It features a group of U.S. servicemembers, usually (but not always) discussing whatever's on their minds at their favorite hangout, The Damn Bar, with copious swearing and mutual ribbing. Common topics include political or social issues of interest to servicemembers and veterans (such as women in combat, "corrective training," or scandals at the Veterans Administration).
The four main characters are
SGT Rhino: An anthropomorphic rhinoceros, a senior NCO in the U.S. Army (specifically an Airborne Ranger), and a vocal misanthrope (misanimalthrope? misanthropomorph?). His voice is a raspy growl and he punctuates his thoughts with liberal profanity.
Gunny: An anthropomorphic bulldog and a gunnery sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. (His species may be a reference to the "Devil Dogs" tradition.) Slightly louder and only slightly less vulgar than Rhino.
Ice Goose: An anthropomorphic bald eagle, and an attack pilot (of unspecified rank, but presumably an officer) in the U.S. Air Force. He is exaggeratedly refined and genteel, sipping coffee even while flying combat missions, and swearing rarely if ever. He occasionally panics under stress.
Sealy: A not-very-anthropomorphic seal and a U.S. Navy SEAL. His voice is a cheerful falsetto, which belies his extreme deadliness. His facial expression is an unchanging smile, even in combat.
Minor characters include Coasty, an anthropomorphic duck and proprietor of The Damn Bar, apparently a former or reserve member of the U.S. Coast Guard. Also The Blue Falcon, an anthropomorphic blue falcon who betrays his friends at every opportunity (he is not uniquely associated with any particular service, but his name is a well-known Army slang term). Male civilians who never served are portrayed as anthropomorphic sheep, a likely reference to Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman's essay on Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs.
This web animation provides examples of:
- Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Sealy.
- American Accents: Rhino's origin episode makes a big deal out of the modern Massachusetts accentnote ."The British ah like, wicked close, everyone! Get yeh fuckin' guns an' shit!"
- An Aesop: The "political" episodes are all Aesops. Near the end of each, Rhino normally delivers a short, non-comedic speech spelling out the lesson and the authors' policy conclusions. The "Gun Control" episode is especially Anvilicious. Others include "Starship Sealy" (on women in combat), "The Wizard of VA" (on the 2014 Veterans' Administration scandals), "PTSD," and Episode 5 (on "hazing" vs. "corrective training").
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Blue Falcon's offenses include the following: betraying the Continental Army and framing Benedict Arnold, epically failing as intelligence officer of the 7th Cavalry Regiment under Custer, not showing up to work when assigned to monitor the air-search radar above Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941, allowing JFK to be shot, crashing the helicopter in Bin Laden's compound, causing the 2013 Super Bowl blackout, cockblocking Rhino, and a particularly low dine&dash.
- Also Rhino's speech at the end of the "Gun Control" episode: "There will always be murderers. And rapists. And boy bands."
- Berserk Button: Don't ever say the word "pirate" around Sealy...whatever the context, just don't. (This may be a Damn You, Muscle Memory! moment, as Sealy doesn't appear to get angry.)
- Bug War: "Starship Sealy."
- The Casanova: Sealy.
- Catch-Phrase: Gunny's "Gaaaaaahhd-dammit!" The Blue Falcon's "Haah!" and "Ka-kaa!"
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The defining trait of The Blue Falcon. The Blue Falcon is shown to have been responsible for nearly every major disaster in US Military history (he left his post at the Pearl Harbor radar station to go fishing), allowed JFK to get shot because he was hitting on a girl, and is an insufferable douche.Gunny: Fucker was also Custer's intelligence officer!
- In case you didn't know, blue falcon is a "polite company" code phrase in the US Military for buddy-fucker.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Sealy
- Crosses the Line Twice: Too many to list. A few choice examples:
- A part in Starship Sealy when a female Space Ranger mentions being on her period. Rhino grunts, "I'm cool with that!"
- Sealy's instinctive reaction to a child dressing as a pirate for Halloween.
- Rhino's Tinder hookup...with Hillary Clinton.
- The entire Thanksgiving Episode. You will laugh your ass off, and you will go to Hell for it.
- Cultured Warrior: Ice Goose. He calmly sips his coffee even as he dispatches terrorist wolves in all directions with a revolver.
- Disney Owns This Trope: Lampshaded by Ice Goose in recounting the history of The Blue Falcon."And he caused the power outage at the professional football championship game that is in no way a licensing violation..." (screen shows picture of 2013 Super Bowl power outage).
- Disproportionate Retribution: One fine day in 1775, while other men were rallying for the imminent confrontation with the Redcoats, Rhino was trying to get a hot girl drunk. He was literally one drink away from getting laid when he ran out of money, due to increased alcohol prices caused by the Stamp Tax, Rum Tax, etc. Having been (in his mind, at least) personally cockblocked by King George III, Rhino armed himself, rushed into the tense standoff between British regulars and Colonial militia at Lexington, and shot the British commander...with a negligent discharge.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Invoked and parodied to no end with Sealy, much to Gunny and Rhino's chagrin.
- Embarrassing Nickname: "Tom the Bridgebuilder." (He wishes they'd call him that.)
- Even the Guys Want Him: Invoked in the discussion of Sean Connery, the only former-Bond worthy of appearing in The Expendables. Because "He can do as he pleases!"
- Fake Brit: Ice Goose's accent. He tosses in the occasional "thou" and "thine" as well.
