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Western Animation / Men in Black: The Series

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Men in Black: The Series (1997-2001) was an animated series spun-off from Men in Black. It originally aired on Kids' WB!

Filling the gap between the first and the second movie (5 years), this series is what fans were left. It was quite successful, and helped jump to popularity some very minor characters from the first movie, such as Frank the Pug and the Worms (which would later appear as important characters in Men in Black 2).

It's worth noting that this series is actually an Alternate Continuity of the movies, even getting to the point that the "MIB movie" is a movie inside the series continuity!

The show has spawned one video game, and seen in reruns on The Hub prior to its rebrand as Discovery Family. In 2021, Sony Pictures Television began released episodes of the series for free on their Throwback Toons YouTube channel.



  • Action Girl:
    • Agent L is no pushover, as she occasionally accompanies Agents J and on missions as a Combat Medic.
    • There's also Aileen, an old flame of Agent K who shows up in two episodes. She's an alien who used to be a field partner to K on missions, arresting rogue aliens.
      • In her second appearance, "The Sonic Boom Syndrome", Aileen brings a field rookie from her planet named Eidi. Eidi is presented with feminine Heroic Build, while keeping up with Agent J.
  • Actor Allusion: This is not the first time Ed O'Ross fought aliens on the city streets.
  • Adipose Rex: The Emperor Worm is taller and fatter than the regular Worms.
  • Aerith and Bob: The Twins were renamed to Areekareeyuket (pronounced Elcabob) and Bob for the series. During the Christmas Episode, the first's name was actually written as a series of mathematical concepts on his Christmas stocking, while the second one was simply written as "BOB".
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  • Affirmative Action Legacy: Agent X is an in-universe example. He's unprecedented in the series, as he's an MIB field agent who's an alien. Zed was previously against alien agents (due to their unfamiliarity with Earth's norms and the potential for exposure), but he was pressured into it to calm down alien rights advocates.
  • Alien Invasion: Obviously, the MIB have to thwart multiple hostile takeover attempts of Earth by unfriendly aliens.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: The Lawful Stupid Kalifadik enforcers come to Earth to teleport alien fugitives to life imprisonment for any violation, no matter how minor.
    • Partially subverted by the fact that the Kalifadik police are breaking more than a few laws by teleporting the criminals over interstellar lines. They justify this by pointing out that they answer only to their own planet's laws.
  • Alternate Continuity: L works for the MiB (and had been there for a longer time than J, apparently) and is a blonde. K seems to never have been neuralyzed, as he's still showing J the ropes. However, the events of the first film are still heavily alluded to in "The Big Bad Bug Syndrome", implying the movie's events occurred in Broad Strokes at the very least.
  • Ancient Astronauts: There's a few extraterrestrial species that lived on Earth in ancient times:
    • Atlantis exists, and unsurprisingly it's the ruined remains of an undersea alien colony. Today, it's a tourist attraction visited by aquatic aliens.
    • The Hyperians are an alien race whose culture resembles Ancient Egypt, and they apparently visited the real Egypt long ago, presumably playing a role in building the pyramids. One of the Hyperians was even disguised as a mummy and slept in a tomb for a few thousand years, before waking up to cause havoc in modern times.
  • And I Must Scream: Jeebs' race can consistently regenerate, but they need oxygen to do so. At the end of "The Blackguard Syndrome", J blasts Jeebs' brother before he gets sucked out into space. He gets better in "The Cold Sweat Syndrome," though.
  • Appendage Assimilation / The Assimilator: Alpha spends most of his offscreen time dismembering various aliens to integrate them into his own body.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Both examples from "The Jack O'Lantern Syndrome":
  • Art Evolution: J and K got character redesigns after the first season. L became less pale. The Worms also got a lighter yellow color instead of the darker brown they started with.
  • Ascended Extra: Jack Jeebs, Frank the Pug, and the Worms. Essentially One Scene Wonders in the first movie, but with frequent appearances in the series (each even scoring major episode plotlines to varying degrees). Their status as Ascended Extras on the show led to their becoming Ascended Extras in the second movie.
  • Attack on One Is an Attack on All: In the pilot episode, J accidentally kills a Skraaldian in a sewer. The Skraaldian race have a Hive Mind and so their entire race marks J for death and tries to kill him in retribution.
