Acceptable Targets: Much like The Simpsons in its prime (The Tracy Ullman Show shorts and seasons 1 to 8) or some of the more well-written episodes of Family Guy, this show is not afraid to make fun of whatever the writers think is annoying/a problem in this day and age, from serious issues like overzealous censorship, financial woes, corrupt businesses, economic decline, bullying, parental abandonment, sibling rivalry, unrequited love, incompetent workers, growing up, the decline in quality in American public schools, discrimination, and even police brutality to lighter, more minor issues like straw vegetariansnote as seen in "The Castle" when Mr. Small tells the LEGO minifig construction workers that he's a vegetarian so he can rub his moral superiority of not eating meat in other people's faces, the obsession with comic book superheroes, loony fans that make fanfiction and fanart of their favorite showsnote "The Comic" and "The Fan" even mentioned that Sarah was into shipping and insert fics, advertisingnote to the point that some people may find it anvilicious, as seen in "The Money" and when you realize that Ben Bocquelet created the show because he was angry and upset that his mascots — which are now characters on the show — kept getting rejected, the Internet (including memes and viral videos, which some viewers will tell you is a little too late to spoof, but is still hilarious regardless), social media addiction, and awkward/inconvenient moments in life while still being a fun show that kids can watch with their parents.
Charities and charitable people also get targeted, as seen with the abuse Alan takes (especially in such episodes as "The Saint", "The Storm", "The Question", and "The Traitor"), and the Imagine Spot of Darwin using his share of Grandpa Louie's money to make his own charity, which includes commercial spots where he bullies people into giving and the unfortunately-named Coalition of Really, Really Useful People Together (C.O.R.R.U.P.T) on "The Check".
People working 9-to-5 jobs are depicted as either slowly going insane because of the grind (as seen with Larry the rockheaded clerk in "The Game"note where he argues with himself over a pizza delivery he made to himself and "The Question"note Larry going mad from the revelation that his life has been nothing but working to the point that he steals a car, drives to the beach, and walks out to the ocean as if to commit suicide by drowning) or only tolerating it because of the money (as seen in the vignette on "The Extras" with the office workers [the living clipboard, Charlie the cloud man, and the green Minecraft-looking man] realizing that they should be outside frolicking in the woods...until Karennote the pink teardrop-looking monster who has as many jobs around Elmore as her boyfriend, Larry comes by with their paychecks). "The Bumpkin", "The Money", and "The Kids" even imply that Gumball hates that kind of life (though this is justified as he is a kid). "The Boss" took it to extremes, depicting 9-to-5 workers as having their souls taken from them once they're hired and never allowed to retire (not even with a change in management).
"The Blame" does a HUGE Take That to Moral Guardians for banning certain mediums that they think gives kids bad influence like video games or pop music when it is their parenting that should be only their concern.
While the show has won many awards (BAFTA's British Academy Children's Awards [mostly for writing, but in 2015, it finally won for animation], an International Emmy, and even a Cartoon Network Hall of Game Award), "The Job" lost out on two Annie Awards — one for Best Animated Television Production for Children and another going to Mic Graves for Best Directing in a Television Production or Broadcast Venue Production — to Dragons: Riders of Berk in both categories (the episode "How to Pick Your Dragon" won the first award while John Eng won for Best Director for his work on the episode "Animal House").
Awesome Music: Mr. Robinson's performance at the end of "The Debt".
"She's a lady, a fine lady!"
"You gotta think big, think smart!"
"Warrior, Be The Warrior!"
"We enjoy it while we can, we enjoy it while we're kids! We enjoy it while there's still time to make the most of it!" (it's especially catchy since it turns the show's theme music into a hip-hop beat)
The musical sung by the background characters in "The Extras". Special mention goes to the Green Bear's awesome voice.
That delightful little tune that plays at various parts in "The Origins", and is used as the background music for Darwin's song in Part 2.
Base Breaker: Fans are divided on whether Sarah the ice cream girl is cute and quirky or just annoying.
