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Boot Camp Episode

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Exactly What It Says on the Tin, an episode where the characters (accidentally or not) become recruits at the Military Academy, or in case of children they go to the Military School as punishment, either way Hilarity Ensues.

Expect to see lots of Peeling Potatoes, training The Spartan Way, plenty of Physical Fitness Punishment, the obligatory Drill Sergeant Nasty and maybe even battlefield action. Male characters will probably be shaven bald upon arrival (female recruits usually just have to resort to a tight ponytail or bun).


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: In "Asterix the Legionary", Asterix and Obelix join the Roman Army in order to find Panacea's fiance Tragicomix. Being Gauls from the Undefeatable Little Village, their indomitable nature leads to a Running Gag of them leaving commanding officers sobbing in frustration with their antics (said sobbing is almost always mistaken for homesickness/missing the missus).
  • Robin (1993): When the Veteran tries to recruit Tim Drake into his secret Army division Tim undergoes training with the Veteran's troops. While Tim does accompany the Veteran on a couple of occasions he ultimately turns him down and was mostly playing along because he wanted to investigate and make sure the Veteran was on the up and up.

    Comic Strips 
  • An instance where the "episode" lasted most of the series: Beetle Bailey was originally a slacker college student, when one day in the first year of the strip's run he ran into an army recruiter office to hide from his two love interests. He's been in Camp Swampy ever since.
  • Shoe had a running gag where Skyler wound up spending every summer in Marine Corps boot camp.
  • Bill Mauldin's Willie and Joe was this for the first three years.

    Fan Works 
  • Much of the middle portion of Legionnaire involves training Twilight Sparkle to be able to merely survive her upcomming mission.
  • The Lion King Adventures has two stories featuring this trope.
    • Dig It features Simba being sent to a desolate camp where he is forced to dig holes all day.
    • Return to Camp Kazi portrayed it as more like a summer camp. It was being ruled over by a soul-sucking Surfer Dude alien, though.

    Live Action TV 
  • Done in The Andy Griffith Show when Gomer Pyle joins the Marine Corps, which leads to the spinoff series, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. In this episode, Andy gives Gomer a ride, accompanies him onto the base, and even interacts with Gomer several times, all with the intent of talking Gomer out of his decision. The pilot episode of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. led to some disconinuity as many of the scenes were re-enacted without Andy being present.
  • A segment of The Colbert Report's series from Iraq featured Stephen going through a boot camp. Stephen never broke character, and the Drill Sergeant Nasty never cracked a smile.
  • Family Matters had Urkel and Eddie infiltrate a boot camp in order to convince an emotionally hurt Waldo to leave.
  • Hank Zipzer: Not a true boot camp, but similar in spirit. In "Cow Poo Treasure Hunt", after he's not allowed to hang out at the shopping centre with Frankie and Ashley, Hank decides to show Stan and Rosa just how capable he is by being the first person ever to make it through Miss Adolf's weekend survival camp.
  • Heartbreak High: A plotline involving two characters wanting to join the army leads to several episodes in basic training.
  • JAG: A first season episode had Meg go undercover as a female Marine recruit, to investigate the suspicious death of another female recruit.
  • Jake 2.0: Jake has to infiltrate a specialized black-ops army corps. His powers allow him to keep up with the soldiers' extreme training, but the real problem is adapting to their mentality. The episode is called "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot."
  • Jeremiah: A lot of "The Question" features Kurdy training newly recruited soldiers (who have all survived years of Apocalypse Anarchy but are mostly undisciplined) who The Alliance needs to to counter Daniel's aggression. Rather than be a Drill Sergeant Nasty, Kurdy focuses on getting the mixed bag of cynics who Got Volunteered, idealists who Jumped at the Call, and Punch Clock Heroes just there for a steady supply of food to work as a team.
  • Laverne & Shirley had a two-part episode where they joined the army. Vicki Lawrence guest-starred as their Drill Sergeant Nasty.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: The B-plot of the episode "Kommando" involves the veteran Inspector Brackenreid re-enlisting to fight against the Boers in South Africa. After a rather rocky start, his experience and leadership skills (mentoring a younger fellow recruit on how to use a bayonet) prompt the drill instructor to offer to falsify his age on his enlistment papers. Brackenreid negotiates for a full decade deduction on the records, but later changes his mind after his wife insists he be the one to explain his decision to their two young sons.
  • NCIS: The eleventh episode of season three, "Model Behavior", has a reality show with models set at a boot camp.
  • Done on Popular as a method of punishment, and to introduce another Glass sibling.
  • In Raumschiff GameStar, the newly-appointed Number Two Stangl organizes one for the rest of the crew, with himself cast as a Drill Sergeant Nasty.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch had her get sent there by her aunts for crashing a train into the living room.
  • The kids on Saved by the Bell had a rudimentary training experience in one episode (rope climbing, running through tires).
  • Shake it Up has the episode aptly named "Boot It Up", where CeCe and Rocky accidentally get on the wrong bus that took them to an all-girls boot camp instead of the dance camp they applied for. Ironically, the camp's drill sergent is named "Major Dance".
  • Shortland Street has done at least one arc about it, with Daniel Potts being sent there as punishment for selling bootleg MP3 players.
  • The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Learning Curve" has Tuvok put four Maquis through a crash course in Starfleet training. Or at least, that's what he's supposed to be doing; given that he actually has them Toothbrush Floor Scrubbing and jogging around the ship wearing backpacks, it's actually this trope and all he does is make the Maquis angry with what seem like pointless exercises.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles season two episode "Goodbye To All That" has John enroll in military school and Derek sign up as a teacher.

