Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman

Go To
"Pitched my vision for a show
They loved it! Thought I was a pro
They got my contract back to find
To their alarm... a
dog had signed!"

FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman (2006-2010) is a PBS show produced by WGBH Boston that is part game show, part parody of game shows, and part reality TVnote . It is also a Spiritual Successor to ZOOM, which was also produced by WGBH.

The host is Ruff Ruffman, an animated dog who, as it is explained in the catchy opening tune, got bored with normal dog things and decided to host a game show in his owner's garage. Additional characters include a cat fully named Princess Blossom Pepper-Doodle Von Yum Yum, introduced in season 2 as Ruff's assistant and eventual producer, and a mouse named Chet, introduced in season 3 as Ruff's assistant, although he never does anything the way Ruff would actually like him to.

Hilarity Ensues, but so does education.

Each episode generally follows a standard format, with the introduction of the six contestants. These change each season, but are generally middle-school aged kids. Ruff sends some of them (and occasionally all of them) out on various challenges. The contestants who stay behind have to answer trivia questions about the challenges during the Half-Time Quiz Show. At the end of the show, each contestant is awarded points, leading up to the final episode in each season and the crowning of another Grand Champion.

A handy animated machine manned by Ruff, called the Fetch 3000, divides the young contestants — excuse us, Fetchers — into three groups: some of themnote  charge to the front of Studio G - otherwise known as "Ruff's garage", though he always insists that it isn't to collect their missions from the mailbox, with Ruff's cheery yell of "Now g-o-o-o Fetch!" accompanying them. The chosen group all go off to enjoy their challenges, and the show focuses on them until about halfway through the program, at which point Ruff provides the leftovers with a "Half-Time Quiz Show" with some good opportunities to score up to 50 points based on what the field Fetchers had been doing. While the kids left over can't score as many points as the away kids, Ruff points out in every episode that every contestant gets the same number of home and away missions, and the max points a fetcher can get while on an away challenge is 100note so they all have the opportunity to win the same amount of points by the end of the season. The focus turns back to the kids in the field until they return to Studio G, at which point the Fetch 3000 calculates their scores. From time to time, Ruff will send the Fetchers out all together on one big mission. In the penultimate episode, all of the fetchers go out on a challenge together, usually to test them physically and mentally or to test their knowledge during the season with some mission relating to the grand prize or finale. In the final episode, the points are counted, and after two rounds of elimination challenges from the lowest scoring fetchers remaining to determine the top 4, the eliminated fetchers are sent back to the studio to enjoy the rest of the finale with luxuries. Each contestant also gets a season highlight reel with great moments featuring them after they are eliminated. The final four face off in a team challenge (2 vs 2) to determine the final 2 usually by engineering some sort of contraption that is useful to Ruff. The team that wins each gets 100 points. The two fetchers with the highest POINTS by the end of the team challenge goes on to play in the final round. In the first part, a trivia contest similar to the half-time quiz show is played with contestants having to buzz in and compete instead of work together. In the second part, a physical challenge is added to a mental challenge to determine the grand champion. Sometimes, there is no set goal, and points are awarded based on how well a fetcher does. The winner gets a special plaque to hang on the "wall of fame" and the grand prize. Which may be shared with the other fetchers on some occasions.

Ruff constantly provides the Fetchers with taunts of a "big prize" to be awarded by the end of the season, but he never tells them what it is and admits on a few occasions that he doesn't know what to give them, either. However, by the end of the season, it's all figured out.

In May 2014, WGBH announced an animated spin-off with Ruff and Blossom titled Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius, a series of Internet video spots about safety, which debuted in fall 2014. Find the original announcement here and the spots here.

Another spin-off was released in 2017 entitled The Ruff Ruffman Show, this time focusing on Ruff, Blossom, and Chet teaching young viewers about science. In the show, Ruff finds himself setting up a pet-sitting service and bilked into the awkward situation of pet-sitting a rhino. A pair of real-kids helps him through the trials of caring for such an unusual pet by making things using materials you can find around your home or neighborhood. This was followed by three other arcs - one with Ruff in a pursuit of a plushie of himself to give to his grandma, one involving a cook-off and one called "Ask Ruff First." (ARF!)

In 2020, PBS introduced another short-form series, Team Hamster!, in which said hamsters have to solve problems created by Ruff when he screws up in his role as a school janitor.

