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Random! Cartoons was Nickelodeon and Frederator Studiosí second animation anthology series after Oh Yeah! Cartoons (and in fact was initially produced as a fourth season of Oh Yeah! Cartoons before it was decided at the last minute to rebrand the anthology as being its own thing). Initially meant to air on the main Nickelodeon channel by the end of 2007, it would end up being shelved before premiering on Nicktoons in December 2008, though some of the individual shorts would appear separately both on television and online as early as January 2007.

Like OYC, it was supposed to be a potential launching pad for new Nicktoons. However, only one of the 39 shorts would be picked up by Nickelodeon themselves to become a full-fledged series: Eric Robles' Fanboy and Chum Chum, which would run for two seasons from 2009 to 2012 to a largely negative reception.

These days, the program is far better known as the birthplace of Pendleton Ward's Adventure Time, which was greenlit by competitor Cartoon Network and would go on to be a Cash-Cow Franchise for that company, running from 2010-2018 and credited for spawning a renaissance of cartoons with overarching plotlines and deconstructions of well-known cartoon tropes and conventions. The success of Adventure Time would also lead to Frederator self-financing Ward's other RC short, Bravest Warriors, which became a flagship series for its Cartoon Hangover channel in 2012, with Nelvana eventually joining as a co-production company for that cartoon's fourth season as a traditional television series.

See also Nickelodeon Animated Shorts Program, Nickelodeon's current animation initiative. Compare Cartoonstitute, a failed animation anthology series that was being produced by Cartoon Network during the same time period, but nonetheless spawned two successful series, Regular Show and Uncle Grandpa.

    The Shorts 
  • 6 Monsters by Fred Seibert and Alan Goodman
  • Adventure Time by Pendleton Ward
  • Boneheads by Hadley Hudson
  • Bradwurst by Angelo di Nallo and Jason Plapp
  • The Bravest Warriors by Pendleton Ward
  • The Bronk and Bongo Show: Losing Patients by Manny Galán and Alan Goodman
  • Call Me Bessie! by Diane Kredensor and Dana Galin
  • Giovanni and Navarro: The Dangerous Duck Brothers by Pat Ventura
  • Dr. Dee & BitBoy by Jun-Kyo Seo, Kong-Yo Kang, and Larry Huber
  • Dr. Froyd's Funny Farm by Bill Burnett and Jaime Diaz
  • Dugly Uckling's Treasure Quest by Guy Vasilovich
  • Fanboy by Eric Robles
  • The Finster Finster Show!: Store Wars by Jeff DeGrandis
  • Flavio by Mike Milo
  • Garlic Boy by John R. Dilworth
  • Gary Guitar by Bill Plympton
  • Girls on the GO!: First Date by Aliki Theofilopoulous
  • HandyCat: Bees-nees As Usual by Russ Harris and G. Brian Reynolds
  • Hero Heights by Raul Aguirre Jr. and Bill Ho
  • Hornswiggle by Jerry Beck
  • The Infinite Goliath by Mike Gray and Erik Knutson
  • Ivan the Unbearable by Andrew Dickman
  • Krunch and the Kid by Adam Henry
  • Kyle + Rosemary by Jun Falkenstein
  • Lance & Zoopie: Squirly Town by Doug TenNapel
  • Mind the Kitty by Anne Walker Farrell
  • MooBeard: The Cow Pirate by Kyle Carrozza
  • Ratz-A-Fratz by Jim Wyatt and Karl Toerge
  • SamSquatch by Adam Muto
  • Solomon Fix by Doug TenNapel
  • Sparkles and Gloom by Melissa Wolfe and Anne Walker Farrell
  • Sugarfoot by Erik Knutson
  • Super John Doe Junior by Lincoln Peirce
  • Teapot by Greg Eagles
  • Thom Cat by Mike Gray
  • Tiffany by Adam Henry
  • Two Witch Sisters by Niki Yang
  • Victor the Delivery Dog by Niki Yang
  • Yaki & Yumi by Aliki Theofilopoulous

Tropes applying to Random! Cartoons includenote :

