Western Animation: The Dreamstone aka: The Dream Stone
"Once more we travel to the Land of Nightmares to discover, there beneath the black mountain of Viltheed, the loathsome ZORDRAK, Lord of Nightmares, hatching his monstrous plots to thwart the Dreammaker so that nightmares might rule!"
"Far from Viltheed to the Forest of the Wuts, where Pildit, leader of the Wuts, and his companions guard the Land of Dreams. The Noops live in the Land of Dreams; these are two of them, Rufus and Amberley, assisting the Dreammaker and his watchdogfish Albert in the sending of tonight's dreams through the most precious and powerful object in the land - '''The Dreamstone!'''" —The Dreamstone intro
Cult CITV children's Animated Series from the early 1990s. Noted both for the quality of its animation and its Mike Batt soundtrack, including cameos from such unlikely people as Ozzy Osborne and Billy Connolly.Almost every episode has basically the same plot: Zordrak, the Evil Overlord, sends three of his sympathetic Mooks, the Urpneys, across the dangerous zone between the Land of Dreams and the Land of Nightmares with the assistance of Mad Scientist Urpgor and his inventions, which tend to be pedal-powered. The Urpneys' task is to steal the Dreamstone, the mystical object through which the mysterious Dreammaker sends his dreams every night to the people of the Land of Dreams, and protects them from Zordrak's nightmares. They are thwarted every week by Rufus and Amberley, the Dreammaker's Noop assistants, occasionally with Pildit and the Wuts.Despite this, the series also played with story arcs and guest stars to shake up the basic plot. Four seasons were made (1990-1995) , after which the same team made a Spiritual Successor, the less-well known Bimbles Bucket.Refer to the character sheet for more details.
Tropes employed include:
Acrofatic: Both Rufus and Sgt Blob are somewhat portly individuals, but get in on the action as much as the others in their team.
Advertised Extra: Rufus to some degree. While Rufus is a prominent character, he was billed as the main character in most promotional work and merchandise (his face is slapped on almost all artwork and video covers). While this treatment is consistent with the pilot, in most other episodes he is either among many Hero Antagonists to the Urpneys or a bit player no more important than Amberley. Ironically the most promoted character after him is probably Zordrak.
Affably Evil: Sgt Blob is far more scheming and willingly devoted to Zordrak than most of the other Urpneys, though that's still not saying very much.
All Webbed Up: Blob's men do this to almost the entire Land Of Dreams in "The Spidermobile".
Animation Bump: As with many cartoons, the pilot has noticeably more fluid animation than most of the rest of the first season. Animator duties for later seasons were traded from Fil-Cartoons to Moving Images Animation, who used a refined animation style and altered the character designs slightly (see below).
Anti-Villain: The Urpneys aren't really all that evil or spiteful towards the Noops, and only follow orders to avoid the wrath of their demonic Bad Boss. The fact their goals rarely exceed giving people bad dreams certainly helps as well.
Art Evolution: The animation and character designs are refined slightly between the first and second season due to a different animation studio taking over.
Bad Boss: Zordrak has three primary punishments for his minions. 1: Turning them into stone. 2: As before, then throwing them into the watery pit filled with Extreme Omnivore crocodile/wasp/crab/things known as Frazznats. 3: Throwing them to the aforementioned carnivorous horrors while still alive. We actually see him do method three in the pilot, though of course there's a Gory Discretion Shot. Even when he doesn't kill them, Zordrak is not a kind master to labor under.
Badass: Pildit and the Wuts can mage with the best of them when push comes to shove, and Zordrak is 90's fantasy Evil Overlord at its best.
Beat Them at Their Own Game: More or less any point the Urpneys manage to steal the stone, leading the heroes to have to steal it back from Viltheed. Also the premise of the Nightmare Stone, which reverses the roles around with the heroes having to steal a magical stone from the villains. Naturally they have far more success in doing so than the Urpneys.
Becoming the Mask: In "Albert Is Fishnapped", Blob and his men pose as concert performers in a scheme to distract the Noops. Frizz and Nug get a little too caught in the rhythm.
Frizz: We're stars, Sarge! We're stars!
Beware the Silly Ones: Though usually blundering idiots, the Urpneys on many occasions prove able to act out devices and mission plans in a plausible manner and frequently managed to steal the Dreamstone. In some later episodes, the number of hinderances against them sometimes became overblown, due to sometimes acting more competent then Rufus and Amberley.
Bittersweet Ending: Some later episodes have the Noops triumph, but face collateral damage or some minor humiliation in the process (eg. "The Dream Beam Invasion", "Little Urpip"). In contrast, Frizz and Nug got more outcomes that weren't so bleak (usually due to Urpgor, Blob or Zordrak taking the bigger brunt of things instead).
Bound and Gagged: Happens to Amberley a couple of times. Also part of a gag in "Too Hot To Handle" when the Urpneys try to ambush and restrain a Noop inside their Mobile Shrubbery, they take turns bounding each other by mistake before finally getting the right guy.
Bratty Half-Pint: Spildit and, to a lesser extent, Amberley both have moments of this.
