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Western Animation / The Cramp Twins

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Polar Opposite Twins doesn't begin to cover it.
The Cramp Twins is an animated series created by cartoonist Brian Wood based on his graphic novel of the same name. The show was produced by Sunbow Entertainment and TV-Loonland AG, in association with Cartoon Network Europe. However, for the show's second season TV-Loonland switched production studios from Sunbow to another studio they owned - the UK-based Telemagination. Cynical, biting and more than often a little cruel, it served to highlight the more dysfunctional aspects of society through the eyes of two very different siblings.

Smart, sensible yet preachy Lucien (Kath Soucie) and rowdy thug Wayne (Tom Kenny) are not-so identical twins who live with their hygiene-obsessed mother (Nicole Oliver) and their Western-obsessed father (Ian James Corlett) in the fictional town of Soap City, where cleanliness is a way of life and any concern about nature will make you a pariah. Sadly, but obviously, neither get along. Wayne's friend is Dirty Joe (Lee Tockar) and the girl that has a crush on him is Wendy Winkle (Jayne Paterson), though he hates her. His enemies are Miss Hillary Hissy (Cathy Weseluck, who also plays Tony's mom, Lily, and Mrs. Winkle) and Lucien's friends are the wise yet vertically-challenged Tony Parsons (Terry Klassen who also plays Tony's dad, Seth) and Mari and Luke Harrison (Adam Little).

The series premiered in the UK on September 3, 2001 on Cartoon Network (UK) and later on CBBC on BBC One respectively and reached high popularity with children, where it was renewed for two more seasons. The series also aired in the United States on the Fox Box to a far less positive reaction.

The series is notable for being one of the few cartoons to mix familiar Los Angeles voice actors (Tom Kenny, Kath Soucie) with Canadian actors from The Ocean Group (Ian James Corlett, Nicole Oliver, Lee Tockar).

Provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Miss Hissy to Mr. Cramp in "Mummy Mania". He is downright horrified by her.
  • Abusive Parents: Mr and Mrs Cramp are not what you would call the world's best parents. They are often at odds with their sons and tend to neglect Lucien (though this usually due to their polarized views on nature and cleanliness causing a rift between them), an example being the episode where Wayne has a harp and they are constantly praising him while for the most part ignoring Lucien. Oddly enough, Lucien recognised what was happening but it's never brought up again and never dealt with.
    • Mrs Cramp has a habit of whipping up dangerous cleansers which she often tries to test on the children, one of them was powerful enough to burn through Lucien's sweater.
    • In "Mummy Mania", Miss Hissy essentially becomes a Wicked Stepmother, treating Lucien and Wayne extremely poorly, and eventually kicking them out of the house to sleep in a shed outside.
  • Adults Are Useless: All Wayne has to do to convince anyone that he's 'a good boy' or get his brother into trouble (sometimes both) is put on a sweet voice, Which is made worse by the fact that everybody knows and has seen time and time again just how rotten Wayne is but they continue to fall for it.
    • Subverted with Mr Parsons who is probably the only consistently capable adult in town. When Wayne steals his spitting geese he doesn't fall for Wayne's good boy act; unfortunately his idiot father shows us just how incapable he is by delivering this memorable line.
      Mr. Cramp: That's his good boy voice so I know he's telling the truth.
    • Subverted in one episode where his mother actually does not fall for it.
      Wayne: (Fake voice) Please, mommy? I'm a good boy.
      Mrs. Cramp: No, Wayne, you're not!
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • Wendy Winkle has an attraction to bad boys. Wayne is her main subject of attraction, but in the episode "Cricket Slayer", she temporarily falls for Lucien when she sees his desire to crush everything in sight (which was due to Bungled Hypnotism). However, this might be played with as she's literally the only girl who isn't repulsed by Wayne, then again, Wendy isn't much more pleasant a character than Wayne either.
    • Inverted: When Mari Took a Level in Jerkass by founding a gang to get respect, Wayne was instantly attracted to her.
    • Averted in one episode where the nicer twin Lucien starts falling in love with Mari, and Wendy, despite not being attracted to him at all in other episodes (other than "Cricket Slayer"), wants to be his girlfriend. However, it's more due to her jealousy on the fact Mari has a boyfriend and she doesn't, so Wendy tries stealing her boyfriend.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Other than regular white and black skin tones, characters can also have blue/purple, yellow or green skin...
