YMMV: The Spectacular Spider-Man

  • Accidental Aesop: Every time the show hands us a lesson about responsibility and the right thing in conjunction with Peter's keeping his identity secret, it ends up telling us that secret identities are a stupid idea and nothing good can ever come of them. Which is more or less true, if largely inapplicable to our daily lives.
    • Then again, it never said it was talking about identities specifically when it comes to keeping secrets.
    • When Spider-Man's identity was outed by Venom and the news were commenting if it was true or not, we get a sinister shot of the many criminals he put away. While they express their doubt, they do say that they have plans if it's true...
    • Well, at the end of Identity Crisis, George Stacy talks to Peter about how Spider-man's secret identity isn't done to hide anything, but to protect the ones he cares about. Note that the rest of the series shows that George Stacy knows Peter is Spidey.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Like in the comics, how much of Eddie's actions as Venom were his own or of the influence of the symbiote?
    • Word of God is that it is meant to be intentional whether or not Globulin Green really did drive Norman Osborn insane.
    • Does Walter Hardy know Spider-Man is Peter Parker, nephew of the man he shot? Is that why he knew Spidey made it clear he wouldn't forgive him?
  • Broken Base: The art style is a point of debate, as is the presence and/or lack of certain characters, and how they're portrayed. Then there's the New show...
    • Some people were divided on the various Race Lift on the show. Though most enjoyed the diverse cast.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: For the first time in his life, Doctor Octopus.
    • Some have also given this treatment to Eddie Brock/Venom.
  • Ear Worm: Just try and get the Spectacular Spider-Man song out of your head. We will wait. It even had this effect on Ox, in universe!
    What? It's catchy.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: J. Jonah Jameson. Daran Norris nails it making Peter's ill-tempered boss hilarious.
  • Foe Yay: The entire Symbiote arc. Venom—or more accurately, the symbiote itself—acts as a spurned ex/stalker towards Peter Parker. Eddie Brock doesn't seem to have much issue with this either, judging by all of those unsettling leers aimed at the web-head. Of course that could just be the symbiote's influence, but it's certainly there regardless.
    • The symbiote doesn't seem to have any problem going on about how much it just wants to be with Spider-Man. Spidey even refers to himself (albeit somewhat ironically) as its "first love" at the end of "Nature vs Nurture". Venom seems to hate Spider-Man just as much as it wants him back/to itself.
    • Norman Osborn's obsession with Peter Parker already borders into Ho Yay territory (not that Peter helps matters, Normie-kins indeed...), but Spider-man and the Green Goblin?
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Combined with Rewatch Bonus, after the twist in "First Steps" comes in that Eddie's been fooling Peter all along to trick him into revealing where the symbiote is, pause the screen anytime "Venom" appears for a bit second. It turns out it really is Eddie in his makeshift Venom costume the entire time.
  • Friendly Fandoms: The fandom gets along really well with the Gargoyles fandom because they both share Greg Weisman as a creator. To the point that Greg Weisman himself wrote a non-canon crossover that was performed at the Gathering of the Gargoyles con. There is also the gigantic crossover roleplay The Spectacular Gargoyles.
  • Growing the Beard: The first five episodes are entertaining however episode six abandoned the usual 'two fight' format, going for one big fight with The Rhino instead, and then introduced Tombstone.
    • Season two also introduced much more complicated, long-running plot threads and twists, and generally amped up the quality of the fight scenes, which were already arguably amongst the best of Western Animation as is.
  • Ham and Cheese: Mysterio, who milks his sorcerer shtick for all its worth. As Tinkerer mutters, "Actors"
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Remember the Lizard's failed attempt to eat his own son in his one appearance? Becomes a lot more disturbing when you remember that the comics would have him succeed in doing that a few years later.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • This little piece from "Nature vs Nurture" is even funnier now, considering who the current Venom in the Comics is.
    Spidey: At least Flash isn't evil. Or at least he isn't possessed by an evil symbiote. Well, as far as I know...
  • HSQ: The final episode.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Tombstone, Dr. Octopus, and Norman Osborn. Their schemes run rings around every other character in the show. Ock is to the point that his in-universe title is the Master Planner, and Spidey spends a fair few episodes just trying to find out who the heck the Master Planner even is!
  • Magnum Opus: Considered by many to easily be the best Spider-Man cartoon ever, and for some it even rivals Gargoyles for Greg Weisman's best cartoon.