Urpip is essentially a pint sized version of her Uncle Urpgor.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Urpneys issue Aside Glances and snarky remarks to the screen more than a few times. Zordrak of all people gives us a cheesy wink in "Return Of The Nightmare Stone".
Can't Catch Up: Played with. Though Rufus and Amberley are the Muggles and least experienced or capable of the hero cast, they actually tend to be the first to be pit against the villains, with varying degrees of success.
Cartoon Creature: All of the races in the series look like strange "not-quite mashups" of different species. The Noops, for example, look like teddy bears with little goat horns and bunny ears, and the Urpneys look like squatty humans with lizard tails.
The Comically Serious: Zordrak looks the part for a rather creepy and sinister villain, however his neurotics towards his minions and sheer hamminess prevents him from being a deathly serious character.
Comedic Sociopathy: The Urpneys are regularly beaten, squashed, fried and otherwise comically decimated by everyone from their Bad Boss, their Mad Scientist rival, to the messianic Dream Maker, his Noop Kid Sidekicks and their pet dog fish, largely for being shanghaied into villainous missions they don't even want to be part of.
Compelling Voice: "The Voice of Zordrak", in the episode of the same name, is a little Zordrak pendant that hypnotizes whoever looks at it, apparently using nothing more than a recording of Zordrak's voice saying "deep sleep" over and over.
Curbstomp Battle: Pretty much any time the Urpneys go up against the Noops or Wuts. The heavily built up invasion on the Land Of Dreams in "Megattack" lasts less than a minute before the entire army is tranquilized with magic. In their defense though, the odd time the Urpneys win a fight, they win just as handily (eg. the Spidermobile vs the entire Wut army).
Cut Song: "Into The Sunset" is a bittersweet duet between Mike Batt and Bonnie Tyler that's just perfect for a Grand Finale. Sadly, it only appears on the soundtrack.
Deadly Dodging: Pildit and Wildit use this on Zordrak in "Argorrible Attack".
Degraded Boss: The Whirlyped was a formidable match for Rufus and Pildit in the pilot episode, only losing them due to a piloting blunder by the Urpneys. In most later episodes it is disposed of rather easily, even when used in droves (in "The Statue Collection" the Noops handily deactivate it with a conveniently placed power switch on it's base).
The Urpneys were usually in a static level of ineffectiveness, though it could stem from them being brainless laughing stocks or Cosmic Playthings who, is not for contrived bad luck, could actually act out plans rather efficiently.
Odd personality traits such as Amberley's temperament, Urpgor's insanity and Sgt. Blob's Drill Sergeant Nasty tendencies also came at different levels from episode to episode.
Despite The Plan: Rufus and Amberley's attempts to stop the Urpneys often failed or led to their capture, they always ended up with the Dreamstone back however, usually due to the Urpneys screwing things up without them anyway.
Determinator: The Noops at times, especially in the pilot. Zordrak also really wants the Dreamstone.
Determined Defeatist: For less-than-willing villains, the Urpneys sure are persistent little buggers at times.
Zordrak at least regained some cred by Season Three, in which he upgrades his motives from merely giving Noops bad dreams to using the Dreamstone to enhance his evil powers and become "LORD OF THE UNIVERRRSE!!!", making the heroes more genuinely on the hot seat should they ever lose the stone. Odd Season Four episodes also gave him some degree of involvement, even if he was still largely an Orcus on His Throne.
Disney Acid Sequence: The odd times a dream was shown usually applied as such. Along with the iconic pilot sequence used as the end credits, "The Moon Of Doom" and "Hod" have some particularly trippy dream sequences (all of them are accompanied solely by music to fit the trope even more).
Urpgor can be considered a walking Disney Acid Sequence, especially in the Fil Cartoon animated episodes.
Disney Death: Pildit and Amberley (sort of) in the pilot episode.
Disproportionate Retribution: The nearest to an abrasive aspect of the Land Of Dreams is that they sometimes take a bit too much pleasure in punishing the Urpneys (who are usually harmless, and vigorously unwilling Mooks), and on at least a couple of occasions have nothing against seeing them to their grave for trying to give them nightmares.
Ironically subverted in "Urpgor's Great Adventure", the one time an Urpney is happily trying to do away with them, they decide to let him escape once they get back the Dreamstone.
Downer Ending: "Mr Blossom's Present" is a comedic variant for both sides. The heroes' are disappointed when Mr Blossom's surprise gift is stolen by the Urpneys, which, being an uncontrollable growing plant, has deadly repercussions in Viltheed.
Dream Land: Though surprisingly rarely seen considering the premise, a few episodes show the world that the dreams comprise of (and in one episode is even traveled into by the cast).
Dream Weaver: The Dreammaker is a positive example; a flashback reveals that Zordrak was formerly one as well before his Start of Darkness, and even during the show he can arguably be considered a negative example, given he explicitly creates and sends forth nightmares to the world.
Early-Installment Weirdness: The first season has a noticeably different feel from the others, the animation is much looser, and several characters are slightly different both in terms of design and personality and role (see Art Evolution and Flanderization). Rather easy to compare since the opening titles (which use Season One's animation style and designs) are used unaltered throughout the entire series.
