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Western Animation / Squidbillies

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Do NOT touch the trim!
"This show is called 'Squidbillies.' It takes place in a quiet little town nestled in the North Georgia Mountains... ...This is the story of all the people that live in this mountain town. But mostly, it's the story of Early Cuyler."
The show's opening narration of the first episode.

In the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia lays a small place called Dougal County. A rundown town ripe with illegal activity, debauchery, strange citizens, and all the alcohol and drugs one can want. Within the county is the Cuyler Clan, hillbilly squids — the titular squidbillies — that drink, make meth, mud-bog, and destroy property. The family includes: Early Cuyler, the main character of the series. He is the extremely violent, abusive, and drunk patriarch of the family. His hat always changes between shows, usually saying something like "Booty Hunter", "Sonny Lied!", or "Guns Don't Kill People, I Do". Rusty Cuyler, Early's son. He is more naïve and morally centered, but is also dumb and gullible. He was orignally a "Well Done, Son" Guy but later episodes have him more mature and well-rounded, effectively becoming the Only Sane Man of the clan. Granny Cuyler, the feeble and senile mother of Early and Lil (maybe their granny or great granny, it's unclear the exact relation). She often sees visions of squid-Jesus. Lil, who runs a meth operation/beauty salon. Not quite a common character. There is more to the clan but they're family tree is so tangled that it's hard to list them all. The Cuylers are the last of their species, the Appalachian Mud Squids.

Among the town citizens include: The Sheriff, who is quite frankly terrible at his job. He frequently hangs out with the Cuylers but it always ends up with him getting used or maimed by Early. Initially a bit of a Straight Man to Early, he quickly turned into a good-natured Manchild. He dies fairly often, but is replaced by another sheriff from a sheriff clone farm (though it hasn't come up in later episodes, likely as an effort to develop him). Later in the series he is accompanied by Deputy Denny, a child-sized malformed clone of himself that tends to be a bit more competent at his job. There is Dan Halen, the Corrupt Corporate Executive and owner of Dan Halen Industries. A demonic entity that has existed for all time and spends his days furthering his evil goals. He effectively controls the town. His company appears to make sheetrock, but really dabbles in illegal activities and strange and often horrifying scientific experiments.

Season six introduces Tammi, a Closer to Earth redneck girl who becomes Rusty's girlfriend. Their relationship kickstarts a Story Arc where the two concieve a son named Macho Man Randy Cuyler. Having more responsibilities and needing to financially provide for them, Rusty becomes more sane and mature as he gradually realizes how awful his family (mostly Early) and home life really is - which would come to head in the final season.

A typical episode of the show has the family run rampant around their town; interacting with the locals and supernatural beings/happenings. They cause all sorts of antics and crimes that will eventually lead to massive destruction, the maiming of innocents and also themselves, and usually lots of casualties also including themselves. Most plots are never resolved and episodes frequently end on a comedic smash cut to credits. As time went on the show took a backseat on its satire on southern life and just became more insane, with copious loads of Gorn and Bloody Hilarious slapstick.

The show was initially one of the more controversial series to air on [adult swim]; the pilot debuted on April Fools' Day 2004, to horrible reviews (in the show's defense, the premiere was a rough cut - "rough cut" here meaning that some portions were not even fully animated). However, when the series was officially premiered in October 2005, the series slowly but surely found its niche. It now has something of a cult following, and became one of Adult Swim's longest running shows, with thirteen seasons and over one hundred thirty episodes, formally ending its run in December of 2021 with a Grand Finale.

Do Not Touch the Tropes!

  • Abusive Parents: Early has knifed and shot Rusty a few times, among other things.
    • Early's own father was abusive and neglectful, and the only way he'd spend time with his son would be to play catch...with BB pellets.
  • Accidental Hero: Played straight and Lampshaded by Dan Halen, when he and the interviewer are going through his history. Among horrid atrocities in history that Dan Halen is seen taking part of, there is one image that shows him heroically fighting a dragon on a pegasus. He then claims that it was just an accident.
  • The Alcoholic: Early Cuyler is rarely without his homemade pine cone "party liquor".
    Early: Damn don't time fly when you're drunk as hell!
  • Animated Shock Comedy: The show pretty much runs on Vulgar Humor and Gorn.
  • Animation Bump: During Early's song "Mountain Folk'll Find A Way" in "Drone to the Bone"
    • The second half of "Squash B'Gosh".
