Western Animation: Earthworm Jim
"Earthworm Jim! We think he's mighty fine!
Earthworm Jim! A hero for all time!"Yes, it's every bit as messed up as the video game on which it's based.A Saturday Morning cartoon adapted from the side-scrolling action game for the Super Nintendo and Genesis by Universal Cartoon Studios (the guys who brought us Exo Squad) and aired as one of the launch series of Kids' WB!, Earthworm Jim is the saga of Jim, once an ordinary earthworm until a super-suit fell from space, and he crawled inside it and was mutated into a slightly-goofy superhero. With the assistance of his sidekick Peter Puppy (who has a tendency to turn into a hulking purple monster when provoked, but turns back if calmed down, usually by tickling) and the beautiful Princess What's-Her-Name (who was changed from her typical Damsel in Distress role in the games, with backstory portraying her as a ditzy stereotypical beauty type, into an Action Girl), Jim battles an assortment of oddball villains, including The Evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-Filled, Malformed Slug-For-A-Butt (Princess What's-Her-Name's evil sister); the bird-headed mercenary Psy-Crow; the aptly-named Mad Scientist Professor Monkey-For-A-Head (and his sidekick, Monkey Professor-For-A-Head); Evil The Cat, the diabolical feline ruler of Planet Heck; and Bob the Killer Goldfish.Rife with Post Modernism, this show played with and subverted about five tropes per week. The first season included mid-interval shorts, usually revolving around a brief glimpse of some villain not involved in the main story, but the second season dropped this.Doug Langdale, creator of later Disney series The Weekenders and Dave the Barbarian helped bring this show to life, given Doug TenNapel's opposition to it (though they both worked together to bring us Project G.e.e.K.e.R. shortly after this show).A DVD set has finally been announced for a North American release!
This series provides examples of:
- Acting Unnatural: A scientist observes the fibers in an evil sofa that brainwashes people into becoming couch potatoes. Said fibers turn out to be alive, and one of them shouts "We're being watched! Act natural!", followed by the fibers indulging in Not So Innocent Whistleing.
- Action Girl: Princess What's-Her-Name. She's the leader of a ragtag band of rebels and has been trying to overthrow her sister since she was a little girl. She also boasts the strength of 100 men.
- Adorkable: Peter Puppy. So. Very. Much.
- Affably Evil: Most of the villains despite their card-carrying nature possess this to an extent (Evil the Cat especially likes to balance movie nights and romantic affairs alongside the torturing of minions and attempted complete and utter destruction of the universe).
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: In "The Anti-Fish," Evil Jim does a better job of wooing the Princess than Jim ever did.
- All Myths Are True: The Great Worm Spirit Jim prays to eventually becomes a recurring character, as does the legendary Giant Fur Bearing Trout. The Greek Gods show up in one episode as well.
- Ambiguously Gay: Peter, arguably.
- And You Were There: Appropriately, at the end of "Wizard of Ooze." Upon returning home, Jim and Peter are greeted by the Princess, Walter, the Hamsternator and the Grim Reaper.Jim: And you were there. And you were there. And you—what are you doing here?
Grim Reaper: Relax. It's just a social call.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
Peter: So to sum up: It's indestructible, we're all doomed, and I don't get a sandwich!
- From the second episode, when Evil is making a potion, he says that it will require the most loathsome things in existence: eye of newt, black cat's bone boiled twice at midnight, and a "you may already have won" letter.
- Later on, a list of evil devices invented by Professor Monkey-for-a-Head starts off normally, but ends with the pay toilet.
- One episode had Jim fight Queen Slug-for-a-Butt and ask peter to give him a hammer, an anvil, and a squeaky toy, all of which Jim uses to attack the Queen.
- We also have this gem from a later episode
Jim: Santa's under the Queen's control, Christmas will be ruined, and I won't get my pony!
- The Christmas Episode gives us this.
Will Jim and Peter be devoured by the killer ants? Will Psy-Crow destroy the Earth? Will the U.S. ever adopt the metric system? (I think not!) Stay tuned to find out!
- And from the Narrator in "Sword of Righteousness"
- Ascended Extra: Peter Puppy is now Jim's right hand man.
- Badass Adorable: Peter Puppy. A terrifying monster when he's angry, an Adorkable cartoon animal the rest of the day. Yep, seems to fit the bill all right.
- Badass Santa: The epsiode "For Whom The Jungle Bell Tolls" reveals that Santa is actually the Norse God of Judgment. "May the Naughty tremble!"
- In the same episode, while under the Queen's Mind Control, Santa shows some espionage and gadgetry knowledge, attempting to destroy Jim with "The Kissing Ball of Death" which Jim averts, then steps on.
- "Bang!" Flag Gun: In "Bring Me the Head of Earthworm Jim", after Jim gets the weak suit:Jim: Eat dirt, nefarious—
(Jim pulls the trigger, and a flag pops out of the gun. It says, "YOU LOSE, WORM")Jim: ...Whoa.
- Battle Discretion Shot: So many, no surprise as this is a mid '90s action-comedy show.
News Anchor: News flash, costs of cartoons skyrocket, animators seek cheap substitutes for huge action sequences.Jim: (having defeated the entire army) What a HUGE action sequence!
- A particularly zany one happens in "Conqueror Worm" where Jim and Evil Jim fight behind the back wall of a shopping mall that contains stores that sell chainsaws, baseball bats, and killer bees.
- Just before a battle between Jim and hundreds of Zurbs in "The Egg-Beater."
- Berserk Button: Peter had lots of these.
- Inverted slightly as Peter himself expresses in the first episode he has no control over his Berserk Button induced alter ego and spends most of it trying to apologize vigorously for brutally attacking Jim earlier on.
- In the episode "Upholstered Peril" it is revealed Professor Monkey-for-a-Head really hates fruit carts. Why? Because a fruit cart-A STINKING fruit cart-killed his pa!