  • Artistic License Biology:
    • In "Dirty Monkey", when the viewer sees through the monkeys' eyes, they are seen to have poor colour vision, seeing everything in shades of brown. While the colour vision of new-world monkeys isn't as good as that of humans and other old-world monkeys, they can distinguish shades of blue and green.
    • In "Chameleon Chaos", aside from Hollywood Chameleon being in play with the titular reptile, it pees on Wayne's hand at one point. Lizards don't urinate like this.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: The second season saw the switch from 4:3 to 16:9.
  • Brain Bleach: In "Date Dupe" when Lucien is lying on the classroom floor and Miss Hissy walks over him he (as well as the audience) gets to see under her skirt and he reacts with disgust.
  • Bungled Hypnotism: In the episode "Cricket Slayer", Lucien blames himself for the death of a rare species of cricket. After getting haunted by the cricket's ghost (actually Wayne in disguise), his friend Mari resorts to hypnosis, in order to make him forget about the guilt. The first time Mari makes Lucien act like a duck, and he starts feeling better after he figures out Wayne's disguise, however a nightmare convinces him that he's not fully healed, so he resorts to hypnosis once again. The second time, due to killing an insect while performing her hypnosis ritual, Mari accidentally hypnotizes Lucien into having a desire to crush everything. Thankfully, the effects wear off after Lucien hears the cricket's sound, discovering it was not dead after all.
  • Cain and Abel: Wayne and Lucien Cramp, and how.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In the episode where Lucien has to use the bathroom but can't because of Wayne, he walks in on a cleaning club meeting that his mother is in and tells her that Wayne is fishing in the toilet. After her friends leave she gets mad...because Lucien embarrassed her in front of the cleaning club.
  • Continuity Nod: One episode has the rest of the kids in school following Wayne's trends, to the point where they call Lucien names. One calls him 'Worm Features', prompting interest from Wayne, who adds it to his list of names in later episodes.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Winkle
  • Crapsaccharine World: The world looks all colorful, but there's a lot of unpleasant people living in it.
  • The Dog Bites Back: When Wendy receives a pony, she starts to mistreat it, and then Tony uses it Ventriloquism to convince them that it can talk. He then starts to use it to boss Wendy around.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • In one episode, Tony's small bride-to-be is revealed to be a serial kidnapper who entraps other small husbands in a chest. Even Wayne, who regularly abuses Tony and has even tried to kill him a few times, is disturbed by this revelation.
    • In "Bully for Wayne" even Wendy gets absolutely annoyed at Brick.
  • Evil Twin: Wayne Cramp.
  • Faked Gift Acceptance: Wendy Winkle gave her father several hand-made objects with cutsey designs which he pretends to like in front of her, but hides them in his desk instead of using them like his daughter wanted. After she finds out he didn't like any of them, she makes him a wallet designed like a pink mouse, hoping he would like this one, but the result is the same. In the end, after a temporary tomboy phase, she buys her father a more manly gift, which he likes for real.
  • Fan Disservice: Miss Hissy's overly large butt, which gets the occasional Panty Shot.
  • G-Rated Drug: Fizz Bombers candy. It was banned from school, was being pulled from stores before the consumers burst in and tried to outright steal it, and many of those who ate them ended up in hospital seemingly to be treated for addiction. Side effects may include hearing the candy talking to you, seeing green mist faces and being willing to do disgusting things to get more.
  • Getting Sick Deliberately: In "Sick Daze", Wayne deliberately makes himself catch a cold to skip school the next day.
  • Gross-Out Show: The episode, Spit Collector, is a stand-out example.
  • Growing Up Sucks: The first episode involves Lucien making Wayne think he's a man (It Makes Sense in Context). Initially, he enjoys it, but by the end of the episode he's desperate to become a 'kid' again.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: One is the focus of the episode "Hankenstein" where Wayne becomes fond of the titular rabbit that wrecks everything in its path and attacks several characters until the rabbit is seemingly pacified for good. At the end, he discovers that "Hankenstein" has feral offspring and promptly gets attacked.
  • Haunting the Guilty: In "Cricket Slayers", Lucien indirectly leads to the death of a rare species of cricket and he feels very guilty about it. Wayne only adds salt to the wound by disguising himself as a cricket and pretending to be its ghost to haunt Lucien at night. Since Lucien can't see well without his glasses, he is fooled at first, but he finds out it was Wayne all along when the latter says something factually incorrect about crickets. In the end, it turns out the cricket was just knocked out cold, but still alive.
