Brave and bold, they're not
They ain't the greatest heroes
But they're the only ones we've got!"
The series takes place in The Middle Ages and centers on a powerful yet cowardly barbarian named Dave who lives in the fictitious land of Udrogoth along with his self-absorbed older sister Candy and feral younger sister Fang. His parents, Throktar and Glimia, are the King and Queen, but are away "fighting evil" across the world (though they sometimes communicate via a magic crystal ball), and have left Candy in charge of the kingdom. Together the three siblings, along with their wizard uncle Oswidge, their pet Faffy and Dave's talking sword Lula, are left to run and protect the kingdom.
There is a Narrator, referred to either as "the Narrator" or "the Storyteller", voiced by Jeff Bennett. He plays a big part in the show, as he controls what happens in the story. He is able to talk to the characters of the show, and vice versa. In fact, he was once captured by Arch-Enemy THE DARK LORD CHUCKLES, THE SILLY PIGGY!, and was forced to read narration where Dave loses to him.
The show was created and written by Doug Langdale of Earthworm Jim and The Weekenders fame. It premiered on Disney Channel on January 23, 2004; a year later, it began broadcasting on Toon Disney as well. In Latin America, the show was broadcasted on Jetix. The show only lasted one season due to Disney punting the show around their schedule. The reruns now mostly show on Early Morning shifts on the weekend.
Much like its predecessors The Flintstones and the short-lived The Roman Holidays, Dave the Barbarian juxtaposes the ancient and the modern. Candy, for example, shops in the local mall (the "Great Indoor Marketplace of Udragoth") and uses the crystal ball for online shopping sprees. Occasionally, the series even breaks the fourth wall with a character directly addressing the audience.
Critically acclaimed, but unfortunately it could not last since Disney just seemed to lose interest halfway into its run, and thus cancelled after one season.
- Absurdly Long Wait: Invoked by Chuckles. When the heroes come to collect a debt he owed, he ordered his servants to say he was not home and that he would come back in nine thousand years. Dave doesn't care, since he brought a magazine.
- Action Girl:
- Candy is a martial arts expert and a capable combatant in her own right. However, she has littleinterest in fighting the villains, only being convinced to help when others point out that the antagonists' actions will somehow prevent her from shopping.
- Fang is aggressive and desperately wants to be an action girl, but her weak build and small stature makes her a subversion.
- Actor Allusion: This isn't the first time Jeff Bennett's been a Lemony Narrator in a Doug Langdale-helmed series.
- Amazonian Beauty: Bicepia. After seeing Bicepia, Candy uses Magic Broccoli to become buffer... but keeps using it and quickly goes from Amazonian Beauty to a unholy combination of Gonk, Dumb Muscle and Brawn Hilda (don't worry, there is a Reset Button).
- Ambiguously Brown: Almost every human characters' skintone is no lighter than tan. Oswidge, Queen Glimia, Candy and Princess Irmaplotz are a few of notable examples.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Ned Frischman's accent is reminiscent of a New York Jew, and he keeps using the phrase "Oy vey".
- Amusing Injuries: Dave in particular is prone to getting burned into a pile of ash.
- Animal Motifs: Fang is regularly mistaken for a monkey, to her annoyance.
- Apple of Discord: Chuckles presents Dave with a pair of literal rose-tinted glasses, which makes the wearer believe they are living in their personal ideal world. The family promptly begins fighting over them, making the kingdom much more vulnerable to invasion.
- Argument of Contradictions: When Dave and Fang argue over how to deal with a band of monsters coming to Udrogoth, the discussion eventually degenerates into chasing each other around a table while shouting "Yes!" and "No!"
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: A central part of the show's humor consists of villains claiming they have performed legitimately heinous actions in the past, along with some minor transgression.
- Be the Ball: When Oswidge tries to fight off invisible people, one of them turns him into a ball and bounces him up and down.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Candy is a stereotypical spoiled valley girl. Though she has been put in charage of an entire kingdom, she is far more interested in shopping and being popular than in actually keeping the country in order.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
- The death traps Fang sets up for Dave in "Floral Derangement": the first trap consists of blindfolded kids throwing dodgeballs, the second is a tank full of rabid walruses, and the third trap has Dave getting dodgeballs thrown at him again by blindfolded rabid walruses.
- In "Lula's First Barbarian", Dave fears something may be on him. He guesses spiders and something burning before realizing he can't see anything on him... which leads him to ask if it's something invisible and then if invisible spiders were crawling on him and also burning.
