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Western Animation / Buddy Thunderstruck

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From left to right: Tex Jr., Darnell, Buddy, Muncie, Cannonball

Buddy Thunderstruck is a stop-motion comedy series created by Ryan Wiesbrock as a Netflix original series, produced by Stoopid Buddy Studiosnote  and released in March 10, 2017.

The title character, Buddy Thunderstruck, is an egotistical canine semi-truck racer. His best friend Darnell, a white ferret/stoat, serves as his mechanic, accomplice, and voice of reason (usually). The two spend their days alternately tormenting and being admired by the citizens of the small town of Greasepit, who don't seem to have anything more interesting to do, and of course, winning every race.

A special Gamebook episode was released on July 14, The Maybe Pile. Only one season was made and it's unknown if the series will continue.

This show provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Buddy Thunderstruck, without fail, wins every race he's in, even though most of the time he is barely paying attention and spends the race talking about random things with Darnell.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: A lot of these are present in the series, specifically by Buddy's hand. The aforementioned constant victories are thusly half skill, and half dumb luck. He also managed to somehow construct a fully working arm cannon out of parts from the Rabble Rouser despite having absolutely no skill in mechanics.
    Buddy: I kinda wanna get back to fightin', because it took a lot of effort to make this. Mechanics are not my strong house and I am rather impressed with the results.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: It's a local law that races can only have 6 racers.
  • Backseat Driver: Buddy's Auntie Uncle is a pretty severe one, to the point where it's the one thing that can cancel out Buddy's natural skill and make him drive poorly.
    Auntie Uncle: Change lanes! Put on disco music! Slow down! This street has too many ugly people!
    Buddy: There's no one on this street!
  • The Big Race: Although not all of the episodes revolve around or even mention racing, Buddy's still seen crossing the finish line in many.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Every single character due to the art style.
  • British Brevity: US example. Only a twelve episode season of Two Shorts has been made to date.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Moneybags constantly pokes and angers Tex Jr., with predictable results.
  • Catchphrase:
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: The entire town of Greasepit is full of these with the exception of Muncie. Yes, even Darnell qualifies. Mr. Weaselbrat is probably the most notorious example, though.
  • Cool Car: Buddy's truck, The Rabble Rouser, which has rocket propulsion.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Buddy has fangs that stick out of the bottom-right of his mouth.
  • The Cutie: Deputy Sheriff Hoisenberry, who doesn't look like he could actually apprehend a hardened criminal to save his life. His favorite drink seems to be grape juice boxes.
  • The Ditz: Buddy doesn't think very many things through.
  • Don't Try This at Home: Parodied.
    Buddy: And remember, kids, do not attempt this stunt at home! Because I will sue you for stealing my intellectual property.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Buddy is an extremely talented figure 8 racer, but he has no off switch; he drives like he's in a race all the time.
  • Evil Brit: Moneybags has a British accent and tries to sabotage Buddy's career and title as the fastest racer.
  • Expy: Artichoke acts and talks like a combination of Snake and Nelson Muntz.
  • The Faceless: Every race consists of the same 6 racers, but all of the drama centers around Buddy and Tex Jr. Of the remaining racers, only Flossy Trophydash's identity is known; the other three regular racers are never talked about, nor can their faces be seen through their muddy windows/helmets.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Buddy gives all of his weekly race winnings to his Auntie Uncle to keep Thunderstruck Trucking in business, but even that cash flow can't stop her from occasionally running out before the week is over.
    Auntie Uncle: I pawned everything we own over at the Gold Brick Pawn Shop to keep the business afloat!
    Buddy: What happened to all the race money I just gave you?
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: The Concho Bolo is not a bar, despite looking exactly like one.
  • Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: The majority of the cast of characters in this series.
  • Girl Scouts Are Evil: The Cootie Scout relentlessly pushes cookies on Buddy and Darnell, and when they try to call the police on her, she just beats them up instead.
  • Heroic BSoD: Implied to be the reason Handsome Joe went insane following the (apparent) death of his friend.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Fartnugget!
  • It's All About Me: Buddy embodies this trope. He occasionally learns to consider the effects of his actions on others, but always forgets by the next episode.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Buddy may seem vain and arrogant, but he actually does care about others and does what he can to help them out.
  • Jive Turkey: Tex Jr. speaks in urban slang like "Yo yo yo!" and "That was off the chain!"
