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Western Animation: Undergrads
Clockwise from midnight: Cal, Rita, Jessie, Nitz, Rocko, Gimpy, Kimmy, Mump

Undergrads was a short-lived animated series from 2001, made for MTV. Like other MTV cartoons, such as Daria and Beavis And Butthead, it was adult-oriented and contained very mature content. Only 13 episodes were produced, and the show ended on a cliffhanger.

The show is about four lifelong friends and their experiences during their first year at college. Nitz, the protagonist, is an Everyman who constantly lets college life stress him out. Cal, his roommate, is a Dumb Blonde Ditz with an inexplicably rich sex life. Rocko is part of a fraternity and is obsessed with girls, booze, and Wacky Fratboy Hijinx, to the annoyance of his frat mates. The fourth, Gimpy (called G-Prime by his peers), is a tech geek who attends an MIT-like university and develops a personal cult due to his hacking prowess. He stays connected to the others mainly via the internet, though they all still live in the same city.

At the start of the year, two major people are introduced to the audience: Jessie, a hip, punk-ish girl who befriends Nitz and helps him learn the ropes (and later develops a crush on him), and Kimmy, a beautiful drama student with whom Nitz is smitten (and has been since high school). There are other recurring characters as well, including Rocko's frat "friends," Nitz and Cal's hippie-like Residential Assistant The Douggler, Jessie's friends (Brody, a film student with an encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture and old movies, Krueger, a profanity-spewing chain smoker, and Dan, a geek who just laughs), Kimmy's (unbeknownst to her, gay) friend Mark, and Gimpy's minions.

Although the show is set in college, the characters are almost never shown in class; episodes mainly focus on other aspects of campus life, like dealing with roommates, fitting in with groups, attending mixers, getting student loans, and figuring out what to do in life. Oh, and girls and booze, naturally.


Undergrads provides examples of:

  • All Love Is Unrequited: Kimmy to Mark, Nitz to Kimmy, Jessie to Nitz...
    • Hell, in one episode Nitz to Jessie. That's right, they both manage to have unrequited love towards each other. Why she never bothered to reciprocate (or have mixed feelings) about this when he was openly crushing on her wasn't explained.
      • It could be that Jessie's earlier rejection of Nitz was meant to show that she knew he wasn't really into her because he liked her, but because he had accidentally seen her naked.
      • When Nitz initially proposes they go out (and then 'get in the same bed'), Jessie doesn't flat-out reject him - all she says is that she can't because she has a previous commitment that night to work on a project with her classmates. If Nitz hadn't subsequently made a big show of asking Jessie out in public, disrupting her plans and embarrassing her, she might well have reciprocated.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Played with in the show. Nitz at first had no real concern about being a virgin until he saw the girl of his dreams buying a heap of condoms and such. He then attempts to be a Celibate Hero, but when that didn't work he decided to try and become a manly Casanova Wannabe persona. Then he realized it doesn't actually matter that much and stopped worrying about it.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After Gimpy's antics cause some explosions in his dormitory, his RA does a quick inspection of his room with the following observations:
    RA: "Thirty plugs going into one socket, broken windows, severe water damage and...an illegal hot plate!"
  • Author Appeal: The Thompson Twins song "Hold Me Now" shows up a few times in the background in an instrumental version. It's also Gimpy's go-to karaoke song.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Jessie's preferred dress style.
  • Berserk Button: Don't tell The Duggler to go to Hell!
  • Betty and Veronica: Played with to a more complex level. Kimmy is nice like Betty, but her concept is "The Unattainable Girl" like a Veronica, while Jessie is more cynical and mean like Veronica, but is the "pal" like a Betty.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Nitz, Jessie, Brodie, Kruger & Dan play this role... In a team deathmatch when they arrive to help an outguned Gimpy defeat Spud in a contest to decide if Star Wars or Star Trek is to be the dominant force in their dorms.
  • Big "NO!": In Slow Motion, when Rocko "rescues" Nitz from alcohol.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: They take pot shots at Good Charlotte, who wrote the theme song.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: Gimpy's first love is She-Prime, a girl online. At the end of the episode it revealed that their dorm rooms are located right next to each other. And neither of them ever found out.
