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Animation / Mézga család

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What The Simpsons or the Griffins are to Americans, the Mézgas are to Hungarians.

This Hungarian animated show, produced by Pannonia Film Studio, revolves around the life of a Dysfunctional Family: Bumbling Dad Géza, his bossy wife Paula, their ditzy daugher Kriszta and genius son Aladár, along with their pets Blöki the dog and Maffia the cat. Rounding out the cast is their Deadpan Snarker neighbour Máris, and, in the first series, their 30th century descendant MZ/X.

Three series have been produced, in 1968-69, 1974 and 1978, respectively, with vastly different plotlines. In the first series, Üzenet a jövőből: A Mézga család különös kalandjai (Message from the Future: The Strange Adventures of the Mézga Family), Aladár contats MZ/X on his radio. Once an Episode, Géza and Aladár try to avoid doing the chores they get from Paula by asking help from their future relative. Hilarity Ensues. In the second series, Mézga Aladár különös kalandjai (The Strange Adventures of Aladár Mézga), Aladár builds a spaceship and visits various Planets of Hats, accompanied by Blöki. In the third and final series, Vakáción a Mézga család (The Mézgas on a Vacation), the Mézgas and Máris (as a translator, ostensibly per the invitation as "the nurse" for the kids) go to Australia to meet Paula's former fiancée, the Con Artist Pisti Huffnágel, and the family ends up on a World Tour looking for him/escaping from various circumstances. The last series notably lacks the sci-fi elements of the first two.

Created mainly for adult audiences, the show was very popular in Hungary for its witty plot and unique, surreal humour. It has been dubbed to German, Dutch, Slovakian, Czech, Italian and Romanian. A fourth series, A Mézga család és a (sz)ámítógép (The Mézgas and the Computer), got into production in 2005, but ended up in Development Hell due to financial problems.

Tropes present in all three series:

  • Animal Jingoism: Between Blöki the dog and Maffia the cat.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Aladár is a kid genius and loves tinkering with stuff and making things but one episode in season 1 sees him admit he has been expelled from school and the start of season 2 his grades were so abysmal at the end of the semester his parents grounded him for the summer.
  • Bumbling Dad: Géza is a rather incompetent and not very smart father.
  • Canine Companion: Blöki, to Aladár. Especially in the second series. Aladár, the Only Sane Man of his family, feels that the dog is the only family member who understands him, and he takes Blöki with him to his trips in outer space.
  • Child Prodigy / Teen Genius: Aladár starts as 12 in the first series, and appears to be somewhat older in the second, and is always the smartest family member capable of inventing various gadgets.
  • Continuity Snarl: A minor one regarding Máris's full name. In an early complementary book, his name is given as Márton Máris, but in the third series it's revealed to be Ottokár. These days, fans simply tend to combine both, making his full name Dr. Márton Ottokár Máris.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Neighbour Máris; almost every line he speaks is a sarcastic comment on the Mézgas' bumbling. Aladár also has his moments.
  • The Ditz: Kriszta is a not very bright teenage girl.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Géza is a Fat Idiot Bumbling Dad and a Henpecked Husband, Paula is bossy but just as foolish as her husband, Kriszta is a ditzy teenage girl while Aladár is a Teen Genius who don't really get along with each other. Even their dog and cat are fighting each other all the time.
  • Fat Idiot: Géza is a chubby man who constantly makes stupid mistakes. Paula is also overweight and not very intelligent either.
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: Maffia is a female cat, taken care of by Kriszta, whereas Blöki is a male dog, taken care of by Aladár.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Aladár is an expert in tinkering, being able to build a telecommunication device in the first series and a functioning spaceship in the second. Downplayed, but still present in the third series, where he still uses technology to solve some problems, such as freeing his family from jail by conducting electricity in the door handle as the warden opens the door.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Kriszta wears her hair like this in all three series.
  • The Ghost: Pisti Huffnágel. Beginning as a Running Gag in the first series, Paula often wishes she'd married him instead of Géza; in the third series he bets a more prominent role, as he kicks off the plot by inviting the family to Australia.
  • Henpecked Husband: Géza is often ordered around by Paula.
  • Lean and Mean: Máris, to an extent. While not exactly evil, he despises his neighbours, and he willingly betrays them in the third series.
  • Nuclear Family: The Mézgas. Dad, mum, daughter, son, dog and cat.
  • Only Sane Man: Aladár and Máris. The former is a Teen Genius who occasionally takes advantage of his gullible family, the latter is a grumpy Deadpan Snarker who often makes comments on his neighbours' idiocy. That said, both of them can grab the Idiot Ball when the plot requires it.
  • Secret-Keeper: In the first series, Géza and Aladár keep their radio connection with MZ/X secret, in the second series Aladár keeps his spaceship and outer space adventures secret from his family.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: He's more of a Jerkass than an outright villain, but Máris has very prominent cheekbones.
  • Youthful Freckles: Kriszta has them.

