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Western Animation: Bonkers

In 1990s Los Angeles, Bonkers D. Bobcat is Wackytoons Studios' biggest cartoon star — until a rival show beats his in the ratings race, at which point the studio decides to take a new direction and cancels Bonkers' show. Through sheer dumb luck, Bonkers unwittingly comes to the rescue of Classic Disney Shorts star Donald Duck and, at the same time, helps veteran human cop Lucky Piquel arrest a mugger. This heroic act lands Bonkers a new job on Hollywood's Police Department, where he works with the reluctant Piquel in the newly-formed Toon Division. About 40 episodes later, Piquel is offered a new job working for the FBI, and Bonkers gets a new human partner — Sergeant Miranda Wright.

Backstory aside, the TV series chronicling Bonkers' exploits as a cop was created by Disney as a result of them wanting to make a TV series spun off from the successful film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The character of Bonkers is an Expy of Roger Rabbit that was created to avoid the licensing restrictions that would have come with the use of Roger. Although the episodes with Miranda Wright as his partner (produced by Duane Capizzi and Robert Hathcock) come later chronologically, they were actually produced first; however, Disney was reportedly not pleased with how they came out and put a new production team (headed by Robert Taylor) in charge. The Taylor-directed episodes introduce Lucky Piquel as Bonkers' partner, further drawing attention to the series' roots in Roger Rabbit in that Lucky is an Expy of Eddie Valiant. The last of the Taylor episodes, "New Partners on the Block", bridges the gap between those episodes and the 19 Capizzi-directed episodes that made it into the show's run. Sadly, due to the 9/11 attacks, the episode was cut when Toon Disney still aired classic Disney shorts and cartoon shows.

To complement the series, twelve short cartoons starring Bonkers were made to show what his cartoons were supposedly like before he was fired. These shorts were shown on the Saturday Morning Cartoon series Raw Toonage (with one exception, "Petal to the Metal", which was shown before the film 3 Ninjas in theaters), and they were also rerun in four special compilation episodes during the series' run.

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  • Accidental Misnaming: The chief always addressed Lucky by the incorrect surname of "Pickle".
    • This happens a lot, sometimes by mistake, such as in the case of the absentminded Chief Kanifky, and sometimes to push his buttons, as in the Mickey impostor ("Got any Piquels, Pickle?").
  • Adorkable: Several toons qualify but Bonkers takes the cake.
  • Agony of the Feet
  • Alien Abduction
  • Always Wanted To Say That: "Book 'em, Lucko."
  • Amusing Injuries: Oddly enough, Lucky tends to suffer these. Being human and not a "toon", he's sometimes shown as a Bandage Mummy, with crutches, etc. after suffering slapstick violence.
    • Fall-Apart, a zombie rabbit, whose Running Gag was to have bits of him fall off.
  • Animation Bump: Episodes handled by Disney's Japanese and Australian studiosnote  and then-upstart Toon City tend to be a league above the other in their animation. Clips from those episodes also dominate the Title Montage.
  • Anvil On Head
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking
  • Art Shift: The Capizzi episodes (with Miranda) and Taylor episodes (with Lucky) can be easily distinguished by the different drawing styles of...just about everything.
    • Combined (slightly) with Animesque in the Japan episode.
    • Also happens in a sense during the Lucky Piquel episodes; while humans and the human world get more realistic shading/depth, toons always look overly bright and cartoon-y in comparison, if just to make the distinction between humans and toons more discernible (since the whole show is animated, unlike Roger Rabbit).
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animals
  • Buddy Cop Show
  • But I Digress: Kanifky does this all the time, going off on long tangents before returning to the topic at hand.
  • Butt Monkey: Lucky initially, but Bonkers ultimately became this once he got teamed up with Miranda.
    • Jitters and Fall-Apart had their fair share of this too.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The Disney Adventure Comics ignored Lucky leaving for the FBI. He and Bonkers would team up against villains who weren't introduced until the Miranda episodes.
  • The Cameo: Darkwing Duck appears in one of Bonkers's dreams in "Do Toons Dream of Animated Sheep."
