Western Animation: Uncle Grandpa
"Let me get this straight. He's my uncle, and my grandpa?"
"No. He's everyone in the world's uncle and grandpa, and when he comes to visit, it's sure to be a time you'll never forget!"
Okay, so what happens when you take the zany artwork of Don Martin-era MAD, throw in visual gags and slapstick that would make The Golden Age animators shed tears of pride, add a spoonful of heavy metal, and then contaminate the batch with large portions of pure
, undiluted weirdness?
What you're left with is Uncle Grandpa
, a Cartoon Network
original concerning the larger-than-life adventures of an Crazy Awesome Reality Warper
who, as the above quote implies, is the uncle and grandfather of everyone in the world (don't ask).A typical plot
would start with Uncle Grandpa traveling in his RV like a madman
, usually crashing into the homes of disgruntled youths. To them Uncle Grandpa is nothing but a bumbling nuisance
in rainbow suspenders and an insanely portable fannypack... ahem, 'Belly Bag'
, but it's only when events start to blow out of proportion
(usually the result of his attempts to win them over) that the Let's Get Dangerous
side of Uncle Grandpa springs into action. Together with the help of a pizza slice, a green lizard man and a giant flying realistic tiger
(again, don't ask), he and his young companion-of-the-week embroil in an epic battle, and once the day has been saved, our protagonist has gained a great deal of respect for their Uncle Grandpa, only to find that he has already left the scene
, ready to spread his magic upon the lives of other unsuspecting folk:
"That's your Uncle Grandpa for ya. Drops in, shows you a good time, and then you never see him again. Just like your father."
Pete Browngardt originally pitched Uncle Grandpa
in 2008 for the cancelled animated shorts vehicle Cartoonstitute
(the same project which spawned Regular Show
). When the finished cartoon was released through the Cartoon Network website, it quickly became a word-of-mouth hit within the animation community, eventually going on to be nominated for a Emmy.
The character then went through a couple of years of Development Hell
, only to reemerge on an episode of the equally surreal Secret Mountain Fort Awesome
(also by Browngardt). When SMFA got axed Browngardt decided to switch gears and focus back on Uncle Grandpa, expanding its cast of characters and retooling it as a Variety Show
, with almost each episode backed up by a short B-story that sometimes given other characters created by the crew their chance to shine
. He succeeded, and the show eventually premiered in September 2013 much to the delight of fans of the original shorts. Even Golden Age Of Animation
purist John Kricfalusi
seems to have been pumped for the show judging by these sketches
Uncle Grandpa contains examples of:
- A Manchild And His Giant Realistic Flying Tiger
- Action Girl: Giant Realistic Flying Tiger is a perfect mix of feminine beauty and deadly power.
- A Dog Ate My Homework: "Uncle Grandpa Ate My Homework".
- A Dog Named Dog: Giant Realistic Flying Tiger, Pizza Steve, Hot Dog Person, and Uncle Grandpa.
- All Animals Are Domesticated: Giant Realistic Flying Tiger.
- Ambiguous Situation: Word of God is that each episode is written so that "at the end, you don't know if he's an idiot or a genius."
- Ambiguous Syntax: In one skit Uncle Grandpa asks Mr. Gus, Pizza Steve, and Giant Realistic Flying Tiger if they know how to play the drums, the bugle, and the keyboard, respectively. They reply that they don't and proceed to play terribly, then Uncle Grandpa comments that they do know how to play; he was asking them if they know how to physically use their instruments, not if they were any good with them.
- Arbitrary Skepticism / Hypocritical Humor: Mr. Gus in "Aunt Grandma" says it doesn't make any sense for someone to be both everyone's aunt and everyone's grandma, even though it's just a female equivalent of what Uncle Grandpa is. He also refuses to believe it when Pizza Steve tells him that he was robbed by elves in "Vacation", and he's pretty adamant that the hidden treasure in "Treasure Map" isn't real (though that's probably because in both cases all the evidence had obvious mundane explanations).
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Evil Wizard contemplates if he should demolish a pet store, set fire to an orphanage, destroy the planet, or mess with Eddie.
