[[caption-width-right:346:He's an Afghan Hound, but it's not apparent through all the mess]]
''What-a-Mess'' is a series of children's books written by English comedy writer and [[Creator/TheBBC BBC]] radio personality Frank Muir. It was twice adapted for animation: once as a [=BBC=] miniseries which pulled stories directly from the books and again as a SaturdayMorningCartoon by Creator/DiCEntertainment.
The titular What-A-Mess (real name Prince Amir of Kinjan) is a mischievous but good-hearted afghan puppy who's naïveté and pride often get him into ''messy'' situations. Other characters include his beleaguered human family, the snooty Cat Next Door and a bird who nests in his hair.
The show, in particular, had a pretty catchy [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGeJ6jDPE2U opening song]].
!!Provides examples of:
* AdaptationNameChange: WAM's best friend The Archbishop of Canterbury was renamed (and [[AdaptationDyeJob recolored]]) Norton in the Creator/DiCEntertainment series.
* ADayInTheLimelight: For Trash, he is the focus of episodes like "Talking Trash", "The Bones", "Some Pup To Watch Over Me", "This Hydrant Is Mine", "Trash's Wonderful Life", and "Pound Pals".
* AllThereInTheManual: According to some versions of the books, the little creatures running about in each scene are What-A-Mess's imaginary friends.
* AnimalTalk: All the animal characters can understand each other.
* AnimationBump: As was tradition with [[UsefulNotes/TheRenaissanceAgeOfAnimation this era]], the animation in the intro for the Creator/DiCEntertainment series is far more fluid and weighty than that seen in series.
** WAM appeared in a few of [=ABC=]'s well-remembered [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akVymO3GTDI "After These Messages" bumpers]] during it's initial run, the animation for which was also much cleaner and more fluid.
* AuthorAvatar: The elderly English Sheepdog, Frank, is voiced by creator Frank Muir himself.
** InkSuitActor: Frank's facial fur is meant to look like Muir's mustache.
* BalloonBelly: In "Home Alone, Almost," WAM's family gets him an automatic food dispenser meant to keep him occupied for several hours. He consumes it all in ''seconds'', resulting in one of these.
* BigEater: What-A-Mess
* TheBully: Trash is a hotheaded bully and the neighborhood thief, particularly in his debut episode, "Talking Trash". He mellows into more of a frenemy over the course of the series.
* CanonImmigrant: Trash didn't appear in the original books.
* CatsAreMean: Felicia the cat is self-centered and occasionally malicious.
* CatsAreSuperior: Felicia very much believes this, though it's often disproven.
* ChristmasEpisode: "Christmas Mess", complete with an appearance from Santa and his surfer dude reindeer.
* CrossdressingVoices: Averted with What-A-Mess, as he was voiced by then-child voice actor Ryan O'Donohue.
* DeadpanSnarker: Trash from the Creator/DiCEntertainment series turns this trope into an art form. Felicia also qualifies to a slightly lesser extent.
* DenserAndWackier: The Creator/DiCEntertainment series compared to the books.
* DependingOnTheWriter: How mean Trash is depends on the needs of the episode. Sometimes, he's a full-on JerkAss antagonist with little to no redeeming qualities. Other times, he's a JerkWithAHeartOfGold, BigBrotherBully type who's not that good of an influence on What-A-Mess, but has a soft spot for him nonetheless and will take the kid under his wing.
** Likewise, Felicia can range from What-A-Mess's closest friend to a rather cruel and manipulative prankster.
* DogsAreDumb: Well, not "dumb" per se, but a lot of the chaos What-A-Mess causes his family is the result of him not knowing any better.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first episode is presented with a framing device of [[AuthorAvatar Frank]] telling the stories of What-A-Mess from his front porch, but isn't used in any other episodes.
* TheFaceless: An odd trope in this kind of series. The faces of human characters are always deliberately obscured by things like camera angles or objects and no human faces are ever seen. The one exception being SantaClaus in the ChristmasSpecial.
** What-A-Mess's mother was this in the books. She becomes a more active character in the series.
** TheHero: Whatamess
** TheLancer: Norton
** TheSmartGuy: Frank
** TheBigGuy: Trash
** TheChick: Felicia
** TeamPet: Baldwin
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Both the book and the show would have odd little creatures running about in the background getting into shenanigans or reacting to what's going on at the moment.
* GRatedDrug: "Only Four More Left" presents excessive shopping as this when Felicia gets addicted to a home shopping network. What-A-Mess, in [[TookALevelInBadass a rare instance of competence]], even tries to block her from the phone by saying that it's for her own good.
