One of twoComic Book characters known as Dennis the Menace, both being primary school-age boys who frequently get into trouble and make mischief, aided by a pet dog, that were first published in March 1951. This page is about the British version as published in the Anthology ComicThe Beano.This Dennis has no known surname and is slightly older than the Dennis from across the Atlantic, 10 years old rather than 6 (though at times he has been portrayed as slightly older again). He also has dark spiky hair and an iconic black-and-red horizontal-striped jumper, and he is joined by his similarly drawn spiky-haired dog, Gnasher. He truly revels in doing naughty or mischievous things and is at odds with his parents, the local police, his neighbours and the "softies" of his neighbourhood.Unlike the U.S. Dennis, he is more actively malicious than simply mischievous. If you look at it the right way, it is not hard to interpret his actions toward the so-called "softies" as bullying based merely on the fact that those boys are more effeminate and quiet than he is. This has meant that a manipulative and calculating streak has been given to Dennis' main rival, Walter, in hope of balancing this out.
Provides examples of:
Actually Pretty Funny: In the episode "Leg Cuffed" Walter laughed at Dennis's prank on Angel Face, prompting her to punish both of them.
Mum: Hello, everyone, I'm Mrs... Oh, just call me Mum like Dennis does. Unless he's had a nightmare, then it's Mummykins. Aww...
Dennis: That was when I was three!
Ambiguously Brown: Athena in the new animated series. It's hard to tell whether she's half-caste or heavily tanned. All we know for sure about her ethnicity is her father is white.
There's also Angel Face.
Animated Adaptation: A couple, the most memorable being The BBC's 1996 two-season series Dennis the Menace, or Dennis and Gnasherinternationally. Though the same character, more or less, this Dennis managed to have random bouts of heroism here and there.
And don't forget, there's the 2009 and 2013 animated series.The 2009 series is called Dennis and Gnasher, downplaying the menace name, while the 2013 version is called Dennis the Menace and Gnasher, the first time that an animation has used the full name of the comic strip. (Excepting the international broadcasts.)
Backwards-Firing Gun: In the "Yard Sale" episode of the Dennis and Gnasher cartoon, Walter picks up Dennis's squirt gun and attempts to shoot Dennis with it, only for it to spray him in the face as Dennis says it backfires. He then turns the gun around and attempts to shoot Dennis again, only to soaked again as the water comes out the barrel and Dennis adds "Sometimes".
Bizarre Taste in Food: In "Just Desserts" Angel Face is the only kid to finish her plate of boiled figs without complaint.
Bowdlerize: In the series' early days, Dennis getting paddled was one of the running gags. However, as paddling children began to be seen as abuse rather than discipline, it was phased out of the comic.
Captain Obvious Reveal: In the episode "Constable Menace" it was obvious Angel Face was the culprit, as she was the only one with a motive.
Carrying a Cake: Used as a Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere in the animated series. Dennis is under strict instructions not to get dirty before his school photo is taken. On his way to school, he encounters the Colonel staggering across the road carrying two cakes. The implausibility of the situation is Lampshaded by the Colonel.
The Catfish: In the animated series episode "Fish Tale", Dennis and his gang attempt to capture 'the legendary pike of Beanotown Lake'.
Chained Heat: Dennis and Walter in the episode "Leg Cuffed" after Angel Face pretends to lose the key to the pair of cuffs they're joined at the ankle with.
Chest of Medals: The Colonel. A Running Gag in the 2013 series is the Colonel awarding himself medals for any frivolous reason he can think of.
Coincidental Dodge: Subverted in "Prom Mean" when Dennis throws a custard pie at Angel Face. She briefly bends down to pick up a coin on the floor and the pie almost hits Walter, but when she realises it's just a penny she stands back up just in time to get hit.
Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: In an episode of the animated series, Dennis is threatened with grounding if he gets dirty before his school photo is taken. On his way to school, he is naturally presented with situations like the Colonel Carrying a Cake and re-enactment of the Battle of Beanotown being fought with mud pies and custard pies.
Cool Old Lady: Granny, who is just a mischievous as her grandson, much to the dismay of her son and daughter-in-law.
Covers Always Lie: On the cover of the first Dennis the Menace and Gnasher DVD, they call it series 4, implying that it's in continuity with not only the 2009 series but also the 1996 series.
Crappy Carnival: In the animated series, Dennis visits a fair where all of the rides have been nerfed because of the havoc Dennis and his cronies wreaked the previous year.
In the comics, Dennis is disappointed by a local funfair, so he tries to make his own called Menaceland. It involves a lot of destruction, so his father gets mad and makes a Dadland to punish him.
Crossdressing Voices: Dennis has been voiced by women in The Beano Video, The Beano Videostars and the 2009 series. Averted in the 1996 and 2013 series.
