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Western Animation / The Cuphead Show!

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An adventure is surely brewing!
So if you're looking for fun!
(Cuphead and Mugman: "Yes, we're looking for fun!")
And a dash of heebie-jeebies...
(Cuphead and Mugman: "We've got the heebie-jeebies!")
Then pack your bags and let's go!
Welcome to The Cuphead Show!
Welcome to The Cuphead Shooooow!!
— Excerpt from the Theme Song

The Cuphead Show! is a Netflix animated series based on the Fleischer Studios-inspired run and gun platformer of the same name. The series is created and executive produced by the game's creators Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, alongside King Features Syndicate. Dave Wasson (Time Squad, Mickey Mouse (2013)) serves as another major developer and producer for the series. King Features Syndicate president CJ Kettler (The Tick, The Mask, Carmen Sandiego) also serves as Executive Producer. Animation services are provided by Lighthouse Studios, an Ireland-based division between Mercury Filmworks and Cartoon Saloon.

The series follows Cuphead (Tru Valentino) and Mugman (Frank Todaro), the two youthful brothers under the care of Elder Kettle (Joe Hanna). Despite their elderly advice and best judgment, the duo gets themselves into various misadventures across Inkwell Isle to break up their monotonous lives. These events include getting themselves at a soul-sucking carnival managed by The Devil (Luke Millington Drake), babysitting a rambunctious child, or being on a game show hosted by King Dice (Wayne Brady). Cuphead and Mugman are also occasionally joined by a new friend on their adventures, Ms. Chalice (Grey DeLisle).note 

Originally announced in 2019, the series eventually got a sneak peek at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June 2020. The series debuted on February 18, 2022, with an initial batch of 12 episodes, with two more batches (marketed as additional seasons) announced on January 25th, 2022. Season 2 debuted on August 19, 2022. Season 3 debuted on November 18, 2022. Supervising director Adam Paloian confirmed via Twitter that season 3 will be the final season.

Has a character page, give it a check out and some love where needed.note 

Previews: Teaser Trailer, Short-Form Staff Teaser, Official Trailer, Geeked Trailer, Season 2 Trailer, Season 3 trailer.

This show provides examples of:

