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Western Animation / MAD

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"When it comes to quality entertainment, it takes a little personality, a lot of popularity, and a touch of class.
...and when you don't have that, you can always make fun of the ones that do!"
Cartoon Network promo

An animated parody show created by Warner Bros. Animation, based on the iconic humor magazine MAD. Much like the magazine, MAD the TV series presents parodies of movies, TV shows, and pretty much anything currently happening in life and in pop culture. Each parody is rendered in a different style of animation, and few of the sketches last for more than a minute. Also, you get animated Spy vs. Spy and Don Martin shorts. Basically, it's either a less line-crossing version of Robot Chickennote  with a little bit of KaBlam! or MADtv (1995) if it stuck to the source material for longer than three seasons, was 15 minutes long instead of an hour, had more animated sketches than live-action sketches, was made for kids (but had a Periphery Demographic of 20-somethings and older teens), and didn't feel like a rip-off of Saturday Night Live and In Living Color!.

It premiered on Cartoon Network on September 6, 2010, right after the premiere of Regular Show around the time that Cartoon Network was trying to revamp itself after its disastrous "CN Real" phase. It came back for what was intended to be a second season, according to The Other Wiki, premiering on February 8, 2011. However, it was later re-categorized into Season 1, and the actual second season premiered on August 22, 2011. After four seasons and 103 episodes, MAD was not renewed for a fifth season.

This show is not to be confused with the FOX sketch show MADtv (1995), though, according to The Other Wiki, MAD is considered an unofficial spin-off of MADtv (along with Comedy Central's Key & Peele), as both shows were distributed by Warner Bros. Entertainment.

MAD provides examples of:

  • Adam Westing: The show took a page from Robot Chicken and casting characters with the actor that plays them in other shows, such as Diedrich Bader in many of the Batman skits, Andrew W.K. as himself, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy and Will Friedle as Lion-LOL in ThunderLOLcats.
  • Affectionate Parody: This is how most of the skits are.
  • Alpha Bitch: The birthday girl, Ashlyn, from the "My Supernatural Sweet Sixteen" skit, as the girls typically are in the series they're parodying.
  • And You Were There: Used in "The Buzz Identity" as a parody of The Wizard of Oz.
    Buzz: And Julia Stiles, you were there too! ...And then you really weren't in anything after that, which is weird, because you were great in 10 Things I Hate About You...
  • Animated Adaptation: In a sense; some of the jokes are culled from the magazine itself.
  • Art Shift: Various animation styles are used, just like its magazine counterpart.
    • Spy vs. Spy has it: the animation ranges from ink scribble style, clean Flash animation, and in the most 2nd season: claymation.
    • Sometimes the style even resembles shows like KaBlam!, El Tigre, and Breadwinners, as their respective creators worked on various sketches of the show.
  • At Least I Admit It: During The Lone Rango sketch, the characters admit that the animators had made the sketch before the film version had premiered. So they weren't sure if most of what they were doing was accurate, just to let the audience know before they continued.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Nearly every non-existant product this show has advertised (which isn't surprising considering that this show is the revamped version of MA Dtv 1995).
    • One example of such is "B.O.B.s Monster Hold Gel", which is just a living blob monster that is used as hair gel.
    • Another example is the "Underwaker", which is an impersonator of The Undertaker who wakes you up by hitting you with a chair.
    • Yet another example is "Hulked on Phonics", which teaches your child to talk & act like the Hulk, without giving them Hulk-like powers.
    • And it isn't just limited to the commercials. One skit shows that you can kill a spider by cutting down a tree so that it lands in the spider's general direction...if you want to do more damage to your house than to the spider, that is!
    • The "Rejected Superheroes" skit shows 2 superheroes that aren't awesomely practical: Sketch, who can mimic anyone's likeness but only in caricature form & Altidude, who is subject to commercial airline regulations despite his ability to fly at supersonic speeds. The "Amazing Growing Boy" is not exactly a superhero, he only shows us our own growing patterns.
  • Black Comedy: Given the fact that this kids show has characters its audience likely loves being killed or maimed, this is a real given:
    • There is a rather depressing short skit depicting Lightning McQueen being crushed in a car crusher because his transmission was ruined. They didn't care about the fact that he could talk, he was still junk.
    • One sketch involved Alvin looking for Simon and Theodore, meanwhile a snake with two lumps in him is nearby.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "2012 Dalmatians" has the president inform that the Dalmatians are landing "on the ocean, on land, and at ocean land". As he says the last part the scene cuts to a Dalmatian landing on Sea World and switching patterns with a performing orca (presumably Shamu or one of her children).
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In Thomas The Unstoppable Tank Engine, Thomas's cargo includes pillows, soft cheeses and a nuclear bomb.
  • Captain Ersatz: Normally used for obvious reasons, even with their own network's shows. An interesting version though, while all of the characters have different designs and/or colors, they still keep their names. This is the opposite of many of the magazine's parodies, where the characters appear the same but have their names replaced with Punny Names.
    • One Scooby-Doo segment averts this with the characters in their correct colors and outfits. This is because Warner Bros. owns the rights to it. Same goes for DC Comics characters, but funnily enough, not for the Looney Tunes characters.
  • Clip-Art Animation: Many of the sketches that parody movies and TV shows use this kind of animation.
  • The Comically Serious:
    • Edward Cullen.
      Edward: I'm moody.
    • As well as Batman.
      Batman (trying to talk to a date): My parents are dead.
  • Continuity Nod: One of the poster's on the werewolf's wall in the Club Moon skit is of Grey's In Anime.
    • In "Batman Family Feud," the dead guy from CSI-Carly appears as a member of the Berkel family.
    • In "Pirates of the Neverland: At Wit's End," the two aliens from the second episode can be seen in the background when Captain Jack Sparrow realizes he's lost.
    • Ribbitless gives us the story behind Kermit's audition tape for American Idol from Cliffordfield. Even Fozzie didn't think the skit would head in this direction.
    • In The X-Men Games, Professor Xavier is seen watching Ay Carly before his TV loses signal.
    • Episode Potions 11; Moves Like Jabba had a skit on the Easter bunny hiding eggs, which resulted the Johnson family not being able to find them. The news intro for episode Addition Impossible; New Gill had the same family trying to find the eggs, this time gagging from the rotting smell because the bunny sill won't reveal their locations.
