Other denizens include Hawthorne, an easily-angered hermit crab who used to wear a beer can but now goes au naturel, and Ernest, a bespectacled teenage fish who is also a computer geek. Up on shore, there's a polar bear named Thornton who hibernates down on the beach. They are ruled over by a deific Moai statue named Kahuna, who occasionally transforms the characters into other things.
Human characters include Captain Quigley, who has it out for Sherman, and an assortment of "hairless beach apes" who often get eaten by Sherman or pinched by Hawthorne.
Unusually for a comic strip, Toomey (with the exception of most Sunday strips) eschews the typical gag-a-day format and prefers longer story-arcs that last at least a week.
This comic shows examples of:
- Animal Nemesis: A recurring character is the fisherman Captain Quigley, whose leg was eaten by Sherman. He has a Captain Ahab level of determination to catch Sherman.
- Badass Boast: While running against Fillmore in the election for mayor of the lagoon, Hawthorne snaps that he eats "punks like you" for breakfast. Fillmore's response is, "Yeah? WELL, I EAT SPECIAL K!"Sherman: Memo: Work on snappy comebacks.
- Bank Toaster: In one strip, an octopus is seen thinking about the various options and account choices banks provide, ending his inner monologue with the remark that getting a free toaster used to be so much easier.
- Beary Funny: All Thornton ever does is sleep and lounge on the beach while drinking martinis.
- Sherman and Ernest also meet a friendly grizzly bear named Gary while in Alaska. He owns an outhouse, which according to Sherman answers that old question.
- There's also Shawn Mao, a panda bear friend of Thornton's who Hawthorne meets in China.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: One strip has Sherman wishing that they lived in a snowy place, where they could all have a fun snowball fight. Hawthorne then throws a rock painted white at him.
Sherman: Wish granted.Hawthorne: When making a wish, be more specific.Sherman: Noted.
- This strip has a fish wishing that he could fly. He is promptly snatched up by a large bird. After a Beat panel, Sherman and Hawthorne have this to say...
- Big Eater: Sherman.Fillmore: You would enjoy pain if it were edible!
- Bland-Name Product: Usually averted, but in one strip, Sherman goes to the Horizon store - a clear parody of Verizon and its stores - to get his smartphone fixed.
- Body Horror: Always Played for Laughs.
- Occurs when Sherman finds a cursed necklace and gives it to Megan. Sherman gains Ted Koppel hair and Megan gains a cow's head and tail.
- One storyline reveals that Sherman's family has a recessive flounder gene, which results in Herman's eyes briefly shifting to one side of his head. Fortunately, eventually he returns to normal... well, aside from the sudden appearance of a lizard tail.
- During a storyline in which a flock of sheep arrives on the island on a cargo ship, Sherman eats so many sheep that he starts developing wool - and bleating, too, by the way.
- One storyline has Sherman giving Megan ANOTHER cursed necklace, resulting in (among other things) Hawthorne's head turning into that of one of the Olsen Twins. An alien also pops out of Sherman's stomach, but that's not part of the curse - that's just what happens when Megan's potato salad goes bad.
- When you drink Hawthorne's soda "Crab Cola", you gain a tail.
- Bound and Gagged: Sherman and Fillmore do this to Hawthorne in order to make him go to anger management therapy.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The characters are well aware that they are in a comic strip and sometime refer to the passage of time in numbers of panels.
Sherman: Shhhh! They're right there.
- Once, Sherman tries to tag along on a trip Hawthorne is taking because "the readers expect it." Hawthorne replies, "The READERS? What have they ever done for ME?"
Sherman: Really? And you can just swim inside them?Ernest: How else are we going to start some silly adventure?Sherman: Sometimes I question if your heart is in this strip.Ernest: Profit-sharing would help.
- Sherman also once referred to himself as a cartoon character, specifically "A roly-poly cartoon shark suitable for plush toys!"
- Sherman was once put back on hold by a customer service hotline because although he'd been waiting for days worth of strips, he'd only been waiting for a few hours of story time.
- One strip has Ernest telling Sherman that he wants to go to the North Pole. Sherman protests, as it's A) cold up there and B) a long swim, then says, "Can't we just all wear parkas and SAY we're in the North Pole? This is a comic strip."
- In one strip, while Sherman and Ernest are in Hawaii, Ernest informs Sherman that nearby there is an abundance of sunken ships. Then we get this exchange:
Fillmore: But how can there be snow?Hawthorne: You need to believe in the magic of comic strips.Fillmore: Is a hermit crab with no shell part of the magic?Hawthorne: The BEST part.
- One storyline begins with Ernest telling Sherman that someone on the internet claims to have spotted Triton. Sherman's response is, "The mythological Greek god? Son of Poseidon and Amphitrite?" When Ernest asks him how he knew that so fast, Sherman replies, "It speeds the story along."
- And after Sherman and Ernest pay Triton a visit, Sherman tells Fillmore that the Greek gods are real and that he saw one. Fillmore then says, "You did? Right here in this comic strip?", to which Sherman says, "Are you mocking me? Don't mock me."
- When the characters go to the Gulf of Mexico to help clean up the oil spill, Fillmore informs the others that if you're a cartoon character, you can just click your heels and be there. Then Sherman, Megan and Fillmore notice that they don't have heels. Fillmore says, "Better start swimming."
- Here, Hawthorne is the captain of the characters' paintball platoon. After giving his teammates a pep-talk, Sherman asks when Hawthorne became the captain. Hawthorne's response is, "Panel One. Pay attention."
