Western Animation: The Little Rascals

"Sit down, Alfalfa, and enjoy the ride!"
Hanna-Barbera and King World co-produced this Saturday Morning Cartoon for ABC, based on the Our Gang theatrical shorts, as part of a 90-minute omnibus with Pac-Man and Richie Rich. Its voice cast included Peter Cullen, Patty Maloney, Julie McWhirter Dees, Scott Menville, Shavar Ross and BJ Ward.

Tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: In "The Zero Hero", when Darla finally goes on the date she won with her favorite TV superhero, Captain Muscles:
    Captain Muscles: And so I saved the universe once again. I'm pretty terrific, eh, Delilah?
    Darla: [no longer impressed] The name is Darla!
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Instead of black hair and hazel eyes, Darla has brown hair and blue eyes.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The French dub has one, sung by a chorus of children over a montage of clips from both the theatrical shorts and Hanna-Barbera's animated shorts.
  • Ambiguous Time Period/Anachronism Stew: The cartoon is supposedly set in the late 1930s, but it includes microcomputers and commercial television. "Pete's Big Break" features a black man who directs TV commercials (it was his daughter whose puppy Pete rescued), and in "The Zero Hero", Spanky and Buckwheat mention push-button traffic controls. Wikipedia considers it a Setting Update.
  • Babysitting Episode: "Tiny Terror" has Butch leave his baby brother, Spike, with the Rascals so he [Butch] can go fishing. Among other things, the baby escapes the treehouse, crawls onto a nearby tree limb, and bombards Alfalfa and Spanky with apples. Then after Darla leaves for her piano lesson, Spike flees in one of Buckwheat's contraptions and leads the boys on a chase through the city, onto a construction site and to a drawbridge over the river. The boys think Spike landed on a ship bound for China. By the end of the cartoon, Spike has crawled back into his carriage as if nothing happened.
  • Bamboo Technology: Used in Buckwheat's Homemade Inventions.
  • Beach Episode: "The Irate Pirates". As viewers might expect, Darla wears a bikini here.
  • Big Eater: Porky, although Pete often intercepts his food the way Scooby-Doo does with Shaggy.
  • Bindle Stick: Darla carries one in "Beauty Queen for a Day", and Porky carries one in "King of the Hobos".
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: In "Beauty Queen for a Day", Porky offers Dolly Van Dumpling a mayonnaise and pickle sandwich. After she refuses, Porky eats the sandwich himself.
  • Black and Nerdy: Buckwheat
  • Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For: In "Big Top Rascals", Butch complains about the makeshift circus and asks for a refund. When Spanky says, "But we let you in for free," Butch suggests that everyone's money be refunded.
  • Cowboy Episode: "Showdown at the Rascal Corral" wasn't set in the Old West as such, but Alfalfa did play cowboy.
  • Dragged into Drag: In "Just Desserts", Darla has fallen ill just before the big baking contest, so Alfalfa has to dress like a girl and take her place. Spanky doesn't care that Alfalfa doesn't resemble Darla at all, since the judges have not met her.
  • Election Day Episode: In "Alfalfa for President", Alfalfa and Waldo run competing campaigns for class president at their school.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Butch is a bully, but in "Tiny Terror", he is fiercely protective of his baby brother.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: In "Beauty Queen for a Day", the boys compete for the affections of their new neighbor, Dolly Van Dumpling, all but forgetting about Darla.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Free-Range Children: In "Grin and Bear It", the Rascals are hiking and camping in the wilderness without adult supervision.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Buckwheat
  • Hammerspace: In "Rascals' Revenge", as the Rascals are about to enter the abandoned house at night, Buckwheat pulls a firefly-powered flashlight out of his shirt.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: In at least three shorts ("Yachtsa' Luck", "Cap'n Spanky's Showboat" and "Tiny Terror"), Pete is shown as a passenger in the Rascals' wooden car, rather than being hitched in front. It isn't stated what propels the car in these instances.
  • Loophole Abuse: In "Science Fair and Foul", Buckwheat makes the other boys promise not to peek at his science fair project before the fair is held. But since Darla wasn't in on that promise, Spanky decides that they, Alfalfa and Porky can inspect Buckwheat's project on the sly.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Captain Muscles in "The Zero Hero" turns out to be this after one of the Genre Savvy bank robbers deflates his costume.
