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Western Animation / The Incredible Hulk (1996)

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The Incredible Hulk is a 1996-97 animated series, aired on the fledgling UPN based on the comic book series of the same name. It's the second Hulk animated series, following The Incredible Hulk (1982). Compared to most Hulk adaptations, it is considered Darker and Edgier for an animated series for kids (and the overall Marvel universe animated continuity that it belongs to). The series starred Neal McDonough as Bruce Banner and features Lou Ferrigno, the Hulk actor from The Incredible Hulk live action series, as the voice of the Hulk himself.

This was the final cartoon produced by New World Animation, previously known as Marvel Productions and before then DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, which closed shortly before the end of the second season.

The show provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • In "Fantastic Fortitude," She-Hulk to Thing because Thing is hung-up on Alicia. In her defense, she does back off when she realizes he does truly love Alicia and even encourages him to try and reconnect with her.
    • She-Hulk herself has her own one in Gargoyle, who becomes creepily infatuated with her in season two. Lucky for her, she tends to give the Gargoyle a whallop whenever he bothers her.
  • Accidental Misnaming: In "Mind Over Anti-Matter", She-Hulk keeps getting Doctor Strange's name wrong, namely by substituting synonyms for "strange" like "peculiar".
  • Action Dress Rip: She-Hulk tears off her lawyer suit to fight.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The show took bits and pieces from Hulk's then-35 year history and compressed them into an animated series. Everything is covered, from Bruce becoming the Hulk, to Bruce trying (and failing) to find a cure, Hulk being incredibly protective of Betty, and the origins of Leader, Sasquatch, and Wendigo. The Abomination's origin, however, wasn't covered, since we don't know whether or not he's Emil Blonsky, a random mook, or a genetic creation of the Leader. Also Bruce's abusive father issue was never used. But we guess one Jerkass father was enough already. In this case, Betty's.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Betty is a brunette in the comics but has blonde hair in this show. That said, it should be noted she did dye her hair blonde during one point in the comics.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: Samuel Sterns is the one responsible for Hulk's creation.
    • Like in the comics, Jennifer Walters gains her She-Hulk form thanks to a blood transfusion from Bruce. However, unlike in the comics, Jen is injured by Dr Doom's robots rather than being caught in the crossfire of an attempt on her father's life by a crime boss.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Grey Hulk here is a shady anti-hero, while in the comics he's (more or less) an outright villain.
    • Zzzax is depicted as a tragic victim of an accident that transforms him into an uncontrollable energy being, while the comic version has no tragic excuse and enjoys killing to give itself intelligence.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: She-Hulk was promoted to co-lead status in the second season (with the show renamed to reflect this change) to better entice female viewers.
  • Adventure Towns: Due to being on the run from the military, Bruce is constantly going to different towns cities throughout. Although in season two, the military is No chasing him, but he continues to travel around the world, but this time with Jennifer by his side.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: A rather odd example with She-Hulk showing attraction to the Thing.
  • Amazon Brigade: The episode "Fashion Warriors" has the eponymous team which consists of She-Hulk, Betty and three models/scientists named Jade, Rissy and Maria.
  • Amazonian Beauty: She-Hulk in season 1. Her physique becomes more lithe in season 2.
  • Amazon Chaser: Gargoyle becomes attracted to She-Hulk from the moment he sees her. The feeling is not mutual.
  • Anti-Hero:
    • Green Hulk is the Disney Anti-Hero. He is capable of doing good, but often has trouble controlling his rage and usually only lets up when his loved ones (i.e. Rick Jones, Betty Ross, and She-Hulk) are in danger.
    • Grey Hulk is the Pragmatic Anti-Hero. He's willing to do anything it takes to stop the bad guys, even if it's by using methods not everyone might agree with.
  • Appropriated Appellation: The Hulk. And when he heads off to Canada, this eventually happens to Walter Langkowski or "Sasquatch".
