"I come from the Net. Through systems, people, and cities, to this place - Mainframe. My format, Guardian: To mend and defend. To defend my new found friends, their hopes and dreams, and to defend them from their enemies. They say The User lives outside the Net and inputs games for pleasure. No one knows for sure, but I intend to find out. ReBoot!"
The first TV cartoon to be fully computer generated, this show is actually set insidea computer. It was produced by Mainframe Entertainment, the same Canadian production house that made Beast Wars, Shadow Raiders (War Planets), and several other shows.Premiering in 1994, ReBoot was the story of Mainframe, a city in cyberspace, and the various "programs" (people) that lived within. Filled with its own mythology and unique phrases that references a lot of computer terminology, it was a very successful show wherever it was shown. Of particular note was the phenomenal vocal work, and the visual design by renowned Judge Dredd artist Brendan McCarthy.In the beginning, the story was primarily about Bob, a Guardian (security program) from "The Supercomputer" who is assigned to protect the relatively backwoods city of Mainframe. His two main friends are his love interest (and smart businesswoman) Dot Matrix, and her younger (and hyperactive) brother Enzo. He is also aided by the system administrator Phong, who fills the role of a vaguely Confucianmentor.The first season introduced the primary villain, the virus Megabyte, who serves as the Big Bad for almost the entire series. His attempts to take over Mainframe or travel to the supercomputer forms the backbone to most of his plans. He has a 'sister' named Hexadecimal, who he continually tries to destroy, and who tries to destroy him right back (She describes this as simple "sibling rivalry"). She is more interested in chaos than actual destruction, so while being vastly more powerful her plans are less focused and is usually less of a concern. A unique feature are her harlequin masks; they will change expression depending on her mood but they remain static, never mouthing out her words. Both viruses had huge fanbases, with Megabyte being a well-drawn Magnificent Bastard.Besides dealing with a power-hungry virus, Bob is there to win the "games" that are sent by "The User" (a never really seen entity who fills the equivalent role of their God). The games are purple cubes that descend from the sky and envelope an area of the city. If the user wins the game, that section of the city is "nullified" and those inside are turned into mindless, energy-draining slug-like creatures called "nulls." To combat the User, Bob and his friends must enter the game and "reboot" themselves into forms adapted to compete within it.Other characters in the show include the inhabitants of Mainframe, mostly binomes, who are shaped like ones and zeroes; the lack of more sprites (Humanoid characters) besides Dot and Enzo was ascribed to the destruction of the sister city of Mainframe, which occured before the start of the series and also killed Dot and Enzo's father. The decision to use simple shapes for background characters resulted from the technological limits of the time, and more human-like characters appeared as the production hardware was upgraded.Midway through the second season, the show discarded its episodic nature and began introducing a long term Story Arc that reached through the fourth season. New characters like AndrAIa were introduced; she was originally a game character, and became Enzo's love interest. The hacker Mouse appeared several times before settling in as a regular character and resident smart girl.As part of the show's growing mythology and story, the Guardians from the Supercomputer proved to be more Knight Templar than previously let on, pushing Mainframe into an uneasy alliance with both viruses, and after two unexpected losses for the good guys, a Time Skip had Enzo and AndrAIa grow into young adults as The Lancer and an Action Girl.The series ran for three seasons before being canceled in 1998, causing them to let go of a story arc introduced a few episodes earlier and make up a thrown-together Happy Ending. After an Uncanceled fourth season in 2001 consisting of two movies and a more deliberate Cliff Hanger, it now sits in limbo, awaiting another conclusion that may never come... or, with the announcement of a trilogy of movies in the works and a trailer, that well might.Now continued in a webcomic format on the official ReBoot site, which has been declared as Canon. Shout! Factoryreleased the show on DVD in 2011.A reboot of ReBoot has been announced.Has an Abridged Series.
Aborted Arc: The Opening Narration mentions that Bob intends to learn about The User and why he plays the games. This is never addressed in the show and line about the User is dropped from later versions of the Narration.
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Mainframe has one that's large enough for a group to maneuver through at high speeds on zipboards. It's also used as an emergency shelter once.
Action Girl: AndrAIa from season 3 onward, and Mouse. Dot can hold her own, but prefers to make battle plans and direct forces instead of doing the fighting herself when she has the option.
Affably Evil: Megabyte and Hexadecimal. He covers his violence with suave sophistication, she just never seems to actually bear anybody any ill will, she is just crazy.
Antagonist in Mourning: A unique variation. Hack and Slash actually considered that with Bob gone, there was no one to stop them from doing anything too bad. Hack and Slash are overjoyed when Bob returns, as if they were always friends to begin with.
Anti-Hero Substitute: Deconstructed. Enzo grows from a whiny, naive young sprite into the big, tough badass Matrix, but everybody keeps telling him how being a big, tough badass does not compensate for being an arrogant, pompous jerk, and his hotheaded actions put AndrAIa, the love of his life, in mortal danger. A recurring theme of season three is the fact that, for all his efforts to reunite with his family and Mainframe, they would be disgusted and repulsed by what he has become.
Arc Welding: The Web creatures' appearance in Nullzilla marked the very first multi-episode story arc of ReBoot, and it lead directly into the following four episodes and, by extension, all of season three, but it was originally a random event within the story and isolated from other plotlines. However, in The Episode With No Name of season three it is revealed that Daemon, a supervirus that would become the Big Bad of season four, deliberately sent the Web creature to Mainframe as part of her Evil Plan to infect the entire Net.
Art Evolution: Midway through Season 2 they had a hardware upgrade that allowed much fluid and naturalistic movements, such as shoulders swaying forwards and backwards while walking (before the most expressive movement was Hexadecimal's Sexy Walk). Season 3 jumped forward with textures like eyelashes and background items, as well as shadows (You would be surprised how much you miss them). Season 4 had a much more realistic sense of weight, instead being either too fast or too slow when jumping around.
The regular Bob design changed in the fourth season, largely giving him sharper cheekbones that could rival Johnny Depp. It's possible the reason was that Glitch-Bob had the scales but normal Bob was not that different facially from Matrix (besides the Perma Stubble and coloring).
The Artifact: Hack and Slash became this around season 3 as the show started to become Darker and Edgier. After that point they were pretty much just kept around for easy comic relief and because, frankly, it's hard to imagine the show without them.
Art Shift: In "Enzo the Smart," the colors and shading gets primitive when Enzo changes the clock speed of Mainframe when he tries to become twice as smart as everybody else. It doesn't affect Enzo, and he even comments on it.
Enzo:Dude, everything's gone 8-bit!
In a fourth season episode they encounter a game that has them reboot into Cel Shading characters. Before they reboot it has them personally in normal CG shading with the background cel shaded, which makes it a bit of a Medium Blending.
Bad Future: Seen in the two-part episode 'Identity Crisis,' the first episode to become darker than the normal lighthearted tone of the series.
Bare Your Midriff: Multiple one-off costumes within the games, but some characters had it for their standard outfit.
AndrAIa after the time skip.
The female Guardian in "The Episode With No Name."
Batman Gambit: "Medusa Bug" revolves around different Gambits by different characters. Hex prepared the bug itself in utter secrecy, denying its very existence every step of the way, letting nothing leak of her preparations; she knew it would drive Megabyte crazy and that he would stop at nothing to steal it. He does precisely that and becomes the Bug's first victim, just as Hex intended. After Hex has essentially won, Bob, with no allies left standing, can only fix the Medusa Bug by using Hex's obsession with chaos against her.
Battle Couple: AndrAIa and Matrix. They met on the shows equivalent of a battlefield, and they have been watching each others backs ever since. They even frequently flirt while kicking the User's butt in games.
Belligerent Sexual Tension: Not the norm for Bob and Dot's relationship, but the season one episode The TIFF featured them bickering and arguing to such an extent that their hidden feelings became all the more apparent.
BFS: The leader of the Web Riders carries a sword so big he can actually knock out the main guns of the Saucy Mare.
