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Western Animation: The Legend of Tarzan

The Legend of Tarzan is a Disney show starring the main cast from the movie Tarzan. It takes place after the events of the film; Jane and Tarzan live in the jungle as husband and wife, along with his gorilla pack and her scientist father. Hijinks ensue.

It adapted several characters and locations from other original Tarzan books and Edgar Rice Burroughs material such as Queen La and the hidden dinosaur world of Pellucidar. An episode even brought Burroughs himself into the action.


Tropes:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Prof. Porter.
    (listening on his self-built radio, trying to get a cricket match, as Jane had taken over the comms system from a war airplane) "Jane? What are you doing at the cricket finals?"
  • Adaptation Distillation: Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a lot of Tarzan books (25!), so elements of several were occasionally combined into single stories:
    • Queen La (a recurring antagonist in both the books and the show) is in control of an army of Leopard Men, who are very loosely based on the villains of Tarzan and the Leopard Men- although, the novel's characters were cannibalistic humans, not literal leopard-men.
    • In the book, Kerchak is the villainous leader of the gorillas (or "Mangani", as they're known in the book) who challenges Tarzan and loses, while Tublat is Kala's benevolent mate who resents Tarzan, but doesn't outright hate him. The original movie combined the two (keeping Kerchak as the leader of the tribe, but also filling Tublat's role as Kala's mate who passively dislikes Tarzan), so the series has a character named Tublat who fills the original Kerchak's role.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Professor Philander wasn't a villain in the original books, but was Porter's colleague and friend. Whereas in the show, he's the exact opposite.
    • Also, Tublat. See Expy below.
  • An Aesop: Usually spelled out by Jane at the beginning with a metaphor and a book.
  • Affectionate Parody/No Celebrities Were Harmed: Hugo and Hooft are parodies of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, respectively. The first episode in which they appear is an homage to the Road to ... movies.
    • Averted in one episode, which features a cameo appearance by Theodore Roosevelt of all people.
  • Anachronism Stew: The original film was set in the 1880s, but 'Dumont's Trading Post' is established in 1912, Teddy Roosevelt shows up after his presidency (1901-09) and 'Tarzan and the Flying Ace' is implied to be taking place during World War One. And Jane is able to identify Velociraptor, a dinosaur genus described in 1923.
  • Animal Talk: Subverted. Only gorillas, elephants and some monkeys seem to be talking in a language the audience hears as English. Baboons, leopards, rhinos and other animals communicate with growls, grunts and roars. The only three people who Speak Fluent Animal are Tarzan, Jane and Professor Porter, but the latter two understand only gorillas and elephants.
  • Anti-Hero: Renard Dumont is a Type III.
  • Anti-Villain: The Leopard Men. As Jane discovered in "Leopard Men Rebellion", it was Queen La that transformed them from normal leopards into her humanoid henchmen. They kidnap Jane so that she becomes their queen and frees them.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Being a man of science, Professor Porter tends to be more concerned with finding scientific explanations to more mystical occurrences. Nevermind that he regularly converses with apes and an elephant, and has encountered thought-to-be-extinct dinosaurs. The trope is subverted in "The All-Seeing Elephant." After doubting the concept of such a being, he is reminded of how he doubted the all-too real Mangani.
    • Talking Animals and living dinosaurs are, at least, not supernatural. On the other hand, there's also an evil sorceress with an army of leopardmen...
  • American Accents: The actress Joan has a thick New York accent (and the director sighs with relief that movies don't have sound yet).
  • Arch-Enemy: Professor Philander with Professor Porter. Ironic, since in the original books the two were colleagues and friends.
  • Artistic License - Biology: Rhinoceri and leopards are solitary animals, never moving around in herds or packs. Also, gorillas don't catch termites with sticks (chimpanzees do) - though they do occasionally eat insects. Also, female African elephant have tusks like the males.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Tarzan and the Giant Beetles.
  • Avenging the Villain: One episode, "The Gauntlet of Vengeance" is about the sister of Clayton (the movie's Big Bad) tormenting Tarzan to avenge her brother.
  • Badass Moustache: One Punch Mullargan.
  • Bad Bad Acting: "Tarzan and the Silver Screen" has several examples from the visiting actors. Tarzan even gets into the act with some Hulk Speak during the conclusion.
