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Western Animation / Back at the Barnyard

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The secret lives of animals revealed!note 

"Do-si-do and don't cha know
that's just the way we animals roll!"
Last lines of the theme tune

Back at the Barnyard is a Nicktoon from the producers of Jimmy Neutron. It premiered on Nickelodeon on September 29, 2007, and it ended on November 12, 2011. Based off the 2006 movie Barnyard which features the same characters from the film, though the series seems to ignore the events of the movie (and replaces one of them) for its own continuity.

The story centers around Otis, the cow in charge of running the barn, though something of an Ensemble Cast provides enough chaos to keep a steady stream of entertainment flowing through 2 seasons of 52 episodes. Otis regularly deals with scams gone awry originating from his friends or (more commonly) himself. Other instances have him functioning throughout the human world incognito or dealing with the supposedly psychotic lady next door to the barn who knows they can talk and wants to expose them to the outside world.


Nickelodeon apparently didn't think the show was doing good enough for their standards, so they dropped it to Nicktoons Network during its run, where the remainder of the episodes were broadcast. While the show was getting good reviews, it never really became that popular, but it's safe to say that this show gave it its best.

Back at the Barnyard provides examples of:

  • 24-Hour Party People: Subverted, since it's a farm they show the same animals.
  • Aborted Arc: In "The Right Cow", Bingo said he was going to come back, but he never did, aside from a cameo in the finale.
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: One of the three French Canadian crows wears a red hat, another one of the three crows wears a blue neckerchief, Bessie wears a cow tag on her left ear, and Abby wears earrings and a purple bow in her braided hair.
  • Advertisement:
  • Actor Allusion: When Freddy was trying to come up with a new catchphrase and he says "Hey, what about narf?", Peck (Rob Paulsen) says "Nah."
  • All Psychology Is Freudian: In "Saving Mrs. Beady", Beady is admitted into a psychiatric hospital where she's treated by Dr. Furtwangler, a short, bespectacled man who speaks in a thick German accent. Of course by the end of the episode, Freddy ends up inadvertently driving the good doctor just as crazy as Mrs. Beady is.
  • Alternate Continuity: More or less.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Otis' udder becomes less jiggly in the series
    • Pig becomes less dirty and more shiny in the series.
    • Freddy becomes less "hairy" in the series.
    • The series' animation quality gets slightly more refined by Season 2.
  • Artistic License – Ornithology: Peck is shown to be as affected by the Fire-Breathing Diner as everyone else (except Pip) after eating hot-sauce spiked pizza bagels from Snotty Boy. Birds in real life typically aren't affected by spiciness.
  • As You Know: Lampshaded when talking about Baxter.
    Otis: "Oh no guys, it's Baxter! You remember Baxter. Baxter was that awful mutt who switched places with Duke at the vet and then tried to steal his life here at the barnyard!"
    Abby: "Otis, we know. It was just a couple weeks ago."
    Pig: "Yeah, who are you, Professor Exposition?"
  • Blatant Lies: "We are not talking animals." "There's no such things as talking animals."
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Otis and Abby.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Bigfoot is a recurring character in the show. He is a celebrity who's recorded a hit single called "No Fear Bigfoot", dated Jessica Allspice, and became mayor with a landslide victory (though he lost the position after going into a rage from flash photography). He can also fly.
  • Body Wipe:
    • In the episode "The Tale of Two Snottys" where Otis climbs up a ladder and lands on Snotty Boy.
    • "Pigmalion": at the very end where Pig jumps into to mud. Then the screen fades to black.
    • "Robo Peck": very end,
      Joey: Smashy, Smashy, Smashy!
    • "Club Otis": Freddy's nose fills the screen.
      Peck: "Head trauma!"
      Pip: "That's it come on in."
      Freddy: "Sweet."
  • Borrowing the Beatles: In the episode "A Barn Day's Night", Otis, Abby, Freddy, Peg, and Pig form a band called "The Weevils".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: They interacted with their narrator in an episode, to name one such example. Pig also addresses the viewers directly in many of his cutaway segments.
  • Bus Crash: Implied with Tony Twocheeks, the former top boss of the Gopher Underground—the new boss, Chubs Malone took him on a fishing trip that he never returned from. Given the fact that the gophers are depicted as a mafia in the story, the obvious implication is that Chubs killed him and assumed his role as top boss.
  • Butt Sticker: In episode "The Good, the Bad, and the Snotty" after all the animals rolled out of the barn all glued together. Bessy complains about Peck being glued to her butt.
