Western Animation: Stunt Dawgs
That's right, you've been spelling it wrong for years.
Ahhh, Stunt Dawgs
....the cartoon no one seems able to remember, yet everyone who grew up in the early 1990s can recall on sight. One of the more underrated gems of afterschool weekday animation, it was similar to most of the early 1990s animated shows in that it had the look of a goofy and colorful slapstick 'toon, but had extremely subversive humor that most of its own demographic would never get until a decade or so later.
The premise, which was as off-kilter as the humor, focused on a group of stunt men (and one woman) aptly named the Stunt Dawgs, who live to perform the most deadly and insane stunts that no other stunt person would ever chance doing. Their rivals were the Stunt Scabs, a ragtag group of derelict stunt performers who were employed by a crazed director, who hated the Stunt Dawgs with a vengeance, and would come up with ways to either get them under his tyrannical employ, or cause them as much physical pain as humanly possible.The Dawgs consisted of:
The Scabs consisted of:
- Needham, the brawny, Southern "punch first and ask questions later" leader of the team. named after Real Life stuntman and film director Hal Needham.
- Splat, a wealthy, high class socialite who just enjoyed working with the team even though he technically didn't need the money.
- Sizzle, the feisty redhead who had a thing for pyrotechnics, and the lone female of the team.
- Crash, the token black guy of the group that was best known as the trendy hip guy who also had to contend with Velda, an abrasive, obese woman who was insanely in love with him (as the Expository Theme Tune noted, he was on the run 'cause he broke Velda's heart).
- Skidd, the youngest member of the group, who was somewhat of a Cloudcuckoolander, but had occasional bouts of clarity.
- Human, their loyal mascot/dog, who could be very anthropomorphic when he wanted.
- Richard P. Fungus ("Don't call me dick!"), director/owner of Fungus Studios as well as the Stunt Scabs, whose primary goal was to be known as the greatest director in Hollywood history, which included forcing the Stunt Dawgs to honor any agreements via loopholes he may have concocted.
- Slime, Fungus' lawyer who usually came up with and carried out such loopholes.
- Lucky, member of the Scabs who seemed to be cursed with non-stop bad luck.
- Airball, Fungus' right hand and toadying sycophant, who bore somewhat of an eerie resemblance to Napoleon Bonaparte in both voice and stature.
- Half-a-Mind, who was somewhat of a human cyborg type character that was, as his name implied, dumb as the proverbial bag of hammers.
- Badyear, a big, burly construction worker-esque stunt guy who was as frugal and cheap as he was big.
- Whiz Vid, the resident genius who came up with all of their nasty inventions, and was a caricature of Jerry Lewis to boot.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Velda.
- Accidental Marriage: The whole mess with Velda started when, for a stunt exhibition, she was picked as a volunteer to play Crash's "bride" in a stunt. She took it a bit too seriously.
- Action Girl: Sizzle.
- Better The Devil You Know: Once the Dawgs learned how the Scabs work with Airball leading them, they decided to bring Fungus back.
- Big Bad: Fungus.
- Biker Babe: Sizzle again.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Did this at least once when Splat told the audience "Don't try this at home. I am a trained professional and, ultimately a cartoon character. Witness the three fingers and a thumb."
- Bound and Gagged: Sizzle had this happen to her in two episodes ("Casting Call" & "Bad Day at Badwater"), no doubt to the delight of males everywhere.
- The Cameo: Inspector Gadget appeared briefly in one episode, almost getting run over by the Dawgs. One of them even broke the fourth wall by telling him he was in the wrong cartoon.
- Even more bizarre given that Stunt Dawgs was not a DIC production!
- Catch Phrase/Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: The Stunt Dawgs had two of them.
Needham: It's T. T. Kaaaaaaaay B.!
Others: Time to kiiiiiiiick butt!
- Comic Book Adaptation: Harvey Comics produced one issue. It was... all right.
- Credits Gag:
- The Episode Title Card had someone announce the title as if the show was being filmed right there, complete with clapperboard ("'Half-A-Mind Over Matter,' take one!"). Also, the Franklin/Waterman Productions logo at the end would feature Fungus's "maniacal pose in front of a stormy sky" shot from the main titles.
- Not to mention one episode had Needham commenting on the crew over the end credits (on seeing the Franklin/Waterman logo: "What do those guys do?").