  • Lampshade Hanging: The show does a ton, such as Moneybags routinely referred to as "the creepy guy" before being properly introduced.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: "Blame it on the thunder!" generally marks the point at which Buddy starts taking a race seriously, leading to his victory almost immediately afterward no matter how far behind he was at the time.
  • Loony Fan:
    • Buddy has a lot of fans, but Mr. Weaselbrat is a little more crazy about him than most, fanboying at every opportunity and willingly becoming the Butt-Monkey of Buddy's antics. At one point it's implied he has a pair of Buddy's dirty underwear — framed — but that may have just been an Imagine Spot.
    • His wife seems to be almost as crazy, if her matching Buddy-themed car and T-shirt are any indication.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The Gold Brick Pawn Shop's lack of credibility should be no surprise, since "goldbrick" is an old-fashioned term for a cheat or a swindler.
    • Freeze-Frame Bonus shows that Jacko's full name is Jacko Valltrades.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Handsome Joe, though he seems quite coherent after getting a translator device.
  • Mirror Character: "Babysitters, Yo!" has Buddy and Darnell looking after/baby sitting Tex Jr. and while the two of them attempt to make fun of Tex Jr. for being inept and incapable of living on his own, it becomes clear that Buddy himself is exactly as inept.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: Jackalope Jacko is seen performing many different jobs. He's been a Buddy Impersonator, a TV Show Host, a Judge, president of a recording label, and even a Doctor.
    Darnell: Hey Jacko, you're sometimes Dr. Jacko, right?
    Jacko: Uh... why, yes I am.
  • Nitro Boost: With the push of a button (and generally a "Blame it on the thunder!!"), the Rabble Rouser's coupling can convert into a rocket booster.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: Fire Gut Jerky Sticks.
  • Older Than They Look: Word of God confirms that despite appearing incredibly child-like, Deputy Hoisenberry is in fact an adult.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Racer #85, Flossy Trophydash, is clearly Buddy's cousin Muncie Thunderstruck. The only thing she does is wear a face concealing helmet. She doesn't even bother to drive a different truck.
    Darnell: Your cousin's truck looks familiar...
    Buddy: Like we just saw it somewhere. Oh well, who cares?
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Other than the first episode where Buddy and Darnell deliver a box of baby-sized adult diapers, the only revenue Thunderstruck Trucking seems to have is Buddy's racing earnings; no one is ever seen doing any actual trucking for the company.
  • Psychic Link: Buddy and Darnell seem to be psychically connected to each other.
    Buddy: Is Muncie right? Am I doin' wrong? Have I become a bad person?
    Darnell: Don't be too hard on yourself, Buddy!
    Buddy: Darnell? Is this some kind of mental telepathy thing? Cool! Hey, what number am I thinking?
    Darnell: 76.
    Buddy: Woah.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
    • Deputy Hoisenberry is a little child-like deer who tries his best to uphold the law while having an innocent demeanor.
    • Darnell is a little white ferret mechanic with a slick pompadour.
  • Ring Around the Collar: All characters either have no neck, or wear turtleneck sweaters to hide the seam on the puppets dividing their head from the rest of their bodies.
  • Saving the Orphanage: It seem Buddy is in a perpetual state of racing to save his family business, Thunderstruck Trucking.
    Buddy: Here you go, Auntie Uncle, that will keep Thunderstruck Trucking open for another few weeks, so don't go wasting all that money!
    Auntie Uncle: Of course I won't waste it! Hey everyone, party's on me!
    Buddy: (To Darnell) Don't matter, once I win next week's prize money, she'll be just fine.
  • The Sheriff: Sheriff Cannonball, with a dose of Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop.
  • Scout-Out: The Cootie Scouts (see Girl Scouts Are Evil above).
  • Shout-Out: Care Bears (1980s) (also owned by what is now Cloudco Entertainmentnote ) is seen on TV at points.
  • Short-Distance Phone Call: Darnell steps out of the Rabble Rouser during a race to repair a broken wheel and Buddyimmediately calls him to have a discussion on worms vs beetles.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: In an interesting variant, as the show is stop-motion and the characters look to be made largely of felt, most of the explosions and smoke are rendered with loose cotton batting.
    Buddy: (Regarding a gas pump they just drove into) Huh, in the movies that would have blowed up in gratuitous fashion.
    (Beat, the gas station blows up in gratuitous fashion)
    Buddy: There it is!
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Mr. Weaselbrat is a head or two shorter than his wife, and much thinner.
  • Toilet Humor: In just about every episode.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Buddy and Darnell really like hot wings. And Truck Stop Snacks.
  • Two Shorts: Except for the season 1 finale, which is a Quarter Hour Short.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Tex Jr. is constantly trying to make his father proud of him.
  • Wrench Wench: Muncie is a skilled truck driver and racer just like her cousin Buddy.
  • World of Funny Animals: Everyone is an anthropomorphic animal.

