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Western Animation / Sheep in the Big City

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Ewe with us?note 

Created by illustrator Mo Willems, Sheep in the Big City (2000-2002) was one of the last shows aired as part of Cartoon Network's Cartoon Cartoons note .

The titular Sheep fled to the titular Big City in order to escape the sinister Secret Military Organization, who were seeking him to use in their sheep-powered ray gun. The various episodes revolved around Sheep adjusting to life in the Big City while trying to win over his love interest, Swanky the Poodle, and dodging such foes as General Specific (leader of the secret Military Organization still trying to track Sheep down) and Lady Richington (Swanky's ill-tempered, sheep-hating owner with a stainless steel wig).

The show was structured as a sort of Rocky and Bullwinkle for the new millennium, featuring humorous fake advertisements and variety sections before and after real commercial breaks, often being strange non-sequiturs and generally weird.

The pilot, "In the Baa-ginning", first aired on the "Cartoon Cartoon Summer" block on August 18, 2000. The series officially premiered on November 17, 2000, and ended on April 7, 2002 after two seasons.

After quietly fizzling out and being forgotten for many years, in 2022, the series became available for streaming on HBO Max Latin America (though a few episodes are missing). Both the English and Spanish dubs of the episodes can be found on there, and they are the original NTSC masters that haven't been seen since the show was taken off the air. These HBO Max LA Rips have since been made available for American viewers through Google Drive ports, both the original English versions and the Spanish dubs.

This series provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: When Lady Richington and her dog moved into a building where sheep aren't welcome in "Beauty and the Bleats", Sheep used a magical disguise to get in and Lady Richington started chasing him like Pepe Le Pew chases Penelope.
  • All Just a Dream: "To Sheep, Perchance to Dream" focuses on several bizarre plots (such as General Specific turning into a sheep as well as Sheep and Swanky getting married) that turn out to be dreams that the characters are having. This infuriates the Narrator… though it turns out that the entire episode is all just a dream of his. When he wakes up, however, he finds himself in the exact position he was in at the end of the dream.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: General Public, Private Public's father. He even carries around embarrassing baby photos of his son.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Used in a sketch in the episode "Mistaken Identi-Sheep", where the Sombrero Brothers prepare to do a stunt with a man eating cheese. Rather than cheese eating people, what we see is one of the brothers eat cheese while restrained in stocks.
  • Animated Actors: The final episode "Baa-hind the Scenes" happens behind the scenes and depicts all the characters on the show as actors, though the actors' names and real personalities are exactly the same.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "The Wool of the People", General Specific lists the following advantages of running for mayor: He can repeal the city's pro-sheep law, he can capture Sheep after he's banned sheep from the city, and he can eat all the ice cream he wants.
  • Art Evolution: Season 2's animation is more vibrant and colorful, with slightly thicker lines than in Season 1.
  • Artistic License – Military: There is no actual chance that a Private like Public would be the right hand man of a General other than it being really funny and showing how incompetent the military is.
  • Ass Kicks You: In "Party of the Shear", General Lee Outrageous responds to Sheep wanting to stop dancing by summoning the Booty Squad, a pair of soldiers with enormous rear ends who proceed to pummel Sheep with their buttocks.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • One of the Oxymoron segments shows a trailer for a movie called Attack Of The 50 Foot Creature, a giant monster consisting of 50 evil feet. Released in Europe as The Approximately 17 Metre Creature That Amusingly Enough Happens To be Made Entirely Out Of Feet Movie. Yeah, it's that kind of show.
    • The episode "Oh, the Ewemanity", which used pretty much every Disaster Movie trope humanly possible, has Sheep enlarged and attacking the Big City (well, not so much as attacking, but accidentally tripping over buildings).
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: The genie in "Beauty and the Bleats" is shown to be distracted by luminous objects, which Sheep uses to his advantage so he can trick the genie into allowing him three more wishes.
  • Bad Boss: While he doesn't kill his employees when they fail him like most examples of this trope, General Specific is both incredibly demanding and childishly petty, willing to fire or dispose of his employees at the drop of a hat, preferably by hidden hatches throughout the base, even when they succeed in their tasks, and rarely calls the Angry Scientist by the right name.
  • Becoming the Mask: In "Fleeced to Meet You", being Sheep's friend was originally the X Agent's cover, but in the end he helps Sheep escape after realizing that he really does like Sheep.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Angry Scientist does not like to be called mad.
    • Lady Richington's hatred of sheep is so severe that she'll beat Sheep with her wig unprovoked whenever she sees him.
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: When the show is following Sheep's plotline, the main one, you'd be lucky to find a span of three minutes that doesn't hang a huge lampshade on itself. A crowning example - a robot named "The Plot Device," just for starters.
  • Be Yourself: The moral of "Going Off the Sheep End", where Sheep tries to court Swanky by having his wool rearranged into a stylish hairdo, gaining a humanoid nose through plastic surgery, and bulking up at the gym (actually, becoming a grotesque mass of muscles from Oxymoron muscle powder), only for Swanky to keep rejecting him. After he ditches his muscles and returns to normal, he gets it through his head that he doesn't need to improve his appearance to win Swanky's affections.
