Badass Adorable: Pablo, aka Lil' Bat. He punches sharks, scares ghost skeletons, and always has some kind of giant ray gun at his disposal.
Badass Mustache: The Commander's mustache may be drawn on, but it still counts.
Badass Normal: The MC Bat Commander is the only member without any actual superpowers. And as often as he's the butt of jokes, but it's not uncommon at all for him to be the one to solve a problem confounding the rest of the team.
"Summer Camp!" explains that what he lacks in powers, it's his knowledge and using what he knows of his teammates' powers is what saves the day.
Sort of. In the cartoon segment of the first season finale, the Aquabats meet the Time Sprinkler, who sends them back to the birthday party the live-action Aquabats were playing at in the first scene of the first episode. Also, the live-action portion of the episode ends with the Aquabats floating helplessly towards the moon, which was how the cartoon segment in the first episode began.
In the season two premiere, the episode begins and ends with the band confronting a pair of turtle-like aliens.
Brick Joke: The beginning of "Shark Fighter!" has MC Bat Commander recalling the video game he fought and using gold coins as power-ups against the landsharks. Close to the end of the episode, the Landsharks are attacking a local park, knocking Bat Commander into a fountain...where he finds it's full of gold coins.
She also appears in the very first shot of the episode "Showtime!", layered over the graffiti in the background.
And Matt Chapman himself is the ghost in "Haunted Battletram!" and as Carl, the evil sideshow runner who steals the band's Battletram, in "Cobraman!" (more specifically, in "Cobraman!", it's Matt Chapman as Strong Bad as Carl).
Former Aquabats members Courtney "Corey" Pollock and Boyd Terry appear in the season 1 finale "Showtime!" as their respective Aquabats personas Chainsaw and Catboy (although they are depicted as separate heroes in the series).
Leslie Hall is Jewel, the head camp counselor in "Summer Camp!", complete with her interest in gem sweaters making its way into the episode.
Camp: The show is deliberately done this way, with Bad Bad Acting, low production values, and melodrama everywhere- but done in a MST3K kinda way, where you can tell it's meant to be silly.
Cassandra Truth: In "Summer Camp!", neither the rest of the Aquabats or the Aquacadets believe MC Bat Commander when he informs him that Jewel is the were-ape that's been kidnapping the fellow campers.
Character Focus: Season 2 each has an episode dedicated to a specific Aquabat. Eaglebones has "Return of the Aquabats!", MC Bat Commander has "Summer Camp!", Jimmy the Robot has "Bad Apples!", Crash is in "The Thingy!" while Ricky has "The AntiBats!"
Season 3 continues this: "Christmas with the Aquabats!" is about Ricky while "Shark Fighter!" is mostly about Crash and the Bat Commander.
Chronic Hero Syndrome: Eaglebones gets into this in Return of the Aquabats (much to everyone else's chagrin) as he wants to help everyone and easily gives him and the others away because of him helping the townsfolk. It's deconstructed due to a) how him helping everyone else gets them spotted and b) the townsfolk want them to do very tedious things (and one wants them to hurl annoying pests to the moon), becoming angry when the Aquabats can't do as they ask for. At the end, Eaglebones eventually learns that he's unable to help everyone with their problems.
Combat Tentacles: Snakey, the lint monster, the Floating Eye of Death, the Cobraman
Comedic Sociopathy: The team isn't afraid to partake in this at times, most notably MC Bat Commander.
Crossing the Desert: The Aquabats cross one in "Cowboy Android!" to find gas for the Battletram. Eaglebones is crossing one when he finds the bar where he meets the other Aquabats in his origin flashback.
Dawson Casting: Richard Falomir, who plays Ricky Fitness, is in his early 30s while Ricky himself is 14. Or 19. It's not consistent.
Done in Eaglebones' motorcycle ride in "EagleClaw!", along with real time footage of him driving down the road.
Usually in effect when the team is driving down the road in the Battletram.
Early Installment Weirdness: The first few episodes feel a little weird and disjointed compared to the rest of the series; it's not until about "Eagleclaw!" that they seemed to find the groove they wanted.
Easily Forgiven: Averted at the Christmas Episode of all things. Santa forgives Krampus for all of the bad-doings he's done. However, the Krampus doesn't want that because forgiving naughty kids makes the naughty kids easily get away with all their crimes and insists that Santa kick his ass. Santa obliges.
