Mike Tyson: Well team, looks like we've got another mystery to solve.
Yung Hee: No, dad, you're just a bad driver, and now we're going to die!
Mike: No, Yung, we're not going to die, CAUSE THIS IS A FUCKING CARTOON!
Mike Tyson Mysteries is an animated series on Adult Swim which ran from 2014 to 2020. It's the first show for that network to be produced exclusively for AS by Warner Bros. Animation (the ThunderCats reboot was produced for Cartoon Network first, then moved onto Toonami). In the same vein that The Venture Bros. is a throw back to '60s Super Science shows like Jonny Quest, this pays homage to both Hanna-Barbera mystery cartoons and '80s action hero shows like Mister T and Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos.
The premise of the series is Mike Tyson (As Himself) leaves his home in Las Vegas and goes off to solve mysteries around the world, along with his friends, consisting of a ghost known as Marquess of Queensberry, Mike's adopted daughter Yung Hee, and Pigeon (voiced by Norm Macdonald), a man whose ex-wife transformed him into, yes, a pigeon. Each week, the team are given a mystery to go off and solve, and Hilarity Ensues, with Mike himself usually causing most of the problems.
- Action-Hogging Opening: The series is far more low key and slower paced than the action packed intro would have you believe. In true '70s cartoon style, none of the events shown in the intro ever take place within the episodes. "My Favorite Mystery" finally gives context for each scene in the opening sequence.
- Actor Allusion
- In "Life is But a Dream", after Mike, Yung, and Piegon becomes ghosts like Marquess, Mike thinks he has to sound like a white person now. When Yung speaks, Mike notes that she sounds so white that she doesn't have a Korean accent anymore, not that she has an accent in the first place. That's mainly because her voice actress, Rachel Ramras, is white.
- Mike using carrier pigeons isn't just some arbitrary quirk. Mike Tyson did actually keep pet pigeons as a child.
- In "San Juan Puerto Rico Blows but San Juan Capistrano...," Mike says that he likes the Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial where Norm Macdonald plays Colonel Sanders. Norm MacDonald, of course, plays Pigeon.
- Adam Westing:
- Mike Tyson as Mike Tyson. The promotional material for Season 2 gleefully lampshaded this.
- In "Unsolved Situations", Snoop Dogg plays himself where he solves "unsolved situations" with an Asian Child Prodigy scientist, a mountain lion, and Ross Mathews (Ross the Intern from The Tonight Show during the Jay Leno era).
- Affectionate Parody: Of Hanna-Barbera mystery cartoons and Ruby-Spears action cartoons like Mister T and Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos.
- All Just a Dream: Most of the episode "Bucket List" turns out to be Pidgeon's drug induced hallucinations.
- Ambiguously Gay: Marquess. Which Oscar Wilde would probably find darkly amusing.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Mike is the only member of the team who believes in magic, despite the fact that the Marquess is a ghost, and Pigeon was transformed by his ex-wife:Pigeon: I think I would have just transformed into a pigeon on my own.
- The Artifact: Marquess is something of a spoof of this. It's heavily implied that his original purpose (getting Mike to be more selfless, competence notwithstanding) was actually fulfilled before the series started, and he just stuck around.
- Ask a Stupid Question...: When everyone meets Buzz Aldrin, the astronaut, who is wearing a jacket that has his name and the NASA logo:Pigeon: Hey, your jacket says "Buzz Aldrin." You're not the astronaut Buzz Aldrin, are you?
Buzz Aldrin: No, I'm the jazz singer Buzz Aldrin. Of course I'm the astronaut.
- Bait-and-Switch Credits: The introductory sequence features a series of exciting action-heavy scenes that don't appear in the show proper, or represent its comedic tone, instead presenting the show as a serious production about solving supernatural mysteries - as a joke, of course. This is then defied in "My Favorite Mystery", which is essentially a Clip Show where the character reminisce about the mysteries that those scenes were a part of, expanding them, and explaining how Mike and the other characters ended up in those situations.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted with the men. It's invoked with women, however.
