"This is the Evergreen Forest. Quiet, peaceful, serene... that is, until Bert Raccoon wakes up! Luckily, he's got some friends to help him along. Life would be simple in the forest, except for... Cyril Sneer! And his life would be simple except for... The Raccoons!
The Raccoons was a Canadian animated series about a trio of, well, raccoons, living in a "Raccoondominium" in the Evergreen Forest: young married couple Ralph and Melissa, and flighty, irresponsible, but lovable Bert. The Raccoons were always getting entangled in the schemes of conniving industrialist aardvark Cyril Sneer, which usually involved trying to take over or destroy the Evergreen Forest for one reason or another. Their escapades were aided by two friendly sheepdogs, Schaeffer and Broo, as well as Cyril's nebbishy son Cedric, and Cedric's girlfriend Sophia. First season episodes would frequently feature a side story involving human forest ranger Dan and his kids Julie and Tommy, but they were eventually phased out. They were replaced by Ralph and Melissa's nephew, Bentley and his teenage sister, Lisa, who may be a love interest for Bert (if you ask the fans).Before the series proper there were four TV Movies: The Christmas Raccoons (which introduced the Raccoons, Dan and his family, and the Sneers), The Raccoons On Ice (which added Sophia), The Raccoons And The Lost Star (a weird Recycled In Space concept, which introduced Broo), and The Raccoons: Lets Dance.
Cartoon Creature: You basically have to take Cyril, Cedric, and Sophia's species on good faith. And even then...
Cerebus Syndrome: It started out very uninspired and cartoonish, but shifted gradually to more serious, realistic and story-driven.
Character Development: Cyril Sneer gradually softens in a fairly believable fashion until he becomes a friend and ally of the Raccoons. To a lesser extent, all the characters change somewhat, such as Cedric becoming more assertive and confident.
Chaste Toons: Subverted. Bentley Raccoon is Ralph's nephew, and makes occasional appearances on the show; but Ralph and Melissa are married, Bentley has clearly defined parents: George and Nicole, and his whole family eventually moves to the Evergreen Forest making Bentley a permanent character.
Chekhov's Boomerang: In "Going It Alone!", the bubblegum Bert packs for his trek up Evergreen Mountain saves him from not one but two nasty falls in the same place. (Would that make it "Chekhov's Gum"?.
Clip Show: There's one in every season after the first, and The Raccoons: Let's Dance! is basically a clip show compiled from the other three specials.
Competition Coupon Madness: An episode had Bert attempting to win a bike by putting together a jigsaw puzzle from pieces that come in a brand of crisps (not knowing that Cyril Sneer deliberately left out one piece of the puzzle so no one can win). Hilarity Ensues.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Cyril Sneer, eventually subverted by the above character development and conscientious Cedric partially taking over the business.
Knox and Mammoth are hardly saints, either.
Milton Midas, who was introduced later on, however, played this trope straight and was eventually jailed for his outright criminal activities.
The Cover Changes The Gender: Bert's performance of "Hang On, Hold On" in "The Sweet Smell of Success!" is gender-flipped from Luba's original performance in "The Intruders!".
The Danza: Lisa was voiced by musical contributor Lisa Lougheed. Also see Barbara (La)Frum in "The Headline Hunter!"
Deadpan Snarker: Cyril Sneer is a pretty good one, specially when saying anything about the Pigs' incompetence.
Ralph and Melissa have their moments.
Dead Person Impersonation: In order to cheat Cyril Sneer out of half of Sneer Industries, Sid Leech posed as Cyril's long-lost brother Simon.
Downer Ending: In "The One that Got Away," a beloved fishing pond is contaminated with toxic waste because of the Pigs' greed and stupidity in a moonlighting job. The heroes bring the true culprit to justice and the pigs are put to work to clean it up as much as they can, but the pond is still permanently ruined and lifeless.
Subverted in "The Evergreen Grad Prix", thanks to foul play Cedric's solar car loses the race to Cyril's gas-guzzler, and everyone is crestfallen...but then Mammoth waves away the outcome and decides to produce Cedric's model anyway. Cyril storms off in a fury...and two minutes later remembers that his company owns both of the cars, and building Cedric's car was what he'd wanted to do in the first place.
Early-Bird Cameo: George and Nicole appear briefly in "Trouble Shooter!"; their next appearance is in "Moving In!" two seasons later.
Fishing For Sole: Shows up in "Buried Treasure!". Ralph even makes the pun. Subverted, though, as Broo then finds a treasure map in the boot.
Flashback With The Other Darrin: In "Time Trap!", Melissa's lines from the first season - originally performed by Linda Feige - were re-dubbed by Susan Roman, presumably in order to match her newly recorded lines for the time travel-based clip show.
Friend or Idol Decision: In "Buried Treasure!", Cyril is forced to make the choice between his son Cedric and the title treasure chest, both of which are caught in rapids and heading towards a raging waterfall. He chooses his son, but in a clever subversion, it turns out Cedric can swim and Cyril can't. Cedric ends up saving his father, and the treasure goes over the falls and forever out of reach.
Furry Confusion: While Schaeffer walked and talked, Broo acted like an ordinary dog. To make matters worse, Broo seemed to be sapient, though he couldn't talk. Some fans posit that it's because he's a puppy, so he can't talk (yet).
"The Intruders" also featured alligators that behaved like non-anthropomorphic alligators, later episodes introduced Mr. Knox, who walked, talked and wore a ten-gallon hat and bolo tie.
Ralph: That sounds about right, coming from a canned ham.
