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Western Animation / Dexter's Laboratory

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He skips grades. She just skips.

"Enter at your own peril,
past the bolted door
Where impossible things may happen
That the world's never seen before!"

Cartoon Network's first original series that wasn't based on an already existing character or an anthology series. Dexter's Laboratory originated as creator Genndy Tartakovsky's thesis film, Changes and was later remade for the What A Cartoon! Show, a shorts showcase for Hanna-Barbera employees (The Powerpuff Girls was made under the same circumstances. Tartakovsky and Craig McCracken worked on both shows).

Dexter is a boy genius with an unplaceable Central European accent, thick-rimmed glasses and a gigantic laboratory in his bedroom. Yet for all his high intellect and scientific genius, Dexter is never able to keep his reckless older sister, Dee Dee, out of his lab.

This show follows a fairly standard "Three Shorts" format, with a Dexter cartoon at the start and end, and another series in between. Throughout its run, this slot was filled by spin-off series Dial M for Monkey and Justice Friends, both of these Super Hero parodies. Dial M for Monkey followed Dexter's eponymous pet monkey, who fought aliens and monsters behind Dexter's back. The Justice Friends provided a domestic sitcom take on The Avengers, exploring the apartment life shared by three superheroes who fight crime better than they get along as roommates. Outside the US the filler shows were sometimes dropped and the Dexter cartoons shown in a different order.


After running for two seasons, the series was given a TV Movie entitled Ego Trip, which was intended to serve as the Grand Finale. In spite of this, two more seasons were made without Genndy Tartakovsky's involvement (and without Dial M for Monkey or The Justice Friends, replacing them with segments focused on Dexter's supporting cast).

Do NOT confuse with that other Dexter; much tragedy will come of it. Well, some tragedy.

There's a Wiki per The Wiki Rule.


Ahh, what a fine day for troping!

Dexter's Laboratory provides examples of:

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  • Abhorrent Admirer: Mandark to Dee Dee; the giant eyed girl from "Aye Eye Eyes" to Dexter.
  • Absentee Actor:
    • Dexter doesn't appear in "Paper Route Bout", which is instead focused on Dee Dee.
    • He also doesn't appear in "Surf, Sun, and Science" which is a Day in the Limelight for Mandark.
  • Abusive Parents: Mandark's parents. While they're not the worst examples of the trope, they aren't very supportive of Mandark's love for science, and they gave him a name (Susan) that would subject him to a lot of ridicule from other kids.
  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle
    • At least with respect to US pronunciation. "Dee Dee, get out of my laBORatory!" True to his crazy accent, however, that is how "laboratory" is pronounced in most places outside the US.
    • And then there's Mandark's laugh. 'HA ha ha! HA ha HA ha HA!
  • Accidental Athlete: "Sports a Poppin" has Dexter's dad trying to teach Dexter to be more athletic. While Dexter fails at traditional sports he demonstrates great athleticism at the end of the episode when fighting a giant monster outside his Dad's field of view.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Kath Soucie voices another intelligent AI who assists the main character frequently.
    • Koosie making a pepé wrap is an allusion to Dom De Luise's second career as a cook.
    • Rasslor from the Dial M for Monkey episode of the same name was voiced by Randy Savage. His last line in the episode was, naturally, "OH YEAAAH!".
    • "Just an Old Fashioned Lab Song" is wall-to-wall references to guest star Paul Williams' music and personal life. note 
    • In the Justice Friends segment Things That Go Bonk in the Night, Major Glory and Puppet Pal Mitch, both voiced by Rob Paulsen, have puppets of each other, as do Valhallen and Puppet Pal Clem, both voiced by Tom Kenny.
  • Adam Westing: Koosalagoopagoop is voiced by Dom De Luise and is a parody of the increasingly saccharine Don Bluth movies DeLuise had been in, like A Troll in Central Park.
  • Adult Fear: "Misplaced in Space" has Dexter trapped in an alien prison where nobody speaks his language and he has no idea how to get home.
  • Affectionate Parody: A lot of episodes and characters are loving parodies of well-known works of fiction.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Dee Dee (plus her racially diverse friends Mimi and Lee Lee). They provide the trope image.
  • All Work vs. All Play:
    • Played with with Dexter and Dee Dee (respectively All Work and All Play), where there would be episodes where Dexter would be more relaxed like Dee Dee, or Dee Dee more work-minded like Dexter only to turn back at the end. Status Quo Is God or an Aesop of being yourself?
    • Sometimes averted in certain episodes, as Dexter frequently worries about normal things for a boy his age, such as his favorite television heroes, and being liked by the neighborhood kids.
  • Almighty Janitor: "Yohnny the Yanitor" from the episode "Trapped with a Vengeance".
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Italian version has a different opening theme.
  • Always Someone Better: Mandark was this in his debut where he gained the praise of the faculty in the first day and was generally better at Dexter at everything.
  • Ambiguously Gay: The pixie prince from "D & DD", who is very effeminate and talks like a Valley Girl.
  • And I Must Scream: Used in "Photo Finish" when the villain Red Eye attempts to use a machine to trap Dexter inside a photograph of himself. The fate ends up befalling Red Eye instead, and it isn't a pleasant experience judging by his reaction.
  • Animated Series
  • Animation Bump: The What A Cartoon! Show shorts and the first six episodes of the series (animated by Fil-Cartoons) have instances of this, where motions and lip movements are more fluid than the later, more Limited Animation episodes animated over at Rough Draft Studios.
  • Animesque: The girl in "Aye Eye Eyes" has enormous anime-style eyes, there's an entire tribute to mechs, kaiju, and other anime tropes when Dexter goes to Japan and accidentally unleashes a giant monster, and in the later seasons, there's a villain drawn in an anime style... while everyone else remains the same-looking.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Inverted; Dee Dee is an annoying older sibling.
  • Arch-Enemy: Mandark is Dexter's most prominent and only recurring adversary.
  • Art Evolution:
    • The art style changed some over the course of the series (early episodes and later episodes have different model designs) but once Genndy's involvement with the series ended, the series took a very dramatic stylistic change, with far cleaner lines and completely different background designs and color palette, for starters. (just compare this with this)
    • Dee Dee had thicker eyebrowes and seemed to lack a chin in the first few episodes.
  • Art Shift: The animation for the outside sequences in "Snowdown" is an Homage to Calvin and Hobbes.
  • Asshole Victim: The Ultrabot 2000 in the episode "Ultrajerk 2000." Doesn't help that his blind ambition to destroy Dexter ends up getting the better of him.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: In the episode "Last But Not Beast".
  • Author Appeal: Tartakovsky seems to have a thing for classic Super Robot anime.
  • The B Grade: Not a B, but an A minus in "Sister Mom". Dexter didn't want Mom to know so he used one of his inventions to turn Dee Dee into Mom for the conference. Dee Dee was furious when she found out and at Dexter and the teacher made a big deal out of this. She thought it was something more serious, like accidentally blowing up the school lab. Then Dexter tells her he wouldn't even have gotten that A minus if his "stupid sister" would stop bothering him all the time.
  • Backing Away Slowly: At the end of "Dollhouse Drama", Dee Dee gets Mom to confront Dexter for accidentally breaking her Darbie doll. As they barge into his room, they see that Dexter (who had been having some major Sanity Slippage throughout the episode) has hooked Darbie to a medical device and he tells them to be quiet so she can "sleep", causing both to slowly walk out with disturbed expressions.
  • Badass Adorable: Monkey, who is considered to be one of the Dexterverse top superheroes.
  • Badass Beard:
    • Action Hank. Noted in one episode where Dexter creates a synthetic beard to make himself look more "rugged", and is confused for Action Hank (despite looking nothing like him) because of the beard. They later team up to fight beard-themed villains. "It's not the beard on the outside that counts, but the beard on the INSIDE."
    • And in "Ego Trip" Future Badass Dexter has one.
  • Badass Family: Dexter may have a pretty screwed up family at times, but when they work together, they're the definition of badass. Case in point, the army and all the world's superheroes (including Monkey) were completely powerless against Badaxtra. Dexter's family united, got a Combining Mecha, flew to Japan, and managed to kill him. They've even got a theme song!.
    • "Go, Dexter Family! Go" dealt with the entire family being kidnapped by a massive alien who wanted to steal Dexter's scientific knowledge. The family ends up breaking out of imprisonment, take down the aliens minions and save Dexter.
  • Bad Future: The main conflict in Ego Trip. Mandark takes over the world using one of Dexter's inventions and hoards all knowledge and science for himself, deliberately forcing the populace to live in indigent, primitive poverty and stupidity. Dexter and his various future selves put a stop to it, ultimately constructing a gloriously Zee Rust techno-paradise. At first, the various Dexters try to prevent it from ever happening, but they end up creating a Stable Time Loop ensuring that it's going to happen again and again.
    • Oh, and why did the Stable Time Loop happen? Because Dee Dee was actually the one to put a stop to it, and their egos just couldn't let that go.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Usually when an episode has Dexter and Dee Dee in direct conflict with each other or Dexter is just trying to stop Dee Dee from ruining something, Dexter will end up defeated by the end of the episode. There are only a small handful of episodes where Dexter ends up in a better position than Dee Dee by the ending.
  • Bad Humor Truck: "Ice Cream Scream" had an ice cream man who actively tried to avoid Dexter all because the boy's insistence to purchase the most expensive ice cream available and pay in pennies inadvertently ruined the man's life.
  • Bald of Awesome: Dexter in the Bad Future.
  • Beat the Curse Out of Him: Dexter's family is possessed by parasitic aliens in one episode, and he has to pummel is family members until the parasites release their control.
  • Belly Dancer:
    • One shown in an episode called "Sister's Got a Brand New Bag".
    • Another shown close to the end of "D & DD", another episode.
  • Berserk Button: Dexter's future self the scrawny, weak, and cowardly D22, you can beat and push him around, you can insult him and break his spirit, but whatever you do do not break his glasses.
  • Be the Ball: Happens a few times:
    • In Dexter Dodgeball Dexter exacts his revenge on one of the three dodgeball bullies by crushing him into a ball and dunking him into a hoop. Ouch.
    • In Now That's a Stretch! Dexter becomes a Rubber Man after merging with Dee-Dee's bubblegum. After Dee-Dee realises her brother actually is her missing bubblegum, she immediately starts playing with him. One of the first things she does is crushing Dexter into a bubblegum basketball, dribbling him and dunking him into a hoop.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: You do not want to see Dexter's father angry. Same with his mother.
    Did you say... snowballs?
    • And God help you if you make Dee Dee seriously angry.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Dexter has a humongous lab so big that there are some parts of it Dexter has forgotten about, yet it is somehow able to fit in the closed-off space of his relatively small house. Sometimes this is Hand Waved as the lab being underground, but this doesn't make a whole lot of sense either, since Dexter often walks directly into it from his second-floor bedroom.
    • The Musical Episode "Lab-Ret-O" implies that Dexter's lab may be located in some sort of pocket dimension located behind a certain wall of the house.
    • Parodied in an episode where Dexter shrinks the house to observe it inside his lab, leaving Dexter's lab of normal size on the inside, but a disembodied door on the outside.
    • Also parodied in an episode where Dexter draws a map of the house. Guess which is the smallest room.
  • Big "NO!": Dexter, numerous times. Including the scene where he's surrounded by cooties.
    • In "Jeepers Creepers, Where is Peepers," the transforming Peepers yells this when he sees Dexter and Koosalagoopagoop being attacked by Hokochu (or rather Hookocho) before breaking out of his container.
    • The Ice Cream Man, after Dexter asks if he's got change for a hundred. This is after the Ice Cream Man explains that he hates Dexter for paying in pennies.
  • Big Red Button: "Ooooooh! What does THIS button dooooo?"
  • Big Sister Bully: Dee Dee has been like this ever since Dexter was born, constantly making him cry and smashing all of his experiments and making a hobby of destroying Dexter's lab, for fun, despite her assertions that she loves Dexter very much. Of course, at the same time, there's at least one episode that essentially states it's a working relationship that Dexter needs in order to be able to properly focus.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head:
    • Dee Dee greats Dexter with "Morning, poophead" in "The Big Cheese".
    • When the alien leader reads Dexter's thoughts in "Go, Dexter Family! Go!", he is angered at how what are supposed to be thoughts from a boy genius aren't helpful toward his agenda at all. The thought that infuriates the alien leader the most is "My sister Dee Dee is a certified stupidhead".
  • Boredom Montage: In "Space Case", after the aliens kidnap Dee Dee, Dexter has one of these in his lab. He has another in "Dee Dee and the Man" after he "fires" Dee Dee and realizes it's not the same without her bothering him.
  • Brought Home the Wrong Kid: Dexter invokes this when he find an Identical Stranger with parents who are science geniuses like him. They swap temporarily and the parents never know the difference (despite the kids looking quite distinct from each other).
  • Broken Aesop: In "Star Spangled Sidekicks" Dee Dee is chosen over Dexter to be Major Glory's sidekick despite the latter having better combat skills and weaponry. The lesson is supposed to be that it takes more than skills to be a superhero;it also takes heart. However when Major Glory's actual arch nemesis show up for a fight, it is only thanks to Dexter looking out for his sister that they were able to win, otherwise she would have easily been destroyed. And Dee Dee ends up taking all the credit anyway.
    • Though in a Karmic twist Dexter's selfless actions indirectly make Dee Dee pass up the position which ends up being given to the Heroic Wannabe "Fat Boy" who perhaps showed heart as well.
  • Bumbling Dad: Dexter's dad is often quite oblivious and dim.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Gets reconstructed in "Dyno-Might". Dexter is called on to repair Dynomutt after he has been damaged in a fight but decides that the goofy canine couldn't possibly be any help to Blue Falcon and decides to create an improved model for the hero. After said improved model goes on a Knight Templar rampage over minor crimes and Dynomutt saves the day it becomes clear why this trope is a good thing:
    • The hero genuinely likes their sidekick and the goofy behavior can keep the hero from taking things too seriously
    • The sidekick is in the business of crimefighting so bumbling or not they have to be capable of handling themselves
    • The sidekick can offer viewpoints and tactics that the hero may not think of, as seen when Dynomutt defeats the rogue robot with unorthodox strategy where Blue Falcon and Dexter's conventional assault failed.
  • Butt-Monkey: Dexter, big time. Nearly every episode has Dee Dee destroy his lab.
    • Especially his backbone-lacking teenage/young adult self in "Ego Trip", who works for Mandark designing cubicles in the future.
    • In most cases, Mandark himself is this in his starring roles.
  • Cain and Abel: Parodied in "Dollhouse Drama", where a shrunken and delusional Dexter is played with by Dee Dee and he sees his toy robot with his name on it as his evil twin brother.
  • Call-Back: Like the name implies, "Dee Dee's Rival" at least starts out as a scene-for-scene remake of "Dexter's Rival," appropriate considering the latter introduced the show's default Big Bad Mandark and the former introduces his sister.
    • In addition to his Giant Robot, the Giant Dexo-Robo, showing up prominently in several eps, his power frame (first called the "Dextransformer" then later the "Exerjock 4000") from the early first season dodgeball episode reappears in three late season 2 eps, the first one ("Gooey Aliens That Control Your Mind") specifically mentioning the "dodgeball incident" (and including a sweep pan over a room of previous episodes' inventions).
    • Dexter brings back his "Dex-Star" identity from "Sidekicks Assemble" to fight alongside Blue Falcon and Dynomutt.
    • The monster Dexter fights off at the end of "Sports a Poppin" is the exact same monster he incidentally unleashes at the beginning of "Dee-Dimensional".
    • A meta-example in that the second act of "Last But Not Beast" features Monkey and the Justice Friends fighting the kaiju, just as they were the second cartoon short in the first season.
  • Calling Your Attacks: When Dee Dee and Dexter get turned into monsters in "Monstory", they both call their attacks when fighting each other.
    Dee Dee: Nitrooo PUNCH!
    Dexter: Buzzsaw!
    Dexter: Tail Whip!
    Dee Dee: Squid Attack!
    Dexter: Monkey Mouth!
    Dee Dee: Octo-Bash!
  • The Cameo: Fred Flintstone and George Jetson make a brief appearance in "Beard to be Feared". There are also the scenes in "Dad is Disturbed" which feature Betty and Barney Rubble, who are apparently friends of Mom and Dad.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Mandark, after going through a combination of Diminishing Villain Threat and Flanderization.
  • Cartoony Eyes: Most of the main characters have this, including monsters.
  • The Cat Came Back: The main premise of "The Continuum of Cartoon Fools" is Dee Dee continuously returning to Dexter's lab no matter what lengths he goes to prevent her from getting back in.
  • Catchphrase: Dee Dee's "Ooooh, what does THIS button do?"
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: A machine factory, complete with Golden Diskettes in order to enter and singing, and owned by a guy who is most certainly not Stephen Hawking in the episode "Golden Diskette" (Parody of the "Golden Ticket" in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
  • The Chew Toy: Dexter, sometimes. Though he has nothing on the ice-cream man in "Ice Cream". Turns out ever since Dexter bought ice cream from him, and paid him in pennies, a series of unfortunate events had happened to him since, including chipping his tooth while trying to put them in the safe due to tripping on his laces after counting them, dumped by his girlfriend, having his car towed away, getting kicked out of his apartment and being forced to live under a highway because of this one act.
    • And to add insult to injury, once the Ice Cream Man forgives Dexter and allows him to purchase ice cream, Dexter pays the Ice Cream Man with a 100 dollar bill.
  • Childish Older Sibling: Despite being Dexter's older sister, Dee Dee acts very childish, and is usually seen destroying or ruining the show's titular location (usually by accident), no matter how many times Dexter tells her to stay away from it. Dexter is endlessly annoyed by Dee Dee and sees her as a nuisance.
  • Child Prodigy: Dexter and Mandark. Dexter could even be called a baby prodigy; he was making scientific-sounding obvservations about his family and his house when they got back from the hospital the night he was born. And DeeDee, for all her kookiness, is a really good dancer. She can dodge lasers while doing ballet!
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Mandark's sister Olga (Lalavava) appears in one episode as a rival to Dee Dee and is never seen again.
    • Dee Dee's friends Mee Mee and Lee Lee are nowhere to be seen in the final two seasons.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Dee Dee is often quite eccentric and has an extremely odd perception of how the world works.
  • Clown Car: One episode shows a single, comically tall clown coming out of a comically undersized clown car, eventually biting Dexter.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "Rude Removal", the episode made as a joke by the staff and not seen outside of event panels until Adult Swim briefly put the episode on its YouTube channel and web site. The episode consisted of Dee Dee and Dexter creating evil twins of themselves, after Dexter makes a "Rude Removal" device. The episode consists of their twins cursing.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Mee Mee and Lee Lee (Dee Dee's friends) wear green and purple versions of her outfit.
  • Combining Mecha: Dexter builds one in Last But Not Beast to battle Bedaxtra, which requires the help of his family to use.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: DC Comics put out 34 issues from 1999 to 2003. There were also Dexter's Laboratory stories featured in Cartoon Cartoons, Cartoon Network Presents, and Cartoon Network Block Party, which were also from DC. IDW Publishing launched a new series in 2014.
  • Company Cross References: In "Tele-Trauma", Dexter, who is beaming TV shows straight to his brain, is constantly reciting TV quotes, including "Townsville's in trouble!".
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Dexter's mom always wears gloves due to being a germaphobe. This was explained in one episode.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: This happened to Dexter in the episode "The Old Switcharooms", where he and Dee Dee are sent to each others' rooms as punishment for destroying Dad's bowling trophy. Dexter, paranoid that Dee Dee will take advantage of the punishment and wreck his lab, eventually loses it and smashes up Dee Dee's room to construct a disguise and sneak his way out of Dee Dee's room - only to discover she never even opened his lab. When they later return to her destroyed room, Dee Dee points at Dexter, destroying the trophy again. Dexter calls Dee Dee a "clumsy fool", but Dad remains angry at him for destroying his sister's things. The cartoon ends with the boy genius literally in the doghouse.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • "Chubby Cheese" shows that the head of the titular restaurant chain is actually using Chubby Cheese's as a front for fleecing people out of money and plotting world domination.
    • The TV movie Ego Trip shows Mandark becoming this in the future when he takes over the company he and Dexter work for and uses its resources to take over the world.
  • Cow Tools: Sometimes Dexter can be seen tightening a bolt on some sort of metal box with no obvious function.
  • Crapsack World: The (third) future in "Ego Trip" has everyone too stupid to do anything right and living in extremely poor conditions.
  • Creepy Child: One falls in love with Dexter in "Aye, Aye, Eye", only to meet an equally creepy boy and dump him.
  • Crisis Crossover: Last But Not Beast had the Dexter and Monkey segments connected via the giant monster destroying Japan. The Monkey segment even skips its usual opening credits to continue the story.
  • Crossover:
    • Dexter, Justice Friends and Monkey would sometimes cross over with each other.
    • The episode "Dyno-Might" was a crossover with Dynomutt, Dog Wonder where the Blue Falcon asked Dexter to repair Dynomutt and Dexter instead made a new Dynomutt who was more competent than the original, but had the side effect of being more hostile and dangerous toward civilians.
    • One of the variants of the first issue of the IDW comic book feature the Powerpuff Girls. The Justice Friends and the Puppet Pals do appear in the PPG cartoon.
    • Dexter makes a cameo in Time Squad.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Dexter's dad is revealed to be a stunt biker in one episode, where in other episodes he's often portrayed as somewhat ditzy.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: There is three such instances in this show:
    • In "Way of the Dee Dee", instead of being influenced by Dee Dee to spend more time outside of his laboratory, Dexter is driven insane and destroys his entire lab. Dee Dee realizes the big mistake she made and runs off crying. The episode ends on a somber note with Dexter once again bottled up inside his lab.
    • In "Germ Warfare", everybody but Dexter is sick during the flu season and Dexter must protect himself not to get sick. This backfires when Dee Dee breaks into his lab yet again to search for her hankey which she claims to have lost in Dexter's lab. The episode ends with Dexter having caught the flu from Dee Dee.
    • Perhaps the most prominent example is "Dexter Detention", where Dexter is sent to detention for shouting out loud in class after being annoyed by a student who kept asking him for answers on their test. At the end of the episode, Dexter and the other students in detention dig a hole in the floor to escape, but find out that they've accidentally broke into a prison. The episode ends with Dexter in prison breaking rocks at gunpoint (despite being a young child).
  • Cryptid Episode: There's both a Bigfoot episode and a Chupacabra episode.
  • Curious as a Monkey
  • Cymbal-Banging Monkey: In "Dexter's Assistant", Dexter makes Dee Dee smart enough to become the titular assistant for a Science Fair project. She eventually considers herself too good to be the assistant of someone who can't stand having their calculations questioned and gives him one of those toy monkeys to be his new assistant. In the end, Dee Dee wins the fair and Dexter blames the monkey for losing. While doing so, Dexter unwittingly places his nose in a position to be hit by the cymbals.
  • Dance Off: "Dee Dee's Rival" has Dee Dee facing Mandark's sister in ballet at the beginning. At the end of the episode, they compete againt each other while piloting Mini Mechas.
  • Darker and Edgier: 'Ego Trip', as you might expect, Bad Future and all.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Dexter finally manages to one-up Dee Dee in the episode "sdrawkcaB."
    • Their parents would also get episodes like this entitled, appropriately enough A Dad Cartoon and A Mom Cartoon. They also get similar treatment in episodes like "Dad is Disturbed" and "World's Greatest Mom".
    • In a real-life example, a kid named Tyler Samuel Lee won a contest that aired an episode he wrote, entitled "Dexter And Computress Get Mandark"
    • Mandark gets an episode like this in "Sun, Surf and Science", in which he competes in a surfing contest to impress Dee Dee, using science to create his own surfboard and to sabotage the contest with mines and robotic sharks. Dexter, incidentally, does not appear in this episode at all.
  • Deconstructive Parody: The episode where Dexter tries out different superpowers.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Dad defeating the massive Earl at arm wrestling in "Hamlocks and Armlocks", with a little help from Dexter.
  • Demoted to Extra: Monkey, the Justice Friends and their respective supporting characters rarely appeared in the show's later seasons.
  • Denser and Wackier: The third and fourth seasons. While the first two seasons didn't shy away from levity the last two abandoned virtually all the action and sci-fi elements in favor of more sitcom formulas and plots that wouldn't be out of place in classic cartoons. The titular lab in particular went from an important set piece to a plot device to enable the more humorous antics.
  • Depending on the Writer: Along with very loose continuity, the character's personalities vary quite wildly depending on the needs of the plot.
    • Dexter's general temperament varies from a genuinely benevolent Cheerful Child to a very irritable and Insufferable Genius. Often he's shown as a friendless recluse who leaves his lab as little as possible, but he's occasionally shown as much more outgoing (at least when it comes to academics) and having numerous friends. His general worldliness outside of science varies from nonexistent to comparable to an adult.
    • Sometimes Dee Dee is a Big Sister Bully who wrecks Dexter's things deliberately and relentlessly mocks him. Sometimes she is innocent but Lethally Stupid and oblivious to her destruction. In a few episode (most of them written by Craig McCracken), Dee Dee is an unreservedly kind and somewhat mature Cool Big Sis, who Dexter either gets along with or distrusts unreasonably.
    • Mandark varies from a meaner counterpart to Dexter to an outright super villain. Thus you'll have one episode where he's trying to impress Deedee while at the beach, and the Big Damn Movie where he becomes a sadistic Corrupt Corporate Executive who drains the world intelligence, transforming it into a feudal Mordor.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Some episodes have Dexter plan to do something, only to fail because of a huge flaw he doesn't realize until it's too late to do anything about it.
    • "Morning Stretch" has him slow down time to turn 30 seconds into 30 minutes in order to go to school on time, not realizing that it would be really difficult to shower and take forever to microwave breakfast with time slowed down. In the end, his efforts are for naught because it was a snow day.
    • In "The Continuum of Cartoon Fools", Dexter makes several attempts to keep Dee Dee out of his laboratory permanently. It isn't until after he's destroyed or blocked all the secret entrances and locked the front entrance hidden behind his bookcase that he realizes that this course of action would prevent himself from entering the lab, too.
    • "Comic Stripper" has Dexter find out that Mandark has patterned their mecha battles after the comic book Mister Misery. In an attempt to beat Mandark at his own game, Dexter buys out every copy of the next issue of Mister Misery. As Mandark eventually points out to him, Dexter did not consider that Mandark wouldn't be able to buy the next issue of Mister Misery if it was sold out and would resort to copying the events of a different comic book, Dangerous Duck.
  • Detention Episode: "Dexter Detention" involves Dexter getting sent to detention after accidentally yelling out a test answer in annoyance. This trope is turned on its head at the end, when Dexter and a pair of detention-birds dig their way out of the school...and into an actual prison.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: At one point, Dexter gets so fed up with Dee Dee, he holds interviews to get a replacement. He winds up hiring a vixen who he can't do any work around.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Played for laughs on "Bad Cable Manners", where Dexter managed to steal satellite TV, since his dad couldn't do it. Turned Up to Eleven when the "Satellite Swat", aware of the situation, came out to arrest Dexter's Dad.
    "Mr. Dexter's Dad. We're well aware of your current situation. piracy of our satellite broadcast is a felony. This is your last warning. Legal action will be taken".
  • Disappointed In Myself: Present-day Dexter with Young Adult Dexter in "Ego Trip". Not only would he be working in a cubicle at an office run by Mandark, but he would also be a complete wimp. Upon meeting him, Dexter voices how upset he is to discover what he would become and that his future self denies his high intelligence and brilliance in revolutionary inventions. This is explained through Hero Dexter who reveals that Mandark used his plans to build himself up and ruin Dexter's credibility.
  • The Ditz: Dee Dee is a total moron who often annoys Dexter because of her idiocy.
    • Genius Ditz: There are rare moments when Dee Dee shows a surprising level of insight, without some re-wiring to her brain.
  • Ditzy Genius: Dexter fits the bill, hands down. He can create time machines, sentient robots, and interdimensional portals, but in "Maternal Combat," he is utterly incapable of taking care of himself for a single day while his mom is sick. He doesn't know how to cook (having never heard of flour), and is is amazed at the sight of dust. Let's not forget that he's also gullible, and in the episode where he gets chicken pox, he literally has no idea what chicken pox is.
    • Dexter's parents also can be considered this. While they're normally shown to be of average intelligence and more than a little quirky, his dad becomes frighteningly crafty and manipulative when mom's muffins are on the line and his mom shows incredibly talent with Dexter level gadgetry when fighting germs. It almost seems believable that they birthed a boy genius because of this.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Mandark is not happy about his parents naming him Susan.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: Downplayed in "Game Show", where Dexter enters the titular game show to win a high-tech telescope. The question-and-answer round offers 30 points to the player who answers more questions correctly than the other player. Dexter, being Dexter and having had no luck in the physical challenges, literally hands the host a list of every possible answer to every single question that could've been asked for an easy 30. He then discovers that a player who gets all the questions correct is given an additional "geek award" in the form of a pie to the head.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The Muffin Episode. Drug addiction or sex (muff-a-holic?) addiction, take your pick.
    • Mandark's backstory in "A Boy Named Sue" seems like a transgender metaphor.
  • Don't Ask:
    • In "Sister Mom", Dexter and "Mom" (a disguised Dee Dee) attend a conference with the school principal. When the principal's secretary calls them into the office, "Mom" joyously dances around singing "Dexter is in trouble!"; Dex shoots the secretary a sideways glance and says "Don't ask!" in a flat, annoyed tone of voice.
    • In "Dexter's Debt", Dexter's Dad asks the mailman about his day. The mailman tells Dexter's Dad not to ask and Dexter's Dad says it's too late because he already did.
  • Downer Ending: The show has plenty of these! Most of them Played for Laughs, but not always.
    • In one episode Dexter and Mandark fail to stop an asteroid from destroying the world due to their refusal to work together. The two fail to notice this, still bickering inside their mechs in outer space. Thankfully, that doesn't mean much here.
    • The ending of "The Way of Dee Dee" is pretty sad as well, with Dee Dee's attempt to get Dexter to enjoy himself end with Dexter wrecking his own lab, and Dee Dee apologizing to him for trying to change him, and running to her room in tears. The last scene is Dexter noticing the destruction he caused and quietly working to repair his lab. It's one of the few genuine Tear Jerkers in the show.
    • "The Big Cheese" ends with Dexter, possibly permanently, only able to say "Omlette du fromage," locked out of his lab, which is then blown up completely while Dee-Dee mocks him.
    • Possibly the ultimate example of this is "Ewww, That's Growth". Dexter, having grown himself grotesquely tall in order to ride a roller coaster, approaches a tunnel. He proclaims that this is the greatest day of his entire life. His head hits the tunnel, quick cut to black, the end. Implication being that Dexter actually died.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty:
    • Episode 32: "Dexter Detention".
    • The new Phys-Ed teacher in "Dexter Dodgeball", who forces Dexter to compete in the most brutal sport of all: DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODGE. BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALL.
  • Dumb Is Good:
    • Dee Dee is generally more laid back, more sensible (sometimes), and cheerful than her brother.
    • Played straight in an episode where Dexter ends up switching families with a hyperactive kid named Dextor. His parents are as smart as Dexter is, and even Dexter himself gives them a The Reason You Suck speech.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Dexter has saved the world several times and has yet to be recognized for it.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Dexter's family can be quite erratic and argumentative at times.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first season had much more "rubbery" cartoon animation and were significantly more dialogue-heavy, as opposed to later seasons where the animation was slicker and hard-edged and dialogue was dialed back to near non-existence.
    • The earliest episodes of the series (including the pilot episodes, obviously) have notably different character designs, including a slightly taller Dexter and a Dee Dee with practically no chin whatsoever (and more prominent eyebrows).
    • The Justice Friends first appeared in the Dial M for Monkey segment "Wrasslor" with slightly different character designs and voices (and a couple heroes who weren't named or seen again after this), as well as a base (the "Hall of Heroes") that never appeared again.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: "Let's Save the World, You Jerk!" ended with meteors blowing up the Earth, after Dexter and Mandark keep bickering while in their robot suits and fail to stop the meteors and save the Earth.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Dexter and Mandark's labs, with the latter having a more elaborate feel to rival Dexter's.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The monster in "Dee-Dimensional" definitely counts, being a huge pink blob with multiple eyes and tentacles and a red-lipped mouth full of fangs.
    • The interdimensional beast "Jojo" in "Mandarker". He apparently helped Mandark write the book The Magic of Science by Mandark and Jojo, but when Mandark summons him as part of a science fair project, he goes berserk and tries to eat Dee Dee.
  • Elephants Are Scared of Mice: In "Dial M For Monkey: Huntor", Snorkdro, an alien elephant, is scared when a mouse is thrown in front of him and knocks the Villain of the Week off his back.
  • Emergency Broadcast: A plot point of one episode has it interrupting Dexter's show, supposedly with a series of emergencies.
  • Ending Theme: Narrated by Mako, no less!
  • Enfant Terrible: Dexter's dad, apparently, when he and Dexter's mom turned into toddlers. During that time, Dexter's dad took pleasure at beating up Dexter's mom as a baby. Using Dexter's inventions to torture her.
  • Enslaved Tongue: After an experiment in Sleep Learning backfiring, Dexter wakes up unable to say anything except "omelette du fromage". Bizarrely enough, everyone he faces in the episode happens to want to hear the very phrase — from his French teacher to the crowd at the UN. Except the password authentication system in his lab.
  • Epic Fail: In the Justice Friends episode "Bee Ware", the Justice Friends get defeated and scared out of their apartment by a bumblebee.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: The episodes "Backfire" "Mock 5", and "The Bus Boy" all end with everyone laughing.
  • Evil Chef: In "Beard to be Feared", the main villain was an evil chef who used his long pointed beard like a sword.
  • Evil Twin: Parodied in "Dollhouse Drama", which is also a parody of the Soap Opera concept in general.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Provides the page quote, though instead of playing at the beginning as usual it plays over the end credits.
  • Expy:
  • Eye Glasses: Dexter and his dad's glasses, which can change shape depending on expression.
  • The Faceless: Earl in "Hamhocks and Armlocks" is only seen from the neck down.
  • Fantastic Time Management: There's an episode where Dexter has only 1 minute before the school bus arrives and he hasn't done his homework yet, so he use a time extending helmet to make it 30 minutes for him get everything done. turns out to be a snow day.
  • Fartillery: This happens in Episode 25/Part 1: "Critical Gas"
  • FiveThree Token Band: Dee Dee (white) and her posse, Mee Mee (black) and Lee Lee (Asian)
  • Fetish-Fuel Future: The second future in "Ego Trip" shows a world where a CEO has a harem in his office and strips his employees to their underwear for a whipping when they're not productive.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: The horror movie Dexter's parents watch in "Don't Be a Hero" prominently features Dee-Dee's accidental martian disguise from "My Favorite Martian", the very next short in the episode.
  • Flanderization: Mandark in the post-finale seasons was pretty much defined by his hamminess and crush on Dee-Dee.
    • "Old Man Dexter" has Dexter (as an old man) repeatedly mispronouncing Dee Dee's name, until he suddenly loses interest and calls her "Billy." In later seasons, Dexter's grandfather (technically a separate character, but identical in terms of character design) shoehorned the name "Billy" into most of his lines, so that the entire character was more or less a single joke about an old man mistakenly calling people "Billy." Not an entirely straight example due to the technical difference between the two characters, but the progression from one well-timed "Billy" to every-other-sentence "Billy" was nevertheless notable between the original episode, the movie, and later episodes.
  • For Science!: Much of Dexter's motivation.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: A story Dee Dee tells in "Dee Dee Locks and the Ness Monster", starring Dee Dee Locks, sentient bagpipes, a brick pig, the Big Bad Wolf as Napoleon, a foppish fish, and The Three Evil Blind Mice!!
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Played with in "The Old Switcharooms", where Dad forces Dexter and Dee Dee to switch places.
  • Friction Burn: When Dexter gives himself Super Speed to go through his whole daily routine in 1 minute he accidentally lights his homework on fire from the friction.
  • The Fundamentalist: Let's just say that both the Darbie doll fans and Star Check fans in episode "Star Check Unconventional" are really, REALLY into their hobby. And whatever you do, do NOT remove a classic figure from its box.
  • Funny Foreigner: In the episode "The Bus Boy" there's a German boy in lederhosen. His story involved him dancing around eating food and commenting how good it was.
  • Fun with Flushing: Spirits from the dead hold Dee Dee hostage unless the dead Goldfish is flushed down the toilet.
  • Future Badass / Future Loser: Dexter has both in The Movie.

