Series: Salute Your Shorts
Ug: Camp Anawanna...
Z.Z.: We hold you in our heart...
Donkeylips: And when we think about you-
Budnick: It makes me wanna fart!
[other kids laugh]
: It's "I hope we never part"! Now get it right or pay the price!
~Excerpt from the opening theme
Airing on Nickelodeon
in the early/mid nineties, Salute Your Shorts
was a network contemporary of such shows as Clarissa Explains It All
, The Adventures of Pete & Pete
, and Are You Afraid of the Dark?
, and like those three tends to be among the more clearly and fondly remembered pieces of the era (making it a prime candidate for the Nostalgia Filter
). A sitcom centered around a group of kids at summer camp Annawanna. The title of the show comes from a common prank in initiating new campers. Older, jerkier campers would loot their luggage, steal their underwear, and run them up the nearest flag pole to let them flap in the breeze. Seeing how there's no way to un
-steal it, the appropriate response is to "stand at attention, click your heels, and salute your shorts!"
The first episode
introduced Michael Stein, the Na´ve Newcomer
, to the existing ensemble cast, which was set up as a Six Student Clique
. He was eventually Put on a Bus
and replaced by the amoral, Ferris Bueller
lookalike Pinsky. The other campers included:
- Budnick: The Schemer and resident Jerkass, Budnick is a con artist and more than a bit of a bully, preferring to use manipulative ploys more often than outright coercion, though he has Donkeylips to back him up in that department as well. His attitude initially repulsed most everyone at camp, but as time went by his hostile veneer started to rub off. Essentially the leader of the group when he's not being a total jerk.
- Donkeylips: The muscle (Donkeylips is fat, but tough enough to qualify) and sometimes Budnick's enforcer, though he is rather amiable in personality otherwise. Openly crushes on Dina, to her disgust... most of the time.
- Sponge: the quirk, a smart, scrawny kid with occasional hyperactive tendencies.
- Telly: the smart one, although more in a common sense way, Telly is a tomboy obsessed with sports. Also the token black kid.
- Dina: the pretty one - a bit of a Brainless Beauty, and can be a Rich Bitch
- Z.Z.: the wild one - Granola Girl and Cloudcuckoolander, very conscientious about the environment but less conscious of just about everything else.
The only authority figure in sight is Kevin "Ug" Lee, the dim-witted loser guy counselor. Dr. Kahn, his superior, is only heard through loudspeaker.
In season two Erik MacArthur left the show and accordingly Michael left camp, (ostensibly due to chicken pox
), and was promptly replaced by Ronnie Pinsky. Pinsky, in his debut episode, is established as a wise-cracking Ferris Bueller-like
polar opposite, really) and immediately becomes the most popular kid in camp (except with Budnick). Later in the season, however, he becomes much more restrained and fallible (though still with his moments of Bueller-like mischief), and his popularity is significantly lower.The series is not available on DVD.
With the announcements that The Wonder Years
will finally be available in the format, Salute Your Shorts
is now the #1 most requested show not released on DVD, according to TVShowsOnDVD.com.
This show contains examples of:
- The Ace: Pinsky in his introductory episode. He's rich, athletic, handsome, immediately popular, continually gets away with pulling stunts, and — most obnoxiously as far as Budnick is concerned — almost completely unflappable, easily laughing off all of Budnick's insults and pranks. Clearly, "cheesing Budnick off with his mere existence" is Pinsky's greatest skill set, which seems to have been the entire point. In later episodes Budnick's dislike of him is completely forgotten, and likewise Pinsky's ace status seems to fade away, leaving him a more ordinary and flawed High School Hustler type.
- Adults Are Useless: Well, only one, really...Camp counselor Kevin "Ug" Lee. But he's still useless.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Dina doesn't like Budnick unless he's a bad boy.
- Alliterative List: Ug's "Four F's of Leadership": Fearlessness, Fairness, Firmness and Control.
Telly: Control isn't an F.
Ug: Well then it's three F's and a C.
Telly: Sounds like Donkeylips' report card.
- Alliterative Name: Z.Z. Ziff.