Tropes specific to the first series:

  • Amphibious Automobile: When Géza updates the family car with 30th century technology (with disastrous results) in one episode.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever / Big Creepy-Crawlies: In one episode Géza uses future greenhouse technology to make fruits and vegetables grow gigantic, but it makes the insects and rodents gigantic too (creating disaster, as usual).
  • Dom Com: The first series is essentially a Dom Com with sci-fi elements.
  • Domestic Appliance Disaster: Many episodes of the first series are about Geza and Aladar trying to avoid their mundane chores with household appliances from the future that are bound to go wrong.
  • Every Episode Ending: Paula saying that she should have married Pisti Huffnágel.
  • Flying Saucer: MZ/X travels in one in the last episode.
  • Genius Serum: Another future invention the family receives from MZ/X. Unfortunately, before they'd get to try it, the serum gets drank by the family cat and dog who both gain human-level intelligence.
  • Identical Grandson: In the time travel episode, the guard at the escavation site looks exactly like his executioner ancestor from the Middle Ages.
  • Language Drift: In one episode, MZ/X sends a housecleaning robot that doesn't understand 20th-century Hungarian. As always, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Mind-Control Device: Géza gets one from MZ/X in one episode when he wishes to be "in control" rather than always be ordered around by his boss, his wife, or literally anyone. As usual, he screws up big time.
  • Running Gag:
    • Every time MZ/X sends something from the future, it breaks the window of Aladár's room.
    • Paula lamenting that she married Géza instead of Pisti Huffnágel.
  • Starfish Aliens: The family gets attacked by two of these in the space picnic episode.
  • Strictly Formula: All episodes in the first series had the following plotline: Géza or one of his family members has a trivial problem; Géza asks for a device from the future to solve it; the device arrives breaking the windowpane, is activated then goes wrong and chaos ensues until it is destroyed, at which point Paula wonders why she didn't marry her teenage crush.
  • Time Dilation: In the space picnic episode, the Mézgás spend less than a day in space, but find that 50 years have passed on Earth during their absence.
  • Time Travel: In one episode, MZ/X sends the Mézgas back to the Middle Ages.
  • Weather-Control Machine: One of the episodes revolves around such a device.
  • Zeerust: The 30th century MZ/X lives in, with The Jetsons-style mushroom-shaped towers and flying vehicles.

Tropes specific to the second series:

  • Demoted to Extra: Géza, Paula and Kriszta in the second series, which stars Aladár and Blöki.
  • Frazetta Man: Aladár encounters two tribes of them when he accidentally travels 500,000 years back in time: the rowdy Pithecanthropus, and the Wicked Cultured Hooliganthropus.
  • Out of Focus: The series focuses entirely on Aladár and Blöki, with the rest of the family only making brief appearances.
  • Planet of Hats: All the planets Aladár visits in the second series are themed around something, such as one for robots where humans are slaves and tools, one underwater world, one where music reigns supreme, one structured like a crime novel...
  • Running Gag: Paula and Géza wondering what is wrong with Aladár, then deciding there can be no reason as he is in his room like a grounded kid is supposed to be.
  • Strictly Formula: All episodes in the second series start with Aladár, who is supposed to be grounded due to terrible grades, slipping off in his spaceship, arriving at a Planet of Hats, getting into a conondrum, making it home by sunrise, and his parents wondering what is so weird about the kid when he doesn't go anywhere.
  • Talking Animal: Blöki in the second series.
  • Time Travel: In one episode, instead of visiting an alien world, Aladár accidentally travels back 500,000 years, to the stone age.

