Sheep in the Big City (2000-2002) is an original animated series from Cartoon Networkin the mold ofRocky 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.
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 doesnt 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Genre Savvy: The Narrator, at times, flying into a rage during an episode that was merely a series of dreams, and again when sheep gets amnesia.
Hot Scientist: Dr Cliche, a volcano "expert" who doesnt know anything about volcanoes. She refers to magma as "red, hot melty stuff"
Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All chapter titles contain some sheep-related pun, except for the one ironically named "Some Pun on the word 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 Airlines", which take their poor customer service, horrible conditions and overbooking as something to be proud of, 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.
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."
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.
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.
Superpowers For A Day: For one episode, General Specific acquires superpowers and becomes General Specificman.
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.
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.
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.