In July to August 2022, WGBH and Jim Conroy released Fetchtok, which has TikTok-based challenges where Ruff asks viewers to record themselves performing his challenges and posting them on the app.

This series provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Part two of the Season 5 opening episode shows a scene with Ruff holding a tiger shark toy. Jim Conroy, Ruff's voice, was also the voice of Kenny on Discovery Kids' animated series Kenny the Shark.
  • Absurd Phobia: "Tape Loops and Loop-the-Loops" suggests that Grandma Ruffman has triskaidekaphobia — the fear of the number thirteen. Or at the very least, she likes the phobia's name.
    • Ruff's fear of ballet is somewhat Played for Drama, as its the result of Spotnik's Prank Gone Too Far that also likely lead to him being afraid of spiders. It took Brian, Sterling, and Bethany's efforts to help him overcome his fears and love ballet again.
  • Accidental Misnaming: In a challenge on season five, Marc and Shreya meet with a hand model who calls them pretty much any names starting with "M" or "S" other than their own.
  • Advanced Tech 2000: The Fetch 3000 and the Go Get It 6000.
    • Also played with, as there's a Fetch 100.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Ruff is orange with a yellow spot on his stomach. The same goes to his family and relatives.
  • All Just a Prank: Ruff found out via phone call from Harriet, that she never sent him a fax that tells him he's fired. Which made Ruff realize that fax was a prank. He assumed that Spotnik sent the fax to distract him, which doubles as a Prank Gone Too Far.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: While not explicitly stated, Grandma Ruffman has an Alter Kocker accent and calls Ruff "bubbeh" a few times.
  • Ascended Fanboy: FetchTok is this for American Tik-Tok viewers. As the videos gave viewers who watched Fetch a change to become Fetchers themselves and relive their childhood.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Ruff's foreign relatives, especially Uncle Macruffmintosh and Rüf the Swedish rock star. Who also embody Bonnie Scotland and Norse by Norsewest, respectively.
    • Le Fleape, the flea in Ruff's ear also has this.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Among the items Scruff stole from Ruff in the Season 3 finale were Ruff's bark-a-lounger, Fetch 3000...and his fancy pants. This was all to pay for toboggan lessons.
  • Big Eater: Ruff, also Chet as long as it's cheese.
  • Big Damn Reunion Ruff and his parents had one together in the final episode.
  • Book Ends:
    • Season 2 opens and ends with Ruff accidentally stepping in Blossom's litter box.
    • The first season ends with the kids going on a trip, with white water rafting. The final season ends with the kids going on a hot air balloon trip.
  • Brand X: Ruff insists that every product on the show be branded with pictures of himself.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In an episode towards the end of the fifth season, Ruff has his Fetchers become private investigators and they infiltrate the headquarters of P.U.R.R.S., the Pussycat Underground Rather Rotten Society and the group responsible for the rip-off show Go Get It! Inside the headquarters, they discover a grocery list written by one of the members of P.U.R.R.S. that reads Get Milk. Get Tuna. Take Over the World.
    • Also used earlier in season 5 when Grandma Ruffman has the Fetchers make a picnic basket to keep out squirrels, chipmunks and grizzly bears.
  • The Cameo: Rosario, one of the Fetchers from Season 2, makes a surprise return in "The People v.s. Grandma Ruffman" as a member of the jury. Ruff doesn't recognize him as first, but once the judge appoints him foreman of the jury Ruff tries to bribe him with bonus points.
  • Catchphrase: Ruff has several:
    • He opens every show with "Oh hi, I'm Ruff Ruffman!" or some variation.
    • After giving a preview of the challenge, he calls whichever kids are participating and says, "Your instructions are in the mailbox. Goooo FETCH!"
    • Before awarding bonus points:
      Ruff: But is that all the points a dog can give?
      Kids: No!
      Ruff: What time is it?
      Kids: BONUS POINTS!
  • Cats Are Mean: Subverted; as season 2 progresses, Ruff slowly loses his stance on cats to where he asks Blossom to come back for the next season.
    • And in season three, Blossom becomes his boss.
    • Even Tom and Trixie averted it by turning out to actually be Ruff's long-lost parents in disguise.
  • Chekhov's Gun: "I love public television, and viewers like you. Have I mentioned that this week?"