- Beware the Nice Ones: Never, ever piss Peter Puppy off, doing so proves you're Too Dumb to Live.Jim: I have one thing you don't have: a sidekick!(accidentally smacks Peter in the face, causing him to transform)Jim: ...Not that this is necessarily a good thing. (cue beatdown)
- Big Ball of Violence: Whenever Jim fights Peter's Monster form. Also in the episode "Trout" when Jim fights Queen Slug-For-A-Butt.
- Big Eater: Princess What's-Her-Name, to go along with her Action Girl status. She doesn't crave food, but whenever she has it (especially on a "date" with Jim) she eats ravenously.
- Bigger on the Inside: Jim's suit, which has tunnels big enough for Jim and Snott to casually crawl through, complete with giant killer security robots wandering them.Jim: You're right! This IS a violation of the laws of physics! I'll make sure to notify the Physics Police at once!
- Blessed with Suck: Peter Puppy has a form of this. The spirit possessing him grants him intelligence and anthromophism, at the cost of going One-Winged Angel if anything pisses off, hurts, or scares him. One episode has him cured of this, but he gains it back in order to save Jim's life.
- Brief Accent Imitation: In the episode "Upholstered Peril", there is a scene where Jim blasts an evil killer beanbag using his ray gun, then using a bowl to catch all of the beans from the beanbag. Peter has been zombified into a couch potato, so Jim encourages him to eat healthier by giving him the beans. "Here, little buddy! Try some RAY-FRIED BEANS. Them's good eatin'!"
- several episodes seem to wish that Jim kept his Texan accent from the video game:Jim: That'll learn ya... (Opposites Attack)Jim: Vaya con Juevos, ya ornery varmint! (Darwin's Nightmare)
- several episodes seem to wish that Jim kept his Texan accent from the video game:
- Brought Down to Normal: relatively speaking, to the extent that a hyper-evolved worm in a super-suit can be: Jim once had his super-suit replaced with one that one that gave him the strength of a normal person. A normal, really big person, as Professor Monkey-for-a-Head found out the hard way.
- Played more straight in "The Origin Of Peter Puppy" when Jim tries to cure Peter's transformations by disposing of the demonic spirit possessing him. The spirit was unfortunately also the source of his intelligence and anthropomorphism, and its exorcism turned him back into a normal non-anthro dog.Jim: I think I pulled a stupid...
- Played more straight in "The Origin Of Peter Puppy" when Jim tries to cure Peter's transformations by disposing of the demonic spirit possessing him. The spirit was unfortunately also the source of his intelligence and anthropomorphism, and its exorcism turned him back into a normal non-anthro dog.
- Boisterous Bruiser: The Sword of Righteousness is a hopeless bag of douche who has clearly never won a fight before, yet he still thinks he can somehow boss the real heroes (Earthworm Jim) around. "NOW, JIM. EXPLOIT HIS WEAKNESSES! SUMMON THE WARRIOR WITHIN! FEEL THE BURN! DESTROY HIM WITH HIS OWN EVIL!"
- Brown Note: According to 'Book of Doom', if all of the Reeking Beasts of the Malodoron system see a fondue fork, they will emit a sound that will shatter the universe. Thankfully for the universe, there's one Reeking Beast who's not only near-sighted, but possibly bonkers.
- Butterfly of Doom: In "Sword of Righteousness", Jim learns of the eponymous sword's "Portal of Time" ability and decides to play a trick. He hands Peter a penny and tells him to watch Lincoln's face change. He then travels back to the Gettysburg Address and interrupts Lincoln mid-speech, shaving his beard off (to which Lincoln says "That's a big goodbye to my credibility.") When he returns to the present, expecting everything except the penny to the be the same, he instead finds that Peter is now a southern gentleman who looks like Colonel Sanders and Jim himself is now known as "Earthworm Bubba." The sword orders Jim to go back and fix everything, and forbids any further time traveling. The whole fiasco lasts less than two minutes.
- Catchphrase: "Guh-roovy!"
- "EAT DIRT, [Blank]! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
- "By the Great Worm Spirit" (et cetera...)
- In Season 2: "Don't question me..."
- Also: "Get off my back, man!"
- Peter's Madness Mantra for when things get really bad: "I must not fear, fear is the mind killer, fear is the little death that brings total oblivion."
- Evil has "A minor setback..."
- Bob has "Destroy! DESTROY!" which never succeeds in getting his minions to actually destroy anything.
- Captain Obvious: Many conversations throughout the entire Earthworm Jim TV series revolve around this trope, with characters comically stating the obvious. (Earthworm Jim sees Psycrow's brain) "PSYCROW'S BEHAVIORAL CONTROL CENTER!"
- Cartoon Creature: Evil the Cat looks more like a rat with pointed ears.
- Cats Are Mean: Evil the Cat.
- Chewing the Scenery: The end of Peter Puppy's rant about Jim being wrongfully imprisoned. "The TWIIILIGHT OF THE CONNNDIMENTS...WEEP for them, WEEP FOR THEIR SORROWWWWWWW-HO-HO-HOHHHHHW!!!"
- Christmas Episode: Also the last episode.
- City of Adventure: Lampshaded by two bystanders who witness the rampage of a giant Psy-Crow on Terlawk in "Sword of Righteousness". One of them says it might be because of something he painted on a space probe when he worked for NASA. Said probe actually reads: "Hey stupid aliens! I dare ya to destroy Terlawk".
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Parodied in an episode where, after his super-suit has been swapped for a weaker version, Jim tries various generic ways of gaining super powers (including space radiation and radioactive arachnid bites). One of his attempts is to tell the viewer he will get powers if the audience were to "Believe! Believe and clap very hard!" promptingJim: ...Well? Are they clapping?Peter: A few of 'em, most of them are just changing the channel.
- Close Enough Timeline: The universe gets destroyed, but is quickly rebuilt... except the main character in Death of a Salesman is now named Urkel.
- Clothes Make the Superman: Jim is only sentient because of the energy from his suit mutating him from being an ordinary annelid. Although the boost to size and intellect is permanent, all of his strength, firepower and physical abilities are due to his suit.