- Alpha Bitch: Dina, more or less.
- Amusing Injuries: Nine times out of ten, Ug, but "Budnick Loves Dina" had so many characters suffer accidents that by episode's end those two were the only people not on crutches.
- Anticipatory Breath Spray: Michael does this repeatedly in the "Cinderella Play" episode when he's cast as the male lead (who thus gets to kiss Dina). When the actual moment does come, however, he winds up chickening out and shaking Cinderella's hand instead.
- Artifact of Doom: The cursed cow skull found inside a cave in "The Cursed Skull". Legend say it was first used by an indian tribe as part of a Rite of Passage, where those that fail are forever cursed. At the end of the episode, it turns out to be a souvenir.
- Badass Bookworm: Sponge, occasionally.
- Beautiful All Along: Telly has one of these moments when she loses her glasses in favor of contact lenses.
- Bedtime Brainwashing: One episode had Budnick telling a ghost story about Zeke the Plumber, a custodian who was killed in a gas explosion. The gist of the story is that whoever touches his plunger will be haunted by them in their dreams, and since Telly was one of them, she has a sleepless night which causes her to nod off in the mess hall, after which Budnick comes up and starts whispering in her ear, "Zeke the Plumber, Zeke the Plumber..." Guess who she starts dreaming about?
- Big Guy, Little Guy: Donkeylips and Sponge
- Big Girl on Campus: Telly.
- Butt Monkey: Ug.
- Call Back:
- Pinsky's introductory episode is one Call Back after another to Michael's, right down to the pranks. However, events don't play out the same way a second time, a few outcomes being reversed entirely.
- "The Wrath of Kahn, Jr." references the "Awful Waffle" from the first episode. Also the music used when the girls' trap was tripped plays when Kahn's niece gets her just desserts.
- Capture the Flag: Episode of the same title.
- Catch Phrase:
- "Roasted, toasted, and burnt to a crisp."
- "Tough nuggets."
- Cavalier Consumption: Pinsky nonchalantly continues to munch on his smuggled-in sausage even as the bed he's lying in is collapsed by Budnick, who'd rigged it to fall (the same prank he'd pulled on Michael, who was a lot more obviously irritated by it).
- Chained to a Railway: A model train rail, in this case.
- Character Development: In the first few Season One episodes, Budnick can't stand Michael and picks on him at almost every turn. In the fourth episode of the season ("Budnick And Michael Fake Being Sick"), the two find themselves alone in a doctor's office, which eventually leads to him opening up to Michael about his troubled family life. Later in the episode, the two toast over a ton of ice cream, and Budnick even invites Michael to see an Aerosmith concert with him. Throughout the rest of the season, Budnick treats Michael a lot better than he did before this episode.
- The Chew Toy: Ug.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Z.Z.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Often.
- Control Freak: Ug. Telly also has her moments.
- Continuity Nod: Michael's "wuss hat" is Harry the Hippo.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Punishments have included:
- Having to fill the swimming pool with water, one bucket at time
- Ringing a bell with your nose while doing push-ups
- Having to clean entire rooms with your own toothbrush (a perennial favorite)
- Hugging a tree (this is apparently terrifying)
- Forced to hold out buckets of water at arm's length (similar to Standing in the Hall)
- "There is a very deep hole in the middle of my infield. Eventually, the hole will fill up with water and the scum will float to the top! Then, Bobby Budnick, you will be mine!"
- Cool People Rebel Against Authority: The reason for Pinsky's enormous popularity in his debut episode (see also: The Ace). Of course, throughout the remainder of the series, this attitude backfires on him at least as often as not.
- Crosscast Role: Almost happens in-universe with the Cinderella play. When Dina claims she lost her voice (she really got stage fright), Cinderella is nearly played by the only other person that knows all the lines: Sponge, who is briefly shown in costume.
- Curse Cut Short
Budnick: Right now we gotta swear to each other.
Donkeylips: Ok! You're a big dripping piece...
Budnick: I'm not talking swear like that. I mean, swear that whatever we find, we'll split 50/50.