Cross Over: one episode of the animated series had Dennis enter a contest on Blue Peter, complete with the animated presenters being voiced by the actual (at the time) presenters of the show.
Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: In one episode of the 2013 series, Greytowers Prep takes on Beantotown School in a triathalon. The Greytowers team is so much fitter than the Beanotown team (consisting of Dennis, Walter and Angel Face) that they could easily have won. Instead they cheat and, even though they initially win, they are exposed and disqualified.
Sometimes slipped into it in the old ones too, but it wasn't as noticeable.
Elvis Impersonator: Butch Butcher. Made more blatant in the 2013 where he even does the voice.
Eyepiece Prank: In "You and Whose Army", Curly hands Dennis a telescope. Dennis asks Curly if he has put boot polish round the eyepiece. Curly says no and raises the telescope to his own eye to demonstrate, only to find that Dennis has put boot polish on the eyepiece.
In the comics, the redesign of Dennis' parents implied Dennis' Dad is actually the original Dennis, all grown up (and now become the stuffy rule-making father figure he always hated when he was a young Menace). Therefore, the redesigned Dennis (who has had the red and black hoops of his jersey switched, for very observant readers) is actually Dennis Jr, and some fans have come to believe that the fiery redhead who is Dennis Jr's mum might have been (in her younger days), the original Minnie the Minx. That can't be however, as Minnie's family has similarly been redesigned, so the original Minnie must be Minnie Jr's mum. (The other big Beano star, Roger the Dodger, got the same redesigning as both Dennis and Minnie, all at the same time)
Gray and Grey Morality: Walter was already a bit of a jerk at the beginning, but ever since the cartoon (or earlier) he's arguably become just as bad as Dennis.
Great White Hunter: Dennis' neighbour Stanley Livingston is a subversion, having the look of the trope but actually being very friendly with jungle animals and filling his house with them - a sort of proto-Steve Irwin.
Grounded Forever: An episode of Dennis and Gnasher had Dennis's parents ask themselves how much trouble he could have got into in the ten minutes since the school holidays started, only for a long string of neighbors to come to the door to complain. With each one, Dennis's grounding is increased by a year, until finally he's grounded forever.
Hammerspace: In "I'll Teach You" when Mum sees through Dennis and friends' Paper-Thin Disguise she pulls a cream pie from behind her back to lure Pie-Face out.
Karma Houdini: Angel Face is kind of a subversion. While the adults never find out her true nature, Dennis usually gives her some kind of comeuppance.
Dennis himself usually meets some form of comeuppance, but still falls into this trope more than a few times, usually depending on the targets of his pranks.
In "Constable Menace" even when Angel Face was caught in the act, she claimed Dennis made her do it and was instantly believed.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: The first adaptation of Dennis the Menace was a puppet series shown on an early cable television station called The Children's Channel during 1990 and 1991. Virtually nothing about the show has been documented online, and the show's existence is rarely acknowledged by DC Thomson. It doesn't even get a mention in the 70th Anniversary book, History of the Beano or Ray Moore's Beano Diaries.
Justified in the case of Beano Diaries, as it was published in 1989.
The Beano have recently acknowledged the 1990/1991 series' existence here and here.
Kissgusting: In "The Show Mustn't Go On" Dennis and Angel Face are both unhappy about having to kiss each other in the play, but Angel Face is willing to make that sacrifice if it means getting her face in the paper.
Late for School: Being late for school, either by accident or design, is a habitual problem for Dennis. In one episode of the animated series, Mrs Creecher tells him off for being late and he argues that it was the first time this week. She then points out it's Monday. It then turns out he's been late every day that term.
Lighter and Softer: The new series makes Dennis much more goody-goody. He's still a menace, but he has been softened up a lot.
Loveable Rogue: The first Animated Adaptation attempts to find a middle ground for Dennis, he is still a trouble maker, but often towards unpleasant peers or general societies most his age despise. Most of the other kids root for him rather than fear him, diluting his "bully" image.
Naughty Is Good: In some cases (especially in the animated series), Dennis isn't outright malevolent as much as just a prankster, who usually makes sure to target deserving victims (albeit with collateral damage common).
Nephewism: Notably averted (often cited as being a prominent aversion in Conversational Troping in the UK) with Gnasher being the father of Gnipper. This was dealt with in-comic by having Gnasher vanish for weeks in one of the strip's rare long-running arcs, "Gnasher Come Home", after which he returned with his children.
Nepotism: In "The Show Mustn't Go On" Angel Face gets the role of the female lead in the play despite her acting being awful because her dad is the One Judge to Rule Them All.
Not Me This Time: Considering Dennnis' reputation, it's not surprising that he gets this a lot.
Off Model: In the 2009 animated series' "Dance of the Seven Pies" when Dennis is trying to convince Athena that an itchy Pie-Face is actually dancing, her character model is flipped, making her belt face the wrong way.