- Cloud Cuckoo Galaxy: Everyone gets one or two Cloudcuckoolander moments, though most of them get saved for Earthworm Jim.
- Comedic Hero
- Comically Missing the Point: When Jim and Peter are tied up and left at the mercy of a swarm of flesh-eating ants.Peter: They'll strip the flesh from your bones in seconds!Jim: Good thing worms don't have bones! ...wait, that's not going to help, is it?
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Professor Monkey-For-A-Head tried to get another Battery of the Gods, and the gods turned him into a living breadmaker as a result.Professor Monkey-For-A-Head: Actually, it's kind of handy. If I twist the monkey's tail I can make pumpernickel.
- Couch Gag: The many, many variations of the "cow falls on somebody" closing gag. Sometimes it would fall on Jim, sometimes on the villain, sometimes on the very thing Jim spent the entire episode trying to save. And let's not forget the Evil Cow:Evil cow: You fools. I shall destroy you all. Starting with the lactose-intolerant. Moo moo. Moo.
- Cutaway Gag: "We now interrupt Earthworm Jim for three seconds of dancing turtles." (turtles pop out and sing a few bars of a classical tune) "We now return to Earthworm Jim."
- For added fun, these are usually done with absolutely no provocation or lead-in whatsoever.
- Crack! Oh My Back!: Lower Back Pain Man.
- Damsel out of Distress: Though Jim will never admit it, Princess What's-Her-Name rarely needs to be saved. In fact, Jim and Peter sometimes need HER help to get out of a jam. The only time she was legitimately captured was at the hands of her sister, Queen Slug-For-a-Butt, who'd been fighting her for years and could match her Insectikette strength.
- Deadpan Snarker: Psy-Crow. Also, Peter Puppy - especially in the second season.
- Death Glare: In "Sword of Righteousness", Jim learns of the "Eye of Truth", which requires him to simply stare at anyone in order to force them to admit their darkest secrets. Jim attempts this on Peter, but Peter thought he was being challenged into a staring contest and unwittingly shoots a Death Glare right back at him.Jim: (breaks down crying) When I was young, I wet the burrow!
Peter: Um... thanks for sharing.
Sword: You stink at this magic power stuff, you know.
- Later, Jim tries the Eye of Truth again, this time on Psycrow. Psycrow is unaffected and throws an anvil on top of him.
- Also in "Book of Doom", when Peter makes a highly inappropriate comment about the tape player and Jim is about to snatch it out of his hands.
- Decomposite Character: Professor Monkey-For-A-Head and Bob the Killer Goldfish. Doug TenNapel originally conceived of the Professor as more of an Evilutionary Biologist (loosely based, apparently, on a high school science teacher he used to argue with about creationism) but in the cartoon he's a more generic Mad Scientist while Bob, who didn't have much of a personality in the original game, gained a Hollywood Evolution gimmick.
- Democracy Is Bad: In one episode, Jim helps Princess What's-Her-Name liberate her homeworld and institute free elections. However, the populace shallowly votes based on appearance, and by insect standards, the Princess is hideous and her evil slug-for-a-butt sister is considered far more attractive.
- Determinator: Jim in general counts for this, but especially when he's trying to win the Princess' affections.
- Disney Death: Averted with Bob's henchcats 1, 2 and 3. They went to the place where all cats go, Kitty Heaven.
- Disability Immunity: Jim cannot be defeated by really bad sounds or smells, as he has no ears or nose. Overlaps with Forgot I Could Fly as this rarely comes into effect until one of the characters explicitly mentions this. Note that this doesn't ever stop Jim from being able to hear or smell normally.
- Distaff Counterpart: Evil the Cat gets one . . . in Malice the Dog.
- Don't Fear the Reaper: Death, in his standard "Grim Reaper" garb, becomes an affable semi-regular character in the second season of the show, first appearing in "Opposites Attack" snapping his fingers when Jim survives jumping a chasm on his Wormcycle. Later on he becomes "The Tin Reaper" in the episode "Wizard of Ooze" taking departed souls to the mall of eternity, secretly coveting the free frozen yogurt the eternals enjoy. He later appears as himself in Jim's house in the same episode, assuring Jim "Don't worry it's just a social call." Finally, he appears among a variety of mythical characters in "For Whom the Jingle Bell Tolls" expressing jealousy over Santa Claus being everyone's favorite.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: Jim loves these.
- Drop the Cow: Literally, Once per Episode, also the Trope Maker. Even lampshaded when he told Psycrow that there would not be a Here We Go Again ending in his show. Psycrow asked what Jim would prefer as an alternative and he drops the cow.
- Earthworm Jim Can Breathe in Space: And so can the entire cast. But they can't breathe underwater, obviously. Even Bob the Killer Goldfish must remain in his bowl.
- Eldritch Abomination: Queen Pulsating Bloated Festering Sweaty Pus-Filled Malformed Slug-for-a-Butt.
- Enemy Mine: In "The Anti-Fish," Jim and Peter have to work with Bob and Number 4 have to work together to save the Great Worm Spirit and the whole universe.
- In "The Exile of Lucy," the Princess is forced to go to a deposed Queen Slug-for-a-Butt to stop Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head.Narrator: Oh, the irony!
Princess: Stop rubbing it in!
- In "The Exile of Lucy," the Princess is forced to go to a deposed Queen Slug-for-a-Butt to stop Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head.
- Everyone Calls Her Princess: Well, it's a lot easier than always having to say "Princess What's-Her-Name."
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Especially with Princess What's-Her-Name.
- Everything's Louder With Bagpipes: In one episode, where Bob's attempts to waken the Anti-Fish with methods involving shouting at him really loud, banging him repeatedly on the eye with a big mallet, and cramming dynamite in his mouth before setting it off have failed, Bob muses that they need a noise so horrible it can wake the dead. He then promptly orders #4 to fetch some bagpipes. When the episode cuts back to them, with #4 collapsing from exhaustion and the Anti-Fish still fast asleep, Bob disgustedly proclaims that it's pointless to keep trying, since "if the bagpipes won't wake him, then nothing will".