  • Couch Gag:
    • The "Breaking News" segment, which actually contains not one, but TWO gags. First is the news story itself, and in season two:
      Anchor: We return you to MAD, already in... the middle of a Couch Gag.
    • Season 3 replaces this with a "MADvent Calendar", which makes references to news in Pop Culture during the week of premiere.
      Been editing TV Tropes for a week? Here are some MAD moments you may have missed!
  • Cutaway Gag: On "Two and a Half Man," with a special appearance by a parody of Peter Griffin.
  • Christmas Episode: Season 1 had "Da Grinchy Code", Season 2 had "FROSTnote /Undercover Claus" and Season 3 had "Fantastic Four Christmases/Scroog'd"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Sassie, a parody of Lassie takes this trope up to eleven.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "A MAD Look Inside [Celebrity]'s [Body Part]"
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: In "Malcolm in the Middle Earth", Malcolm wins a science fair because he's the only entrant using actual science instead of magic.
  • Dropped in the Toilet: In the segment "Gross and Beyond Gross", the announcer says that a guy accidentally dropping his cell phone in the toilet is gross. He then says that the cell phone the guy fished out of the toilet isn't his, which is beyond gross.
  • Duck!: Given that the premise of "Duck" was a Chuck parody with a duck as the title character, the use of this trope was inevitable.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome:
    • Parodied in a short skit where Ming-Ming, who is in a spelling bee, spells 'serious' 'S-E-W-I-O-U-S', to which Elmer Fudd, who is the judge, tells her she's cowwect.
    • The entirety of the "Body of Pwoof" skit.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening changes every season by changing the color of the background, the top of the cover in the pile MAD books and using characters from previous sketches.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Their caricature of Johnny Galecki/Leonard Hofstader falls under this category.
  • Face Stealer: According to the "Fantastic Megan Fox" sketch, Megan got her looks by stealing Kristen Stewart's hair, Scarlett Johansson's eyes, and Angelina Jolie's lips. Before this, she was an actual fox.
  • Finger-Tenting: Parodied with a commercial for Villain Hand Sanitizer - the reason villains always are seen rubbing their hands together evilly is actually because they're using this product.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The spies sometimes make cameos that are a few seconds long.
    • In the "S'up" episode, in a gag where a shoe store owner tries to convince an alligator that he's not giving her alligator shoes, a pair of pots can be briefly seen behind a sign saying "Crocks".
    • Rossi's Facebook page in "Criminal Minecraft" includes Garcia's status saying she "can't wait until 1.9".
  • Gag Series
  • Gainax Ending:
    • Parodied in "The Buzz Identity", which quickly devolves into an Inception parody.
    • In Not-a-Fan-a-Montana, Elvis Presley is behind everything, and to avoid being found out, they blow up the Earth. Yep.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Taken to the extreme with Ben 10 Franklin.
  • How the Character Stole Christmas: Played with in "Da Grinchy Code". It turns out that the characters investigating the crime, Tom Hanks, Indiana Jones, and Nicolas Cage, actually stole the presents.
  • Hulk Speak: "Hulked on Phonics" is a reading-improvement system based on the principles of this.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Mostly involving the word Mad or Alfred E. Neuman.
  • I Like My X Like I Like My Y: The "Optimus Prime Suspect" sketch had Optimus Prime as a detective who kept making 'like my coffee analogies that didn't work; e.g. "I like my perps like I like my coffee: in a coffee cup".
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Lampshaded in "Star Wars earned Stripes".
  • Inappropriate Speak-and-Spell: In the sketch, "Rejected Toy Story 3 Characters", one of these characters was Speak N' Swear, a literal interpretation of this trope.
    Boy: How do you spell 'house'?
    Speak N' Swear: How the *BLEEP* should I know?
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Pretty much every title of ever short (whether it's a mash-up or a Take That! against how lame the show/movie is). Examples include Yu-Gi-Bear, Ko-Bee Movie, and examples listed on this page. Even gets lampshaded in the title sequence for Law & Ogre, where the narrator admits they just did it for the title.
  • Kangaroo Court: In "Law & Ogre", Shrek considered Grumpy Bear as the suspect, in his trial, Fiona is the prosecutor and the judge is Puss in Boots. The one who really did it was Yogi Bear.
  • Kent Brockman News: The news anchor who opens every episode since the 9th one up until season 3.
  • Kill All Humans: Apparently Megan Fox's goal if she malfunctions.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Constantly to the source material they're parodying in most sketches.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Practically all of the characters.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Take away the Stop Motion visuals of "Flammable", and it sounds like Katy Putty is just singing some low self-esteem metaphors that make as much sense as those Katy Perry used in "Firework":