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    Tropes #-G 
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Backgrounds occasionally are rendered in full stop-motion sets designed by Screen Novelties, as a Homage to Fleischer Studios' use of the stereoptical camera.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Unlike the first season, the show's second season has a total of 13 episodes. The final episode, The Devil's Pitchfork, sees Cuphead and Mugman goofing off and making mischief after they happen upon the Devil's pitchfork. But at the the end said episode, Cuphead pushes his luck against the Devil too far and the season ends with Mugman being dragged off to the Underworld.
  • Actionized Adaptation: Inverted. While there are still situations where our main characters (Cuphead and Mugman) end up in mortal peril, the show is more about the antics of the duo, and the two rarely try and engage whatever enemies they have due to being massively outclassed in this adaptation.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Actually Pretty Funny: The Devil actually starts enjoying Cuphead's jokes as they wait in the Obliterator's queue.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Due to the boys being extremely rambunctious, foolhardy and accident-prone in the TV series, some of the characters below become harsher to them unlike in the game.
    • Downplayed with Elder Kettle. He's still a largely pleasant and caring guy who loves Cuphead and Mugman, but he is shown to be sterner and more temperamental in contrast to the games.
    • Porkrind is shown to be a greedy jerk and is generally quite unfriendly and dismissive to the cups, compared to the mostly Friendly Shopkeeper he was in the game.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Ribby and Croaks just wore pants and boxing gloves in the game, whereas here they wear fancy suits and ties. It's been explained that they are shifting professions.
  • Adaptational Personality Change:
    • Elder Kettle in the games is an easygoing Cool Old Guy that advises Cuphead and Mugman about how to beat the Devil, rolling with the punches. In this incarnation, he's a little sterner with them because of the sheer amount of trouble they cause or get into — like launching paint from a cannon as a shortcut for whitewashing a fence.
    • The Devil in the game is portrayed as a sort of demonic loan shark, taking souls through contracts and debts and is generally serious and menacing. In the show, he’s a lot more flamboyant and pompous, and uses a wider variety of means — such as brute force and deception — to steal souls from people.
    • King Dice is the main supplier of the Devil's souls here, which he does through a game show rather than a casino. His relationship with his boss is much more one-sided, the Devil barely acknowledging his existence and taking him out early on, although he returns to his service later in the show.
  • Adaptational Wimp: With the exception of The Devil, none of the characters are shown to have the zanier powers and transformations from the original game.
    • Cuphead and Mugman show no signs of having any of the powers they did in the original game.note 
    • King Dice doesn’t have the threatening presence that his game counterpart does, and his relationship with the Devil is more one-sided.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Elder Kettle spots a noticeably different color palette compared to his appearance in the game, with him being gray and blue in the show as opposed to the beige and green he was in the game.
    • The Devil's nose is red in the show despite it being black in the game.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Ms. Chalice is a Lovable Rogue ghost that fears getting busted by the populace or thrown in jail. This wariness had more justification in the games, where it was demonstrated the ability to imprison and otherwise harm undead souls was actually possible, though no such magic is yet established in the show, with Ms. Chalice even displaying the power to surf easily through solid entities and change between solid and spectural forms at will unlike in the games, bordering her fear of mortal punishments as an Absurd Phobia.
  • Adapted Out: Djimmi the Great, Wally Warbles and his son don't appear in this show. Goopy Le Grande is also largely absent, unless you count his gravestone in the intro.
  • Alternate Continuity: The show appears to be set in a continuity separate from that of the game it's based on. The first episode is more or less an alternate take on how Cuphead's soul became indebted to the Devil with a carnival instead of a casino, King Dice's relationship with the Devil is more one-sided than it was in the game, and the brothers' first meeting with Ms. Chalice plays differently here.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: The pilot episode centers around The Devil's Carnevil. The players of the attractions are at risk of getting their souls sucked out, which Cuphead almost falls victim to.
  • And Starring: The Netflix teaser poster used this to cover Mugman's credit billing.
  • "Anger Is Healthy" Aesop: Deconstructed. After seeing his boss beaten down and pent up with stress and anger, Henchman suggests that the Devil just go out to the surface and cut loose for a while so he can release some anger and get his mojo back. The Devil agrees and causes mass chaos that results in the city going up in flames. After doing so, the Devil carelessly loses his pitchfork and becomes more stressed and angry, but the chaos spree itself was exactly what he needed and left him feeling fantastic.
  • Aside Glance: The devil grins at the audience when everyone bails, and says, "Oooh, I love it when they run." In general, several characters stare down the barrel of the camera at the audience for comedic effect.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Ultimately, the invisible sweater. It protects Cuphead without fail against the Devil, who gets electrocuted every time he tries to take Cuphead's soul, but only if Cuphead wears it all the time, which isn't great since it makes him constantly hot and sweaty.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: While Cuphead and Mugman occasionally get on each other's nerves and fight over little things, it's obvious that the pair are good, loving brothers that take great care of one another. Same with their relationship to Elder Kettle and vice versa.
  • Bad Boss: The Devil gives King Dice an Implied Death Threat about not disappointing him, and the demons mention how they haven't had a break in 3,000 years.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: In the short-form Netflix teaser, Cuphead is painfully bitten by a baby. In the episode itself, it gets much worse from there.
  • Batty Lip Burbling: One of the things Cuphead does to try to get Baby Bottle to laugh.
  • Bears Are Bad News:
    • Invoked in the fourth episode as the result of a failed attempt by Cuphead to stick Mugman's handle back on with honey.
    • In the twelfth episode, a big angry bear is the night guard at the cookie factory.
  • "Begone" Bribe:
    • Porkrind ends up so irritated by Cuphead and Mugman, he gives them the pinball machine they enjoy playing on just to get them out of his store.
    • Elder Kettle hands $5 to Mugman and some pocket lint to Cuphead just to get them out of the house as he's fed up with their squabbling. This causes another argument when the brothers want what the other has.