  • Gag Haircut: Dee Dee attempts to cut a stray strand of hair and ends up chopping off one of her pigtails. Dexter gives her a serum to grow the hair back but she uses too much and her hair ends up taking over the house.
  • Gainax Ending: Some of the cartoons just stop as soon as the writers ran out of jokes... leaving the characters stuck in some terrible predicament when 'The End' appears on the screen. Luckily, Status Quo Is God.
    • The ending of the (already strange) episode "Dexter and Computress Get Mandark" (aka. the episode written by a six-and-a-half year old boy) warrants a specific mention however. The episode ends with Mandark's re-sized head suddenly exploding, resulting in the planet being showered in millions of disembodied Mandark heads as Dexter chews out Computress.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Mandark's hippie parents named him Susan. This drove him to villainy in the the later episodes in his retconned backstory.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • Just... look at the first scene between Mom and Dad in the Muffin episode.
    • For that matter, Dexter's grandpa and old Dexter himself from the movie (and one of the What A Cartoon! Show pilots) look nearly identical.
  • Genius Ditz: Dee Dee, for all of her goofiness, can break through any security measure Dexter comes up with. Also, when she's not wrecking them, can use Dexter's inventions with instant mastery, like a hovercraft Dexter himself crashed or an incredibly complicated giant mech.
  • Genki Girl: Dee Dee.
  • Girls Have Cooties: The so-called cooties Dexter encounters are in the form of butterflies which inhabit Dee Dee's bedroom.
  • Glasses Curiosity: In "Framed," Dee Dee steals Dexter's glasses and mocks him with them while the two kids are on the bus to school. Later on, after he retrieves his broken specs from the floor of the bus, he lets another girl try them on when she compliments him on them.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • In "Dexter's Assistant," Dexter needed an assistant to help him in his newest invention for a science fair. So he took Dee Dee and replaced her brain (which was the size of chewing gum) and replaced it with a new one that made her smarter. Now Dee Dee is much smarter than Dexter was, and knew more about his invention than he did, later when she left Dexter, she won the science fair with her own invention.
    • In "The Way of the Dee Dee," Dee Dee spends the entire episode teaching Dexter to loosen up and have fun, which ends with him going on a destructive rampage in his own lab with psychotic glee. She runs out of the lab crying after apologizing to Dexter.
    • In the Dynomutt, Dog Wonder crossover "Dyno-Might", Dexter becomes convinced that Dynomutt is too much of a goofy idiot sidekick to be any help to Blue Falcon, so he decides to design a new "Dynomutt X-90" to replace him. Unfortunately, Dynomutt X-90 believes that All Crimes Are Equal and uses lethal force to deal with even minor crimes such as littering and jaywalking, forcing Dexter to team up with Blue Falcon and the real Dynomutt to take him down.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: In "Book ′Em," Dexter has a nightmare where he's being judged by the Devil for not returning his library book on time:
    • "Welcome... to library... HECK!"
  • Grand Finale / Series Fauxnale: Two, actually; "Last But Not Beast" is the final episode of the series (or was intended to be) and wraps up the running plot about Dexter trying to hide his lab. "Ego Trip," meanwhile, is a film and definitively wraps up the Dexter/Mandark rivalry (one of the few things "Last But Not Beast" left hanging).
  • Granola Girl: Mandark's Mom, Oceanbird.
  • Gratuitous French: "The Big Cheese" has Dexter say "Omelette du fromage! Omelette du fromage!" Although it's a subversion because that's all he can say, and that's not even correct French. It's supposed to mean "cheese omelette" but literally means "omelette which belongs to cheese" (the correct form would be "omelette au fromage").
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: Seen several times in the titular laboratory.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Both Dexter and Koosie get this in spades during the battle with Hookocho.
  • Greasy Spoon: The family dine at one while getting their car fixed in "Hamhocks and Armlocks".
  • Greens Precede Sweets: In the episode "Hunger Strikes", Dexter refuses to eat his peas and so is refused upside-down pineapple cake as while Dee-Dee and Dad are allowed to have the ridiculously unhealthy and large-portioned desserts that dwarfs the size of the small peas they ate (defeating the purpose of eating those peas). And so Dexter uses his scientific equipment to adjust his taste preferences, but as a consequence, he only wants to eat plants (especially in enormous quantity) and nothing else!
  • Groin Attack: Dexter gets hit in the groin with a dodgeball at one point in "Dexter Dodgeball".
  • Grossout Show: At times, particularly when people/animals get diseases. This was more frequent in the first two seasons.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: The inside of Dee Dee's nostrils and the giant germ.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: "Road Rash" starts out with Mom and Dad getting Dexter a bicycle that he tries learning to ride. But as soon as Dee-Dee on her rollerblades starts tormenting Dexter, it changes into a full Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner Shout-Out, with Dexter constantly trying to catch the Road Runner-esque Dee-Dee with his frequent bicycle modifications.
  • Hartman Hips: Due to the art style, lots of women in the series have Hartman Hips, such as Dexter's mom, the Touchy-Feely Neighbor Lady, Agent Honeydew from the Monkey cartoons, and the salesgirl from "Road Rash". But it's not surprising, since Hartman actually worked on the show.
  • Heroic BSoD: Dee Dee falls into this when her teddy bear, Mr. Fuzzums, is taken away by the garbage truck in "Down in the Dumps".
  • Heroic Mime: In "The Laughing", Dexter gets bitten by a clown and becomes a were-clown. To rescue him, his sister Dee Dee becomes a mime.
  • Herr Doktor: Dexter has the obligatory German accent required by the Mad Scientist Code.
    • It's more of a Russian accent, as the creator himself is Russian. It can even be argued that Dexter is a cartoon version of Tartakovsky himself
  • Hollywood Law: This is most relevant in the end of Season 2, Episode 32, Part 3: "Dexter Detention".
  • Hollywood Science: But what do you expect? It's a funny cartoon.
  • Hurricane of Puns: This match at Flushing Meadows is just whizzing by! But you're in luck, there will be no commercial breaks. The tension is swelling, no relief in sight. He's in the lead now, but will. He. Hold. It?
  • Hypocrite:
    • Dee Dee once got on Dexter's case for experimenting on one of her dolls. Ignoring her own frequent(ly destructive) visits to his lab.
    • Pretty much anytime Dee Dee meets someone of her own clingy and destructive level she finds them intolerable and inconsiderate. Ironically subverted one time Dexter loses it and completely destroys her room and all her personal belongings. Her response?
    Dee Dee: Dexter! You're naked!!!
    • Dexter himself occasionally shows No Sense of Personal Space and can be equally intrusive and annoying. His father has to trick him into leaving when his badgering interrupts a golf game for example.
  • Idiot Hero: He can time travel and build an underground lab miles long but will go through hell and back to buy ice cream that he could easily make at home.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: A variation occurs in "The Old Switcharooms": Dexter tries to sneak into his lab from Dee Dee's room to ensure that she isn't trashing it. Dexter's dad, who is somehow aware that Dexter is doing this even without looking at him, casually whips out (in a very stern tone) this:
    "No son of mine had better try to escape his punishment...or else that certain son will find himself in an even worse punishment."
  • Inconvenient Itch: Dexter at one point gets the chicken pox and is told not to scratch the pox, or he'll turn into a chicken. He tries ways of keeping from scratching, even restraining himself completely, but nothing works and he eventually goes on a scratching spree... after which he indeed turns into a chicken.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: At an Amish community, when Dexter tries to explain "fun," the closest thing they can think of is churning butter.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Dee Dee is usually just a playful Genki Girl who wants to play with her little brother. However her notions of fun include playing around with his pretty looking (and somewhat delicate) toys, and no amount of ranting at her to leave him alone ever seems to faze her.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: Dexter's default response to almost any physical threat is to build a mech and go shoot the danger to bits. Eventually he ends up with a hangar full of mecha, which he walks through, pondering which one to use for playing dodgeball.
  • In the Future, We Still Have Roombas: Dozens of helper robots working for Dexter. Two of them even get A Day in the Spotlight.
  • Irony: Dexter's secret Laboratory is supposed to be a secret yet for some reason Dee Dee, her friends, and Mandark know about it, defeating the purpose that it's supposed to be a secret. Although Dexter seems a lot more concerned with his parents finding out about the lab, presumably because he figures they'll either be unable to handle it (as "Last But Not Beast" proves—upon seeing the laboratory, they fall into Stunned Silence) or force him to stop using it.
  • It Runs in the Family: Dexter believes that his grandfather's dinky lab is just child's play, but Dexter doesn't see his grandfather create free energy with it - the one thing Dexter himself couldn't achieve.
    • Scenes of Dexter's mother cooking show her using the same scientific precision and unbridled glee as Dexter in the throes of creation.
    • Likewise, his father acts much the same as Dee Dee does when disturbing Mom in the kitchen. She even ends up shouting at him in much the same way.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Maybe to the same level as Pinky and the Brain but your mileage may vary as to how much...
  • It's Personal: After Dexter had Dee Dee destroy Mandark's lab, only then did Mandark swear revenge on Dexter, and they have been rivals ever since.
  • Jerkass: The Trollbetoots in "Koosalagoopagoop", Everyone else in the Land of Koos were right to be offended by Koosy when he punched their king and kissed the queen (even if it was Dee Dee's doing, Koosy tried to stop her, and the people forgave him), but the Trollbetoots had absolutely no justifiable reason to pick on Koosy.
    • In "Old Man Dexter," the family is unsympathetic to Dexter who, because of his age, isn't allowed to participate in the family movie night. While Dexter handles it badly (he could have easily invented a hypno-ray), it still sucks when the whole family actively participates in something they have forbidden him from joining. Harsh.
  • Kaiju: Several. More memorable ones involve an extra-dimensional horror with many eyes and tentacles (that's start of a stable time loop) and iconic Dexter "oops". Another episode involved Dexter and Dee Dee becoming giant monsters by drinking a mutation-causing formula and having an all out battle (complete with Calling Your Attacks). Finally, there's Badaxtra, the monster of the original Finale who nearly destroyed the world.
  • Karma Houdini: Dee Dee never seems to get any comeuppance for some of her more intentional destruction of Dexter's work.
    • Subverted in "Sdrawkcab" where she did end up with a deserving comeuppance.
    • There is also Dee Dee’s Moral Myopia of going ballistic anytime Dexter destroys something of hers. She is perhaps at her worst in Trick or Treehouse
    • Dee Dee has repeatedly shown complete disregard for Dexter’s safety during these instances with cartoon physics being the only thing that saved him.
    • There are however many instances that do not involve Dexter's lab such as Star Spangled Sidekick and Golden Diskette where Dee Dee ends up winning something Dexter sought. Golden Diskette was even more jarring because Dee Dee only won because she stole Dexter's money to buy the ticket.
    • As the episode, Book ‘Em’ shows Dexter can’t even go to the library without Dee Dee destroying the experience.
  • Kiddie Kid: Dee Dee. She loves ponies, snacks, and wrecking Dexter's lab.
  • Killer Game Master: Dexter is one, which is why his friends readily insist that Dee Dee be given a chance to run the game in "D & DD".
  • Killer Rabbit: The cute little Pony Puffs try to kill Dee Dee when they think she's an Action Hank fan in "Decode of Honor".
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Dexter wears a white coat.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Well, literally in Dim (although the streetlight is an Expy of a Philips one!)
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: How Dexter solves the personal dilemma of revealing his secret lab to his parents in "Last But Not Beast". Dee Dee implies it's not the first time he's done so in "Parrot Trap".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After hurting and humiliating Dexter, and presumably everyone else, playing dodgeball for a week straight, Dexter gets revenge on three bullies using one of his inventions to beat them up with dodgeball just like they did to him in "Dexter Dodgeball".
  • Last Day to Live: "Critical Gas" has Dexter think he's dying when he really just has gas and ends up going through a list of things to do before he dies.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: The show had ended its initial run, while still be very popular, and since its popularity was still evident, Cartoon Network decided to revive it a few years later. Original creator, Genndy Tartakovsky, was busy with Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars, so production was turned over to Chris Savino; not only did all of the characters look significantly different (due to redesigning the show's visual look to resemble an older Hanna-Barbera cartoon), but the series also went through a lot of Retconning as well, contradicting the previous incarnation of the series.
  • Latex Perfection: Parodied in "G.I.R.L. Squad" when spoofing Charlie's Angels. When Dee-Dee calls for her friends, a random cat unmasks to reveal Mee-Mee, who then removes her latex mask to reveal Lee-Lee underneath!
    • Dee-Dee, of all characters, employs this in "Trick or Treehouse" to fool Dexter when poking her head out of the tree, disguised as a beautiful young woman that just happens to have a voice similar to Dee-Dee's.
  • Lens Flare / Audible Sharpness: Mostly when Dexter uses his Mecha.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Dexter is shown at one point to have his closet filled with nothing but the same labcoats and boots he always wears.
    • Be fair, he did also have a suit to wear for the first day of school. Now Dee Dee, she has a limited wardrobe.
  • Linked List Clue Methodology: In "Nuclear Confusion," Dee Dee steals a nuclear reactor core from the lab, hides it, and challenges Dexter to find it by solving a series of clues she's left for him. Unfortunately, said core will go critical and destroy the entire planet if it's not back in its reactor within an hour. Dexter just manages to prevent the meltdown—only to discover that Dee Dee has taken a book he planned to read and left more clues to follow.
  • Literal Genie: One episode ended with Dexter telling Computer to make him a sandwich. And she did.
  • Literal Metaphor: In "Dexter's Debt", Dexter held a garage sale. Two aliens showed up saying "[they] will take his light converters." Once he said how much he was charging for each pair, they repeated that they will TAKE the light converters and he understood.
  • Literal Split Personality: "Rude Removal" deals with Dexter making a machine that can split the user from their bad selves. They become good with a polite British accent, while the bad counterparts retain their regular voices, but they look rough and speak in a vulgar language. Dexter and Dee Dee in the short try to keep their rude clones away from being out causing trouble.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: In the episode "Repairanoid", Dexter sends out a fly bot to find out why his lights are flickering. The electrician ,sent by Dexter's Mom, sees the fly but assumed it to be a ordinary fly and squashes it.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Used when Dexter suits up and boards his Humongous Mecha.
  • Loser Friend Puzzles Outsiders: In the crossover "Dyno-Might", Dexter, recruited to fix Dynomutt after a mission gone wrong, is appalled at his ditziness and creates a Darker and Edgier replacement. Blue Falcon calls him out for this when he learns, saying that Dynomutt "wasn't just a goofy idiot sidekick; he was a go-go dog person!"
  • Lots of Luggage: The titular character decides to cope with being away from his electronics for a family fishing trip by bringing along an inflatable laboratory. Though being inflatable, none of the buttons actually work.
  • Low Clearance: There's an episode where Dexter worries so much about his short height after he wasn't allowed into a rollercoaster ride that he creates some Applied Phlebotinum to make himself taller. His height continues to increase until he's way taller than the average adult. When he's finally on the ride, the screen cuts to black right before his head hits the first clearance.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Hilariously parodied in "The Muffin King", when Dexter is told this by his own father, so of course it's true.
    Dexter: [gasps] That is not possible! No, wait, no, you're right.

