Western Animation / Cyberchase

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Cyberchasenote  is an Edutainment Show that has so far aired on PBS from 2002 to 2015 for ten seasons.

The series revolves around a trio of kids, Jackie, Inez, and Matt, and their robotic bird friend (known as a "cyboid") Digit, who go Inside The Internet. They have been called upon by Motherboard to help defend and repair Cyberspace from the evil schemes of The Hacker, who is not a playful one, or even human, but an evil cyborg whose goal is to conquer all of Cyberspace and spread chaos. The Hacker used to be Motherboard's assistant; however, he tried to destroy her by downloading a virus into her. Luckily, her firewall was able to stop the damage from being too severe, but still left her in a weakened state, thus forcing her to recruit Jackie, Matt, and Inez from Earth to help defend Cyberspace.

Most episodes involve the children traveling to a unique "Cybersite" (a planet-like body in Cyberspace) to thwart the Hacker's latest scheme. The original general Story Arc involved the kids trying to retrieve a new and rare Encryptor Chip (a device of Motherboard's destroyed by Hacker's virus, that would enable her to completely recover). Recent seasons have shifted focus to Hacker trying to reverse his decayed villain image, and a newer villain, Ledge, trying to usurp Hacker's spot as the top villain in Cyberspace.

On PBS airings, the episodes end with a live-action segment (called "Cyberchase For Real"), where a pair of recurring characters (Harry and Bianca) and their recurring nemeses (Harley and Sleazé) demonstrate how the episode's math lesson can be used in their own lives.

Character sheet currently in construction.

After a 3 year hiatus, the series premiered its ninth season in November 2013. The episodes for this season focused on environmental and ecological themes.