  • Big Applesauce: Most of the show's characters speak with New York accents, which fits the style of the classic cartoons this show was based on.
  • Big Ball of Violence: In "Baby Bottle", Cuphead and Mugman engage in a cloudy battle behind the Elder Kettle's watch, in spite of his warnings. When asked about this by Mugman, Cuphead tells him that they are merely doing it because they are not supposed to. In other episodes, they end up in this fairly often because of some petty argument.
  • Big Brother Instinct: At the least, ambiguous-age brother instinct. When the Devil attempts to steal Cuphead's soul via the Soul Ball machine, Mugman physically grabs the soul and forces it back into his brother. Only when Cuphead revives do they run for it.
  • Big "NO!": Done by the Devil in the first episode after being tricked into destroying his own skee-ball machine.
  • Black Comedy Burst:
    • A pretty massive one in "Sweater Off Dead". The episode's plot begins with the Devil feeling so pleased with himself that he's throwing a whole party. Why? Because overeating, famine, and three new wars (with catastrophic results on both sides) are being engineered by his underlings. Special mention goes to the "three new wars"; while they could refer to any wars during the time period that this show is ostensibly set in (1930s/early 1940s), the videos displayed on the screens (depicting a ruined European-style building, old-fashioned military planes dropping bombs, and tanks firing) call into mind something very specific...
    • Basically all of "Dirt Nap" is a combination between this and Unexpectedly Dark Episode, with the normally grandfatherly Elder Kettle being accidentally gaslit by Cuphead and Mugman, suspecting that they're planning on killing him (they were talking about burying their pet worm), attempting to kill them in response, and then accidentally falling victim to his own traps, with the episode ending ambiguously as to whether he even survives from the spike pit (not that it matters, given that he's alive and well in the next episode).
    • "Jailbroken" has Cuphead digging a hole to escape prison. He ends up using the slop to explode a pipe and climb up. He then ends up under a sewer lid, which he uses a hairpin to unscrew and escape. as Cuphead exclaims "Freedom!", however, it's revealed that he's in the execution room with an electric chair. The officer - paying no mind to what Cuphead is doing, or why he's here - just casually straps him onto the electric chair and proceeds to electrocute him. Thankfully, Cuphead is shown to be alright straight after. This is how convicts that are guilty beyond help are executed.
  • Body Horror:
    • Mugman accidentally breaking off his handle is treated as such by most of the other characters, who scream in horror upon seeing his handleless head, including Elder Kettle. Porkrind even looks like he's about to throw up. Although that one was actually due to a rather disgusting sandwich, and he couldn't care less about the missing handle.
    • Bowlboy in "Another Brother" ends up completely shattered to pieces at the bottom of a cliff. He's fully fixed and parading as a doctor to the still-hospitalised Cuphead and Mugman at the end of the episode.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • The Devil's domain is straight up called Hell in the game, while it's called the Underworld in this show.
    • In the game, Cuphead and Mugman became indebted to the Devil after losing in craps at a casino. In the show, it's changed to Cuphead losing a soul-sucking skee-ball game at an amusement park.
    • Also, when Cuphead or Mugman dies in the game, they pause in a shocked expression before their eyes vanish from their sockets as a single church bell tolls ominously, signifying death, and their body crumbles into dust with a shaky downward slide whistle, at the same time their soul forms in a dizzying state (with their straw forming into a halo), showing their shiny pink heart (which can be parried for revival with a "Thank you!") as they are flying away. In this show, however, Cuphead's body turns into a bit monochrome ashen gray as his soul (same one with a straw halo and pink heart) is being taken from him, but Mugman grabs his brother's soul by the tail end and carries it back to his body, reviving him with a Gasp of Life.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When caught attempting to escape from prison three times, Cuphead and Mugman first have to break rocks. The second time, they are stuffed into a very tiny safe. The third time, they are made to break rocks inside of the very tiny safe.
  • Break the Haughty: Both the Devil and King Dice think highly of themselves, and have both been subjected to Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: The beginning of "Ghosts Ain't Real" has Cuphead mention that Mugman only had to change his pants 3 times during a scary movie, which Mugman considers a new record.
  • British Brevity: Non-British example. Like many Netflix shows, each season is fairly short, with 11-12 episodes, though spread through three seasons, it makes a more healthy total of 36. (It's worth noting that their production codes list them in Two Shorts format, which counting the odd double length episode, totals to 23 episodes.)
  • Call-Back: In episode 7, Mugman goes onstage to demand the attention of some rowdy partygoers. This causes him to freeze with stage fright, pulling the exact same expression he did back in Episode 5 when he froze up during Roll the Dice.
  • The Cameo:
    • The show's opening features Grim Matchstick (in his third phase form), Captain Brineybeard, and Cala Maria in the overhead view of the Inkwell Isle. Grim Matchstick also appears at the end of the tenth episode.
    • While Cagney Carnation has yet to appear, flowers resembling him appear in Elder Kettle's window box.
    • Pip and Dot appear in the audience in the fifth and twelfth episodes.
    • The Blind Specter, a rat ghost from Werner Werman's battle, and a member of the Specter Syndicate appear in the sixth episode.
    • Mangosteen appears on a poster in the eighth episode.
    • The newspaper ad for the "Obliterator" ride resembles Beppi the Clown's final phase.
    • The bee police officer from Rumor Honeybottoms' battle appears in the twelfth episode.
    • Hilda Berg is briefly seen in S2E2 "Charmed and Dangerous".
    • Sally Stageplay is the first person the cups offer their fake ghost-busting services to in "Dead Broke".
  • Captivity Harmonica: In "Jailbroken", the typical harmonica tune is played by a sentient harmonica person.
  • Carnivore Confusion: A pig is seen eating a hot dog in "Carn-Evil", and a pig vendor is seen selling hot dogs in a later episode. Porkrind also doesn't seem to mind turning a baby dragon into dinner before being interrupted.
  • Casting Gag: In ther Japanese dub, Natsuki Hanae, as the titular Cuphead, has previous experience on voicing a character and a relative of him being pursued by demons, except this time, it's Played for Laughs.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "Roll the Dice", Cuphead and Mugman accidentally set a tire rolling, which they fail to catch. By the end of the episode, it rolls back to knock over King Dice, and sends the two brothers rolling back home.
  • Cliffhanger:
    • The first season ends with the reveal that Ms. Chalice is a ghost as she leaves the boys to be arrested.
