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Western Animation / Dave the Barbarian

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"Dave, Fang and Candy
Brave and bold, they're not
They ain't the greatest heroes
But they're the only ones we've got!"

Dave the Barbarian (2004-2005) is a Disney animated series, an Affectionate Parody of the Heroic Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery genres.

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.



  • Animal Motifs: Fang is regularly compared to a monkey, to her annoyance.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Fang to Candy sometimes.
  • Anti-Hero: Dave is a Classical Anti-Hero, Fang is more close to a Unscrupulous Hero.
  • Apple of Discord: In one episode, Chuckles sends Dave a pair of rose colored glasses that makes the wearer only see their ideal world around them, even though the real world is still there. All of Dave's family promptly begins fighting over them once they all see what they can do.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Parodied with respect to superhero origin stories.
  • Argument of Contradictions: An episode of the show has Dave and Fang arguing over how to deal with a band of monsters coming to Udrogoth. The argument 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.
    Princess Irmaplotz: I do all the evil things. Destroy civilizations, torment innocent people, return library books (Beat) late.
  • Battle Couple: King Throktar and Queen Glimia.
  • Beauty = Goodness: Averted and lampshaded with Princess Irmaplotz, who's half-good on her father's side, but follows in her mother's villainous footsteps.
  • Berserk Button: Fang is NOT A MONKEY!
  • Be the Ball: This happens to Oswidge when he, Dave, Candy and Fang are trying to fight off invisible people and one of them turns Oswidge into a ball and bounces him up and down.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Fang's default voice is a yell.
  • Dating Catwoman:
    • Dave and Princess Irmaplotz, though he doesn't realize it 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!
      Lula: I knew love was blind, but I didn't know it was STUPID, too.
    • Irmaplotz also describes herself as "half-good on [her] father's side", implying this was the case with her parents as well.
  • 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.
  • Depending on the Writer: If Candy is 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?: Happens when Oswidge accidentally turns himself into a newt.
    Candy: Did you change your hair?
  • Dodgeball Is Hell: One of Fang's training regimens.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Fang is almost always barefoot.
  • Empathic Weapon: Subverted, Lula has very little empathy.
  • Epic Fail: Chuckles' first use of the Pretzel Men. Not even Dave is scared by them.
  • 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 Is Hammy: Possibly the most literal example out there, as well as a classic case.
  • Evil Laugh: Several. Malsquando once mentions that Chuckles is widely considered to have the best in the business.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Malsquando, Princess Irmoplotz and Queen Zonthara.
  • 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. But not Fang. Except in that one episode where she was posessed by the forces of Pure Evil In The Form Of Lederhosen.
  • Fictional Sport: Underwater unicycle plunger archery, a favorite of Dave and Irmaplotz.
  • Fiery Redhead: Fang and sometimes Candy.
  • F--: Dave seems to think that a "Z" grade is worse than an "F".
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy, sort of. He is a cute little piggy but is also a powerful dark lord of evil.
  • Gainax Ending: After the conflict of one episode is resolved, Dave is confused about how they resolved it and asks a bunch of question about what just happen and also one question that is an unrelated Brick Joke. Uncle Oswidge says he will explain it all with a song and then sings a nonsensical song about an egg named Steve, which has nothing to do with any of Dave's questions or anything else that happened in the episode. Dave then says "Oh, I get it", and then everyone sings the song together and then 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...
    Pillage Master: You may call me... Gloria.
    Dave: That's a pretty name.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: Ned Frischman does this when he brings GameGuys to Udrogoth.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Queen Zonthara, Princess Irmaplotz's mother, although she is a very minor character and not relevant in the series. 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 Quosmir, the god of freshly laundered trousers and overused punctuation.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Lula.
    "You just sitting there is kinda ticking me off."
  • Here We Go Again!: Dave's parents, on their quest to "Destroy all the evil in the world" they apparently succeeded. note  Yet once they finished their quest, it turns out that a new evil appeared in the very first place they started their quest, meaning they have to do it all over again.
  • Heroic Fantasy: Relentlessly spoofed.
  • 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.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Chuckles, in "A Pig's Story".
  • Hot Witch: Princess Irmaplotz and Queen Zonthara.
