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Western Animation / Mr. Peabody & Sherman

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Leaving their mark on history.

Judge: Mr. Peabody, you're a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, a world-renowned explorer, and you're an Olympic gold medalist in the long jump and the decathlon. You're sure you're capable of meeting ALL the challenges of raising a human boy?
Mr. Peabody: With all due respect, how hard could it possibly be?
Judge: [dubious look]

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a 2014 computer animated adventure-comedy film based on the Peabody's Improbable History segments from Rocky and Bullwinkle. It is the fourth feature film adaptation of the 1960s animated television series and the first to be fully animated (1992's Boris and Natasha and 1999's Dudley Do-Right were live action, while 2000's The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle used the Roger Rabbit Effect), as well as the fifth film based on a Jay Ward property.

It's produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Rob Minkoff (The Lion King (1994), Stuart Little) is the director, while Alex Schwartz and Denise Nolan Cascino are the producers and Tiffany Ward (daughter of Jay Ward, one of the creators of the original series) is executive producer. Mr. Peabody & Sherman features the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Ariel Winter, Allison Janney, Stephen Tobolowsky, Mel Brooks and Patrick Warburton.

Mr. Peabody is a business titan, inventor, scientist, gourmand, two-time Olympic medalist and genius who also happens to be a dog. Using his most ingenious invention, the WABAC machine, Mr. Peabody and his adopted boy Sherman hurtle back in time to experience world-changing events first-hand and interact with some of the greatest historical characters of all time. But when Sherman breaks the rules of time travel, our two heroes find themselves in a race to repair history and save the future, while Mr. Peabody may face his biggest challenge yet - being a parent.

The film was also supposed to have a new Rocky and Bullwinkle short attached to it during its theatrical release. However, it was ultimately taken off and included as a bonus feature on the film's Blu-ray 3D release instead; the short film Almost Home was played in front of it to compromise, as a prequel to DWA's 2015 release, Home (2015).

The Netflix series The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show is a Sequel Series to this film; an article announcing the show in Variety states that the characters "launch the TV variety show because at the end of the movie they’re outed as time travelers, so they decide to capitalize on that."

Tropes provided:

  • Abandoned Pet in a Box: Inverted — the canine Peabody found the human Sherman as a baby inside a cardboard box in an alley.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Peabody and Sherman are seen running through one at the beginning, while running away from the French guards. Truth in Television; the sewers of Paris really are absurdly spacious.
  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Penny, although later she becomes a Lovable Alpha Bitch. After Sherman shows her up in class, she picks a fight with the "dog" in the lunchroom. In the insurance photos, she's practically on the verge of Crocodile Tears.
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Like his 2D counterpart, all Mr. Peabody usually wears is a bowtie and glasses.
  • The Ace:
    • Mr. Peabody. As a puppy he was already reading Plato, and he would go on to receive a valedogtorian degree from Harvard, produce alternative energy technologies, resolve geopolitical conflicts, and invent the fist-bump, planking, tearaway pants, Autotune, the backside ollie, and Zumba. During his informal meet-and-greet with the Petersons, Paul demands Mr. Peabody perform on some two dozen instruments (which he does with aplomb), and later the host proves to be an accomplished chiropractor and mixes drinks besides.
    • Leonardo da Vinci comes close, though clearly not to as exaggerated an extent as his good friend Mr. Peabody. When the WABAC needs a jump-start, Mr. Peabody is almost stoked to be landing in Renaissance Italy.
  • Action Dad: Mr. Peabody.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: This is a behavioral version, with Mr. Peabody treating Sherman as his son whom he deeply loves, rather than a pet and assistant as in the Rocky and Bullwinkle segments.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Sherman's either given bad teeth or buck teeth.
  • Adaptation Expansion: A full length film based on a series of cartoon segments barely over five minutes long each.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Sherman, in that he actually gets a personality. In the original, he was little more than a sounding board for Mr. Peabody either to explain history or set up the punchline.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the Peabody's Improbable History shorts, Mr. Peabody's relationship with Sherman was more akin to an owner with his pet. In the movie, Peabody's relationship with Sherman is now more akin to a foster parent adopting an orphan.
  • Adipose Rex: Marie Antoinette, queen of France and very fat - though given her huge appetite, this shouldn't come as a surprise.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: At the age of seven, Sherman has learned a lot from traveling in the WABAC with Peabody and being raised by him.
  • Adults Are Useless: Briefly towards the beginning, when Penny is quite openly bullying Sherman and even ends up putting him in a choke hold, with a crowd of kids gathering and cheering, there is not one adult to be seen. Apparently, the children are simply left unattended at lunch. And when adults are brought in, the bullying is dismissed as kids being kids; the bully is made to be the victim even though she provoked Sherman to violence. The principal is later shown to be mildly ineffectual. Subverted with Mr. Peabody, though; in this film, the trope only applies to human adults.
  • Always Someone Better: Peabody & Sherman in comparison to the Petersons.
  • All Jews Are Ashkenazi: A Jerry Lewis soundalike (complete with Yiddish as a Second Language) is seen complaining about the plagues in Ancient Egypt.
  • Alliterative Family: The Petersons: Penny (daughter & Sherman's classmate), Patty (mother) and Paul (father)
  • All Men Are Perverts: Subversion of its "All Men Are Dogs" variant. In the end everyone wishes they could be as loving, loyal, faithful, and dependable as Mr. Peabody.
  • All Myths Are True:
    • Subverted in the case of George Washington and the cherry tree, which Sherman correctly states is a made-up story.
    • The movie's version of the Trojan War includes mythical elements such as the Trojan Horse and figures like Agamemnon and Odysseus. While Agamemnon may have existed in real lifenote , Odysseus is widely accepted as being purely mythological.
  • All of Time at Once: At the end, the title characters have to fix a rift in the space-time continuum that is dropping historical figures and artifacts into the present day before it ends up at this.
