Western Animation: The Ant and the Aardvark
The Ant and the Aardvark
Quit calling me an Aardvark! I'm an Anteater!
was a theatrical cartoon series created by De Patie Freleng Enterprises
, the same company who created The Pink Panther
, among other cartoons, including most of the Looney Tunes
cartoons from the late 1950s. The series consisted of 17 cartoons that ran from 1969 to 1971. It followed the misadventures of a blue aardvark
who tried but failed to eat a red ant named Charlie. After its initial theatrical run, The Ant and the Aardvark
later became a part of The Pink Panther Show
, with all 17 episodes airing in reruns.
This show contains examples of
- Absentee Actor: The Ant has no lines in "Isle of Caprice".
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The eponymous Aardvark is colored blue, which is unusual for a real aardvark.
- American Accents: John Byner imitated Jackie Mason to provide the voice (and accent) for Aardvark.
- Androcles' Lion: This was the plot to "Scratch a Tiger", where the Tiger agrees to protect Ant and his gang from the hungry Aardvark after he pulled a thorn off his foot. In the end, the Tiger steps on another thorn and this time the Aardvark pulls it off. You can guess what happens next.
- Annoying Patient: The episode "From Bed to Worse" was actually based around this trope.
- Artistic License – Biology: Aardvarks can eat ants, but they actually normally eat termites. The aardvark in this cartoon has its mouth at the tip of its snout like an anteater, but has ears like an aardvark. To stretch things further, this aardvark hates termites, and won't eat anything but ants.
- The blue aardvark also feeds via Vacuum Mouth, rather than by extending a long sticky tongue as real aardvarks or anteaters do.
- At least in the first episode, he acted like an actual aardvark: he actually licked Charlie, and when said ant took refuge in an anthill, the Aardvark promptly burrowed in after him!
- Beach Episode: "Dune Bug"
- Bears Are Bad News: The bear who beats the crap out of Aardvark in his house in "The Froze Nose Knows".
- Butt Monkey: The Aardvark, sometimes in ways that would make Wile E. Coyote wince.
- Cold Snap: "The Froze Nose Knows"
- Deadpan Snarker: Both Aardvark and Charlie.
- Deserted Island: Aardvark winds up on one of these in "Isle of Caprice".
- Failure Is the Only Option: Happens fairly often to the Aardvark.
- Gender Flip: Aardvark was changed to a female character named Elise in the German version.
- Green Around the Gills: Aardvark's face turns green briefly in "The Ant from Uncle", when Charlie lights a cigar in his stomach and smoke comes out of his ears.
- He does this in the debut cartoon, using a cigar to smoke out Charlie, but he's not in his ant hill. The Aardvark turns green and collapses.
Charlie: Hey, pal...is there anything I can do for ya?
Aardvark:' (weakly) Yeah...make a wish for me. Wish I was dead.
- Growling Gut: Happened to Aardvark in "Odd Ant Out".
- Humiliation Conga: Sometimes the Aardvark doesn't just have one thing blow up in his face...at times, he makes Wile E. Coyote look lucky.
- I Am Not Weasel: Aardvark refers to himself as an anteater in most of the cartoons, and he does look more like an anteater than an aardvark. Anteaters and aardvarks are only distantly related in Real Life.
- Inevitable Waterfall: Parodied in "Hasty but Tasty" when the aardvark, on a motorcycle, falls over a cliff into a river, heading for the Inevitable Waterfall. He restarts the bike at the last possible moment and does an aquatic U-turn...right into another waterfall.
- Informed Species: Aardvark doesn't look very much like an actual aardvark (though he does have a lot of resemblance to an anteater, and refers to himself as an anteater all the time). He's got the aardvark ears, at least.
- Though he looks a heck of a lot more like an aardvark than "Arthur" does.
- Jerk Ass: Aardvark. Very much so. And he's got the brains to match.
- Metronomic Man Mashing: This happens after the ant takes some vitamins.
- No Can Opener: This is the plot of "Odd Ant Out". The blue and green aardvarks fight over a can of chocolate-covered ants, but neither of them has a can opener.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: John Byner voiced Aardvark in the style of comedian Jackie Mason, while voicing Charlie Ant in the style of singer/western actor Dean Martin. In fact, most of the minor characters that John Byner voiced were imitations of famous celebrities of that time period.
- No Indoor Voice: The lifeguard from "Dune Bug" who constantly mistook Aardvark for a dog.
- The Noun and the Noun
- Nude-Colored Clothes: Aardvark is a rare animal example.
- Panthera Awesome: The tiger from "Scratch a Tiger".
- Pepper Sneeze: In "Ants in the Pantry", the aardvark inhales a large amount of pepper and sneezes hard enough to go flying out of the house through a brick wall. When he sneezes again, he re-enters the house through the same hole.
- Picnic Episode: The first episode.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: In "From Bed to Worse", Aardvark says while whacking with his cane on the dog's leg cast: "DON'T! BE! A! WISE! GUY!" All it gets him is (another!) Slasher Smile.