Big Bad: Megabyte, always and forever. Daemon steals the spotlight for a short time, but it doesn't take long for Megs to grab it back in truly monstrous fashion.
The Big Board: There is a map of the entire city of Mainframe in the Principal Office, which Dot and Phong use to coordinate their war against Megabyte.
Big Damn Heroes: Right when the Web Riders are about to slaughter everyone on the Saucy Mare (Yes, even Matrix) Bob shows up and orders the Web Riders to stop. Having previously gained the Web Riders' trust and friendship, it works.
At the beginning of the show, Phong. The torch later goes to...
... Dot, even more than Bob (The Hero). When Bob is lost in the Web and Enzo is fighting games, heralded as the savior and protector of Mainframe, it is explicitly stated that these are essentially small-scale battles and Dot needs to stay out of them because she is the one person who is able to counter-act Megabyte on a large-scale setting.
Big "NO!": Used extremely effectively by numerous characters, who utter them at moments of great personal loss throughout the series.
Biker Babe: AndrAIa reboots into a literal Biker Babe on numerous occasions, and retains a fascination with motorcycles and hover-bikes throughout the entire series.
The BS&P song in "Talent Night" (see Executive Meddling). There is also the character of Emma from the same episode, who was apparently based on a real person from the BS&P.
When ABC dumped them at the end of season 2, Megabyte's army's vehicles were dubbed "Armored Binome Carriers."
"The ABCs! They've turned on us!"
The Blank: Hexadecimal has a series of masks that she quickly swaps out behind her hand to change expressions. Her real face is not shown until halfway through the second season, when Bob removes her mask and reveals that there's absolutely nothing beneath. This also happens in the PlayStation game.)
Blatant Lies: Megabyte is rather fond of these, as we see in the very first episode, where he has spent some time convincing Bob to open him a portal to the Supercomputer for what would be an entirely benign visit.
Bob: *raises an eyebrow and jerks his thumb to the side* "And these?"
(Cut to large army of infected sprites snapping to attention)
Megabyte: "Oh, just some, ah, colleagues, to make my visit, shall we say, comfortable."
Blessed with Suck: Post-Daemon Glitch-Bob. His powers aren't needed anymore and they will eventually kill him, and he doesn't look "normal" enough to compete with the other Bob for Dot's affection.
Brainwashed: Megabyte infects and controls whatever binomes fall within his power. Later, every resident of Mainfraime succumbs to this because of Daemon; also has traces of Brainwashed and Crazy in it as well.
Brother-Sister Incest: Web-creature-controlled-Megabyte attempts to merge with Hexadecimal to create what is, in her own words, "the next generation." The Moral Guardians were also afraid of encouraging incest in Real Life, so they ordered the producers to remove a scene where Dot kissed Enzo on the cheek at his birthday party (See Executive Meddling in the Trivia section). Ian Pearson, one of the creators, stated that he found the reasoning behind that decision "one of the sickest things I've heard."
By the Power of Grayskull!: The series title is the command for becoming an NPC in a Game, a process that re-outfits, re-equips, or outright transforms the character into something that fits within the game rules.
"This is bad. This is very bad," "Not good. This is not good!" "I don't think so!" and "Stay Frosty" were used by numerous characters, predominantly Bob, who would occasionally claim that it was his line when somebody else said one of them.
Phong's Catch Phrase was "Yadda, yadda." When he is tortured for the system password it appears character by character in binary on the wall; savvy watchers can translate them by their ASCII codes into: yaddayadda.
The often-used "This is bad. This is very bad" has an amusing variation in the ReBoot Playstation game: "This is good. This is very good."
Censor Decoy: The creators gave the female characters massive breasts, knowing that the censors would force them to shrink them. This allowed them to give them the cup size they wanted in in the first place
Cerebus Retcon: Season 4 revealed that Mainframe was a controlled experiment to test Bob's theories of "reprogramming viruses for the greater good." That's right. Though contained, Megabyte and Hexadecimal were allowed to run free.
Chekhov's Gun: The Stargate-esque portal Megabyte built in the second season turned out to be significant to the overall mythology, both in the past and the future.
Chekhov's Gunman: Megabyte's pet Null Nibbles turns out to be Wellman Matrix, Enzo and Dot's father.
Chessmaster Sidekick: Herr Doktor becomes much more prominent as Megabyte becomes more darkly villainous, and is far better at his job (and willing to indulge in villainy) than Hack and Slash. Herr Doktor eventually replaces them as Megabyte's favored minion.
Chick Magnet: Bob, no question about it. He attracts Dot, Mouse, and Hexadecimal along with other female characters.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The protagonists use a lot of outside abilities to beat the User, including Matrix using his gun to threaten a pair of Funny Animal golfers in a golf game, attacking the opponent handler in a Pokémon-inspired game, and even hiding the ammo crates and power-ups in an Evil Dead FPS. Bob constantly uses his keytool Glitch in games, which lets him be The All-Seeing A.I.. However, cheating in games is not as common as it could, and for good reason; an early episode shows what happens when you exceed the Game's parameters too far when a bomb goes off inside a racing game: an infinite loop forms, which starts sucking in everything and everyone in the Gamespace, eventually crashing the Game.
"Huh. It's an infinite data ELSE/IF loop." "... What does that mean?" "It means... RUN LIKE YOU'VE NEVER RUN BEFOOOOOOOOOORE!"
Matrix hates Ray Tracer right from the start because...well, because he does. Before Ray and AndrAIa began their lite flirting, before Ray attached himself as a member of the Saucy Mare, before he had done anything except ask to be freed from a prison cell, Matrix promises to kill him the next time they meet.
The Web Riders attack the Saucy Mare because... well, for no apparent reason.
Conflict Killer: Subverted. When the threat of the Web arrives in season two Bob and Megabyte team up to prevent an invasion, but instead of putting their current conflict on hold until the greater threat is past Megabyte betrays Bob during the fight, using the situation to finally make a change in the long, drawn-out struggle over Mainframe.
Continuity Drift: Later seasons firmly establish that nothing can penetrate the outer wall of a game cube. However, in 'Identity Crisis (Part 2)'' Phong was watching Bob and Dot's progress in the game and later entered the game himself. This is never reconciled and promptly ignored.
Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: Not exactly a prequel, but the game Pantsu Hebi X in season 4 is among the most advanced looking games in the series (being cell-shaded and having better animations than earlier seasons), despite the fact that Matrix says it was already an old game when he was a kid.
Cowboy Cop: Matrix describes himself as a "Renegade" and never received any training at the supercomputer academy, even though his programming includes the Guardian protocol.
Dot: "Well, we know physical force can't hurt nulls. We'll have to try containment."
Phong: "Do not worry. I have prepared something for just such an emergency."
Bob: "You're prepared for a giant monster made entirely of nulls STOMPING AROUND MAINFRAME?"
Phong: "That is correct!"
Bob: "How do you plan for that?"
Phong: "Ah, lucky guess?"
Later in the episode, Phong tells them to finish the monster with a weapon, but realizes that it is still in its glass case. The case reads "IN CASE OF GIANT NULL MONSTER THREATENING CITY — BREAK GLASS"
Phong in general, if we're to assume that the city is his design. In season 3, the town is armed to the teeth (even a public postal box has a cannon hidden in it.) The only thing Phong wasn't prepared for was the Medusa Bug, and neither was anyone else.
Creepy Changing Painting: Hexadecimal's mask can change expression, but only when offscreen (or behind her hand). This gets really unsettling when her personality goes from "cracked" to "broken;" she can have a sad frown on and be cozying up to someone, and be one flash-frame perspective-switch away from a horrible glare, fangs, and death threats.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Vehicular version. The Megatruck and a large grounded airplane on wheels are driving towards each other in a narrow canyon (It Makes Sense in Context) and a collision is inevitable and it looks like both vehicles are going to be destroyed. The Megatruck plows right though the airplane without slowing down and proceeds to run over the mooks on motorbikes right behind it. The Megatruck is not damaged at all and just keeps on trucking.
