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Western Animation / The Ant and the Aardvark

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Quit calling me an Aardvark! I'm an Anteater!

The Ant and the Aardvark was a theatrical cartoon series created by De Patie Freleng Enterprises, the same company who created The Pink Panther, among other cartoons, including most of the Looney Tunes cartoons from the late 1960s. The series consisted of 17 cartoons that ran from 1969 to 1971. It followed the misadventures of a blue aardvark who tried but failed to eat a red ant named Charlie. After its initial theatrical run, The Ant and the Aardvark later became a part of The Pink Panther Show, with all 17 episodes airing in reruns, with the characters themselves being integrated into later iterations of The Pink Panther itself.


This show contains examples of

  • Absentee Actor: The Ant has no lines in "Isle of Caprice".
  • Aerosol Spray Backfire: In "Technology, Phooey", Aardvark attempts to use some spray on Charlie. But instead, he inadvertently ends up spraying himself, which results in the side effect reaction of him switching positions quickly and spasmodically, and changing into an assortment of colors and patterns.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The eponymous Aardvark is colored blue, which is unusual for a real aardvark.
  • Ambiguously Jewish:
    • The Aardvark.
    • In an episode of The New Pink Panther Show, the Aardvark (as a Tarzan parody) screams "Oy Vey!" in a Tarzan-like manner.
  • American Accents: John Byner imitated Jackie Mason to provide the voice (and accent) for Aardvark.
  • Androcles' Lion: This was the plot to "Scratch a Tiger", where the Tiger agrees to protect Ant and his gang from the hungry Aardvark after he pulled a thorn off his foot. In the end, the Tiger steps on another thorn and this time the Aardvark pulls it off. You can guess what happens next.
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  • Annoying Patient: The episode "From Bed to Worse" was actually based around this trope.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Aardvarks can eat ants, but they actually normally eat termites. The aardvark in this cartoon has its mouth at the tip of its snout like an anteater, but has ears like an aardvark. To stretch things further, this aardvark hates termites, and won't eat anything but ants.
    • The blue aardvark also feeds via Vacuum Mouth, rather than by extending a long sticky tongue as real aardvarks or anteaters do.
    • At least in the first episode, he acted like an actual aardvark: he actually licked Charlie, and when said ant took refuge in an anthill, the Aardvark promptly burrowed in after him!
    • Aardvarks are also nocturnal, and like to dig holes themselves.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: While he is barefoot, Aardvark goes around in pants and a t-shirt, the same blue color as his fur.
  • Beach Episode: "Dune Bug".
  • Bears Are Bad News: The bear who beats the crap out of Aardvark in his house in "The Froze Nose Knows".
  • Bullying a Dragon: Rather like Sylvester before him, Aardvark ends up in a hospital with an angry dog in "From Bed to Worse". His response to the dog's noisy barking, when limping by, is to smack the dog's leg cast. Soon enough the dog gets his revenge.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Aardvark, sometimes in ways that would make Wile E. Coyote wince.
  • Cold Snap: "The Froze Nose Knows".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Charlie and the Aardvark. Charlie's nemesis with his brainless schemes gives him more than enough stimulation to practice snarking. As for the Aardvark his snarkiness can be divided into two types: the first is the one that comes before a plan and involves lots of puns, and the second comes after the plan and the fall and naturally ends up directed to himself.
  • Deserted Island: Aardvark winds up on one of these in "Isle of Caprice".
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Happens fairly often to the Aardvark.
  • Fire-Breathing Diner: In the pilot episode, when the Aardvark tries to suck Charlie out of his anthill, he ends up getting a snootful of Charlie's tabasco sauce which propels him upward like a rocket.
  • Forcibly Formed Physique: One episode has the aardvark go sledding down a snowy hill in pursuit of the ant. The ant passes through a wire mesh fence ... and so does the aardvark. Once the aarvarks's sled slows to a stop, he observes that his body is entirely cut in a criss-cross pattern, and examines a square piece taken from his snout. The aardvark then puts it back hastily, and sits perfectly still, hoping that nothing worse happens.
  • Gender Flip: Aardvark was changed to a female character named Elise in the German version.
  • Green Around the Gills: Aardvark's face turns green briefly in "The Ant from Uncle", when Charlie lights a cigar in his stomach and smoke comes out of his ears.
    • He does this in the debut cartoon, using a cigar to smoke out Charlie, but he's not in his ant hill. The Aardvark turns green and collapses.
    Charlie: Hey, there anything I can do for ya?
    Aardvark: (weakly) Yeah...make a wish for me. Wish I was dead.
  • Growling Gut: Happened to Aardvark in "Odd Ant Out".
