Agents 86 and 99.
"Missed it by that much."
Spy fiction parody from The Sixties
created by Mel Brooks
"and") Buck Henry. Definitely a Sitcom
. It starred Don Adams as CONTROL agent 86 Maxwell Smart, a bungling but perpetually optimistic
secret agent who often managed to save the day and defeat the bad guys almost despite himself, and Barbara Feldon as his partner, Agent 99, a slighty daffy Mata Hari
. They received their assignments from CONTROL's hapless chief
Offered a tremendous number of Catch Phrases
, largely at the insistence of star Don Adams, who knew they would help make the series succeed. The series ran from September 1965 to September 1970, a total of 138 episodes in five seasons, with the first four airing on NBC and the fifth on CBS. Was revived three times:
- The Nude Bomb, a feature film released in 1980. Executive Meddling hurt it; the producers wanted a titillating plot involving a bomb that dissolved clothing, allowing PG-appropriate nudity. The writers were so angered at the imposition that they were banned from visiting the set. Did not feature Feldon, who reportedly was not exactly crushed by the omission, although said omission was probably the leading cause of Fanon Discontinuity.
- Get Smart, Again!, a 1989 TV movie following the adventures of old, married, retired Max and 99. Much better received than "The Nude Bomb" (by fans of the original series, at least).
- A short-lived 1995 revival series focusing on one of their twin offspring (played by Andy Dick) following in Max's footsteps. Don Adams and Barbara Feldon were still around, except this time Max was Da Chief, running CONTROL.
In June of 2008, a Get Smart
feature film remake
was released, starring Steve Carell
as Max and Anne Hathaway
That's the second longest trope list I've ever seen!:
- Acronym Confusion: In "A Man Called Smart", Max is looking for someone known only as 'T.B.O.'. While standing at a catering truck, this exchange occurs:
Maxwell Smart: Bediyoskin told us to contact you. He even wrote your initials on a slip of paper. T.B.O.
Tom Orlando: T.B.O. can mean a lot of things.
Maxwell Smart: Oh really? For instance, give me another T.B.O.
Caterer: One T.B.O. forty cents.
Maxwell Smart: T.B.O.?
Caterer: Tomato and bacon on an onion roll.
- Actually Not a Vampire: In "Weekend Vampire", the eponymous vampire isn't a vampire, he uses a musical blowgun to blow two small Poison Darts that he aims at his victim's neck. But he still has a Creepy Castle and uses a coffin as a bed (and secret stairway to his underground lair).
- Adipose Rex: The episode "Survival of the Fattest" featured a fat Arab prince who had to maintain his weight to maintain his rulership.
- Agents Dating: One of the most iconic cases (and possibly the Trope Maker), with Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 dating from a certain point onwards (which is referenced with some regularity), and falling in love with each other at a certain point. Everybody in the Agency seems to know this:
Maxwell Smart: [Agent 99 leans to kiss him] 99 please, nobody here knows we're dating.
The Chief: [walks by] Yes, they do.
Maxwell Smart: On the cheek.
[Agent 99 kisses his cheek]
Agent 99: [as they walk off] Give me a little one.
[Max kisses her on the lips]
- All Part of the Show: A KAOS plot to pass on secret information through a play leads to Max and 99 infiltrating the play as terrible actors. At the climax, when the Chief and several CONTROL agents move in to arrest the KAOS members, the audience laughs as it were a comedic ending. They roll with it, even going through two curtain calls with guns trained on each other.
- Almost Dead Guy: Spoofed regularly, usually along the lines of Max leaning over to hear the dying man's Last Words.
99: "What did he say?"
Max: "He told me to get my knee off his chest."
- Almost Kiss: Between Max and 99, the first time he really notices her. Fang interrupts them.
- Amusing Automaton: Hymie
- Argentina Is Naziland: The "glorious fatherland of South America".
- This is also given a nod when Siegfried mentions he orders a scale working model of the plane the Red Baron uses from a hobby shop in Argentina.
- Armed Legs: The sea captain in "Ship of Spies" had a gun concealed in his wooden leg. He had a spare leg that contained a hidden blade.
- Asian Speekee Engrish: "The Amazing Harry Hoo", played by a Caucasian man.
- Art Attacker: One villain uses "Dorian Gray" paint — he retouches photos of his victims (adding gray hairs and wrinkles) to make them rapidly age and die.
