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Western Animation / Dog City

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The cast of Jim Hensonís Dog CityÖ or would that be Eliot Shag's Dog City?

Bruno: How'd a loser like you create a great character like Bugsy?
Eliot: Well, sometimes it's just staring you in the face.

Dog City is a Canadian-American animated/Muppet series based on a half-hour special from The Jim Henson Hour of the same name. The special was popular enough to become a full-fledged series produced between The Jim Henson Company and Nelvana that aired on Global Television Network in Canada and Fox Kids in the United States for 3 seasons and 31 episodes between 1992 and 1994.

The original special starred a German Shepherd named Ace Yu facing a bulldog gangster named Bugsy Them (known as the Dogfather) in the eponymous Film Noir environment, a city populated by anthropomorphic dogs. In the animated series, Ace Yu became the private eye Ace Hart, while Bugsy Them became Bugsy Vile. Ace, with the help of the beautiful police chief Rosie O'Gravy and excitable paper boy Eddie, would thwart crimes and solve cases around Dog City, usually the misdeeds of Bugsy and his thugs or the dastardly Baron Von Rottweiler.

These animated adventures would be fairly straightforward pastiches of the Film Noir genre if it wasn't for the puppetry segments interspersed between them. You see, an animator named Eliot Shag (also an anthropomorphic dog) illustrated Ace's stories as they happened, with Ace often discussing the plot and its tropes with Eliot and Eliot making changes to the story that could help or hinder Ace. Eliot also regularly interacted with the other residents of his apartment, with many of them serving as the basis for characters in Ace's adventures.

The third season added some additional segments involving other shows that Eliot animated for, such as quick shorts featuring the characters in different situations, as well as a superhero spoof called Watchdog.

Every episode is up on Youtube, courtesy of Nelvana's Retro Rerun. Check them out here!

Dog City included examples of:

  • The Ace: Deconstructed in an episode where a sleepy Eliot dreamily inserts himself into the cartoon. The animated version of Eliot then promptly goes on to solve the case, beat the bad guys, and scores points with Rosie without any effort. This ultimately just pisses Ace Hart off and drives a wedge between he and his friend and creator.
  • Actually Not a Vampire: "The Bloodhound" is a two-fer. Eliot gets spooked by a new neighbor in a cape that whisks Colleen away to a secluded spot. The ending reveals the guy is just an eccentric voice teacher. Over in the cartoon, someone is dressing up in a cape and going around biting dogs at night. Many (including Eddie) believe he's a real vampire, but Ace remains skeptical of that and only pursues the case as a matter of public safety. Ultimately, Ace figures out that the supposed vampire is actually the city's mailman; the guy wanted revenge for getting bitten by every dog every day.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Ace Yu/Hart and Bugsy Them/Vile
  • Adults Dressed as Children:
    • In one episode, Bugsy hired a gangster who looked like a puppy named Puppyface Felson to help with a bank heist.
    • In another, Ace goes undercover at an obedience school, in shorts and a schoolboy cap.
  • And Then What?: "Boss Bruiser" explores what would happen if Bugsy was ever actually stuck in prison. Dog City would become a much safer place to live, which means Ace struggles to find work and has to resort to desperate measures to avoid going broke.
  • And You Were There: Almost; the animated characters are counterparts to the Muppet characters, but have different voice actors.
  • Animated Actors: The Duck Amuck version.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: After being smitten by his new Love Interest Terri Springer, Eliot flip-flops Rosie's characterization. When she isn't a far more critical by-the-book cop, she's outright trying to seduce Ace with a noticeably huskier tone. This is naturally lampshaded.
    Ace: Make up your mind, will ya! Is Rosie gonna be screamy or dreamy?
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: All over the place.
  • Art Shift: Some scenes in "Old Dogs, New Tricks" shift to a more classic cartoon style whenever Scratch takes over drawing.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Inverted in "Adventures in Puppysitting" when Ace is left to care for a baby (really a grownup thief named Puppyface Felson that only looks like a pup). Ace endures some slapstick to protect the "baby," but he gets out of it without major injuries and merely leaves some destruction in his wake. However, the overall experience terrifies Felson, who condemns Ace as a Babysitter from Hell and confesses to his crimes just to get away from him.
  • Batman Cold Open: Several Season 1 episodes open with Ace facing off against Baron Von Rottweiler and foiling him.
  • Better the Devil You Know: When both Bugsy Vile and Meat fight over who is the city's top villain, Ace gladly roots for Bugsy (who is a handful but not a deranged lunatic).
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: What happened during the episodes when Bugsy Vile and Miss Kitty worked together.
  • Captain Oblivious: Steve stops Yves' attempts to steal the McGuffin of the Week by sheer luck and isn't even aware of them. Steve has yet to show if he knows or not about Yves' existence.
  • Butt-Monkey : Ace is usually the one who gets hurt sometimes Bugsy's goon Frisky is.
  • Catchphrase: Bugsy's "senselessly violent", Frisky's "crazy", Chief Rosie's "by the books" and Eddie's "It's a well known fact that...".
  • Cats Are Mean: The only cat character in Dog City is Kitty, Bugsy's gun moll. And in the real world, Eliot's landlord.
    • One episode featured a criminal cat who was Bugsy's rival not only for the underworld but also for Kitty.
    • Yves, the bad guy from the "Yves and Steve" stories is a cat.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Ace may be interested in Chief Rosie, often asking her out once the caper of the episode is over. However, when a love-stricken Eliot starts portraying Rosie as a seductive, clingy girl, Ace very quickly picks up on the fact itís only due to Eliotís newfound crush on Terri, and refuses to take advantage of it.
  • Creator's Pest: In-Universe, Eliot doesn't care for Meat the Butcher. He never wanted to create a character like that but was forced to due to executive meddling, which in turn causes him to have a lot less control over Meat than he does over his other creations. He did eventually bring back Meat for a brief cameo in "Out of the Mouths of Pups" due to popular demand.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: As Meat is about to run Ace over with a truck, Eliot quickly draws a traffic light turning red to stop them. After Ace walks off none the wiser, Meat is furiously bashing the signal while complaining that the lessons he learned in traffic school "never leave you" which compelled him to stop.
