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Western Animation / Gary the Rat

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"Gary Andrews was a successful Wall Street attorney. He had money, prestige and power. But in winning the rat race, Gary had gone too far."
— The narrator, at the start of every episode.

Gary the Rat (2003) was an adult-oriented, animated television series created by Mark & Robb Cullen. It starred Kelsey Grammer as an Amoral Attorney named Gary Andrews who, one day, discovered that his ruthless tactics have earned him a Karmic Transformation — he's now a 6-foot-tall anthropomorphic rat, who must struggle to keep his job at the Harrison, Camille, Beckett & Weiss law firm, while simultaneously warding off local exterminator Johnny Bugz, who is hellbent on killing him. The series lasted one season of 13 episodes on Spike TV and was introduced to the world as a small series of webisodes.

Tropes used in this series:

  • Affectionate Parody:
    • "This is Not a Pipe", of the film Philadelphia.
    • The whole series' premise is a nod to Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis." There's even a scene where Gary has a nightmare that he's turned into a cockroach.
  • Amoral Attorney: Gary. Full stop.
  • Animal Talk: Since his transformation, Gary can talk to rodents.
  • Asshole Victim: Terry Mcmillan, on his very first day of work, proves to be a thief, a cad, a backstabber, a liar, a sexual harasser and embezzler. When he's killed off at the end of the episode, nobody really cares.
    • Ditto for Gary's shady cousin Jerry. When he's murdered right in front of Gary, Gary isn't very broken up over it.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Gary.
  • Butter Face: Angel, Mr. Stiletto's goddaughter. She has an attractive, slender body, but her face resembles some kind of fish/lizard creature.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Or rat-ears lawyer... Mr. Harrison doesn't think much of Gary, especially now that he's a rat-man, but he is the best lawyer in the firm.
  • Cartoon Cheese: Typically used straight, but it's more often presented in cubes than the classic wedge.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Introduces every episode.
  • Class Reunion: "The Reunion", natch.
  • Coming-Out Story: Mr. Harrison's son Scott subverts this; Scott believes that his father already knows and disapproves of the lifestyle, but it turns out that Mr. Harrison was clueless the whole time and hates Scott only for being a "no-good slacker deadbeat".
  • Downer Ending: It's heavily implied that Gary manages to regain his humanity by trying to stop Johnny from being executed, but is killed when the bomb goes off.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: Everybody important dies in the final episode, thanks to Johnny's explosive... Well, okay, one person survives, but exactly who it is isn't shown before the credits roll. And it's not clear if they survived at all.
  • Harmless Villain: Johnny Bugz, although he's not so harmless to people that aren't Gary.
  • Interspecies Romance: Johnny has... very strong feelings for his cat, Boots. Boots doesn't seem to reciprocate.
  • Jerkass: Everyone.
  • Just Woke Up That Way: Gary woke up as a rat in the first episode.
  • Karmic Transformation: Gary's dirty tactics got him transformed into a rat.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Johnny Bugz shoots six innocent bystanders trying to get Gary. He's promptly arrested and put on death row for serial killing.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Gary's Limited Wardrobe consists of a large collection of Armani and Valentino suits.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Gary dies trying to save Bugz, despite being able to not be punished for any bad deed he commits.
  • No Indoor Voice: Mr. Harrison.
  • Only Six Faces: Bud and all of his relatives/acquaintances. Points for their names usually being a variation of "Bud", to boot.
  • Once an Episode: Johnny Bugz' trap ends up killing an innocent bystander instead of Gary.
  • Phrase Catcher: Gary is a "rat bastard".
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: How Mr. Harrison ever was put in charge of an upscale law firm is anybody's guess. The man is obviously insane, seems to know nothing about law, and is constantly distracted by discussions about food.
  • Rich Bitch: A rare male example in Truman Pinksdale.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Gary is a six-foot-tall rat.
  • Running Gag
    • Gary's newfound love of gourmet cheeses, oversized mouse and hamster toys, and rolling around in garbage.
    • Gary having unsettlingly frank phone conversations with his mother.
    • Bud confusing Gary for a large dog and subsequently being offered $5 to kill himself.
    • Gary's dreams at the start of every episode. Most (but not all) involves his head being cut or otherwise torn off.
    • Characters complaining about injured balls.
  • Sadistic Choice: Don Stiletto gives Gary a pretty blunt one... marry his goddaughter, who is a hideous, mutated, animalistic... thing... or be killed. Gary takes option A, albeit with considerable reservations.
  • Shout-Out: In the intro to "Mergers and Acquisitions", Gary is informed by a hotel clerk that he's been given the Willard suite.
  • Slasher Smile: "... So if you even try to evict me, I will litigate you all into ANNIHILATION!"
  • Sole Survivor: Boots is the only major character to survive the series finale. Not only that, but unscathed!
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Gary retains his culture and articulation despite now being a rat-man.
  • Speed Sex: One of the episode intros has Gary dreaming of meeting a cute girl who is interested in him on the basis that rats are able to climax multiple times. He actually manages to do so right there in her presence. The newly-woken-up Gary laments that he needs to stop taking Viagra.
  • Status Quo Is God: If anything happens in an episode that threatens to change Gary's life or social standing (a love interest, a chance of promotion, etc.), expect for the source to either be killed in a freak accident or quickly forgotten about. Or both.
  • The Stoner: Bud; doubles as The Ditz.
  • Tail Slap: Gary's tail is very powerful. Someone accidentally ran over it with a shopping cart except the cart flipped over and slipped all its contents. When he actually directs it at someone, it's gonna hurt.
  • The Unreveal: We never see what Gary's face looked like as a human. There is an undetailed, far-away shot of him in the opening and we see the back of his head when he has a dream about being in school as a kid, but his face is never shown. We also don't see his mother on screen either, though she did have a speaking scene.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Gary assumes that Mrs. Harrison is a frumpy old bat, as she's married to a bald, dumpy, unattractive lunatic like Mr. Harrison. Turns out, she's a knockout... and ultimately, she genuinely loves him.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: A six-foot-tall rat-man? It never inspires much more than bemused surprise at best, mild disgust at worst. Same goes for Boots behaving like a human occasionally.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Guess who.
  • The Vamp: Gary's law school flame, Caroline, is pretty conniving, manipulative and wholly without scruples. It's obvious that she was a perfect match for Gary. Despite Gary being wise to underhanded attorneys, her ploy almost suckers him in nonetheless.