The Danza: A unique example; the City of Adventure itself is named after the animation studio that created the show. In a more straightforward example, AndrAIa's original voice actress was Andrea Libman — different spelling, but pronounced the same way.
Darker and Edgier: From the end of Season 2 on. A surprisingly effective execution, partially because the darker third season did not have the same limits of Executive Meddling as in the first two seasons.
Dawson Casting: Averted. Young Enzo was played by a real kid and the production replaced the voice actor with another kid as their voice changed. One voice actor returned several years later to portray a different character.
Death Glare: Matrix has a literal one of these after the time skip; his cybernetic eye is tied into his gun and has a target-lock function.
Dot, his sister, is no slouch at letting either Enzo or Bob know that she is not one to mess with!
Deus ex Machina: Invoked by Bob at the end of the third season. Mainframe was torn to shreds and there was no possible way to repair the city. When a game arrives, Bob formulates a risky Batman Gambit where a lost game would force a total system crash and the User would reboot the entire city. The risky part was whether or not the User would do a system restoration rather than a complete reformatting.
Deus Ex Nukina: Standard Guardian Protocol for dealing with Web creatures in systems like Mainframe: Destroy the system with a nuke stand-in and take the Web creature with it. Bonus points for the nuke being small enough to be disguised as a communication device for the unaware bomb smuggler. In fairness, it's less overkill than it sounds; a creature like the one they were dealing with is very dangerous, can reproduce rapidly, and can spread to other systems under its own power.
Digital Piracy Is Evil: The Crimson Binome, who arrives to plunder Mainframe for wealth and booty in The Crimson Binome, is explictly identified as a "software pirate." However, instead of being evil, he promptly abandons piracy once he discovers just how much money there is in legitimate trade between systems, and he returns in later episodes as an ally and muscle for the main cast.
Do-Anything Robot: The Guardians' keytools and Matrix's gun to a lesser degree. Twice Bob actually gives Glitch the command of "Anything!" when he could not think of what tool was needed at the moment; it used to be the page quote.
Doing It for the Art: Preceeding the Pixar revolution, the series was created as part of an untested medium. There were no animation or special FX studios at the time that could handle the rigors of a completely CGI series. Mainframe Entertainment was created for ReBoot, there was no Pilot Episode because the cost of equipment and other things required either a full season or nothing.
Don't Ask: When the female Guardian asks AndrAIa what happened to her men in "The Episode With No Name," AndrAIa simply tells her not to ask.
Donut Mess with a Cop: The binome police officers in "Trust No One" are sitting in Dot's Diner eating donuts as people are being abducted off the streets.
The last episode of Season Two, if you didn't get a station that aired Season Three or never found out it continued. For many viewers, Megabyte banishing Bob to the Web and locking the gateway behind him was the last they ever saw of the series, at least for many years.
"Game Over. User Wins." Enzo, AndrAIa and Frisket are presumably nullified.
Eldritch Abomination: Most seen Web creatures are usually smaller and, while bizarre-looking, do not drive anyone insane just from looking at them like a traditional Eldritch Abomination should, but the Web still seems to have a rather Lovecraftian feel to it: it is outside normal space and hazardous to life-as-we-know-it, organic and gross in comparison to the Net's smooth clean lines, associated with tentacles, and full of bizarre creatures vaguely evoking sea life. There are hints that there are true Eldritch creatures somewhere in the Web, since there are numerous occasions of seeing parts (Like the aforementioned tentacles) that are much too big to have come from any of the witnessed creatures, but they have only been seen in the video game in a ◊ Bad Ending.
Eldritch Location: The Web. Simply being exposed to to the Web degrades Sprites until they are unrecognizeable, and it is filled with beings and monsters that do not conform to the rest of the Net.
Epic Tracking Shot: They made full use of the liberating camera angles for CGI. Most episodes begin this way.
Even Evil Has Standards: Matrix's attitude disgusts even Hexadecimal. Bob!Megabyte is absolutely disgusted 'mon fighting. Megabyte considers reformatting "a fate worse than deletion".
Everything's Better with Princesses: Subverted with Princess Bula; she is not a real princess, but no one is willing to tell her otherwise. Subverted again in a game with a traditional "rescue the princess" storyline that implied that Dot would be the princess, but instead placed her in the role of one of the rescuing knights and had Enzo reboot as the princess.
Evil Laugh: Megabyte and Hexadecimal like to do this a lot. Although, Hex's laugh leans towards Laughing Mad on several occasions, and pretty much every single time she laughs during season 3 (after she completely loses it) is more insane laughter than evil.
The Mainframers, on learning the identity of their new Guardian, invariably remark that "Green's no colour for the defender of the system!" It's a bit odd, because these comparisons between Enzo and Bob are the only time anyone even comments on a sprite's colour.
Season four reveals that Guardians have a more than professional dislike for viruses, describing them as "dirty" and "no use."
"Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "The Great Brain Robbery." Ends comically when Enzo appears to sneeze out an Armored Binome Carrier.
AndrAIa: Difficult to pinpoint, but is pretty much The Lancer to Matrix, especially during their side quest. Is essentially a second Lancer in the fourth season.
Dot: The Lancer and The Smart Guy during early seasons with shades of The Chick. Became the Big Good in season three, when everybody else was out playing games and fighting invidual battles but she was leading the city in its overall war against Megabyte.
The real Sixth Ranger of the group would have to be Hexadecimal in the fourth season.
Special mention goes to a single episode plot where the heroes go into a Dungeons and Dragons-esque game, and the five man band becomes a 4 man band: Dot remains the smart girl, Enzo the Bratty Half-Pint, Bob becomes The Lancer (despite wanting to be The Hero), and comic-relief Mike the TV becomes The Hero (but for the most part, he acts like The Load).
Flanderization: Matrix got hit with this in season 4. In the previous season he had become a bitter person who has an intense (if justified) hate for viruses and shows no compassion for them, not even when they beg for mercy. But he also displayed regret at what he had become, and as a result of Character Development, decided to stop letting his hatred consume him, going as far as to spare the life of Megabyte, the virus he hated the most. Then season 4 ignored his character development, not only reverting him back to his virus-hating merciless self, but also taking it to a new level. In it, he had no qualms about killing infected but innocent guardians, and was extremely reluctant to save the life of Hexadecimal (who was an ally of the good guys by that point), only agreeing to do it after AndrAIa pointed out that doing so would help them in the war with Daemon.
To be fair, meeting his former innocent self and remembering what he was before Megabyte destroyed his world probably re-ignited his hate for viruses - along with the desperate need to keep little Enzo from turning into him all over again.
Flashback with the Other Darrin: Averted. During season 4 the flashbacks to pre-season 1 give Bob his original voice actor, while outside the flashbacks he has the replacement voice actor.
At the end of "Bad Bob" in season two, Megabyte makes the standard villain threat that this is the last time Bob will foil his plans. However, shortly after this episode came "Web World Wars" and then the season three time-skip, which completely changed the character dynamics and roles of the heroes and villains. Megabyte was being completely honest, for the entire rest of the series Bob never again foiled his plans.
"The web" was mentioned several episodes before the appearances of the Web Creature in "Nullzilla," where several binomes were talking about how they had heard that the web was expanding and conquering systems.
Enzo's Eye Scream is foreshadowed twice before it actually happens: In the Bad Future witnessed in season one's "Identity Crisis, Part 2," his future self has a scar running through his right eye. Later, in season three's "To Mend and Defend," shortly after he reboots into a zombie, his right eye falls out, hanging by an optical nerve.
By the same token, a line in "To Mend and Defend" doubles as foreshadowing the Eye Scream and the boundary of the show growing Darker and Edgier: Dot whips the User's gun away and it slams into a wall near a talking deer head, which says (with a Scottish accent): "It's only fun until someone loses an eye."
Megabyte and Hexadecimal being siblings was hinted at several episodes before it was revealed.
In season two's "Nullzilla," Megabyte addresses his pet null, Nibbles, as "father." The reason for this isn't revealed until season four.