- Evil Twin: Evil Jim.
- There was one episode where Evil Jim got hold of a gun that made Evil Twins of anything it hit (he wanted to make duplicates of the sidekicks so he would have some friends); unfortunately, the opposite of an Action Girl isn't particularly useful, and pissed off Evil Peter Puppy (who loves haggis) becomes a civilized monster. Eventually it was discharged against all the villains; Evil Evil The Cat becomes Good The Cat who neutralizes acid furballs, Evil Professor Monkey-For-A-Head becomes Monkey Professor-For-A-Head (they run away together), Evil Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is an old lady more concerned about knitting, and since evil Jim is already the opposite of Jim blasting him with the gun creates another Jim, lots and lots of other Jims.Jim(s): Evil doers. Prepare to be horribly mutilated!Evil Jim: I should warn you, this is going to hurt like the dickens.Other Villains: We figured.
- Evil Jim at one point lampshades the illogical nature of the 'copy that stands for everything the hero doesn't.'Jim: I've been thinking about this whole "exact opposite" thing. Since I hate losing, YOU must LOVE it! So why not give up right now?Evil Jim: Oh, don't be so literal-minded.
- There was one episode where Evil Jim got hold of a gun that made Evil Twins of anything it hit (he wanted to make duplicates of the sidekicks so he would have some friends); unfortunately, the opposite of an Action Girl isn't particularly useful, and pissed off Evil Peter Puppy (who loves haggis) becomes a civilized monster. Eventually it was discharged against all the villains; Evil Evil The Cat becomes Good The Cat who neutralizes acid furballs, Evil Professor Monkey-For-A-Head becomes Monkey Professor-For-A-Head (they run away together), Evil Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is an old lady more concerned about knitting, and since evil Jim is already the opposite of Jim blasting him with the gun creates another Jim, lots and lots of other Jims.
- Evilutionary Biologist: The episode "Darwin's Nightmare" revolves around Bob the Killer Goldfish's trying to "evolve" himself into a higher lifeform, recognizing that his fishy body is a physical limitation in his particular line of work. What makes this a bit strange is the fact that Doug TenNapel is a creationist and the fact that Bob talks like a caricature of a fire 'n' brimstone Southern Baptist preacher (with a slight Mexican accent).Bob: Ah still believah that fish are the highest form of life, but I gotta get me some arms and legs!
- Comes complete with Evolutionary Levels; Bob goes from a goldfish to a giant lungfish to a T-rex to a human to a human with a giant skull-piercing brain, super-intelligence & psychic powers and finally ends up a goldfish again.
- Expository Theme Song: "Earthworm Jim! Through soil he did crawl / Earthworm Jim! A super suit did fall ..."
- Fantasy Pantheon: There's the Great Worm Spirit, the Anti-Fish, Evil the Cat and even the Odd Job Gods standing in for the Greek pantheon.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Apparently condiment theft is a truly atrocious crime in the Earthworm Jim universe.
- In "Opposites Attack" Jim blows up a waitress with his ray gun for the heinous crime of not washing her hands before leaving the restroom.
- Fiery Redhead: Princess What's-Her-Name.
- Fluffy the Terrible: In "the Great Secret of the Universe" Evil the Cat unleashes a beast of Lovecraftian proportians who he believes is known as "The Nameless Beast." The beast corrects him by revealing his true name: Rosebud.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Psycrow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head capture Jim at one point by threatening the narrator.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:Jim: Quick, little buddy! Whip me! Whip me!
Peter: ...I beg your pardon?
Jim: I mean use me as a whip!
Peter:Oh! Right!Jim: Psycrow's behavioral control center! Quick! Your tape player!
Peter: You're not gonna get custard on it again, are you?
- Censors were taking a nap during the production of the episode "Peanut of the Apes." First, Jim attempts to increase his show's ratings by appearing, together with Peter, on a beach dressed in thong bikinis complete with Peter commenting "My bikini is giving me a snuggie." Later in the same episode Jim barges in on Professor Monkey-For-A-Head shouting "Just what do you think you're doing?!" The professor quickly yanks a French Maid Outfit off of the monkey and counters "Nothing! Nothing at all!"
- A one-time character's name "Ethel" is pronounced incorrectly due to a lisp, sounding like "asshole".
- Jim has a phone in the groin area of his suit, only mentioned in the episode "Peanut of the Apes."*ringing sound*
Peter: Uh, Jim? That's your pants phone. Aren't you gonna answer?''
Jim: In a sec, I'm kinda enjoying it.
- A case could be made for Jim's catchphrase "Eat dirt!" Earthworm's, at least as far as this Troper knows, eat dirt, but also crap out dirt. He could be saying "Eat shit!" for all we know.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: In "The Exile of Lucy," the heroes play poker with Bob, who promised not to try to destroy anyone.
- Gone Horribly Right: Bob has this happen to him on numerous occasions, especially in the mid-intervals. Two of the more notable examples are when he finally manages to make his fishy minions intelligent enough to understand him by mutating them to have giant brains (they become intelligent enough to realise he is a dangerous megalomaniac who must be destroyed and blast him with psychic powers) and when he tries giving them an actual demonstration of what he means by destroying things (a bigger fish leaps out and starts beating him up).
- The episode "Exile of Lucy" has Queen Slug-For-A-Butt dethroned by her henchmen for having no compassion for others. She is exiled to earth where she makes friends with Jim's Nosy Neighbor and returns, having learned her lesson about friendship, only to kick her henchman off the throne herself.
- Green Lantern Ring: The Orb of Quite Remarkable Power
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Jim, Peter and Snot sneak into a research facility to get Jim's suit back by...walking right through the front entrance, past a pair of security guards. And greeting them.Guard 1: ...did a giant worm, a talking dog and a smiling booger just walk by?
Guard 2: Yep.