  • The Cloud Cuckoolander Was Right: In the Season 4 premiere, Great uncle McRuffmantosh explains to Ruff to not go through with a toboggan race because of an ancestor who was cursed by an ice fairy, to which Ruff explains how ridiculous that sounds. Later, when he learns the mysterious Racer X is his twin Scruff, they explain that the incident with all of Ruff's items stolen at the end of Season 3 was to pay for toboggan lessons to dispel that same ice fairy curse.
  • Comm Links: The contestant's cell phones fill this role.
  • Cone of Shame: In one Season 2 episode, Ruff gets one after he hurts himself trying to imitate his "Action to the Maxion" action figure ("the worst toy of the century!").
  • Continuity Nod: True to form, in later seasons there are stuff that's mentioned in past seasons. The season premiere for the 4th Season mentions different objects that Ruff had in his doghouse and mentions other obscure facts from Season 2 and 3 (one of them being that pineapples float).
  • Cliffhanger: A couple in season 2, and one at the end of season 3.
  • Cold Open: Every episode, setting the stage for that episode's challenges.
  • Company Cross References: One of the phrases Ruff uses at the end of the Season 4 intro, after Chet the mouse destroys the set for the intro, is "You know, I bet Arthur doesn't have to deal with stuff like this". Both shows air on PBS Kids and are produced by WGBH Boston.
  • Content Warning: The Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius spots are rated "HMG: Humble Media Genius - Humor featuring cats, dogs, mice, selfies and some cheese. Strong media literacy throughout."
  • Couch Gag: One gets added to season 4, where Ruff's comment on Chet crashing results in different each episode.
  • Courtroom Episode: "The People vs. Grandma Ruffman".
  • Crossover: Season 4's second episode has a challenge hosted by Nate, the host of fellow PBS show Design Squad.
    • Season 5 episode "The Ol' Shell game" features Crush from Finding Nemo! Even Andrew Stanton reprised his role for the episode!
  • Cute Kitten: A few episodes in the series had cat based episodes. Props go to Season 2 when two of the FETCHers had to bottle feed a little kitten and Ruff who notably hates cats couldn't resist saying it was cute.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jay in Season 3 was this. After hearing his partners (Noel and Sammy) scream from seeing a rat, what does he do? He gets a call from Ruff and asks him that before he [Ruff] sends a live thing in a box to send him earmuffs. Brian and especially Julia from Season 1 also had their moments.
  • Deliberate Monochrome: In season 3, Ruff paints his entire doghouse interior Dingy Grey (thinking it was ''Singy' Grey, as in singing), which has this effect.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: In various places, notably the ringtone on the contestant's cell phones.
  • Disembodied Eyebrows: Ruff hung a lampshade on this. So did one of the contestants in their application video for the fifth season. Ruff told them to not get personal.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: He gets a few facts wrong, but Ruff pretty much averts this.
    • The NASA episode ramps this up to eleven when Ruff thinks the Fetch satellite is faulty, but it's really just a discarded bone in the Fetch 3000.
    • And in season 3, he pets his entire house Dingy Grey, thinking it was Singy Grey.
  • Don't Try This at Home: In Season 5 Episode 3, Marco and Shreya go to Disney's Animal Kingdom and, as part of their challenge, need to match animal droppings with the animals that left them. The samples they had were coated in a clear shellac so they could be handled safely, and Ruff had this to say (with large animated "Warning - Don't Try This At Home" signs in the background):
    Ruff: Uh, viewers at home, please do not try to play the home version of Match the Feces with the Species. Yeah, the poop the Fetchers are using has a clear protective coating, and these are trained professionals.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Lampshaded. "We can never use enough duct tape on this show."
  • Early Instalment Weirdness: Season 1 had a few unique traits to it. For starters, the half time quiz show was 90 seconds instead of 60, there were occasions where Fetchers earned more than 100 points in a given episode, some episodes played around with the number of contestants who stayed behind in the episode: The most being 4, and the lowest being one (in future seasons, the number was generally 2, sometimes 3 if the episode was one where a fetcher was given a solo challenge). Ruff is also missing his sidekicks (Blossom wouldn't be introduced until next season), and there was only one prize for the winner of an episode, which they could either keep or give to someone else. Also, the penultimate episode was a standalone, still had all 6 fetchers out of studio , but no different than just beyond adding to the point tallies, where as every other season used it to set up the finale in some way. This is all justified, as it was the first season and they were still trying to figure out what worked.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the season 2 finale, after tense reveals and elimination challenges, not only Mike wins that season, but they saved Ruff from being arrested.