- Furry Reminder: When Sealy's excited enough, he flaps his flippers together and barks. When Gunny's upset enough, he starts baying.
- Godwin's Law: In the "Gun Control" episode, Schicklgruber himself shows up as the main force behind the gun controllers. Lampshaded by Gunny in his response to the reveal: "I should've fuckin' known!"
- The Grinch: Rhino. In fact, he hates every holiday except the Fourth of July.
- Grumpy Old Man: Rhino's uncle. Rhino's own age is unclear (Rhino himself is explicitly stated to have fought in the War For Independence, and his uncle boasts of "wearing a Redcoat's scrotum as a trophy"), but he's got the "grumpy" down already.
- Grunting Orgasm: Averted in "Thanksgiving." Sealy's off-screen climax sounds like an Immodest Orgasm, culminating in a high pitched "mmmmmmmI'matopsecretNavySEAL!!!!!"
- Rhino's "Yeah! That's it, Hill-dog! Take it! Take the horn! TAKE THE HORN!!!
- Halloween Episode: There is one.
- Hates Everyone Equally: Rhino.
- Henpecked Husband: Gunny.
- Instant Seduction: Just say, "I'm a top-secret Navy SEAL!"Rhino: There's no fucking way I'm doing this. I won't fucking do it...I won't fucking do it...Fuck.
- Instructional Film: "Gunny Instructional Video."
- Interservice Rivalry: A common theme in the rough ribbing the characters give each other. But non-veterans had better not try joining in. See especially Episode 1, "LOL," and "Whose Mission Is It?"
- Kavorka Man: The Blue Falcon's cousin "Jodie" (an anthropomorphic buzzard).
- Mayan Doomsday: In "The Mayans," Ice Goose believes in this...and it's close to midnight.
- Mission Control is Off Its Meds: In "Whose Mission Is It?," Mission Control is The Blue Falcon himself.
- Opposing Combat Philosophies: "Whose Mission Is It?"Rhino: We've got an HVT [high value target] to take. Now how you wanna do it?Gunny: Fuckin' full frontal assault! What else is there?Rhino: Not everything can be solved by bashing your head into a wall! I say we fast-rope in and take the target from behind!Gunny: (waggles ears) You mean doggy-style?
- One thing they both agree on — they do not want air support.
- Parody: "The Wizard of VA" and "Starship Sealy."
- Really Gets Around: It would be much easier to list the women Sealy hasn't fucked.
- Inverted with Rhino. The poor bastard strikes out with hookers.
- Road Trip Plot: There's a "Road Trip" episode. But the way these guys bicker, will they ever make it out of the parking lot? No, they won't.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Discussed (and exaggerations are vigorously opposed) in the PTSD episode:BS News Reporter: You knew Corporal Shitbag. What caused this man to commit such an atrocity?Rhino: He was a dick!BS News Reporter: Interesting! What about the theory that war turned him into a baby-killing subhuman that can no longer distinguish between the battlefield and suburban America?Gunny: Naah, he's just a ragin' dick.Rhino: If he was a Transformer, he'd be Dicktimus Prime.
- Shout-Out: Plenty.
- Rhino: Talk to me, Ice Goose!
- Ice Goose: I will be the Khal Drogo to your Targaryen!
- Ice Goose's oft-referenced Air Force buddy, Merlin Slider.
- Ice Goose and Gunny's Halloween costumes.
- Coasty's cat, Kitten Costner.
- The entire "Starship Sealy" episode is one to Starship Troopers, both pointing out the ridiculousness of the movie and how far it departed from its source material novel.
- Take That!: If a Hollywood movie offers a stereotyping portrayal of the military (good or bad), they'll get one.
- Just mentioning Con Air makes Rhino puke.
- The Rock gets explicitly hammered as well.
- Battleship was evidently conceived and written by the Blue Falcon himself.
- They really hate The Hurt Locker. It's pretty rare to find a real-life Iraq veteran who doesn't hate that movie.
- Nicolas Cage is hated by all but Sealy. A rumor that he might appear in a future Expendables sequel causes Gunny to collapse in anguish and moan, "There is...no...God!"
- Thanksgiving Episode: There is one.
- Theme Naming: The characters hang out in The Damn Bar. Combat episodes may take place on The Damn FOB(in Bumfuck,Iraqistan). Air services are provided by The Damn Airline.
- Think Happy Thoughts: A specialty of Sealy's:Rhino: Dude, when it comes to getting over fucked up shit, we're pretty much professionals.Sealy: I replace all my memories with sunshine and rainbows!Rhino: Admittedly, some of us are better at it than others.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: After an arguably-justified road rage episode, Rhino fantasizes about blowing up the two inconsiderate drivers with anti-tank missiles, then flicking his cigar ash at their corpses and saying, "Looks like I've got the right-of-way now, bitch!"
- Torture for Fun and Information: See the episode, "Zero Dark Sealy." But then, Sealy does everything with a smile.
- Twisted Christmas: In the "Christmas" episode, Sergeant Rhino's Christmas goes badly for him. Hilarity and collateral damage ensue.Rhino: Shit...Good thing I'm good at drunk driving...
- Unfriendly Fire: Rhino and Gunnys Humvee gets blown up by a missile in Bumfuck, Iraqistan...that came from an errant USAF drone.Rhino: When The fuck did Hajj get air?
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Rhino and Gunny. Emphasis on vitriolic.