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Western Animation / Ego Trip

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"I can't wait for the future!"

Ego Trip is an hour-long TV special of Dexter's Laboratory airing on Cartoon Network in 1999 as the Grand Finale of the show's original run.

After defeating some robots who came to his lab to "destroy the one who saved the future," Dexter decides to hop in his time machine to go to the future and see how cool he becomes. Unfortunately, when he gets there, he discovers that Mandark's arrogance and greed have led to the downfall of modern civilization. Dexter joins forces with three of his future selves to stop Mandark's reign of terror.

Easily the darkest installment of the show, with numerous scenes of violent action and Mandark being upgraded from a petty rival to a full-blown villain. Dexter's parents are almost entirely Out of Focus and Dee Dee only gets one line (albeit a very important one).


This special contain examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Dexter calls Braindark a "lame brain", and Older Dexter can't help but laugh at it even with his terror at being around his former employer.
  • Badass Beard: Action Dexter has one.
  • Bad Boss: Mandark, totally. He publicly uses an electric whip on Number 12 for almost being late for work.
  • Bad Future: The future sucks because Mandark has taken over the world and made everyone dumb.
  • Bald of Awesome: Action Dexter is bald and he fights to end Mandark's tyranny.
  • Bald of Evil: Overlord Mandark is bald and has taken over the world.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Mandark. And just to drive it home, he still retains his silly "nerd" voice with each increasingly evil incarnation.
  • Big Bad: Executive Mandark and Overlord Mandark.
  • Big Damn Movie: Well, as big as a 50-minute TV special can get, but the stakes are easily the highest they've ever been for this show: not only does Dexter have to save the world, but his arch nemesis is a legitimate threat this time! It also had a far more expansive scope and more lavish layouts than anything the regular show ever had (a precursor to Genndy Tartakovsky's next show) and a music score performed by a live orchestra.
  • Advertisement:
  • Brain in a Jar: Old Mandark has been reduced to this and stuck in a museum.
  • Brick Joke:
  • Call-Back: Executive Mandark stepping on 12's glasses mirrors a similar shot in the episode "Dexter Dodgeball," when a school bully does the same.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: At the beginning of the special, Deedee wanders into Dexter's Time Machine and is not seen again until the end when she wanders into the final battle and asks "What Does This Button Do?"
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: In the future, Mandark takes control of the company he and Dexter worked for/will work for and uses its resources to advance his plan for world domination.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: Overlord Mandark numbs the minds of everyone in the world, hoards all knowledge and technology for himself, and declares science forbidden to all- just so he can be the smartest person on the planet.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Twelve is utterly afraid of his version of Mandark, having been pushed around by him and shown being sadistically punished and humiliated just for being almost late to work. When Twelve's forced to confront him in the climax, Executive Mandark smacks him around with little effort, as he's still too scared. However, when he smugly plucks Twelve's glasses off his face, stomps on them, and cruelly laughs at his expense, Twelve finally snaps and kicks Mandark's ass, taking his glasses as his own for good measure.
  • Droste Image: A variant; when Dexter and 12 visit a Dexter-centric museum exhibit in the far future, a caretaker exclaims "It's you! Both of you!" The camera pulls back to reveal the two standing in front of a large mural depicting... Young Dexter and 12, standing in the exact same posture.
  • Establishing Character Moment: All the future Dexters get one:
    • "Number 12" (aka Young Adult Dexter) is a sniveling, cowardly yes-man to CEO Mandark.
    • Action Dexter is introduced, as the nickname implies, with an awesome action sequence.
    • Old Man Dexter is quite senile.
  • Fat Bastard: Overlord Mandark is morbidly obese, to the point that he needs to be carried around by a hook and later a robot.
  • Foreshadowing: The fact that the robots from the future didn't fight back while Dexter was destroying them is a hint that he wasn't the one they were really after.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Mandark started out as The Rival and classmate to Dexter and rarely did anything worse than show him up. As a young adult, he stole Dexter's ideas and used them (and the implied murder of the previous CEO) to work his way up to become the Executive — a rich, powerful, and sadistic businessman — that uses his new position to make Dexter's life a living hell, before ultimately becoming a full-on world-threatening villain that wants to hoard all knowledge for himself.
  • Future Badass: Bad Future Dexter is tall, manly and very muscular much to the joy of present Dexter and Twelve... well, save for losing his hair (Old Dexter reveals he wears a wig).
  • Future Me Scares Me: Dexter is less than impressed when he finds out his young adult self's a cringing whipping-boy who designs cubicles for a living. Later subverted when he discovers the older Dexter's plans for the Neurotomic Protocore stashed in a secret compartment in his cubicle's wall.
  • Geek Physiques: Young adult Dexter, a.k.a. Twelve, is tall, lacks any muscle mass, and still maintains his intelligence.
  • Grand Finale: This movie was intended to serve as the definite end to the show, though the series was subsequently renewed for two more seasons. Though, in a way, it kinda still was this as this was the last product of the old guard of the series, including Genndy working on it, and the original models and animation in general.