  • Henpecked Husband: Mr Cramp, at times. Concerning cleanliness and potential filth, he can be outright terrified of Mrs Cramp, though he has little if any backbone in general.
    • Mr Winkle may well be this, certainly to a lesser degree than Cramp, but there are signs.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Lucien and Tony.
  • Hollywood Chameleons: The episode "Chameleon Chaos" has a chameleon that can change its colours to become perfectly invisible, no matter where it stands. In real life, chameleons' colour-changing abilities are more limited than that.
  • Informed Species: The aforementioned chameleon looks more like a gecko or just a generic lizard, to the point where it would be hard to guess it's a chameleon just by looking at a still, out-of-context picture of it.
  • Ironic Echo: In one episode, Wayne influences a bunch of little kids to be vandals and assailants. When approached by the cops, the little kids use Wayne's usual "I'm a good boy" line that results in Wayne getting arrested.
  • Jerkass: Wayne Cramp.
    • A good portion of the cast fit this trope: Mr/Mrs Cramp, Miss Hissy, Wendy Winkle (she once stole Tony's sister's doll just because, among other things.), Rodeo Rita.
    • Special notice goes to the Twins' grandmother who, while under the impression that she was being targeted by wolves, tried to set up Lucien and Wayne as bait, risking their lives to save her own. After she believes they were eaten (it's revealed that the "wolves" were just sounds made by their grandfather so that he could have a poker night to himself), she delivers the news to the parents. Her response to their shock and worry? "Life's rough!" and demands that they give her food as a guest.
  • Jerkass Ball: Tony, who is usually one of the nicest characters in the show, becomes a jerk in the episode "Swamp Curse". In this one he threatens the Winkles with putting a curse on them for making fun of him, then he intimidates people in Soap City with his new reputation to get what he wants.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mr and Mrs Cramp, despite their stupidity and inconsiderate treatment, do seem to care about their two children deep down. Wayne on rarer occasions shows some care towards Lucien. Keeping in mind Lucien isn't exactly a saint himself, the whole Cramp Family may count as this trope.
  • Jump Rope Blunders: In "Girl Gang", there is a scene where Lucien notices that boys and girls are playing different games on the playground, which he considers sexist. He tries to join a girls' game of skipping rope, but he ruins it because the rope gets tangled in his feet.
  • Laughing Gas: In "Happy Gas", Wayne, Mrs Cramp and Mr Cramp are all affected by some gas in the air that makes them unrealistically happy and unaware of their surroundings. It causes them to do silly things they would never enjoy otherwise, like Wayne willingly dressing as a girl. Lucien is the only one of his family who remains unaffected. The effects wear off near the end of the episode.
  • Lazily Gender-Flipped Name: Wayne tries joining Marie and Wendy's temporary girl gang by disguising himself as a girl. The name he chose is "Waynona".
  • Mama Bear: When she's not obsessing over keeping the house clean, Mrs. Cramp is often a kind and protective mother.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Mari Phelps and Hilary Hissy in episode, "Pirate Pants". A wind gust suddenly comes and blows up Mari's skirt, revealing yellowish-green panties with white lace trim in the beginning when she's with Lucien in the beginning and again towards the end; This occurs with Hilary towards the end, exposing she, too, wears the same color panties as Wayne tries to resist laughing at this.
  • Mega-Corp: Hazcam has its own police force which can be dispatched to steal away children's toys, or even arrest people for not being obsessed with cleaning, and take them away to be 're-educated' in the ways of cleanliness.
  • Nobody Poops: Completely averted. In fact, one episode is centered around Lucien desperately needing the bathroom, but being unable to go because Wayne is fishing in the toilet. However, they never actually mention the word 'poop':
    Lucien: Oooh... he's been fishing in there all morning!
    Tony: So? Go pee behind a bush. What's the big deal?
    Lucien: I... don't... want... to pee...
    Tony: So there's no problem.
    Lucien: Yes there is!
    (Brief pause)
    Tony: Oh, you want to...
    Lucien: Exactly!
  • Nice Guy: Tony Parsons, his dad, Seth, Mari and Dirty Joe are all the nicest characters in the show. Lucien and Mr. Cramp are more of a downplayed case due to their immoral actions despite being nicer then Wayne.