  • Amazon Chaser: Agamemnon finds Grunion's boisterous and loud demeanor attractive after meeting her for the first time. It's also clear she is the dominant one in they get together but he's fine with that.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: While both the international and domestic trailers have a focus on comedy, the American versions using the song "Pompeii" has a much more epic feel to it.
  • Angrish: When Peabody finds out Sherman let Penny take control of the WABAC he responds by growling in frustration for a few seconds.
  • Arcadian Interlude: The visit to Florence, Italy.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: An unintentional and potentially misinformed one, but Penny gives this to Mr. Peabody on the quality of his parenting. Even Sherman asked Mr. Peabody himself.
    Penny: If you're such a good parent, why is Ms. Grunion trying to take Sherman away from you?
    Sherman: Is that true? Is someone gonna take me away from you?
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Near the end of the movie, Peabody is accused of "kidnapping, reckless endangerment and a multiplicity of major traffic violations." The last one was added by Ms. Grunion.
  • Artistic License – History: Naturally, as with the original show, historical inaccuracies abound as the film pokes fun at Historical Domain Characters. Some noticeable examples:
    • Maximilien Robespierre's portrayal; depicted as the livid, duel-hungry archenemy of France and impassioned executioner, he was in reality a pacifist, arguing against war with Austria and for the abolition of the death penalty (save in the case of King Louis XVI).
    • Marie-Antoinette uttering "Let them eat cake"note ; here it turns out to be a hilariously misunderstood response to Sherman asking for cake.
    • The existence of the largely mythical Trojan Horse. And while it is debated whether or not Agamemnon was ever a real person, he most certainly was not the son of the Minotaur if he was realnote .
    • The wives of Pharaohs being killed to keep their husbands company in the afterlife. This did happen with early Egyptian kings, but was discontinued long before the reign of King Tut.
    • What Peabody says to be "Egyptian" for tattletale is actually Modern Arabic. To be fair to the writers, however, Modern Egypt does not speak Egyptian, they speak Arabic.
    • Notably Averted with the story of George Washington and the cherry tree, which is established to still be just a myth in this universe.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Towards the end of the film, Sherman is piloting the WABAC at a high rate of speed. The WABAC is shown to be accelerating despite a warning flashing: 'Terminal Velocity Achieved'. Possibly subverted due to space-time continuum reasons.
  • Art Shift: Peabody's flashback and any photographs in the movie are in a slightly different style
  • Awesome by Analysis: Mr. Peabody, several times.
  • Backhanded Compliment: Penny gives one to Sherman:
    Penny: Turns out Sherman's not a complete and total loser after all!
  • Back to Front: Peabody's flashbacks of raising Sherman are shown in reverse chronological order.
  • Badass Adorable:
    • Peabody, with his affection towards Sherman and his dorky affinity for puns.
    • Sherman as well.
  • Badass Bookworm: Peabody, BIG time.
  • Badass Family: Peabody and Sherman.
  • Bamboo Technology: After getting stranded in ancient Troy, Mr. Peabody manages to construct a time machine out of "bones, stone, and yak fat."
  • Becoming Part of the Image: While visiting Leonardo da Vinci, Mr. Peabody gets his head stuck in the portrait of a woman. It's so funny The Mona Lisa finally smiles, allowing Leonardo to finish her portrait.
  • Been There, Shaped History:
  • Big Applesauce: The main characters live in New York City.
  • Big Bad: Ms. Grunion
  • Big Beautiful Woman: In the Renaissance, Mona Lisa complains about sitting on her "abbondanza". Marie Antoinette is an even bigger example.
  • Big Eater: Marie Antoinette really loves her cake. Seriously, she engulfs a whole slice in one bite and is continually seen getting more.
  • Big Fun: Marie Antoinette again.
  • Big "NO!": As provided by the Ancient Greeks when Peabody and the kids jump out of the miniature Trojan horse.
  • Bilingual Bonus: When we get to Italy, Mona Lisa is complaining to Leonardo da Vinci.
    Mona Lisa: ... while I sit here on my abbondanza!
    Sherman: ...I don't think that means "chair" in Italian.
    ("Abbondanza" means "abundance" in Italian, describing Mona's great big backfield.)
  • Book Ends:
    • Mr. Peabody driving Sherman to school on the entire movie.
    • Mr. Peabody making drinks bookends the time travel segments.
  • Break the Cutie: Sherman's emotional outburst during the black hole disaster.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Mr. Peabody speaks to the viewer at both the opening and ending of the film.
  • Breather Episode: The trip to Renaissance Florence, Italy which takes place between nearly getting killed in Egypt and battling in the Trojan War. It was a relaxing scene where there was lighthearted humor, beautiful scenery, no danger, and Sherman and Penny really began to connect and soon became best friends.
  • Booby Trap: Sherman accidentally sets one off in the pyramid during his and Peabody's visit in Ancient Egypt.
  • A Boy and His X: In an inversion of the most common form of this trope, Mr. Peabody adopts a boy found abandoned in a cardboard box. In practice, though, Mr. Peabody is more of a father than an owner.
  • The Bully: Penny makes quite the show of picking on Sherman on their first day of school.
  • Buzzing the Deck: Sherman does this while piloting the Flying Machine (he even flies under a bridge!) and again while driving the WABAC.
  • Calling Parents by Their Name: Mr. Peabody makes Sherman address him as "Mr. Peabody". It shows that he is somewhat emotionally distant, but only because he has difficulty expressing himself, as he genuinely likes to be called that.
  • The Cameo: Rocky and Bullwinkle appear as paintings in Mr. Peabody's apartment.
  • Canon Foreigner: Everybody except Mr. Peabody, Sherman, the judge who allows the adoption and the janitor.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: For all his intellect and skills, Peabody has an absolutely terrible sense of humor; shown strongest in his terrible puns and attempt to apply his analytical skills to Slapstick comedy. Perhaps appropriately, he's basically telling "dad jokes".
