Western Animation / The Inspector

The Inspector and Deux-Deux.
The second animated series from De Patie Freleng Enterprises, and something of a Spin-Off from The Pink Panther series. The Inspector can best be described as what would happen if you turned the Mind Screw of the Pink Panther films Up to Eleven, while dialling down the incompetence of its main character. The cartoons feature the titular Inspector attempting to solve surreal crimes in his home country of France, and generally failing miserably. The other main characters are the Inspector's dim-witted Spanish assistant, Deux-Deux, and the Inspector's boss, the Commissioner.

There were 34 cartoons produced between 1965 and 1969, making it DFE's longest running series apart from the animated Pink Panther shorts. The Inspector was also the companion series for the Pink Panther cartoons in The Pink Panther Show for its first three seasons, after which it was replaced by The Ant and the Aardvark.

Both the Inspector and Commissioner were revived as recurring characters in the 1993 Pink Panther revival.

The Inspector provides examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Inspector is replaced with a robotic cop, who does his job so efficiently that even the Commissioner finds himself in a homeless shelter eating soup with the Inspector.
  • Animated Adaptation: While the series differs in many ways from the live-action Pink Panther films, it's far more like an animated version of the films than the actual Pink Panther cartoons are.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Inspector very rarely solves cases successfully, and even when he does, the bad guys still find some way to screw him over.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Inspector only rarely wins at the end, and is usually screwed over when he does.
    • Deux-Deux in "La Feet's Defeat", where the Inspector lets an eager young Deux-Deux handle the dirty work of testing for land mines and booby traps while the Inspector is perfectly intact.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': In "Les Miserobots", the Inspector's attempts to get rid of his mechanical replacement backfire horribly.
    • In "Le Cop on Le Rocks", the Inspector is framed for a bank robber that looks like him. Every time he gets caught trying to break out of prison, the warden adds more years to his sentence. When working at the rockpile, the warden tells him that he will be free after one more rock. Unfortunately, it happens to be the Rock of Gibraltar.
  • Chained Heat: When the Inspector was transporting a criminal back to Paris while handcuffed to him, the criminal escaped with the Inspector being dragged along in an homage to The Defiant Ones. In the end, the Inspector managed to regain control of the situation when the two got stuck in a hay bale with the criminal immobilized.
  • Clueless Detective: The Inspector - though the cartoons go back on forth (often within the same cartoon) as to whether he's a bumbler with a Hypercompetent Sidekick, or bumbling but semi-competent with a clueless sidekick who still manages to get the job done in the end.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: The Inspector has one in "Le Cop on Le Rocks", which results in the Inspector getting sent to prison.
  • Exploiting the Fourth Wall: In one Inspector Clouseau episode the inspector told the artist to comply with law and put the criminal he was chasing behind bars.
  • Explosive Cigar: In "French Freud," the Inspector is aware someone is out to get him at the start, due to the numerous mishaps occurring to him. At a restaurant, he catches on and is afraid to smoke his after-dinner cigar as it may be an exploding one. He tosses it out the window, and sure enough, it blows up. So he sticks with his "trusty old pipe," which also ends up exploding when lit.
  • Expy: The Inspector himself, for the live-action Inspector Clouseau. Unlike Clouseau, the animated Inspector isn't dangerously incompetent, and while he certainly isn't very good at his job, he's much more prone to bad luck than bad judgement. Likewise, the Commissioner is in effect an animated version of Dreyfus from the live-action films (Herbert Lom's Dreyfus debuted in A Shot in the Dark), though he only lashes out at the Inspector in anger rather than actually plotting to kill him. He did throw a bomb at the Inspector for failing to protect him from a bomber, though this being a cartoon series, being blown up is just a minor inconvenience.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Deux-Deux's eyes are typically shut unless he's shocked/surprised, when he turns into a monster in "Sicque! Sicque! Sicque!", and for the entirety of "La Feet's Defeat" (which also had him with a completely different personality).
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Sergeant Deux-Deux's name is "two two" in French. Whether or not you were aware of that, it's still a Double Entendre.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: In the episode "Reaux, Reaux, Reaux Your Boat", Crab Louie appears to be this for Captain Clamity.
  • Insistent Terminology: Deux-Deux, being Spanish, frequently says "" for "yes". The Inspector, being French, always tells him, "Don't say , say oui," to which Deux-Deux would often respond, "...I mean oui."
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: Originally composed by Henry Mancini for the live-action Clouseau film A Shot in the Dark, with an earlier version appearing in the The Pink Panther cartoon, "Dial 'P' for Pink".
  • Large and in Charge: The Commissioner towers over the Inspector and is typically roaring at the top of his lungs at the Inspector's latest goof-ups.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: In the 1968 short "La Feet's Defeat", Deux-Deux is recast as an eager new recruit and Butt-Monkey rather than the quiet Straight Man to the Inspector that he was in all of his previous appearances. It's worth pointing out that this was Deux-Deux's last appearance in the shorts. This episode could be considered a flashback to Deux-Deux's rookie year, since he was a more enthusiastic and eager sidekick who is oblivious to pain, as compared to other episodes where he reluctantly complies with the Inspector's orders with a weary, resigned, pessimistic outlook.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In "Les Misèrobots", the Commissioner got rid of the Inspector by replacing him with a robotic officer. The robot was so competent he also got the Commissioner's job, and both the Commissioner and Inspector find themselves eating soup at a greasy spoon of a homeless shelter.
  • Mean Boss: Averted in the sense that the Commissioner usually has good reason to reprimand the Inspector for his goof-ups, but that does not excuse him being such a loudmouth tyrant with zero patience for any of his subordinate's mistakes or explanations.
  • Negative Continuity: Applies to some extent, as some shorts featured one or all three of the central characters in some sort of seemingly irreversible trouble only to be safe again by the next short. "Bomb Voyage", in particular, ends with the Inspector, Deux-Deux, and the Commissioner stranded on another planet with no manned aircraft coming for them for the next five years.
  • Never My Fault: At the end of "The Pique Poquette of Paris", when the Inspector gets sent to prison on a counterfeit rap due to using children's play money he took from Deux-Deux, he said that upon getting out, he'd clobber the sergeant, except that Deux-Deux tried to tell him about the money being fake but he wouldn't listen.
  • Only Sane Man: Either the Inspector or the Commissioner. If the Commissioner appears in the cartoon, then he'll be the Only Sane Man, and if not, then the Inspector himself will take on the role.
  • Snipe Hunt: In "Plastered in Paris", the Inspector and Deux-Deux are advised to keep an eye out for "Agent X", chasing him all around the globe. When they return, the Commissioner introduces them to Mr. X, who just happens to be the police department's physical trainer that just led them on a long and exhausting workout that circled the globe. The Inspector is so mad, he starts to give Mr. X a workout of his own by strangling him.
    • In "Unsafe and Seine", the Inspector receives word from a mysterious agent that his life is in danger. The Inspector and Deux-Deux go globetrotting on a wild goose chase, only to discover that their suspect is an insurance agent, who arranged for the Inspector to meet him in such dangerous locations to show him the hazards of police work, just to sell him a life insurance policy.
  • Take That!: "London Derierre" is basically one gigantic Take That against the British Police, mocking them because they don't carry guns.