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Web Animation / Robotbox and Cactus

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Robotbox and Cactus is a web cartoon created by Matt Czap, also the creator of Eat That Toast and Hot Ham Water. Running from 2004 to 2006 as part of Keentoons, the cartoon focuses on the naïve loner Cactus P. Cactus and his "friend", the psychotic RBX-1, also known as Robotbox.

Robotbox and Cactus contains examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: According to the Prologue, Robotbox was built to be the solution to all the world's problems, but its scientists discovered a fatal flaw in its programming, namely that it lacks the knowledge of what a cactus is and the sight of a cactus would cause it to go haywire. As a result, Robotbox is often seen throughout the series throwing insults at and causing trouble for Cactus, often to the point of murder.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: "Foreign Film" has the characters' speech translated in subtitles as they say things like "Zippa-dip dippa doo".
  • Big "NO!": Played for Laughs in "Paradigm Shift", where Cactus yells "no" in response to B. Sting saying Robotbox will be his new boss, but then asks, "Wait, you said he'd be my boss?" Upon this being confirmed, he yells "no" again, but seemingly wakes up out of the dream... until he actually wakes up and is told again that Robotbox will be his boss, and yells "no" again before giving a cheesy one-liner.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Box of Wine" has a "Circle J" convenience store rather than a Circle K.
  • Continuity Nod: "Brentwood Academy" has Ben Patagopolis saying "the moon" in a hushed whisper with an extreme close-up of his mouth. This oddly dramatic way of framing someone saying "the moon" returns in episode 38, "Back in Time", where Crazy Legs warns of the government's plans to go to "the moon" in the same manner.
  • The Cameo: In "Requiem", Clango, Joel Dawson, Roy-Bot, Stabby Mc Gee, and Ship are among those seen dancing in Club Robo.
  • Chirping Crickets:
    • In "Are You My Friend?", after Cactus expresses his loneliness and desire for friends in the middle of the desert, a tumbleweed, and, somehow, a hammer roll past.
    • The lonely Cactus again sees a tumbleweed and a hammer roll by in "Substitute", with the head of the hammer replaced with MC Hammer's head.
  • Continuity Creep: While very early episodes tended to only have a short interaction between Robotbox and Cactus, and episodes up to number 15 were self-contained stories that stood alone, episode 16, "Outside the Box", was the first to have a plotline that continued into the next episode, and two multi-episode arcs were made since, with the final eleven episodes being one long story arc.
  • Curse Cut Short: Robotbox gets out a "go fu—" in response to Cactus in "Sitcom" before the ending screen cuts him off.
  • Death as Comedy: As Cactus is strapped to the electric chair for his crimes in "Substitute", the executioners crack jokes about aborted fetuses.
  • Death is Cheap: Many times, Cactus has shown up alive and well when the previous episode showed his implied or actual death.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Or rather, a cactus named Cactus P. Cactus. Son of Seamus P. Cactus II.
  • Easter Egg:
    • "Classic" has a hidden bee on the end screen that, when clicked, brings up "Oh God, Bees!", a parody of My God Robots.
    • The SWF files for the episodes each have an extra word that's often irrelevant to the contents or actual title of the episode. Of note is that episodes 30 through 32 are given the filenames "pick", "your", and "nose".
  • "Far Side" Island: In "The Meaning of Life", Cactus gets teleported to a tiny desert island with nothing but a palm tree and another already-dead cactus.
  • G.I.R.L.: In "The Internet", Robotbox proclaims Cactus's cybergirlfriend to be, in reality, a fat 43-year-old virgin man.
  • HULK MASH!-Up: After ingesting some PCP, Dr. Ted transforms into a giant rose-pink muscular monster and goes into a rage to fight off some government agents.
  • Interrupted by the End: Robotbox gets out a "go fu—" in response to Cactus in "Sitcom" before the ending screen cuts him off.
  • Le Film Artistique: "Foreign Film", which contains a black-and-white film segment where a blindfolded Cactus falls over and is proclaimed dead by text on the wall behind him after nothing but a few cuts to an empty hallway.
  • Noodle Incident: Upon being stranded on a desert island next to another cactus's skeleton in "The Meaning of Life", Cactus claims it to still be better than the time he had cybercrabs.
  • Previously on…: "Some Journey" follows up on "Some Death"... but the only thing in the pre-opening recap is ghost Cactus saying "I'm dead!" "Some Fate" then follows "Some Journey" in a similar fashion, with the only scene in the recap being the Bridgemaster saying "no".
  • Punny Name: Cactus's boss from "Outside the Box" is named B. Sting.
  • Rearrange the Song: The theme found in the earlier episodes develops in steps, gaining a different synth sound and then a vibraslap.
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: The first theme develops gradually but basically remains the same until episode 28, with a simple opening screen only showing the title of the series and of the episode. The music changes to a different synthesized theme in episode 29, alongside a new (though brief) opening montage. The ending theme also changes, going from a drum fill to a synth similar to the opening.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Robotbox is, well, a robot shaped like a box, yet is described as being able to do anything a human can (with an example being shown of him reading a newspaper and sitting at a kitchen table with a cup of coffee), and some things humans can't.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In a segment in "The Internet" riffing on Strong Bad Email, Robotbox receives an email accusing the show of lacking originality, which he refutes as false and asks for backup on his statements from Poel and Gil, who look and sound suspiciously similar to Bonus Stage's Joel and Philnote . And then a Coach Z-esque character with an F medallion enters the shot to scream and his head explodes.
    • The convenience store in "Box of Wine" has Bacones (the focus of an episode of Waterman) in stock.
    • The Bridgemaster's riddle/trivia question asks who played Hannibal on The A-Team, and the back-and-forth between him and Cactus afterwards namedrops Billy Joel and John Mellencamp, and also references Bruce Springsteen.
    • "Oh God, Bees!" from "Classic" parodies My God Robots, whose creator is also associated with the creator of Bonus Stage.
    • The episode "Interrogation, Tire" is another Homestar Runner reference, this time to Strong Badia's citizenry, "population: tire".
  • Suicide Dare: Cactus commits suicide in "Requiem" after being goaded to do it by Robotbox, who, after his death, proceeds to build "Club Robo" on his grave.
  • Translation: "Yes": Among other lines, "Oh tiddledle" is translated as "I guess I'm not going to get to see the Louvre" and "Wa da ta" is translated "It is good to see you!" in "Foreign Film".
  • Urine Trouble: In "Paradigm Shift", a dog pees on Cactus when he drunkenly passes out on the sidewalk. He later passes out while in the office's meeting room, and when he wakes up, the dog is again peeing on him.
  • Vocal Evolution: Cactus's voice becomes more and more high-pitched as the series goes on.
  • Wimp Fight: In "X-Mess", after being built up with zoom-ins and speed lines, the fight between the Plant Monster and Santa Claus ends up being them each slapping the other while turned away and wincing.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: "Some Death" has Cactus as a ghost attempting to haunt Robotbox after yet another death, disguised as different cactus ghosts, but only manages to show Robotbox's past before being unable to continue into the door to the future due to Robotbox being asleep the whole time.