    • The entire series ended on this note. Kimmy and Nitz got together. Things work out well for the other three, and the only thing that went wrong was that Jessie and Nitz aren't on easy terms now.
  • Brainless Beauty: Cal.
  • Brick Joke: About halfway through "Virgins," Rocko eats a banana without realizing that it had a condom on it. Toward the end of the episode, he coughs it up after being on the receiving end of a Groin Attack.
  • Bros Before Hoes: Nitz is often accused of violating this rule by putting his infatuation over Kimmy above his friends.
  • Buffy Speak: Mump: "I'm just to absorb all of your ill will like some kind of ill will absorbing...absorber?"
  • Butt Monkey: Cal - In one episode, Rocko tries to start a college rivalry with State U by beating up Cal after he becomes their mascot... A manatee. However, this doesn't have the desired effect, as nobody really liked the mascot anyway so they just start cheering Cal getting his ass kicked. Lampshaded at the end of the episode, when the characters remark on what they've learned...
    Rocko: "I shouldn't beat Cal up because he's the mascot... I should beat Cal up because he's Cal."
  • Camp Straight: Cal is fond of wearing short-shorts and singing, and speaks with a high pitched lisp, but he is an absurdly unstoppable lady's man.
  • Cathartic Scream: In the last episode, Brody and Krueger are studying for exam week, when the social and academic pressures become too much for Brody. He opens up a window and starts screaming. Krueger declares it brilliant, and joins in, sparking a chain reaction which eventually causes the entire city to erupt in a massive chorus of screams.
  • Celibate Hero: Nitz until the last episode.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: In a homage to the ending of A New Hope, Nitz joins Gimpy's Quake game against the Trekkies at the last minute and the gang wins.
  • Chick Magnet: Cal. Women flock to him without him even trying.
  • Cliff Hanger: On the last day of first year, Nitz and Kimmy have a drunken makeout session and afterwards, Jessie chews Nitz out for not realizing she's been in love with him the whole year, and then... the show ends. Forever.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Pretty much everything Krueger says.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: After Gimpy's rival, Spud, takes control of the dorm, he takes revenge on Gimpy by forcing the latter to watch Star Trek.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: "New Friends".
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Rocko's book of "Things Cal Does That Make Me Want To Kill Him Dead Dead Dead Dead Dead."
    • Rocko trying to find a place for him and his friends to live next semester.
    Rocko: "Okay, there needs to be a bar in the basement, Gimpy needs a T1 line, and Cal requested a bi... det, whatever that is. And there needs to have a bar in the basement."
  • Did They or Didn't They?: In the last episode, it's was never made clear just how far Nitz got with Kimmie.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Jessie to Nitz in the final episode.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Gimpy's rival/love interest is a female hacker known only as She-Prime.
  • The Ditz: Cal, though Kimmy has traces as well.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Two of the three sunbathing girls Cal applies suntan lotion to in "Risk". One owns nothing but one bikini, the other changes into regular clothes but still does not wear shoes.
  • Does Not Like Women: Gimpy, who firmly believes that, besides Agent Scully, all women are the enemy.
  • Dominatrix: The female RA at Tekerson Tech dressed like this while Cal was visiting her, taking geek chic to a whole new level. See She Cleans Up Nicely below.
  • Doing It for the Art: Gimpy treats his creation of fakes IDs as this. Naturally, he doesn't take it too well when his "customers" don't take time to appreciate them.
  • Dramatic Wind: The first time we meet Kimmy (bonus points because she is indoors.)
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Even lampshaded by Rocko when he comes up with an idea his friends don't think is a bad one for once:
    Nitz: "Wow, Rocko. That's actually a great idea."
    Rocko: "Eh, law of averages."
  • Dumb Blonde: Cal.
  • Easily Forgiven: A Running Gag with Cal is how quickly women will forgive him after he does something to annoy or anger them. After going on how much of a jerk he is, they'll then say: "Call me."
  • The Everyman: Nitz.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Parker Walsh and Justin Taylor are always addressed as "Nitz" and "Gimpy", respectively. By pretty much everyone.