  • Art Evolution: The second season inverts this by being much worse visually. Which is surprising as both Iron Man: The Animated Series and Fantastic Four: The Animated Series got better, and the animation studio behind this series stayed on.
  • Ascended Extra: She-Hulk, who had appeared in Season 1's "Doomed" and "Fantastic Fortitude", becomes a regular in season 2.
  • Asshole Victim: There are a few people attacked by the Hulk who were really asking for it. Luckily, since it's a kids' show, none of the asshole victims die at least.
    • Talbot is even more of an asshole victim, since 1. He interrupted Bruce's experiment using a rocket launcher in the pilot. 2. He used the gamma taser on Hulk just when Hulk was calming down (he ends up at the receiving end of Ghost Rider's Penance Stare), and 3. He interrupted the Nutrient Bath process, only for Betty, Doc Samson and Rick Jones to call him out on it.
  • Badass Bookworm: No shit when it comes to Banner.
    • Perhaps the greatest example of this is when he tied up General Ross and took the latest Hulkbuster suit to fight his alter-ego (when separated) and came extremely close to winning.
      Bruce: I can just see the tabloids now! The Incredible Hulk gets his big, green gamma butt kicked by none other than puny BANNER!
  • Badass Normal: When the model show was interrupted by Leader in "Fashion Warriors", She-Hulk, Betty, and 3 models managed to retake the building they were doing their show in.
  • Bash Brothers: Hulk rarely teams up with other superheroes due to the fact that he doesn't get along with them too well. He briefly teamed up with the Thing because they were fighting the Gamma Warriors (fighting alligators in the zoo didn't count). However, Hulk DID team up with Grey Hulk against the alien creature that possessed Bruce in "Mind Over Anti-Matter".
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Both Green and Gray Hulks are always fighting each other when Banner loses control over his anger, and the winner will be the one to Hulk Out. In "Mind Over Anti-Matter", the alien creature that possessed Banner defeats the both of them for control, and with the help of Dr. Stange and She-Hulk, they join forces to fight it.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Leader would like Gargoyle (and annoyingly enough, the audience) to think that because he is responsible for Hulk's creation, he deserves his power. Who would like to call bullshit?
  • Bench Breaker: From time to time, Bruce gets tied to a chair and then Hulks out, breaking the chair more or less automatically.
  • Berserk Button: It IS a Hulk show, after all.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The gamma-powered Outcasts arrive to save Bruce and Hulk on separate occasions. They're quite reliable.
  • Big "NO!": There's A LOT. Usually by Banner before he hulks out.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Betty clearly has a less-than-ideal family life, given how controlling and obsessive her father is shown to be.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The first season has A LOT of episodes ending on a bittersweet note, one of the best examples being "Innocent Blood", where Betty and Rick are only able to save the Hulk's life by convincing him that they despised him in order to make him angry enough to work off the poison he's been injected with, the episode ending with the Hulk leaving and feeling betrayed after Betty tries to explain their intentions to him. It isn't until season 2 that things get less serious.
  • Blood Knight: Abomination really loves fighting. Wendigo also qualifies to an extent. Plus he had to get his ass kicked by a worthy opponent so he can be free from his curse, and as a result, learn humility.
  • Body Horror: For a kid's show, it shows what happens when one transforms into a gamma monster. The Leader's Gamma Warriors had this in effect. Although Jennifer Walters' transformation was kinder, since hers doesn't look as painful, because she rather... enjoys it.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: She-Hulk is more jovial and carefree in and out of battle, especially in contrast to her cousin.
  • Book Dumb: Even though he lacks Banner's intelligence, the Hulk can show a lot of cunning when he needs to. And for a supposedly mindless berserker, the Hulk can still come up with some fairly creative tactics when he's in a tight spot.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Bruce was dying from poison in "Innocent Blood" and his only chance to survive was to become angry enough to hulk out. Because fighting with Doctor Samson and Ghost Rider wasn't enough, Rick and Betty, the two closest people in Hulk's life, were forced to yell at him that they hate him, he destroyed their lives and he should have never been born. It worked. And hurt Hulk, hard. Ghost Rider even invokes the trope by name.