  • Darker and Edgier/Knight of Cerebus: In-universe Executive Meddling presses Eliot to retool Dog City by creating a new, far more evil antagonist. Displeased, Eliot deconstructs both tropes with the creation of Meat the Butcher, an Ax-Crazy criminal very ill-suited to the setting of the show, and ultimately defeated through humiliating means.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ace, in spades.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Bugsy Vile, no doubt as filler for the family-friendly mafia parody.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Played with. Ace is convinced that there's something going on with the puppy he's babysitting. He's right of course - he's actually babysitting Puppyface Felson. However, every time he confronts Eliot about it, Eliot gaslights him by having Puppyface turn on the waterworks or do something adorable.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: In one episode, Bugsy enters a series of games and has his henchmen get rid of his adversaries so he'll win by default. When one henchman points out that the adversaries are too unfit to challenge him anyway, he explains that he doesn't want to sweat. Ace foils the plan by entering the competition.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Eliot insists that this has to be the case for all lone wolf Film Noir detective characters, though it doesn't stop Ace from trying to avert this trope.
  • Did Not Think This Through: In one episode, when Ace gets put into a death trap, Eliot realizes that he got so wrapped up creating the scenario that he forgot take into account how Ace would get out of the death trap. "I think I've written you into a corner!" He's able to figure something out, however.
  • Dirty Communists: "Rocketship K-9" features a Catyslvanian communist planning to steal a rocket for their sinister operations.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Eliot doesn't, which means that in-story Ace isn't supposed to either, relying on his wits. In practice, when (in-universe) Executive Meddling forces Eliot to provide the bad guys with tommy-guns, Ace would prefer a level playing field.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Pun aside...
    • Candace in "The Great Dane Curse" hires Ace for protection, only for her car to explode and Ace getting framed for killing her. While trying to clear his name, Ace realizes that she faked her death in order to get away from her controlling father.
    • Rosie suddenly goes missing in "Farewell, My Rosie" and Ace struggles to find her. It turns out there was no foul play; she was just preparing a surprise party for Ace and let the mystery play out to keep him distracted.
    • The mysterious Vandalizer in "The Dog Days of Summer Vacation" is the last person Ace would've suspected: Eliot. He worked out the animated story because he didn't want to be alone while literally everyone he knows left for vacation. When it's pointed out Artie and Terri invited him to join their vacation, Eliot says he also didn't want to leave Ace behind.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Pun not intended, but Eliot counts as he can never seem to hook up with the attractive Girl Next Door.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Played straight with Bruiser; averted with Mad Dog, who is shown to be intelligent and articulate, quoting the Bard and Mark Twain... but only after being clocked over the head. Usually, though, he plays The Unintelligible.)
    • It's only through sheer luck Steve keeps anything he guards safe from Yves.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Parodied in "The Dog Days of Summer Vacation" when Ace catches the Vandalizer and unmasks him. He sees it's Kitty and can't believe it, so he pulls off more and more masks: Baron, Leon, Screwy Louie, Meat, and Sci-Fido before finally getting to Eliot.
  • Driven to Madness: Poor Screwy Louie, who's life was one series of bad events after another, every one caused by a screw coming loose around him. Eventually he snapped and went on a mad crusade to remove every screw in the city. In the same episode, Ace came close to going mad himself from his own pet peeve of failing to answer the phone in time. Though Louie himself helps calm Ace down and bring him back from the brink.
  • Dumb Muscle: Bugsy's nephew, Bruiser.
  • Dueling Works: In-Universe, the episode "Sick as a Dog" reveals that the show-within-a-show is in a ratings battle with Cat City, later replaced by Rabbits in the Hood. Brief clips from both shows are shown, featuring feline/lapine versions of Ace and Rosie parroting the "Feed the hungry, not my ego" line from the first episode.