- Ascended Extra: Larabee's only dialogue for the first couple of seasons was always something similar to "Right, Chief." Later on, his character was expanded into the only employee at CONTROL that's dumber than Max.
- Banana Peel: A major clue in the black and white pilot is a rubber banana peel.
- Bandaged Face
- Battle Couple: One of the most memorable.
- Big Little Man: In the pilot episode, KAOS is run by the mysterious "Mister Big" (as opposed to Siegfried). It's only when Mr Big and Maxwell Smart are in the same room do we realise that Mr Big is actually a dwarf.
- Bloodless Carnage: In, "The Girls from KAOS," Miss Formosa shoots her two comrades, and not only do they not bleed, they don't appear to experience any kind of pain or agony from their fatal wounds: one of them manages to shoot her in return, which kills her on contact, and again, she doesn't bleed at all.
- In the 1980's Get Smart movie The Nude Bomb, Max puts his gun in his pants. It goes off, he turns around, you hear the sound of him pulling his zipper down and up again, and he then turns around again with his Catch Phrase "Missed it by that much". Oddly enough NBC dubbed in "Missed the bone by that much" which oddly sounds dirtier than the original.
- The episode "Washington 4, Redskins 3" had its title changed to "Washington 4, Indians 3" for reruns and for the DVD, also curing a bit of Fridge Logic in the process. The only pro sports team, then or now, called the Redskins was the NFL's Washington Redskins. The replacement title makes more sense, evoking a game between Washington's baseball team at the time, the Senators, and the Cleveland Indians.
- Breakup Breakout: For Don Adams and Bernie Koppell. The others... not so much.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Max is remarkably proficient despite his Genius Ditz personality.
- The Cameo: Various stars appeared on the show, but one that stands out is Johnny Carson doing a rare guest-acting turn as the conductor on the episode "Aboard the Orient Express".
- Carnival of Killers: "Someone Down Here Hates Me"
- Captain Ersatz: Comedian Joey Forman twice appeared as the Charlie Chan-based character, Harry Hoo.
- Casanova Wannabe: As KAOS is well aware, Max thinks he's a James Bond-level Charmer.
- Catch Phrase: MANY. Including:
- "Sorry about that, Chief."
- "Missed it by that much."
- "Would you believe...", a more complex one that signals a form of inverted Inflationary Dialogue. For example:
Max: At the moment, seven Coast Guard cutters are converging on us. Would you believe it? Seven.
Villain: I find that hard to believe.
Max: Would you believe six?
Villain: I don't think so.
Max: How about two cops in a rowboat?
- In one late episode, it was subverted in that the Chief actually HAD surrounded the building with CONTROL agents!
- "Of course! It's X! It's obvious it's X! Uh, just one question, Chief... What is X?
- At one point, the Chief actually recites that last part with him.
- "[insulting crack about x]"; Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...; "I hope I wasn't out of line with that [insulting crack about x] comment..."
- "...and loving it."
- "Oh, Max..."
- "That's the second biggest [whatever] I've ever seen."
- "That's the second time I've [occasionally they've] fallen for that this month/week/year!"
- "99, don't tell me [something bad has happened or is about to happen]" "[Statement of that explicit thing which has happened or is about to happen.]" "I asked you not to tell me that, 99."
- "Zis is KAOS. Ve do not [onomatopoeia] here!"
- "If you don't mind, I'd like to handle this, 99." Followed by a repetition of whatever she just suggested.
- [after an Expodump] "Would you mind repeating that last bit?", "Which bit?", "That bit after 'Ok, now listen here, Max...'"
- "Of course, the old [incredibly specific description of what just happened] trick!"
- Variants of the following conversation:
Max: Wait a minute, chief. Isn't this classified information?
The Chief: Yes, Max.
Max: Shouldn't we activate the Cone of Silence?
The Chief: Max, do we have to?
- Common responses from Max being "I demand the Cone of Silence!" and reminding the Chief about CONTROL regulations. (The joke, of course, is that the Cone of Silence never works properly.) Except once... and the Chief is trapped inside it at the time, so no one can hear him when he yells for help!
- [after a KAOS agent meets a karmic death]: "If only he used his talents for good/niceness, instead of evil."
