Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Science Court

Go To

Based on educational software (sold directly to schools), Science Court was an Edutainment Show that premiered on One Saturday Morning in 1997. It was created by the same team behind the animation for Home Movies and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist using their trademark Squigglevision style.

Every episode someone makes a frivolous lawsuit or criminal allegation against an innocent party, who would surely have never been in this mess if everyone understood Science! And so, with Science! on her side, defense lawyer Alison Krempel perennially defeats her ignorant nemesis Doug Savage with a roster of expert witnesses establishing that No, you cannot repair a snapped electric cord by tying the two halves together.

While the show technically ran for 3 seasons, the second was really just the first season presented in a revised format, adding a Teaser Opening and closing with bug-like hosts and a new segment in the middle called "See You Later, Estimator" hosted by the Science Court character Professor Parsons. (Some trimming was done to the rest of the program to accommodate these additions.) The third season also used this new format, but with new episodes instead of reruns.

This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: It's Felix Fultergas, not Felix Filled-With-Gas!
  • Animal Motifs: Miss Krempel has Fish-shaped Earings. Doug Savage has a fish-shaped tie.
  • Art Evolution: Season 3's animation quality, while still very low budget, had more character movements than the first season.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In "Gravity", the jury finds the defendant guilty... of putting his hand in something that wasn't his.
  • Bit Character: Micaela, one of the kids watching the trials, is featured in nearly every episode, but is rarely addressed by her name.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The case in "Water Cycle", despite being Played for Laughs as a Frivolous Lawsuit actually is somewhat valid - that amount of condensation allowing water to build up on the floor in big enough puddles actually is a safety hazard. The jury, in their verdict, points out that the defendant actually should look into better insulation for their pipes.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Jen Betters frequently asks the "courtside commentators" what they think about the case.
  • Bridezilla: One bride was this at her wedding, well before she accused the defendant of spilling punch all over the floor and causing everyone to slip. It's even lampshaded at the end of the episode when they makeup and it's proven that while it was his fault — he had been sneaking a sip of punch from a tube and left the tube to fall, in a hurry and the force of gravity caused the punch to trickle out— the spill was an accident. She gets mad when he says that she takes things too seriously but forgives him.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Most of the court staff. Especially the stenographer.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Doug Savage, who never wins a case and always makes himself look completely foolish in the process.
    • Professor Parsons is this in the See You Later Estimator segments, but usually not in the main cartoon.
  • Captain Obvious: "I bet that water's wet."
  • Deranged Animation: It is a Squigglevision cartoon, after all.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Mikela helping to explain concepts to Mr. Savage makes her essentially his equivalent of Miss Krempel's assistant, Timmy.
  • Dull Surprise: Jen Betters, who has the same relaxed look in her eyes even when she expresses any form of amazement.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: At the start of the case in the "Sound" episode, Judge Stone says she enjoyed the town celebration despite allegations that the defendant's actions ruined it, to which Mr. Savage objects that this is a biased opinion. Stone admits that "when you're right, you're right" and asks the jury to disregard her statement.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Parsons's cat puppet said that it's name was "Puppet". In season 3, she changed her name to "Cat".
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Doug Savage will never win a case against Alison Krempel. Never.
    • Lampshaded in one episode: when discussing wishes, Doug says, "A pony." When asked why he wouldn't wish to win a case for a change, he replies that he's more likely to actually get the pony.
  • Friendly Enemy: I.M. Richman and his rival regularly invite each other over for dinner.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: Many, frequently Played for Laughs, but the suit in "Living Things" takes the cake: Clara Swindel is suing a poet for not composing eulogies for a chicken bone, a (still alive) brine shrimp egg, and a wallet, both for monetary compensation and to make it where he can never write poetry again.
  • Handicapped Badass: Tina Turnstyles is a snowboarder who only has one leg, but still manages to be a top athlete.
  • Hidden Depths: When not in the courtroom putting a half-baked spin on his cases, Doug Savage works as a dog walker on the weekends.
    • Outside court appearances have Judge Stone wearing a biker jacket and sunglasses.
  • Idiot Ball: One plaintiff ordered a black suit from his future competitor on a game show. Professor Parsons explains why that was stupid: for one, it's a conflict of interest that spurs the lawsuit in the first place when the plaintiff thinks that Mr. Dippity sabotaged him to win the round. For another, black doesn't reflect light; it absorbs it, and the studio lights were bright as is standard in video production. It's no surprise that the plaintiff fainted when he was about to win. Some can be attributed to ignorance but Mr. Dippity's assistant even lampshades this, saying she offered other colors that wouldn't have absorbed the light in layman's terms.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: A Dragnet-inspired piece.
