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Western Animation: Dexter's Laboratory

Enter at your own peril,
past the bolted door
Where impossible things may happen
That the world's never seen before!

One of Cartoon Network's earliest original series, Dexter's Laboratory originated as one of the World Premiere Toons, a series of short cartoons solicited through a contest for nonprofessional animators. (The Powerpuff Girls was also brought in through this contest, and note that the two shows seem to take place in the same universe, and seem to share similar styles. Craig McCracken and Genndy Tartakovsky collaborated on both shows.)

Dexter is a very young scientist with a Central European accent, thick-rimmed glasses and a gigantic laboratory in his bedroom. For all his genius, Dexter is never able to keep his sister, Dee Dee, out of his lab.

Do NOT confuse with that other Dexter; much tragedy will come of it. Well, some tragedy.

This show follows a fairly standard "Three Shorts" format, with a Dexter cartoon at the start and end, and another series in between. Throughout its run, this slot was filled by spinoff series Dial M for Monkey and Justice Friends, both of these Super Hero parodies. Dial M For Monkey followed Dexter's eponymous pet monkey, who fought aliens and monsters behind Dexter's back. The Justice Friends provided a domestic sitcom take on The Avengers, exploring the apartment life shared by three superheroes who fight crime better than they get along as roommates. Outside the US the filler shows were sometimes dropped and the Dexter cartoons shown in a different order.

There's a Wiki.

Dexter's Laboratory provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Mandark to Dee Dee; the giant eyed girl from "Aye Eye Eyes" to Dexter.
  • Absentee Actor: Dexter doesn't appear in "Paper Route Bout", which is instead focused on Dee Dee.
  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: While Dexter's mom is never implied to be old, in "Chess Mom" we discover that she won the "Spirit of '83" award. Assuming she won this as a senior in high school, and Dexter is 10 when the show started in 1996, this would mean that mom had Dexter when she was 21. And this was her 2nd child.
  • Abusive Parents: Mandark's parents. While they're not the worst examples of the trope, they aren't very supportive of Mandark's love for science, and they gave him a name ( Susan) that would subject him to a lot of ridicule from other kids.
  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: At least with respect to US pronunciation. "Dee Dee, get out of my laBORatory!" True to his crazy accent, however, that is how "laboratory" is pronounced in most places outside the US.
  • Accidental Athlete: "Sports a Poppin" has Dexter's dad trying to teach Dexter to be more athletic. While Dexter fails at traditional sports he demonstrates great athleticism at the end of the episode when fighting a giant monster outside his Dad's field of view.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Dexter finally manages to one-up Dee Dee in the episode "sdrawkcaB."
    • Their parents would also get episodes like this entitled, appropriately enough A Dad Cartoon and A Mom Cartoon. They also get similar treatment in episodes like "Dad is Disturbed" and "World's Greatest Mom".
    • In a real-life example, a kid named Tyler Samuel Lee won a contest that aired an episode he wrote, entitled "Dexter And Computress Get Mandark"
    • Mandark gets an episode like this in "Sun, Surf and Science", in which he competes in a surfing contest to impress Dee Dee, using science to create his own surfboard and to sabotage the contest with mines and robotic sharks. Dexter, incidentally, does not appear in this episode at all.
  • Adult Fear: "Misplaced in Space" has Dexter trapped in an alien prison where nobody speaks his language and he has no idea how to get home.
  • Affectionate Parody: The episodes "Mock 5", "Trapped With a Vengeance", "Dee Dee's Room", "Game Over", "The Golden Diskette", "G.I.R.L. Squad"... there are a few. There was a episode where Dexter became an exchange student in Japan that poked fun at mecha, super sentai, and kaiju films. Then there are the Action Hank and Pony Puff Princess franchises, and the entire Justice Friends cast. The Koosalagoopagoop episodes were also a send-up of Don Bluth movies, even getting Dom Deluise, a recurring actor in his films, to star in them.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Dee Dee (plus her racially diverse friends Mimi and Lee Lee). They provide the trope image.
  • All Work vs. All Play: Played with with Dexter and Dee Dee (respectively All Work and All Play), where there would be episodes where Dexter would be more relaxed like DeeDee, or DeeDee more work-minded like Dexter only to turn back at the end. Status Quo Is God or an Aesop of being yourself?
    • Sometimes averted in certain episodes, as Dexter frequently worries about normal things for a boy his age, such as his favorite television heroes, and being liked by the neighborhood kids.
  • Almighty Janitor: "Yohnny the Yanitor" from the episode "Trapped With a Vengeance".
  • Always Someone Better: Mandark
  • Animated Series
  • Animesque: The girl in "Aye Eye Eye" has enormous anime-style eyes, there's an entire tribute to mechs, kaiju, and other anime tropes when Dexter goes to Japan and accidentally unleashes a giant monster, and in the newer seasons, there's a villain drawn in an anime style... while everyone else remains the same-looking.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Inverted; Dee Dee is an annoying older sibling.
  • Arch-Enemy: Mandark
  • Art Evolution: The art style changed some over the course of the series (early episodes and later episodes have different model designs) but once Genndy's involvement with the series ended, the series took a very dramatic stylistic change, with far cleaner lines, for starters. (just compare this with this)
    • Dee-Dee had thicker eyebrowes and seemed to lack a chin in the first few episodes.
  • Artistic License: The episode where Dexter travels to Mars, where Dee-Dee gets covered in Martial soil to no ill effect. And can breathe in space.
  • Art Shift: The animation for the outside sequences in "Snowdown" is an Homage to Calvin and Hobbes.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: In the episode "Last But Not Beast".
  • Author Appeal: Tartakovsky seems to have a thing for classic Super Robot anime.
  • The B Grade: Not a B, but an A minus in "Sister Mom". Dexter didn't want Mom to know so he used one of his inventions to turn Dee Dee into Mom for the conference. Dee Dee was furious when she found out and at Dexter and the teacher made a big deal out of this. She thought it was something more serious. Then Dexter tells her he wouldn't even have gotten that A minus if his "stupid sister" would stop bothering him all the time.
  • Badass Adorable: Monkey, who is considered to be one of the Dexterverse top superheroes.
  • Badass Beard:
    • Action Hank. Noted in one episode where Dexter creates a synthetic beard to make himself look more "rugged", and is confused for Action Hank (despite looking nothing like him) because of the beard. They later team up to fight beard-themed villains. "It's not the beard on the outside that counts, but the beard on the INSIDE."
    • And in "Ego Trip" Future Badass Dexter has one.
  • Badass Family: Dexter may have a pretty screwed up family at times, but when they work together, they're the definition of Bad Ass. Case in point, the army and all the world's superheroes (including Monkey) were completely powerless against Badaxtra. Dexter's family united, got a Combining Mecha, flew to Japan, and managed to kill him. They've even got a theme song!.
