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Western Animation / Dawn of the Croods

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Eep: Since the first sunrise, there have been two things you can always count on: Family and change. And both can be pretty painful. Hi, I'm Eep. My family, the Croods, went through a lot of changes surviving what we called "The End". But this isn't that story. This is about "The Before", as in, before the end.

Dawn of the Croods is a 2015 Netflix show by DreamWorks Animation starring the first family, The Croods, detailing their exploits before the events of the movie, when they still lived in the company of other cave people in Aaah! Valley.

The show started out being animated in Adobe Flash, but after three episodes, the production team decided that the show would work better in traditional animation. The three flash-animated episodes were released on Netflix as-is, and possibly Out of Order (season 1, episodes 2, 4, and 9), so they stand out within the traditionally-animated episodes.

The Show Provides Examples of:

  • Adaptational Dye-Job: Ugga and Sandy are green-eyed redheads like Eep instead of having brown hair (with Ugga also having gray eyes and Sandy with brown eyes) like the film.
  • Aerith and Bob: Amongst the many object inspired names, we have Steve, Kevin and Tina. Eep later reveals Sandy's full name is Sandra.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The ending to "This is an End" has Grug dragging the family along to fight the moon yet again Guy shrugs and joins in, showing that even after The End, the Croods will still be having wild adventures.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: In "Thunkytown", while trying to figure out how to get rid of the bear owls from their home, Eep saw Thunk acting like one.
    Eep: You thinking what I'm thinking?
    [Thunk imagines himself riding a bear owl.]
    Thunk: Onward to sunset!
    [They flew up in the air.]
    Thunk: (done imagining) Probably not.
  • Art Shift: Like the movie, some episodes in season 1 open with Eep narrating set to cave drawings. This happens less often in Season 2, but the show goes back to the art style in season 3, but now using them for imagination and flashback.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The valley residents are shown to subsist mostly on a diet of raw meat and eggs due to their lack of cooking fires. In reality, meat has to be cooked to render the nutrients digestable and also to sterilise the meat. So the valley would be suffering from malnutrition and numerous dietary illnesses if this wasn't a cartoon.
  • Bait-and-Switch: A new student joins the class who bears a striking resemblance to Guy, but his face isn't visible until later in the scene. He isn't Guy, it's Kevin.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Eep towards Thunk.
  • Black Comedy: This series uses a lot of jokes centered around either the chance of someone dying or someone already have died. The Stone Age was a dangerous time.
  • Butt-Monkey: Practically the whole cast have been this from time to time, but Baitsy and Womp exist just to be this trope, the latter even being used as an object in many episodes. As for the former, being his name, it's his ''job'' to serve as bait.
  • Call-Back: In "Caved & Confused", Ugga says that she and Grug will return when the moon is out. Grug says that he doesn't trust the moon, a reference to how he tried and failed to capture it in "Grug Vs. The Moon".
  • Call-Forward: In "Gorgey Girl", Eep starts a long distance relationship with a "pit pal" (pen pal). Said pal is revealed to be Guy.
    Guy: This girl seems so cool. I wonder if I'll ever meet her?
    • When Grug is temporarily the valley's problem solver, he hits himself in the head with a rock to "activate ideas".
    • Eep making binoculars with her hands is later done in the movie by Grug.
    • Squawk catching a rock thrown at him by Grug is exactly like the scene later repeated in the movie with the Mawcarnivore.
  • The Cameo:
    • In "It Crushes", the Croods enter a cave of mysterious drawings, one of them depicts Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
    • Shrek has made a few cameos in the series; doodles of him and Donkey appear on a slateboard in "There Will Be Eggs", a mutated pigrat is shown to have his ears in "28 Fleas Later", and a drawing of him wielding a spiked club glaring at a terrified Donkey appears in the "Tunnel of Terror" from the eponymous episode, of which scares Eep, Thunk, Lerk, and Womp away.