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Familial variant. Mr. Peabody cannot bring himself to respond with "I love you" to Sherman, instead declaring his "deep regard" for the boy.
  • Centipede's Dilemma: Sherman has no problem flying Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine until Mr. Peabody reminds him that he doesn't know how to fly.
  • Challenge Seeker: Sherman during the Ancient Troy chapter.
  • Character Catchphrase: I don't get it.
  • Character Development:
    • Mr. Peabody letting Sherman off the leash and telling him how much he loves him.
      • Mr. Peabody starts the movie concerned mostly with himself and his own achievements, up to and including his success at adopting a human child; he spends the movie coming to grips with Sherman as his own person in their relationship.
    • Sherman taking responsibility for his actions.
    • Penny accepting Sherman for who he is and letting her Fantastic Racism go.
  • Character Title: Two, actually.
  • Child Soldier: Sherman joins the Greek army in order to prove to Mr. Peabody that he's capable of handling himself.
  • Costumer: Unlike their cartoon counterparts, Mr. Peabody and Sherman (as well as Penny) wear appropriate period clothing when needed while in the past.
  • Colony Drop: During the Time Crash, the Trojan Horse, the Great Sphinx and the RMS Titanic are dropped on New York City.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover for #4 of the comic tie-in depicts Sherman romancing a young girl, with Mr. Peabody Playing Cyrano. That doesn't actually happen in the comic itself.
  • Creepy Doll: Leonardo da Vinci knowingly informs Mr. Peabody that children are not machines; he should know, he tried to build one. (Not only does Leonardo's doll scare him, it scares other citizens of Florence as well). Though when they're sucked back to their own time periods, however, he hugs it happily.
    It was creepy....
  • Cultured Badass: Mr. Peabody.
  • Cut a Slice, Take the Rest: A variant; Marie Antoinette eats a slice of cake with a fork by digging the fork in—and then just shoving the whole thing in her mouth.
  • Cute Clumsy Boy: Sherman.
  • Daddy's Girl: Penny, of course.
  • Death Glare:
    • Penny gives Sherman one of these when she and her parents come for dinner.
    • Mr. Peabody and Ms. Grunion exchange epic ones in the principal's office.
  • Defrosting the Ice Queen: Penny's attitude starts to get better after she's saved from getting married to King Tut. She remains a Jerkass until Italy, though.
  • Department of Child Disservices: Ms. Grunion is dead set on having Sherman removed from Peabody's custody just because he's a dog.
  • Disney Death: Happens to Mr. Peabody twice. In the French Revolution scene, he appears to be guillotined, and in the Trojan Horse scene, he appears to fall to his death, but he survives both times.
  • Disappeared Dad: Played with before being averted. Paul Peterson gets right into Peabody's face saying that nothing is more important than his daughter. He is immediately interrupted by his phone ringing, and stealing his attention with a survey. But when all is said and done, he's neither attentive nor inattentive.
  • Don't Explain the Joke:
    • Peabody seems compelled to explain one of his puns after rescuing Penny from marrying King Tut:
    Peabody: They marry far too young in Ancient Egypt anyway. Or perhaps I'm just some old Giza. (Beat, shows a picture of the pyramid of Giza) Eh?
    • Implicitly justified: Sherman doesn't understand half of his jokes.
  • Door-Closes Ending: The Stinger after the credits has Mr Peabody and Sherman walking into the WABAC Machine and shutting the door.
  • Doorstop Baby: Peabody finds baby Sherman in a cardboard box.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • When Mr. Peabody is called in to see the principal, he thinks it's because they want to place Sherman into an advanced curriculum program.
    • Mr. Peabody's parental care torwards Sherman tends to jump between a true father's love and talking down to him like he's his owner in critical situations during the French Revolution and escaping the black hole.
    • This bit of visual irony as Peabody and da Vinci finish the WABAC recharging mechanism:
      Mr. Peabody: It is beautiful, isn't it? Every piece in its place, doing precisely what it's supposed to do.
      [The flying machine, with Penny and Sherman aboard, comes into frame above Peabody's left shoulder]
  • DreamWorks Face: As tradition for DreamWorks Animation, though both main characters do this in one or two posters, either Sherman or Peabody only make this face. Not only does Penny get in on it but some historical figures (that's including the Trojan Horse) do as well!
  • Driven by Envy: Penny during the history class, Mr. Peterson on meeting Peabody.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After an adventure of time-traveling, parental issues, and discrimination, Grunion ends up trapped in the past, Mr. Peabody and Sherman can remain together, and Penny and Sherman reconcile and have a budding romance.
  • Easily Forgiven: Penny was pretty much forgiven despite causing the whole mess, sure she regretted it and learned to be kind but still.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Central Park is prominently visible from the film's establishing shot zooming in on Mr. Peabody's penthouse. It's a background through the apartment's panoramic windows in several scenes.
  • Eternal English: The only language barrier in this entire film is that Sherman might not know how to read Hieroglyphics. Although occasionally characters do use a few words of their native language, usually when funny.
    • Explained a bit in the original cartoon, which has Mr. Peabody "fix" a language barrier after the two first visit ancient Rome - implying translating is part of the WABAC's functions.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Mr Peabody does this while escaping from Versailles.
    Mr Peabody: I never miss.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Penny asks Sherman how to take off on Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine. Sherman tells her to pull the lever. Guess what she does?
  • Expy: Penny is a lot like Cindy Vortex from her appearance to her personality to becoming envious of the "boy genius" of the class and eventually falling in love with him. Sherman also possesses some qualities of Jimmy Neutron himself and even Lewis.
  • Face Palm: Mr. Peabody does this when Sherman's explanation for why he took Penny to the WABAC. Turns out to be "she was into it."
