'Cause Baboon's better than Weasel.
I. R. Baboon, big star of cartoon
"I AM WEASEL!"
I. R. Baboon reigns king in his mind
He's just as good as the weaselly kind
But 'round any corner he's likely to find
"I am Weasel! I am Weasel! I... AM... WEASEL!"
Originally appearing as a segment on Cow and Chicken, I Am Weasel became self-contained Spin-Off in 1997, running for 79 episodes from then until 2000. When both shows ended and were put in reruns, they became their own separate shows, including frequent character crossovers (some of the Cow and Chicken shorts were later repackaged with the standalone Weasel shorts).
The show centered around a polite, hypercompetent, socially savvy weasel named I.M. Weasel (voiced by Michael Dorn) in his daily life attending to many people's needs. Weasel is incredibly accomplished in countless fields, including medicine, law, politics, music, science, and more. And behind him is his frenemy, the extremely dim-witted I.R. Baboon, who is jealous of Weasel's talents and is constantly plotting to ruin him. Weasel is aware of this, but remains pals with Baboon anyway, possibly because he realizes Baboon is far too stupid to pose any real threat. After the first series of episodes, the Red Guy from Cow and Chicken also joined the main cast.
Consult the Cow and Chicken page for a recap of I.M. Weasel episodes (and give it some much-needed wiki magic, as there are a lot of episode summaries not listed).
This show provides examples of:
- The Ace: I.M. Weasel, more notably in the early seasons, tends to be highly skilled and competent at whatever task he's entrusted with.
- Animated Actors: "I Am Cliched", essentially a Take That! on old cartoon tropes.
- Anvil on Head: Mercilessly parodied in "I Am Cliched" (see Animated Actors above). Weasel and Baboon get hit by an anvil, a piano, five more anvils, an elephant, a whale, and a kitchen sink. It eventually becomes the running gag for this episode, where every scene ended with someone getting an anvil dropped on their head. (and one safe)
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In comic book store "X Marks the Baboon", I.R. Baboon finds a treasure map and imagines himself living "a lifestyle of diamonds, high-class parties and rubber band collecting".
- Artistic License Biology: In "The Incredible Shrinking Weasel", the gluteus maximus is portrayed as a bone. It is actually a muscle.
- Artistic License Geology: Somewhat averted, surprisingly. In one episode, there's a massive hole that I.R. plugs up, destroying the world, because it's a "Ground Level Volcano." This is actually similar to how real-life super-volcanoes work, such as the one under Yellowstone National Park- there are no mountains formed by them, but instead a massive magma bubble builds up underground, and, since it's "Plugged Up," when it erupts it does incredible amounts of damage. In fact, one that erupted 75,000 years ago at Toba in Indonesia, nearly wiped out the human race. However, there is no "Hole," for one to erupt out of, and while the eruption would be devastating, it would certainly not destroy the entire Earth.
- Bankruptcy Barrel: In the episode "Baboon Man and Boy Weasel", Baboon and Weasel are a pair of costumed crime-fighters who search for a pants thief. The pants thief's victims are shown to be wearing barrels after losing their pants.
- Big Eater: Lullabelle is shown to be this in the ice fishing episode.
- Brainy Baby: "I Am My Lifetime" shows that Weasel was intelligent and articulate ever since he was a newborn.
- Break Out Character - Full series spun off from Cow and Chicken
- Butt-Monkey: I.R. Baboon (more noticeable in the early seasons). Quite literally, too. Weasel would also develop his fair share of bad luck in later episodes as well (Thus toning down his "Mr. Perfect" character).
- The Cameo: "I Am My Lifetime" features a bunch, as the main characters are in different retirement communities. In the old cartoon stars retirement home with Weasel are Cow and Chicken, Dexter, Doggie Daddy, Jonny Quest, and Quick Draw McGraw. Over at the sidekicks retirement home with Baboon are Boo-Boo, Hadji, Baba Looey, Betty Rubble, Pebbles, and Bamm Bamm. And over in the old cartoon villains asylum with the Red Guy are Ranger Smith and Mr. Slate.
- Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: In one episode, Weasel goes to live with Cow (from Cow and Chicken) after she fishes him out of the TV. At first Weasel enjoys his new life since Cow feeds him all the pies he can eat. When they decide to watch TV to see how Baboon's doing, at first he's excited at the idea that he has his own show now that Weasel is gone, but quickly comes to realise that doesn't want to do a show without Weasel and cries out for him to come back.
- Characterization Marches On: I.R. Baboon was much more overtly antagonistic towards Weasel in the earlier seasons, usually trying to (unsuccessfully) upstage or sabotage him. Once the Red Guy was transplanted from Cow and Chicken, Baboon and Weasel started gravitating towards Vitriolic Best Buds.
- The creator has said that they are best friends, they just act like enemies.
- Christmas Episode:
- "Happy Baboon Holidays", where I.R. Baboon's family visits him for Christmas.
- "I.R.'s First Bike", where I.R. gets a bike for Christmas.
- Apparently, Cartoon Network counts "Dessert Island" from Season 3 too... probably because of the Gingerbread Men tribe, who carry candy canes like staffs.
- Comic-Book Adaptation: Comic stories starring I.R. Baboon and I.M. Weasel were featured in Cartoon Cartoons, Cartoon Network Starring, and Cartoon Network Block Party.
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Baboon hates it when Weasel saves him, because he knows that's only going to make Weasel even more beloved by the public.
- Conjoined Twins:
- In "I Stand Corrected", one of the inmates at the correctional facility has a "Fred" device attached to his backside. When removed, he turns out to have a full conjoined twin stuffed under there somehow.
- Baboon and Weasel speed past a pair of conjoined twins and cause them to separate in the episode "Magnificent Motorbikini".
- Crapsack World: It often seems that the entire universe of the show is as brainless as Baboon, with Weasel as the Only Sane Man.
- Criminal Doppelgänger: In the first issue of DC's Cartoon Cartoons comic books, Who Are Baboon features a doppelganger of I.R. who is an evil bank robber named U.R.; in-universe, they are difficult to tell apart, however U.R. is distinguishable from I.R. with his green shirt that read "U.R." and his curly hair.
- Crossover: One episode in the final season had Weasel and Baboon returning to school, and they are placed in Cow and Chicken's class.
- The Devil Is a Loser: Red Guy becomes a recurring sorta antagonist in the second season. Sometimes he's running an aimless scam or committing fraud. Sometimes he's the Damsel in Distress Weasel and Baboon need to save. And sometimes he's just kinda there, being weird and stupid.
- The Ditz: The main reason I.R. Baboon fails to be as good as Weasel in anything is that he's very dumb.
- Double Entendre: In "Unsinkable I.R.", Weasel turns to Baboon and says: "Mr. Baboon! Where is the first mate!?", to which the Baboon replies "Oh, he's down in the hold... waxing the dinghy." And then immediately the camera begins to pan downwards through the boat towards the hold.
- Drop-In Character: Loulabelle the nurse, Weasel's main squeeze, at the beginning of Season Two... however, see Put on a Bus below...
- Dumbass Has a Point: Baboon in a "A Troo Storee":Weasel: Don't you see what this means you brainless louth? You wrote a book so bad, that it makes people stupid instead of smart! Why did I trust you?! What was I thinking!? Your book has ruined the world!
- Baboon's point is later proven when Weasel, not wanting to be the only smart person in a world of idiots, read the book and it didn't make him any less intelligent. It was just everybody else was already that stupid and he didn't notice until now.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Seen at the end of "The Hole," complete with various objects flying from the explosion such as buildings, cars, even a pork butt on a plate!
- Emergency Cargo Dump: Parodied in "I.M. Bush Pilot." After delivering hundreds of babies in midflight, the sudden additional passengers weigh the plane down, causing Weasel to lose altitude, so Baboon works to lighten the plane; he throws out Red Guy (who was the stewardess), various crates of cargo, a two-ton man named Tom, and even tries chopping the tail of the plane off. In the end, however, Weasel manages to make an emergency landing in the very lake he was flying his passengers to.
- Evil Lawyer Joke: In "Law of Gravity", Weasel reprimands Baboon for causing the world's lawyers to float away after he destroys the paper documenting the law of gravity. Baboon replies by asking why the lawyers floating away is a bad thing.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Occurs in the episode "The Incredible Shrinking Weasel", where Weasel and Baboon shrink to get inside the Red Guy's body and fix a crack in his butt bone.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: The episode "I.R. Pixie Fairy" as part of "Uncle Breezybum's Storybook Corner."
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: "I Architect" sees Weasel and Baboon's brains switched after an accident. Baboon becomes a renowned hero, while Weasel acts like a total idiot and is "gifted" a mandatory retirement. Notably, they don't switch voices, just speech patterns.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: "A Troo Storee" shows Red Guy also wrote a book: "Red Like Me". The cover, of course, features his butt.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: Weasel and Baboon in "I Am Vampire". Too bad the local vampire hunter Van Smellsing (the Red Guy) is convinced that all vampires are evil monsters.
- Furry Reminder: Weasel's love for eggs, which is partial Truth in Television. Weasels don't actually suck the yolks from eggs, but they do love them.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Though Baboon and Weasel were usually at odds, there were episodes where they were comrades. By the end of the show's run they are more or less Vitriolic Best Buds.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: In "I Am Crybaby", I.R. Baboon hallucinates that he has a shoulder angel and a shoulder devil resembling the Red Guy.
- Happy Dance: Baboon, which originally was The Red Guy's on the Cow and Chicken pilot, "No Smoking."
- Hello, Nurse!: Loulabelle - Weasel's assistant.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Weasel plays this role in episodes like "Baboon Man and Weasel Boy" or "I.R. Robin Hood" where he is the assistent to Baboon's (of course) Idiot Hero.
- I Am Not Weasel: the Trope Namer, sort of.
- I Am the Noun
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Most episodes were named I Am/I Are____________ (whatever applied to Weasel or Baboon for that episode).
- I Just Want to Be Special: I.R. Baboon, if not also trying to one-up Weasel, just wants to be as revered and praised as Weasel is.
- Longer-Than-Life Sentence:
- "I.R. Wild Baboon" has Weasel facing several life sentences for letting Baboon go down a waterfall in his trailer.
- In "I Stand Corrected", Baboon is sentenced to 99 years in a correctional facility for being furless on a Tuesday. Weasel ends up forced to serve the sentence with Baboon because of a law forbidding judges from being hairy, short, and having beady eyes.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: I.R. Baboon in the third season episode "The Hole", when he plugs up a large hole that turns out to be a "ground-level volcano". The resulting build-up of pressure causes an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
- IM Weasel also counts. In one episode, he cried so hard he flooded the Earth with his tears by accident.
- Mind Screw: In one episode Both Weasel, Baboon and the Red Guy believe they are the last people on Earth, after finding all the streets deserted. It later turns out that everyone is just home, watching I Am Weasel on television. The very same episode in fact. One shot even shows weasel standing in front of the television that shows him standing in front of a television that shows him standing in front of a television that shows him standing in front of a television... you get the picture.
- Another episode called "Dessert Island" has Weasel and Baboon wake up on an island where everything is made of candy, and is inhabited by a tribe of gingerbread men. It later turns out the island is actually an ice cream sundae. And it's about to get eaten.
- Monkeys on a Typewriter: "A Troo Storee". The old "thousand monkeys on a typewriter" idiom... who are insulted when Weasel tries to pay them in bananas.
- Mountain of Food: Weasel and Baboon land on a dessert island.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Baboon and Weasel in a ping pong tournament. With electric guitars!
- My God, What Have I Done?: After being convinced Weasel has swiped his family for the Christmas celebrations, Baboon bitterly sneaks into his house and sabotages the festivities. He arrives back at his house, suddenly realizing the cruelty of his actions and bursts into tears.I.R.Baboon: *sobs* I.R. bad person....I.R PERSON BAADDD!!!
- Naked People Are Funny: I.R Baboon and his big red butt. The very first line of the theme song calls attention to it.
- There's also I.B. Red Guy a.k.a. The Red Guy from Cow and Chicken.
- Nice Guy: IM Weasel
- Niche Network: The Airplane Channel.
- At the end of a Wright Brothers documentary, the brothers decide to toast with a root beer float, after which the channel inexplicably becomes the Root Beet Float Channel.
- The Wright Bros. episode also had an unknown channel where a horse punches a cowboy, The Cat Shaving Network, and The Grandma Channel.
- Nurse with Good Intentions: Loulabelle herself.
- Parody Sue: In early episodes, Weasel played The Ace rather genuinely. As the seasons progress, however, he becomes a more pretentious Small Name, Big Ego that suffers due to living in a world of fools.
- Piano Drop: Parodied in "I Am Cliched" (see Anvil on Head above).
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Weasel's name declaration, though subverted in that the punctuation is actually his initials (I.M. Weasel).
- Punishment Box: In episode "I Stand Corrected", Weasel and Baboon are sent to a correctional institute that utilizes one of those boxes. Jailkeeper Red Guy doesn't seem to understand how they work considering he only locks himself inside them.
- Put on a Bus: After appearing regularly throughout Season Two, and in the Season Three premiere, Loulabelle was written off the show, after Cartoon Network complained that she was a dumb blonde stereotype.
- Cartoon Network also didn't like the character Jolly Roger for reasons David Feiss (the show creator) doesn't understand, but thinks it's because Jolly Roger made fun of people with speech impediments while Cartoon Network claimed it was because he was too similar to The Red Guy.
- Real Song Theme Tune: Sort of. The melody is similar to the nursery rhyme Pop Goes The Weasel.
- The Rival: Baboon in earlier seasons. Toned down in later episodes.
- Rules of the Road: In the opening credits, Weasel's driving a convertible with a hot blonde. But he passes a road sign that reads "LOGO". He leaps out of the car in the direction the sign indicates, and jumps into the logo for the show.
- Satan: The Red Guy.
- Shrunken Organ: Weasel and Baboon get in an accident which causes their brains to fall out. Weasel has a huge brain and Baboon has a tiny brain, both disproportionate to their respective head. Understandably, the doctors get them mixed up.
- Silly Walk: As always, The Red Guy walks using his butt cheeks.
- Take That!: "I Am Cliched" is pretty much a slam on Tiny Toon Adventures.
- Transplant: The Red Guy from the series' sister show Cow and Chicken started becoming a recurring character here by season two.
- Theme Tune Cameo: In "I.R. Music Man", Red Guy not only plays Baboon's leitmotif on his theremin, but he also plays and sings the theme song as well, with only slightly altered lyrics:Red Guy: You don't need pants for the victory dance/Baboon is better than Weasel/I.R. Baboon big star of cartoon/EXPLODE goes the Weasel! I.R. Baboon reigns king in his mind/he's just as good as the weasely kind/but 'round every corner, he's likely to find... EXPLODE goes the Weasel!
- Toilet Humour:
- "Power of Odor" involves the town becoming unbearably stinky because of I.R.'s bean-eating pigs, a not-so-sublte flatulence joke.
- "I Am My Lifetime" shows baby I.R. accidentally putting on a soiled diaper in a flashback and the episode ends with the now elderly I.R. making that mistake again.
- Too Dumb to Live: Baboon's brain is as small as his ego is large, so when he inevitably screws something up, Weasel has to bail him out.
- Universal-Adaptor Cast: Weasel and Baboon could be vikings, gladiators, cavemen, vampires, worker bees...
- Unreliable Narrator: The episode "My Blue Hiney" did a strange origin story for both I.M Weasel and I.R. Baboon (Baboon is a no-talent comedian and Weasel is a country singer who often comes to Baboon's rescue). It had an unidentified narrator with a somewhat deep Southern accent. At the end of the story, his voice drastically changes and he's revealed to be Jolly Roger, who of course made it all up.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Baboon was pretty much always portrayed as the antagonist in the early episodes, but later episodes show him being more cival towards Weasel. In fact, the two are actually friends for much of the series from that point.
- Vocal Dissonance: Short, shrimpy Weasel speaks with the docile, sophisticated tones of Michael Dorn.
- Voices Are Not Mental: "I. Architect" switches Weasel and Baboon's brains, so we get to hear Michael Dorn and Charlie Adler imitate the other's usual performance.
- Widget Series: Just like Cow and Chicken. Episode scenarios include trees coming to life, Weasel befriending a super-intelligent banana, Weasel and Baboon creating miniature versions of themselves...