    • The Series, and Season 5, finale(100th episode) is this as well. The world is saved, and Ruff's parents are revealed to be alive: they were working for Purr as undercover agents the whole time, posing as the hosts of rival show Go Get It. Marco remains the only winner to go from last place to winning the whole season, surviving literally every elimination challenge, and all 5 Fetchers get to enjoy a hot air balloon ride. The very last shot of the show is Ruff Ruffman singing goodbye and thanking us for watching.
  • Edutainment Show: What else would you expect from PBS kids?
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Ruff's nephew Glen (or, as he'd say it, Wuff's nephew Gwen) talks like this. This becomes a bit of Foreshadowing in "Dog of the Rings" when Glen calls Ruff a "Wookie" (Rookie) and Ruff asks "What do I look like, Chewbacca?" It turns out that the true treasure from the LARP wasn't rings, it was buffalo wings.
  • Evil Twin: Scruff Ruffman and Le Purrrr, Blossom's twin. (She's a burglar. Think about it.)
  • Exact Words:
    • In "Dog of the Rings", Sam and Harsha need to toss bean bags into one of two pails or, as the riddle states, the right pail. After tossing enough to enter one pail they realize they have to get it into the pail on the right.
    • Ruff was asked by his cousin Roxy to take care of her sheep. Ruff assumed that he was taking care of a sheep, not an entire herd!
  • Excited Kids' Show Host: Ruff. Very much so.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Explains how Ruff got his show.
  • Eye Glasses: Ruff, as well as almost his entire family.
  • Fear of Thunder: Being a dog, Ruff. He and Blossom are also afraid of vacuum cleaners, though this is also rather Truth in Television.
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: Blossom manages the sass without saying a single word.
  • Final Exam Finale: Every season has ended with one of these, including a literal final exam near the end.
  • F--: Exaggerated. In the end of an episode, Ruff receives his test results and he discovers he had a Z minus.
  • Follow the Leader: "Go Get It!" is an in-universe example.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: The Season 4 premiere, which is about Ruff's adventure to get his job back from a greedy Australian woman who hates dogs. The Season 5 premiere is about getting the six kids who would be on the show.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: In a Season 3 episode, one of the challenges was for two FETCHers (Jay and Noel) to live each other's lives. For Noel, this meant playing guitar and playing lacrosse. For Jay, it meant placing makeup on Noel's sisters...and wearing a cheerleader outfit.
  • Fun with Acronyms: FETCH stands for Fabulously Entertaining TV with a Canine Host.
    • In Season 5, P.U.R.R.S. stands for Pussycat Underground Rather Rotten Society.
  • Genius Ditz: Chet. He made a jet engine that was powered out of Ruff's leftover liver and pineapple biscuit shakes from Season 1...but has no idea how to file.
  • The Ghost: Henry, the head of Ruff's network. Ruff communicates with him exclusively over the phone, and we only hear Ruff's end of the conversation.
  • GPS Evidence: In Scruff's debut episode, Ruff manages to identify the exact region of Mexico he's in just from his twin's burrito. (Lesser examples are the sombrero and mariachi band, which suggest Mexico in general.)
  • Graceful Loser: Many of the season finale runner-ups come out like this to the season winners, but mostly Emmie for Season 5, thanks to Marco and Emmie's strong bond throughout the season. Upon Marco winning the final season, Emmie, with no words needed to be said just gives Marco a hug with a smile on her face.
  • Great Escape: In the Season 4 premiere, when Ruff discovered he, Blossom, and Chet are stranded on Poodle Island, he's mistaken for his brother Scruff by the guards and is sent to his prison cell. He does manage to escape and get back to Blossom and Chet in time.
  • "Harmful to Pets" Reminder: In the season 2 premiere episode, Ruff gives his new Fetchers some chocolate bars. He tells them he wants them but can't since chocolate can make dogs sick.
  • Hevy Mtal mlaut: Rüf Rüfmün, Ruff's Swedish rock star cousin.
  • Here We Go Again!: Happens in some episodes.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Neither Charlene, the poodle Ruff has a crush on, nor Spot Spotnik, his arch nemesis, have ever been seen other than in pictures.
  • Hilarity Ensues: In The Ruff Ruffman Show, Ruff starts a pet-sitting service and is tricked into pet-sitting a rhino. Naturally, hilarity ensues.