    • One of the reboot episodes dealt with the entire family being kidnapped by a massive Alien who wanted to steal Dexters scientific knowledge. The family ends up breaking out of imprisonment, take down the aliens minions and save Dexter.
  • Bad Future: The main conflict in Ego Trip. Mandark takes over the world using one of Dexter's inventions and hordes all knowledge and science for himself, deliberately forcing the populace to live in indigent, primitive poverty and stupidity. Dexter and his various future selves put a stop to it, ultimately constructing a gloriously Zee Rust techno-paradise. At first, the various Dexters try to prevent it from ever happening, but they end up creating a Stable Time Loop ensuring that it's going to happen again and again.
    • Oh, and why did the Stable Time Loop happen? Because Dee Dee was actually the one to put a stop to it, and their egos just couldn't let that go.
  • Bad Humor Truck: In the Episode "Ice Cream Scream".
  • Bald of Awesome: Dexter in the Bad Future.
  • Beat the Curse Out of Him: Dexter's family is possessed by parasitic aliens in one episode, and he has to pummel is family members until the parasites release their control.
  • Berserk Button: Dexter's future self the scrawny, weak, and cowardly D22, you can beat and push him around, you can insult him and break his spirit, but whatever you do do not break his glasses.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: You do not want to see Dexter's father angry. Same with his mother.
    Did you say... snowballs?
    • And God help you if you make Dee Dee seriously angry.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Dexter has a humongous lab so big that there are some parts of it Dexter has forgotten about, yet it is somehow able to fit in the closed-off space of his relatively small house. Sometimes this is Hand Waved as the lab being underground, but this doesn't make a whole lot of sense either, since Dexter often walks directly into it from his second-floor bedroom.
    • The Musical Episode "Lab-Ret-O" implies that Dexters lab may be located in some sort of pocket dimension located behind a certain wall of the house.
    • Parodied in an episode where Dexter shrinks the house to observe it inside his lab, leaving Dexter's lab of normal size on the inside, but a disembodied door on the outside.
    • Also parodied in an episode where Dexter draws a map of the house. Guess which is the smallest room.
  • Big "NO!": Dexter, numerous times. Including the scene where he's surrounded by cooties.
    • In "Jeepers Creepers, Where is Peepers," the transforming Peepers yells this when he sees Dexter and Koosalagoopagoop being attacked by Hokochu (or rather Hookocho) before breaking out of his container.
    • The Ice Cream Man, after Dexter asks if he's got change for a hundred. This is after the Ice Cream Man explains that he hates Dexter for paying in pennies.
  • Big Red Button: "Ooh! What does THIS button do?"
  • Boredom Montage: In "Space Case", after the aliens kidnap Dee Dee, Dexter has one of these in his lab.
  • Brought Home the Wrong Kid: Dexter invokes this when he find an Identical Stranger with parents who are science geniuses like him. They swap temporarily and the parents never know the difference (despite the kids looking quite distinct from each other).
  • Broken Aesop: In "Star Spangled Sidekicks" Dee Dee is chosen over Dexter to be Major Glory's sidekick despite the latter having better combat skills and weaponry. The lesson is supposed to be that it takes more than skills to be a superhero;it also takes heart. However when Major Glory's actual arch nemesis show up for a fight, it is only thanks to Dexter looking out for his sister that they were able to win, otherwise she would have easily been destroyed. And Dee Dee ends up taking all the credit anyway.
    • Though in a Karmic twist Dexter's selfless actions indirectly make Dee Dee pass up the position which ends up being given to the Heroic Wannabe "Fat Boy" who perhaps showed heart as well.
  • Bumbling Dad: Dexter's dad.
  • Butt Monkey: Who else? Dexter.
    • Especially his backbone-lacking teenage/young adult self in "Ego Trip", who works for Mandark designing cubicles in the future.
  • Cain and Abel: Parodied in "Dollhouse Drama".
  • Call Back: Like the name implies, "Dee Dee's Rival" at least starts out as a scene-for-scene remake of "Dexter's Rival," appropriate considering the latter introduced the show's default Big Bad Mandark and the former introduces his sister.
    • In addition to his Giant Robot, the Giant Dexo-Robo, showing up prominently in several eps, his power frame (first called the "Dextransformer" then later the "Exerjock 4000") from the early first season dodgeball episode reappears in three late season 2 eps, the first one ("Gooey Aliens That Control Your Mind") specifically mentioning the "dodgeball incident" (and including a sweep pan over a room of previous episodes' inventions).
    • Dexter brings back his "Dex-Star" identity from "Sidekicks Assemble" to fight alongside Blue Falcon and Dynomutt.
    • A meta-example in that the second act of "Last But Not Beast" features Monkey and the Justice Friends fighting the kaiju, just as they were the second cartoon short in the first season.
  • Calling Your Attacks: When Deedee and Dexter get turned into monsters, they both call their attacks when fighting each other.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Mandark, after going through a combination of Diminishing Villain Threat and Flanderization.
  • Cartoony Eyes
  • Catch Phrase: Dee Dee's "Ooooh, what does THIS button do?"
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: A machine factory, complete with Golden Diskettes in order to enter and singing, and owned by a guy who is most certainly not Stephen Hawking.
  • The Chew Toy: Dexter, sometimes. Though he has nothing on the ice-cream man in "Ice Cream". Turns out ever since Dexter bought ice cream from him, and paid him in pennies, a series of unfortunate events had happened to him since, including chipping his tooth while trying to put them in the safe due to tripping on his laces after counting them, dumped by his girlfriend, having his car towed away, getting kicked out of his apartment and being forced to live under a highway because of this one act.
    • And to add insult to injury, once the Ice Cream Man forgives Dexter and allows him to purchase ice cream, Dexter pays the Ice Cream Man with a 100 dollar bill.
  • Child Prodigy: Dexter and Mandark. Dexter could even be called a baby prodigy; he was making scientific-sounding obvservations about his family and his house when they got back from the hospital the night he was born. And DeeDee, for all her kookiness, is a really good dancer. She can dodge lasers while doing ballet!
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Mandark's sister Olga (Lalavava) appears in one episode as a rival to Dee Dee and is never seen again.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Dee Dee.
  • Clown Car: One episode shows a single, comically tall clown coming out of a comically undersized clown car, eventually biting Dexter.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Rude Removal", the episode made as a joke by the staff and not seen outside of event panels until Adult Swim briefly put the episode on its YouTube channel and web site. The episode consisted of Dee Dee and Dexter creating evil twins of themselves, after Dexter makes a "Rude Removal" device. The episode consists of their twins cursing.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Mee-Mee and Lee-Lee (Dee-Dee's friends) wear green and purple versions of her outfit.
  • Combining Mecha: Dexter builds one in Last But Not Beast to battle Bedaxtra, which requires the help of his family to use.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: DC Comics put out 34 issues from 1999 to 2003. After that more stories were made for Cartoon Network Block Party (2004-2009), also from DC. IDW Publishing launched a new series in 2014.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Dexter's mom always wears gloves due to being a germaphobe. This was explained in one episode.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: This happened to Dexter in the episode "The Old Switcharooms".