  • Accidental Misnaming: In the short, "Ratz-A-Fratz", the security guard character, Crank's, real name is "C. Rank" as identified by his nametag and according to the creators on the Frederator blogs. The blogs also indicate that Crank is aware of the characters referring to him as such and enforces to ban anyone from the mall who does so.
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: A lot of the cartoons feature anthropomorphic animals wearing clothes.
  • Adaptation Species Change: "Solomon Fix" is loosely adapted from a comic by Doug TenNapel, where the title character was an anthropomorphic cat rather than a sentient teddy bear.
  • Anthropomorphic Food:
    • The title character of "Bradwurst" is a grumpy sausage.
    • The main character of "Garlic Boy" lives up to his name by being anthropomorphic garlic.
    • Albeit undead, Gaillard from "6 Monsters" counts since he was previously a scallion.
    • An incidental character named Ted from "Bronk & Bongo" was known to have a strawberry for a head. He was also identified as "Ted Strawberry Head" in the credits.
  • Art Shift: 6 Monsters is done in several different animation styles.
    • Kyle + Rosemary also shifts between traditional animation during the real-world scenes and CGI for the Questworld scenes.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: Solomon Fix, Boneheads and Fanboy are all animated entirely with three-dimensional computer graphics.
  • Backstab Backfire: In "Bradwurst", when the titular character finds out from his supposed friend Willy the party was for him, he warms up to him and admits that he was his "best friend". However, the moment an officer arrives demanding who the party was for, Bradwurst immediately shifted the blame to Willy and made a quick escape. But not only was the officer only there to party but Bradwurst got stuck in his own getaway trap, causing the other guests to mistake him for a talking pinata, which leds him to be whacked by them.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: The title character of the short "SamSquatch" is a Sasquatch child who befriends an old woman running a diner and outsmarts a cryptid hunter trying to capture him.
  • Captain Colorbeard: The title character of "MooBeard the Cow Pirate", a bovine buccaneer whose coat sleeves are stuffed with all sorts of gadgets. With the help of his first mate Sailor Bird, he goes on a journey to find the treasure of the island Hookamookapookalap.
  • Comical Overreacting: In "Krunch and the Kid", Krunch is so sensitive that a mere papercut from receiving his script caused him to go on a crying attack involving breaking the entire studio to the point where he was skiing and rowing a boat while crying.
  • Creator Cameo: Moobeard creator Kyle Carrozza cameoed toward the end of the cartoon as a cat villager walking with a cameo expy of animation artist, Sam Erdini.
    • A caricature of Squirrely Town creator Doug Tennapel appeared in one of the title cards.
    • Mike Gray, co-creator of The Infinite Goliath, appeared during the opening song as a fast-food customer.
    • The animation crew at Renegade Animation make cameo appearances on Sugarfoot as students.
  • Descended Creator: Many of the shorts (specifically Solomon Fix, Moobeard, Two Witch Sisters, Bronk & Bongo, Ivan the Unbearable, Girls on the Go, Yaki & Yumi, Garlic Boy, Boneheads, The Finster Finster Show and Teapot) have their creators provide additional or main character voices. The short Flavio ended up being What Could Have Been as creator Mike Milo was supposed to be the voice for the titular character.
  • Does Not Like Spam: The title character of "Teapot" doesn't like oatmeal.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: Gaillard eats Cathy's lunch in front of her in "6 Monsters" with the excuse that he's doing so to help her understand math.
  • Expy:
    • The titular character of Hornswiggle is a pastiche of Sidney the Elephant in that he is a child-like megafauna unaware of how annoying others find him, albeit being a rhinoceros rather than an elephant. The short was originally planned as a Silly Sidney short, but had to be retooled into something else when it was discovered that Nickelodeon didn't have the rights to Terrytoons at the time (as well as the unsuccessful pilot Curbside that was Nickelodeon's last attempt at reviving the Terrytoons characters still being fresh in the executives' memories).
    • The titular character of "The Infinite Goliath" is a rather blatant imitation of Darkseid, being a grey-skinned alien with red eyes and blue armor as well as a reputation as a vastly-powerful supervillain with a predilection for conquering worlds.
  • Friends Turned Romantic Rivals: "Hero Heights" is about two friends named Smart Alec and Strikeout living in a neighborhood inhabited by superheroes, who both turn against each other after they fall in love with the new neighbor Olympia. It isn't until Olympia finds out that the boys have picked on the other girls in the neighborhood and punishes them that Smart Alec and Strikeout reconcile.