- Art Shift: Night Wolf Land resembles an airbrushed t-shirt design (because it is).
- As Himself:
- The Nature Boy, Ric Flair in "History of Wrestling".
- Shaquille O'Neal in "Perfect Kid"
- Badass Grandpa: Uncle Grandpa.
- Badass Mustache: Uncle Grandpa and the Space Emperor Krell both have them, while the Monstrous Mustache is one, even giving Mr. Gus a hard time holding him.
- Bag of Holding: Uncle Grandpa's talking belly bag/fanny pack.
- Barbarian Longhair: Eric (Cupcake) gets this, as well as a Barbarian Body, after doing all those chores while fighting a Bush Dragon.
- Beary Funny: Beary Nice.
- Bee Afraid:
- Hot Dog Person has an unpleasant experience with one whilst about to try his first ice cream.
- In "Nickname", Eric pulls out a stump, which contains a hive under it.
- Bigger on the Inside: Uncle Grandpa's RV, which contains a gateway to multiple universes.
- Big "NO!": Uncle Grandpa's reaction to having to wait in an incredibly long line in "Moustache Cream". It is overheard by a guy about to propose with his girlfriend.
- Boring but Practical: Unlike Uncle Grandpa's wacky ways, Aunt Grandma use simple practical solutions to help children. Justified as She's not a Reality Warper, but a normal human.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Take a look at some of the songs on Uncle Grandpa Sings the Classics - "Caught In My Curtain", "Too Much Paperwork", "Eyeball Fell Out".
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: "Viewer Special" is an entire episode where the scenery itself is composed of Fan-Art, while Uncle Grandpa and company comment on how weird the episode is. A subversion occurs in that the episode is presented as a Show Within a Show, and one lucky viewer of the cartoon draws the episode by drawing his pen directly on his own TV screen.
- Butt Monkey: Hot Dog Person.
- Carnivore Confusion:
- In one episode, Pizza Steve is seen eating pizza.
- "Prank Wars" has him end up in a pizza-eating competition, and the competitors try to eat him as a tiebreaker.
- The post-episode gag in "Vacation" has Uncle Grandpa eating a normal-looking banana. After he leaves, a humanoid banana runs onto the screen and screams "My baby!"
- Catch Phrase: A jovial "Good mornin'!" from the titular character. Heck it's the only thing he says in his commercial.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- In "Jorts", Tiny Miracle attempts to help get Mr. Gus' embarrassing jorts off, but Mr. Gus decides it's taking too long and he'll do it himself. In the end, he comes to accept them. Then Tiny Miracle completes the task.
- "Bad Morning" opens with Pizza Steve eating a breakfast which is so sugary that anyone who eats it will crash almost immediately. At the end this turns out to be the key to getting Uncle Grandpa to go back to bed and get up on the right side.
- "Sick Bag" has two: We see Pizza Steve staring at a mirror, and Mr. Gus making chicken soup for Belly Bag, who is sick. Later, the insect that caused Belly Bag's illness fires the laser hammer callously, and it goes out of Belly Bag, then bounces off Pizza Steve's mirror to go back and hit the web Uncle Grandpa was trapped in. Then, when Belly Bag drinks the soup, it floods the room where Uncle Grandpa is fighting the bug. Uncle Grandpa then uses two of the noodles to slice off the bug's limbs, at which point it deflates to death.
- In "Food Truck", at the beginning, Mr. Gus is shown coughing because of the exhaust from Pizza Steve's motorcycle. Later, Pizza Steve accidentally turns the RV into a hamburger, which is then raided by hungry customers. Pizza Steve then has the idea to make the RV taste bad, which he does by coating parts of it in exhaust.
- Closer Than They Appear: Spoofed in "Driver's License". "Objects in mirror may be Uncle Grandpa". It Makes Sense In Context.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Uncle Grandpa hardly makes any sense... until he does. He once thought that the spelling of his name "Uncle Grandpa" was an imposter of him. Gus pointed out that it's only a spelling of his name, and he thinks it has magical spells, rushing off to find a way to deal with it.
- The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: In "Jorts", Uncle Grandpa sees a cactus and at first assumes it's an alien before Belly Bag corrects him. But when Uncle Grandpa pulls it out of the ground, it does indeed turn out to be an alien.