Fans were also divided on whether or not Jacob Hopkins and Terrell Ransom, Jr. made for good replacements of Logan Grove and Kwesi Boakye in voicing Gumball and Darwin, with some fans claiming that the vocal change has put the show into Seasonal Rot while others were put off by the change at first, but now don't notice or care, so long as the rest of the show is still good.
Similarly, some people (mostly fan artists who were used to drawing her as a doe-nut or people who thought she'd be a deer under her shell) thought Penny breaking from her shell was a Jump the Shark moment on the show while others either embraced the new her or were put off with it at first, but now hardly notice or care, since she and Gumball are now a bit more open with their love.
Richard's reflection coming to life after Richard declares that he's a good father in "The Return."
Bizarro Episode: Though the entire series can count, there have been episodes that were weird, even by their standards:
"The Sweaters," a Karate Kid parody featuring human cartoon characters (modeled after the ones from late 1970s-mid-1980s cartoons, in terms of how stiff and stylized they are) that not even Gumball and Darwin want to get involved with.
"The World," an entire episode devoted to showing that everything in Elmore (and possibly the universe) really does come to life in the form of multiple short sketches. It's about as weird as it sounds. "The Extras" is similar, except it focuses on the background, one-shot, and very minor characters that appear as extras.
"The Joy": A survival/found footage/zombie apocalypse horror film parody with Miss Simian as a main character and shot mostly through her camcorder.
"The Countdown" starts as an ordinary Race Against the Clock episode, but halfway through the episode, Gumball accidentally breaks the clock on-screen, causing time to stop. From there, we get time travel (backwards and forwards) and alternate realities that would make Doctor Who look normal.
"The Money," a Broke Episode in the sense of "The family has no money and must find a way to get it back," the show "becoming broken" due to the Wattersons having no money, and the fact that the episode breaks the fourth wall and shows how a series like this is animatednote The Wattersons are hand-drawn and digitally inked and painted, the backgrounds and some of the characters are computer-generated, there are storyboards involved, etc (similar to the Chowder episode, "The Shopping Spree," except "The Shopping Spree" had the budget reducing the show to live-action footage of the voice actors recording their lines, which isn't as epic as what "The Money" showed).
"The Uploads": Gumball and Darwin spend an entire episode in their room watching Elmore Stream It videos (after Darwin tries to talk Gumball out of it in the same way a concerned friend or family member talks a desperate drug addict out of getting his next fix and the way a hostage negotiator talks a suicide bomber or insane gunman out of killing himself and others). The videos start out relatively normal (some Epic Fail vids, a vlog showing that Sussie the chin puppet is beautiful, and a hilarious Let's Play parody featuring Richard), but Gumball and Darwin keep getting trolled by a Rickroll spoof called Saxophone Chihuahua and after Gumball accidentally clicks on a Stupid Statement Dance Mix of Tobias' hidden prank video, he and Darwin binge on insane online videos until a video called "Ten Hours of Saxophone Chihuahua" is busy buffering. The end reveals that Gumball and Darwin are now teenagers and go to leave, only to get sucked back in to watching more online videos.
"The Signal," Mysterious interruptions that look like the kind experienced when watching satellite TV (or the over-the-air free TV reception that went digital in the early 20-teens) with bad reception plague Elmore and lead to Gumball and Darwin becoming closer than ever before. Missing plot points, an underlying sense of weirdness, some gross-out humor, cuts to seemingly unrelated footage (a lot of which were recycled from "The Uploads"), and jump scares are the norm. On top of that, the episode's end will leave you asking a lot of questions, as barely anything is resolved. Do not adjust your TV set or call your cable or satellite provider over the crappy reception. That's just this episode's special effects (and you know shit is about to go down when the title card itself starts glitching out).