    • Shout-Out: This character's name may very well be a nod to show head writer Glen Berger.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: At the end of season 3.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Blossom in season 2. Subverted in later seasons where she becomes Ruff's boss (though she's no less competent for it), and her replacement Chet is a Genius Ditz.
  • Improv: Done with most of Ruff's dialogue during the scenes with the kids.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: All the Ruffmans.
  • Injured Limb Episode: Season 2's episode "Ruff's Big Break".
  • Insistent Terminology: It's not a garage!
    • Although in the Season 2 premiere he admits that the "G" actually means "Garage".
    • Also, the above mentioned 'Fetchers'.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Scruff has this. He says hello to Grandma Ruffman when she appears in one episode, got a replacement trophy for the winner of Season 3 and when Ruff accidentally got sent to prison on Poodle Island, he finds the jail walls of Scruff's cell has pictures of the two when they were young and a poster for Ruff's show. The poster is justified as it actually hides the hole Scruff was digging to escape.
  • Lampshade Hanging: "Nobody ever walks to a challenge on this show. Have you noticed that?"
  • Large Ham: Ruff himself.
  • LARP: Glen is a LARPer and runs his introductory episode as one.
  • Latin Lover: In one episode, Ruff gets relationship advice from a disembodied voice with a suspicious Italian accent. It turns out to be Felipe, one of Ruff's fleas.
  • Least Rhymable Word: Subverted in "Tape Loops and Loop-de-Loops," when Mike manages to find a rhyme for "triskaidekaphobia" when writing Grandma's rap ("it takes a lot to be like ya"). Ruff is so impressed by this that he awards Mike the bonus points for that episode.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: The Season 2 finale, minus the stinger at the end, ends with Ruff and the kids promising to never talk about this incident ever again.
  • Lethal Chef: Ruff has shades of this in "I'm OK, You're Okra". When he's trying to make some gumbo, his kitchen is a mess, the doghouse is filled with popcorn, and he puts FIRECRACKERS in the oven. It's played for laughs, But If that happens in real life, the consequences would be deadly.
  • Literal-Minded: Chet has this as his fatal flaw. Whenever Ruff says something to him, he takes it the wrong way. In fact, the events of several episodes would not have even happened had Chet not done so. For example, when Ruff was told Chet to put his assignment in the mailbox so Professor Fange can grade it, Chet mistook "grade" as 'grated' and destroys the assignment with a cheese grater, forcing Ruff to rewrite the whole thing. In the episode's Stinger, Chet thinks "deliver" means "liver".
    • "Dog of the Rings" has Ruff asking Chet to blow up a picture...and Chet gets a stick of dynamite just as Ruff tries to explain he wants the picture enlarged. The dynamite causes the Fetch 3000 to be destroyed and Ruff forced to call Glen, who requests that the FETCHers aid in his LARP campaign after Glen and his crew got sick.
    • In "It's Ruff in the Ring", Chet thinks the Canadian Holiday "Boxing Day" is about the sport "Boxing" and as a result, Ruff gets booked against his will into a match against the boxing champion "Whipped Cream Mcgee". God knows what would've happened to him if it weren't for those challenges.
    • It goes into hilarious proportions in Season 5. After Ruff and Blossom lose a game of charades when Ruff couldn't tell that Blossom was a blue jay, Ruff asks Chet if he can do one. In response, Chet gets some blue paint and then paints a picture of Jay (Season 3's winner) blue.
  • Locked in the Bathroom: Happens to Ruff, Blossom and Chet in a Season 3 episode where Ruff's cousin, Roxie, lets a giant herd of sheep burst into the doghouse and staynote . This trope lasts for the majority of the episode. In the episode's Stinger, When the Sheep are gone and everyone is finally out of the bathroom, Ruff agrees to watch his cousin's moose, then, hundreds of moose run amok in the doghouse, forcing Ruff to barricade everyone in the bathroom again.
  • Loophole Abuse: In one season 3 episode, the FETCHers are tasked to make a sand sculpture of the letter "n" that has to be taller than one of them. Once the sculpture was finished, they decided to have the kid being measured jump into the hole made from digging up sand because Ruff never said where he had to be when the sculpture was measured.
  • Magical Computer: The Fetch 3000. It can send kids back in time!