    • In general, the later seasons became much more fluid, expressive, and dynamic in comparison to the stiffer Aqua Teen-like style they had back then. By the final season, the show had pretty much abandoned their original limited style of animation. "Ol' Hootie", the Extra-Long Episode of the final season, deserves a special mention as the whole special has a much larger scope and contains spectacle scenes that the show has never done before.
  • Art Evolution: As the show continues, the more grotesque human character designs were slowly phased out and replaced with more normal looking people populating Dougal County.
  • Artistic License – Marine Biology: Aside from them being squids on land, in one episode Early and Granny drown in the lake. They're squids so they should be able to breathe underwater or at the least swim.
  • Art Shift: An extreme one in "Drone to the Bone" during the drone battling montage
  • Asshole Victim: No sympathy is ever given for Early and Dan Halen whenever they suffer a karmic fate. Even Early himself laughs at his own corpse as he's too stupid to realize he was just killed.
    Early: [Looking down at his exploded head from up in Heaven] Look at that sumbitch down there. He is FUBAR!
  • Ass Shove: After unwisely pissing off a former wrestler, Early ends up getting his ass kicked and Granny shoved up there as well.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The mutated corn crop that Dan Halen produced ends up developing a consciousness and soon kills Dan Halen and takes over Dougal County as a eco-terrorist, forcing everyone to spend their days sorting bottles to be recycled. Early, unsuccessfully attempts a revolution against it, as he is forced by the corn to use solar energy.
  • Ax-Crazy: Early. In 'Ga-Ga-Ghost' he even says the only reason he doesn't kill everything in sight is because he wants to go to heaven.
  • Berserk Button: Early Cuyler is basically a control board with every button being a berserk button. It's basically best to stay away from him, as it's impossible to predict what's going to set him off.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Dear god, the Cuylers. They'd be the trope image if Family Guy hadn't gotten there first.
  • Black Comedy: Most of Dan Halen's products.
    • In the pilot, where Dan Halen's baby hammock ends up in the death of numerous babies. He also sells a "Baby Death Trap" being a hazardous electrified stuffed animal.
    • Another episode features Dan Halen threatening the town to upgrade to the next level cable system or he'll drop a baby from the top of his building. In his defense, the baby was Chinese.
    • In the episode Lerm, it's also revealed that Early likes to commit vehicular homicide as a hobby. One of them he hits was holding a baby which flies off the side of the vehicle. It likely did not survive.
  • Black Comedy Cannibalism: While hiding in a shelter from the Y2K, without food, Early deep-fried and planned to eat a distant relative who happened to be visiting.
  • Black Comedy Rape: When showing Rusty how to be a man, Early rapes Krystal in her sleep. He gets arrested, but of course, is freed instantly after.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Happens quite often, usually involving the Cuylers and/or Sheriff.
  • Body Horror: The Ultimate Party Platter chickens from "Wing Nut". They are chickens genetically engineered to the point where their entire body basically consists of nothing but wings, they naturally secrete hot sauce from their pores, they defecate blue cheese dressing (and, if ordered to, their own to-go boxes), their legs are celery sticks, and eating them causes rapid development of massive tumors and can even make the eater explode. And yes, they are breathing and alive.
  • Breaking the Cycle of Bad Parenting: Rusty wants to be a better parent to Macho Man Randy than Early was to him. It comes to head in the Series Finale where Rusty firmly cements to Early that he wants to give Randy a happy, normal, non-poverty ridden childhood — one that none of the Cuylers ever got.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Thankfully averted when Early tries to have his way with a passed out Lil, after much sexual frustration, only stopping due to the criticization of Granny and Rusty. Not that it matters because right after Early leaves Granny decides to do the exact same thing.
    • Rusty and Tammi are revealed to be half-sibings early on. It does little to stop their attractions to one another.
    • In a flashback, Ga-Ga asks for Granny's hand in marriage... only to reveal he's asking his own mother.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: After a Rusty explains all the crap that Early has put his family through warranting an apology, in a very long montage, Early claims that he barely remembers the occurrences and labels them as random isolated incidents, despite Granny's claims that Early had them do practice runs of some of them.
  • Butt-Monkey: Granny Cuyler and the Sheriff, but just about everyone else could qualify at times, too.
    • Iron Butt Monkey: Granny Cuyler once had her skeleton ripped out of her after pulling Early's truck-boat-truck up a mountain (don't ask why a squid would even have a skeleton in the first place) and was (sort of) back to normal in the very next scene (see Snapback for more) It should be known that this is not the only instance of abuse Granny suffers in the series.
