Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Sheep in the Big City (2000-2002) is an original animated series from Cartoon Network, sort of like a smarter Rocky and Bullwinkle. The titular Sheep fled to the titular Big City in order to escape the sinister Secret Military Organization, who were seeking him to use in their sheep-powered ray gun. The various episodes revolved around Sheep adjusting to life in the Big City while trying to win over his love interest, Swanky the Poodle, and dodging such foes as General Specific (leader of the secret Military Organization still trying to track Sheep down) and Lady Richington (Swanky's ill-tempered, sheep-hating owner with a stainless steel wig). It was notable for humorous fake advertisements and variety sections before and after real commercial breaks, often being strange non-sequiturs and general weirdness.
This series provides examples of:
Abhorrent Admirer: When Lady Richington and her dog moved into a building where sheep aren't welcome, Sheep used a magical disguise to get in and Lady Richington started chasing him like Pepe Le Pew chases Penelope.
All Just a Dream: One entire episode focuses on several bizarre plots that turn out to be dreams that the characters are having. This infuriates the Narrator… though it turns out that the entire episode is all just a dream of his. When he wakes up, however, he finds himself in the exact position he was in at the end of the dream.
Animated Actors: The whole final episode happens behind the scenes, though the actors' names and real personalities are exactly the same.
Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: One of the Oxymoron segments shows a trailer for a movie called Attack Of The 50 Foot Creature, a giant monster consisting of 50 evil feet. Released in Europe as The Approximatley 17 Metre Creature That Amusingly Enough Happens To be Made Entirerly Out Of Feet Movie. Yeah, its that kind of show.
A season 2 episode that used pretty much every Disaster Movie trope humanly possible has sheep enlarged and attacking the Big City (well, not so much as attacking, but accidentally tripping over buildings).
Bad Boss: While he doesn't kill his employees when they fail him like most examples of this trope, General Specific is both incredibly demanding and childishly petty, willing to fire or dispose of his employees at the drop of a hat, preferably by hidden hatches throughout the base, even when they succeed in their tasks, and rarely calls the Angry Scientist by the right name.
Blatant Lies: Most of Oxymorons product DO work as promised, they're just incredibly poorly concieved. One however is blatant false advertising, the Super Cool Fresh Rocket Ball, which the spokesman promises bounces twice as high as a regular ball, despite being a rusty metal cube. When the customer he's trying to sell it to demands a demonstration, the spokesman sputters off, then cues the slogan again.
Better Than a Bare Bulb: When the show is following Sheep's plotline, the main one, you'd be lucky to find a span of three minutes that doesn't hang a huge lampshade on itself. A crowning example - a robot named "The Plot Device," just for starters.
Big "NO!": One episode has General Specific capturing Sheep when Sheep returns to the farm for a barbecue reunion with his old friends. When Farmer John, who's in the middle of a fight with Specific's soldiers, notices this, he immediatly throws everyone off him, while yelling a Big "NO!".
Captain Obvious: Among others, there is a short man with glasses, whose entire role is to read aloud various signs that are on screen at the time and occasionally comment on fonts.
Catch Phrase: In (nearly) every episode, one of the commercials will proclaim the item sold does whatever it does "With the power of an OX!"
Sheep being, well, a sheep, can only communicate in bleats, but has two distinct ones, a sardonic "Baah...", and a startled "BAAH!".
Clear My Name: One episode revolves around Sheep being framed for a crime wave happening in the city that targets the rich and gives the proceeds to the poor. It was actually Swanky, trying to help Sheeps reputation with the general population of The City
Designated Hero: In-universe with Completely Powerful Guy, a Superman expy who is The Big Citys resident superhero, but who is a sniveling coward who does anything he can to weasel out of potential crime fighting, and blatantly ignores his own hero signal.
A Dog Named Dog: Here's a sheep named Sheep. It helps that the big city has only one sheep.
Easy Amnesia: Parodied in the penultimate episode of the series, where Sheep gets a light hit on the head and spends the majority of the episode walking around in a daze and acting as different animals and objects, since he cant remember who he is. Towards the end of the episode, Private Public, General Specific and Farmer John all end up giving eachother easy amnesia, and Ben Plotz does it to himself.