    • Played for Drama in the second season, where The Devil kidnaps Mugman and drags him to the Underworld in retaliation to Cuphead stealing his pitchfork.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Cuphead was quite willing to sell his soul to the Devil for $10. When Mugman tells him his soul is worth more than that, Cuphead agrees... and ups the price to $20. (Though given the era it's vaguely set in, it was worth much more then than now note , but it's still laughable regardless.)
  • *Crack!* "Oh, My Back!": Elder Kettle puts out his back after a spot of gardening in "Root-Packed", necessitating his recovery in bed.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Everything is bouncy and colourful, but the world is still full of treachery and danger, and even the protagonists are decidedly rough around the edges.
  • Crying a River: In the episode "Root Packed", after Ollie Bulb hears the cup brothers' conversation, he cries both Ocular Gushers and Onion Tears. Due to his tears and stench, all the partygoers start crying, including the bouncer. And everyone cries so much, that their tears flood the garden and get washed away. By the time that happened, even Cuphead and Mugman cry in Tears of Joy now that the vegetable garden is once again in bloom.
  • Cutlery Escape Aid: Cuphead attempts to escape prison with a spoon. He admittedly gets far but took a wrong turn straight into the electric chair room but fortunately with no lasting consequences.
  • Deal with the Devil: A Running Theme throughout the third season.
    • Cuphead forces the Devil himself into one after he manages to re-capture Mugman, trading the pitchfork for his brother's return.
    • The Devil accepts one from Santa in his quest to get his "choo choo" as a Christmas present. He has to perform Santa's duties for one Christmas and follow all of the rules of being Santa, or else he's stuck transformed into a Santa for all eternity.
    • Dance With Danger reveals that Ms. Chalice had made one prior to meeting the cups, being resurrected in exchange for having to do the Devil one favour. When he demands her to trick the cups into signing their souls over to him, she can't bring herself to go through with it. She manages to temporarily stave off her doom by betting her life on a dance competition with him.
    • Cuphead makes yet another one after Chalice loses the dance-off because of him. He bets his and Mugman's souls and Chalice's life on a game of rock paper scissors, which he wins. The Devil does try to keep the match going, but Cuphead keeps his winning streak strong. Fortunately for him, Mugman forces Cuphead to quit while he's ahead.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: A few very gentle examples as the show's time period emulates the 1930s-40s like the game does.
    • The asbestos safety curtains in Sally Stageplay's theater are still hanging there, even proudly displaying what they're made with "ASBESTOS" in large font, since when it was first discovered and used in everything, people didn't know the long-term effects of exposure to it, thinking only of how fireproof it was.
    • In "The Devil's Revenge", while Cuphead is having a breakdown from the Devil kidnapping Mugman and trying to deny it to Elder Kettle, he says he lost his pocketknife instead. Elder Kettle treats it as a small thing Cuphead's being overly emotional about, instead of concern that a child (much less one as prone to mischief as Cuphead) had a lethal weapon to begin with. It wasn't uncommon for a kid in those eras to have at least small knives as tools rather than weapons, in case a circumstance came up and as a right of passage to show your maturity (frequently with a painful lesson about responsibility as well when they'd inevitably cut themselves on it).
    • Cuphead and Mugman are pretty much allowed to wander anywhere without adult supervision as long as they come home, since a child getting hurt or going missing wasn't a massive public concern that drastically changed until the 80s.
  • Demon/Devil Distinction: There's only one entity, the Big Bad of the show, who goes by "The Devil"; most of his various minions are referred to as "demons".
  • Denser and Wackier: While the game is more early Disney or Merrie Melodies whimsy, the show has more over-the-top Looney Tunes gags and slapstick violence.
  • Devil, but No God: The Devil appears to be free to work his mischief in the Inkwell Isles without interference from any sort of supernal beings, nor even the game's suggestion of a Greater-Scope Paragon. That said, a conversation between Mugman and the Devil all but explicitly states that there is a heaven.
  • Disguised in Drag: A Played for Laughs example when Mugman tries disguising himself as a bride.
  • Dissonant Serenity: In "Baby Bottle", Elder Kettle sees the wreckage of the living room — the piano on fire, the door off its hinges, furniture halfway up the wall, etc. — and shrugs it off. Until he sees his prized radio in pieces, and literally starts steaming with rage.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: "The I Scream Man" sees Mugman faking an illness solely to get Cuphead and Elder Kettle out of the house so he can read a romance novel that he mentally inserts himself into and he gets increasingly unhinged each time he's interrupted. Well, when you're a growing mug who shares a room with his brother...
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Cuphead and Mugman, played by Tru Valentino and Frank Todaro respectively, sing the theme song along with the main singer.
  • Doorstop Baby: Baby Bottle gets left on the doorstop and turns out to be a little terror.
  • Drunk on Milk:
    • The Root Pack and all of their other vegetable friends manage to get drunk off of water from a garden hose. Best seen with Ollie, who's become even more overly emotional whilst constantly hiccuping.
    • After gorging themselves on Sugarland's various sweets, Cuphead and Mugman start hiccuping and Cuphead in particular starts slurring his words.
  • Elongating Arm Gag: A couple of gags in "A High Seas Adventure!" involve Mugman's arm stretching so he can grab Cuphead by his handle.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first episode opens with Elder Kettle making pancakes for Cuphead and Mugman, tossing them over his back. Cuphead easily catches all of them on his plate while reading a comic book, while Mugman misses every single one. Without a second thought, Cuphead cuts his pancakes (and plate) in half and gives it to Mugman. Too bad he used all the syrup. Though his penchant for mischief will largely be more noticeable, the important thing is that Cuphead loves his brother... even if he doesn't think about consequences or more than a step ahead.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Downplayed, though it's revealed in season 2 that Mugman was (understandably) hurt when Ms. Chalice backstabbed him and Cuphead in the season 1 finale.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • The ghosts take pleasure in tormenting Cuphead and Mugman, but when it appears that they've been driven to their deaths, they know they've gone too far.
    • The Devil might be responsible for the collection of countless souls, but even he will wait his turn in a very long queue for a theme park ride.