  • Hodgepodge Computer: Aardvark assembles a computer to advise him how to catch the ant. None of the machine's methods succeed, leading the Aardvark to declare, "And for a computer, you stink!" Subverted when the device responds, "Who said I was a computer? I'm an automatic pop-up toaster! And I'll prove it!" The Aardvark gets deluged with fresh toast.
  • Humiliation Conga: Sometimes the Aardvark doesn't just have one thing blow up in his times, he makes Wile E. Coyote look lucky.
  • I Am Not Weasel: Aardvark refers to himself as an anteater in most of the cartoons, and he does look more like an anteater than an aardvark. Anteaters and aardvarks are only distantly related in Real Life.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: Parodied in "Hasty but Tasty" when the aardvark, on a motorcycle, falls over a cliff into a river, heading for the Inevitable Waterfall. He restarts the bike at the last possible moment and does an aquatic U-turn...right into another waterfall.
  • Informed Species: Aardvark doesn't look very much like an actual aardvark (though he does have a lot of resemblance to an anteater, and refers to himself as an anteater all the time). He's got the aardvark ears, at least. Though he looks a heck of a lot more like an aardvark than "Arthur" does.
  • Insult Backfire: In "From Bed to Worse" we get this exchange:
    Aardvark (using a long straw): Look, ant! I am inventing a new kind of communication system between us! If you want to say something to me, all you do is speak through the tube!
    Charlie: There's only one thing I gotta say to you! You're a stupid, long-nosed — *gets sucked into the straw*
    Aardvark: *gulp* I hated to cut him off in the middle of an insult, but I couldn't resist his aroma!
  • Jerkass: Aardvark. Very much so. And he's got the brains to match.
  • Just for Pun: The Aardvark spouts a never-ending series of puns just because he can.
    Aardvark (in a hospital): And that's enough out of you dog! If you don't like the cast system around here, take a walk!
    Aardvark: That's one reason why they don't send ants to college! Nobody likes a smart ant!
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: This happens after the ant takes some vitamins.
  • No Can Opener:
    • This is the plot of "Odd Ant Out". The blue and green aardvarks fight over a can of chocolate-covered ants, but neither of them has a can opener.
    • In a delicious irony, they didn't even need one as the can had a pull-off ring cap.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: John Byner voiced Aardvark in the style of comedian Jackie Mason, while voicing Charlie Ant in the style of singer/western actor Dean Martin. In fact, most of the minor characters that John Byner voiced were imitations of famous celebrities of that time period.
  • No Indoor Voice: The lifeguard from "Dune Bug" who constantly mistook Aardvark for a dog.
  • No Name Given: While the ant is often referred to as Charlie, the aardvark is just Aardvark.
  • The Noun and the Noun
  • Nude-Colored Clothes: Aardvark is a rare animal example.
  • Oh, Crap!: Once the vitamins that granted the ant Super Strength wore off, Charlie gets chased by the Aardvark once more leading to them to jump into a moving truck. The Aardvark thinks he finally caught his quarry until he realizes that they are in the truck that was carrying the same vitamins and Charlie has just ate some leading to a Curb-Stomp Battle on the Aardvark once more.
  • Palatial Sandcastle: In "Dune Bug", the ant builds a sandcastle on the beach and moves into it. Of course, this is just a normal-sized sandcastle, but an ant is very small, so...
  • Panthera Awesome: The tiger from "Scratch a Tiger".
  • Pepper Sneeze: In "Ants in the Pantry", the Aardvark inhales a large amount of pepper and sneezes hard enough to go flying out of the house through a brick wall. When he sneezes again, he re-enters the house through the same hole.
  • Picnic Episode: The first episode.
  • Portable Hole: The instant hole from the second episode.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: In "From Bed to Worse", Aardvark says while whacking with his cane on the dog's leg cast: "DON'T! WHACK! BE! WHACK! A! WHACK! WISE! WHACK! GUY! WHACK!" All it gets him is (another!) Slasher Smile.
  • The Rival: The green aardvark in "I've Got Ants in My Plans" and "Odd Ant Out".
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: Only this time the Road Runner is a Deadpan Snarker. The Aardvark never has a chance.
  • Rule of Funny: Whenever Aardvark tries to suck up Charlie, the sound of a vacuum cleaner is used.
  • Running Gag: The whole series runs on this trope. There's usually at least one per episode:
    • "Hasty But Tasty", the instant hole showing up at unfortunate times and foiling Aardvark's plans.
    • "Dune Bug", Aardvark getting kicked off the beach by the lifeguard who keeps telling him "OFF THE BEACH!!!!".
    • "Isle of Caprice", the shark chasing after Aardvark every time he tries to invade the ants' island.
    • "Scratch A Tiger", the tiger beating up Aardvark every time he tries to eat the ants.
    • "Science Friction", the scientist kicking Aardvark out of his lab when he tries to eat Charlie.
    • "Mumbo Jumbo", Aardvark getting beaten up by Charlie's friend, Tiny the elephant.
    • "Don't Hustle An Ant With Muscle", Charlie using his newfound strength to give Aardvark the what-for.
    • "Rough Brunch", Term eating any of the wood around him to help Charlie out against Aardvark.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Aardvark will do this every once in a while.