- Brain in a Jar: The IBM computer Deep Blue secretly has the brain of Bobby Fischer.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Mike admits that this is all just "A FUCKING CARTOON!"
- Bury Your Gays: In "All About that Bass," two male fishing rivals admit they love each other before one makes a heroic sacrifice and dies alone.
- Chupacabra: Mike has a hard time pronouncing it correctly and he fights one John Updike in "The End."
- Cloudcuckoolander: Mike personifies this. He's portrayed as being highly disengaged from reality. It helps that his real life bloopers in the recording booth are sometimes worked into the episode as if they were non sequiturs, and the rest of the cast just react in character.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: The team is this to Mike.
- Cluster F-Bomb: In "Mite Tyson," Pigeon does this when Mike doesn't let him live in his home because he thinks he's responsible for his mite bites:Pigeon: Seriously? You're kicking me out of your house because of your fucking bites? You were the fucking heavyweight champion of the world, and now you can't stand a little itching? You can't put some fucking calamine lotion on there? Well fuck you. Heh! I'm gonna go find a better place to live without a fucking ghost.
Pigeon: With a fucking hot Asian.
Pigeon: I thought you people were my friends. I hope you all die! (Pigeon walks out of the house)
Marquess: Okay. Well, that went well.
Pigeon: (on the Mystery Mobile) P.S.! (craps on the windshield of the Mystery Mobile)
- Comically Missing the Point: In "Night Moves", a man named Andrew asks Mike to meet him a pie place. Andrew explains to Mike that he can't get a second date with women because he thinks he's a werewolf and is killing all the women he dates. Mike, of course, doesn't hear a word he says because he's busy stuffing his face with pie, and Andrew even calls him out for it.
- Complexity Addiction: In the Season 4 premiere, it's revealed that the entirety of the Season 3 finale was a ploy by Mike to send Deezy off somewhere since he didn't feel comfortable just telling Deezy to his face he didn't want to be his client anymore. It involved killing one person, multiple people getting reconstructive surgery, multiple people faking their deaths, and to cap it off, it turns out that Mike's pulling the same ploy on his pool cleaner.
- Conveniently Timed Distraction:
- In "Mite Tyson," when Pigeon wakes up in a cage at a cosmetic product testing facility for animals, he gets the attention of two of the workers after they unlock a cage containing a bear, which the bear opens its cage knocking out the two workers and freeing all of the other animals.
- In "She's a Bayniac," when Marquess discovers that Mrs. Bayne is actually an alien, she goes to attack him. When other people witness what she really is, she attacks the other people and Marquess uses this opportunity to escape.
- Cool Car: The gang drives in a blue van called the "Mystery Mobile" that has Mike's tattoo design on the side.
- Coordinated Clothes: Mike and Yung wear matching tracksuits.
- Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: In "A River Runs Through It Into a Heart of Darkness," Mike does this to Yung when the Earth extends its penis into the moon .
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: "Save Me!" opens with everyone appalled with Mike for burning down an old couple's house just because he jumped to the conclusion that the sound they were hearing was a demon. When the couple contacts them again, everyone assumes it's to take legal action against Mike, and are all shocked when it is to warn them that the demon escaped the fire and is out to take revenge on Mike.
- Darker and Edgier: The show is already a crackpot adult-oriented parody of Hanna-Barbera mystery cartoons, but Season 3 seems to be somewhat deconstructive. In particular, Mike is acting less like a Too Dumb to Fool Cloudcuckoolander and more like what a normal civilian would be in a show like this: scared shitless.
- Deadpan Snarker: Marquess and Pigeon are this throughout the show.
- Death Is Cheap: Sometimes. Some characters come back as ghosts to wander the Earth and others don't. The rules for why this happens aren't really explained.
- Depending on the Artist: While most of the characters designs stay strictly on model, the biggest exception is Pigeon. Some shots simply have him have the same proportions of an actual pigeon, but sometimes his eyes will both be in view in the same shot, but also his heads size varies from scene to scene as well.
