Western Animation / Kenny the Shark

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kenny_x02.jpg
"When do we eat?"
Kenny the Shark (2003-2005) is an American animated television series produced by NBC's Discovery Kids, which ran for two seasons with a total of 26 episodes.

The series is set in California and centers around a little girl named Katarina "Kat" Cassidy (voiced by Kelli Rabke) and her pet tiger shark, the titular Kenny (voiced by Jim Conroy). As explained in the theme song, Kenny was a shark that decided to move up on land after becoming tired of the ocean, while Kat was a girl looking for a special pet that she could love for her own. When they met, it was love at first sight.

Notable about the premise of the show is that Kenny, although a shark, is capable of walking and breathing on dry land, among other obvious feats that no shark in real life is capable of doing—other aquatic life is shown being able to do this as well. Nobody in the show questions this. Kat is also able to speak shark, making her the only one who understands just how intelligent Kenny actually is.

Before the series proper aired, Kenny featured in a series of animated shorts in the 1990s that were all from his point of view.


Tropes include:

  • '20s Bob Haircut: Kat's mom Grace's hair.
  • Adorkable: Kat. She's a nerd for sea-life, and she doesn't fit in much with the "popular" crowd at school, but she's adorable.
  • All for Nothing: Kat says these exact words in "Will Work For Chum" when her dad admits he was joking about throwing Kenny back to the ocean, making them find a job to pay for his food bills.
  • Alliterative Family: Kat and her little brother Karl, not to mention that her pet's name also starts with a K.
  • Alliterative Name: Based on sounds rather than letters but Kat's name counts.
  • Alpha Bitches: Three of them attend Kat's school, and they're all named Phoebe.
  • Animal Talk: Kenny, Marty, and all the other animals are able to talk to each other.
  • Art Evolution: The second season has the characters with less sharp edges and smoother animation.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Badly battered shark, actually, in "Watching Karl".
  • Beatnik: Though not actually one, Grace seems to dress in a similar fashion
    • In "I Love the Nightlife", Kenny and Kat goes to a poetry club where a beatnik speaks while Kenny plays the bongos.
  • Big Brother Instinct/Papa Shark: Messing with Kat, especially if Kenny is present, is a bad idea. Case in point: in "Whaling on Kenny" which features Kenny's "friendship" with Buster the orca, Buster had spent the entire episode bullying the frankly terrified Kenny. When Kat shows up and Buster knocks her to the ground, Kenny flips and launches into a speech that's half Not Afraid of You Anymore and half "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Big Eater: Kenny non stop. His eating habits become a problem for Kat's parents, as one episode was about finding a job to pay for his food bills. He and Kat settle for a mascot job for the local hockey team, where it turns out they aren't paid with money but with all the hot dogs he can eat. He's not fired for causing panic, but because he ate all of the hot dogs.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The Phoebes. Though the "redhead" has brown-haired which is almost dark red.
  • A Boy and His X: A Girl and Her Shark.
  • Butt Monkey: Kat's father Peter tends to be the victim of a lot of mishaps, usually caused by Kenny.
    Peter: I hate that shark.
    • Kenny himself is often the victim of a lot of physical comedy, like in "Watching Karl".
  • Characterization Marches On: In season 2, Kat is a bit more assertive and prone to snarking.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: When Kat decides to go vegetarian, she asked Kenny to go vegetarian with her, and because Kenny is a carnivore by nature, it is extremely difficult for him.
  • Disappeared Dad/Missing Mom: True to how sharks behave, Kenny never met his birth parents. It sometimes makes him depressed. And also the reason he became close to a baby shark he and Kat encountered in "Kenny the Dad".
  • Disco Dan: Peter loves the 70s', they were his "glory days". Grace hates that decade, and is glad they can't go the 70's party since Peter's disco suit got ruined by Kenny (which Peter thinks was caused by moths).
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Kat's parents wear sandals. Though Kat switches between sandals and shoes, she often wears sandals too.
  • Exiled to the Couch: Kat's dad in the episode where Kenny eats the package that had his anniversary gift for Grace in it; she refuses to believe the package was late and made him sleep on the couch for allegedly forgetting their anniversary.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: A variant. In "Whaling on Kenny", Kat has set up a friendship with Buster the orca for Kenny which, unknown to her, has lead Buster bullying Kenny badly; about halfway through the segment, Oscar finds her in the library where she's researching activities for the 2 to do together. After she offers to let him help, Oscar picks up one of her books, pages through it briefly and asks if Kat knew that orcas eat tiger sharks. Kat responds nonchalantly at first but then lets out a Big "WHAT?!" before grabbing the book to confirm the statement. She's...less than happy to find out what she's gotten Kenny into.
  • Feud Episode: "Ball of Contention"