  • Avenging the Villain: In "The Big Bad Bug Syndrome", Elle is the target of a bounty by the Bug Queen for killing Edgar in the first film. The Queen has ordered her fellow Bugs to capture Elle alive so that she can be brought back to their planet to be tortured and executed.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: In the Season 3 episode "The Put Out to Pasture Syndrome", where Jay and Zed are facing off against Alpha's mirages.
  • Backwards-Firing Gun: When facing off against an escaped alien prisoner in "The Take No Prisoners Syndrome", J grabs an unfamiliar alien weapon from the armory and threatens him with it. The Bug sneeringly informs J that he's grabbed a "Sonar Tube" and is holding it backwards. J turns it around, looking at the brace-like structure on the end he's pointing at himself, then points it back at the Bug and pulls the trigger. A small nozzle promptly pops up and aims a targeting laser at J's forehead, forcing him to jerk the blaster up before it nearly takes his head off.
  • Bad Future: "The Future's So Bright Syndrome". Jay travels about a century into the future and finds himself in a world where Earth has been taken over by billions of Wormsnote  ruled by a tyrannical emperor who has persecuted humans into near-extinction. This dystopian world is complete with widespread bigotry against humans, and a military police force that hunts down any surviving human rebels.
  • Batman Cold Open: Almost every episode of the first season opened with J and K on a mission unrelated to the main plot. One episode of the second one did too, and also an episode of the third one.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Oddly enough, has an instance with just one woman and two men:
    • Agent J - Beauty: He often boasts about having good looks, occasionally tries to flirt with women, and his catchphrase is "I make this look good."
    • Agent K - Brawn: The most experienced of the three, often having access to advanced gadgets and very high-tech weaponry. He also became a stone superhuman in one episode.
    • Agent L - Brains: She often works in the lab, is the most analytical of the three, and often makes antidotes to poisons and gadgets to counter an alien menace, such as the Sonic Nullifier to dissempower Auduzi.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: In "The Little Big Man Syndrome", Kay reveals that John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr., and Raffi are/were Arquillians.
    Jay: Wait, John Lennon was an alien? What's Ringo?
    Kay: The drummer.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Twice by K in "The Alpha Syndrome".
    • Also one from "J" in "The Elle of My Dreams Syndrome" when L sacrifices herself by getting shot by J's gun held by the alien in J's dream, in order to force J to snap out of it.
  • Body Horror: Alpha steals alien body parts and integrates them with his own. His first appearance no less has him stealing a Sintillian heart. With each appearance, Alpha himself would look less and less human.
  • Bounty Hunter: Buzzard is an alien mercenary who hunts down and captures other targeted aliens for cash.
  • Brain Theft: In the episode "The Quick Clone Syndrome", Alpha steals Zed's brain to get information about MIB. Zed's body still functioned because of alien tech and his brain is eventually retrieved in the end, though.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: "I'm evacuating as we speak!"
  • Broken Pedestal: Alpha was the one who had trained Agent K before becoming one of the MiB's worst enemies.
  • Butt-Monkey: If something bad happens, it almost always happens to J. Plus, he will occasionally lack a gadget that K has.
  • Cain and Abel: Dak and Jeebs.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Celebrity Paradox: In "The Star System Syndrome", an agent proclaims "We've got Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Rip Torn." Later in the episode, the Worms disguise themselves as a Mr. (Lowell) Cunninghamnote  and wind up pitching a movie about "well-dressed men and women" who police "bad aliens" on Earth.
    K: We'll neuralize the town. Won't be the first time.
    J: So that's why they keep making the same movies over and over!
  • Characterization Marches On: A mix of this and Adaptational Heroism. The Arquillians are described as being a race of pacifists in this series; whereas in the first film, they were an empire that was very willing to threaten Earth's destruction, in order to stop the Bug from stealing their galaxy if the MIB failed to retrieve and return it to them.
  • The Chew Toy: Jeebs. Every time he appears, count on a body part needing to be re-grown.
    "That really stings!"
  • Christmas Episode: "The Black Christmas Syndrome", where the Men in Black have to save Santa Claus from being kidnapped by Drekk (he was hired by alien kids who wanted to have Christmas on their world). Kay reveals to Jay that Christmas elves are actually from another planet, however Santa himself is not.
  • Chronically Crashed Car: The LTD suffers from an unfortunate number of catastrophic accidents.