  • Bad Boss: Queen La. Especially in her debut episode, where she has a habit of disintegrating minions for no reason whatsoever other than they happen to be there when she's in a bad mood. One of the episodes deals with her Leopardmen getting fed up and revolting.
  • Baleful Polymorph: One of Queen La's powers. She uses it on Dumont to turn him into a gibbon.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Hazel, one of Jane's English friends.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The eponymous insects in "Tarzan and the Giant Beetles".
  • Big Damn Heroes: When doesn't Tarzan do this?
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Jane's old flame Robert.
  • The Boxing Episode: Invoked in "Tarzan and One Punch Mullargan". Subverted, since Tarzan and One Punch never actually get to fight.
  • Butt Sticker: A running gag with Tantor sitting on Terk. For example, in the episode "Tarzan and the City of Opar", after Terk gets Tantor unstuck from a doorway in Opar, he crashes into a wall and crushes Terk.
  • Cat Folk: Leopardmen.
  • Character Development: The episode "British Invasion" has Jane realise how much she has changed for the better since leaving England. And when her friends reappear again in "New Wave", Greenlie had previously been the most superficial and spoiled of the girls but has now fallen in love with a man her friends disapprove of and has become a lot more competent.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Played with in "Tarzan and the Jungle Madness." Tarzan and Jane return from vacation to find the animals have gone crazy. The two assume it's because of the strange new flowers growing all over the jungle, but that's just misdirection. The "madness" is happening because the animals hear ringing coming Dumont's new communications tower, which Tarzan and Jane saw upon their return from vacation.
  • Chekhov's Skill: From "Tublat's Revenge": "I can't protect the family. I am not even an ape. But I can swim!"
  • Clip Show: "Tarzan and the Visitor" contains lots of footage from previous episodes, where various characters (such as Philander, Dumont, Hugo and Hooft) tell Edgar Rice Burroughs about the way they met Tarzan.
  • Cool Old Guy: Professor Porter
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: In "The British Invasion", Jane and her friends Eleanor, Greenley and Hazel remove their dresses to walk or run more easily in the jungle, and they're all in their white pantalets.
  • Compilation Movie: Tarzan & Jane. Three then-unaired episodes ("British Invasion," "The Volcanic Diamond Mine" and "The Flying Ace") were used with a framing story about Tarzan and Jane's wedding anniversary.
  • Convection Schmonvection: "The Volcanic Diamond Mine" turns it Up to Eleven: it involves Tarzan and his companions lava surfing! Jane immediately hangs a lampshade on it, quickly Hand Waved by the Professor.
    Jane: Should that even be possible?
    Prof. Porter: Who cares, as long as it's working!
  • Cowardly Lion: Tantor.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Terk.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Colonel Staquait wants to hang Hugo and Hooft for disobedience.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Since the show is set in the jungle, it's hardly surprising that many of the human characters go barefoot.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Tarzan, so much that guns are his Berserk Button.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Cape Doom.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Pellucidar.
  • Evil Brit: While she's obviously not British, Queen La seems to have the accent.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Nicholas Rokoff exits pursued by a trio of leopards.
  • Expy/Composite Character: Tublat. While qualities of Book!Tublat were used to soften up Kerchak, qualities of Book!Kerchak were used to create the villainous Tublat.
    • Also, Nikolas Rokoff in the show is less of the Rokoff from the original Tarzan books and much more like General Zaroff from the famous short story "The Most Dangerous Game".
    • Robert Canler, in the meanwhile, is actually closer to the original book's William Cecil Clayton than to its Robert Canler, who had a very small and shallow role.
  • Fangs Are Evil: Technically all gorillas have fangs, but Tublat's are much larger and more prominent than the rest of the cast. Justified in the case of Terk or Kala, since female gorillas have smaller fangs than males. Not so much in the case of Moyo or Kerchak.
  • Fat and Skinny: Hugo and Hooft.
  • Fate Worse than Death: According to Colonel Staquait, being imprisoned in Cape Doom is one.
  • Fawlty Towers Plot: Much of the plot of the episode "Tarzan and the Giant Beetles" is about Terk and Tantor trying to cover up the fact that they accidentally created the titular giant beetles.
  • Femininity Failure: An episode has Terk, the feisty, tomboyish gorilla, wanting to be feminine to attract another gorilla. She realizes by the end that it's completely unnecessary.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Tarzan and Basuli.