The Eeyore: Mr Blossom is about the one resident of the Land Of Dreams with a noticeable hint of cynicism, so much he seems to hold the entire village's worth.
Enemy Mine: Defied in "The Statue Collection". When a sea monster goes after Blob and Albert, Frizz and Nug construct a mechanism to attack it with garbage projectiles. Rufus and Amberley, deciding the method is doing more harm than good, knock the two out, leaving Albert to deal with the monster himself.
Played more straight in "The Dark Side", after the Urpneys capture the heroes, they are attacked by another monster. The Dream Maker negotiates with it in return for the Urpneys releasing them.
"Return Of The Nightmare Stone" also has a light example, with Urpgor directing the Noops to destroy the title stone in the Bottomless Pit.
The Everyman: Rufus and Amberley, for the line of work they had, were portrayed as rather normal acting kids who usually handle their jobs in a rather uneventful and conflictless manner until the Urpneys break the normality of things.
Evil Counterpart: the Nightmare Stone, which can overpower the Dreamstone's ability to ward off nightmares. In a role reversal of show's usual formula, Rufus and Amberley try to steal it a few times over. Likely also counts as Evil Knockoff, though when and why it was created isn't specified.
Exact Eavesdropping: Done a few times concerning the heroes discovering the Urpneys' plans. Perhaps most intricately in "Albert's Ailment" after heading to Viltheed in search of a rare medicinal mushroom, just in time to see Blob and his men arrive, gloating to Urpgor about snagging the Dreamstone while they were gone.
In "Zarag Rules", the Noops overhear a very loud argument between Urpgor and Zarag, in which Urpgor mocks the latter's obedience drops scheme for it's easy antidote (with exact detail how it works).
Expy: Bimble's Bucket, another project made by Jupp and Martin Gates Productions (only shortly after The Dreamstone ended it's run) has heavy similarities, in characters and their dynamics and roles, and even their designs, to the point the trope almost qualifies for the entire show.
Similarly, Gates' adaptation of The Snow Queen 1995 makes the odd alteration and new characters adhering to the show's formula (in particular, the Snow Queen's three abused troll minions heavily resemble the Urpneys).
Failure Is the Only Option: Zordrak getting the Dreamstone, or at the very least holding onto it long enough to do anything very constructive with it.
Fiery Redhead: Amberley, though usually rather level headed and cheerful, has intense moments of this at times, especially in Season One.
Flanderization: Zigzagged for Rufus and Amberley, who started off with distinctive wackier personas (Cloud Cuckoo Lander and short fused Adorably Precocious Child respectively) in the pilot episode. Episodes after downplayed almost all their slapstick qualities, their personalities diluted into sometimes interchangeable Cheerful Children. The later half of the series started to revert them back however.
Additionally, the heroes' Disproportionate Retribution. They had started off more vicious thanthe Urpneys, but kept it at Cornered Rattlesnake/Beware the Nice Ones territory. After the first few episodes they become increasingly smarmy and relentless, many stand offs reduced to them just toying with the Urpneys for sadistic fun. It reaches a point their zeal backfires on them in "The Dream Beam Invasion", retreating in terror the moment a battle stopped being the usual one sided beat down. After this, they got toned down, their retaliations also becoming far less violent.
In contrast, The Dream Maker's Big Good qualities took over his personality, turning from a wise, kindly but somewhat crotchety and befuddled old wizard to a pious embodiment of good between the first and second season, usually limited to foiling the Noops' ineptness by giving exposition or magicking away a problem after they fail.
Frizz and Nug, originally interchangeable dimwitted Cowardly Sidekicks in the pilot, got Flanderized to one different facet as part of their Divergent Character Evolution. Frizz became more cowardly and neurotic, while Nug became more dopey and vacuous. Hidden Depths prevented the trope oversimplifying their personalities however.
The Fool: While a lot of times Rufus and Amberley manage to retrieve the Dreamstone in skillful bouts of heroism, other times they seem to be assisted by accidental blundering (on theirs or the Urpney's part) or sheer dumb luck. Granted it's arguable whether this is a result of them being lucky, or the Urpney being...not so.
Forbidden Zone: A couple of episodes have the cast enter "the Dark Side", an area of the Sleeping World that is unexplored and rampant with deadly creatures. Curiously concept art for the show also lists a similar area of identical name to this trope (likely what the Dark Side evolved into for the finalized show).
Forgotten Phlebotinum: The Dream Maker and the Wuts often show enough unrestrained magical powers to dispose of the Urpneys (and even Zordrak) without even trying, but still almost always send Rufus and Amberley to do everything as their first strategy. Similarly Zordrak always sends his incompetent Urpneys to steal the stone despite several methods to go to the Land of Dreams himself that are used all of once or twice.
The Friends Who Never Hang: Pildit and Spildit, to the point they are never even in a scene together, something that can seem somewhat odd given they are supposedly cousins.
Funetik Aksent: In the second part of the first episode, Blob and the other two stranded Urpneys get the bright idea to write the word "HELP" on the ground using the nearby rubble. Blob's accent causes them to render it as "ELP".
