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Western Animation / Garbage Pail Kids Cartoon

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Left to right: Split Kit, Elliot Mess, Clogged Duane, Terry Cloth, Patty Putty.
Garbage Pail Kids is an animated series based on card franchise of the same name. It was meant to be broadcasted by CBS, but only saw one episode airing because of angry parents' groups. Years later, it saw a DVD release instead, revealing 13 episodes.

The series focuses on the adventures of five Kids: Terry Cloth, Clogged Duane, Patty Putty, Elliot Mess, and Split Kit. Occasionally, the series displayed misadventures of other characters.

It is not to be confused with a second animated series based on the franchise, currently in development, that was announced for HBO Max in 2021.

This series provides examples of:

  • Accordion Man: The teaser to "Heartless Hal" has a man play Simon Says with the audience and smugly gloat that unseen participants are out of the game for following his instructions when he didn't say "Simon Says" or doing things he didn't say they could do. He gets what's coming to him when he says "Stomp your feet", which results in him getting stepped on by a giant and transformed into a human accordion who groans "I didn't say Simon Says".
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Terri Cloth. In her card she was blonde, but in the series, her hair is orange.
    • The hair on Split Kit's good half was blond on the original card, but in this series it is brown.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: When Alien Ian appears in the movie parody segment "Garbage Pail Aliens from the Junkoid Zone Attack Earth", his face is cuter and less skull-like than how it is depicted on the original trading card.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Terri Cloth was wearing an underdress on her original trading card, as she was shown accidentally wiping her face off while in the bathroom. Here, she is clearly wearing a dress.
  • Advertised Extra: The opening sequence features appearances by the following characters even though they are one-shot characters within the series: Clint Hardwood, Flaky Paint and the Hole-in-the-Head Kids from the movie parody segment "Pie Fight at the Okee Dokee Corral", Idaho Spud from the movie parody segment "Idaho Spud and the Temple of Trash" and Green Dean from the episode "Green Dean Goes out of His Bean".
  • Adaptation Name Change: Charred Chad/Fryin' Ryan appears in "Kinky Konk" under the name "Guy Zilla".
  • Age Lift: Patty Putty is depicted as a young girl when she appeared to be a baby on her original trading card. Justified in that while the others' card appearances seem to be the same age, Patty's displays her in a diaper, indicating she's only about 2 years old.
  • The Alleged Car: Rustin' Justin. The second segment of episode 3, Justin Cleans Up, is about a rich man turning him from this into a Cool Car.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The first segment of the series, Junkoid Zone Aliens, has a trio of aliens able to speak the human language.
  • Animated Adaptation: A cartoon based on the Garbage Pail Kids trading cards.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In Idaho Spud and the Temple of Trash, an anthropomorphic lizard (possibly meant to be card character Lizard Liz) captures the main trio and attempts to eat them. When they throw in the airplane pilot, who is a living corn cob, he predictably produces popcorn. The lizards joyfully start eating it...disregarding that popcorn is dangerous to lizards.
  • Badass Boast: This exchange in "Savage Stuart".
    Curly Carla: What makes you think you'll succeed where others have failed?
    Savage Stuart: Well, I am Savage Stuart, the garbage pail barbarian...
  • Bad Santa: Chris Mess from "Chris Messin' August", a bratty kid in a Santa suit who impersonates the real deal in a plan to ruin Christmas for everyone by lying to them that nowadays being bad will get them presents.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While the kids are generally nice guys, if they see harm coming to someone else or each other, they will stop at nothing to defeat it.
  • Blind Without 'Em: The episode "Mona Loser" had the Garbage Pail Kids go back in time to find out why the Mona Loser was frowning. It turns out that Leonardo da Squinty was fired by Mona's husband because he was near-sighted and couldn't paint a proper portrait because of his visual problems. Elliot Mess fixes everything by inventing a pair of glasses for Leonardo, enabling him to see perfectly.