* GrowlingGut: A frequent source of contempt for the title character, due to his huge appetite. Occasionally used as a gag, such as when the inside of his stomach is shown to have a little wolf howling and banging on a dinner table furiously.
* [[SheCleansUpNicely He Cleans Up Nicely]]: In a subversion version of this trope, the ''male'' What-a-Mess is bathed and groomed on rare occasions and actually looks like a pedigree Afghan Hound rather than his usual scruffy self.
* ItsAWonderfulPlot: "Trash's Wonderful Life".
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Trash, who acts like a street-smart tough guy most of the time, but can be quite nice when push comes to shove, as seen in the episode, "Christmas Mess". Despite Trash being the neighborhood bully, What-A-Mess does consider him a friend and the two dogs sometimes hang out.
** Felicia, similarly, is usually arrogant and often even cruel, but there are plenty of times where [[AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther you can see she and What-A-Mess are good friends]] deep down.
* LimitedAnimation: The [=BBC=] cartoons. The Creator/DiCEntertainment series had this as well, but nowhere near as noticeable.
* LiteralMinded: A lot of What-A-Mess's misadventures are the result of this. One cartoon had him opening all of the windows in his house because he heard it would be "raining cats and dogs" and he wanted to give them all a place to stay, resulting in the house being flooded.
* MeaningfulName: Three guesses as to what people tend to say when What-A-Mess comes crashing in.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: What-A-Mess has a moment of this in "Only Four More Left" when he realizes that introducing Felicia to home shopping inadvertently created a monster.
* MusicalEpisode: "This Hydrant Is Mine", in which Trash gets to show off Joe Niptoe's singing chops and What-A-Mess nearly gets sucked into a gang war.
* NamedByTheAdaptation: The Cat Next Door became Felicia in the TV show.
** The random bird in What-A-Mess's hair was not only named Baldwin, but was turned into a RunningGag ("Do you know you've got a bird living in your hair?" "That's not a bird. That's Baldwin!").
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Trash's voice is based on Creator/JackNicholson.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: What-a-Mess's real name is actually ''Prince Amir of Kinjan'', but in practice he is rarely called this. Even his mother calls him What-a-Mess most of the time.
** Trash's birth name? Francis.
* ThePigpen: '''JUST GUESS!'''
* PoundsAreAnimalPrisons: Since "What-A-Mess" is a talking animal series, it naturally has one of these episodes - "Pound Pals", in which, What-A-Mess and Trash are imprisoned in the pound with seemingly no escape until What-A-Mess springs them by tunneling his way out.
* SarcasmBlind: What-A-Mess, thought it's probably because he's a puppy. One episode ("Out With The Garbage") has him referring to another dog as "Mr. President" because he introduced himself as Prince Amir of Kinjan, to which the other dog replied "Yeah, [[DeadpanSnarker and I'm the president of the united states]]!"
* SmallNameBigEgo: Trash and Felica are both very arrogant and have an inflated sense of self-importance (What-A-Mess tends to humor them). Whenever they're pitted against each other, its ego versus ego.
* SensitiveGuyAndManlyMan: What-A-Mess is the younger, naive, noble, and sensitive guy to Trash's older, tougher, street-smart and unscrupulous manly man whenever they're paired up for an episode.
* StandardSnippet: The Creator/DiCEntertainment series used a slightly out-of-key version of "Chopsticks" for scenes where characters are in hairy situations.
* TertiarySexualCharacteristics: Inverted. Well-groomed Afghan Hounds naturally have long hair on their heads, and long hair that tends to make them look like they're wearing fancy clothes. Despite all that, What-a-Mess is a male dog. Played straight with the cat, Felicia. She has long eyelashes and a bow.
* TheDogBitesBack: It's not uncommon for Trash or Felicia to try to take advantage of What-A-Mess' naivety, and in the episode "Messed-Up What-A-Mess" they both try to do it when he's an amnesiac. What-A-Mess is pissed off when he finds out and he sets them both up for some well-deserved payback.
* TruthInTelevision: Afghan Hounds have notoriously high-maintenance coats. Any owner of an Afghan Hound who grooms their dog anything less than constantly will end up with a dog looking something like What-a-Mess. Frank Muir owned several Afghan Hounds when he wrote the series, which was [[ShownTheirWork probably an influence]].
* UnreliableNarrator: The narrator often says the exact ''opposite'' of what is really going on.
* VerbalTic: Ramona has a habit of saying "basically" a lot. She's played by Creator/CandiMilo, who used the same voice and tic for WesternAnimation/CowAndChicken's teacher.