  • Cloning Blues: The Quick Clones, which provide perfect copies of any human being, right down to their physical abilities, memories and mannerisms... for a while, anyway. See Clone Degeneration.
  • Clone Degeneration: The Quick Clones have a time limit. Once they run out of juice (or if you press the button behind their ear), they start babbling gibberish and quickly dissolve into coffee-colored gunk.
  • Clothing Damage: "The Hots for Jay Syndrome" to J, twice. Having fire sprout from your skin tends to do that. The first time they quickly got him some heat-resistant clothing, but falling to Earth from orbit overwhelmed even that.
  • Cursed with Awesome: J was in a hurry to lose his agility superpowers for no conceivable reason.
  • Cyborg: In the last season, Alpha makes himself one of these— reasoning that flesh ultimately decays.
  • Dawson Casting:invoked "The Back to School Syndrome" has J go undercover as a high school student, due to K reasoning that J is the "youngest and most immature" agent they have.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone.
  • Denser and Wackier: Season 2+ compared to the first. Which put a lot of focus on K's and J's relationship and had some really dark and at times even suspenseful stories. These got increasingly rarer as the series progressed, though, in favor of putting a lot of focus on the wacky hijinks of the worms or Frank the pug.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In "The Alpha Syndrome", when a quick clone disintegrates, only the clone's body breaks down, leaving everything else, e.g. their clothes, unscathed. Starting in "The Quick Clone Syndrome", we see that everything on the clone breaks down with it. Possibly justifiable as technology advancing to where the clothing can be created from the same cloning matter at the same time.
  • Electric Joybuzzer: In Episode 2, K uses one to block a punch from a Mobile-Suit Human, temporarily short-circuiting it and disengaging the face latch.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: A plot point in several episodes where advanced alien technology that humans won't be ready for until several decades/centuries in the future causes serious trouble, most notably the Cosmic Integrator that allows Alpha to chop up alien parts and tack them onto himself. It is also implied that some familiar technologies, including the 8-track tape and the Clapper, were alien inventions.
  • Evil Brit: Alpha, just like virtually anyone else voiced by David Warner.
  • Evil Counterpart: Fmecks, who are evil counterparts to the Arquillians.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening sequence gets altered a little bit in Season 4; pictures of Frank the Pug and the Worms are added to the alien mugshots, while the season's new characters (Dr. Zeeltor and Agent X) are shown alongside Agent L and Chief Zed when they examine the suspect lineup.
  • Expendable Clone: The Quick Clones, as noted above. In one episode it's shown that quick clones start out as a vat of the same goo they dissolve into, so it's possible that it could even be recyclable.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Pretty much the bedrock of a lot of conflicts in the series. It's mentioned that various alien races have been at war with each other or at least don't get along well. And of course, many of the villainous (or at least jerkish) aliens feel contempt for humans.
    • Most notably, there's the Fmeks and their obsession with wiping out the Arquillians for no reason beyond the former's hatred of the latter species.
    • The villain of "The Head Trip Syndrome" turns out to be a human who really hates aliens. Edmund Clark Moffat is a paranoid conspiracy theorist who somehow discovered the existence of extraterrestrials and the Men in Black, so he resolves to use time travel to erase the MIB from history in hopes of stopping aliens from ever living on Earth.
    • A pretty obvious example of this is featured in "The Future's So Bright Syndrome". In a dystopian future world where Worms have become the dominant species on Earth, they persecuted humans to outright genocidal levels, with many people being enslaved on coffee plantations or just plain massacred. Simply being human and getting caught wandering around their cities is a crime punishable by death.
    • Agent X is an alien cop who gets recruited by the MIB later into the series. Despite working for and alongside humans, and his job being to protect Earth and its people, Agent X openly expresses his belief that humans are an inferior and primitive species, much to the frustration of his partner Elle.
  • 15 Minutes of Fame: Agent X called for a TV crew from his home planet so they'd make him the star of their show. Being unable to get rid of them, Zed punished X by offering a chance to have K instead of X as the star, which they quickly accepted. As J pointed out, fame was so fickle that X didn't even have fifteen minutes of it.
  • Flanderization:
    • J also gets hit hard. The series stuck with the "new, inexperienced agent" role from the first movie, but J basically never grew out of it. There was a total of one episode where he seemed to actually become competent, which was forgotten by the next.
    • K, as well. Movie K was a relatively dry-humored straight man, but Series K is downright emotionless most of the time.
