Over the Hedge is a newspaper comic created, written, and drawn by Michael Fry and T. Lewis. It follows the adventure of three woodland animals: a turtle named Verne, a raccoon, RJ, and Hammy, a squirrel. The animals have to deal with their home being turned into suburbs. The strip focuses on their problems of dealing with the increasing amounts of humans as well as the enticing technologies they bring with them.
In 2006, an animated film based on the comic was released by DreamWorks Animation. The plot of the movie involves RJ and the others as they first find out about the neighborhood that has been constructed in their home.
Over the Hedge comics contains examples of:
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From when RJ upset the balance of nature by making Verne popular, and then the Nature Police showed up:Nature Police: You're under arrest.
RJ: What for?
Nature Police: Tampering with a loser, humiliation without a license... and jaywalking.
RJ: Jaywalking!? I was Edgar Allen Poe for Halloween... he was my pet raven!
- Art Evolution: The art was more scratchy in the first few years of the strip before taking on a somewhat smoother inking style. Also, the characters' shapes have gradually morphed (most notably RJ, whose head used to be rounder as opposed to a more realistic raccoon-like face; Verne's nose has also gotten much bigger).
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Hammy, among other animals.
- Bathroom Control: RJ, Verne, and Hammy think that a missile is going to blow up the forest, so they decide to spend their last half hour hugging each other. Hammy then kills the mood by announcing that he has to pee. The other two yell at him to hold it.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Butterflies carry Verne into the exosphere with no trouble.
- Bigger on the Inside: In one strip RJ says that he knows Verne has "one of those cartoon shells that's bigger on the inside". It apparently has a solarium and an ice rink, complete with Zamboni.RJ: Verne, you've been holding out on us. Your air-conditioned shell is a mansion!
Verne: Actually... more of an abbey.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Usually done by Hammy, but sometimes the other characters partake as well.
- Butt-Monkey: Verne. Given the sheer extent of his mistreatment, he might have graduated (been downgraded?) to The Chew Toy.
- Calvinball: One arc had RJ playing "Rolf", his own version of golf with no set rules. Among other things, this involves throwing the ball with a slingshot, or calling 50 mulligans in one round.
- Character Blog: Hammy has a Twitter account.
- Chromosome Casting: Wasn't always the case, but all recurring female characters have been gone for years. Apparently, the cartoonists didn't know how to be funny with them.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
- Verne's nephew, Plushie (or Plushy; Fry and Lewis could never make up their minds).
- In some early strips, RJ has a crush on a dog named Dotty.
- Velma and Luby, a female turtle and raccoon who are Distaff Counterparts to Verne and RJ.
- Additionally, Fred the Wood Tick was shaping up to be a part of the main cast in early strips.
- Some early strips have a beaver named Howard and a paranoid mole named Carl.
- Divergent Character Evolution: Over time, RJ and Verne grow to be less similar.
- Dumb Is Good: In an arc when Hammy turned smart, Verne deliberately convinced him that he'd be happier dumb.
- Fat Idiot: Most of the suburbanites in the comic are obese and easily outsmarted by the animals.
- The humans in general. In early years, we usually see or hear from ordinary people. The animals even befriend a little one. Now we're left with grotesque caricatures of couch potatoes who are completely identical to each other.
- Verne may used to be just as much into decadence as RJ is.
- For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: A common practice among the animals, seeing as the humans mistake them for kids in costume. In one year, RJ and Verne went as the movie versions of themselves, though RJ had to ask what Verne was supposed to be and Verne replied, "I dunno, some sort of iguana thingy."
- Genius Ditz: Hammy becomes brilliant when he takes Ritalin.
- Gift Shake: Verne, anxious to know what RJ got him, shakes his present and concludes it's not alive. RJ passes by and adds "Anymore..."
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: In one strip in 2000, RJ wanted to settle down, and one of Verne's suggestions was that he 'could find a life partner'; RJ asked, "Isn't that you?" Verne responded, "NO! I mean, NOOOOO...at least I don't think...NOOOOO!"
- High on Catnip: In one arc Verne gets addicted to catnip mice, RJ tries to cure him by shoving his head in a frozen turkey.
- Hummer Dinger: One strip that wound up being adapted into the movie was RJ introducing Hammy to an SUV. Hammy asked how many humans can fit in it; RJ replied "One." (In the movie, the line was changed to "Usually?... one.")
- I Am Not Weasel: There is a Running Gag of Verne getting identified as an "iguana-thingy." He even mistook his movie counterpart for one.
- Inherently Funny Words: The number of "spleen"s in the strip is off the charts.
- No Fourth Wall: In the 30 April 2016 strip, RJ solves a problem by editing the online character descriptions to give Hammy a superpower.
- No Mouth: RJ, except for a few early strips which had him yelling. He's even stuck his tongue out with no mouth visible around it.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: The female turtles in an August 2011 arc involving Verne becoming popular have them.
- Oh, No... Not Again!: This strip.
- Removable Shell: Verne's shell often comes off as part of a gag. He's sometimes shown wearing a thong underneath.
- Rule of Funny: Lampshaded here, where Verne finds himself suddenly wearing high heels for a gag and complains that this goes against his contract's no-drag clause; RJ responds that the "anything for a gag" clause overrides everything else.
- The January 29, 2012, strip has the TARDIS visiting Verne.
- The unicorn in this strip looks an awful lot like the original "My Pretty Pony"◊, the predecessor to My Little Pony.
- Rigby appears on a TV in one strip.
- Denny Crane appears in this strip via a reproduced photo of William Shatner.
- In one Christmas story arc, RJ tells the story of a squirrel who gets turned into a nutcracker. For extra points, the nutcracker squirrel is found by a girl named Clara.
- Status Quo Is God: Invoked in the aforementioned Verne becoming popular arc. See the trope page for more detail.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A story arc in which Sammy Squirrel's mirror world counterpart Hammy ended up in the same world as them ended with Hammy sticking around and Sammy getting sent away. This seems to have been completely forgotten about as strips referencing the past imply that RJ and Verne's squirrel friend has been Hammy the whole time.
- Before Sammy showed up, the character was Hammy, but he became roadkill early in the strip's run. One might assume the mirror-world Hammy was the actual Hammy from an alternate universe where Hammy never died and, thus, Sammy had never shown up.
- Swallowed Whole: A dog does this to Verne in one arc, eventually puking him out.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Luby and Velma both have long eyelashes and a bow.
- Wise Tree: The Tree That Knows Stuff is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, the animals often come to him for advice.