    • Henchman is quick to point out to his boss that kidnapping and bringing Mugman, a living person, to the Underworld is against the rules.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In "Baby Bottle", although Cuphead and Mugman are quick to break Elder Kettle's "No Fighting" rule, they work around the rule of not touching his radio so they don't break it mid-fight.
  • Evil Is Petty: During his Villain Song, to show how he gets "his kicks playing tricks", the Devil is shown popping a child's balloon and stealing his lollipop.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Cuphead remarks to King Dice that he's shorter than he expected.
  • Exploding Closet: The closet Baby Bottle crawls into explodes when Cuphead opens it.
  • Facepalm: Several instances have the characters facepalm in irritation over something.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • Everyone gathered around Cuphead admiring his winning streak at skee-ball in "Carn-Evil" fails to notice the other park attendees wandering around like zombies after their souls were stolen. It only dawns on Mugman later on when he notices how quiet the rest of the park before he sees The Devil. Also, the sign literally reads "Carn-Evil".
    • Mugman rips out an article advertising the Obliterator ride and doesn't check the missing words which detail how the ride makes one's clothes fly off which would have included Cuphead's protective invisible sweater. Not that it mattered since Cuphead had already taken it off before going to the park.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: When the Devil forces Ms. Chalice to betray the cups, he reminds her of what'll happen to her if she breaks her end of the deal in a rather disturbing way. First, her head literally cracks open and falls apart piece by piece, then she shrivels up into a husk of skin and bones, and finally her skin turns into dust and crumples away, leaving only her skeleton behind.
    Henchman: Uh, jeez. This seems unnecessarily graphic.
  • Fine, You Can Just Wait Here Alone: Inverted. In "Ghosts Ain't Real", Mugman objects to having to wait behind while Cuphead goes to collect firewood. Cuphead then asks if he wants to go into the dark, spooky forest with him, which gets Mugman to agree to stay behind.
  • Five Stages of Grief: The Devil goes through these over the course of the series as his failures to capture Cuphead's soul stack up. He starts off in Denial, as he tells his imps that the "outstanding soul" Stickler is referring to is a clerical error until Stickler bugs him into going to collect the soul. He transitions to Bargaining when Cuphead obtains an impenetrable sweater to defend against him, trying various methods to try to get him to take it off. When that fails (quite painfully, at that), he moves to Anger, as he begins throwing everything he can get at Cuphead, most notably getting mad enough to disintegrate two sets of powerful demons by accident. When he learns that Cuphead's soul debt has expired, he falls into Depression and refuses to leave his bedroom for several days. He reaches Acceptance when Henchman encourages him to forget about Cuphead and go on a rampage, only to slip back to Anger when Cuphead steals his pitchfork, although Old Scratch finally gets one over on him by kidnapping Mugman in retaliation.
  • Flynning: Played for Laughs. Cuphead and Mugman play with swords in "A High Seas Adventure!" and they only hit their swords instead of each other. Presumably invoked as they clearly weren't trying to hurt or kill each other and were only playing around. However, it's played straight when Mugman fights a giant crab monster. Despite them fighting seriously, they only attack each others' swords. Mugman nevertheless wins.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Mugman is patient and careful, while Cuphead is wild, impulsive, and sometimes reckless.
    Mugman: (On attending the "CarnEvil") Gee Cuphead, I’m not so sure about-
    Cuphead: You know what I do when I'm not so sure? I double down!
    Mugman: …What does that even mean?
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Cuphead's nightmare in Sweater Off Dead starts out with Mugman being kidnapped by a demon. The real Mugman suffers a similar fate when Cuphead steals the Devil's pitchfork and refuses to give it back.
    • Mugman calls out Cuphead on his reckless and worry-free nature after he gets them Lost In The Woods, saying he wouldn't last one day without him and his worrying. Sure enough, after being kidnapped to the underworld, Cuphead is reduced to a Thousand-Yard Stare traumatized wreck.
    • In The Devil's Revenge Mugman says with absolute certainty that if Cuphead were to die, he'd end up in the Devil's realm instead of "up there", implying that's the ultimate fate of anyone sufficiently wicked. After Ms. Chalice died, she ended up in the underworld as a result of her con-artist lifestyle.
    • When the Devil decides to steal the Telephone's soul, he calls the latter a "gambling man" and talks him into a game with him. The season's ending reveals he intends to do this on a more frequent basis, having just opened his own casino.
    • After the Devil blasts the Stickler Elf to kingdom come, he shows he has the ability to bring him back to life. He had previously used his ability to revive people on Ms. Chalice.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Freezing on Stickler's open book in "Release the Demons" will allow the viewer to read all about soul auditing procedures, rules, and accounting practices. Apparently, Stickler is to be given a beverage and snack of his choosing and the opportunity to redo his signature if he doesn't like the way the "S" looks.
    • Pausing to look at Santa's nice list reveals some familiar names, including Bowlboy, Goopy, Sally, Wolfgang, Telephone, Mac, Jared and Chad.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Quite literally so in the episode "Root-Packed", as water is all that the Root Pack and the other Vegetables drink. And yes, they do get tipsy off the stuff.
  • Funny Background Event: While Captain Brineybeard is conveying his feelings of undying love to Cala Maria, Cuphead is busy trying to get a newly hatched octopus off of his face.
  • Gainax Ending: "Dirt Nap" ends with Elder Kettle reconciling with Cuphead and Mugman after everything that happened... and then he walks into the trap that he had previously set for them, with him getting so brutalized that looking at his (unseen) final state, the brothers outright suggest burying him for real. It's uncertain whether he survived and just made an Unexplained Recovery between this episode and the next, or if he outright died but the show runs on Death Is Cheap logic (which wouldn't be out of place for many 1930s/1940s cartoons).
  • Game Show Goofballs: King Dice's game show, "Roll the Dice", is already so easy that no contestant has ever lost before (they have to name a piece of music the band plays, answer a trivia question, and roll any number on a pair of dice.) Then Cuphead becomes a contestant and proves so dense that King Dice has to specifically rig the game in his favor so he'll win — and he still blows it. He somehow doesn't recall the name of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", and when he tries to roll the dice, they shatter to bits.
  • Gasp!: During an argument, Mugman gasps when Cuphead calls him "a piece of work".
  • Gilligan Cut: One happens very early on in the episode "Carn-Evil" where Mugman refuses to let him and Cuphead go to the Carnival, and then it cuts to them having fun at said carnival.

    Tropes H-N 
  • Hand Rubbing: At least a few times The Devil has rubbed his hands together when in the mischievous mode.
  • Harmless Freezing: Cuphead and Mugman temporarily end up frozen in a food larder in the episode "Ribby & Croaks", to no ill effect.
  • Here We Go Again!: The season 3 finale ends with Cuphead, Mugman, and Chalice living their lives free of the Devil...only for them to come across a sign for the Devil's Casino. Mugman and Chalice are happy to steer clear, but Cuphead is already making tracks for it, presumably leading into the game's events.
  • "The Hero Sucks" Song: In a way. The ghosts in "Ghosts Ain't Real" have a Villain Song which also mocks Cuphead for telling Mugman that ghosts don't exist.
  • Humiliation Conga: Karma comes down like a ton of bricks on King Dice. He apparently gets humiliated by Cuphead several times (e.g. him telling him he's not as tall in person which amused the audience). Although King Dice was completely confident Cuphead would win his game show's last round, he loses it via accidentally causing the dice to detach and (somehow) explode after rolling them. This (someway) ruined King Dice's moustache-like thingamajig-y that he appears to be proud of, although he may not have realized that. Next, he lies that this is good because it means Cuphead gets to enter "the mystery prize room" (where the cup's soul would be sucked out). The audience doesn't buy it, notices the show is rigged, and they start booing the former Villain with Good Publicity. Noticing this, Cuphead decides to go home, with King Dice's final attempt to make him enter the room being interrupted by Elder Kettle's tire hitting him. Which also caused Cuphead (and, by extension, Mugman) to escape. He subsequently has to go see his boss (the Devil) about his failure to get Cuphead's spirit, despite him confidently telling him he would succeed in doing so. After arriving, the Devil reprimands him for his failure and ignores him when he tries to beg him for another chance. And, although King Dice got on his knees, the Devil told him he's no longer the host of his "precious little show" nor is he his dragon anymore. Lastly, Henchman (who he was rather rude to) took over as the host of his show.
  • Imagine Spot: In "Dangerous Mugman", Porkrind has one about smashing Cuphead and Mugman after the former gets a hot streak on his pinball game, producing incessant sound effects, and the latter gets carried away with jabbering on about an inane shoe story after seeing his shelf of shoes.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: Cuphead and Mugman somehow end up going over a multi-levelled waterfall on their way to Mt. Eruptus, despite starting off their journey in what appears to be the sea.
  • Inkblot Cartoon Style: Naturally, Cuphead and Mugman are this, although they are shown to be wearing black jumpers rather than it being their natural skin colour.
  • It's Always Spring: Zig-zagged. The show usually takes place in the spring/summertime, but sometimes shifts to different seasons, most notably in "Release the Demons!" and "Lost in the Woods". There's also 2 Christmas Episodes in season 3 that, as expected, take place during the winter.
  • Lava Surfing: Cuphead and Mugman end up surfing down the side of Mt. Eruptus on a slab of rock whilst trying not to drop an egg they (think they) needed to collect.
  • Lighter and Softer: While the show does still have its moments of Black Comedy, it is considerably toned down from the game.
  • Little Miss Con Artist: Ms. Chalice is a fast-talker who uses her tap-dancing to charm the residents of Inkwell Isle into doing whatever she wants.
  • Loose Tooth Episode: While not actually featuring any lost teeth per se, the episode "Handle with Care" is very similar in plot. Mugman accidentally breaks the handle on his mughead and worries that he'll be seen as a freak (a "Bowlboy"), he and Cuphead try to reattach it, and eventually Elder Kettle tells Mugman that he just lost his "baby handle" and that he should put it under his pillow in order to get a visit from the Handle Fairy, who then takes the baby handle and makes a "man handle" grow out in its place. This is, similar to the Tooth Fairy, just a cover for Elder Kettle to take handles that Mugman (and Cuphead, who wanted his man handle quickly and broke his off) put under his pillow and glue it back on in his sleep).
  • Losing Your Head:
    • The Devil can remove his head without dying, like in the game.note 
    • Cuphead and Mugman are able to remove their heads without difficulty. For instance, at the end of "Handle With Care", they toast each other with their heads. Which causes them to shatter.
  • Madness Mantra: After the Devil abducts Mugman, Cuphead is left staring at nothing, only about to say his brother's name in a monotone.
  • Magic Feather: Cuphead convinces Mugman to wear a pair of goggles that will make him feel really brave and determined, which arguably works too well, considering the Amusing Injuries Cuphead receives in their mini-adventure to Mt. Eruptus. Mugman actually loses the goggles fairly early on, but doesn't realise it and thus boldly goes on.
  • Male Gaze: At the start of the opening, Captain Brineybeard can be seen using a telescope to look at Cala Maria's behind. She's not amused.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: King Dice loves to talk to his own reflection, who is more or less an extension of himself.
    • As it turns out, Chalice's reflection can move of its own accord too.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": When the Devil appears at the "CarnEvil", the bystanders freak out and run away.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: "Dirt Nap" has Elder Kettle fear for his life because some out-of-context eavesdropping led him to believe Cuphead and Mugman were plotting his demise.
  • Mistaken for Undead: At the end of "Ghosts Ain't Real", Cuphead and Mugman finally make it home from the graveyard, but they're so covered in dirt that Elder Kettle mistakes them for zombies.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: A rather extreme example. In the episode "Dance with Danger", the final note in Chalice's song gets interrupted by her getting hit by a car.
  • Musical Nod: The episodes "Ribby and Croaks" and "Root Packed" feature show-specific versions of their respective antagonists' boss battle themes from the game, while "The Mausoleum" from the game plays as the demons stalk through the maze in "Release the Demons!". King Dice's in-game theme, which is previously never played despite the many singing opportunities he has, finally gets a brief instrumental nod in the very last scene of the final episode, doubling as a Theme Song Reveal for the show being a Stealth Prequel to the game.
  • Named by the Adaptation:
    • None of the Devil's demons were named in the game; here, one of them is called "Henchman", and yes that's really his name.
    • A downplayed example with Ribby and Croaks: while they were always named, the shows makes it clear which one is which; Ribby is the short one and Croaks the tall one.
  • Negative Continuity: Played With. While there's some Story Arc sprinkled here and there as well the characters remembered the events on the prior episodes, some episodes literally ends with the cup brothers put in an inexplicably dying situation such as having their head shattered, being beaten the crud out of them or attempted to be eaten when they become candy by Elder Kettle among other things and they come out perfectly fine in the next episode.
  • Never Say "Die": Unlike the Video Game, the shows never calls the Devil's realm anything other than "the Underworld".
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • King Dice leans more into his Cab Calloway inspiration upon arriving at his game show: Roll The Dice. His entrance is a direct homage to Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher" routine.
    • The Root Pack also bear some resemblance to The Three Stooges in their voices and dynamic.
  • Noodle Incident: Cuphead blows a raspberry to someone named Jimmy over the radio. He knows what he did.
  • Not So Above It All: While Mugman is undoubtedly more thoughtful and responsible than Cuphead, he'll still merrily go along with most of Cuphead's antics.