    • The Worms and their obsession with coffee, though it helps that the reason for that obsession is also explained (on their planet, only royalty is allowed to drink it).
  • Foreign Queasine: Oddly inverted when Jay and Kay are asking some Alcidian aliens about a suspect, and the aliens are disgusted by the pair eating average Earth cuisine.
    Alcidian: "Human food, can you believe they actually eat that?"
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Or as a completely different alien species. Additionally, a good chunk of monsters in movies are actually alien actors in their birthday suits.
    • The worms unintentionally do this in "The Jack O'Lantern Syndrome"— they disguise themselves as a coffee mug, a percolator, and J and K, but due to the paper thinness of their costumes, the first person they visit thinks they're children dressing as aliens.
  • Freeze Ray: The Icer, one of the more often-used weapons, which is frequently used to non-lethally subdue and capture enemies. Special notice should go to the fact that it can freeze fire.
  • Friend in the Black Market / Honest John's Dealership: Jeebs. Which he is varies, depending on just what item he has in stock.
  • Get It Over With: Alpha fully expects MIB to kill him once he's Brought Down to Normal, and all but orders his old co-workers to finish him. Zed and Kay decline.
    Zed: You're a mere mortal now. You'll be punished like one.
    Kay: Lock 'im up.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Jeebs provides this, as his race can regenerate from anything (even being reduced to gelatinous goo!) as long as oxygen is available, and he can survive just fine even if there isn't.
    • Anyone bonded with a symbiote as well.
  • Grand Finale: "The Endgame Syndrome" two-parter.
  • Groin Attack: L does this to a bug. "Soft underbelly," indeed.
  • Halloween Episode: "The Jack O'Lantern Syndrome", where Jay and the trick-or-treating Worms encounter a being preying on children, while spooky occurrences plague MIB headquarters.
  • Hero of Another Story: In "The Opening Gambit Syndrome," we see the reason why the Ixions didn't invade thirty years earlier. Alpha struck a deal with Vengus to get the Ixions Earth's oil deposits in exchange for him getting control of Earth. However, plans changed because of Zed. He had been investigating Vangus' presence on Earth and was about to crack everything wide open. If he had, Alpha knew MIB would defeat the Ixions— thus prompting a delay until the organization's guard would be down.
  • Hive Mind:
    • The Skraaldians all behave as a single entity. If one of them is killed, the rest of its kind will seek vengeance on the perpetrator.
    • One episode involved Plant Aliens who are a mixture of this trope and The Virus. They reproduce as parasitic spores that infect other species, and the victims become dedicated to assimilating others into their collective.
    • The Bugs are an insectoid species, part of a literal hive ruled by a Queen, and are described as having a "hive mind". But despite this, they can think as individuals and even betray each other.
  • Karma Houdini: Vangus in the Grand Finale. He gets away even after triggering a weapon designed to destroy all of Earth.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: K consistently refers to J as "Slick" throughout the series, though this is averted a couple rare times. He apparently has an entire scale of these to rank his partner, once demoting him to "Sparky":
    K: Nicely done, Sparky.
    J: What happened to Slick?
    K: You have to work your way back up to Slick.
  • Latex Perfection: Many human suits for aliens.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • There's very few fatalities in the show; even most Innocent Bystanders are shown to only be webbed up, not killed.
    • HUMAN fatalities, anyway. They're quite happy blowing up particularly monstrous-looking aliens in all sorts of gruesome ways.
  • Little Green Man in a Can: Shows up rather frequently, crossing over with Mobile-Suit Human. In one episode, there was even a Russian Nesting Doll of them— a little green man piloting an android, who himself was a robot piloted by an even smaller little BLUE man!
  • Mad Scientist: Zeeltor.
    J: You can't just operate on people without their permission!
    Zeeltor: I'm pretty sure I can. I do it all the time.
  • Marked to Die: In one episode J kills a crawfish-like alien, which brings down a whole mess of others who now want to avenge their buddy.
  • Mathematician's Answer: This conversation from "The Little Big Man Syndrome".
    J: John Lennon was an Arquilian! What's Ringo?
    K and Cyrus: The drummer.
  • Mattress Tag Gag: One episode features an alien race that's downright obsessive about law and order, complete with an ultra-brutal gulag for housing the many, many lawbreakers they round up. How strict are they? When Jay finds himself in the prison, he asks a fellow inmate what he's in for, and, well, it turns out they take their mattress tags very seriously.