- Chekhov's Gunman: In Tequila Mockingbird, a figure wearing a sombrero can be seen slumped against a wall before the climax. When a shootout starts, the man turns out to be the Chief when he pulls a gun.
- Chekhov's Skill: Early in "The Hot Line", the Chief breaks a mirror with his voice. He later uses this skill to break the glasses of a KAOS agent holding him, Max, and 99 hostage.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
- 99 (Barbara Feldon) not only doesn't appear in "The Nude Bomb", Max's dialogue (and to some extent his personality) imply that she doesn't, and never has, existed. She did return in "Get Smart Again", which seemed to ignore "The Nude Bomb" itself.
- In the 1995 series Zack's twin sister is never mentioned.
- Cloak & Dagger
- Comedic Hero
- Comic Book Adaptation: Dell Comics did a title based on the series for several issues, with art from Steve Ditko.
- Commercial Break Cliffhanger: These start getting prevalent right around the tail end of the second season, and just before the final commercial break of the episode.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: In the short-lived 90's revival, right at the end of the Cold War and before the War on Terror, KAOS didn't have anything to be but an evil, mostly-legitimate business out to rule the world through financial domination.
- In Get Smart! Again! KAOS has been taken over by a corporate raider... who turns out to be a publisher, out to use the Weather Control Machine to create massive bad weather so people will have nothing to do but read.
- Covert Group with Mundane Front: Max pretends to be in the greeting card business.
- Crazy Jealous Guy/Clingy Jealous Girl: Max or 99 become one of these whenever the other is assigned to be a Honey Trap.
- Crazy-Prepared: Max apparently keeps plastic lips on his person at all times, just in case some beautiful KAOS killer tries to kiss him with poisoned lipstick.
- Cyanide Pill: "It will kill in nine seconds." "But how do I get them to take it?"
- In one episode, KAOS and CONTROL have pretty much captured all the agents from the other team. Max and Siegfried meet to discuss trading. As they strip themselves of their weapons, Max pulls out a Cyanide pill, says it's "Raspberry flavored this month," and offers Siegfried a taste. Siegfried counters that he has a suicide ring: If he takes it off, his wife will kill him.
- In another episode Max admits he's taken Cyanide Pills, but "only two or three times, as a favor to the Chief."
- Darker and Edgier: An unusual trope to invoke with regards to a sitcom, but the fact remains that, while the series was never violent or bloody, nonetheless it was a sitcom in which people got killed, sometimes at the hands of the heroes.
- Deadpan Snarker: Max, of course.
The Chief: All right, Max, I'll tell you, but I don't want you to worry about it. I've sent 99 on a top-secret mission. At this very moment, her life may be in jeopardy.
Max: Okay, now tell me the part you don't want me to worry about.
- Department of Redundancy Department:
Siegfried: Twenty years I've been with [KAOS]- stealing, robbing, lying, killing, murdering...
- And from "The Laser Blazer":
Chief: Let's see it.
Max: See what?
Chief: The blazer you brought back from Hong Kong.
Max: The blazer I brought back from Hong Kong?
Chief: That blazer is the secret weapon you were sent to Hong Kong for.
Max: That blazer is the secret weapon I was sent to Hong Kong for?
Chief: That's no ordinary blazer.
Max: That's no ordinary blazer?
Chief: It's a laser blazer.
Max: It's a laser blazer? Do you know what you're saying?
Chief: I'm positive! I keep hearing it twice!
- Designated Girl Fight: Usually, if there's a female KAOS agent, it's 99 who has to fight her (such as Zelinka in the pilot "Mr. Big"). This is averted on at least one occasion, though, when 99 punches and knocks out a male enemy agent.
- Disappearing Box: The Chief is captured in this way in the episode "A Spy For A Spy".
- Disintegrator Ray/Frickin' Laser Beams: Every so often laser weapons show up in the show. While they're called lasers, they more often act like disintegrator beams, utterly destroying whatever they hit leaving no residue or trace.
- D.I.Y. Disaster: Maxwell Smart would have cars with crossed wiring, so a button meant to operate one thing instead operated another. His apartment was also crosswired that way. This turned out to be a subversion, since only Max knew which switch did what, meaning he alone could effectively negotiate his own home.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Max.
- Driving a Desk: A literal example in The Nude Bomb - Max has a high speed chase in a car disguised as an office desk.