  • Enemy Mine: "Is It Arf?" sees Bugsy and his gang framed for stealing art, so they hire Ace to prove their innocence. Ace isn't much interested in doing them any favors, but he takes the case since he wants to one-up rival detective, Sherlick Bones.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Baron von Rotweiller again, complete with a cameo of his mutter.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Bugsy does love Kitty and goes into a depression when it looks like she's dumped him for a rival mobster. Bruiser, though, is someone Bugsy only tolerates because he's his sister's kid.
  • Eviler than Thou: Bugsy and Baron von Rotweiller.
  • Executive Meddling: Done in-universe, especially in "Ya Gotta Have Hart." First, Eliot's boss wants the show to be retooled from a Film Noir detective series to a stylish "Beverly Hills cop" show. Later in that same episode, he tries making an Ace Hart film for a French director who turns it into a surreal fantasy, and then attempts a comic book, only for the execs to turn Ace into a superhero.
    • In the third episode, Eliot's boss, feeling that viewers want today's cartoons to be more violent, instructs the animator to create an Ax-Crazy character named Meat the Butcher, who is introduced using a chainsaw to cut down the doorway. Since Eliot has no control over what Meat does, he becomes genuinely concerned for Ace's survival.
  • Fair Cop: Rosie O'Gravy
  • Fantastic Ghetto: Tabbytown is Dog City's cat district.
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: Bugsy and Miss Kitty
  • Femme Fatale: Miss Kitty
  • Foil: Eliot and Ace to each other. Eliot is a soft-spoken dog who prefers intelligent solutions over violence, while Ace is someone of action and dislikes constantly going into dangerous situations unarmed.
  • Forklift Fu: Eddie once attempts to rescue Ace in this manner. It does not end well.
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • Even Bugsy's gang attends a celebration of Ace's 1,000th successful case, despite being arrested because of said 1,000th successful case.
    • The final scene of "The Dog Days of Summer Vacation" has all the prominent characters (protagonists and villains alike) sitting down to play cards after Eliot leaves for vacation.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Used and lampshaded in "Doggy see, Doggy do":
    Terri: Artie? Arthur Sussex Springer!
    Eliot: Uh-oh. Full name, sounds like trouble!
  • Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Every single character except for Mad Dog. Mad Dog doesn't wear pants.
  • Funny Animal: There are plenty of furry reminders, but the characters are essentially humans.
  • Furry Reminder: All over the place. Fire hydrants, full moons, squeaky toys, treats, drooling. Yep!
  • Goo Goo Getup: Puppy-Face Felson from "Adventures in Puppy-Sitting" is a thief disguised as a baby hired by Bugsy to steal Zsa Zsa Gbark's Hope on a Rope diamond. When Ace is tasked with looking after Felson, he believes him to be a real baby, enduring some slapstick trying to protect him.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The first episode parodied the infamous scene in The Untouchables where Al Capone tees off on an underling's head with a baseball bat. Bugsy stalks off screen bat in hand, there's a thump, and reddish fluid rolls in from off screen. Then it turns out Bugsy just pulverized Bruiser's can of soda pop - and Bruiser doesn't even realize Bugsy did it on purpose.
  • Gratuitous German: Baron Von Rottweiler, full stop.
  • Growing Muscles Sequence: Ya Gotta Have Hart, where in-universe Executive Meddling wanted Ace to become a superhero named "Wonder Dog", complete with super strength, speed and leap tall obstacles. Ace disapproved of the meddling, but the idea of being dogly muscular didn't seem like a completely bad idea, judging by his reaction when Eliot pops his suit with a pencil.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Mad Dog wears only a vest, fedora, spats, and a collar with a rope leash (!)
  • Hartman Hips: Rosie, as seen in the picture above, has a tiny waist (not much bigger than her wrists) that gives her quite the hourglass figure for a G-rated kid's cartoon. Kitty has a slightly less exaggerated build, but the same effect is still there.
  • HeelĖFace Turn: Screwy Louie had a breakdown after loose screws ruined his life too often, but he's snapped back to sanity when he witnesses Ace have a similar mental breakdown over constantly answering phones a split second too late.
  • Henpecked Husband: Bugsy Vile isn't actually married to Kitty, but aside from that their relationship plays the trope pretty straight. A lot of Bugsy's villainous schemes are kicked off by Kitty's materialistic demands.
  • How We Got Here: Discussed in the episode, "Of Mutts and Mayors", which starts off with Ace and Rosie on the run. Ace has no idea how they wound up in this predicament, which prompts Eliot to explain that they would be starting off near the end, where things are really bad, and then they'd show everyone how they got there.