  • Crapsack World: The (third) future in "Ego Trip".
  • Creepy Child: One falls in love with Dexter in "Aye, Aye, Eye".
  • Crisis Crossover: Last But Not Beast had the Dexter and Monkey segments connected via the giant monster destroying Japan. The Monkey segment even skips its usual opening credits to continue the story.
  • Cross Over: Dexter, Justice Friends and Monkey with each other, but also one episode with Dynomutt Dog Wonder.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Dexter's dad.
  • Cryptid Episode: There's both a Bigfoot episode and a Chupacabra episode.
  • Curious as a Monkey
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Dad defeating the massive Earl at arm wrestling, with a little help from Dexter.
  • Deconstructive Parody: The episode where Dexter tries out different superpowers.
  • Depending on the Writer: Sometimes Dee Dee is an insufferable Scrappy who causes nothing but deliberate pain for Dexter, while other times she's a sweet girl who cares for her brother and either helps him or is innocently unaware of the trouble she causes him.
    • That said, this is quite justified, as anyone with brothers or sisters will tell you. Even in the show, Dexter would be overly spiteful towards Dee Dee, or be just plain petty for little to no reason at all. However, there was also a few times where he'd show compassion towards Dee Dee and right any wrongs that happened to her. Yeah, that's sibling rivalry for you.
      • To show you just how valid the above two points are, watch the "Down in the dumps" episode. It did a pretty good job of showing Dex's and Dee Dee's positive and negative personality traits.
    • Mandark can either be a hammy and morally ambiguous rival to Dexter, or genuinely villainous.
    • Dexter can go from being woobie to an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, sometimes even within the same episode.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: At one point, Dexter gets so fed up with Dee Dee, he holds interviews to get a replacement. He winds up hiring a vixen who he can't do any work around.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Played for laughs on "Bad Cable Manners", where Dexter managed to steal satellite TV, since his dad couldn't do it. Turned Up to Eleven when the "Satellite Swat", aware of the situation, came out to arrest Dexter's Dad.
    "Mr. Dexter's Dad. We're well aware of your current situation. piracy of our satellite broadcast is a felony. This is your last warning. Legal action will be taken".
  • Disappointed In Myself: Present-day Dexter with Young Adult Dexter in "Ego Trip". Not only would he be working in a cubicle at an office run by Mandark, but he would also be a complete wimp. Upon meeting him, Dexter voices how upset he is to discover what he would become and that his future self denies his high intelligence and brilliance in revolutionary inventions. This is explained through Hero Dexter who reveals that Mandark used his plans to build himself up and ruin Dexter's credibility.
  • The Ditz: Dee Dee.
    • Genius Ditz: There are rare moments when Dee Dee shows a surprising level of insight.
  • Ditzy Genius: Dexter fits the bill, hands down. He can create time machines, sentient robots, and interdimensional portals, but in "Maternal Combat," he is utterly incapable of taking care of himself for a single day while his mom is sick. He doesn't know how to cook (having never heard of flour), and is is amazed at the sight of dust. Let's not forget that he's also gullible, and in the episode where he gets chicken pox, he literally has no idea what chicken pox is.
  • Do Not Call Me Susan: Mandark.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Muffin Episode. Drug addiction or sex (muff-a-holic?) addiction, take your pick.
  • Don't Ask:
    • In "Sister Mom", Dexter and "Mom" (a disguised Dee Dee) attend a conference with the school principal. When the principal's secretary calls them into the office, "Mom" joyously dances around singing "Dexter is in trouble!"; Dex shoots the secretary a sideways glance and says "Don't ask!" in a flat, annoyed tone of voice.
    • In "Dexter's Debt", Dexter's Dad asks the mailman about his day. The mailman tells Dexter's Dad not to ask and Dexter's Dad says it's too late because he already did.
  • Downer Ending: In one episode Dexter and Mandark fail to stop an asteroid from destroying the world due their refusal to work together. The two fail to notice this, still bickering inside their mechs in outer space. Thankfully, that doesn't mean much here.
    • The ending of "The Way of Dee-Dee" is pretty sad as well, with Dee-Dee's attempt to get Dexter to enjoy himself end with Dexter wrecking his own lab, and Dee-Dee apologizing to him for trying to change him, and running to her room in tears. The last scene is Dexter noticing the destruction he caused and quietly working to repair his lab. It's one of the few genuine Tear Jerkers in the show.
    • "The Big Cheese" ends with Dexter, possibly permanently, only able to say "Omlette du fromage," locked out of his lab, which is then blown up completely while Dee-Dee mocks him.
    • Possibly the ultimate example of this is "Ewww, That's Growth". Dexter, having grown himself grotesquely tall in order to ride a roller coaster, approaches a tunnel. He proclaims that this is the greatest day of his entire life. His head hits the tunnel, quick cut to black, the end. Implication being that Dexter actually died.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Episode 32: "Dexter Detention".
    • The new Phys-Ed teacher, who forces Dexter to compete in the most brutal sport of all: DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODGE. BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALL.
  • Dumb Blonde: Dee Dee... though she has her moments.
  • Dumb Is Good: Dee Dee is generally more laid back, more sensible (sometimes), and cheerful than her brother.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?
  • Dysfunctional Family: Dexter's.
  • Eggshell Clothing: Dee Dee really spoofed this.
  • Elaborate Underground Base
  • Eldritch Abomination: The monster in "Dee-Dimensional" definitely counts.
    • The interdimensional beast "Jojo" in "Mandarker". He apparently helped Mandark write the book The Magic of Science by Mandark and Jojo, but when Mandark summons him as part of a science fair project, he goes berserk and tries to eat Dee Dee.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Mandark's parents named him Susan. This drove him to villainy in the the later episodes in his retconned backstory.
  • Emergency Broadcast
  • Ending Theme: Narrated by Mako, no less!
  • Enfant Terrible: Dexter's dad, apparently, when he and Dexter's mom turned into toddlers. During that time, Dexter's dad took pleasure at beating up Dexter's mom as a baby. Using Dexter's inventions to torture her.
  • Epic Fail: In the Justice Friends episode "Bee Ware", the Justice Friends get defeated and scared out of their apartment by a bumblebee.
  • Everything's Worse with Bees: The basis of the episode "Bee Ware", where a Bumblebee flies into the Justice Friends apartment, and they try and fail to get it out. The bee itself doesn't even do much harm, but Major Glory is terrified of it, and Kronk gets mad at it when he tries to catch it in his hands and it stings him.
  • Evil Chef: In the episode where Dexter ended up teamed up with Action Hank, one of these was the main villain.
  • Evil Twin: Parodied in "Dollhouse Drama", which is also a parody of the Soap Opera concept in general.
  • Eyecatch: On Boomerang.