      Do you ever feel like you're not really real, just a puppet doll dealt a lousy deal?
    • The Social Netjerk has the Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of Mordecai and Rigby telling Sean to speed up the sketch as they're on next. At the time, their show was indeed right after MAD.
    • The "Hip-Hop Hobbit/The Monday Project" episode references Mad being bumped to Thursday in place of The Annoying Orange. Ironic because this was the week that Mad moved back to Monday and Annoying Orange went to Thursday.
  • Level Grinding: "Final Brantasy", the cereal that tastes better the more you level up by eating it. It starts off tasting like burnt rubber at level 1, then unburnt rubber at level 2, then makes its way to tasting like sand at level 45.
  • Long Title: The in-universe game show "Spin the Wheel & Win the Cash Before Time Runs Out & Also Maybe Win Prizes!" The Title Scream alone takes so long that the show's host only has time to talk for a few seconds before they run out of time for the game.
  • Medium Blending: It combines many forms of animation including stop motion and traditional animation.
  • Melancholy Musical Number: One sketch had Gordon Ramsay singing about how he felt empty doing the same shows over and over and desired variety.
  • Memetic Mutation: In-universe, the dogs use internet memes to wage war on the Thundercats in 'ThunderLOLcats.'
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: An entire bit based on this and rebus equations put together.
  • My Little Panzer: All the toys in the "Toys 4 Brats" fake commercial (and you thought Irwin Mainway's toys from Saturday Night Live were dangerous).
  • My Little Phony: Several:
    • My Little War Horse: Pinkie Pie in a crossover with War Horse.
    • Thunder-LOL-Cats: Lion-O verses memes, Ponies included.
    • Cowboys and Alien Force: an Applejack ersatz in a Mind Screwy crossover that also involves Ben 10: Alien Force, Stretchy bands and multiple title cards.
    • Rainbow Dash and Bernstein: Rainbow Dash replaces the titular puppet of Crash & Bernstein.
    • My Little Pwny: The most direct parody. A Parody Commercial of ponies causing nothing but trouble (especially of the "painful to humans" variety).
    • The Adjustment Burro: Twilight Sparkle starts dating Eeyore, in a mashup of Winnie the Pooh (2011) and The Adjustment Bureau.
  • Mythology Gag: The intro ends with the ground getting folded in through the middle, with the remaining background pieces forming the MAD logo, much like how the magazines have a picture on a page that gains new meaning when it's folded down the middle.
  • Ninja:
    • According to the fourth episode, they sometimes infest your apartment like roaches.
    • They also shoot spitwads and throwing stars at the chalkboard while the teacher's back is turned, and disappear when he turns around to get one student in trouble. Batman does this later on, and the kid just accepts that he can't get out of it.
  • Non-Indicative Name: "That's What Superfriends Are For" is a musical about how despite being called the Superfriends, the big three (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) really don't treat any of the lesser names like friends at all. Plastic Man and Black Lightning's names go forgotten by Batman, Black Canary can't get Superman to feed her cat, Doctor Mid-Nite can't get a ride to the airport, and members turnover incredibly frequently, aside from the big three. This leads them to change the team's name to the Justice League.
  • Nosebleed: The bully in "Naru210" gets one from Naruto's Sexy no Jutsu.
  • Nose Nuggets: In one skit, a man tied up at a bank uses his snot to douse a stick of dynamite. This was adapted from an Al Jaffee gag that appeared in the mag.
  • Official Parody: The DC Comics material, as the show goes out under the DC banner. (Parodies made by the show's creative team even appeared on DC Nation.)
  • Parental Bonus: If this show is even meant for kids at all, a lot of the references go over their heads (like the CSI, District 9, Two and a Half Men, or The Bourne Identity parodies).
  • Parody Assistance: The voice actors from the original would sometimes voice their parodic counterparts.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Gaming's Next Top Princess
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: Mickey Mouse does this while wiping out other cartoon mice in the "Mickey Mouse Rodent Control" ad.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy
  • Recycled INSPACE: It's essentially Robot Chicken for kids (or MA Dtv 1995 if they didn't make the show In Name Only).
  • Reduced to Dust: In the sketch "DolPhineas and Ferb Tale", Candace says to Phineas that she's telling their mom. After that, Candace gets blasted by Cyborg, which turns her into dust, with her eyeballs intact.
    Candace: Phineas, I'm telling Mom!
    (Candace gets blasted into dust)
    Cyborg: Man, I hate tattletales.
  • Running Gag: At any moment someone is going to turn into a werewolf, or already is a werewolf.
    • "RAAAH! HULK NEED MORE SCREEN TIME!" (Cue him actually invading other sketches for that episode.)


Force Code

Captain Colter repeatedly tries to prevent the destruction of the Death Star with unfortunate results.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / FailureMontage

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