    • Similarly, the Sheriff is Made of Plasticine, but you'd be surprised how well he survives losing his organs, losing his head, getting savagely beat up, etc. But it may be because he's a genetically engineered plant man who is constantly replaced by the next ripest Sheriff of the crop
    • Early became Karma's favorite punching bag past the first three or so seasons. He's regularly suffering from bloody maiming and humilation on a costant basis but often comes up in the next scene unscathed or at most hospitalized.
  • Captain Ersatz: Tom Treebow, Helmsman trophy winner, and quarterback of the Crocodiles of the Peninsular State just below Georgia.
  • Caught Up in the Rapture: Squid-Jesus accidentally turns on the Rapture and everyone starts floating up to heaven. Dan Halen, not to be left behind, takes a rocket pack and flies up to heaven to cut in line. Heaven apparently has a limit to how many people can get in, because Dan was the last person allowed in, leaving the Sheriff to go back down. Meanwhile, the Reverend is still down on Earth, lamenting about not being chosen.
    "Why did he reject me?! THEY EVEN TOOK THE MEXICANS FOR GOODNESS SAKE!!! They can't even pray in English!"
  • Cephalothorax: Both Dan Halen and the Reverend.
  • Changing of the Guard: Done with the Sheriff's voice actors in an especially violent fashion at the end of "Double Truckin' the Tricky Two", when the Sheriff (voiced by Charles Napier) is abruptly bludgeoned to death by a duplicate Sheriff (voiced by Bobby Ellerbee).
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Tom Treebow, full stop.
    Rusty: So, Jesus is here with us right now?
    Tom Treebow: Yes, he's right there... he's wearing an invisibility cloak. Just like the Predator.
    Sheriff: (beat) What Tom is trying to say...
    Tom Treebow: Watch out Jesus he's got a laser!
  • Cluster F-Bomb: In a scene from "Zen and the Art of Truck-Boat-Truck Maintenance", Granny keeps saying, "Get the fuck away from me!" to Early, who thinks that's her yoga mantra.
  • Coming of Age Story: The show gradually became one for Rusty. Rusty was initially an incredibly gullible and immature squid who admired his father and frequently joined in on his heinous hijinks. But as time went on became a genuine mature Nice Guy who got a girlfriend and concieved a son that he greatly cares for. He grew more tired of Early and the rest of the family's illegal activities and debauchery. By the last few seasons he practically goes against his father in many episodes and by the Series Finale he outright abandons him, steals his truck, and runs off with his girlfriend and son to a new city with no promise of returning.
  • Complexity Addiction: Dan Halen's plots are usually far more complex than the end goal justifies, such as using a massive clone army to rig the vote to revoke Dougal County's dry Sunday status, making the whole city blind so as to win a softball game, or building a copy of the Large Hadron Collider to open a black hole for the sole purpose of disposal of a dead hooker.
    • Lampshaded by the Sheriff in "Mud Days and Cornfused", who interrupts Dan's explanation of his master scheme to accuse him of engineering the Cornzu to corner the world ethanol market. Dan, despite being completely ignorant of biofuels and their value, immediately realizes what a much better idea that is, and nervously tries to bluff his way out of the actual reveal on his monitor: using it to make cheap children's toys.
    Dan: That? Uh, that's... certainly nothing to do with my plans, I, I imagine. "Korn Doggz". (Chuckling) Why, the very notion is RIDICULOUS! Granted, the real adoption papers do create a unique... (Beat) Look, that's going away, so just don't look at it anymore.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Dan Halen in spades, hearts, clubs, and diamonds. When his "Baby Hammock" product is described by parents as a baby death trap, he sues the parents for infringing on his copyright for a product called the "Baby Death Trap."
    • When Dan releases a cloud of flesh melting body spray over Dougal County, he disregards the Sheriff's pleas to stop. He only relents when he realizes that he's giving it away for free and not making a penny out of it
  • Couch Gag: Around seasons 3 or 4, nearly every episode opens with a remix of the show's theme song, "Warrior Man". Starting in season 6, every episode uses a different version of the theme song.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: After the family fails to get liquor sales legalized on Sunday, Granny points out that they could just buy their Sunday liquor on Saturday. Early considers this to be too inconvenient.
  • Crapsack World: Dougal County. A town where being attacked by criminally insane squids, haunted by fire-ant ghosts, and disemboweled by giant health-obsessed amphibians is just another day.
  • Deal with the Devil: Rusty does this to acquire mad face-melting shredding guitar skills.