- Drowning Pit: One episode revolves around a villain who uses a booby-trapped water-fillable phone booth to kill people. Leading to the priceless line "I'm sorry, sir, your party has been drowned."
- Drugged Lipstick: Once a bad girl wears some and tries to kiss Max; once 99 wears some and uses it to knock out (not kill) a bad guy who was about to kill her and Max.
- Dueling Scar: Siegfried has a large scar on his cheek, revealed in The Movie to be from a duel with his brother in Heidelberg.
- Easy Sex Change: By implication. In Get Smart! Again! Max is surprised to learn that Marcus Hottentot used to be Marcia Hopkins. ("Looks like he changed more than his NAME.")
- Emergency Impersonation: "The King Lives?"
- Enemy Mine: On one episode Max Smart from CONTROL and Siegfried from KAOS team up against a man conspiring to destroy the world, since if he succeeded they would have nothing to fight about and would be out of a job.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Parodied when a KAOS agent says that he may be a murderer, but he's no Peeping Tom (when it comes to birds at least).
- And when a doctor about to give Smart a lethal injection tells his nurse to sterilize the hypodermic: "I may work for KAOS, but I'm still a doctor!"
- Evil Inc.: KAOS is a Delaware corporation for tax purposes.
- Exact Words: Hymie, regularly.
- Expy: Writer Alan Spencer loved this series growing up and 20 years later created Sledgehammer, a similar concept with a Dirty Harry type policeman instead of a secret agent. A Shout-Out in Sledge's pilot episode has a suspect in room 86 of a motel.
- Face Palm: The Chief grasps the bridge of his nose with his fingers whenever Max does something egregiously stupid. Max is puzzled that the Chief seems to get headaches so frequently whenever he's around.
- Fake-Out Make-Out: Known at CONTROL as Emergency Park Procedure R-17.
- Fictional Counterpart: CONTROL and KAOS.
- Flirting Under Fire: In a late episode, Max and 99 are caught in a death-trap with no apparent means of escape. Thinking they are about to die, Max realizes that he's in love with 99 and declares that if they could get out he'd marry her. She immediately thinks of a way to escape and they get married a few episodes later.
- A Foggy Day in London Town: London is depicted with fog so thick in the "That Old Gang of Mine" episode that Max and 99 can barely see where they are going. At one point, they meet someone in what appears to be a foggy backstreet but it turns out to be a hotel room.
- The Fool
- Flock of Wolves: In "The Double Agent", Smart is assigned to infiltrate a KAOS cell which turns out to consist entirely of other double agents, the real KAOS man who founded it having since died.
- Friendly Enemy: Max's "good friend and bitter enemy" Siegfried.
- "Friends" Rent Control: It is never really explained how Max can afford a luxurious duplex on a government salary. (When 99 is impersonating a society girl, the Chief even suggests that she pass it off as her apartment because it looks more like a place where her cover identity would live.)
- Fun with Acronyms: Subverted, as CONTROL and KAOS don't actually stand for anything.
- The third Spy network the ACB (Atrocities, Cruelties, Brutality) does stand for something, but not the main two.
- This is really only supported by Smart's reasoning that anything so Atrocious, Cruel and Brutal must be the work of ACB.
- Played straight in "The Man from YENTA", where Max and 99 meet up with Jewish/Israeli Agent 498. YENTA stands for Your Espionage Network and Training Academy.
- Gadget Watches: Max's cumbersome shoe phone gets replaced with a wristwatch communicator.
- Glass-Shattering Sound: Da Chief uses his voice to break a mook's glasses.
- Glamour: Simon the Likeable.
- Government Agency of Fiction: CONTROL
- Guile Hero: While Max does have occasional moments of genius, 99 fits this trope to a T. Max was (usually) the better hand-to-hand combatant, but 99 almost always had a good idea to hand.
- Hammerspace: The only way poor Agent 13 could possibly have fit into some of those hiding places.
- Heel Face Mole: Siegfried tried this in one episode, going so far as turn his own sister in to CONTROL. His actual plan was stopped by Max at the last minute.
- Likewise, in two episodes ("Double Agent" and "Cutback at CONTROL") Max becomes a Heel Face Mole.
- Hollywood Magnetism: Siegfried used a giant magnet to pull the entire Seventh Fleet to his island.
