Web Animation / Inanimate Insanity

Inanimate Insanity, is an animated series on YouTube created by AnimationEpic (Adam Katz). Its premise is inspired by Battle for Dream Islandnote  - a cast of Animate Inanimate Objects compete in a series of challenges in order to win the grand prize of 1 million dollars, all overseen by a living MePhone4.

The first season (which ran from early 2011 to late 2012) is complete, and ultimately featured 16 contestants. The second season is currently ongoing - 8 members of the old cast return alongside 11 new characters. It also features a slow shift in tone towards drama.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • Salt to OJ.
    • Season 2 (in a less romantic fashion) has Toilet to MePhone4.
  • Abusive Parents: This is hinted at in Theft and Battery, where Cobs shows off his parents' garage on display, which he literally ripped out of his parents' house. He then mentions that he doesn't talk to them anymore.
  • Adorkable: 99% of the cast can be considered this, but the most obvious offenders seem to be Paper from Season 1, and Fan and Test Tube from Season 2.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Paintbrush. Occasional questions about the subject lead to a number of lampshades being hung about it. Episode 12 of Season 2 reveals they are non-binary.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The entire cast!
  • Anthropomorphic Food: Several characters. note 
  • Art Evolution: The animation, character designs and backgrounds have all steadily improved in quality through the series. Which leads to...
  • Art Shift: In episode 12 of season 1, MePhone4 temporarily switches the art style back to that of episode 1. It doesn't go down well with the contestants.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Mentioning Idiotic Island around Paper (once he's forced onto it) causing him to flip out.
    • Do NOT call Baseball fat.
    • Cheesy does NOT like it when you say his jokes aren't funny.
    • Slacking off in front of Paintbrush for long periods of time is enough to make them snap.
    • Don't insult Microphone too much.
  • Big Bad: The second season builds up Taco to be this, as they manipulate the other contestants for their own gain.
  • Birds of a Feather: Fan and Test Tube. They become close in “Let ‘Er R.I.P” when Fan admits that he’s socially awkward and has trouble making friends. Test Tube admits to being awkward as well.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The last minutes of ”Alternate Reality Show” have Paintbrush apologizing to Lightbulb for saying they shouldn’t work together and revealing their gender to her, which she accepts wholeheartedly. Paintbrush is then eliminated, so Lightbulb gives them Baxter as a reminder of her as the two part ways.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In episode 6 of season 2, Bow possesses Paintbrush's hair and causes them to fly. Lightbulb assumes it was because they bribed the animator.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: The prize money of the first season is heavily implied to be in a silver briefcase shown near the finale. It's subverted when the case ends up falling into the Crappy Cliff's water, presumed to be lost; MePhone reveals the money was actually in the bank, specifically remarking how stupid it would be to carry around a million dollars in a suitcase.
  • Butt-Monkey: Balloon, unsurprisingly, has a tendency to get popped.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Santa storyline in the Christmas challenge gets brought up again in the second season, as Marshmallow realizes it was why Apple started hating her.
    • Knife twice interrupts another character with "Yeah, yeah, enough of the six hour speeches!" - once near the beginning of the series, and once during the first season's finale.
    • The first season finale's credits feature many, many of these - Baseball's book, Marshmallow's ability to defy gravity, Salt and Pepper's "bad luck" (complete with a lightning strike), etc.
    • The second episode of the first season has a joke where Nickel ends up going on Baseball's head while the former is climbing a tree. The second episode of the second season repeats this, only for it to turn out to be a melting chocolate bar.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: No two characters are alike.
  • Censored Title: The original teaser for the series was renamed from "The Crappy Trailer" to "The Stupid Trailer".
  • Chekhov's Gun: OJ's cork in "Journey Through Memory Lane Part I".
  • Cliffhanger: "Journey Through Memory Lane Part I" ends with the elimination area about to crash onto OJ and Taco.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Lightbulb.
    Lightbulb: Alrighty sports fans, we're gonna have to dribble around those bases to get the touchdowns we need to checkmate the other team!