    Tabletop Game 
  • For part of Rocket Age's Trail of the Scorpion campaign the heroes are sent to the Rocket Rangers' training camp, to prepare for the final push.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The 2 Stupid Dogs were sent to a "cartoon boot camp" in "Cartoon Canines".
  • One of the Warner Siblings shorts in Animaniacs has them discovering boot camp (They all think it's summer camp, Dot thinks it has to do with fashionable footwear). Hilarity Ensues.
    • A similar thing occurred in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants, but with prison camp. Similar hilarity ensues though.
  • The Aqua Teen Hungerforce inadvertently sign up by Meatwad for the Marines while trying to buy gum. Shake decides to blow his face off with a shotgun reasoning that there's no way they'll take him in that condition. Cue Ironic Echo Cut.
  • Bugs Bunny was once enlisted in the army in Forward March Hare.
    • He was also enlisted in the U.S Marines during WW2, and retired at the end of the war a Master Sergeant...
  • CatDog gets a military-style experience... at a Clown School.
  • In the Code Lyoko episode "I'd Rather Not Talk About It", the Lyoko Warriors go to boot camp under Jim to get in shape.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has "Operation: T.R.A.I.N.I.N.G.", where Numbuh 2's little brother Tommy is in KND arctic training base. Subverted as everyone but Tommy and 2 other recruits are called away early in the episode and Father arrives to steal the Code Module.
  • Happens rather frighteningly on Cow and Chicken. The episode "Confused" is a typical straight example. In "Piano Lessons", The Red Guy puts Cow and Chicken through a "Piano Boot Camp" that combines this trope with music lessons.
  • Dave the Barbarian and Fang joined the Mongrel Horde.
  • Donald Duck had a number of boot camp episodes all while under Sergeant Pete. There was Donald Gets Drafted, The Vanishing Private, Sky Trooper, Fall Out Fall In and The Old Army Game.
  • The Fairly Oddparents: In "Operation F.U.N." Timmy inadvertently wishes to send him and his friends to a boot camp named Camp F.U.N. after a lie by Remy Buxaplenty. Later on the episode "Wishing Well" has Timmy sentenced by Jorgen to a boot camp where he could learn to accomplish tasks by himself without wishing for anything.
  • On Family Guy Stewie signs himself and Brian up for the military after Brian tries to get Chris out of a recruitment contract.
  • In Futurama, Fry and Bender enlist in order to take advantage of a discount for recruits in "War is the H-Word" (saving them 5 cents on the pack of gum they want to buy). They ask the recruiter if they can resign at any time with no consequences. The recruiter confirms this is true, "unless war were declared". Almost immediately, war were declared.
  • Generator Rex features an episode where the titular character and his friend Noah join a Providence boot camp. Even though Rex has superpowers, they still wind up failing by passing.
  • Hercules: The Animated Series: An episode has Herc and Icarus infiltrate Spartan Military Academy to save Adonis, who has to go through basic training in accordance to family tradition. Ironically, Cloud Cuckoolander Icarus warms up to the military lifestyle.
  • Invader Zim is sent to the military training world 'Hobo 13' and told that if he survives he can have a big sack of battle tanks. The drill instructor is a hulking cyborg played by R. Lee Ermey.
  • The Jetsons puts its spin on this trope in the episode where George, Mr. Spacely, and apartment handyman Henry have to report to a National Guard training camp.
  • Johnny Bravo accidentally joins the army rather than the Dodgeball Camp.
  • King of the Hill had an episode where Cotton wanted Bobby to go to a boot camp to be toughened up.
    • The trope is mostly averted however when Cotton discovers the camp has been turned into more of a military-themed summer camp for young boys. Then Cotton takes over as headmaster, but utterly fails (ironically, his own bragging on the wall of "the box" is what gives Bobby the resolve to persevere).
  • The short-lived Laverne & Shirley animated series had them joining the army. Their drill sergeant was a talking pig.
  • The Little Lulu Show episode "Iggy's New Leaf" had Iggy faced with the threat of getting sent to military school if he does one more bad thing, prompting Lulu, Tubby, and Willy to help him stay out of trouble. In the end, however, the three wind up getting sent to military school instead, because of the troubles that they got caught up in that they were trying to keep Iggy from committing, while Iggy gets off the hook.