- Hot Scientist: CONTROL employed solely this type of gadget-making scientist in Seasons 3-5. All 3 of them also worked undercover as showgirls, with their lab hidden in their dressing room.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game and Egomaniac Hunter, parodied ("Island of the Darned")
- I Can't Hear You: The Cone of Silence is meant to keep anything said while it's lowered strictly confidential. This it does very well, provided that the other guy in the Cone is the guy you want to keep secrets from. Nevertheless, it does have its uses; in one episode, Smart mentions he likes when the Chief uses the Cone in hot weather, because it's twenty degrees cooler inside.
- Max is meeting his contact in a record store, so he plays a record up high in case they're being bugged. They end up shouting so loudly everyone in the store can hear what they're saying.
- In the tv movie Get Smart, Again! the Cone of Silence has finally been ditched and replaced with Hover Cover, which involves standing on a rooftop between three hovering helicopters (causing the participants to get blown off their feet) and the Hall of Hush which only leads to a Wall of Blather. In the end the Chief tosses the CONTROL regulations in his waste bin and insists Max just talk to him normally.
- Identical-Looking Asians: Inverted when an Asian KAOS villain, The Claw, keeps kidnapping blonde women because to him all Americans look alike. Played straight when a CONTROL computer can't tell the difference between several Taiwanese women.
- Identical Stranger: Used a couple of times: In one instance KAOS was seeking to replace CONTROL agents with their doppelgangers. Another has Max come across a Ruritanian king who looks just like him.
- I Don't Pay You to Think: In "Smart the Assassin," Devonshire tells someone "KAOS doesn't pay you to think, you men were sent here to obey."
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Many of the episodes' titles.
- Inflationary Dialogue: Maxwell Smart is a big fan of these. It usually starts with him telling something impressive. As the other party finds it hard to believe, he changes it to a slightly less impressive, asking if they'd believe that. As they don't, he changes it to something lame. In later episodes, they STILL don't believe him, and he changes it to something that is somehow even lamer.
- Instrument of Murder: Different episodes had a gun hidden in a violin, and a double-barrelled flute that acted as an airgun.
- Intimidating Revenue Service: There are a couple of gags where the Bureau of Internal Revenue are portrayed as torturers worse than any intelligence agency.
- Invincible Incompetent: Max. He once disarmed an atomic bomb by getting his tie stuck in the timer.
- Invisible Wall: Max has one in his apartment. Ostensibly it's used to protect him or anyone else from all forms of attack, but most of the time it's there for him to run into.
- Invisibility: In "One Nation Invisible", a Dr. Canyon invents an invisibility spray.
- Irony: In an episode when the Chief gets demoted and Max ends up in his position, Max comments on the former Chief's work with the line "Give a man an inch, and he immediately thinks he's a ruler." The irony is such a statement only applies to Max himself.
- Jack the Ripper: In "House of Max", Jack the Ripper is an animated wax dummy.
- Japanese Ranguage: The Claw talks like this.
- Just Plane Wrong: In "Closely Watched Planes", CONTROL couriers are being disposed of by surreptitiously giving them too much coffee, and then dumping them through a trap door out of an airplane. A commercial passenger jet would have serious airflow out of the plane when a hole is opened in the fuselage, but no such suction happens when the trap door is opened.
- Kinda Busy Here: Probably the Trope Maker.
- Knife-Throwing Act: Max is going undercover in a circus when his identity is blown. The circus strongman seizes him while the knife-thrower chucks his knives, but as he's trained himself to just miss the target they miss Max and stick in the arms of the strongman holding him. Max naturally responds with his Catch Phrase, "Missed me by that much!"
- Laugh Track
- Let's Get Dangerous: As bumbling as Max is, when it's do or die with the world in the balance, he can become unstoppable saving the day.
- Like a Son to Me: While under the influence of Truth Serum in the episode "Smartacus," the Chief tells Max this is the only reason he hasn't fired him.
- The Chief also says this regarding Max in the episode "The Mess of Adrian Listenger". After he says this, Max adds, "More than that, the Chief is like a father to me!"
- MAD: "Forget Smart." (Unlike most of their satires, this one was done after the series left the air - way after, in 1987 as part of the short-lived "A Bad Case Of The Re-Runs Dept." parodying classic sitcoms.)