- Downer Ending: Expect many episodes (moreso post-season one and two) to end like this, with the team's influence usually spiraling an already bad situation to an even worse one. If not, the episode likely has No Ending at all.
- The Dreaded: Mike gains a reputation for getting into "fender benders" with his vehicle, and has so far killed 10 people, specifically astronauts, including Buzz Aldrin. After Mike hits and kills his 11th up on the surface of the moon, his insurance representative realizes that Mike has actually only killed two astronauts, and the other eight were astronomers. By this time, astronomers everywhere are already living in fear.
- Dropped After the Pilot: A unique case of a character we've never seen, since the pilot never aired. Early promotional material showed a talking car◊ who looks like an Expy of Speed Buggy. As production progressed, this character was dropped, and Yung and Marquess were added to the cast as replacements.
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe. When Marquess cracks a molestation joke at Yung's expense, she and Mike are disgusted by the joke and Marquess realizes that it was a very poor attempt at humor. Mike and Yung exit the room, leaving Marquess alone, regretting the joke. It's still awkward in the morning.
- Epic Fail: In "A River Runs Through It Into a Heart of Darkness," Mike and the gang need to go to meet a Chinese businessman in Nicaragua, to help him build the world's largest canal. So Mike has everyone fly to China instead:Mike: Okay, let's find Wang Jing and help him build the largest canal in the world!
Yung: Then we need to be in Nicaragua.
Marquess: Yeah. 'Cause the note was in Chinese, but the canal is in Nicaragua.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Mike and co. have witnessed several supernatural beings, including (but not limited to): ghosts, demons, ancient gods, werewolves, chupacabras, lake monsters, aliens, killer robots, leprechauns, gnomes, the city of Atlantis... not to mention the Christian God himself, appearing in the form of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
- Formula-Breaking Episode:
- "House Haunters" has the gang helping a couple buy a new house. Mike and the Marquess are the only ones actually interested in doing it.
- "For the Troops" is about the gang going to Afghanistan to entertain the troops.
- "Old Man of the Mountain" focuses on the team trying to help a brother and sister decide if their elderly father should be put into a nursing home.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Mike is Sanguine, Pigeon is Choleric, Yung is Melancholic, and Marquess is Phlegmatic.
- Fun with Acronyms:
Mike: Beef Is Gross, Unethical, and Yucky!
- In "Mystery for Hire", Mike gets a Vanity License Plate that read "BI GUY" to promote his vegetarianism:
Marquess: So... that's what you see when you read that? Okay.
Mike: Beef Is Succulent, Enticing, X-rated (in terms of deliciousness), Unbelievably Appetizing and Luscious. (beat) Or for short, BISEXUAL. Oh damn, we can't put these on the Mystery Mobile!
- In "The Bard's Curse", Mike gets new plates as he stops being a vegetarian.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Mike is the only person who genuinely likes Pigeon, forcing Yung and Marquess (and everyone else) to put up with him.
- Groin Attack: The moment Mike sees the chupacabra that's been terrorizing the ranch, he immediately punches it right in the groin.
- Hammerspace: Pigeon, somehow or another, has pockets. From which he he gets, at various times, anything from a wallet or cell phone to a Magnum revolver.
- Hell Is That Noise: The catalyst for "What's that Gnoise?" is a car producing a distressing high pitched noise.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: While he means well, and is almost always good-natured, Mike is tremendously dangerous to be around. He has so many quirks and abnormalities that may set him off on a punching tangent at any moment, and his view of reality is so skewed that it's hard to know what might trigger him from one moment to the next. In Season 1 alone, he personally kills more than a dozen people (some accidentally, some on purpose but for invalid reasons), and brutally attacks several others, including chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, who he mistakes for the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan:Pigeon: Hey, were you scared?
Marquess: When the tree came to life?
Pigeon: Oh, no, earlier. When Mike almost beat the shit out of you. I mean, that was crazy. You know, he can kill you? He could kill all of us! I think sometimes we forget that that's Mike Tyson.