Episodes of this series provide examples of:

  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Parodied in "Truck Cab in the Woods". Buddy immediately assumes help will come without having to call for it. By the time they decide they should call for help, the batteries in the phone are dead from Darrell using it to watch cat videos to pass the time.
  • Election Day Episode: Buddy runs for mayor against Man of Wealth and Taste Belvedere Moneybags. Moneybags gets only one vote, but wins on a technicality. It's all part of an elaborate (but very much up-front) scheme to get Buddy to race him.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Darnell turns into one for an episode.
  • Mandatory Unretirement: Sheriff Cannonball tries his darndest to quit his job in one episode. Even Buddy and Darnell want him back.
  • New Job Episode: "Thunderstruck Rad Cab" has the race track closed for paving forcing Buddy to come up with another way to make money, settling on running a Taxi service.
  • Visual Pun: In the first episode, Buddy and Darnell escape from prison by challenging the cops to a dance-off. After some hip-hop moves, they literally waltz out the door.
  • A Winner Is You: The extremely bad Crash Master 3000 game naturally has one of these; upon beating the game a simple fanfare and a "Good Job" message is displayed, and while this then causes the arcade cabinet to open an impenetrable vault containing a trophy, Buddy finds the small hand-sized trophy equally underwhelming.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: In Thunder Fu Buddy and Darnell start a Kung Fu Dojo and have no idea what their are doing.
  • Worst Aid: In "Truck Stop Clerks", Robby tries to take advantage of Buddy running the truck stop to stage an injury, but Buddy is having none of that and claims he can fix a broken back with the Heimlich, after which he then proceeds to administer CPR instead.

The Maybe Pile provides examples of:

  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: While the story doesn't address you directly for the most part, Buddy makes an exception for the first decision point in the story, where he will give you a second chance when time runs out to make sure you understand how to play. After that the decisions will make themselves.
    Buddy: (Screen Tap) Hey there! Did you forget that you control what happens? So get your fingers ready and tap left or right!
  • Call-Back: The entire concept of Buddy and Darnell having a Maybe Pile of ideas is alluded to in a throwaway line in the first episode. In addition, the Pyrotechnics ending has Buddy remark "Ka-Boom! Literally!" to which Darnell remarks he's already used that joke (In "Truck Stop Clerks").
  • Ignored Epiphany: The "Yes" ending has Artichoke assert that the entire process of playing with the Maybe Pile as a whole maybe have been the awesome idea they were looking for. Buddy and Darnell claim to be enlightened by this idea, only to immediately disregard it and Artichoke as stupid.
    Artichoke: I am right here!
    Buddy: And we should have whispered.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: The ending you get is determined entirely by the last two choices in the story.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: For the most part, your role in the story is not acknowledged, however when the time to choose is just about to run out, Buddy will remark to Darnell "You thinking what I'm thinking?" while looking directly at the camera.
  • Multiple Endings: There are four different endings to the story. The non-interactive version goes with the "Yes" ending.
  • Reset Button: The "No" ending has Buddy and Darnell go through the entire Maybe Pile without finding their awesome idea, leading them to believe that they might find it if they go through it again. The decide to refill the Maybe Pile and pretend the whole thing never happened. This results in the episode literally restarting from the beginning.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Buddy and Darnell try to get super powers by going to the dump and finding some radioactive waste to consume. This only ends up making them extremely sick.


Buddy Thunderstruck

"Nope! Not dreamin'!"

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