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Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is an animated series that ran on Nickelodeon from 1994 to 1997. It served as the 5th show in the Nicktoons series. The show focuses on three monsters who live under a dump and attend a monster school, taking "scares" as lessons. The main cast includes:

  • Ickis, a little purple monster who often gets mistaken for a bunny, much to his dismay. Can grow to impressive sizes, but isn’t very good at controlling this change at the start of the series, and frequently struggles with his scares. Tended to be both arrogant and very insecure, due in no small part to trying to live up to his famous father's reputation. Despite his bumbling and trouble-prone nature, also saves the day more than once.
  • Krumm, a strange, hairy flesh-colored monster with free-rolling eyes that he normally carries around in his hands. Smells horrible, and reveled in it: "I love being smelly." A happy-go-lucky Big Eater who doesn't stress about scaring as much as his friends.
  • Oblina, who resembles a black-and-white candy cane with big red lips and eye stalks. Can pull her insides out at will; naturally, this makes her the best at scaring, and she is considered the Gromble's best student. Comes from a rich family, and has a strange accent. Often fights with Ickis over his bad habits, and has a tendency to lecture, which... never really helps her make her case.
  • The Gromble, the Sadist Teacher and Headmaster who constantly belittles and punishes his students for poor scares. Is particularly hard on Ickis (who admittedly brought a lot of it onto himself), but also occasionally shows fondness for him and his other students.
  • The Snorch, The Unintelligible monster in charge of punishing students who break the rules. His punishments tend to be oddly unthreatening, such as listening to classical music or performing opera — though, of course, the students were terrified of such things. Is actually very intelligent, though the communication barrier generally prevents him from demonstrating this.

The complete series was released on DVD on October 8th, 2013.


Aaahh!!! Real Monsters provides examples of:

  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Large enough they can hold surfing contests inside. Not to mention how they normally use toilets to get into different houses and such...
    • With the using pipes to infiltrate buildings, that's less because the pipes are large and more because monsters can squeeze... Ickis is shown moving effortlessly through a pipe maybe a centimeter wide in one episode, and pops out of a sink's faucet in another (Oblina accuses him of showing off when he does).
  • The Ace: Slickis, Ickis' talented and famous father. Oblina also qualifies, being the best scarer at the academy and the Gromble's prize pupil.
  • Actor Allusion: Charlie Adler voices a creature who primarily lives in an academic setting and was often mistaken for a rabbit.
  • Agony of the Feet: Those high-heels on the Gromble's feet? They're a size or so too small for the Gromble, but he likes them so much that he insists on wearing them even though they pinch his toes something fierce. Ironically, he got his first pair of them when he goofed one of his first scares, making them a sign of his failure.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: A bizarre example in "Less Talk, More Monsters", where humans invade the dump in search of $50,000 left as part of a radio station contest. The humans leave when Krumm sneaks into the radio station to broadcast a message saying the money isn't at the dump, while the actual money is found by a trash-diver who scoffed at the contest at the start of the episode.
  • Amusement Park: Appears in a few episodes; Oblina visits one while wearing the human suit in "The Monster Who Came In from the Cold", and Ickis starts haunting a ride in "Monsters Are Fun".
  • And I Must Scream: the three robber monsters were imprisoned in cement as gargoyles, when they escaped they wind up in another prison, this time in a high way getting run over by cars every second.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Monsters don't believe in ghosts.
    • Similarly, the residents of Luluville readily believe Ickis, Oblina and Krumm to be aliens, but scoff at the idea of monsters.
  • Babysitting Episode:
    • In "Attack of the Blobs", Oblina is forced to blobsit a baby monster named Blarp who is hungry and wants to eat her, Ickis and Krumm. They each take 5 hours shifts to watch him so they won't be eaten.
    • In "Baby It's You", The Gromble asks his students to watch his baby nephew, Bomble. They accidentally switch him with a human baby, so they have to go to the new parents' house to get Bomble back.
  • Badass Teacher: The Gromble; you do not threaten his charges. (That's his job.) If you do, he'll verbally chew you out and send you to one of three punishment havens.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: There's an element of this to monster culture. Being ugly, smelly, gross, or otherwise negative is often appealing, whilst being pretty or nice is bad. They eat trash and breathe polluted air to the point that one episode claims they can't survive for too long in air that's too fresh.
  • Balloon Belly: This happens to Oblina a lot of times when she eats something sizeable.