  • Face Plant:
    • A Running Gag with Sherman.
    • Subverted by Mr. Peabody in the Mona Lisa scene.
  • Fat Bitch: Ms. Grunion, a plump social worker who threatens to take Sherman away from Peabody.
  • Fantastic Racism: In this world, a talking dog can exist but is apparently not common enough for humans to know how to treat them. Ms. Grunion seems to have a problem, not only with the idea of a dog adopting a boy, but with a dog acting like a human. Penny's bullying to Sherman stems from him being raised by a dog, as though it causes well-known domestic problems. The first thing Penny's father does when stepping into the penthouse apartment for dinner is to confirm his suspicions that Peabody is "literally a dog".
  • Floating Advice Reminder: Sherman has a stereo version in his eyes.
    Mr. Peabody: Don't tell her about the WABAC!
  • Foil: Penny's parents, to one another. When they first arrive, Penny's mom is overly friendly and perhaps a little star-struck, while Penny's dad is standoffish and absolutely refuses to be impressed.
  • Follow That Car: Grunion to the NYPD driver at the start of the Manhattan chase scene:
    Grunion: Follow that orb!
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The final issue of the comic book tie-in has Mr. Peabody trying to teach Sherman about romance, mentioning that he is starting school soon. It even ends with Mr. Peabody and Sherman arriving in France just before the Reign of Terror.
    • The crackling, buzzes, and flashes from the displays in the hallway leading to the WABAC before the characters realize the time rip has happened.
    • Just prior to the Flying Machine scene, Da Vinci has this line:
      Da Vinci: He's growing up, Peabody; like a baby bird leaving the nest.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Like his animated counterpart, Mr. Peabody still has four, though averted with Sherman (who had four) as he now has five fingers as with other human characters in the movie.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Peabody's Awesome by Analysis calculations flash on screen while he performs them. Some of them are too quick to catch without pausing, such as the nutritional breakdown of a cantaloupe. A couple of the shout outs fall under this category as well.
    • As a puppy, Mr. Peabody is studying Plato in Greek!
    • The text on the page Mr. Peabody signs William Shakespeare's name to is from A Midsummer Night's Dream → Act 5, Scene 1, Page 2
      Come now, what masques, what dances shall we have
      To wear away this long age of three hours
      Between our after-supper and bedtime?
      Where is our usual manager of mirth?
      What revels are in hand? Is there no play,
      To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?
      Call Philostrate.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: Featured in a Blooper Gag Reel, with Sherman tickling Mr. Peabody on his tummy, in an affectionate owner-and-dog style.
  • Funny Background Event: Both Shermans make his "I don't get it" face when Peabody cracks his "Troy, Troy again" pun.
  • Furry Reminder: As intelligent and proper as Peabody is, he still maintains his canine instincts, such as wagging his tail when happy, occasionally running on all fours, biting in a rage when Miss Grunion physically hurts his son etc.
  • Gold Digger:
    • Penny plans to marry King Tut knowing he dies young, intending to get all his riches. However, she didn't know that wives of the pharaoh are condemned to death when he dies.
    • George Washington's "groupies" all admire his portrait on the one dollar bill, until Benjamin Franklin shows them which bill his portrait is on!
  • Good Parents:
    • Mr. Peabody may expose him to danger in the trips to the past, but otherwise, Sherman could not ask for a better father dedicated to an enriching childhood undreamed of for any child.
    • Penny's parents as well. They seem a bit shallow upon their first introduction, but it quickly becomes apparent that they do indeed care for their daughter, and are very protective of her and concerned for her safety.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Maximilien Robespierre is revealed to be wearing these when Mr. Peabody causes his pants to fall down during a fight. He's also shown admiring a pair of "I Love NY" underpants during the time crash scene.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Spoken by Mona Lisa when she's complaining about Leonardo having her sit there all day.
    Sherman: I don't think that's Italian for 'chair', Mr. Peabody.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: There seems to be some indications that Penny is this to Sherman when he starts going to school.
    • Sherman later appears to be not altogether pleased when Penny gets herself engaged to King Tut. Lampshaded by Mr. Peabody.
  • Handshake Substitute: Among his many, many accomplishments, Mr. Peabody claims to have invented the fist-bump.
  • Happily Adopted: Sherman loves his adopted father, Mr. Peabody. It should be noted that in the film, it's shown that Sherman was a baby when he was adopted, whereas in the cartoon, he was already a little boy.
  • Happily Married: Even though their screen time is limited, there's no doubt that Paul and Patty are in a loving and close marriage. The first evidence of this is that the only reason that Paul didn't press charges against the Peabodys was because Patty asked him not to.
    • It appears that Agamemnon and Grunion are heading in this direction.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": Sherman has the classic "booby trap" reaction.
  • Heroic BSoD: Sherman has one briefly when he believes Mr. Peabody to be dead.
    Sherman: What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do?
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Peabody performs one to save Sherman and Penny in ancient Troy, but it turns out that he didn't die and was actually completely fine.
  • Hidden Depths: Word of God confirmed that Penny's personality stems from her father, Paul Peterson. With that said, Paul stated that he would have pressed charges, but didn't because Patty asked for him not to.
  • Historical Domain Character: Sigmund Freud, Marie-Antoinette, King Tut, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, and some others.
  • Hollywood History: As in that in the original cartoons, Mr. Peabody deliberately modified the WABAC Machine to deliberately put them in a Rule of Funny version of history.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: In the film's climactic minutes, the petite-even-for-a-child Penny is perched on the shoulder of the hulking Agamemnon.
