Billy: Well, it took the whole semester to build it the first time, so my guess is about three months.
Marsha: But that's all summer!
Zeke: You mean an entire summer break of no summer school, no teachers, no parents or rules?? (Beat) I think I can deal with that.
Billy Dilley's Super-Duper Subterranean Summer is a Disney XD animated series created by Aaron Springer - a veteran writer, storyboard artist, and director who has previously worked on SpongeBob SquarePants, Samurai Jack, Gravity Falls, Wander over Yonder, and Mickey Mouse (2013), and created the [adult swim] pilot Korgoth of Barbaria.
The show follows junior high students Zeke (Tom Kenny) and Marsha (Catie Wayne), who inadvertently find themselves spending summer vacation in the company of their lab partner, the enthusiastic yet eccentric inventor Billy Dilley (voiced by Springer), after a mishap with his science fair project "The Cheeserator" sends them hurtling deep into the earth's core.
The trio (with Billy's pet rat Anaximander tagging along for the ride) eventually wind up in Subterrania-Tania, a strange and exotic fantasy world, which leads to many adventures exploring and adapting to this bizarre new environment whilst finding a way to fix Billy's invention, which will eventually help them get back on the surface.
The series would go on to be the shortest-lived animated series produced by Disney Television Animation, premiering its sole, 13-episode season on June 3rd, 2017 with very little fanfare and airing all its episodes over the course of two weeks. It's considered something of a Creator's Oddball in the Disney TVA canon, due to its humour and style resembling a Nicktoon more so than a modern-day Disney show, along with its premiere being overshadowed by the hype of DuckTales (2017).
Billy Dilley's Super-Duper Subterranean Summer contains examples of these fascinating tropes:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Hag Witch to Count Wretcher. And Billy to Hag Witch after he takes her love potion.
- Always Someone Better: In "The Troggies Next Door", Zeke is bested at everything he's good at by the Troggies. Eventually, he does find something he's better at than them: losing.
- Amusing Injuries: Happens quite frequently, especially to Zeke and Billy.
- Barbarian Hero: Zartran is a parody. Mostly he's just faking the hero part to mooch off Billy and his friends.
- Bare-Handed Puppetry: When he's mistaken for an entertainer for the Gorks' leader the Gorkaher, Billy performs a ventriloquist act, putting glasses over his chest and making his belly button talk as "Belly Dilley".
- Beneath the Earth: The show's premise has the main trio stuck here.
- Big Bad: The show has Count Wretcher, the self-appointed ruler of Subterrania-Tania, who dreams of covering the surface world in sludge.
- Bishie Sparkle: Parodied when Billy falls in love, the object of his affection looks even uglier
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Zeke being at risk of repeating the 8th grade yet again was his motivation to become Billy's lab partner. Later episodes show that, when he applies himself, he's a great cook and is quite competitive.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Billy Dilley, FULL STOP. Marsha tends to have a few moments of kookiness as well.
- The Cat Came Back: In "Sluggy", Billy makes friend with a slug, but when Sluggy gets too be too much, Billy tries to escape him, but Sluggy is always one step ahead of him.
- Catchphrase: Billy Dilley finds a lot of things 'fascinating'.
- Chekhov's Gun: In the first episode, "Lab Partners... Forever?", Billy shows Marsha and Zeke the greeting ritual of the rare Wormosaurus Rex. Later, they perform it for the Gorks to convince them that they are not surface dwellers.
- Cliffhanger / Sequel Hook: "The Battle for Subterranea-Tania" ends with Anaximander and the Cheeserator returning to the surface... with Billy, Zeke and Marsha left stranded underground.
- Cold Opening: The first episode has one that explains the context of the show.
- Companion Cube: Billy's Mr. Whatzit action figure.
- Conjoined Eyes: Marsha, though some expressions have her drawn with separate eyeballs. Judy has these as well.
- Cooking Duel: In "Calzones", Zeke and an ogre compete over who is the "King of Calzones".
- Cute Monster Girl: Judy the swamp creature.
- Cute Little Fangs: Judy is known to have this.
- Cyclops: Gumbrump, The Mud Men and Big Doug.
- Daydream Surprise: When Billy tells Marsha that she's a klutz, it apparently pushes her Berserk Button and she attacks him. Fortunately, it was just Billy imagining what she would do if he did tell her.
- Deadpan Snarker: Zeke
- Descended Creator: Billy is voiced by show creator Aaron Springer.
- Disney Death: Evil Billy (who's revealed to be a robot) at the end of "The Battle for Subterranea-Tania". It's enough to make the usually unfazed Anaximander look on in shock.
- Ditzy Genius: Billy, a science fanatic and talented engineer - who built a drill for cutting holes into giant swiss cheese.
- Drill Tank: Billy's Cheeserator, which he built to put holes on giant wheels of cheese. It accidentally drills through the Earths' crust during a demonstration, which sets up the show's plot.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Judy's official debut was "Hey Judy", though she made a brief cameo in the end of "The Mushroom Prince", which aired a day before.
- Evil Twin: Evil Billy, the Big Bad in "The Battle for Subterrania-Tania".
