Chip 'n Dale are Disney cartoon characters, a pair of mischievous chipmunks. Chip is the relatively smart (albeit more neurotic) one; Dale is the less smart one with the tendency to do the clumsiest or least sensible thing possible at any given moment.
Their initial turn in the spotlight came in the Classic Disney Shorts, usually giving Donald Duck a reason to demonstrate his famous Berserk Button. (You probably remember that one cartoon where Donald was an apple farmer.) In the late 1980s, they were dusted off and given revised characters, more comprehensible voices and their own TV show, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. Like many other Disney regulars, they returned to perform their original roles in revivals such as House of Mouse.
Their name is probably a pun on the famous 18th-century furniture style, and not a reference to the Chippendales Dancers, whom they predate by many, many years.
See also Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers for tropes that refer to them specifically in said cartoon.
Not to be confused with Warner Bros.' Goofy Gophers, Mac and Tosh. (Mac and Tosh are the ultrapolite ones.)
- Almost Kiss: Kind of. When Chip and Dale both try to kiss Clarice in Two Chips and a Miss, the latter ducks away, and Chip and Dale end up kissing each other.
- Ambiguously Related: Are Chip and Dale sibling? Friends? Something else? Official media can't seem to make up their minds.
- Art Evolution: In their debut in Private Pluto. The two both looked the same and looked more realistic.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: A couple of shorts ended on civil terms between them and Donald or Pluto.
- Badass Adorable: Cute little critters, but get them angry or otherwise antagonize them and they will do everything they can to exact the most painful revenge possible.
- Breakout Character: Despite appearing in very few classic shorts, they ended up with their own TV series in the late 80's.
- Cartoony Tail: Chip and Dale have short tails that end in a point, sort of like deer tails. In Real Life, it's the female chipmunks that have short tails.
- Christmas Episode: "Toy Tinkers", in which Chip and Dale's tree is chopped down by Donald for a Christmas Tree.
- Crazy-Prepared: Dale in Chips Ahoy!, during the very short time he was on land, he offscreen sabotaged every boat and watercraft Donald could have used against them.
- Divergent Character Evolution: In the earliest shorts, Chip and Dale were identical in looks and mannerisms. Eventually, Dale gained his red nose, buck teeth, goofier personality, and eventually a completely different voice to set him apart from Chip.
- Escalating War: Usually against Donald, who had no problem utilizing cruel pranks of his own against them. Their bouts against Pluto were more one sided, though he could still bite back at times.
- Furry Confusion: In Disney cartoons in general, there are anthropomorphic animals (Mickey, Goofy) and regular animals (most prominently Pluto). So... which are Chip and Dale? In the earliest shorts they don't wear clothes or speak intelligibly and generally scamper around on all fours. They get gradually more anthropomorphic over time until by the series they walk upright, speak at least as clearly as, say, Donald ever did, and wear clothes (well, a shirt for Dale and a jacket and hat for Chip; they don't wear pants, but neither do any of the Duckburg ducks).
- Genius Ditz: Dale is often the brainless troublemaker of the two, though in some cases actually concocts very elaborate stunts to give the two the upper hand.
- Grumpy Bear: Chip, who is often irritated by Dale's stupidity and occasionally responds with violent discipline.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: However, some comic stories indicate that they're brothers, sharing the same relatives.
- Idiot Houdini: In other shorts, while not intentionally meaning harm, they still managed to irritate others by nosing around their property or performing other collateral damage in their curious bumbling. When their adversary finally bites however, it is free game for them to retaliate for bothering THEM.
- Invincible Heroes: Though they took blows in most of their shorts, they were the victors in all of their appearances (or at least came to a stalemate or truce in exceptions).
- Iron Butt Monkey: While Chip and Dale often made the winning blow, they were often portrayed as almost as bumbling as their adversaries and usually took as many blows as they dished out.
- Karma Houdini: In some cartoons, the chipmunks are clearly the ones instigating the trouble, for no other reason than because they think it's funny to pick on their chosen adversary (usually Donald or Pluto). They still invariably come out on top.
- In one instance they go up against Mickey Mouse of all characters as they fight over a bag of nuts. They still come up on top as they sneakily switch the bag with one full of golf balls at checkout.
- Literal Ass-Kicking: Chip's version of a Gibbs Slap toward Dale is to pick him up by his tail and administer one of these.
- Loveable Rogue: More often just after food and shelter, they do have a mischievous side however.
- Nearly Normal Animals: Aside from speaking to each other in semi-intelligible English, they mainly act like real chipmunks.
- No Name Given: Until the 1947 cartoon Chip 'n Dale, when they were given names.
- Overly Polite Pals: In the first animated shorts they act this way towards each other. In later shorts and the ReTooled Series they acted more like Vitriolic Best Buds.
- Shout-Out: Two Chips and a Miss borders on being Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood WITH CHIPMUNKS minus the Absurdly Long Limousine and the horny grandma. Both Chip and Dale actually grow wolf faces.
- Something Completely Different: Two Chips and a Miss is this to a degree that has Rangerphiles refer to it as "Episode Zero" of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers because it bears more similarities to that than to the other classic Chip 'n Dale cartoons with which it doesn't have much more in common than the protagonists.
- No Donald, no Pluto, not a single one of the other established Disney characters for the chipmunks to harass.
- Instead, a rodent society is hinted at, up to and including a nightclub called the Acorn Club where there are even musical instruments.
- For the first time (and the only time in classic Chip 'n Dale cartoons), another rodent is introduced as a character, the female chipmunk Clarice who sings at the Acorn Club.
- Rodents wearing clothes. All the time.
- All three chipmunks speak in a remarkably intelligible way even Clarice with her super-high voice. Not only that, but all of them sing (the only time we hear Chip and Dale sing until "Adventures in Squirrelsitting").
- Oh, and they can write. At least Clarice can.
- Something Else Also Rises: Again, Two Chips and a Miss. See what happens to the instruments Chip and Dale play after Clarice kisses the two.
- Speaking Simlish: In the classic shorts, they spoke in varying forms of heavily-accented, barely understandable English, to complete gibberish. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers and Kingdom Hearts has them speaking normal English.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Acorns, or nuts in general. Though their discovery of peanuts certainly turned them off of acorns in the short Working For Peanuts.
- The Unintelligible: In their earliest appearances, their dialogue was recycled quotes sped up to an incoherent speed (most of these were made for their first short, to the point slowing them down to intelligible speed in later ones shows the quotes have no bearing to the plot). In later shorts they were voiced with new slightly more coherent dialogue for each short.