  • Big Bad: General Specific is the main antagonist, since the conflict is that Sheep is trying to avoid the general's attempts at capturing him so he can be used to power a ray gun.
  • Big "NO!": "My, How Ewe Have Changed" has General Specific capturing Sheep when Sheep returns to the farm for a barbecue reunion with his old friends. When Farmer John, who's in the middle of a fight with Specific's soldiers, notices this, he immediately throws everyone off him, while yelling a Big "NO!".
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty: In "Beauty and the Bleats", Lady Richington attends an anti-sheep party and compliments an off-screen sheep pinata being realistic. A man tells her that it isn't a pinata, implying that the guests are actually brutalizing a real sheep to the point that its guts are splattering out.
  • Blatant Lies: Most of Oxymoron's products DO work as promised; they're just incredibly poorly conceived. One however is blatant false advertising, the Super Cool Fresh Rocket Ball, which Victor the spokesman promises bounces twice as high as a regular ball, despite being a rusty metal cube. When the customer he's trying to sell it to demands a demonstration, the spokesman sputters off, then cues the slogan again.
  • Bond Gun Barrel: The famous James Bond gun barrel sequence is spoofed in "The Wool is Not Enough", where Sheep is seen walking in a gun barrel before white liquid pours over. It then turns out that General Specific is spying on Sheep through a telescope and that the Angry Scientist spilled milk in front of the telescope.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sheep, General Specific, the Angry Scientist, and anyone in the Oxymoron commercials are all frequently subject to comical misfortune.
  • Canis Latinicus: "Daddy Shearest" features a parody of of the Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoons with Sheep in the role of the Road Runner and Private Public in the role of Wile E. Coyote. Sheep is given a description reading "Sheepius Zipius", while Private Public's simply reads "A Latin joke about Private Public".
  • Captain Obvious: Among others, there is a short man named Jay, whose entire role is to read aloud various signs that are on screen at the time and occasionally comment on fonts.
  • Catchphrase: In (nearly) every episode, one of the commercials will proclaim the item sold does whatever it does "With the power of an OX!"
    • Sheep being, well, a sheep, can only communicate in bleats, but has two distinct ones, a sardonic "Baah...", and a startled "BAAH!"
    • "Hubba-whah?" for everyone.
  • The Chew Toy: Sheep receives a fair amount of physical abuse per episode.
  • Clear My Name: "Mistaken Identi-Sheep" revolves around Sheep being framed for a crime wave happening in the city that targets the rich and gives the proceeds to the poor. It was actually Swanky, trying to help Sheep's reputation with the general population of The City.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Comic stories based on this show were featured in the 17th issue of Cartoon Network Starring as well as the 1st, 4th, 8th, and 12th issues of Cartoon Cartoons.
  • Companion Cube: Sheep at one point tries to remedy his loneliness by having conversations with a giant dust bunny in "Can't Live Without Ewe".
  • Couch Gag:
    • Every episode (except for the pilot) starts with Sheep watching something random on TV and changing the channel halfway through.
    • The show title is read by a different character in each episode.
  • Counting Sheep: "Be Still My Bleating Heart" shows that one of the jobs Sheep does to make ends meet has him jumping over a fence to help insomniacs go to sleep.
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: In "Going Off the Sheep End", General Specific and his soldiers disguise their so-called "Top Secret Military Base" as a bakery.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Completely Powerful Guy once claimed that his belt has the gadget for pretty much everything in "Flock, Up in the Sky". This turned out to be a lie, however. All it contains is his brain, who told him to trick the villain into surrendering.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "Daddy Shearest" centers around Private Public and his father, General Public.
    • "Here Goes Mutton!" is about Farmer John becoming a football player, while Sheep has a minor side plot.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • The Narrator can be sarcastic at times, particularly when complaining about elements of the story being contrived or unbelievable.
    • Sheep himself also qualifies as a snarker despite only speaking in bleats.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The silent film shown in "Baah-dern Times" is deliberately colored in black and white to complete the homage.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The narrator uses redundant language. "Meanwhile, concurrently, at the same time..."
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: The teaser to "Daddy Shearest" has Sheep watch a children's show hosted by a man in a turtle costume. The man asks the audience if they can see the doggy and gets extremely furious when he doesn't hear an answer, yelling at the audience for not seeing that the dog is right next to him.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Here's a sheep named Sheep. It helps that the big city has only one sheep.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: In "Baa-hind the Scenes", Sheep's agent proposes that a new show Sheep could star in would be a cop show titled Baah and Order. The hypothetical show's opening narration says that the two most important people in the world of crime are the police officers solving the crimes and the bakers who make the cops' donuts.
  • Dream Within a Dream: In "To Sheep, Perchance to Dream", Lady Richington has a nightmare where Swanky marries Sheep. When she wakes up, she discovers to her horror that Swanky is now wearing a wedding ring on her paw. It then turns out that Lady Richington finding the wedding ring on her poodle's paw was also a dream.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: The pilot features two character designs that are noticeably different from how the series proper depicts them.
    • Lady Richington has a burlier appearance, lacks her necklace and bracelets, and her wig is a different shape.