- Expy: It's obvious that Zartran is a Lighter and Softer version of Springer's earlier creation, Korgoth of Barbaria
- Fearful Symmetry: In "The Battle for Subterrania-Tania", Billy battles an Evil Twin who matches his every move. It culminates in a round of rock-paper-scissors where each opponent keeps drawing the same thing.
- Forbidden Fruit:
- In "Silly Spheres", Billy is told by Hag Witch not to touch her cabinet while he dusts her house. Naturally, Billy becomes obsessed with opening the cabinet, and then with playing with the potion ingredients inside.
- In "The Glorp of The Gorks", Gorkayer tells Billy that all Gork relics are forbidden to touch. When Billy finds a green goop on a chalice, he remembers this... then starts playing with the goop with abandon.
- Frazetta Man: The "Troggies".
- Insistent Terminology: Zeke and Marsha insist that they're only lab partners, not lab friends as Billy calls them. This eventually softens after the events of the first episode.
- Interspecies Romance: In "Hey, Judy", Billy meets Judy, a swamp creature, and falls in love with... an earthworm he finds in Judy's hair, whom he calls Lisa. In the end, Billy falls in love with Judy, while an Anthropithecus falls in love with Lisa.
- The Klutz: In "K is for Klutz", Marsha becomes this after receiving a bugbite.
- Billy is this all the time.
- Late to the Punchline: In "Wretcherous Treachery", Count Wretched tells his lackey Thurston that he's not as dumb as they say. Some time later, after Wretched's first plan against Billy fails, Thurston comes in and says "Who says I'm dumb?"
- Lazy Bum: Anaximander.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: As goofy as Billy acts, when Zeke and Marsha are in trouble he gets into serious mode...not that he succeeds.
- Lizard Folk: The Gorks.
- Lost World: Subterrania-Tania, which is inhabited by Troglodytes, Pteranodons and other prehistoric creatures.
- Love Potion: Hag Witch prepares one to use on Count Wretcher. Unfortunately, Billy drinks it by mistake and falls in love with her.
- Metalhead: Zeke seems to be one of these, complete with shoulder-length hair and black shirt with a skull on it.
- Momma's Boy/My Beloved Smother: Count Wretcher has a controlling mother who won't let him spread his sludge outside the yard. This despite apparently being nothing more than a portrait and an intercom.
- Monster Is a Mommy: In "K is for Klutz", Billy and Marsha are chased by a Dimetrodon because Billy had captured its baby to use its saliva to try and cure Marsha's clumsiness. Marsha returns the baby to the Dimetrodon and it leaves them alone.
- Only Sane Man: Zeke really does not want to be where he is, and makes it known constantly.
- Pokémon Speak: Yuck-ee can only say his own name. In "Silly Spheres" he lets slip an "Indeed" before correcting himself.
- Power Trio: Billy is The Kirk, Zeke is The Spock, and Marsha is The McCoy.
- Red-Headed Hero: Billy sports a puffy orange afro, and is the show's protagonist.
- Retraux: The style of the show seems to evoke the late 1960s'-early 1970's, from its' retro, hand-drawn look to the bright colour palette, right down to its' Beach Boys-esque-theme song.
- Shout-Out: The design of Jared is based on the Deadly Grell from the advanced Dungeons & Dragons toyline.
- Skewed Priorities: Most of the series have Billy and his friends more concerned with their life in Subterrania-Tania than on actually trying to get back to the surface. In fact, Count Wretcher, the Big Bad of the series, focuses more on going to the surface than them, albeit for different reasons.
- Spiritual Successor:
- To Nickelodeon's Sanjay and Craig. It helps that a few crew members worked on Billy Dilley, after production of "Booyah for Bollywood" finished.
- A more accurate comparison would be SpongeBob SquarePants (which Aaron Springer previously worked on), Chowder, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, or The 7D.
- It's also the third in Disney's unofficial "Summer Vacation" trilogy, following Phineas and Ferb and Gravity Falls (which each premiered five years apart).
- Sublime Rhyme: Billy Dilley, of course.
- Team Chef: Zeke is shown to be an amazing cook, after Billy and Marsha fall in love with his family's calzone recipe.
- The Stoic: Anaximander doesn't really react to what goes on in the show. A flashback in "Rat's Entertainment!" reveals that he's Seen It All.
- Team Pet: Billy's pet rat Anaximander, who spends a great portion of his screentime lazing around and mooching off the trio, only being helpful when they're in danger.
- Trapped in Another World
- Trash of the Titans: In "Double Bubble", Zeke throws all his trash over the roof of the house. Eventually it piles up so big that it breaks through the roof and onto the living room.
- Two Guys and a Girl: The core trio of Billy, Zeke and Marsha.
- White Gloves: Billy wears a pair.
- You Are the New Trend: In "Ol' Macbilly", Billy is made fun of for his hair, so he goes to buy a wig and ends up working for the wig maker, Big Doug. After Billy uses his own hair to make a wig for Big Doug's prized mammoth after he shaved her bald, his afro becomes the it thing to wear in Subterrania-tania.
- Your Size May Vary: Anaximander can vary from being the size of a normal mouse to half the size of Billy depending on the scene.
- Run, run, run away!Baby, stick to the plan!Run, run, run away!Catch me if you can...