- Dartboard of Hate: Budnick has one for Pinsky in the latter's introductory episode, but it's just a piece of paper with Pinsky's name written on it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everybody (including Ug).
- The Ditz: Both Z.Z. and Dina have exhibited ditzy traits.
- The Dog Bites Back: Despite being his friend and enforcer, Donkeylips had no qualms about doing this if Budnick went too far.
- Drunk with Power
- Happens to Budnick on Opposite Day.
- Also Pinsky in "The Pinsky-Sponge Gazette"
- Economy Cast: Now and again there will be some extras milling around, or even an additional speaking role, but for the most part as far as the show was concerned there could have been only seven kids and one counselor in the entire camp. This could be justified as it's repeatedly suggested that Anawanna is a really crappy camp.
- E = MC Hammer: Uttered by Dina during an Imagine Spot of Budnick's in "Budnick and Dina In Love, Part 1".
- Embarrassing Nickname: Michael is "Moosh-Moosh" to his grandparents.
- The Everykid: Michael.
- Evil Redhead: Budnick.
- Fake-Out Make-Out: After sneaking out of camp to go to the theater, Sponge and his date manage to avoid detection from Ug by kissing passionately in the phone booth they'd been trying to hide in. Ug (who's being dragged out the door anyway for disturbing a patron he thought was Budnick, who turned out to be female) reasons it can't be Sponge if he's getting some action... meanwhile, in the booth, Ug has been long since forgotten and the episode ends with them still kissing.
- Fat and Skinny: Donkeylips and Sponge.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Maybe friends is too strong a word, but after "Budnick and Michael Fake Being Sick," the two get along much better and pretty much have each other's respect.
- Five-Man Band: Well, not exactly five, but anyway...
- Food Fight: Of course.
- Fool's Map: Happens when Budnick finds directions from a long-dead camp counselor, in dance steps, to where she supposedly hid a fortune. Since the original was hard to read, he types it out and gives copies to the other kids in exchange for their boomboxes. The directions lead them to collect a bunch of junk, but they find something that makes him think they were very close to it, so he and Donkeylips start trying to get the directions back. In this case, the player gets played, as the directions he gets back were fake as well, written by the other kids to lead Budnick to dig a hole in the middle of the softball field that Ug had been meticulously trimming.
- Freudian Excuse: Budnick comes from a broken home.
- Friend in the Black Market: Budnick sells candy to campers at sizable prices. Given the "No Outside Food" rule, no one complains too much.
- Funny Foreigner: Z.Z.'s friend Spanakopita.
- Gasshole: Donkeylips.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Many times.
- In the episode "The Radio Call-in Contest", Eugene "Sponge" Harris quite clearly says "I'm pissed off because I'm not as smart as I thought I was!" The profanity was never removed from the episode. Also, several mentions of flipping the finger are made in "Budnick and Michael Fake Being Sick".
- In "Budnik Loves Dina":
Pinsky (re: Budnick's crush on Dina): I don't know what you're thinking with, but it is certainly not your brain.
Budnick: (to Dina) You know, before we met the only time I used the word "bull" is followed by another word.
- In "Brownies for Thud Mackie"
Budnick How many fingers am I holding up?
Michael: How many fingers am I holding up?
- In "Budnik and Michael Fake Being Sick":
Donkeylips (in an outhouse): Hey! There's this thing on the wall that sells balloons!
- In the first episode, Ug offers a milkshake and a pizza every night for the rest of the summer to the person who reveals to him who set up the trap that got him Covered in Gunge and feathers:
Budnick: And rat on our friends? Sorry, Big Bird, go pluck yourself!
- In "Cinderella Play", when auditioning, Budnik sings the "Beans, beans" song (both the "Good for your heart" and "musical fruit" versions) and gets cut off before he can say "fart" or "toot". Which is odd considering the word "fart" was said in the theme song.
- Gold Digger: Budnick's favorite thing about Dina is her rich father.
- Gold Fever: "The Treasure of Sara Madre" episode being an obvious Homage / Whole Plot Reference.