- Continuity Nod: Christopher Columbus is arrested by the Time Police for wearing pants from the future in "1992 Called". In "Escalator", during the news report on the broken escalator, the words "Christopher Columbus escapes from Time Jail" can be seen on the reel.
- Cool Shades: Averted with Pizza Steve, who only thinks he's cool.
- Cool Uncle: Uncle Grandpa is the living embodiment of this trope.
- Cranky Neighbor: Charlie Burgers lives next door to one.
- Creator Cameo: The 'funny face' that follows Uncle Grandpa and friends around is the head of Pete Browngardt wearing a goofy wig and false teeth.
- Browngardt's own high school yearbook photo appears in "Viewer Special".
- Cutting the Knot: Tiny Miracle's solution to opening a jar of hamburgers is to smash it on the floor. The others don't seem mind, even though they're eating broken glass.
- Dagwood Sandwich: The dinner sandwiches in "Space Emperor". It has a whole roast chicken in it, for goodness sakes!
- Department of Redundancy Department:
- In "Uncle Grandpa Sitter", Pizza Steve states that his ice cream will be strawberry, chocolate, double chocolate, fudge, chocolate fudge, and gorgonzola.
- Uncle Grandpa's Story-Time Storybook of Stories.
- Determinator: Uncle Grandpa never gives up on a kid, or his friends, as seen in "Space Emperor" and "Tiger Trails", respectively.
- Distaff Counterpart: Aunt Grandma, a beautiful Hourglass Hottie female version of Uncle Grandpa. She's not nearly as weird and cloudcuckolanderish as UG normally acts and always gives children the practical solution. This is because she's a normal human with no powers.
- Drives Like Crazy: Uncle Grandpa takes this to the Nth degree. In "Driver's Test", he teaches a girl how to drive crazy so she can get her driver's license.
Uncle Grandpa: But do you know how to drive the Uncle Grandpa Way?
Mary: You mean like on top of buildings and in outer space and stuff?
Uncle Grandpa: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Yes.
- Justified in "Locked Out" which shows that the RV crashing is his signal that a kid nearby needs help achieving their dream.
- Dynamic Entry: Usually how Uncle Grandpa's van (driven by Uncle Grandpa) appears. Pizza Steve made one on a motorcycle in the van.
- Edible Theme Naming: Ham Sandwich, an obese nerdy boy who is one of Uncle Grandpa's many nephews and grandchildren.
- Enfant Terrible: The Crazy Baby from "Driver's Test".
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: Giant Realistic Flying Tiger leaves a rainbow trail wherever she goes.
- Expressive Accessory: The buttons on Uncle Grandpa's pants sometimes express themselves like eyes for Belly Bag.
- Extreme Omnivore: Uncle Grandpa ate a diorama of Ancient Egypt and an actual mummy.
- Eye Scream: Subverted in "Hide & Seek" when Uncle Grandpa looks for Mr. Gus in the salt shaker and the salt stops just above his eye, then immediately played straight when he gets hot sauce in his eye.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "Brain Game", where Uncle Grandpa and Pizza Steve go inside a boy's head to make him better at video games.
- Foreshadowing: In "Aunt Grandma", where Uncle Grandpa says the titular character looks familiar. Lampshaded by Belly Bag, who tells him there's no time for foreshadowing. Turns out Aunt Grandma used to be a kid Uncle Grandpa helped, but resulted in her getting second place at a science fair.
- Forgot About His Powers: Uncle Grandpa can be in two places at once, but still has to leave the driver's seat of the RV to get peanut butter, and his being in the same room as Emperor Krell is taken by a kid as proof that they're two separate people.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Uncle Grandpa is Sanguine, Giant Realistic Flying Tiger is Choleric, Mr. Gus is Melancholic, Pizza Steve is Phlegmatic and Belly Bag is Leukine.
- Freudian Excuse: Aunt Grandma's motivation for taking over Uncle Grandpa's job is that she was once a kid whose science project was ruined thanks to Uncle G. As an adult, she vowed to ruin Uncle G's career. Loses some impact since by 'ruined' she means 'got second place in the science fair'.