  • Hurricane of Puns: YES.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Periodically, such as Bugsy Vile yelling "Enough! With! The violence!" as he's smacking the crap out of Frisky with a rolled-up newspaper
    • Eliot frequently reprimands Ace for suggesting violent actions on the grounds that he hates violence. This is coming from the animator who often subjects Ace to violent slapstick.
  • I Owe You My Life: "Much Ado About Mad Dog" opens with both him and Ace knocked overboard. Ace saves him from drowning and in return, Mad Dog becomes a devoted sidekick. It annoys Ace since Mad Dog keeps interfering with case work and embodies The Cat Came Back. Mad Dog only stops with this behavior when he returns the favor by saving Ace's life.
  • Innocent Bystander: Or innocent pups, as it were, complete with a playpen and a giant sign saying "Innocent Bystanders" at the worst possible moments. Ace calls this out already the second time it happens.
  • Internal Reveal: In episode Old Dogs, New Tricks, the cartoonists Eliot Shag and Scratch McCollie fight on whether or not to use this trope. As it pertains to a Show Within a Show, it's a bit late to cover up that plot point from the audience.
  • Interspecies Romance: Bugsy Vile is a bulldog. His moll is a cat.
  • Just Friends: Candace says she and Bruiser are just friends who have fun together, and he doesn't disagree. Sensing an opportunity to become in-laws with a wealthy family, Bugsy asks if they're good friends.
  • Laughing Mad: Screwy Louie, who's always cackling as he works to remove every screw in the city.
  • Limited Wardrobe: With a couple rare exceptions, everyone dresses the same all the time.
  • Madness Mantra: Screwy Louie, who was driven insane by loose screws ruining his life at every turn and is now removing every screw in the city.
    Louie: Drive them out! Drive them out! Drive them aaall out!
  • Mama Bear: Terri's new business associate loudly condemns Artie for damaging his hat. Terri flips out on the guy for that and calls off their business deal.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Are Ace and Eliot actually having fourth-wall breaking conversations, or is it entirely in Eliot's head? On one hand, Eliot is the only one Ace is ever shown talking to. On the other, you have cases like Ace somehow being able to shake the desk despite being a two-dimensional character outside the show's real world.
  • McGuffin: The "Yves and Steve" segments were about a literal cat burglar (Yves) trying to steal Mc Guffins guarded by a literal guard dog (Steve).
  • Meaningful Name: Bugsy Vile.
  • Mentor Archetype:
    • "Old Dogs, New Tricks" does it on both sides of the story. Eliot is visited by his old art teacher, Scratch McCollie, and ends up clashing with him over how to do the newest episode. Meanwhile, Ace is approached by Sam Spayed (the detective who taught him everything he knows) for help with a case and finds himself irritated by his different tactics. The mentors ultimately prove to still know some useful tricks. The final scene reveals that Scratch and Sam can talk to each other the same way Eliot and Ace do.
    • In the last season, Eliot becomes a mentor figure to Artie, helping him with drawing and overseeing Artie's Mr. Mookie segments.
  • Metafiction/Postmodernism: Dog City openly explores the storytelling process through Eliot and Ace's fourth wall-breaking conversations. The plots themselves are generally kicked off by discussions over the animation, and the episodes acknowledge, parody, and lampshade all sorts of multiple tropes.
  • Mr. Fanservice: When In-Universe Executive Meddling turned Ace into a Superman expy, complete with a ridiculously top-heavy hyper muscular build.
  • Mummy Wrap: Rosie suffers a somewhat gratuitous case of this in one instance she is kidnapped by Bugsy's gang.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Oh yes, Eddie. Do tell the "well known facts" that aid in Bugsy Vile's crimes. Do tell.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The usual suspects.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: What ultimately sours Bugsy on being mayor. The position gives him absolute power, meaning cash is rolling in and his arch-rivals are on the run without him having to really do much of anything. He hates it since it takes away the thrill of his old life, and now he's stuck with the boring procedures of being mayor. The breaking point is when he attempts to rob a bank; instead of resistance, he gets bank employees happily considering it a simple withdrawal and police officers escorting him back to the office.
  • Not Hyperbole: In "The Big Squeak", Bugsy works over Ace to get info on a specific squeaky toy needed to open a large safe.
    Bugsy: Dis is gonna hurt me more dan it does you.
    Ace: Thanks for the sympathy.