    • General Specific has hair on his temples and the brim of his hat is colored black instead of green.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The pilot lacked many of the commercials that the series loved to milk for all they're worth, and the Ranting Swede. Private Public wasn't as much of an Only Sane Man as he would be in the show, the Angry Scientist's speech pattern is more normal than it would be in the show, and Swanky, Lisa Rentel, and the Plot Device were nowhere to be found. It was also animated in a very primitive form of Adobe AfterEffects (which is why everything appears to float), whereas the series proper was traditionally animated.
  • Easy Amnesia: Parodied in "Here Goes Mutton", where Sheep gets a light hit on the head and spends the majority of the episode walking around in a daze and acting as different animals and objects, since he can't remember who he is. Towards the end of the episode, Private Public, General Specific and Farmer John all end up giving each other easy amnesia, and Ben Plotz accidentally does it to himself while complaining about how ridiculous the idea of a light hit on the head causing amnesia is.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Private Public's father General Public shows humiliating childhood photos of Private Public to General Specific in "Daddy Shearest", one particular photo being of Private Public having spots on his butt when he was little.
  • Enfant Terrible: Lisa Rentel is a child with a nasty demeanor.
  • Enemy Mine: "The Wool is Not Enough" had General Specific and Sheep teaming to stop a crazed new scientist, Doctor Oh No No No, who planned to conquer the globe by using an elephant to power the Sheep Ray Gun.
  • Epic Fail: "Here Goes Mutton" features a highly unsuccessful football team called the Big City Fuzzy Little Bunnies, who are said to have lost 14 out of 13 games (they somehow lost one game twice). Near the end of the episode, they go against a team called the Tri-state Evil Killer Death Team and the score reads 83 for their opposing team and -5 for themselves.
  • Evil All Along: Parodied in the season one finale "To Sheep, Perchance to Dream", where it's revealed that Sheep was the real villain all along and planned to use the narrator in a narrator-powered ray gun. Like a lot of the bizarre revelations given at the end, this is completely ignored in the second season.
  • Eye Scream: "Daddy Shearest" revolves around Sheep bonding with Private Public's father. When they're at a baseball game, Sheep gets hit in the face with a baseball, causing one of his eyes to fall off his face.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The sheep-powered raygun is a raygun powered by sheep, the plot device is a device to move along the plot and the Ranting Swede is a Swedish Man who rants about things.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The top secret military organization is never going to capture Sheep. In "Agony of De-Bleat" where Sheep actually is got, it's revealed the Angry Scientist never bothered to make sure the ray gun would actually work. Why? Because part of the premise of the show is that attempts to catch Sheep end in failure so he never actually expected any attempts at capturing Sheep to succeed. On top of that, General Specific plans to fire all of his subordinates when the ray gun is working so they actually let Sheep go.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • For some odd reason, the Big City seems to be prejudiced against sheep specifically, until the current mayor imposes several pro-sheep laws in the second season episode "The Wool of the People".
    • Lady Richington stands out as the most hostile and prejudiced toward Sheep due to her tendency to beat him with her wig every time she sees him. The narrator even referred to her as a "sheep-hater extraordinaire".
  • Fat Bastard: General Specific is a bit rotund and keeps trying to capture Sheep so he can be used to power a ray gun against his will.
  • Fat and Skinny: General Specific is short and obese, while Private Public is tall and thin.
  • Fish out of Water: Only one Sheep lives in the Big City. Sheep has already adjusted, and the Big City is now his familiar home.
  • Funny Foreigner:
    • The Ranting Swede, whose main shtick is that he makes hilarious complaints while speaking in a Swedish accent.
    • The Angry Scientist. His grasp of English grammar is extremely limited.
      Angry Scientist: Why are you not my Englishness be understanding? All the timing with that.
  • Fur Is Clothing: Some gags involve Sheep's wool being treated like clothing, like having him take his wool to the dry cleaner's in the pilot and occasionally covering himself in embarrassment after his wool unravels.
  • Gag Series: Oh, Hell yes.
  • Gainax Ending: The season one finale "To Sheep, Perchance to Dream" is very bizarre. Sheep is revealed to be Evil All Along and able to talk, Private Public turns out to be French, and the narrator is left futilely hoping that his situation is just a dream. None of this is ever brought up in the second season.
  • Gargle Blaster: A rare non-alcoholic version - Shrimpola Cola. It combines the taste of cola and 12-week old sun-dried shrimp and will burn your brain, as advertised by its rapping shrimp mascot Shrimpy.
  • General Failure: Well, gee, General Specific is trying to catch one sheep in a place where a sheep would stick out like a sore thumb, and people aren't all too fond of sheep, but as easy as it sounds, he keeps messing up.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: The pilot has an angel and devil appear behind Sheep when he tries to decide whether or not to leave the farm. They turn out to be hand puppets from a puppet theater Sheep was standing in front of.
  • Gossip Evolution: In the pilot, Private Public's message to a line of disguised soldiers starts as "Secret invasion at dawn, pass it on" and eventually becomes "Aardvark!" by the time it reaches the last soldier. When the soldiers hear that "Sheep is gone," the message returns to General Specific as "Meryl Streep's sarong."