  • Banging Pots and Pans: In "Attack of the Blobs", the three take shifts in taking care of an infant monster. Ickis is banging the trash can lids during his shift; this is apparently something that makes "bonsties" (baby monsters) fall asleep.
  • Batman in My Basement: "Puppy Ciao" involved Ickis trying to keep a puppy, Fungus, and hiding it from the Gromble.
  • Becoming the Mask: Happened to Oblina once; while disguised as a human to gather information on them, she had a bad reaction to cotton candy and ended up believing she was really human.
  • Been There, Shaped History: "History of the Monster World" shows the full scope of just how much monsters in this world have shaped human history. Everything from events pertaining to the American Revolution, FDR's "Fear Itself" speech and the screaming fans of the Beatles… many of which were caused by relatives of the main trio; especially Ickis' father Slickis. It's also revealed Krumm's father Horvath lost his right eye as "The Shot Heard 'Round the World".
  • Big Applesauce: The show is set in a dump in New York City.
  • Big Bad: Simon the monster hunter. He counts because he is the only recurring villain on the show and is an actual threat with his plans to capture all monsters and prove they exist. He's also the Final Boss in the video game adaptation.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ickis got these a lot, whether he wanted to or not. The rest of the main cast got their times to shine, too.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: In "Bigfoot, Don't Fail Me Now", it is revealed that Bigfoot was a former student of the Gromble, but was kicked out of the academy for his refusal to listen to the Gromble when performing his scares. This version is a little different from usual depictions, having large ears, sharp claws, and prominent lips. Also, "Bigfoot" is just what the humans call him; his real name is Elban.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Krumm is heavyset, Oblina is tall and thin, and Ickis is notably shorter than both of them.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Monsters come in many shapes and sizes, most utterly different, and they have various different physical abilities as a result, but there are a few general traits they all share. First and foremost, underground tunnels in garbage dumps and sewers are their natural habitat: they physically need to breathe filthy "dump air", and will suffocate in clean air. To get around this, they fill internal air sacks with dump air before venturing into the human world above, which is enough to last them for several days. Similarly, monsters literally eat human garbage, and find the taste of normal, fresh human food to be completely disgusting — Oblina did force herself to drink human tea when posing as a human, so it isn't toxic to them, but it isn't clear if they can even get nutrition from it.
    • Also, they do not eat humans. The first episode has a frightened boy accidentally taken in Ickis's place beg Oblina and Krumm not to eat him, an idea to which they react with disgust. However, they do apparently practice Monstrous Cannibalism, if rarely.
    • This trope is justified in that monsters are based on magic, not just biology; they're literally elemental embodiments of fear. If enough humans outright stop being scared of monsters and stop believing in them, they literally cease to exist - by parts of their bodies horrifically winking out of existence. When this happens in one episode monsters lose the entire left half of their body, or Ickis is reduced to just a head, or they disappear completely.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Building on from the trope above, monster reproduction is discussed in "Attack of the Blobs": baby monsters start out as shapeless blobs (literally called "blobs", and "babysitting" is "blobsitting"). These eventually form into a cocoon, and hatch into immature toddler-forms called "bonsties" - which have a voracious appetite and will even eat other monsters if no other food is given to them.
  • Black Comedy: This whole animated series. Quite surprising for a Klasky-Csupo Nicktoon.
  • Blame Game: "Rookie Monsters" ends with Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina blaming each other when the Gromble asks them whose idea it was to be out late at night.
  • Body Horror: All of the monsters are capable of doing this, but Oblina has to be the crowning example of this trope, due to her pulling out her own guts to scare people. Her insides are also scary especially when she starts munching everything.
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Oblina ended up with these once, because her teeth were straight (due to her youthful indiscretion of brushing her teeth once). This actually caught the attention of the Romantic False Lead, who admired his reflection in the massive things.
  • Brain with a Manual Control: In the episode "This Is Your Brain on Ickis", Ickis gets sucked into the brain of Simon, a monster hunter. Ickis can see through Simon's eyes and discovers that he can control Simon's actions. He then takes Simon on a rampage through the city streets. Soon, the word spreads about Simon being crazy and he is finally detained by doctors. Oblina and Krumm must then get Ickis out of Simon's brain before the cat scan reveals his existence.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Monsters have their own names for certain "human" things; for instance, dogs are called "barknbites", and a brief episode of young love is called a "squish" rather than a "crush".
