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Western Animation / Bad Dog

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Proof that you can adapt anything into a cartoon series.

Bad Dog!

Bad Dog is a Canadian animated series from Montreal's CinéGroupe (with help from the American Saban Entertainment) made for Fox Kids and Teletoon. The show itself is, interestingly enough, based on a screensaver from the After Dark software.

The show followed the Potanski Family, composed of Psychologist Mother Madeline, Bungling Inventor Father Victor, nerdy older son with a multitude of allergies Trevor, Prima Donna daughter Penelope, elderly former astronaut grandfather, excitable toddler son Vic Jr., and their dog, Berkeley. Berkeley, the titular dog of the show, isn't a bad dog per se. Rather, he tries his hardest to be the best dog he can be. As a result, he seems to have a kind of obsessive need to obey every order he hears, including orders that weren't directed at him, or even things like suggestions, or even sarcastic comments. As a result, he tends to cause a lot of damage and chaos in everything he does. The end result is usually him being called a Bad Dog, which upsets him so badly that he goes completely catatonic until he's called a good dog.

The show debuted in 1998 and lasted until 2000, running for two seasons and 40 episodes.

Bad Dog contains the following tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Little Vic is still very much in Baby Talk mode, so his attempt to pronounce "Berkeley" comes out as "Barky."
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the original screensavers, Berkeley did a lot of pretty bad things on purpose. In this cartoon, he causes chaos trying to be a good dog.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Little Vic.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Victor would often say "Sorry. Really Sorry" or "Sorry. Sorry about that".
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: In "Berkeley Takes The Cake" it's mentioned that Berkeley eats the family's birthday cake at every one of their birthdays. He's lucky to still be alive, as all that sugar in the cake is terrible for a little dog like him.
  • Birthday Episode: The series had two episodes set during a family member's birthday.
    • Berkeley Takes The Cake. Penelope spends the episode trying to keep Berkeley from eating her cake, which, apparently is something Berkeley does at EVERY Potanski birthday.
    • There's also "Bad Dad", which is set during Little Vic's birthday, and Berkeley ends up stealing things to get everything on Little Vic's birthday list.
  • Bungling Inventor: Victor Potanski. Pretty much everything he makes fails in some way.
  • Catchphrase Insult: Lester hurls a "BEAST DOG!" at Berkeley whenever he makes trouble.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Lester's pampered cat, Special, rarely breaks out of his displeased expression.
  • Christmas Episode: A very Berkeley Christmas.
  • Circus Episode: The Flying Potanskis.
  • Courtroom Episode: The series has two.
    • In "Burden Of The Woof", Berkeley is put on trial by Lester Johnson for supposedly harassing him and his cat.
    • "Dog House Arrest" has Berkeley placed under house arrest for injuring a woman at a supermarket who was really faking it to bilk the Potanskis for as much money as she could.
  • A Dog Ate My Homework: In "Bad Dog Ate My Homework", Penelope spent much of the episode trying to keep Berkeley from eating a hybrid plant she grew before she can show it off to her class.
  • Earth Day Episode: The season two episode "Earth Dog" is about Berkeley trying to help Penelope celebrate Earth Day. One instance of this involves trying to keep the house's energy consumption down, which Berkeley accomplishes by unplugging any large amount of electronics that either Vic, Trevor, or Grandpa Potanski are using for something or other.
  • LEGO Genetics: Penelope, and everyone in her class, are able to splice two different kinds of seeds together in "Bad Dog Ate My Homework".
  • Literal-Minded: Berkeley has a habit of interpreting orders that he hears quite literally.
  • Misery Trigger: Because Dogs Love Being Praised, calling Berkeley a bad dog will fill him with so much sadness that he'll fall unconscious.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Berkeley had no given name in the original Bad Dog screen savers, but was named for the company that originally developed After Dark here.
  • Noodle Incident: There's plenty of stuff Berkeley does that ISN'T seen in the show.
  • Once per Episode: Berkeley being called a bad dog, causing him to go into a coma.
  • Playing Sick: Penelope and several of her friends do this in "Nurse Barky" to get out of school and go to The Hair Scrunchie Barn. However, Little Vic and Berkeley believe she really IS sick and try to cure her with every remedy they know, ultimately resulting in Berkeley infecting her with poison ivy.
  • The Prima Donna: Penelope is very theatrical, and very high maintenance.
  • Raiders of the Lost Parody: In "Bad Dog To The Bone", the Potanskis find out they live above the ruins of an ancient temple.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Grandpa Potanski. Getting everyone's names wrong is just ONE thing that makes him this.
  • Senior Sleep-Cycle: Grandpa Potanski is regularly seen asleep.
  • Shout-Out: Berkeley is the namesake of Berkeley Systems, the now-defunct company that developed the screensaver software on which the show is based.
  • The Shrink: Madeline. She often psychoanalyzed people around her.
  • Verbal Tic: A number of characters on the show have these.
    • The dude ranch owner in "Buckaroo Berkeley" seemed fond of the word "dang".
    • The court judge in "Burden Of The Woof" called anyone or anything that interrupted the trial "silly".
  • Vocal Evolution: Little Vic's voice changed at some point in the series.

I'm sorry, Berkeley. You're a good dog.