    Ghost Rider: Break his heart in order to save him. I don't know if I would be able to do such a thing.
  • Breast Expansion: Parts of Jennifer's initial transformation into She-Hulk focuses on her breasts becoming larger, switching between focusing on her, and showing her growing shadow on the wall with them visibly filling out.
  • Broad Strokes: The rendition of the Hulk and others don't quite match with the guest roles he'd had on Fantastic Four and Iron Man, but the characters from those shows are pretty much the same when they appear in this show and the events of the previous appearances are referred to.
  • Bully Turned Buddy: When She-Hulk attends her High School reunion, she encounters four women who seemed to be Alpha Bitches who bullied her in High School, who haven't changed a bit and are jealous when she starts getting the attention from the men at the reunion including the husband of the one of the woman. However, when Ogress attacks the reunion, She-Hulk saves them from being crushed, they are quite impressed. After She-Hulk leaves with Bruce, the women say goodbye to her, having painted themselves green to show their support for her.
    Woman 1: Bye Jennifer. See you in ten years. I always liked her.
    Woman 2: Yeah, tall and green. She's really got it going on.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Yeah, Talbot. Leave the poor man alone. Seriously though, are people tired of living when Banner specifically says "Don't make me angry"?
  • Butt-Monkey: Gargoyle often gets humiliated.
  • The Cameo: Lou Ferrigno appears as himself in animated form in the episode "Fashion Warriors", but with no lines.
  • Canon Foreigner: The Gamma Warriors (minus Abomination and Ogress), Allure, Hybrid and Scimitar were all original villains created for this cartoon.
  • Can't Live Without You: Betty finds out the hard way in the "Darkness and Light" three-parter that Hulk and Bruce cannot live separately, and they must rely on one another to continue to exist. Otherwise, they'll die.
  • Captain's Log: Many of the episodes open with Bruce talking into his tape recorder as part of an audio diary.
  • Car Fu: Rarely, the Hulk uses cars as weapons. Not weaponized like boxing gloves mind you.
  • Catastrophic Countdown: In "Mind Over Anti-Matter", the alien creature that possessed Bruce attempts to launch nuclear missiles in an attempt to destroy humanity. After his defeat, Bruce manages to gain control of himself before the missile hits zero.
  • Catchphrase: "HULK SMASH!!!" "HULK BASH!!!" "EAT GREEN!!!" "So says the Leader." The last line annoyed the hell out of Gargoyle.
  • Chained Heat: The episode "And the Wind Cries...Wendigo!" has the Hulk and General Ross stuck together because of a set of handcuffs built to hold the Hulk and being forced to cooperate with each other to save Betty from the Wendigo.
  • Clip Show: Some portions use flashbacks for this reason.
  • Comic-Book Shows Don't Use Codenames: Averted. How else are people are gonna figure out what the other characters are? Especially guest appearances from other super-heroes?
  • Color Contrast: A big green guy with (somehow) purple pants. That is all.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In "Doomed," Doctor Doom briefly alludes to his previous encounter with the Hulk from the Fantastic Four cartoon, snarking that he'd forgotten about the Hulk's "left brain personality."
    • Likewise, "Fantastic Fortitude" has several references to the Hulk's guest appearance on the Fantastic Four show, such as the Hulk telling Jennifer that the Thing is his enemy, and the Thing recognizing Rick Jones as the kid who used to hang around with Bruce Banner.
    • "Helping Hand, Iron Fist" also makes reference to Iron Man's previous encounter with the Hulk in his own show, and establishes that it was in fact Stark Enterprises that provided Bruce with some of the resources for his gamma reactor.
  • Combat Stilettos: She-Hulk can often be seen wearing these. The episode "Fashion Warriors" has a rather literal example when Jade, one of the fashion models, uses her heels to take out two cameras.