Crosses the Line Twice: A lot of the characters getting abused, screwed over, and injured (mostly the food-based ones like Banana Joe and Anton the slice of bread) would be horrific if they were human or if the injuries were realistically depicted. Here, they're hilarious because of how much the show sticks to Toon Physics and the kind of Comedic Sociopathy that would be at home in a lot of classic cartoons and irreverent 1990s animated shows.
Dark Fic: For a show with such a lighthearted tone and bizarre imagery, it sure is prone to a lot of Darker and Edgier fanfictionnote Though it's possible that it's because of the aforementioned tone and imagery, as well as the show's penchant to dip into Black Comedy. Though, when the actual show does this, it still tries to keep it light-hearted, despite the morbid jokes and implications.
Designated Evil: "The Bumpkin" portrays the Watterson's life style (eating junk food, watching TV, playing video games) as bad and toxic since it almost kills Idaho, but that message falls on its face when you remember that Idaho is a potato who gets his nutrients from soil and has different biological weaknesses than them.
Die for Our Ship: Given that Gumball/Carrie is more popular among the fandom than Gumball/Penny (see Fan-Preferred Couple below), you can expect Carrie receiving this type of reaction from several shippers (though "die" might be too strong of a word considering that Carrie is... well, a ghost).
Darwin post-"The Shell" was given this reaction by the growing Gumball/Penny shippers due to him feeling jealous from Gumball seeing Penny more than him once they became official and fans where fearing he would have lead to them breaking up in "The Bros". Once the episode aired, the reaction thankfully died down.
Darwin is actually still an example of this, since he's receiving an increasing amount of flank from Gumball/Carrie shippers due to the implication that he has a crush on Carrie along with Carrie feeling the same with Darwin. Even though Gumball and Penny are still an Official Couple! Poor boy can't catch a break.
Ear Worm: The theme song is pretty catchy (if you can find a full version of it, which isn't that hard for people not living in the UK now, considering that Hulu now has seasons one and two uploaded and they air it with the opening and closing credits), including the wonky music being played in the credits.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Even before her debut in "The Ghost", Carrie has always had quite a large fanbase.
Rachel (Tobias' sister), who only had one major role and is likely not appearing in another afterwards due to the staff members disliking her, has gained quite a bit of fan art and fan fiction; usually relating to her relationship with Darwin.
Considering the rarity of her appearances, Jamie (the minotaur-looking Barbaric Bully whose mom is the Red-Cube Coach) has a small, but very impassioned fan base that is currently growing.
Tina's fanbase is about as big as her father.
Fanon: Many fan-artists depict Penny as a deer when not in her shell, which is why the revelation that Penny is a shapeshifting spirit in "The Shell" shocked and/or made them mad.
Many fans believed that Carrie's last name was "Booregard" rather than "Kreuger".
Many humanize fan arts depict the Watterson as white with hair appropriate to their color, with the exception of Darwin who is usually depicted as black with orange jacket (to match their voice actors' race [Kwesi Boakye and Terrell Ransom Jr. are black] and the fact that Darwin is adopted) and Penny as Ambiguously Brown as the color of her shell (though there's no word of how a humanized Penny would look now that she doesn't have her shell anymore and is actually a yellow Involuntary Shapeshifter).
Wilson Bilson, a character appeared in "The Others" as Clare's childhood friend, is widely speculated to be either gay or transgender, giving the fact that Clare states he has "always struggled with his identity" (a common phrase for those who question their sexual preference or gender identity). The fact that he has bulging muscles but also wearing a dress and is said to be part-majorette, as well as that the episode is a parody of the teen soap opera genre (some of which do have episodes about sexual and gender identity) also fuels this speculation.
The same can be said for the Furry Fandom, too. You will find no shortage of fanart for all members of the Watterson family, with the most prominent one being Nicole. You can find non-furry examples in the Self-Fanservice entry further down the page.