    • Goofy makes two: One where you can only hear his voice after he falls victim to the villain of the episode, and another where he makes a full onscreen appearance and mistakes Sergeant Grating for his stunt double.
  • Captain Obvious:
    Z Bot: "You have an uncanny grasp of the obvious."
  • Catch Phrase: Jitters A. Dog's "I hate my life."
  • Cat Girl: Catcha Longlegs is a literal version of this.
  • Cement Shoes:
  • Censor Steam: In the episode "Once In A Blue Toon", when Lucky is in the bath, and the floor below him comes crashing down, he stays in mid air for a few seconds, with bubbles covering his lower half.
  • Christmas Episode: "Miracle at the 34th Precinct" combines the Yes Virginia and Saving Christmas tropes.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: How most Toon physics work. Bonkers saves Lucky from being crushed by a bulldozer onto a wall by having him believe he could enter the train tunnel painted on it.
  • Clip Show: Sort of. There were four episodes that were merely previously-aired Raw Toonage shorts cobbled together into a half hour of material.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Bonkers, along with many other toons.
  • Clothing Damage: The amount of times Lucky gets his clothes ripped of so he's just in his underwear is insane. Then again, he does have a cartoon character for a partner and has to deal with cartoony villains and crimes, so, it's not entirely off-base to think this.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Lucky Piquel, being caught in a massive explosion...except that he turns out to be okay later in the episode.
  • Delivery Stork: In The Stork Exchange, we learn where toon babies come from. Miranda doesn't quite believe this, which prompts Bonkers to ask her where human babies come from.
  • Demoted to Extra: Fawn Deer, Jitters, and Grumbles almost immediately disappeared in the Lucky episodes after the initial 2-part pilot. In the Miranda episodes however they did have decent supporting roles.
  • Disney Death: Detective Lucky Piquel, in his final episode with Bonkers. Caught in an explosion, but survived.
  • Editorial Synaesthesia: During 'In The Bag', when Lucky finds out his shoe is missing, the smell coming from his foot is very noticable.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: When a critic proposes that Bonkers gets a new partner for a cop show, he says that he would like a blonde.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Out of all the Disney shows with these, this one takes the cake.
  • Expy: As mentioned in the above description, Bonkers and Lucky are Expys of Roger Rabbit and Eddie Valient, respectively.
  • Face-Heel Turn: A lot of the bad guys that Lucky and Bonkers face are once-good cartoon actors turned bad for various reasons.
  • Fat Bastard: Seymour, an obese man, frames a toon for his manslaughter just so that he could get free food from a TV chef.
    • Also, former child actor Babyface, from "I Oughta Be In Toons"
    • And Flaps the criminal elephant who wanted to fly.
  • Fat Idiot: Stu, partner of Chick.
  • Follow the Chaos: Bonkers and Lucky do this to find The Louse in "Once in a Blue Toon".
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Used as a way to reveal that The Collector was actually a human.
  • Fully-Clothed Nudity: Lucky.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Check out this clip from "In the Bag". Listen carefully to the siren, and around 0:38, you'll hear a joke about dinner guests committing suicide over his wife's cooking. The guests in question sound like he's referring to flies.
    • Later on in the same episode, Bonkers and Lucky attempt to stop the Criminal of the Day from jumping off a building. "Don't jump! Think of the poor, poor impressionable young wallets and purses..."
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Lucky Piquel.
  • Green Around the Gills: In "Is Toon Fur Really Warm?", a man named Seymour gets green-faced at smelling Skunky Skunk's odor, which causes him to faint. Later in the same episode, the same also happens to Lucky except for fainting when he meets and gets a whiff of him.
  • Groin Attack: Happens on occasion (about four times) to Lucky.
    • Bonkers also got his crotch stepped on by a sheep who stole dreams, and Grumbles Grizzly had scalding hot tea poured straight onto his unprotected lap, before Bonkers and Jitters slammed into his groin, knocking him through the wall of a cabin.