- Friend to All Children: Uncle Grandpa, of course. There's not a child in the world he won't refuse to help.
- Furry Denial: Parodied in "Prison Break" when the aliens and even Uncle Grandpa mistook Mr. Gus and Pizza Steve for humans.
- Furry Reminder: In "Funny Face", Mr. Gus eats a bug in a very lizard like way. In "Jorts", he describes something as "sliding off like a layer of skin in summer". In "Future Special", he mentions that he can regrow his tail.
- Gag Series: Of the non sequitur kind.
- Gainax Ending: "Locked Out" ends with the RV crew going on blind dates... with themselves. Granted, it's no weirder than anything else in the series.
- Gentle Giant: Giant Realistic Flying Tiger.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- In "Space Emperor", Uncle Grandpa says "As God as my witness...". Normally, religious references (up to and including saying "God" whether or not as an oath) are a no-no on American cartoons (which is why the English dub of Big O before it moved to [adult swim] had its references to God and Christianity edited). This is possibly the first time a Cartoon Network show that's not on [adult swim] got away with this.
- In "Uncle Grandpa for a Day", one of the visuals in Uncle G's peanut butter song is him naked in bed with a jar of peanut butter. In this same sequence, he's even having the stuff injected into his veins.
- In one episode, Uncle G and his gang end up in a sewer full of brown liquid. Everyone but Mr. Gus thinks it's root beer and starts drinking it. Apparently, it really is root beer and not something more disgusting.
- Mr. Gus watching and reacting to being caught watching a program about crocodiles. His reaction to both is akin to someone watching and getting caught watching porn.
- When Belly Bag is sent to Garbage Land, he yells out "Please don't go through my web history!"
- Look at Uncle Grandpa's head. His head is long and slender, he has a big chin. He kind of resembles a penis.
- Uncle Grandpa is shown having dreams about chasing around a sheep with noticeable stereotypically feminine eyelashes. After he catches the sheep, it bites on his nose, and he wakes up with a pleased smile, saying the dream was getting good. Then we see he has the same sheep in his bedroom, next to his bed.
- Uncle Grandpa does something in one episode and it could be best described as "Teen-age blonde riding an old man".
- In "Mustache Cream", Uncle Grandpa at one point attempts to tame a rogue, giant, disembodied moustache by riding it.
- Giving Up On Logic: At the end of "Treasure Map", Mr. Gus crashes through a sewer into the ship of a dolphin pirate who threatens to make him walk the plank if he can't answer what has no beginning, middle, or end, but touches every continent. He decides to embrace the weirdness and take Uncle Grandpa and Pizza Steve's suggestion to answer "Spaghetti fish sandwich", which it turns out was the correct answer.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: In "Locked Out" when the UG-RV's self-destruct is activated and it grows arms, Uncle Grandpa cuts its lobster arm off by throwing Pizza Steve at it.
- Groin Attack: In "Bad Morning" Uncle Grandpa does this to Mr. Gus while they're driving up a skyscraper.
- Hartman Hips: Pretty much every woman that isn't a little girl.
- Hypocritical Humour: In "Christmas Special":
Uncle Grandpa: Santa's crazy! He's a crazy old man who flies around the world, breaking into children's homes and claiming to make them happy! That's all pretty stupid if you ask me!
- Identical Stranger: Emperor Krell to Uncle Grandpa (At least headwise), which makes people think it's just a Paper-Thin Disguise. The jury's still out on whether or not it is.
- Impact Silhouette: When Uncle Grandpa crashes through a glass window, he leaves the perfect silhouette of a slim, sexy woman.
- Intelligible Unintelligible: Giant Realistic Flying Tiger can only communicate by roaring and Uncle Grandpa can understand everything she says despite the length of her roars.
- I Resemble That Remark: In "Haunted RV", when a teenager calls Uncle Grandpa crazy, he replies "I'm not crazy! In fact, I'm the most normal guy I know" while he pulls his only tooth out and replaces it with one he pulled out of his nose.
- Narcissist: Pizza Steve, according to his character profile. Imagine Johnny Bravo as a talking pizza slice.
