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The things he does for love.

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From the twisted mind of animator John R. Dilworth came this Cartoon Network original series, spun off from Dilworth's animated short The Chicken from Outer Space.

The title character, the high-strung and inexplicably pink canine Courage, is the beloved pet of Eustace and Muriel Bagge, an elderly couple who live on a dusty old farm in the middle of nowhere (literally; they live in a town called Nowhere). Well, he's the beloved pet of the sweet-hearted Muriel, anyway - the mean and crotchety Eustace thinks he's just a "stupid dog", and torments Courage whenever he thinks he can get away with it (and even when he knows he can't).

Once an Episode, Courage and his family find themselves caught up in some form of supernatural weirdness, and Courage has to steel his frazzled nerves and save his owners from it. A refreshing change of pace from many cartoons of the day was that Courage seldom used force; more often, he relied on his wits (and a bit of kindness now and then) to deal with aliens, ghosts, monsters, criminals, the military, science gone wrong, or whatever sort of freaky happenings life threw at him.

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Stands to this day as one of Cartoon Network's most acclaimed and beloved series, with praise going towards its dark, surreal atmosphere, skilled use of Medium Blending (its distinct visual style can be best summed up as Tex Avery meets David Lynch), willingness to tackle mature, dark subject matter (usually through metaphor, but occasionally just bluntly), and, perhaps most infamously, scaring the crap out of most of the children watching. It stands as perhaps one of the most popular and praised examples of the Defanged Horrors genre.

A 7 minute CGI short based on the series was released in 2014, titled "The Fog of Courage." A preview can be seen here. You can vote for your favorite episode of the show here.

The protagonist Courage himself is voiced by Marty Grabstein, who claimed that the reason why this show is so light on dialogue and that Courage screams or whimpers in gibberish more so than speaking genuine English is that the producers felt a talking dog wouldn't suit well with a horror-oriented cartoon. Er, okay then, if they say so.

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In October 2018, Dilworth announced on his Facebook account that he's working with Boomerang on a prequel called Before Courage, though in June 2021 he stated that the project is 'in turnaround'.

In June 2021, the crossover film Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo! meets Courage the Cowardly Dog was announced. Dilworth was not involved in its production. The trailer can be seen here.


STUPID TROPES! You make me look bad!:


Iris out, but Courage holds it open.
"I said it twice, and I'll say it again, the stuff on those pages still shouldn't happen to a dog!"
Iris out (for real) that closes on Courage's nose
"Owch!"

 
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It's Doc Gerbil's World!

Courage chases after a mad scientist gerbil who abducts Eustace and Muriel. On the way, Courage ends up having to go on a ride that has animatronics singing "It's Doc Gerbil's World!" ad nauseum. Courage gets so agitated by the song that he eventually just plugs his ears with large balls of cotton up until he finds the gerbil's lab.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

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