- After Hawthorne is arrested, Fillmore suggests that they break him out. Sherman then says, "But wouldn't they just come here and arrest him again?" Fillmore's response is, "It doesn't work that way." To which Sherman responds, "In general, or just in comics?"
- This strip has Ernest about to tell Sherman that he thinks they should go to Heracleion. Ernest asks, "Have I become that predictable at such a young age?" Sherman's response is, "No. I get these scripts in advance."
- "Has anybody checked whether this comic strip is Y2K compliant?"
- In one strip, after he and Sherman blow up the secret submarine base of a teenage girl selling pirated CDs, Ernest turns to the fourth wall and says, "And no fictional humans were harmed in the making of this strip."
- One storyline has the lagoon get invited to the Underwater Winter Olympics. Hawthorne explains to Fillmore that they take place on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge - the longest mountain range in the world, and it just happens to be underwater. Then we get this exchange:
Herman: Dad, we're running out of panels.Sherman: This is going to run into tomorrow's comic strip.note
- One strip has Sherman's son Herman asking him for help with a math problem. Sherman agrees, and then we get two Beat panels of Sherman attempting to figure out the problem.
Fillmore: Cartoonists are, in a sense, powerful.Sherman: (not convinced) Yeah, sure.Fillmore: If you anger them, they can do things... like turn you into an enormous bratwurst.Sherman: (now an enormous bratwurst) Yeah, sure.
- After Sherman talks smack about cartoonists, Fillmore informs him that drawing a comic strip has its unique perks. For example, they have complete control over an imaginary world.
Hawthorne: You got winded just going from the second panel to the third panel!Sherman: THEY'VE WIDENED THEM!
- This strip has Sherman commenting that the cartoonist on the beach that he was criticizing before doesn't take shortcuts, unlike "some cartoonists we know." He doesn't even bother drawing their lower halves, which Sherman reveals.
- Sherman asks if he can be in Hawthorne's animated movie. Hawthorne replies that it's an ANIMATED movie. To which Sherman responds, "But I'm already a comic strip character."
- In this strip, Hawthorne claims that Sherman is out of shape. Sherman denies it.
(the fourth panel reveals that Hawthorne has opened up a business called "LOANS, PERMITS AND ALL THAT")Fillmore: (dryly) Of course.Hawthorne: NEXT!
- Here, Fillmore tells Hawthorne that he wants to open a restaurant, then asks how he's going to secure a loan, get permits and all that. Hawthorne's response? "Follow me to the next panel."
Ernest: Good point.
- Hawthorne and Ernest find a "deepflight personal submarine". Hawthorne suggests that they take it for a spin, to which Ernest replies, "You don't think it has a high-tech security system?" Hawthorne's response is, "Not in a comic strip."
Sherman: (facing the fourth wall) Snot... snot... snot.Fillmore: Now you're just being a jerk.
- Fillmore asks Hawthorne if he reads his blog. Hawthorne replies by stalling until they run out of panels.
- After he and Thornton hijack an iceberg, Sherman comments that he feels like he's in "some big Hollywood adventure movie." Thornton says that it feels more like a comic strip to him.
- Fillmore insists that they refer to snot as "mucus" because it sounds better, then points out that people eat breakfast while reading the comics.
- Broken Record: In one strip, Hawthorne is acting as Sherman's therapist. For three panels, he just says "And why do you think that is?" in response to everything Sherman says. In the fourth panel...Hawthorne: (in a bar) A tape recorder and a stuffed crab! And I'm making $80 an hour right now!
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Hawthorne tells Fillmore and Sherman that he just got a date with a fire-breathing contortionist, Fillmore asks if the circus is in town. Sherman says that it is, but that's just Hawthorne's regular Friday.
- Butt-Monkey: Fillmore.
- The Cameo:
- Flipper and Charlie the Tuna of Sunkist fame have shown up a few times.
- While in Yellowstone, Sherman and Ernest encounter Yogi Bear.
- One storyline has cereal mascots such as Count Chocula, Cap'n Crunch, and the Trix Rabbit visiting the lagoon.
- A similar storyline has the beach being visited by characters from animated Nickelodeon shows such as Po the Panda and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- Carnivore Confusion: Averted, big time. Sherman and Megan have no qualms eating other talking fish. They don't eat friends, but that's not to say they haven't been tempted...
- Casanova Wannabe: Fillmore and Hawthorne, although Hawthorne is more than happy to give Fillmore a hard time about it.
- The Cracker: Ernest uses his computer skills to launch a Mars rover, steal underwear from Baby Gap, and start an 86-minute war between Vermont and Canada.
- Captain Ersatz: After finding out about Barney, Hawthorne creates a character called "Barnacle the Purple Anthropod" with the intention of having him star in a series of videos. He winds up getting sued by Barney.
- Coincidental Broadcast: One strip has Sherman and Hawthorne watching TV. The announcer asks a bunch of questions that apply to Sherman... then, as Sherman is picking his nose, asks, "Is your finger inching its way toward your nostril?"Sherman: Man, this guy is good.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In the beginning, there was a seahorse character named Broderick. Now...there isn't. Another example is Jean-Claude the pirate ghost.
- Delivery Stork: Discussed when Sherman and Megan find a baby on their doorstep.Sherman: Maybe the stork paid us a visit.Megan: Storks don't bring baby fish. Storks EAT baby fish.Sherman: Maybe he forgot his lunch.