Blob: Something's missin'.
Frizz: I know, punctuation.
Gadgeteer Genius: Urpgor. Though no less blundering than the rest of the Urpneys most of the time, the large majority of his devices do seem to work exactly as they should, their downfall owed more to their mishandling by either him or Blob's team.
Genre Savvy: Blob's two underlings, Frizz and Nug, are completely incompetent, yet have an uncharacteristic grasp of Fridge Logic and tend to hang lampshades on some of the more bizarre and dangerous things they end up involved with.
They're not entirely incompetent - they've actually had more success at getting their hands on the Dreamstone than any Urpneys in the past, they just have rather a lot of difficulty keeping it once they get it. Also, they can do some extraordinary things under pressure, such as building a complex and serviceable garbage catapault out of junk.
They are however Genre Savvy enough to know they are incompetent, tending to spend the entire episode trying to get out of their mission or at the very least try to lose in a manner that's as quick and painless as possible.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: While Frizz and Nug never quite managed to elevate to this status, Zordrak has a couple odd moments. In "The Nightmare Stone" the Noop civilians try to distract the villains with a battle while Rufus and Amberley steal the title stone. Zordrak quickly gets suspicious and monitors the stone, sending the Urpneys to capture the two as they arrive (he did not suspect Urpgor taking it afterwards however).
After first getting his hands on his stone, Zordrak drops it into the Frazznats' pit, where Rufus still manages to retrieve it. The second time round, he learns from this error and orders the stone to be destroyed immediately.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: According to creator Mike Jupp, there was a single animation frame drawn of a pantless Urpgor that proves he is a male Urpney...
Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: Seems to be in effect whenever the Urpneys are given a good dream. The heroes also use magic to win the war against them in "Megattack" this way (and keep them like this until "The Nightmare Stone").
Go Karting with Bowser: Spildit befriends the Urpneys a couple of times, which is usually mistaken for a kidnapping on the latter's part by the heroes.
Golem: One season three episode revolves around Frizz, Nug and Blob accidentally releasing the titular Neemod, a massive stone golem that Zordrak created and then sealed up because even he couldn't control it, which wreaked havoc on both sides of the Mists of Limbo before being stopped.
Good Is Not Soft: The Land of Dreams, despite being a Sugar Bowl in every other regard, is actually far more prone to violence than the Urpneys, and can be rather brutal (if not sometimes borderline sadistic) towards those that try to steal their stone (being The Drag-Along isn't a clause out of it either).
Got Volunteered: Can any Urpney who does not want to take part in a deadly dangerous mission please take a step forward... Not you Frizz! Or you Nug!
Heel-Face Brainwashing: Done accidentally with Blob's squad and even Zordrak on separate occasions. Done more directly by the heroes in the first season finale when the heroes use magic to make invading Urpneys docile. They are shown assisting the Noops with their victory celebrations until Blob and Urpgor evacuate them back to Viltheed the following episode.
Hero Antagonist: There isn't very much antagonistic about the Land Of Dreams, at all. It is perhaps for that reason however, that the heroes are kept somewhat flat compared to the villains and tend to get the shorter straw in Sympathetic P.O.V. in most episodes. The odd episode attempts to make them the more sympathable side however.
Heroes Prefer Swords: Played with. Both Rufus and the Urpneys wear a sword on their belts, which are rarely, if ever, used in actual conflicts.
Humiliation Conga: Blob's men fall victim to a slapstick heavy one pretty much Once per Episode, either courtesy of the heroes, their own stupidity or fate alone. Urpgor is also prone to these, with even Zordrak getting the odd one as well. (In general, if you take part in a villainous plan, you're a tall order Butt Monkey).
Most episodes that did not involve the Dreamstone introduced another mystical entity that could overpower it, and the heroes having to find and dispose of it, usually with much greater ease than the villains try to with the Dreamstone.
I Cannot Self-Terminate: Averted in "The Monster", where Amberley's polite request that the giant robot stop scaring everyone is interpreted as a command to shut itself down.
Imagine Spot: Rufus has a few of these, usually conveying himself as some fictional protagonist.
Incendiary Exponent: The Viper Van from episode 5 sets fire to the landscape when it first sets off from Viltheed.
Incredible Shrinking Man: The Urpneys shrink themselves to get past the Noops in both "The Shrinking Stone" and "The Dream Beam Invasion". In both cases, the Noops catch on and use the same tactic to stop them (though this backfires in the latter when the Urpneys then start growing back, causing an Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever from their perspective).
Innocent Blue Eyes: Amberley, one of the few characters to have visible irises, has blue eyes and a (usually) sweet natured personality. She temporarily lost these as the cast underwent slight redesigns in the second season.
Invincible Hero: The overwhelming majority of times, the heroes secured the stone with barely any effort.
Lampshaded as a gag in "The Shrinking Stone". Rufus and Amberley play a chess game with pieces themed on themselves and the villains. Amberley, using the heroes set, outmaneuvers Rufus' every single move.
Jaw Drop: Done epically by all the Urpneys after a temporarily reformed Zordrak politely asks Urpgor to return the Dreamstone with "an apology and flowers" in "Spildit".
