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Western Animation / Animalympics

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"In all creatures great and small, there resides a spirit of athletic competition..."

Animalympics is an animated film produced by Steven Lisberger (who would later create TRON for Disney). The film was originally conceived as a pair of specials for NBC to air during the 1980 Olympic Games (one for the Summer Games and one for the Winter Games), but the American boycott of the Summer games that year put the kibosh on those plans. Lisberger's studio instead released Animalympics in theaters as a single feature film.

The film consists of a series of vignettes representing news coverage of the "Animalympics", which as you can imagine are the Olympics for anthropomorphic animals. The main event is the marathon, in which the two favorites (the obsessively driven goat René Fromage, and You Go, Girl! lioness Kit Mambo) take an early lead... and also take to each other. Other highlights include the rags-to-riches tale of track-and-field alligator Bolt Jenkins, a fencing match that turns into a pastiche of Errol Flynn movies, and a hockey game that almost literally turns into all-out war.


  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Where Bolt Jenkins grew up. Hey, you can go jogging down there!
  • Acrofatic: Ilsa Blintz the hippo during the Vault section, as well as the elephant acrobat Ludmilla Steppanyatova on the uneven parallel bars.
    • Subverted: Ilsa Blintz only gets a score of 4.5 (Keen Hacksaw wonders if that was actually the reading on the Richter Scale), Ludmilla's routine ends in disaster (she destroys one of the uneven bars), and Keen Hacksaw does a lap around the track in 46 seconds, and says "Not bad for a fatso".
  • Adorkable: Henry Hummell the tortoise announcer, despite being based on...of all people...Henry Kissinger.
  • An Aesop: A European and African runner fall in love, a not-so-subtle promotion of racial harmony.
  • All Asians Know Martial Arts: Played straight by Bruce Kwakimoto. Kind of averted by Ono Nono because he's a tsunami-causing orca. (Then again, we don't know for sure if Ono Nono doesn't happen to know martial arts, too.)
  • Animal Stereotypes: Played straight in some places, averted in others.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: When asked to comment on Renee and Kit falling in love mid-race, Bruce Kwakimoto makes a series of vaguely Asian-sounding martial arts grunts.
    Hummel: thank you, Bruce. Too bad we don't know what that means.
  • Assumed Win: For downhill skiing, Marcel Pourseau loses to Kurt Wuffner, who had disappeared some days earlier, but showed up just in time; for fencing, Count Maurice Boardeaux? Nope, the Contessa, who appears out of nowhere, and the Marathon, Rene Fromage? Kit Mambo? They tie for gold.
  • Award-Bait Song: "We've Made It to the Top" by Graham Gouldman.
  • Blatant Lies: According to Keen Hacksaw, Bruce Kwakimoto is the kind of guy who stands out in a crowd. The photo they show is a subway full of identical puffins wearing the same suit. "Has anyone seen a red pen?"
  • Big Damn Heroes: Right after Count Boardeux wins a gold medal in fencing through unscrupulous tactics, the Contessa literally swoops in and shows him what-for.
  • Bowdlerise: TV will occasionally play a version of the movie with a lot of "inappropriate" material removed.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Mark Spritz. "Spritzen" is German and means things that, for example, water can do like "to squirt" or "to splat".
  • Boxing Kangaroo: Joey Gongolong, one of the participants in the boxing match. Of course. Billy Crystal voices him mimicking Muhammad Ali.
  • Busman's Holiday: According to her, Tatyana Tushenko is always, training, even during family vacations- viewers are then treated to a shot of the beach, while Tatyana is using her parents' arms as parallel bars.
  • Canada, Eh?: The North American ice hockey team is apparently Canadian; the coach and a few of the players have French-Canadian accents, and "O Canada" plays as the climactic game-winning goal (by a player named Guy) is made.
  • Carnivore Confusion:
    • The Animalympics were actually introduced as an alternative to preying upon one another.
    • Then again, Bolt Jenkins is sponsored by Toasted Gecko Flakes. He's even a reptile himself.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Fer sure", courtesy of Dean Wilson.
