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Western Animation / Nerds and Monsters

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Clockwise beginning far right: Vink, Stan, Irwin, Dudley, Becky, Lyle, Skur, Zarg, and Urp and Durn

Nerds and Monsters is Canadian animated series produced by Vancouver-based studio Slap Happy Cartoons Inc. (The Hollow) for YTV and internationally distributed by Toronto's 9 Story Media Group. It premiered on March 12, 2014 and ended on August 27, 2016, running for a total of 40 episodes over 2 seasons. It was created by Josh Mepham, Kathy Antonsen Rocchio, Greg Sullivan, and Vito Viscomi, all of which previously worked at Studio B Productions on series like Being Ian, Yvon of the Yukon, and Yakkity Yak.

The show is set on an island populated by monsters where three nerdy kids named Dudley Squat, Irwin Chang-stein, and Becky Hooger, as well as a dumb football linebacker named Stan Grissle, are stranded in what can basically be called YTV's version of Gilligan's Island. The plots feature the Nerds (and Stan, who is considered a Nerd by the monster denizens regardless)note  simply making the best of it on the island, while surviving the plans of the monsters' chieftain Zarg, who sees the Nerds as a threat to his people's way of life. Though the nerds and the monsters generally don't get along, there is an exception in Zarg's nephew and heir to the throne, Lyle, a kind and gentle monster child who prefers the Nerd's company and doesn't see himself as a monster.

This series provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Justified, for the nerds as they're stuck on the island without adult supervision.
  • Big Bad: Zarg, whose schemes against the Nerds are a cause of a lot of the conflict between them and the monsters.
  • Bizarre Monster Biology: If you're Swallowed Whole by a monster, you can remain alive indefinitely, and even have your face appear on the monster's stomach so that you can see outside and talk. This typically happens when two monsters get married (ex: Lyle's parents), taking the phrase "joined in matrimony" to a new level.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Dudley and Irwin both suffer from this without their Nerd Glasses.
  • Butt-Monkey: Skur, whose main purpose in the series is to be abused by Zarg and harmed by everyone else intentionally or otherwise.
  • Calling a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Monsters collectively refer to any humans or anything similar as "nerds", since the only ones they initially come across (except Stan) are actually described as such.
  • Cargo Ship: In-Universe example. Both Zarg and Skur have a thing for a dinosaur-shaped pool toy, thinking she is a living monster like them who just doesn't talk much. They call her "Maiden Cheena", because of the "Made in China" label on her.
  • Clutching Hand Trap: The shiny rock monster trap from the "What's Mine Is Mine" episode is shiny rock inside a cave with an opening to small for it to pulled out and the monsters are too dumb to let go. Judging from the amount of bones surrounding the cave, the trap has claimed the lives of many a monster.
  • Companion Cube: In "Monster and Commander", Stan starts taking orders from a rock. Later, the rock apparently starts demanding a Human Sacrifice.
  • The Ditz: None of the monsters (except Lyle) are intelligent, especially not Vink.
  • Dumb Blond: Stan is both blond and very stupid.
  • Dumb Jock: Stan to a T. He has accidentally put his pants on his head while getting dressed.
  • Drunk with Power: Dudley, whenever his ego comes into play, which is a lot.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Any attempt to escape the island is doomed to fail, because then there would be no show.
  • Fake Crossover: Had one with YTV's The Zone, where former host Carlos teleports to Monster Island though a machine.
  • Geek Physiques: Becky, Dudley and Irwin all have stereotypical nerd physiques.
  • Golden Snitch: In "Monster and Commander", a disguised Dudley challenges Zarg for the leadership of the monsters. The challenge consists of three contests. After winning the first two, he learns that the third contest is a battle to the death, leading him to ask "What was the point of the other two contests?!".
  • Grossout Show: Crosses into this territory a lot, especially when the monsters are involved.
  • Guilt by Association Gag: All the human kids are collectively referred to as nerds, including Stan, who is a jock.
  • Heat Wave: Featured prominently in the episode of the same name.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: This is Irwin's reaction when he is told the "snowflakes" he is catching on his tongue are actually dandruff in "Molting Day", with him understandably trying to get them off his tongue.
  • LARP: The nerds are sometimes seen engaging in this.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Again Justified, the nerds have to wear the same outfits in most episode.
  • Love Triangle: Irwin has a thing for Becky, while she has a thing for Stan
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: In "The Sky's the Limit" both Becky and Dudley create several flying machines that they could just use to get off the island, but instead they use them to get some fruit. This is pointed out at the end, but only in regards to Dudley's jetpack, which Stan sends flying off into the horizon.
  • Missed the Bus: Stan ended up stranded with the nerds because he got on the wrong bus.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Most of the wildlife, like the Squiders (squirrel-spiders) and the Craboons (crab-baboons).
  • Musical Pastiche: The theme song's first half is basically how "The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round" would go if its lyrics were filtered through the perspective of nerds.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Lyle's defining trait - unlike all the other monsters, he's intelligent, clean, and kindhearted, meaning he relates more to the nerds.
  • The Napoleon: Dudley, as he is the shortest of the Nerds, just don't remind him.
  • Pom-Pom Girl: Becky becomes a quite enthusiastic cheerleader in "Monster Ball", despite Irwin claiming she is too intelligent to be seduced by that kind of role.
  • Potty Failure:
    • "Guys and Dolls" has Vink peeing himself after being tickled. And let's just say that he pees A LOT...
    • When Dudley becomes completely dependent on a pet he domesticated, he orders the pet to carry him to the outhouse, then a few seconds later tells him not to bother and to take him to the shower instead.
  • Red Herring: In "The Falconerd", when Dudley goes on a rampage attacking the island residents with a giant eagle he saved, Irwin, Becky, Stan, and the monsters try to hatch a egg they believe will have bigger bird to fight off against Dudley's. In the end, the eagle falls in love with Skur and takes him away, ending it's rampage, and the egg ends up just hatching a (literal) red herring.
  • The Starscream: Skur, many of his episodes involve plots to try and overthrow Zarg with minimal success.
  • Stereotypical Nerd: The show stars a group of nerds - and a Dumb Jock - stuck on an island inhabited by monsters, so naturally every member of the nerd group qualifies.
  • Superhero Episode: The episode "Hero Zeros" sees the Nerds develop superpowers based on their weaknesses and try to use them to do good. Lyle joins them as well, since as a monster, he already possesses superpowers.
  • Toilet Humour: Delves into this on a fairly regular basis, although not constantly.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of the bus driver went unexplained until "Nerds and Monster Bus" where it's revealed he ended up on a different island full of beautiful women.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The monsters are terrified of water and believe it is deadly, hence why they have never left the island.


Nerds and Monsters

Dude, what the hell did you drink?!

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