  • Mister Seahorse: In "The Sardines and Ice Cream Syndrome", Jay gets pregnant after he accidentally swallows an alien egg.
  • Mugged for Disguise: "The Take No Prisoners Syndrome" has Agent J destroy a robot that had been impersonating K and wear its K Latex Perfection mask to pass himself off as said robot, to fool that episode's villain Dr. Lupo. The real K points out a flaw with the way the mask is worn...
    K: Do me a favor and tuck in your face. I don't like myself with a turkey neck.
    J: You mean THIS? (pulls a Dramatic Unmask to reveal his true face)
  • Mugging the Monster: In "The Back to School Syndrome," a pair of Jerk Jocks take to bullying an undercover J. They turn out to be aliens, but they're unaware that J is MIB.
  • Must Have Caffeine: The Worms in MIB absolutely love it— apparently coffee is a drink reserved for royalty on their home planet.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: The Worm Emperor in "The Mine, Mine, Mine Syndrome". His first line in English is "Flubbery will get you underwear."
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The first episode has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment where the alien that K and his previous partner busted at the beginning of the first movie is getting booked at MiB headquarters. He sees K and tries to lunge at him.
    • "The Star System Syndrome" shows an in-universe Men in Black movie, with Agents Smith & Jones more closely resembling Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones than the cartoon's character designs. Earlier in the episode, a movie producer was talking about getting Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Rip Torn for a film.
      • When the Worm Guys make their pitch, they're introduced as "Mr. Cunningham", referencing Men in Black creator Lowell Cunningham.
    • In "The "J" is for James Syndrome," the neuralyzed J is made an agent again. What follows is a montage of putting on the suit, followed by:
      J: Y'know the difference between you and me?
      K: You make this look good.
      J: How'd you know I was gonna say that?
    • In "The Breaking News Syndrome," Zed summarizes MIB's mission as to "protect the Earth from the scum of the universe" (quoting the movie's tagline).
    • The bug queen human disguise is the cardboard cutout girl that J shoots during the aim exercise on the first movie.
  • The Needless: It's revealed that Jeebs (whose species can regenerate from being blown to pieces) and his Psycho for Hire brother don't need to eat. Then the former brags that they don't even need to breathe oxygen to live, only to regenerate. Since they're in space at the time, J promptly opens the airlock and shoots said brother.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: In the Holloween episode, K let's a kid who witnessed an alien go un-neuralyzed, guessing that this trope would be just as effective. Even the kid himself acknowledges this.
  • Only in It for the Money: Why Jeebs regularly does business with enemies of MIB.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: K constantly refers to J as "Slick." He throws him a bone a couple times, though.
  • Organ Theft: Alpha needs replacement parts... he eventually gets sick of it and gets cybernetic parts instead.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: MIB is full of advanced technology that would effortlessly transform the world, but is largely kept under lock and key... because Earth simply isn't ready. MIB examines each piece of technology carefully and selects an appropriate time (sometimes even centuries away) for when humans will be ready to handle it.
  • Ret-Gone: What one villain tries to do to MIB's founding members and thus the organization.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Justified as a side-effect of brain-enhancing Applied Phlebotinum that enables Jay to notice that someone's messing with the timeline of MiB and point it out to the rest of his unaware colleagues.
  • Running Gag:
    • J and K claim to belong to various civil organizations when introducing themselves to civilians, but they always add "Division 6".
    • K never allows J to drive the Ford LTD car (even if circumstances should ever impair K's ability to drive, he still won't let J do it). The one time J got to do it was without authorization, and it got him (temporarily) kicked out of the organization. And the one time he did have authorization, he was actually driving a shape-shifting alien that tried to kill him.
    • Shooting off Jeebs' head in every one of his appearances, followed by him instantly regenerating and complaining of how much it hurts.
    • Whenever Frank the Pug is around, others will mockingly joke and comment about his dog-like appearance and mannerisms, much to his chagrin ("I only look like a dog!").
    • The Worms' obsession with coffee seems to drive almost every subplot they're involved in, as they often sneak along on J's and K's missions just to obtain some coffee, and they invariably cause a lot of trouble along the way.
  • San Dimas Time:
    • In "The Head Trip Syndrome", there's an alien-hating Conspiracy Theorist going back in time and kidnapping MIB founders. Nobody except J (who has an intelligence bump due to some Imported Alien Phlebotinum) can remember them or how MIB is being affected by their disappearance. Oh, and he only has 22 hours before his intelligence bump kills him.