  • Camp Straight: The Gromble was expressively melodramatic and wore bright red high heels on all four of his feet, but had a crush on the female monster librarian in one episode.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Bradley first appeared in "Monsters, Get Real!". At the end of the first season, he reappeared in "Simon Strikes Back" as a key figure, and wound up becoming Ickis' Secret-Keeper and a recurring character.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Krumm carries his eyeballs in his hands; his father has an eyeball in one hand and a black glove on the other.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The Snorch punishes students through such horrors as square dancing. Partly this stems from the above-mentioned reversal of standards. Partly it stems from the fact the Snorch isn't exactly a virtuoso... let's face it, having somebody sing soprano opera at you whilst being The Unintelligible is going to be unpleasant.
  • Couch Gag: The different phrases shouted by the Gromble during the opening credits. Occasionally some will be repeated from previous episodes.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Ickis. At times appears to overlap with Brilliant, but Lazy — he appeared to have the talent to pull off some amazing scares, just not the discipline, not to mention all his other issues...
    • Also the Gromble's teacher The Shroink, who was the reason George Washington crossed the Delaware and Albert Einstein had white hair, when he at first seemed to be a senile old coot. He proves he's still relevant by taking down a vicious monster bully, including swallowing one of his fireballs and spitting it right back at him.
  • Curse: "Curse of the Krumm" reveals that Krumm's family (which are all called 'Krumm') are cursed to eventually lose their stench (it usually skips a generation, which is why his father didn't mention it until after it happened). With his friends' help, he manages to break it.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Ickis had a very shrill voice at times. And when he tried singing...
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the other Klasky-Csupo Nicktoons during that time, especially since it dealt with monsters scaring people and involves more gross-out humor than the other Klasky-Csupo Nicktoons.
    • The episode "Where Have All the Monsters Gone?" is one to the series itself, since it features monsters disappearing due to their failure to scare people. That's right, failing to scare people pretty much erases them from existence.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: While they take great delight in scaring humans half to death, none of the Monsters hurt anyone, and are quite nice if you get to know them on a first name basis.
    • Plus the Halloween episode reveals that Monsters DO NOT eat people, Oblina's excuse was "They don't know where they've been", this is something the Rugrats didn't know in their Crossover Episode.
      • The monsters of this series are of the 'only exist if people are scared of them' variety. They have to scare humans to stay alive.
  • Dean Bitterman: The Gromble, to a terrifying degree of punishment.
  • Dissension Remorse: In the episode "Rookie Monsters", Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina get into an argument after getting stuck in a garbage compactor and end their friendship, which then leads to a Whole Episode Flashback to when they first met each other and subsequently became friends. When the flashback ends, the monsters begin to cry as they apologize and reconcile.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Ickis comes down with a case of spontaneous combustibility, the other monsters shun and avoid him, afraid they'll catch it if they touch or come anywhere near him. note 
  • Drive-Thru Antics: In "Simon's Big Score", Oblina poses as a speaker at the drive-thru window of a fast-food restaurant to scare people. She first manages to succeed in scaring a couple who try to order dinner, but her second attempt is compromised when Simon takes her picture.
  • Dub Name Change: In the German dub, Dietrich Duchump's real name is changed from Leonard to Friedrich.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: The Gromble's Couch Gag phrase preceding "Laugh, Krumm, Laugh"/"Rookie Monsters"—the last episode of the series—is "Losers! It's all over!"
  • Episode on a Plane: "A Wing and a Scare" has Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina being forced to sneak onto an airplane to get at their latest scare target. They accidentally damage the plane and force it to make an emergency landing, leaving nearly everyone on the plane terrified. Unfortunately, as the Gromble points out, all those humans are now afraid of airplanes, not monsters. Cue the main trio having to do their assignment over, including getting stuck in a suitcase going through the baggage carousel again.
    Ickis: There must be a better way to travel...
  • Everybody Cries: In "Rookie Monsters", after the flashback of their first day at the academy and their first meeting ends, Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina are all crying as they make up with each other after their earlier argument while they are stuck in the garbage compactor.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Krumm's species is simply known as 'the Krumm'. Interestingly, his father had a name: Horvak.
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: Used in "Rookie Monsters" to show how different the cast acted when they first met — for instance, Oblina was a Lonely Rich Kid Shrinking Violet, and Ickis was acting like a Jerk Jock and exploiting his father's reputation.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Krumm's father, Horvak, lost one of his eyes and wore a black glove on that hand afterwards.