    Tropes O-Z 
  • Pacified Adaptation: The Cuphead Show! has much less of a focus on combat and violence than the game it's based on, a frantic Run-and-Gun platformer. The titular duo of Cuphead and Mugman don't show any prowess for combat or firing cartoon bullets from their fingers, and even the game's bosses that appear pose a very downplayed physical threat. The final episode justifies this as it reveals the show is a Stealth Prequel to the game.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Whilst the Devil is getting electrocuted off-screen with disturbed bystanders looking on, an elephant continues to eat his popcorn.
  • Pie-Eyed: Every character has these kind of eyes, befitting the show's 1930s aesthetics.
  • Pinned to the Wall:
    • Cuphead and Mugman get pinned to the kitchen wall in "Rats All, Folks!" by a number of kitchen utensils launched by Werner Werman. Unable to move, Werner then threatens to light up dynamites on their heads to convince Elder Kettle to give up the cottage.
    • Captain Brineybeard temporarily pins the brothers to a post with his daggers in an attempt to stop them arguing, only letting them go when they agree to help him out.
  • Pleasure Island:
    • The first episode is about a "Carnevil" set up by the Devil, where guests that lose a skee ball game called Soul Ball covertly have their souls taken. Cuphead falling victim to this sets up the underlying arc for the season, as weaseling his way out of his soul being taken drives the Devil to hound him to retrieve that last outstanding soul.
    • King Dice, at the behest of the Devil, hosts a game show where participants always win, but the prize is being sent to a room where their soul is sucked out and their soulless body is dumped into a back alley.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In "Dirt Nap", Elder Kettle overhears Cuphead and Mugman talking, and assumes the boys are plotting to kill him because he's too old. In truth, he only heard parts of the conversation, and they were actually talking about an earthworm they adopted being seemingly on the brink of death and how they should put it out of its misery and bury it in the yard.
  • The Power of Love: A sweater knitted out of invisible yarn and brotherly love is one way to ensure the Devil cannot take Cuphead's soul, as it causes the Devil to receive a painful shock every time he touches it.
  • Primp of Contempt: The Devil primps his nails in a fruitless attempt to ignore Cuphead whilst waiting at the Obliterator ride queue.
  • Prison Episode: "Jail-Broken" in which the brothers, imprisoned after the cookie factory incident, attempt to escape from jail.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: In "Root Packed", the titular Root Pack succeeds at killing Elder Kettle's garden despite everything Cuphead and Mugman do to try and save it. Elder Kettle doesn't mind too much though, believing the Pack are his "babies" and that they've legitimately grown to be so colossal. So, he prepares to cook them in a stew, causing them to run away in fear.
    • In "Rats All, Folks!", Elder Kettle prevents Werner Werman from stealing his cottage at the cost of the near-total destruction of the cottage itself.
  • Quarter Hour Short: Every episode is about 11-12 minutes long (except for "A High Seas Adventure!", which is over 25 minutes long; "Release the Demons!", which is about 20 minutes long; "The Devil's Revenge!", which is about 22 minutes long; "A Very Devil Christmas", which is about 30 minutes long; and "The Devil and Ms. Chalice", which is about 23 minutes long)
  • Retraux: Just like the game, the show mimics the 1930s-40s Fleischer Studios era of animation through hand-drawn digital means. Creator Chad Moldenhauer dubbed the approach "tradigital". Imperfections like dust particles and shallow scratches make occasional appearances throughout the series.
  • The Reveal: The show is a Stealth Prequel to the original game, as revealed by the shot of the Devil's Casino at the end of the final episode.
  • Rewatch Bonus: In In Charm's Way, Chalice telling the cups that getting involved with her will be nothing but trouble rings differently after the reveal that she made a Deal with the Devil and owes him a favour, with said favour ultimately putting their souls in danger.
  • Running Gag: Numerous characters appear to offer a choice or comparison between A or B that the other characters should take and get themselves distracted by endlessly repeating the choice ("Cuphead", "Mugman!", "Cuphead!", "Mugman!") until the other characters wander off or do something that they weren't supposed to do.
  • Run or Die: Cuphead and Mugman's first encounter with the Devil is basically this. They have no meaningful way to fight back and can only run until they trick him into destroying his own soul stealing machine and freeing the souls he's stolen, distracting him long enough to escape. It's made clear that a direct confrontation with him is complete folly, even with the invisible sweater.
  • Sadistic Game Show: "Roll the Dice" is a double subversion. King Dice seems like he treats his contestants well, only for the show to be revealed as a soul-sucking machine.
  • Scenery Porn: A handful of environments, such as the Devil's throne room, Sugarland, rocks in the open sea and a cemetery, are portrayed with live action models, calling back to more practices by Fleischer Studios. The cemetery even utilizes their “setback camera” technique of putting the model on a turn table to make it look like characters are moving through the set. This also doubles as a game reference to the battles with Djimmi The Great and Grim Matchstick, which utilized the same techniques for their backgrounds.
  • Self-Harm: Cuphead breaks off his own handle for the promise of getting a "man handle" like Mugman. (It Makes Sense in Context.)
  • Shamed by a Mob: After realizing his game show was rigged, King Dice's audience starts booing him.
  • Shock and Awe: The invisible sweater that Cuphead wears violently electrocutes the Devil every time he tries to take the former's soul.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shrine to Self: The Underworld is decked out in artwork and sculptures of the Devil.
  • Simple Solution Won't Work: The Devil desperately wants a model train for Christmas, going as far as to beg Santa to give him one and try to wheedle his way onto the Nice List. When Henchman points out that the Devil could simply create a model train with magic, the Devil says that it's not the same as getting one as a present. Which gives Henchman the idea to build one himself.
  • Single Tear: After his brother attempts to escape prison without him, Mugman sheds one tear.
  • Skewed Priorities: In the second episode, Elder Kettle sees his most valuable possession (a radio) get broken and he was about to snap at Cuphead and Mugman for seemingly breaking it...but then gets distracted by Baby Bottle's cuteness.
  • Spanner in the Works: Cuphead racks up a winning streak in "Carn-Evil" on a skee-ball game which steals the player's soul if they lose even once. Because of this, other guests of the park become too distracted by the spectacle to risk losing their own souls.
    • Unfortunately, Mugman's panic upon seeing the Devil causes Cuphead to lose his streak. Though they escape with their souls intact, as well as free everyone else's, the Devil goes after them going forward.
  • Standard Snippet: "The Flower Duet" plays when Elder Kettle gets caught in all his own traps in "Dirt Nap".
  • Status Quo Game Show: A positive example: Cuphead becomes a contestant on King Dice's game show, and loses badly… which is just as well, since the game show is a scam and the "prize" is getting one's soul sucked out by the Devil.