Forced to Watch: After the MC Bat Commander agrees to a bet made by Carl pitting the Commander against the Cobraman for the Battletram, the rest of the team is tied up and forced to watch the fight through the room's monitor.
"Bahahahahahahaha! ...He's in the desert! ...That's bad!"
Played with earlier when Carl manages to get the team to watch the mandatory cartoon segment.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In "Laundry Day!", we have a Hot Scientist making a tentacle monster tie the boys up and spank them, while the band whimpers "I've never felt so dirty" and "Make him stop, he's had enough". The scientist, on the other hand, is delighted to keep "schlappingk und schlappingk" them. Said monster is made of dirty clothing, so it sounds perfectly fine for the kids watching, but to the older fans...
There's also Ricky's line "We get paid before the goat stuff, right?" in "Night Of The Cactus!"
Zalga telling Ronmark "I'm not getting into that tent with you again!"
Ricky Fitness: Commander! What if we shrink ourselves and fight them from inside Jimmy? MC Bat Commander: Maybe, (discards crowbar) or even better! We can shrink ourselves and fight them from inside Jimmy! Let's do it!
Jimmy the Robot: It's low energy, Commander. Your blood sugar levels have dipped dangerously low. MC Bat Commander: Speak English, robot, English! Jimmy the Robot:(in an English accent) Uh, it's low energy, Commander. Your blood sugar levels have dipped frightfully low.
Leitmotif: An instrumental version of the song "Hello, Good Night" (From the album that shares its name with the episode) plays several times during "The Floating Eye of Death!", including a creepy reprise when the band's in danger.
Leprechaun: "I am NOT a leprechaun! I am ÜBERCHAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNN!!!"
Lethal Joke Character: Crash. He's kind of a space-case, but the fact that his power is to get really big, coupled with that it only works when he gets really mad or upset, means he can do a ton of damage when things get really desperate. In the first season finale he's going hand-to-hand against the most powerful villain in the whole show.
Let Me at Him!: "Showtime!", after Space Monster M reveals himself and starts wreaking havoc:
MC Bat Commander delivers on his promise to save the world in "Showtime!", contrasting with all the other times that he's been the Idiot Hero.
The ending where he lures the giant mole bat to eat the Cowboy Android in "Cowboy Android!" also counts.
Again in "Summer Camp!" where he organizes the campers and they capture a monster that easily defeated the other Aquabats.
Let's Split Up, Gang: In "Uberchaun!" the team has to split up to complete three challenges within an hour to remove their curse. MC Bat Commander and Eaglebones opt to tie a ribbon to the top branch of an ancient tree; Ricky and Jimmy choose to pull the flag from the 13th hole; Crash is left to fetch the Uberchaun a cherry soda from the clubhouse vending machine. Sounds easy, right?
Little Bit Beastly: In the cartoons, Crash appears to have slitted pupils like a cat and fangs to match.
Lock and Load Montage: The Aquabats go through a particularly epic one in the first season finale, appropriately set to a song called "Showtime!"
Lyrical Dissonance: The song the Aquacadets sing in "Summer Camp!" is about how they'll carry on the legacy of the Aquabats when they're dead and long forgotten...with the Aquabats on stage.
Mad Scientist: Evil example in Dr. Eva Mudlark, who kidnaps the 'Bats! and tortures them with a dirt monster. She even has an Evil Laugh!
Heroic example in Dr. Monty Corndog, who gave the Bats! superpowers (well, except for MC Bat Commander).
Benign example in one Lil' Bat short (Season 2, Episode 2). He laughs triumphantly as a beam of lightning comes down onto his operating table... to power his microwave, so he can eat a TV dinner while watching The Aquabats! on TV.
Magic Meteor: The meteorite in "Night of the Cactus!" transforms the Bat Commander's arm and creates the cactus monster.
Man Child: All five of them qualify, but Crash McLarson is the most blatant example.
Meat-O-Vision: The Aquabats were snowed inside their Battletram in "The Thingy!", and MC Bat Commander got so hungry that he saw Ricky as a big steak, only to stop and realize he really wanted "chicken", or to eat Eaglebones. Later, he takes out a salt shaker and sprinkles some on Eaglebones before he gets called out on it.
Mid-Battle Tea Break: Played with in "ManAnt!". While ManAnt's goons are beating up everyone but the MC Bat Commander, the Commander stops to look at some grilled chicken. "It's like no one wants me to eat! I'm starving, okay?!"