  • Magical Clown: In "The Laughing", Dexter got bitten by a clown — which apparently carried clown contagion — and became a were-clown. Dee Dee had to turn into a mime to figure out a cure.
  • Male Gaze:
    • Dexter's mom is often subject to this. Cameras don't hesitate to get as many shots from the back as they can; "Better Off Wet" in particular features her in a bikini.
    • Another memorable example is in the episode "Nuclear Confusion" where Dexter has to follow the clues for Dee Dee's treasure hunt. The next clue at the home of Dexter's "touchy-feely neighbor lady", who sports some very noticeable Hartman Hips. The neighbor offers him cookies, but drops one and bends to pick it up, showing the next clue is painted on the seat of her pants.
  • Man on Fire: In the episode "Dexter's Assistant", when Dexter gets his hair set on fire. "My hair is on fire! My hair is on fire!"
  • Manipulative Bastard: Dexter's dad is this when he wants to be in "The Muffin King" and "Snowdown".
  • Metal Muncher: According to "A Boy and His Bug", Dexter owns a genetically-enhanced termite that eats metal instead of wood, especially the metal scraps left over from when Dee Dee destroys his lab.
  • Midair Bobbing: The episode where Dexter visits Mars.
  • Mini-Mecha: Dexter's backpack can become one.
  • Mistaken for Aliens: "Smells Like Victory" had a mutual example happen between Dexter and the military, with Dexter being mistaken for an alien because he's covered in green ooze and wears a headset resembling antennae and Dexter mistaking the military for aliens because they were full body suits and he misinterprets a staticky transmission from the general as identifying the group as the "evil filthy aliens Grrr".
  • Mockumentary: "Blackfoot and Slim", which ends with Dexter being tranquilized, tagged and released back into his natural environment.
  • Motor Mouth: Everyone in 'Mock 5'. Then again, it's a Speed Racer homage, what did you expect?
  • Mundane Object Amazement: "Could this strange phenomenon be the substance Mom calls dust?"
  • Mundangerous: In the episode "Sports a Poppin", Dexter is completely incompetent in sports, and despite his best efforts lets his father down who was trying to teach him to be good at sports. Then at the end of the episode, as his dad goes back inside, a monster let loose by Dee Dee attacks Dexter. he proceeds to fight it, using skills that obviously should have made him be more capable at the sports than he was.
  • Musical Episode: "LABretto", in addition to being an Origins Episode for Dexter, is performed in the style of an opera.
  • Must Have Caffeine: "Topped Off": Dexter take Mom and Dad's coffee to try and figure out how it changes them from the monsters they wake up as to their regular selves. Mom and Dad are not happy.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Dee Dee at the end of "The Way of the Dee Dee" when she tries to get Dexter to loosen up and make him enjoy himself...only for him to go on a destructive rampage in his own laboratory with psychotic glee. She runs from the lab's remains crying, after apologizing to Dexter.
    • Also, the scene in "The Koos Is Loose" qualifies as this as Dexter wishes away Dee Dee's imaginary friend, Koosalagoopagoop from the lab in anger, then realizing in horror how mean that was of him, even giving Koos a hug and tearing up as Koosie sadly bids his farewells.
  • My Hover Craft Is Full Of Eels: Dee Dee tries to speak Spanish to an angry Mexican crowd while she and Dexter are searching for "La Chupacabra". Her nonsense only serves to infuriate the crowd.
    • Though to be fair, talking about meat to a group of people who suspect you of poaching, is not a very good idea.
  • My Little Phony: Pony Puff Princess is a reoccurring thing, unsuspringly Dee Dee and her friends are fans and Dee Dee wanted to be a horse in one episode.
  • Naked People Are Funny: One of the newer season's episodes involves Dexter's orbital laser satellite, used for burning off stains, shredding his clothes.
    • In early seasons, Dexter's bare ass was a running gag.
  • NameTron: A few of his gadgets.
  • Narrator All Along: The narrator in "The Lab of Tomorrow" is revealed to be Monkey.
  • Negative Continuity: Used, but not consistently. Dexter's Lab is destroyed in every other episode, but when Mandark's is destroyed in his first appearance, it actually stays that way until the next time we see the character.
  • Never My Fault: There's a few episodes where the characters refuse to accept they are to blame for their actions.

