Flying Rhino Junior High is a Canadian animated television series produced by Nelvana Limited and Scottish Television. It originally aired from October 3, 1998 to January 22, 2000 on CBS (as part of a Nelvana-produced block termed the CBS Kidshow, that included Rescue Heroes (based off the Fisher-Price toys), Anatole (about a mouse who worked in a cheese factory), Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend (stories about Greek Mythology), Blaster's Universe (based off a line of educational CD-ROM games), Birdz (which, according to the creator, was Screwed by the Network), The Dumb Bunnies (based off a series of books by the creator of Captain Underpants, Dav Pilkey, but under a false name), a revival of Tales From The Cryptkeeper, and reruns of Franklin (later swapped with Nick Jr.'s Rupert) . Reruns used to be shown on YTV in Canada and STV in Scotland (they co-produced most of these shows), and on the Cartoon Network in the rest of the UK.
Pretty much every day at Flying Rhino Junior High, the series resident villain Earl P. Sidebottom (an evil boy genius who once got a "D" grade in shop class and so fled in shame to the school's basement, where he now works and lives ala The Phantom of the Opera), along with his evil mutated rat sidekick Ratticus, extracts his revenge on the school by using a machine of his design that can warp reality to transform the school into many strange and dangerous places (he transforms the school into everything from a prehistoric dinosaur-filled jungle to Ancient Rome to a Comic Book to James Bond-esque spy film in various episodes), usually basing what he transforms the school into on whatever relevant topic has come up in school classes (or just in normal conversations around the school) on that day. It's then up to the school's resident Four Man Band of students (namely Billy O' Toole, Marcus Snarkus, Ruby Snarkus, and Lydia Lopez) and their rather large cast of school friends to save the school and the day.
The principal of the school is also a talking rhino in a suit, and the janitor is a former-secret agent humanoid-pig. There seems to be little reason for this outside of the fact that they just are. (Well, the Principal does have an autobiography called "It's a skin condition, REALLY!")
It ran for two seasons and 26 episodes. Nelvana has also started making episodes available on Youtube through their Keep it Weird channel.
This show provides examples of:
- Academy of Adventure: What do you expect from a school where a supervillain put his lair in the basement?
- Accidental Misnaming: Ratticus always mispronounces "Phantom" as "Phanthom". Earl usually ignores it, likely because when he does try to correct him it never works. In "Phantom Christmas", Earl has a nightmare where he is still a student and Ratticus is the villain. Naturally, he calls himself "The Phanthom", and everyone corrects Earl when he says "Phantom".
- Almighty Janitor: Buford, a former CIA agent, now the school's janitor. His expertise is usually called upon to help the students deal with the Phantom's latest reality-warping attack on the school. In one episode, a running Shout-Out to James Bond, he gets to supply the four main students with spy gadgets.
- The B Grade: Why Earl became the Phantom. A D in shop class was too much to bear.
- Blatant Lies: Earl claims to have invented the machine, yet one episode has Ratticus calling a company hotline to help him repair it. Meaning Earl in fact ordered it.
- Butt-Monkey: Ratticus is frequently either being beaten up by Phantom or being insulted by him.
- Berserk Button: Ho, boy, Earl has a whole keyboard of these. And pressing them is what instigates his attacks.
- Chekhov's Classroom: The Phantom usually transforms the school into a death trap based on whatever lecture (or sometimes just topic of discussion in general) the children were having that day. This naturally leads to the students who were paying attention being the one to get everyone out of trouble.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the race against Achilles, the kids devise a plan to psyche him out by having students wearing casts on their legs or dragging their feet, which in turn makes him paranoid about his heel and gets more and more messed up, totally freaking out and losing the race. Yes a bunch of normal kids, Mind Raped a Greek Demi-God.
- The Door Slams You: Mulligan does this to Buford in the intro.
- Edutainment Show: See above.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The first ever episode, "Prehysterical", has the school be turned into a prehistoric jungle full of, of course, dinosaurs.
- Frankenstein's Monster: An episode revolves around Earl creating one.