- Disguised in Drag: As part of a plan to have Sherman eat the dictator of Cubalibre and free its oppressed people, Hawthorne has Fillmore do this to distract the bodyguards.Hawthorne: It worked in the Bugs Bunny cartoon.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Apparently, Hawthorne once strangled Fillmore for dropping a fly ball during a softball game.
- Dogs Are Dumb: Rusty, a dog in Oklahoma that Ernest talks to via ham radio.Ernest: If you're a dog, what's three plus four?Rusty: Thirteen.Ernest: (to Sherman) It's a dog, all right.Sherman: I've heard they're smart like that.
- Easily Forgiven: One series of strips has Hawthorne making a deal with Captain Quigley to help him capture Sherman for a thousand dollars. After his efforts fail, he comes clean to Sherman, who's understandably pretty angry at him. Then Hawthorne offers him a Twinkie and Sherman forgives him immediately.
- Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: Kahuna.
- Epic Fail:
Fillmore: It's the size of a towelette! WHY WOULD I HAVE A SCARF THIS SIZE? IT'S ABSURD!Sherman: GOT ME! WHY DO YOUR T-SHIRTS SAY "LADIES MAN" ON THEM? THAT'S ABSURDER!Fillmore: THAT'S NOT A WORD!
- Sherman's attempt at making Shake and Bake. He just baked the package (well, he shook it first).
- Ernest's attempt at making a hair creme to help get rid of Thornton's "Hibernation Hair" results in Thornton getting a bald spot.
- Megan's attempt to make a souffle.
- When Sherman and Hawthorne attempt to dry-clean Fillmore's scarf, they wind up shrinking it. Fillmore's reaction is this...
- Megan's attempts at making children's clothing.
- The story arc about Hawthorne becoming a handyman is full of these. The handcrafted entertainment center that he builds for Sherman falls apart, for one thing.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: One storyline has Sherman having Kahuna turn him into a monkey so that he can spend some time among the monkeys that live on the island. The monkeys, as it turns out, are planning a revolt against the humans running the island, but Hawthorne saves the day by distracting them with a Curious George film festival.
- Everything's Better with Penguins: When Sherman and Ernest go to the South Pole, they encounter penguins. One of them attempts to fly... and ends up injuring himself.
- Evil Laugh: Hawthorne is more of a Jerkass than a villain, but he still lets one loose every so often.
- Exact Words: When Sherman subscribes to have Hawthorne be his friend, he at one point tells Hawthorne that he needs to talk to him, only for Hawthorne to tell him that he's busy. Sherman protests that the Friendship Contact he signed says that Hawthorne HAS to, only for Hawthorne to tell him to Read the Fine Print - it says "Me or a facsimile thereof." Meaning that Sherman has to talk to Hawthorne the sock puppet.Sherman: (holding a crude sock puppet that doesn't resemble Hawthorne in the slightest aside from the fact that it has claws) I'M NOT TRAINED IN THE ARTS!
- Extreme Omnivore: Sherman has eaten hundreds of fish, hundreds of humans, lots of human food (some of it rotten), a pizza box, a chili pepper that killed 1000 vegetarian piranhas, a bomb, and even a Twinkie!
- Eye Scream: Played for Laughs in this strip. While training for the speed-reading competition, Fillmore's eyeballs fly out of their sockets.Sherman: Whoa! That can't be good.Hawthorne: DUCT TAPE!
- Fan Disservice: Fillmore without his shell on.
- Fat Idiot: Sherman is not only the biggest character in the strip, but also the dumbest.
- Faux Horrific: Megan gets bent out-of-shape when Fillmore wraps Herman in a flannel blanket.
- Five-Man Band:
- Flipper Fingers: All of the characters who have flippers or fins, most prominently Fillmore.
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: Sherman goes here after being hit with a speedboat.
- Funny Animal: Thornton.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Ernest
- One strip had Sherman and Fillmore camping (underwater). Fillmore suddenly complains about a horrible smell and blames Sherman, to which Sherman responds by saying that they're probably "sulfur eruptions." When Fillmore demands to know why Sherman thinks so, Sherman says that he read it on the can of beans he ate for dinner. Fillmore immediately decides he needs his own tent.
- In one storyline where Sherman is making a lagoon militia, Bob the Bottom Dweller tries to sign up. When asked what sort of ability he has, Bob responds with a large belch. Sherman comments "Wow! Weapons grade!"
- Get-Rich-Quick Scheme: Hawthorne attempts these near-constantly. Rarely do they ever work out.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
Fillmore: Flark U.?Hawthorne: Hey! Watch your language! This ain't cable!
- A strip in the early 2000s had Sherman say "slut".
- One story arc involves the characters being embarrassed by a mermaid who doesn't wear a top. Hawthorne even suggests taking pictures of her and putting them online.
- This strip has Sherman take up the "flark" - which is a flute made for sharks. He also got a songbook from his its school of music, which is called...
- Gilligan Cut:
Sherman: (to the waiter, with two loaves of French bread in his mouth) More bread, Pierre.(Megan does a Facepalm)
- When Hawthorne finds out that Sherman and Megan are in Paris, he worries that Sherman will be "an embarrassment to the entire lagoon". Fillmore tells him to give Sherman some credit. Meanwhile...
Sherman: A real Faux-Lex. Wow.Watch Salesman: It's the French subsidiary of Rolex.
- Similarly, when Sherman and Megan go to New York, Hawthorne worries that Sherman will get eaten alive. Fillmore tells Hawthorne that Sherman might have more street-starts than he thinks. Meanwhile, in New York...