    • In Dexter in Detention, Dexter is given detention by his teacher for yelling out an answer to another kid in frustration during a test and Dexter despite being rightfully punished still believes he was 'innocent' and he was 'framed'
    • In the episode "Let's save the World you Jerk!" Dexter has to team with up with all people Mandark on saving the world from being destroyed by giant meteors but they both simply can't get along and argue, to the point they both fight literally, allowing the meteors to destroy the Earth and killing off billions of people. And even though it was their responsibility everyone died and they are trapped in space forever they blame each other for the demise of the human race.
    • In Dexter's Assistant Dexter loses 1st prize in the science fair to Dee Dee which would had been avoided if he simply never made her his assistant and he blames it on a toy bear.
  • Never Say That Again: Dexter about Mandark.
    Kid: Mandark ain't got nothing on y-
    Dexter: Do not say that name!
    Kid: What, Mandark?
    Dexter: hisses
  • Never Trust a Hair Tonic: Dexter makes a hair tonic for Dee Dee after she accidentally cuts off one of her pigtails. Despite repeated warnings to use only one drop, Dee Dee uses the entire bottle. Three guesses what happens next.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Dexter is the cause of a lot of bad stuff that happens. However, bonus points go to Last But Not Beast. Dexter got one when he accidentally awakens the incredibly powerful Badaxtra trying to impress his new friends. Then Mandark gets it later when he actually tries to stop Bedaxtra as well and instead makes him grow.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The Creepy Eyed Girl from "Aye Aye Eyes" terrifies Dexter, mainly because of her Thousand-Yard Stare.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed
  • No Knees: "Hello, knees!"
  • No Name Given: Dexter's parents are only ever referred to as Mom and Dad. Not even their surnames are given. Possibly parodied and lampshaded in "Bad Cable Manners" when Dad is constantly referred to as "Mr. Dexter's Dad".
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Dexter travels back in time to the discovery of fire in one episode. The caveman he meets and brings back is drawn in the semi-realistic style that some Hanna-Barbara cartoons used to use. (Think Jonny Quest or The Herculoids, not The Flintstones) Another episode guest-stars Dynomutt and the Blue Falcon, but their character designs actually fit in pretty well with everyone else.
  • No Respect Guy: Dexter, natch.
  • Noodle People: Dee Dee. Her eyes are larger than her torso.
    • Thoroughly mocked in one episode where Dexter uses Dee Dee as a stick to play fetch with a dog. Dee Dee was not amused.
      Dog: It's the stick!
  • Not a Morning Person: Dexter's parents, again.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Pretty much the defining premise of Dee Dee's character.
  • No Smoking: Averted in "Hamhocks and Armlocks" with Midge the waitress/mechanic, who is clearly shown smoking a cigarette.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: In 'Ego Trip', Mandark goes from simply antagonizing Dexter to conquering and stupidifying the entire world.
  • Notzilla: An entire short revolves around Dexter being transformed into a Godzilla parody while fleeing from Dee Dee who has transformed into a giant spider-monster.
  • The Nudifier: The episode "Streaky Clean" had Dexter create a satellite to instantly clean his clothes whenever they got stained, but a malfunction causes the satellite to obliterate parts of Dexter's clothes whenever they get dirty, which eventually results in Dexter being naked.
  • Off-Model: "That Crazy Robot" sticks out for having an awful case of Floating Head Syndrome in some entirely random scenes. It's not clear whether this was an intentional thing or not, but it clashes with the rest of the episode (which, aside from Dexter's lab being a lighter shade of blue than usual, is visually aligned with the rest of the series).
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Dee-Dee, to ridiculous extremes. This gets a lampshade in "Dexter Is Dirty", where she actually teleports from the hallway to Dexter's laboratory with a visible twinkle just because she wore a pink towel like a genie's turban.
  • Oh, Crap!: Dexter gets a really good one at the end of the Lost Episode, "Dexter's Rude Removal".
    Dexter: Ooohhhhhhhh, shit.
  • Oktoberfest: In the episode "The Bus Boy" there's a fat German boy in lederhosen (an Expy of Uter from The Simpsons). His story involved the bus boy (resembling the German boy) dancing around eating food and commenting how good it was.
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling: Dad vs. Earl in "Hamhocks and Armlocks"... before the arm gets upgraded from truck parts.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. There are two Timmys that ever appeared in this show. One is Dexter's pet termite who can eat metal, the other is a boy who freaks out when giant George Washington and giant Abraham Lincoln pass by.
  • Only One Name: Dexter and Dee Dee both lack last names.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Dee Dee pretended to be a Mermaid swimming in the sea in "Ocean Commotion" episode.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: The four incarnations of Dexter in Ego Trip building robots to murder Dee Dee.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: "Cracked" feels more like an episode of a slice-of-life show. It's also dialogue-heavy, and Dexter's eponymous lab isn't even mentioned.
    • "Filet of Soul" is a supernatural horror story about Dexter and Dee Dee being haunted by the ghost of their dead pet goldfish.
  • Origins Episode:
    • "LABretto", in addition to being a Musical Episode, serves as an origins episode for Dexter by explaining the circumstances of his birth and revealing that he created his secret laboratory so that he'd have a place to work on his inventions without Dee Dee wrecking them (not that it works, of course).
    • While it contradicts the events of his debut episode, "A Boy Named Sue" mainly consists of Mandark's backstory and how he came to be rivals with Dexter.
  • Overly Long Gag: The episodes made without Tartakovsky's involvement were quite fond of these.
  • Panty Shot: Dee Dee in "Dee Dee Locks and The Ness Monster". As the titular character of the story and dressed in a Dutch outfit, she has a couple of white, short, lace-trimmed bloomer shots when she leaps and lays on a grill grate for a bed over hot coals, and when she sits in a chilly, icy chair.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Multiple episodes
  • Parental Bonus: The show takes delight in constantly implying that Dexter's parents are not only very much still in love, but have a very healthy sex life.
  • Parental Neglect: Most of the time, Mom and Dad are actually genuinely loving towards their kids. Like a lot of parents on TV, however, they have their share of moments.
    • On Dexter's birthday they go to the store to buy gifts, while Dexter follows using an invisibility invention. To his disappointment, they start filling the cart with baseballs and baby toys like plastic rings. When Dexter tries sneaking the action figure he wanted into the cart, Mom angrily picks it up and tosses it away saying he doesn't need junk - then puts another baby toy in the cart. While not true neglect, they appear oblivious to their son's age and interests.
    • One of the pilot shorts, Old Man Dexter, starts with Dexter wanting nothing more than to be a part of the family and feeling rejected by an arbitrary bedtime that is earlier for him than for his sister. We're treated to an oddly long sequence of him slinking away from the family (who are enjoying themselves and laughing) and looking on dejectedly.
  • Paying in Coins: Apparently the catalyst for a deep seated grudge by the Ice Cream Man in "Ice Cream Scream", Dexter pays for an ice cream (the most expensive one on stock, by the way) with a ridiculously large jar of pennies, an accident with which manages to systematically ruin the Ice Cream Man's entire life. After the Ice Cream Man explains this to Dexter and the latter apologizes, Dexter buys a regular ice cream (which costs $1)... and pays with a $100 bill. The Ice Cream Man's anguished shriek says everything.
    • There's another example that closes the episode "Repairanoid". Although the electrician's $40,000 bill shocks Dexter's mom at first, she quickly shifts to an agreeable tone and takes out her purse to pay — by withdrawing coins one at a time and counting them. The electrician doesn't protest.
  • Pelts of the Barbarian: In "Dexter the Barbarian", Dexter, in his barbarian fantasy, fights with a pack of wolves and wears their fur. In reality, it turned out that he shaved his dog.
  • Perspective Reversal: Dee Dee crushes a bunch of ants, because she thinks they're filthy. Dexter, who find ants interesting, shrinks them both down to ant size so Dee Dee can get a better idea of their society. After some adventures, they return to normal size, at which point Dee Dee happily thanks Dexter for showing her just how cool ants really are — while Dexter is squashing them.
  • Pest Episode: Inverted — in "Mom and Jerry", Deedee's meddling causes Dexter's brain to accidentally get switched with a mouse. In his efforts to find the mouse in his body Dexter ends up in the kitchen, where he clashes with his mother for the rest of the episode.
  • Photo Doodle Recognition: One episode has Dee Dee showing Dexter that he is a were-clown by taking a newspaper picture of the clown and drawing Dexter's glasses, hair, lab coat and boots over it.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: So much so that they did a Whole Plot Reference to the Pink Panther with Dee-Dee as the eponymous and vexing feline.
  • Ping-Pong Naïveté: Dexter may be a super genius, but he's still a kid who makes irrational assumptions. Nowhere is this more apparent than in "Critical Gas," where genuinely believes that a gas cramp is going to make him explode. Granted, he still ran a test to see what the cramps would do to him. On a balloon.
  • Piss Take Rap: The infamous "Dexter vs. Santa's Claws" had Dexter perform a rap number to Dee-Dee on how their dad dresses up as Santa on Christmas Eve to give the kids their presents, and being not such a great rapper (complete with fairly lousy attempts at rhyming lyrics), the result is hilarious...
    Dad dresses up in a Santa getup,
    And puts the car up on the rooftop
    He makes the car look like a sleigh, here,
    And mom dresses up just like a reindeer
    She greases up Dad so he'll slide down the chimney
    And put all our presents around the tree
    Then Mom pulls him up, and by and by,
    They drive down the roof and into the sky!
    You go to the window 'cause you heard a little sound,
    And see Santa fly by before they all hit the ground!
    Everybody say, hooooooooooo! Yeah!''
  • Played for Laughs: Everything.
  • Pokémon Speak: All Santa ever says in "Dexter vs. Santa's Claws" is some variant of "ho, ho, ho" (at least until the punchline).
  • Potty Emergency: In the episode "Labels", Dexter ends up having to pee after chugging a whole jug of apple juice (it was the only thing in the fridge Dee Dee hadn't claimed using her label maker). Much to his frustration, he also finds the toilet to be labeled by Dee Dee and he ends up desperate to find a solution. While it isn't shown on-screen, it is implied in the ending that Dexter resorted to relieving himself on the carpet.
  • Poverty Food: In "Misplaced in Space", Dexter finds himself in an alien prison, where he's served what he accurately refers to as, "a bowl of foul-smelling gruel", but tries to play up his faux gratitude by complimenting the chef. Luckily for him, however, an alien inmate with an insatiable appetite consumes Dexter's bowl for him.
  • Powered Armor: Dexter wore one to win at dodgeball in "Dexter Dodgeball".
  • Pretending to Be One's Own Relative: In the episode "Old Man Dexter", Dexter uses one of his inventions to age himself up so he can watch a mature movie, but accidentally turns himself into an old man. Everyone in the house ends up mistaking him for Dexter's grandpa. He denies it initially, but eventually he goes along with it.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Both Dexter and Dee Dee are shown to be admirers of hip-hop, such as "Sister's Got A Brand New Bag" (in which Dee Dee is shown to be a regular viewer of a Soul Train expy where she learns the Melbourne shuffle) and one interstitial where Dexter shows Dee Dee that he can do the robot. The show even got a tie-in hip-hop album in it's last season.
  • Pygmalion Snapback: Dexter and Dee Dee have conversely done this with each other in "Dexter's Assistant" (where Dee Dee ended up smarter than he was) and in "Way of the Dee Dee" (where Dee Dee's attempt to teach Dexter to appreciate life outside of his lab results in Dexter going mad and destroying his lab before coming to his senses and having to rebuild).
  • Recursive Reality: The start of "Monstory" has Dexter examining what appears to be a microscopic Earth before Deedee interrupts him. By the episode's end, when both Dexter and Deedee are giant, towering monsters going at it so Deedee can finish a story, the camera pans out to a shot of Earth as a whole... cue the magnifying device Dexter was using in the beginning and some obligatory spooky music.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Completely averted in "Don't Be a Hero", where Dexter gives himself various superpowers with unintended side effects (ex. Super Speed without super brakes, and self-ignition without also being fireproof).
  • Retraux: The show has simple comedic plots similar to old Fleischer and Disney cartoons, with episodes like Fantastic Boyage, The Continuum of Cartoon Fools, and Last But Not Beast as examples.
    • Some of the second season episodes are made in a similar fashion to the old Looney Tunes cartoons, complete with some of the same Stock Sound Effects. One episode, "Road Rash," is a complete homage to the Wile E. Coyote cartoons.
    • The third and fourth seasons of the show, from 2001-2003, is done in the style of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon of the 1960s (which is ironic, given that by this time, Cartoon Network Studios was no longer a subsidiary of H-B, which had folded into Warner Bros. Animation.)
  • Retcon: So many of the backstories and continuity of the characters were changed when the show was renewed, including how Dexter's parents met, and even changing Mandark's history (and how he and Dexter met) entirely.
  • Rewind Gag: The episode "sdrawkcaB" has Dexter inventing a belt that makes its wearer go forward and backwards by pulling a lever that controls the time. Dee Dee ends up using it on Dexter, but he gets back at her at the end by having her wear the belt while she fell up and down from a high place.
    Dexter's Dad: Dexter, what have I told you about running on the stairs?! SLOW DOWN, YOU'RE GONNA HURT SOME-(Dexter trips him and he falls down the stairs.)
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: One episode they paid homage to Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote when Dexter tried to catch a rollerskating Dee Dee with his new bike (plus various upgrades).
  • Rotten Robotic Replacement:
    • In "Maternal Combat", Dexter makes a robotic version of his mother to replace his mother when she gets sick. It works well until he and Dee Dee fight over the robot's controls, making her go berserk.
    • One short has Dexter being asked to repair a damaged Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, but once he succeeds, he deems Dynomutt completely useless because he's a clumsy ditz (even explicitly comparing him to Dee-Dee) and builds an "upgraded" replacement for Blue Falcon. Unfortunately, the replacement Dynomutt is an utterly psychotic Knight Templar that goes on a rampage and nearly kills Dexter and Blue Falcon when they try to stop it.
  • Ruder and Cruder: The episode "Rude Removal", in which Dexter and Dee-Dee are split into their good and evil sides, with the latter swearing roughly every five seconds. After being shown at the World Animation Celebration in 1998, it was banned until [adult swim] broadcast it in 2013.
  • Rule of Funny: Quite a lot of logical inconsistencies happen for the sake of humor. One notable example is in the ending of "Labels", where Dee Dee and Dexter's parents are somehow stupid enough to think that Dexter is Dee Dee because he has a label reading "Dee Dee" stuck to his head and the dad complains about damages to various properties labeled "Dexter" or "Dee Dee" as if they were actually called Dexter or Dee Dee.
    Dad: The Dee Dee's knocked over, the Dexter's on the fritz, and did anyone remember to walk the Dexter?!
  • Running Gag: Dee Dee breaking into Dexter's lab, Dexter proclaiming his latest works, and Dee Dee pushing a button she shouldn't have.

  • Sadist Show: Some episodes end with something horrible happening to Dexter. One of the most glaring examples would be "The Big Cheese", where Dexter sleeps while listening to a record that teaches the French language and wakes up only being able to say "Omelette du Fromage". He gets lucky for most of the episode, being able to answer every question he's asked and solve every problem he faces just by saying "Omelette du Fromage", but he ends up locked out of his lab and unable to stop it from self-destruction because he can't say the password to his lab anymore.
  • Safely Secluded Science Center: The titular laboratory, secret from essentially everyone except Dee Dee and a few other characters. Mandark's laboratory could be considered one as well.
  • Sanity Slippage: This happens a few times to Dexter. One episode memorably had him thinking he was a "little piggy" and reverted to babyhood.
    • What about his dad? When he's insane, he's really insane.
    Those muffins that your mother bakes...
    • Mom too for that matter, on the occasions when her cleaning obsession and fear of germs come to the front. Most notable is one episode where Dad takes her trademark dish gloves while she's asleep, and then won't let her clean the house next day, since it's Mother's Day, and the family will take care of the housework for the day. Unfortunately, it's such a messy disaster, that Mom basically has a nervous breakdown and begins to have disturbing hallucinations. It ends well though, as her Mother's Day gift is a brand new pair of gloves.
  • Satellite Character: Dexter's seldom seen friend Douglas E. Mordecai doesn't have any distinguishing traits other than being Dexter's friend.
  • Say My Name / Rocky Roll Call: The climax of "Mandarker" slips into this, with Dexter, Dee Dee and Mandark all shouting each other's names in place of complete sentences as Dexter and Mandark work together to save Dee Dee.
  • Scaled Up: Toward the end of "Jeepers Creepers, Where is Peepers?", Peepers turns into a dragon and crushes the villain underfoot.
  • Scenery Censor:
    • On occasions where Dexter is shown naked from the front, his naughty bits are covered by a floating leaf.
    • In the episode "Game for a Game", Dee Dee removes her pajamas while singing a song about how great sunny days are before realizing to her embarrassment that she nearly forgot to get dressed. Her nudity is obscured by a potted plant.
  • Science Hero: Dexter, though he causes at least as many problems as he solves. Or more.
  • The Scottish Trope: Saying Mandark and Lalavava.
  • Seadog Peg Leg: The episode "Ocean Commotion" featured yet another Ahab Expy, with a peg leg and exaggerated pirate speak.
  • Second Person Attack: Subverted in "Beard to Be Feared". Action Hank is about to punch an enemy through the POV of that enemy, and just when he's throwing the punch, it cuts to a TV showing the episode of Action Hank that Dexter was watching. Dexter is then shown wincing at the punch.
  • Secret Keeper: Dee Dee is the only one aside from Dexter himself who knows about her brother's lab.
  • Selective Obliviousness: In 'Mock 5' Dexter's dad mentions Dexter's sister, 'Racer D' dying in a tragic soap box derby racing accident...when she's sitting right next to him, alive and well, trying to get his attention.
  • Series Continuity Error: While Negative Continuity is in full effect, a couple of examples are still pretty egregious:
    • In "Sports a Poppin'" Dad was trying to teach Dexter how to golf, but in the later episode "Tee Party" Dad is a Small Name, Big Ego who acts like he's a pro but doesn't even know the basics. He insisted on a do-over because "the ball almost fell into this little hole". Gets even worse, if you remember from "Sassy Come Home", he actually managed to shoot a spinning out of control Dexter right out of the air with a well-placed shot from a golf-ball.
    • Also, in the episode "Figure Not Included", Dexter asks for a Major Glory action figure from his mom. She tells him he she'll get him one for his birthday. However, in the episode "Surprise", when a Major Glory "somehow" manages to make it's way into Dexter's mom's cart when she goes birthday shopping for him, she takes it out, claiming that "Dexter doesn't need this junk". Though considering she and dad were filling the cart with baby toys this may have just been neglect.
  • Serious Business:
    • Dodgeball, snowball, and others.
    • Don't ever remove collectors' items from their box. Especially in the middle of a convention of doll collectors who act like Klingons.
    • Really, a lot of things quality. Part of the show's humor and charm is how over-the-top mundane things can get per episode.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Inverted in "Picture Day" when Dexter goes out of his way to make himself gorgeous for school photos.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In "Morning Stretch", Dexter uses a device to slow down time so that he won't be late for school. When he's finally ready to go, Dee Dee tells him it's a snow day and school's out.
  • Shape-Shifter Showdown: The pilot episode, with "The Button", where Dexter and Dee keep turning each other into different animals and in the end are morphed into each other.
  • Shout-Out: All over the place, from the various Shows Within The Show to a giant mecha that needs five people to control.
    • There's a shout out to the theater doors sequence from MST3K. This shot was also used in the ending credits of Season 1
    • "It's morphing time!"
    • "Book 'em" has a chase sequence with a homage to A Hard Day's Night in it. Additionally, the thugs chasing Dexter and Dee Dee have shirts that say Thug 1 and Thug 2.
    • Referencing Dr. Seuss's works doesn't end on The Cat in the Hat, though. Does Green Eggs & Ham Bacon book remind you of anything?
    • "Who ya wanna call?"
    • In "Golden Diskette", everyone escapes Professor Hawk's crumbling laboratory in the Yellow Submarine.
    • Dee Dee and Dexter are obviously playing Primal Rage at one point.
    • The episode "Dee Dee's Room" is basically one big homage to Apocalypse Now.
    • "Photo Finish" is very much a send-up to James Bond. Yes, this episode includes Dexter almost being cut in half with a laser through his crotch.
    • The episode "Just an Old Fashioned Lab Song" is, as the name suggests, one big shout out to Paul Williams, his songs ("Hold on there, Dexter. We've only just begun!"), his albums (Prof. Williams:' "Here comes inspiration!!) and even the car'' he drove in the late 70s. Thankfully they left out the substance abuse.
    • The alien overlord Hookocho looks suspiciously like Fiore and Ail
    • In "Beard to Be Feared," Dee Dee, Mee Mee, and Lee Lee quote, almost word-for-word, the theme from Shaft."
    Dee Dee: That is one rugged brother. note 
    Mee Mee and Lee Lee: Shut yo mouth!
    Dee Dee: I'm only talkin' about Dexter! note 
    Mee Mee and Lee Lee: We can dig it.
    • At the end of "You Vegeta-Believe It," Dad, who is buried in the ground with his head sticking out the ground says, "Feed me! FEEEEEED me."
    • According to an early episode, Dexter has a password he uses to get into the lab. The password?, Star Wars.
    • In the episode “Tele-Trauma", you can hear Dexter say TOWNSVILLES IN TROUBLE!!! while having the TV helmet on.
    • Dexter's chosen character, Gygax, in the episode D&DD, is a reference to Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons and Dragons which their game is based on.
    • "Down in the Dumps" features an episode of Action Hank where Hank battles a trio of evil construction workers called "The Wrecking Crew", and a hulking Amazon called "Bertha the Barbarian". The Wrecking Crew are named after a squad of villains from The Mighty Thor, and Bertha the Barbarian is a takeoff on Big Barda from New Gods (complete with Barda's signature horned helmet).
    • In the episode set on Mother's Day (which ends with Dexter's mom getting new gloves), the final scene is a recreation of the shower scene from Psycho (except with Dexter's mom scrubbing her husband's back instead of stabbing him).
    • The main joke of "The Big Cheese" is taken from a Steve Martin bit about how to speak to French people without actually knowing any French (one method being just saying "Omlette du fromage" over and over).
    • "Trapped With A Vengeance" condenses the first three Die Hard into about seven minutes, complete with Dexter having to walk barefoot across a floor covered in potato chips instead of broken glass.
    • "A Silent Cartoon" is a Whole Plot Reference of The Pink Phink, the first installment in the long-running The Pink Panther cartoon series. Dexter, colored all white like the Little Man, is building his lab in a sterile blue color against a plain white background, while Dee-Dee, colored all pink like the Pink Panther and accompanied by a jazzy Pink Panther-esque version of her Leitmotif, tries to make the lab pink, in true Pink Girl, Blue Boy fashion.
    • "A Third Dad Cartoon" is a spoof of the Sports Cartoons short series of The '80s, specifically the way a character prepares to make a move in a long prolonging manner. The main difference is that unlike in the Sports Cartoons, it starts to pour just as Dad is about to make his first golf swing, and so they leave to try again tomorrow.
    • The alien Dexter uses his translator on in "The Mock Side of the Moon" is given a voice very similar to Marvin the Martian.
    • One late episode was one giant Homage to Wacky Races. It's even titled "Dexter's Wacky Races."
    • "Ice Cream Scream" contains a parody of the truck chase from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Show Within a Show: Shaft-esque Action Hank, one-note puppet comedy TV Puppet Pals (which also appears in The Powerpuff Girls), obvious send-up Pony Puff Princess, plus a few less noticeable one-shot parodies of Soul Train and Star Trek.
  • Shrunken Organ: Dexter decides to put a genius-level brain in Dee Dee's head. He needs a pair of tweezers to remove her old one.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Dexter and Dee Dee, although which side has more drive varies per episode.
  • Signature Laugh: Several, notably Mandark (especially in the no-dialogue episode).
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Dexter's Dad and Windbear.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: The show often ends episodes with the destruction of the laboratory and the like, making this Level 1 (Negative Continuity). All you need to know for each episode is that he's Dexter and has a laboratory.
  • Slippery Swimsuit: Dexter loses his swimming trunks in "Better Off Wet".
  • Snapback:
    • Dexter's lab and house have been destroyed many, many times.
    • In one episode, it was implied he actually died.
    • And don't forget when the earth was destroyed by meteors.
  • Soap Punishment: In the Missing Episode "Rude Removal", Dexter accidentally creates evil versions of himself and Dee Dee who spout Cluster F Bombs in front of their mom. When the regular versions trap them and feel like all's well, they spot Mom with a large bar of soap waiting to wash their mouths out.
  • Spanner in the Works: Dee Dee keeps ruining things. Enough said.
  • Sports Dad: In "Sports a Poppin", Dexter's father tries to teach him different sports (including football, basket, baseball and others), but Dexter doesn't succeed in any of them. Only after his dad gives up and Dee Dee sets free a monster, Dexter starts defeating it using surprisingly good atheletic skills that his father doesn't see.
  • Squee!: Dee Dee always makes it known when something pleases her.
  • Stable Time Loop: In Ego Trip, the robots that invaded from the future were actually created by Dexter at the end of the film with the help of the later versions of himself to destroy Dee Dee in retaliation for her being the one to (unwittingly, as usual) defeat Mandark.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The creepy girl in "Ay Ay Eyes". Also, Mandark to Dee Dee, somewhat.
  • Stand-In Parents: Dexter uses Mad Science to make Dee Dee impersonate his mother for a parent-teacher meeting.
  • Staring Kid: Dexter gets a little girl with huge eyes following him around for an episode.
  • Status Quo Is God: There is nothing that can stop Dexter from starting an episode either in his lab or his bedroom.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table
  • Straight to the Pointe: Dee Dee and her friends are only in sixth grade, but are usually shown dancing with their feet pointed straight down.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: With at least half attributed to Dee Dee.
    • It's in the outtro: "... In Dexter's Laboratory, lives the smartest boy you've ever seen, but Dee Dee blows his experiments to smithereens! There is gloom and doom while things go boom, in Dexter's lab!!!!"
  • Suck E. Cheese's: Chubby Cheese's. Run by MiB, no less.
  • Suddenly Speaking: While Monkey usually just makes noises like a normal monkey, "The Lab of Tomorrow" inexplicably depicts him as being capable of human speech.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Dexter.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In "Sis-Tem Error", Dee Dee accidentally deactivates the lab's machines and spends most of the episode trying to keep Dexter from finding out. Once she runs out of ideas to keep Dexter from noticing there's something amiss, she disguises herself as Mandark to make Dexter think his rival is causing trouble. "Mandark" specifically says it's not an accident.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: No matter how much security Dexter installs or what measures he takes, Dee Dee always gets past them to play around in his lab. In "The Continuum of Cartoon Fools," he does manage to seal it off to her completely... but locks himself out as well.
  • Talking Animal: Cassius the pigeon.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Ms. Wimple in "Dexter Detention" seems a little too obsessed, almost infatuated, with Dexter, and faints at his slightest err.
  • Three Shorts: Most of the earlier episodes consisted of three shorts. They usually consisted of one Dexter's Laboratory short, one Dial M for Monkey short, and one Justice Friends short, but the latter two became less frequent as the show went on, to the point of being excised entirely in the last two seasons.
  • Thick-Line Animation: Alongside 2 Stupid Dogs and The Powerpuff Girls, this show led to the renaissance of this art-style in the 1990s.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: The Creepy-Eyed-Girl from "Aye Aye Eyes" is always shown with this face. In fact, that's the reason why Dexter is so creeped out by her.
  • Time Stands Still: "Morning Stretch" has Dexter use a helmet to slow down time to try and get ready for school, not realizing that it would take forever to shower or microwave food with time being so slow.
  • Toilet-Drinking Dog Gag: In one episode, Dexter tries to inject himself inside a sick Ded Dee cure her cold, but ends up in the dog instead, which he doesn't notice. At one point, the dog is seen drinking water from the toilet, which makes Dexter believe Dee Dee is infected with a dog virus.
  • Toilet Humour: When Dee Dee and Dexter get their hands on labeling devices to mark their property, Dexter marks a gallon of apple juice as his own and drinks it all... then gets to the bathroom, only to find Dee Dee's marked it for herself.
    Mom: "Why is the carpet all wet?"
  • Took a Level in Badass: Dexter's dad goes from average middle class guy and sports enthusiast to daredevil stuntman in one episode of the later seasons.
    • We see it happen to Dexter in Ego Trip.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Dad becomes dumber in the later seasons. Dee Dee might have gotten dumber too, but it's harder to tell with her.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Dexter, cookies and candy for Dee Dee, muffins for Dad.
  • Unexplained Accent: No explanation is given for why Dexter speaks with an accent when his parents are American.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight:
    • In the Dynomutt, Dog Wonder crossover "Dyno-Might," the original Dynomutt confronts the out-of-control Dynomutt X-90 Dexter created to replace him, but X-90 dismisses him, declaring that the "Dynomutt prototype" is no threat. Dynomutt quickly proves him wrong.
    • The episode "Robo-Dexo 3000" has Dexter replace his Humongous Mecha Robo-Dexo 2000 with the new-and-improved Robo-Dexo 3000. However, when the RD 3000 dismisses Dexter's plan to deal with an alien energy thief and ejects him, Dexter takes back the RD 2000. It's ultimately an Defied Trope, however: by the time Dexter arrives on the scene, the energy thief has sucked the Robo-Dexo 3000 dry.
  • Villain Protagonist: Dexter could get rather villainous sometimes (such as in Game for a Game, Used Ink and ''Dexter vs. Santa's Claws)
    • Villain Episode: "Sun, Surf, and Science" is focused on Mandark, and he's portayed in a more sympathetic light than usual.
  • Villain Song: Mandark's Plan
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Once Mandark replaced Dexter's mom. No one in the family noticed it until the real mom came by, and even then it took Mandark taking off his wig in frustration for them to even catch on that it was a ruse.
    • Dad in The Muffin King, since he's technically the villain there. As with the above example, he was pretending to be their mom to try and sneak some muffins his way.
  • Villainous Crush: Mandark to Dee Dee.
  • Visible to Believers: Played with in the episode "The Koos is Loose". Dee Dee has an imaginary friend named Koosalagoopagoop. Dexter is able to interact with him as well, but is skeptical of his existence. When Dexter, after constant pestering by Koosy, demands that he disappears forever by thinking him away, Koosy complies. It is only then that Dexter realizes that he likes Dee Dee's imaginary friend almost as much as she does. Later on, it's revealed that Koosy still exists, with Dee Dee actually travelling to his world (where it turns out that she's his imaginary friend) and Koosy later showing up as a construct of Bubbles' imagination.
  • Voice Changeling: Dexter adopted this ability. Some kind of machine enabled him to copy the exact voices of others. This was in the babysitting episode, where he used the voices of the babysitter and her boyfriend to sever their relationship, so that he could move in himself.
  • Wacky Racing: "Dexter's Wacky Races."
  • A Way Out of a Cave-In: In "Dexter's Detention", Dexter is placed into "solitary confinement": a small hole hidden under a single floor tile. While in there, he sees a small animal burrowing under the floor, which gives him the idea to turn the hole into an escape route.
  • Weirdness Censor: The parents never seem to acknowledge the strange things that happen around the house. It helps that Dexter mind-wipes them ever so often.
  • We Will Meet Again: In "Chubby Cheese", the criminal mastermind who owns a Chuck E. Cheese-like restaurant says this after Dexter and Dee Dee escape. But of course, it never happened.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: Three examples:
    • Dexter fires Dee Dee and has her replaced with an actress that can't quite fill her shoes (for some reason when she knocks over bottles of chemicals, they don't even break).
    • Dexter makes Dee Dee into a genius like him and she turns out to be even smarter and more competent than him so he turns her back out of jealousy.
    • Done the other way round where Dee Dee tries to convince Dexter to be carefree like her. He ends up being more wild and destructive than Dee Dee herself.
  • What Does This Button Do?: Trope Namer, because Dee Dee made this into an art form.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Dexter can acquire whatever parts he needs to build whatever he wants without even having any suspicious shipments of mail arrive at his house. Sometimes he gets robots to assemble everything for him.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Dexter has a very peculiar accent that is either aiming for a stereotypical Eastern European accent, or a Bulgarian accent. Even Genndy Tartakovsky isn't certain what his accent is supposed to be.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Trapped with a Vengeance" is pretty much a kid-friendly version of Die Hard. "Kid-friendly" in that it takes place in a school and feature no shooting. It's still about a psychotic man trapping a small child in his school late at night an torturing him.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Mandark, when he kidnaps and impersonates Dexter's mother in "Momdark".
  • Wildlife Commentary Spoof: The episode "Blackfoot and Slim".
  • William Telling: Subverted in "Game Show" when Dexter and Dee Dee go on a sibling vs. sibling game show. Dexter's just there for the prize, and starts one of the challenges before the host finishes explaining the rules, knocking an apple off of Dee Dee's head with a cream puff. He loses, as the host reveals that the challenge was to hit your sibling without making the apple fall.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Dexter and Dee-Dee have gotten into full on fist fights multiple times over the series.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Many of Dexter's adult nemesis's have no qualms inflicting pain onto him. Yonni the Janitor of "Trapped With A Vengeance" in particular took perverse pleasure torturing Dexter physically and mentally, and, in the brink of a Villainous Breakdown, engaged in a fistfight where he was clearly delivering as many blows as he took.
  • Wraparound Background: Lampshaded and then subverted during the Wacky Racing episode. Dee Dee notices the background repeating after the racers come out of a tunnel, and Koosie describes the animating technique in detail, referring to it as a "Repeat Pan". Then it turns out they're still inside the tunnel, in a trap set up by Mandark.
  • X-Ray Vision: "A Failed Lab Experiment" is dedicated to this backfiring on Dexter when he sees Dad, Mom and Dee Dee naked.
  • You Are Grounded: Episode 42 Part 2 "The Old Switcharooms"
  • You Must Be This Tall to Ride: The episode "Ewww That's Growth" is about Dexter being upset about his pint-sized height; one of the ways his stature makes his life harder is that he's denied going on a rollercoaster with his family. After he makes himself very tall with an invention of his, he is allowed onto the ride (during which he crashes painfully into a wall.)
  • Younger Than They Look: Mandark's the same age as Dexter, but he's as tall (if not taller) as Dee Dee.
  • Your Mime Makes It Real: Dee Dee stops Dexter, who has turned into a clown, by taking mime classes and using what she learned to "trap" Clown Dexter in an invisible box.