  • Bond Gun Barrel: The movie parody segment Goldthumb, as to be expected from a spoof of a James Bond film, features a parody of the famous scene of James Bond shooting at the gun barrel where James Bland gets panicky and fires a pie gun.
  • Bound and Gagged: Split Kit gets tied up by Chris Mess and his goons in "Chris Messin' August".
  • Canon Foreigner: The cartoon features a lot of Garbage Pail Kids that did not exist in the original trading cards, most of them serving as bit characters in the movie parody segments. Two examples are Louie Litter and Bombed Bill from "Honest Abe Has a Close Shave", who are respectively a sentient trash bin and a dilapidated purple airplane with a goofy face.
  • Chick Magnet: The Figment in The Pink Cat's Eye gets a lot of attention from girls.
  • Christmas Episode: "Chris Messin' August" has shades of being a Christmas episode even though the title and a line from Terri in the beginning of the episode indicates that the episode does not take place during Christmas.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Trash Can Ken is shown in the first two episodes as the Kids' leader, but he's nowhere to be seen in the remaining eleven episodes.
  • Composite Character: Terri Cloth in this series is actually a combination of the card characters Terri Cloth (her name, being The Blank) and Jan Hand (her face being on her hand instead of on her head).
  • Cupid's Arrow: The second segment of episode 10, titled "Heartless Hal" has the titular cupid run rampant, making everybody except Clogged Duane fall for each other.
  • Determinator: Stacy Hoopenagle/Fay Hooray in "Kinky Kong" remains determined to capture a Kaiju.
  • Deal with the Devil: In "Chris Messin' August", Split Kit gets tricked into working for Chris Mess, who manipulates him with the false promise of giving him everything he's always wanted for Christmas.
  • Disappeared Dad: Patty Putty's mother appears in "Elliot Messed Up", but no mention is made of her father.
  • Edible Ammunition: The movie parody segment Pie Fight at the Okee Dokee Corral has guns that shoot pies, which Clint Hardwood eventually uses to defeat Butch Casualty and Sunburnt Kip by force-feeding them pies until they are too obese to move.
  • Expy: Quite a few of the characters are based on other ones.
    • Patty Putty may be one of Plastic Man due to having stretching abilities.
    • It's hard to deny that Split Kit may have been inspired by the Batman villain Two-Face, since his face, hair, and clothes are asymmetrical and his left side is evil-looking.
    • Green Dean from "Green Dean Goes out of His Bean" is a more child-friendly one of Audrey.
    • Kinky Konk is one of King Kong.
    • Idaho Spud is one of Indiana Jones.
  • Fly in the Soup: The old joke is inverted in the Garbage Pail Groaner segment of the episode "Land of Odd", where a customer orders soup, then complains to the waiter about a man swimming in it. The customer and waiter's faces are initially hidden, with the punchline showing their faces to reveal that they're both giant flies.
    Customer: Waiter! What's that man doing in my soup?
    Waiter: It looks like the backstroke to me.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You:
    • One of the "Would We Lie to You?" segments had the announcer state that changing the channel to watch any other show would make one's hand turn green. We then see a man's hand try to change the channel, only to be spray-painted green by a hand from inside the television.
    • The Parody Commercial for the Automatic Tattler, a robot that tattles on children whenever they misbehave. The segment ends with the Automatic Tattler telling on the audience for watching the show.
    Automatic Tattler: Mrs. Johnson, they're watching Garbage Pail Kids!
  • Grossout Show: Tried to be this, but the rather cutesy art style made the gross-out humor stand out less. What it lacks in grossness, though, it makes up for in general weirdness.
  • Grumpy Old Man: The Garbage Pail Award segment of "Heartless Hal" had the award presented to the Neighborhood Grouch, a crotchety old man who is seen yelling at children for playing on his lawn and trick-or-treaters for bugging him at Halloween.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Patty Putty is blonde and a very sweet girl.
  • Haunted House: The kids have a romp through one in "The House That Dripped Crud".