Cat: There's a hair in my catfood.note
- After Aurora the mermaid gets caught in a fishing net, Fillmore and Sherman say that they probably released her after realizing that they'd caught a mermaid and taking a moment to admire her beauty. Then we cut to a cat staring at his catfood.
Fillmore: Not a confidence-builder.
- When Hawthorne discovers that Sherman emits krypton gas, he decides to harvest it as an energy source. To do this, he has Sherman put on a suit that he's designed. Sherman worries that he'll be a laughingstock, but Hawthorne reassures him that it'll be "First Class. Very discreet." Cut to Sherman wearing what looks like a spacesuit made out of steel with "GAS MAN" written on the front.
- When Megan and Hawthorne go to a free weekend at a time-share resort, Fillmore asks what they could possibly talk about. Sherman says that he's sure they'll find something in common. Then we cut to Megan and Hawthorne talking about how dumb Sherman is.
- After the casserole that Megan made comes to life and wanders off, Ernest questions as to where it would go. Cut to it on a date with Fillmore.
- When Fillmore gets a swollen ear, Sherman says that he knows a guy who can give him some surgery, saying "He's brilliant!" In the fourth panel, it's revealed that Sherman was talking about Hawthorne.
Hawthorne: Stick.Sherman: (holding up sticks) Pointy or leafy?
- The very next day, Hawthorne reassures Fillmore that he's got "the most state-of-the-art operating equipment available". In the fourth panel, as Hawthorne's performing the operation...
- Green Aesop: Many story arcs involve the conservation of marine life.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: One storyline has Sherman playing online chess with somebody that turns out to be Captain Quigley, much to his horror.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Parodied when Megan's necklace was stolen. She screamed about she was now naked, and the others obliged by not looking at her. Megan responded "You could at least act like you want to peek."
- Humanlike Foot Anatomy: Thornton.
- Hypocritical Humor:
Hawthorne: Whoa Nelly, look what this loser wrote.Fillmore: There's that compassion in action.
- After Hawthorne starts up an advise column, Fillmore asks what, exactly, makes him qualified to write one. Hawthorne then claims that he's a "compassionate, caring soul." In the next panel:
- In this strip, Fillmore meets one of his competitors in the speed-reading competition, who goes on about how he's a rebel and a tough guy. When Fillmore dubs him a little impolite, he immediately shouts for his mother.
- This strip has Sherman bragging that he's going to win "Underwater Fear Factor" because great white sharks have no sense of fear. Then a bee flies into the water and Sherman runs away screaming.
- When Megan starts up a new line of children's clothing, she asks Fillmore if his son Clayton can model them. Fillmore's on the fence about it, saying that he doesn't just lend Clayton out for any old job. Then Hawthorne comes over and says that he doesn't need to use Clayton as his doorstop anymore. (To which Fillmore says, "You sure?")
- One story arc does this two days in a row:
- First, Sherman claims to be ferocious. Then we cut to him wearing a dress that Megan is hemming.
- Then Thornton claims that polar bears are one of the most powerful animals on the planet. Then he struggles to open a Snickers bar and asks Fillmore to do it for him.
- This strip has Hawthorne calling Fillmore gullible for falling for a computer virus. Then he too falls for it (because it claims to be an e-mail from Jennifer Lopez).
- When Sherman tells Hawthorne that if he wins the lottery he's going to get a solid gold dorsal fin, Hawthorne dubs this idea idiotic... and in the fourth panel it's revealed that he wants to get a solid gold claw.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: This strip has Hawthorne's contractor do this to Hawthorne.Hawthorne: (understandably quite annoyed) Can you give me an answer that doesn't sound like a fortune cookie?
- Ignoring by Singing: Sherman does this while Ernest informs him that he wants to go to the North Pole.
- I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: When Sergeant Hardcase of the Internet Fish Police asks Sherman where Ernest (who he's after for downloading unauthorized music) is, Sherman refuses to tell him, then adds that he has a right to his attorney and that if Hardcase has any questions, he'll have to speak to him. Hardcase then asks where his attorney is, to which Sherman says, "Over there talking to Ernest."
- Insane Troll Logic: When Hawthorne opens a convenience store called "Haw-Mart", he makes Fillmore pay nine bucks for a pack of gum because it doesn't have sugar in it, claiming that the de-sugaring process is extremely expensive. Fillmore dubs this the dumbest thing that he has ever heard.
- In-Series Nickname: Hawthorne usually calls Sherman "Fat Boy".
- Interspecies Friendship: One of the central themes of the strip, although Megan blatantly hints that the only reason why she and Sherman haven't eaten their friends is because other options are plentiful in the lagoon.
- Interspecies Romance:
Hawthorne: Wow! Now you're getting shot down by freaks of nature. That's gotta hurt.Fillmore: (angrily) Do you mind?
- Downplayed, but Fillmore - a sea turtle - once had a date with a land tortoise.
- Fillmore is also attracted to a mermaid named Aurora, but she turns him down.
- Fillmore once gained an Abhorrent Admirer in the form of a large sea elephant.
- One strip has Vinny, an alligator from the sewers of New York, hit on Megan. She gets angry.
- A vampire squid has also flirted with Megan. She turns down his offer to let him bite her because she has a child (AND a husband, as he reminds her) and she ends up cooking him.
- One storyline has Hawthorne falling for a lobster.
- One storyline has Herman, a shark, having a crush on a squid named Sophie. Who is also the daughter of the Giant Squid who just so happens to be Sherman's arch-nemesis.