    • Finding out their real names is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it detail that you'd easily forget they even have a different name. Nitz is even written on his financial aid cheques and the birthday cake sent by his mom.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: Gimpy's keyboard explodes and injures Mump in "New Friends". Gimpy responds that Mump gets injured every week and doesn't seem that concerned about it.
  • Face Palm: Nitz has been waiting for Kimmy to show up at a party. When she calls, Cal answers and tells her she doesn't have to show up because there are plenty of other pretty ladies there. Cue Face Palm, first by Nitz, then by everyone else at the party.
  • Fan Disservice: Toward the end of "Traditions," Gimpy strips naked to remove the evidence on his clothes that he had gone outside to prank the RA. When she goes into his room to confront him, she is notably squicked at his appearance.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foreshadowing: Jessie opens up the beginning of the last episode with this saying: "The 'Walk of Shame' is particularly prevalent during Screw Week, that unique time of the year when the collegian finally put the moves on their close friend of the opposite sex before summer break." She doesn't get a chance to "put the moves on" Nitz, but she does effectively reveal her feelings for him...after he irreparably screws up everything between them .
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": Nitz attempting to reach the school's Financial Aid office.
  • The Fool: Cal, again. Everything always turns out the best for him, except the episode "Identity Crisis" that ends with him forgotten and stuck in a tree in the middle of winter.
  • Fratbro: Rocko. He's so prone to Wacky Fratboy Hijinks that he hazes himself when the frat doesn't. He spends the rest of his time drinking and being a perv.
    • He's such a fratbro that he joined a fraternity even though he goes to community college.
  • Generation Xerox: In the grand tradition of animation, Gimpy's parents both have his trademark weird eyes, and his dad looks pretty much like an older version of him in a slightly-more realistic style.
  • The Generic Guy: Nitz is an in-universe example of this. He manages to make many friends over the first semester, but after winter, no one on campus even remembers him.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Rivalries, there's a guy in the crowd during the final showdown wearing a shirt that says 'Tuck Fech'. (The episode is about the competitiveness between Tekerson Tech and State U...)
    • A sign on a door at a sperm donation clinic Rocko visits reads, "Thank you! Please come again!"
  • Gibberish of Love: Whenever he talks to Kimmy, most of what Nitz tries to say will come out as "Bluh."
  • Gilligan Cut: In New Friends.
    Nitz: "Eh, I'm sure the clique doesn't need my help."
    Rocko: "Man, we could sure use Nitz's help!"
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: In "Identity Crisis," Rocko instantly loses his grip on reality when he realizes he actually kind of likes Cal (or at least, turned him into someone he could stand).
  • Gonk: Gimpy.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Kimmy, the object of Nitz's infatuation.
  • Hikikomori: Gimpy, natch. He'll go to extreme lengths to avoid leaving his room, going so far as to send Mump poorly disguised as him to his home on Christmas vacation.
    • In "Identity Crisis," Nitz gets fed up with his status as the Generic Guy on campus and isolates himself in his room. Subsequently, he becomes more popular at that point as legends begin to build up around the mysterious "Room Guy."
  • Hollywood Hacking: When She-Prime infects Gimpy's computer.
  • The Hyena: Dan. All he does is laugh.
  • I Am Spartacus: Parodied: When the RA asks who has been pulling pranks around campus, all Gimpy's minions stand up and claim to be the man responsible. In a supreme act of Comically Missing the Point, Gimpy gets angry with them, assuming they are all trying to mooch in on his fame. One of said minions even specifically says "I am Spartacus!"
  • Incoming Ham: Gimpy usually pops up on Nitz's computer on his webcam saying "Did someone just say my name?" On some episodes it works, in others it doesn't.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Subverted with Rocko's fraternity. The college banned embarrassing hazing rituals, so they just have a get-together party. Rocko refuses to believe there is no hazing, believing it all to be a Secret Test of Character, so he goes out and does several bizarre, humiliating acts in the name of his frat.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: According to the commentary on the last episode, just about everything about Jessie, from her personality to her character design, is based off of her voice actress.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Cal's stupidity causes him to annoy his buddies or hurt the feelings of his girlfriends without realizing it.