- Holy Is Not Safe: In one episode, Marquess gains his wings. When God comes to see him in heaven, even the angels close their eyes and turn their heads as no one can handle seeing God's face. Mike notes that his presence, however, is very warm and welcoming.
- I Love the Dead: According to Marquess, a human doing the nasty with a ghost will cause an unspecified apocalyptic scenario. When he assumes Pigeon has done this, he freaks out. In a later episode, Marquess gets a living boyfriend, but nothing negative - let alone apocalyptic - happens.
- In Medias Res: The Season 2 opener parodies this: Mike's kitchen is full of blood, Pigeon is laying apparently dead in the oven, Yung and Marquess are tied up, and Mike is crying. "How did we get here?" wonders Marquess. The blood's actually a tomato, Pigeon's being melodramatic, Marquess' showing Yung a magic trick, Mike is watching On Golden Pond.
- Innocently Insensitive: In "Ty-Stunned," everyone, minus Yung, unintentionally acts insensitive to Miss Ensler when they keep bringing up her husband's mutilated body. Mike is a big offender when he's having a business meeting with his agent during the mystery:Mike: Hey, Miss Ensler, I know you're still grieving, but I want your honest opinion, okay. Do you think I should have a line of neckties?
Ensler: Richard loved ties. They cut off his head!
(Miss Ensler starts sobbing)
Mike: Okay, let's do it! Mike Tyson is in the tie business.
- Instant Messenger Pigeon: Mike keeps a flock of homing pigeons, who carry mysteries to him from clients.
- Jerkass: Pigeon. He's rude, snarky, an alcoholic, and a massive pervert. His gambling habits lead to Yung being kidnapped and almost killed. No one except Mike likes him, and even that seems to be because Mike is oblivious to his acerbic behavior.
- Laser-Guided Karma: While Mike, Pigeon, and Marquess are travelling through a Cuban jungle, the trio are accidentally caught in a massive mudslide, Pigeon purposefully lets Marquess fall to his doom while Mike doesn't react much to it, and accidentally frees several terrorists later on. By the end, Marquess actually survived and made his way to Miami during Spring Break and decides to party with Yung, while Mike and Pigeon end up on the war-torn side of Libya with no means of getting out. Then the episode abruptly ends.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Pigeon's ex-wife, after rekindling their love together, uses the power of god to return Pigeon back to his human form... Or that was what Pigeon thought she was going to do. Instead, she turns herself into a pigeon to be together with him. The icing on the cake is her getting swallowed by the Ogopogo creature of the lake.
- Man Versus Machine: IBM chairman Thomas J. Watson hosts a highly publicized chess match between one of their supercomputers and Garry Kasparov, to prove that machines are superior and raise the stock of the company. It fails when it is discovered that Bobby Fischer's brain was imprisoned inside the supercomputer. Just to compound this, Watson himself is revealed to be a killer android.
- Meaningful Name: Played with. The team ghost's name is pronounced "Marcus," and is rendered in-show as if Marquess is his given name, rather than a title.
- Mistaken for Gay: Mike thinks Yung is a lesbian when he sees her watching the WNBA. It doesn't help her case when Marquess also enjoys watching the WNBA.
- Mockstery Tale: This is the whole point of the series which parody the classic Hanna-Barbera mystery cartoons. In each episode, the mystery is just a framing device; they are often unsolved or revealed to be nonexistent at all, and many cliffhangers are unresolved.
- Mood Whiplash: Enough to send viewers to the chiropracter.
- Negative Continuity: Considering one episode ends with a bomb blowing up a dam and flooding Mike's neighborhood, and another ends with an Incan doomsday prophecy, it's safe to say this is the case.
- No, You:Yung: Well, I think the most obvious mystery to solve is who is my mother and why did she leave me on Mike Tyson's doorstep when I was a baby?
Pigeon: Probably because she didn't want you. There. Mystery solved.
Yung: You're an asshole.
Pigeon: I'm... You're an asshole.