  • Meaningful Name: The Not-Quite Brothers and their "Not-Quite" Lightning-Proof Tower.
  • Manchild: Most of the adults engage in rather childlike activities. In one instance, Judge Stone received a toy car for her birthday and loved it.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In the "Electric Current" episode, Ms. Krempel scolds Tim when he questions I.M. Richman about his homemade burglar alarm system, which he accused Mary Murray of sabotaging. Tim inadvertently makes out Mary to look even more guilty and leaves the courtroom to think about his mistake. Ms. Krempel is immediately overcome with guilt over having put down her own assistant, and struggles to focus in the courtroom.
    • Becomes heartwarming when Tim returns and Ms. Krempel immediately apologizes for her earlier remarks, which moves even Judge Stone. Tim then reveals he has new evidence to prove Mary's innocence.
  • No Indoor Voice: J.C. Cramwood, who shouts virtually every line in a grandiose manner.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Mary Murray, who joked about stealing I.M. Richman's ping pong trophy when he refused to award it to her even though she won. Naturally, Richman is led to believe she sabotaged his burglar alarm in order to steal it later. Even Ms. Krempel is facepalming when Mary admits to having made that remark.
  • Not So Above It All: Miss Krempel can occasionally be just as childish or bizarre as everyone else. For example, childish pushing or "it is, it isn't" fights with Doug Savage.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The case in "Water cycle" is about leaky pipes creating slipping hazards. While the defendant is found innocent as it's proven that the pipes aren't leaky, the jury points out that they should look into better insulation since that amount of condensation actually is rather dangerous, and in fact, Richman does have a valid point that it's a slipping hazard.
  • Once an Episode:
    • In the first two seasons, Miss Krempel always sings about the science subject in her closing argument. This was dropped in the third season.
    • Dr. Julie Bean is called to the stand as the first expert witness. Professor Parsons is called to the stand as the second expert witness. Very rarely, they'll switch out Dr. Bean with Felix Fultergas or some other consultant.
    • For the first two seasons, whoever is reading the verdict will first read the verdict, then go "Furthermore" with a rather silly addendum related to either the plaintiff or defendant quirks. Lampshaded by Judge Stone later on, who gets progressively more exasperated whenever the jury does have a "furthermore" moment and tries to nip it in the bud (often to no avail).
  • Only Sane Man: Well, women; Judge Stone and Allison Krempel are arguably the most competent people in the court. While each can have moments as silly as the rest, these two hold on to it most competently. Only Dr. Julie Bean may hold on to it more firmly, but she's only ever on as an expert witness.
  • Perpetual Smiler: J.C. Cramwood. You pretty much have to insult him directly to make him scowl.
    • Professor Parsons; it's not as apparent as Cramwood, but he's still a reasonably upbeat guy.
  • Police Code for Everything: In the fossils episode, the town has ordinances for illegally keeping an elephant as a pet and planting a fake fossil (the latter is important for the episode; the former is just a joke).
  • Precocious Crush: Tim is smitten with Tina Turnstyles in "Pendulums".
  • Punch-Clock Villain: To an extent, Doug Savage is this. It's his job to serve as the prosecution, and his bread and butter. He's pretty civil to Alison Krempel, both in and out of the court.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Timmy's voice actor hitting puberty. Rather than replacing him with a younger actor, they studio simply had Timmy hit puberty too.
  • Recycled In Space: The third season's host segments were identical to the second season's, except that they took place in a satellite orbiting the earth.
  • Running Gag: "One more thing..." Cue an exasperated reaction from Judge Stone.
  • Shout-Out: In the episode about Sound, Doug Savage parachutes down wearing an Orange Rebel flight suit
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Cramwood.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: "Gravity" features an 'anti-gravity potion' that helps people lose weight by reducing a person's gravity. The conflict comes in when a concerned health specialist pokes around the lab and is subsequently sued by the scammer for "sabotaging" the formula. The trial centers around debunking the potion's authenticity.
  • Sore Loser: I.M. Richman is an especially bad case of this, refusing to hand over his ping pong trophy to Mary Murray even though she had beaten him fair and square. He then accuses her of attempting to steal it when he finds his burglar alarm system has failed.
  • Surfer Dude: Parsons's lobster puppet, Josh the Surfing Lobster. Takes the stoner-like aspects of this trope up.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Despite losing Cramwood's case, Doug Savage is seen lounging cozily in his limo's hot tub as the star leaves the courthouse.
  • Unfortunate Name: Joe Schmo - even Judge Stone can't get over the irony of it.
    • From "Gravity": Clara Swindel as a Snake Oil Salesman. Even the jury can't help but suppress a laugh at that one.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Dr. Bean and Dr. Fultergas both look like and are voiced by children.