  • Heel–Face Turn: The X Agent was originally hired to pretend to be Sheep's friend to lure him into a trap, but in the end he sees Sheep as a genuine friend and helps him escape.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Farmer John's name actually is Far Mer John.
  • Honest John's Dealership: The Oxymoron guy, Victor, qualifies. Just about every product he's shilling has something wrong with it or an unpleasant side effect.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The entire show is a nonstop strong gust of puns, but occasionally it can go full-on hurricane. Often to the narrator's dismay.
  • Hypocritical Humor: "To Bleat or Not to Bleat" ends with the Ranting Swede ranting on how everyone thinks ranting is all there is to him.
  • Identical Grandson:
    • In "Baa-ck in Time", General Specific and Private Public's time-traveling journey at one point has them come across an identical ancestor of General Specific in 1493.
    • "Baah-dern Times" has the narrator show the audience a silent film starring the grandfathers of Sheep and General Specific, who look exactly like their grandsons.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All chapter titles contain some sheep-related pun, except for the the third chapter of "To Sheep, Perchance to Dream", which the narrator names "Some Pun on the word Sheep" out of exasperation at the episode's overuse of explaining away bizarre events by revealing them to be dreams.
  • I'm Not a Doctor, but I Play One on TV: The Stinger of "My, How Ewe Have Changed" has a man state that he isn't an accountant, but he plays one on TV. We then see that he meant that he likes pretending he's an accountant while standing on top of a television set rather than saying that he was an actor who plays an accountant.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Lady Richington wears a wig made of solid stainless steel, which she likes to use as a blunt weapon on Sheep.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: The Oxymoron Corporation, whose products are featured in the episodes themselves, and advertised between segments. Among their products and services are "Shrimpola Cola", a cola with 12 week old sun dried shrimp inside that causes severe brain burns, Oxymoron Batteries which are pretty powerful but drains your life force as a power source, their incredibly poorly managed Oxymoron Airlines where the staff has its human decency literally sucked out of their souls to ensure an unpleasant experience and the "Super Cool Fresh Rocket Ball", which is, in fact, a metal cube, that somehow requires 97 batteries to work.
  • Insane Proprietor: One Parody Commercial is for the Les is More Electronics Warehouse, whose proprietor Les Wiggles offers such ludicrous prices as sixteen cents for an elephant, a million dollars and five cents for a piece of wire and forty-two thousand dollars for a single battery. By his own admission, his prices are ridiculous because he's a silly loony bird.
  • Insane Troll Logic: "Wish You Were Shear" begins with Sheep being captured by a dim-witted dogcatcher after buying a large bone he intends to give Swanky as an anniversary present. The dogcatcher concludes that Sheep is a dog on the basis that dogs like bones and that Sheep must be a dog if he's carrying around a bone.
  • Insistent Terminology: The Angry Scientist would get especially angry if anyone referred to him as a Mad Scientist. "Angrrrrry! I am an ANGRRRRRRRY scientist!"
  • Interactive Narrator: The Narrator sometimes directly speaks to the other characters.
  • Interspecies Romance: Sheep and his girlfriend Swanky, a poodle.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Sheep is subject to enormous amounts of physical abuse in almost every episode. However it takes a LOT to actually keep him down.
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum:
    • There's actually had a robot called "the plot device", leading to conversations like:
      Lady Richington: How did you get here so fast?
      General Specific: I used a Plot Device!
      Plot Device: (sticks head into view) Hello.
    • And then there's the sheep-powered ray gun, for which the Secret Military Organization needs Sheep, despite the fact that the farm he escaped from was a sheep farm with at least 50 more. We don't know why, but the ray gun only works with one sheep and only if he's alive.
  • Kangaroo Court: In "Mistaken Identi-Sheep", Sheep is assured that he'll "be found guilty in a completely fair trial." The judge declares him guilty after his opening statement. In the form of song and dance.
  • Karmic Transformation:
    • "To Sheep, Perchance to Dream" shows General Specific, who's spent the entire series trying to capture Sheep and use him in the sheep-powered ray gun, get turned into a sheep, though it turns out to be a dream like most of the events that happen in the episode.
    • "Beauty and the Bleats" has Sheep use his last wish from a genie to become humanoid in appearance so he can visit Swanky while the poodle and her owner Lady Richington stay at a hotel that bans sheep. When the plan backfires because of Swanky not recognizing him and Lady Richington falling for him, Sheep eventually tricks the genie into giving him three more wishes. After using the first wish to become a sheep again and wasting the second wish on a fancy hat, Sheep uses his last wish to stop Lady Richington from beating him by turning her into a sheep.
  • Kent Brockman News: The resident newscasters Hank and Betsy.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The show is practically fueled by Lampshade Hanging. It's one of the most common types of humor in the series, after puns and sight gags.
    • It is regularly acknowledged that making a ray gun that uses a more practical power source than sheep would be less trouble than hunting Sheep down. And don't you dare asking General Specific why he simply doesn't pick any sheep and have the ray gun compatible to it.
    • In another instance, Private Public asks the Angry Scientist why he can't make a ray gun that works without a sheep after he just invented a time machine. His response basically amounts to "I'm the scientist here."
  • Large Ham: With the exception of Farmer John and Private Public, almost every recurring human male character in the show was a Large Ham at some point. Including one that was actually a ham sandwich.