And then Jimmy the Robot fires a buttermint at the Commander, after which ManAnt lampshades the trope: "What is this, a kindergarten snack break?!"
Mr. Exposition: The Thingy in the form of Jimmy The Robot lets the audience (and Crash) in on his evil plans via an expository song.
Jimmy in general falls under this category.
Jimmy: It worked, Commander! The ants are no longer under Manant's control!
Mr. Fanservice: The fandom seems to have mostly latched onto Eaglebones Falconhawk, but every member of the team has their own dedicated fans.
Mood Whiplash: "Showtime!" starts out seeming like another goofy episode...until Space Monster M shows up, which leads to much more action and much less joking around. And then the cartoon happens. Then back to the buttkicking.
Mountain of Food: A variant: at the end of "ManAnt!", Crash finds a whole cache of burgers stolen by ManAnt in a nearby giant anthill. Cue "Burger Rain".
A tray filled with two hundred doughnuts in Laundry Day!, which the Aquabats (minus Ricky) eat all of and spend the rest of the episode with bulging bellies.
Mummy: The guardians of the underworld in "Ladyfingers!".
The Mummy Spray commercial from Gloopy
Mummy spray in every room "Send those mummies to the tomb"™
My Little Phony: One of the Once an EpisodeParody Commercials featured a toy like this called the Scruffy Scruff, except the toy was exceptionally ugly. The kids in the commercial played with and adored it as if it were just as pretty as its real-world counterpart.
The Floating Eyeball of Death was originally featured in the title and cover of the band's third album. Also, former band members Chainsaw and Catboy make cameos in "Showtime!".
Space Monster "M" and the Time Sprinkler are both mentioned in songs.
When Eaglebones first met the Aquabats they were wearing horns.
MC Bat Commander's telling of the Aquabats origins is based on the actual super hero mythology of the band (right down to how there was originally eight or nine island inhabitants who survived the attack by Space Monster M).
The Bats' "Stealth Mode" is the Aquabats' original purple shirts.
The episode "Shark Fighter!" is based on the song of the same name off of the band's "Hi-Five Soup!" album.
Former real life Aquabats Chainsaw and Catboy have cameos as fellow second-string superheroes in "Showtime!"
In "Bad Apple!" we see the 'bats attacked by a group of nameless thugs who have black heads, derpy eyes and green and red-striped sweaters like the Sandfleas, an early group of bad guys in the band's history.
Combined with Waxing Lyrical, Crash's flashback in "Bad Thingy!" begins with the lyrics to the song "Pizza Day"
Nice Hat: The trucker caps in "The Floating Eye of Death!".
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: At the start of "Cowboy Android!", a miner tells the Aquabats off for sealing a monster in the mine rather than getting rid of it, as this means they still can't work in the mine. By the end of the episode they do take care of it.
Nightmare Fetishist: Jimmy can casually smile while reading the story about The Floating Eyeball of Death stealing the souls of humans to create a zombie army.
In the recap at the beginning of "The Thingy", we see Crash settling down to sleep...while happily snuggling with a pile of charred skeletons.
Super OCD: Ricky Fitness always seems to have hand sanitizer and Wet-Naps on hand. Comes in handy in one episode of the show when they're fighting muck monsters. At the end of the episode, he learns not to be so uptight about cleanliness- as long as the other guys learn to be a bit more clean.
Pac Man Fever: Whenever the Aquabats! are playing a video game in the Battletram, though the games they play are fictional and drawn in an 8-Bit style. However you can the Super Mario Bros. pause sound effect in "Haunted Battletram!" and Asteroids sound effects in "Pilgrim Boy!" They even play their games with wireless NES controllers!
Pilgrim Boy destroys a giant space bug with a song.
Precious Puppy: How ManAnt lures Crash McLarson into the truck and how Moon Cheese lures the Bat Commander into his trap, both in the same episode. The puppy that lures Crash turns out to be a fake, and the other one is a hologram.
Previously On: Every episode has one, but only about half the clips are actually from the last episode. Most are just random quick shots that never happened, or are picked from the original pilot.
Averted with the Previously On segment for "Night of the Cactus!" that aired with the "Cobraman!" episode. Not only did the segment only include clips that were from the episode, the majority of them were of a Jerkass supporting character getting slapped. Repeatedly.
Punny Name: Weird Al as President Stuncastin. Stunt casting.
Jimmy the Robot: Fellow Aquabats, I've completed testing on the unknown orange sticky substance we discovered in the graveyard. Crash McLarson: Yeah, what was that stuff? Tasted like barf! MC Bat Commander:(pauses his game) Wait...you ate that stuff? (everyone gives Crash a disgusted look) Crash McLarson:...No.
Sentai: The monsters they fight come right out of Sentai shows.
The game also gives the player's lives as "MANS", a staple of several Homestar Runner-related video games, as well as some visual resemblance to Snake Boxer
The titular antagonist of "Cowboy Android!" is an obvious homage to the Yul Brynner character in Westworld.
In "Pilgrim Boy!", the titular Pilgrim changes into a caricature of Michael Jackson to defeat a giant potato bug with a song.
In "Cobraman!" the magician is a blatant live action Strong Bad expy, down to the mask and Matt Chapman portraying him.
The fates of Super Magic Power Man and Lanolin Lady in Showtime! are identical to the fates of people who look in the trunk of the Chevy Malibu in Repo Man.
The season two premiere, "The Return of the Aquabats!", features a pair of turtle-like aliens similar to the ones in Laserblast. The redesigned Battletram's wings have rockets on the tips with the markings NCC-1701. Also, Eaglebones flashback to how the band met in the epiosde is done in the style of Heavy Metal.
The MC Bat Commander spends a great deal of the season two premiere quoting lyrics from Pixies songs.
"But that means it would lead back ... home!" and the smoldering skeletons from Bad Apple! are straight out of Star Wars.
MC Bat Commander: Does that mean we can fight, and like, sing songs and stuff?
Eaglebones Falconhawk: Totally!
(The Bat Commander squeals and skips in place)
The Commander does this fairly often. His "Oh my gosh!" after being offered elegant robes in Laundry Day! is particularly squeeful.
Squishy Wizard: Eaglebones, in that he has hollow bones like a bird. Not that this really comes into play with the kind of show this is.
Stable Time Loop: The first episode's cartoon takes up where the first season finale leaves off. The finale's cartoon has the Time Sprinkler zap them back to the party the Bats played at the beginning of the first episode.
Stock Scream: The Wilhelm Scream occurs several times in "Ladyfingers!", and once in "Cowboy Android!"
Everyone besides Eaglebones in "Pilgrim Boy!". The fact that the Pilgrim's Voluntary Shapeshifting is exceedingly painful flies completely over their heads as they keep asking him to transform into various bizarre items.
Eaglebones in the first half of Eagleclaw! goes into overly long guitar solos, throws gifts from fans in a dumpster and coldly blows off the rest of the Aquabats to pursue his brother.
The Bat Commander zigzags on just how dedicated he is to fighting crime from episode to episode. In Eagleclaw he is eager to help Eaglebones fight his evil brother, while in Haunted Battletram he blows off the rest of the team to play video games.
Waxing Lyrical: Crash's narration for his origin starts with the first two lines of the Aquabats song "Pizza Day"
The MC Bat Commander's origin story is a paraphrased version of the Aquabats song "Theme Song" from their second album, which was essentially an Expository Theme Tune for an Aquabats TV show and ... you know what, my brain hurts.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Jimmy's relationship with his scientist father in "Bad Apple!" It turns into So Proud of You when Jimmy's mom shows that his father taped the TIM cover of the Aquabats return to Earth and how they saved the day.
Wham Episode: The first season was made up of mostly comical villains, but then there was "Showtime!", where the villain actively murders another pair of superheroes before the Aquabats' eyes and steals their powers to become a gigantic engine of destruction and immediately starts laying waste to a major city. Its ending reveals that the whole season is a "Groundhog Day" Loop: the last cartoon segment ends at the beginning of the first episode—the pool party—while the end of the live action segment mirrors the cartoon segment's begining (the Aquabats in space)
The show could be described as "Jonathan Coulton made a baby with the Power Rangers, and they raised it on MST3K and Batman reruns."
According to this article, Christian Jacobs says this about the show:
“If the person is over 30, I’d say it’s like Batman meets The Monkees, with a little bit of Sid and Marty Krofft’s in it,” Jacobs said. “If they’re under 30, I’d say Power Rangers meets Flight of the Conchords, very sarcastic. If they’re kids… superheroes fighting monsters.”
X-Ray Sparks: Eaglebones in "Night of the Cactus!", while doing science.