Includes examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The crab prince's friends are identified as Stringie and Bow in the captioning and nowhere else.
  • Big Damn Movie: The Cyberchase Movie.
  • Big Good: Motherboard is essentially the god of cyberspace. Unfortunately, her position has been somewhat compromised.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Inez being called "short" or "tiny".
    • Inez being called "Nezzie," although this usually only applies to Matt.
      Matt: "Okay, okay Nezzie!"
      Inez: "Don't call me Nezzie...Matthew."
    • Matt, whenever Slider shows him up.
  • Batman Gambit: Hacker bids against the kids for the Encryptor Chip at an auction, but the kids manage to take it. Then they find out that Hacker modified the chip to infect Motherboard, replacing her with a copy of himself.
  • Butt Monkey: Harry in the Cyberchase for Real sketches. Toned down in the later seasons.
  • Captain Ersatz: Shari Spotter and Professor Stumblesnore.
  • Catch Phrase: Jackie's "Make room! I gotta pace!" when she needs to think.
    • Not to mention her "Am I having a moment, or...?"
    • And who could forget "Ew! Ew! And double EW!"
    • Inez's "This is not good. This is not good at all!"
    • Also, Hacker's "That's THE Hacker to you!"
    • Buzz and Delete take turns with "The Boss isn't going to be happy about this!"
  • Continuity Nod: Lots of recurring characters and the story arcs that are actually present always reference earlier ones.
  • Cosmopolitan Council: The bad guys Motherboard invited to Control Central in "The Case of the Missing Memory"
  • Cowardly Lion: Digit acts the most freaked out about everything in general, yet still plows headlong into dangerous situations when needed.
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Slider's father Coop. He had to go on the run from Hacker and couldn't put his son in danger.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Delete got to have at least one in the Fairy Borg Father.
  • Dead Hat Shot: Played With in the odds episode, as the Hacker is deceived in this manner. When Matt's yo-yo outside one of two doors, the Hacker believes the Cybersquad had been launched into cyberspace and chooses to go through the other door. He winds up getting launched into cyberspace instead as the protagonists watch from a safe distance before admitting they were merely guessing which door would launch the unlucky opener into cyberspace at random.
  • Depending on the Writer: Is Hacker's wig gel used for styling his wig or gluing it to his head? Does it come in cubes or a tube? Considering what Hacker's like, this inconsistency might actually make sense.
    • Magnetite has this on certain occasions. While we're told the stuff has varying effects on cyber citizens, in at least one episode, it has the effect of making any cyber citizen that isn't Digit fall asleep. However, the Magnetite in that episode was a different color than the Magnetite that first appeared, so Magnetite may come in different varieties.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Hacker does this during a racing challenge and a cooking challenge. However, during the latter competition, it ends up backfiring on him since the last part of the competition doesn't allow cellphone service so he can simply have someone else make the souffle for him.
  • Dilating Door: In the episode where the Cybersquad meets Ava, the very impractical door that they use to get into the factory.
  • Disappeared Dad: Slider's father Coop. Eventually fixed when the Cybersquad helps Slider rescue him.
  • Disembodied Eyebrows: Part of the design for all the characters and especially evident in the non-humanoid ones.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: On a few occasions, Digit will be restricted from flying. Notably, he is the first to fall victim to Hackerization, which would naturally prevent him from shutting off the device at the top of a mountain.
  • Easily Conquered World: Cyberspace is typically in danger of being conquered by Hacker. On one occasion, he didn't even need to lift a finger in order to conquer cybernates. Nowadays, more villains have threatened to take over Cyberspace such as Wicked or Ledge.
  • Enemy Mine: The final episode of season 8 has the Cybersquad teaming up with Hacker to defeat Ledge.
  • Exposed to the Elements:
    • Inez and Jackie. In certain episodes when they travel to very cold or snowy cybersites, both girls are well protected at least from the waist up, but Inez still wears shorts. And if you thought that was bad, Jackie still wears an even tinier skirt, which leaves the majority of her legs open to freezing temperatures!
    • Even Cyber-citizens have this too sometimes.
  • Expy: Anyone who's watched Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog will notice how similar Hacker is to Robotnik. They're both the Large Ham Big Bads of their respective series, and Hacker's lackeys are also expies of Scratch and Grounder.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Before the events of the pilot, Hacker turned against Motherboard.
  • Fake Defector: Almost every (if not all the) time that Digit goes back to Hacker's side. Similarly Delete has claimed he wants to join the heroes on a couple of occasions; it's never true and usually a trap.
  • Fantastic Measurement System: The show occasionally refers to distances or lengths in "cybermiles" and "cyberinches", and weights in "cybergrams". However, the occasional mention of "inches", "meters", etc. (without the "cyber-" prefix) is seen.
  • Fat and Skinny: Buzz (short and stout) and Delete (thin)
  • Foreshadowing: The events of "Hackerized" don't seem so out of the blue when you remember that it was repeatedly shown that the Earthlings can eat and drink various food stuffs in Cyberspace.