  • Eyes Are Unbreakable: Played straight with Krumm and Horvak, save for the above incident. Which is good, considering how many times Krumm lost or misplaced one or both of his...
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: Eyes should not be free-rolling!
  • Expy: The Gromble was patterned in voice and design after the head Blue Meanie.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: A tiny Ickis and Krumm travel inside Oblina in the episode called Internal Affairs
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: In "The Switching Hour", we learn monsters consider Halloween one of the most important celebrations of the year and it's the only time they freely mingle with humans.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Ickis's fascination with human culture partly stemmed from the Gromble forbidding everything to do with it.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Almost all of the monsters have them. Humans, however, have the standard five digits.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: In "Krumm Gets Ahead", Krumm gets a prosthetic head to hold his eyes so that he has better use of his arms, but this causes problems, between both his newfound vanity for it and it interfering with the scares that he, Ickis, and Oblina are assigned to. Near the end of the episode, Ickis and Oblina get trapped in a car full of tin cans that's about to get crushed in a compactor. When Krumm comes to save them, he loses his prosthetic head, which is in danger of being crushed by a car suspended above it. Krumm has to choose between saving his friends or saving his prosthetic head, and inevitably ends up doing the former.
  • Gang of Bullies: Pugh and his friends in "Don't Just Do It." They're a little more laid back than most examples of this trope, and even manage to respect Ickis when he stands up to them.
  • Garrulous Growth: In "Krumm's Pimple", Krumm gets a sentient pimple who calls himself Steve. After spending the whole episode stealing Krumm's thunder and generally being a nuisance, the pimple runs away... and gets his own talking pimple in turn.
  • G-Rated Drug: The episode "A Wing and a Scare" shows Krumm digesting an air sickness bag, which is followed by him getting hallucinations afterward. While he is high, he remarks "These air sick bags really work!"
  • G-Rated Sex: "Dancing". To elaborate, monster reproduction apparently takes the form of doing a goofy dance and then touching fingertips to form a blob, from which a new "bonstie" (baby monster) will hatch in a month.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Or rather Monsters Need Scares Badly. In "Where Have All The Monsters Gone?" it's shown that, if humans stop being afraid of monsters, then monsters will start disappearing, one body part at a time.
  • Grossout Show: The most disgusting Nicktoon of the 90s.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Used frequently to show off the scares of the monsters.
  • Guilt-Induced Nightmare: In "I Dream of Snorch with the Long Golden Hair", when Snav is framed for stealing the Snorch's golden nose hair (it scurried into his pillow), Krumm, Ickis, and Oblina each have one because they feel guilty about it, since it was Krumm and Ickis who really stole it on a sarcastic dare from Oblina.
  • Halloween Episode: "The Switching Hour", which also served as the first episode.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In "Simon Strikes Back", Ickis convinces Bradley to abandon his monster hunter apprenticeship and help them escape.
  • Hidden Depths: The Snorch honestly enjoyed classical pursuits like opera and was highly intelligent. However, since he was also The Unintelligible, there was a communication barrier he couldn't breach. It didn't help that Zimbo served as his 'voice', leeching off of the Snorch's terrifying reputation.
    • Krumm was also highly intelligent, but preferred to just relax and play dumb which allowed him to slack off because others expected less from him.
    • Ickis is an excellent dancer, as demonstrated in "The Switching Hour", "The Ickis Box" and "O' Lucky Monster". Too bad for him, dancing can be considered risque behavior in the monster world and the Gromble doesn't want to encourage it.
  • High-Class Glass: Chimera (the leader of the cement-imprisoned monsters in "Cement Heads") wears a monocle and so does Balook, the Gromble's overseer in "The Master Monster."
  • Historical In-Joke: Quite a few, especially as monsters are quite long-lived. Monsters were involved in The Shot Heard 'Round the World, the Boston Tea Party, and the writing of FDR's "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" speech, among others.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Monsters generally don't like music that isn't tone deaf. The Snorch is an exception.
  • Humans Are Morons: Humans are dumb, silly, cowardly, backwards and otherwise inferior to monsters.
  • Hunter of Monsters: Simon the Monster Hunter.
  • I Broke a Nail: A variant of this trope occurs in the episode "Krumm Gets Ahead" when Ickis breaks his claw while attempting to remove a screw from Krumm's prosthetic head.
  • I Warned You:
    Oblina: I hate to say I told you so, but... actually, I don't hate it at all! [laughs, singsongs] I told you so, I told you so, I told you so~!