  • The Cameo: In "Get Bessy", its revealed that Bessy is the personal shopper of Weird Al Yankovic. He's not particularly bothered by the fact she's a cow, mostly because he's actually a horse in a rubber mask.
  • The Cassandra: Mrs. Beady tries to expose the barnyard animals' ability to talk dozens of times, but everyone thinks she's crazy.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Catchphrase: Otis' catchphrase is "Milk me." The end of the Cowman special has Freddy try to come up with his own catchphrase. To a minor extent, "Aw, crud monkeys" is this to Pig.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Daisy, despite Otis helping her to raise her son Ben.
  • Circling Birdies: In the episode "Clan of the Cave Cow", a cave cow (mistaken for Otis) whacks Abby on the head with a club. Baby chicks circle around her head as she says "I'm a pretty ballerina" before collapsing to the floor.
  • Circus Episode: In "Big Top Barnyard", after accidentally injuring an entire troupe of circus performers, Otis volunteers to take over with the help of his friends. His circus features him as the ringmaster, Duke as a sheep tamer, Freddy and Peck as clowns, Pig as a sword swallower, Pip as the world's tiniest man, and Abby as an acrobat. Abby, however, is too afraid to do her part due to an accident that happened when she performed in a circus many years ago.
  • Clockwork Prediction: At the beginning of "The Farmer Takes a Woman", after the animals' party is interrupted when the farmer shows up to mourn his dead wife.
    Otis: This is the third Saturday night in a row! What gives?
    Pip: Check it out, I won't even peek. First, the picture of his wife...
    (Farmer takes out a framed photo of his wife)
    Pip: Then the whittling stick...
    (Farmer takes out a stick)
    Pip: And cue the sad cowboy music.
    (Farmer turns on the radio and starts whittling and crying)
  • Connected All Along: While the Beadys and Snotty Boy all appeared in the movie, the series classified Snotty Boy as being the the Beady's nephew.
  • Control Freak: Duke
  • Creepy Physical: Almost every appearance of the Vet in the show involves some form of torture on someone's part. Whether she's performing a prostate exam on unsuspecting animals or "flushing out their brain-holes", the Vet always finds a way to top herself in over-the-top medical horror.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: The plot of the aptly named episode "Doggelganger", wherein a dog named Baxter steals Duke's identity in order to escape from the Vet's office. Despite being shorter, thinner, and having a distinctly different voice from Duke's, he manages to fool the entire farm for a good chunk of the episode. Baxter later becomes a minor antagonist in the series, often concocting plans to get revenge on Duke.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: "Snotty & Snottier" is one to the earlier episode "Dummy & Dummyer". Both episodes' title cards even share the same music.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bessy and Mr. Beady.
    • Pip once referred to himself as a snarky sidekick. Not all that justified, though.
  • Death by Secret Identity: More like death by secret life. Farmer Clem is one of few villainous humans other than Mrs. Beady to find out about the talking animals. He later gets sucked into his own clone machine and all his DNA is transformed into tiny clones, implying a more fatal ending.
  • Denser and Wackier: Sure, the Pilot Movie was dark and more nightmarish and all, but this show relies more on comedy. Lampshaded by Otis in one episode.
    Otis: Is it me or is this barnyard getting weirder?
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The way Freddy admits to his parents that Peck - whom he just saved from becoming their meal - is his best friend, and his parents' reaction from this, obviously parallels word for word someone admitting to his parents that he's gay and introducing his partner to them. What makes that one even funnier is the fact that Freddy's voice actor is gay.
    • "Otis Vs. Bigfoot": Otis doesn't think Bigfoot truly loves Abby, but that he just wants to eat her and then walk away and tell all his friends about it, which sounds like Otis claiming Bigfoot would love and leave her.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Shockingly averted in the episode where Pig meets his betrothed—said betrothed has a Hair-Trigger Temper and frequently screams at and smacks Pig around (Pig is in a love-induced haze so he just pretty much takes it). His friends are rightfully appalled by her treatment of him and plan to get the marriage arrangement dissolved because they know that if Pig marries her and snaps out of his haze afterward, he'll be unhappy and miserable for the rest of his life.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: Invoked by Bessie towards the end of the episode, 'War of the Pranks': "Let's all have a nice end-of-the-show laugh!"
