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Western Animation / Ned's Newt

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Ned's Newt is a madcap Canadian animated series from Nelvana that was created by Andy Knight (who would later go on to create Pig City, Get Ed, and Bolts & Blip) and Mike Burgess, with Johnny Carson writers Andrew Nicholls and Darrell Vickers developing and producing the series.

The series follows Ned Flemkin, a young boy whose pet and best friend is a newt (the only animal he could afford) called Newton. Whenever he's fed the special "Zippo" newt food, Newton temporarily grows into a friendly, humanoid, 6-foot-tall, 300-pound trickster with a penchant for Shapeshifting and pop-culture references (voiced by Canadian-American comedian Harland Williams).

The series follows Ned's life in his school (where he deals with his Love Interest Linda, ditzy best friend Doogle, and local Rich Bitch Rusty) and in his everyday life, focusing on the zany misadventures he gets through with (and usually because of) Newton's efforts to help him.

The series originally aired on Teletoon as one of the very first series produced for that channel, and was also shown on Fox Kids and later on Qubo in the US. It ran for 3 seasons and 39 episodes between October 17, 1997 and December 31, 1999.

Tropes exhibited by this series:

  • Animation Bump: The second season is much brighter in color than the first and third seasons. The first season also has much better animation than the other two due to being animated at Philippine Animation Studio Inc. rather than RG Prince Films like the latter two. Also, the title sequence uses scenes from the original pilot, but were apparently reanimated for the series' debut episode, as the pilot animation looks like something out of Ren & Stimpy.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: The Halloween episode, when Ned is home alone and the Frankenstein's monster suddenly shows up at his doorstep (in reality his uncle who's coming by to check on him. He's on his way to a Halloween party, and can't get off his costume on his own).
    Ned: It looks like Frankenstein! But he doesn't really exist, does he?
    Newton: Hey, you're talking to a six-foot newt that can do this:
    (Newton unhinges his upper jaw, causing a weasel in a harlequin costume to pop out of his lower jaw and juggle)
    Newton: Face it: The reality level here is a mite thin!
  • Beneath the Earth: the malevolent trolls with the ambition to Take Over the World.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Most of the characters, including Ned himself. Averted with Newton though.
  • Boring Return Journey: "Newt York, Newt York" ends with the duo back in Ned's room, with Ned talking about the exciting return trip from New York and the busy second trip there. Newton cops to how they didn't have the money to show those scenes in addition to everything else in the episode.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Newton suffers a fate like this after hearing a group of sirens in "The Man Who Would Be Flemking". He then rows the boat from day until night when the boat crashes. Afterwards, one of the sirens just says this:
    "We just gotta learn a number that makes people applaud instead of rowing to their death."
  • Building Swing: One episode had Newton save Ned from a bunch of island natives who were about to throw him into a volcano by swinging across on a vine and grabbing him. One of the natives immediately asks what the vine can possibly be hanging off of, since they are atop a volcano.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ned, usually.
  • Cassandra Truth: How Newton & Ned get rid of Renfrew in "A Snitch in Time"; since he's a tattletale, they cause him to witness all kinds of unusual things, knowing he'll report it to Ned's parents and be made to look crazy.
  • Catchphrase: "Hi, I'm (insert caricature here) and not a newt at all!"
  • Cats Are Mean: Renfrew, Ned's Jerkass cousin, has a cat named Bumble, who frequently tries to eat the (untransformed) Newton. Of course, it never works out for him.
  • Closer to Earth: In a rare male example, Mr. Flemkin is usually more down-to-earth than his wife... or at the very least, he's not any more weird than she is.
  • Coat Full of Contraband: Episode "Newt York, Newt York": Newton turns into a shady watch dealer (among other things) to try and "blend in with the locals" when visiting New York City.
  • Consolation World Record: Ending of the episode "Broken Record".
  • Disappeared Dad: Newton's father never appears in any episodes, unlike his wife/Newton's mother who has appeared in "A Mother Day, A Mother Dollar".
  • Dream Intro: Not exactly at the beginning, but this trope was subverted in episode "Newt's Ned", when Ned has a dream inside his ears. This is however interrupted by Newton disturbing him with loud speakers.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The ending of the episode "Happy Blood Altar Ring To You".
  • Exposed Animal Bellybutton: Newton, who even lampshades it once.
    Newton: If newts are born from eggs, why do I have a belly-button? (beat) Is a poorly-drawn 'x' an inny or an outy?
  • Expository Theme Tune: "There once was a boy who wanted a pet / When he got to the store a newt was all he could get / He brought it home but to his surprise / The newt just lay there, he was barely alive / The pet store owner knew what to do / Well, he gave the boy a can of Zippo Newt Food!"
  • Expy: Newton, a shape-shifting, celebrity-impersonating blue newt, is this to the Genie from Aladdin. Both also have a voice actor whose last name is "Williams".