Eye Scream: One episode revolves Sheep bonding with Private Publics father. When they're at a baseball game, Sheep gets hit in the face with a baseball, causing one of his eyes to fall off his face.
Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The sheep-powered raygun is a raygun powered by sheep, the plot device is a device to move along the plot and the Ranting Swede is a Swedish Man who rants about things.
Fantastic Racism: For some odd reason, the Big City seems to be prejudiced against sheep specifically, until the current mayor imposes several pro-sheep laws in the second season.
Lady Richington especially. The narrator even referred to her as a "sheep-hater extraordinaire".
Fish out of Water: Only one Sheep lives in the Big City. Sheep has already adjusted, and the Big City is now its familiar home.
Freeze-Frame Bonus: Parodied with each episode's narrated commercial break cliffhanger, where it's made clear that the characters are just doing their best to stay still while the Narrator talks over the scene.
Gargle Blaster: A rare non-alcoholic version - Shrimpola Cola. It combines the taste of cola and 12-week old sun-dried shrimp and will burn your brain, as advertised by its rapping shrimp mascot Shrimpy.
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All chapter titles contain some sheep-related pun, except for the one ironically named "Some Pun on the word Sheep".
Improbable Weapon User: Lady Richington wears a wig made of solid stainless steel, which she likes to use as a blunt weapon on Sheep.
Incompetence, Inc.: The Oxymoron Corporation, whose products are featured in the episodes themselves, and advertised between segments. Among their products and services are "Shrimpola Cola", a cola with 12 week old sun dried shrimp inside that causes severe brain burns, Oxymoron Batteries which are pretty powerful but drains your life force as a power source, their incredibly poorly managed Oxymoron Airlines where the staff has its human decency literally sucked out of their souls to ensure an unpleasant experience, , and the "Super Cool Fresh Rocket Ball", which is, in fact, a metal cube, that somehow requires 97 batteries to work.
There's actually had a robot called "the plot device", leading to conversations like:
Woman: How did you get here so fast?
Major Minor: I used a plot device!
Plot Device:(sticks head into view) Hello.
And then there's the sheep-powered ray gun, for which the Secret Military Organization needs Sheep, despite the fact that the farm he escaped from was a sheep farm with at least 50 more. We don't know why, but the ray gun only works with one sheep and only if he's alive.
Kangaroo Court: In one episode Sheep is assured that he'll "be found guilty in a completely fair trial." The judge declares him guilty after his opening statement. In the form of song and dance.
It is regularly acknowledged that making a ray gun that uses a more practical power source than sheep would be less trouble than hunting Sheep down. And don't you dare asking General Specific why he simply doesn't pick any sheep and have the ray gun compatible to it.
In another instance, Private Public asks the Angry Scientist why he can't make a ray gun that works without a sheep after he just invented a time machine. His response basically amounts to "I'm the scientist here."
Large Ham: With the exception of Far Mer John and Private Public, almost every recurring human male character in the show was a Large Ham at some point. Including one that was actually a ham sandwich.
Lemony Narrator: The Narrator more often than not will end up complaining about the script he's reading and the patent silliness of some situations. He is also essentially treated as a character both in the show and in the Show Within a Show.
Limited Wardrobe: Used for most of the main characters, such as Ben Plotz sweater vest/dress shirt, The Angry Scientists lab coat, Lisa Rentals pink dress, and the military uniform of General Specific and Private Public. On the few occasions that they wear different clothes, its usually a disguise, sometimes worn on top of their regular clothes.
Reporter: You accepted campaign funds from a man named Greedy Mc Greedwell?!
Obvious Stunt Double: In the pilot, Sheep finds himself cornered on a rooftop by Far Mer John and General Specific, though while Far Mer John and General Specific argue over the General's penmanship (or lack thereof) on the cue cards, Sheep uses this opportunity to escape: he unravels his wool, creating a rope for him to swing over to the roof of the building across the street. Cut to a shot of a man wearing a Sheep costume swinging from a rope to the other building, only crash against the facade, and tumbled down to the street below (all in slow motion, and with added film grain), before cutting back to Sheep, who is now lying on the cracked sidewalk in a daze.