  • Granola Guy: Peter. In "Shark Shrunk", Kat believes it's to please his "hippie left-wing father".
  • Granola Girl: Kat arguably, since she decides to become a vegetarian like her dad.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The shark-hunting Captain Ahern; he initially tries to kill Kenny on sight, but after Kenny saves his life he not only gives up his shark hunting ways, but in a later episode he actually defends Kenny from a bunch of angry neighbors who believed the shark had stolen their food.
  • Hulk Speak: Mulch the great white shark from "Mr. Popularity" speaks this way. Lampshaded by Kenny.
    Mulch: Mulch eat kids!
    Kenny: "Mulch eat kids. Mulch eat kids." Mulch has really gotta work on his vocabulary. Use your words!
  • Idiot Ball: Kat in "Whaling on Kenny". Kat had previously (since "Whaling on Kenny" was in Season 2) been established as being a near expert on sharks, especially tiger sharks. Why was it a shocking revelation that orcas eat them?
    • To say nothing of the fact that she thought that Kenny, a carnivore, could become a successful vegetarian.
    • In another episode, a pet trainer who repeatedly mistreated her students (especially Kenny) brought in a seal as a new pupil. When Kenny (who eats seals) naturally goes berserk, the trainer begins berating Kenny just in time to be caught by Kat who's disturbed by the treatment Kenny's receiving and appalled when she finds out about the seal, calling the trainer out on her stupidity. Fortunately the trainer is willing to listen.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Averted, Kenny doesn't try to eat people. Certain circumstances come close to playing it straight, whether they get on his nerves or if they happen to smell like a seal.
    Peter: Boy, for a fearless predator, he's pretty chicken.
    Kenny: You're lucky I don't like the taste of balding vegetarians.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Kenny, a tiger shark, and Marty, a dachshund. Technically also Kenny's friendship with the human Kat.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Kat is almost never referred to as "Katarina" and usually only by her teachers or parents if she is.
  • Limited Social Circle: The only human Kat hangs out with is a boy named Oscar; she tries to make friends with the Phoebes and their social circle, but was cruelly rejected.
  • Mama Bear: Kat towards Kenny and her mother towards both her children.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: Peter. It's speculated by Kat that he was trying to impress his own hippie father by becoming one.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with the three Alpha Bitches named Phoebe.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In "Shark Shrunk", Kat tries to be a therapist to analyze Kenny; she deduces that he has a fear of abandonment and afraid no one likes him. However, Kenny misinterprets that as her saying that nobody likes him for real.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: A lot of shark facts are thrown in the series, sometimes with Kat expositing them directly to the her classmates/the viewer and sometimes as actual plot points (for example, Kenny repeatedly losing his teeth in one episode and growing new ones.) A lot of myths about them are broken as well, such as showing that most sharks do not go out of their way to kill people.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Kat understands Kenny and vice-versa, and is also able to talk to every other shark. It's not clear if she can understand Marty and other kinds of animals, though.
  • Spoiled Brat: Burton Plushtoy III
  • Straw Vegetarian: After Kat decides to become a vegetarian, she tries to get Kenny to become one. But she eventually realizes she shouldn't force him to do something he doesn't want to (or in his case, can't) do.
  • Tailfin Walking: Guess who. Sometimes Kenny's tailfin gets animated as though it's an actual pair of legs.
  • Threatening Shark: Subverted. While Kenny does cause a bit of trouble, he usually has good intentions when causing it. Played straight with his hammerhead friend, Dan. Although Peter believes this in the first few episodes, as do several other humans in the series.
    • Completely averted in "Whaling on Kenny" where Kenny becomes the victim of Buster, an orca who is an absolutely vicious bully and not just to Kenny either; when Kat shows up after finding out what Buster's been doing to Kenny, he knocks her flat and she looks legitimately terrified about what he could do next until Kenny jumps between them to protect her.
  • Token Trio: The Phoebes: The blonde Caucasian, the African-American, and the Latina.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In "Mr. Popularity", the Phoebes bought a shark as a pet, after seeing a cute shark movie.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: As seals are the natural prey of tiger sharks, Kenny goes crazy trying to eat them (this even causes problems in the first episode, where he repeatedly attacked a man who smelled like seal.) Fortunately, Kat is able to feed his craving with Seal Pops, Popsicles that are somehow FDA approved with seal meat. He also develops a love of Sushi.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: Marty the dachshund looks like his owner. Or is it vice-versa?
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Because he's a fish, Kenny has a fear of cats despite being much bigger than them.
  • Youthful Freckles: Kat.

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