Western Animation / The Little Mermaid


A Saturday Morning Cartoon by Disney, based on their 1989 film of the same name, which ran on CBS from 1992-1994. It was the second (after TaleSpin) in Disney's 90's-era series of TV spinoffs of their more popular movies.note  Unlike Tale Spin (but like later entries), however, this cartoon typically keeps continuity with its theatrical source, and acts as something of an Expanded Universe, giving backstories to many characters, fleshing out relationships, and allowing them to go on new adventures. It is a direct prequel to the movie, being set before Ariel met Prince Eric (but after the subsequent Direct-to-Video movie Ariel's Beginning, which retcons some elements introduced in this cartoon, notably how Ariel met Flounder).

As is typical of Disney's TV spinoffs, the tone of this cartoon is considerably lighter and more comedic than the movie on which it's based, but unlike many Disney TV series spin-offs, it kept one element of the first movie: the musical format, as the series was gifted with a new musical number Once an Episode. It also contained more obvious (and bizarre) shout outs a recurring comic villain was called Lobster Mobster, complete with an Edward G. Robinson imitation voice.

After three seasons totalling 31 episodes, it went into reruns on the Disney Channel. It later ran on Toon Disney and Disney Junior.

(To see the character page go here).

List of tropes relating to The Little Mermaid: The Animated Series:

  • Adult Fear: One example in "Charmed". A monster sucks Ariel into the deepest part of the ocean, which resembles a bad neighborhood. The worst part is for Triton, who had argued with Ariel earlier and Ariel hadn't returned from another of her adventures.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Sharkanians and Ursula's people, the Octopids, as both of them are obsessed with conquest, destruction and war.
  • Anachronism Stew: Beside the historical cameos, and the Lobster Mobster, characters also do activities like bowling (which they apparently invented), and eat seaweed doughnuts.
  • Big Eater: Adella, one of Ariel's numerous sisters. Trust it to be her only defining personality trait, too.
  • Biography Clef: "Metal Fish" provides an Origins Episode for Hans Christian Andersen where Ariel the Little Mermaid saves him and in response inspires her author to write her story.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Evil Manta.
  • Cute Mute: Gabriella, a deaf mermaid who used sign language (her octopus sidekick served as a translator) and appeared in two episodes.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Specifically, defrosted aquatic dinosaurs.
  • The Exile: "Metal Fish" features Archimedes, a merman collector of all human objects and alleged expert on the human world. Because of Triton's prejudice against humans, he was exiled.
  • False Innocence Trick: Evil Manta used this and got released by Ariel. Another monster unsuccessfully tried this after making Triton a child.
  • Fantastic Racism: The problems that occurred in "The Evil Manta" could be interpreted as symbolism for racism.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Between Flounder and Sebastian in one episode.
  • Friendship Song: "In Harmony" in one episode.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs:
    Triton: What under the sea  is going on?!
  • Love Before First Sight: Prince Eric makes cameos, but he and Ariel never see each other.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ariel gets a little one in "A Little Evil" when she sets Evil Manta's own brain sponge on him.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Evil Manta, Ursula.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Howling Hairfish.
  • Pet Baby Wild Animal: Ariel temporarily adopts a Killer Whale, then a wild Sea Horse (which according to the show, is like a regular horse, but underwater). There's also a "bad luck" creature which Ariel rescues from Ursula's wrath and calls her Lucky.