  • I Am Not Weasel: This was a running gag in "Moobeard" where the bovine titular character was mistaken for a pig due to his enlarged, porcine-shaped snout which angers him. At first Darkblade was surprised that he was a cow but later threw that to his face when he had the upperhand in combat towards the end, which led to Moobeard head-butting him in rage, causing his defeat.
  • It's All My Fault: Willy in "Bradwurst". When Bradwurst frames Willy to the surprising officer and escapes, Willy tearfully blames himself thinking it's because the punch he made for Bradwurst was "bad", even though party guest Jerry pointed the obvious of Bradwurst ditching him.
  • Jerkass: Gaillard in "6 Monsters". One segment has him offer to help Cathy with her math solely as an excuse to devour her lunch in front of her, while another has him underhandedly manipulate Buck into paying $50 for bottled water.
    • The title character in "Bradwurst" was known, except for Willy, by the party guests as such. Fellow guest Jerry even pointed it out numerous times.
  • Karmic Butt-Monkey: The title character of "Bradwurst" is a complete bastard who goes out of his way to ruin a party just because he believed he wasn't invited. This makes the misfortunes and injuries he suffers throughout the short very well-deserved.
  • Living Toys: "Tiffany" is about a young girl discovering that her doll is alive.
  • Lost Pet Grievance: "Krunch and the Kid" revolves around Krunch being upset by the assumed death of his pet frog Hoppy.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: "6 Monsters" has Buck repeatedly tell Roy "Don't you know the penalty for [act of misbehavior Roy just committed]?", usually followed with "That's right, [absurdly over-the-top punishment]!"
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: In "Dugly Uckling's Treasure Quest", Dugly states that luck is his middle name, causing Quiggins to retort that he thought his middle name was Larry.
  • Monster Mash: The short "6 Monsters" stars a Pumpkin Person named Cathy, a ghost named Gaillard, a black cat named Buck, an ape-man named Roy, a demon named Lulu and Lulu's skeleton grandfather who works as a janitor.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The mayor on Flavio had a voice inspired by Ed Wynn.
    • Teapot had an alarm clock that was basically an expy of James Brown, and was even credited as such!
    • According to Mike Gray, the titular character Thom Cat's voice was inspired by Davy Jones.
    • According to Kyle Carrozza, George Takei was somewhat of an influence on Dark Blade of Fire's vocal tone but not a direct influence on his character.
    • According to Manny Galan, Bronk & Bongo are based off of Abbott and Costello and Jerry Generic is based off of Sidney Fields.
    • Crank from Ratz-A-Fratz is obviously Christopher Walken.
      • The female singer shown throughout the short, according to the creator, was based off of Shakira.
  • No Ending: "Dr. Froyd's Funny Farm" ends with no resolution to Bossy LeCow running off in Lulu's body and Lulu in Bossy's body following her to try and undo the brain-switching.
  • Rambunctious Italian: Flavio, from the short of the same name, is an Italian goat inventor who has the tendency to over-emote.
  • RPG Episode: Kyle + Rosemary, which has two teenagers date via playing a MMORPG.
  • Same Language Dub: Unlike the other shorts, the animation on Boneheads was completed first at Polygon Pictures, then subsequently ADR-ed over at Nickelodeon by the voice cast.
  • Seadog Peg Leg: The title character of "MooBeard the Cow Pirate" has two peg legs.
  • Shout-Out: The flashback scene in Squirly Town was a homage to the anime film, Akira to the point where the characters actually spoke Japanese.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Sparkles and Gloom, from the short of the same name. The former is cheerful and sweet, while the latter is moody and dark.
  • Sir Verb-a-Lot: In "Kyle + Rosemary", Kyle's Questworld avatar is named Sir Horace Hitsalot.
  • Toilet Paper Substitute: Due to his negligence in heeding his mother's instructions to buy more toilet paper, the titular character of "Teapot" is forced to give his friend Bouche pieces of paper with his rap lyrics written on them when Bouche complains that there's no toilet paper in the bathroom.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: When The Infinite Goliath has Rogerís ball, his friends all tackle him, causing an explosion to happen when The Infinite Goliath falls down.
  • Uncredited Role: Hadley Hudson, head of development for US animation representation firm Radar Cartoons, which represented Polygon Pictures in the US and helped the studio collaborate with Frederator for the development of Boneheads, uncreditly did voice-over for the scene where the snail becomes a bowling ball saying "Strike 1, Strike 2, Strike 3 and your out!".
  • Vandalism Backfire: In "Bradwurst", the title character destroys the presents at the party he crashes, only to later learn that the presents were for him.
  • Wolverine Wannabe: "Hero Heights" features a minor character named Razorclaw, who is a blatant Wolverine pastiche, complete with retractable claws.
  • Wonder Woman Wannabe: Olympia from "Hero Heights" is more or less Wonder Woman as a preteen girl.