  • I'm Melting!: In "The Land of Odd", Haggy Maggie melts after Clogged Duane splashes on her, complete with obligatory nod to the scene from The Wizard of Oz.
    Haggy Maggie: I'm melting! Who would've thought that a gross little kid like you would ruin my wonderful badness! What a world!
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The Fry, the movie parody segment of "A Fishy Story", had the main character played by and bearing a noticeable resemblance to Sunny Besen Thrasher.
  • Innocent Aliens: The aliens mentioned above posed no threat to the humans; all they wanted was to find a good place for a picnic.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Split Kit. He's often pretty mischievous and arrogant, but he's always there for his friends.
  • Literal Metaphor:
    • In "Green Dean Goes out of His Bean", Elliot Mess says "Stop pulling my leg" as an indication that he doesn't believe Patty Putty's story about a plant monster with a voracious appetite. Because his limbs are scrambled and Patty was dragging him along, though, Patty actually was pulling his leg.
    • The Garbage Pail Groaner segment of "Heartless Hal" had a boy caught stealing cookies from the cookie jar. He states "My hand's not red" when his mother tells him he was caught red-handed, but becomes shocked after discovering that his hand actually is colored red.
    • The final episode featured a segment where a boy is reprimanded for his actions by his mother using common figures of speech and the boy then having a transformation happen that matches the play on words. For instance, being told that his face will freeze that way causes his face to become frozen solid after making a face, and being told that he'll take root if he stands where he is too long causes him to become a tree.
  • Meaningful Name: The five main characters, excluding Terry Cloth.
  • Mirror Routine: The classic gag of one character pretending to be the other's reflection is done between Elliot Mess and a skeleton in "The House That Dripped Crud".
  • Monster of the Week: Most of the show's main episodes have the Garbage Pail Kids face a different villain or group of villains.
  • Monumental Theft: The villains of "Honest Abe Has A Close Shave" steal the head of Abe Lincoln (or, as he is referred to in his "garbage" persona, "Wrinklin' Lincoln) from Mt. Rushmore.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Junkoid Zone Aliens, the military tries to get rid of the aliens by dumping purple guck on army ants, which only ends up making them large enough to chomp on buildings. They do get the aliens to leave, though.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: A lot of the movie parody segments have the characters given parody names based on those of famous actors and actresses. For example, "Kinky Konk" starred Fay Hooray (a spoof of Fay Wray), the protagonist of "Pie Fight at the Okee Dokee Corral" was named Clint Hardwood (a play on Clint Eastwood), and the main character of "Oops: A Disaster Movie" was named Richard Dryfish (a play on Richard Dreyfuss).
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: In the movie parody segment "Garbage Pail Aliens from the Junkoid Zone Attack Earth", Alien Ian, Janet Planet and Martian Marcia are eventually forced to leave Earth after hearing a news bulletin warning that the Earth is being attacked by aliens, not realizing that it's talking about them.
  • Off to See the Wizard: In "The Land of Odd", Split Kit, Clogged Duane, and Patty Putty end up in a The Wizard of Oz parody after getting swept up in a tornado at a fair.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: In "Green Dean Goes Out of His Bean", after Green Dean is defeated and turned into flowers, Mrs. Slotnick is given an award for "the most beautiful exotic flowers growing on a former weed that ate up a supermarket".
  • Parental Abandonment: Split Kit and Terri Cloth are the only two main characters with neither parent accounted for, when Elliot Mess's parents and Patty Putty's mother appeared in "Elliot Messed Up" and Clogged Duane's parents were both present in "An Egg-citing Adventure" with his mother appearing without his father in "Elliot Messed Up".
  • Parental Hypocrisy: The teaser to the episode "An Egg-citing Adventure" shows a pair of children being told not to watch too much television by their parents from off-screen, being warned that too much TV will turn them into couch potatoes. When we finally see the parents, we see they've already become literal couch potatoes. Even when this is revealed, the potato mother has the gall to lament how children these days are always glued to the set.