- It Amused Me: When Ernest and Hawthorne discover that sharks are attracted to heavy metal music...Hawthorne: We should find out other types of music affect sharks.Ernest: In the name of science?Hawthorne: In the name of entertaining ourselves.Ernest: Equally important.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hawthorne may be rude and self-centered, but when the chips are down, he is always there for Sherman.
- Kangaroos Represent Australia: A storyline where Hawthorne visits Australia has him meeting a kangaroo.
- Kids Prefer Boxes: One Sunday strip has Sherman give his son Herman an expensive robot toy, and goes on about how 'Santa' waited hours in line to get one. When he sees Herman playing with the box, he's understandably upset.
- Kitchen Sink Included: In a battle between Kahuna and fellow deity Apu-Ko-Hai, Apu-Ko-Hai throws a kitchen sink at Kahuna.
- Lame Pun Reaction:
Sherman: A lambadomy.Fillmore: (does a Facepalm) Why do I ask?
- After Sherman flunks Dance Class, he tells Fillmore that his teacher told him that his dancing would never improve without surgery. Fillmore asks what kind of surgery could possibly improve his ability to dance. Sherman's response?
Fillmore: So, you're...Hawthorne: I'm a hole flipper.Fillmore: (staring at the fourth wall, dryly) He said proudly.
- This strip has Hawthorne starting another venture: he's buying run-down crab holes, fixing them up, and then selling them.
- Lampshade Hanging: After Hawthorne's dry cleaning business burns to the ground, a police fish asks how an underwater business could burn to the ground. Hawthorne then asks why the need to pay for an underwater fire Marshall.
- Lazy Bum: How lazy is Thornton? When the others throw him a birthday party, he has his secretary call them to tell them that he won't be able to attend because it's too much effort.
- A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: One arc where Hawthorne gets a pair of mind-reading antennae.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Thornton the polar bear, oh so very much. Freshwater animals often pop up in the lagoon, and the characters sometimes swim in freshwater.
- My God, What Have I Done?: One series of strips has Sherman eating the president of a small island nation called Cubalibre, resulting in a tyrant seizing power. Sherman insists to Fillmore that the man can't be all bad... to which Fillmore reveals that he's converting all of their Dunkin' Donuts into fitness centers, prompting Sherman to shout, "WHAT HAVE I DONE?!"
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Sherman's attempt at speaking Spanish when he and Megan arrive in Mexico.Sherman: (to the fish at the front desk in their hotel) Hola, nachos! Muy cerveza pinata!(The fish glares angrily at him)Megan: (also pretty angry) You've managed to insult an entire culture.Sherman: Before check-in. That's a record.
Sherman: (to two Russian fish) Hello-ski! I'm Sherman-ski!Megan: You don't just add a "ski" to the end of everything to make it Russian!Russian Fish: (whispering to the other) Moronski.Megan: I stand corrected.
- This strip has Sherman and Megan arriving in Russia. Sherman mentions that he's brushed up on his Russian.
- My Little Phony: One storyline has Hawthorne, inspired by My Little Pony, create a toyline called "My Little Crabby". However, the toy company in China reads his order for 100,000 toy hermit crabs wrong, and he gets 100,000 toy hermits (complete with body order). He decides to work with it, though, and sells "My Little Hermit" dolls. Nobody buys them, so he sells them on eBay.
- Naked People Are Funny: Hawthorne frequently wanders around in the nude for the shock factor. Fillmore also occasionally takes off his shell, although he does it to get the shell cleaned or to indulge in a spa day.
- No Animals Were Harmed: After blowing up the secret submarine base of a teenage girl selling pirated CDs, Ernest turns to the fourth wall and says, "And no fictional humans were harmed in the making of this strip."Sherman: Who are you talking to?
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The beach has been visited by a rap star called "Vanilla Thighs".
- Somebody by the name of Izzy Isbourne also offered to make one of Fillmore's poems into a rock song.
- One series from 2004 has the lagoon being visited by Steve Gerwin, an obvious parody of Steve Irwin.
- Non-Mammalian Hair:
- In one strip, while watching "Shark Week"]], Sherman and Megan recognize that it's old footage because one of the sharks - their friend Jerry, apparently - has an afro. Megan even wonders how he grew that.
- When Hawthorne becomes "the Bounty Hunter", he randomly gains a mullet wig.
- After Sherman and Hawthorne trick him into using Rogaine, Fillmore gains a mullet. Then Sherman gains hair as well. And Hawthorne gains a mustache.
- Non-Indicative Name: One strip has Hawthorne pointing out that calling Sherman a "great white shark" isn't accurate - he's not white, he's gray, and according to Hawthorne he's not so great either.Hawthorne: You should be called the "so-so gray shark".
- He then goes on to mock Fillmore's species being called a "green sea turtle" and says that he should be called an "ugly brown sea turtle". Then he points out that calling him a "hermit crab" isn't very indicative either - he doesn't act like a hermit.
- Noodle Incident: One strip has Hawthorne wearing a disguise while stalking a clam. When Sherman asks why he needs the disguise, Hawthorne replies "Creditors. Whole other story."
- Nutritional Nightmare: One storyline had Megan become a celebrity chef whose dishes included things like "sugar sprinkled on a stick of butter."
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Discussed in this strip. After a string of robberies, Sherman theorizes that the jellyfish is behind it, to which Hawthorne claims that he doesn't have the intelligence to pull it off. Sherman then suggests that perhaps his lack of intelligence is just a disguise. Hawthorne doesn't believe it.Hawthorne: Sometimes I wonder if yours is a disguise.Sherman: Nope.