  • Mangled Catchphrase: Grandma Ruffman has a tendency to butcher Ruff's catchphrases. For example, she introduced a challenge by saying "Go and do the fetch" instead of "Go fetch"; Ruff quickly corrected her on this.
  • Medium Blending: The animated characters that appear via TV to the real-life contestants.
  • Nepotism: Blossom is Ruff's boss's niece's cat.
  • 90% of Your Brain: Explored and subverted in season 2.
  • Not So Above It All: Blossom did put in a couple of joke answers to several half-time quiz shows. Even then she's scared of vacuums and will not hesitate to partake in the shenanigans during the Silliness Switch.
  • Ocular Gushers: Often happens to Ruff whenever he cries.
  • Only Sane Employee: Blossom, compared to Ruff and his zany schemes and Chet being Literal-Minded.
  • Overly-Long Gag: If Ruff has something bad happen to himself or his body (e.g., stuck in a bee costume because of his weight, paint splattering on his fur, or [as said before] the Elizabethan collar itself), it would often last for either six minutes or less or the entire episode.
  • Overly Long Name: Princess Blossom Pepperdoodle von Yum-Yum. Mainly a parody of people who give this kind of name to pet cats. Lampshaded by Ruff several times, who usually just calls her Blossom or Blossom von Yum-Yum, since according to him, if he took the time to say her full name every time he talked to her, the show would end too quickly.
    • Blossom's evil sister "Le Purr" also has this. Her real name is Duchess Petunia Cupcake von Yum-Yum.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: At the beginning of season 4, Ruff gets a pink cat costume when he tries to bypass the Australian woman who took over his show (because she hates dogs and doesn't allow them in her mansion), but it all failed and he ends up being stuck in the cat costume for the rest of the episode. The costume got ripped a bit when Ruff called his new FETCHers at the end of the episode.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Somehow almost straight and subverted. The Season 2 episode, "CSI Ruff", ends with the FETCHers learning that Ruff stole the grand prize himself. Luckily, the FETCHers were cheered up, thanks to Ruff awarding them points and Bridget winning a fingerprinting set.
    • Ruff later apologizes to them the following episode after completing elimination rounds to help prevent him from getting arrested.
  • Race Against the Clock: Some of the challenges have this. For example, in the first episode, Anna, Julia, and Kahil must race through a city-wide scale of the solar system using a GPS before they run out of time.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: In Season 4, Murray was replaced with Tank. The reason was because Murray a real life Basset Hound died prior to the Season 4 premiere.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Some episodes have boys dressing up in female outfits. Jay in Season 3 wore a cheerleading outfit (but it had shorts) and in the Superhero episode of Season 4, Bryan was with Bethany as part of the "Indestructible Butterflies"
  • Relax-o-Vision: Seen in one of the wallpapers for the show, featuring a picture of Ruff in a flower field and the message "We are experiencing technical difficulties." Seen on the show as well, in a few episodes where Ruff would have an off-camera scuffle with someone. This was later recycled for Ruff Ruffman: Humble Media Genius as well.
  • Repeating So the Audience Can Hear: Ruff often engages in this with his speechless sidekicks. Particularly noticeable when it's something urgent and/or panic-inducing.
  • Repetitive Name: Ruff Ruffman. It was later parodied in a Superhero episode when Glen asks him to become "Ruffmanman".
  • Roger Rabbit Effect
  • Rule of Three: There will be episodes where a team of three have to take a challenge, when all six FETCHers are in a challenge, they're split into three groups of two or vice versa. There's the three main "hosts" of FETCH! (Ruff, Blossom and Chet) and there are three challenges before the quiz at the finale, etc.
  • Running Gag: It's not a garage!
    • Season 1 often brings up how Ruff has no idea what to do for a grand prize.
    • Ruff gets the definition of many words wrong. For example, he once found himself covered with "indelible ink" and thought that means it wasn't eatable. Blossom has to tell him that the ink is permanent.
  • Shout-Out: In the intro sequence for the fourth season, Chet the mouse is seen flying around, destroying stuff. Ruff comments on this using a rotating series of phrases and one of them is, "You know, I bet Arthur doesn't have to deal with stuff like this." Arthur is another production of WGBH Boston.
    • There was also a sly reference to a Sesame Street song at the end of one episode.
    • The haunted house episode in season 5 has a fair few Scooby-Doo shoutouts. This was lampshaded when Ruff asks if he's allowed to say "Zoinks!".