  • Character Focus: Born out of necessity, due to the four-person voice cast. For all intents and purposes, René and Kit represent the marathon, Bolt Jenkins is track and field, Kurt Wuffner is skiing, and Dean Wilson is the aquatic events. Less broad events get their own one-off characters who are never heard of beyond said events.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Dean's surfing skills comes in handy during the race.
  • Chest of Medals: A dolphin note , who helps narrate the swimming and diving section, has an impressive set of gold medals. He takes them off and sets them down with an audible clank.
  • Chop Sockey: Bruce Kwakimoto's floor exercises are that.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The boxing match, which goes thus: Joey Gongolong hops around Janos Brushteckel a few times, then taunts him by kissing his nose. Brushteckel then grabs Gongolong by the neck and punches him in the face, sending him spinning into the ropes. Gongolong then spins back out and catapults himself back at Brushteckel, hitting him in the gut. Then Gongolong lands a punch to the nose, then to the top of the head. Two more jabs to the nose and an uppercut later, the match is over. Brushteckel was knocked out, Gongolong only took one hit.
    Turkell: You let down your coach! You let down your country! You let down your mother! You're a bum steer! But most importantly, you let down yourself! And now you can let me down!
  • Dartboard of Hate: We see in Janos Brushteckel's locker room a picture of Joey Gongalong, with a mustache and goatee drawn on it, covered in little holes.
  • David Vs Goliath: flying squirell Duke Chardas against Count Borduex, a Fat Bastard of a boar. Unfortunately, Bordeaux prevents Chardas from using his agility by stepping on the squirrel's tail and wins.
  • Determinator: Everybody, given that this is about winning Olympic events, but René really puts out the image.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Two big ones:
    • The most obvious example is Dean Wilson's "Underwater Fantasy", a/k/a "the movie's taking a break for a few minutes, so go ahead and grab a snack or use the can if you need to."
    • Rene Fromage's "Love's Not For Me" is the other big one.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Barbara Warblers, one of the commentators, has rhotacism.
  • Epic Fail: Sometimes when an athlete loses an event, they don't just lose, they lose.
  • Everything's Better with Llamas: One of the soccer teams is a South American pack of llamas.
  • Fat Bastard: Count Maurice Boardeaux is overweight and not very sportsmanlike when it comes to maintaining his title as fencing champion. Fortunately, he ends up getting his comeuppance when he is beaten by the Contessa.
  • Feather Fingers: In an interesting example, The Contessa can still fly although she has upper limbs that are 95% indistinguishable from human arms.
  • Flynning: During the fencing event.
  • Furry Confusion: A few jokes about this, including a picture of an elephant gymnast wearing a Russian lynx coat and hat.
  • Gainaxing: Quite carefully attended to in one scene featuring Brenda Springer.
    • Kit Mambo and The Contessa are no slouches in this department either.
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: "Go For It," set in the Noah's Ark disco.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: Sometimes they get it, sometimes they exaggerate it, and sometimes there's moments like the "Platform Diving" graphic introducing the springboard diving segment.
  • Hartman Hips: Kit Mambo and especially Brenda Springer have rather pronounced hips.
    • Lampshaded by Kit's "strategy" (take an early lead and break Rene's concentration).
  • Hurricane of Puns: Like you wouldn't believe, verbally and visually. The closed captioning even goes out of its way to explain some of them.
  • "I Want" Song: René's "Love's Not For Me" is sort of an inverse "I Want" Song from the lyrics alone, but the visuals during the number make it more clearly one of this type.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Ilsa Blintz when she gets a 4.5 on the vault. Also Count Maurice Boardeaux, when The Contessa beats him in fencing.
  • Interspecies Romance: A number of them: Kit and René most obviously, but also a husband-and-wife figure-skating team who happen to be a lizard and a chicken, plus several hookups at the disco.note 
  • Is This Thing Still On?: A silent example: When Bolt Jenkins watches his former hero utterly bung up the high jump, he looks at the camera with an amused smirk, before realizing he's supposed to be looking determined.
  • Kick the Dog: One of the commentators isn't afraid of letting the loser of the boxing match know that he's let down his coach, family, country, and himself. Janos Brushteckel actually starts crying.