  • Continuity Snarl: The series takes place in the same continuity as Fantastic Four: The Animated Series, but has She-Hulk's debut episode depict Jennifer Walter's first transformation, when the Fantastic Four cartoon featured the character in a cameo where she was already a crime-fighting jade-skinned amazon, specifically appearing as part of The Avengers (who aren't referred to in this show at all).
  • Crapsack World: The setting is frequently shown to be pretty terrible, what with everyone living in fear of the Hulks rampages.
  • Creator Cameo: Stan Lee in "Down Memory Lane" as (appropriately enough) Jennifer's father.
  • Creature of Habit: Bruce labels the Hulk as this; During their separation, he uses his knowledge of the Hulk's fighting style to dodge and restrain him.
  • Crossover: One with Iron Man: The Animated Series and several with Fantastic Four: The Animated Series (one with the leads and several with related characters). There were some appropriate nods to when Hulk appeared on those shows.
    • "Helping Hand, Iron Fist" (a Sequel Episode to an episode of Iron Man: The Animated Series that was a Poorly-Disguised Pilot for this cartoon) sees Hulk encounter Iron Man, War Machine and H.O.M.E.R., while trying to evade General Ross and S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • "Fantastic Fortitude" sees him and She-Hulk team-up with Thing against the Leader's new creations. The other FF members make cameo appearances, as well.
    • "Innocent Blood" and "Mortal Bounds" reuse versions of Ghost Rider and The Mighty Thor, respectively, that first appeared in episodes of Fantastic Four.
    • Hulk faces Doctor Doom in Season 1's "Doomed," which is the first appearance of She-Hulk. Doom returns next season in "Hollywood Rocks" to exact some revenge.
    • Season 2 also features a guest appearance from Doctor Strange (though this is a different version than the one who appeared over on Spider-Man: The Animated Series).
  • Cursed with Awesome: As much as his Hulk condition has made Bruce's life a complete shambles as a fugitive, the only reason he survives his adventures is due to transforming into the Hulk in times of need.
  • Darker and Edgier: At least initially, this cartoon based on a Marvel comics property was definitely much darker in tone than its contemporaries, due to not sugarcoating the difficulties that come with the protagonist having uncontrollable transformations into a rampaging behemoth. As mentioned above, the 2nd season got less serious.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Ghost Rider is a supernatural biker with a flaming skull for a head and a Good is Not Nice attitude. He's also a stalwart protector of the innocent and willing to take a few knocks in order to help save Hulk's life.
  • Deadpan Snarker: This little gem:
    Doc Samson: "Interesting though, how the Hulk whipped both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the military on the same day."
    Ross and Agent Jones (deadpan): "Ha ha ha."
    • Grey Hulk loves being a sarcastic jerkass.
    • Bruce has a pretty dry wit at times.
    • Gargoyle nearly on every occasion he appears in:
      "And to think, I left a disease-ridden deathbed for this?"
    • Jennifer Walters, pre and post-transformation.
    • The Thing, of course, never disappoints on the snark factor:
      Jennifer: Hey there: Tall, dark and crusty.
      Thing: (coughs up fish) What is this? "Gamma Mutant Day" at the zoo?
    • Iron Man gets in some good lines, especially in his last exchange with Ross and Gabe.
      "Oh and, gentlemen, do we submit the bill for damages to S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Pentagon?"
  • Demoted to Extra: Betty Ross, who had major focus in the first season, only appeared in certain episodes in season 2. Also, Doc Samson and Rick Jones were demoted even more after season 2's premiere.
  • Depraved Dwarf: Gargoyle happens to be short, deformed, and rather unsavory, more so in Season 2, when he tries to pursue She-Hulk.