  • Guns Are Worthless: All the police officers carry fairly realistic guns, except Bonkers. They are rarely fired however. When thay are fired , they absolutely do NOT hit their mark.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal
  • Interspecies Romance: Bonkers D. Bobcat and Fawn Deer. Granted, they're toons.
    • In "Love Stuck," Bonkers gained a one-sided crush on a human woman.
  • Japan Loves Bonkers: In-universe example in Tokyo Bonkers.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lucky Piquel and Skunky Skunk.
  • Keet: Bonkers. Dear sweet mother of god, BONKERS!
  • Knowledge Broker: A bunch of cartoon grapes, who occasionally give Bonkers and Lucky important clues on their latest case. And in addition to BEING an Incredibly Lame Visual Pun, they love to tell bad puns.
    • In the same vein, the stool pigeon who is an actual pigeon.
  • Latex Perfection: Played straight in some episodes, such as the means of The Collector's toon disguise, a duck suit that Lucky reluctantly wears in "The Cheap Sheep Sweep," a ghost playing the Mirror Routine on Bonkers in "When the Spirit Moves You," and others.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: In the Lucky episodes Bonkers actually was a fairly competent policeman and thorough investigator when things got tight.
  • Meaningful Name: Bonkers is a Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Miranda, although rarely seen out of her police uniform.
    • Also Fawn Deer.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: In one episode, Kanifky said:
    Kanifky: Ladies and gentlemen... (in disgusted tone) and yes, members of the press...
    • Kanifky also appeared in one Miranda Wright-era episode where he kept getting Bonkers' name wrong.
  • Mythology Gag: One Disney Adventures comic story has Bonkers and Lucky meet Nimrod the Rabbit, keeper of the Toonstone. His appearance suggests that he is actually a modernized version of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
  • Nerd in Evil's Helmet: The Laminator.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Or, in this case, Ninja Kitties named after classical musicians... and Ringo.
  • Off Model: Couple of times. In one episode, when Bonkers took Lucky's shoe off, his foot was way too small, and his ankle unrealistically thin.
    • Not to mention in another episode, when they found Lucky's shoe, one shot it's a shoe, another shot, it looked like a boot...
    • In one scene in "Fall-Apart Land", Bonkers's nose is unusually large.
  • Oil Slick: Done unintentionally when Bonkers tries to stop the bike he and Z Bot are riding by making the bike run out of fuel.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Played with; the Mickey Mouse imposter doesn't fool Bonkers, but Lucky thinks it is Mickey. Whenever Lucky dresses up as a toon in order to protect them or go under cover. Works every time.
    • Nobody except Lucky believes that the Mickey imposter is real. Chief Kanifky even harshly reprimands Lucky for it.
    • Subverted, when an old lady instantly sees through Lucky's lederhosen disguise, because only an undercover cop would wear such a riciculous outfit.
  • Parental Bonus: Some of Lucky's sarcastic lines will make sense to only older, world-weary viewers.
    Lucky: Me, work at the FBI? I always knew J. Edgar had his eye on me!
    FBI Agent: We at the FBI do not joke about Mister Hoover.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Punny Name: Miranda Wright. Also Dyl Piquel.
  • Put on a Bus: Kind of. As the Lucky episodes drew to a close, Lucky, Dyl, Marilyn, Fall Apart Rabbit and Toots left town to make way for Miranda, plus Kanifky "reassigned" Bonkers to Sergeant Grating with Miranda.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Bonkers and both of his partners.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Rhetorical Request Blunder: In the pilot, after saving Donald from the mugger, Lucky (sarcastically) mentions how he and Bonkers "ought to be PARTNERS". Chief Kanifky then hires Bonkers onto the force, and Bonkers actually requests to be Lucky's partner.
  • Rule of Funny: Bonkers explains to Lucky that this is a large part of how Toon physics work.note 
  • Sentient Vehicle: The toon cars and trains, most notably Ma Parker, the toon tow truck from "Calling All Cars"
  • Shout-Out: To several Disney movies.
  • Slasher Smile: The Collector has this on his face most of the time.
  • Someone's Touching My Butt: Lucky's "Don't ever touch a police officer there!"