    Bugsy: What sympathy? I got pistol-whipper's elbow. This is really gonna smart!
  • Not Me This Time: Bugsy and his gang are framed in "Is It Arf?" for stealing art. Bugsy professes his innocence (since it's not a senseless crime) and goes to Ace for help.
  • Obsolete Mentor: Deconstructed in "Old Dogs, New Tricks" with the two mentors, Scratch and Sam. Both worry they're over the hill, and both prove irritating to their former students when trying to do things their way, seemingly hurting more than helping. However, it then becomes reconstructed when Eliot realizes that Scratch actually gave him the best possible ending for the story, while Sam saves Ace and foils Baron.
  • Odd Friendship: Bruiser, a dimwitted thug, with Candace, a wealthy heiress.
  • Off the Rails: Because Meat, the Butcher was a character his boss made, Eliot doesn't have complete control over him like everything else. Eliot's earnestly afraid for Ace's wellbeing since he can't guarantee a victory for him.
  • Parental Neglect: Not much is known about Ace's past, but he suggests in "Farewell, My Rosie" that he and his father never had the close relationship that Rosie and her father have. The quickie flashbacks in "Old Dogs, New Tricks" also show Sam as a figure in Ace's youth, but Ace's actual parents are never shown.
  • Parental Substitute: Sam Spayed was there shortly after Ace was born and taught him everything he knows.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Frisky, frisk them!"
  • Politicians Kiss Babies: In an episode, Dogfather Bugsy Vile rigs a mayoral election and wins with just five votes. Among his duties are kissing babies and christening a ship with a champagne bottle. Hilarity ensues when he gets the two just a little mixed up....
  • Polka-Dot Paint: Whenever something is drawn, it's done this way.
  • Private Eye Monologue: Courtesy of Ace multiple times per episode, of course. Eliot tries getting in on it in "In Your Dreams" (much to Ace's displeasure).
  • Punny Name:
    • Puppyface Felson was named after real life bank robber George "Babyface" Nelson. Terri Springer was named after... guess.
    • According to his wife, Screwy Louie's real first name is Phillip, referencing Phillips screwdrivers.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot. Both in-universe (Shag's domestic life often is fodder for Ace's adventures) and the series in general, when some of the failed ideas seen in "You Gotta Have Hart"—fairy-tale segments, a Frankenstein monster dog—showed up later in season three.
  • Red Herring: At the scene of every crime in "Is It Arf?", a bespectacled dog is constantly seen walking around with objects and Ace openly wonders who he is. This guy is revealed to not be the real thief; he's just an accountant helping with police paperwork. His name? Red Herring.
  • Retcon: "Old Dogs, New Tricks" parodies this. Ace is unwilling to work with Sam Spayed on the grounds that he works alone, but Eliot says Sam has been a lifelong presence in his life that taught him everything he knows. Ace says he doesn't remember that at all, but Eliot is insistent and draws some flashbacks. Ace suddenly remembers it happening that way.
  • Rivals Team Up: One episode forced Ace and Bugsy to work together against Meat the Butcher.
  • Rogues Gallery: A small one. Bugsy Vile and his gang, Miss Kitty, Baron von Rottweiler and Leon, and Meat the Butcher.
  • Rubber-Band History: Baron goes back to the time the pilgrims purchased the new world from the natives and made a better offer: squeak toys. This created a Bad Future where he rules. Somehow, Ace and Eddie had Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory and, after visiting a timeline where Eddie ruled, went back to the past and made an even better offer: a technologically advanced (even for present time standards) fire hydrant the heroes took from the Eddie-ruled timeline.
  • Say My Name: One Running Gag involves Ace screaming Eliot's name whenever Eliot animates him into a predicament.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors:
  • The Scrappy: Eddie the newspup got turned into one in-universe for one episode, and then he was literally Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. Whether he actually was a scrappy for the audience is a different story.
  • Self-Insert: Eliot did this once. He then made his character an even better detective than Ace who even attracted attention from Rosie. Ace was not amused.
  • Sexophone: Given that the animated segments are parodies of classic detective stories and Film Noir, one would occasionally play for Rosie O'Gravy (specifically whenever Ace would think of her in his narrations).
  • Show Within a Show
    • Soap Within a Show (Within A Show): One episode had Ace visit the studio of the radio soap It's A Dog's Life.
  • Shout-Out: Way too many to name, but here's one example.