  • Eye Glasses: Dexter and his dad's glasses, which can change shape depending on expression.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Provides the page quote, though instead of playing at the beginning as usual it plays over the end credits.
  • Expy / Captain Ersatz: Action Hank IS Mr T, Chuck Norris and G.I. Joe at the same time.
  • The Faceless: Earl in "Hamhocks And Armlocks".
  • Fantastic Time Management: There's an episode where Dexter has only 1 minute before the school bus arrives and he hasn't done his homework yet, so he use a time extending helmet to make it 30 minutes for him get everything done. turns out to be a snow day.
  • Fartillery: This happens in Episode 25/Part 1: "Critical Gas"
  • FiveThree Token Band: Dee Dee (white) and her posse, Mee-Mee (black) and Lee-Lee (Asian)
  • Fetish-Fuel Future: The second future in "Ego Trip" shows a world where a CEO has a harem in his office and strips his employees to their underwear for a whipping when they're not productive.
  • Flanderization: Mandark in the post-finale seasons was pretty much defined by his hamminess and crush on Dee-Dee.
  • Follow the Leader: Seems to have inspired shows such as Johnny Test and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.
  • For Science!: Much of Dexter's motivation.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: A story Dee Dee tells in "Dee Dee Locks and the Ness Monster", starring Dee Dee Locks, sentient bagpipes, a brick pig, the Big Bad Wolf as Napoleon, a foppish fish, and The Three Evil Blind Mice!!
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Played with in "The Old Switcharooms", where Dad forces Dexter and Dee Dee to switch places.
  • Friction Burn: When Dexter gives himself Super Speed to go through his whole daily routine in 1 minute he accidentally lights his homework on fire from the friction.
  • The Fundamentalist: Let's just say that both the Darbie doll fans and Star Check fans in episode "Star Check Unconventional" are really, REALLY into their hobby. And whatever you do, do NOT remove a classic figure from its box.
  • Funny Foreigner: In the episode "The Bus Boy" there's a German boy in lederhosen. His story involved him dancing around eating food and commenting how good it was.
  • Fun with Flushing: Spirits from the dead hold Dee Dee hostage unless the dead Goldfish is flushed down the toilet.
  • Future Badass / Future Loser: Dexter has both in The Movie.
  • Gag Haircut: Dee Dee attempts to cut a stray strand of hair and ends up chopping off one of her pigtails. Dexter gives her a serum to grow the hair back but she uses too much and her hair ends up taking over the house.
  • Gainax Ending: Some of the cartoons just stop as soon as the writers ran out of jokes... leaving the characters stuck in some terrible predicament when 'The End' appears on the screen. Luckily, Status Quo Is God.
  • Generation Xerox: Just... look at the first scene between Mom and Dad in the Muffin episode.
    • For that matter, Dexter's grandpa and old Dexter himself from the movie look nearly identical.
  • Genius Ditz: Dee Dee, for all of her goofiness, can break through any security measure Dexter comes up with. Also, when she's not wrecking them, can use Dexter's inventions with instant mastery, like a hovercraft Dexter himself crashed or an incredibly complicated giant mech.
  • Genki Girl: Dee Dee.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: This show has earned its own page.
  • Girls Have Cooties: The so-called cooties Dexter encounters are in the form of butterflies which inhabit Dee Dee's bedroom.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • In "Dexter's Assistant," Dexter needed an assistant to help him in his newest invention for a science fair. So he took Dee Dee and replaced her brain (which was the size of chewing gum) and replaced it with a new one that made her smarter. Now Dee Dee is much smarter than Dexter was, and knew more about his invention than he did, later when she left Dexter, she won the science fair with her own invention.
    • In "The Way of the Dee-Dee," Dee Dee spends the entire episode teaching Dexter to loosen up and have fun, which ends with him going on a destructive rampage in his own lab with psychotic glee. She runs out of the lab crying after apologizing to Dexter.
    • In the Dynomutt Dog Wonder crossover "Dyno-Might", Dexter becomes convinced that Dynomutt is too much of a goofy idiot sidekick to be any help to Blue Falcon, so he decides to design a new "Dynomutt X-90" to replace him. Unfortunately, Dynomutt X-90 believes that All Crimes Are Equal and uses lethal force to deal with even minor crimes such as littering and jaywalking, forcing Dexter to team up with Blue Falcon and the real Dynomutt to take him down.
  • Gosh Dangit To Heck: In "Book ′Em," Dexter has a nightmare where he's being judged by the Devil for not returning his library book on time:
    • "Welcome... to library... HECK!"
  • Grand Finale / Series Fauxnale: Two, actually; "Last But Not Beast" is the final episode of the series (or was intended to be) and wraps up the running plot about Dexter trying to hide his lab. "Ego Trip," meanwhile, is a film and definitively wraps up the Dexter/Mandark rivalry.
  • Granola Girl: Mandark's Mom, Oceanbird.
  • Gratuitous French: "Omelette du fromage! Omelette du fromage!" Although it's a subversion because that's all he can say.
  • Greasy Spoon: In an episode with a truck stop.
  • Groin Attack: Dexter in "Dexter Dodgeball". Guess what was used.
  • Grossout Show: At times, particularly when people/animals get diseases. This was more frequent in the first two seasons.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up
  • Hanna-Barbera: During the first two seasons, Cartoon Network Studios was a subsidiary of Hanna-Barbera, but when they resumed production on the third season in 2001, by then CN Studios was no longer a part of Hanna-Barbera (the latter had been absorbed into Warner Bros. Animation.)
  • Hartman Hips: Dexter's mom and the Touchy-Feely Neighbor Lady from "Nuclear Confusion" have the biggest butts in the whole series.
    • Thus beginning many forays into Perverse Sexual Lust...
    • Due to the art style, lots of women in the series have Hartman Hips. Such as Agent Honeydew from the Monkey cartoons and the salesgirl from the episode with Dexter's bike.
      • Not surprising since Hartman actually worked on the show.
  • Heroic BSOD: Dee Dee falls into this when her teddy bear, Mr. Fuzzums, is taken away by the garbage truck.
  • Heroic Mime: In one episode, Dexter gets bitten by a clown and becomes a were-clown. To rescue him, his sister Dee-Dee becomes a mime.
  • Herr Doktor: Dexter has the obligatory German accent required by the Mad Scientist Code.
    • It's more of a Russian accent, as the creator himself is Russian. It can even be argued that Dexter is a cartoon version of Tartakovsky himself
  • Hollywood Law: This is most relevant in the end of Season 2, Episode 32, Part 3: "Dexter Detention".
  • Hollywood Science: But what do you expect? It's a funny cartoon.
  • Hurricane of Puns: This match at Flushing Meadows is just whizzing by! But you're in luck, there will be no commercial breaks. The tension is swelling, no relief in sight. He's in the lead now, but will. He. Hold. It?
  • Hypocrite: Dee Dee once got on Dexter's case for experimenting on one of her dolls. Ignoring her own frequent(ly destructive) visits to his lab.