    • And in order to get back at Rusty, so does Early.
  • Deep South: The main setting of the show.
  • Demoted to Extra: Lil, as she was featured somewhat prominently in the early episodes, but now makes pretty much only one major appearance per season. In the final season it is revealed that she left the Cuylers to become sober (and to stay away from Early's manipulation).
  • Deranged Animation: The show is well known for its really crude art style.
  • Different in Every Episode:
    • Early has a large amount of hats.
    • After the first few seasons, the intro theme is regularly covered by different artists and singers.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: During a class reunion, Sheriff blows Dan Halen's brains out for all the times he bullied him in high school. But then again, Dan Halen is a despicable demon who has gotten away with an ungodly amount of horrendous actions since the beginning of time.
    • Anytime Early wants revenge for something, it's likely that it'll be a miniscule offense, such as beating the hell out of a radio host to for talking down to him.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Elizabeth Cook sings in the theme song in Tammi's debut episode.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The show started out with a bit of a satire take on the Southern life, but soon discarded the concept and decided to keep things batshit insane.
    • Season One has a noticeable amount of continuity going on inbetween episodes. Seasons two and onwards lean heavily on Negative Continuity with episodes ending in points where the main cast cannot ever recover from certain situations.
    • Satan, in episode 25, is a cool and malicious being with a darkly-comedic streak; in episode 9 (his debut) he's a motormouthed, probably drug-addled schizoid who constantly swears, such words being dubbed over with words like "sweet potatoes" and "favorite".
    • The malformed Sheriff clone Denny starts out by shooting in the head anyone not melted by Dan Halen's body spray cloud and whittling down his own arm into a toothpick, but by the musical episode has become a somewhat Hypercompetent Sidekick who correctly identifies the raw uranium "yellow cake" and deduces Al-Quaeda's terrorist plan.
    • The show having a narrator. He eventually vanished from the show. He returns in the Series Finale to narrate the epilogue.
    • The Sheriff clone farm has been largely neglected (in fact it never becomes significant again past the episode "Dead Squid Walking" in season five) aside from the existence of Denny.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The final episode ends with Rusty cutting ties with Early for good and leaving Dougal County to raise a family with Tammi.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Dan Halen becomes one in "Pile M for Murder" where it is strongly implied that he turned into a demon. It's enough to give you a three weeks worth supply of nightmares. Seriously, take a look
  • Enhance Button: Parodied in "Terminus Trouble" when Early tries enhancing the video of him beating up an Atlanta Braves player... which is impossible on a VCR... and in general.
  • Extra-Long Episode: "America: Why I Love Her", "Thou Shale Not Drill", "Dove in an Iron Cage", "Muscadine Wine", and "Ol' Hootie" are all double-length (as in 22-minute) episodes.
  • Fan Disservice: Seeing Krystal in a bikini is a great method to traumatize your enemies.
  • Faux Documentary: The documentary over the Appalachian Mud Squid, which predictably doesn't go well for the host, and even worse for the cameraman who is killed in the process.
    • Another one is shown for Dan Halen's multiple business ventures/horrid deeds.
  • For the Evulz: Not so much Dan Halen's motives (he's more into greed), as it is his standard operating procedure, cramming as much unnecessary pain and suffering as he can into every business venture.
  • Freudian Excuse: Early is a complete maniac but growing up with Gaga Pepap and Granny as parent figures have obviously not been good for him and one episode shows that as child he was faced with constant racism for being a squid.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: In one episode, Early sues an amusement park for the death of Granny, despite that it was none other than his fault, and she was not actually dead.
  • "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: To a ridiculous and irrational extent with Sheriff, constantly releasing Early to the point where he may as well not be taken to jail at all.
  • Gigantic Gulp: Krystal is rarely without one, though as fat as she is it's hardly a shocker.
  • Gorn: A fair amount but not nearly as much as other [adult swim] shows such as Metalocalypse and Superjail!.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Rusty uses Granny for this when the Cuylers are fighting Early for a ration of meat when they were hiding in a shelter from the Y2K.
  • Grossout Show: Exaggerated in "Young, Dumb, and Full of Gums"
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Rusty. He's the son of Early and gigantic ladybeast Krystal.
    • Some clearer examples would be Macho Man Randy Cuyler, the son of Rusty and Tammi, and both of Derwood's kids.
  • Hammerspace: Early uses it constantly, although it takes the form of his body cavity.
  • Hated by All: Early Cuyler gets this treatment by everyone in town — sometimes from his own family.