Growing the Beard: Season 2 saw a massive improvement for the show with its Art Shift (though some fans do consider season one's animation and art to be better...somehow) and the stories became more structured and coherent. Season 3 made the show even better. Removing Gumball's jerkass tendencies from Season 2/making him smarter and nicer than in Season 1, making the animation smoother with new moving backgrounds thanks to a new animation studio, Gumball and Darwin actually act more like real kids, and finally achieving the perfect balance of comedy, drama, and action. It come a long way since Season 1. And continuity is somewhat applied in Season 3 such as the trilogy "The Shell," "The Burden" and "The Bros" in which Penny's reveal as an Empathic Shapeshifter stuck, she became Gumball's girlfriend, and Darwin reacted to it. Not to mention major revelations have been revealed in the third season.
Even so in Season 4, in which continuity is now applied and revelations have been piled up. Example is in the episode "The Crew" in which Marvin sends his regards to Louie, his fellow senior citizen due of the next episode's "The Signature" in which Louie and Jojo are planning to get married and will move to Florida and subsequently being accepted by the Watterson family judging by the events of "The Check."
Then the episode "The Bus" aired revealing how Rob is behind the bus hijacking in the first place showing that he made real progress a true threat to Gumball and others. It left fans wondering what will happen next by the time the season finale "The Disaster" airs which is about Rob finding the remote that controls the universe and uses it to ruin Gumball's life.
Hilarious in Hindsight: This picture drawn by a fan shows an older Teri being a nurse at Elmore Hospital. Then comes "The Virus," which reveals that Teri is an intense germaphobe and that her mother is a doctor.
Many people claim the Food War in "The World" was a better Sausage Party than the real Sausage Party.
Bobert. All he wants is to have emotions and be human. After finding said emotions, he took Gumball's life. Rather than try to teach him right from wrong, Gumball simply decides to "Reboot" him, deleting his memories and emotions.
William (the eyeball with wings) can't physically speak, but he hasn't realized this until after he attacked Gumball and Darwin for ignoring him.
If you think about it, Nicole can be this. She's the breadwinner of the family and due to her husband'sirresponsible tendencies (and the fact that him getting a job will cause the universe to collapse), she has to do the housework as well, which is why she's very stressed and sometimes unstable which she sometimes takes out on her own family.
Surprisingly, Granny Jojo is this. In "The Man", it's revealed that his Richard's father left her and him to "buy milk" 42 years ago and never came back. Once you think about this, this also applied to Richard due to how he's raised into what he is today as "The Authority" showed.
While more heavily emphasize on the "Jerkass" part, Mr. Robinson can be this. He just want to be left alone but Gumball and Darwin continuously invade his personal space (even if they're well-meaning), suffered a heart attack and the fact that he is married and genuinely loves Margaret, someone who is stated to be in "The Wicked" to be completely evil.
Moe: Penny is very adorable, and becomes even more so as a shapeshifting fairy.
Or how about Darwin? His innocent, childlike behavior can make him this.
Really, most of the female characters come across as this in some way or another. Special mention going to Anais.
Moral Event Horizon: In "The Wicked", we see Margaret Robinson in her major role committing evil acts against Elmore citizens but Darwin believed there was good in her. Her worst act? Darwin gets actually choked by a toy car from an Easter Chocolate Egg when he pretending to eat it and choke as part of her Secret Test of Character. Not only Margaret went in her house while ignoring Darwin being choked to death who wanted her to help him instead of Gumball who really wants to save him, she even smiled and waved goodbye to Darwin while looking at him in the eyes and closing the door on him! Thankfully Gumball saved him and Darwin unfortunately accepts that she is truly evil.
Rob (Dr. Wrecker) as of "The Bus" he tricked Principal Brown, Richard, Dexter, and Harold into setting up a hijacking plot under the pretense of it being a lesson in skipping school, which wouldn't be so bad, except an actual bomb suitcase and real money were also involved. Meaning he would show no remorse in blowing up everyone on board including his own classmates! Then in "The Disaster", Rob uses the universal remote he bought from the van to ruin Gumball's life after he uses the remote to erase the Van Shopkeeper out of existence! He ruins Gumball and Darwin's friendship, their parents' marriage, leaving Anais lost and crying out of her family being broken, and then making Penny's heart break happen before manipulating Gumball to push her off the second floor and make her fall to her likely death while she's crying! He pauses before Penny hit the floor and rubs it to his face. Rob didn't care if anyone gets hurt, he only wanted revenge.