- Mad Libs Catch Phrase: "That's the second [adjective]est [noun] I've ever seen!" and "This is KAOS! We don't [action] here!"
- Mall Santa: One CONTROL agent is disguised as one. So it's completely inconspicuous when Max sits on his lap in order to get information from him.
- Meaningful Name: 86 means "to decimate", reflecting how destructive Max tends to be.
- More like "cancel" or "terminate", which still fits the point. "Decimate" is closer to "thin out the ranks".
- 86 as a slang term comes from New York State Liquor Code 86 which allows a patron to be refused service or "removed from the premises".
- The reason why the third spy network was called ACB is as easy to see as ABC.
- Inverted in the case of Fang. Co-Creator Buck Henry has stated that he insisted that the dog's agent number NOT be K-9.
- Mirror Routine: A rather unconvincing one when Max has to converse with another CONTROL agent in a department store by pretending to try on clothes.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Max harbors Dr. Canyon in his apartment while 99 is away on assignment in the episode "One Nation Invisible". However, the good doctor was invisible when first Max met her, and he didn't realize she would turn out to be a Hot Scientist. Naturally, 99 comes in and discovers the suddenly-visible Dr. Canyon in their bed and jumps to conclusions.
- Motorcycle Jousting: In "The Mild Ones", Max has to infiltrate a biker gang called the Purple Knights. The initiation test is jousting on motorcycles.
- Murderous Mannequin: The animated wax dummy of Jack the Ripper in "House of Max".
- My Horse Is a Motorbike: The medievel-themed biker gang which jousted on motorbikes.
- Nebulous Evil Organisation: KAOS
- No Name Given: Agent 99 and Da Chief.
- The Chief's first name is given as Thaddeus eventually, although his last name remains a mystery. However, he frequently uses the alias "Harold Clark".
- 99, too - it's a running gag. In one episode where she was about to marry a KAOS agent Agent 99 says her name is Susan Hilton...then later when Max calls her Susan tells him that was an alias. In another episode Max calls her by a name and 99 replies he never used that name for her..."...if only that was my name!" When Max and 99 are married, when they're about to say 99's name, the camera cuts away to a man snoring on the floor when it's said.
- In one episode where 99's mother appeared, she was addressed as Mrs. 99.
- And in the last season, the Smarts being married at least a whole year, someone asks Max why he called her '99'; he matter-of-factly replies "I don't know her name."
- In the sequel, 99 has been elected to Congress... and her name is STILL withheld from the viewers.
- No Sense of Direction: Max.
Max: But even if they do get a man into the Pentagon, that's not saying he'll be able to get out. I remember one of our own agents was lost in there for three days.
Chief: Three days? Max, no agent could be that confused.
Max: Well, let me see now. I went in there on a Thursday...
- The Not Secret: Just about all of CONTROL's and KAOS' "top secret information" is common knowledge to the other.
Max: If you couldn't find CONTROL, how did you know where to find me?
Albert Pfister: Oh, I telephoned KAOS, and they gave me this address.
- The Nudifier: It's in the title of The Nude Bomb.
- Obfuscating Disability: The crippled Portugese polo player in "Ship of Spies". Who "isn't crippled, isn't Portugese, and probably isn't even a polo player."
- Oblivious Mockery:
Max: But even if they do get a man into the Pentagon, that's not saying he'll be able to get out. I remember one of our own agents was lost in there for three days.
Chief: Three days? Max, no agent could be that confused.
Max: Well, let me see now. I went in there on a Thursday...
- One Head Taller: Barbara Feldon was taller than Don Adams, requiring the use of every trick in the book to create the illusion of the opposite. On the bright side, this made Agent 99 probably the only woman in all Spy Fiction to wear practical footwear, as she almost never appears in high heels.
- Only Sane Man: The poor Chief. Even 99 had her moments.
- Orient Express: "Aboard the Orient Express"
- Parody: Get Smart was purportedly a parody of The Man From UNCLE, itself supposedly a parody of James Bond movies (ironically, James Bond was originally meant to be a parody itself, of even earlier "series" spy-genre films). And according to some quarters, Get Smart was in turn parodied by Inspector Gadget! It's a change of parodic proportions!
- Pink Means Feminine/Red Is Heroic: In a combination of these two tropes, 99 has a red revolver. No other CONTROL or KAOS agent has a special-looking or oddly-colored gun, unless it's a gimmick weapon.
