Western Animation / Bonkers

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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 based on a Toon Cop character. 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. 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 1995 Oklahoma City bombing (further exacerbated by 9/11, though not the original source of its removal as is commonly believed), 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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Tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Chief Kanifky always addressed Lucky by the incorrect surname of "Pickle" as an example of Kanifky's absent-mindedness.
  • Adorkable: Several toons qualify but Bonkers takes the cake.
  • Agony of the Feet: Occasionally, characters get their feet hurt as a gag.
  • Alien Abduction: "Luna-Toons" has Quark capture Lucky while he's asleep near the end of the episode to prove to his boss that not all Earthlings are crazy.
  • Always Wanted to Say That: In the episode "In Toons We Trust", Bonkers says "Book 'em, Lucko" and then turns to the camera to inform the audience that he always wanted to say that.
  • 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: Bonkers gets hit by an anvil in "Comeback Kid" and "Do Toons Dream of Animated Sheep?".
  • 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 "Tokyo Bonkers", where certain visuals and characters look like they were taken straight from an old anime.
    • 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 Animal: Bonkers and several other characters are anthropomorphic animals who don't wear shoes.
  • Between My Legs: Miranda Wright gets a camera angle between her legs in "Do Toons Dream of Animated Sheep?"
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: One episode was entitled "Trains, Toons, and Toon Trains".
  • Buddy Cop Show: The show is about Bonkers and his human partner solving crimes.
  • 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.
  • Butt Sticker: In the episode "Witless for the Prosecution", Jitters A. Dog at one point gets flattened and stuck to Tanya Trunk's huge rear.
  • 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 in "The Toon That Ate Hollywood", where you can only hear his voice after he falls victim to Gloomy the Clown, and another in "Cartoon Cornered" where he makes a full onscreen appearance and mistakes Sergeant Grating for his stunt double.
    • Clarabelle Cow makes an appearance in "The Stork Exchange" as an employee at the Delivery Stork HQ.
    • A picture depicting Launchpad McQuack can be seen in "What You Read Is What You Get".
  • Captain Obvious: Miranda in "Tokyo Bonkers" when she points out that Bonkers woke up their prisoner Z Bot on the plane.
    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 Suds: 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.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "Tokyo Bonkers", Bonkers is seen fooling around with a music box that he later uses to capture Z Bot.
  • Christmas Episode: "Miracle at the 34th Precinct", which has Santa Claus suffer amnesia with Lucky Piquel tasked with taking Santa's place until things can be resolved.
  • 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.
  • Counting Sheep: Bonkers does this in the episode "Do Toons Dream of Animated Sheep?", only for one of the sheep to start stealing his dreams.
  • 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.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Miranda Wright makes an extended non-speaking cameo as the Chief's uniformed secretary in "Hear No Bonkers, See No Bonkers", which, though animated later, is the fourth episode chronologically.
  • 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. The theme song straight-up explains that Bonkers is a washed-up cartoon star who now makes his living as a cop.
  • Expy: Bonkers and Lucky take a fair amount of inspiration from Roger Rabbit and Eddie Valiant, respectively, so much so that it is often believed this show is the result of a retool from a scrapped Roger Rabbit cartoon, although Word of God says otherwise.
  • 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:
    • "Is Toon Fur Really Warm?" has Seymour, an obese man, frames a toon for his manslaughter just so that he could get free food from a TV chef.
    • Former child actor Babyface from "I Oughta Be In Toons" is obese and attempts to impersonate Mickey Mouse so he can sign a contract enabling him to return to stardom.
    • And Flaps the criminal elephant who wanted to fly.
  • Fat Idiot: Stu, partner of Chick in "Comeback Kid", is pretty husky and a complete moron.
  • 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 once got arrested in the episode "In he Bag" for having no pants on even though he still had shorts on.
  • 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..."
    • The episode "Imagine That" contains two references to profane language. The episode begins with Bonkers freaking out over graffiti of a tree, a mailbox, and a book, which he later clarifies to Lucky has an obscene meaning to toons. Later, the toon pencil causing the graffiti replies to Marilyn's compliment that he's been called many things, specifying only that the things he's been called are things he can't repeat.
    • In "New Partners on the Block", Bonkers uses the word "crapshoot" while describing his relationship with Lucky to Miranda.
    • Ludwig Von Drake is shown to have a pinup on his X-ray machine in "Bobcat Fever".
    • In the episode "CasaBonkers", Bonkers at one point looks underneath the table of a pig woman, which causes her to get angry and hit Bonkers on the head.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Lucky Piquel often has underwear with funny patterns exposes because of Bonkers' antics.
  • 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 gets his crotch stepped on by a sheep who stole his dreams in "Do Toons Dream of Animated Sheep?"
    • In the Raw Toonage short "Ski Patrol", 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: Bonkers, Fall-Apart Rabbit, and others wear shirts, but no pants.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: In the episode "Stressed to Kill", Lucky Piquel accidentally drinks a glass of turpentine.
  • Identity Amnesia: Happens in the episode "Toon for a Day" when Sergeant Grating got hit on the head and thought he was the cartoon character Bucky Buzzsaw.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: In "The Toon That Ate Hollywood", every toon that falls victim to Gloomy the Clown stealing their sense of humor using Ludwig Von Drake's Humorizer ends up bawling their eyes out.
  • Informed Obscenity: "Imagine That" begins with Bonkers freaking out over graffiti depicting a tree, a mailbox, and a book. When Lucky asks why this is such a big deal, Bonkers explains to Lucky that the imagines drawn together mean something foul to toons and whispers the meaning to him. Lucky's response is to apologize for being unintentionally offensive.