In "The Knights", Gumball tries to get Penny's father to like him by cleaning the sweat from under his arms while he is jogging, and after he tells him to quit, Gumball then washes his mouth with the same rag. Ew.
Periphery Demographic: According to the video "107 Facts About ''The Amazing World of Gumball'' You Should Know", Daniel Lennard (the executive producer of Cartoon Network's UK channel) described this show as "the ultimate boys' cartoon," due to its focus on Gumball and Darwin and some of the crude, risqué humor. However, a cursory look in online forums and in animation magazine articles will show that this series has fans in the form of families who watch the show with their kids (both male and female), art and animation school students/fans who cite its Medium Blending art style as the main reason to watch, and the usual demographic of 20-somethings who like the show's outrageous humor.
"The Pest": just because the person you had a crush on doesn't feel the same way does not make it the end of the world, nor does it justify you bullying said person.
"The Blame": being addicted to video games, or anything just as addictive for that matter, is not the fault of the video games themselves, but the addicts who were unable to regulate their fixation and their parents or other responsible authorities for their complacency.
In "The Refund", Gumball and Darwin sing a song that sounds a lot like "We Are the World".
In "The Kiss", the crime fighting police drama Granny JoJo is watching has a similar theme song from CSI: Miami
Richard's song in "The Hero" has some similarity with the Malvina Reynolds song "Turn Around"; aside from the fact of the subject being both about seeing their child grow up, there's also how they sang the words "my little one".
A blatant soundalike of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" plays over the senior citizen dance sequence in "The Extras", right down to the record scratch breaks.
The song that plays in the background of "The Crew" during the chase scene between the senior citizens and Old!Gumball and Old!Darwin sounds very similar to the song "Straight Outta Compton," right down to the scratch record riff.
Margeret's song from "The Wicked" is basically "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music, if Maria were a violent sociopath without a shred of decency or empathy for anyone around her.
While the entire episode was a parody of Ghostbusters, "The Scam" features a song called "How Low Would You Go?" which sounds almost exactly like the Ghostbusters' theme song (or "I Want a New Drug" by Huey Lewis and the News).
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Overlap with It's Short, so It Sucks, the episode "The Signature" feels like a two-part episodes compressed into each other with two equally funny and even potentially emotional storyline (Richard reacts to the news that Jojo and Louie getting married and moving out of Elmore and the introduction of Richard's biological father Frankie) but the short running time means that neither of the storyline really lives up to their potential and Frankie's decision and emotional arc at the end of the episode came off as abrupt.
"The Awkwardness" could have continued where "The Hug" left off (with Darwin being the next one to endure an awkward friendship with the Hot Dog Guy and trying to escape it). Instead, the episode was a Lighter and Softer rehash of "The Hug".
Gumball's face after plastic surgery in "The Photo" is his attempt to amalgamate a bunch of perfect features, giving him a face that is more human-looking in the worse way possible. From the same episode, Alan's face in photos—that of a realistic man's face on a cartoony balloon body.
The eponymous butterfly from "The Butterfly" is another photographic human face on a cartoon animal/creature's body—and this time the face moves.
At one point in "The Safety," Darwin and several other students make this◊ horrified face that looks... rather unnerving to say the least.
Another to any time that Penny changes forms in "The Shell", "The Bros," and the brief one on "The Mirror".
The different animation (made by the same people who did Cartoon Network's summer station I Ds in 2013) in the rap sequence of "The Kids".
The POV shots in "The Law" when the Doughnut Sheriff, Gumball, and Darwin chase after Felicity when she hijacks the ice cream truck and goes on her insane drive to the police station. They're so chaotic, awesome and somewhat realistic.