  • Lemony Narrator: The Narrator more often than not will end up complaining about the script he's reading and the patent silliness of some situations. He is also essentially treated as a character both in the show and in the Show Within a Show.
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: In every episode, and every five minutes; sometimes, even seconds.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Used for most of the main characters, such as Ben Plotz's sweater vest/dress shirt, The Angry Scientist's lab coat, Lisa Rentel's pink dress, and the military uniform of General Specific and Private Public. On the few occasions that they wear different clothes, it's usually a disguise, sometimes worn on top of their regular clothes.
  • Mad Scientist: The Angry Scientist is pretty eccentric and evil, though he doesn't like being called a mad scientist. He'll always irately remind everyone that he's an Angry Scientist.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: "Be Still My Bleating Heart" has a gag where Sheep's wool blows up because he's standing over a grate, complete with him adopting Marilyn Monroe-style pose.
  • Meaningful Name: To say nothing of everyone else, the Plot Device is a robot that serves exactly that purpose.
    Gen. Specific: How do you know that?
    Pri. Public: The Plot Device told us!
    Plot Device: Hello!
  • Meat-O-Vision: The silent film seen in "Baah-dern Times" begins with Sheep's grandfather running from a man resembling a bearded Farmer John when the man sees Sheep's grandfather's body as a lamb chop and attempts to kill him so he can eat him.
  • Mega-Corp: Almost all of the products in the fake commercials are sold by Oxymoron.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: In "Agony of De-bleat", Sheep is mentioned by the narrator as having his life flash before his eyes while held prisoner by the top secret military organization. All that's shown of Sheep's life is a brief scene of Sheep grazing, the narrator explaining that Sheep having an uneventful life is to be expected since he is a sheep.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: "The Wool is Not Enough" has Sheep befriend a secret agent named Thrombo Creeros, who introduces himself as "Creeros, Thrombo Creeros".
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: In "Flock, Up in the Sky", Ben Plotz refuses to translate what Sheep bleats in response to the X Agent's claim that his constant protection is necessary, implying that it's because Sheep swore at the X Agent.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Hilariously lampooned by the live-action trailer, which gives the impression that the show will be a serious live-action series with an animated Sheep inserted in. The end of the trailer even openly admits that the actual show isn't anything like this trailer.
    General: We're not here to count sheep, soldier. We're not here to count sheep.
  • Niche Network: The Watching Paint Dry Channel.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: At the end credits of the pilot:
    No sheep were injured during the filming of this special.
    The next day, however, Sheep walked into a wall and stubbed his toe.
  • No Fourth Wall: It can be hard to keep track of the number of times the show acknowledges itself as a work of fiction.
  • Nominal Hero: Completely Powerful Guy, a Superman expy who is The Big City's resident superhero, is a sniveling coward who does anything he can to weasel out of potential crime fighting, and blatantly ignores his own hero signal.
  • Non Sequitur: Random statements spoken out of context are another frequent source of jokes, especially prevalent in the Oxymoron commercials.
    Do you have a paper towel absorbent enough to clean up this stain?
    Of course not! Its a bucket of mud and volcanic ash!!
    Well neither do I, but I do have this extra mint chewing gum!
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: Farmer John says something funny upon being knocked out in "Here Goes Mutton".
    Farmer John: Can I please be excused from the table, mommy?
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: In "The Wool is Not Enough", Dr. Oh No No No explains that he is not a medical doctor when General Specific asks him to check out his rash.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: "Baah-dern Times" features Lisa Rental singing a musical number about how she'd like to grow up to be a bureaucrat because she'd be paid to make things difficult for other people.
  • Obviously Evil: A recurring minor character named Greedy McGreedgreed. In "The Wool of the People", Farmer John, as Sheep's campaign manager, still accepts campaign contributions from him
    Reporter: You accepted campaign funds from a man named Greedy McGreedgreed?!
  • Obvious Stunt Double: In the pilot, Sheep finds himself cornered on a rooftop by Far Mer John and General Specific. While the two argue over the General's penmanship (or lack thereof) on the cue cards, Sheep uses this opportunity to escape: he unravels his wool, creating a rope for him to swing over to the roof of the building across the street. Cut to a shot of a man wearing a Sheep costume swinging from a rope to the other building, only crash against the facade and tumble down to the street below (all in slow motion, and with added film grain), before cutting back to Sheep, who is now lying on the cracked sidewalk in a daze.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Happens quite frequently, with Sheep being captured or escaping during the episodes' commercial breaks.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted at the end of "Mistaken Identi-Sheep", where the Ranting Swede dedicates his latest rant to a person named Timmy McPherson and then proceeds to rant about how he's annoyed by another Timmy McPherson, whom he clarifies is not the same Timmy McPherson he's dedicating his rant to.
  • Only Sane Man: Private Public, the more savvy sidekick of General Specific.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: After spending the episode complaining about the overuse of explaining away events by revealing them to be dreams, the narrator Ben Plotz finds himself in a pickle when Sheep turns out to be evil and plans to use him in a narrator-powered ray gun. After thinking that this was also just a dream, Ben finds to his horror that all this has actually happened. He's most likely grateful that the second season chose to ignore this.