During "My Two Bobs," while rebooted as Bobzilla, Bob slips up and begins to call Matrix Enzo, but he also says it with a slightly different accent more suited to Megabyte.
Forgotten Phlebotinum: The Giant Robot from Nullzilla was never used again after that episode, despite how many other Call Backs appear in the show. Of course, it would have broken the plot had they used it again.
For the Evulz: Megabyte flat-out admits in his return that he no longer cares about conquest or control, that he has abandoned his aspirations on the supercomputer, and he is now doing what he does because he can and because he wants to.
While Bob is begging Phong to give Hexadecimal an icon, we can see Ray sampling Hexadecimal's biscuits made out of Herr Doktor while Mouse tries to stop him from eating one.
In season 4, Mike gives a TV report and in the background, you can spot Matrix and the gang at the Diner. Matrix tries to order something, but Cecil keeps ignoring him. Matrix gets angry and start chasing Cecil, while AndrAIa tries to calm him down.
Future Me Scares Me: Played with when a backup copy of young Enzo is created during a system restore. At first, Little Enzo looks up to Matrix and wants to be just like him, while Matrix is irritated by Enzo as a reminder of how weak and naive he used to be. As time goes on, Enzo despises Matrix for the bitter and cynical Anti-Hero he has turned into, and Matrix realizes how much he has strayed from his more idealistic youth.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Like a lot of American shows hampered by excessive censorship, this show took a particular delight in finding ways to sneak some mature content in.
In the Pokémon/Dragon Ball Z parody episode, the Mons are called Pantsu Hebi X. Pantsu Hebi is Gratuitous Japanese for "Trouser Snake." To make it even funnier, Matrix describes one as "A mutant creature. I keep you in that tiny container and release you to fight for me."
When dicussing keeping Hexadecimal a prisoner and pawn of Megabyte:
Herr Doktor: I think she likes being tied up!
Megabyte: Let us not even think about that.
Ray Tracer's line, "You should try logging off every once in a while, it relieves pressure." It seems innocuous at first, until you think about what "logging off" could be a euphemism for...
In the penultimate episode of Season 4, after Little Enzo gets a copy of "The Duties of the Best Sprite" just prior to Dot's wedding to Fake-Bob: "Bob? What's a 'stag night'?"
Season three introduced the in-universe curse of 'ASCII.' It is a computer term, so it is allowed as an in-joke, but given that it is pronounced 'ass-key,' GUESS what it means in the world of ReBoot...
Enzo has on more than one occasion said "What a couple/bunch of dipswitches," which sounds A LOT like something else entirely.
In "The Crimson Binome", there's some graffiti on the jail cell's wall, one of which reads "Capacitor is flacider."
When the wedding between Dot and Megabyte disguised as Bob is prepared, Dot, Mouse, and Andr A Ia are at one point seen at what is blatantly a strip club. To elaborate, they are seen watching four male binomes dance suggestively with hats over their crotches.
Glass-Shattering Sound: The Web/Mainframe conflict is partly kicked off by Mike the TV showing Hexadecimal an opera program. The opera singer's shrill voice shatters Hex's mirror, allowing a Web creature to invade the city.
Standard Guardian protocol when a Class-5 Web Creature is discovered in a system like Mainframe is to destroy the entire system. Class-5 Web Creatures are capable of creating portals, potentially forming a bridge for a full Web invasion of the Net. Compared to that, the loss of a single system is a minor consideration.
When faced with the threat of Daemon, Matrix, AndrAIa and Enzo allow Hexadecimal to enter Mainframe's core and regain her powers. Even as the two viruses are fighting, Matrix is scared of what is going to happen if Hexadecimal wins.
Go Karting with Bowser: Megabyte takes a break from evil scheming to rock out with Bob at Enzo's birthday party.
"I've always wanted to do that."
Good Costume Switch: Hexadecimal goes from red and black to white and gold after becoming a Sprite.
Good Old Fisticuffs: Megabyte provokes Matrix to give this a try, and comes to regret it prompting him to use his retractable weapons, Wolverine Claws
Grand Finale: Season 3 ended with all the immediate plot threads concluded and a happy ending for every good character, full of emotional well-being and joy that only left the vaguely-referenced Daemon plot unresolved. Then it was continued in Season 4, which ended the show with a Cliff Hanger that has not been resolved for years.
Cut Short: It should be noted that Season 4 was originally supposed to be three Made-for-TV Movies plus a one-episode musical to wrap things up at the end. It was cut to two movies instead, thus the cliffhanger.
Green Lantern Ring: Bob's Keytool, Glitch. The keytool even shows initiative at some points; in one episode Bob desperately shouts, "Glitch: Anything!" and Glitch turns into a necessary piece of equipment (Namely, a lampost). On another occasion, when Bob was falling from a great height, the keytool flew ahead of him to the ground and turned into a springboard he could jump off to safely land. The keytools seem to have a degree of intelligence and can think and communicate, serving only Guardians that they choose to serve, and even offering advice and suggestions. It overlaps with Gadget Watches.
When Bob merged with Glitch he seemed to have an array of powers not entirely unlike Green Lanterns themselves, including energy powers. When they unmerged in season 4, Bob's first fight with an upgraded Glitch had him using solid light constructs as well.
Groin Attack: "Identity Crisis: Part 1," in which Bob recieves a tank turret to the groin.
Guns Akimbo: Dot during the game featured in "The TIFF."
Gut Punch: "Web World Wars," where Megabyte (being Megabyte) turns on Bob during the Web creature invasion, and launches him into the web, stranding him there and leaving Mainframe with no guardian to defend against Megabyte's impending takeover. It was the show's first major example of The Bad Guy Wins.
And it quickly went From Bad to Worse (boy, did this show get dark in a hurry). Enzo stepped up to the plate to defend the city, and four episodes into his run as guardian, he loses a game, and he (along with Andraia and Frisket) has to leave with it in order to avoid being nullified. The next time we see him, he's grown into a renegade, gun-toting Anti-Hero, and the next time we see Mainframe, it's a veritable wasteland. And when he encounters Megabyte, he gives him a literal one of these in one of the most awesome moments in the show.
Happiness in Slavery: It turns out that some of the infected binomes liked being controlled by Megabyte, since they enjoyed causing mayhem and terrorizing their fellow Mainframers. When Megabyte returns, they eagerly surrender themselves to his control.
Happy Ending: When it was thought ReBoot would end at season three the writers wrapped up as many storylines as they could, and gave the characters the happiest ending possible. Everybody has a romantic interest, the city has been restored, Megabyte has been defeated and dead people have been returned to life!
Bob: Hex, you won't survive it. It's a one way trip. Total fragmentation.
Hexadecimal: But you will survive.
Heroes Gone Fishing: In the middle of a war game during Identity Crisis (Part 1), Bob is seen taking a nap while fishing. With the games being life and death situations, Bob must be very confident that the User sucks at this particular game. Of course, he was correct.
He Who Fights Monsters: Matrix's hatred for and obsession with Megabyte risks making him almost as cruel and vicious as the virus. He even comes to realize this in Number 7.
Holodeck MalfunctionBad Bob features a game cube that gets corrupted when Megabyte stole Mainframe's core energy. Normally the destruction a game cube can cause is limited to the area it landed on, but since this game landed on the Principal Office if the User wins the entire system crashes. However, if anyone else wins the game, the core energy leaves with the game, and the entire system crashes. This problem forces Bob to keep the game going until he can get the core energy back into the Principal Office to stabilize the game and let it leave without crashing the system.
Honor Before Reason: The crew of the Saucy Mare have always loyally followed the Crimson Binome on whatever path he chose for them, whether it was piracy or honest trade, because he always took them towards the profit. However, when he meets up with Matrix after losing contact with Mainframe he decided to bring his ship and his crew to the aide of Matrix and Dot and, when his first mate asks where the profit is in any of this, he explains that there are things more important in life than profit. The entire crew is shocked to a stand-still, and he mentions repaying a debt to an old friend and helping those in need. Despite the dangerous waters they are going into, and the lack of any benefit to themselves, the entire crew follows him onward anyway.