    • Oscar from Shark Tale makes a cameo in the episode "Creature from the Crood Lagoon" swimming past Thunk when he is searching for the "Sea Thing" that rescued him in the Watering Hole.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • Season 1 ends with the Croods freaking out over an eclipse and Grug literally hanging from a cliff.
    • Season 2 ends with Ahhh! Valley in danger of being taken over by the smooth-talking Broods.
    • Season 3 ends with The Crood family framed by Gurg, landing them all in prison and leaving only Gran and Sandy still free.
  • Continuity Nod: "Dawn of the Broods" has Grug wanting to go on a vacate-shun and leave their cave for a while, Eep protests to leaving all their things, and indicates her wall of cave drawings, which are all the Art Shifted episode opening drawings used sporadically in season 1 and not seen in season 2.
    Grug: Eep, you haven't made cave paintings in forever.
    Eep: I might go back to them next season!
  • Dance Party Ending: The end credits of the finale run over the cast dancing.
  • Denser and Wackier: Than the movie it was based on. Not that the movie didn't have comedy but it also had dramatic moments, which the series basically lacks.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Thunk's newfound fans turn against him when the hero of his story gets killed off in "The First Picture Show".
    Lerk: (crying) He didn't have to go. I didn't want him to!
  • Doomed by Canon: Because of this being a prequel to the movie, this is naturally occurring.
    • The Croods are the only family around in the movie, all other families having been killed off.
    • Season 1's ending loses its impact because Grug would have to have survived in order to make it to the movie. Not to mention how short the eclipse can last.
    • Same applies to Season 2. It ends with them seemingly being eaten, but considering the events of the movie are still canon...
    • The series finale leads one to believe that this will be invoked, as it involves a meteor about to destroy Ahhh! Valley. Everyone manages to stop the meteor however, and Ahhh! Valley falls apart for unrelated reasons, all the cavemen simply ending scattered by the beginning of the movie rather than implicitly dead. Lerk even manages to find Eep again after The End. Strangely, she doesn't appear in the second movie.
  • Dodgy Toupee: Munk, as shown in "There Will Be Eggs".
  • End-of-Series Awareness: By the series finale "This is an End", the kids have been Glad-You-Ate-Shunned (graduated school) and the Croods have made peace with the Broods.
  • Extreme Omnivore: At one point Thunk decides he's going to taste everything so people can have a log of what's edible and what's not.
    • The baby will eat most anything, and Gran once mentioned eating a rock and "pooping pebbles".
  • Eyepatch of Power: The hunter leader, Amber, wears an amber stone in her eye. She even gives it to Ugga as a sign of her acknowledging Ugga as the new lead hunter, revealing that her eye underneath is actually fine. At one point she is seen having to move her good eye out of the way first in order to make room for her amber stone.
  • Flintstone Theming: Just about every modern concept in the show has an alternate etymology that happens to sound like what the original word is. Some examples include:
    • Grug gets exhausted with Aaah! Valley and decides to take the family away from it for a break, which he describes as Vacating the home and Shunning it: Vacate-Shun/Vacation.
    • Grug has the valley get together at a place to discuss valley affairs, which he calls a Meet-Thing/Meeting.
    • When everyone slacking off all the time causes them to become too weak to defend themselves, Grug decides to compromise and allow a maxmium of two days to slack off because any more would make everyone weak. He calls it the Weakened/Weekend so people remember this.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Multiple episodes are about some new innovation shaking up life in the Valley, only for things to go back to normal next episode. Lampshaded in a later season episode where, crowdsourcing new solutions, Meep suggests they come up with something incredibly useful that they then never use again.
  • Framing Device: The whole series turns out in the series finale to be Eep telling Guy about her life before they met after the end of the movie.
  • Greed: It got into Eep and Thunk in "There Will Be Eggs".
  • Hunk: Kevin
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Gran seems to suggest she's tried cannibalism before.