- Camp Straight: Dave has some very effeminate mannerisms, and typical feminine interests, like cooking, cleaning and knitting, but has a crush on Princess Irmaplotz.
- Cowardly Lion: Dave proudly declares himself to be a coward who prefers to run away from conflicts. However, if forced to fight, he is essentially a teenaged Conan.
- Crazy-Prepared: Ned spent hours practicing his evil laugh before he became a villain.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Dave is a massive coward who enjoys, among other things, cleaning and knitting. He's also three hundred pounds of pure muscle who regularly fights evil wizards and angry gods and comes out on top.
- Cute Bruiser: Subverted with Fang. She has the looks and the attitude of a Cute Bruiser, but the only thing she can beat are bugs. Granted, this includes bugs about the size of a rhinoceros that could lay waste to the entire Kingdom of Udrogoth — as she demonstrated when some of them didn't simply run in terror from her reputation.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon:
- "Shrink Rap" has Lula, after Dave points out she's the reason Quasmir woke up, threatens to do something painful to him with a cheese grater.
- "Pipe Down" has Candy, pissed at Dave's loud pipes playing, threaten to do something to him with a fondue fork (we don't hear what due to his loud playing).
- Dating Catwoman:
- The heroic Dave goes on a date with the vile Princess Irmaplotz, though he doesn't realize her true nature at first.Dave: Oh, I see. Just 'cause she has a diabolical laugh and commands legions of horrible zombies and has "Evil Princess" embroidered on all of her hankies, you assume she's evil. That's so shallow!
** Irmaplotz describes herself as "half-good on [her] father's side", implying this was the case with her parents as well.
- The heroic Dave goes on a date with the vile Princess Irmaplotz, though he doesn't realize her true nature at first.
- Dark Secret: In one episode, when Dave was snooping around to see who stole his cookbook, he sees Oswidge watching a soap opera, Candy shaving her beard, Fang secretly playing with dolls, and Faffy playing Go Fish with some other dragons, talking about how the 'Big Chump' hasn't discovered he can talk yet. Dave wonders out loud who said Big Chump could possibly be...
- Deadpan Snarker: Lula's dialogue consists almost entirely of cynical jokes at others' expense, and her delivery is always serious and uninterested. This gets lampshaded in one episode where Dave is magically transformed into her, as he yells for the villagers to come closer so he can make sarcastic remarks about them.
- Depending on the Writer: Candy and Fnis an Action Girl or not, or if she is stronger than her brother or not. Also, Fang's strength changes from episode to episode.
- Did You Get a New Haircut?: When Oswidge accidentally turns himself into a newt, Candy notes he looks different and asks him if he has changed his hair.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Fang is almost always barefoot, emphasizing how she is ruder and more barbaric than her siblings.
- The Eeyore: Twinkle the Marvel Horse sees nothing but horror all around him.
- Episode Discussion Scene: The Stinger to "Girlfriend" features Dave looking at the camera and saying "Some of you may be wondering why I tied a squirrel to a megaphone. Well... goodnight".
- Evil Knockoff: Mecha-Dave is a mechanical copy of Dave, distinguishable from the original only by the huge wind-up key in its back.
- Evil Laugh: Malsquando once mentions that Chuckles is widely considered to have the best in the business.
- Fake-Out Opening: In one episode, we see what appears to be the King returning home, but after we see How We Got Here we know it's really Chuckles in disguise, and now "the King" suddenly has green glowing eyes and sounds like Chuckles.
- Fangs Are Evil: Princess Irmoplotz and Queen Zonthara are evil sorceresses and have prominent canine teeth to emphasize their malevolent nature.
- Fictional Sport: Underwater unicycle plunger archery is one of Dave and Irmaplotz' favourite hobbies.
- F--: Dave's poor performance during the rite of pillage enrages the evaluator so much he gives the protagonist a "Z" grade.
- Fluffy the Terrible: The Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy is a cute little piggy, but also a powerful and evil dark lord.
- Gainax Ending: One episode concludes with all characters compensating each others' debts. When Dave expresses confusion over how debt forgiveness works, Uncle Oswidge says he will explain it all with a song, but sings a nonsensical song about an egg named Steve instead. Dave then says "Oh, I get it", and joins in alongisde the others before the episode ends.
- Garrulous Growth: The episode "Beauty and the Zit" has Candy being kidnapped by a pimple she had removed through her uncle's magic, which caused it to grow in size and develop sentience. They eventually fall in love through a song montage parodying Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
- Gender-Blender Name: The Pillage Master has a very intimidating, "dark and shadowed guardian" voice. And yet is called Gloria.