    • Also Jane and Terk.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foreshadowing: Throughout the series' run several characters from America and Europe wind up coming across their patch of jungle and begin making a sort of shanty town and port. When there wound up being practically a town now, an episode ended with Kala silently worrying that their jungle may be lost to the new humans forever.
  • Find the Cure: Tarzan was poisoned by a spider in one episode, and Jane and Terk had to work together to get a flower which was needed to make the antidote.
    • In "The Gauntlet of Vengeance", Clayton's sister poisoned Tarzan and offered him a Sadistic Choice: save his friends, whom her valet had kidnapped, or go after an antidote she had hidden on top of a mountain. Subverted, as she still possessed the antidote.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Tarzan and Basuli
  • Fluffy the Terrible: One episode had Terk and Tantor trying to name a leopard cub. Terk likes "Fluffy" and "Doodles" while Tantor likes "Bobo". The end up deciding on "Commandor Fluffy Paws".
  • French Jerk: Renard Dumont, and while he wasn't a villain, he was a Selfish Neutral character always looking to make a quick buck. He does things right from time to time though, particularly in episodes like "Tarzan and the Prison Break".
    • Colonel Jean Staquait, on the other hand, is outright evil.
  • Frenemy: The Baboons.
  • Friend Versus Lover: In "Tarzan and the Rift", between Terk and Dania, with Tantor as the third party.
  • Fur Bikini: Jane wears one as a swimsuit in "Tarzan and the Lost Cub". Her usual outfit in the show is much more modest.
  • Geeky Turn-On: See below.
  • Genre Savvy: Jane, when it looks like Queen La's gone for good. "You know what they say about appearances..."
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Professor's love interest visited during one episode, and they spent a lot of time discussing germination. In very sexy terms.
    • In "Tarzan and the Lost Cub" the aforementioned leopard cub snatches Tarzan's loincloth at one point, to his embarrassment and Jane's amusement.
    • Jane's English friend Hazel is a bit of a Covert Pervert. When she first meets Tarzan, she describes him as "a savage wild man" in a tone of voice that sounds like she's turned on. When Eleanor suggests putting him back in his cagenote  Hazel excitedly says "he's got a cage?" - not to mention her asking Jane if Tarzan has any brothers or cousins.
  • Girl of the Week: Tantor gets a girlfriend called Dania in "Tarzan and the Rift". They break up because she and Terk cannot get along. Terk also gets a boyfriend named Gobu in "Tarzan and the Enemy Within". He disappears in the following episodes with no explanation.
  • God Is Good: "The All-Seeing Elephant."
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Queen La.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Colonel Staquait sports an evil scar over his eye.
  • Gosh Hornet: A bee swarm attacks Terk and Tantor in "Tarzan and the All-Seeing Elephant".
  • Grand Theft Me: In "Tarzan and the Return of La," Queen La possesses Jane. Crosses with Gender Bender when she possesses Tarzan due to a Batman Gambit he pulls.
  • Green Aesop: Three episodes (one of them is technically a double episode) deal with environmental issues. In "Tarzan and the Outbreak", a group of loggers release a dangerous virus that was dormant in the soil. In "Tarzan and the Seeds of Destruction", Jane plants a vine which almost destroys the jungle's ecosystem. And in "Tarzan and the Poisoned River", a group of miners release poison in a river.
  • Hellhole Prison: Cape Doom in "Tarzan and the Prison Break".
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Jarod, Lord of the Jungle, and his wife Nicole Wallace!
  • Historical-Domain Character: Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Honor Before Reason: In "Tarzan and the Challenger," Tarzan only loses the leadership challenge because he saved Moyo from a deadly fall. Tarzan nonetheless concedes because he agreed to the rules.
  • How Unscientific!: The original film's setting, while featuring Talking Animals and a hero capable of physically impossible actions, was more or less realistic. This carries on to the series... up to the episode "Tarzan and the City of Opar", which suddenly introduces magic in the form Queen La.
  • Hulk Speak: Averted with Tarzan. Lampshaded in "Tarzan and the Silver Screen", where the actor playing the Nature Hero in the Show Within a Show is supposed to talk like this, which really confuses Tarzan.
  • Incidental Villain: Dumont. He's not particularly mean, he's just selfish and greedy, and has little respect towards nature.
  • Jerkass: Professor Philander, so much so that he really aggravates Professor Porter (and the feeling is mutual).
  • Jerk Jock: One Punch Mullargan.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Tarzan punching out One Punch Mullargan. He did it by accident while practicing with some boxing gloves, but Jane insists Mullargan deserved it.