  • Color-Coded Characters: In Season 2, most of the contestants are associated with a certain color. The more prominent examples are:
    • Baseball and Fan: Red
    • Nickel: Grey or Dull Green
    • Suitcase and Paintbrush: Brown
    • Balloon: Light Red
    • Knife: Navy
    • Microphone: Purple
    • Soap: Pink
    • Lightbulb: Yellow
    • Test Tube: Bright Green
    • Marshmallow: White or Teal
  • Companion Cube: Box is simply an inanimate cardboard box, but the others threat it like it had a personality.
  • Curse Cut Short: At the end of the opening scene of "One-Shot Wonder", it is assumed the Nickel is about to call Knife some sort of swear.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nickel is high on the snark, but low on the deadpan, while Paintbrush is high on the deadpan, but low on the snark. Knife is somewhere in between.
  • Death is Cheap: Contestants are able to come back to life thanks to MePhone. The process isn't shown until the beginning of season 2, though (as lampshaded by Fan).
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Trophy, a major Jerkass.
  • Disney Death: MePhone4 lives in the first season's finale thanks to MePhone4S.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Knife comments on Baseball's "fatness", Baseball responds by going insane and punting him with all his strength into the frozen water.
  • Does Not Like Spam: The Bright Lights (excluding Lightbulb) don't like oatmeal raisin cookies, as seen on "Marsh on Mars".
    Paintbrush: Raisins? Ugh! Gross.
  • Don't Try This at Home: The intro to the first episode features this disclaimer.
  • Double Entendre: "Just give all the balls to me."
  • Double Knockout: Twice in Season 2's first episode - when Marshmallow and Fan are hit, and when characters are hit in pairs by Microphone's dodgeballs.
  • Dramedy: Develops into this in the second season.
  • Dysfunction Junction:
  • Early Installment Weirdness: A lot of it. The most prominent example is the drastic Art Evolution the series went through.
    • According to Bomb in the second episode, Taco only spoke French and a few other words. This is never mentioned again. Later episodes reveal that Taco is, in fact, capable of coherent speech, and she's actually an Evil Brit.
    • Pickle was initially armless.
    • Nickel was a lot more affable and pleasant in early episodes, and his sarcasm wasn't as harsh.
    • There was a lot of Toilet Humor in early season 1. This is justified, since the creators were in their early years of high school at the time.
  • Easy Come, Easy Go: Yin and Yang lose their freedom due to their inability to live alone.
  • Easily Forgiven: Apple to Marshmallow in season 2.
  • Easily Overheard Conversation: Trophy eavesdropping on Knife talking to his Dora Doll aloud.
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: It is assumed that everyone just met as the show first started, other than Salt and Pepper.
  • Evil Counterpart: Mephone4S acts as one to MePhone4.
  • Evil All Along: Taco.
  • Evil Laugh: Mephone4S and Yang tend to do this.
  • Foreshadowing: Taco suddenly speaking coherently in episode 11 of the first season, then quickly going back. It's a heavy hint towards her Obfuscating Stupidity. Her ability to do complex math off the top of her head in "Crappy Anniversary" is another hint.
  • Funny Background Event: Frequently. In various scenes, a character that is onscreen that isn't currently speaking will briefly have a very crazy face.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • With regards to the series' self-imposed (relative) family-friendliness - in the first episode of the second season, a voice responds to Lightbulb's question to Box. This voice, when reversed and listened closely to, says, "You reversed this clip, didn't you, motherfucker?"
    • The same episode has the "Just give all the balls to me" joke.
    • In "Theft And Battery", Mephone obviously acts like he's drunk when he has the condishawn.
    "Shut up, Knife! Shut up. What do you even do? Do you even go here?"
    • We have this gem from Mephone4 in One-Shot Wonder:
    "Vote for one member of Team Epic to be eliminated! Except Knife, because he's really the only one on Team Epic that did anything worth a damn."
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Marshmallow can alter gravity, but doesn't have good control over it.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Salt and Pepper.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Jeebweezer.
  • It Tastes Like Feet:
    • In the season 1 finale, when OJ finally gets to taste one of MePhone4's cookies for winning.
    • Soap's month-old pizza is used to this effect during an elimination.
  • Japanese Ranguage: Fan, though it disappears in the second season.
  • Jerk Jock: Knife and Trophy, though Knife insists he's the jerk while Trophy is the jock.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Knife has his moments.
  • Kick the Dog: Knife does this a few times.