Karmic Jackpot: The nicer Cyril got in the series, the more his luck improved because his proper moral choices.
Kick the Dog: Cyril Sneer literally kicks his dog Snag in the early episodes, among other things.
Bentley has one of his own in "Join the Club" after his older sister Lisa gives him a hasty, and somewhat impatient, lecture on the dangers of smoking. Naturally, it's done in a typical little brother fashion:
Bentley: I know that stuff already, and you know that I don't smoke! Brother, sisters can be so dumb!
Large Ham: Cyril Sneer's the Master of this, from the specials to the series:
Limited Wardrobe: Most of the characters, although a few have separate winter outfits. Bert in particular is shown to have multiple copies of the same sweater (in "Stealing the Show!" he claims that they're lucky).
Loveat First Sight: In the episode "Spring Fever!", Lisa Raccoon, Bentley's older sister makes her first appearance in the show, and Bert falls in love with her instantly. During the whole episode, he's finding the perfect time to confess his feelings, but when he finally does it, she turns him down due to the fact that they barely know each other. But by the end of the episode, Bert receives a letter from her where she wants him as a friend, which lifts his mood and implies a promise of something better.
MacGuffin: The star on Broo's collar in "The Raccoons and the Lost Star".
Or Was It a Dream?: The specials "The Christmas Raccoons" and "The Raccoons and the Lost Star". Both of them may also be unintentional examples of Mind Screw:
At the end of "The Christmas Raccoons", Tommy and Julie wake up thinking that it's Christmas morning, only to find that it's still the day before, and that they presumably dreamed most of the previous events. There is a scene early on where they're going to sleep and the narrator talks about how real dreams can seem when you're having them, which transitions into a song sequence. This might have been a clue that those events weren't real...except that when Julie and Tommy ask what happened to the missing trees, Ranger Dan says that saplings suddenly appeared in their place (the saplings that Cyril Sneer was going to plant), then Julie and Tommy look out the window and see the Raccoons getting a new tree to live in, and the narrator explicitly says that the Raccoons and Schaeffer saved the forest. So the previous 24 hours didn't happen, and at the same time they did happen?
The ending of "The Raccoons and the Lost Star" is even more confusing. When Schaeffer meets Sophia on the alien planet, he recognizes her, but she doesn't recognize him. Likewise, Schaeffer also recognizes the Raccoons, who don't know him either. At the end, as Schaeffer is parachuting back to the Evergreen Forest, it transitions into Julie and Tommy waking him up, meaning that the whole thing was a dream. Ranger Dan reveals the surprise he mentioned at the beginning: It's Broo, wearing the star medallion around his neck, and seemingly recognizing Schaeffer. The narrator ends by saying that Schaeffer knew that he would soon see the Raccoons again too. Since the Raccoons do exist on Earth, why would there be any doubt that he'd see them again? Or are we meant to assume that they will be the Raccoons from the alien planet, retaining the memories of the previous events...which were just a dream?
Paper-Thin Disguise: In "Cry Wolf!", Bert resorts to dressing as "Auntie Bertha" to gather evidence of Cyril's plot to pave the forest. Somewhat justified, as Cyril is sleep-deprived and the Pigs are, well, the Pigs.
Parental Abandonment: Cedric's mother is never seen; it's hinted in "Courting Disaster" that she died shortly after he was born.
Cyril only mentions that he "loved her" and that she could "make money"
Likewise, it was never revealed what happened to Julie and Tommy's mother. Divorce, separated, or died?
Pet the Dog: Cyril Sneer gets to do this every couple episodes or so in the later seasons.
The Runaway: Seen in "The Runaways!" and "Trouble Shooter!".
Secret Keeper: In the specials and first season, Schaeffer and Broo's adventures with the animals of Evergreen Forest were secret from the humans. Though in the first special, the kids briefly see the Raccoons.
Self-Destruct Mechanism: Cyril's mountain compound in The Raccoons and the Lost Star and his TV satellite in "The Wrong Stuff!" are each equipped with one of these. Both are ultimately activated.
Senseless Violins: In "Cry Wolf!", Bert suspects Cyril's employees of carrying submachine guns in violin cases. He's wrong.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: In "The Sky's The Limit", after Ralph crashlands after trying to impress Melissa when her ex-boyfriend Troy, a professinal pilot, comes to call, Melissa gives Ralph a piece of her mind for performing such outrageous stunts just to try to win her back. Eventually, she calms down when she reminds him that she'll always love him and plants a passionate kiss on his lips, much to Troy's extreme surprise.
Something Else Also Rises: The only time Bert's bent nose is ever seen straightened out is immediately after Lisa "asks him out" in "Spring Fever!".
Tuckerization: Occasionally slipped into the animation and scripts.
The Unintelligible: Mr. Mammoth never gets more than one intelligible line in any episode that features him; the rest are "translated" by his Sidekick.
Unwinnable by Design: To boost sales of his flagging potato chips, Cyrill Sneer introduces a collect-the-pieces-style contest. To keep the contest running for as long as possible, and to avoid paying the prize, the only copy of the last piece was locked up. The contest is only won by Bert when the pigs lose the winning piece.
Vague Age: Pretty much the entire cast, although there are some hints as to the characters' ages.
Very Special Episode: In one episode Lisa starts smoking to fit in with cool kids. In the end it takes a speech from Cyril about how smoking ruined his life to get her to quit. The episode "The Chips Are Down!" could be interpreted as an anti-drug episode, replacing illegal substances with potato chips.