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Western Animation / Devlin

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Devlin was a 1974 Hanna-Barbera cartoon about Ernie Devlin, an Evel Knievel-inspired stunt motorcyclist who travels with a circus. He is accompanied by his younger siblings, Tod (his mechanic and stunt choreographer) and Sandy (his assistant). Devlin was one of Hanna-Barbera's few dramatic ventures and ran for a total of 16 episodes.

This series contains examples of:

  • Anachronic Order: Although Sandy doesn't get her mini bike until the fourteenth episode of the series, it is referenced as an established part of the act in the seventh episode.
  • Circus Brat: The main characters work at a circus during the summer, and Sandy has been at it since she was pretty young.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to most Hanna-Barbera fare, Devlin was some pretty heavy stuff. For comparison, a regular comment on this show is said that "when Devlin falls off his bike there's no cartoony sound effect, he goes to the hospital." And among the issues the show dealt with were PTSD, illegal immigration, child runaways, family separation, and a loose satanism metaphor note .
  • Face Your Fears: The climax of "Victory Over Fear," where Ernie is able to jump over a river to assist a troop of scouts.
  • Family Title: In universe, Ernie is "Devlin," but since the show is very much an ensemble piece, the title could be interpreted as referring to Ernie, Tod, and Sandy.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Juan does a masterful job of calming zebras and lions down in "The Stowaway."
  • Friend to All Living Things:
    • Sandy endears herself to most animals she comes across — especially baby lions.
    • Every animal in the circus is gaga over Juan in "The Stowaway."
  • Girlish Pigtails: In the flashbacks in "Save That Lion," Sandy is shown to be younger by the fact that she's wearing pigtails.
  • Grease Monkey: Tod is an expert mechanic who hopes to be an engineer.
  • Heroic BSoD: In "Victory Over Fear," Ernie has an accident that leaves him suffering from traumatic flashbacks. Things come to a head when the flashbacks prevent him from completing a stunt during a show.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: In "Save That Lion," Prince disguises himself as a lion on the carousel.
  • Honor Before Reason: Ernie has a problem with this. For example, refusing to breach his contract after being injured — even though his boss was willing to let him — led him to having a public Heroic BSoD in "Victory Over Fear."
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Pete in "Hero Worshipper" desperately wants to prove that he's somebody and takes a bunch of stupid risks to prove it.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Each of the Devlins has about three outfits: their performance costumes, their street clothes, and their winter garb, which is basically just their street clothes with a winter coat and, in Tod's case, a different hat.
  • MacGyvering: In "Tod's Triumph," Tod makes a pulley and winch out of a coil of rope and Ernie's motorcycle.
  • Missing Mom: Mr. Devlin is featured in a number of flashbacks, including one that reveals how he died. However, Mrs. Devlin is never shown, and it's not established what happened to her.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: In the episode "Sandy's Idol," Hank engages a singer named Lucifer, who the description on the back of the DVD release describes as a "satanic idol." Downplayed somewhat, as there's no real evidence that the singer is a) Satan or b) consorting with him — he's just really obnoxious and totally self-absorbed. See the Darker and Edgier entry fr a longer explanation.
  • Promotion to Parent: After their parents died, Ernie took on the role of caregiver for his younger siblings.
  • Running Gag:
    • Tod would come up with "the best stunt ever," and Ernie would handily deflate it by pointing out a practical error.
    • Throughout the second half of the series, Jumbo the elephant would harass Tod by squirting him with water at least once per episode and usually more. Even in "Like Father, Like Son," when the group was stranded on a mountain in the freezing cold, Jumbo was chucking snowballs at Tod using his trunk.
    • Also in the second half of the series, Jester was wont to make really terrible jokes that would rarely elicit more than glares.
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Averted. Ernie, Tod, and Sandy are all full-time students and only work the circus in the summer.
  • Sibling Team: Although an argument could be made that includes all three Devlins, this dynamic is especially present in Ernie and Tod's relationship.
  • Single Tear: A decent number of the times Sandy is shown crying, it is this trope.
  • Successful Sibling Syndrome: Tod gets a touch of this in "Tod's Triumph." When he is offered a high profile job with another circus, he considers taking it so he will be recognized in his own right instead of just as Ernie's brother.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Tod is never seen without his shades. The closest they ever come to leaving his face is when they slide down his nose after one of Jumbo's water attacks.