- The Rival: The green aardvark in "I've Got Ants in My Plans" and "Odd Ant Out".
- Road Runner vs. Coyote: Only this time the Road Runner is a Deadpan Snarker. The Aardvark never has a chance.
- Rule of Funny: Whenever Aardvark tries to suck up Charlie, the sound of a vacuum cleaner is used.
- Running Gag: The whole series runs on this trope. There's usually at least one per episode:
- "Hasty But Tasty", the instant hole showing up at unfortunate times and foiling Aardvark's plans.
- "Dune Bug", Aardvark getting kicked off the beach by the lifeguard who keeps telling him "OFF THE BEACH!!!!".
- "Isle of Caprice", the shark chasing after Aardvark every time he tries to invade the ants' island.
- "Scratch A Tiger", the tiger beating up Aardvark every time he tries to eat the ants.
- "Science Friction", the scientist kicking Aardvark out of his lab when he tries to eat Charlie.
- "Mumbo Jumbo", Aardvark getting beaten up by Charlie's friend, Tiny the elephant.
- "Don't Hustle An Ant With Muscle", Charlie using his newfound strength to give Aardvark the what-for.
- "Rough Brunch", Term eating any of the wood around him to help Charlie out against Aardvark.
- Rhymes on a Dime: The Aardvark will do this every once in a while.
- Sarcasm Failure: In "Technology, Phooey", the Aardvark's quicksand trap backfires on him, prompting him to quip, "I'd say something right now, but it would only be censored!"
- In "Never Bug an Ant", Charlie moves his anthill over flat land. Aardvark puts a lit stick of dynamite in the anthill, runs and covers his ears. Charlie yells "POW!" as Aardvark puts his head in and says "Hey, Ant! Whaddaya think of that?" After the dynamite explodes in his face, Aardvark walks off saying, "I know what I think of that...but I shouldn't say it in public!"
- Seldom Seen Species: Aardvark
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The Boris Karloff-sounding scientist used this a lot when examining Charlie in "Science Friction".
- She's a Man in Japan: The Aardvark is supposed to be female in Germany, for unknown reason. It's given a female voice actor and is called Elise or "(die) blaue Elise" ("blue Elise") by the Ant (who's called Charlie) and sometimes herself.
- Shout-Out: To Charley's Aunt (1892), a classic Broadway comedy also adapted to numerous films over the years. 1950s revivals featured the likes of Jackie Gleason and Ray Bolger, making the name choice for Charlie Ant quite obvious.
- Slasher Smile: The dog has a really disturbing one in "From Bed to Worse." After no fewer then three scenes with the same Slasher Smile, the Aardvark even lampshades it:
Aardvark: You know, I think he's dead.*
- Strong Ants: Charlie himself. Played to ridiculous extent in "Don't Hustle an Ant with Muscle".
- Talking to Himself: As stated above, Aardvark and Charlie are both voiced by John Byner.
- Termite Trouble: The episode "Rough Brunch" had Aardvark being accosted by a termite named Term, who just so happened to be Charlie's cousin.
- Threatening Shark: The shark who chases after Aardvark in "Isle of Caprice".
- Through a Face Full of Fur: Aardvark's body color diverted from normal in a few of the featurettes in various cases (even his clothes). The following in which these occurred include:
- In the very first short, titled "The Ant And The Aardvark", Aardvark's entire body turned red after sticking his snout in Charlie's ant hill, trying to suck in the ant. The hue change happens when he inhales Tabasco sauce, flames emit from the bottom of his feet, and he launches into the air like a rocket before landing in a lake. He then drinks up some of a lake to cool down, which reverts his color to his usual blue.
- In the same short, Aardvark's full body turns green from illness, after inhaling and exhaling cigar smoke into Charlie's ant hill in an effort to smoke him out of it (his eyes become a bloodshot reddish/pinkish color as well).
- In "Hasty But Tasty", Aardvark's usual blue hue is changed to black, following an explosion from a rocket when it and Aardvark fall into the "instant hole" at the end.
- In "Isle of Caprice", Aardvark's body also turns black from another explosion after attempting to fire himself from a cannon and to another island. It does fire, but he isn't shot out of it, so he doesn't launch.
- In "Technology, Phooey", Aardvark attempts to use some spray on Charlie. But instead, he inadvertently ends up spraying himself, which results in the side effect reaction of him switching positions quickly and spasmodically, and changing into an assortment of colors and patterns.
- In "The Froze Nose Knows", Aardvark's body becomes a pale shade of blue twice, covered with ice, shivering and walking away stiffly once, and back to his cave to warm up, and thaw off the ice, after having fallen into a hole in a frozen lake while pursuing Charlie; the other time when he gets into bed with a bear (who moved into what was the anteater's cave, having stolen it and claiming it as his home), who pummels and sends him flying across and back outside. Aardvark climbs out the hole the second time, quits pursuing Charlie and hitchhikes to Palm Springs.
- Tree Buchet: Happens a lot.
- Vacuum Mouth: Aardvark often does this as his method of trying to eat Charlie (but fails every time), complete with the sound of a vacuum cleaner.