  • Kick the Dog: Mandark makes his torture of Number Twelve public on the office's television screens, for only being nearly late.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: How the special ends: Dexter returns to the present, just in time to see himself fighting the robots. He comes to the realization that he perpetuated his own journey through time, only to abruptly decide in frustration to go to the kitchen and make a sandwich.
    Time travel hurts my brain!
  • MacGuffin: The neurotomic protocore.
  • Mandatory Line: Dee Dee only gets one line in this entire movie, and that's before she pushes the button that saves the world.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: During the Final Battle just before Dexter can push the button and restore the protocore to normal, undoing Mandark's reign, Dee Dee appears and presses said button instead. The Dexters don't take it well.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: While in Number 12's cubicle, Dexter finds the Protocore and its blueprints hidden in a secret compartment. Unfortunately, when he convinces 12 to check out the future with him, they leave those things out in their haste to leave, allowing Mandark to swoop in and use the technology for his own conquest.
  • Non-Serial Movie: Averted, since it's The Movie and was intended as the Grand Finale, although some Fanon treats it as such, because Dexter's Laboratory has Negative Continuity anyway.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Twelve finally fights back against his Mandark, Mandark nervously sweats and meekly says, “Oh, my.” before Twelve kicks his butt.
  • Overly Long Gag
    • "Stop the typing. Stop the typing. STOP THE TYPING!!"
    • Dexter, Twelve, and Old Man Dexter saying hello to one another over and over, and later when the three (and Bad Future Dexter) say goodbye.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: Mandark became head of the company in the future by stealing Dexter's ideas.
  • Pun-Based Title: An "ego trip" is another way of saying that someone is full of themselves. Dexter goes on a trip to the future because he's so "egotistical" that he genuinely believes that he alone was the one who "saved the future." Meanwhile, the Bad Future Mandark creates is a result of his own selfish desires and, eventually, greed for all of the world's knowledge.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After Executive Mandark breaks Twelve's glasses, Twelve gives his former boss the ass-kicking he's had coming.
  • Reveal Shot: When Number Twelve is summoned by his boss, the camera makes a point to not show his face as he's getting dressed, until he steps out of the shadows to show it's Mandark. The build up, however, is ruined by Mandark's voice being recognizable.
  • Rewatch Bonus: As mentioned above in foreshadowing, the robots that come back to the present don't actually attack Dexter after alerting him of their purpose, nor try to fight back as he destroys them. The first time through, it just seems like Dexter just managed to react fast enough. The second time, you realize that the robots had plenty of time to destroy him while he was running around screaming during his initial panic: they didn't because he wasn't their target.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Twelve, whenever he hears Executive Mandark's voice, emits a shrill shriek and goes into a Troubled Fetal Position.
  • Sexy Secretary: Mandark has several of these.
  • Stable Time Loop: The whole special. Dexter's trip to the future was instigated by robots who were seeking to "destroy the one who saved the future". While in the future, he inadvertently allows Mandark to steal the Protocore and create a Bad Future. After much fighting and teaming up with his selves from various time periods, the day is saved by... Dee Dee, who wanders in from the main era and does her thing. Furious at having their thunder stolen, the Dexters create an army of robots to destroy Dee Dee... the same robots that Dexter encountered at the beginning. When he realizes this, Dexter has a minor breakdown trying to figure it out, then decides to screw it and get a sandwich. And all this because he accidentally pointed Dee Dee towards the time machine instead of the lab's actual exit.
  • Tempting Fate: We first meet Twelve signing into work with only two minutes to spare, and expressing relief because "I could've gotten in big, big trouble!" The words are barely out of his mouth before the evil CEO summons him.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: Executive Mandark gives Number Twelve this speech before his public flogging.
    Mandark: There are two types of people in this world, Number Twelve. There are those who can barely support their families. Scratching and scraping for any morsel of food they can find. Then there's the strong. The powerful! The elite! With luxuries that others can't possibly dream of. But you, Number Twelve, are neither.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: A variant. When Dexter and 12 arrive in the distant future, they hear Mandark's voice yelling at them. 12, still terrified of his abusive boss, drops to his side on the floor and mimes frantically typing at his computer as he shakes and cries "I'm typing, I'm typing!"
  • Visual Pun: Once Twelve gains his resolve to fight Executive Mandark, images of a lion, tiger and bear come out of his body with Executive Mandark adding...
    Executive Mandark: Oh my!
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Time travel makes Twelve queasy and he throws up in the time machine as soon as he and Dexter arrive in the distant future. During the second trip, he even brings a vomit bag.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Dexter gives this to Twelve after the shock of seeing how weak and fearful he's grown up to be.

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