  • Inflating Body Gag: Ickis's body tends to round out whilst he's doing his One-Winged Angel routine.
  • The Informant: The Gromble's spy Zimbo.
  • Insufferable Genius: When it came to scaring, Oblina usually knew what she was talking about, and gave her roommates good advice (like doing their scaring homework on time instead of putting it off). Unfortunately, she came off as extremely overbearing and a smarmy know-it-all. Didn't help that she loved rubbing it in Ickis' face when she was proven right.
  • Irony: The main rule of the Monster Academy is for the monsters to not expose their existence to humans, but they always do just that anytime they scare someone.
  • Is That What He Told You?: When Krumm learns Horvak didn't willingly drop out of the Academy; he flunked out.
  • It's a Small Ride: In "Monsters are Fun", the carnival has the eponymous ride with cute-looking monsters singing "We're the cutest monsters you've ever seen. We are joyful and jolly and never mean." Outraged at the ways the monsters (including himself) are depicted, The Gromble assigns Krumm and Oblina to scare the humans on the ride. Jealous that he wasn't chosen for the assignment, Ickis scares the humans instead. It turns out that the humans liked being scared and the barker takes advantage of this so that the humans will pay more to ride it.
  • It's Personal: The first time they met, Simon was just trying to prove monsters existed. After Ickis and the others thwarted and humiliated him, however, he developed a personal vendetta against Ickis and went out of his way to target him.
  • Jerkass: Zimbo. The Gromble was a Sadist Teacher, but often showed that he did care about his students; The Snorch handled their Cool And Unusual Punishments, but was actually pretty nice overall. Zimbo, meanwhile, was just a flat-out creep who enjoyed making the students' lives miserable, and would go out of his way to get them in trouble and torment them. And all the while, he relied on The Snorch's reputation to keep him safe.
  • Keet: Ickis again; he could get... very hyperactive at times.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: This trope was played with when Ickis watched a very cutesy film featuring Cuddles the Bear. Being a monster, cutesy stuff gives him nightmares.
  • Killer Rabbit: Aww, lookit the little bunny-eared thing! Isn't it just the strangely cutest thing you've ever... Uh. Why is it growing...?
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Ickis managed to be cocky and insecure at the same time, along with being a cowardly slacker who only took his scaring seriously when he was in trouble. Yet when serious threats came along and he found himself forced into the hero role, he wasn't half bad at Indy Ploys or going One-Winged Angel to help his friends.
  • Lighter and Softer: In-universe example: an amusement park ran a "Monsters Aren't Scary" Tunnel for a while. Ickis took advantage of this to score some easy scares and undermine the intended message. This works TOO well, as the ride operator figures out people prefer the scarier version and sets a trap, intending to make Ickis scare people for his fiscal gain.
  • Lip Losses: The episode "The Lips Have It" has Oblina losing her lips, which are then stolen by an aspiring model.
  • Loud of War: The Snorch punishes students by making them listen to opera and bagpipe music.
  • Lumber Mill Mayhem: In "The Tree of Ickis", Ickis turns into a tree after he eats an acorn. Oblina and Krumm leave him in the forest while they look for a cure, and eventually find one in the form of termites. By the time they return to Ickis, they find out he has been chopped down by a lumberjack and taken to the sawmill, where the harvested trees are turned into baseball bats. Fortunately, the termites manage to turn Ickis back into a monster just before he can get cut in half.
  • Madness Mantra: "I like rice."
  • The Masquerade: Humankind is unaware that monsters are real, and the monsters want to keep it that way, because they are both afraid of what this might result in and because if humans figure out what monsters are, they might stop being scared, which would wipe the monsters out. Several episodes revolved around the risk of exposure, such as getting 'flashed' by a photographer or caught by Simon.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: When the three are assigned to scaring in a supposedly Haunted Mansion, Ickis, Krumm and Oblina start finding strange things going on as a group of teenager try to hold a seance. Given that monsters don't believe in ghost, Oblina believes there is a rational explanation. Indeed all the creepy stuff going on was the work of another monster. However when Ickis asks how he caused the walls to ooze with Slime, the monster replies he didn't cause the Oozing. Cue the walls to start gushing green as the four of them decide to get the hell out of the house.