- There were a couple of gags with various characters reading the end credits, the funniest probably being Fungus. "That guy owes me money!"
- The Ditz: Half-a-Mind.
- A Dog Named Dog: Inverted. Their pet dog is named Human.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Do Not Call Me Dick, in Fungus' case.
- Elvis Impersonator: One episode had Fungus buy a casino and hire Whiz Kid as an Elvis Impersonator. His act was of Elvis dying.
- Expository Theme Tune
- Five-Man Band
- Fiery Redhead: Sizzle.
- Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: One episode had Half-a-Mind become so smart he started calling himself "Mind-and-a-Half".
- Forging The Will: Fungus' lawyer forged a will where Splat's family's fortune belongs to Skidd and Skidd has to keep it otherwise the Stunt Dawgs will lose their funds.
- French Jerk/Funny Foreigner: Airball.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Whiz Kid.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The show did this quite often, particularly with the names Richard P. and R. Peter Fungus. However, it goes beyond mere names. The show's predicaments, evil plans, catch-phrases, devices, minor characters and so forth seemed to wander into this territory as often as not. One example is Sizzle calling something "as funny as a wet toilet seat."
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Sizzle is Rogue from X-Men!
- Hollywood Cyborg: Half-a-Mind.
- Inadequate Inheritor: Badyear is seen as such by his billionaire uncle.
- Job-Stealing Robot: In one episode, Fungus orders Whiz Kid to build a stunt robot that steals the Stunt Dawgs' jobs. The stunt robot is so good that Fungus decides to fire the Stunt Scabs except for Whiz Kid, who'll be needed whenever the stunt robot needs repairs.
- Last Name Basis: Needham's first name is used only once in the entire series. And yes, it's Hal, just like his Real Life counterpart.
- Moral Watchdogs: Parodied in "Freedom of Screech."
- Mysterious Middle Initial: Richard P. Fungus. There's also a case of Mysterious Middle Initial with Fungus' twin R. Peter Fungus.
- The Napoleon: Airball.
- Nobody Calls Me Chicken: In one occasion where the Stunt Dawgs were contract bound to perform stunts for one of Fungus' movies, he tried to use this trope to make them wear blindfolds during the performance. They said that the contract didn't require them to accept that request and they asked 60 million dollars in exchange for doing it. Fungus made a conter-proposition (half the gross profits) and they accepted it.
- Non-Idle Rich: Splat.
- On One Condition: In "Fungustein", a robot name Scabulator drove the Stunt Dawgs jobless and one of them asked where they'd get the money to survive. Noticing the others staring at him, Splat said the terms of the will forbid him from doing any charity.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Stunt Scabs.
- Ruritania: The titular country in "Morning in Halvakia".
- Shout-Out: R. Peter Fungus from "Viva Lost Wages" is an Affectionate Parody of Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs—as well as Richard P. Fungus' twin brother.
- The Smurfette Principle: Sizzle is the only female Stunt Dawg. Lampshaded in an episode where she temporarily bonds with Airball, the only foreigner in the Stunt Scabs.
- Spelling Song: The Expository Theme Tune.
"D is for danger, upon which we thrive
A is for action, makes it fun to be alive
W is for the wild things we always do
G is for the gross stuff that's really cool
And S just makes it plural!"
- The Starscream: Airball. The Stunt Dawgs would bring Fungus back just to stop him.
- Team Pet: Human.
- Temporary Bulk Change: One episode featured the Stunt Dawgs eating muffins that, when consumed caused them to inflate like balloons.
- Title Scream: Often used for scene transitions and Eye Catches. STUNT DAWGS! *explosion*
- Title Theme Tune
- Token Minority: Crash.
- Took a Level in Dumbass, Transformation Ray/Baleful Polymorph, Fountain of Youth etc...: The predicaments faced by the Stunt Dawgs were... diverse to say the least, and hardly limited by our silly, serious understanding of science.
- Trick Bomb: A huge number. Made up a lot of the action. Weird ones, too. The only one that springs to mind is the Opera Bomb. That's not exactly a Wikia up for this show yet.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: The intentional misspelling of "Dogs".
- You Never Did That for Me: When the ghost of Richard P. Fungus' grandfather showed up to finish his last movie, the two of them argued a lot. One of Fungus' complaints was that his grandfather never sent him Christmas cards.