  • Overly Long Name:
    • Mrs. Smythe Robertson Johnson Weathermocker Von Herbertson-Berski-Jackson-Greengrove, the woman in the Oxymoron commercials.
    • This exchange from "A Star is Shorn".
    Angry Scientist: I call it, the portable sightness-reducing vision obscuring tactical cloth optics impairer.
    General Specific: That sounds like a blindfold to me.
    Angry Scientist: It is, but with a fancier name.
    • "Home for the Baa-lidays" has the Oxymoron Guaranteed Plastic Sealing Bag-type Containers. It also has a supercomputer-powered, laser-equipped robot attached to protect the freshness.
    • The pilot has General Specific refer to their mission as Operation Kidnap The Sheep That We Need For The Ray Gun And Make Sure He Doesn't Get Away Again Storm (replying to Private Public's query of the name being a little long by suggesting he use the acronym: Operation KTSTWNFTRGAMSHDGAAS.)
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Dinky - the superest turtle in the universe, who appears in a skit in "Oh, the Ewemanity". He's slightly faster than a normal turtle. And he has a bitching cape.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • Blatantly unconvincing disguises are used all the time. Sheep usually just wears a hat or a fake moustache, while General Specific and his men usually just puts their disguises on top of their uniforms.
    • In "An Officer and a Gentlelamb", Sheep disguises himself solely by wearing pink sunglasses in order to let General Specific hire him as a recruit. Near the end of the episode, he tricks General Specific by putting his wool onto a gorilla to fulfill the order of capturing Sheep to disprove Private Public and the Angry Scientist's claims that he's really Sheep in disguise.
    • Sometimes, the military uses less than a disguise. Thus the arrow sign that says "Top Secret Military Base" and "Please look the other way". The secret helicopters bear the label, "Please Ignore".
  • Parental Bonus: In the pilot, when Farmer John sees Sheep in a dress, he laments "What has the city done to you?" The obvious implication is that he's assumed Sheep has become a cross-dressing prostitute.
  • Parody Commercial: A frequent gag on the show is to cut to commercials for Oxymoron products.
  • Parrot Expo-WHAT?: A plot twist in "The Wool of the People" (both Sheep and General Specific lose the mayoral election to a talking ham sandwich) leads to a long chain of characters going "Hubba-whah?"
  • Politicians Kiss Babies: During a chase scene in "The Wool of the People", General Specific and Sheep, who were both running for mayor in the episode, both stop to kiss a baby. Lady Richington is also handed the baby, but doesn't want to kiss the infant so she has her butler kiss the baby for her.
  • Pounds Are Animal Prisons: Sheep is sent to a pound that resembles a jail in the beginning of "Wish You Were Shear".
  • Puddle-Covering Chivalry: Sheep is seen using himself to cover a puddle and allow several old women to cross the street in "Fleeced to Meet You".
  • Punny Name:
    • Literally an army of puns: General Specific, Private Public, Major Appliance, Major Pain, Major Panic, Major Exclamation, Major Know-It-All, Major Disaster, Major Doofus, Major Television Event, Major Minor, General Lee Outrageous, General Public (Private Public's father), General Foods, General Hospital, General Motors, General Assembly, General Anesthesia, General Interest, General Whatever, General Electric, General Dentistry, General Practice, Private Party, Major League Ball, Corporal Ethereal, General Lee Speaking, Major Embarrassment, Private Thoughts, Private Lessons and Major Historical Figure.
    • Count D'Ten. A running gag has him introduce himself and the other character misinterpreting him as telling them to count to ten.
  • Put on a Bus: Lampshaded with X Agent in "Flock, Up in the Sky", where Completely Powerful Guy reads a telegram addressed to X Agent.
    Completely Powerful Guy: You're needed in Toledo, urgently. And this is not a convenient excuse to get you off the show.
  • Rattling Off Legal: One Oxymoron sketch in the episode "The Wool is Not Enough" had a fake Shrimpola Cola contest and... well the contest rules and details weren't so much as rattling off so much as rambling, as it also brings up hilariously irrelevant things like banning people named Timmy from participating in the contest.
  • Retcon: In the pilot, it is revealed that Farmer John was named Farmer because he loved farming so much - other character even acknowledge throughout the rest of the pilot how odd it is that Farmer would be someone's name. In a skit in the actual series, however, we see Mr. and Mrs. John giving his first name as Far (because Mrs. John wanted him to go far in life) and his middle name as Mer (because Mr. John wanted to name him after his beloved Aunt Mer) - to wit: Far Mer John.
  • Retraux: The show's art style is highly reminiscent of cartoons from the 60s and 70s, albeit much more animated.
  • Revised Ending: The episode "Going Off the Sheep End" ends with Sheep finally captured. However, the Narrator hated the way it ended so much, he demands the writers give Sheep the happy ending he deserves.
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: General Specific's efforts to capture Sheep fall into this category. Exaggerated in the episode "Daddy Shearest," where they flat-out spoof the classic shorts, complete with desert landscape and the Latin subtitles.
  • Rocky Roll Call: Used in "Daddy Shearest" until the narrator gets sick of the repetition and demands it to stop.
    Private Public: Dad!
    General Public: Son!