  • Faint in Shock: Ned does this when he finds out that the parents of a baby that he thinks will play at a New Year's pageant actually live in a town other than Friendly Falls.
  • Forgotten Anniversary: Taken as far as it can go. While on the honeymoon they forgot to take, Mr and Mrs Flemkin find an engagement ring in the car glove box and realize they 'forgot to get married'.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: "Newt's Ned".
  • Gainax Ending: In one episode, Ned and his family go on a cruise, and Ned and Newton supposedly get lost at sea, surrounded by icebergs. The episode ends with them turning out to be in the icemaker on the ship.
  • Genre Savvy: Newton knows from "dog chasing cats" cartoons that there's always one board in the fence "that inexplicably swings up in the middle." As Newton does this to spy on Ned, a cat immediately runs by and gets chased by a dog.
  • Gibberish of Love: Ned, when around Linda.
  • Global Ignorance: An episode has Ned trying to lecture a dimwitted schoolmate, and one of the tasks is to place a cutout of Africa on the globe. He puts it on the Moon.
  • Granola Girl: Linda occasionally shows signs of this.
  • Happily Married: Mr. and Mrs. Flemkin, more or less.
  • Here We Go Again!: In "Educating Reeger" Ned wants to sit in front of Linda, but Miss Bunn has a seating chart in alphabetical order, and there are four kids between them, including the titular Reeger. With Newton's help, Ned gets the kids to leave class (via changing locations, or names, or graduating) but then a family of quadruplets comes to school, setting things back to normal.
  • Impossible Insurance: Plot of "Trouble Indemnity".
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The old guy from the pet store seems to work everywhere else in the city. Sometimes there's more than one of him. His "official" name, in fact, is simply "The Usual Guy".
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: This happens to Newton in “New Improved Zippo”, after the company that makes Zippo Newt Food changes the formula.
  • It's a Small World, After All: Desperately searching for his mother and lamenting her being somewhere in the big, wide world, Newton finds she lives in Miss Bunn's apartment downtown.
  • Key Under the Doormat: In one episode, on the doormat is a huge picture of a key and an arrow pointing to one corner of the mat.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Frequently.
    "If newts are born from eggs, why do I have a belly-button?" (Beat) "Is a poorly-drawn 'x' an inny or an outy?"
  • Large Ham: Newton is a very big contestant to Genie in the "overacting blue shapeshifter" category.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Including set up the "Freaky Friday" Flip in "Newt's Ned".
  • Limited Wardrobe: Everyone. One episode lampshades this by having Mrs. Flemkin tell Ned to change his clothes; he proceeds to pull his orange shirt and blue pants inside out, somehow turning them into a blue shirt and orange pants, and wears them for the rest of the episode.
  • Literal-Minded: Newton, at times.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": Newton is a newt.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: A lot of times when Ned is around Linda, he turns into a drooling imbecile.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: We don't see them ourselves, but Newton's mother says she has 400 other kids... per year. She considers Newton her favorite for getting her a lavish Mother's Day present and for being very attentive.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Ned wears a bright orange shirt; Newton is entirely blue.
  • Overly-Long Tongue: Newton, when he's a small newt.
  • Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females - Newton can go around naked. Two other newts (psycho Distaff Counterpart Buttercup and Newton's mom) fed wth Zippo are always fully dressed.
  • Parental Bonus: The vast majority of Newton's transformations, as it's highly doubtful kids would recognize any of them.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: As long as Newton is wearing human clothes, no one seems to notice that he's a 6-foot tall, blue-skinned freak.
  • Pint-Sized Kid: Ned is ridiculously short for a 9-10 year old boy, being the same height as an average preschooler would be in real life.
  • Plot Hole: In the pilot, Ned pays exactly $1.65 (all of the change in his piggy bank) for Newton; the pet store owner actually rips him off, because the price list said $1.49. However, in a later episode, Ned loses his "lucky penny", described as such because it was his change when he bought Newton, even though we were explicitly shown the original transaction.
    • Actually, it was his "lucky penny" because it inexplicably possesses a picture of Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor on it, for some reason.
  • Prank Call: Demonstrated in the first episode. After Newton breaks Ned's parents' juicer by accident, Ned attempts to call (presumably) the pet store owner that he has to return Newton, by which the latter overhears and attempts to prank call people while shapeshifting into various characters; however, after he morphs into a refrigerator repairman Ned hangs the phone.
  • Quirky Town: Friendly Falls, the show's setting.
  • Recruiters Always Lie: An army recruitment message looks more like a travel bureau ad, so much that the enthusiastic Newton ends up enlisting Ned into it without his knowledge.
  • Revenge: Upon getting some Zippo, Buttercup says she wants this against her Spoiled Brat owner, Norman. She rattles off the various ways he mistreated her while tormenting him.
    Newton: [to Ned] Aren't you glad you treated me nice?
  • Rich Bitch: Rusty McCabe, a rare male example.