    • In "The Way Out West Syndrome", they have to stop an out-of-control alien in the past before it destroys a city in the present. Yes, apparently they have to act quickly and race against the clock before it's too late, despite more than a century's difference in time.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Alpha tried to justify taking the Cosmic Integrator, not approved for human use for 1000 years, this way.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: "The Out To Pasture Syndrome" ends with Alpha becoming this, being incarcerated in a chamber at MIB headquarters. Agent J is tricked into releasing him in "The Opening Gambit Syndrome".
  • Serial Escalation: In "The Irritable Bow Wow Syndrome", Kay tried to neutralize the alien terrorist with a pistol. Then he put on a rocket launcher attachment to the pistol. Then he brought out the BFG.
  • She's Got Legs: Agent L, from what we see of her. Usually more evident if she's out in the field.
  • Shipless Faster-Than-Light Travel: The charnok travel through space by latching onto meteors, and survive atmospheric entry thanks to very tough skin that they simply shed once they land.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "The Inanimate Syndrome", an alien that can turn itself into any inanimate object tries to hide as a mannequin. The mannequin's head gets knocked off and proceeds to sprout spider legs and crawl away.
    • In "The Mine, Mine, Mine Syndrome", when the Emperor Worm is disguised as a human, with limited fluency in English, one of the worms tries to tell the hotel concierge "He's from Barcelona."
    • In "The Cold Sweat Syndrome", Alpha and Kay paraphrase lines directly from GoldenEye:
    Alpha: Why can't you be a good agent and die?
    Kay: You first.
    • In the Halloween episode, Frank the Pug fears he's been bitten by a werewolf. Kay brusquely informs him that werewolves are out of MiB jurisdiction, to which Frank quips "Who'm I gonna call?"
    • In "The Supermen in Black Syndrome" Jack Jeebs and Frank the Pug are complaining about comic books. On the back of the book Jeebs is holding is a blurred picture of Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot.
    • when testing a defensive Kill Sat, L mentions that the big laser cannon on it is capable of vaporizing "an asteroid the size of Texas"
  • Sibling Rivalry: All Bugs are the offspring of their Queen, and in "The Big Bad Bug Syndrome", they squabble over the bounty on Agent L for killing Edgar. It culminates in the Worms manipulating two of the Bugs into ironically killing another one of their own brothers, which could spark a civil war among their kin.
  • Sinister Sweet Tooth: As with the movie, the Bugs that appear are violent psychopaths obsessed with sugar.
  • Space Jews:
  • Spare Body Parts: Sintillians have two hearts, and are functionally immortal so long as both are working and "no-one drops a piano on them". K makes it clear to J that this doesn't make the Organ Theft any better. "You have ten toes. You woke up with one missing, how would you feel?"
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Practically every episode in the later seasons featured a Worms subplot, if they weren't involved in the main plot.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • In one early episode Jay and Elle are driving around at night trying to find a disguised alien ship flying around in the sky when Jay points out a blimp overflying Yankee Stadium. Elle asks what's so odd about that, to which Jay replies there's no game that night.
    • In "The Put Out To Pasture Syndrome" Jay noticed Zed's eyes didn't look quite right after being Neuralized. Later when it was revealed it was a set up to lure Alpha into a trap and Zed wasn't neuralized, Jay commented on the eyes not being glossy like all other times. Because Alpha got the information from reading Jay's mind, he might have picked up on that as well.
  • Super Speed: J gets this in one episode. See Taken for Granite for details.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Zed has this attitude in several episodes, most notably the Halloween episode.
  • Surprise Checkmate: In "The Opening Gambit Syndrome", J tries to get information out of the imprisoned Alpha by offering to play chess with him. He's checkmated twice by the same distraction tactic. After Alpha escapes, he applies the same tactic to reality— this time, J sees it coming.
  • Take That!:
    • The end of "The Star System Syndrome" sees Hollywood making a rather accurate movie about the Men in Black.
    K: We'll neuralize the town. Won't be the first time.
    J: So that's why they keep making the same movie.
    • Frank the Pug claims he's way uglier than Cindy Crawford. Jay agrees that she's hideous and has to find out if Frank can live up to his claims.
