YMMV / Inspector Gadget

The cartoon:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Some people say that Gadget isn't stupid, he's willingly being a distraction so Penny can accomplish the mission, since when Penny's safety is threatened, he suddenly becomes a lot more competent.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In the episode "Gone Went the Wind", Inspector Gadget finds Chief Quimby in the frozen chicken isle at the supermarket, but before Quimby appears, one of the frozen chickens inexplicably gets out and walks away.
  • Complete Monster: The clockmaker from "the Coo Coo Clock Caper". Most MAD agents capturing Penny either tied her up or imprisoned her. The clockmaker though put Penny in a Death Trap and even taunted her over it!
    Clockmaker: When the clock strikes five, guess who won't be alive? (Followed by Evil Laugh)
  • Ear Worm: "Doo-doo-doo-doo-doot, Inspector Gadget..."
    • The theme song often plays in the background. No matter what locale Gadget goes to, the local music is simply the theme song reworked to that particular country's musical style. This further ingrains the theme song in your ear and also saves the sound people from having to worry about copyrights. It's so catchy that even the characters frequently hum or whistle it.
    • The French version has a theme song with lyrics, making it one in its own right.
    • Penny's theme (both the normal and heroic versions).
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Some of the M.A.D. Agents get this treatment, most notably Lana Lamour from the episode "Movie Set".
  • Evil Is Cool: Claw. Who wouldn't want that voice?
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some fans feel this way about the second season.
  • First Installment Wins: The first season and series are possibly the most parodied out of the franchise.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: A MAD agent couldn't dare sneak blunt objects on a plane today, nor could Penny and Brain sneak into the cargo hold of passenger jets to get to destinations under Gadget's nose, without plenty of TSA office visits and permanent inclusion on the no-fly list. Not to mention the chances of Gadget ever getting past airport security what with all the metal and potentially deadly equipment he's got inside him (Go-go gadget scissors, anyone?)
    • A fanfic called Euro Gadget (following up from the first live-action movie) points this out and explains it. He has to call the airport ahead of time to let them know- and even then, his extendable limbs accidentally activate while being screened.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Gadget biting and destroying his pillow during a nightmare in "Bad Dreams Are Made of This" becomes even funnier and more disturbing if you're familiar with the honeymoon scene from a certain infamous vampire love story.
    • The idea of an assassination attempt via grenades disguised as milk bottles, and the assassin disguised as a milkman, would later be reused in The Living Daylights.
    • In the episode "Dry Spell", the M.A.D. agent Dirk Boulder is assisted by a pair of identical trolls, one wearing orange and the other wearing blue. Orange and blue would later be the respective colors of Fidget and Digit, the titular Gadgetinis from the spinoff series Gadget and the Gadgetinis.
    • The episode title "NSF Gadget" in the day and age of the internet, with the prefix NSF typically being used in acronyms like NSFW, or "Not Safe For Work", indicating material of pornographic, gory, or generally disturbing nature that is, well, material generally not considered safe to be seen in a public space, such as a work environment.
  • Inferred Holocaust: Sometimes occurs either when M.A.D.'s superweapons are tested or when Gadget destroys their large, elaborate secret bases. For example, in "The Bermuda Triangle" Claw's hide-out is a huge, small city-sized ocean-floor complex that must require dozens if not hundreds of crew just for basic operations and daily maintenance. (About a dozen are seen onscreen in any one frame.) Gadget floods the base, and (barely) survives, as does Claw in his personal submarine — But no mention is made of other survivors ...
  • Memetic Mutation: Gadget appeared to give instructions on a lot of early DiC DVD menus (even in series that had nothing to do with him), and some of the things he says have caught on due to a review by James Rolfe. Move the glow around the button you want to select!
    • Next time, Gadget! NEEEEEXT TIIIIIIIME!
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: While the games based on this franchise aren't necessarily terrible, they're very forgettable with a few exceptions.
  • The Scrappy: Corporal Capeman. Not only was he even stupider than Gadget, he would often be a total ass to Brain for no reason at all.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The second season, which has a different film look to it, most of the action takes place around Gadget's neighborhood, many of the voices are different and the plots... Nelvana wasn't involved with this season.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Gadget is a pretty darn awesome superhero in concept (you could argue this was why Disney made the 1999 movie- to try and make him more effective), but he spends the entire series gleefully clutching the Idiot Ball and generally being useless. A lot of people say that Penny's a lot better as The Protagonist, and wish that she was the series' primary focus.
  • The Weird Al Effect: Anyone who has grown up watching the cartoon will recognize its theme song better than Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King", which the theme is based on.