  • Grim Up North: The Hacker's home is the Northern Frontier.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Happens frequently so. One of the later episodes featured several of the most recent characters teaming up with the regular Cybersquad, effectively tripling the cast. They had to be divided into multiple teams to defeat Hacker's challenges.
  • Harmless Villain: Buzz and Delete aren't very dangerous despite Buzz being fairly intelligent. Hacker himself has these moments from time and time.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Digit used to be one of Hacker's henchmen along with Buzz and Delete but he left Hacker and joined the heroes' side after he betrayed Motherboard.
  • Home Field Advantage: In one episode, the gang visits Radopolis and compete in a skate-off with the villains, where they find themselves losing at first because the competition rink is different from the practice rink due to Hacker's villainous meddling.
  • Identity Amnesia: Hacker in "Raising the Bar." He gets better.
  • Idiot Hero: Matt, at times, though it's more a result of his recklessness than him actually not being bright.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Inverted with the Hacker. Just look at that thing.
  • Large Ham: Hacker. Jackie also has a habit of announcing that they're "DOOMED!" very loudly.
    Jackie: Cyberspace is doomed, doomed I tell you, DOOOOO-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOO-OOMED!
  • Leitmotif: Listen for a soft techno beat when the kids go into educational mode. Familiar to those with dial-up Internet.
    • The victory theme.
    • Crisis Zone.
    • Buzz and Delete's theme.
  • Lots of Luggage: One of the Cyberchase For Real segments had Bianca going camping with her friend. The friend mocks her for taking three bags. Bianca says it's nothing, only for the friend to open one bag and remove a sequined party dress.
  • Lucky Rabbit's Foot: One episode had Hacker attempting to kidnap a rabbit to complete his lucky charm collection.
  • MacGuffin: the Encryptor Chip, at least in the early seasons. Some episodes or arcs will have specific items that the heroes need to obtain to resolve the plot.
  • Mass Hypnosis: Part of Wicked's plot in "A Broom of One's Own".
    • In "Spellbound", she casts a spell on all the citizens of Pompadoria to make them adore her and do whatever she says.
  • Mook–Face Turn: Digit used to work for Hacker, but joins Motherboard's side when he learns of Hacker's evil doings.
  • The Movie: Season 9 featured The Cyberchase Movie, a two-part, hour-long special in which the Cybersquad learn about the importance of living space in animals' habitats. They also re-encounter Dr. Marbles; and yes, they once again get the better of Hacker.
  • Never Say "Die"
    Digit: Excuse me! We're talkin' life and d- you know what here!
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Digit idolized the current champion of "The Fearless Chef" (a cross over between Iron Chef and The Amazing Race) but when Jackie and Inez tried to rescue him after he was kidnapped, he was quickly revealed as a bit of a Jerkass. And a coward.
  • The Napoleon: Inez does not take kindly to being called small or any of its synonyms.
    • Interestingly in an episode about proportion, she has no problem whatsoever with calling herself the smallest (the kids were comparing footprints).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the very first episode, "Lost your Marbles", we learn that it was the kids' attempt to use a library map that allowed Hacker to breach Motherboard's defenses.
    • After Hacker's first attempt to destroy Motherboard, Dr. Marbles elected to banish him to the Northern Frontier rather than decommission him. This would come back to bite them all back later when Hacker returned with the virus that crippled Motherboard.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: In the episode featuring Merlin's Maze, a letter from Matt Sherri finds really from Hacker has three, all of which are pointed out after the fact: 1) Matt hates his full name so he'd never sign anything as "Matthew", 2) being your average 11-year-old boy, he would never sign anything with a heart and 3) he has no idea what Merlin's Maze is or where it is.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Hacker often uses transparent disguises to trick the protagonists.
  • Pet the Dog: Anytime Hacker decides to show he has a heart.
  • Pig Latin: In "Codename: Icky" when Matt (attempts) to use a code to talk to Inez and Jackie; Hacker quickly proves he understands it just fine, forcing them to try something else.
  • Putting On My Thinking Cap: Jackie paces, Inez does a headstand, Matt plays with his yo-yo. Occasionally, Digit's little ball floating above his head will flash.
  • Put on a Bus: Dr. Marbles was extremely prominent in the first few seasons, but his last appearance was in the sixth season, and he hasn't appeared at all in the last two.
  • Race Against the Clock: Notice how in nearly every episode the kids had to stop Hacker within a particular amount of time?
  • Recycled In Space: ReBoot... WITH EDUCATION!
  • Running Gag: Hacker's wig gel, all of the Earth kids' catchphrases, Wicked's jealousy, Sam Vander Rom and Erica Ram.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
    • Inez is about as sesquipedalian as a nine-year old can get.
    • Creech can get like this too. In fact, it's how they met in the Tikiville race episode. Matt and Jackie decided to make fun of Inez's vocabulary which led to her quitting the Cybersquad temporarily and working with Creech for most of Creech's introduction episode.
    • Buzz and Delete in "Trading Places" when they're made extra-smart.
