Western Animation: Rex The Runt

Hello, I'm Rex, and welcome to my world...

"Rex the Runt! Rex the Runt
It's time for a doggy dialogue.
Rex the Runt! Rex the Runt!
The wobbly, bobbly, dribbly, squiggly, DOGGGGG!!!"

A very bizarre stopmotion animated series from Aardman Animations (the makers of Wallace & Gromit) chronicling the day-to-day lives of four plasticine dogs: the titular straight man Rex, trigger happy slob Bad Bob, sarcastic Token Female Wendy, and erm... Vince, a somewhat batty dog who suffers from spontaneous bouts of Random Pavarotti Disease and has a strange fixation for Tuesdays, spaghetti and jam. Much of the gang's shenanigans often dealt with them seeking ways to achieve fame & fortune (due to constantly being broke), going on adventures in order to please "the bloke who runs telly"... or simply just screwing with the audience's heads.

The show ran for two series shown between 1998 and 2001 on BBC2, but had a shaky timeslot because of its often irreverent nature, as well as much Executive Meddling and a slight shift in voice cast. It has, however, found a much wider audience on the Web since Atom Films showcased the series (as well as other Aardman shorts such as Pib & Pog and Angry Kid), and is overall a great start for those willing to check out the studio's more offbeat productions.

Rex the Runt features examples of:

  • Ascended Extra: Rex first appeared as the protagonist's pet dog in the surreal 1989 Aardman short Ident. Richard Goleszowski, animator and art director on Ident, and director of Rex the Runt, overhauled the character (making him bipedal and able to speak) for a couple of unaired pilot episodes several years before the series proper was made.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Dr. Dogg, whose medical treatments usually consist of beating the patient in the head. He is also on hand to sell whatever else he can, almost always charging "ten quid" for his services.
  • Catch Phrase - Almost everything that Vince says.
    • At the start of most episodes: "Hello, I'm Rex, and welcome to my world."
    • "You're a big fat jelly wobbly fat bastard, Bob."
    • "Ten quid, all right?"
  • Church of Happyology: In one episode, Wendy is inducted into the "Church of Chemicalology" by celebrity talking sausage Johnny Saveloy. It soon turns out that he is luring in victims in order to drain their essence and prolong his own life.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Vince, whose contributions to most conversations consist of little more than random outbursts of opera singing, single-word non-sequiturs ("Tuesday!"), and snippets of radio broadcasts.
  • Curse Cut Short: Inconsistently throughout the second season, the catchphrase "You're a big fat jelly wobbly fat bastard, Bob" gets cut short at "bast-". Also Mr. Formal's reaction when he receives a polite but unhelpful form letter from the police immediately after getting robbed: "Oh, fu-".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Wendy most of the time, occasionally Rex when he's annoyed enough.
  • Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: The dogs meet a group of Moai-headed aliens after crashing their helicopter on a desert island.
  • Eyedscreen: Played with. A boxing coach faces down a gang of unruly pigeons in the style of a spaghetti western; the action is framed as a letterboxed widescreen shot, because Bad Bob is watching the confrontation though the letterbox of his front door.
  • Fan Boy: Rex fancies himself as the number one fan of Show Within a Show Rocket Raymond - to the point that when he meets another similarly obsessed fan (also, confusingly, named Rex), an argument ensues over the factual accuracy of the second Rex's fan site.
  • Funny Background Event: Watch Vince through any scene. Also, when the siren goes off in the bank, the actors in the background are running around, screaming.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: In an attempt to cure Vince's Random Pavarotti Disease, the other dogs voyage into his head in a shrunken submarine. They eventually find his tuning knob and retune him to BBC Radio 4, preferring the Shipping Forecast and Gardeners' Question Time to his singing.
  • Interspecies Romance: In one episode, Vince courts, marries and has a child with... a vacuum cleaner.
  • Laugh Track: Played with in the opening to one episode, where the characters are playing their own roles as if in a cheap sitcom, complete with bad acting, a Visible Boom Mic, and very obviously canned laughter.
  • Let's Meet the Meat: The talking mash-up of food from "Adventures on Telly Pt. I", which promptly gets devoured by Vince. Also, Johnny Saveloy the talking sausage.
    • And then there was that time Rex went through a meat grinder, he became a mobile pile of 'spaghetti' and Vince kept trying to eat him.
  • Mad Eye: One of Vince's eyes is larger than the other.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Dogg has shades of this in the episodes "Slim Bob" and "Plasticene Gene".
  • Medium Awareness: The fact that the characters are made of plasticine is frequently played with; for example, when Wendy is put on trial for shooting Vince in the face, a key point of her defense is that Vince is made of plasticine and can simply be molded back into shape.
  • Only Sane Man: Rex, the straight man dog of the group, is regularly driven to fuming exasperation by his oddball friends.
  • Shout-Out: Various characters from other Aardman animations make cameos, including Wallace (of Wallace & Gromit) as a window cleaner.
  • Subverted Kids Show: Lampshaded on the DVD's box cover: "Tho' you may need your kids to explain the rude jokes, they're still rude. So be advised."
  • Time Machine: Bad Bob built a "gobackintimeatron" from a can of baked beans with a propeller on top in order to prevent the gang's house from being stolen. It was previously used as a space ship to rescue Rex from the Moai aliens.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: Played for laughs. After being sucked through a psychedelic black hole, the dogs find themselves in a cafeteria attended by a one-eyed alien janitor (who also happens to be one of Rex's old school teachers). She calls them a taxi to get them home again.
  • Verbal Tic: Vince often has a habit of copying what others have said, which Bad Bob finds really annoying.
    • And interupting them like thus...Bad bob: There's never anything to bloomin'...Vince[interupting]: Eat