Guard 1: *picks up the phone* Hello, DNA lab? Whatever you guys are doing in there, cut it out!
- Heavy Voice: Princess What's-Her-Name gets one after being subject to Professor Monkey-For-A-Head's Fatomic Ray Gun.
- Here We Go Again: Subverted at the end of "Hyper Psy-Crow." Psy-Crow tries to do this, but Jim says otherwise—opting for Drop the Cow.
- Heroes Want Redheads: And Jim wants Princess What's-Her-Name.
- Heroic BSOD: Peter has a hilariously over-the-top breakdown after Jim turns himself in to the police. Before, he underwent a similarly-exaggerated one when Jim rejected him as a sidekick.
- Heroic Comedic SociopathJim: EAT DIRT, EVERYBODY IN THE GENERAL VICINITY! *begins shooting wildly* AHAHA HAHAHA HAHAHA!!!!
- "Note to self: do not throw super-villains at buses full of orphans."
- Don't worry. The orphans were fine.
- "Note to self: do not throw super-villains at buses full of orphans."
- How We Got Here: One episode starts with Psycrow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head gloating over how they defeated (and taxidermied) Jim, and most of the episode is spent in flashbacks explaining how they got to that point. Turns out their taxidermist was Peter in disguise, and Jim wasn't really taxidermied at all.
- Hulking Out: Peter Puppy is a good guy, but if he gets scared or hurt, his monstrous alter ego takes it out on whoever is in the vicinity, which usually is Jim.
- I Ate WHAT?: Peter has this reaction to eating haggis in the third episode.
- Ice-Cream Koan: The Master of Wow-Lin, whom Jim claims to have studied under. He spouts nothing but useless platitudes so nonsensical even Jim is quick to realize he's "a senile old bat-nugget."
- Idiot Hero: Jim has four incredibly advanced worm brains.Brain One: I'm hungry.
Brain Two: I'm cold.
Brain Three: I'm itchy.
Brain Four: Where are the girls?
- Infant Immortality: Lampshaded in "The Origins of Peter Puppy," where the flashback shows Jim tossing a monstrous Peter into a bus full of orphans. A shot of the bus shows everyone is okay and a disclaimer asks us to note that.
- Infinity+1 Sword: The Sword of Righteousness claims to be a legendary powerful sword. Subverted as it turns out none of its wielders have ever won a fight with it.
- Insane Troll Logic: Jim has this, to the aggravation of his sidekicks.Peter: How did you find that out?Jim: The voices in my head told me. (For whom the Jingle Bell Tolls)
- Insectoid Aliens: All natives of the planet Insectica, such as the soldier-caste Zerbs, Queen Slug-for-a-Butt, and Princess What's-Her-Name.
- Insignificant Little Blue Planet: One episode had Princess What's-Her-Name angrily write in her notes that there is no intelligent life on Earth after seeing Jim and Peter play with stuff they found in the attic.
- Insult Backfire: After a villain calls Jim a "spineless worm", Jim's response is "Was that supposed to be an insult? I really don't have a spine, ya know!"
- Intelligible Unintelligible: Jim and Peter have no trouble understanding Snot. No one has any trouble understanding Monkey, either.
- Interspecies Romance: Jim (male mutated giant Texan Earthworm) insists that he and Princess Whats-Her-Name (female deformed Insektikan — an alien race descended from insects) are a couple. The Princess makes it fairly clear that she is not interested in him and has never given him reason to believe that she is, Jim merely chooses to ignore her denials to fit in with his own delusions, which results in her being more openly irritated by his claims in the second season. There is also Peter Puppy (male Earth dog possessed by a demonic spirit) and Grogamel the Destroyer (female alien) in one first season episode, and Evil the Cat (male demonic feline) and Malice the Dog (female demonic canine) in a surprisingly romantic relationship in one second season episode.
- Jerkass: Most of the villains, but Psycrow and the Queen really stand out here.
- Kid Sidekick: Peter Puppy.
- Killer Rabbit: Again, Peter Puppy, but a heroic variant.
- Lame Comeback: "Don't play dumb with me, you... dumb guy."
- Laughably Evil: The ENTIRE Rogues Gallery is friggin' hilarious.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The Christmas Episode "For Whom the Jingle Bell Tolls" features one for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, as using him would require paying royalties for The Rudolph Company. He is not named, but it is obvious who he is supposed to be because he has a red nose and bitterly mentions how Santa bars him from the reindeer games and only called for his help because of his nose.
- List Song: A Show Within a Show included "The Inert Gases Song":I know which gases are inert
Helium, neon and argon
I'll sing this song until it hurts
Krypton, xenon and radon!
- Madness Mantra: Peter often tries to keep himself calm by reciting the first few lines of the "Litany Against Fear" from Frank Herbert's Dune. It rarely works.
- Mad Scientist: Professor Monkey-For-A-Head, and his close associate, Monkey Professor-For-A-Head.
- Man Child: Jim likes to read fuzzy-wuzzy animal pop-up books, collect snow globes, play with junk in the attic, and watch the "Mister Bunny-Butt" show. Sometimes crossed with Skewed Priorities as Jim often cares about saving his object of immaturity more than actually saving the universe.
- Meaningful Name: Pretty much everyone/thing/where has one of these, whether it's the Boulevard of Acute Discomfort, or Henchrat, or the Orb of Quite Remarkable Power.
- Metaphorgotten: "Superheroes and evil twins go together like peanut butter and...evil peanut butter!"
- In the same episode, Peter's interpretive puppet show using condiments describing his Heroic BSOD devolves into something like this, until Peter's just having everybody throw up by dumping the condiments onto the table.Peter: 'I'm just a sugar, but I'm gonna barf too!' And the jelly! Jelly barf, jelly barf!
- In the same episode, Peter's interpretive puppet show using condiments describing his Heroic BSOD devolves into something like this, until Peter's just having everybody throw up by dumping the condiments onto the table.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Evil the Cat is more of an Omnicidal Maniac that didn't think past the "destroy the universe" part.