  • Killed Off for Real: In the finale, MePhone5 dies permanently when they fall into the spring water at the bottom of the Crappy Cliff. MePhone4S also sacrifices himself to bring back MePhone4.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Balloon only speaks in archive audio for the latter half of the first season. He continues to in the beginning of the first Season 2 episode, but as soon as he joins, he starts saying new lines:
    "Now that I've joined the season, I figured I might as well start saying actual stuff again!"
  • Larynx Dissonance: A few female characters are voiced by males who don't make too much of an effort to sound female.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: The four Inanimate Battle videos, featuring live-action versions of the contestants competing in a battle (or competitions, in the third episode). Hilarity Ensues in all.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • In Episode 10 of Season 2, Balloon accidentally leads Baseball's alliance into a dangerous portion of the maze. Nickel gets annoyed with him and tries to convince Suitcase to leave him behind. Suitcase refuses and the two get into an argument as Baseball fails to calm them down. Balloon and Suitcase leave after the former tries to prove a point to Nickel, and Baseball gets mad at him. The scene that follows immediately after is Test Tube being her usual dorky self and talking to Fan's egg.
    • Afterlife in the Limelight should be called "Mood Whiplash: The Song". It starts with Bow singing about how much fun the contestants get to have on the show, complete with a montage of the Bright Lights being dorks, and how she doesn't "feel alive" without the game. Cue the piano music slowing down and Marshmallow singing about how the game tears apart relationships and emotional states as the montage shifts into a more dramatic one, prominently featuring the Grand Slams.
  • Morality Pet: OJ to Paper.
  • Non Indicative Name: Team Epic wasn’t very epic. The team had a 3-loss streak, with four members being eliminated by the sixth challenge.
  • Only Sane Man: OJ. Most other characters have some sort of quirk to them, and OJ is even labelled "The Normal Guy" by the show's creators.
  • Piano Drop: Knife drops one on Paper to eliminate him in episode 2. Paper later uses one to defeat Evil Paper within his mind.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: The Bright Lights, most notably Lightbulb and Fan. They were mostly unaffected by the show’s Cerebus Syndrome (except for Marshmallow) up until the merge in Episode 12.
  • Pungeon Master: Cheesy.
  • Running Gag:
    • MePhone4 constantly interrupting Paintbrush whenever they have a question.
    • Fan updating his blog at inopportune times.
    • Cheesy slapping his knee after a bad pun.
  • The Scream: Microphone, after Taco leaps out from behind the bushes.
  • Screamer Prank: Parodied at the very end of the third Enanimat Ensanetay episode.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Taco, after MePhone5 gets knocked off the cliff.
    • Marshmallow eventually grows tired of the competition since she belives it destroys morality, emotional states, and friendships, so she leaves the show to live with Bow in Purgatory Mansion.
  • Self-Deprecation: After the guest judges are run out of the show in "Cooking for the Grater Good", the Puffball Speaker Box's parting words are "Nobody likes Inanimate Insanity anyway!"
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Happens to Lightbulb in “Alternate Reality Show”. Paintbrush announces that they don’t want to work with her, leaving her incredibly upset. After the challenge, she has a heartfelt moment with Paintbrush where they apologize for their behavior and reveal their gender to her (although it’s Jossed around since she still shows aspects of her quirky behavior). Paintbrush is then voted off the show, and the two share a very bittersweet goodbye.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Microphone seems to be heading this direction.
  • Stylistic Suck: The "Enanimat Ensanity" spinoff, featuring Ms-Paint style "animation", terrible voices, and non-sensical plots.
  • The Silent Bob: Box. While he appears to be an ordinary box, the other contestants treat him like an actual living being with emotions. When he "speaks" at a podium, other characters are moved by his "eloquence."
  • Take My Hand: MePhone4S says this to MePhone4 during the cliffhanger ending of Part One of the finale. The hand adds, "Not so hard!". Funnily enough, the usual resolution for this cliché is subverted, as the MePhones merely fall onto the ground afterwards, no parachute or anything.
  • Take That!:
    • A dubiously sincere one occurs in the second episode, where Nickel degrades Knife for slacking off and watching Desperate Housewives: "That show is terrible!"
    • In the tenth episode, Baseball is given a copy of Literature/Twilight when he fails to rejoin the game and pleads for a different book. He does not like it.