    Private Public: Dad!
    General Public: Son!
    Sheep: Baaa?
    Private Public: Sheep?
    General Public: Sheep?
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever someone exclaims "Great Scott", a Scotsman will show up to reply with "Yes?" Subverted only once in "15 Muttons of Fame", where General Specific expects Great Scott to respond to his name being called and Private Public explains that he's sick.
    • Characters explaining that they know what they know because of the Plot Device.
    • "HOLD THE PHONE!" *cut to Lisa Rentel holding a phone*
    • Several episodes have a character rant on how much they hate a kid named Timmy.
  • Scenery Censor: In "Agony of De-bleat", General Specific walks behind a box labeled "Random Box" while changing into his clothes.
  • Self-Deprecation: Other than the narrator constantly complaining about the stories becoming ludicrous or unbelievable, one notable example happens in "Baa-hind the Scenes", where a network executive responds to the suggestion of having Sheep star in a children's cartoon by saying that he doesn't have the look for it.
  • Shaped Like Itself: In the pilot, Farmer John explains that he named the title character Sheep because when he was born, he looked just like a little sheep.
  • Short-Runner: This show seemed to suffer the same fate as Mike, Lu & Og - despite being popular with viewers, it apparently wasn't popular enough to merit any further seasons after two, when most cable cartoons last for at least four.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Lisa Rentel finally gets Sheep as a pet, she treats him like a dog. An obligatory reference to Snoopy is made with Sheep's new doghouse.
    • The Angry Scientist's insistence that he's not a mad scientist, but an angry one could be a nod to Professor Gangreen from the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! film series.
    • The pilot ends with the anticlimax of General Specific, Private Public, and Farmer John getting arrested just before they are about to capture Sheep for beating up the seemingly inconsequential Little Bo Peep character, similar to the end of Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the main cast are all arrested just before the final battle for killing the seemingly inconsequential Historian character.
    • "Baa-ck in Time" features a nod to Planet of the Apes in The Stinger, where General Specific goes to a planet of sheep and notices from a ruined statue of himself that he's actually gone to the future.
    General Specific: What's this? Some kind of Planet of the Sheep? Oh no! It's Earth! In the future! Oh, darn you! Darn you all to heck!
    • In the pilot, the sheep-tracking device blows up, and a man one degree away from actually being Scotty is seen working on it.
    Guy: "I'm workin' as fast as I can, but I needs more dilithium crystals ta stabilize the barrier ion field mechanism!"
    Gen. Specific: "You don't know what you're doing, do you?"
    Guy: (stares, then slumps sadly) ""
  • Soul-Powered Engine: Oxymoron Batteries, that suck the energy right out of the users soul, leaving them as zombie-like dried husks. Their flashlights shine very brightly though.
  • Spinoff Babies: "Baah-dern Times" has this parodied in a fake commercial for Secret Military Organization Babies, a fictional spin-off wherein General Specific, Private Public, and the Angry Scientist were babies.
  • Status Quo Is God: In "Agony of De-Bleat", the secret military organization actually succeeds in kidnapping Sheep and General Specific declares that he will fire the entire group after installing Sheep into the ray gun the next day. In order to keep their jobs, Private Public, Angry Scientist, and the Plot Device break Sheep out that night. The next morning, General Specific thinks Sheep escaped on his own and things are back as they were.
  • Strictly Formula: Every episode has the same plot: General Specific gets another chance to capture Sheep. Chase Scenes occur as the secret military organization tries to grab Sheep. They succeed for a moment, but Sheep always escapes, and by the end of each episode, Sheep is always out of danger.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: "Wish You Were Shear" has a sketch where Private Public and General Specific attempt to rap about food, but General Specific keeps getting the last word wrong.
    Private Public: If you want seconds, just say please! We'll fill your plate with macaroni and—
    General Specific: Sauce!
  • Suddenly Speaking: When the season one finale "To Sheep, Perchance to Dream" reveals that Sheep is actually evil, he turns out to be able to speak instead of just bleating.
  • Superpowers For A Day: In "Flock, Up in the Sky", General Specific acquires superpowers and becomes General Specificman.
  • Theme Naming: Nearly every single character's name is either a pun (e.g. Lady Richington, Lisa Rental, General Lee Outrageous) or an oxymoron (e.g. General Specific and Private Public).
  • They Just Dont Get It: General Specific, frequently.
  • Those Two Guys: The actors, the newscasters, the Sombrero Brothers. The show has a lot of characters seen in pairs who are rarely if ever seen apart.
  • Time Travel: The episode "Baa-ck in Time" revolves around a time travel exercise bike. Poked fun at in the initial test run, where General Specific time traveled 3 seconds into the just riding the bike for 3 seconds.
  • Timmy in a Well: This exchange from "Can't Live Without Ewe".
    Sheep: Baah...
    Ben Plotz: Are you trying to say that Timmy fell down a well?
    Sheep: Baah?
    Ben Plotz: Sorry, wrong show...
  • The Unintelligible:
    • Sheep can speak entire sentences in a single bleat.
    • Same with the X-agent, which makes his reports to the general somewhat problematic. Actually, this goes for all animal characters, who are shown as intelligent, but unable to talk, unlike most cartoons do.