  • Instant Fan Club: In "The First Picture Show", Thunk gets one when his puppet show becomes popular.
  • It Will Never Catch On: "Pie vs. Pie" ends with Thunk and Ugga accidentally cooking a "meatza" on a lava flow. When they both try a slice, they're disgusted. Ugga doesn't like the crust and Thunk is grossed out by the fact that it's warm.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • In two episodes, a character finishes the episode by speaking directly to the viewers and someone asking who are they talking to. Then it is shown that the character was apparently addressing some Liyotes, only they are just as confused as the cast.
    • Lerk learns the "truths of the universe", including the fact that she is a cartoon character.
    • In a later episode, Thunk states that their lives should not be this absurd, it's like a bunch of people far in the future are making up crazy stuff.
    • The seasons are used as the major unit of long-term time measurement by the cavemen, so there are plenty of statements about the seasons that can be interpreted as referring to both the unit of time as well as seasons of the show.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the dire situation they start out in during the movie, the Croods are significantly better off, a large community allowing luxuries such as actual recreational time.
  • Literal Metaphor: A large chunk of the humor comes from making these jokes based on the fact that it is justified since this is the first time they have experienced these things. Such as the "in crowd" being literally a particular group of people surrounded by other people to protect them from predators and when the series ended on a cliffhanger, Grug is seen hanging from a cliff.
  • Logo Gag: The Croods all pile up on the moon to sleep, their weight causing it to rock back and forth.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Meep and Snoot.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: As is the case in the movies, Creatures in the Croodaceous era are mash ups of other creatures. A few sample critters are spider ants, bear owls, chickuna (a mix of tuna and chicken) and albacerous (a bird with rhinoceros feature). A few animals that aren't mix-and-match critters, like the unicorn, are considered strange.
  • My Brain Is Big: Invoked and averted in the episode "The Crood Who Knew too Much", where Grug winds up temporarily taking over the role of valley problem solver. The other valley inhabitants think his newly-swollen cranium means he has the largest brain around, qualifying him to fix everyone's issues. Unfortunately for them, he's just suffering from a spider-ant bite to the head, and his advice doesn't really work out.
  • No Indoor Voice: Sulk.
  • Odd Name Out: Besides Sandy and Amber, the only other character with a normal name is Kevin.
  • Picky Eater: Thunk hates Chickuna, and trying to dispose of all the Chickuna he's been hiding instead of eating accidentally attracts Bear Owls. Eep also has distaste for Chickuna and has been hiding all of hers in a secret storage compartment.
  • Prequel: Set before the movie, starting off with an Origins Episode of sorts detailing the day Gran moved in with the rest of the Croods.
  • Progressively Prettier:
    • Both Eep and Ugga have been shifted away from Ugly Cute and closer to Amazonian Beauty territory. (Oddly, this makes the show closer to Chris Sanders original concept than the movie was.)
    • Also applies to most of the new valley residents, who mostly look like cro-magnons rather than Neanderthals.
  • Psycho Rangers: The Broods, a family of devolved humanoids that appear to be part monkey that are very similar to the Croods (albeit missing a baby) and set up to be the primary antagonists of the show.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: In "There Will Be Eggs", Eep and Thunk try to do this on their parents to let them trade for slateboards, which doesn't work.
    Thunk: (still have the puppy dog eyes) Oh no, I think I'm stuck this way! (Eep hits him, returning his face to normal) There we go.
  • The Reveal: The series finale reveals that Eep's narration has been her telling Guy about her life before The End.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated:
    • In "Night of the Living Croods", after being kept up all night by howling Liyotes, the exhausted Croods decide to invent the nap. However, the concept of a nap is so new and foreign to cavemen that when people see them lying down with their eyes closed during the daytime, the first assumption is that they are dead.
    • The first episode has the kids have a free day because their teacher got eaten. The next episode it was revealed he was rescued off screen.