Kafka Komedy: Frizz and Nug are villains, but hardly malicious (or even willing) ones, though are the show's key Chew Toys and pretty much everything around them tends to cause comical abuse for them somehow.
Karma Houdini: Zordrak usually sat dormant in his lair each episode, while the far more sympathetic Urpneys ended up taking the brunt of each scheme. Urpgor also usually got away with tormenting Blob and his goons in early episodes.
Karma Houdini Warranty: While the Urpneys remain the prime Butt Monkeys for the entire series, the rest of the cast become far more vulnerable to their actions. Urpgor becomes more and more of The Chew Toy. Zordrak also often ends up the brunt of the closing gag in the last handful of episodes with the much abused Frizz and Nug actually coming out rather clean. "The Dream Beam Invasion" was arguably also this to the heroes' Disproportionate Retribution.
Kick the Dog: While usually Pragmatic Villains (or to pitiful to be any worse), their were very rare occasions the Urpneys committed callous acts on their own free will. In "Electric Eggs" for example, they trip Rufus and Amberley into the Sea Of Destruction for laughs, almost drowning them.
Blob literally Kicks The Dogfish in "The Statue Collection".
Kick Them While They Are Down: Alongside the Urpneys' example above, the show also was a rare heroic example, with the Noops occasionally deciding to "teach them a lesson" after already ruining their plan to take the stone. "Blob's Incredible Plan" in particular dedicates almost half the episode to the heroes capturing and pranking the Urpneys with the Dreamstone already secured from the get go. Their one loss in "The Dream Beam Invasion" was also owed to doing this in enough excess for Frizz and Nug's shrink spell to wear off. Later episodes mercifully undid this trait for the large part (even directly subverting it a couple of episodes), leaning the heroes more firmly into Cornered Rattlesnake territory.
Large Ham: Zordrak to an extreme, with Sgt Blob and Urpgor not far behind. Wildit has a habit of it as well.
Let's See You Do Better: Both Sgt Blob and Urpgor, after getting sick of the other's stupidity, try tactizing plans to steal the Dreamstone on their own on separate occasions. They both fail miserably.
Lighter and Softer / Denser and Wackier: The pilot (and a handful of Season One episodes) are noticably darker, with a more noticable sense of dread concerning Zordrak. Shortly afterwards the show converts to a more cutesier, slapstick Harmless Villain dynamic with the Urpneys. The change is even more noticeable compared to Mike Jupp's original story concepts and "The Dreamthief" promo.
Like Brother and Sister: Rufus and Amberley (allegedly however, the wasted song "Into The Sunset" was a romantic song revolved around the two).
MacGuffin: The Dreamstone of course, in nearly every episode. Though occasionally another object or device that could assist Zordrak's plans was used in it's place (eg. The Nightmare Stone, the Moon of Doom).
"The Moon Of Doom". After the Urpneys gather the elaborate scheme and technology to get the episode's MacGuffin, the heroes quickly neutralize them and use their ship to dispose of it.
"The Nightmare Stone". After Urpgor steals the MacGuffin and accidentally frees the Noops, they use his gadget to make off with it while he is knocked out (not that this was really a problem for Urpgor, since he wanted rid of it to begin with).
It's interesting to note, though, that half the time the Dream Maker discusses the making of dreams with anyone else in the know, it sounds very much like Star Trek-style technobabble.
The Main Characters Do Everything: Zordrak's Army of Urpneys measures thousands if not Tens of Thousands. He uses them en-masse in only a handful of episodes. For the rest of the entire run he just uses Blob, Frizz and Nug (and at a stretch, Urpgor). Never deviating to use more or try different ones despite their consistent failure.
Played with for the heroes. The Dream Maker almost always sends Rufus and Amberley to stop the Urpneys, despite an entire civilization of Wuts "guarding" the Land of Dreams and himself being a near-immortal whose power is rivaled only by Zordrak. Half the time, the Noops fail or get captured, leaving them to take over and usually solve the dilemma with ease, leaving it a conundrum why they didn't just do so in the first place rather than preferring to send two powerless children in the line of fire.
It should be noted that Frizz and Nug have Lampshaded this on several occasions throughout the show. (The heroes less so, though it is Played for Laughs in "The Stowaways").
Middle Management Mook: Urpgor, who seems to have a higher position than most of the other Urpneys and is constantly shown bullying or ranting at fellow mooks for screwing things up, being "the only Urpney with any intelligence" and all. For the large part however he is just as incompetent and the most frequent punching bag for Zordrak's temper.
Miles Gloriosus: Sgt Blob has a very gung ho attitude, though often ends up panicing with his minions in the face of danger. The Noops are also sometimes shown to be less confident the odd moment the Urpneys stop being completely harmless (eg. they are more than willing to dish out punishment to two cowardly recruits, though run off screaming like banshees when they start growing from the side effect of a spell).