Dot: Is it just me or are these acts just getting worse?
Hotter and Sexier: After the end of season 2, when the show left ABC, the creators had some more freedom with the female character models. Breasts became more defined rather than just a curved bump on the front, sashaying became a little more defined, and that's to say nothing of AndrAIa and Hexadecimal. Still, this trend is mostly noticeable in Dot. The first game of season 3 has her reboot into a Vampira/Elvira outfit with the plunging neckline and has her ripping the dress to walk easier and to Show Some Leg. By Daemon Rising, she's also gotten a bit bouncier.
Humans Are Cthulhu: To the inhabitants of the Net "The User" has the power and skills of a deity, but is unknowable, unfathomable, and something of a jerk. Guardians will especially question "The User's" motive for introducing viruses into systems. Like a true Eldritch Abomination they are not actively malevolent or helpful, but are simply so far beyond the ken of Sprites, Viruses and Binomes as to upset their world without even knowing it.
I Call It Vera: Matrix has named his gun. Unfortunately, he is not exactly a creative genius, and he simply named it Gun.
I Hate Past Me: After the time skip, Matrix feels that he was "a weak little boy" and insists on not being referred to as "Enzo." When the back-up copy of Enzo first emerges, Matrix is initally put off by him and refuses to admit that they are more similar than different.
I'm Okay: Done epically by the Surfer in the "Mousetrap" episode.
Innocuously Important Episode: Almost everything that happened across the Myth Arc can be traced back to the simple act of Bob loaning Mike The TV To Hexadecimal in "Painted Windows". Before that, the show was episodic.
Mouse:(regarding Hex) Just tell the witch to be ready!
Hexadecimal:(angered) I heard that! (happily) What a sweet thing to say!
Intrepid Reporter: Mike the TV, believe it or not. When the Web creature has posessed Hexadecimal and is advancing on him he continues to report, even in the face of his own certain doom, and relates the publics right to know.
It Is Beyond Saving: In the season 3 finale, Mainframe has been trashed so heavily by Megabyte's rule that even Bob finds it hopeless to actually save the city. His solution is to intentionally lose a Game, corrupting the system past the brink and causing a total systems failure, gambling that the User reboots the system from backup, restoring things to the way they were, instead of reformatting, which would annihilate everything completely. It works.
It's The Only Way To Be Sure: As explained in "Trust No One," the Guardians won't take any chances upon finding a Web Creature in a Mainframe-type system. They'd rather destroy a whole system rather than risk a Web invasion into the entire Net.
I've Always Wanted To Do That: During the festivities at Enzo's birthday, Big Bad Megabyte crashes the party, and brings out... a guitar, with a dial turned to 11. Megabyte begins jamming, almost painfully because of how loud it is. Then Bob steps up to face him, seeming angry at him for crashing the party. Then he commands his keytool to turn into a guitar and thus begins a rocking guitar duel, between the Hero and the Big Bad! After finishing, Megabyte gives Enzo his guitar, says the line (with emphasis on the "always"), and leaves.
Just Friends: Bob and Dot spend a lot of time in the Will They or Won't They? stage, and even when they finally express their feelings they still spend a lot of time claiming that they are "just friends." It is not until Daemon has infected both of them that they admit they are deeply in love with one another.
Killer Rabbit: Daemon is a cute, sweet woman with a friendly demeanor. She is also a super-virus looking to destroy the entire Net.
Knight Templar: Daemon originally appears to be one of these, as her infection instantly brainwashes people and turns them into docile pawns, and her goal is to use the infection to create unity throughout the entire net. However, it turns out the only reason she wants to unite the whole net is because she is a time-delayed virus. When her timer is up, she's set to destroy everything and everyone she had infected, effectively triggering an apocalypse.
Late-Arrival Spoiler: Megabyte and Hexadecimal being siblings came as a surprise in the late second season. Any biography of them will list this fairly early on, including the introduction on this very page.
Leave the Camera Running: The duel between AndrAIa and the female Guardian in "The Episode With No Name" lasts one minute and thirteen seconds before either character draws their weapon.
Left Hanging: The Grand Finale at the end of season three concluded all important and current storylines (Megabyte defeated? Check. Love interests together? Check. City repaired? Check. Dead characters returned to life for joyful reunion? Check), but the Daemon storyline was left open. Introduced earlier in season three, it revealed the existence of Daemon, a supervirus, and laid at her feet a lot of the previously-thought-random occurences that lead to the current situation. The Daemon arc had little bearing on the immediate quest of the characters, the reclaiming of Mainframe from Megabyte, so it fell by the wayside once they left Guardian-controlled territory and was only resolved in season four.
Leitmotif: Some characters, such as Megabyte, Hexadecimal and Mouse each have their own distinctive themes. The show's theme tune also crops up in-episode on a few, brief occasions.
Let's Get Dangerous: Bob is relatively laid back and somewhat clumsy until the need arises, and then he turned into a prime action hero.
Limited Wardrobe: Played generally straight in that their normal outfits are used constantly and later in the series you see them shift up to maybe three different variations. But rebooting in the games shifts their appearance into something appropriate to the game so we do regularly see them in something other than their standard clothes.
Literal Genie: In "Enzo the Smart," Enzo tries to become twice as smart as everybody else. The computer tells him to go to the clock-speed room to adjust it, because the clock speed determines how fast sprites can run and process things. It asks him if he wants to be twice as smart as everybody else in Mainframe now or later. When he changes the clock speed, it slows down…keeping Enzo at his current IQ and making everybody else in Mainframe dumber.
Literal-Minded: When Matrix orders the crew of the Saucy Mare to fire at will, one of the binomes in the background softly says "who's Will?"
Little "No": Dot utters one of the third variety right before her Big "NO!", after Enzo is lost in the game.
Magic A Is Magic A: The general mechanics of how this universe works is well defined. The Net is the universe, containing everything and everyone in existence, and each system is a self-contained "planet." The web is an Eldritch Location; contained within the universe but not touching any inhabited planet and filled with beings that do not conform to natural law as it applies within the rest of the Net. The only flimsy issues are related to portals; at some points in the series they are simply the direct equivalent of internet connections, linking two distant systems that are connected through the Net, but at other points they seem to be almost magical within the series, linking systems that do not have any sort of Net-connection and bypassng any sort of firewall or other defenses set up between the two systems.
Magical Eye: Matrix in the third season. When he uses his Magical Eye, watch out, it usually means he is about to delete something. Messily. Can also be seen as a form of Calling Your Attacks, as its animation is used as a warning to the audience that he is going into Badass Mode.
Magical Security Cam: Lampshaded in My Two Bobs when Mike recaps Hex's sacrifice and mysterious change to Enzo's icon using show footage. "Just where do we get this footage from?"
Major General Song: Season three closes with a performance by the Mainframe Strolling Players giving a summary and recreation of the preceding season and the end of season two, all to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan.
Male Gaze: In The Great Brain Robbery, Megabyte leans to the side for a better view of Mouse's backside, with the cameraman focusing along with him.
Mouse: Let's get this show on the road, my meter's running.
Merry Christmas in Gotham: In one episode, Big Bad Megabyte goes to great lengths to infiltrate Enzo's birthday party, with no more heinous goal than to play electric guitar, put on a rocking show (including a duet with Bob), and leave.
Minion with an F in Evil: Hack and Slash, who are actually upset that Bob is gone because now nobody will stop them from actually doing bad things.
The Mole: Cyrus was the only binome ever seen to cooperate with Megabyte without a viral takeover. As such he was often used undercover, since he could pass where Megabytes normal troops could not.
Moment Killer: Dot's reaction to seeing Matrix alive and well is one of the series' great Tears of Joy moments, and it threatens to get even better when Matrix says he kept his promise and brought Bob home. And the first time Dot sees Bob... Mouse has him bent over in a big smooch. Cue Death Glare from Dot.
