!!The cartoon:

* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Some people say that Gadget ''isn't'' stupid, he's [[ObfuscatingStupidity willingly]] being a distraction so Penny can accomplish the mission, since when Penny's safety is threatened, he suddenly becomes a ''lot'' more competent.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: In the episode "Gone Went the Wind", Inspector Gadget finds Chief Quimby in the frozen chicken isle at the supermarket, but before Quimby appears, [[MindScrew one of the frozen chickens inexplicably gets out and walks away]].
* EarWorm: "Doo-doo-doo-doo-doot, Inspector Gadget..."
** The theme song often plays in the background. No matter what locale Gadget goes to, the local music is simply the theme song reworked to that particular country's musical style. This further ingrains the theme song in your ear and also saves the sound people from having to worry about copyrights. It's so catchy that even the characters [[LeaningOnTheFourthWall frequently hum or whistle it]].
** The French version has a theme song with lyrics, making it one in its own right.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Some of the M.A.D. Agents get this treatment, most notably Lana Lamour from the episode "Movie Set".
* EvilIsCool: Claw. Who wouldn't want that voice?
* FanonDiscontinuity: Some fans feel this way about the second season.
* FirstInstallmentWins: The first season and series are possibly the most parodied out of the franchise.
* HarsherInHindsight: A MAD agent couldn't dare sneak blunt objects on a plane today, nor could Penny and Brain sneak into the cargo hold to get to destinations under Gadget's nose without plenty of TSA office visits and permanent inclusion on the no-fly list. Not to mention the chances of Gadget ever getting past airport security what with all the metal and potentially deadly equipment he's got inside him (Go-go gadget scissors, anyone?)
* HilariousInHindsight:
** Gadget biting and destroying his pillow during a nightmare in "Bad Dreams Are Made of This" becomes even funnier and more disturbing if you're familiar with the honeymoon scene from [[{{Literature/Twilight}} a certain infamous vampire love story]].
** The idea of an assassination attempt via grenades disguised as milk bottles, and the assassin disguised as a milkman, would later be reused in ''Film/TheLivingDaylights''.
* InferredHolocaust: Sometimes occurs either when M.A.D.'s superweapons are tested or when Gadget destroys their large, elaborate secret bases. For example, in "The Bermuda Triangle" Claw's hide-out is a huge, small city-sized ocean-floor complex that must require dozens if not hundreds of crew just for basic operations and daily maintenance. (About a dozen are seen onscreen in any one frame.) Gadget floods the base, and (barely) survives, as does Claw in his personal submarine -- But no mention is made of other survivors ...
* MemeticMutation: Gadget appeared to give instructions on a lot of early Creator/DiC DVD menus (even in series that had nothing to do with him), and some of the things he says have caught on due to a review by JamesRolfe. ''Move the glow around the button you want to select!''
** Next time, Gadget! ''NEEEEEXT TIIIIIIIME!''
* NightmareFuel: There's a lot of potential for FridgeHorror in Gadget's robotics, but occasionally it's less implicit than usually.
** For example, in "Magic Gadget," the second-season premiere episode. In their attempts to murder Gadget, the Great Wambini (stage magician ''cum'' ruthless M.A.D. agent) and his flunkies in turn transfix him with swords, drown him, and finally [[HalfTheManHeUsedToBe cut him in two]] at about mid-stomach height, trying to effect a RasputinianDeath. Gadget, of course, survives everything with only mild discomfort, and continues his investigation in his usual bumbling fashion -- ''both halves of him''. Wambini and company (and [[IronButtMonkey Brain]]) are, naturally, [[BodyHorror horrified]].
** From Season 2, "Gadget and Old Lace". The villains hired by Claw to [[NeverSayDie get rid of]] Gadget are two [[TheSociopath cute but murderous]] old ladies, [[PunnyName Sadie and Viola]], and their ward [[PsychopathicManchild Franklin]], a [[TheSpeechless mute giant]] wearing a boys' sailor suit several sizes too small, who immediately starts digging a fresh grave for Gadget among all the tombstones in the family garden...! Without Gadget's comedic antics, this would be pure horror material. As it stands, it's ''still'' disturbing, and also features one of the most graphic (and closest to successful) attempts on Gadget's life throughout the series. (It involves electrocution.)
* TheProblemWithLicensedGames: While the games based on this franchise aren't necessarily terrible, they're very forgettable with a few exceptions.
* TheScrappy: Corporal Capeman. Not only was he even ''stupider'' than Gadget, he would often be a total ass to Brain for no reason at all.
* TheyChangedItNowItSucks: The second season, which has a different film look to it, most of the action takes place around Gadget's neighborhood, many of the voices are different and the plots... Creator/{{Nelvana}} wasn't involved with this season.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter: Gadget is a pretty darn awesome superhero in concept, but he spends the entire series gleefully clutching the IdiotBall and generally being useless. A lot of people say that Penny's a lot better as TheProtagonist, and wish that she was the series' primary focus.

!!The films:

* BrokenBase: The fans are divided between those who despised the first film for not being close enough to the cartoons, those who hated the second film for not being enough like the first, people who hated both and prefer to stick to the cartoons, and the people who liked both films. All of the above is ''without'' taking onto consideration the people who liked either of the movies, but disliked the cartoons.
* HilariousInHindsight: As a few memes have pointed out, the "Sore Guru" bears more than a passing resemblance to OsamaBinLaden.
* HoYay: That [[AmbiguouslyGay Kramer]] ''really'' seems to get off on [[RomanticizedAbuse Claw's]] [[EvilIsSexy abuse]]... while Claw praises Kramer in comparison to constantly dumping on Sikes. Not to mention:
---> '''Claw''': "Ok. Turn me on, Kramer..."
* InformedWrongness: Through the second film, Gadget continually tells Penny that she can't help in the case because it's dangerous for a child. When one of her clues ends up being critical in [[spoiler: finding out Claw's location after she's been kidnapped]], he relents and says he should have given her a chance...Even though he was completely right about it being [[DamselInDistress dangerous for her]].
* MoralEventHorizon: Scolex crosses it in his very first scene. Interestingly, John Brown (the future Gadget) thinks Scolex's MEH wasn't the murder of Dr. Artemus Bradford, but having his henchman track oil behind his limo, thus causing Brown's '87 Chevette to flip onto its roof and slide into a Yahoo! billboard. What makes that worse is that Scolex enjoys watching Brown suffer for going after him.
-->'''John Brown''': Now you've crossed the line! Pull over, you!\\
'''Sanford Scolex''': [[ForTheEvulz Stop the car, Sikes, I want to enjoy this.]]
* NightmareFuel: Gadget with all of his robotic parts exposed.
** The tarantula coming out of Robo Gadget.
* OverusedRunningGag: The gag of the hearts popping up on Gadget's hat showing he's in love pops up in both movies, several times.
* {{Sequelitis}}: The direct-to-video sequel dropped most of the better aspects of the film adaptation, the high-quality cast and the large budget was cut drastically. [[SurprisinglyImprovedSequel On the other hand]], it was given props for following the cartoon's formula more closely than its predecessor.
* {{Squick}} : In hindsight, let's face it: Robo-Brenda was basically a sex doll.
* StrictlyFormula / ClicheStorm: ''Yyyyyyyyyyyeah''.
* UncannyValley: Ironically used with Robo-Gadget. The shifty eyes and fake teeth are scary without trying. One could argue that Broderick made a better villain than a hero.
* SugarWiki/VisualEffectsOfAwesome: The original is worth watching just for Creator/StanWinston's realisations of Inspector Gadget's gadgets.
* WTHCastingAgency: One of the main complaints in regards to the first film.
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