Minion with an F in Evil: The Urpneys are portrayed as meek bumblers, usually only victimizing the Land Of Dreams out of fear of Zordrak's wrath. Blob is the only Urpney highly vehement on stealing the Dreamstone and even he is more a loyal and gung-ho soldier than outright malicious for the large part. Indeed, it's arguable that his gung-ho attitude is mainly motivated by his desire to avoid ending up in the Frazznat pit, as happened to his predecessor in the first episode.
Mordor: Viltheed and the Land of Nightmares; one episode features, as a side effect of an eclipse, sunlight shining on the mountain and causing the land to bloom with greenery, to which its inhabitants react with horror - well, we're told they do but we only really see it having any (hilarious) effect on Zordrak.
Near Villain Victory: Though usually doomed before they even start, Zordrak and the Urpneys actually did have the occasional upper hand in their war, only for it to fall apart from cruel fate. In "Albert's Ailment" they are literally a second from destroying the Dreamstone before Albert snatches it, while in "The Spidermobile" Zordrak almost succeeds in taking it to the Nightmare Planet before Urpgor arrives at exactly the wrong moment.
Nerves of Steel: Pildit comes off a light example at times, usually being rather passive and mellow, even in the face of danger. His grandmother seems to be the only one capable of exasperating him.
Nervous Wreck: While all the Urpneys are somewhat cowardly, Frizz takes it to neurotic extremes.
Never Recycle Your Schemes: Partially averted. While the villains' overall plans are usually different each episode, strategies are sometimes reused and many of Urpgor's inventions are used recurringly throughout the series (some of which are even modified). "The Return Of The Nightmare Stone", as expected, revolves around the villains trying to reacquire the Nightmare Stone from a previous episode.
In "Megattack" when thinking how to deal with the Urpneys, Rufus suggests using his fake Dreamstone from a previous episode. The other heroes give him a Death Glare as if to insinuate this trope (though the Dream Maker does use the idea again in the series finale).
Never Say "Die": Averted. Somewhat unusually for a children's series, Zordrak often explicitly threatens his minions and captives with death.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A few times the Dreamstone was stolen or endangered was due to the mishandling or blundering of one of the heroes (usually Rufus).
No Indoor Voice: Zordrak, especially in later episodes. Urpgor isn't particularly known for being soft spoken either.
Non-Lethal Warfare: Any actually warfare between the two sides was used with fairly harmless projectiles such as mud pies, silk nets or magic trinkets that make it's victim docile. The only known deaths are those Zordrak executes afterwards (all but one consist entirely of his own army for failing him).
Not Now, Kiddo: The Dreammaker's usual response to Albert's insistent tugging at his robe.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: For all their blundering, the Urpneys did succeed in capturing the stone, and even bringing it back to Viltheed a frequent amount of times. It was merely preventing the heroes from stealing it back they had problems with. In many cases they aren't much more incompetent than the heroes, just much muchmore unlucky.
While hardly a Harmless Villain, Zordrak's ambitions rarely expanded past giving the Noops bad dreams in early seasons. In "A Day Off" he expands his plans for the Dreamstone; to take it to the Nightmare Planet and corrupt it's powers into his own so he can be "Lord of the Universe". Suddenly, there's much higher stakes whenever he and the Urpneys near stealing the stone.
"The Spidermobile" is a prime example for the Urpneys. Not only does Urpgor create a vehicle that is completely invulnerable to the heroes' magic, but Blob and his men handle it with competent precision and make off with the Dreamstone with little effort. The heroes actually rely on a well timed blunder by Zordrak to get it back this time.
Once a Season: At least one episode per season the Urpneys succeeded in stealing the stone and handing it to Zordrak (they did it twice in the second season however).
Zarag also made an appearance every second episode of each season after her first appearance in Season Two.
Once per Episode: All but a handful of episodes end with an irritated comment from Frizz.
One-Gender Race: The Urpneys appeared to qualify, until one episode introduced Urpgor's aunt and later his niece.
Orcus on His Throne: Zordrak is a gargantuan Eldritch Abomination who could probably trample the Land Of Dreams under his foot, let alone with any of his dark spells (such as the power to place his spirit into another being). For some reason however his duties rarely exceed sitting on his throne and chewing out his far less fearsome mooks, the Urpneys, who he instead charges with the duty of stealing the title MacGuffin the large majority of the time. Toyed with one instance he actually equips his throne with a jet engine so he can invade the Land of Dreams. Still sitting down the whole time.
Ornamental Weapon: Both Rufus and the Urpneys wear swords on their belts that are never used (Rufus uses his lightly in the first two episodes). When they are redesigned for the second season, they cut the formalities and just get rid of them.
Out of Focus: As the show progressed, the episodes revolved more consistently around "Rufus and Amberley vs Blob, Frizz and Nug". As such most of the other hero characters (especially Pildit) appeared less frequently, while Zordrak, the Big Bad himself, had rarely any involvement outside odd Bad Boss banter.
Rufus himself fell victim to this to an extent. In the pilot, he was the central protagonist. In all later episodes, he is either a Hero Antagonist to the Urpneys or a Deuteragonist of equal or lower prominence than Amberley.
Amberley: Three Urpneys to one Noop, too frightening for you is it?
