Duck Dodgers is a 2003-2005 animated TV series based off the classic 1953 Looney Tunes short, Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, by Chuck Jones. The series aired on Cartoon Network.It was especially notable among Looney Tunes properties as the main star was not Bugs Bunny, but Daffy Duck, as Captain Duck Dodgers: a Small Name, Big Ego now forced into full-on Genius Ditz mode as the noble defender of the Galactic Protectorate... while still being kind of a jerkass. All of which led to the unusual situation of the main character filling the role of both The Hero and The Millstone, as nearly half the situations to be resolved were directly Dodgers' fault to begin with.He is paired with Porky Pig, who reprises his role as the sensible competent and Eager Young Space Cadet. The show also stars returning opponent Marvin the Martian as Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain Commander X-2.Duck Dodgers also had several cameos by established Looney Tunes stars with appropriate science-fiction trappings (Wile E. Coyote plays a very obvious Predatorhomage in one episode), often using them to lampoon or satirize the very genre they were portraying in classic Looney Tunes style. The episode "The Green Loontern" is notable for featuring the Green Lantern characters from DC Comics after Duck Dodgers accidentally gets Hal Jordan's outfit at the cleaners.Despite its short shelf life, this show managed to gain a widespread and devoted fanbase, largely for pulling off exactly what more ambitious attempts at modernizing the Looney Tunes could not: Convey their distinctive brand of, well, looniness into an entirely different genre.At long last, after ten years, the first season got a DVD release in early 2013.
Duck Dodgers provides examples of the following tropes:
Abusive Parents: Implied with X-2 in a couple of episodes, bizarrely. His dad apparently used to dangle him off balconies.
Ozmo: A father is worth one hundred schoolmasters. X-2: (wipes away tear) Oh, father...
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Let me tell you a story, Commander. A story of betrayal and lies, and a woman's heart torn asunder. Let me tell you of a consort's throne left vacant, a bridal chamber left barren, and a reception hall left filled with them big shrimp." (The Martian Queen, after Dodgers dropped her like a hot potato on their wedding day.)
Averted by Dodgers himself, who has to resort to bribing the guards instead.
Animated Actors: Kind of. The opening credits establish that Daffy, Porky and Marvin are "playing" Dodgers, the Cadet, and the Martian Commander. It gets weirder in the final clip of the show, where Dodgers and Cadet meet their very own real-life voice actors.
Tom Jones shows up as himself in one episode so that Dodgers can "borrow" his voice for a talent show.
Audience? What Audience?: In one episode, after X-2 engages in some exposition, the Centurions ask who he's talking to. When X-2 says the audience is watching them, the Centurions think he's crazy and mock him.
Brain Bleach: Requested by I.Q. Hi twice in "Lame Duck Mind". He first asks Manobrain if he can erase their memory of the contents of Dodger's mind. Manobrain assures him that he can wipe their memories the second they leave Dodger's brain. The second occurs when they achieve their objective of rescuing the President of Space, only to find that he'd passed the time trapped in his closet dressing in his wife's clothing. In that instance, it is no sooner asked then granted.
(Dodgers has just been sat on by EYSC) Dodgers: I knew I should've cast Speedy Gonzales as my sidekick.
X-2: Ah, another delusional fan trying to emulate the famous trench scene. How many lives must that accursed film claim?
In Marvin's second solo cartoon, Dodgers explained Marvin was entitled to one per season. However, while the series had more than two seasons, Marvin never gained a third solo cartoon. Also, a martian rabbit Marvin was hunting stated he now knew "why Bugs Bunny turned this cameo down".
Call Back: In the very first episode, we have the Eager Young Space Cadet exiting the bathroom, gasping for air, "What DOES he do in that bathroom?" Now cut to the season two finale, as Queen Tyr'ahnee exits the same bathroom, also gasping for breath, "What DOES Dodgers do in that bathroom?!"
Chainmail Bikini: Surprisingly averted with the Martian Queen, though she does sport a contoured breastplate. However, her armor is remarkably conservative, though the fact that they're fighting on a frozen planet may have something to do with it.
Clip Show: Averted in "Deconstructing Dodgers", where incidents from previous episodes are clearly alluded to, but the events shown are actually "outtakes" from the mentioned episodes... plus a few other scenes with no context whatsoever.
Cloudcuckoolander: Dodgers. In one episode we get to see inside his mind and he still makes no more sense than before.
Conspicuous CG: The Ships and Centurions; it's easier to list what isn't CG.
Courtroom Episode: Dodgers has to stand trial in the very first episode. He surprisingly displays a considerable knowledge of laws by invoking a treaty to allow him to summon the Queen of Mars to testify and bring video evidence to prove his innocence.