    • In "Gran the Unfriendly Ghost", after disregarding Gran's advice about eclipses, she decides to pretend to be eaten by wild liyotes to make the Croods feel guilty.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Pugott, a pug-like animal known for its rarity, flavour, and extreme cuteness making the kids unwilling to eat it.
  • The Rival: The Boors.
  • Running Gag: In "The First Picture Show", Meep commenting on how she wishes the character Hunk was her husband.
    Snoot: (indignant) Hey!
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: Happens constantly to multiple characters.
    • In "A Spoonful of Soo-Gar," the whole tribe is on the run from a huge swarm of bees, though nobody gets stung.
    • In "It Crushes," Eep accdenally crashes into a beehive, shrieking in pain. She then intentionally lets herself be stung as an attempt to drown out her feelings of love for her crush.
    • In "It Takes Ahhh! Valley Part 2," the Croods launch a beehive at a dinosaur in an unsuccessful attempt to ward it off.
    • In "Slak Attack," One-Eyed Amber recommends shoving beehives into the clothes of lazy teenagers as a way of motivating them, then proceeds to demonstrate by cramming one down her own loincloth.
    • In "A Gran Adventure," Ugga is stung badly by swarms of bees Gran has employed as booby traps to safeguard her treasure.
    • In "Gorgey Girl," a male caveman is stung by bees as part of a lesson being taught to Eep's class. When the teacher realizes Eep isn't paying attention, he throws a hive at her as well.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: At the beginning of the episode "Grunt Anything", Ugga and Grug investigate a womanly scream coming from the Boor cave. They assume it's Meep, but they eventually find out that Snoot was the one making the scream because of a loose jackrobat. This helps higlight Snoot's cowardliness and sets off the episode's conflict.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Eep's Egg Toss team is named Liyote Uglies.
    • Grug: Leave it to my daughter to come up with a safe way to walk to the moon, one small step at a time.
    • In "A Spoonful of Soo-gar", the music playing while the Croods were chased by a swarm of bees is similar to "Flight of the Bumblebee".
      • The episode title may be a reference to the song from Mary Poppins.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: The Croods' neighbors, the Boors. And for a more one-on-one example, Grug and Gran.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Munk's innate skill. The moment he isn't being watched, he will be gone instantly. He's also equally adept at appearing from nowhere.
  • Stealth Pun: Eep captures a thief by identifying him from his red handprints due to him carrying red stones earlier in the day. They never say it, but he was caught red-handed.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Sandy gets several songs in "Wrestlebabia: The Musical", although all of her songs are simply Imagine Spot.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Of course the Croods freak out when a solar eclipse happens - everything suddenly went dark during the daytime with no explanation or control, and in Real Life eclipses have been portents of terrible doom for millennia. Even nowadays, they're momentous occasions that people try and get out of work or school to see.
  • Third-Person Person: One-Eyed Amber always spoke like this.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Snoot and Meep Boor respectively.
  • Too Dumb to Live: While none of the characters are particularly bright, being cave people, Thunk, Munk, and Lerk stand out the most.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: "Unsolved MysterEep" ends on a cliffhanger as the sun "mysteriously" vanishes from the sky, seemingly being stolen. But since this is actually just a solar eclipse, it's over only a few minutes into "Gran the Unfriendly Ghost".
  • Weird Currency: Eggs, apparently. Specifically Moooooose eggs in "There Will Be Eggs". Though the slateboard maker/seller only wants eggs to smash them.
  • World of Ham: Not only is the setting named after a scream, but a lot of characters tend to chew the scenery if need be, with Squawk being one of the standouts.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: In "There Will Be Eggs", Eep and Thunk try to find something more valuable to trade for slateboards. All they found are "worthless sparkle rocks" (diamonds).
  • Yandere: In "It Crushes", Eep briefly becomes this when her crush Kevin starts hitting on Lerk. And then she starts actually trying to crush Lerk with a boulder.
  • Youthful Freckles: Eep, Thunk, and Sandy.