  • Hypocrite: At one point, Penny demands to know why Ms. Grunion is trying to take Sherman away if Mr. Peabody is such a great parent. The proper answer to this question is that the modern world's inhabitants all appear to be Fantastic Racists and Penny's little show at the beginning of the movie provided Grunion with the perfect opportunity, but Penny uses the situation to imply moral faults of Mr. Peabody.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The Greeks hiding inside the original Trojan Horse bring inside a smaller Trojan Horse that looks just like theirs from which Mr. Peabody and Penny pop out, scaring the Greeks followed by Agamemnon exclaiming "Ha ha! I did NOT see that coming!!!"
  • I Am Spartacus:
    • "I'm a dog too!"
    • The real Spartacus (looking like Kirk Douglas, naturally) has a cameo in which he says his line straight.
  • Idiot Ball: Much of the plot is driven by the irrational Fantastic Racism of Penny, Ms. Grunion, and Mr. Peterson.
  • I'm Okay!: Sherman, after being shot out of the sphinx and slamming into the desert sand.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Penny's mom is rather busty, and has hips that are wider than her vaguely Arnold-esque head.
  • Improbable Age: Sherman is 7 years old in the movie, and since Penny is in the same class she is evidently the same age. Yet, considering the kind of things they do in the movie you get the impression they are much older than that.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Paul Peterson resembles Stephen Colbert; his wife Patty also resembles Leslie Mann pretty well.
  • Insufferable Genius: Mr. Peabody.
  • Invisibility: The WABAC has this ability.
  • Irony: Agamemnon and the Trojans completely and utterly fail to grasp the irony when a small wooden horse is delivered to their large wooden horse. (See Hypocritical Humor above).
    Agamemnon: A present! Nice.
  • Irrational Hatred: Ms. Grunion seems to have this concerning Mr. Peabody. At one point, she goes into a spiel about how he "bamboozled the world" with his "fancy jargon" and "little red tie".
    • Mr. Peterson also demonstrates signs of this, as he is overtly hostile towards Mr. Peabody as soon as he arrives at the apartment. He gets better after Peabody fixes his hurt back.
  • It's All My Fault:
    • Penny says this when Ms. Grunion is about to take Sherman away from Mr. Peabody.
    • Sherman also tries to take all the blame when Mr. Peabody is about to be taken away by animal services he admitted that he used the WABAC without permission.
  • I "Uh" You, Too: Mr. Peabody initially can't bring himself to say "I love you" to Sherman. He gets over it by the end, and Sherman playfully makes it clear that he always understood.
  • Jaw Drop: Sherman when he sees who came for dinner.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    Penny: If you're such a great parent, then why's Ms. Grunion taking to take Sherman away from you.?
    • While Ms. Grunion tries to get Sherman taken from Mr. Peabody mostly because he's a dog, one could argue that Mr. Peabody does put Sherman in serious danger on a regular basis with their trips in the WABAC. Then again, Ms. Grunion doesn't actually know about the existence of the WABAC.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: The movie establishes right off the bat how wealthy, intelligent, and well-known Mr. Peabody is. However, when the issue of Sherman getting taken away comes up, Peabody calling in his friends from Harvard, an attorney, or even the President to intervene it has to be ignored, because otherwise that aspect of the movie would have been over really fast.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Ms. Grunion gets a happy ending that she probably doesn't deserve. At least she can't threaten Mr. Peabody and Sherman anymore.
      • If you know anything about Greek mythology, it might not be that happy of an ending for her. Let's just say when Agamemnon brings home his new wife... his old one won't take it very well.
      • Also, given that she had been dragged off by a smitten Greek king/warrior, portraying it as other than a happy ending would have some really unfortunate implications.
    • Penny started the whole fiasco by essentially strangling Sherman from behind, and generally being a brat. Her punishment is that she ends up with a possible boyfriend...wait...
  • Kids Are Cruel: Although Penny was the only one humiliating Sherman, none of the kids except for one tried to stop her and when Penny gets Sherman in a choke hold, the kids all crowd around and shout for them to fight.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: As in the original series, Mr. Peabody is a Pungeon Master, and Sherman's usual response to his jokes is to laugh sheepishly, then say "I don't get it."
  • Large Ham: Agamemnon, played quite fittingly by Patrick Warburton.
  • Lampshade Hanging: "It looks just like our horse."
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Agamemnon again.
  • Like Father, Like Son:
  • The Load: Penny comes off as this. She bullies Sherman and sets up the conflict of Ms. Grunion trying to take Sherman away from Mr. Peabody. Later when she visits, she makes Sherman use the WABAC without permission and ends up in Ancient Egypt. Due to her being a Non-Action Snarker and having more than one Damsel in Distress moment, she only serves as a bland love interest for Sherman but thankfully her behavior improves early in the movie.
  • Logo Joke: Sherman takes the place of the Dreamworks boy in the moon.
  • Love at First Sight:
    • When Agamemnon sees Grunion.
    • Mr. Peabody & Baby Sherman.
    • It can be debated that this is the case with Sherman about Penny, however the timescale once school starts is ambiguous.
  • Lucky Charms Title: The period abbreviating "Mr." in Mr. Peabody is a bowtie.
  • Man Bites Man: What gets Sherman into trouble with Penny's family.
  • Master Swordsman: Peabody's main battle ability.
  • Matchlight Danger Revelation: Played with; not danger per se, but it sure scared Sherman when Peabody first lit the torch in the Egyptian tomb!
    Peabody: That's disarming...
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • When Mr. Peabody finally tells Sherman that he loves him, Sherman uses Peabody's earlier "deep regard" line in response.
    • At the French Revolution guillotine scene, Sherman shouts, "Mr. Peabody, what should I do?", Mr. Peabody appears to get killed, and Sherman passes out. At the Trojan Horse crash scene, Sherman gets knocked out, wakes to see Mr. Peabody apparently killed, then cries, "Mr. Peabody, what should I do? What should I do?"
    • Sherman's ride to school the second time follows much the same pattern as the first, but instead it's Sherman giving Mr. Peabody helpful tips and advice.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: A brief flashback at the start of the film shows a puppy Peabody that nobody wants to adopt. And a baby Sherman is also shown after Mr. Peabody found him.
