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Western Animation / Sherlock Yack

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Will you find out before Sherlock?
Sherlock Yack (also known as, Sherlock Yack, Zoo-detective) is a 2011 animated TV series created by Mondo TV, adapted from the novels of Michel Amelin, illustrated by Ruth Christelle (aka Colonel Mustard).

Sherlock Yack is the zoo's manager as well as its detective. As soon as a crime is committed, he investigates with his young assistant, Hermione. With her help, he finds suspects, clues and proofs... while inviting the young viewer to lead the investigation and find the culprit at the same time.

Despite the title, it bears little resemblance to its namesake what with being a much Lighter and Softer series with the target audience of ages 6-10 in mind.

Compare Sherlock Hound, Basil of Baker Street and The Great Mouse Detective.

Provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Hermione's Aunt Babette to Sherlock Yack. It took playing the bagpipes to make her go away.
  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • Bobcat towards everyone. None of the misnames were even close to their actual names.
    • The show itself did this in "Who Painted the Ostrich?" where Crane was referred to as "Egret". Needless to say, she looked nothing like an egret but they managed to correct themselves in her later appearances.
  • The Ace: Deliberately deconstructed. While Sherlock Yack is good at his job (both as a detective and zoo manager), he's shown to be just as flawed as everyone else, even though he doesn't admit it most of the time.
  • Action Girl: Interestingly, Gazelle is shown to be one of these in the Ball of Purity flashbacks. Usually by beating up Sherlock, after the latter offended her.
  • Animal Gender-Bender: Classic example, as Kangaroo features a pouch
  • Animal Stereotypes:
  • Animated Adaptation: Of the original Sherlock Yack, Zoo-detective books.
  • Anthropomorphic Animal Adaptation
  • The Apprentice: Hermione to Sherlock.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Though the show does point out basic animal biology facts, it sometimes gets them wrong. For instance, in "Who Tied up the Octopus?", Octopus is so startled that she releases ink and is then sitting in it all night with no ill effects. In reality, this would have killed her: octopus ink is poisonous to them, hence their need to immediately get away after using it as a distraction.
  • Boxing Kangaroo: Take a guess who...
  • Butt-Monkey: Sherlock Yack, in certain episodes (such as being denied entry by bouncers, cursed by bad luck, the example mentioned in Eye Scream) and the flashbacks (with the various ways he screws up the lessons and Ball of Purity swatting him with a fan). He also tends to get tripped up in the Fake Interactivity timer animations.
  • Canon Foreigner: Sherlock Yack is evidently a Sherlock Holmes lookalike, but none other secondary character is based on one from the book series, not even the medium's version of Watson, who is a younger female in this case. Interestingly, Hermione is sometimes mentioned to be actually the daughter of a friend of his, which might or might not imply jokingly that her father is a Holmes canon character.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: The Mynah, which leaves him stuck as second banana to the Parrot at the radio station.
  • Casanova Wannabe:
    • Piranha, who apparently flirts with all the ladies in the Zoo which annoys them.
    • "Who Graffitied Hermione?" shows that Sherlock is one of these. At least when it comes to trying to teach someone about seduction.
  • Catchphrase: Sherlock's "By all the trees and all the does, I'm on the go!", saying the first part in a faux-Scottish inflection. He also uses the first part as an exclamation.
  • Compressed Vice: The episodes often feature some particular problem or fault of Sherlock's that is only present in that episode. Such as his fear of water in "Who Sunk the Pelican?", or his obsession with being the "king of recess" in "Who Stuck the Gorilla in the Sand?" Also applies to other characters, which usually factors into the investigated crime.
  • Cynical Mentor: Old Master Ball of Purity, Sherlock Yack's teacher back in the temple.
  • Die Laughing: In "Who Chocked Up the Grizzly?" Grizzly received a letter which emitted laughing gas and nearly died from its effects. It's worth noting that Grizzly also happens to be The Stoic, hence he's supposed to never laugh (although he'd like to).