    • Pretty much anytime Dee Dee meets someone of her own clingy and destructive level she finds them intolerable and inconsiderate. Ironically subverted one time Dexter loses it and completely destroys her room and all her personal belongings. Her response?
    Dee Dee: Dexter! You're naked!!!
    • Dexter himself occasionally shows No Sense of Personal Space and can be equally intrusive and annoying. His father has to trick him into leaving when his badgering interupts a golf game for example.
  • Idiot Hero: He can time travel and build an underground lab miles long but will go through hell and back to buy and ice cream that he could easily make at home.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: A variation occurs in "The Old Switcharooms": Dexter tries to sneak into his lab from Dee Dee's room to ensure that she isn't trashing it. Dexter's dad, who is somehow aware that Dexter is doing this even without looking at him, casually whips out (in a very stern tone) this:
    "No son of mine had better try to escape his punishment...or else that certain son will find himself in an even worse punishment."
  • Inconvenient Itch: Dexter at one point gets the chicken pox and is told not to scratch the pox, or he'll turn into a chicken. He tries ways of keeping from scratching, even restraining himself completely, but nothing works and he eventually goes on a scratching spree... after which he indeed turns into a chicken.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: At an Amish community, when Dexter tries to explain "fun," the closest thing they can think of is churning butter.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Dee Dee is usually just a playful Genki Girl who wants to play with her little brother. However her notions of fun include playing around with his pretty looking (and somewhat delicate) toys, and no amount of ranting at her to leave him alone ever seems to faze her.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: Dexter's default response to almost any physical threat is to build a mech and go shoot the danger to bits. Eventually he ends up with a hangar full of mecha, which he walks through, pondering which one to use for playing dodgeball.
  • In the Future, We Still Have Roombas: Dozens of helper robots working for Dexter. Two of them even get A Day in the Spotlight.
  • It Runs in the Family: Dexter believes that his grandfather's dinky lab is just child's play, but Dexter doesn't see his grandfather create free energy with it - the one thing Dexter himself couldn't achieve.
    • Scenes of Dexter's mother cooking show her using the same scientific precision and unbridled glee as Dexter in the throes of creation.
    • Likewise, his father acts much the same as Dee Dee does when disturbing Mom in the kitchen. She even ends up shouting at him in much the same way.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Maybe to the same level as Pinky and the Brain but your mileage may vary as to how much...
  • It's Personal: After Dexter had Dee Dee destroy Mandark's lab, only then did Mandark swear revenge on Dexter, and they have been rivals ever since.
  • Kaiju: Several. More memorable ones involve an extra-dimensional horror with many eyes and tentacles (that's start of a stable time loop) and iconic Dexter "oops". Another episode involved Dexter and Dee Dee becoming giant monsters by drinking a mutation-causing formula and having an all out battle (complete with Calling Your Attacks). Finally, there's Badaxtra, the monster of the original Finale who nearly destroyed the world.
  • Karma Houdini: Dee Dee never seems to get any comeuppance for some of her more intentional destruction of Dexter's work.
    • Subverted in "Sdrawkcab" where she did end up with a deserving comeuppance.
  • Kiddie Kid: Dee-Dee
  • Killer Game Master: Dexter is one, which is why his friends readily insist that Dee Dee be given a chance to run the game.
  • Killer Rabbit: The cute little Pony Puffs try to kill Dee Dee when they think she's an Action Hank fan in "Decode of Honor".
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine
  • Lampshade Hanging: Well, literally in Di M (although the streetlight is an Expy of a Philips one!)
  • Last Day to Live: "Critical Gas".
  • Lens Flare / Audible Sharpness: Mostly when Dexter uses his Mecha.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Dexter is shown at one point to have his closet filled with nothing but the same labcoats and boots he always wears.
    • Be fair, he did also have a suit to wear for the first day of school. Now Dee Dee, she has a limited wardrobe.
  • Literal Genie: One episode ended with Dexter telling Computer to make him a sandwich. And she did.
  • Literal Metaphor: Dexter once held a garage sale. Like what happened in the Kim Possible example, two aliens showed up saying "[they] will take his light converters." Once he said how much he was charging for each pair, they repeated that they will TAKE the light converters and he understood.
  • Lock and Load Montage: Used when Dexter suits up and boards his Humongous Mecha.
  • Lots of Luggage: The titular character decides to cope with being away from his electronics for a family fishing trip by bringing along an inflatable laboratory. Though being inflatable, none of the buttons actually work.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Hilariously parodied in "The Muffin King".
    Dexter: [gasps] That is not possible! No, wait, no, you're right.
  • Man on Fire: "My hair is on fire! My hair is on fire!"
  • Manipulative Bastard: Dexter's dad is this when he wants to be in "The Muffin King" and "Snowdown".
  • Midair Bobbing: The episode where Dexter visits Mars.
  • Mini-Mecha: Dexter's backpack can become one.
  • Mockumentary: "Blackfoot and Slim", which ends with Dexter being tranquilized, tagged and released back into his natural environment.
  • Motor Mouth: Everyone in 'Mock 5'. Then again, it's a Speed Racer homage, what did you expect?
  • Mundane Object Amazement: "Could this strange phenomenon be the substance Mom calls dust?"
  • Mundangerous: In the episode "Sports a Poppin", Dexter is completely incompetent in sports, and despite his best efforts lets his father down who was trying to teach him to be good at sports. Then at the end of the episode, as his dad goes back inside, a monster let loose by Dee-Dee attacks Dexter. he proceeds to fight it, using skills that obviously should have made him be more capable at the sports than he was.
  • Musical Episode: "Hellooo, dear brother! What have you got there?"
    • "Nothing, nothing! You only see air!"
      • "Don't be silly, I love you very much... [explosion sounds] ...guess I shouldn't touch."
    • "Ooooooh what does this but-ton dooooo?"
      • "Boo-hoo. Whatever did I do to youuuuuuu?"
  • Must Have Caffeine: "Topped Off": Dexter take Mom and Dad's coffee to try and figure out how it changes them from the monsters they wake up as to their regular selves. Mom and Dad are not happy.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Dee-Dee at the end of "The Way Of The Dee-Dee" when she tries to get Dexter to loosen up and make him enjoy himself...only for him to go on a destructive rampage in his own laboratory with psychotic glee. She runs from the lab's remains crying, after apologizing to Dexter.
  • My Hover Craft Is Full Of Eels: Dee Dee tries to speak Spanish to an angry Mexican crowd while she and Dexter are searching for "La Chupacabra". Her nonsense only serves to infuriate the crowd.
    • Though to be fair, talking about meat to a group of people who suspect you of poaching, is not a very good idea.
  • My Little Phony: Pony Puff Princess is a reaccuring thing, unsuspringly Dee Dee and her friends are fans and Dee Dee wanted to be a horse in one episode.
  • Naked People Are Funny: One of the newer season's episodes involves Dexter's orbital laser satellite, used for burning off stains, shredding his clothes.