  • Mundane Fantastic: Whenever in the past or the present, nobody seems to mind a talking dog walking amongst them. But Peabody is a famous athlete and inventor, so he's arguably famous. People have had time to get used to the fact that he's a talking genius dog.
    • To put this in perspective, from a 90 minute movie, the biggest reactions to Mr. Peabody being a dog comes from Penny seen whispering when Sherman gets his dog whistle and her father on meeting him.
    Paul (unimpressed): So he's literally a dog.
    Peabody: I prefer the term 'literate' dog.
  • Mustache Vandalism: In this poster, Sherman not only does this to Peabody, the former decorates the latter's face!
  • My Instincts Are Showing:
    • Peabody's affection for Sherman by petting his hair before nighttime or cleaning up his mouth just moments before Penny and her parents arrive, like a human would care for a puppy dog.
    • When Peabody finds out Sherman used the WABAC and lost Penny in Ancient Egypt, he growls angrily.
    • When Ms. Grunion tries to take Sherman away, Peabody snaps and bites her.
    • When Peabody and Sherman hug, Peabody's tail starts wagging happily. His tail also wags when he sees old friend Leonardo da Vinci, and in a few other happy moments.
    • Peabody howls in triumph when he and Sherman save the timestream.
    • Official Blooper Reel[1]
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Like in the first episode of the cartoon, Peabody finds Sherman in a alley. Only difference being here Sherman's a baby found in a box whilst in the cartoon, Sherman was a kid being beaten up by a couple of bullies.
      • Mr. Peabody adopting Sherman (though he's a baby rather than a boy as he was in the cartoons) and getting media attention for it. Also, the judge's dialogue is almost a verbatim quote from the cartoon:
    Cartoon Judge: This court can see no reason why, if a boy can have a dog, a dog can't have a boy.
    Movie Judge: If a boy can adopt a dog, I see no reason why a dog cannot adopt a boy.
    • Leonardo Da Vinci having trouble getting his model for the Mona Lisa to smile was the conflict of a Peabody and Sherman cartoon. Although, in the original cartoon, the issue was the model had a toothache, not that she was bored as in the movie.
    • Mr. Peabody instructs the baby Sherman not to call him "dada", but rather "Mr. Peabody" (or "Peabody" in informal situations).
    • The name of the giant sphere used for the time machine is WABAC; the name of the time machine Mr. Peabody and Sherman used to be able to visit famous historical people or events was the WABAC Machine. Also, the doorway used to enter the WABAC's chamber is similar to the original WABAC seen in the cartoon.
    • Sherman having brown eyes here calls back to where in the cartoon, Mr. Peabody mentions Sherman having brown eyes despite the pupils being black.
    • Also retaining Sherman's Improbable Age of 7, which arguably made even less sense in the original series considering his maturity.
    • The opening and ending of the movie reflect that of the first Peabody's Improbable History segment; It opens with Peabody doing yoga, and ends with him saying "Every dog should have a boy."
    • The street sweeper appears at the end to clean up after the Greeks when Agamemnon and Ms. Grunion get married.
    • Sherman sleeps with a stuffed animal; specifically, Dudley Do-Right's horse.
    • Peabody and Sherman drive around New York City in a bright red motorcycle and side car, which is reminiscent of the large red car that the two ride in during one of the Peabody's Improbable History openings.
    • Episodes of Peabody's Improbably History ended with Mr. Peabody delivering a bad pun. Since this is a movie, his puns punctuate acts instead.
  • Name and Name: The title.
  • Nerd Glasses: Both Peabody and Sherman.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: One rule about using the WABAC is you're not supposed to go to a time and place you've already existed, in case this happens.
  • Never Say "Die": "Don't you know what happens to dogs that bite?" Ms. Grunion's probably referring to Peabody being euthanized.
    • Otherwise averted, as the movie doesn't avoid using the words "die" or "kill" in other scenes (such as Peabody describing what happens to the wives of Egyptian pharaohs).
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Some of them. It's the story about a dog who loves his adopted son and not just about a time travel story like they want you to believe.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • The whole mess starts because Sherman showed Penny the WABAC after Peabody specifically told him not to show it to her.
    • In Italy, when Sherman finally got a hold of flying the plane, Mr. Peabody tells Sherman that he doesn't know how to fly and Sherman forgets how to fly and nearly crashes.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: Sherman is the nice, Penny is the mean, and Mr. Peabody is the in-between. Penny does get nicer later on.
  • Noodle Incident: As Sherman says early on, "Let's just say that the Leaning Tower of Pisa wasn't always leaning."
  • No-Sell: Unfortunately, Mr. Peabody's hypnosis does not work on Ms. Grunion.
  • Not Now, Kiddo:
    • When in Renaissance Italy, Sherman notices a peg has come loose in one of Mr. Peabody's inventions and attempts to alert the inventor, but the latter is busy working with another part of the machine. No matter how urgently Sherman calls him, Mr. Peabody only offers vague and mildly-dismissive affirmations ("Very helpful!"), so Sherman decides to fix it himself. This results in Sherman trying to pound the peg into a large gear, resulting in a chain reaction that causes the gear Mr. Peabody is working on to start hitting him in the head. After all this, however, he still wonders why Sherman would rather go off and play with Penny.
    • Mr. Peabody finally takes a moment to listen to Sherman during the end of the movie, and Sherman's suggestion leads directly to the climax.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Mr. Peabody has many of these in response to Sherman's safety, such as when he goes missing during the French Revolution, or when he triggers a booby-trap in Ancient Egypt, or when Mr. Peabody finds Sherman piloting one of Leonardo da Vinci's flying machines, or when Sherman goes missing again on the eve of the Trojan War.
    Oh, my!