General Specific, Major Minor, Private Public, Private Public's father - General Public.
Can't forget Far Mer John, Lady Richington, Ben Plotz, Lisa Rental, and of course, Sheep himself.
But wait, there's more! Major Appliance, Major Pain, Major Television Event, General Lee Outrageous, Private Party, Major League Baseball, Corporal Ethereal, General Lee Speaking, Major Embarrassment, Private Thoughts and Major Historical Figure.
The first episode ends with the anticlimax of General Specific, Private Public, and Farmer John getting arrested just before they are about to capture Sheep for beating up the seemingly inconsequential Little Bo Peep character, similar to the end of Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the main cast are all arrested just before the final battle for killing the seemingly inconsequential Historian character.
In the first episode, the sheep-tracking device blows up, and a man one degree away from actually being Scotty is seen working on it.
Guy: "I'm workin' as fast as I can, but I needs more dilithium crystals ta stabilize the barrier ion field mechanism!"
Gen. Specific: "You don't know what you're doing, do you?"
Guy:(stares, then slumps sadly)"...no."
Something Completely Different: Every episode ends with a rant from the Ranting Swede, except one that didn't. "Due to a scheduling conflict, we now present The Ranting Norwegian..."
Soul Powered Engine: Oxymoron Batteries, that suck the energy right out of the users soul, leaving them as zombie-like dried husks. Their flashlights shine very brightly though.
Spinoff Babies: Parodied in a fake commercial for Secret Military Organization Babies, a fictional spin off wherein General Specific, Private Public, and the Angry Scientist were babies.
Status Quo Is God: In the one episode where the secret military organization actually succeeds in kidnapping Sheep, General Specific declares that he will fire the entire group after installing Sheep into the ray gun the next day. In order to keep their jobs, Private Public, Angry Scientist, and the Plot Device break Sheep out that night. The next morning, General Specific thinks Sheep escaped on his own and things are back as they were.
Strictly Formula: Every episode has the same plot: General Specific gets another chance to capture Sheep. Chase Scenes occur as the secret military organization tries to grab Sheep. They succeed for a moment, but Sheep always escapes, and by the end of each episode, Sheep is always out of danger.
Superpowers For A Day: For one episode, General Specific acquires superpowers and becomes General Specificman.
Theme Naming: Nearly every single character's name is either a pun or an oxymoron.
Time Travel: One episode revolves around a time travel exercise bike. Poked fun at in the initial test run, where General Specific time traveled 5 seconds into the future...by just riding the bike for 5 seconds.
Sheep can speak entire sentences in a single bleat.
Same with the X-agent, which makes his reports to the general somewhat problematic. Actually, this goes for all animal characters, who are shown as intelligent, but unable to talk, unlike most cartoons do. Parodied in one of the Oxymoron commercials where the mascot for a dog food brand is a normal dog, and thus cant say the brands slogan, much to the annoyance of the spokesman.
Unmoving Plaid: General Lee Outrageous's gold outfit and Private Party's silver outfit.
Viewers Are Morons: They parodied the network's request that all on-screen text be read out loud by creating a character whose sole purpose was to show up out of nowhere, read on screen text, and then mention how much he enjoys doing so before leaving. He even takes over as narrator for the Silent Movie episode.
Weaksauce Weakness: Completely Powerful Guy has a virtual laundry list of things he claims are his weaknesses, ranging from dynamite to pollen. Though its implied he's just making it up to avoid having actually fight any crime.
We Care: "Bio-Technical Corporate Concern Limited Company. We have no idea what we sell."
You Can't Go Home Again: One episode has Sheep missing his old friends from the farm, leading to him accepting an invitation to a reunion party there. When he returns, he finds that his old friends aren't as... charming as he remembers.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: General Specific threatens to fire the entire secret military organization once he activates the ray gun, now that they captured Sheep. It confirms that Sheep's capture is the sole purpose of the organization's existence.
You Mean Xmas: Played with with Clearance Day. Its origins are clearly shown to be different from Christmas - a calendar loving shopkeeper founded it when he noticed a single week in the year that didn't have any holidays associated with it, implying that Christmas exists as a separate holiday - but it seems to have taken on all of Christmas' trappings in the public mind.