- Once an Episode: Real Life Mike delivers some piece of wisdom or reiterates a line from the episode during the end credits.
- Only Sane Man: Inverted. Mike is the only crazy man. This is played straight with Yung.
- Our Centaurs Are Different: It turns out that Mike was right about Cormac McCarthy being a "horse-man", a.k.a. a centaur that has wings.
- Our Ghosts Are Different:
- Like the ghosts in Hanna-Barbera cartoons, their entire body and clothes are white.
- Marquess describes himself as a "Level 4 Phantasm" which means he has a physical form but can perceive spectres and wraiths, which are invisible to normal humans.
- Marquess explains that ghosts can be killed, and that ghosts of ghosts are less tangible. He explains that if he died, then his ghost would no longer have a physical form, and if he died again, then the ghost of that ghost would be a bedsheet ghost.
- Out of Order: Discussed in the Season 3 premiere "Help a Brother Out", where Mike and the team flat out talk about how the episode actually takes place immediately after the Season 2 episode "Save Me!" despite the fact "The Farmer's Daughter" was the Season 2 finale:Mike: Didn't you watch the last episode of Season 2?Yung: That wasn't the last episode, we went to that farm.Marquess: The house burned down in the second to last episode.Mike: I don't know when they air them, I don't even know when I live them!
- Poor Communication Kills: When helping a couple find a house, Marquess discovers that it's haunted. He and Yung fail to get the point across to Mike, who assumes that they just don't like the house. He then encourages the couple to buy the house, and the team later sees on the news that they and their dog were brutally murdered.
- Retraux: The show recreates the art style of old Hanna-Barbera cartoons with flash tablets.
- Running Gag:
Yung: Why does everyone think I'm a boy?
- The mysteries that the gang are hired for are often extremely banal, and in several cases, don't even qualify as mysteries.
- Sometimes the people the gang talk to during mysteries mistake Yung for a boy:
Marquess: It's your haircut and I've told you that.
- "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Often inverted; what seemed to be a mundane mystery on the surface will often turn out to have been a front for strange or paranormal activity.
- The Scottish Trope: The gang is once called by a stage director to find out who in his theater troupe cursed the show by saying "Macbeth". As it turns out, it was him:"Who is this? Who are you? Because I sure as hell am not seeing Macbeth, but I cast you as Macbeth in the play Macbeth! So for fuck's sake, give me Macbeth! How many fucking times do I have to say Macbeth in this theater before you start acting like Macbeth? Hmm? Macbeth! Huh? Macbeth! Fucking Mac-"
- "Schoolhouse Rock!" Lesson: The Wizard's flashback about his poker playing past is shown in the style of Schoolhouse Rock!. It is later revealed to be an elaborate comic book placed on the back of his initial note because he presumed Mike was illiterate.
- Skintone Sclerae: To match with the '80s Hanna-Barbara style.
- Slipping a Mickey: In "Mite Tyson," Pigeon one time slipped a roofie into Yung's soda without her knowledge but she didn't drink it. And after Pigeon was kicked out of Mike's home, he waited at a bus stop and took a roofie to pass the time:Pigeon: Maybe I'll get date raped. Huh. Meh, better than sitting on this bus bench.
- Smoking Is Not Cool: The team berates Marquess for smoking cigarettes, despite the fact that he's already a ghost.
- Something We Forgot: In "Mite Tyson," Yung receives a new mystery from one of the carrier pigeons but she didn't get the time to read it because they had to deal with Mike's bug bite problem. By the end of the episode, Yung remembers the mystery and it turns out that it was extremely time sensitive and the mystery was about an armed nuclear device hidden inside the Hoover Dam. After Yung finishes reading the message, the dam blows up flooding the city. Cut to credits.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: The series deconstructs the whole "going to places to solve mysteries for free" thing when Mike points out that him solving mysteries isn't profitable to him. In "Is Magic Real?", when the Wizard needs one million dollars to participate in a poker game, Mike, despite being a famous retired boxer, doesn't have that type of money:Mike: I don't have a million dollars. In fact, I don't even think I can afford to keep solving mysteries, you guys. Huh. Man, I gotta get a real job.