    • During the Egypt adventure, Penny learning about her incoming and inescapable demise was bad enough to lead her to decide to return home with Peabody and Sherman, not minutes after cheerfully chatting about them suffering torturous deaths with King Tut.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist : Mister Peabody excels in several areas of science, most notably Physics, Engineering and Anthropology/History, plus mastering various artistic and athletic disciplines.
  • Omniglot: Mister Peabody is shown to have mastered several languages.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Not in the posters, but Sherman has orange eyes, while Penny has blue. Guess which characters get along like oil and water at first?
  • Papa Wolf: Mr Peabody to Sherman.
  • Parental Bonus: At the end of the film, Mr. Peabody receives a triplicate presidential pardon, including one from Bill Clinton, who claims he's "done worse".
  • Parental Love Song: The montage set to John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy" serves as one.
  • Parents as People: Very much so. As the primary protagonist, the audience gets a full look into Mr. Peabody's character, and the main chunk of his Character Development is him learning to cope with Sherman as he grows and changes, and struggling to be a good father despite the emotional complexity of it all.
  • Pictorial Letter Substitution: The period abbreviating "Mr." in the title logo is a bowtie.
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: Near the end of the film, Mr. Peabody finally gets the courage to tell Sherman, that he loves him. Sherman replies with a Meaningful Echo that indicates he knew it all the time.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Between Peabody and Sherman.
  • Prestige Peril: Penny plans to marry King Tut knowing he dies young, intending to get all his riches. However, she didn't know that wives of the pharaoh are condemned to death when he dies.
  • Product Placement: Marie Antoinette can be found eating Tastykake krumpets from the back of one of their trucks.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Get! That! DOOOOG!" (And its reply, "I'm! Not! A DOG!")
  • Pungeon Master: Mr. Peabody makes an Incredibly Lame Pun or several, which Sherman may or may not understand.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Penny is making these in the picture Mr. Peabody sees in her file while in the principal's office after Sherman gets into a fight.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Principal Purdy doesn't want Peabody and Sherman to be separated, but he has to follow the law. He also takes into account the fact that Penny provoked Sherman. Unfortunately, he's too meek to stand up to Ms. Grunion.
  • Real-Place Background: In the film's climax, the WABAC crash-lands in Manhattan's Grand Army Plaza right next to its central feature, the statue of General William Tecumseh Sherman.
  • Red-Headed Stepchild: Averted for Sherman, as Mr. Peabody obviously cares for him deeply.
  • Renaissance Man: Mr. Peabody. As stated in the beginning of this page, he is a business titan, inventor, scientist, gourmand, two-time Olympic medalist and genius. Bonus points for being a close personal friend of the Renaissance Man himself, Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Running Gag: Whenever Mr. Peabody makes a pun, Sherman instantly laughs at it. Only for him to say that he doesn't get the joke.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Both Agamemnon's father being the Minotaur and Oedipus being among the soldiers fighting in the Trojan War have no basis in actual Greek myth.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Peabody receives a triple presidential pardon (by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Bill Clinton), so he doesn't get punished for the damage his time machine caused to New York; it was Sherman and Penny who got the pardon for him.
  • Sherlock Scan: Mr. Peabody tends to do this.
  • Ship Tease: Happens between Sherman and Penny.
    • It is revealed Sherman had a crush on Penny whilst in the catacombs and the two share smiles, hugs, and banter throughout the adventure.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the trailers contains numerous Doctor Who references, coinciding with the show's 50th anniversary.
      • Fitting, seeing as how the movie proper contains a Time Crash-causing Never the Selves Shall Meet paradox à la "Father's Day".
      • Also, the appearance of the time machine's travel through time itself is awfully reminiscent of the Time Vortex. Probably deliberate.
      • In the tie-in comic, one of the three WABAC protoypes is The TARDIS ("too British"), albeit bright red like the final WABAC.
    • Doubling as a Mythology Gag, a Bullwinkle collage hangs on a wall.
    • There's even a black-and-white photo of Sherman with Mahatma Gandhi above Peabody's head when talking to Sherman in regards to his fight at school.
    • The manner in which Peabody first finds Sherman, as an infant hidden in a box, is reminiscent of how Mr. Ping found Po in Kung Fu Panda 2.
    • Peabody fighting in the Trojan War features a few slow-motion bits similar to 300.
    • Peabody and Sherman have to hop across a floor on panels with spell out a passcode, just like in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
    • When Mr. Peabody is talking about the WABAC needing to go faster than it had ever before to go forward in time, the speedometer reads 88 miles per hour.
    • The comic book tie-in has expies of The cosmic treadmill, The TARDIS, and the DeLorean as early prototypes of the WABAC.
    • This isn't the first movie about a father-son relationship to use the song "Beautiful Boy" in a heartwarming fashion.
    • At one point in the movie, Beethoven can be seen playing DanceDance Revolution. And if you listen carefully, you can hear that he's playing "Speed Over Beethoven", a Speedy Techno Remake of Fur Elise that appears in several DDR games.
    • During the Egypt adventure, Penny mentions her upcoming Big Fat Egyptian Wedding.
    • Albert Einstein quotes Midnight Cowboy:
      Einstein: Hey! I'm walking here!
    • Robespierre inverts a famous The Wizard of Oz quote:
    Robespierre: I'll get you dog, and your little boy too!
    • King Tut shouts "Runaway Bride!" as Penny is rescued from him.
    • Einstein on the Beach: The drink Peabody mixes for the Petersons that bookends the time travel hijinks.
    • Sherman's lunchbox says "A Brief History of Lunch" with an image of Stephen Hawking.
    • Outside of the Versailles Palace, peasants start rioting about Marie Antoinette eating cake. One yells "It's a scandal!" followed immediately by a different one going "It's an outrage!", a nod to the Oklahoma! song "It's a Scandal! It's a Outrage!"