  • Expy: Abby looks surprisingly like Daisy from the source movie. She replaces both Daisy and her son.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Whenever Pip tries to hit on Bessy.
  • Fat Idiot: Snotty Boy fits this trope to a "T".
    • Pig is a less negative version.
    • Otis: He can be quite dumb at some times, and the milk in his body makes him heavy.
  • Flanderization: Otis and Bessy are probably the most noticeable examples of this.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Ben.
  • Friendship Favoritism: In the episode, "The Haunting," Pig gets possessed by the ghost of Winky, a rabbit who lived on the farm 150 years ago, who also captures the rest of Otis' friends. When Bessy orders Otis to suck out Winky's spirit with an ecto-vacuum, Otis objects, worrying he might suck out Pig's spirit by mistake, leading to this exchange:
    Bessy: What are you waiting for? Get him!
    Otis: I can't! I can't risk hurting my best friend!
    Pip: I thought I was your best friend!
    Otis: Right, I mean second best friend.
    Abby: I thought I was your second best friend!
    Otis: Uh, no, you're my best friend on the girl list.
    Abby: You can't have a different list for girls!
    Otis: Well, I do. It's pink and all the I's are dotted with puffy hearts.
    Pip: Best friend coming through!
    Abby: Best male friend.
    Pip: Whatever.
  • Furry Female Mane: Abby has blonde human-like head hair and Bessie has shades of this trope. Otis has no human-like head hair of any sort.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Otis becomes this as Cowman in "Cowman: The Uddered Avenger" when a mad scientist deceives the public into thinking he is trying to steal the Jurassic Corn Kernel. Even his friends (except Pip and Abby) turn against him.
  • Horror Hunger: Freddy has a constant craving to eat Peck.
  • Hugh Mann: Many of the animals assume the surname "Nota[animal name]" when going out in public.
  • Infection Scene: In the Back at the Barnyard special "It's An Udderful Life," Otis grabs a visiting Santa Claus a cup of cinnamon the camera lingers on a sign behind the cup saying "Freddy's Cup - DO NOT TOUCH!" Freddy, who is very sick with "ferret fever," comes in asking for the cup, and Santa notices that the cup has Freddy's name on it. Santa's not worried, as he's healthy as they come...then we take a glimpse inside his bloodstream, where Freddy-shaped germs beat up Santa-shaped white blood cells, and suddenly Santa's too sick to work.
  • Info Dump: Often provided by Otis, and just as often Lampshaded by the others.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Eugene and his friends.
  • Latex Perfection: The jewel robbers in "Chain Gang" disguise themselves this way wearing full-head rubber farm animal masks that happen to resemble Otis, Chicken, Freddy and Peck (and thus cause said main characters to be falsely arrested), though at the end the imposters are unmasked by Otis to reveal four old ladies.
    • An inverse of the previous example happens in "Get Bessy", wherein Weird Al wears a mask to hide the fact that he's a horse disguised as a human.
  • Lighter and Softer: The movie got pretty dark at points. This...doesn't. Some episodes subvert their lighthearted laughs with dark plots though, like "Snotty's New Pet," where Snotty Boy tries to feed Pip to his snake, or "Hypno-A-Go-Go," where Otis is accidentally hypnotized to kill the farmer at the sound of the bell, and more than half of his attempts almost got Abby killed as well trying to save him.
  • Made of Explodium: Happens to the hens' eggs in "Animal Farmers" thanks to Freddy adding TNT powder to the energy drink the others made.
    • Almost everything in this show seems to run on this, Even Pig explodes at one point.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: "Hello, animals of the farm. And Bessy."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Jessica Allspice (Jessica Alba).
    • Also, a Geraldo Rivera lookalike appears in "The Big Barnyard Broadcast".
    • "Ryan Earcrust" appears, alongside a mention of hosting 26 shows that day.
    • The "Hilly Burford" newscaster character is an expy of baseball announcer Harry Carey, specifically Will Ferrell's impersonation, crazy hair and all.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: In the episode "Mr. Wiggleplix", Pig is distraught over the fact that Otis supposedly killed his imaginary friend of the same name by dropping an anvil on his head. Otis reluctantly dresses up as Wiggleplix to cheer him up, only for the real Wiggleplix to show up at the end of the episode, much to Otis's disbelief. Pig explains that "he can only be seen and heard by those who truly believe, or when flour is poured on him".
  • Oblivious to Love: Otis doesn't seem to be aware that Abby likes him. Or won't admit that he likes her too.