Bob: (flustered) ...it's nice to see you too, Mouse.
My Car Hates Me: A Running Gag was that Bob's car would never cooperate with him. Apparently it had a bad interociter and clogged Daniel's tubes.
Myth Arc: There is always the idea of what is really out there in the net. The second season introduced the hellish Web and the third season showed many new cities and started to get involved in the greater realms of the net. Mainframe does not have much by way of online capabilities until the fourth season, and that is when the supervirus Daemon is trying to take over the net.
A Nazi by Any Other Name: Megabyte is Adolf Hitler and his minions are Nazis. Herr Doktor calls him "mein fuhrer." The alternate universe Megaframe has everyone given a bar code. If this wasn't obvious enough, minions still loyal to him after his defeat are called "neo-virals."
Mike the TV. Granted, he is not much of a hero and he had absolutely no idea that playing the opera would break the mirror and open a portal to the Web, but doing so gave Daemon the chance to send the web creature to them, which caused Nullzilla, Gigabyte, the web war, and eventually Megabyte taking over complete control of Mainfr—sorry, of Megaframe. Bob can be blamed for the whole mess as well, as his decision to leave Mike to entertain Hex at the end of "Painted Windows" explains why Mike is in Hex's lair in the first place.
When facing Gigabyte, Hack and Slash try to distract him so he does not notice that the sector they are standing on is separated from the rest of Mainframe. When Gigabyte manages to attack and drain Hack it makes Slash so angry that he punches Gigabyte—and sends Gigabyte flying all the way back into Mainframe.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Near the very end of Season 4. Bob would have been stuck in his Web-corrupted form if Megabyte hadn't decided to be a colossal dick.
Nintendo Hard: Inverted - the game Funhouse has a fabled reputation for being absolutely deadly to anyone who enters it, but given that this is from the point of view of the people fighting the User, presumably from the usual point of view the game is very easy. However, this effectively makes every other game in the show Nintendo hard, since during the course of the series the User only wins 3 games onscreen. Phong mentions that before Bob, their win ratio was less spectacular.
No Flow in CGI: All the clothing is tight and the hair is generally short and/or rigid. As they introduced characters with longer hair (like adult AndrAIa and web damaged Bob) you can see the difficulty, although with Daemon the unnatural flow of her hair added to unnatural look and behavior.
No Fourth Wall: An obviously non-canon "Making Of" episode, which involves Megabyte finding a wormhole thingy that allows him to look in on the creation of the show he appears in. And he is not fazed by it at all. What the hell?
Hexadecimal created the Medusa Bug to turn everyone to stone, and it would eventually degrade the infected to dust. She is also perfectly willing to destroy the Principal Office; when Megabyte informs her the entire system will be destroyed (including them both), she replies, "It will be glorious."
Daemon, who as a kindness starts with herself. Nightmare fuel is added as every infected being counts down to their own death. Happily.
Opening Narration: The page header is the primary narration, which opened every episode from seasons one and two, but different characters took over the duties in seasons three and four, with one narration for each mini-arc. In the original Bob talked about finding The User, but this was never addressed directly in the show. The Toonami broadcasts did not include these narrations. Other narrations include:
Megabyte- "I come from the Net. Infecting systems, people, and cities, to this place, Megaframe: my domain. My format, Virus: To corrupt and conquer!"
Matrix- "I live in the games. I search through systems, people, and cities, for this place: Mainframe; my home. My format? I have no format. I am a renegade, lost on the Net."
Matrix (2nd narration)- "I come from the Net. I search through systems, people, and cities, for this sprite: Bob; my friend. My format? I have no format. I am a renegade, lost on the Web."
Dot- "I look to the Net. I search though systems, peoples and cities for these sprites: my family. My format: Command.Com of what was once Mainframe."
Daemon- "I am Daemon. I am the Word. My format: Super Virus. My function: to bring unity to the Net. All must hear... the Word."
The season 4 episode "Sacrifice" had a Closing Narration.
Hexadecimal- "I infect the entire Net. I have spread through systems, peoples, and cities, from this place, Mainframe. My format: Virus: The queen... OF CHAOS! Ah ha ha ha ha ha!"
Parental Abandonment: Both Dot and Enzo's parents are gone, because of their father Wellman Matrix's failed project that deleted most of the sprites.
Parental Bonus: Mike the TV once organized an elaborate musical number... dressed as James Brown.
Pac Man Fever: Averted. The games were generally based on real, popular game genres. The Evil Dead inspired game was even parodied long before the official one came out.
Pair the Spares: Mouse and Ray Tracer, introduced as alternate love interests for Bob and AndrAIa respectively. Once both were done hassling their respective love triangle counterparts, the two naturally get together.
Paper-Thin Disguise: The viral binome Agent Twelve, who wears the classic "fake-glasses-and-moustache" disguise, along with a fedora.
Pirate Girl: Princess Bula. The largest Binome in the show, and has the other pirates too scared to tell her she is not really a princess.
Pirates: The Crimson Binome and the crew of the Saucy Mare arrive to plunder Mainframe for booty in The Crimson Binome, but abandon piracy once Dot shows them just how much money there is to be made in legitimate business. They become honest traders between ports and Dot's business partners, even if they never do abandon their pirate trappings, and return in season three as supporting characters and muscle for Matrix, AndrAIa and the Mainframe revolution
Portal Cut: One of Bob's time-locked portals does this to a guardian ship.
Post Script Season: The planned fourth season was canceled, causing them to make a Grand Finale and happy ending at the end of the third; later, they got the opportunity to make a fourth season, and promptly ended it on a cliffhanger.
Cut Short: It should be noted that it was not intended to end on a cliffhanger. Season 4 was originally supposed to be three Made-for-TV Movies plus a one-episode musical to wrap things up at the end. It was cut to two movies instead (with the creators being unsure whether or not they'd get to make the final movie), thus the cliffhanger.
Punch Clock Villain: The Crimson Binome and crew are committed software pirates, but this is not because they are evil, but because they enjoy the profits. The instant Dot makes them realize just how much money they can get in legitimate trade they drop piracy and move to honest work.
Pun: In "The Episode With No Name," Matrix visits a cantina. The name of the place? "Sibedar."
Random Transportation: Enzo, AndrAIa, and Frisket had no control over where the Games would take them. They could only hope to eventually find a system that had a way to get them back to Mainframe.
Reality Is Unrealistic: The producers originally wanted to hire an actual Asian voice actor to play Phong, and hired Mike Donovan to play Mike the TV instead. However, after the auditions they found that none of the actually-Asian actors sounded Asian enough, and Mike was hired to do both characters.
Replacement Scrappy: In-universe, in the eyes of the binomes at first when Enzo replaces Bob as Guardian.
Reset Button: Quite literally. Mainframe crashes and the User, like anybody with a computer would, resets the system and restores from the last backup. The city is rebuilt, virus-infected files are cured and it even restores deleted files, meaning that dead characters come back to life. The season three finale is the happiest possible ending that could have been written for the series at that time.
To a lesser extent: "(Insert object name). Ya gotta love 'em."
As Herr Doktor is the only Binome to have actual fingers, there has been more than one occasion in which they have been flattened or damaged in some way, and remaining in bandages for a long time afterwards.
Hexadecimal. I mean, just watch her. The censors let this pass because Hexadecimal is evil. Apparently they wanted children to believe Sexy Is Evil.
Most of the female sprites in the show were given a distinctive "wiggle" in their hips as they walked. Watch Dot walking away from the camera in "Identity Crisis: Part 1."
Mouse upon her introduction in "The Great Brain Robbery".
She Cleans Up Nicely: While Dot is normally seen in business casual clothing, that red dress she wore for Enzo's birthday left him and Bob in shock.
Shipper on Deck: Everyone in-universe ships Bob and Dot together, Mouse even goes right from giving Bob a very enthusiastic "Welcome Back" kiss, to basically giving Dot a What the Hell, Hero? speech about how she should tell Bob how she feels and stop wasting everyone's time.