    • In early seasons, Dexter's bare ass was a running gag.
  • NameTron: A few of his gadgets.
  • Negative Continuity: Used, but not consistently. Dexter's Lab is destroyed in every other episode, but when Mandark's is destroyed in his first appearance, it actually stays that way until the next time we see the character.
  • Never Say That Again: Dexter about Mandark.
    Kid: Mandark ain't got nothing on y-
    Dexter: Do not say that name!
    Kid: What, Mandark?
    Dexter: hisses
  • Never Trust a Hair Tonic: Dexter makes a hair tonic for Dee-dee after she accidentally cuts off one of her pigtails. Despite repeated warnings to use only one drop, Dee-Dee uses the entire bottle. Three guesses what happens next.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Dexter is the cause of a lot of bad stuff that happens. However, bonus points go to Last But Not Beast. Dexter got one when he accidentally awakens the incredibly powerful Badaxtra trying to impress his new friends. Then Mandark gets it later when he actually tries to stop Bedaxtra as well and instead makes him grow.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Professor Hawk, anyone?
  • No Knees: "Hello, knees!"
  • No Name Given: Dexter's parents.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Dexter travels back in time to the discovery of fire in one episode. The caveman he meets and brings back is drawn in the semi-realistic style that some Hanna-Barbara cartoons used to use. (Think Jonny Quest or The Herculoids, not The Flintstones) Another episode guest-stars Dynomutt and the Blue Falcon, but their character designs actually fit in pretty well with everyone else.
  • No Respect Guy
  • Noodle People: Dee Dee. The fact that her eyes are larger than her torso contributes to it.
    • Thoroughly mocked in one episode where Dexter uses Dee Dee as a stick to play fetch with a dog. Dee Dee was not amused.
      Dog: It's the stick!
  • Not a Morning Person: Dexter's parents, again.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Pretty much the defining premise of Dee Dee's character.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: In 'Ego Trip', Mandark goes from simply antagonizing Dexter to conquering and stupidifying the entire world.
  • Notzilla: An entire short revolves around Dexter being transformed into a Godzilla parody while fleeing from Dee Dee who has transformed into a giant spider-monster.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Dee-Dee, to ridiculous extremes. This gets a lampshade in "Dexter Is Dirty", where she actually teleports from the hallway to Dexter's laboratory with a visible twinkle just because she wore a pink towel like a genie's turban.
  • Oh, Crap: Dexter gets a really good one at the end of the Lost Episode, "Dexter's Rude Removal".
    Dexter: "Ooohhhhhhhh, f***."
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling: Dad vs. a Trucker... before the arm gets upgraded from truck parts.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. There are two Timmys that ever appeared in this show. One is Dexter's pet termite who can eat metal, the other is a boy who freaks out when giant George Washington and giant Abraham Lincoln pass by.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: "Cracked" feels more like an episode of a slice-of-life show. It's also dialogue-heavy, and Dexter's eponymous lab isn't even mentioned.
    • "Filet of Soul" is a supernatural horror story about Dexter and Dee-Dee being haunted by the ghost of their dead pet goldfish.
  • Overly Long Gag: The Uncancelled episodes were quite fond of these.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Multiple episodes
  • Parental Bonus: In addition to everything listed under Getting Crap Past the Radar above, the show takes delight in constantly implying that Dexter's parents are not only very much still in love, but have a very healthy sex life.
  • Parental Neglect: Most of the time, Mom and Dad are actually genuinely loving towards their kids. Like a lot of parents on TV, however, they have their share of moments.
    • On Dexter's birthday they go to the store to buy gifts, while Dexter follows using an invisibility invetion. To his disappointment, they start filling the cart with baseballs and baby toys like plastic rings. When Dexter tries sneaking the action figure he wanted into the cart, Mom angrily picks it up and tosses it away saying he doesn't need junk - then puts another baby toy in the cart. While not true neglect, they appear oblivious to their son's age and interests.
    • One of the pilot shorts, Old Man Dexter, starts with Dexter wanting nothing more than to be a part of the family and feeling rejected by an arbitrary bedtime that is earlier for him than for his sister. We're treated to an oddly long sequence of him slinking away from the family (who are enjoying themselves and laughing) and looking on dejectedly.
  • Paying in Coins: Apparently the catalyst for a deep seated grudge by the Ice Cream Man, Dexter pays for an ice cream (the most expensive one on stock, by the way) with a ridiculously large jar of pennies, an accident with which manages to systematically ruin the Ice Cream Man's entire life. After the Ice Cream Man explains this to Dexter and the latter apologizes, Dexter buys a regular ice cream (which costs $1)... and pays with a $100 bill. The Ice Cream Man's anguished shriek says everything.
    • There's another example that closes the episode "Repairanoid". Although the electrician's $40,000 bill shocks Dexter's mom at first, she quickly shifts to an agreeable tone and takes out her purse to pay — by withdrawing coins one at a time and counting them. The electrician doesn't protest.
  • Perspective Reversal: Dee Dee crushes a bunch of ants, because she thinks they're filthy. Dexter, who find ants interesting, shrinks them both down to ant size so Dee Dee can get a better idea of their society. After some adventures, they return to normal size, at which point Dee Dee happily thanks Dexter for showing her just how cool ants really are - while Dexter is squashing them.
  • Photo Doodle Recognition: One episode has Dee-Dee showing Dexter that he is a were-clown by taking a newspaper picture of the clown and drawing Dexter's glasses, hair, lab coat and boots over it.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: So much so that they did a Whole Plot Reference to the Pink Panther with Dee-Dee as the eponymous and vexing feline.
  • Ping Pong Naïveté: Dexter, having gas cramps isn't going to make you explode. You can calm down now.
    • He ran a test to see what the cramps would do to him. On a balloon.
  • Played for Laughs: Everything.
  • Pokémon Speak: All Santa ever says in "Dexter vs. Santa's Claws" is some variant of "ho, ho, ho" (at least until the punchline).
  • Powered Armor: Dexter wore one to win at dodgeball.
  • Pygmalion Snapback: Dexter and Dee Dee have conversely done this with each other.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Required Secondary Powers: Completely averted in "Don't Be a Hero", where Dexter gives himself various superpowers with unintended side effects (ex. Super Speed without super brakes, and self-ignition without also being fireproof).
  • Retcon: So many of the backstories and continuity of the characters were changed when she show was renewed, including how Dexter's parents met, and even changing Mandark's history (and how he and Dexter met) entirely. Fans usually treat these episodes as a different show entirely.
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: One episode they paid homage to Road Runner and Wile. E. Coyote when Dexter tried to catch a rollerskating Dee Dee with his new bike (plus various upgrades).
  • Rule of Funny
  • Running Gag
  • Sadist Show
  • Sanity Slippage: This happens a few times to Dexter. One episode memorably had him thinking he was a "little piggy" and reverted to babyhood.