  • Determinator: Hoo-boy. There's a lot of determination in this show: Bruce is trying to cure himself of the Hulk, General Ross and Talbot are trying to kill the Hulk, Betty and Doc Samson are trying to create the Nutrient Bath to separate Bruce from Hulk, Leader wants Hulk alive so he can possess his strength, and Gargoyle just wants to be normal. Some of the determinations die off eventually.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: She-Hulk does a Marilyn Maneuver scene, despite wearing short pants, is sufficent to distract a dock worker doing his job and causes an incident at the start of "Fantastic Fortitude".
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": The Hulk hates being called Bruce. Though, it's justified in that they actually are separate entities inhabiting the same body. Unless your name is Betty, he doesn't seem to mind her calling him Bruce for some reason.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: She-Hulk's transformation sequence looks a lot like she's having an orgasm. "Lighting my fire", indeed.
  • The Dragon: Abomination is second-in-command to Leader, Talbot is the right-hand man to General Ross, and Crusher Creel is the main minion of Allure.
  • Dumb Is Good: Usually. Many of the times Hulk clashes with the cameo Superheroes is due to some misunderstanding.
  • Dumb Muscle: Hulk and Abomination. Although Hulk's rage will sometimes redirect towards someone else (usually by Betty, Rick or She-Hulk, or someone who cares about him). Played completely straight with Abomination and the Gamma Warriors.
  • Dynamic Entry: Hulk makes one crashing into Dr. Doom's castle, while land-stomping on Doom's robots.
  • Easy Amnesia: Happens to Banner, eventually leading to a Hulk Out when Rick tries to talk some sense into him. To be fair, it was caused because he barely survived an earthquake in San Francisco.
  • Elite Mooks: Leader's Gamma Warriors. And the military's Hulkbusters.
  • Enemy Mine: When an alien force invades Bruce's mind and takes over his body, The "Savage" and Grey Hulk team-up to defeat it together.
  • Energy Ring Attack: In "Mind Over Ant-Matter", Dr. Strange battles a creature trying to possess Bruce Banner. One of the attacks he uses against it is a concentric circle beam.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Non-romantic example in "Mind Over Anti-Matter", a little girl tells her mom she wants to grow up to be like She-Hulk. But her mom will have none of that, and pulls her husband's ear away from gawking at She-Hulk.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite opposing Banner every chance he gets, Talbot stops Ross from killing him in his and Betty's wedding.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Betty is blonde in this show due to Adaptation Dye-Job. Both Bruce and Talbot are in love with her, though she only has eyes for the former.
  • Evil Counterpart: Abomination, Leader, and hell, Dark Hulk.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The demonic entity and the Dark Hulk form Banner gains from being possessed by said entity in "Mind Over Anti-Matter" has a deep, sinister voice, courtesy of Kevin Michael Richardson.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through!: Rarely.
  • Expy: Allure seems be one for Emma Frost. Both are blonde-haired mind controllers who wear revealing outfits.
    • Gargoyle's role as a sympathetic, short-statured lackey for a green-skinned main villain who eventually devolves into comic relief makes him the MODOK to Leader's Mandarin.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Hulk and Thing in "Fantastic Fortitude".
    Hulk: Thing Rick's friend... Hulk's friend.
  • Flanderization: She-Hulk's humorous and sexual aspects are played up more in this show with her law career being virtually non-existent. The one episode where we do see her practicing law doesn't paint her as being very competent in the field.
  • Freak Lab Accident: As it turns out, Samuel Sterns (Pre-gamma Leader) was responsible for Hulk's creation (he lampshades this), thus the cause of everything that transpires in the first place.
  • Genius Bruiser: Doc Samson, who's Betty's gamma research assistant, and can trade blows with The Hulk. Sasquatch as well. Jennifer was also training to be (and eventually became) a lawyer before she turned into a 7-foot green amazon.
  • Gentle Giant: Try to get to know the Hulk before you piss him off.
    • Grey Hulk isn't exactly gentle, but he's above killing Mooks.