In Game Over, the ending of which marks the beginning of truly Darker and Edgier, Megabyte decides that he has finally become tired of the eternal bumbling of Hack and Slash. Once they they return from their current mission (Which they fail, by the way) Megabyte resolves to put them at the forefront of his next assault on the Principal Office to get rid of them once and for all.
Mike the TV appeared in only three or four episodes of Season 3 - far less often than in the other seasons.
The agents "Fax Modem" and "Data Nully", homages to Mulder and Scully, who arrived to investigate strange occurrences at the end of the second season; the latter of which was actually voiced by Gillian Anderson.
The show is positively loaded with in jokes related to the greater Vancouver area. The different sections of Mainframe are named for Vancouver locations with the exception of G Prime, which is an entirely different reference.
In the episode The Crimson Binome, a classic "Kilroy Was Here" sketch is on the wall of the cell they lock Bob in.
The opening to the third season episode "Firewall" is a deadly sharp parody of the openings to the various James Bond films
The last part of the Game Over episode, as seen here, counts as a shout out as a whole. It even ends with a Fatality... of sorts.
In "Daemon Rising," the game witnessed seems to be Austin Powers without even the bother of changing the superficial details. Matrix reboots into Dr. Evil, Enzo reboots into Mini Me and Frisket reboots into Mr. Bigglesworth. Austin himself appears as the User, saying the word "Karma" instead of "mojo," and Matrix kills his enemy with one shot from thegoldenScaramanga Special.
During the System Restore, one of the Virals restored from backup exclaims (after being de-infected) "Great Norton's Ghost!". Norton Ghost is a computer backup software, used to perform essentially what just happened.
Bob's car is always having trouble with its interocitor.
In "Cross Nodes," when Bob and Dot enter a game Bob describes the user as somebody who is "raiding this tomb." When Dot reboots she pats her hips looking for something and remarks to Bob that she was hoping for a pair of .45s. Also, the User in that game resembles Rick O'Connell, the protagonist of The Mummy Trilogy.
In "Firewall" in addition to the overall James BondHomage mentioned above, has several other references. The episode's game itself has a Wacky Races theme to it - the User is Penelope Pitstop, and Cyrus and Frisket reboot into Dick Dastardly and Muttley respectively. The T-rex attack on Cyrus' vehicle resembles the famous scene from Jurassic Park when the T-rex escapes, and there is also a reference to The Indian in the Cupboard when Enzo is plummeting through the air. And to round out the homage, is Cyrus' ''gyrocopter afterwards.
In "Icons," AndrAIa, after rebooting, wears an outfit very reminiscent of Xena's. In keeping with the Xena theme, the binome who tags after her is a blatant Gabrielle expy (she's even named Gabby). Also, the game shown at the beginning of the episode has Matrix, AndrAIa and Frisket rebooted as Mars Attacks!-style Martians. Also, a much more subtle shout out occurs when Backup jumps into the group and says "Make that seven" - Matrix sarcastically responds "Magnificent."
In "Life's A Glitch," characters reboot into a Barbie doll, a GI Joe, Darth Vader, and The Mentor Phong turns into a cup of Yogurt. At one point, Enzo utilizes cans of soda in a Shout-Out to Anakin's Pod Racer from Episode 1 of Star Wars.
The episode "Talent Night" has a reference to Tron. It also contains many references to songs, music videos, and musicals — including one to Singin In The Rain!
In the episode "Talent Night" there is a scene when Enzo is backstage where he passes a large purple cyclopian robot doing ballet. This is a reference to the YTV Station bumper, on which the series originally aired.
In the episode "Gigabyte", Dot performs a Canopy-Rescue of Mouse like the one Rick Hunter used with Lynn Minmei in the Robotech episode "Countdown"
Shown Their Work: One 0-Binome on the Saucy Mare covers up one of his two eyes with an eyepatch, even though it is not damaged. This is something Real Life pirates often did, and is what lead to the eye-patch wearing pirate image in the first place: Many pirates wore an eye-patch while going into batle so that that eye would become accustomed to seeng in the dark so, if they suddenly had to fight beneath decks (Which would have had no lights at all, since candles and lamps would be exinguished for fear of starting a fire during combat) they would not need time to adjust to the different light levels, but could just remove their patch. The 1-Binome with the patch over his only eye, on the other hand...
But the most frightening one has to come from Megabyte, just before he launches Bob into the Web. He truly relished that moment.
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace Played completely straight. Bob appears at the wedding right after Phong says the line and objects. Even when Dot convinces Bob to leave, this trope appears again when Phong asks if the couple has any objections, and then Glitch interrupts the wedding to reveal that groom-Bob is Megabyte.
Spikes of Villainy: When Mike the TV meets Daemon he is expecting large gloomy spikes to display her evilness, and is very surprised at the sweet, cute woman facing him.
Spy Speak: Parodied. Megabyte cannot understand his own lackeys' code, which is complete gibberish.
"The monkeys are restless and my dog has fleas!"
"If you can't stand the heat, go to the dentist and get it fixed!"
Star-Spangled Spandex: Bob's reckless experimentation in his attempt to separate from Glitch causes him to be frozen in some sort of unbreakable shell that has a texture resembling deep space.
Status Quo Is God: All of the first season and roughly the first half of the second is an example of this, but everything soon changes after that... The second half of the fourth season could be seen as a sort of Take That against that line of thought; supposedly everything is back to normal and the way it should be, but what if you had the chance to return to the memories before everything went to hell? You, and everyone you love, have changed.
Stepping Stones in the Sky: In "High Code", the User releases the load of a train car carrying logs over a trestle, knocking the Codemaster off the bridge and train. This is how the Codemaster makes his way back up to the train.
Strange Bedfellows: Bob and his friends had to team up with the viruses against an invasion of monsters from the Web; Hexadecimal later helped the good guys out against Megabyte and Daemon.
Megabyte was prone to this. The old ReBoot trading cards explained for Hack and Slash that "...Megabyte loaded them up with so much firepower that they only had a couple kilobytes to share between them." Alternatively, the video game offers the interpretation that Hack and Slash were once a 'family heirloom,' which broke into the individual pieces of Hack, Slash, and SCSI. Could explain what happened to any intelligence they might have had...
When Enzo accidentally lowered the intelligence of everybody in Mainframe he had to deal with their attempts to "help" when they were all trapped in a game together. Eventually he discovered the key to victory: Have them "help" the User.
The Tag: The final episode of the third season, which was the Grand Finaleuntil the fourth season appeared, plays with this trope. The actual episode is over before the 15 minute mark and the credits start rolling. Mid-way through, static blurs in and Mike the TV explains that they are now going to have a musical, with all the main characters sitting in the theatre.
Tagalong Kid: Enzo in seasons one and two (and four), he gets his own in season three's Icon.
AndrAIa: "Did that kid remind you of anybody?"
Take a Number: Bob needs to get "slow food" from Al's Wait-And-Eat, and is told to take a number. Bob's number is "1000000000000," but since it's in binary, Bob remarks "4096? Must be the lunch rush..." But still, Al's waiter calls out "Now serving number 3..."
The show responded to David Duchovny's moving of The X-Files filming from Vancouver to L.A.because of the rain by blowing his Binome parody character up in System Crash.
In response to ABC not renewing their contract, we hear this exchange: "The ABCsnote Armored Binome Carriers, they've turned on us!" "Treacherous dogs!"
In 'My Two Bobs' we have Matrix, Bob, and Frisket play in a game that closely resembles Pokémon, where Bob is shocked and disgusted by how both the gang and the user have to capture creatures and have said creatures fight each other in order to win.
Take Up My Sword: Enzo at the end of the second-season finale, when he picks up Glitch after Megabyte exiled Bob to the Web.
The Remnant: The Neo-Virals remain loyal to Megabyte despite being de-virused, largely because they miss the respect/perks. And then there's Herr Doktor, who isn't allowed to be a Mad Scientist anymore.