The chase scene in "The Password" is basically the same as the one from "The Ape" but with more insane cinematic qualities and improved animation (as "The Ape" was a season one episode and "The Password" is season three),
The times when Elmore plunges into complete chaos has amazing animation and art, as seen in "The Job" (when Richard's employment causes an event horizon), "The Pizza" (Elmore turns into an apocalyptic wasteland due to Elmore's residents becoming hostile and Larry the clerk quitting), and "The Money" (the animation devolving rapidly as the Wattersons race to do the Joyful Burger commercial)
The opening of "The Origins." It's hard to tell you were watching a episode with the bedazzling first person 3D effects (seen here).
It's debatable, but "The Signal"'s visual effects are awesome, as it probably took the people working on the show a lot of time and effort to not only make a Gumball episode look like it's being affected by satellite interruptions (to the point that a first-time viewer will think that something is wrong with their TV reception), but try and make a narrative out of it.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: As mentioned above, this show has dealt with corrupt businesses, parental abandonment, discrimination, police brutality, crime, street harassment, and other subject matter that would be more at home on an adult show (animated or otherwise), but puts a child-like spin on it, making it all the more outrageous, thanks to Cartoon Network's censors being permissive at best and incompetent at worst. To top it off, it's one of the few post-2010 Cartoon Network shows to carry a TV-Y7 on American TV while similar shows like Adventure Time, Regular Show, and even Clarence are rated TV-PGnote (in fairness, the show in its native UK carries a PG certificate on the DVD releases for all the things that net it a TV-Y7, from comic slapstick and suggestive humor to scenes of Nightmare Fuel and Black Comedy), further casting doubt on whether or not the show is strictly for kids.
What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The entire show can get into some majorly trippy moments, but special mention goes to the opening that only aired once in America and has since been truncatednote Overseas viewers either can see the opening in its entirety or have a specially-made opening. The ones from Japan and India are just as trippy as the original version that aired in the UK and can only be seen on Hulu Plus in America. It should be noted that the reason why the show looks the way it does isn't because of drugs. It's because Ben Bocquelet wanted to do a show with different cartoon character styles and was inspired by European modern art, graphic disunity, and when he took the mascots he created (made from different animation styles: stop-motion, 2D, Animesque, 3D, claymation, live-action, etc) for advertisements and Photoshopped them on a realistic photograph of a school.
Both Gumball and Darwin at times. It's difficult to watch The Misunderstandings without feeling sorry for Gumball just wanting to have a normal day or, in the case of Darwin, episodes like "The Origins, Part Two" or "The Burden" and "The Bros" without feeling sorry for Darwin fearing that Gumball and the other Wattersons will abandon him.
Teri, given her Butt Monkey status, and her (sometimes extreme) mysophobia and hypochondria. She's even victim of bullying or the butt of jokes by her hypochondriac condition (mostly by the school nurse). She is a very friendly and nice girl, though.
Penny was definitely this in "The Shell". Up to Eleven in "The Romantic" where she gets subjected to the kind of harm Gumball tends to get himself into because of an emoji and at the end of "The Misunderstandings" when Gumball misinterprets her choking on a burger as a sign that she wants to cut the date short (even though it was supposed to be the punchline to the joke about how everyone — including Gumball — misunderstands others, some Penball shippers were up in arms over that ending and took it as a sign that the two may break up in a later episode while others thought it was funny because they are a couple with flaws). In "The Disaster" however, Rob uses his universal remote make her think Gumball is cheating on Sarah and then had her own boyfriend push her off the second floor likely to her doom while her heart was broken! That last part was NOT played for laughs!
Larry the rock-head clerk, as seen in the episodes "The Finale" (who says he has to take multiple jobs to pay off the damages done by the Wattersons) and "The Pizza" (who is so sick of getting stiffed out of a tip that he quits, which brings about the end of civilization).