- Jerkass Gods: The Olympic Gods in "It's Greek To Me" are incredibly smug and obnoxious about their obvious physical prowess. Luckily, their egos are the Fatal Flaw that the kids exploit to prevail.
- Large Ham: Earl, of course.
- Laughably Evil: Despite his ability to change the school into whatever he pleases, it's hard to take Earl seriously.
- Logic Bomb: In "Comic Book Chaos", the kids defeat Wedgie Woman by taking off their underpants and then daring her to give them a wedgie - leading to her giving herself a wedgie.
- Master of Disguise: "Live and Let Spy" has one of Earl's henchmen, The Impostor, being one of these, utilizing disguises of the Latex Perfection variety to impersonate Edna the lunch lady and Mrs. Snodgrass. During his proper introduction by Earl, he demonstrates his disguise ability by removing a mask of his normal face to reveal rubber masks of another teacher, Princial Mulligan and Ratticus.
- Meaningful Name: Ratticus is, of course, a talking rat.
- Mind Screw: 'Phantom Christmas' revolves around the Phantom receiving one of these.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Ratticus
- Mirror Universe: One episode had Earl send the kids to a parallel universe where most people's personalities were reversed and their school was a miniature dystopia. Raticus hung a lampshade on this, saying that he's seen that in a cartoon before.
- Once More, with Volume!: Used as a Running Gag between The Phantom and Raticus:The Phantom: What did he/she say????Raticus: He/She said that...The Phantom: I HEARD HIM/HER!!!!!
- Pirate: "Yo Ho Ho and the Phantom's A Bum" is a pirate-centric episode, where Earl transforms the school into a seven-seas setting and materializes a crew of rowdy pirates who conscript the kids. Mrs. Snodgrass even states in her Chekhov's Classroom that while pirates can seem romantic, they were still ultimately scoundrels.
- Shout-Out: A lot of them, from small one-liners in the individual episodes, to entire episodes being a shout-out to a specific genre/media type (the prementioned Comic Book and James Bond episodes) to the fact that the Phantom himself is an obvious parody of The Phantom of the Opera.
- In The Pilot, Ruby yells "Oh, look! It's BARNEY!!!"
- The Parallel Universe episode makes many allusions to "Through the Looking-Glass" Not that Earl sends them into a Wonderland like reality, but simply the fact the characters bring up the book over and over, and becomes the Deus ex Machina to getting back home.
- Billy wears his red cap with a yellow "B" on it like Bert Raccoon wears his red sweater, also with a yellow "B". While Len Carlson provided Bert's voice on The Raccoons, he provided voices on both shows. However, Ashley Brown (yes, he's African-Canadian) voiced Billy.
- Speaking of Brown, he also voiced a main character whose name also begins with a "B" and wears a red cap: Bradley.
- Status Quo Is God: no matter how many times Earl's computer get wrecked, destroyed, broken or other at the end of each episode, it's back to normal the next one.
- Theme Naming: Every minion that Earl creates that he has a soft spot for, he adds "cus" to the end. (Ratticus, Hornetcus, Garbagecus)
- Truncated Theme Tune: A couple of parts were cut from the intro for time when the show aired on CBS (Canadian and UK broadcasts have the theme intact).
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The principal is a rhino and the janitor is a pig who used to work as a spy, two facts which (outside of the show's theme song) are never commented upon by anyone. The teachers at the school also never seem to realise that their entire school completely changes into something incredibly dangerous and new on a daily basis (either that or they're in real deep denial).
- Well, Mrs. Snodgrass just incorporates the madness into her lectures, but Mulligan is stated in the first episode to be in denial about 'The Phantom'.
- Uplifted Animal: Raticus is stated to be this.
- Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Earl P. Sidebottom is an Evil Genius with a Reality Warper machine at his disposal, capable of putting the students in life-threatening situations. Though he fails pretty much Once an Episode, he's still far more of a threat than his Minion with an F in Evil, Ratticus.
- Villain Episode: "Phantom Christmas"