  • Jerk Jock: Rocko has this persona, despite not being an athlete. He is quite burly, though.
  • Kavorka Man: While Cal is attractive and good-natured, the sheer amount of women he attracts is obscene.
  • Le Film Artistique: The film Nitz watches with Jessie and her friends which is a parody of The Thin Red Line and Vietnam War movies in general (although the former is actually a World War II movie).
  • Limited Wardrobe: Pretty much everyone. Nitz however favors the "closet full of the same outfit" version of the trope, as shown in the last episode when Cal gives out his clothes to girls after sleeping with them.
  • Mala Proper: Rocko really seems to think the phrase "quid pro quo" is pronounced "skid row bro," even after Nitz corrects him.
  • Matrix Raining Code: Seen on Gimpy's computer in "New Friends".
  • Morality Pet: Nitz would qualify as this for Rocko. The latter is often utterly obnoxious to just about everyone, but he always looks out for Nitz.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The probable reasoning behind the eXposed eXpo, when freshmen run around naked during the first snowfall.
  • Nice Hat: Nitz's cap seldom ever leaves his head.
  • Noodle Incident:
    Jessie: Have you been walking around blindfolded again?
    Nitz: Uh, not since "the incident".
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Some characters look more realistically drawn, such as Rocko, Kimmy, and Nitz. Others look much more cartoony, like Mump, Cal, and Gimpy, who almost seems like he's from a different show entirely. Several characters have giant heads (Nitz, Gimpy, Kimmy), while others are more-or-less realistically-proportioned (most background characters).
  • Not so Above It All: Nitz thinks he's the Only Sane Man in his circle of friends, but he has plenty of moments of craziness and stupidity himself.
  • Oblivious to Love: Jessie was never really that subtle about her feelings for Nitz, not that he ever got the message.
    • Ditto for Kimmy. She just never realizes Nitz's crush on her.
  • One of the Boys: Jessie's the only girl in her circle of friends. She even lampshades this by describing herself as "a sarcastic cool girl who hangs out with dorks."
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: While not an actual disguise, Rocko's fake ID is just a piece of cardboard with his picture stapled to it and the words "I am 21 so drinking is yes" written on it in pencil. Nevertheless, it works flawlessly.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: It's like no one at this college goes to class.
    Brody: I feel like I haven't cracked a textbook or seen the inside of a classroom all year.
  • Poor Man's Porn: At one point Rocko starts reading Cosmo, but only for the pictures.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Gimpy and his nerd friends do it the most.
  • Reality Subtext / Write Who You Know: All of the characters are based on the creator and his best friends and people he met in college. In fact Jessie is voiced by the actual woman she's based on.
  • Really Seventeen Years Old: In "Drunks", Gimpy makes fake IDs for everyone to get into bars. Rocko already has his own fake ID though. See Paper-Thin Disguise above.
  • Redundant Romance Attempt: During the mid-season episode where Nitz has feelings for Jessie, his attempts to woo the girl who already has feelings for him go poorly because he's trying so hard.
  • Refuge in Audacity: In "Virgins," Nitz's genuine attempts to seduce Kimmy in the health center are so over-the-top that she thinks he's auditioning as a date rape actor.
  • The Resenter: As the series goes on, Jessie grows increasingly more spiteful toward Kimmy as a result of Nitz's continual obsession with her, and becomes much less subtle about her frustration when talking to him.
  • Right Behind Me: Nitz says right after calling Rocko a terrible friend.
  • Serious Business: For Gimpy, Star Wars, The X-Files and Quake. For all of the gang, Risk.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: When Gimpy introduces Cal to his RA we suddenly see her with no glasses, hair down, in a cut-off shirt and daisy dukes. Later in the episode she takes geek chic to a whole new level.
  • Shout-Out: Many, mostly to Star Wars. The episode "New Friends" in particular, which focuses on a Star Trek versus Star Wars conflict in Gimpy's university.
    • Some to The X-Files and The Matrix (Gimpy's screensavers).