  • Killer Gorilla: While most ape characters avert this trope, Tublat plays it straight.
  • Lemony Narrator: "Tarzan and One Punch Mullargan" is narrated in this fashion by Max. He's admittedly in awe of Tarzan, but he's also quick to mock Mullargan.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Jane several times.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Somewhat justified, in that over half of the main characters don't really wear clothing, and it's rather difficult for the other two to get their hands on new clothes in the middle of the jungle. Lampshaded when Dumont opens his store. Jane complains about having only one change of clothing, then comes back from Dumont's with an elephant load of Paris fashions. Though her main outfit remains the same, occasionally she changes into others afterwards.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: Similar to The Little Mermaid TV series, an episode focuses around Edgar Rice Burroughs as a struggling author traveling to Africa searching for inspiration for a book after reading a news story about Tarzan
  • Maniac Monkeys: The baboons.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Well, not quite "boy" and "girl", but Tantor and Terk fit.
    • Also, they are Pink Boy, Blue Girl in a more literal sense: Tantor has reddish-brown skin and Terk has bluish-grey fur.
  • Mischief Making Monkey: Manu, the baby baboon.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Mostly averted, but there is the odd mention of tarantulas, alligators or howler monkeys. The ring-tailed lemurs from the original movie also appear in the background, as well as blue-and-yellow macaws. And in one episode, Queen La turns Dumont into a gibbon. Other episodes had giraffes, zebras, and what looked like a lioness, which are native to Africa but live in open grasslands rather than jungles.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: The Tyrannosaurus rex in "The Hidden World". Subverted, since after Jane gives the baby T. rex back to her, she still keeps attacking the heroes.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Jane to a degree. The clothes she usually wear would look disheveled and revealing to mainstream Victorian society.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Clayton's sister has this reaction when she realizes that Tarzan isn't the monster she thought he was and that she's been doing the truly monsterous things in seeking her revenge.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • "Mangani" is the name of the species that raised Tarzan in the books.
    • Also, to show that La is actually Atlantean, the animators decided to give her dark skin and white hair, like the characters in Atlantis The Lost Empire.
    • Tarzan and co.'s brief adoption of a leopard cub could be considered a slight nod to Jad-bal-Jah, an orphaned lion Tarzan raises in the Burroughs novels and the 70's cartoon, Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle.
    • Tarzan has a brief confrontation with a Triceratops in "The Hidden World", which may be a reference to Tarzan the Terrible.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Professor Porter losing his clothes is always Played for Laughs. The apes are always shocked to see him that way, which is a bit of Fridge Logic when you realize they aren't wearing clothes themselves. Terk gives that a Hand Wave, saying that apes are beautiful so they don't need to cover themselves, unlike Porter.
  • Nature Hero: Of course.
  • Never My Fault: Professor Philander always blames Professor Porter for his own misfortunes.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "Leopard Men Rebellion" Tarzan helps Queen La get her staff back off the leopard men when they kidnap Jane. Turns out they kidnapped her to make her their queen so she could free them.
  • Nubile Savage: Tarzan is a male example.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: There's an episode in which a director is filming a movie about a wild man raised by monkeys in the very jungle the protagonists live in. Since the actor playing the wild man is lousy at filming the action scenes, Tarzan ends up roped into being his stunt double. Not only do Tarzan and the actor look noting alike, but their outfits are different.
  • Only in It for the Money: Robert Canler's explanation for betraying Britain.
  • Only Shop in Town: Renard Dumont's trading post.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: La has a British accent but some American pronunciations seep through, particularly with the way she says Tarzan's name.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Jane wears her yellow dress in four episodes: "Tarzan and the Silver Screen," "Tarzan and One Punch Mullargan," "Tarzan and the Prison Break," and "Tarzan and the British Invasion," while she wears her blue dress in "Tarzan and the Trading Post," and "Tarzan and the Eagle's Feather."
  • Primal Chest-Pound: Tarzan does it in the opening credits, as well as on various occasions in the show. Other characters such as Kerchak, Tublat, Moyo and even Professor Porter do it too.
  • Raptor Attack: As inspired by Jurassic Park. The raptors found in Pellucidar are far larger than real velociraptors (their size actually exceeding that of the Deinonychus, edging closer to Utahraptor territory) and stronger (they easily overpower Tarzan and a single one of them makes prey of a leopard). They are also featherless and their necks are incredibly long. It could however be argued that all these features were evolved over millions of years in Pellucidar. The series takes place before the first velociraptor fossil was found and named, and yet Jane seemed to know what they are called at a glance..