  • DIY Dentistry: "Who Bugged the Porcupine?" opens with Sherlock trying to deal with a toothache by tricking Hermione into pulling out a tooth by opening a door. Unfortunately for him, the door opens the other way. It's frequently mentioned that Sherlock refuses to go to the dentist. At the end of the episode, he finally does see the dentist and finds it not that bad
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Many side characters with the notable exception of Sherlock Yack (a yak), Hermione (a stoat), Ball of Purity (an ancient vulture who was Sherlock's teacher back in a Shaolin-like monastery, seen in flashbacks and one episode's plot), and Doctor Beaky (a blue heron).
  • Dope Slap: Master Ball of Purity's favourite method of disciplining Sherlock is hitting his face with a folded fan.
  • Dreadful Musician: Sherlock likes to play the bagpipes. Too bad he's not very good at it, much to Hermione's chagrin.
  • Dude Magnet: Hermione, as shown in "Who Graffitied Hermione?" Her admirers also happen to be the three main suspects (Baboon, the Bird of Paradise, and Tiger). Piranha had hit on her a few times, too, but then again, he does this to all the females.
  • Electric Jellyfish: A bad encounter with them lead to Sherlock's fear of water, as seen in "Who Sunk the Pelican?"
  • Everybody Did It: All three suspects in "Who Psychedelicized Chameleon?" are the guilty party.
  • Eye Scream: Mild example, but "Who Stripped the Heron?" features Sherlock Yack's eyelid inflammation, which worsens as he refuses/avoids receiving eye drops out an involuntary fear (started by Ball of Purity threatening this trope as a characteristically nasty joke).
  • Fake-Hair Drama: Lion's mane is a wig and is very sensitive and protective about it.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: Sherlock is supposedly trained in Yack Fu, which appears to be the typical Shaolin kung fu.
  • Forgets to Eat: The Panda in "Who Crushed the Panda" is skinny because of this, according to his wife.
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Subverted. As per the Anthropomorphic Animal rule, Hermione walks in two legs despite stoats being a cuadrupedal species, but she often drops to four when needing to sprint.
  • French Jerk: The Bird of Paradise, a vain and self-obsessed "artist".
  • Furry Reminder: Despite acting human for the most part, all of the characters are aware of their own species. Sherlock is even caught attempting to eat a shrub because he was so hungry.
  • Funny Animal: The show is set in The Zoo where most of the inhabitants are this.
  • Gender Flip: Sherlock's Watson is a female stoat named Hermione.
  • Granola Girl: Gazelle displays some traits of this trope in some episodes, with her emphasis on organic products and eco-friendly wares.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality:
    • In some episodes, it's made clear that the victim is no better than the culprit, especially if said culprit has a good reason for doing said crime in the first place. Sometimes, the one who needs help is also doing some sort of crime which is only revealed when Sherlock is in the case and as a result, both parties can be punished by the end.
    • Thanks to the show's Recurring Extra trope, victims from a past episode can become culprits and vice versa.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Bobcat.
    • Sherlock Yak's old master Ball of Purity.
  • Here We Go Again!: A B-plot of "Who Bugged the Porcupine?" is Sherlock's refusal to see a dentist about a toothache. After he finally does see a dentist, Hermione finds herself itchy, but doesn't like going to see the doctor.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: Hermione in "Who Made the Parrot Sneeze?".
  • Hipster: Hyena has shades of this, being an art student working part-time as a hairdresser, complete with stereotypical cashmere scarf and androgyny (though that one also plays into Animal Stereotypes).
  • Ice-Cream Koan: After receiving a box of fortune cookies from Ball of Purity in "Who Cemented the Turtle?", Sherlock spends much of the episode trying to determine the meaning of "In a cloud, destiny guides your footsteps." At the end, it's shown that Ball of Purity pretty much takes a Mad Libs-esque approach to fortunes.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Combined with Questioning Title?. Every episode is entitled "Who [past tense verb] the [noun]?"
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Hermione is as thin as a stick, though it is justified because she is not a human after all.
  • Informed Obscenity: In "Who Made the Stork Fart?", Sherlock Yack's catchphrase apparently doubles as a "curse" much to Stork's and (to an extent) Hermione's displeasure.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Sherlock Yack and Hermione, who is a stoat. Also doubles as Intergenerational Friendship, as he is significantly older than her, even mentioning to be friends with her father in an episode.