  • "No Peeking!" Request: In "The Great Bowl of Fear", Lucien has to use the bathroom, but Wayne is fishing in the toilet and he refuses to leave. Tony leads him to a forest so he can use a bush. Lucien does a nonverbal version of this trope by giving Tony a stern look, so Tony looks away. Unfortunately, Lucien still can't go because he's so used to using his own bathroom.
  • Pet the Dog: Surprisingly, Mr Winkle does love his daughter, though then again, Wendy is just as bad as he is.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Wayne and Lucien. That goes without much saying, since the former is Jerkass and comes up with variety of jerkass schemes, getting his twin brother in trouble, while the latter, with some Jerkass moments, tends to be the nicer and more moral of the two, on top of being smarter.
  • Premiseville: The series takes place in Soap City, which is fitting for two reasons. First, there's a soap factory there. Second, many of the residents (but particularly Mrs. Cramp) are obsessed with cleanliness.
  • Promotion to Parent: Lucian is left in charge of Wayne.....and his father, by his mom when she starts working, because without someone to look after them Mr Cramp doesn't even know where his clothes are and Wayne goes to school in his nightwear.
  • Relationship Sabotage: In "Cramp vs Cramp", Wayne tries to get his parents to divorce because due to Marcus travelling the world with his parents after they split up, he expects the same to happen to them. After his previous attempts fail, he tries to frame his parents for cheating on each other, Mrs Cramp with Agent X and Mr Cramp with Miss Hissy. Wayne succeeds in splitting them up and seems happy at first, until his mother declares they aren't going on a vacation, but to their grandma's house. However, Mr Cramp decides to come back home and his parents make up.
  • Rich Bitch: Both Mr. Winkle and Wendy, must run in the Winkle family genes.
  • Shower of Awkward: In "Mummy Mania", Miss Hissy walks in on Mr. Cramp while he is naked in the show. Mr. Cramp subsequently becomes so terrified of this happening again that he doesn't take a shower for several days afterward.
  • Slasher Smile: Wayne's default expression - particularly on the occasion where he had Lucien believe that he'd killed a bug by accident.
  • Spoiled Brat: Wendy Winkle, oh so much.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Again, Wendy Winkle towards Wayne.
  • Teens Are Short: OK, the main characters aren't actually teens: they're ten-year-olds. Still, the kids are WAY shorter than they should be when compared to the adults. For example, Lucien and Wayne are literally half their parents' height.
  • Tender Tomboyishness, Foul Femininity: Among the two prominent female characters, Mari Phelps, who isn't particularly girly and dislikes dresses, is one of the few nice characters and one of Lucien's only friends. By contrast, Wendy Winkle is an overly feminine Rich Bitch who is obsessed with plushies and the colour pink and has stalkerish tendencies towards Wayne.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Mr/Mrs Cramp, Wendy and Miss Hissy all manage this in one episode. Wayne manages to convince them that Lucien sent him to another dimension in a botched magic act.
  • Triangles Are the Worst Instrument: Wendy deliberately gives Lucien a triangle instead of the harp he would have gotten in the first come, first serve method she was using until that point to spite him.
  • Two-Teacher School: Only a few teachers are seen.
  • The Unfavorite: Played with. Since both twins have quirks that both please and repulse their parents (Lucien is smart and gifted but also a nature lover, while Wayne is a deranged and obsessed with garbage but favors their industrial ways), both of them seem to take turns as the favorite and unfavorite.
  • Un-person: Wayne once acted like Lucian didn't exist, then tried to kill the toy he'd been pretending was his 'real' brother when it told him he should be nicer to Lucian.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Wayne. Lucien in some of his more self-righteous bouts can act as one too.
  • Villain Protagonist: Wayne in episodes that focus on him.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Mr. Cramp is the wacky parent, Lucien the serious child.
  • Wilting Odor: In the episode "Date Dupe", Lucien tries hard to look perfect and be immaculate for a date with Patsy, which makes him exaggerate with the use of cleaning products and perfumes that end up making him smell worse than anything. At the end of the episode, he finds out Patsy didn't ask him on a date but rather wanted him to help her with her pet hamster, which Wayne has already done by the time Lucien arrived at her house. Having nothing to do but to leave, Lucien's odor makes some flowers he gets past by to wither.