The films:

  • Awesome Music: John Debney's Big Budget Beef-Up version of the theme song.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The transitions between scenes which seem to showcase Gadget's various devices. Thoroughly parodied by The Nostalgia Critic who mocked how random and jarring they were.
  • Broken Base: The fans are divided between those who despised the first film for not being close enough to the cartoons, those who hated the second film for not being enough like the first, people who hated both and prefer to stick to the cartoons, and the people who liked both films. All of the above is without taking onto consideration the people who liked either of the movies, but disliked the cartoons.
  • Ending Fatigue: Even after it's over, the end credits are littered with cutaway clips of what the characters have moved on to after catching Claw, complete with the Gadgetmobile's life story which carries on even when the credits finally conclude.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: As a few memes have pointed out, the "Sore Guru" bears more than a passing resemblance to Osama bin Laden.
  • Ho Yay: That Kramer really seems to get off on Claw's abuse... while Claw praises Kramer in comparison to constantly dumping on Sikes. Not to mention:
    Claw: "Ok. Turn me on, Kramer..."
  • Informed Wrongness: Through the second film, Gadget continually tells Penny that she can't help in the case because it's dangerous for a child. When one of her clues ends up being critical in finding out Claw's location after she's been kidnapped, he relents and says he should have given her a chance... even though he was completely right about it being dangerous for her.
    • Chief Quimby also has shades of this in the first film; he coldly refuses to let Gadget take charge of the investigation into Bradford's murder, and makes very clear he does not think of Gadget as a true police officer. This is supposed to make us feel sympathy for Gadget who, mind you, was merely a security guard and thus far remains untested and unproven in actual crimefighting, and is Kicked Upstairs doing menial tasks for the city just to satisfy those who saw fit to give him a chance to fight crime with his cybernetic abilities without the blessing of the police department. If anything, Quimby's attitude is simply a natural response to Gadget's inexperience and status as a poster boy for the press.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Scolex crosses it in his very first scene. Interestingly, John Brown (the future Gadget) thinks Scolex's MEH wasn't the murder of Dr. Artemus Bradford, but having his henchman track oil behind his limo, thus causing Brown's '87 Chevette to flip onto its roof and slide into a Yahoo! billboard. What makes that worse is that Scolex enjoys watching Brown suffer for going after him.
    John Brown: Now you've crossed the line! Pull over, you!
    Sanford Scolex: Stop the car, Sikes, I want to enjoy this.
  • Most Annoying Sound: The film is loaded with familiar cartoon sound effects that emerge in the most mundane moments of the movie. One could easily argue that these can get old after a while.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Gadget with all of his robotic parts exposed.
    • The tarantula coming out of Robo Gadget.
    • The guru's eyes popping out of his head when Gadget grabs the wrong set of balls.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Both films save the iconic Gadget-Copter until the climax.
  • Overused Running Gag: The gag of the hearts popping up on Gadget's hat showing he's in love pops up in both movies, several times.
  • Sequelitis: The direct-to-video sequel dropped most of the better aspects of the film adaptation, the high-quality cast and the large budget was cut drastically. On the other hand, it was given props for following the cartoon's formula more closely than its predecessor.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The first movie in a nutshell. It did manage to make back its budget via international ticket sales.
  • Special Effects Failure: As previous entries on this list may imply, it's not so much the effects themselves but the film's often incoherent and over-the-top editing that for some may leave a lot to be desired.
  • Squick : The giggly, acquiescent, relatively dim, programmed-to-be-a-cheerleader Robo-Brenda was basically a sex doll.
  • Uncanny Valley: Robo-Gadget. The shifty eyes and fake teeth are scary without trying. One could argue that Broderick made a better villain than a hero.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Say what you like about the film, but the creators really used their budget, and the whole thing is worth watching just for Stan Winston's realizations of Inspector Gadget's gadgets.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: You'd never know that Penny was the actual hero of the television series if you're going solely by this film, and is noticeably absent through much of the action despite being a much more able detective than her uncle. This did not go unnoticed by fans and critics, which is perhaps why her role in the sequel is much more prominent.
  • What An Idiot: Not from Gadget, but instead from Scolex, who went out of his way to build a robotic version of Brenda who was programmed with a Motor Mouth for reasons we dare not explore. She ends up blabbing everything to the real Brenda without a second thought.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: One of the main complaints in regards to the first film.
    • Of the directing variant, as David Kellogg was a commercial director who's only previous film effort was the critically panned Cool as Ice.