  • Interspecies Romance: A recurring (and often episode-specific) element of the show
    • Ostrich and Elephant are in a relationship as of "Who Graffitied Hermione?" Although she spent most of the episode pining for Orangutan.
    • Crane has one-time romantic interests in Pelican and Peacock (the latter of which motivated her to humble him by slicing his feathers).
    • Amusingly, a flashback shows Sherlock trying to seduce Gazelle as part of a test. It works out, until he hogs the drink they were meant to share.
    • Speaking of Gazelle, she and Mrs. Hippo were shown in "Who Cooled Off the Piranha?" to be admirers of Piranha, of all people.
  • It's All About Me: The Bird of Paradise is an artist whose works are all the same portraits of himself. Even his attempt to woo Hermione in "Who Graffitied Hermione?" was just a painting of himself "thinking about her".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The punishments to a certain degree. Hence, they are described as "well-deserved".
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": Or rather, a yak named Yack. Sherlock Yack, that is.
    • Hermione is a stoat, which in the original French is "hermine".
  • Messy Pig/The Pig-Pen: Warthog.
  • Minnesota Nice: Mrs. Fennec's accent sounds like this and has the genial attitude that can sometimes come off as condescending.
  • Missing Mom: There are three dads shown in the zoo whose wives are unseen (Kangaroo, Porcupine, and Crocodile). Chef Panda is the only exception who both has Mrs. Panda and a baby of their own.
  • Neat Freak: Skunk has this as a facet of her character. Hermione also demonstrated this in "Who Plugged Up the Elephant's Trunk?", where she obsessively cleaned up both Sherlock and the Sloths' homes.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Tiger channels John Wayne in his speech cadence and patterns. Old Horse is based in design, attire and Brooklyn accent on Burgess Meredith's Mickey Goldmill.
  • No Indoor Voice: The Howler Monkey, of course.
  • Non-Mammalian Mammaries: Ostrich has very noticeable, erm, features, which is jarring because the other female birds (like Stork and Crane) lack them.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Sherlock Yack (in a Once an Episode, Flashback sequence) credits his old master Ball of Purity for being able to conquer getting into unimportant matters but as the episodes go on, that turns out not to be the case. Guess his master didn't do a very good job...
    • Despite how she's usually more prone to avoiding this trope, "Who Stuck the Gorilla in the Sand?" has Hermione getting this way, along with Sherlock, about who's the "king/queen of recess".
  • Perpetual Frowner: Literal example. Grizzly is often in a dour mood with his eyebrows in a perpetual furrow.
  • Primal Stance: When Hermione unwittingly offends Sherlock (after stating that he's immune to criticism) by being brutally honest about his bagpipe playing, Sherlock goes berserk reverting to a four-legged stance, headbutts towards the door and knocks down his mailbox while Hermione drives away.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: While the show has no villains, per se, Crocodile and Garter Snake are almost always manipulative antagonists. Especially as the former is a greed-driven, crooked banker, and the latter abuses her hypnotic ability to get what she wants.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Hermione, reflected in-verse by her aforementioned Dude Magnet status.
  • The Rival: Zebu if only because he's running against Sherlock for zoo administrator (and for both being the only Bovids in the entire zoo).
    • Played With in "Who Targeted the Tiger?" where Dromedary becomes a one-time detective but fails at finding the clues, investigating the suspects, and pointing out the culprit.
  • Secret Test of Character: Master Ball of Purity does this to Sherlock during his visit in "Who Derailed the Guinea Pigs?". The test was to simply go on with his investigation despite his master's attempts to distract him.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: As a Running Gag, Doctor Beaky would always state his diagnoses in this manner but switches to layman's terms after a Beat since nobody really understands him.
  • Sherlock Scan: Well, duh. A few episodes show that Hermione is capable of this, too.
  • Sluggish Sloths: Mr. and Mrs. Sloth always move very slowly, talk in a lethargic manner, and are prone to falling asleep mid-sentence.
  • Species Surname: Applies to couples, or when there are more than one characters of the same species, but different genders or classifications.