  • Mirror Routine: Butch does it to Alfalfa in "Rascals' Revenge".
  • Motivation on a Stick: Their wooden car usually had Pete hitched in front, with a bone suspended above him.
  • Off Model: In "Cap'n Spanky's Showboat", when Captain Smokey is at the helm of the refurbished Mississippi Queen, Darla is wearing white socks and pink shoes, rather than her usual pink socks and white shoes.
    • The same color switch can be seen in "The Zero Hero", when Darla says, "My treat at the soda fountain to celebrate!"
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: Alfalfa as Alpha-Man in "The Zero Hero":
    Marķa: Why are you wearing your pajamas in the daytime, and outside?
    Alfalfa: Uh, well … [blushing] my regular clothes are in the wash.
  • Quarter Hour Short: Each of the cartoons ran slightly over 11 minutes.
  • Recycled Premise: "The Case of the Puzzled Pals" has Alfalfa, Buckwheat and Porky as amateur detectives, similar to the final Roach theatrical short, "Hide and Shriek".
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: In "Science Fair and Foul", it's implied that Buckwheat has built a fully functional voice-activated robot in just a few hours.
  • Scare Dare: This starts the plot of "Rascals' Revenge": Butch kicks the gang's football into an abandoned house, and dares them to go retrieve it, despite Officer Ed telling the Rascals that the old house is private property.
  • Scooby-Doo Hoax: In "Grin and Bear It", even though the Rascals didn't know about him at first, the Phantom Lumberjack is revealed to be a bank robber who stashed the stolen money in a cave.
  • Serenade Your Lover: Alfalfa does it to Darla in one of the 30-second cartoons. Alfalfa's off-key singing scares Pete away.
  • Skintone Sclerae: All characters have them, except Buckwheat and Darla.
  • Stage Magician: Spanky is this in "Alfalfakazam!".
  • Stolen Good, Returned Better: This happened to Darla's doll in "The Case of the Puzzled Pals".
    Darla: Jennifer! And she's wearing a new dress!
    Spanky: I needed the doll to get her measurements.
  • Superhero Episode: In "The Zero Hero", Alfalfa becomes Alpha-Man in hope of persuading Darla to cancel her date with Captain Muscles.
    Alfalfa: So, Darla, now that I'm a superhero, too, you can cancel your date with Captain Muscles today.
    Darla: Well, I'm not giving up my chance to meet a real superhero!
    Alfalfa: I'm a broken man.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Used in two episodes.
    • In "Yachtsa' Luck", Alfalfa and Spanky don a nautical jacket with cap and eyepatch to pose as "Too-Tall Smith" in order to recover Waldo's gold coins from a pair of pirates at a tavern. Their cover is blown when the collar of the jacket snags on a low-hanging hook on Waldo's yacht, and Spanky walks out from under a dangling Alfalfa.
    • In "Alfalfakazam!", Buckwheat and Porky are revealed to have done this in Spanky's Saw a Woman in Half variant.
  • Translator Buddy: Buckwheat is this to Porky.
  • Treehouse of Fun: The Rascals often gather in their treehouse.
  • TV Head Robot: Buckwheat built one in "Science Fair and Foul", which later became a merry-go-round.
  • The Unintelligible: Nobody could understand what Porky is saying... unless Buckwheat was around to translate. In "Science Fair and Foul", Porky's speech impediment causes the destruction of Buckwheat's voice-activated robot, so Spanky and Alfalfa end up operating the robot from inside.
  • Unrobotic Reveal: This happens in "Science Fair and Foul" after Alfalfa, in the lower part of the robot disguise, lands on an ant farm exhibit.
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: In "Yachtsa' Luck", Waldo states that his family owns a fleet of yachts.
    Darla: Waldo, dear, how big is your beautiful, big, wonderful, big yacht?
    Waldo: The yacht is sizable enough to accommodate well over 100 guests.
    [Darla does an Aside Glance]
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In "Rascals' Revenge", the Rascals were scared so badly by the disguised Butch that they forgot about retrieving their football.
  • Writing Indentation Clue: In "The Case of the Puzzled Pals", Alfalfa and Darla find one via pencil rubbing on the notepad Spanky used in taking a call from his mother.