  • Moe: Gwen is so very, very moe.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Norman framing Harry solidifies him as an amoral bastard. But injuring Harry's leg to do it demonstrates a casual cruelty and cowardice that erases any hint of redemption. Though manipulating Mark Allan was also up there.
    • Jonah's behaviour in "Identity Crisis" is pretty despicable, taking the utmost joy in the possibility that his teenaged photographer is Spider-Man, fully knowing people would want to KILL HIM and anyone he knows if his identity is revealed.
    • Indeed, Venom crosses it by revealing Spider-Man's identity in the first place knowing that he and his loved ones will be threatened.
  • Narm: Eddie Brock, post-Venom, in his moments without the symbiote.
    Eddie: It only loves me for the hate!
  • Older Than They Think: Many who are aware of the symbiote since the 90's animated series probably didn't know that in its original comic book appearance, it was able to take over Peter's body in his sleep.
  • Painful Rhyme: Though at least Spidey seems to be aware of it:
    Twas the night before Halloween, and all through Manhattan,
    Not a creature was stirring, not even Green Gob...lin.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Eddie Brock uses this to make Peter reveal the location of the symbiote, allowing him to become Venom once more.
  • Periphery Demographic: Many of the show's fans appear to be adults. This is most likely because Greg Weisman was working on it, who has many fans that were children when Gargoyles came out and by the time Spectacular was created they have grown up. The topnotch writing and fight scenes don't hurt either.
  • Rewatch Bonus: After Peter gets the symbiote, it starts speaking to him (in his head). You won't realize this until Pete does.
  • The Scrappy: Good luck trying to find someone who's watched the show and doesn't find Sally annoying.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Doc Ock should really think about kicking Electro out of the Sinister Six...
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: When John Jameson has difficulty in space and all of Earth is transfixed by it, Randy Robertson is particularly worried and says that John is "like an older brother to him". Given that their fathers (J. Jonah Jameson and Robbie Robertson) work closely together, this relationship makes perfect sense. However, nothing more of it is ever seen or spoken of, even after John is driven insane. It seems like in juggling the Loads and Loads of Characters in this show, the ball was dropped on Randy.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Peter and Gwen in the Love Square between them, Liz Allan and Harry Osborn. See the What an Idiot entry below for more details.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: Gwen Stacy. It's true that she looks closer to her comic book portrayal like that, but many of her fans prefer her ridiculously adorable look with the glasses any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
  • What an Idiot: Peter Parker, during his relationship with Liz Allan. He doesn't even attempt to hide that he has feelings for Gwen (or doesn't even realize he shouldn't be making it that obvious) even when right in front of Liz.
    • Also, his attitude towards Dr. Connor; when Connor became the Lizard, he took picture of himself fighting Lizard, making it look like he (as Peter) had been hiding and choosing to do his photograph job over helping Connor. Now, this could be forgivable as a one-time mistake, but he does it again in Persona, when he takes pictures of his fight with Black Cat over the symbiote, making it look again like he couldn't even bother to call the police. Even worst, Brock actually told him he couldn't take pictures right before precisely because of the trust issue.
    • Not to mention he and Gwen deciding to break up with Liz and Harry at the end of Season 2. This coming right after Peter spent all season not showing up to his and Liz's dates (admittedly for crime-fighting), showed favoritism to Gwen over her on Valentine's Day, and Mark Allan's arrest for supervillain activities. Not to mention the fact that Harry was kidnapped by the Green Goblin and a struggling addict who had his secret outed by Flash a number of days prior.
      • In fact, they decide to get together just minutes after Harry tells them that he's spent the last several days kidnapped!
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Tinkerer's voice makes him sound like a child, when he's supposed to be an old man. It's obvious that the voice was misused, since years later, Adcox would indeed use the same voice when cast as a child.
    • Adcox is in his late fifties and that is his real voice. He'll likely still sound like that in his sixties and seventies. Why can't Tinkerer?
  • The Woobie: Gwen, Dr. Curt Connors, and Maxwell Dillon (Electro).
    • Otto Octavius was one too, but broke out of it once he became Dr. Octopus, Card-Carrying Villain par excellence.
    • Also Liz Allan at the end of the second season. The poor girl loses her brother AND her boyfriend, one right after the other!
    • The symbiote may be one, as evil and crazy it is.
    • Jerkass Woobie: Harry may have ditched his friends when he was In with the In Crowd and manipulated Gwen into staying with him, but given how his home life is and how he's treated in general, you can't blame him.
    • Many of the villains. Their origin episodes put a lot of detail into their mental breakdowns and subsequent embrace of the dark side.