- Gentle Giant: Dave is normally the largest and strongest person in the room, but he prefers to work on his peaceful and artistic hobbies rather than the violent endeavors expected from a barbarian.
- Giving Radio to the Romans: Ned Frischman brings videogames called GameGuys to Udrogoth. Once the entire town is addicted, he forces them to accept him as a god in exchange for extra batteries.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Queen Zonthara, Princess Irmaplotz's mother, is an evil sorceress who rules over the kingdom of Hyrogoth. Ironically, she is a very minor character; her daughter is the real antagonist.
- Golden Snitch: The penmanship portion of the Rite of Pillage counts for 70% of the total mark — a result of a pen company being the major sponsor.
- God of Evil: Parodied with the villainous Quosmir, who is just the god of freshly laundered trousers and overused punctuation.
- Grows on Trees: One episode has Princess Candy getting a visit from a collector, saying she must pay for her toys, as they don't grow on trees. Cut to a farmer picking up toys from bushes, saying it would be easier if they came up from trees.
- Here We Go Again!: Dave's parents apparently succeed on their quest to "Destroy all the evil in the world". Yet once they prepare to return home, it turns out that a new evil appeared in the very first place they started their quest, meaning they will have to do it all over again.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: When Strom the Slayer comes to slay a dragon, Faffy attempts to hide by pretending to be a bust. It works, until Dave holding a smoking book underneath him causes him to sneeze.
- High Collar of Doom: Fang deduces that Malsquando is evil because he has a "pointy collar", among other things.
- I Am Not Weasel: Fang is continually mistaken for a monkey.
- Inept Mage: Uncle Oswidge's spells almost always backfire and make the situation worse than before, such as making monsters larger or summoning random heavy objects on top of the heroes. It's later revealed he was actually just a cook in wizard school.
- Killer Rabbit: The Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy is a cute little piglet who often comes up with ridiculous evil plans, but his magic skills make him surprisingly effective as a villain. The first episode establishes that his amulet is an even stronger weapon than Lula herself.
- Lemony Narrator: The narrator tends to limit himself to telling the story, but will comment if someone is really stupid, and even chastise the characters if they are not making sense of the script.
- MacGyvering: Subverted in Girlfriend. The narrator tells how Dave's quick thinking enables him to construct a homemade megaphone, using only a squirrel, some string and a megaphone. In the next scene, Dave promptly holds up a megaphone with a squirrel tied to it.
- Medium Awareness: The characters know that they are on an animated sitcom, and in one episode pause to check their scripts in an attempt to work out where they're supposed to be doing.
- Mum Looks Like a Sister: Queen Glimia looks barely older than her teenager daughter Candy.
- Muscle Angst: Candy, for all of one episode, as she's jealous of the attention Bicepia is getting.
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: When Fang attempts to speak monkey while on an island of monkeys who look like her, her lack of knowledge about their language at one point causes her to spout gibberish.Fang: Which point me you to water in pants?
- Mythology Gag: "The Brutish are Coming" has the castle crumbling in the intro to reveal Tino's house from The Weekenders (which was also created by Doug Langdale).
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Twinkle the Marvel Horse is a parody of Christopher Walken, through his manner of speech.
- No Fourth Wall:
- The characters interact with the narrator, occasionally pausing to check their scripts, etc.
- While cleaning the castle, Dave comments that "the inside of this television set is filthy", then wipes the camera as the episode ends.
- Chuckles captured the Narrator at one point and forced him to read his own story, as whatever the Narrator said became real. The heroes realize that the only way to win is to get a new narrator, so they hold auditions to replace him.
- Noodle Implements:
...WITH A FONDUE FORK!
- In "Pipe Down", Candy threatens Dave to stop playing the Gargle Pipes, but is drowned out by Dave's playing, and we only hear the tail end of it.
"I had that dream again. With the penguins. And the croquet mallet..."
- It seems that Twinkle the Marvel Horse's subconsciousness is not a nice place to be:
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Parodied in "The Maddening Sprite of the Stump". A giant muffin that had been attacking the castle is defeated offscreen, while the narrator explains that the show's budget is too cheap to actually show the battle, but assures the audience that it was exciting.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Candy convinces Oswidge to turn himself, Dave, Fang and Faffy into toddlers to destroy Chuckles' evil army of living stuffed animals. After the battle is won, she requests Oswidge to turn the heroes back to normal, only to realize that the infant wizard doesn't know how to, causing her to realize what a terrible idea that was.