  • Girl Posse: The girls in "Down Memory Lane" who often bully "plain jane" Jennifer. To both their surprise and dismay, Jennifer arrives as the She-Hulk. At the end, they kiss up to her and painted themselves green, in gratitude for her saving them.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong:
    • The ENTIRE SHOW has this in the first season. Most of them are trying to reverse the effects of hulking out while someone, usually Talbot or another enemy, always has to fuck everything up to the point Bruce turns into the Hulk.
    • The second season's series finale involved a S.H.I.E.L.D. double-agent trying to recover experimental organisms, but she was caught and merged with the creatures she was supposed to steal. This gave her the ability to possess other organisms as a result, and, on the plus side, healing them as well.
  • Grand Finale: "Mission: Incredible" doesn't provide complete closure, but it at least gets Ross out of that coma and sees him bury the hatchet with Bruce.
  • Greed: Allure's entire defining personality trait.
    Crusher: I know I can make you happy.
    Allure: Crusher, haven't you figured me out yet? You dolt! People don't make me happy things do!
  • Green and Mean: Averted with She-Hulk, subverted with Hulk and played straight with Leader and his Gamma Mutants.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Hulk technically has black hair with a green tinge to it.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Betty has blonde hair and is a kind, loving woman.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Hulk, obviously, is easily enraged. General Ross as well, along with Abomination and Sasquatch.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: She-Hulk often gets this reaction out of male characters. Some of whom are married.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: General Ross, of course. Made much clearer in "Darkness and Light, Part 3".
  • Hellish Copter: Hulk, and anything else that tries, ALWAYS takes down a helicopter, usually unconventionally.
  • Hello, Attorney!: She-Hulk, of course. The episode where she defends her cousin causes the court photographers attention to temporarily turn to her the moment she walks in.
  • Heroic BSoD: Where. The. Hell. Do. I. Begin? In the season 1's finale, Bruce suffered an enormous BSOD when finding out Rick fell into the Nutrient Bath, followed by this line:
    Bruce: Rick! No, not my friend... He doesn't deserve to be in that... That nightmare!!
    • It also brings out the original Grey Hulk as a result. Also, Betty has this after Bruce's, lamenting the fact that things will never return to normal, and seeing how changing fate was beyond their control.
  • Hulk Out: As always, Banner becomes the Hulk when angered.
  • Hulk Speak: The Trope Namer. Averted in Grey Hulk's case, who speaks in complete sentences and doesn't refer to himself in third person.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Allure.
  • I Am a Monster: In "Man to Man, Beast to Beast", Walter Langkowski turns into the Sasquatch permanently, and during his fight with the Hulk, he realizes he has harmed the child Hulk had befriended. Realizing this, he decides to drift endlessly, believing he has become a monster.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Bruce Banner and Gargoyle's motive in the series are to cure themselves of their gamma-induced mutations.
  • I Lied: Leader lies to Gargoyle about having Banner survive transferring his powers so he can cure Gargoyle in the two-part series premiere, shooting the little guy with a laser to make it an even bigger dick move.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: The Thing gets knocked about by gamma mutant Ogress. The Yancy Street Gang does not waste this opportunity to rub it in by spreading flyers of the image of the Thing being manhandled all across New York City:
    Thing: (Reads flyer) "Thing whooped by woman!?" (Scrunches by up the paper) Lousy, stinking Yancy Streeters! One of these days, One of these days...Pow! To the moon, Alice!
  • If I Can't Have You…: Gargoyle opts to prevent She-Hulk from reverting to normal, if she gives herself up to him. But once it happens, and she decides "plain-old" Jennifer isn't so bad (to be fair, she's built like a supermodel), she rejects Gargoyle again, and the latter says this trope before launching an assault in Los Angeles. Jennifer (naturally) lampshades how petty he's being.
    Jennifer: Some guys can't take "no" for an answer!
  • Implacable Man: The Hulk, Abomination and She-Hulk are all pretty hard to get away from. Something of a plot point when Jennifer returns to her parents' home, and discovers she's unusually tired, and it's a sign she's reverting to her human form. Apparently, being a Hulk means exhaustion is very rare.