- Lego Body Parts: One of Uncle Grandpa's special abilities is levitating his head onto different bodies.
- Light Bulb Joke: The short "Uncle Grandpa Changes a Light Bulb" is an illustrated version of one.
Pizza Steve: So, how many Uncle Grandpas did it take to change a lightbulb?
Uncle Grandpa: (Spends a minute counting the army of Uncle Grandpas he created to change it.) ...One.
- Lampshade Hanging: While the song titles for Uncle Grandpa Sings the Classics are scrolling, one of them is called "Scrolling Song Titles".
- Lighter and Softer: In comparison to the original pilot and its' spin-off Secret Mountain Fort Awesome. Whilst still very surreal and cartoony, much of the grotesque artwork and risqué jokes of Pete Browngardt's previous work are almost completely absent here. The animation moves at a much smoother pace as well.
- Lizard Folk: Mr. Gus, obviously.
- Logic Bomb: One of the songs on Uncle Grandpa Sings the Classics is called "Good Mornin' (All Night Long)".
- Man Child/One of the Kids: Word of God has confirmed that Uncle Grandpa is one of these.
- Medium Blending:
- Giant Realistic Flying Tiger is a picture of a real tiger set in a cartoon world. "Tiger Trails" also used old footage from a movie of a guy dancing with a tiger for a gag.
- "Funny Face" also has a Realistic Head with Goofy Glasses, Goofy Mustache and making Goofy Faces.
- Me's a Crowd: Uncle Grandpa is able to make copies of himself. Sometimes they appear from Behind the Black, sometimes they pop out of Uncle Grandpa himself.
- Miles Gloriosus: Pizza Steve.
- Mundane Made Awesome: From helping a kid picking out a shirt, to changing a lightbulb, you can guarantee that if Uncle Grandpa is involved, a boring task is never quite so boring.
- Mundane Utility: Among his office supplies tucked away in his belly bag is a flaming blue sword that he uses as a letter opener.
- Never Say "Die":
- Averted when Uncle Grandpa mentions a funny face will cause them to die of laughter.
- And again when they follow the missing Giant Realistic Flying Tiger's trail to the pet cemetary, making Uncle Grandpa think she died of grief at not getting a salutation from UG that morning.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Giant Realistic Flying Tiger.
- Nice Guy: Uncle Grandpa. Beary Nice is even sickeningly so.
- Nonstandard Character Design: The Giant Flying Realistic Tiger is of course, a picture of an actual tiger.
- The Noseless: The Belly Bag. But he can borrow Uncle Grandpa's Nose.
- Notzilla: Mr. Gus looks a lot like a smaller version of Godzilla.
- Odd Couple: Compare the bragging, self-absorbed Pizza Steve with the laconic, cynical Mr. Gus.
- Only Sane Man: Mr. Gus. "Embracing the weird" is not one of his strong suits.
- On the Next: Played With in "Fishing with Uncle Grandpa".
- Our Dragons Are Different: The Bush Dragon in "Nickname".
- Our Monsters Are Different:
- Three Words: Hot Dog Monster.
- Also the Radiated Mustache Monster in "Mustache Cream"
- Panthera Awesome: Giant Realistic Flying Tiger.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Uncle Grandpa only recognizes Aunt Grandma as a former child he used to help when she takes off her tiny propeller hat.
- Perpetual Frowner: Mr. Gus.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Pizza Steve, specifically in "Mustache Cream", where he's hold a giant Mustache Monster with Mr. Gus, and is actually doing a good job at it.
- Plot-Sensitive Button: Much in the same vein as Megas XLR, Uncle Grandpa's RV's gear shifter has more than just Park, Drive, and Reverse.
Park > Drive > Reverse > Flip > Up > Plaid > Apple Pie > Nuts > Turbo > Explode > Implode > CRAZY BABY
- Portal Painting: Uncle Grandpa once accidentally created one. It was a T-shirt design rather than a painting, but still.
- Raising the Steaks: "Tiger Trails" features black belt zombie pets. One of them is a pet rock.