  • Stereotype Flip:
  • Straw Misogynist: A Compressed Vice of Sherlock Yack's, as revealed in "Who Ridiculed the Lion?" (albeit formerly or somewhat downplayed). He insists that his old master, Ball of Purity, taught him not to think that way... by having him fight Gazelle, who defeats him after he sorely misjudged her fighting capabilities. Also applies to the Feline Club members Tiger and Bobcat, who have a strict no-girls rule for the sake of the episode.
  • Strictly Formula: The format of each episodes is as follows:
    • Something bad or out of the ordinary suddenly happens and Sherlock investigates.
    • Sherlock and Hermione find the clues.
    • Sherlock and Hermione investigate three suspects (though there are exceptions as one episode ["Who Sabotaged Mrs. Fennec’s Machine?"] had as many as four).
    • Sherlock quizzes the viewer and recaps the investigation so far in a separate sequence.
    • Sherlock points out the culprit and gives them their "well-deserved punishment" (often involves helping the victim they targeted in the first place).
  • The Primadonna: Stork, as seen in "Who Made the Stork Fart?", and Crane, as seen in "Who Broke the Crane's Voice?"
  • Quarter Hour Short: Each episode lasts 11 minutes minimum.
  • The Unishment:
    • Mrs. Panda turns out to be the culprit in "Who Crushed the Panda?". Her crime was crushing her husband's stove so he would stop working and take a break. As her heart is in the right place, Sherlock still dishes out the punishment which is to leave the zoo and take a vacation with her husband... which was exactly what they both needed.
    • In "Who Soaped Up Mrs. Hippo?", Hyena turns out to be the culprit, bitter over the rumors she spread. Not only is he allowed to keep working with her at the salon, the only punishment is to stop her from spreading said rumors. Although considering Hyena had to stop her forty-five times in one day...
  • Took a Level in Kindness/Took a Level in Jerkass: Due to the nature of the series, and the rotation of culprits and victims, either trope can apply based on an episode. The former can be justified as characters being humbled after their punishments.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Played for Laughs. While Sherlock is generally a pretty honest fellow, his recollections of his training with Ball of Purity often paint a better picture than what actually happened.
  • Vague Age: Hermione. Her personality and character design makes one think on an early teenager, but an episode shows she has both a driver license and her own car, implying she is at least in her late teens or early twenties, or at least the equivalent on her species's life expectancy.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • The flamingo postman has the tendency to speak in Department of Redundancy Department via two synonyms of a word he just used at the end of a phrase.
    • Doctor Beaky's unintentionally florid diagnoses to describe mostly mundane ailments (i.e. allergic reactions, the hiccups), though he does repeat them in Simple English.
    • Gorilla also has a tendency to refer to everyone as and punctuate his sentences with "buddy".
    • And there's Old Horse and his tendency to... uh... whaddya call it? (Forget?) Yeah, that's it. Hey, wait a minute!
    • Ostrich seems to be incapable of adding proper suffixes to a lot of words, occasionally mixing them up, and replies "yeah, that too" after being corrected.
  • The Watson: Hermione.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: In the English dub, everybody seems to have a vaguely American accent (despite being voiced by UK-based actors) including Hermione (voiced by Teresa Gallagher, an Australian-born voice actress) and Sherlock Yack himself despite being based-off of the very British Holmes (voiced by Tom Clarke-Hill, a UK-based Californian). Meanwhile, a selected few seem to be foreign based on what they sound like when speaking like speedy Cheetah who has an Italian accent; Vampire Bat who has a Spanish accent; the snooty Bird of Paradise who has a French accent and so on.
  • Woman Scorned: After getting her fur burned (and possibly nearly burned herself, period), Hermione understandably spends much of "Who Sabotaged Mrs. Fennec's Machine?" out for blood.
    Sherlock: Calm down. Remember, those poor souls are dominated by their primary instincts.
    Hermione: {through gritted teeth} So am I.
  • World of Funny Animals: Being set in the Zoo and all, obviously.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: A strange example from "Who Made the Parrot Sneeze?": Parrot is trying to teach Mynah some jokes. One of the punchlines he flubs is when one flea says to the other, "Should we walk or take a dog?" The actual punchline to this joke is "a greyhound?".
  • Yes-Man: The Lion. It's apparently somewhat involuntary since in "Who Blinded the Giraffe?" where he turns out to be the culprit, he had to cover his mouth from saying yes to Sherlock's accusation.