  • Parody Commercial: Several segments were advertisements for fake products.
    • Friendly Al's Used Toy Store, a toy store for broken toys run by a guy who seems to have no idea that children actually hate him.
    • Anti-Kissing Creme, a skin lotion you rub on your cheek that makes it physically impossible for relatives with bad breath to kiss you.
    • The Automatic Tattler, a robot that tattles on other children for their misbehavior.
    • The Homework Machine, a device that automatically does all your homework for you so you can have time to watch your favorite shows.
  • Pet Dress-Up: The "Family Dog" teaser in Episode 12 has a dog complain about how he's treated, the last grievance brought up is how the daughter tends to dress him like a baby.
  • Portal Book: "A Rhyme in Time" had the gang enter a book of nursery rhymes into a world of nursery rhymes to investigate why Jack and Jill were missing from the illustration of their rhyme.
  • Raiders of the Lost Parody: Idaho Spud is an Indiana Jones spoof.
  • Rubber Man: Rubber Girl in this case. Patty Putty can stretch her body into any shape.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Done by Clogged Duane in the second segment of episode six, Elliot Messed Up. He tries to give Kennel Kenny (a dog who follows Elliot home) a bath, only to make a mess of the bathroom. He tries to escape through the drain, but his mom grabs him before he can succeed.
  • Self-Deprecation: While the segments that feature parents and Moral Guardians decrying the cartoon are mainly examples of Take That!, some of them also border on the cartoon making fun of itself. The most notable case is in the teaser to the first episode, where a bespectacled woman voicing her distaste towards the show states that it's terrible anyone would put a show like it on television and then demands that the audience change the channel.
  • Sentient Vehicle: The Garbage Pail Kids have traveled with a sentient car named Rustin' Justin, a sentient airplane named Bombed Bill (though he doesn't talk) and a sentient hot air balloon named Cheryl Peril.
  • Superman Substitute: Nat Nerd is occasionally used as a Superman parody, to the point that his most prominent appearance is in a movie parody segment that spoofs Superman: The Movie, where he has to thwart his enemy Lex Lumpy's plan to use a giant robot resembling Elvis Presley to steal candy.
  • Take That, Critics!: A lot of segments showed parents and Moral Guardians decrying this show, which were more than likely digs toward the controversy this animated series caused when it was first announced.
  • Taken for Granite: Curly Carla attempts to do this to the eponymous character in "Savage Stuart the Barbarian". Just like in the myth, he simply reflects her glare with his shield, giving her the effect of turning to a stone statue instead.
  • Title, Please!: While the opening sequence includes the show's name, the individual episodes do not have titles, presumably due to the show never having aired on television and only being made publicly available through a DVD release made nearly two decades after the show was produced.
  • Two-Faced: Split Kit is completely different on both sides of his body, being a normal-looking kid on one side and a fierce punk with red and green hair on the other side.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Patty Putty and Terri Cloth are the only two members of the main group who are girls.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: "Heartless Hal" took place on Valentine's Day and had a cherub named Hal attempt to use his arrows to make everyone fall in love with each other. Duane, being the only one not hit by Hal's arrows, has to save the day when everyone being in love with one another creates chaos.
  • Valentine's Day Vitriol: Split Kit, Clogged Duane and Elliot Mess are shown to not like Valentine's Day very much in "Heartless Hal", mainly due to being boys with the mindset that expressing affection is gross.
  • Vile Vulture: The movie parody segment Pie Fight at the Okee Dokee Corral had a scene where Clint Hardwood encountered a vulture who tried to eat him.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: It is never even hinted about where the show takes place.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: A good number of the movie parody segments were spoofs of specific movies, though some of them are nominal parodies.
  • Your Mom: Comes up in the movie parody segment Savage Stuart the Garbage Pail Barbarian, where one of the titular character's attempts at getting Galloping Glen mad is to ask him if his mother wears army horseshoes, a play on the classic "your mother wears army boots" insult.

Alternative Title(s): Garbage Pail Kids