  • Merchandising the Monster: Defied. Krumm is hired by a few humans in Hollywood who think he's just some guy in a costume. Krumm attempts to get around this by using Voluntary Shapeshifting and trying to scare the director of the project into letting him go, proving he's a real monster and not a fake. But when the director finds out, it only makes the director like Krumm even more, thinking of all the merchandising opportunities that a real monster could provide. As a result, Krumm and the other monsters have to just run for it and leave Hollywood behind.
  • Mickey Mousing: Some of the music is cued in with the actions, including the gross stuff.
  • Mirror Character: It's repeatedly implied the Gromble had a lot of the same problems as Ickis when he was a young monster.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: According to the first episode, whilst monsters find the idea of eating humans to be disgusting, they don't have quite the same aversion to the idea of eating each other. This is made drastically clear in the same episode, where the Gromble eats one of his students for literally having a running nose. Yes, he spits off to the side a moment later, but it's unclear if he's spat out the student or just the excess mucus from the student.
    • In "Krumm Goes to Hollywood", the Gromble chews Ickis up like gum and inflates him into a balloon as part of his efforts to force a confession about Krumm's presence.
    • In another episode, the Gromble swallows Krumm, chews on him and then violently spits him across the room.
    • In fact, the Gromble does this so much his toy came with a unique small monster student figure to chew on.
    • Another episode involves Ickis, Oblina and Krumm babysitting a "bonsty" — or newly born baby monster. Unfortunately for them, this one belongs to a species that, for the first 24 hours of its life, eats everything in sight, favoring other monsters. It almost eats the Gromble!
    • In "The Rival", a stressed-out Oblina threatens to have Ickis for dinner when he tells her that she's imagining the rivalry between herself and new student Smeldra.
  • Mood-Swinger: Ickis, whose emotional state swept from cocky Jerkass to wide-eyed eagerness to learn more about human culture to bitterly sarcastic to panicky and insecure woobie.
  • The Movie: It was in the works but went splat.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Ickis was both horribly insecure and incredibly arrogant.
  • Naïve Everygirl: Gender aside, Ickis fits this. He's got all of the flaws, plus a tendency to say he's giving up... only to come back when it counts.
  • Necessarily Evil: Monsters have to scare humans in order to keep existing, because if humans don't believe in them they'll cease to exist. While there are bad and genuinely evil monsters out there, and monsters can take pride out of the scares they perform, the need to scare humans comes from a matter of survival and not a means to do harm.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Oblina's speech mannerisms, though widely considered to be just an unusual accent, are easily recognizable as an exaggerated Bette Davis impression.
    • World of God from Oblina's voice actress, Christine Cavanaugh, was that it was intended to be "a British version of Agnes Moorhead." Although there is at least one episode that did a Shout-Out to Whatever Happened To Baby Jane, with Oblina's line paraphrasing Bette Davis.
      Ickis: Oblina! If I wasn't in this chair, I'd-
      Oblina: Ah, but you are, Icky! You are in the chair!
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Just what is behind Door No.3?, As both the sign and The Gromble put it:
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Simon was crazy, sure... Unfortunately, he was also frighteningly devoted to getting his revenge and proving to the world he was right all along. A few times it came down to Ickis having to stop him solo because everyone else had been captured or was otherwise unable to help out.
  • One-Winged Angel: Ickis's primary scaring routine. He grows a lot bigger, his teeth turn into fangs, his eyes turn red and his fingers turn into claws.
    • Most monsters seem to be capable of doing this to at least give themselves a Game Face — Oblina's almost as reliant upon it as Ickis, she just displays a lot more versatility in it (and it tends to take the form of pulling herself inside out).
  • Opening Shout-Out: During the opening titles when Ickis frightens a baby, a pull toy styled after Duckman (another cartoon by Klasky Csupo) and a Potty Chair styled after Fluffy and Uranus (also from Duckman) can be seen.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Anything from ambiguous faces to severed eyes is a thing in the monster world.
  • Parental Issues: Ickis had a whole slew of emotional issues thanks to his famous father; Oblina's mother was an overbearing control freak; The Gromble's mother still treated him like a child... Krumm got along okay with his father, though. Aside from learning that he'd flunked out of the Academy after losing his stench.
  • Parodic Table of the Elements: Ickis has to go on some quest while the Gromble keeps the class busy by going over a chart of human phobias that's a direct parody of the periodic table.
  • Peek-a-Bogeyman: How the monsters do their scaring, especially Oblina.
  • Pet the Dog: The Gromble got these now and then to show that he really does care about his students.
  • Pilot: "Monsters, Get Real!", the second episode, is actually a Remake of the pilot with updated animation and an extended plot.
