("More agile than a turtle. / Stronger than a mouse / Nobler than a lettuce / His emblem is a heart.")
Legendary Mexican Sitcom (and staple of popular culture) from the creator of El Chavo del ocho (and most of same the cast) about the adventures of a Comedic Hero, whose name vaguely translates as The Red Cricket (The Crimson Grasshopper is more accurate, but sounds too serious given the context of the show), rescuing people who say his Phrase Catcher. Not that he is really that useful, or even helpful. But El Chapulín Colorado is well meaning and at least tries to help, so it's okay.Unlike El Chavo, the adventures of El Chapulín happened in a wider range of places and even times. While most of his adventures were urban, there were a lot of episodes set in The Wild West, or against The Mafia, and even parodying monster movies. Or even against the third reich. The cast remained the same, but with the exception of Chapulín they changed roles every chapter (although in the more "themed" episodes some actors have recurring roles)While not as popular as El Chavo, El Chapulín remains loved and well remembered. Despite its relatively cheap production values, it has very interesting ideas for a comedic show. It even pioneered the use of Chroma Key in Latin America.Bumblebee Man, a recurring figure on The Simpsons, is essentially a Captain Ersatz of this character. He was created because whenever the writers flipped through the channels, El Chapulin Colorado was always on (similar to how Bumblebee Man is always on television, at least when Krusty, Itchy and Scratchy aren't).
And then some: Creator Roberto Gómez Bolaños indicated repeatedly that for him a real hero was somebody like the Chapulín, who was knowingly weak, distracted, clumsy, cowardly and ugly, but who engaged in heroic actions anyway. It's been stated more than once in-show, on his cowardliness, that "courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability of facing your fears", which is essentially what Chapulín's heroic deeds amount to.
Not so much a parody than a take that against then established and famous superheroes, his description runs contrary to bragging about his abilities and instead, focuses on the ridiculousness of them; he is for example "nimbler than a turtle". Then during an episode, he throughly deconstructs the super-hero genre, by acting clumsily and being more harmful than helpful, even if in the end he saves the day.
All There in the Manual / Word Of God: If you ever wondered, you will need to google to find references to a certain interview in order to learn about Chapulin's origin story. An agonizing scientist wanted to pick someone to give his top invention, the chiquitolina pills, he called upon people to meet him so he could choose to whom to give the pills. Chapulin was the only honest person that went, that's how he got his only real superpower.
Ascended Extra: For most of the series, actor Horacio Gómez (incidentally the creator's brother) just played occasional bit parts with a couple of lines. In the last season, after two main cast members left, he became one of the principal actors, even though Gómez had always planned to be the show's marketing director, not an actor.
Bragging Theme Tune: There is an extended version of his theme tune sung by Chespirito himself. In it, there's even a lyric where it says that Tarzan and Kaliman admire him and Batman and Superman ask forgiveness when facing him.
"¡Mis antenitas de vinil están detectando la presencia del enemigo!", "My little vinyl antennae are detecting the enemy's presence!"
His antennae also detect whenever someone asks "Y ahora...¿Quién podrá defenderme?" "And now...Who could defend me?", which prompts a variation of the catch phrase about his antennae. However, this is seldom seen as he's usually offscreen when someone asks for a defender.
"Lo sospeché desde un principio.", "I suspected it from the beginning."
"Todos mis movimientos están fríamente calculados.", "All my movements are coldly calculated.", usually said after he has done something clumsy.
This whole gag:
"Y ahora...¿Quién podrá defenderme?" "And now...Who could defend me?"
(the Chapulin Colorado appears from nowhere)"¡Yo!" "me!"
(the person rejoices)"¡El Chapulin Colorado!"
(and then the aforementioned)"No contaban con mi astucia" "They did not count on my cleverness!".
Then he trips and falls or gets hit. God, I love this show.
(all the presents, totally exasperated)¡PERO YA! "BUT NOW!"
Sometimes it's "Sí voy..."("I'll go...")
The whole set of catchphrases: usually played when Chapulín gets hit unconcsious and gets awakened very rudely (a punch, a kick, a splash of water) and decides to say every. Single. One. Of his catchphrases in an incredibly quick speed.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite his overall clumsiness, Chapulin would sometimes be quite able and competent against the villains, especially when he had the use of his gadgets.
Crying Wolf: One episode featured a boy who threw away the toys he didn't want anymore and told his parents somebody stole them. Nobody believed him when it really happened. Chapulin tried to warn the boy it would happen by stating it could happen to him the same it happened in "Peter and the Wolf" (another title for 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf') but the boy didn't know the story and Chapulin told his own version of it, excluding Peter and describing a wolf that lied so much that, when he met The Three Little Pigs, he claimed to be Little Red Riding Hood. At least he had the wolf replace Peter as the liar who would not be believed wven while telling the truth.