    • What about his dad? When he's insane, he's really insane.
    Those muffins that your mother bakes...
    • Mom too for that matter, on the occasions when her cleaning obsession and fear of germs come to the front. Most notable is one episode where Dad takes her trademark dish gloves while she's asleep, and then wont let her clean the house next day, since its Mothers Day, and the family will take care of the housework for the day. Unfortunatly, its such a messy disaster, that Mom basically has a nervous breakdown and begins to have disturbing hallucinations. It ends well though, as her Mothers Day gift is a brand new pair of gloves.
  • Satellite Character: Dexter's friend Douglas.
  • Say My Name / Rocky Roll Call: The climax of "Mandarker" slips into this, with Dexter, Dee Dee and Mandark all shouting each other's names in place of complete sentences as Dexter and Mandark work together to save Dee Dee.
  • Scaled Up: Toward the end of "Jeepers Creepers, Where is Peepers?", Peepers turns into a dragon and crushes the villain underfoot.
  • Scenery Censor: On occasions where Dexter is shown naked from the front, his naughty bits are covered by a floating leaf.
  • Science Hero: Dexter, though he causes at least as many problems as he solves. Or more.
  • The Scottish Trope: Saying Mandark and Lalavava.
  • Second Person Attack: Subverted in "Beard To Be Feared". Action Hank is about to punch an enemy through the POV of that enemy, and just when he's throwing the punch, it cuts to a TV showing the episode of Action Hank that Dexter was watching. Dexter is then shown wincing at the punch.
  • Secret Keeper
  • Selective Obliviousness: In 'Mock 5' Dexter's dad mentions Dexter's sister, 'Racer D' dying in a tragic soap box derby racing accident...when she's sitting right next to him, alive and well, trying to get his attention.
  • Series Continuity Error: While Negative Continuity is in full effect, a couple of examples are still pretty egregious:
    • In "Sports a Poppin'" Dad was trying to teach Dexter how to golf, but in the later episode "Tee Party" Dad is a Small Name, Big Ego who acts like he's a pro but doesn't even know the basics. He insisted on a do-over because "the ball almost fell into this little hole".
      • Gets even worse, if you remember from "Sassy Come Home", he actually managed to shoot a spinning out of control Dexter right out of the air with a well-placed shot from a golf-ball.
    • Also, in the episode "Figure Not Included", Dexter asks for a Major Glory action figure from his mom. She tells him he she'll get him one for his birthday. However, in the episode "Surprise", when a Major Glory "somehow" manages to make it's way into Dexter's mom's cart when she goes birthday shopping for him, she takes it out, claiming that "Dexter doesn't need this junk". Though considering she and dad were filling the cart with baby toys this may have just been neglect.
  • Serious Business: Dodgeball, snowball, and others.
    • "Did you say... snowballs?"
    • Don't ever remove collectors' items from their box. Especially in the middle of a convention of doll collectors who act like Klingons.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Inverted in "Picture Day" when Dexter goes out of his way to make himself gorgeous for school photos.
  • Shape Shifter Showdown: The pilot episode, with "The Button".
  • Shout-Out: All over the place, from the various Shows Within The Show to a giant mecha that needs five people to control.
    • There's a shout out to the theater doors sequence from MST3K. This shot was also used in the ending credits
    • "It's morphing time!"
    • "Book 'em" has a chase sequence with a homage to A Hard Day's Night in it. Additionally, the thugs chasing Dexter and Dee Dee have shirts that say Thug 1 and Thug 2.
    • Referencing Dr. Seuss's works doesn't end on The Cat in the Hat, though. Does Green Eggs & Ham Bacon book remind you of anything?
    • "Who ya wanna call?"
    • In "Golden Diskette", everyone escapes Professor Hawk's crumbling laboratory in the Yellow Submarine.
    • Dee Dee and Dexter are obviously playing Primal Rage at one point.
    • The episode "Dee Dee's Room" is basically one big homage to Apocalypse Now.
    • To James Bond in the episode where Dexter has to retrieve camera film that apparently contained pictures of his lab. Yes, this episode includes Dexter almost being cut in half with a laser.
    • The episode "Just an Old Fashioned Lab Song" is, as the name suggests, one big shout out to Paul Williams, with name-drops to several of his hit songs.
    Prof. Williams: "Hold on there, Dexter. We've only just begun!" (plays the riff from the name-dropped song)
    Prof. Williams: "Here comes inspiration!!"
    • The alien overlord Hookocho looks suspiciously like Fiore and Ail
    • In "Beard to Be Feared," Dee Dee, Mee Mee, and Lee Lee quote, almost word-for-word, the closing line from Elvira and The B-52s' "Hear Comes the Bride (The Bride of Frankenstein)."
    Dee Dee: That is one rugged brother. note 
    Mee Mee and Lee Lee: Shut yo mouth!
    Dee Dee: I'm only talkin' about Dexter! note 
    Mee Mee and Lee Lee: We can dig it.
  • Show Within a Show: Shaft-esque Action Hank, one-note puppet comedy TV Puppet Pals (which also appears in The Powerpuff Girls), obvious send-up Pony Puff Princess, plus a few less noticeable one-shot parodies of Soul Train and Star Trek.
  • Shrunken Organ: Dexter decides to put a genius-level brain in Dee Dee's head. He needs a pair of tweezers to remove her old one.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Dexter and Dee Dee
  • Signature Laugh: Several, notably Mandark (especially in the no-dialogue episode).
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Dexter's Dad and Windbear.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: The show often ends episodes with the destruction of the laboratory and the like, making this Level 1 (Negative Continuity). All you need to know for each episode is that he's Dexter and has a laboratory.
  • Slippery Swimsuit
  • Snapback: Dexter's lab and house have been destroyed many, many times.
    • In one episode, it was implied he actually died.
    • And don't forget when the earth was destroyed by meteors.
  • Soap Punishment: In the Missing Episode "Rude Removal", Dexter accidentally creates evil versions of himself and Dee-Dee who spout Cluster F Bombs in front of their mom. When the regular versions trap them and feel like all's well, they spot Mom with a large bar of soap waiting to wash their mouths out.
  • Spanner in the Works: Dee Dee keeps ruining things. Enough said.
  • Squee: Dee Dee.
  • Stable Time Loop: In Ego-Trip, the robots that invaded from the future were actually created by Dexter at the end of the film with the help of the later versions of himself to destroy Dee Dee in retaliation for her being the one to (unwittingly, as usual) defeat Mandark.
  • Stalker with a Crush / Yandere: The creepy girl in "Ay Ay Eyes". Also, Mandark to Dee Dee, somewhat.
  • Stand-In Parents: Dexter uses Mad Science to make DeeDee impersonate his mother for a parent-teacher meeting.
  • Staring Kid: Dexter gets a little girl with huge eyes following him around for an episode.
  • Status Quo Is God: There is nothing that can stop Dexter from starting an episode either in his lab or his bedroom.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table
  • Stuff Blowing Up: With at least half attributed to Dee Dee.