  • Ping Pong Naïveté: Ickis.
  • Power Trio: Ickis (Id), Krumm (Ego), and Oblina (Superego).
  • Pride: All three of the monsters suffer from this. Oblina because she's a know-it-all, Krumm because he smells so awful, and Ickis because it's the only way he can step out of his father's shadow.
  • Prison Episode: When Ickis gets put in jail because he was mistaken for a fugitive.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: In an episode titled, appropriately enough, "Rosh-O-Monster". The viewfinder the Gromble uses to view the students' assignments breaks down so the trio tells the class how their scare went. Ickis tells his story in a film noir style with him as the hero, while Oblina's account portrays her as a superheroine who has to rescue Krumm and Ickis from humans. The less-egotistical Krumm's retelling (which is animated in a childish scrawl) only indicates that Oblina and Ickis spent most of the assignment arguing. In the end the viewfinder is repaired and we see what really happened. Turned out that they kept screwing up and the scare was a total accident. Of course, the Gromble wasn't pleased and punishes them by having them shine his massive collection of shoes.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Happens to Ickis when using his size-augmenting ability.
  • Real After All: One episode had the Power Trio trapped in a severely haunted house, the rub being that while monsters exist, ghosts do not (this is repeatedly stated by Oblina). It turned out that the house was the bunker/battle ground for a soldier monster who caused all of the strange happenings - except one. All four monsters quickly leave, and the house resumes all of its disturbing behavior.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The monsters evidently live very, very long lives. To get a vague sense of this, Krumm's father appeared roughly Krumm's current age in a flashback to the American Revolution. The main trio of younger monsters aren't that old, but are older than the equivalent school-age of human children. Apparently didn't live through World War II: they speak of "the war" - a three year long period in which humans weren't scared of monsters because they were focused on scary human things - as if they weren't there for it.
    • Though there are some part of early episodes that muddle this a bit, with a photograph of the main trio visiting Egypt in 1927 occasionally being used as an establishing shot.
  • Rise of Zitboy: In "Krumm's Pimple", Krumm grows a sentient pimple named Steve that becomes popular with the students and teachers at the expense of stealing Krumm's thunder.
  • Running Gag: In "Krumm Goes Hollywood," Oblina scares an unnamed member of the production crew so badly he's left unable to say anything besides "I like rice." The guy made periodic appearances in the show, still traumatized, and in one episode he's in a mental institution and almost cured before he gets scared again.
  • Sadist Teacher/Stern Teacher: The Gromble managed to be both. He genuinely enjoys tormenting his students but does also genuinely want to teach them.
    • Later, the Gromble actually physically inhales Krumm, leaves him in there for a few moments, and then spits him back out in full view of the entire class.
    • He does this kind of thing to his students regularly enough that the Gromble's action figure came with a little student monster figure for him to chew on!
    • His former mentor (and eventual substitute), the elderly, monocled Balook is even stricter than he is.
  • Satchel Switcheroo: In "Eau de Krumm", the main trio and the Gromble infiltrate a perfume factory's staff to taint the perfume with a box filled with Krumm's liquified stench ahead of the toxic (to monsters) perfume's worldwide release. Before the stench can be dumped, however, they spot a pair of human workers, and Ickis ends up grabbing one of their lunchboxes instead because they look alike. Come lunchtime, the monsters continuously swap out the lunchboxes until they find the stench box.
  • School Setting Simulation: In the Licensed Game for the SNES and Sega Genesis, the third and fourth acts of the first level, "Screaming ABCD" take place in a school. In the third act, Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm wander through the gynmasium, where obstacles include basketball hoops, arena stands, and basketballs bouncing everywhere, and students serve as enemies. In the fourth act, the monsters wander through the school hallway, eventually winding up in the library, where the librarian serves as the end-of-level boss.
  • Shaming the Mob: The Gromble berates the entire student body for spreading rumors about Ickis' spontaneous combustibility and their trepidation around him because of it. Basically they were acting like everything they hate: humans.
    The Gromble: IS THAT WHAT YOU WANNA ACT LIKE!? A BUNCH OF HUMANS!?
  • Secret-Keeper: Bradley, Ickis's human friend, who Ickis met when he accidentally left his Monster Manual behind after a botched scare attempt.
    • The first episode has Krumm and Oblina accidentally bring a human back when they snuck out on Halloween; the kid, having seen Ickis a while ago, had designed his costume to resemble Ickis, and so they mixed the two up. He never appeared again, but evidently became one as well.