    • "Roommates" has a Shout-Out to Daria and Star Trek II.
    • The final episode had a shout out towards Majora's Mask with the constant "X hours remaining" being pretty much the same.
    • The show's theme song is the Good Charlotte song "The Click" - At one point in the series, they're playing a show at State U & when Nitz is told this, he questions where he knows them from.
    • One of the girls in "Drunks" is wearing Ulala's costume.
    • In "New Friends", one of the weapons used in the Quake game is the pulse rifle from Aliens.
  • The Sixties: The Duggler is pretty stuck in them. Kimmy has her moments, what with her role in campus protests.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Gimpy and She-Prime form a relationship after they spend a straight 14 hours insulting each other online.
  • Slice of Life
  • Soapbox Sadie: Kimmy, especially in the episode "Financial Aid". She wants to make a difference, but the only problem is that she doesn't seem to know of any actual problems to protest.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Duggler.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Charity towards Rocko, and pretty much any guy.
  • There Are No Girls on the Internet: Gimpy's belief until he encounters She-Prime.
  • Take That: Rocko has a homoerotic dream about Cal. When Nitz starts to say that it may not have been homoerotic, Rocko immediately asserts that Keanu Reeves was there.
  • Talking to Himself: Almost all of the male characters are voiced by the same guy.
  • Those Two Guys: Brody and Krueger usually fit this role.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Jessie and Kimmy.
  • Transparent Closet: Mark, a drama student whom Kimmy carries a torch for. It's obvious to everyone that he's gay...except for Kimmy and Nitz.
  • Unknown Rival: Rocko effectively becomes this for State U as a whole in "Rivalries," when he tries to start a rivalry between his school and the State U. It doesn't work because his college doesn't even have an athletics department and everyone finds his antics more amusing than offensive.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: For almost every episode of the series, Jessie has a crush on Nitz. For one mid-season episode, he has feelings for her and she doesn't reciprocate.
    • Though that was mostly because his way of approach was completely wrong.
  • Verbal Tic: Cal's "Guy" and slurping. Kruger's bleeped-out swearing. Spud's "Schmah." Gimpy's "...the hell?" might count.
  • Virginity Makes You Stupid: Kimmy and Charity (Rocko's girlfriend during "Virgins").
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Rocko and Cal are a Type 1. Rocko absolutely cannot stand Cal, and never hesitates to abuse him, verbally and physically. Cal, however, is oblivious to his outright hostility, and still considers Rocko his friend despite it all.
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: Rocko believes this is what fraternities are all about. The other members of his fraternity... not so much.
  • Way Past the Expiration Date: Rocko drinks clam juice that expired in 1978. He then hallucinates the Great Gazoo.
  • Weight Woe: In one episode Nitz plans to join in on a annual streaking event held at the college, only to be horrified when he realizes he's gained the freshman fifteen. He begins to frantically work out to lose the weight in time, but winds up streaking anyway since it's too dark for anyone to see his slightly pudgy build.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: In one episode, the disciplinary RC at Tekerson Tech (Gimpy's school) is removed from the picture after her introduction to Cal. Chaos ensues amongst the students and soon Gimpy decides that they need the RC back.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Nitz gets this frequently — usually because he was ignoring his friends to chase Kimmy. Jessie gives him one of these frequently (and literally at least once), and the rest of his gang also mock him for bailing on them.
    • Mump calls Gimpy out on his making of fake IDs that would allow for underage students to drink illegally.
  • Where The Hell Is Springfield?: The colleges the characters go to give no indication for the location, such as the delightfully impossible "State University"
    • They seem to have New York State I.D.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Rocko thinks he's about to enter a wacky fratboy movie akin to Animal House. Turns out that's not how his frat actually works.
    • Gimpy in the first episode thinks that he and Rocko won't be able to continue being friends because frat boys and nerds can never get along. He then tries to sabotage Rocko's attempts to get into the fraternity by sending his nerd pals in...who actually get along very well with the guys thanks to their tech know-how.
  • Younger than They Look: Rocko, who hardly looks like he needs a fake ID.

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alternative title(s): Undergrads
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