- Playing Drunk: Max has to pretend to be an alcoholic in one episode. He is issued a pill to keep under his tongue that absorbs all the alcohol he drinks. As he puts it, "I'll look drunk, act drunk, even smell drunk, but I'll be stone sober!" Then he accidentally swallows the pill, causing all the alcohol it absorbed to be introduced into his system at once.
- Precious Puppies: Fang aka Agent K-13.
Buck Henry: While writing the pilot episode, it took all the restraint I could muster to keep from calling Fang 'Agent K-9'.
- Prison Episode: In "The Not-So-Great Escape" two-parter, CONTROL agents are being kidnapped and held in a KAOS prison (located in New Jersey). Max goes undercover as a KAOS official, but after getting found out, he leads repeated breakout attempts.
- The Professor: Carlson
"Hidden inside the tape recorder is a tiny camera. And hidden inside the camera is a tiny tape recorder."
"Why not just take pictures with the camera and record conversations with the tape recorder?"
"Because my mind doesn't work that way!"
- Public Secret Message: The Chief (disguised as a singing waiter) communicates a message to Max and 99 by slipping code phrases into the song he is singing.
- Punch Clock Villain: This also came up in one of the books, when it turned out that KAOS' sinister "Doomsday Plan" was in fact the "Dooms Day Plan" — that is, a retirement party for longtime KAOS agent Arthur Dooms.
- Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Max is infiltrating a camp of desert nomads when he bumps into a massive guard
Max: "Where I come from, we have a saying. 'The bigger they are, the harder they fall.'"
Fires off a judo chop, two body blows, and a punch to the jaw that have no effect
Max: "Haven't heard of that one, eh? Well, maybe you know this one. 'The quality of mercy is not strained...'"
- The Ditz: Larabee is the proto-The Ditz.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: The animated Inspector Gadget was basically Get Smart with wacky gadgets and a little girl to save the day. Inspector Gadget was even voiced by Don Adams.
- Resignations Not Accepted: Not from KAOS, that is.
- Road Trip Across The Street
- Robot Buddy: Hymie
- Running Gag: Quite a few, but the Cone of Silence (used almost once an episode) deserves special mention.
- Ruritania: Max is a dead ringer for the King of Coronia - leading to an elaborate Whole Plot Reference to The Prisoner of Zenda.
- Safety In Muggles
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: In "The Impossible Mission", Max and 99 (both dressed as Charlie Chaplin) do this routine while being chased by a couple of KAOS mooks.
- Sherlock Scan: Max may be The Ditz, but he can nonetheless correctly deduce that, say, a bomb has been planted in a vehicle by the position of leaves on the windshield, or that a villain is planning an attack using knockout gas based on a comment he makes about how a flower smells.
- Shoe Phone: Trope namer, from Smart's literal shoe phone.
- Shout-Out: A couple of KAOS agents involved in the episode "Run, Robot, Run" are clearly expies of the main characters of The Avengers spy series.
- Sigil Spam: Anything that Max can put an "86" on, he will.
- Signed Up for the Dental: A few mooks.
- Slept Through the Apocalypse: Larabee apparently remained at CONTROL headquarters after it was shut down sometime after the cancellation of the original series until Max picked him up partway through Get Smart, Again, having failed to notice that CONTROL had been disbanded. He did this because he had been given an executive order to remain at his post. This order had been issued by President Nixon. The movie takes place at either the very end of the Reagan administration or the very beginning of the G. H. W. Bush administration.
- Spy Drama: A spoof of one, anyway.
- Stiff Upper Lip: The British spy in "Aboard the Orient Express" holds a fairly casual conversation before mentioning that he has a knife in his back, which is quickly followed by him collapsing and dying.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: In The Nude Bomb, Max's co-agent starts to ask him something, but he interrupts her and explains that while he understands, it's a firm rule of his never to have sex with his co-workers during a mission. It turns out that, yes, that was exactly what she was going to ask for.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Agent 13 for Agent 44, and Dr. Simon for Dr. Steele.
- Swapped Roles: When Max is temporarily made Chief, the real Chief goes back to his old job as Agent Q. He then plays the bumbling fool Max usually is.
- Talking the Monster to Death: See Warrior Therapist trope below.