- In the episode where Chuckles kidnaps the Narrator, the villain panics when the latter contracts a cough and loses his voice. Chuckles has another such reaction later in the episode when he realizes the Narrator that replaced the original one intended to have him "beaten like a cheap drum."
- Our Dragons Are Different:
- Faffy is an adorably plump little critter who shoots lightning out his mouth, though there are plenty of standard issue dragons roaming around as well; Faffy (who is routinely mistaken for a flying potato) seems to have simply lost the genetic lottery, hard.
- In "Here Thar Be Dragons", dragons are rebellious nonconformists who bully humans and have the voices of Metallica.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: Irmaplotz uses a werecow "to make Dave look like a dork." Afterwards, anytime Dave gets bitten by something else, he turns into that. This leads to Dave turning into a cat, Oswidge, a hamster, an egg beater, Lula and a gym teacher. Eventually the situation is resolved when he is made to bite his own tongue, turning Dave into a Weredave, though it comes with the side-effect of turning everyone he bites into a weredave.
- Paper-Thin Disguise:
- When Chuckles disguises himself as a music producer, his costume consists of a cheap wig and a mustache. The heroes fall for it regardless, though Dave comments that "he looks familiar".
- In the Villain Team-Up episode, Dave makes papier-mâché masks in their likeness, then has everyone go around insulting each villain while wearing the mask of a different villain, tricking them into fighting each other instead. It works flawlessly, despite the fact that the masks only cover their faces, and two of the villains are the very short Chuckles and the building-sized Quosmir.
- Playing a Tree: Dave ends up casting almost everyone as a tree in the Udrogoth pageant because he's futilely trying to cast everyone in the Udrogoth pageant.
- Poke the Poodle: Dave's attempts to be just a little evil in one episode (an attempt to make his relationship with Princess Irmoplotz work) really emphasize little. As in taking two free nut log samples instead of just one then feeling so guilty he bought ten-thousand of them. And inverted with Irmaplotz, who returns a library book on-time, but tore out the final page before doing so.
- Poverty for Comedy: In "Rite of Pillage", Dave has to pass a series of tests to prove his barbarian-ness for the honor of himself and his family. One such test is proof that he can pillage villagers, so he is sent to pillage a house, only for the child to tell him that they are so poor that they could not afford to pay attention. He then goes off on a failed stand-up routine.Poor Boy: We're so poor, our bologna doesn't have a first name! Hello!? [Taps microphone.] Has this thing been invented yet? Come on, these are the jokes, people! We're so poor, we can't buy a vowel! So, two guys walk into a barbarian...
- Previously On : Parodied in one episode that opens with a montage of Dave screaming and enduring misfortune.
- Princesses Rule: Princess Candy is ruling Udrogoth until her parents come back from destroying all the evil in the world.
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Evil Princess Irmaplotz wants to humiliate and destroy Dave after he broke up with her.
- Pygmalion Plot: Non-romantic version, in the episode where the family tried to make Fang act more ladylike.Dave: (completely sincere) Because what could be more wholesome than the entire family working together as one ... to crush Fang's spirit and force her to stifle her true self?
- Recycled IN SPACE!: Taken Up to Eleven in "A Pig's Story":Space Narrator: But just as it seems no one can hit the side of a space barn, the space lord scores a direct space hit on our space heroes' space generator!
- Right Out of My Clothes:
- In "Beauty and the Zit", Dave encounters the monster zit for the first time. Dave asks for the monster's hat before being roared at and landing in a large pile of hats. The clothes and Lula the sword float for a few seconds before falling to the ground.
- In "The Cow Goes Moon", Princess Irmaplotz disappears for the second time, leaving behind only her dress. She takes it back.
- Rip Van Tinkle: When Dave plays the gargle pipes loudly enough to wake the God of Evil Quosmir, Quosmir temporarily pauses in the middle of his declaration of destruction to say he needs to use the restroom because he's been holding it in for thousands of years.
- In "That Darn Ghost", the segment where the ghosts chase Dave and his family undergoes an Art Shift and is set to a musical number that is a transparent ScoobyDoo parody.
- The song (and dance routine set to) "Candy and the Zit" is an obvious parody of the song "Beauty and the Beast" from the eponymous Disney movie.
- Dave's "Bejabbers!" quote comes from an incredibly obscure show. The Brothers Flub. (Ralph Soll wrote for both shows.)
- One of the door-to-door charity functions that Candy rejects is dedicated to save children from being turned into donkeys.
- As Candy's Zit dies after being sprayed with lotion, he quotes the famous line from Casablanca: "We'll always have Paris."