  • Stealth Prequel: The show is implied to be a loose prequel to the game by the end of "The Devil and Ms. Chalice" when Cuphead is tempted to go to the newly-opened Devil's Casino as he gleefully runs towards it, with Mugman and Chalice in hot pursuit to stop him from going there.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: In "Sweater Off Dead", the Devil congratulates himself for a milestone in soul collecting and throws a party for the Underworld. His overworked minions are confused by this, but go along with it since that's been their first break in three thousand years.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • In order to prevent the Devil from taking his soul, Cuphead has to wear an invisible sweater 24/7. Wearing a sweater when it isn't winter or cold, however, leads to Cuphead roasting and sweating in it, ultimately taking it off because he couldn't stand wearing it any longer.
    • In "Dead Broke", Cuphead tries to pay the ice cream man a torn up dollar (done so as to "split the profits" between the trio) for the ice cream he bought for himself, Mugman and Chalice. The ice cream man is quick to state he doesn't accept damaged currency and takes back their cones, leaving angry that they would attempt this.
    • Despite Cuphead promising Mugman he'd be on the straight and narrow at the end of The Devil's Revenge, he goes right back to playing Soul Ball, bets his and Mugman's souls on a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors with the Devil and implicitly ends up soul gambling at the Devil's Casino. Just because someone says they'll quit their bad habits cold turkey doesn't mean it'll actually happen so easily.
  • Sweet Tooth: Both Cuphead and Mugman love sweet treats like pancakes with syrup, ice cream, and cookies. Elder Kettle seems to be well aware of this, considering that the episode "In Charm's Way" starts off with the brothers looking for where the Tempting Cookie Jar has been hidden this time.
  • Sympathetic Wince: After Mugman thrusts the invisible impenetrable sweater onto the Devil, the sweater electrocutes him, leaving the cup brothers and the rest of the crowd to wince at his pain (it doesn't stop an elephant from eating his popcorn though).
  • Tally Marks on the Prison Wall: Mugman marks what appears to be at least a month's worth in his and Cuphead's shared cell. Assuming the count is accurate, Elder Kettle might have been looking for his glasses in the cottage for a whole month and believing that the brothers were just obediently sat on the sofa the whole time like he told them to, depending on when Ms. Chalice dropped by.
  • Tears of Fear: When some pissed-off dogs start coming after Cuphead and Mugman in "Jail-Broken", the two start crying in fear.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: A segment of 'Roll The Dice' is guessing what a song is (or, when it comes to Cuphead's turn, rigging it so Cuphead can hear his favorite song "The Daring Young Man On the Flying Trapeze").
  • Theme Song Reveal: King Dice gets many singing opportunities throughout the show, but his iconic theme song from the game never gets a single appearance... until the final scene of the show, where a version of it plays as Cuphead runs towards the Devil's Casino, revealing the show was a Stealth Prequel the whole time.
  • This Cannot Be!: Upon learning the hard way Cuphead (whose soul he wants to steal) was wearing an invisible sweater he can't touch without getting shocked, the Devil says something to this effect.
    The Devil: [surprised] You're wearing an impenetrable, invisible sweater! But how!?
  • Torches and Pitchforks: A mob shows up outside of Elder Kettle's house to take revenge on Ms. Chalice who has tricked them too many times. When Cuphead and Mugman distract them, they decide to just beat the boys up anyway because they came to do some beating up. Fortunately, Ms. Chalice gets the better of them.
  • Traitor Shot: A Played With variation in "In Charm's Way". Ms. Chalice makes a wide, evil-looking smile when she agrees to teach Cuphead and Mugman how to get free stuff. When they were trying (and failing) to manipulate a guard, however, she... helps them. When the police arrive to arrest them, however, she... leaves them, though not willingly or as part of any planned scheme.
  • Vile Vulture: One of the Devil's finest demons (by elimination) resembles a vulture and is on the hunt for Cuphead and Mugman.
  • Villain Episode: "A Very Devil Christmas" feaures the titular Big Bad as the protagonist.
  • Villain Song:
    • In the first episode, the Devil sings his song called "The Devil Song". He gleefully informs the audience about his vile reputation, getting "kicks playing tricks", and collecting souls.
    • In the episode "Down and Out", King Dice performs a number called "Roll the Dice".
    • Cala Maria has her own song in "A High Seas Adventure" where she proudly boasts about how she is the most feared sea monster in the world. Funnily, it's sung in a longing, melancholy tone more befitting of an "I Want" Song.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Inverted when King Dice (who's a villain) begs the Devil for another chance when he reprimands him for failing to bring him Cuphead's soul. He ignores his plea, though.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: King Dice is The Dragon to Satan himself, but unlike his boss, he is the beloved host of the game show "Roll the Dice". During his Humiliation Conga, however, he loses this status.
  • World of Jerkass: Not quite as bad as some other cartoons, but a lot of the characters are shown to be very selfish, unfriendly, nasty and untrusting of each other in many episodes to a very high Jerkass level. Not even the two main protagonists Cuphead and Mugman are immune to this, with the former being an extremely reckless Idiot Hero who treats his brother horribly, and the latter being a (sometimes) rude Nervous Wreck who never stops getting worked up.
  • Wham Line: At the end of "Special Delivery", the Devil learns that Ms. Chalice is friends with Cuphead and Mugman, then gets an evil idea as it's revealed that he knows Ms. Chalice very well. "Dance with Danger" reveals that Ms. Chalice owes a favour to the Devil as part of a deal to continue living.
  • Wham Shot: The final scene of the show has the trio satisfied that they've finally outsmarted the Devil and will never have to deal with him again... until Cuphead looks over the hill and spots the Devil's Casino, and runs towards it.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Mugman when he completely freezes up when attention is specifically focused on him.
  • You're Just Jealous: A rare example in which the speaker is correct. In "Piano Lesson", Mugman gets jelly over how Cuphead is a far better pianist than him, which the latter calls the former out on.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: The Devil has the ability to forcibly extract a person's soul, and can create devices that can do the same. He outright admits in his Villain Song that collecting souls is his "greatest obsession", and even quotes the trope name word-for-word more than once.

Devil: I'll get that cup!
Henchman: [beat] Head?
Devil: Oh, shut up!

Alternative Title(s): Cuphead


King Dice in his finest

After loosing everything that made him, King Dice offers a deal with Cuphead and Mugman and they (along with Elder Kettle) freshen him up to his refined self again

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / MakeoverMontage

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