This may be down to the fact that the redesigned Dad was clearly shown in the comic (shortly after the redesign) to be the original Dennis, and that the new Dennis is actually Dennis Jr. It was made apparent when the redesigned Dennis' Dad had a flashback to his childhood showing him as Dennis the Menace. Also the original Dennis and the new Dennis have subtly different designs; specifically the order of the red and black hoops on their jerseys are opposite - old Dennis wore black-red-black-red from the collar down, Dennis Jr wears red-black-red-black from the collar down)
The Pigpen: Getting dirty is one of Dennis's secondary traits. In one episode of the animated series, he shown to have an uncontrollable compulsion to get dirty. When his father threatens him with grounding if he gets messy before his school photo is taken, Gnasher has to keep dragging him away from messy situations.
Power Trio: It depends on the period, but the Menaces and Softies are often seen in groups of three: Dennis, Curly and Pie-face for the Menaces and Walter, Bertie Blenkinsop and Spotty Perkins for the Softies. The Softies were sometimes expanded to four with the addition of Nervous Rex.
Road Sign Reversal: In the 2013 animated series, Dennis does this to temporarily confuse the Greytowers Prep triathlete (who is already cheating). It delays him long enough for Gnasher to disable his bike.
Rules Of The Road: In one animated episode, Dennis and his gang attempt to drive a line-marking machine which goes haywire and leaves white lines everywhere on the road. Cars naturally attempt to follow the line and end up driving on the footpath, through the park, etc.
In "Last Day of Summer" she stuffs her face with a bunch of cupcakes she made for the Colonel.
In "Just Desserts" she attempted to steal all the cream pies for herself.
In "Car Wash Caper" she can be seen buying a triple scoop ice cream cone.
Unnamed Parents: Dennis' parents are known as Dennis' Mum and Dennis' Dad, they call each other Mum and Dad. One comic even reveals that those are their actual names.
Theme Naming: In addition to Gnasher the dog, he also had a pig named Rasher, a spider named Dasher, and a fish named Splasher.
Gnasher's children are named Gnipper, Gnora, Gnancy, Gnatasha, Gnaomi and Gniamh.
Throw the Dog a Bone: Subverted in "Prom Mean". A custard pie meant for Angel Face almost hits Walter, but manages to hit its intended target. When Walter laughs and gloats that he wasn't the victim for once, Angel Face hits him with the custard pie, but in the end Walter gets her back.
Took A Level In Jerk Ass: Walter. In the early days of the comic, he was a genuinely nice boy who simply preferred girly interests. Due to the fear that Dennis bullying him would seem like homophobia, Walter has become more malicious, vindictive and determined to get Dennis into trouble, making any comeuppance Dennis gives him justified.
Totally Radical: An extremely egregious example, in that the characters talked in 1950s slang, "chortling" away at "corking" things and saying "What a swizz!" well into the 2000s!
Totem Pole Trench: In "Dennis V.I.P." Dennis and his friends use this to get into a Ratbucket concert with one ticket.
The Unreveal: In the episode "I'll Teach You", when Mum becomes the substitute teacher she almost says her surname, but then asks the kids to just call her Mum like Dennis does. Later in the episode, Dad's old teacher almost says his name, but then Dad interrupts him.
Wales: Mrs. Creecher from the new series is Welsh.
Vague Age: During The Eighties, many readers wrote to Dennis' fan club page asking how old he was. Each time one of these letters was published, Dennis would always find a way to dodge answering the question. Eventually, a strip was published which involved a hardcore fan successfully stealing Dennis' birth certificate only to lose it to a sudden gust of wind.
Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: In the 2009 series, Mr. Scrimp was Dad's boss at the rubber bands and paper clips factory. In the 2013 reboot, Scrimp is the mayor and the mayor from the 2009 series is the headmaster of the school.
This was explained in the comic as being related to the amalgamation of the two secondary schools in Beanotown. Until 2013, there were 2 school; Beanotown school where Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx, Roger the Dodger, Billy Whizz, and most of the other less-famous Beanotown children went, and Bash Street School, where the Bash Street Kids were in class II-B. That is, until the 2013 storyline on the Beano's 75th anniversary when the fairly usual madcap hi-jinks result in the destruction of Bash Street School. Soon after, the children are all sent to the now-enlarged and merged Beanotown secondary school, renamed Beano High. Most of the staff from Bash Street School were taken on at Beano High as additional staff to cope with the effectively-doubled number of students, and keeping the same jobs, with the exception that Mr Headmaster (the Headmaster of former Bash Street School) was taken on as a new PE teacher (there already being a Headmaster for Beano High).
In the 2013 series episode "The Omega Menace" there's a purple-haired girl working in a bric-a-brac shop. In the 2009 series episode "Game On" she worked at a company that made computer games.
Wild Card: Angel Face is only looking out for herself and will only work with Dennis if there's something in it for her.