  • She's Not My Girlfriend: In Sherri's introduction episode, she refers to Inez and Jackie as Matt's girlfriends. He's quick to say that no; no they're not.
  • Shout-Out: Swipe is reported to have stolen the ram from King Ramalamadingdong and the dip from Queen Dipdedipdedip, both references to "Who Put the Bomp" by Barry Mann.
    • Mr. Zero laments that people think he is a nowhere man.
    • In "Hugs and Witches" Digit exclaims that the world he and the Cybersquad are currently on is scary and that he keeps waiting for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to show up.
    Inez: Uh, they were the same person, Didge.
    • The title/cybersite of Episode 2, as well as Motherboard's statement "Here's lookin' at you, kids" is a Shout-Out to Casablanca
    • In the episode "Send in the Clones", Hacker tells Delete's clones to go forth and multiply.
    • Let's not forget that in the very first episode, when Motherboard introduces herself to the kids, Inez responds with, "Yeah and I'm Xena: Warrior Princess." Also in the same episode, the kids end up on an island and Matt doesn't know where to go. Inez asks if someone will please just vote her off this island. Jackie replies, telling Inez not to worry because they have a way to survive.
    • Shari Spotter and Professor Stumblesnore; also the episode title "Harriet Hippo and the Mean Green"
    • Ada Lovelace → Lady Ada Byron Lovelace
    • "The Borg of the Ring"
    • In "The Poddleville Case", Jackie remarks that Poddleville looks like "Jane Jetson meets Martha Stewart."
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Well, Buzz is shorter and smarter than Delete, but neither of them are smart compared to the other characters. Additionally, Inez is The Smart Guy of the the three main characters and the smallest (but she doesn't like being reminded of that), but in this case, all of them are smart.
  • Sixth Ranger: Slider, who appears occasionally with the others.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Falls firmly on the idealistic side, with occasional forays into cynic territory for about 5 minutes.
  • Speak in Unison: In "A Broom of One's Own", Wicked's brainwashed army says "Wicked is our leader, we do what she says" in unison very often.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": "That's "The Hacker" to you!" Serves as one of the page quotes.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Try as they might, the Cybersquad are never able to get the cure for Motherboard's virus, which is a necessary Plot Device to keep the show going. The debilitating effects of the virus were the reason that Motherboard had to recruit the Cybersquad to help her; and if Motherboard got cured, then she wouldn't need to summon her "Earthlies" to Cyberspace anymore.
    • Immediately after major events (like Hacker taking control from Motherboard for a time), everything goes straight back to the kids foiling Hacker's plans.
    • In addition, Hacker's been the recipient of any number of misfortunes following the destruction of his plans - he's suffered potent viruses, been blasted off into Cyberspace, even bewitched good by Wicked - yet at the beginning of each new episode, he's somehow exactly back to normal.
  • Strawman Political:: Matt tries this when Hacker goes up for election. It doesn't end too well.
  • Summon Everyman Hero: Three Earth kids sent Inside The Internet.
  • Tempting Fate: From "Return to Sensible Flats":
    Buzz: Hey, Boss! An angry mob is coming this way fast!
    Hacker: Relax, you neurotic numbskull! It would take a herd of wild buffalo to knock down that gate!
    (A herd of wild buffalo knock down the gate)
    Delete: Did you say "buffalo", boss?
    Hacker: Zip it.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Except in this case, it's made up of two girls and one boy.
  • Totally Radical: Radopolis's hat.
    • More. If you read the kids' profiles Matt's favorite music is "anything by Will Smith". Seriously?
    • Basically, this show is from the early 2000s and it shows.
  • Up the Real Rabbit Hole: Cybercitizens will call Earth "the real world" and it's kind of logical in a way. Since they're generally in the company of or are speaking to Earthlings when they do this, it is the real world to those same Earthlings and they wouldn't want to confuse them. Possibly a case of Pandering To The Audience.
  • Vetinari Job Security: The reason why Motherboard needs Doctor Marbles so badly? He's the only one that can fix her, providing the Ultimate Job Security. Not that this prevents him being Put on a Bus...
    • In one episode, the drum player from one of the best bands on Mount Olympus was kidnapped and convinced by Hacker that he'd be better appreciated as a solo act. The rest of the team were already thinking of of dumping him, as they didn't think that he added anything to the band. Turned out, he was the most important member, since he seems to be the only one who can keep the proper rhythm pattern (the day's lesson) and without him, the music was awful. The band player is eventually convinced to come back and he reunites with his bandmates, who finally realize how important he is.
  • Villain Decay: After running for so many years and having Hacker defeated so many times by the kids, this eventually was lampshaded heavily into the show that Hacker is now trying to renew his evil image because no one in Cyberspace is afraid of him anymore. Their new plotline involves a humanoid borg named Ledge trying to outsmart him as a villain; Ledge being Hacker's former fan until becoming disillusioned when Hacker dismissed him for his failure.
  • Wily Walrus: Walter is a crafty prankster walrus who guards the Ice Palace. He stalls the marching penguins and refuses to let them enter unless they solve a problem.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/Cyberchase