Poke the Poodle: Though he looks and acts the part for a truly menacing and terrifying villain, almost all of Zordrak and his minions' schemes are for the purpose of giving the Noops scary dreams. The later episodes add a somewhat more ambitious "Lord of the Universe" plot onto the agenda however.
Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: The Urpneys are thoroughly docile, meek and impersonal, with the heroes often a lot more violent and contemptuous towards them than vice versa (though good natured in general, the Urpneys are just that low a level in evil). Subverted in odd cases (Urpgor is a smug obnoxious sociopath, while Spildit is a Friendly Enemy Blob's troops sometimes exploit).
Pragmatic Villainy: Surprisingly, Zordrak invokes this in "Too Hot To Handle" when Urpgor asks why he doesn't just killBlob, Frizz and Nug, as he did their predecessor, having come to view the method as ineffective and "a waste of a perfectly servicable Urpney".
Zordrak: ...and...it has absolutely nothing to do with you.
His complete indifference to Spildit playing in Viltheed territory in "The Return" may also count.
The Urpneys themselves are often this. While they are willing to torment the Land Of Dreams if it means preserving their own skin, most of their efforts to steal the stone are non violent and rarely do they go out of their way to cause collateral damage or other unnessessary harm. In the final episode they kidnap a bunch of civilians, though dump them all (mostly) safely after supposedly collecting the stone.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: Though they get the shorter end of focus, the narrative seems to side with the Land of Dreams, who generally treat the Urpneys as Villain Ball Magnets and repel and often sadistically punish them for trying to give them bad dreams (disregarding Zordrak tortures or killsthose that don't). The fact the heroes are exceptionally pious about it helps little either. Later episodes at least tone down their retaliations and give them a more genuine provocation, though the Urpneys still aren't really any more willingly villainous than before.
Psycho Supporter: Urpgor, whenever he's not trying to usurp the throne of Viltheed.
Purely Aesthetic Era: The Land Of Dreams resembles something of a Medieval Stasis, with minimal technology (magic aside) and clothing and architechture to match for the most part. However the residents usually don't flicker an eyelid to Urpgor's Clock Punk devices or even the odd rock concert for that matter. Possibly justified since the show takes place in a different world.
Right Way/Wrong Way Pair: Rufus and Amberley in some episodes, usually with Rufus being irresponsible and careless, while Amberley was more sensible and cautious. Amberley could sometimes be sucked into Rufus' bad decisions however.
Road Runner vs. Coyote: Sort of. Zordrak and the Urpneys are more often solely after the Dreamstone than chasing the heroes directly, but the setup is very similar in tone.
The episode "The Dark Side" in particular follows the trope very closely and even seems to recycle a few of it's traditional gags with backfiring booby traps.
Satellite Character: Zordrak and Urpgor rarely squared off against the heroes themselves, their role usually limited to interacting with Blob and his men. Urpgor branched out a little in later episodes however.
Often played more straight with the rest of the Urpneys. The key reason Frizz and Nug are usually the only members of Blob's squad is due to being the only Urpneys too slow to bail out.
Second Place Is for Winners: In one episode, there is a contest among the villain army with free sandwiches to win... which turn out to be second prize. The first prize is being Press-Ganged into the new mission.
Serious Business: Over dreams, as pretty much expected from a world aptly named the Sleeping World.
Shoo Out the Clowns: Urpgor and Blob's team often disappear in the odd few instances Zordrak takes part in a (usually more threatening) scheme, somewhat in contrast to their Villain Protagonist role throughout the rest of the series.
Snooping Little Kid: Rufus and Amberley, usually when trying to steal back the Dreamstone from the Urpneys.
Soundtrack Dissonance: Mike Batt's dramatic orchestral score is amazing, but sometimes sounds unfitting accompanying the goofy antics of the show. Batt added a few extra riffs in later episodes, most of which were quirkier in tone.
Spanner in the Works: Frequently Zordrak's plans are rather plausible and would likely actually work if not for the Urpney's bumbling. Even when they manage to prove competent they usually fall victim to some Diabolus ex Machina a large number of times.
Story Breaker Power: A recurring reason most plots have Rufus and Amberley save the Dreamstone whenever it is stolen, since both the Dream Maker and the Wut army have near unlimited amount of magic abilities that can dispose of the Urpneys' plans with complete ease whenever they are finally forced to take action (most exceptions seem to involve them simply standing there hopeless until the Noops do something).
Strictly Formula: As mentioned above. A handful of exceptions exist, usually when Zordrak finds a more powerful MacGuffin or some alternative method of sending nightmares without the Dreamstone's hinderance. Next to every episode however involved either the heroes or villains trying to steal something from behind the other's back.
Sugar Bowl: The Land Of Dreams is pretty much this in spades. Few of the heroes are ever particularly antagonistic or jerkish and everything is generally portrayed as cheery and perfectly harmonious until the villains attack.
In one episode Zordrak's spirit has to go to a distant world to replenish his power, and when it leaves his body, he turns to stone (and will crumble if his spirit doesn't get back in time, much to Urpgor's delight). Interestingly, Zordrak's spirit looks the same as the Nightmares he sends out in other episodes.