    • Parodied in one of the Oxymoron commercials in "A Star is Shorn", where the mascot for a dog food brand is a normal dog, and thus can't say the brand's slogan, much to the annoyance of the spokesman (another spokesman, not Victor).
  • Unmoving Plaid: General Lee Outrageous's gold outfit and Private Party's silver outfit have patterns that stay in place and don't move with the characters' movements.
  • Unwanted Assistance: "Flock, Up in the Sky" has Sheep get sick of X Agent trying to protect him from everything that could possibly be a threat, particularly when he starts beating up people just for getting within ten feet of Sheep.
  • Villain Team-Up: General Specific and Lady Richington work together to try and thwart Sheep's running for mayor in "The Wool of the People".
  • Visual Pun: Far, far too many to list. One of the visual puns that stands out is the Narrator saying that Sheep suffers attacks from German shepherds and is seen being assaulted by a shepherd with a German accent.
  • Wannabe Line: General Specific and his soldiers cannot get in the clubs his cousin enters in "Party of the Shear". When Sheep got in, General Specific asked his cousin to held a party at his base to attract Sheep and told his cousin to tell the bouncers to let his friends in. However, the bouncer was told to let "General Specific's friends" but wasn't told to let "General Specific" in.
  • Wasteful Wishing:
    • In "Beauty and the Bleats", Sheep encounters a genie that gives him three wishes. He wastes his first wish on a fancy hat and his second wish on a larger version of the same hat before he uses his last wish to become humanoid in order to sneak past the security at a hotel forbidding sheep so he can be with Swanky. Near the end of the episode, Sheep tricks the genie into giving him three more wishes. He uses his first wish to become a normal sheep again and his third wish to stop Lady Richington clobbering him by turning her into a sheep, but wastes his second wish on another fancy hat.
    • The stinger of the same episode has General Specific find a Question Genie who offers to answer him three questions. General Specific wastes all of them on asking if he can really answer three questions.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: According to a sketch in "Fleeced to Meet You", Completely Powerful Guy has a virtual laundry list of things he claims are his weaknesses, ranging from dynamite to pollen. Though it's implied he's just making it up to avoid having actually fight any crime.
  • Wealth's in a Name: One of the main characters is a wealthy woman named Lady Richington.
  • We Care: "Beauty and the Bleats" features an ad for Bio-Technical Corporate Concern Limited Company where a man representing the company tells the audience that they care about their customers before spiraling into an Anguished Declaration of Love. The announcer states that they should really consider changing their hiring policies.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "Fleeced to Meet You", one of the skits has Completely Powerful Guy's sidekick Wonderful Boy tear into the hero for always making up an excuse to avoid fighting every villain he's informed is on a crime spree, pointing out that by doing so he's acting less like a hero and more like a pathetic coward.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: General Specific wonders exactly this about Farmer John when he and Private Public meet him as they are looking for Sheep in the pilot.
    • The pilot states that he's named Farmer because he likes farming so much, but a skit in the actual show reveals that it's actually a combination name: Far (because his parents wanted him to "go far") and Mer (after his great-aunt Mer). Him being an actual farmer is just a coincidence.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!:
    • The Narrator has both wondered "Who writes this stuff?" and apologized for the writer not feeling well and doing a worse job than usual.
    • Whenever the writer is actually shown, he's a buffoon at a typewriter.
  • Word, Schmord!: In "Mistaken Identi-Sheep", Lady Richington replies to a news report of a bank robbery by saying "Bank, Schmank", then responds to another report of a supermarket robbery with "Supermarket, schmupermar...oh, who cares?" She then screams a Big "NO!" in response to a report of her entire mansion being robbed while she's still in it.
  • World of Ham: Only a show with a number of Large Ham characters like this can have a character who is literally a ham sandwich and live up to its name metaphorically.
  • X-Ray Sparks: In "Party of the Shear", General Specific's skeleton is visible when he gets zapped from grabbing onto an electrified velvet rope.
  • You and What Army?: During their time traveling misadventures in "Baa-ck in Time", General Specific and Private Public arrive at the location of the Big City before it was founded, just as it's about to be discovered by General Specific's Spanish ancestor, who tells them to leave or he'll make them leave.
    Specific: Oh yeah? You and what army?
    Specifico: My army, of-a course. *reveals a horde of conquistadors*
  • You Can't Go Home Again: "My, How Ewe Have Changed" has Sheep missing his old friends from the farm, leading to him accepting an invitation to a reunion party there. When he returns, he finds that his old friends aren't as... charming as he remembers.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In "Agony of De-Bleat", General Specific threatens to fire the entire secret military organization once he activates the ray gun, now that they captured Sheep. It confirms that Sheep's capture is the sole purpose of the organization's existence.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Played with with Clearance Day. Its origins are clearly shown to be different from Christmas — a calendar loving shopkeeper founded it when he noticed a single week in the year that didn't have any holidays associated with it, implying that Christmas exists as a separate holiday - but it seems to have taken on all of Christmas' trappings in the public mind.


Video Example(s):


Angry Scientist

General Specific hires a scientist who keeps insisting he's not mad, but an angry scientist.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / InsistentTerminology

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