  • Informed Species: Winston Prickly, the villain of "Love Stuck", is said to be a porcupine, but he looks nothing like a porcupine and instead looks more like a hairy purple monster.
  • 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 named Rita Lamour.
    • Jitters A. Dog is occasionally shown to be in a relationship with Tanya Trunk, an elephant. They even get married in the Raw Toonage short "Get Me to the Church on Time".
  • Japan Loves Bonkers: In-universe example in Tokyo Bonkers, where Bonkers is shown to be very popular in Japan.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Lucky Piquel often has no patience for Bonkers or his idiocy, but he is an honest cop, has a family he loves dearly, and occasionally shows that he does care about Bonkers.
    • Skunky Skunk from "Is Toon Fur Really Warm?" frequently insults other people and claims that being nice to children in real life can ruin his reputation, but he ultimately makes an appearance at Marilyn's birthday party like Lucky asked.
  • 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 as nuts as his name implies.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Miranda, although rarely seen out of her police uniform, is quite pretty.
    • Fawn Deer is pretty attractive for a toon deer and often appears in fetching wardrobe.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: In "Once in a Blue Toon", Kanifky said:
    Kanifky: Ladies and gentlemen... (in disgusted tone) and yes, members of the press...
  • 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. In addition to characters occasionally saying "killed" or "dead" like it's no big deal, "Is Toon Fur Really Warm?" has someone frame Skunky Skunk for murdering him and homicide is mentioned in "The Good, The Bad, and the Kanifky".
    • Played straight in "Toon for a Day" when Miranda Wright explains to Bonkers why it's a bad thing that Sergeant Grating thinks he's a toon.
    Miranda: He could get hurt...permanently.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: "Tokyo Bonkers" features 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 in "Tokyo Bonkers".
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • Played with; the Mickey Mouse imposter from "I Oughta Be in Toons" doesn't fool anyone else, 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.
    • Subverted in "Frame That Toon", when an old lady instantly sees through Lucky's lederhosen disguise, because only an undercover cop would wear such a riciculous outfit.
    • In "Cereal Surreal", Turbo, Banshee, and Kapow impersonate the Wheat Crunchies mascots Slap, Sniffle, and Pop by wearing masks that have obvious seams on them.
  • 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.
  • Poke the Poodle: In "Once in a Blue Toon", the Louse gloats that he makes phone calls and then hangs up.
  • Protagonist Title: The title refers to Bonkers D. Bobcat.
  • 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 differ in personality, with Bonkers being an eccentric ditz and Lucky and Miranda both being more serious about how they do their jobs,
  • 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 
  • Saving Christmas: The premise of "Miracle on the 34th Precinct", where Lucky Piquel has to fill in for Santa while Bonkers finds the real St. Nick.
  • 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.
    • The Collector's aesthetic seemed to be both this and a Take That towards Don Bluth.
    • The Ninja Kitties from "Tokyo Bonkers" seem to be this to the Samurai Pizza Cats.
    • Ma Parker was named after the real life criminal "Ma Barker", who was leader of a notorious crime family.note 
    • In "Quest for Firewood", Bonkers at one point remarks "Now, what would Fred and Barney do at a time like this?"
    • In "Gobble Gobble Bonkers", Jitters A. Dog introduces Bonkers to the turkeys he has in stock and ends up finding among the turkeys a duck named Howard.
  • Slasher Smile: The Collector has a creepy grin most of the time.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: Level 3.
  • Soap Punishment: Bonkers washes Lucky's mouth with soap in "Imagine That" after he reads aloud graffiti of a tree, a mailbox, and a book, later clarifying that he did so because to toons the three images together meant something profane.
  • 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?"
  • Subbing for Santa: Lucky Piquel is tasked with substituting for Santa when he goes missing in "Miracle on the 34th Precinct".
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Averted, Miranda was Lucky's opposite in pretty much every way, being more trusting of Bonkers and less of a cynical grouch. Basically the only thing they had in common was that they were both hard-working cops with good intentions.
  • 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 from "Tokyo Bonkers", 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.
  • Title Theme Tune: "That's why you're still our star! Because you're Bonkers, Bonkers, Bonkers, Bonkers! Wherever you. Wherever you. Wherever you. Wherever you are!"
  • Toilet Teleportation: One of the final shots of the opening sequence shows Bonkers D. Bobcat getting flushed down a toilet, essentially "exiting" the intro.
  • 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 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 fall to the ground (Lucky is standing on a real building).
  • 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 from "Tokyo Bonkers", 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", while created after the Miranda episodes, serves as the beginning of the series and explains how Bonkers went from being a cartoon actor to working as a cop.
  • 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.
  • Who Even Needs a Brain?: Fall Apart Rabbit experiences a mix between types three and four in "Stressed to Kill". His brain falls out with no ill effects, and the brain in question turns out to be a peanut.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Mickey Mouse is featured in the episode "I Oughta Be in Toons", but because the television rights to Disney's most prominent characters were limited at the time, Mickey is only seen as a shadow in the beginning of the episode and spends the rest of the episode locked inside a pet carrier. In addition, he isn't addressed by name and is only referred to as "the mouse" or "the most famous toon in the world". Oddly enough, this didn't prevent Mickey Mouse from being mentioned by name in other episodes.
  • Wrongly Accused: On several occasions.
  • Yes Virginia: "Miracle on the 34th Precinct" has Marilyn Piquel's concerned doubts of Santa Claus's existence as a plot point. She finds her doubts unfounded when she sees both her dad and the real Santa at her house.
  • Your Television Hates You: Happens to Lucky Piquel in "Stressed to Kill" when he experiences anxiety over his difficulty in capturing the Mole and hallucinates that every television channel talks about moles and features characters that resemble the Mole.

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