    • According to Word of God, Dough was created as a spoof of the Glee episode "Big Brother" (where a character's older brother debuts).
    • Episode 8 of the second season is primarily made of jabs at Apple - specifically, the (then-new) iPhone 6's tendency to bend, the redundancy of the Apple Watch, and the company's tendency to release excessive amounts of new products.
  • Terrified of Germs: Soap.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Suitcase gives an excellent one to Nickel in Episode 11 of Season 2 after she votes him out 5 to 1.
    Suitcase: I just can't forgive the way you've been treating Balloon, game aside! And it's not just about him. You act like you're trying to protect me, but you try to send me away every chance you get! [...] What we had before? We don't...really even...talk! It's never been anything personal, a-at all! And to me, that's not what an alliance.. is! [...] Looks like it. I mean, it's easy to read how everyone would vote, so he decided to be a good friend instead by pitying the blame on himself! And this is what a true ally looks like! But I'm not gonna let him fight my battles for me! I voted for YOU, Nickel, because you've never been a true ally to me!
  • Too Quirky to Lose: Taco. She had mental issues and was annoying at times, This was actually just her cover to get viewers to like her and thus get her into the Final 2.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Microphone (Tomboy) and Soap (Girly Girl). Soap is a Neat Freak with motherly tendencies and a love for cleaning, while Microphone is loud, brash, and short-tempered. The second season's ninth episode opens with a scene exemplifying this:
    Soap: I've scrubbed my whole life! You see, cleaning's my life and when-
    Microphone: (slaps Soap) PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER, WOMAN! (throws Soap's cleaning supplies off a cliff)
  • Unexplained Recovery: Lampshaded in Episode 10. Bomb returns after exploding earlier in the challenge, and OJ asks how he came back. Bomb starts to stutter out a response, but after a moment OJ decides to forget it.
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • Apple and Knife's voices become much deeper and raspier.
    • Cheesy's voice becomes less computerized and more expressive.
    • When Adam voices Marshmallow throughout Season 1, her voice becomes progressively deeper until she sounds very raspy and masculine. In Season 2, she is voiced by Dee Cashin, thus making her sound much more feminine.
    • Both Microphone and Soap start out with high-pitched voices, but they deepen over time. The former, however, has a lower voice and sounds more tomboyish.
    • Paintbrush's voice starts off high-pitched and computerized, but from S2 Episode 6 on, it slowly becomes clearer and more natural-sounding.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye:
    • Baseball, since he's the second one to be eliminated and doesn't return to the show. However, this is subverted in season 2, where he becomes a team captain and gets a lot more focus.
    • Balloon as well, since after he gets eliminated, he hardly speaks ever again. This is because his voice actor (Nate Groth) got fired for hacking Adam's YouTube account. However, he also returned for Season 2, and Nate Groth was even re-hired to voice him.
    • From Season 2, Tissues (eliminated extremely early).
      • Dough and the "MePhone 5c/s" couple.
  • Wham Episode: Rain On Your Charade is the episode kickstarting the show's Cerberus Syndrome. The icing on the cake, however, is when Taco, whose whereabouts were unknown up until that point, returns out of nowhere near the end of the episode. Needless to say, the fanbase was shocked.
  • Wham Line:
    • From "Kick the Bucket Part 1":
    Bow: Maybe...you’re the one that’s lying! Maybe Kumquat wasn’t such a good friend to you! Maybe she didn’t deserve to have your friendship, and maybe I made her say all those things just so you’d see that it’s true!
    • The ending scenes have 2 in succession: After Balloon is voted out 5 to 1, he tries to run away, but not before Suitcase drops this bombshell:
    Suitcase: Nickel, I voted for you tonight.
    • And then, after Suitcase rebukes Nickel for being such a Jerkass to Balloon, and Nickel responds with his own rebuke:
    MePhone4: Y'see, uhhh, y'know how I said I'd make up for it next time? Well, it's a DOUBLE ELIMINATION!
    • From “Alternate Reality Show”, when Paintbrush finally reveals their gender:
    Lightbulb: Oh! It’s “C”, isn’t it? None of the above!
    Paintbrush: ...that’s why I don’t bring it up. I don’t think they even know there is a “C”.