- Although in one episode, he claimed he was alive before the start of time and would be around when it ended (although didn't adequately back up either of those Badass Boasts with evidence) so he may yet have a plan. Other than gloat.
- Well, he could explain it if someone gave him an orange.
- No, wait! An onion!
- Although in one episode, he claimed he was alive before the start of time and would be around when it ended (although didn't adequately back up either of those Badass Boasts with evidence) so he may yet have a plan. Other than gloat.
- Mooks: The Queen and the Princess both have an army of "zurbs," identical red-shelled ant-like creatures.
- Most Definitely Not a Villain: Such dialogue usually accompanies Evil the Cat's paper-thin disguises.
- Mythology Gag: When Evil Jim creates an evil clone of the Princess she has the exact same personality as the Princess from the original video games.
- As in the end of the first game, the first episode ends with a cow being dropped on the Princess.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: From "The Origins of Peter Puppy," the Earthworm Mindmeld.Peter: You just made that up, didn't you?Jim: Don't question me.
- Non Sequitur Thud: After Peter goes back to normal once, when Jim and Evil Jim kept throwing his monstrous form at each other:Peter: Who is the master who makes the grass green? (thud)
- Noodle Incident:
- In the second episode, Peter says that their front door was reinforced after an incident with an old lady from UNICEF.
- How Jim and Peter wind up in nasty situations seen in The Teasers.
- According to "Hyper Psy-Crow," Psy-Crow fought in the Vietnam War and was pulled into a foxhole by the Great Worm Spirit.
- Nose Nuggets: Take a guess as to what Snott is.
- Nosy Neighbor: In "The Egg-Beater" Mrs. Bleveredge, Jim's next-door neighbor demands Jim return the Egg-Beater he borrowed, only to become a Chew Toy as Jim takes her from planet to planet in search of it.
- She returns in the episode "Exile of Lucy" becoming friends with Queen Slug-For-A-Butt. The very next episode "Hyper Psy-Crow" shows her sitting in a throne to the right of the Queen.
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Subverted. Professor Monkey-For-A-Head can replicate the super suit at will. It's just that he can't power the damn thing without another Battery of the Gods and when he went to them to try and get a new one, they turned him into a bread maker.
- Not a Date: Princess What's-Her-Name's usual response when she's out with Jim, sometimes taken to extremes.Princess: Relationship? What relationship! (Queen What's-Her-Name)Princess: Hey! You don't own me! (The Anti-Fish)
- In "Bring Me The Head of Earthworm Jim" Jim attempts to set up an elaborate date for himself and the Princess, when the Princess merely invited him out for pizza.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Dan Castellaneta's interpretation of Jim lacks the thick southern drawl of his games counterpart, replacing it with a cliched hammy superhero dialect.
- Now Which One Was That Voice?: The credits list all the voice actors, but don't specify which belongs to which character.
- Obfuscating Insanity: A scene from the "Sword of Righteousness" episode. Jim gets sent flying all the way into outer space by a giant golf club. Up there in outer space, right above Earth, there is a spaceship crew worker chatting with one of his crew mates on the spaceship. "Out here in space, some people see strange things, but, not me, pal. (YAAAAAAAAA) Like right now for instance. I definitely did NOT see a big worm." (YAAAAAAA) "NOTHIN OUT HEREIN SPAAAACE, NO SIRREE, LALALALALALA!"
- Odd Friendship: Queen Slug-for-a-Butt and Mrs. Bleveredge.
- Odd Job Gods: When Jim goes to get a replacement for the Battery of the Gods, he meets the God of Puns, the Goddess of Disco, and the God of Nasal Discharge.
- Once per Episode: Peter Puppy eats haggis, the one food that he doesn't like, and states verbatim that it is "the heart, lungs and liver of a sheep boiled in its own stomach." The origin being that he loved haggis until finding out what it really is.
- Also, most episodes has Peter Puppy turning into a monster whenever he gets hurt or scared.
- Every episode ends with a cow falling from the sky for no reason. It usually lands on Jim.
- Interestingly, Peter's transformation into a monster also follows this, leading to situations where Peter gets hurt, scared, or angry later in the same episode and doesn't change because he's changed once already. He didn't even change after becoming confronted by his absolute worst fear in "Evil in Love."
- One-Shot Character: Grayson, immediately dubbed as "Turlawk's Resident Boy Genius and President of the Earthworm Jim Fan Club" only appears in the episode "Upholstered Peril," conveniently providing scientific explanations for the evil furniture, and subbing for Peter, who is turned into a zombified couch potato.
- Only Sane Woman / Dog: Princess What's-Her-Name and Peter Puppy.
- Orifice Invasion: After Jim and Peter are shrunk down to microscopic size by Psycrow's "Professor Monkey-for-a-Head's patented Reducing Cream in lotion or ointment form", guess how they stop him? Jim uses the Pocket Rocket to fly straight into his right ear canal, which contains literal object representations of ear bones. Psycrow's reaction: "GAHHHHHHHH!!! WORM IN HEAD. WORRM INN HEADDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
- Our Presidents Are Different: The president in this series, as he points out in every episode he appears in, is one of those generic presidents TV shows use to keep from being dated.
- Overly Long Name: The Queen's full name is Queen Bloated, Pulsating, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-Filled, Malformed, Slug-For-A-Butt, which is said in full at least once in every episode she's in.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: One of Psycrow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head's plots to steal Jim's suit involves setting up a fake dry cleaners next to his house. Said dry cleaners is just Psycrow's spaceship with a sign on it, and the guy running the front desk is the Professor with a mustache and a cowboy outfit, complete with ludicrously large hat to hide the monkey. The Professor then talks like he normally does, except with added cowboy slang. Then a banana peel falls out of his hat, which he blames on head lice. Jim completely falls for this."Hiss, Hiss! Hello, I am a steam pipe. The intruders went that way. Hiss, hiss! Steam!"
