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Western Animation: The Ripping Friends

The Ripping Friends (2001-2002) was a very short-lived animated series created by John Kricfalusi of The Ren & Stimpy Show fame. It was about four brothers who are superheroes: Crag (the leader), Rip, Slab and Chunk. Their chief is their mother, He-Mom, who is a very masculine woman. Their servant and biggest fan is Jimmy the Idiot Boy from The George Liquor Show (and the "Spumco" production card at the end of the John K-produced episodes of Ren and Stimpy): a brain-dead, idiotic teenager who can't speak properly. Their Rogues Gallery included Citrocet, a Mad Scientist given the ability to use farts as a weapon; the Indigestible Wad, a living wad of gum; Flathead, a sapient tapeworm and Frictor.

The hallmark of Kricfalusi's work is the custom poses for acting purposes. Unfortunately, as the Canadian studios apparently decided that in order to be successful the show needed to be perfectly on-model, almost all of the entertainment value that should have existed is gone, and John K. seemingly loathes this series.


Tropes:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Each of the Ripping Friends had an episode devoted to them.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Superheroes
  • Amusing Injuries: Most of the time the Ripping Friends inflict these on each other.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Citron" is French for "lemon", which is the logo on Citrocet's uniform.
  • Catch Phrase: "Five, four, three, two, one, ZERO—It's ripping time!"
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: There are superpowered heroes in the show's universe, but the Ripping Friends themselves got as strong and tough as they are by training. Really hard. Rip in fact dislikes superpowers because he thinks they're a cheap way to fight crime.
  • Cool House: RIPCOT, the Really Impressive Prototype City Of (next) Tuesday.
  • Cruel Mercy: He-Mom was once so mad that she punished the Ripping Friends by not punishing them. Their response is that this is a really nasty punishment.
  • Dark Age of Supernames
  • The Ditz: The Ripping Friends' manservant is none other than Jimmy the Hapless Idiot Boy, one of John K.'s previous characters.
  • Ditzy Genius Bruisers: In-universe, the Ripping Friends are hailed as scientific geniuses in dozens of fields, but are often portrayed as clueless, easily distracted, and having no concept of tactics. They, in their mid-thirties, do not understand the physical differences between men and women.
  • Domino Mask: Slab
  • Executive Meddling and Old Shame: John K claims the show was so watered down and far removed from what he originally planned it to be that he can hardly watch it. We can thank Canadian on-model standards for this.
  • Fartillery: One episode features Citrocet magically gaining flatulence-based powers and calling himself "Stinky Butt the Foul". His farts areall-purpose: not only are they noxious, but he can fly, create monsters, and SKYWRITE with them.
  • Grossout Show: Not as much as Ren&Stimpy, but there were moments of this (and there would have been a lot more if John Kricfalusi had more control of the show).
  • Homosexual Reproduction: Jimmy was created by combining the DNA of the Ripping Friends. That might explain a lot.
  • Humanoid Abomination: In one episode, The Ripping Friends accidentally mutate their foot calluses into Frictor, a malevolent friction elemental who really wants to marry He-Mom.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Rip turns into various depictions of "Jerk Ass" when he feels guilty about Jimmy getting kidnapped.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rip is the most violent of the Ripping Friends (which is saying something) but he loves his family a hell of a lot.
  • Kid Sidekick: Parodied with Man Man's sidekick, Boy Boy; Crag notices how Man Man tends to put Boy Boy in ridiculously dangerous situations and goes to stop him, taking Jimmy along as his own Kid Sidekick.
    • Chunk seems to get this treatment from his brothers due to being 35-and-a-half, compared to 36 for Crag, Rip and Slab.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Riptonite, created by bombarding the Ripping Friends' DNA with radiation. It's actually a ruse Crag created when fighting The Man From Next Thursday; the villain was getting all his info from a comic book, so Crag had the comic print the baloney story about their weakness.
  • No Fourth Wall: Besides the fan mail segments that end episodes, Crag once set out to complete a mission on his own after pointing out that he didn't have an episode to himself yet.
  • Shoutout: Guess who "Pooperman" is a Captain Ersatz of.
  • Stout Strength: All of them are super strong, but Slab is a bit bulkier than the others.
  • Stylistic Suck: As with all John K. cartoons. The goal when drawing the characters on this show was to make them "Stiff, but stylish." as a tribute to old fashioned superhero comic art.
  • Super Hero
  • Testosterone Poisoning: The tagline for the show is "The World's Most Manly Men". Even their MOM is masculine.
  • The Other Darrin: Crag was originally voiced by Harvey Atkin, who voiced Sam in Sam & Max: Freelance Police, but was replaced by newscaster Mark Dailey.
  • Token Minority: The Ripping Friends are brothers, yet Slab is black. Of course, since they're all not very bright, Slab has to remind them of it sometimes.
    • According to the concept art of the show in a early 90's issue of "Wild Animation Kingdom" Slab was originally white.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Pain resistance is part of their extreme physical training, but Rip seems to enjoy it.
  • Training from Hell: The Ripping Friends dive on live grenades as part of their daily workout. They bathe in cement afterwards. And God forbid they cry about it, or He-Mom will have a FIT.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: Parodied by The Man From Next Thursday where next Thursday is depicted as being highly futuristic; the Ripping Friends themselves come from "next Tuesday", another futuristic place that is less advanced than next Thursday.
  • When All You Have is Dumb Muscle: While they have some impressive tech back at base, the Ripping Friends rely on brute strength to solve most of their problems.

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alternative title(s): The Ripping Friends
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