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: One episode has Max receive his orders from the Chief on a prerecorded message. It replies to a couple of things Max says.
- This Page Will Self-Destruct: Inverted in the episode named (what else) "The Impossible Mission"; the tape message from the Chief is supposed to self-destruct, but instead most of Max's surroundings blow up, leaving the tape recorder intact. Max tries to break the tape recorder, which is loudly repeating its message, but it is apparently indestructible.
- Thriller on the Express: "Aboard the Orient Express"
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Don Adams was short, Barbara Feldon was not. In one retrospective interview, Feldon joked that she was the only actress in Hollywood who had calluses on her ankles, since she would roll her ankles, throw out her hip, bow her head, anything she could do to not tower over him.
- Title Drop: Often at the end of the episode's intro.
- Theme Tune Cameo: At the end of Part 2 of "The Not So Great Escape".
- To Be Continued Right Now: Before the third season, episodes would be wrapped up before a final humorous scene after a commercial break. However, starting early in the third season, many episodes would have a cliffhanger before the final break, which would be resolved immediately when the show's final scene resumes.
- Torture Is Ineffective: A retired spy living at an Old Spy Home is tortured for the whereabouts of his diary, in which he has written down many secret things, but he successfully resists.
- Ultimate Job Security: Max does not fear being fired. If he is, CONTROL's seniority regulations will force the Chief to promote Larabee into Max's job.
- Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born
- The Vamp: If there's a female KAOS agent, she's probably one of these. 99 also talks about "vamping" targets.
- The Walls Are Closing In: Max and 99 fall into and escape this trap in "Dr. Yes". It was in a mobile home, so the trap was portable, too.
- Weather Control Machine: The Hottentot Formula in GET SMART! AGAIN!
- Weird Trade Union: Both CONTROL and KAOS agents have unions. KAOS agents have a better union, or at least one able to give them better benefits. This becomes a plot point a number of times. Imagine CIA agents going on strike for greater benefits!
- Where Do You Think You Are?: Again, "This is KAOS! We don't [action] here!"
- Wimp Fight: In the 1989 TV movie, a sidekick and a Mook grab decorative swords to fight each other, but they can barely lift them above waist level.
- Truth in Television: Unlike actual swords for combat, which tend to be only a few kilograms at most, decorative swords can be as heavy as the particular maker likes.
- With My Hands Tied: Played with in one episode, where Max and his friend Sid are shackled by their hands in front of a deathtrap. Max frees himself by releasing the fake hands that were bound by the shackles.
Sid: "Oh, the old false-hands-in-the-chain trick!"
- Worthy Opponent: Hinted between Siegfried and Max: whenever the two meet, Siegfried always gives Max a formal salute to which he replies (usually damaging his Shoe Phone in the process).
- Yellow Face: Most notably, Leonard Strong as "The Craw".
- Also Joey Forman as "Harry Hoo", though somewhat justified in that it was a parody of CharlieChan.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: The entire show can be taken as a riff on Jewish stereotypes of the time being applied to the spy genre - almost everything from the name of the robot (Hymie) to Max's "Would you believe...?" is, in essence, taken straight from the Yiddish-speaking Borscht Belt comedians.
- Actually, Adams had already used the "Would you believe...?" shtick for his character on the Bill Dana Show.
- No surprise at all, given that the show was created by the great Mel Brooks.
- You Are Number Six: Both agents, but applies to 99 much more than 86, given that the former's real name is never said once in the whole series.
The 1995 sequel series provides examples of:
- Banana Peel: Zach finds one at the scene of KAOS's latest crime, takes it to his father's office for his debriefing, and discards it on the floor when he's done. His father's secretary points out that it ought to be picked up before someone slips on it, then moments later slips on it herself.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: The Brain's trained chimp.
- Generation Xerox: Zach Smart is a bumbling CONTROL agent who has romantic tension with his glamorous female partner, Agent 66. Also, in one episode the villain turns out to be the daughter of Siegfried.
- Honorary Uncle: One of Max's colleagues from the original series makes a cameo appearance and is addressed by Zach as "Uncle Agent 13".
- Mad Scientist: The Brain.
- Manchurian Agent: In one episode, Agent 66 is brainwashed to assassinate the foreign dignitary she's assigned to protect.
- Mega Corp.: KAOS, Inc.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: The Brain's real name is Brian.