Peter: Aren't you going to take your helmet off for a lady?Psy-Crow: A lady?Peter: Okay, okay, a dog in a dress, JUST TAKE OFF YOUR HELMET PINHEAD!
- From Hyper Psy-Crow:
- Lampshaded in "The Great Secret of the Universe." Evil the Cat tries several paper thin disguises, until he gets frustrated and appears at Jim's door as himself using the direct approach. Jim then naively does exactly what he wants.
- Parental Bonus: Peter reading a framed letter from President Truman. "Thank you for your kind offer to end World War II, but we have a bomb we wanna try out."
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Instead of fight evil, the Galactic Justice League would rather goof off or play poker (especially when Bob is $4 ahead).
- Performance Artist: Peter Puppy has used interpretative dance, splatter paint puppetry and poetry recital to describe his inner sadness.
- Planet of Hats: Almost every planet in the universe is one, from the Planet of Very Tall Things to the Planet of Easily Frightened People (Psycrow loves this planet)
- Play-Along Prisoner: Jim only stays in prison because he's convinced that all the evil deeds Evil Jim committed were done by a split personality. Once he finds out he really does have an evil twin, he promptly burrows underground and escapes.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Jim's assorted variants on his "Eat dirt!" line
- Prequel: Parodied in one of the intermissions that shows a preview of Young Earthworm Jim, about Jim's many adventures before he had the super suit.
- Prison Episode: Jim turns himself in to the police in one episode after hearing about his Evil Twin committing crimes and coming to the conclusion that he's actually developed a Jekyll & Hyde-style Split Personality.
- Including all the amenities of your basic old-timey prison, such as the chain gang and "completely pointless rock breaking."
- Prison Rape: Parodied. In said Prison Episode, Jim's cellmate uses him as dental floss.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: Inverted. Jim attempts to model heroic traits but is often looked at as a loony by his friends and other superheroes, who prefer just to play poker in their secret lair.Jim: We're not even playing for real money. that would be a violation of our strict moral code! And you know, laws and junk...
- Put on a Bus: After her episode, Malice the Dog had to leave Evil the Cat to star in her own in-universe series.
- Red-Headed Heroine: Princess What's-Her-Name.
- Redundant Rescue: In "Sidekicked", as Princess What's-Her-Name insists. Jim seems to be too busy giving a hero monologue to hear her.
- Relax-o-Vision: In the opening - just as Peter Puppy's about finished transforming and about to maul Jim, there's a sudden shift to a shot of Jim relaxing in a hammock and napping. It cuts back to a rather mangled Jim after a few seconds.
- Reverse Psychology/Briar Patching: Sometimes the villains do it to Jim, and sometimes Jim does it to the villains, but it always works.Jim: You'd never ask me to do what you really want, so I'll do exactly what you say! (The Great Secret of the Universe)Jim: Beat us to a pulp, tear us limb from limb, but whatever you do, don't remove the evil spirit from Peter!Evil: That is EXACTLY what I shall do! (The Origin of Peter Puppy)
- Rogues Gallery
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Princess What's Her Name.
- Run the Gauntlet: in "The Egg Beater", Jim has to face all his usual enemies, first one by one, then all at the same time.
- Running Gag: What is haggis made from again?
- Whenever Peter gets depressed, he goes to talk to Snot. Who, naturally, can't talk. Then he tries some manner of elaborate performance to try to explain his feelings, and Hilarity Ensues.
- Sanity Slippage: Peter slowly but surely sinks into this after Jim's wrongful imprisonment in Conqueror Worm."Thank you for taking the time to discuss my feelings, Snott. How do I feel? Well, perhaps this little puppet play I've written will explain. (sticks two forks into the table)(waves salt shaker between the prongs of the forks) I am Earthworm Jim. Woe is me for I am wrongfully imprisoned.(grabs mustard bottle) I am Peter. Sad and unhappy am I without Jim. BOO HOO! BOO HOO HOO HOO!! My life is without purpose. Emptiness wells up in my tortured soul. I'm going to...GOING TO...(squirts mustard all over the table)(grabs ketchup bottle) I am Snott, and I also am indeed BLEAUGH! (squirts ketchup all over the table)(grabs the sugar and a jar of jelly) I'm just the sugar but I'm gonna barf too, and the JELLY, JELLY BARF, JELLY BARF!!!(soaks his hands in the mixture and theatrically displays them to the audience) BEHOLD the GOOEY SLOP of our SORROW! (smears the mixture all over his face with his hands) IT IS...SLOBBER...DAMMERUNG!!! THE TWILIGHT OF THE CONDIMENTS! WEEP FOR THEM, WEEP FOR THEIR SORROW-HO-HOHO-HOHH!!!(dunks his entire face into the mixture)Yes, Snott, my delicate psyche has come horribly unglued!"
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Jim, which is no surprise given who voices him. It's pointed out to him in one line from "Upholstered Peril."Grayson: Just before the table attacked, I heard a high-pitched whine.Jim: Uh, it wasn't coming from ME, was it?
- Scenery Porn: During the prologue to the Book of Doom episode, Jim and Peter enter Psycrow's ear canal and head straight for his brain.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Averted, in that Jim keeps insisting that Princess Whats-Her-Name is so obviously his girlfriend... except nobody, not even the Princess knows what he's talking about.
- Shout-Out: To, of all things, Dune and Pulp Fiction.
- The description of haggis is, word for word, from one of the flashbacks in Highlander.
- "Do you expect me to talk?" "No, no, no, Mr. Jim! I expect you to fry!"
- From another episode:Jim: Peter, you keep a look out while Snot and I...journey to the center of the suit!Snot: *gibberish*Jim: I dunno, Snot. Who's Jules Verne?
- In "Darwin's Nightmare" after Jim and Peter lose their intelligence, the two become dim-witted idiots who often annoying laugh at the stupidest of things.
- Single-Biome Planet: La Planeta de Agua! Arriba!
- Sibling Yin-Yang: The Princess and The Queen.