- Somebody Else's Problem: As Quosmir and his family prepare to destroy half a continent, Fang happily justifies her lack of interest by pointing out that it's not the part they live on.
- Space "X": Mocked mercilessly for two solid minutes in "A Pig's Story", in which the new narrator peppers his dialogue with the word "space".Narrator: "And with a tremendous space burst of space energy, the spaceship is space destroyed! Space!"
- Splitting the Arrow: One episode has Dave's girlfriend for the episode doing this during their Falling-in-Love Montage, at which point they're doing underwater archery.
- Spring Cleaning Fever: An episode is devoted to Dave's obsessive spring cleaning of the castle.
- Starstruck Speechless: In one episode, Fang is about to meet her biggest hero, Strom the Slayer, and assist a parade to ask for his autograph. But when Strom passes by, she freezes completely (even falling off without breaking pose).
- Stating the Simple Solution: In "The Princess and the Peabrains", Chuckles has trouble getting into Udrogoth via Catapult. His nephew asks him why he doesn't just use his amulet to blast a hole in the wall. He stutters for a bit before doing just that.
- Stone Punk: A "Great Indoor Marketplace" exists in Udrogoth, complete with functioning escalators.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: During Chuckle's Hostile Show Takeover in "A Pig's Story."The Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy
Ruler of the universe
He's powerful, and he's evil
And his ears are... nicely shaped!
- Suckiness Is Painful: The poetry of PedXing is so horrible it can actually make the reader physically ill. Dave and Princess Irmaplotz are immune to it, though, and instead genuinely consider him to be a great writer.
- Superhero Origin: Spoofed in the creation of the Time Zipper, with everything from a strike from the Nordic Gods to a radioactive grasshopper bite in about 10 seconds.Ned Frischman: Wow, that hardly ever happens!
- Talking Animal:
- Twinkle the Marvel Horse is capable of speech.
- In one throwaway gag, Faffy is seen talking articulately to other dragons when he thinks no human is listening.
- There Are No Therapists: Inverted in "Shrink Rap". Dave becomes a therapist to help people, but all he does is ask "How does that make you feel?" and generally irritates everyone.
- Too Gruesome for Cartoon Physics: Invoked in "A Pig's Story". After enslaving the show's narrator, Chuckles rewrites the episode's script so that his minions can deliver a gruesome beatdown to the heroes. However, the storyteller refuses to narrate the new tale, as it's "far too violent for a family show". As a result, the villain changes the script once more, so that the minions do "non-specific but presumably very unpleasant things off-camera" to the heroes instead.
- Translation: "Yes": In "Termites of Endearment", there's a brief bit with two stereotypically Scottish characters yelling in Scots-sounding gibberish while bagpipes play in the background. A one-syllable sound is subtitled as "What luck, Angus Macdougal Mackenzie Maclommond Machaggis Macteague!"
- The Un-Reveal: In one episode Dave quickly makes an improvised megaphone, using only a squirrel, some twine, and a megaphone. The Stinger features Dave looking at the camera and saying "Some of you may be wondering why I tied a squirrel to a megaphone. Well... Goodnight".
- 20 Minutes into the Past: Ned is originally from the year 1994.
- Villain Team-Up: In "Red Sweater Of Courage", Chuckles, Malsquando and Quosmir team-up after Dave harasses each of them without provocation.
- What the Heck Is an Aglet?: Dave and his friends and family are being held against the wall by magic. "Dave, do something!" "I am... I'm trying to remember what the thing on the end of a shoelace is called, an argle?" When they are let go, but still against the wall, he suddenly remembers something. "That the thing on the end of a shoelace is called an aglet?" "No, that gravity makes things fall."
- Woman Scorned: Referenced.Princess Irmaplotz: Dating rule number one... "Never break up with an Evil Princess!" (diabolical laughter)
- You Didn't Ask: Used to an extent. After a battle with invisible warriors. (which to fight the heroes had to become invisible), Uncle Oswidge makes everyone visible, including the enemy, causing Dave to say:Dave: If you can make them visible, why didn't you do that before?
Oswidge: Pick, pick, pick. Get off my back.
- Your Head A-Splode: Queen Zonthara's advice to her daughter.Zonthara: If [Dave] loves you, he'll love you for who you are, honey...And if he doesn't, you can always use your powers to make his head explode!
- You Mean "Xmas": Harvest Day, complete with its own version of Santa Claus, the Harvest Hog. Possibly a Shout-Out to Terry Pratchett's Discworld, where our Christmas morphs into Hogswatch.