Sherman: I pretended that I couldn't speak English, so they asked me what language I did speak. So I said I didn't speak ANY language. Then they asked, "What language are we speaking now?" So I said "English." That's when they got suspicious.(Hawthorne does a Facepalm)Sherman: So, you see, I tried to play dumb.Hawthorne: But the REAL dumb took over.
- Another strip has Hawthorne telling Sherman to do this when the health department comes to his tattoo parlor. In the next strip, Hawthorne discovers that it's been shut down. Why? Well...
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: One series of strips has Hawthorne get pinched by a werecrab, which Sherman describes as "half-crab, half-wolf".
- Panda Ing To The Audience: In China, Hawthorne meets a panda bear friend of Thornton's named Shawn Mao.
- Paper-Thin Disguise:
Sherman: Hey, check out the tush on that turtle babe.Fillmore: It's a guy.
- One strip has Sherman don a turtle shell in order to hide from a rival shark.
- When Sergeant Hardcase of the Internet Fish Police comes after Ernest for downloading unauthorized music, Ernest then pulls the Look Behind You trick and puts on a mustache while Hardcase's back is turned. It works - not only does Hardcase complain that "the kid got away" and leave, but Sherman doesn't recognize Ernest either.
- While at a resort, Hawthorne is turned down by every female crab there. The solution? According to him, it's to put on a disguise and make a fresh start. He decides on a mustache - even though he's apparently wanted in three states when he wears it. Alas, all the women still recognize him.
- Parental Abandonment: Ernest doesn't have parents anywhere. This gets lampshaded once by Fillmore.
- Penny-Pinching Crab: Hawthorne is a greedy and unethical hermit crab who is constantly coming up with questionable schemes to make money. He also gets angry easily (irritable/crabby).
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: During the spelling competition in the Kiddie Olympics, Sherman submits the first word for Fillmore and Clayton: "BLRRRECHT".Fillmore: Can you use it in a sentence?Sherman: Your cologne smells like BLRRRECHT.
- Plot Allergy: One storyline has Sherman being told that he's allergic to meat after he eats a human and then develops a rash. As it turns out, he's not allergic to meat - he's actually allergic to polyester.
- Produce Pelting: When Fillmore does a musical performance of his poetry, Thornton throws an olive at him because it's the only vegetable he had.
- Product Placement: Real brands are mentioned rather frequently. This strip, part of a story arc about the characters appearing on Underwater MTV, pokes fun at the concept of Product Placement.Spike: Okay, guys, a big part of reality TV shows is product placement. THEY sponsor us. So mention THAT (gestures towards the can of Coca-Cola on the coffee table in front of Sherman and Megan) every now and then. Got it?Sherman: Got it.(They start filming)Sherman: Megan, I'm so glad we bought this coffee table...Spike: CUT! No, you idiot! Mention what's ON the table!Sherman: We're sponsored by dust?
Sherman: Hey, guys, how's it going?Fillmore: That's a NOSEY question.Hawthorne: Yeah. PICK another topic.Sherman: (pointing a fin at them angrily) Is that a crack at me?Hawthorne: AAUUGH! BOOGER FIN!!
- After "Shark Week" airs footage of Sherman picking his nose, Hawthorne and Fillmore engage in making puns to make fun of Sherman.
Megan: Bull shark.Sherman: I'd say.
- One strip has Ernest going on a website that sells slightly-used pets called "Fleabay".
- While in Africa, Sherman and Megan meet another shark who promptly tells them a bunch of Blatant Lies. After he swims off...
- Rhymes on a Dime: When Fillmore returns home from Poetry Camp, we get this...Sherman: Did you have fun?Fillmore: Yes.Hawthorne: Did they make you run?Fillmore: No.Sherman: Did you play in the sun?Fillmore: KNOCK IT OFF!!
- Ridiculously Long Phone Hold: There's a storyline where Sherman is on hold for days.
- Ripped from the Headlines: The strip ran a three-week story arc where the gang visits the Gulf of Mexico to aid their fellow animals in the Oil Distaster.
- Road Trip Plot: The characters often go on road trips.
- Running Gag: Sherman wearing a rainbow wig for no reason whatsoever.
- Sherman fighting the giant squid.
- Scrabble Babble: While hiding in Hawthorne's crab hole during a typhoon, Sherman and Fillmore try to get their minds off the rising tension by playing Scrabble. Fillmore puts down the word "BLSTRCHTX" - which according to him is the noise that Sherman makes when he snores.
- Seldom-Seen Species: Several obscure animals such as manatees and box jellyfish appear in the series. In fact, it has its own page.
- Serious Business: One storyline has Megan become addicted to Sudoku and treating it as such. Sherman makes the mistake of telling her that it's "just Sudoku."
- Sewer Gator: A strip had Sherman and Megan lost in New York while on vacation. They get directions from an alligator in the sewer and comment that New York gets a bad rap since the alligator was very polite.
- An earlier storyline had an alligator named Vinny from the sewers of New York visit the lagoon via a large pipe.
- Shout-Out: A pageful.
- Shown Their Work: Many facts about marine life gets thrown in. For example, in one arc Filmore deals with a box jellyfish by cooking it in a casserole and isn't poisoned upon eating it since sea turtles are natural predators of the jellyfish and immune to the effects of the venom.