    Rugs: And now, you can let me down. (Cut to wide shot, Rugs is standing on the bull's head.)
  • Landmark of Lore: Animalympic Island is apparently built on top of Atlantis.
  • Lonely at the Top: Renee Fromage's song establishes that in pursuit of victory, he's given up and ignored a lot- love, good food, wealth -and if he wins the big race, he'll have nothing left. Alone again / But where are you?
  • Male Gaze: Quite a few of the scenes where Kit Mambo is seen running shows off her backside.
  • Meaningful Name: Anyone familiar with surf rock will instantly understand why the hero of the swimming events is named Dean Wilson.
    • Not to mention much of the cast has names indicative of their species. See Hurricane of Puns above.
  • The Merch. In-Universe, as Kit's manager was really counting on her victory.
  • Multinational Team: Country names are not used, teams just represent the continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Eurasia (which is supposed to be the Soviet Union).
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Asian freestyle swimmer, Ono Nono, a ginormous orca.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Several of the commentators reference famous celebrities — one of them, inexplicably, is a tortoise with the accent (and eyeglasses) of Henry Kissinger.
    • Bolt Jenkins is based on John Travolta. "Go For It" makes it a bit more obvious.
    • Barbara Warblers is an obvious parody of Barbara Walters.note 
    • Rugs Turkell is Howard Cosell as a turkey.
    • Jackie Fuelit is a parody of Jackie Stewart.
    • Mark Spritz is Mark Spitz as a dolphin.
    • Joey Gongolong is Muhammad Ali as a kangaroo.
    • Melé is a parody of soccer legend Pelé.
    • Guy La Fluke is a parody of hockey legend Guy La Fleur.
  • Not-So-Innocent Whistle: The head of the Rats soccer team after swapping medals with the head of the Dogs.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted by the two African athletes Kit Mambo (female) and Kit Ngogo (male). Both are even feline runners.
  • Parody Commercial: Toasted Gecko Flakes are a parody of Wheaties.
  • Petting Zoo People: Some more than others, some not at all.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Of a sort. The visuals to the song "Love's Not For Me" near the end suggest that René Fromage will get his gold—and have absolutely nothing else in his life. That's not his actual fate.
  • Playful Otter: Dean Wilson. Platform diving becomes a Disney Acid Sequence when he does it, and instead of drowning in the Ono Nono-caused tsunami, he switches from swimming to surfing.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Graham Gouldman from the group 10cc, which made the charts a couple of times, so it counts.
  • Pretty in Mink: One of the Russian gymnasts is an elephant, and there is a shot of her wearing a russian lynx coat and hat.
  • Pseudolympics: The entire show is based on this trope.
  • Punny Name: Oh so many. Barbara Warblers, Art Antica, Mark Spritz, Ono Nono etc.
  • Random Events Plot
  • Removable Shell: Henry Hummel is shown to have one while getting a massage.
  • The Shangri-La: While mountain climbing, Kurt Wuffner ends up in "Dogra-La, but has to leave to win the ski race. He then goes in search of it again, vowing not to rest until he does.
  • Shout-Out: Loads, many requiring some knowledge of 1980:
    • Barbara Warblers' voice actress was Gilda Radner, who had often played Barbara Walters (or "Baba Wawa") in the same manner on Saturday Night Live.
    • Billy Crystal's Muhammad Ali and Howard Cosell imitations were also part of his act long before this film.
    • Also, the basketball-playing cats are a homage to the Harlem Globetrotters.
    • Bolt Jenkins was "born as a handbag"note 
    • Harry Shearer's voice for Keen Hacksaw later resurfaced as Springfield's own Kent Brockman.
    • One athlete is shown to be an actor on the side, and a clip is shown from his role in an Ingmar Birdman film, including a Chess with Death scene right out of The Seventh Seal.
    • Possibly one to Nadia Comăneci, the Eurasian athlete who gets a perfect 10. Complete with coach expecting an abysmal score, as Nadia's perfect 10 was incorrectly displayed due to a scoreboard that couldn't show a perfect 10 (it showed a 1.00).
    • Marcel Pourseau's backstory spoofs the title sequence of The Six Million Dollar Man.