Dial M for Monkey provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Monkey himself In-Universe is the most powerful and respected hero on the planet.
  • Action Heroine: Agent Honeydew is usually an active ally to Monkey, although she can occasionally slip into Damsel in Distress when the plot demands it.
  • Antagonist Title: Every episode
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: When Peltra is stripped naked by Agent Honeydew in her self-titled episode, she doesn't have breasts or genitalia.
  • Birthday Episode: "Barbequor" takes place on Monkey's birthday. Then, the Silver Spooner (a homosexual parody of Marvel's Silver Surfer) introduces the planet Earth to his master Barbequor (parody of Galactus but as an apron-wearing chef) to eat. Monkey tries saving Earth, but the Justice Friends (especially Krunk) force Monkey to just enjoy his birthday party rather than let him save their home world, and try to resolve the issue themselves but are all too weak to fight Barbequor. Then it's up to Monkey to go and stop Barbequor.
  • Camp Gay: The Silver Spooner in "Barbequor". He has homosexual romantic feelings for his master Barbequor and is an enthusiastic fan of Judy Garland, a gay icon.
  • Captain Ersatz:
  • Cat Fight: Agent Honeydew and Peltra (both were even meowing and sticking out their hands in clawing motion, and Peltra was wearing a literal catsuit)
  • Canon Foreigner: There was a comic adaptation of the episode "Peltra" in the fourth issue of Cartoon Network Presents where the titular villainess had a third henchman named Tailor.
  • Cruella to Animals: Peltra makes clothing out of animals and becomes obsessed with making a suit out of Monkey.
  • Damsel in Distress: Although she is an equal to Monkey in terms of rank in the Justice Friends, Agent Honeydew more often comes off as this than an ally or partner to Monkey.
  • Dung Fu: In "Huntor", Monkey disables one of Huntor's guns by throwing poo at it.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In "Magnamus," the character designs are more anatomically correct and Monkey transforms via a meditation pose, as opposed to simply powering up on commend.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Obviously, the main character is a simian and a good guy.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Quackor the Fowl, having similar origins and gaining his powers from being experimented on by Mandark.
    • The titular antagonist of "Simion", who was a monkey sent into space who evolved into a more humanoid form and now schemes to use his powers to destroy humanity.
  • Fur and Loathing: Peltra is a villain who likes to skin endangered animals to make clothing for herself.