- Somebody Else's Problem:
Sherman, Hawthorne, Megan, and Ernest: WE WIN! WE WIN! WE WIN! WE WIN!Fillmore: But they're moving just a few miles to another lagoon.(Beat)Sherman, Hawthorne, Megan, and Ernest: SOMEONE ELSE'S PROBLEM! SOMEONE ELSE'S PROBLEM!(Fillmore does a Facepalm)
- When the lagoon residents are being tormented by a dive-bombing pelican, two fish called the "Pelican Busters" eliminate the problem by luring him to another lagoon where he won't be bothering them. Fillmore then says, "So, you didn't really eliminate our problem, you just made it somebody else's."
- The conclusion to a story arc about an oil company preparing to drill for oil in the lagoon has Fillmore inform the others that they've decided against it.
- Souvenir Land:
- One series of strips has Sherman and Megan taking Herman to "Walrus World". Sherman dons a walrus hat a la the Goofy hats they sell at the Disney Theme Parks, one of the rides there is called "Walruses of the Caribbean", and when Sherman asks mascot "Wally the Walrus" if they can get a picture of him with Herman, Wally responds that it'll cost twenty bucks. Sherman punches him, resulting in them getting chased by security.
- Hawthorne has also opened a couple as two of his get-rich-quick schemes. For example, one series of strips has him opening "Crabbyland". Its slogan? "The crabbiest place on Earth." Rides include a roller coaster called "The Crazy Crustacean", bumper cars, and a ride called "The Ride of Terror" that promises that riders will see things that will shock, horrify and revolt them - and then proceeds to take them right into Hawthorne's bachelor pad.
- Before that, he opened a theme park called "Six Crabs Underwater Adventure" (the name being a reference to the Six Flags parks), where according to him family is first. Rides include the "Crazy Crustacean Cage" and "The Cookie Heaver" (you have to sign a waiver before you ride it), the prize for winning the Ring Toss is the old pop bottle that you have to get the ring to land on, the concession stand only serves things that crabs like to eat, and the gift shop sells Hawthorne plushes (just pull the string and it says one of Hawthorne's "famous homespun sayings"... with age-appropriate substitutes for the profanities). There's even a "costumed character" mascot in the form of a large crab.
- One strip has Sherman and Ernest going to "Six Flags Underwater".
- Yet another storyline has Hawthorne building a theme park based on Atlantis (he apparently stole the idea from a place in Dubainote ). He has Kahuna summon Triton - the son of Poseidon - and Sherman (who winds up eating a few customers) to work there. Unlike the previous "Hawthorne builds a theme park" storylines, we don't see any of the park's rides (assuming that there even ARE any). He winds up closing it down due to brutal online reviews... one of which is from Hawthorne's MOTHER.
- Sphere Eyes
- Spoof Aesop:
Fillmore: (currently being arrested by Hardcase) I'm too delicate for prison.
- The conclusion to a storyline about Sherman and Hawthorne finding a suitcase full of money and as a result becoming rich has them discovering that all the money is counterfeit when the ink washes right off. Sherman then comments that his life as a rich shark didn't feel any different than it did before, then that there's probably a lesson in all this. Hawthorne agrees - "USE BETTER INK!"
- The conclusion to a storyline in which Sergeant Hardcase of the Internet Fish Police comes after Ernest for downloading unauthorized music has Ernest tell Sherman that Hardcase finally gave up on him. Sherman then says that he hopes Ernest learned a valuable lesson about downloading unauthorized music from the internet. Ernest confirms that he has - when you do it, download them to someone else's computer first.
- Stating the Simple Solution: This strip has Hawthorne and Sherman asking Kahuna to turn them into a dog and a human respectively so that they can win $1,000 in a dog show. Kahuna's response is "Why not just ask Kahuna for $1,000?"Hawthorne: This way seems less complicated.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The opening of Hawthorne's power plant. All he has to do is throw the switch and the entire power plant explodes.Hawthorne: I should've sold tickets to this event.
- Suck E. Cheese's: This strip has Fillmore telling Sherman that, since the lagoon doesn't have any decent restaurants, he had to take his date to a place called "Fred E. Flounder's".Sherman: Ooh! I love that place! I got Megan's wedding ring from their claw machine.Megan: (off-panel) WHAT?!
- Sweet Seal: Played with in one storyline where Fillmore meets a pair of sea lions named Barry and Larry. They act friendly towards Fillmore and Hawthorne, but act hostile towards Sherman and Megan.
- Again played with in a storyline where a group of seals hold a convention in the lagoon. They're friendly, but a rowdy bunch of party animals.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Sherman and Fillmore meet a manatee and ask him what he's doing so far from home...Manatee: Well, definitely not setting up an organized crime location operation in your lagoon. No sirree. Not me.(The manatee swims off)Fillmore: Weird answer.Sherman: Wonder what else he's not doing?
- Take That!:
Ernest: It's a huge whirling cesspool where all kinds of trash ends up.Sherman: Like the Jerry Springer green room?Ernest: Without all the slapping.
- Sherman and Ernest travel back in time, they see a prehistoric shark with legs. Ernest explained that this particular breed of shark eventually crawled onto dry land and learned to walk. Then they evolved into lawyers.
- When Sherman and Ernest wind up at the Sargasso Sea, Ernest explains to Sherman what exactly it is.
Sherman: But there's just two of us.Ernest: Exactly.
- From the same storyline, Sherman and Ernest encounter the Sargasso Sea Monster, and Ernest asks him how he can stand being around garbage all day. The Sargasso Sea Monster replies that he used to work at the Enquirer, to which Sherman says, "Say no more."
- This strip takes a slam at telemarketers.