  • Only One Finds It Fun: In "The Good, the Bad, and the Snotty", Snotty Boy feeds the animals pizza with hot sauce. While everyone else finds it too spicy, Pip thinks it's OK because he was raised in Mexico where eating spicy food is more common and calls the others lightweights.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Often, sometimes with names equally on the nose with how obvious they are.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • In one episode, Pig falls in love with a human woman and decides to propose to her, which makes Otis immediately point out the main problem with their relationship...HE’S A PIG!!!
    • In the same episode, Otis types a personal ad for the farmer on a dating site. The result:
    Fhenxhfndkdiej#blarg...Man, I wish we had fingers.
    • One episode has Otis (who isn’t exactly book smart) need to use a math equation to figure out the speed to travel to save his friends...he gets the solution wrong.
  • Refuge in Audacity: In "Fumblebums", the way football is played in that episode seems to break a few rules. When Otis becomes the team mascot for the Cows Football Team, he does things like 1) tell the audience to throw garbage at the field to make the opposing team trip and fall. 2) spray milk from his utters onto the field to make the opposing team slip like on a banana peel. 3) shoot Freddy out of a cannon to deflect the football in midair. Nobody minds this at all, and even news reporter Hilly Burford responds with "These guys take mascoting to the next level!".
  • Rule of Drama: Overlaps with Rule of Funny, and is acknowledged in-universe.
  • Rule of Funny: The whole show seems to revolve around this trope.
  • Running Gag: For some reason, pickles seem to be a running gag throughout the show. In fact, one episode had both the main plot and climax caused because of pickles.
  • Secret Ingredient: At the end of "Chez Pig", all of the barnyard animals ask Pig for the secret ingredient of his grandma's Truffle Pies, Pig finally gives in but when he reveals the secret ingredient, a duck shows up and quacks, completely drowning out what Pig said. However, the other animals are heard exclaiming in disgust, implying that the secret ingredient was actually disgusting.
  • Shout-Out: The news reporter Hilly Burford, played by John Dimaggio, is a very clear Expy of Will Ferrell's Harry Caray impersonation on Saturday Night Live.
  • Smelly Skunk: Pig's pet Skunky is a skunk who frequently stinks up the joint, which is fitting since Pig is fairly stinky himself.
  • Something We Forgot: One episode closed with Duke getting carted off to the pound in the same kennel that Freddy tricked him into earlier in the episode.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Abby for Daisy, the Love Interest in the original movie and only female cow besides Bessy. Daisy is not mentioned in this series, nor was Abby present in the movie.
  • Take That!: To the animals, there is no worse form of torture than to be strapped to a table and forced to watch something about kids in high school making a musical.
  • That Didn't Happen: In "Dream Birthday", the Farmer confesses his love for the Vet, a feeling which she seems to reciprocate. Not only have these two characters never expressed any romantic interest towards each other up until now, they only ever interacted with each other in one previous episode.
  • Title Drop: An unusual example due to the context it comes up in, but still an example. In "Otis Season":
    Otis: Oh, calm down. We can saw them off Back at the Barnyard.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Abby and Bessie are the only female major characters in the series.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: Snotty Boy once had a pet snake who talked just like him, which Pip lampshades and considers cute. Justified because the snake mentions that Snotty Boy raised him since he hatched.
  • Unconventional Food Usage: In the episode "A Tale of Two Snottys", the animals make Pig a wig out of spaghetti to disguise him as Snotty Boy.
  • Whole Plot Reference: A few. There were episodes parodying the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Amok Time", Caddyshack, The Exorcist, and The Chronicles Of Narnia.
    • There was a special called "Cowman", which stuck fairly true to and even stole some shots from Batman (1989).
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Narrator sometimes likes to go into his own little world.
    Narrator: Don't worry! He's fine and will soon star in my amazing go kart episode!
    Pip: I think we need a new narrator.
    Narrator: Too late, the end!
  • Verbal Tic: Snotty calls everyone "stupid", "stinky", etc., even when there's no reason to.
    • "Aliens"- the screen closes in on Otis' udder twice
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Mrs. Beady often tries to expose the animals' secret to the world to prove she's not a lunatic. Which she is, just for different reasons.


The Crowd Hates Cowman

Otis (as Cowman) steals the Jurassic Corn Kernal to keep it away from a mad scientist, and the whole town who once hailed him as a hero turns against him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeroWithBadPublicity

Media sources:

Main / HeroWithBadPublicity