A Taste Of Defeat: "The Dream Beam Invasion" is the only episode to end with the Noops being outsmarted by the Urpneys (see below). They also were successfully granted nightmares a handful of times (even if they usually got some form of revenge by the end of the episode).
Team Rocket Wins: In the episode "Argorrible Attack", the Urpneys actually succeed in giving the majority of the Land of Dreams nightmares (a small time victory, but exactly what Zordrak wanted). The heroes try to give Viltheed good dreams in revenge, and it actually proves somewhat ineffective. Though granted after that they decide to just beat the crap out of all of them instead.
They do this again in "The Dream Beam Invasion", shrinking into the Noop's dreams and sabotaging them for one night. They are foiled the following attempt, and Rufus and Amberley capture them, however Frizz and Nug start growing back inside the dream and scare them off, allowing them to retreat (albeit just above a lake...).
Zordrak also succeeds in sending Argorribles into the Land of Dreams in the pilot and "The Nightmare Stone". It is implied that Argorribles actually get past the Dreamstone's barrier on a frequent basis, but in very few numbers.
Technical Pacifist: The Land Of Dreams is usually peaceful to the point of being sickly sweet, however the Urpneys often learn the hard way the punishment the heroes can deal for trying to take their stone. See Depending on the Writer above.
Terrible Trio: The Urpneys (more specifically Sgt Blob, Frizz and Nug).
Theme Music Power-Up: Inverted in "Albert's Ailment", where Frizz and Nug are subjected to a brutal Humiliation Conga at the hands of three very angry magic flying leaves...while the full vocal version of the Urpney theme plays in the background.
Played more straight in "The Dream Beam Invasion" when they start growing inside a dream and get to chase off Rufus, Amberley and Albert for once, as the instrumental theme plays in the background.
"Better Than A Dream" (and variations of) is occasionally used whenever the heroes get to business.
Theme Tune Cameo: Amberley can be heard humming "Better Than A Dream" in "Too Hot To Handle". A polka version is also heard in Zordrak's party in "Zarak".
This Is Gonna Suck: Frizz delivers a variation of this nearly every time he is forced into one of Zordrak's schemes.
Those Two Bad Guys: Frizz and Nug double as this, with Sgt Blob and Urpgor occasionally getting in on it too.
Trapped In Villainy: Most of the Urpneys are impersonal dim wits who only follow Zordrak's orders because of his tendency to turn Mooksinto stone or feed them to his carnivorous pets should they annoy him. Granted it's not so much they have a conscience as much as they'd just prefer not to be sent out on dangerous missions with ridiculous gadgets in tow to steal from angry Noops and Wuts.
They change to Punch Clock Villains in later episodes, even sabotaging one of Zordrak's schemes so he won't relieve them off their duties. Frizz and Nug would still rather not be dragged into missions however.
Vague Age: Rufus and Amberley are apparently old enough to hold down jobs, but often talk like small children.
Villain Ball Magnet: Most of the Urpneys are Trapped In Villainy and vigorously spout how much they hate their job (particularly the team's Drag Alongs Frizz and Nug). Their presence is consistently treated with horror and contempt by the heroes, with a relentless punishment usually awaiting them.
Villain Protagonist: Borderline example. While the heroes get the occasional Sympathetic P.O.V., the Urpneys often get the most screentime in each story, even providing the opening and closing lines of most episodes. Hell, they are even mentioned before the heroes on this Trope page.
The Villain Makes the Plot: Frequently applied. The residents of The Land Of Dreams were usually docile and innocent beings that rarely caused their own personal conflicts or problems, thus events were usually extremely laid back until the Urpneys attacked.
Villainous Underdog: The Land of Dreams consists of the almost omni powerful Dream Maker and an army of magic crafting Wuts. Viltheed consists of the powerful but inactiveZordrak and his incompetent and powerless (and thoroughly unlucky) Urpney army, who were usually reliant on some eccentric gadget of Urpgor's to invade the Land of Dreams, which was usually disposed of easily. As such many episodes' tension was reliant on the heroes making the questionable tactic of sending Muggles, Rufus and Amberley to handle everything, and even they usually had fate on their side and trounced the Urpneys to the point of Unnecessary Roughness.
The World Is Just Awesome: In Rufus' dream from the first episode (also used as the outro), but mainly about the Dreamstone Planet rather than the unnamed planet on which the action takes place.
You Have Failed Me: Used in the first episode, but later subverted when Urpgor asks Zordrak why he hasn't done the same to Blob. Zordrak basically says that all the Urpneys are dumb as bricks anyway, so there's no point in wasting them.
With All Due Respect: It is implied Blob's predescessor was disposed of due to contradicting Zordrak one too many times, in comparison to the former, who is usually at least smart enough to follow orders without too many questions.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Ironically used on Urpgor in "The Nightmare Stone" after the titular MacGuffin renders his machines obsolete. A rare non lethal example by Zordrak however in that he merely tells him to hit the road. He is rehired after the Nightmare Stone is stolen by the Noops (largely due to a botched revenge plan by Urpgor).
You Mean Xmas: Heavily implied with the "Mid Winter Celebrations" in "Frozen Assets".