Cultural Cross Reference: One episode had Chapulin helping a young woman and her elderly father, whose house was being threatened of being demolished with the two still inside. The old man is not happy about being helped by a hero of the likes of Chapulin, angrily saying to his daughter: "You could have called any other hero! Any other! Superman! Batman! Dick Tracy! DonaldDuck!".
Deadpan Snarker: Chapulín often took on this role, but sometimes others ,be it victims or villains, threw in the own dose of snarking.
Deal with the Devil: Chapulin once told an In Name Only tale of Faust, about a man who sold his soul in exchange of a magical device that made people and things disappear and appear as the user wishes. When the Devil showed up to collect, the man used the device to make the contract vanish.
Early Installment Weirdness: Early sketches had a darker sense of humor. Frequently, Chapulín would rescue the characters in distress, only to kill them through his own clumsiness. Once, when the villain threatens the victims with a machine gun, and Chapulin manages to wrestle it away with him...but shoots up the victims at the same time. Sometimes if he´s helping a lady, he just kills her father and doesn´t seem all that bothered by it.
Eagle Land: Uncle Sam, the Rival of Chapulín for heroic deeds. Some may argue if he is flavor 1 or 2.
Sometimes the Chapulín encounters a turist during some adventures that is an obvious Flavor 2.
Eleventh Hour Super Power: Used just once during a TV special: Chapulin turned a dial on his Vinyl Antennae to go into "Overdrive Mode," gaining super-speed and super-strength to quickly defeat a gang of pirates.
He also used it on a wild west episode where an outlaw said he'd reform if Chapulin proves himself the fastest of the two. Chapulin said he didn't like using that power but would open an exception if it'd reform a criminal.
In one episode he used his teleporting ability, usually only used when he appears, freely during a fight. Willfully Weak?
Even Evil Has Standards: Parodied, the Cuajinais in an episode said "I use a false bomb, because the real one could hurt someone".
Expy: Super Sam is a mix of Superman and Uncle Sam. He dresses like Superman and has Uncle Sam style beard, hair and hat.
Fragile Speedster: The Chapulin is very agile and fast, but is as weak as a normal human.
Gainax Ending: An episode ends with the sudden revelation that all the villains, a "dead guy", a barrel and the Chapulín himself that they weren't who they said they were during the episode but rater "actors" who liked to play those roles, followed by a Flat "What." from Ramón Valdés' character.
Another episode ends with el Chapulin using the "La Chicharra Paralizadora" to permanently stun everyone, including accidentally hitting himself with it so that no one can undo the stun.
Chapulín: In first place, Batman is in honeymoon with Robin.
In another episode, the bad guy locked a couple away and ate the key. When asked about how Chapulin got the key, he said a virtue of man is knowing how to wait. There was yet another episode where he told about an occasion where there was a microphone hidden in his soup and he found out the next day.
Gratuitous English: Chapulin's flashy rival, Super Sam, speaks exclusively in highly stereotypical American phrases. "Time is money, OH YEAH!"
Laugh Track (in the first years. The last seasons, when the Chapulín was included along with other Chespirito characters, the program started with the message "As a matter of respect for our audience, this program does not contain a laugh track").
Long List: Once, after el Chapulín has spent the entire episode lousing things up for him, Ramón begins rattling off a list of people who would have been better to call instead of el Chapulín, and it lasts through the entire ending credits. He begins with Superman, and then works his way down to Speedy Gonzalez, Fidel Castro, the Wizard of Oz, Mannix, and Rin Tin Tin. He even says "El Chapulín Col- no, not him...". During all this, el Chapulín, covered in mud, shuffles his feet and looks embarrassed.
Long Title: One of the episodes was called "Story of an old abandoned mine that dates from the 17th Century, and is about to collapse."
Lucky Translation: Chapulin Colorado has the same initials as it's rough English equivalent, Crimson Cricket. Any english version would have a hell of a time explaining where the H on his chest came from, though (especially because Spanish language treats "CH" as a single letter).
On one English-dubbed episode of the animated version of El Chavo del ocho (when he crossed over into their universe), he was called "Captain Hopper".
Malaproper: El Chapulín. He was specially prone to the butchered rendition of several, intermixed proverbs usually ended with "Bueno, la idea es ésa" ("Well, that's the idea"), even when it was impossible to grasp any idea relevant to the situation.