  • Status Quo Is God: Lucky getting demoted or fired from the Toon Division will always be reversed by the end of the episode, mostly because his superior has swiss cheese memory and forgets Piquel was fired in the first place.
  • Stock Footage: "The Rubber Room Song" was recycled from the episode "Casabonkers".
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In "Once in a Blue Toon", the louse calls Lucky a dweeb. Lucky doesn't know what "dweeb" means, so Bonkers covers and says it's Latin for "awful swell guy". Later in the episode, Chief Kanifky comes in, all dressed up for a speech he has to make, and asks Lucky how he looks. Lucky responds: "You look like a real dweeb, sir!" After a pause, Kanifky replies: "Oh, a Latin scholar, eh?"
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Averted, Miranda was Lucky's opposite in pretty much every way.
  • Take That, Critics!: "The Final Review" features an animation critic who is portrayed as a snob who doesn't like much of anything. Some have theorized that the character, Charles Quibble, could be a parody of animation critic/historian Charles Solomon.
  • Technopath: Z Bot, who is able to merge with mechanical devices.
  • This Is My Side: Lucky draws a line through his and Bonkers' office in the first episode.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: In "Cartoon Cornered", Bonkers turns fully pale and freezes in his tracks while he and Miranda are pursuing Sgt. Grating, who enters Stage 13. Bonkers, knowing that there's something bad behind those doors to that stage, is too petrified to go on any farther.
  • Title Montage: The (technically second) openingnote  features clips from the series. Strangely, it features clips from both the Miranda Wright and Lucky Piquel episodes. One would think there would be a different montage for both sets of episodes.
  • Toon Physics: Entire episodes revolve around this.
    • Case in point - toon bridges. The whole "running through thin air" is a toon bridge, and they stop working the moment the toon acknowledges there's nothing there. Leading to something of a Crowning Moment of Awesome for Lucky (who is notoriously, for a Disney cartoon, bigoted against toons), who chases a suspect across a toon bridge muttering to himself all the way that it's real. It works for him. The moment the villain of the week says "that's impossible" both he and Bonkers (if I remember correctly) fall to the ground (Lucky is standing on a real building).
      • I wouldn't say it's fair to call him "bigoted" (he seems to like them in a general sense) so much as he routinely finds them grating. There was one occasion when they were chasing a suspect through Toon Town when they come to the intersection of Squash and Stretch Streets; he's actually sort of amused by the contortions Bonkers pulls off under their influence. Slightly less so when it turns out to have a similar (but fortunately less extreme) effect on humans.
  • Toon Transformation: When Lucky contracts the "toon flu" from Bonkers he keeps transforming between toon and human, as he's already animated this results in him turning tiny, with a clown nose wearing a lime green outfit, classic toon White Gloves, and the lighter colors that the show uses for toons. Given Lucky's usual exasperation with toons he's less than pleased, especially when he's led to believe it could become permanent.
  • Transforming Mecha: Z Bot, who was shown transforming from robot to car to plane to bike to toaster to robot (the last of which was from a piece of toast launched by said toaster).
  • Turn in Your Badge: Happened to both Bonkers and Lucky at least once each.
  • Two-Episode Pilot: "Going Bonkers"/"Gone Bonkers".
  • Vapor Wear: In "Out Of Sight, Out Of Toon", Lucky gets the toon flu. When he visits Ludwig Von Drake, He is seen wearing what looks like a large t-shirt, that goes down to his knees. During the scene, he shrinks into a tiny toon. During his transformation, for one frame, it is apparent that he isn't wearing any underwear.
  • Wicked Weasel: One-shot villain Wacky Weasel, who has a pretty sweet mullet and was voiced by Rip Taylor.
  • Wild Take: Bonkers springing in mid-air in a horizontal position, his limbs and tail separating from his body, as well as his eyes from his face, when he realizes he's holding a lit bomb in one episode. This scene is featured and included among others from various episodes during the theme song and in the intro.
  • Wrongly Accused: On several occasions.

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alternative title(s): Bonkers
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