Z.Z.: Look, I found a Junior Park Ranger's badge!
Michael: Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!
- Granola Girl: Z.Z. Or as Telly puts it...:
Telly: Are you out of your granola-munchin', whole-wheat, tie-die, save-the-planet mind?!
- Happy Dance: On being told that the winner of the frog jumping contest gets a night on the town, Z.Z. starts to do a peppy little song-and-dance number around the room before Dina interrupts.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Dr. Kahn, the camp director, who 'appears' only as a disembodied voice over the loudspeaker.
- Someone once hung a sign on a goat saying "This is Dr. Kahn", and all they got was a loudspeaker request to remove it.
- Hidden Depths:
- Generally Ug is portrayed as dim-witted, kind of lazy, and a bit of a loser, but he has moments of scary competence, usually sees through most of the kids' schemes, and is a certified athletic trainer. He may seem a little high-strung sometimes, but dealing with those kids would drive someone to drink.
- Add in that while taping the Cinderella auditions with Sponge's camera, Ug shows off some rather bodacious biceps.
- Donkeylips showed he had some decent wrestling chops in one episode. He is also a very clever strategist as shown in "Capture the Flag".
- Budnick is revealed to have done SO MANY puzzles in his life that he can easily put one together in no time at all,...with the picture side down.
- High School Dance and School Play: despite being set at a summer camp rather than a high school.
- High School Hustler: Pinsky on his better days. His Zany Schemes backfire, he often promises more than he can deliver and some of the stuff he gets away with is only by virtue of having no shame, but he did get Sponge a girlfriend and helped Donkeylips live out his dream of championing a game of "Capture the Flag."
- More than a few elements of the show harked back to M*A*S*H. The most obvious were the frequent establishing shots of the camp overlaid with some bizarre news or orders from Dr. Kahn's PA. Ug's general character as the erstwhile but hapless authority figure drew inspiration from Colonel Blake, down to wearing the same hat.
- Ug also draws parallels from Frank Burns, Sponge sometimes channels Radar, and Pinsky fills in the Hawkeye role once he comes to camp.
- Hypocritical Humor: Dina in particular supplies a lot.
- I Ate WHAT?: Once Cold Open sees Budnick's candy black market get busted by Ug. He calls out various tricks he used to smuggle candy inside, and culminates with him eating "red shoelace licorice." When the others sympathize with him briefly, Budnick tells them that "those shoelaces he ate weren't made out of licorice..." and he shows his bright red shoes sans laces.
- After Michael misses lunch because of his brownie punishment, he goes to the kitchen to get something to eat and finds only oatmeal. As he leaves the kitchen while eating, Ug comes along and takes it, informing Michael that it's not for eating because it's his oatmeal bath for poison oak. Cue power puke.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: When a celebrity kid comes to camp, he just wants to be treated like everyone else, which supremely frustrates Dina.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Poor Z.Z.
Z.Z.: I know I'm gonna hate myself for saying this. But if you tell Dina, what you just told me? She'd probably change her mind about you.
- Ironic Echo: George Michael's real name in "The Radio Call-In Contest".
- Ug is also this to some extent.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Also Budnick, whose good qualities start coming out more frequently in the second season.
- Really, almost all of the campers tended to fall into this at one point or another.
- Judgment of Solomon:
- Spoofed via Shaggy Frog Story in "Bunk Chief Elections", when Z.Z. can't decide between Dina or Telly as bunk chief, and Budnick's initial advice leaves a bit to be desired.
Budnick: It's like when Solomon King had to make his decision.
Z.Z.: You mean King Solomon when he had to cut the baby in half?
Budnick: No, I mean Solomon King. I went to school with the guy. He had front-row tickets to two incredible concerts on the same night, he had to make a decision.
Z.Z.: What'd he do?
Budnick: Well, he came down with the chicken pox, so he couldn't go to either one of them.
Z.Z.: That... doesn't help me much.