  • Hartman Hips: Agent Honeydew has wide hips. The bodysuit helps!
  • Heroic Spirit: Even though Monkey can't beat Rasslor, he never gives up, and that convinces Rasslor he has finally found a worthy opponent.
  • Human Head on the Wall: Monkey faces an alien Egomaniac Hunter named Huntor who's favorite prey has always been "the mighty Hero!". While most of the trophies on his ship are standard alien monsters, one tropy is the stuffed body of a Flying Brick hero, and another, who's head is mounted on the wall, is an Expy of Wolverine.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The Predator-esque episode "Huntor".
  • Interspecies Romance: Monkey and Agent Honeydew are implied to be in a relationship.
    • In another Monkey-related cartoon, Monkey and Quakor.
  • Kaiju: The moon monster "Meteor" and "Magnanamous" (who just wants to get some sleep).
  • Magma Man: Monkey fights one in "Magnanamous", who only wanted to sleep.
  • Meaningful Name: One of the antagonists was a monkey evolved to having a human-like intellect named Simion ("higher primates").
  • Ms. Fanservice: Honeydew is very attractive and curvaceous.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Simion, when he realized he's become just like those he hated.
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: "Rasslor" has the titular character wrestle the world's heroes to determine the fate of Earth.
  • Punny Name: Peltra, who wears animal pelts.
    • Most of his foes have this combined with their names ending in "-or" (Huntor, Rasslor, Barbequor, Organ Grindor...)
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Monkey both in and out of costume is quite the adorable simian.
  • Sacrificial Planet: Rasslor, the universe's greatest wrestler goes searching for worthy opponents on inhabited planets. If no one can beat him he destroys the planet.
    "And so my quest has brought me to this timid little planet you call Earth, so, terrestrial heroes, can one of you quench my thirst for the divine conflict, the supreme struggle? Or will your planet be doomed to the same fate, that has befallen so many."
    • The short is a spoof of Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7, where the Champion of the Universe makes the very same threat to Earth's heroes.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The end of "A Quackor Cartoon". Monkey punchs Quackor so hard, Quackor lays an egg. The reaction? Love at First Sight.
  • Secret Identity: "I'm afraid you'll never be anything more than a mere monkey."
  • Shameful Strip: After she prevents Peltra from making Monkey into a coat, Agent Honeydew then strips Peltra naked.
  • Shout-Out: During Simion's Heel–Face Turn in his enponymous episode, he says to Moneky that he want to "Walk like you, talk like you".
  • Spy Catsuit: Agent Honeydew wears a tight, form-fitting uniform.
  • Talking Animal: Simion from the episode of the same name is a monkey capable of speech. Justified because he's evolved after exposure to cosmic rays.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Rasslor" is a remake of Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7, with Monkey playing the role of the Thing.

Justice Friends provides examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: The episode where Krunk dreams of him meeting the Puppet Pals. Which turns out to be a Dream Within a Dream by Puppet Pal Mitch himself.
  • Anti-Climactic Parent: Major Glory's Uncle Sam. Major Glory spends the episode doing everything he can to guarantee that his uncle will approve of his friends and their hotel room, but it turns out that Uncle Sam has mellowed out over the years and is no longer the strict parental figure he once was.
  • Avengers, Assemble!: Justice Friends, Asssembllllle!.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Val Hallen is a rare male example of this trope that is not Ambiguously Gay or Camp Gay and this is treated as normal In-Universe.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Val Hallen's room is a Pocket Dimension, as shown in the episode of the same name.
    Krunk: OOooo, much bigger than Krunk's room!
    Major Glory: That's why he pays extra [rent].
  • Bee Afraid: The basis of the episode "Bee Ware", where a Bumblebee flies into the Justice Friends apartment, and they try and fail to get it out. The bee itself doesn't even do much harm, but Major Glory is terrified of it, and Krunk gets mad at it when he tries to catch it in his hands and it stings him. The episode ends with the bee ends with the bee interrupting The Justice Frenzy, causing the team to be forcibly thrown out of the building, they decide to live in the street until the bee dies .
  • Captain Geographic: The leader is a patriotic hero named Major Glory. He even has a red-and-white striped cape.
  • Captain Obvious: Krunk, and to a lesser degree Major Glory, tend to state pretty obvious things.
  • Catch-22 Dilemma: When trying to get rid of a bee that is in the apartment in "Bee Ware" Major Glory gets into one for one of his plans. He suggests to open all the windows for the Bee to fly out, but quickly changes his mind believing that this will just let more bees fly in and swarm them. Though he also realizes that with all the windows closed there is no way to get rid of the bee that is already in the apartment.
  • Comic-Book Time: None of the main characters age at all; but this is justified given that they are Ambiguously Human at that (although Val Hallen appears to be a Differently Powered Human, so should age but doesn't). However, it is a Satire/Parody/Pastiche of the comic book, superhero and sitcom genre, so the idea of superheroes not aging is parodied, although Played for Laughs as with everything in this segment.
  • Counting Sheep: Krunk does this in "Things That Go Bonk in the Night". He falls asleep after counting just one sheep.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Krunk's dream, which includes (among other things), a multi-eyed roller-skating zebra in a trenchcoat.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The cyclone-producing Justice Frenzy attack.
  • Expy: Of The Avengers
  • Fun with Flushing: The episode "Ratman" begins with Krunk and Val Hallen flushing stuff down the toilet for fun, including objects that would logically be too big to fit, such as a couch, a refrigerator, and a television.

  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Major Glory says this word for word to Val Hallen in one episode.
  • Hulk Speak: Krunk talks this way, being a parody of the Hulk to begin with.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Val Hallen fittingly used a guitar (or as he referred to it, his "Mighty Axe") as his weapon, and it was also the source of his powers; without it he becomes physically ill and reverts from a Viking-esque god of Rock to a scrawny, short-haired nerdy-looking guy, presumably his true form.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Ratman's backstory don't seem to add up.
    Val Hallen: I don't get it. Weren't the rats the ones who scared your parents away? And what's the motivation? Are you trying to avenge your parents or something?
    Ratman: What do you mean? I got the costume, and the belt! What's not to get?
  • Large Ham: Major Glory takes this Up to Eleven.
  • Laugh Track: Used to resemble the sitcoms it parodies. It was removed after the first season.
  • Multilayer Façade: Krunk tries to take off the mask of Major Glory, only to reveal several layers of masks beneath it.
    Major Glory: When I say Secret Identity, I mean secret identity!
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The entire series is built on this. The opening theme shows just how epic changing a lightbulb can be, and at least once they give Death Note a run for its money in the chip-eating stakes.
    • "Krunk stop Kat's reign of terror! Here kitty-kitty-kitty!"
  • Only Sane Man: Val Hallen, especially in 'Pain in the Mouth'.
  • Parody Product Placement: An Ad Bumper featured Major Glory saving Dexter and Dee Dee from the Mathmagician with his "Justice Fruit Pies".
    Mathemagician: Not Justice Fruit Pies! The delicious treat you'd have to be crazy to hate! Oooh, I give up!
  • Punny Name: Val Hallen is both a pun on Valhalla and rock group Van Halen.
  • Roommate Com: A spoof. Three superheroes - Major Glory, Valhallen and the Infraggable Krunk - live together in an apartment, engaging in typical sitcom hijinks in between crime fighting. The shorts even employ the same vapid laugh track that disfigured so many seventies sitcoms...
  • Shout-Out: In "Can't Nap", after Major Glory gets locked out of the apartment by White Tiger...
    (Flies off. Krunk walks out dressed as Wilma, accompanied by a snatch of "Meet The Flintstones")
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: TV Puppet Pals. All it consists of his a pair of puppets bonking each other on the head while making cheesy jokes involving the word "bonk", but the delivery and monotonous nature of the jokes are what make it so funny.
  • Super Hero
  • Stating the Simple Solution: In "Pain in the Mouth," Krunk suffers a toothache as a result of getting a tortilla chip stuck in his tooth, and Major Glory chooses to go through all manner of elaborate, overly complicated schemes to try to either remove the chip or the tooth; after every failure, Valhallen suggests that they simply take Krunk to the dentist, and every time, Major Glory blows him off on the grounds that he's The Leader, so they do what he says. Eventually, Krunk, recalling what his favorite TV show said to do when one has a toothache, goes to the dentist on his own, and said dentist is able to remove the chip quickly and painlessly. It's also revealed that Major Glory is overdue for some extensive (and presumably painful) dental work, which explains why he was so against the dentist in the first place.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Subverted in one episode where Krunk gets a bit of tortilla chip stick in his tooth. Major Glory insists on a series of idiotic, illogical methods to cure him rather than simply taking him to the dentist. When Krunk finally goes there, the extraction is simple and painless. The moral of the story: Go to the dentist, or it'll hurt more.
    Valhallen: Right, Major Glory?
    Major Glory: (getting his teeth cleaned with a scrapper) YE-E-E-E-E-ESSS!!
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Major Glory's cape.

In Dexter's Laboratory...
Lives the smartest boy you've ever seen...
But Dee-Dee blows his experiments...
To smithereens!
There's doom and gloom...
When things go boom...
In Dexter's Lab!


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Justice Friends


Dexter's Christmas Rap

Dexter tries to tell Dee-Dee that Santa Claus doesn't exist in what he feels is the most creative way possible... which he's not very good at, of course.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / PissTakeRap

Media sources:

Main / PissTakeRap