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Mabaya the rogue elephant.
  • Red Right Hand: Tublat's right foot, which has one toe missing.
  • Replacement Flat Character: Jabari is essentially young Tantor (even sharing the same voice actor). Tantor sees the similarities immediately and bonds with him.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Snakes (normal-sized or gigantic), crocodiles and dinosaurs (at least theropods and ceratopsians) are always hostile to Tarzan and his friends.
  • Rhino Rampage: Rhinoceroses occasionally appear as adversaries for Tarzan, like in the episode "Tarzan and the Trading Post".
  • The Rival: Basuli to Tarzan. In Basuli's first appearance, it was more volatile, but a team-up saw them iron out their differences to a far more friendly rivalry.
    • Professor Philander to Professor Porter.
    • Kerchak and Tublat in the flashback.
    • Moyo to Tarzan in "Tarzan and the Challenger". Doubles as The Native Rival.
  • Rogues Gallery: The most recurring foes are Tublat, Professor Philander and Queen La. Other villains appearing in more than one episode are Mabaya the rogue elephant, Sheeta and Nuru the black panthers, Niels and Merkus the diamond miners, and Colonel Staquait. The latter appears along with Tublat and La in the Rogues Gallery montage part of the show's intro.
  • Save the Villain: Tarzan saves Tublat from a pair of poachers, then the very same poachers from Tublat, in the episode "Caged Fury".
  • Shout-Out: In "The All Seeing Elephant" Tantor falls off a cliff and thanks to trees gets launched into the air. At one point Tarzan and Jane see him fly by and Jane comments:
  • Single-Target Sexuality: The first episode with La shows that Tarzan is Jane-sexual.
  • Skyward Scream: Tublat, everytime Tarzan beats him in the end.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Jane keeps her hair partially tied up but sometimes it comes fully down in an action situation. Also happens to her friend Eleanor in "British Invasion".
  • Stiff Upper Lip/British Stuffiness: Every English person in the show is this.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: The fauna of Pellucidar includes a Tyrannosaurus rex, several very inaccurately portrayed Velociraptors, a Triceratops, Apatosaurus, a Brachiosaurus, and a bunch of small bipedal dinosaurs.
  • Stripperific: Queen La dresses in a very revealing outfit, and Tarzan wears nothing but a Loin Cloth.
    • Jane wears a Fur Bikini as a swimsuit in "Tarzan and the Lost Cub". She also wears La's clothes in two episodes.
  • Styrofoam Rocks: Used in-universe in an episode involving movie filming. Tarzan freaks out when he sees a seemingly helpless actress about to be crushed by an avalanche, and rushes to save her. However, the actors show him after the scene that the boulders were actually fake ones that are incredibly light.
  • Those Two Guys: Flynt and Mungo for the gorillas, Hugo and Hooft for the humans.
  • Terrible Ticking: In one episode, Tarzan's animal friends go crazy, complete with the Madness Mantra "Stop the ringing!" Turns out the local trading post had installed a long-range radio tower, and something in the equipment was generating an ultrasonic noise that was doing this to Tantor, Terk, and the rest. The humans couldn't hear it, but it was driving the animals nuts for miles.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: Apparently throwing mud at your opponent's face is the Rhino equivalent.
  • Translation Convention: Tantor and Terk are shown as speaking English with each other and with Tarzan, Jane, and Professor Porter, but several episodes make it very clear that Tarzan et. al. speak their languages. In one episode, Jane has difficulties because her Baboon is a bit rusty.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Tublat, after Tarzan saved him from poachers. Tarzan never even expected a "thanks" from him.
  • Uplifted Animal: The Leopardmen are revealed to be these.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Queen La to Tarzan, so very much.
  • Vine Swing: Tarzan does it a lot, as usual.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Jane towards Tarzan believe it or not.
  • Why Isn't It Attacking? The mother leopard in "The Lost Cub".
  • World War One: "Tarzan and the Flying Ace" is implied to be set during this time.
  • Yandere: Queen La.
  • Your Size May Vary: Tublat is a very big gorilla, but his size compared to Tarzan seems to be a bit inconsistent.

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alternative title(s): The Legend Of Tarzan
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