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Western Animation / John Callahan's Quads!

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"I used to love the nightlife
And hang out in a bar...
I used to hit the bottle,
But then I hit a car.
—First lines of opening theme
It's my life, such as it is...SUCH AS IT IS!

John Callahan's Quads! is a Canadian-Australian Black Comedy from Nelvana created by American cartoonist John Callahan, who was rendered quadriplegic at the age of 21 after a car accident and based the cartoon on his experiences being around other handicapped people. Like most of Callahan's work, it is unapologetic in its warts-and-all portrayal of Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery, as Callahan resented what he saw as the pitying, patronizing attitude of the general population toward the disabled, and only assumed he had gone too far if he received complaints from disabled people themselves rather than the physically able getting outraged on their behalf.

The central character, Reilly O'Reilly, is paralyzed for life after being hit by a millionaire's car, and is able to live a life of luxury on the money from the legal settlement. His other friends include a blind man, a man with hooks in place of hands, and a head on a skateboard, and while they can be just as petty and selfish as the physically able, they are united in the face of a world that doesn't seem to know how to treat them. Like much of Callahan's work, it was praised by the disabled community for its Don't You Dare Pity Me! approach to physical handicaps.

The series ran on Teletoon's Detour block from February 3, 2001 to May 1, 2002 with 26 episodes and 2 seasons.

Interesting fact: This show was the very first animated series created for television that was done entirely in Adobe Flash, beating out ¡Mucha Lucha! by one year. Prior to Quads!, Flash had only been used for internet cartoons and animations.

See also Pelswick, John Callahan's much more Lighter and Softer take on disability, also from Nelvana.


  • All-Natural Fire Extinguisher: In the episode "Bad Manors", when Grizz's lit fart sets the Brombergs' curtain on fire, one of the members of Hell's Angels tries to put it out by peeing on it.
  • Blind People Wear Sunglasses: Fontaine has a pair of sunglasses covering up his blind eyes (which aren't even eyes so much as they're Xs).
  • Deal with the Devil: Reilly makes one in "Gonad's Faust" to restore his *ahem* fire, so to speak.
  • Demonic Possession: Satan possesses Reilly in "Gonad's Faust" in an attempt to claim his soul.
  • Everybody Knew Already: When Spalding comes out to his parents in "Spalding in the Family Way", they reveal that they had guessed it a long time ago.
  • Evil Laugh Turned Coughing Fit: In the episode "Gonads Faust", Reilly O'Reilly sells his soul to Satan in order to be able to get an erection again. In the middle of the episode, Satan comes to Reilly and charges him with a task: play a joke on Sister Butch Johnson. When watching the prank on his TV in hell, Satan has this to say.
    Satan: Hmm, he does good work, he'll make a fine minion. See you soon, Reilly. Hoo hoo hoo hoo! Ah ha ha ha ha-eugh(coughs up phlegm) Eh, I've got to get that looked at.
  • Granola Girl: Reilly's girlfriend, Franny.
  • Hook Hand: Lefty, one of Reilly's friends, has two.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Like many of his works, John Callahan based this show off how he ended up in a wheelchair. If it weren't for that fact, the show probably would never have lasted two seasons.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: At the end of "Spalding in the Family Way", it's revealed that Spalding's dad wears dresses under his clothes.
  • Repetitive Name: The main character is called Reilly O'Reilly.
  • Something Else Also Rises: In "Gonad's Faust", a Brachiosaurus can be seen lifting its neck up as Reilly and Franny attempt to have sex on the couch. However, when Franny informs Reilly that his "mighty rainstick" isn't as "mighty" as it usually is, the Brachiosaurus does an Aside Glance and sadly droops its head back down.
  • Status Quo Is God: One episode has the residents of Maimed Manor undergo experimental procedures which improve their various disabilities—until the side effects kick in, that is.