- Reality Warper: He gives Haruhi Suzumiya a run for her money. Being able to do almost anything, there's no telling just how he'll solve a problem. Sometimes it seems like he doesn't alter reality so much as reality conforms to his desires.
- Really 700 Years Old: Mr. Gus is at least 1.993 billion years old as shown in "Jorts", and Uncle Grandpa is even older according to "Uncle Grandpa Sitter" (if one fan theory is to be believed, he's a direct descendant of Adam and Eve who ate from the Tree of Life).
- Rule of Funny: All common sense and logic has been thrown out the window in the name of this trope.
- Seen It All:
- Mr. Gus is a dinosaur person who has seen everything in his billion plus years on planet Earth, so nothing ever fazes him.
- Uncle Grandpa himself is such a Weirdness Magnet (when he's not the direct cause of the weirdness) that not even the most bizarre events ever catch him off guard or prompt anything more than an "uh-oh" from him. Not that that makes him enjoy them any less.
- Self-Deprecation: On at least two occasions. Once in "Aunt Grandma", where Mr. Gus questions how someone can be everyone in the world's aunt AND grandma, and again in "Christmas Special", where Uncle Grandpa calls Santa a "creepy old man who flies around the world, breaking into children's homes claiming to make them happy".
- Serious Business: Saying "good morning", evidently, for Uncle Grandpa. In "Tiger Trails", he believes that not saying it to Giant Realistic Flying Tiger is what caused her to run away.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Pizza Steve.
- Spin-Off: A unique case of a double subversion. Uncle Grandpa started out as the star of his own pilot, then he was spun off into Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, then he was spun off again... Back into his own series.
- Stable Time Loop: Apparently, when Uncle Grandpa was a kid (he still had his mustache back then), he was picked on for having a fat belly. His present self popped up and told him that it's cool to have a belly. All of this happened inside his own memories, thus he altered the past while he was remembering it.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
- Uncle Granpda, when asked why the space emperor looks like him.
Uncle Grandpa: Can't hear you; going through a portal.
- He said that earlier when Uncle Grandpa told the kids Baby sitter he ran off, only later to spill the truth about sending him to another dimension, only for her to be confused by it as he says:
Uncle Grandpa: Can't hear you; going through a portal.
- Taken for Granite: Happens in "Internet Troll" to the troll. Since real trolls turn to stone when exposed to sunlight, the same happens to internet trolls when exposed to the internet. So Uncle Grandpa posts a video of the troll, and with each negative comment it gets the troll slowly turns to stone.
- Third-Person Person: Pizza Steve
- Time Police: Named as such. In "1992 Called", Uncle Grandpa calls in the Time Police himself to resolve an otherwise untenable situation involving Christopher Columbus' refusal to return a pair of time-displaced parachute pants.
- Troll: Uncle Grandpa deals with one in "Internet Troll". Throughout, he thinks it means an actual troll, but when he meets him, it turns out to be a boy, who is really a troll in disguise.
- True Companions: Uncle Grandpa, Gus, Pizza Steve, Belly Bag, and Giant Realistic Flying Tiger.
- Uncle Grandpa Can Breathe In Space: In this show, anyone can. Ironically lampshaded when he tells a kid to hold his breath when they travel to Mars.
- Up to Eleven: The A+++++-+ that Dennis gets in "Uncle Grandpa Ate My Homework".
- Valley Girl: The babysitter from "Space Emperor".
- Verbal Tic: Uncle Grandpa's catchphrase "good morning". In the opening titles alone he says it five times in a row.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Belly Bag gets one in "Mustache Cream". Since he's a Bag of Holding, he vomits junk.
- Walking the Earth: Or driving it rather.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Averted in "Charlie Burgers". Even though Charlie Burgers is a talking dog, Uncle Grandpa still treats him the same way he would treat a human kid.
- White Gloves: Uncle Grandpa wears these.
- White Void Room: The segments between each episode take place in one.
- Widget Series: From the moment Uncle Grandpa reappears in the picture frame after disappearing from view from outside, and then walking into frame from the side (if not sooner), it's been made incredibly clear that this show isn't simply on a rocket train to Weirdsville, it already arrived long ago, made itself at home and set up shop.