- In "Counselor Budnick," the trope is played straight: Dina and Z.Z. have a dispute over the ownership of "Wartbreath", a frog Dina found (but initially wanted to squash) that Z.Z. had trained into a champion jumper, when it turns out the frog jumping contest actually has a prize for winning. When the old Let Him Choose method fails, Budnick has them both grab the frog and tug-of-war for it. Of course Z.Z. immediately lets go ("are you crazy!?") and Budnick declares her the real owner. The elegance of this solution confirms him as a real counselor to the other campers, but Budnick confesses it had been his own idea — the counselor's guidebook would have awarded the frog to Dina.
- Karma Houdini: Dina and Telly in "Bunk Chief Elections". They leave the boys to take blame for the mess left in their personal Food Fight, with nary a qualm of guilt, even knowing Ug's been making their lives hell for some time already and is just looking for an excuse to dish out more punishment.
- Keep the Reward: Z.Z. can't get the campers to pitch in and help the environment until she creates an incentive to save up for a trip to the water park. At the end of the episode, they decide to surprise her by using the funds to purchase a tree instead.
- Let Him Choose: Unfortunately, the frog Took a Third Option.
- Limited Social Circle
- Locked in a Room: The A-plot of "Budnick and Michael Fake Being Sick".
- The "Cursed Skull" episode also becomes this, when Telly and Dina (after constantly bickering with each other over who gets to return the skull to where it belongs) find themselves in a cave full of garbage. A thunderstorm begins, so they spend the night in the cave and reconcile their differences.
Pinsky: Look, I know we may have gotten off on the wrong foot, but I have another foot that you haven't even seen yet! This is the foot of honesty, and that foot spoke to me.
- Mood Whiplash: The gang feeling depressed with Michael gone, only to cheer up when they meet Pinsky who one-up'd Budnick.
- Motionless Makeover: Ug is in a trance after his girlfriend dumps him. One of the campers puts a danish on his head.
- Mouthy Kid: Budnick and Pinsky.
- Na´ve Newcomer: Michael. Pinsky... not as much, although it is lampshaded once.
Pinsky: (to Dina)
Look, I know you're normally a sweet, wonderful kid without an ounce of meanness in you— Telly
: You haven't
been in camp very long, have you...
- Nerd Glasses: Sponge, although Telly had a pair that were never seen past the first episode (she got contacts).
- Noodle Implements: The "Awful Waffle" from the first episode, requiring syrup and a tennis racket. The viewer never gets to see what one looks like, and the ingredients list grows longer and stranger each time it's invoked. It probably started off based on the real-life hazing of a bare-skin paddling with tennis racket applied to leave a "waffle-like" bruise pattern. (It also needs to be said that there's another, much more disgusting version of an awful waffle, that would NEVER fly on any show, ever.)
- Not So Above It All: Ug. Sure, he dispenses severe and exaggerated punishment, but in the context of the campers actually breaking the rules. Still, whenever given the chance to prank Budnick, he jumps at the chance.
- Odd Friendship: Donkeylips and Sponge.
- Of all the campers Ug is probably the closest to ZZ (probably because she's, usually, the best behaved) and she's one of the few campers who likes going on his nature hikes.
- Oh, Crap: The gang groans when they learn that Kahn's niece will be coming back to camp the next summer. And she learned a few tricks from them.
- Onion Tears: In "Bunk Chief Elections".
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Ug, Donkeylips, Sponge and Z.Z. (Their real names were used very occasionally; as is mentioned in the intro to this article, Ug's real name is Kevin Lee, while Donkeylips' real name is Eddie Gelfen and Sponge's real name is Eugene Harris.)
- Opposite Day:
- Budnick and Ug switch places as camper and counselor.
- And the girls dressing up as guys and vice-versa. In fact, one of the girls says she looks forward to it because "it's the only time you can see Budnick in a dress." Make of that what you will.
- Pet the Dog: Both the kids and Ug have (rare) moments where they show they actually do care about each other somewhat.
- Playing Cyrano: Pinsky does this for Sponge, creating a new persona for him to get him with a girl from another nearby camp that's way out of his league. It later turns out that the girl in question was just as geeky, and her fellow campers also were pulling the same stunt.