  • Sarcasm Failure:
    • In "Technology, Phooey", the Aardvark's quicksand trap backfires on him, prompting him to quip, "I'd say something right now, but it would only be censored!"
    • In "Never Bug an Ant", Charlie moves his anthill over flat land. Aardvark puts a lit stick of dynamite in the anthill, runs and covers his ears. Charlie yells "POW!" as Aardvark puts his head in and says "Hey, Ant! Whaddaya think of that?" After the dynamite explodes in his face, Aardvark walks off saying, "I know what I think of that...but I shouldn't say it in public!"
  • Second-Face Smoke: The Aardvark tries doing this to the Ant in the first short with a cigar, taking deep drags and blowing the smoke into the ant hill to "smoke him out." It backfires, and the Aardvark is the one who ends up sick from the smoke, while the Ant isn't harmed.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Aardvark
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The Boris Karloff-sounding scientist used this a lot when examining Charlie in "Science Friction".
  • She's a Man in Japan: The Aardvark is supposed to be female in Germany, for unknown reason. It's given a female voice actor and is called Elise or "(die) blaue Elise" ("blue Elise") by the Ant (who's called Charlie) and sometimes herself.
  • Shout-Out: To Charley's Aunt (1892), a classic Broadway comedy also adapted to numerous films over the years. 1950s revivals featured the likes of Jackie Gleason and Ray Bolger, making the name choice for Charlie Ant quite obvious.
  • Slasher Smile: The dog has a really disturbing one in "From Bed to Worse." After no fewer then three scenes with the same Slasher Smile, the Aardvark even lampshades it:
    Aardvark: You know something? I think he's dead.note 
  • Smug Smiler: The 2010 revival of the show has the Aardvark grinning in a conniving way much more often than when he first appeared, even though he doesn't really have any more reason to.
  • Strong Ants: Charlie himself. Played to ridiculous extent in "Don't Hustle an Ant with Muscle".
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Much like Wile E. Coyote, the Aardvark is a predator obsessed with one specific prey that he always fails to catch.
  • Super Speed: The episode "Isle of Caprice" ends with the Aardvark sinking the island he was marooned on. He says Well Honolulu is about 2000 miles from here. But with him (the Shark) on my tail, I should get there in 15 minutes before running off to the sunset with shark in hot pursuit. Assuming he's not exaggerating, to travel that distance in a short time, that poor Aardvark would be traveling 8,000 mph (over 10 times the speed of sound)!
    • That would make the Aardvark predate Sonic as a fast moving blue insectivore.
  • Termite Trouble: The episode "Rough Brunch" had Aardvark being accosted by a termite named Term, who just so happened to be Charlie's cousin.
  • Threatening Shark: The shark who chases after Aardvark in "Isle of Caprice".
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Aardvark's body color diverted from normal in a few of the featurettes in various cases (even his clothes). The following in which these occurred include:
    • In the very first short, titled "The Ant And The Aardvark", Aardvark's entire body turned red after sticking his snout in Charlie's ant hill, trying to suck in the ant. The hue change happens when he inhales Tabasco sauce, flames emit from the bottom of his feet, and he launches into the air like a rocket before landing in a lake. He then drinks up some of a lake to cool down, which reverts his color to his usual blue.
    • In the same short, Aardvark's full body turns green from illness, after inhaling and exhaling cigar smoke into Charlie's ant hill in an effort to smoke him out of it (his eyes become a bloodshot reddish/pinkish color as well).
    • In "Hasty But Tasty", Aardvark's usual blue hue is changed to black, following an explosion from a rocket when it and Aardvark fall into the "instant hole" at the end.
    • In "Isle of Caprice", Aardvark's body also turns black from another explosion after attempting to fire himself from a cannon and to another island. It does fire, but he isn't shot out of it, so he doesn't launch.
    • In "Technology, Phooey", Aardvark attempts to use some spray on Charlie. But instead, he inadvertently ends up spraying himself, which results in the side effect reaction of him switching positions quickly and spasmodically, and changing into an assortment of colors and patterns.
    • In "The Froze Nose Knows", Aardvark's body becomes a pale shade of blue twice, covered with ice, shivering and walking away stiffly once, and back to his cave to warm up, and thaw off the ice, after having fallen into a hole in a frozen lake while pursuing Charlie; the other time when he gets into bed with a bear (who moved into what was the anteater's cave, having stolen it and claiming it as his home), who pummels and sends him flying across and back outside. Aardvark climbs out the hole the second time, quits pursuing Charlie and hitchhikes to Palm Springs.
  • Tree Buchet: Happens a lot.
  • Vacuum Mouth: Aardvark often does this as his method of trying to eat Charlie (but fails every time), complete with the sound of a vacuum cleaner.


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