The proverb mangling can get pretty awesome. For example, when Cría fama y échate a dormir ("Cultivate a good reputation and go to sleep (i.e., rest on your laurels)") and Cría cuervos y te sacarán los ojos ("Breed crows, and they shall pluck out your eyes") get mangled into Cría fama y te sacarán los ojos ("Cultivate a good reputation, and they shall pluck out your eyes") and Cría cuervos y échate a dormir ("Breed crows and go to sleep").
The Minnesota Fats: Super Sam, a cross between Uncle Sam and Superman. (His main weapon was a bag of money he used to club bad guys, all with a cash register sound.)
Overt Operative: One story featured the world's most famous spy. It was a case of Reality Ensues as, because of the spy's fame, nobody hires him. Once he got word of a formula that made things invisible, he decided to steal it so he could use it to gain an edge his fame wouldn't ruin. By being able to enter places without being seen.
People Puppets In the episode where Rubén Aguirre's character cannot control his hand movements, because of the wristwatch he is wearing.
When Chapulín first shows up in any episode, Elmer Bernstein's score for The Ten Commandments' parting/crossing of the Red Sea can be heard.
The ending theme for many episodes is "Baroque Hoedown" by Jean Jacques Perrey, who also recorded "The Elephant Never Forgets".
Saw A Woman In Half: A lumberjack once tried to hit El Chapulin with an axe but a witch interfered. Until he was made one again, his legs walked around while the rest of him kept floating in air.
Secret Identity Identity: El Chapulín doesn't seem to have a "real" identity besides being a superhero, and if he ever had one it may have been absorbed completely by the hero persona (for American audiences, it's kind of like The Tick). In an episode it's revealed that "Chapulín Colorado" is really the given name of our hero, from before he took his superhero role. (And its implied that his real mother is Lois Lane)
And there are Chapulin imitators in-universe...professional ones, in fact. In at least one episode, we find out at the end that the Chapulin we'd been following through today's adventures was only an actor hired to play Chapulin at a birthday party. He just happened to be passing by when he got mixed up in this episode's dilemma, as the real Chapulin had arrived late.
Self Offense: Chapulin's antennae act as his equivalent of Spidey Sense; they beep in the "presence of an enemy". When he hears them, he attacks the next person who approaches, and it's always, always someone who's on his side.
Un-Paused: The entire schtick of the paralyzing horn.
Wanted Poster: El Chapulín Colorado once helped a western town to post wanted posters with the criminal's face and the inscription "Lo Queremos Vivo o Muerto - Mucho Cuidado". (Roughly "Wanted Dead or Alive - Caution") When confronted by the criminal Chapulin tried to appease him by ripping a piece of the poster so it's red "Lo Queremos Mucho" (Very Wanted)
Also, there was the time when Chapulin tried to buy his way out stating that the criminal in the poster did not look like the real criminal (played by Ramón Valdés) at all, even though it was an obvious caricature of Valdés on the poster. Chapulin insisted it was actually a bald, bearded man... and flipped the poster upside down to prove his point.
Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: "El Chipote Chillón" ("The Squeaking Hammer"), "La Chicharra Paralizadora" (a bike horn that can paralyze people by honking once, and release them by honking twice) and the "Chiquitolina" Pills (that shrink him down to the size of a small action figure.) Also, his suit included a couple of vinyl antennae, which detected the "presence of the enemy" (The detection was real, but Chapulin couldn't identify WHO was the enemy.)
With some careful analysis, you could realize that he invented all of them, or got them through some pretty good connections. The Squeaking Mallet relies on his own strenght, but it's capable of stopping cold people much bigger than him, and to damage otherwise unsurmountable obstacles, Shrink-e-tolin pills are akin to the Atom's powers or Ant-Man's Pym particles; tough they only last a very short ammount of time. His Vynil Antennae work as a Spider-Sense of sorts, but they also double as radar, two way radio, and multipurpose sensors that can study for example, a wall to look for weaknesses in the material. The Paralyzing Honking-Horn was a device ahead of his time (even for most comic books and sci-fi series) in that it effectively put any person or object caught in its blast radius in a perfectly stable and self sustaining sleep; a couple episodes even theorized that people paralized this way, could be left alone for years and they'd be alright after coming out of the honk's effects.
Also, you'd have to wonder what a "proper" superhero could achieve with access to the Crimson Grasshopper teleporting device. El Chapulín could appear at any location the instant his cry for help was uttered. He'd even pop out of ridiculous and hard to reach places, like a trash can, or just literally drop from a place off-camera in between the assailant and its victim; of course, pretty much getting wrong who was who and hilarity ensuing.
Wire Dilemma: One episode has permutation number 10 (throwing the bomb out the window) happening twice. Actually, the second time used a door.