    • It's in the outtro: "... In Dexter's Laboratory, lives the smartest boy you've ever seen, but Dee Dee blows his experiments to smithereens! There is gloom and doom while things go boom, in Dexter's lab!!!!"
  • Suck E. Cheese's: Chubby Cheese's. Run by MiB, no less.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Dexter.
  • Talking Animal: Cassius the pigeon.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Ms. Wimple in "Dexter Detention" seems a little too obsessed, almost infatuated, with Dexter, and faints at his slightest err.
  • Three Shorts
  • Thick-Line Animation
  • Time Stands Still: "Morning Stretch".
  • Toilet Humor: When Dee-Dee and Dexter get their hands on labeling devices to mark their property, Dexter marks a gallon of apple juice as his own and drinks it all... then gets to the bathroom, only to find Dee-Dee's marked it for herself.
    Mom: "Why is the carpet all wet?"
  • Took a Level in Badass: Dexter's dad goes from average middle class guy and sports enthusiast to daredevil stuntman in one episode of the later seasons.
    • We see it happen to Dexter in Ego Trip.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Dad, as part of the Seasonal Rot. Dee Dee might have gotten dumber too, but it's harder to tell with her.
  • Un-Cancelled: Season 3, made without creator Genndy Tartarkovsky (and writers Butch Hartman and Seth MacFarlane, who had left to make The Fairly OddParents and Family Guy, respectively) and thus a point of much contention.
  • Unexplained Accent: Dexter.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight:
    • In the Dynomutt Dog Wonder crossover "Dyno-Might," the original Dynomutt confronts the out-of-control Dynomutt X-90 Dexter created to replace him, but X-90 dismisses him, declaring that the "Dynomutt prototype" is no threat. Dynomutt quickly proves him wrong.
    • The episode "Robo-Dexo 3000" has Dexter replace his Humongous Mecha Robo-Dexo 2000 with the new-and-improved Robo-Dexo 3000. However, when the RD 3000 dismisses Dexter's plan to deal with an alien energy thief and ejects him, Dexter takes back the RD 2000. It's ultimately an Defied Trope, however: by the time Dexter arrives on the scene, the energy thief has sucked the Robo-Dexo 3000 dry.
  • Villain Protagonist: Dexter could get rather villainous sometimes (such as in Game For A Game and Used Ink)
    • Villain Episode: "Sun, Surf, And Science" is focused on Mandark, and he's portayed in a more sympathetic light than usual.
  • Villain Song: Mandark's Plan
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Once Mandark replaced Dexter's mom. No one in the family noticed it, until the real mom came by.
    • Dad in The Muffin King, since he's technically the villain there.
  • Villainous Crush: Mandark to Dee-Dee.
  • Voice Changeling: Dexter adopted this ability. Some kind of machine enabled him to copy the exact voices of others. This was in the babysitting episode, where he used the voices of the babysitter and her boyfriend to sever their relationship, so that he could move in himself.
  • Wacky Racing: "Dexter's Wacky Races."
  • We Will Meet Again: In one episode, the criminal mastermind who owns a Chuck E. Cheese-like restaurant says this after Dexter and Dee Dee escape. But of course, it never happened.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: Three examples:
    • Dexter fires Dee Dee and has her replaced with an actress that can't quite fill her shoes (for some reason when she knocks over bottles of chemicals, they don't even break).
    • Dexter makes Dee Dee into a genius like him and she turns out to be even smarter and more competent than him so he turns her back out of jealousy.
    • Done the other way round where Dee Dee tries to convince Dexter to be carefree like her. He ends up being more wild and destructive than Dee Dee herself.
  • What Does This Button Do?: Trope Namer, because Dee Dee made this into an art form.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Dexter can acquire whatever parts he needs to build whatever he wants without even having any suspicious shipments of mail arrive at his house. Sometimes he gets robots to assemble everything for him.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Dexter has a very peculiar accent that is either aiming for a stereotypical Eastern European accent, or a Bulgarian accent. Even Genndy Tartakovsky isn't certain what his accent is supposed to be.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Trapped with a Vengeance" is pretty much a kid-friendly version of Die Hard. "Kid-friendly" in that it takes place in a school and feature no shooting. It's still about a psychotic man trapping a small child in his school late at night an torturing him.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Mandark, when he kidnaps and impersonates Dexter's mother in "Momdark".
  • Wildlife Commentary Spoof
  • William Telling: Subverted when Dexter and Dee Dee go on a sibling vs. sibling game show. Dexter's just there for the prize, and starts one of the challenges before the host finishes explaining the rules, knocking an apple off of Dee Dee's head with a cream puff. He loses, as the host reveals that the challenge was to hit your sibling without making the apple fall.
  • Wraparound Background: Lampshaded and then subverted during the Wacky Racing episode. Dee-Dee notices the background repeating after the racers come out of a tunnel, and Koosie describes the animating technique in detail, referring to it as a "Repeat Pan". Then it turns out they're still inside the tunnel, in a trap set up by Mandark.
  • X-Ray Vision: A whole episode is dedicated to this backfiring on Dexter when he sees Dad, Mom and Dee Dee naked.
  • You Are Grounded: Episode 42 Part 2 "The Old Switcharooms"
  • You Must Be This Tall To Ride: The episode "Ewww That's Growth" is about Dexter being upset about his pint-sized height; one of the ways his stature makes his life harder is that he's denied going on a rollercoaster with his family. After he makes himself very tall with an invention of his, he is allowed onto the ride (during which he crashes painfully into a wall.)
  • Younger Than They Look: Mandark's the same age as Dexter, but he's as tall (if not taller) as Dee-Dee.
  • Your Mime Makes It Real: Dee Dee stops Dexter, who has turned into a clown, by taking mime classes and using what she learned to "trap" Clown Dexter in an invisible box.

Dial M for Monkey provides examples of:

Justice Friends provides examples of:

Cow and ChickenCreator/Cartoon CartoonsEd, Edd n Eddy
DetentionCreator/Modern Video FilmDinosaurs
Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying MachinesCreator/BoomerangDyno Mutt Dog Wonder
DetentionWestern Animation of the 1990sDilbert
Defenders of the EarthThe Renaissance Age of AnimationDinosaucers
CSICreator/IDW PublishingDoctor Who IDW
Dave the BarbarianTropeNamers/Western AnimationDudley Do-Right
Dex Hamilton: Alien EntomologistWestern AnimationThe Dick Tracy Show
Dex Hamilton: Alien EntomologistScience Fiction Western AnimationDogstar
CartoonstituteCreator/Cartoon NetworkJohnny Bravo
Instant Ice, Just Add ColdImageSource/Western AnimationAll Girls Like Ponies

alternative title(s): Dexters Laboratory; Dexters Lab; Justice Friends; The Justice Friends; Dial M For Monkey; Ptitle9rfuhqnp4mtr
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