Crazy-Prepared: According to "Talent Show A Go Go", Dodgers carries exploding brownies and cheese danishes in his pockets at all times.
In classic Looney Tunes style, Dodgers does this in an attempt to seduce a few guards. It doesn't work anywhere near as well as it did in the old shorts, though. He gets through anyway by bribing the guards.
X-2 has a moment of this with the Centurion robots in "Of Course You Know This Means War and Peace pt. 2".
Ditto Aliens: Partially averted. There are at least six different and distinct types of Martians seen: tall humanoids (Tyr'ahnee and Z-9), short humanoids (X-2), canine (K-9), avian (Instant Martians), cyborg (Dish) and droid (Centurions). However, when multiple Martian commanders of the 'tall' type are seen, they do all, in fact, look alike. note While both the Instant Martians and Centurions also all look alike, this is justified due to obvious genetic engineering for the former and mass production for the latter. As a counterweight, outside of the military, civilian Martians clearly dress individually.
Drake Darkstar says that Dodgers selling Cadet's sister to the sausage factory is "cold". Even funnier is that, at this point, he and Dodgers are fighting in a Spot the Imposter gag, with Drake acting consistently in-character and mimicking Dodgers' accent and speaking mannerisms (his normal accent is a British one), and when he hears that bit, he breaks character. The funniest part? The Cadet gets so pissed at this, he sells out the real Dodgers to be arrested!
The Martian Queen may suggest stealing cybernetic technology. She may even allow the kidnapping of citizens. But when Doctor Maniac demonstrates questionable levels of competence prior to the operation on Jamie Winters, she considers it an ethical line a bit too far.
Martian Queen: Perhaps we should rethink this. Jamie Winters: I'm with her.
The Faceless: The Martians; much like Marvin himself, the Queen lacks a mouth. Their ranks are composed of robots, however.
Face-Revealing Turn: During "The Fudd", Dodgers comes to I.Q. High to talk, only for the doctor to turn, revealing a Fudd face.
From "Duck Deception", this comment where Dodgers says "Just have fun with this and let nature take its course" (considering the Cadet is in drag by this point) reaches a new level of "How'd that get through?"
In "The Wrath of Canasta", when the saloon mistress introduces herself to Dodgers and Cadet, Cadet's drinking straw immediately gets upright.
X-2: "I do hope he shoots me before he mounts me..."
From "K-9 Kaddy", we get "You didn't gag on the ball this time."
In another episode, after dodging a laser blast, Dodgers yells at his attacker: "Watch it, mohel. That was a near bris."
Grand Finale: The "Of Course You Know This Means War and Peace" two-parter was written to be this. "Bonafide Hero: Duck Dodgers" too, and ultimately was.
Green Rocks: Seem to be common on the Klunkin homeworld, with the appearance of moognesium (turns the holder into an Ax-Crazy musclebound berserker) and elephantanium.
Jerkass: Dodgers, though he occasionally strays into Pet the Dog territory, such as in "The Love of a Father". He sometimes even veers into Villain Protagonist. What kind of hero tries to start a war just because "peace is boring"?!
Jumping on a Grenade: Cadet attempts this in "Duck Codgers". It never occurs to either him or Dodgers to simply throw the grenade elsewhere.
Legion of Doom: Roboto, angry over Dodger's callous treatment of him, forms "The Legion of Duck Doom" in "Til Doom Do Us Part" consisting of several villains from past episodes... and Black Eel, who joined because he thought they were going to help defeat his nemesis Seaman.
Lord Error-Prone: Dodgers, possibly a trope namer (in the episode "MMORPD - Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Duck").
Meaningful Name: The Martian Queen Tyr'ahnee. Though, to be fair, she's never shown doing anything especially tyrannical, and is actually quite popular with her subjects. Aside from the pun, the name may well be a Shout-Out to R.A. Salvatore'sDrizzt series, as it would fit perfectly as a drow name.
Mecha-Mooks: Martian Centurions, though they all seem to have independent personalities.
Not Distracted by the Sexy: Though everyone else has their moments of captivation by the Martian Queen, especially in the "Blues in the Night" sequence, Duck Dodgers always has a constant disdain for her.
Post-Kiss Catatonia: Commander X-2 gets this twice in "Of Course You Know This Means War and Peace". After Tyr'ahnee kisses him, he's reduced to stumbling in a circle, making odd sounds.
The Power of Rock: Dave Mustaine and Megadeth defeat the Martian Force in "In Space No-One Can Hear You Rock" at the rhythm of "Back in the Day", which is every bit as awesome as it sounds. Hell, even the Centurions look ready to throw up some horns if they could actually do so.
Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Used hilariously often, given that the animated medium makes this trope completely unnecessary. The best example of which is in the depictions of Martian wildlife, which is basically Earth wildlife with a green tint and some goofy antennae... sometimes an extra arm or two. "Goofy" is the word: apart from Agent K-9, who's a holdover from the original Marvin/Bugs cartoons, the most prominent examples are Martian gophers. Who are, of course, just the Goofy Gophers with the above alterations.
Including the main villain being a near-perfect expy of Aku, down to the same voice actor, the now-late Iwamatsu Mako.
Samurai Jack creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, also provided a short cameo for that episode.
In the episode "Green Loontern", itself a shout out, a shot of the captured members of Green Lantern Corps has a brief cameo of what appears to be Mortal Kombat's Raiden (which becomes hilarity in hindsight after Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universenote although in the epilogue to that game it was Sonya who got the Green Lantern ring...).
One episode has a space prison called "Wantannaguannamo Bay".
The end of one episode has a spurned Martian Queen shooting up mechanical dummies that look like Duck Dodgers, and drops the line: "So they're mechanical!" (with a connotation of "So what?") This is a reference to the end of the Bugs Bunny episode "Hair Raising Hare", where Bugs says this about a mechanical female rabbit.
When Z-9 orders Counselor Dish to eliminate Marvin, she replies with "By your command.", mirroring the inflections of the Cylon Lucifer from the original Battlestar Galactica.
In one episode, Cadet takes the name "Chaos Boy" and starts wearing the Chaos Star on his hood.
When Dodgers runs out on the Martian Queen in "To Love a Duck", he says that it wasn't meant to be, but "we'll always have Paris".
In one episode, Kelly Ripa stars as a Stalker with a Crush and then a scene from Fatal Attraction is referenced when a frightened Dodgers and Cadet find a pot boiling in the kitchen. Its contents? Rabbit stew.
Stripperiffic: The Martian Queen wears a metal bra, an incredibly sheer skirt, slit up the side to show off her gams, and absolutely no evidence of the standard bikini bottoms that usually accompany such a sci-fi outfit.
Twist Ending: In "Where's Baby Smartypants", Dodgers was on a mission to protect and deliver Baby Ozmo because it was believed he would give a powerful peace speech at the council. It turns out he was actually pro-war.
The Virus: In a parody of The Flood, The Fudd turns people into stuttering, balding versions of themselves similar to Elmer Fudd. It turns out that alien technology merged with Elmer Fudd, so they could amass an army to INVADE THE SUN! Yeah, there are obvious problems with this plan.
Visual Pun: In the theme song, the line, "Duck Dodgers, he's fighting tyranny," is timed with an image of the Martian Queen. Her name? Tyr'ahnee.
Walking Shirtless Scene: Apparently, X-2. The promo image above doesn't do justice to what we see on TV, where the red shirt is not part of the uniform.
Sinestro: There may even be a place for someone like you in my new reality. Join forces with me... or be obliterated. Dodgers:Okay. Sinestro: Don't be such a sanctimonious fool! You don't realise the — did you say "okay"? Dodgers: Yeah, sounds good to me. Ground floor of the new cosmic order, baby! Sinestro: Really? Dodgers: Oh, wait, you had the whole hero-villain seduction speech worked up, didn't'cha?
"Samurai Quack" also goes for a Star WarsShout-Out. ("We can rule the galaxy as father and son.")
Wimp Fight: Dodgers and X-2 get into a slap fight at the peace conference when Dodgers keeps thinking X-2 is saying he loves him.note He loathed him...
Wire Dilemma: Dodgers once had to disarm a bomb set by someone who, believing Dodgers would follow the cliché of cutting the red wire, set it to explode once it was cut. Dodgers, not knowing the red wire custom, cut the blue one, disarming the bomb. His would-be killer, furious Dodgers wouldn't cut the red wire as per tradition, did it instead.
Woman Scorned: After Dodgers dumped her on the eve of their wedding, the Martian Queen didn't initially take it very well.
Martian Queen: But now, I will have my richly deserved revenge. I will humiliate Duck Dodgers, as he humiliated me. And when the wretch begs for mercy, he will receive naught but the heel of my foot, and my laugh of bitter contempt.
Worthy Opponent: X-2 considers Eager Young Space Cadet to be this (and vice-versa) - they actually work together very well when something comes up to make them cooperate.
Would Hurt a Child: Subverted. X-2 will threaten to harm a child, but the moment said child begins crying, he'll reassure them that it's just an empty threat.