    Bowser (just smashed a hole in the wall as the door is blocked by a panicking Eliot, Bruno and Artie): "Here's Bowser! And I brought the tools."
    • One live-action segment has a crew member wear a shirt with a "The Mutts Take Manhattan" logo.
    • The first episode is called "The Big Squeak", and ends with Eliot proposing an episode called "The Great Dane Curse" (which would actually be used in Season 2).
    • "Who Watches the Watchdog?" is full of superhero tropes; the title is a reference to Watchmen, and the Watchdog is a Batman spoof created by Fob Canine (a watch/dog pun on Bob Kane). The Watchdog also announces himself with "I am the precious sands in the hourglass of society! I am the time that wounds all heels! I am ... the Watchdog!" a lot like Darkwing Duck's "terror who flaps in the night!".
    • In "Rocketship K9", one of the sci-fi scenes Ace objects to is an alien invasion in a town called Rover's Mill.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Kitty is often portrayed as a ditz, but she singlehandedly foils a rival gangster's scheme in "Cats 'n Dogs" by being The Mole and tipping off Ace.
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: Mad Dog; subverted by being in a world full of Talking Animals.
  • Species Surname: Most characters apart from Ace and Bugsy had vaguely dog [or cat] related names.
  • The Starscream: Frisky would like to be in charge, but there's two things stopping him from actively seeking to overthrow Bugsy Vile. One, he's better at spotting the flaws in Bugsy's plans than the ones in his own. Two, he's way too small.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Terri Springer replaced Colleen as Eliot's love interest. Surprisingly, she was voiced by the same actress, the writers just thought she'd be a more interesting character.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Baron von Rottweiller gives off this vibe in "Old Dogs, New Tricks" as he plots to detonate a hydrogen bomb over Dog City and emerge the leader of a "superior doggy race".
  • Toilet Humor: Bound of happen with hydrant jokes. Also:
    Bruno {in a panic}: It's all over the papers!
    Eliot: Well, better there than- {Is interrupted by Bruno's raving}
  • Token Good Teammate: Bruiser is an admitted criminal, but he's generally pleasant and kind to everyone. He even refers to Ace as "Mr. Hart" out of politeness.
  • Top-Heavy Guy: As seen in the picture above, the art style leaned towards making the male characters top heavy, with it being more pronounced in the villains. Even Frisky is a scaled-down Top Heavy Guy. The most triumphant example though would be Meat the Butcher, who's so top heavy that his fingers are bigger than his legs.
  • Undying Loyalty: "Cats 'n Dogs" demonstrates that even villainous dogs like Bugsy are loyal to their associates and take betrayal seriously. Unlike the other featured cats, Kitty reveals she took that lesson to heart.
  • Vacation Episode: "The Dog Days of Summer Vacation." Everyone in Eliot's building but him are leaving for vacation, so he's inspired to do a story where Ace takes Rosie, Eddie, and Dot on one. Along the way, Ace has to stop the Vandalizer from wrecking vacations for other dogs.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Bugsy's gang appear a couple times in "Radio Daze" doing mundane things: listening to the featured radio show and playing cards.
  • Villain Respect: Both Bugsy and Baron admit that Ace is a Worthy Opponent.
  • Villain Team-Up: One of the fan letters in "Out of the Mouths of Pups" suggests one, leading to Ace facing Meat, Felson, and Screwy Louie for a few scenes.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Eliot and Colleen/Terri, Ace and Chief Rosie O'Gravy.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Screwy Louie. After suffering from a lifetime of screw-related accidents, he was finally Driven to Madness and set about getting rid of all screws in the city.
  • Write Who You Know: In-universe. All the various characters in the cartoon world appear to based on the dogs Eliot knows in real life. Rosie is the pretty Girl Next Door he crushes on, Bugsy Vile is his obnoxious superintendent, Kitty is his landlady, and so on.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: In-universe, often as a gag. Sometimes, Ace will be in the midst of a situation or reveal, only for things to sputter because Eliot (as he sheepishly admits) got ahead of himself and doesn't know where to go next (something Ace has called him on more than once). "Cats 'n Dogs" is particularly noteworthy, as the Villain of the Week is left speaking in increasingly vague terms about his fiendish plot until Eliot can actually figure out the details.


Video Example(s):


Toony Demonstration

Elliott demonstrates Toon physics to Ace

How well does it match the trope?

4.93 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / ToonPhysics

Media sources: