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Western Animation / Larry & Steve

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Larry & Steve is a What A Cartoon! Show short from 1997. It is about a bipedal dog named Steve and his dopey owner, Larry.

It's Steve's last day at the shelter. He has one more chance to be adopted or he's euthanized. Thankfully, a man named Larry adopts Steve because he can understand his barking.

The short is most famous for being a prototypical version of Family Guy. The short is a sequel to a 1995 short film done as a thesis film by Seth MacFarlane. It doesn't have Larry's son Milt and Larry's wife Lois in it, but Larry and Steve are mostly the same as they were in the previous short. Being aimed at kids, it lacks the vulgar humour of its successor, but the similarities are still clear. Steve has the same voice and characteristics as Brian and Larry has the same voice and characteristics as Peter (as well as a similar outfit). The airplane pilot who briefly appears even has the same voice characteristics (and general appearance, only with a slightly smaller chin) as Quagmire. Elements from the pilot were reused for the first two Family Guy episodes as well. Larry would later make a cameo in the Season 21 episode "Happy Holoween".

This cartoon provides examples of:

  • Alternate Continuity: This cartoon and the Life of Larry short cannot exist in the same continuity, because even if you were to try and consider this as a prequel, in the first short, Larry was married, had a son, and lived in a house instead of an apartment.
  • Animals Fear Neutering: Averted. Steve admits that he's neutered and shows no issue with it.
  • Animal Talk: Steve speaks to the viewer but others, besides Larry, hear him as just barking.
  • Black Comedy: While not as crude as the Life of Larry short, the cartoon does feature people getting crushed by falling billboard letters and Steve being subjected to all kinds of Amusing Injuries.
  • Butt-Monkey: Steve. He gets injured all throughout the cartoon.
  • The Cameo: Shaggy from Scooby-Doo can be found looking at dogs at the pound in the beginning.
  • Captain Obvious: At the start of "Larry and Steve":
    Steve: Hi. I'm a dog, in case you're... well... stupid.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: In "Larry and Steve", while the car is driving out-of-control towards a stack of TNT, Steve interrupts his scream to point out: "Wait a minute, isn't that a little contrived?"
  • Curse Cut Short: It's implied Steve was about to swear at the store employee before it switched to her perspective where she just heard barking.
  • Cutaway Gag: Larry and Steve had some. Justified in that Seth MacFarlane was behind the cartoon and this would later be the hallmark for his more popular work, Family Guy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Steve is quite the sarcastic dog towards Larry and pretty much everyone. (Justified that he was the answer to Brian Griffin.)
  • Distinction Without a Difference: When Steve notices that Larry's driver's license is suspended, Larry responds that "they only took it away temporarily."
  • The Ditz: Larry. He is noted by Steve to be an idiot, and his stupidity causes Steve misfortune.
  • Easily Forgiven: A pilot gives a plane's controls to his son, and he ends up crashing the plane into a mall. The pilot instantly forgives his son after he makes a sad face.
  • Epic Fail: At the end of the cartoon, when Larry tries to tighten Steve's tripod, he somehow causes the camera to go out.
  • Fun with Homophones: When Steve firmly explains what will happen if Larry doesn't adopt him:
    Steve: You will be indirectly responsible for the resulting euthanasia. Explanation 
    Larry: Oh boy, they got enough kids over there as it is.
  • Held Back in School: Larry spent 12 years in kindergarten. He insists it wasn't because he was stupid, as he did not get held back, but he got his foot stuck in a radiator and it took 12 years for him to get out.
  • Idiot Houdini: Larry is a reckless buffoon, but Steve is the one who pays the price for his shenanigans.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Steve endures a lot of abuse throughout the cartoon, crashing into TNT, getting beat up by a malfunctioning massage bed, and getting stuck on the tip of a plane as it crashes into a mall. It's a wonder he can still go on.
  • Lighter and Softer: Larry & Steve is much less crass than the Life of Larry short.
  • Made of Explodium: Steve at one point crashes into a toilet that somehow explodes and sends him flying thousands of feet into the air.
  • Made of Iron: Ricky and his pilot father somehow survive the plane crash into the department store without scratch on them.
  • Never Say "Die": It's stated on an intercom that Steve would be "destroyed" if he wasn't adopted at the last minute.
  • Not So Stoic: Steve treats just about everything with a straight, unamused face, but he reacts appropriately to incoming danger with fear.
  • Partially Civilized Animal: Steve walks on two legs and can act human, but he's still a pet dog and is treated as such. The other characters even see him walking bipedally, so it isn't Stylized for the Viewer.
  • Pounds Are Animal Prisons: Steve treats the shelter he's in as similarly to a prison.
  • Rule of Funny: Larry somehow got his foot stuck in a radiator at school and took 12 years to get out. Somehow, nobody ever came and found him in all that time, and he did not starve to death.
  • Rules of the Road: After Larry and Steve pass a sign warning of a fork in the road, they crash into an actual giant fork.
  • Running Gag: The "Q" for "Quality Apts." and "Quality Furnishings" falling off the building sign and smashing a walking passerby.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Steve does this when his half of the out-of-control car heads towards a stack of dynamite.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Larry's credit card was declined while trying to shop at the department store, making all the pain Steve suffered for nothing.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: For whatever reason, Larry speaks dog. Larry is not the exception because Steve mentions having another dog that spoke Dutch.
  • Thinking Wheels: Arriving at Larry's home, Steve notes some deficiencies in the decor, and mentions that these problems need to be addressed. The thought balloon above Larry starts with two cogs meshing, but slowly and with much creaking, followed by a square peg failing to nestle into a round socket. Clearly, Larry doesn't do thinking very well.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Larry is much dumber here than in the Life of Larry short.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • "That's cute! Your dog walks on two legs".
    • And then when Larry's car is bisected laterally by a literal fork in the road and Steve's side crashes through the house of an old couple playing Scrabble.
    Old Man: What was that?
    Old Woman: Half an Oldsmobile.
    (Smash Cut of Steve's side of the car crashing through chicken coops)
  • Visual Pun: Steve sees a road sign warning that there's a fork ahead. We then see both a road fork and a giant dining fork at the same spot.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The entire short is told by Steve while recording himself. Hoping someone will understand him and come rescue him.
  • Widely-Spaced Jail Bars: At the pound, Steve's bars are clearly wide enough that he could squeeze through if he tried.