  • Healing Factor: Subverted in Limbitless. Early, realizing that as a squid he can regenerate his tentacles, uses this to abuse worker’s compensation by repeatedly mutilating himself and waiting for the missing limbs to grow back. But because he does it so frequently? Eventually they become unable to grow back. An injury can only heal so many times before it becomes degenerative. And Early didn’t give himself enough time to properly heal.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": It's eventually revealed that The Sheriff's name is "Sharif"
  • In-Joke: Some fans of the show have stated that some of the jokes make much more sense if you were raised in the south.
  • Juggalo: Parodied in "Clowny Freaks" where Rusty becomes a fan of a rap group that pushes him to dress up as a 'clowny freak'.
  • Karma Houdini: Early Cuyler is frequently locked up in jail for his violent behavior, only to be let go by the Sheriff. Really, the Sheriff always seems to do this to everyone he 'arrests'.
    • And that's saying nothing about all of the terrible things Dan Halen has gotten away with.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Then again as time went on the show gave these two guys their just desserts. Early especially became the Karmic Butt-Monkey of the series past the first three or so seasons. He is regularly put through humilation, maiming, and torture — most of which is his own fault. He becomes Hated by All, including his own family. There are a number of later episodes that are pretty much dedicated to Early being put in his place. Dan Halen has also been losing on a more consistent basis as well.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Early is quite the despicable character. He is an abusive (both physically and emotionally) parent, treats his own mom like a slave, committed many crimes, shows zero sympathy to anyone, and regularly kills innocents over small reasons — and usually got away with it. But later on he started to recieve his comeuppance in on a constant basis, especially when the show's animation quality increased, allowing Early to suffer many visceral and painful fates. Some notable ones include:
    • "The Fine 'Ol Solution", where his attempts of trying to get rid off all the immigrants in town ends up with him trapped inside his own home as the border wall he built around it has no exits. According to Rusty, the town held a parade over his permanent absence.
    • "Hetero-cephalo Agenda", where he is slowly and painfully mauled and torn asunder by a bear in an absolutely dumb attempt to protest against gay marriage. The excursion was so traumatizing that Early (for once in the series) actually rescinded his point and admitted that he was wrong — too bad he gets mauled to death in the end.
    • "The Guzzle Bumpkin", where he gets trapped under a literal ton of dog crap and has to eat his way out of it — only to get immediately crushed to death by a garbage truck.
    • "Dewey Two-ey" doubles as both a Humiliation Conga and a Mutilation Conga for Early as his life is made hell by Dewey culminating in the latter marrying Granny seemingly just to spite Early.
    • The Series Finale, "This Show Was Called Squidbillies", is a big Humiliation Conga for him. Rusty steals Early's precious truck and runs away with Tammi and Randy to Elberton, cutting off ties with Early and holding no promises to ever return. Granny's ghost returns and enacts sweet revenge on Early by wailing on him with a frying pan. The final shot we see of Early is him alone in his shack, bitterly drinking alcohol as he sees on social media how happy Rusty is with his new life without him.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Early pulls this in "Flight of the Deep Fried Pine Booby," complete with shouting his own name.
  • Lemony Narrator: "Fifteen years ago, the world was a much different place. The Berlin wall had just crumbled. I thought I could handle cocaine. I really did. I lost everything."
  • Lighter and Softer: The final season is noticeably not as dark or violent as the rest of the series. There is not as much gore, the crimes committed by Early are nowhere near as destructive and dangerous (the worse being his morgue service), almost nobody dies onscreen or when they do it is not as detailed as before, and the plots are much breezier and less nonsensical. It feels like there is an active absence of the mean spiritedness and cruelty the show is known for. Even the Series Finale ends on a genuine Surprisingly Happy Ending for everyone except Early.
  • Limited Animation: Much like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, note  the characters only have one walking animation. It's mostly noticeable with the Sheriff, whose legs don't actually move, only his feet rotate in 90° arcs while his body moves in a direction. Although in more recent seasons, the Sheriff is getting more and more animations and angles and in a couple episodes ("Vicki", "Squash B Gosh", "Jacksonville Jackass", "Bunker Down, You Hairy Dawg") getting legitmate walking cycles!
  • Lottery of Doom: What the Tricky Two lottery ends up being. Naturally, after Early finds out what he 'wins' (he gets to be pulled apart by two monster trucks), he gives his 'prize' to Granny. The trucks fail to tear Granny apart, they just stretch her to hell and back.