    • Henry Hummell's joke about the "old showbiz expression, 'really big shoe'" references The Ed Sullivan Show and Ed's unique pronunciation of "show".
    • As he jokes about Ilsa Blintz's score being the reading on the Richter Scale, Keen Hacksaw mimes holding a cigar ala Groucho Marx.
    • One of the headlines featuring Tatyana Tushenko is from Uniformity: "LB Studios Cable Sable: Won't Table Fable Pix!" It's a nod to Variety's famously punny headline "Sticks Nix Hick Pix".
  • Silly Love Songs: René and Kit's "With You I Can Run Forever," Kurt Wuffner's "Away From It All."
  • Species Surname: Kind of. Maurice Boardeaux (boar), Rugs Turkell (turkey)...
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Despite the name "Tatyana Tushenko" being explicitly written out on magazine covers in her segment, presumably that way for the "tush" pun, her name is often spelled as "Tatiana Tuschenko" by fans.
  • Squashed Flat: Happens several times, including a lizard in the couples skating competition whose partner, a hen, falls on top of him, and a field hockey referee who is body checked by two players at once. Willard Sweat of the weightlifting contest ends up being crushed by the barbels.
  • Stealth Pun: Right at the beginning, you see a polar bear running with the torch to a coyote. The Announcer goes on about the "Thrill of Victory, and the Agony of Defeat." The polar bear's feet are red hot at this point, and he's blowing on them after passing the torch.
  • Suicide as Comedy: At least, threatened suicide. When Tatyana Tushenko is about to receive her score, her coach has a noose around his neck and has Chattering Teeth (she receives a perfect 10). This may be an allusion to Nadia Comăneci, who also received a perfect 10 from the judges in the 1976 Olympics—but, because the scoreboard could only display 9.99, her score was accidentally displayed as an abysmal 1.00.
  • Surfer Dude: Dean Wilson talks like a surfer dude.
  • Tears of Joy: When Dorrie Turnell wins gold.
  • Theme Naming: Virtually all of the characters have names that either reference their species or their nationality.
  • Training Montage: Bolt Jenkins' "Born to Lose," though his character more directly parodies Tony from Saturday Night Fever.
  • Twist Ending: At the end of the marathon, Kit Mambo and René Fromage tie for first.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: Certainly the ice hockey game. There's probably some elsewhere, too.
  • Up to Eleven: The whole frigging movie. Examples:
    • Bolt Jenkins breaks the high jump record at a height of 23.7 meters.
    • While he's at it, he proceeds with breaking the pole vault record at a hight of 48 meters.
    • The diving platform is probably even higher than that. One could think that it takes Dean Wilson the length of a surf rock song to fall all the way down if Primo Cabeza didn't manage that within seconds.
    • The 100 meter dash is actually a drag race.
    • The marathon goes over thousands of kilometers and takes several days.
    • Ono Nono is mentioned to weigh some 200 tons.
    • You think Kurt Wuffner skiing down a vertical wall on a mountain is over the top? Well, watch him ski down an overhang, like, upside-down!
    • A scoring example: Boardeaux gets 10 points for curb-stomping Csardas who ends up with only 1 point. After the Contessa swoops in and wipes the floor with Boardeaux, she gets 100 points.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: The song "Love's Not For Me" (AKA Rene's Song) is all about this, especially the words at the end:
    So when the race is won
    And there's nothing left to do
    Alone again,
    But where are you?
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Happened to Marcel Pourseau in his backstory. When he crashes and becomes a Human Snowball in his ski run, you can see nuts and bolts fall from his body as he tumbles.
  • What's a Henway?: Lampshaded. "This reminds me of the old joke, 'how much does a Grecian urn?' but you've probably heard it."
  • Wheel of Feet: During the 100 Meter Dash, the contestants first show this, then take on the characteristics of drag-racing cars—complete with arms turning into exhaust pipes, bodies into engines, and releasing parachutes to stop them. They even do burn-outs before the race.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: During the Contessa's fencing match with Bordeaux:
    Bordeaux: You'll never fence again, Contessa!
    Contessa: Ha! You've never fenced before!