  • Rigged Contest: The annual scavenger hunt is rigged by the mayor so Rusty will win. Everybody in town already knows this. Everybody except Ned's parents
  • Rube Goldberg Machine: Ned and Newton do a short one at the start of "Jurassic Joyride".
    • Basically, it involves a vehicle on a racetrack, which takes a pair of scissors with it. The vehicle then reaches a rope that the scissors cut, causing a toy dog tied to a balloon to start floating. The balloon then gets popped by a drawing pin, making the dog fall and trigger its parachute, but not before finally landing on a bucket of water.
  • Running Gag: These gags span the episodes of all three seasons.
    • Mrs. Flemkin finding (and shooing) a crow in the kitchen (or any other room in their house).
    • See Unusually Uninteresting Sight, below.
    • Newton's solution to various problems involving a rubber duck and bicycle pump (which he never gets to use).
    • Quahogs note  in a barrel (or other container) which sing M-O-T-H-E-R by Howard Johnson. Sometimes Newton will interact with them, saying later or it's not the time.
    • Newton suddenly blanking out for a good few seconds, just standing there and blinking (sometimes followed by a quiet fart sound.)
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Rusty. The town mayor is his parents' old friend, and is more than eager to bend the rules of the great city scavenger hunt in his favor ("Remote Possibility"). Same happens when he takes Linda for a date to an amusement park owned by his parents, and inexplicably seems to win all the time. ("Carnival Knowledge")
  • Sewer Gator: In the episode "Newt York, Newt York", Ned is excited to go to New York City for the weekend because an xylophone note is on sale there, but his parents cancel it after hearing the urban legend that alligators live in the sewers. Ned and Newton go to NYC anyway, and try to "blend in with the locals" until they fall into a manhole by accident that leads to the sewers. Soon they come across the alligators that lived in the sewers ever since their musical on Broadway closed down. They help the alligators find a pipe that leads back to their home in Florida, and one week later Ned finally gets the xylophone note that he wanted.
  • Shipper on Deck: Obviously Newton supports Ned/Linda, and will do whatever he can to help Ned woo her. This is most obvious in "Nedding Bells are Ringing," when, due to some Out-of-Context Eavesdropping that leads him to believe Ned is getting married to someone else note  he does everything he can to sabotage it.
  • Single Tear: Newton after preventing the revenge-crazed Buttercup from getting more Zippo and retaining her humanoid form.
  • Spoof Aesop: Ned and Newton build a gigantic corporation by acquisitions and then let it collapse in on itself when they tire of it. As Ned enters his house:
    Dad: I hope you've learned your lesson from this.
    Ned: I sure have, Dad. Never buy a company on leveraged credit.
  • Spoofs "R" Us: In the episode "Mall Good Things Come To An End", an event is being held at the mall where, if a kid can guess the right number of jelly beans in a jar, they will win a drivable toy car from "We Iz Toys".
  • Straight Man: Ned, to Newton.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Newton, when he's impersonating a human, will often describe himself as "not a newt at all". The people in the town aren't really all that bright, so if he says he's not a newt, they always believe him.
  • Take That!: "What Big Rewrite Notes You Have" & "312 Angry Women" both rip into Executive Meddling and how it tends to ruin movies.
    • Newton will also occasionally mock films that are bombs or known to be critically unpopular.
    Newton: (as Michael Douglas) Greed is good. A Perfect Murder, not so good.
  • Talking Animal: Newton.
  • They Just Don't Get It: When Mr. and Mrs. Flemkin get an idea in their head no amount of proof will convince them otherwise.
  • TV Never Lies: Ned's parents believe this.
    • As shown in "The Show Must Go Off", the ENTIRE TOWN thinks this.
  • Two-Timer Date: One episode has Ned inadvertently find himself on a date to practically every girl in the school (largely because of Newton). Newton is little help, since he just cites the example of the "sea newt" which mates with hundreds of females before they gang up and eat him.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Linda filled this role in some of the later episodes, having dimension-hopped to find her Ned and doesn't even point out how odd it is.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Nobody ever seems to mind that Newton is a six-foot-tall humanoid blue newt, even if he's walking around without a Paper-Thin Disguise. On the other hand, Ned sometimes seems to be concerned that his parents or the other citizens will find out about Newton's existence. A Running Gag is for Ned's parents to enter his room just as he's talking to Newton, upon which Newton quickly transforms into something supposedly innocuous... like the Venus of Milo, or "the big metal thingy for affixing a ship." Ned's parents comment on this, but never seem to mind.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Newton. Into pretty much anything (often into a pop culture reference).
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Several episodes take this form, including one to Citizen Kane ("Citizen Ned").
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Ned and his classmates are quite educated for 10 year olds.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: On one occasion, Newton turns into the Batman-style Good Newt for a gag.
    Ned: How come you're never a superhero I've heard of?
    Newton: [smiles awkwardly] Copyright infringement. I can only do those guys in China.