  • Taken for Granite: Agent K in one episode. As a result of exposure to an activated Alien Amplifier Device. Lampshaded by Agent L at the end, invoking the title pun no less. K was not amused.
  • Talkative Loon: The Quick-Clones, as the first sign of Clone Degeneration.
  • Teleporter Accident: In "The Worm-Guy Guy Syndrome", Jay and one of the Worms are both simultaneously sent through opposite ends of a portal. The result is that their molecules get switched around, causing Jay and the Worm to gradually become mutant hybrids of each other (complete with exchanging their personality traits).
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Happens to Jeebs' brother; J saves Jeebs before he gets thrown out.
  • The Unmasqued World: During the Grand Finale, a global Alien Invasion leads to MiB revealing the existence of aliens to the entire world, so that the entire planet can fight for survival. Then subverted, when the MiB are being honored by the American government, and L points out that everyone on Earth is watching the ceremony, so Z & K take the opportunity to neuralize the entire planet, thus ensuring that the Status Quo continued to be preserved.
  • The World Is Not Ready: MiB decides if and when certain alien technologies (like microwaves and time travel devices) will make it to market.
  • Time Travel Episode: There's a few of them.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Don't think about the way time travel works here too much.
    "Don't touch that!!!"
  • Trash the Set: The first half of the Grand Finale ends with MiB HQ being destroyed.
  • Unflinching Faith in the Brakes: K and a crashing spaceship.
  • Vigilante Injustice: Brought up in "The Zero to Superhero Syndrome." An alien saves an human child from a fire, concealing his identity as he's using special powers specific to his species. When the tabloids report on the incident, the alien, disillusioned with his humdrum earth life, decides to become a real superhero named Cosmosisman. His activities naturally attract MiB's attention, but Jay is quick to point out the alien isn't doing any harm, he's actually trying to help. Kay reminds his partner that such a high profile person will inevitably attract investigations he won't be able to handle, endangering The Masquerade. More importantly, however, is that word of this will cause alien scoundrels to come to Earth looking to make a name for themselves by beating the planter's supposed champion. Sure enough a nasty bike shows up to challenge Cosmosisman to a fight, causing lots of property damage.
  • Weaponized Landmark: Downplayed example: the Statue of Liberty has a giant neuralyzer in her torch.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Zig-zagged. While most aliens on Earth are peaceful by nature, some are far from it and treated as the menaces they are. Also, while the MIB usually captures alien enemies alive, some of the more monstrous-looking ones can get killed in gruesome ways.
    • Also an issue with the Quick Clones (see Cloning Blues above). They are entirely self-aware, but they melt after a few hours (or when their Self-Destruct Button is pushed). No one seems to find this objectionable, not even the Quick Clones themselves.
  • Who Even Needs a Brain?: In one episode, Zed had his brain stolen. His body is able to keep functioning, albeit without any direction, because alien technology kept the two linked even at a distance. "Alpha has a sick sense of humor."
  • Who's on First?: Comes up whenever Agent U is needed. J got around it by figuring out U's real name, since there aren't that many names beginning with "U" for men. Averted with K.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: The alien race who are zealots about law and order, seen under Mattress Tag Gag above. J asks both K and the cop from the world they captured why anyone would go to this world when it has such strict policies, K and the cop reply in unison: "The beaches."
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Once per episode, it seems. Granted, it is a kid's show.
  • Wreathed in Flames: The episode "The Hots for Jay Syndrome" has Jay gaining fire powers after eating alien food. Surprisingly, this was actually treated like a bad thing. All that energy has to come from somewhere, and in Jay's case was being leeched from every cell of his body. It would have killed him if it hadn't been reversed.
  • You Hate What You Are: Alpha is a self-loathing human and has been forcibly grafting alien body parts onto himself in an effort to gradually remake himself as the ultimate Frankenstein monster of alien parts, and become functionally immortal. In one episode Alpha actually grumbles about how unhappy he is that he still has parts that are from his own "stupid" species.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: J's and K's reaction to the MiB movie trailer starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith.
  • Yo-Yo Plot Point: Season one ends with J finally being upgraded in K's mind and seems to be the turning point for him to become a proper MIB agent and not just a Naïve Newcomer. Cue season two resetting him back to his normal hot-headed rookie self.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Men In Black


Confronting Alpha

This is just the beginning of Alpha's grotesque tranformations.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

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Main / BodyHorror

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