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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 show from Nickelodeon. It started on September 29, 2007, and ended 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. It is from the creators of Jimmy Neutron, and the 25th member of the popular Nicktoons brand.

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 Abbie wears earrings and a purple bow in her braided hair.
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  • 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 Psychologyis 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.
  • Animal Gender-Bender: The "male cow" with an udder, of course.
  • 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.
  • 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"
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: They interacted with their narrator in an episode.
  • 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.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Daisy, despite Otis helping her to raise her son, Ben.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bessy and Mr. Beady.
    • Pip once referred to himself as a snarky sidekick. Not all that justified, though.
  • 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 male cows having udders and being able to produce milk.
    • 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: Abbie the cow has blonde humanlike head hair and Bessie the other cow has shades of this trope. Otis the "male cow" has no humanlike head hair of any sort.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: There are so many things wrong with the football game they play, someone who has never seen a single football game in their life could find at least 3 things wrong with it.
  • 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Otis managed to hypnotize himself in "Hypno-A-Go-Go"
  • 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.
  • Idiot Hero: Otis, in contrast to his film counterpart.
  • 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 impostors 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.
  • 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.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: In "Hypno-A-Go-Go", when showing a montage of Otis trying to kill the farmer.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 intrest towards each other up until now, they only ever interacted with each other in one previous episode.


Example of: