroInsurance: Few superheroes cause more collateral damage than Underdog. He'll even do things like break off the top of a skyscraper to use as a weapon against [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever some giant monster]] Underdog frequently lampshades this destructiveness, especially in early episodes.
-->'''Underdog:''' I am a hero who never fails;/ I can't be concerned with such details.
* TheHerosBirthday: Sweet Polly repeatedly mentions this in "Pain Strikes Underdog".
* HumanPopsicle: Underdog (and several other town citizens) get this treatment in "Go Snow."
* KilledOffForReal: The Witch of Pickyoon evaporates when Underdog destroys her magic broom. She is the only villain to actually die in the entire series.
* LightningBruiser: Underdog is capable of moving so fast that he becomes invisible, and has used this trick to defeat opponents more powerful than himself.
-->'''Underdog:''' He's too big to be as fast as me/ And he can't fight what he can't see!"
* LionsAndTigersAndHumansOhMy
* LovedINotHonorMore: "The Witch of Pickyoon"
* MadeOfExplodium: The telephone booths that Shoeshine used to become Underdog.
* MadScientist: Simon Bar Sinister, who would create a new machine to take over the world, but was always stopped by Underdog.
* MonsterOfTheWeek: Underdog often fights one of these in episodes where the villain isn't Simon Bar Sinister or Riff Raff.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed
* NowLetMeCarryYou: More often than not, circumstances would contrive to make a weakened Underdog lose access to his ring, requiring Polly to find it or otherwise protect him in the second act. The two make a great team!
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: If Underdog ever said something [[RhymesOnADime without rhyming]], you know the business is ''very'' serious.
-->'''Polly:''' Hurry, Underdog! [[YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle You've got to stop the tidal wave machine!]]
-->'''Underdog:''' [[BigWhat What?!]]
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: Batty Man.
* PaperThinDisguise: Aside from the various villains, Underdog himself. This is {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d in the movie.
* PsychoElectro: Electric Eel, who acquired his power from an electrified prison fence.
* RadioDrama: Had a one-off one in 1999, produced for Boston-area radio stations by co-creator W. Watts Biggers, to help promote his Victory over Violence organization; Biggers himself played Underdog, while Boston newscaster Tom Ellis narrated. Here, Barsinister was using his new "Switchpitch" baseball, to turn positive people negative, and become king of Boston; his plans were foiled as usual by Underdog and Polly.
* RhymesOnADime: This once became Underdog's AchillesHeel, when Simon Barsinister undertook to commit crimes based upon the word "orange".
* RoguesGallery: For most of the show's run, Underdog had exactly two recurring enemies: Simon Bar Sinister and Riff Raff. For the GrandFinale, Simon recruits Raff along with 2 other villians introduced in the final season, Batty Man and Electric Eel.
* SayMyName: The antidote to the Forget-Me-Net.
* ShoeShineMister: Underdog's secret identity.
* SilverHasMysticPowers: At least, it does if you're an alien cloud, whose people are out to steal all the Earth's silver.
* SuperBreath
* SuperSerum: Underdog's "Super Energy Pill" or "Energy Vitamin Pill" — sometimes removed from syndicated broadcasts.
* TakenForGranite: Underdog/Shoeshine, Polly, and several others in "The Marbleheads."
* TalkingAnimal
* ThanksgivingEpisode: Simon Barsinister tries to stop Thanksgiving from ever happening because the Thanksgiving Day Parade was preventing him from crossing the street, keeping him from reaching a device he had cached there. [[ComplexityAddiction Given that he had a time machine, it probably would have been easier for him to either go back a few hours and cross the street then, go back a couple days and tell his subordinates that the scheme will be postponed until a day when a parade isn't blocking the street, or go back a couple weeks and move the device to the other side of the street, but these notions never occur to him.]]
* ThreeShorts
* ThroughAFaceFullOfFur: Underdog's face quickly turns bright red upon receiving praise.
* TrapDoor: Riff Raff uses one on henchmen who make stupid suggestions.
* TrueLovesKiss: Once done with Sweet Polly thanks to a WickedWitch.
* WholesomeCrossdresser: Underdog in "Forget-Me-Net." [[ItMakesSenseInContext It's a long story...]]
* WeatherControlMachine: Simon combined this with an OminousPipeOrgan in "Weathering the Storm".
* WorthlessYellowRocks: The cloud people of "The Silver Thieves" need silver but have nothing but a planet full of worthless gold! They apparently also assumed gold is just as worthless to humans, as Polly has to tell them [[CouldHaveAvoidedThisPlot how it could have been avoided]] if they had offered to trade gold for silver on Earth instead of stealing it.
* XRayVision: His can set things on fire, apparently, making them more like [[EyeBeams Heat Vision]].
* YouGotSpunk: If Sweet Polly gets kidnapped OncePerEpisode, at least she always gives her kidnappers a good run for their money ("She's a regular wildcat!").
----