- Playing Sick: A popular ploy for getting out of instructional swim. Budnick has a killer recipe for realistic-looking vomit.
- Please Dump Me: Dina employs this to break up with Budnick, who ceased being bad boy while they were a couple (and thus ceased to be interesting).
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: The pilot aired on another Nickelodeon program called Special Delivery.
- Positive Discrimination: Telly is the most athletic camper, and frequently the most honest and level-headed one as well.
- Previously On: At the beginning of "Budnick Loves Dina, Part 2". Donkeylips uses flag signals explaining the events that happened in the previous episode as Sponge writes them down while we cut to the accompanied clips from said episode. In-universe: they do this to get another merit badge. However, a bee was on Donkeylips and he tries to swat it with his flags, confusing Sponge.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: Used a lot, though not exclusively. Tchiakovsky's "March Slav" is frequently used.
- The show's famous classical music soundtrack is used a bit less often in Season 2, with generic stock music being the norm by that time.
- Punny Name: Ug Lee. From the first episode, when he introduces himself as "Kevin Lee" only to have the kids start chanting "Ug Lee, Ug Lee, Ug Lee," one might get the impression the nickname "Ug" was actually picked by the kids for exactly this reason, although it's never stated outright.
- Radio Contest: An entire episode.
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: As an in-universe example, Telly is pathological about this.
- Rich Bitch: Dina, although she tends to be shallow and ditzy more often than outright bitchy.
- Right Through the Wall: Subverted in "Park Ranger Mona" when Ug and Mona start to fight. But they notice they're being watched, so Ug closed the door on the campers, but the door has glass so they can still see.
Z.Z.: I can't believe they're fighting! This is terrible!
Donkeylips: I know! I can't hear a word they're saying!
- Romantic Runner-Up: Near the end of "Budnick Loves Dina, Part One," Budnick tells Z.Z. he might have been interested in her if he didn't currently have a thing for Dina.
- Running Gag:
- If a food fight breaks out Ug is always the one to blow the whistle to stop it and always gets hit with something immediately after he blows the whistle.
- In "Budnick Loves Dina, Part 1", someone gets their leg broken and ends up in crutches.
- Scarily Competent Tracker: Donkeylips can not only track people but determine the kind of sandwich they were eating at the time. Dina, meanwhile, is not good at tracking most of the time but is a crack expert at following limo tracks.
- Second Person Attack: In the first season finale, Michael is leaving to avoid a large and very aggressive bully. In the episode's climax, Michael decides to face the bully down. The camera switches to Michael's POV for the confrontation just before the bully delivers an anticlimactic One-Hit KO and the screen goes black.
- Sentimental Music Cue: Considering the general tenor of the show otherwise, it can be a bit surprising when this gets played completely straight, most notably in the episode where Budnick and Michael play sick to get out of Instructional Swim, and in the "Budnick Loves Dina" two-parter.
- Shown Their Work: Danny Cooksey, who played Bobby Budnick on the show, was/is a big heavy metal fan. Thus, Budnick occasionally drops some surprisingly astute references to bands of that era. Such as Aerosmith (a 70's rock band who had a major comeback a couple years before the show premiered) and even Metallica (who, at the time of reference, was just getting ready to release "The Black Album").
- At the start of "They Call Me Ms. Tibbs", the kids were picking up garbage from the lake. Telly finds a hockey mask and a machette, which worries her.
- Budnick forms a secret society in "The Cursed Skull", and the initiation ceremony begins with Sponge, Donkeylips and Pinskey marching and chanting in a manner similar to the Winkie march in The Wizard of Oz.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: Ug and Mona, and Dina and Budnick for all of five minutes.
- The Smart Guy: Sponge.
- Soap Box Sadie: Z.Z. In most episodes this is mild to the degree it is present at all — she is usually among the nicer and more easygoing campers, as well as a bit of a dreamy Cloudcuckoolander. But she makes up for it with a vengeance in "The Environmental Party", when she is loudly opinionated, pushy, and harshly judgmental to the point that she comes off as less reasonable and likable than Dina, who actually tries to help her out until Z.Z.'s harshness drives even her away. Her hippie folk song about saving the environment eventually devolves into outright, literal yelling at people.
- Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass: Done by Donkey Lips and Sponge to get the last merit badge they need (task: start a fire without using matches, lighters, etc.) to go on a camping trip. Z.Z. gets the assist, demonstrating it to the two, with Ug watching.
- Speech Impediment: "Donkey Lips".
- Spinning Paper: In "The Pinsky-Sponge Gazette".
- Spoiled Brat: Dina.
- The Strategist: Donkeylips' ambition in "Capture the Flag".
- Summer Campy: The entire premise.
- Teens Are Monsters: Played straight in many instances. Possibly justified, since Annawanna is such a crappy camp.
- Thematic Theme Tune: This would be a subversion, as while the song is supposed to be about how great camp is and how strong the friendships are, the obviously forced and insincere delivery of the sappy lyrics really serve to tell the audience how bad it is, while hinting at the flaws that are bound to cause friction in individual character relationships.
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Mona says that's what everyone calls her in the episode "They Call Me Ms. Tibbs".
- Title Drop: Sponge does it in the first episode, just before the cut to the theme song as Budnick runs a humiliated Michael's boxer shorts up the flagpole.
- Happens again in the season 2 premiere as Budnick does the same thing to Pinsky. Pinsky does so happily and continues on.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Telly and Dina.
- Triang Relations:
- "Donkeylips' Crush on Dina" is a type 5: Donkeylips likes Dina, who likes Michael, who isn't interested in anyone.
- "Budnick Loves Dina" also starts as type 5: Z.Z. likes Budnick, who likes Dina, who isn't interested; but becomes a type 4: Budnick and Dina are in a relationship, leaving Z.Z. a Hopeless Suitor (who eventually decides she just wants Budnick to be happy).
- Troubled, but Cute: Budnick has had both Dina and Z.Z. crushing on him.
- TV Teen: Played completely straight. Although they evolve/develop a bit during the second season, the characters generally remain married to their respective high school stereotypes.
- Michael is somewhat of a subversion, since he's less easily stereotyped than the others. The downside is that he had no real personality to speak of. So maybe, in this case, it would've been better if he DID have some kind of stereotype attached to him!
- Probably he's meant to be the "average guy".
- Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Seems to have been invoked somewhat unintentionally. A number of episodes of the first season, in particular the Camp Dance episode, indicate Dina is attracted to Michael, while Michael is completely uninterested. But in the "Cinderella Play" episode, Michael is extremely psyched up about getting to kiss Dina and teases her about it constantly, while she acts disgusted by him and has a crush on a boy from another camp.
- The Voice: Dr. Kahn.
Dr. Kahn: Man or Myth?
- Welcome Episode: "Michael Comes to Camp".
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Donkeylips' parents are implied to be this. According to him, they only acknowledge him when he brings home wrestling trophies.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: "Budnick Loves Dina."
- Whole Plot Reference: "The Treasure of Sara Madre" to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and "Zeke the Plumber" to A Nightmare on Elm Street.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Budnick is perfectly content to spend an entire night alone in the woods, and laughs loudly and triumphantly at the others' attempts to frighten him. However, he breaks down crying and pleading for help when he stumbles into a large batch of spider webs.
- Donkeylips has this reaction while playing "Capture the Flag" when he sees the other team's flag being protected by a hundred tires (an obstacle he always failed at miserably on obstacle courses).
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Mona was a mail carrier in season one. She becomes a forest ranger in season 2, because she won't work in a place that put Elvis Presley on a first-class stamp.
Donkeylips: I thought she's the mail lady.
- Will They or Won't They?: Budnick had to break up with Dina. But Dina seems to still have feelings for him. He even let Dina keep his Steve Vai guitar pick and says they might be back together someday.
- You Can See That, Right?: Inverted. Ug gets hit on the head in one episode and hallucinates. He asks the kids to reassure him that the brontosaurus he sees tap-dancing in the corner isn't real.
- You Go Girl: Telly.
...And when we think about you
The thing came apart...