  • Lower-Class Lout: The Cuyler family act like your stereotypical rednecks, being poor, uneducated, and frequently getting into trouble with the law.
  • May Contain Evil: Dan Halen's products.
  • Mega-Corp: Dan Halen Sheetrock International. Their skyscraper towers over the whole town and they secretly specialize in illegal and unusual scientific experiments that do more harm than good.
    Narrator: "That large building over there is Dan Halen Sheetrock; they specialize in Sheetrock, Sheetrock mud, Sheetrock screws, pharmaceuticals, petroleum, global mass media, third world covert military operations and, THE BABY HAMMOCK!"
  • Mister Seahorse: In "Butt Trouble" Rusty ends up giving birth to an egg, which results in Early thinking that Rusty has gotten too feminine needs to man up. Later, Early lays one as well and shows over protection for it. In the end it's revealed that it happened because the Cuylers had recently been drinking an unhealthy amount of mercury. Which also resulted in the eggs hatching thousands of vampire squids.
    • This occurs again in "Ballad of Latrin Marine" where Early gets pregnant and Granny reveals that the Appalachian Mud Squids are something of a Hermaphrodite.
  • Morton's Fork: When Early wars against air force drones intruding on his "land" (it was actually a target practice field that Early and Granny had barged into thinking it was a new neighborhood) he threatens them that if they don't surrender, he'd detonate a bomb strapped to Granny. And if they don't, she still blows up.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: When Krystal wins the lottery, Dan Halen begins courting her to mooch off the lottery money. Early doesn't take it too well, and tries to kill Dan Halen. Unfortunately he ends up killing a Mexican disguised as Dan Halen, who was also trying to mooch off the lottery money.
  • Musical Episode: "America: Why I Love Her".
  • Negative Continuity: How many times has someone died in the series?
    • Somewhat subverted with Sheriff's many deaths, as one episode revealed a massive clone farm that Dan Halen breeds for election purposes. The Sheriff's deaths are even Lampshaded.
      Rusty: "Daddy, I think he's dead!"
      Early: "Not the first time."
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers for 'Gun of a Son' portray the episode revolving around Early shooting Rusty but in the actual episode Early quickly blames it on his grandson and is hardly mentioned until the end of the episode, the rest of the episode revolves around Early finding a new weapon to use since he broke his sawed-off shotgun.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: The hippies that appear in "Earth Worst", who try to keep Dan Halen from building an amusement park over the forest. Knowing Dan Halen, things don't go well for them.
  • No Ending: Most episodes just abruptly end mid scene with plots left unresolved and usually one (sometimes more) of the Cuylers or Sheriff dying.
  • Only Sane Man: Rusty Cuyler, to an extent. Especially later on when he is a Dumbass No More and tends to be more aware of his and his family's actions.
  • Opening Shout-Out: In the Halloween Episode "Squash B'Gosh", Early shouts "Do not touch the trim!" (his line in the intro) when the zombies attack his truck.
  • Out of Focus: Lil' spends most of seasons 2 and 3 face down in her own vomit. It's revealed she's secretly running a pot growing operation in the basement through a hole in the floor.
  • Parental Favoritism: After Lil' accidentally births a large breed of baby squids, one of them appears to imitate Early, thus resulting in Early favoring him much over Rusty, or the other babies whom he tried to drown. The fact that the child left Early to be continuously run over by a nearly mile long train and stealing his hat, didn't deter Early from dubbing him as "The Good One".
  • Plot Immunity: Apparently, only the main characters are capable of using the excessive Snap Back. For example, in "Thou Shall Not Drill" a series of events leads to the awakening of a monster known as the Red Whiskered Shalemander. It eats Granny, and disembowels P. Nut, who was introduced in that episode. Of course Granny lived to the next episode but P. Nut didn't. The Cuylers also had a moment of silence on the night of his death but apparently couldn't care less about their "deceased" grandmother. So it may be implied that they are aware of their immortality.
  • Police Are Useless: The Sheriff, who literally lets the prisoners waltz out of jail through revolving doors. In another instance he witnesses a crippled kid get run over by a truck (the driver doesn't even bother to stop before or after running over him) and rather than get in his car and chase down the vehicular homicidal maniac, he just complains that now the junior football season is moot and returns to his ballet class.
  • Put on a Bus: With the death of Scott Hillie, the Reverend had to be written out of the show. The new reverend states that he moved on... to the First Presbyterian Church in Blue Ridge, Georgia.