    • Many of the episode titles have this. The episode "The DogVinci Code" was a direct reference to The DaVinci Code and "Dog of the Rings" was based on The Lord of the Rings
  • Sibling Rivalry: The rivalry between Ruff and Scruff creates the challenges for the Season 3 finale.
  • Silent Snarker: Blossom.
  • Similar Squad: Tom and Trixie (and their show: "Go Get It!") in Season 5.
  • Skyward Scream: Done a couple of times.
    Ruff: (as Ken L. Koff gets away) KEN L. KOFF!
  • Slow "NO!": At the beginning of the Food Safety episode, Ruff has one when he sees a chandelier fall (which has been released by Chet) and jumps to get his special tortilla chip out of the way before it gets crushed. Complete with a hilariously lower pitch.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Ruff, especially in-universe. His own grandma hasn't even watched the show by season 5, instead watching cat-grooming shows and "Go Get It!".
  • The Speechless: Blossom and Chet, although Ruff can still understand them. Blossom's head does make a peculiar rattling sound when she nods, though. Chet replies with squeaks.
  • Speed Round: The "Half-Time Quiz Show," where the Fetchers who stay behind face 10 quick-fire questions based on what's been going on out in the field.
  • Status Quo Is God: Ruff still runs the show, even though Blossom is his boss.
  • Stealth Pun: Studio G (as in, Stu-D-O-G).
  • Story Arc: Each season has this. For example, in season four it was the quest for the Helmet of Destiny and season five was the cat conspiracy (see the Take Over the World example).
  • Superhero Episode: Season 4's episode "Is It a Bird? Is It a Plane? It's Ruffmanman!"
  • Take Over the World: The goal of P.U.R.R.S., the Pussycat Underground Rather Rotten Society.
  • Take That!: Glen "Glendalf" Ruffman is a parody of geeky LARPers and portrayed as a complete loser.
  • Talking Animal: Ruff, as well as any other members of the Ruffman family.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: In the second episode of the fifth season, the contestants are on Game Show Island and find a Star Paws tape recorder. The tape contains a message from Ruff's parents and this gag is used a couple of times with Ruff as the message plays.
  • The Voice: Ruff's owner.
  • The Bus Came Back: In these Fetchtok videos Season 4 contestant and Champion Liza Giangrande (who has her own tik-tok account) also joined. Heck, one of her videos for Fetchtok has her reuniting with Bethany Owens, and Brian Conry, who are now adults!
  • Title Theme Tune
  • Toilet Humor: A few of the challenges involved dog poop, to somewhat comedic effect.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Moo Shu pork for Ruff.
  • Undesirable Prize: Sometimes, a Fetcher wins something they find undesirable. For example, in the second episode, Anna and Brian have to dance a waltz in Studio G, and in "Ruff Needs His Herring Checked", Sterling returned his prize (a batch of vegetable-flavored cookies) because he didn't want to eat them, and Ruff threw them away because he didn't want to eat them either.
  • Vicious Vac: In "The Mystery of Dogtopia and Catlantis", the kids are sent to the island of Dogtopia/Catlantis, where cats and dogs used to live in harmony until a civil war broke out between them. They use their clue finding skills to solve the mystery of what caused the conflict, eventually finding that both sides blamed each other for a horrible howling that was terrifying everyone. On a smaller island nearby, the kids find the answer: the howling was caused by evil vacuum cleaners living there. This trope is later played for laughs in The Stinger, when Ruff and Blossom used every technique to get over their fear of vacuums, only to pretty much immediately fail.
  • Volumetric Mouth: Sometimes used by Ruff.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In "Finding Eight-Legged Tights Isn't Easy", Ruff and Bethany have aracnhophobia. They both overcome this fear, with the latter earning 5 bonus point for overcoming her fears.
  • You Meddling Kids: In an episode in season 5, the kids visit the supposedly haunted Ruffman Manor and discover that The Butler Did It. When they catch him he tells them "And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for you kids and that meddling game show host dog."
  • You Need a Breath Mint: In the second episode, Charlene's Establishing Character Moment was the time she told Ruff he has Halitosis; in which Ruff thinks it means "charm and good looks", but he's shocked to learn that the word acutally means "bad breath".
    Ruff: (Gasps) BAD BREATH!? She said I had bad breath?.. But that's impossible! Everyone knows dogs have the cleanest mouth of the whole animal kingdom.