  • Hypocrite: In one episode, Fang claims that she's "not a monkey!". Fang then spots bananas on a tree and jumps up and down like a monkey.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Ned Frischman and his Evil Laugh.
  • I Am Not Weasel: Fang is continually mistaken for a monkey.
  • MacGyvering: Subverted in Girlfriend.
    Narrator: Thinking quickly, Dave constructs a homemade megaphone using only a squirrel, some string and a megaphone. *Dave promptly holds up a megaphone with a squirrel tied to it.*
  • Magitek
  • Masculine Girls, Feminine Boy: Fang and Candy's Masculine Girls to Dave's Feminine Boy.
  • Mega Neko: THE DARK LORD CHUCKLES, THE SILLY PIGGY! as titanic kitty-cat.
  • Mistaken for Granite: A version that doesn't activate unless you touch it.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Queen Glimia, who 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:
    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.
    • "The inside of this television set is filthy!"
    • Chuckles even captured the Narrator at one point and forced him to read his own story, making him the new Narrator, so to speak. Whatever the Narrator said would become real. They held auditions for a new Narrator, although Chuckles still had to follow the show's rules. Such as he couldn't kill Dave because it's a family show.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Faffy and Twinkle the Marvel Horse.
  • Noodle Implements: 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.
  • 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 gives this impression after a climax in which Oswidge had turned himself, Dave, Fang and Faffy into toddlers (while Candy supervises) to destroy Chuckles evil army of living stuffed animals.
    Candy: Okay Uncle Oswidge, you can reverse the spell now.
    Oswidge: Applejuice?
    Candy: This be very bad now...
    • Everyone has a moment like this in the episode where Chuckles kidnaps the Narrator, only for the Narrator to contract a cough that causes him to lose his voice, which of course is not good in a story driven by the narration. Chuckles himself has one later in the episode when he realizes the Narrator Dave and the gang hired to replace the original was planning to narrate the story like a sci-fi action movie, and mentioned narrator spoke of Chuckles getting "beaten like a cheap drum."
  • Only Sane Man: Uncle Oswidge.
  • Opening Shout-Out: When Chuckles takes over.
  • 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, and everyone he bites into a weredave.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • The Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Music Producer.
      Candy: He does look vaguely 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.
  • Paper Tiger: Dave. As the Theme Song states, he's "huge but a wimp."
  • Parental Abandonment: King Throktar and Queen Glimia, as noted in the summary.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Played straight with Candy, but averted with Dave in Civilization when Dave asks if Fang realises he's not a girl—while wearing blue.
  • 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, 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.
    Dave: I was wondering I could just... steal your jewels?
    Poor Boy: We don't have any jewels. We're so poor, we can't afford to pay attention.
    Dave: That's very funny little boy, but—
    Poor Boy: We're so poor we buy used food.
    Dave: Yeah, uh...
    Poor Boy: [Holding a microphone in a stand-up comedian role.] 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 to Dave.
  • Purely Aesthetic Era
  • 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?
  • Rage Against the Author: Chuckles capturing the narrator.
  • 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 another episode, "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.
  • Sapient Steed: Twinkle the Marvel Horse.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Somebody Else's Problem:
    Candy: Happy? They're going to destroy half a continent!
  • Someday This Will Come in Handy: Often.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Deliberately.
  • Space "X": Mocked mercilessly for two solid minutes in "A Pig's Story".
    The space lord pursues our heroically fleeing space heroes, and thus begins a pitched space battle, in space! Just look at that exciting space action!
    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!
    Space Captain Dave: Can our space engines power the space lasers?
    And with a tremendous space burst of space energy, the spaceship is space destroyed! Space!
  • Spikes of Villainy: Subverted and spoofed.
  • 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 has this effect on everyone but Dave and Princess Irmaplotz.
  • Superhero Origin: Spoofed in the creation of the Time Zipper, with everything from a strike from the Nordic Gods to a radioactive grasshopper bit in about 10 seconds.
    Ned Frischman: Wow, that hardly ever happens!
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Lula.
  • Talking Animal: Twinkle the Marvel Horse; 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.
  • 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 Unintelligible: Faffy.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


Dave the Barbarian

Quozmir, a God of Evil, is quite easily distracted by shiny objects.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / AttentionDeficitOohShiny

Media sources:

Main / AttentionDeficitOohShiny