- The conclusion to a series in which Thornton has insomnia has Fillmore finally getting him to fall asleep by showing him the 2000 Presidential Debates.
- After Ernest finds a way to watch people through their computer screens, Sherman comments that it's like Big Brother. Ernest then responds, "Except with a bigger audience."
Ernest: Some things you don't want to know.
- In one strip, Sherman and Ernest find an ancient scroll and discuss what it could be. Ernest says that it answer a question like the key to happiness or the meaning of life. Sherman then adds, "Or what's REALLY in Spam."
Sherman: (talking on the telephone) It's Fabio.Hawthorne: I'm not here.
- From the same storyline, the scroll predicts that "A bespectacled one shall gain all the power and riches and must be stopped." Sherman says that it's gotta be Bill Gates, whereas Ernest says that he was thinking Harry Potter.
- After Ernest creates a hair creme that Hawthorne decides to mass-produce, they discover that it causes anyone that uses it to gain a bald spot. Fortunately, Hawthorne is able to get it recalled - he's just having trouble with one celebrity who bought a bunch of it.
- One strip has Sherman telling Ernest about Donny and Marie. When Ernest asks if they were talented, Sherman replies, "Not even a little bit."
- Sherman finds it embarrassing that Hawthorne listens to Milli Vanilli music.
- This strip takes a jab at feminists and dirty limericks.
- When Fillmore discovers that an oil company is considering drilling for oil in the lagoon, Sherman says that it's probably one of those things that won't actually happen - like American Idol becoming good again.
- This strip pokes fun at IKEA.
- Talking Animal
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Megan's pearl necklace.
- Third-Person Person: Hawthorne when he becomes "the Bounty Hunter". This is Lampshaded by Fillmore.Fillmore: Let me be the first turtle to leave this conversation.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: This strip has Fillmore blushing. The red doesn't mix well with his natural green color.Hawthorne: What's he all brown about?
- Toilet Humor:
Megan: There are all kinds of things happening on the ship today. Hula lessons on the sun deck, aerobics on the sports deck, a band on the promenade deck...Sherman: Let's go to the movie on the lido deck.Megan: We can't bring the baby. Can you take him to the nursery?Sherman: Sure. Where is it?Megan: Poop deck.Sherman: Figures.
- When Sherman, Megan and Herman go on a cruise, we get this.
Sherman: I guess we now know what a tiger does in the woods.
- This strip also has it, but it's a bit more subtle.
- When Sherman finds a crate full of Doggie Treats and starts munching on them, he actually starts ACTING like a dog. One strip has him noticing a piece of coral that looks like a fire hydrant, prompting Fillmore to leave.
- Totally Radical: In one storyline where Hawthorne starts up an advertising agency, Wonder Bread enlists his help in an ad campaign. They're looking for a more youthful image. Hawthorne comes up with this.Fillmore: The Yeastie Boys?Hawthorne: And Snoop Wheaty Wheat.
- Trademark Favorite Food:
- Sherman is a Big Eater in general, but he especially loves Twinkies.
- Fillmore, being a sea turtle, likes to eat jellyfish.
- Thornton loves smoothies. Just loves 'em.
- Unusual Euphemism: Subverted in one strip where Sherman and Ernest are hosting a radio show.Sherman: Call us with your stories of the wildest place you ever made COOKIES!Ernest: Is that a euphemism?Sherman: It's a round thing... preferably with chocolate chips.
- Viva Las Vegas!: Sherman and Ernest find a tunnel that leads to a fountain there. Sherman decides to do a little gambling.Ernest: Okay, Sherman, you've got a 5... and the dealer is showing a 17. What would a champion Blackjack player do here?Ernest: And don't you dare say "Go Fish" again.Sherman: UNO!
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Sherman and Ernest occasionally have Kahuna transform them into different species when going on vacation together.
- Weirdness Magnet: The entire lagoon; it's been attacked by swarms of obscure sea-life, a James Bond villain once tried to blow it up, not to mention that the Loch Ness Monster has used it as a vacation site once or twice. At one point, Filmore, in the face of another attack, asks what drives most of these things to "head their way."
- We Need a Distraction: While they're breaking Hawthorne out of jail, Fillmore tells Sherman to distract the guard. This is how Sherman does it.Sherman: (to the guard) So, uh... nice night for a jailbreak, huh?
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Discussed in this strip, where Hawthorne and other "ugly" sea animals discuss why they don't get the same amount of love that "cute" animals like penguins and dolphins do, and decide to form a club.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Sherman is afraid of sea snakes... especially if he owes them money.
- Write What You Know: One storyline has Sherman write a comic strip based on his own experiences, as per Hawthorne's suggestion. He calls it "Norman's Lagoon", and the characters include a shark named Norman, a crab named Crawford, a nerdy sea turtle named Gillmore. Hawthorne ends up cancelling the strip because he doesn't think folks want to read a comic strip about fish every day, so Sherman reinvents it as a comic strip about inter-office politics and corporate America featuring characters named "Shermbert", "Crabbert", and "Turtlebert".
Fillmore: (enraged) THAT'S JUST ME!
- One storyline has Fillmore writing a story about a young turtle "who finds his inner strength through a series of adventures." Sherman says that turtles don't do that - "They talk all pompous and stuck-uppity."
- Yet Another Christmas Carol: Hawthorne goes through this after opening a fruitcake factory and forcing his employees to work on Christmas Day.
- You Dirty Rat!: Sherman encounters one at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Said rat apparently thinks that he owns it and threatens Sherman with a spork.