Time Skip: Between Game Over and Icons, where Enzo and AndrAIa go from young sprites to battle-hardened adults. It is later revealed that this was not a complete skip, only they passed so much time, so other characters remained largely (Though not completely) the same.
"Reboot" is shouted whenever characters enter games.
Season four is made up of two movies, the first of which is called Daemon Rising. When Mike the TV sings "Cross Nodes", he says "I've seen Daemon rising!" As it turned out, the movies were split up into half-hour episodes, and while the first retained the title Daemon Rising, the title drop ended up in the episode Cross Nodes, so it's more of an artifact of a title drop.
Toilet Humour: When the baby One binome gets scared, his diaper quickly and considerably expands...
Took a Level in Badass: Enzo, who demanded people address him by the tougher name of Matrix. Bob as well, after fusing with Glitch.
Took a Level in Dumbass: This happens to everyone in Mainframe during Enzo The Smart. Except for Enzo, who was exempt from the process, and Mike the TV, who had already maxed his dumbass level.
Torches and Pitchforks: Rabid Raccoon faces this immediately out of the subway in ''"A Raccoon and a Hard Place"'... sans the torches.
An episode later, Enzo faces one in "Firewall". However, Frisket convinces them not to.
Totally Radical: When Bob initially presented his theories of virus rehabilitation to the Prime Guardian he was told that the idea was "radical." Bob took it as a compliment, but Turbo clearly meant it in its more traditional meaning of drastic and outside the norm.
Training the Peaceful Villagers: The season three episode "Icons" had Matrix and AndrAIa training the inhabitants of a broken down system to win the Games so that the system could survive after they left.
As season two progressed, several of the more frequently visited locales in Mainframe are destroyed as the series moved into more serious and arc-based territory. Bob's apartment was crushed by Nullzilla, and Dot's Diner was destroyed during the battle between Mainframe and the Web.
The conclusion of season three features so much destruction of Mainframe in the war with Megabyte that the system is rendered unrecognizable and ultimately crashes.
Tsundere: Hexadecimal; of course she is like that around everyone, it just takes a new level of danger around Bob.
Tuckerization: A lot of characters and devices are named after people who worked on the show. Captain Capacitor's first name is Gavin after show creator Gavin Blair and Old Man Pearson is named after show creator Ian Pearson.
Underwater Boss Battle: The one User Bob admitted he could not beat was in the underwater game, where he and Dot had become Mer-people and Enzo commanded a small submarine. Mostly due to Fake Difficulty because this was the only User with over 20 lives and would receive more lives on the final level. The User was a cheating bastard in this game.
Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Every User character that appears in System Crash since they are all undeleted RAM saved from their previous appearances and simply did not have the opportunity to level grind. Case in point Zaytan easily beats Enzo. Matrix easily beats Zaytan.
Villainous Harlequin: Hexadecimal, although her powers and sociopathic tendencies (not to mention her more frightening masks) push her toward Monster Clown territory.
Villainous Incest While Megabyte's attempt to marry Dot may not seem like incest at first glance, it counts if you understand his origin. He was "born" from an explosion triggered by an experiment gone wrong made by Wellman Matrix (Dot's father), so technically he is Megabyte's father as well. Megabyte even calls the nullifed Wellman "father" and Hexadecimal (Megabyte's sister) calls Dot her sister late in the series. So Megabyte marrying Dot falls under this trope.
The Voice: Al. The only thing he ever says is "What?!"
Vomit Discretion Shot: In the third season, a very, very drunk crew member of the Saucy Mare is seen (and heard) vomiting profusely after drinking a little too much.
The War Room: The Principal Office has a large-scale map of the entire city which Dot and Phong use to coordinate their war against Megabyte.
What Happened to the Mouse?: We never see SCSI or Cyrus again after they meet on opposite sides of the Firewall in "Game Over." That is, until it is revealed that they are employed by the Mainframe Strolling Players as the bouncing ball and supporting dancer, respectively.
Bob really does not care about Megabyte's mooks at all. He lets them fall from the top of the Tor, crushes them in their ABCs at the junkyard, blows up their ships in Games, even runs them over with a Megatruck at one point. Even in season 3, when the mooks are no threat to Glitch-Bob, he still takes the time to blow up an ABC. No Deletion Ever, my ASCII.
That said, and unusually for a children's program, the show makes clear (especially when it gets Darker and Edgier) that mooks are dying, not just getting knocked out.
In "Showdown," after the climactic fight with Megabyte, Matrix lets him live with the admonition that he was not worth killing. Apparently the dozens of viral binomes that Matrix killed to get to Megabyte, binomes that were infected by Megabyte and had no choice in the matter, were worth it.
Enzo wipes out an entire squad of infected Guardians in the middle of a parlay. This is especially jarring since in a previous episode he went so far to make sure the drones he and Turbo proceeded to wipe out didn't have personality chips.
Dot at least averts this. After destroying a huge chunk of Megabyte's fleet, she dejectedly says "well done, people", before going off to mourn for them.
What Measure Is a Non-Sprite?: Bob holds unconventional beliefs about the treatment of viruses, especially as a member of an order like the Guardians, where everybody else has a "Delete on Sight" policy and he believes in the potential for rehabilitation.
Hexadecimal has a whole bunch of masks that she can switch freely between at a moment's notice. Removing it would cause her transfinite power to overload and take out all of Mainframe.
Hexadecimal's mask-shaped bomb in Racing The Clock.
Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: The Game that shows up in "Daemon Rising" casts Matrix, Frisket, Little Enzo, and AndrAIa as characters in an Austin Powers-themed game. After AndrAIa drags in the User (Powers), she wonders aloud how to win the game and Matrix (As Dr. Evil) then shoots the user with the Scaramanga Special.
Word of God: While not explained in the show until the fourth season, it was revealed by Gavin Blair after the second season episode "Gigabyte" that Megabyte and Hexadecimal were originally one supremely powerful virus, split into two more manageable forms. It makes the events of that episode a little more understandable.
Wolverine Claws: Megabyte's weapon of choice. Unfortunately for him they are not made of adamantium and appear to cause him a great deal of pain when shattered
Wonderful Life: Minor variation in the two-part Identity Crisis episode - Dot, despairing after Megabyte pulled a Kansas City Shuffle and enslaved the Binomes she tried to free, can not bring herself to fight in the game; she then gets a vision of what will happen if she does not (Bob reduced to a Null, Megabyte takes over Mainframe, etc.)
You Can Panic Now: Mike the TV (Megabyte in disguise) to everyone in Mainframe in the final episode.
You Can't Go Home Again: Much of the 3rd season revolves around Matrix and AndrAIa game-hopping around the net in the hopes of finding Bob and returning to Mainframe. Because they don't have any kind of transport beyond the games, they just have to hope that one of them eventually leads them back there. Given the vastness of the net (even by '90s standards), if they hadn't hooked up with Ray Tracer and The Saucy Mare, it's entirely likely they never would've found their way back home.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Hair colour is as variable as skin color for sprites. AndrAIa and Daemon's hair is literally blue, Bob's is metallic silver, and Mouse's is a luminescent, staticky orange.
When Deacon reports to Daemon that he has been unable to breach Mainframe's firewall, Daemon explains that it is okay and she forgives him. However, when he goes to her later and says he failed again, she activates her infection and causes him to delete himself.
You Will Be Assimilated: Essentially what Daemon eventually does to everyone on the Net. Explicitly Borg-like is "Between a Raccoon and a Hard Place," which references Star Trek: First Contact - When Megabyte intends to takeover a nullified sector, a binome resembling Captain Picard resists, saying "The line has to be drawn here!" After the binome is deleted, Megabyte tells the witnesses, "As you can see, resistance is futile."
Zeroes and Ones: The Binomes; "1"s are three cubes in a stack with legs and one eye; "0"s are two-eyed and short with round head-bodies.
Statler: You've got to admit, it's very impressive that Reboot was the first All-CGI Cartoon. Waldorf: I'm more impressed that it wasn't the last! Both: Doh-ho-ho-ho-hoh!