  • Prison Episode: The 22-Minute Episode "Dove In An Iron Cage", focuses on Rusty being trapped in Prison after a murder to fill in Boyd's Death.
  • Quarter Hour Short: Eleven minute episodes.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: Subverted at the end of "The Liar, The Bitch, and the Bored Rube" where the book fair host reveals that most famous authors are actually illiterate and just type random crap, adding a space bar when a word looks to long.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Dan Halen is really 20,000 years old and have been behind countless acts of evil, such as attacking protestors at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the invasion of Poland in 1939, torturing political prisoners in the Middle Ages, spreading Bubonic Plague, killing dozens in the French Revolution, sacrificing Aztecs to their gods, controlling slaves building the pyramids of Egypt, and nailing Jesus to the cross.
    • He also "accidently" single handedly killed the dinosaurs and may have invented fire.
    • And he was also a transvestite cabaret host in Berlin in 1926.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Dan Halen somehow gets away with being shown to be an avid animal abuser, an enslaver of small unclothed children, and the runner of a camp where teens are dumped into a volcano all on live-television.
  • Running Gag: Early has a different hat in every episode.
    • Running Gagged: The penultimate episode of the final season has Deputy Denny burning every single hat he has ever worn when they were covered in lice. The final episode has Early wearing his original "Booty Hunter" hat since he has no more.
  • Scenery Porn: Believe it or not, though the character designs may be intentionally rough, the backgrounds are actually quite stylistic and admirable.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Sherriff in the Series Finale lets Rusty drive off in Early's truck, not out of incompetence, but so that his family can break away from his toxic family line.
  • Self-Deprecation: One episode ends with Granny and Squid Jesus turning on the television and the television displays the credits. Granny then turns it off stating that nobody cares who they are.
  • Shout-Out: The title of episode 25, [[Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness "Mephistopholes Traveled Below To A Southern State Whose State Motto Is 'Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation'", is another way of saying the name of the Charlie Daniels Band song "The Devil Went Down To Georgia".
    • Tom Treebow of the Crocodiles of the University of the Peninsular State, Just Below Georgia.
      • That's in addition to other references to Southeastern Conference football, such as the credits scene where Early and T-Pain record a rap with the lyrics "I like driving in my truck / Auburn sucks!"
    • Starting with the episode "Atone Deaf", The show started to have many references to the Adult Swim pilot called Cheyenne Cinnamon From the Adult Swim Pilot Cheyenne Cinnamon and the Fantabulous Unicorn of Sugar Town Candy Fudge, merchandise of the said pilot is seen in many episodes.
    • Attempted In-Universe by Dan Halen when Early wins the lottery, only for him to ominously reveal "Congratulations, Early. You finally won the lottery...Shirley Jackson's Lottery!." No one gets the reference, and Dan Halen ends up having to read the short story to the Cuylers before they understand (and even then Early needs further clarification.)
  • Silly Prayer: Early's prayer to Squid Jesus in one episode in an attempt to get the Devil out of Rusty:
    Early: Dear Jesus I beseech thee, please give me the magic power to shred faces and explode the brains out the neck with a panty-tearing solo power. Amen.
    Squid Jesus: (appears) No. (disappears)
    Early: (Beat) ...Dammit.
  • Slippery Slope Fallacy: Early is strongly opposed to gay marriage, and constantly said that marrying paint cans would be next. Then, to prove a stupid point, he went and married a paint can. And a vacuum cleaner, and a bear. A male bear.
  • Snapback: Episodes often end with everyone dying.
    • Characters will be horrifically injured and then back to normal in the same scene.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Cussing is censored with everything from squeaks, bleeps, and gun cocking noises.
  • Space Jews: "I'm against nitrogen. It was brought here on planes by space jews!"
  • Status Quo Is God: No matter what, the Cuylers can never get away from their life of poverty. Examples include winning the lottery, only for it to be a coupon to be torn apart by monster trucks, or getting an insurance check, only for Early to split it equally by tearing it into three, thinking that's how a check works. However, in a couple episodes like "Limbitless", they actually to come through the episode with a small profit...... usually at the cost of their limbs or something else.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Oh boy, do the writers believe it. There are enough explosions to make Michael Bay jealous.
  • Stylistic Suck: The crappy artwork is used to convey the Crapsack World along with how pathetic and stupid people tend to be.