Tropes specific to the third series:

  • Animal Disguise: The Mézgas and Máris disguise themselves as seals and penguins to hide in a menagerie captured by a group of poachers on Antarctica.
  • Bilingual Bonus: A lot of comedy comes from the Mézgas not speaking any foreign languages and mistaking English and French words for similar Hungarian ones.
  • Broken Pedestal: Paula really grows to hate Huffnágel Pisti after all they go through (being stuck sleeping in huge pipes in Australia is only the first of their ordeals) due to his invitation. In the last episode, upon learning that Pisti stole all of their worldly possessions while they were away, she prays to God to help her forget even his name.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Despite being a major character in the second series, Blöki does not appear in the third. (In fact, he even said goodbye to viewers in the last episode of series 2.)
  • Cub Cues Protective Parent: In the jungles of Africa, as Géza tries to cut his way through the vegetation, he knocks a baby gorilla off a tree. The baby's father, then his entire troop, shows up and attacks the Mézgas, forcing them to hide in their car.
  • Dirty Cop: The police chief the Mézgas encounter in South America is also a mob boss.
  • Downer Ending: Upon returning to their home in Hungary, the Mézgas learn that Pisti Huffnágel moved into their apartment while they were away, and stole all of their possessions apart from a few dirty matresses.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Máris's first name is only revealed in the final episode of the third series. It is Ottokár.
  • Every Episode Ending: All episodes end with Paula saying a short prayer.
  • Evil Cripple: Bill, the American gangster, is a hunchback.
  • Evil Old Folks: Again, Bill the hunchbacked mobster is an elderly man with balding grey hair.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Máris switches between being the Mézgas' reluctant ally and an outright antagonist in each episode.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: When Máris tells the South American mob boss that he wants to join his mob, he tests his loyalty by giving him a loaded gun to shoot the Mézgas. Despite how much he hates the Mézgas, he's unable to do it.
  • Killer Gorilla:
    • In the opening credits, a large gorilla swings on a vine and snatches Kriszta.
    • Bill, the American mobster, has a pet gorilla named Chris in a cage; he threatens one of his henchmen with locking him in the ape's cage.
    • In the jungles of Africa, the Mézgas get stuck in a car when they get surrounded by a whole troop of hostile gorillas who are trying to protect their baby from Géza.
  • Mighty Whitey: Géza hopes that the Pacific natives will treat him like their superior. They don't.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Kriszta is redesigned in the third series so that she looks slightly older and more curvy, and she spends a considerable amount of the series in swimsuits. It's a vacation after all.
  • National Geographic Nudity: The Pacific natives wear little clothing; notably, almost all women are visibly bare-breasted.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: The despot of a Pacific island assumes Máris is a medical doctor after he introduces himself as Dr. Máris. When he explains he's an archeologist, the despot still believes that's a specialized field in medicine.
  • Previously on…: In the third series, each episode starts with a narrator telling a short, rhyming recap of what happened so far.
  • Scarecrow Solution: On a tropical island, Máris and the Mézgas use a few skulls left behind by a Cannibal Tribe to act like ghosts and scare away who they believe are hostile natives. It works perfectly, except, unfortunately for them, the people whom they scare away are two sailors who came to rescue them.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: In the third series the Mézgas leave Hungary and travel around the world.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The opening theme is an upbeat song (modifying the standard tune a bit) about how wonderful it is to travel around the world. It's accompanied by the Mézga family struggling through various landscapes against unpleasant weather and hostile animals.
  • Television Serial: Unlike the first two series that have rather formulatic, self-contained episodes, the third series has a serialized narrative.
  • World Tour: The third series, in which the Mézgas travel to Australia to meet Paula's acquaintance and old flame, Pisti Huffnágel, and end up traveling from place to place until they get back to Hungary.

Alternative Title(s): Mezga Family