  • Sewer Gator: The show occasionally showed alligators living in the sewers with the monsters. One episode had Ickis learning to ride the alligators as part of a quest.
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: In the pilot, Ickis has a pair of glasses. They don't appear in the actual series, however.
  • Shout-Out: Sublima, Oblina's mother, made her call her "Mumsy dearest" and was a complete control freak.
    • Oblina's voice sounds like her voice actress was doing a Agnes Moorehead impression.
    • A monster hunter named Simon.
  • Sizeshifter: Ickis.
    • It's more along the lines of One-Winged Angel, at least for the humans he scares.
    • It's actually not unique to Ickis, all monsters can do it. It's just his preferred way of getting scares.
  • Slumber Party: In "Slumber Scare", Oblina hosts a girls-only slumber party in her dorm room, where she invites Dizzle and Hairyette. The girl monsters then scare some girls in their own slumber party. Meanwhile, Ickis, Krumm, and the other boy monsters decide to crash the girl monsters' slumber party by beating them to their scares.
  • Stock Scream: The Howie Scream is used in the opening.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Zimbo.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Ickis and Krumm looked a lot like their fathers, Slickis and Horvak. The Gromble also strongly resembled his mother. Oblina, on the other hand, took traits from both of her parents, as revealed when they finally showed up. She was also one of the only characters who had both parents appear.
  • Taken for Granite: A trio of monsters who were run through the cement mixer and turned into gargoyles for seventy-five years. Later, when they attempted to do the same thing to Ickis, The Gromble had one of his own Big Damn Heroes moments and returned them to their former imprisonment.
    • Considering Gromble calls them notorious, it’s implied their crime before the trial was the last straw and that they’ve done other crimes prior.
  • The Talk: Having to give a class on it is one of the few times we ever see the Gromble intimidated.
  • Teacher's Pet: Oblina
  • They Called Me Mad!: Simon, who took the typical Mad Scientist-style route.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Monsters are taught that if humans ever learned of their existence, they'd be hunted down, experimented on, and slaughtered.
  • Throw the Pin: Simon the Monster Hunter throws a pin at Bigfoot, has a brief Oh, Crap! moment, and then throws the gas grenade just in time.
  • Toilet Humor: There's a lot on this show, some of it literal considering that toilets themselves are the main method of transportation.
  • Toilet Teleportation: This is generally how the characters make their escapes.
  • To Serve Man: Averted; according to "The Switching Hour", monsters do not eat humans and find the idea disgusting. However, they apparently have little problem with eating other monsters.
  • Two Beings, One Body: 'Krickis' was created when the Gromble forcibly combined Krumm and Ickis. By the end of the episode, they revert to normal.
  • Two Men, One Dress: In "Garbage In, Garbage Out", the monsters begin to starve when the humans stop dumping their garbage in the dump. The only remaining garbage in the dump is being guarded by The Snorch and Zimbo. Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm disguise themselves as the Gromble to order the Snorch and Zimbo to share their garbage, with Ickis as the head, Oblina as the front legs, and Krumm as the rear legs. Unfortunately for them, the real Gromble finds out about their disguise and punishes them.
  • Two-Teacher School: The Gromble as the Teacher/Headmaster of the Monster Academy, & the Snorch who is in charge of administering punishments to students who break the rules.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Simpah the cafeteria lady proves to be meaner than the Gromble when she takes over as a substitute teacher.
  • The Unintelligible: The Snorch speaks in gibberish and Zimbo acts as his translator. In "I Heard the Snorch Call My Name", he's fitted with an electronic voice box that allows him to speak normally, revealing himself to be a smart and sensitive creature. Unfortunately, it doesn't last and he's quite downcast when he returns to normal.
  • Villain Protagonist: The point of the show, really; the main characters are monsters who love nothing more than to terrorize innocent people.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Having the monsters gaze into a lava lamp is all that is needed to put them into a vulnerable trance.
  • Weird Currency: Human toenails. Fingernails, however, are considered worthless, and actual human currency, such as US paper dollars, is treated like a delicious snack food.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Rookie Monsters" focuses on a flashback to the day Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina started their first day at the scaring academy and met each other for the first time.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: It turns out in "Where Have All The Monsters Gone" that monsters are actually an embodiment of this; human fear of the unknown created the first monsters during caveman times, and if the human fear level drops too low, monsters will begin fading out of existence, piece by piece.

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