- Stopped Reading Too Soon: In "Is Magic Real?", Mike receives a message from an old Wizard asking if magic is real. When Mike finds the Old Wizard working in a parking garage, he assumes it must be magic if he was able to find him by chance until the Old Wizard points out that he told Mike where to meet him in his message. When Mike correctly guesses the Old Wizard's backstory, he also assumes it must be magic until the Old Wizard points out again that he included his backstory, in comic form, in his message.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Apparently, Mike and Cormac McCarthy know of a song called "Ain't Got No Time for Bird Sex," which Marquess doubts is actually a real song.
- Subverted Kids' Show: The show is a vulgar parody of Hanna-Barbera and '80s Ruby-Spears cartoons, most notably Mister T.
- Take Our Word for It: The general reaction to seeing an incredibly mutilated body in "Ty-Stunned":
- When the gang sees the body for the first time in the study:Pigeon: Holy fuck! They cut off his head! Oh, my fucking God. What is that? Is that his dick? They cut off his dick and stuck it in his mouth! What the fuck? Where are his feet?
- When Pigeon goes back to the study to retrieve Dr. Ensler's laptop in his desk:Pigeon: Oh, for Christ's sakes! What is this?! IT'S HIS STOMACH! Holy shit, they cut off his hands! What the fuck? Found his feet!
- When Mike's agent, Deezy, goes inside the study to retrieve Dr. Ensler's keys:Deezy: Oh, my Lord! Why would people do this? Who did this? Hell, no! Hell, no!
- When the gang sees the body for the first time in the study:
- Too Dumb to Live: Dr. Ensler in "Ty-Stunned", who was killed in the beginning of the episode by one of his clients, Charles Scurb, a.k.a. "Chainsaw Charlie." Dr. Ensler wrote this in Charlie's file:"Patient has expressed murderous tendencies and now threatening to murder and decapitate me and my wife. I have rejected a course of electric shock therapy because my gut tells me the patient is bluffing and is basically harmless."
- Too Much Information: In "Mite Tyson," when Marquess asks what Pigeon does when he has the house to himself:Marquess: You know what? No, don't answer that.
Pigeon: I jack off!
Marquess: Oh, God... I literally said, "Don't answer that."
Pigeon: Oh, yeah.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Most seem very unfazed by the fact that Mike Tyson runs a mystery solving team with a ghost and talking pigeon. Even the women who had sex with Pigeon aren't even turned off by him despite the implication.
- Utility Magic: In "All About that Bass," a man uses the legendary Excalibur to cheat at a fishing competition.
- Vanity License Plate:
Mike: Beef Is Gross, Unethical, and Yucky!
- Mike gets "BI GUY" plates in "Mystery for Hire" to promote his vegetarianism:
Mike: Beef Is Succulent, Enticing, X-rated (in terms of deliciousness), Unbelievably Appetizing and Luscious. (beat) Or for short, BISEXUAL. Oh damn, we can't put these on the Mystery Mobile!
- The following episode has Mike change his plates to reflect his new stance on meat:
- The same episode has the mystery's client use 2BRNOT2B. He's directing Shakespeare plays.
- Weirdness Magnet: Even if the actual mysteries the Mike Tyson Mystery team are hired for tend to be extremely banal, something strange will generally happen during the outing anyway.
- Wham Line: "Your Old Man" reveals that Pigeon had a child with a woman named Michelle. Though he meets the grown child, he learns that Michelle ended up having twins, and she gave up the girl baby for adoption.Michelle: I left her with heavyweight champion of the world, Mike Tyson.
- Worse with Context: In "Jason B. Sucks," Mike and the gang goes to Jason B.'s house demanding that he take down his negative review on Mike's mystery business:Jason: Why? You ruined my life!
Mike: Oh, my goodness! Exaggerate much?
Jason: My wife died because of you.
(Marquess and Yung gasps)
Mike: Well, in that case, maybe it's not exaggerating.