  • Daffy Duck joins the Marines in The Looney Tunes Show episode "Semper Lie".
  • The Mask: The season two episode "The Green Marine" showed how The Mask accidentally enlisted himself in the Marines.
  • This was the Plot Point of the Mr. Bogus episode "Battle Action Bogus", where Bogus finds himself getting enlisted in a military base camp in Bogusland.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Wonderbolts Academy" puts Rainbow Dash through this, though it's to join the Wonderbolts, a squadron of pegasus flyers, rather than the military.
    • Though it still has a prominent military flavor, possibly due to the Wonderbolts themselves being a reference to the Blue Angels, and the fact that pegasi were the soldier-class during the pre-Equestria era (unicorns were the nobility, earth ponies were the farmers).
  • Phineas and Ferb are sent to a boot camp after Candace actually manages to bust them. The camp (run by an evil drill sergeant) is designed to smother and stifle their creativity. It works. They get better. And then...
    • A gentler example is "Phineas and Ferb-Busters", in which Candace recruits her friends Stacy and Jenny into "Bust Camp" to help her reveal her brothers' hijinks to their mother. This results in an extended Charlie's Angels Shout-Out, but (thankfully) nothing like what happened in "Get Busted".
  • In The Proud Family, Penny becomes a bad girl while coming up with an interesting story about The Gross Sisters for the school newspaper, and is sent to a boot camp style reformatory.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: "In the Army" features the duo joining the army and going to boot camp. Just when Ren thinks he can't take anymore, the Drill Sergeant Nasty announces that they made the cut and are now "full-fledged tank paratroopers".
  • The Rugrats (1991) episode "Cool Hand Angelica" has Angelica go to Ferris Island Day Camp, which looks and feels like a boot camp.
  • In The Simpsons Bart is forced to go to military school after blasting a soundwave through the town (and Lisa joins him after being bored with public school education).
    • In two other The Simpsons Homer joins the Naval Reserve (Simpson Tide), and later the Army (G.I.-Annoyed Grunt).
  • Played for Laughs in the aptly-named Sonic Boom episode "Role Models": after Team Sonic save the village from Dr. Eggman and MOTW Obliterator Bot for the "millionth time", they are awarded the "Greatest Role Model of All Time" awards from Mayor Fink, who declares them honorary role models in the process. Later at Meh Burger, they practice throwing trash into a can, but when Lady Walrus' son Chumley starts copying them, she thinks they're not setting a good the team goof off on the beach instead where they take turns getting shot out of a cannon. Their fun is interrupted when the mysterious, whistle-welding D.B. Platypus shows up, stating his arrival upon orders from the mayor to teach them about being good role models. After they go through (and failing) plenty of lessons from D.B. Platypus, Eggman once again attacks the village, leaving the team with no choice but to goof off again.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • In "Breaking Ranks", Ezra goes undercover as a stormtrooper cadet in order to steal an Imperial decryption module.
    • In "The Antilles Extraction", Sabine goes undercover as a cadet at an Imperial flight academy to extract some would-be defectors.
  • In the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "Zach and the Alien Invadors", Zach is sent to a boot camp for constantly Crying Wolf from reporting crimes that never occurred. No physical activity was shown, but Zach notices the fellow cadets are zombies controlled by two aliens disguised as officers.
  • Total Drama's first season has a boot camp challenge overseen by the host's aide, a military veteran. The contestants face an obstacle course, line dancing (because that's more photogenic than calisthenics) and various tests of endurance, with the last player standing winning the challenge for their team.
  • In a Flashback Episode of Transformers: Animated, Bumblebee and Bulkhead go through basic training.
  • X-Men: Evolution also had an example (with both the good guys and the bad guys sent to a boot camp).


Video Example(s):


Air Scotia Training

Gretchen Betjeman declares her intentions to whip the Air Scotia stewards into shape.

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