  • Sunday Is Boring: The episode "A Sober Sunday" has Early going mad from boredom due to not having access to alcohol as laws prohibit stores from selling it on Sundays, going to great lengths to find a way to get himself drunk. When Granny points out that he could just buy some on Saturday night to drink on Sunday to avoid this problem, Early considers it to be too inconvenient to do. Meanwhile, Dan Halen works to try and overturn said laws with the Reverend trying to stop him.
  • Take That!: "Hetero-cephelo Agenda" features a parody of Chik-fil-A, a Georgia-based restaurant chain infamous for their founder's outspoken homophobia, called Chicken on the Cross.
    • "Bubba Trubba" focuses on comedian Plumber Bubba, who is an obvious and rather unflattering parody of Larry the Cable Guy.
  • There Are No Therapists: "I'm not a therapist. I'm... The Rapist. It's right there on the door. Look, everybody makes this mistake."
  • They Killed Kenny Again: All of the characters have been subjected to this, however, Early and Sheriff get killed the most often.
  • Title Drop: In "Drone to the Bone" Early drops the title in a Awesome Music moment. Strangely, this is actually the first time in eight seasons that the title had been used in show other than by the narrator.
    • It also should be noticed that the show started out with a title drop of the name of the first episode, "This Show is called Squidbillies".
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Sheriff, often literally. Good thing he has several hundred replacement bodies.
    • The Cuylers, and by extension, the entire Mud Squid species is this. You can't have a single episode where there is at least a gag where the squids act insanely reckless and accidentally hurt themselves and the people around from an easily preventable accident. No wonder why the species is nearly extinct.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In the earlier seasons the Cuylers as a whole were treated like a force of nature. They had no sense of morale and did all sorts of illegal activities. Later on most of the chaos occurs from Early while the rest of the family became more passive.
  • Training from Hell: This seems to be Early's only way to teach Rusty anything.
  • Twisted Christmas: "Rebel With A Claus" sees the Cuylers kidnap Santa Claus and torture him for not giving Early "the greatest gift of all": the still-beating heart of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon. The elves' attempts to save St. Nick continually fail, and hard!
  • Vanity Plate: The end of pre-2012 episodes would always end with the Cartoon Network Skull logo briefly morphing into Rusty.
  • Villain Protagonist: Early Cuyler is a hateful, violent, alcoholic, drug-using, gun-toting, racist, sexist, homophobic, child and elder abusing, stalking, lazy, incestuous, thieving, moonshining, anti-intellectual, nationalistic, xenophobic, cop-killing sexual deviant, convicted felon, and occasional domestic terrorist. His antics are hilarious, though viewers are clearly not supposed to sympathize with his beliefs or actions.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Rusty is commonly shown to be more straight-minded than his insane father.
  • Wall of Text: Early Cuyler's lottery hat idea. Just imagine all of this just barely crammed onto the front of a single baseball cap:
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In "Squash B'Gosh" Rusty, Tammi and Randy aren't seen again after they leave the truck.
  • White Sheep: Early's civilized cousin, Durwood. also Dr. Bug.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Early has no reserves about taking his anger out on Lil or Granny.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Early is shown to be perfectly willing to drown a sack full of his nephews and nieces due to not being able to take care of them.
  • Yandere: Early is this for Krystal, Seriously. Though in later episodes he is one for pretty much any woman he deems attractive.
    • Early: "I love you... [draws knife] I'MMA KILL YOU, BITCH!!!"
    • Early: "I love you. I'll find you. I *will* kill you."
    • Early: [pulls knife on Krystal] "BITCH! You about an inch away from the end of your damn life!!" [cut to next scene] Early & Krystal: "We're married!"
    • Early got a taste of his own medicine when his GPS became sentient and became violently clingy (in a platonic sense) towards him; attempting to kill Rusty and Granny when they got in the way of their bromance.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Happens to Lil when the Cuylers are working for Dan Halen and she complains about not having a smoking break.
    • It also happens to Granny during a fight with air force drones, where Early straps a bomb to her throat and threatens to blow her up if they don't surrender. Or if they don't. And he expectedly goes through with it.

"And so Rusty moved with Tammi and Macho Man to Elberton, thus hopefully breaking the cycle of poverty and abuse. Early would swear to exact his revenge, but like many other things in Early's life, he never followed through. Deeming Elberton too close to the edge of the flat earth and not worth scaling an ice wall to tangle with dragons."
"This show was called Squidbillies."
The show's ending narration of the Series Finale.


Video Example(s):


"Like a dying star."

Dan Halen uses a "time-travel matrix" to distract Early, who shows a surprising bit of insight on how light works.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / SmartBall

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