The show was full of physical action as Irwin and his mates jumped on crocodiles all at once and restrained them with duct tape. He was also shown hand-feeding crocodiles, and distracting them while the rest of his staff raided the crocodiles' nest for the eggs to incubate.
The show offered an unbeatable combination of old-fashioned derring-do with a strong conservationist message. It also gave parodists a field day, and (perhaps unintentionally) did much to contribute to the stereotype of the "Australian Naturalist" as a khaki-clad testosterone-fueled adrenaline junkie whose passion for up-close-and-personal encounters with large, dangerous, or deadly animals bordered on protracted suicide.
Irwin made several other movies with conservationist themes, enlivened by his bubbly Larrikin personality and his catch phrase, "Crikey!", and he soon became perhaps the world's most visible and charismatic spokesman for the environment, filling a role left empty by the death of Jacques Cousteau. Irwin even produced and starred in The Movie of his TV show, Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, in which a crocodile accidentally swallows a top-secret government satellite that falls to earth, and Irwin and his wife Terri are unwittingly caught in the middle as they try to film their TV show.
Despite all the crocodile antics, they were not the ones to kill him. Irwin died in a freak accident with a stingray while diving. He was mourned worldwide. And, in a stunning case of general oddity, many Aussies went on stingray-butchering rampages in the name of one of the most famous animal lovers in history. They were called out on this, as people said that that's not what Steve Irwin would have wanted. Perhaps even more bizarrely (though far less disturbingly), Philadelphia Phillies fans used Irwin as a rallying cry during their successful 2008 World Series run against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Irwin's legacy lives on in the family he leaves behind: his wife Terri, who often served as his sidekick on Crocodile Hunter, their son Robert and their daughter Bindi, who continue their father's work in the capacity of "junior animal activists." Bindi has starred in the Direct-to-Video film Free Willy: Escape From Pirate's Cove, and now has her own kids' show, Bindi's Bootcamp. Nowadays, Robert Irwin is most well-known for his appearances on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where many people have noted that his excitement and enthusiasm for animals is very similar to his father.
Irwin and the show provide examples of the following:
- Adam Westing: A slight example in The Movie as it's scripted and Steve and Terri kinda come off as somewhat oblivious (almost to Inspector Gadget levels) to what is actually going on in the plot of the film.
- Admiring the Abomination: He never let down his guard around very dangerous animals, but he also seemed to be gleeful when he saw or handled them.
- Awesome Aussie
- Badass Family: Terri's as much of an activist as Steve was. And Bindi, rather than face traumatization, went right to work in her late Father's footsteps as an activist and a animal-related TV show host.
- Big Fun: Steve was slightly overweight, which lent this element to his enthusiastic personality.
- Canine Companion: The Irwin's beloved dog Sui.
- Catch-Phrase: Several, including:
- "Danger, danger, danger!"
- Fluffy Tamer
- Friend to All Living Things: Something he was famous for, though it's debatable how much the animals thought of him as a friend. According to the camera crew who witnessed his death, his last words were basically telling them that the stingray didn't mean to sting him (technically, though, he was right) meaning that he held this attitude even as he bled to death from his wound.
- Happily Married: Steve and Terri.
- Irony: Everyone assumed Irwin would eventually get killed by an animal, and he was...but not during one of his crazy stunts, but in a random accident that could have happened to anyone.
- Keet: Personality-wise, Steve was very much this, both on and off-camera.
- The Kiddie Ride: There is one land rover ride with a fiberglass mannequin of the late Steve Irwin on it. Each of the ride has a plaque attached saying that it was built in memory of Irwin. A photo of the ride is currently being used to illustrate said trope's page.
- Love at First Sight: Both Steve and Terri say they felt this the instant their eyes met; Terri relates that her first thought was, "He's got to be taken," and Steve - who was in the middle of feeding a crocodile at the time - was so spellbound by her he almost got eaten himself.
- Nature Documentary
- The Pollyanna: It didn't matter if a komodo dragon chased him up a tree or if a snake threw itself at him, Steve would never lose his upbeat attitude and saw his close calls (and other moments where most people would freak out) as something to be excited by, either as a show of the animals' skills or the adrenaline rush of being attacked by a cool critter (like when a baby Nile crocodile bit his thumb, he was happy to have been bitten by a Nile crocodile).
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The show practically existed to avert this trope, showing the audience how cool lizards, snakes, and of course, crocodiles could be.
- Stage Mom: They were some accusations that Terri pushed Bindi too hard into being the face of Australia Zoo right after Steve's passing, including taking her to America and doing lots of things over there. It died down as Bindi made it clear that she wants to be more visible and take over her father's work.
- True Companions: The zoo staff to each other.