  • Slapstick:
    • Played with by subverting it, then immediately playing it straight, in the Mona Lisa scene.
    • Peabody gets klonked several times while Sherman tries to hammer in a minor loose gearing peg in the Renaissance WABAC recharging machine.
    • Another Mythology Gag: in the classic Jay Ward shorts, Peabody also faced the guillotine in a stopover at the French Revolution. There he solved the problem a bit more simply: he secretly switched the lethal blade for a harmless rubber one.
  • Stealth Pun: Both Mr. Peabody and Sherman are shot out from the Sphinx's behind.
    • Chasing down the Trojan Horse on a trojan horse.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Penny is a smaller version of her mother, Patty.
  • Supreme Chef : The culinary arts are among Peabody's many areas of expertise.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Sherman denies having a crush on Penny.
    Sherman: Gimme a break! It’s not like I want to hold her hand or go to the park with her or watch her while she’s brushing her hair... Beat or anything.
  • Swapped Roles: Happens during the French Revolution when Peabody is calling and whistling for Sherman.
    • Irony ensues for sure
  • Talking Animal: Mr. Peabody.
  • Technobabble: Most of the Hand Waves for how the time travel works. Lampshaded, even.
  • That Came Out Wrong: When Peabody comes back from Ancient Troy to warn Sherman not to touch himself.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: During the climax. And Danny Elfman pushes the Edward Scissorhands choir into it.
    Peabody: Sherman.. you are a genius.
  • Time Crash: The duplicate Peabodys and Shermans fusing together creates a rip in the space-time continuum.
  • Time Machine: The WABAC.
  • Time Travel: The basis of the plot.
  • Toilet Humour:
    • At the very beginning Peabody's alternative energy device is shown to be cow farts.
    • Sherman saying the water in the sewer tastes funny.
    • Twice characters are expelled from famous objects' bottoms - the Sphinx and the Trojan Horse.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sherman. He saves his father from Ms. Grunion's wrath, pilots the WABAC in the climax, brings Peabody to reconsider his fears and doubts of letting him be more reliable and finally speaking his unconditional love for his son out loud for the very first time.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Mr. Peabody, compared to his cartoon counterpart. In the original cartoon, he was a more strict and distant authority figure towards Sherman, and considered himself Sherman's owner, not his adoptive father.
    • Penny in the movie itself.
  • Token Minority: On his first day of school, Sherman makes two new friends: one is Indian, the other is in a wheelchair.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Marie Antoinette loves cake. No, seriously, she loves cake.
    • The Trojans took a liking to the pizza of New York.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • The "fetch the ball" gag from the trailers and commercials never actually shows up in the film itself.
    • The "peanut butter" gag also isn't in the actual movie.
  • Trailer Spoof: In celebration of Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary, a trailer does this. Despite obvious hints (like the fact The Doctor doesn't travel through time in huge red orb that looks like a golf ball!) that it's not a Doctor Who movie, lots of people STILL believed otherwise.
  • Trapped in the Past: When Agamemnon is whisked back to his own time, he takes Ms. Grunion with him because he loves her. At first, she is not okay with this, but at the end we see that they wind up Happily Married.
  • Tsundere: Initially, Penny is Type A for Sherman, while Sherman is Type B for Penny.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: Special mention here as not only does it have all the usual characteristics, it exists in TIME somehow.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The majority of characters in this movie don't seem to see anything weird about a talking dog who acts like a human. Partially averted with Ms. Grunion and some other characters expressing Fantastic Racism though.
  • Vertigo Effect: When Sherman sees that Mr. Peabody has brought Penny over to their house, his terror is conveyed to the audience by a closeup of him with this zoom effect, a la Jaws.
  • Visual Calcus: Mr. Peabody being Awesome By Analysis frequently uses visualized diagrams and equations in 3D space, allowing him to formulate complex plans with mathematical precision.
  • We Will Meet Again: Ms. Grunion says this after Mr. Peabody and Sherman fix the time rift, just before Agamemnon takes her to the past with him.
  • Wham Line: Several.
    Sherman: I SAID THAT I AM NOT A DOG!
    Sherman: Mr. Peabody!... Dad!
    Sherman: The only mistake Mr. Peabody ever made... was me.
    Mr. Peabody: Sherman... I love you.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: While escaping the black hole, Sherman calls Mr. Peabody out for not telling him about Ms. Grunion trying to take him away from Mr. Peabody.
  • Who's on First?:
    • When Sherman asks Marie Antoinette if they can have some cake, she replies "Mais oui." Sherman thinks she said "May we" and was correcting his grammar.
    • Same thing happens when Tutankhamen's Evil Vizier introduces himself as Ay (I).
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Sherman does this to Penny when he gets into a fight during school.
    • Mr. Peabody would later do the same to Ms. Grunion when she was hurting Sherman.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In the Trojan War, Sherman decided to join the battle but quickly changed his mind and the soldier hunting him down had no regrets on murdering a little boy.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Verbal variety. Perhaps it's because he's a Wide-Eyed Idealist, but Sherman never tells on Penny, and actually takes responsibility himself for things that she did. Sherman only tells Peabody, "She called me a dog.", rather than continuing that she then threw his lunch to the floor, snatched his whistle, then started choking him before he did anything to defend himself. Later, he apologises for wrecking the flying machine, despite the fact that Penny launched it and flew it until she quite literally forced Sherman to take over piloting. When Penny calls him a tattletale in ancient Egypt, Sherman looks like he's been slapped in the face.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: When Peabody loses his temper and bites Ms. Grunion when she hurts his son, Grunion calls Animal Control to haul him away to be put down and nobody in the present points out that he has high level contacts in political, business and diplomatic circles who would surely do everything in their power to stop this.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: When it appears that Peabody has sacrificed his own life to save Penny and Sherman.
    Sherman: Mr. Peabody! ...Dad!