- Moreso in the fact that by alien standards Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is considered the pretty one while her sister Princess What's-Her-Name is considered hideously deformed. An unrelated episode featured the Princess being okay with being hit by a ray gun that made her gigantically fat as "this look is very popular on her planet."
- Spin-Off Babies: One of the mid-interval shorts was a trailer for Young Earthworm Jim.
- Status Quo Is God:
- In two episodes Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is dethroned, but ends up back in charge at the episodes' closing.
- In the first, "Queen What's-Her-Name", Princess What's-Her-Name decides to set up a constitutional democracy on Insectika; Slug-For-A-Butt wins the election in a landslide because no one else ran against her.
- In "The Exile of Lucy", Slug-For-A-Butt is called back in to help fight Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head when all other options have been checked. (And not for lack of trying on the Princess' part.)
- In another episode, Peter Puppy is cured of his evil side, and he is eventually forced to take it back to save Jim from Evil the Cat.
- In two episodes Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is dethroned, but ends up back in charge at the episodes' closing.
- Step Three: Profit:Evil: (Evil Laugh) Now I shall destroy the universe!Henchrat: Uh, what we do then, Boss?Evil: Hmm. (eyes widen, beat) I really hadn't thought about it, actually.
- Take That: In the episode "Darwin's Nightmare", Jim and Peter are seen watching a pastiche of Jacques Coustea on television. Peter says that the Coustea parody is a little "special". After the diver says that fish are the highest form of life, Jim and Peter then say in unison that he is "very, very special". Note that "special" can be used as a euphemism for mentally handicapped.
- Talking Animal: Jim, Peter Puppy
- Also practically everyone else in the entire series.
- Talks Like a Simile: Jim and Peter in the denouement of several episodes. "Once again, evil is as grass beneath the mighty lawnmower of justice!"
Psy-Crow: I will now crush you like....Some easily crushed thing! (The book of Doom)Peter: We're gonna fry like...Jim, what're those things that get really hot and then burn up?Jim: Us? (The Egg Beater)Professor Monkey-for-a-Head: With this freeze ray, I shall freeze you AS SOLID AS!...a solid, freezy-frozen thing. What's that, Monkey? Oh, right, thank you! A block of ice. (The Egg Beater)Jim: This blanket of evil will cover the earth like...a huge blanket that's really...hideous!
- To make it worse, sometimes the characters don't complete their similes.
- The Teaser: Every episode begins with the heroes doing something different - usually fighting an unrelated villain. It usually doesn't relate to the main episode, though every episode has some manner of Call Back or Brick Joke to it and in the second season there are more instances where the teaser is at least somewhat relevant to the main plot.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: Evil the Cat once tried to destroy the universe with one of these...and a fondue fork. It Makes Sense in Context.
- Trigger Happy: While the villains display this at times, nobody's more trigger happy than Jim himself.Jim: Ooookay... I'll do this the other Earthworm Jim way: less talking and more mindless mayhem!!! EAT DIRT, EVIL BANANA-SUITED DOOFUS!!! AH-HAHAHAHAHA!!! (Sword of Righteousness)
- Two Beings, One Body: In "Conqueror Worm", during the climactic showdown with Jim and Evil Jim, they slam into each other, causing them both to end up inside Jim's suit.Evil Jim: Face the awesome wrath of your own left fist!
- Professor Monkey-For-A-Head and Monkey Professor-For-A-Head.
- The Unintelligible: Snot.
- Also, Monkey Professor-For-A-Head.
- Unreliable Narrator: Not only is the Narrator prone to being corrected by the characters, he's also at one point bullied into reading a scene transition by Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head which skips over the two actually having to do what the transition says they've done.
- The episode "Wizard of Ooze" takes this to extremes: The narrator continually takes a sarcastic, defeatest and cranky attitude towards his job through the episode, at one point even asking the audience to read a book and calling his agent in the middle of the show. Jim snaps him out of it by threatening him with a jar of vocal chord-eating parasites.
- Villains Out Shopping: Done frequently. Often a premise for mid-interval shorts in the first season with one of the Rogues Gallery in lead role.
- Way Past the Expiration Date: In "Sword of Righteousness", Jim and Peter eat vending machine sandwiches with a sell-by date of June 14, 2006 — B.C. Jim's has a powerful sword in it.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: In one episode Jim goes through a bunch of replacement sidekicks who all have useless powers, like Turns-His-Eyelids-Inside-Out Boy, Zantor (Master of the Flying Toupee) and A Shadow (with the ability to make shadow puppets). Several end up joining the Galactic Justice League, with the addition of several other heroes with useless powers, like Lower Back Pain Man.
- The actual Superheroes in Jim's universe aren't much better. There's the Hamsternator (Who can stuff anything in his cheeks), Johnny Dactyl (A "mysterious" type, who's really a whining Mama's Boy), and The Space Crickets (two inches tall, and always on vacation)
- Whole Plot Reference: "Wizard of Ooze" to The Wizard of Oz.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Everything for the Planet of Easily Frightened People."Ahhhh, something green! Ahhhh, something not green!"
- In "Evil in Love," Jim, Peter and the Princess get sent to the nightmare realm and face Morpheus. When the initial scares fall flat, Morpheus makes them face their worst fears: a full bathroom, haggis and a perfume saleswoman.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Jim has a horrible weakness to "Wormtonite," which only appears once and has unpredictable horrible effects on him. Rather than coming from some bizarre alien planet, it's just something the two found in their fridge (Peter thinks it used to be cheese).
- World of Ham
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Parodied in the second episode, which features "Ye Newwe Printyng Shoppe: Free Spelling Correkshun."
- You No Take Candle: From Henchrat and Walter.
Jim: Woah, Bad thing happen. (Opposites Attack)Peter: I go bang bang now! (A Lounge Day's Jorney into Night)Freak show owner: I could make a mint with a giant worm, a talking dog and a *Gets crushed by Queen* Big....hurty....thing...
- Also crops up randomly spoken by other characters.