Western Animation / Ego Trip

"I can't wait for the future!"

Ego Trip is an hour-long TV special of Dexter's Laboratory airing on Cartoon Network in 1999 as the show's Grand Finale (assuming you don't count the two seasons made without Genndy Tartakovsky).

After defeating some robots who came to his lab to "destroy the one who saved the future," Dexter decides to hop in his time machine to go to the future and see how cool he becomes. Unfortunately, when he gets there, he discovers that Mandark's own arrogance and greed have led to the downfall of modern civilization. Dexter joins forces with three of his future selves to stop Mandark's reign of terror.

Easily the darkest installment of the show, with numerous scenes of violent action and Mandark being upgraded from a petty rival to a full-blown villain. Dexter's parents are almost entirely Out of Focus and Dee Dee only gets one line (albeit a very important one).

This special contain examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Dexter calls Braindark a "lame brain", and Older Dexter can't help but laugh at it even with his terror at being around his former employer.
  • Badass Beard: Action Dexter has one.
  • Bad Boss: Mandark, totally. He publicly uses an electric whip on Number 12 for almost being late.
  • Bad Future: The future sucks because Mandark has taken over the world and made everyone dumb.
  • Bald of Awesome: Action Dexter is bald and he fights to end Mandark's tyranny.
  • Bald of Evil: Overlord Mandark is bald and has taken over the world.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Mandark. And just to drive it home, he still retains his silly "nerd" voice with each increasingly evil incarnation.
  • Big Bad: Executive Mandark and Overlord Mandark.
  • Big Damn Movie: Well, as big as a 50-minute TV special can get, but the stakes are easily the highest they've ever been for this show: not only does Dexter have to save the world, but his arch nemesis is a legitimate threat this time! It also had a far more expansive scope and more lavish layouts than anything the regular show ever had (a precursor to Genndy Tartakovsky's next show) and a full orchestral score.
  • Brain in a Jar: Old Mandark has been reduced to this and stuck in a museum.
  • Brick Joke: During his pep talk to 12, Dexter calls him "A lion! A tiger! A bear!" to which 12 responds "Oh my!" Later, when Executive!Mandark pushes his Berserk Button, 12 hulks out, with a lion, a tiger and a bear leaping from his chest, to which Mandark nervously replies "Oh my" before getting his ass handed to him.
  • Call-Back: Executive Mandark stepping on 12's glasses mirrors a similar shot in the episode "Dexter Dodgeball," when a school bully does the same.
  • Chekhov's Gun: At the beginning of the special, Deedee wanders into Dexter's Time Machine and is not seen again until the end when she wanders into the final battle and asks "What Does This Button Do?"
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: In the future, Mandark takes control of the company he and Dexter worked for/will work for and uses its resources to advance his plan for world domination.
  • Fat Bastard: Overlord Mandark is morbidly obese, to the point that he needs to be carried around by a hook and later a robot.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Dexter is less than impressed when he finds his young adult self a cringing whipping-boy who designs cubicles for a living. Later subverted when he discovers the older Dexter's plans for the neruotomic power core.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Mandark started out as The Rival and classmate to Dexter and rarely did anything worse than show him up. As a young adult, he stole Dexter's brilliant invention ideas and worked his way up to become the Executive, rich, powerful, in total control and very cruel.
  • Grand Finale: This movie was intended to serve as the definite end to the show, though the series was subsequently renewed for two more seasons.
  • Kick the Dog: Mandark makes his torture of Number 12 public on the office's television screens, for only being nearly late.
  • Mandatory Line: Dee Dee only gets one line in this entire movie, and that's before she pushes the button that saves the world.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: While in Number 12's cubicle, Dexter finds the Protocore and the plans for the knowledge spreader. Unfortunately, when he convinces 12 to check out the future with him, they leave those things out, allowing Mandark to swoop in and use the technology for his own conquest.
  • Overly Long Gag
    • "Stop the typing. Stop the typing. Stop the typing. Stop the typing. Stop the typing. STOP THE TYPING!!"
    • Dexter, 12, and Old Man Dexter saying hello to one another over and over.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: Mandark became head of the company in the future by stealing Dexter's ideas.
  • Pun-Based Title: An "ego trip" is another way of saying that someone is full of themselves. Dexter goes on a trip to the future because he's so "egotistical" that he genuinely believes that he alone was the one who "saved the future," and the Bad Future Mandark creates is a result of his own selfish desires and, eventually, greed for all of the world's knowledge.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After Executive!Mandark breaks 12's glasses, 12 gives his former boss the ass-kicking he's had coming.
  • Rewatch Bonus: This movie features a clever little detail that hints at the ending. The robots that come back to the present don't attack Dexter or try to fight him even as he destroys them. The first time through, it just seems like Dexter was too fast for them. The second time you realize it's because Dexter built them and they weren't there to attack him in the first place. Dexter's egotistical belief that he had to be the one who saved the future started the whole plot.
  • Sexy Secretary: Mandark has several of these.
  • Stable Time Loop: The whole special. Dexter's trip to the future was instigated by robots who were seeking to "Destroy the one who saved the future". While in the future, he inadvertently allows Mandark to steal the Protocore and create a Bad Future. After much fighting and teaming up with his selves from various time periods, the day is saved by...Dee Dee, who wanders in from the main era and does her thing. Furious at having their thunder stolen, the Dexters create an army of robots to destroy Dee Dee...the same robots that Dexter encountered at the beginning. When he realizes this, Dexter has a minor breakdown trying to figure it out, then decides to screw it and get a sandwich.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: A variant. When Dexter and 12 arrive in the distant future, they hear Mandark's voice yelling at them. 12, still terrified of his abusive boss, drops to his side on the floor and mimes frantically typing at his computer as he shakes and cries "I'm typing, I'm typing!"
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Time travel makes 12 queasy and he throws up in the time machine as soon as he and Dexter arrive in the distant future. During the second trip, he even brings a vomit bag.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Dexter gives this to 12 after the shock of seeing how weak and fearful he's grown up to be.