Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Robo Roach

Go To
The duo's herenote .

Hey! I've got a story to tell,
about a roach named Rube with a high-tech shell.
Caught in a trap late one night.
He got away fast, but he didn't feel right.
Nowhere to hide, so he started to run.
Instead of a swat, HE GOT A CHIP ON HIS BUG!!
Now he's the roach with the most. Robo Roach. (ROACH!)
He don't like to boast. Robo Roach. (ROACH!)
Unlike his brother Reg (he's got all the edge).
Robo Roach and Reg!
Robo Roach.
Robo Roach (and Reg).

Robo Roach is a Canadian Animated Series created by Canadian cartoon screenwriter J.D. Smith. It was released on Teletoon in 2001 and produced by Portfolio Entertainment (which would go on to make a couple other cartoons for Teletoon, like CarlĀ² and Freaktown).

The show follows Rubin "Rube" Roach (voice of Scott Thompson), a cockroach living in the insect-populated city of Vexburg, which is situated inside the walls of a laboratory. One night, Rube is caught by scientists and becomes a guinea pig for an experiment, wherein he had microchips inserted into his body. He is saved by his brother Reginald "Reg" Roch (voice of Ted Dykstra), but as they escape, Rube jumps into a wall socket and gets a nasty shock that changes him into a powerful cyborg cockroach called "Robo Roach". Swearing an oath to never utilize his new powers for self-gain, Robo Roach uses his cyborg implements to do all kinds of good deeds for the citizens of Vexburg while living with Reg, who is perpetually discontent with his brother's refusal to put his array of abilities for money-making purposes and desperately wants to be rich.

The series ran from July 16, 2001 to June 14, 2004, and had two seasons with a total of 52 episodes.

Robo Roach contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: An duo version of this: Rubin Roach and Reginald Roach.
  • Animation Bump: The animation in the theme song is much more fluid than in the show itself.
  • Big Little Brother: Rubin is a lot bigger than his older brother, Reg.
  • Born Unlucky: Reg always gets injured, inconvenienced, and screwed over, although some of it is his own fault.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: Of course Robo Roach doesn't like to boast — the theme song does that for him. See the lyrics in the page quote.
  • Butt-Monkey: Reg, to the point of getting dissed in the theme song. It doesn't help that even when he wants bad things to happen to him, things don't go right.
  • Character Catchphrase: Reg has "Why me? why me? Why all the time me?"
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Sterling Uberbucks.
  • Cyborg: Rube Roach, the titular Robo Roach, is a cockroach who was turned into a cyborg by a science experiment. He swears to use his cyborg abilities only for good and selfless reasons.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Rube's cyborg implants allow him to perform all manner of tasks and pull out all manner of crazy tools from his body.
  • Downer Ending: Pretty much every single episode ends like this (mainly because of Reg losing whatever riches he's managed to gain whether he has it coming or not), and even the series finale ends this way, with the usual ending of Reg sobbing over his lost riches and Rube being completely oblivious to it.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Reg was kinder and more considerate in early episodes, and the endings were a lot more varied and even happier in some cases, than they would later become. Heck, Reg even receives money and doesn't lose it in "Rube Awakening", despite being asleep the whole time. Later episodes would always end in a Yankthe Dogs Chain or a Laser-Guided Karma for Reg, with him always sobbing "Why me? Why all the time, me?" with slight variations depending on the episode.
    • Early episodes also seemed like they were building a Rogues Gallery for Reg and Rube, while later episodes are purely episodic and feature stories outside of the usual setting of Vexburg.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Mandible Lecter is a wanted bug eater, but he won't eat anyone who has an unhealthy diet, which is why he refused to eat Reg.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Nearly every single episode ends with Reg and Rube either losing all their money, getting lost and getting directions back home written in a language they can't understand, not getting any money at all due to Rube's generous idiocy, or with some contrived coincidence causing Reg and Rube to lose everything anyway.
  • Gleeful and Grumpy Pairing: Rube is a dimwitted yet Kindhearted Simpleton who wants to do the right thing in contrast to Reg who's a greedy and grouchy Jerkass who'll stop at nothing to get cash.
  • Honor Before Reason: Rubin vowed never to use his powers for personal gain. Though he sticks to those guns so much that, as a result, he and Reg live in poverty.
  • Idiot Hero: Rube is, in general, a heroic and good-natured fellow who always uses his powers for good and selfless purposes. However, he's rather dim and takes his oath to never use his powers for self-gain so seriously that it's often to his and Reg's detriment.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While Reg can be selfish and greedy most of the time, it clearly comes from living in poverty and starvation and he never outright antagonizes anyone. He has also shown on many occasions he cares about Rube deep down.
  • Kafka Comedy: The show tends to fall into this when it comes to Reg at times. While a lot of the times he brings misfortune on himself, there are almost just as many moments in the show where he's punished for very small infractions or just suffers because he's Born Unlucky
  • Kick the Dog: Even when Reg does the right thing, he still tends to get screwed over badly for the sake of Kafka Comedy
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: Rubin's heart is definitely bigger than his brain. He finds happiness in the act of simply doing good deeds and always sees the bright side to his and Reg's failures, while seemingly oblivious or uncaring to the pair's constant lack of money and sometimes failing to realize the obvious.
  • Mister Seahorse: Rubin fitted this in "The Miracle of Girth" episode. Subverted that it was actually bread.
  • Mouse World: Well, Cockroach World is more accurate, but this can apply to the city of Vexburg, where everything is made out of human refuse and other small objects.
  • The Napoleon: Reg, while the smaller of the two brothers, is also the much more short-tempered and greedy of the pair.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Reg is always seen with a grumpy frown on his face to contrast his brother Rube who's more of a Perpetual Smiler.
  • Sadist Show: The fact that nearly every episode ends with Reg sobbing and in some cases getting hurt right afterwards whether he deserves it or not should clue you in. Some episodes just end poorly for him out of nowhere for the sole reason of giving him misfortune at the end.