* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: Happens in-universe in the Season 1 episode "Aboard the Orient Express." Max protests against the Chief sending 99 on a dangerous assignment to deliver a briefcase. After hearing the Chief tell her how only the agent receiving the case has the key to open the handcuffs, Max ends up handcuffing the briefcase to his own wrist. Was this just Max making one of his usual ditzy mistakes, or was it, as 99 assumes, a deliberate ploy to protect her by making sure he would have to make the delivery instead of her? The "Hmmm..." look he gets in his eyes right before picking up the handcuffs suggests she may be right.
* {{Anvilicious}}: Subverted/parodied. In one episode, after Smart [[ItMakesSenseInContext blew up the bad guy with a cigarette]], 99 ponders whether or not Control's methods are [[NotSoDifferent any better than those of KAOS]]. Max's response?
--> "What are you talking about, 99? We have to shoot and kill and destroy. We represent everything that's wholesome and good in the world."
* EarWorm: [[InstrumentalThemeTune Da da daaa, DAA! Da da daaaaa, DA!...]]
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Agent 23. Despite not appearing for most of the film, his portrayal by Creator/DwayneJohnson is widely considered one of the best parts of the movie.
* FairForItsDay: The episode "Washington 4, Indians 3" is rather cringeworthy by today's standards. However, it supports the Native Americans and shows understanding of their situation, if not their culture. [[spoiler: In the end, Max agrees that the White House should be attacked.]]
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: The series was and still is popular in Mexico, thanks to the excellent dubbing work of the almost all the Mexican voice cast, to the grade that Maxwell Smart's Mexican VA, Jorge "el Tata" Arvizu, reprised his role as Smart in the Mexican Spanish dub of the 2008 movie.
* HilariousInHindsight: In "The Impossible Mission," Max gets his assignment in the form of a tape recording from the Chief, which ends with the warning, "[[InspectorGadget This tape will self-destruct]]."
** In "Too Many Chiefs," the MasterOfDisguise villain pretends to be the Chief and confuses Max by changing the TrustPassword.
--->[[AppleMacintosh "I say 'apple,' you say 'Macintosh.'"]]
* MemeticMutation: Every CatchPhrase the show brought us.
* OffscreenMomentOfAwesome: 99 giving her kidnapper a black eye and effortlessly escaping from her cell undetected in "And Only Two 99."
* RetroactiveRecognition:
** Don Adams apparently had a knack for playing [[InspectorGadget bubbling secret agents]].
** [[Series/TheTonightShow Johnny Carson]] plays a train conductor in "Aboard the Orient Express" and later a servant in "The King Lives?" His brother, Dick Carson, also directed an episode.
** Creator/LeonardNimoy appeared as a hitman in one episode.
** James Komack directed 11 episodes and wrote an episode. Komack is best known as creator and executive producer of ''Series/ChicoAndTheMan''.
** Creator/RichardDonner directed two episodes.
** Howard Morris directed an episode. Morris is best known for voicing Gopher in ''Franchise/WinnieThePooh'' and Wade Duck in ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends''.
** Arne Sultan wrote 34 episodes and served as executive producer. Sultan is best known as co-developer and co-executive producer of ''Series/TooCloseForComfort''.
** Chris Heyward wrote 30 episodes. Heyward is best known for co-creating ''Series/MyMotherTheCar'' and ''Series/TheMunsters''.
** Leonard Stern wrote 17 episodes and was an executive producer. Stern is best known as creator and executive producer of ''Series/McMillanAndWife''.
** Allan Burns wrote 11 episodes. Burns is best known as co-creator and co-executive producer of ''Series/TheMaryTylerMooreShow'', ''Series/{{Rhoda}}'', and ''Series/LouGrant'', as well as for co-creating ''Series/MyMotherTheCar'' and ''Series/TheMunsters''.
** Gary Clarke wrote six episodes. Clarke is best known for playing Steve Hill in ''Series/TheVirginian''.
** Sam Bobrick wrote two episodes. Bobrick is best known for creating ''Series/SavedByTheBell''.
** Earl Barret wrote an episode. Barret is best known as co-developer and co-executive producer of ''Series/TooCloseForComfort''.
** Howard Merrill also wrote an episode. Merrill is best known as co-creator and program supervisor of ''Series/IveGotASecret''.
** Ed Haas also wrote an episode. Haas is best known for co-developing ''Series/TheMunsters''.
** Dale [=McRaven=] also wrote an episode. [=McRaven=] is best known as creator and executive producer of ''Series/PerfectStrangers'' and as co-creator, producer, and supervising producer of ''Series/MorkAndMindy''.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: The Cold War was often about this insane and stupid.
* UnintentionallySympathetic =/= UnintentionallyUnsympathetic: TheMovie version of Larabee is definitely a JerkJock... but it's hard to see Bruce and Lloyd the nerdy analysts he's feuding with as any nicer. Not only are they very petty in their revenge, the methods they use are often nastier than the verbal jabs Larabee delivers. They also gloat arrogantly about how obselete the field agents are going to be as soon as their robot comes in.
* UnintentionallyUnsympathetic: In the series, Agent 13 (the agent who's always hiding inside objects or behind hidden panels to help Max). He complains about his cramped quarters almost every time he appears, and is occasionally the subject of InnocentlyInsensitive jabs from Max, in a comedic attempt to draw sympathy from viewers. However, he frequently indulges in BeAsUnhelpfulAsPossible, taking forever to give the necessary information due to his complaining, trying to extort money from Max, and almost never even provides any actual useful information. His predecessor, Agent 44, averted this.
* WeirdAlEffect: The TV series parodied other spy shows airing at the time, such as ''Series/TheManFromUNCLE'', ''Series/ISpy'' and ''Series/TheAvengers'', but has been in reruns so long that most people assume it to be a ''Film/JamesBond'' parody.
* WhatAnIdiot: In TheMovie, just before the skydiving sequence, when 99 discovers that Max has dropped out of the plane without a chute, she suits up, and goes after him... Leaving behind the second parachute. TheDragon takes advantage of this lapse of judgment.
** The somewhat subtle joke that leads up to that scene where Max attempts to use the crossbow hidden in his pocket knife to undo his bonds, completely oblivious to the fact that ''he's holding a pocket knife''.
* WraparoundBackground: Not in the letter, but at least in the spirit, when Max goes with someone else from Room A through false backdoor A into Room B through false backdoor B into Room C...(it's always the same).
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