  • In Medias Res: The Hulk's origin is conveyed when Bruce remembers how everything started, not knowing Samuel Sterns was responsible.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Of the Hulking Out variety (but of course!)
  • It's All About Me: Allure only cares about Allure. And the attention she receives from the men under her control.
  • Jerkass: Quite a lot of assholish behavior comes from Glenn.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Grey Hulk is this. After getting his ass handed to him by Crusher Creel, he's trying to snap Banner out of his senses to help him remember that Betty Ross is the only woman he loves, not Allure. It works.
    • Talbot seems to get better after Betty asks him to help save Banner's life.
  • Kid Sidekick: Rick Jones is technically a teenager, but he's loyal to Bruce after being saved by him when the gamma dome exploded. Since the incident, he goes around hoping to make sure Hulk's Berserk Button doesn't go overboard.
  • Lighter and Softer: Due to Executive Meddling, they chose to put the series in a lighter direction. Which ironically, led to the series' cancellation compared to the much darker season one.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Hulk is unusually fast for an 8-foot, muscle-bound gamma mutate. He also jumps pretty far. She-Hulk plays this straight. Averted with the Thing as he climbs the stairs inside the Statue of Liberty; he gets worn out by climbing said stairs.
    • To be fair, The Thing scaled all of the stairs of the Statue of Liberty (the equivalent of 20 stories) in a single sprint to reach the crown, in what seemed to be a few minutes. Considering the mass Ben has to work with, this is very impressive.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: The Hulk's fighting style relies primarily on punches, grapples and throws. She-Hulk is more acrobatic and uses her legs more than her cousin.
  • Maybe Ever After: She-Hulk and Gabriel, in the series finale.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Played with. The Leader had finally achieved his dream of stealing the Hulk's immense power when Gargoyle places his mind into the Hulk's body. While he assumed he had overwritten the Hulk's consciousness, there were signs that the Hulk was still somewhere in there beneath the surface, and the Hulk's personality finally breaks free when he sees the same gamma reactor which created him, and tries to destroy it in a fit of rage. It takes Betty appealing to him/Leader to get him to calm down, and thereby saving not only the Leader, but everyone in the base.
  • Mr. Fanservice: In-universe: Betty is somewhat attracted to Doc Samson. Though, both of them prioritize curing Bruce of the Hulk.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Grey Hulk. He wears fine, personally tailored suits, eats the finest food (and a lot of it), but is shown to have a certain honor.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She-Hulk. To start with, she's a green Amazonian Beauty. In the series, between the seductive voice, the orgasmic transformation, the constant Male Gaze shots, and averting the Panty Shot via Vapor Wear, she's as good at arousing teenage boys as she is at smashing villains.
    • She-Hulk is this in-universe also, even turning most of the male heads at her high school reunion in "Down Memory Lane."
    Woman 1: Who's she trying to impress with that pathetic body paint?
    Woman 2: Well, your husband, for one. (cut to said husband dancing with She-Hulk)
    • "Fashion Warriors" a season 2 episode had Betty taking part in a fashion show. The majority of her screen time was spent in a swim suit and heels. That same episode also featured numerous women in sexy outfits.
  • Motive Decay: In season 1, Gargoyle is only with the Leader so he can find a cure for his mutation. In season 2, he's reduced to a bumbling comic relief lackey who's obsessed with She-Hulk.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Talbot and Crusher Creel against Bruce. Talbot's wasn't at Yandere level thankfully, but Crusher Creel almost is. Luckily, Bruce doesn't have feelings towards Allure anymore thanks to Grey Hulk.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Doc Samson goes to try to save the Hulk from being destroyed by S.H.I.E.L.D. after separating Bruce and Hulk with the Nutrient Bath, only to find him in a mindless rampage, and realizes what he has done.
    • When Walter Langkowski, as Sasquatch, realizes he was indirectly responsible for hurting a child, he is utterly horrified, even in his beast form, causing him to send himself adrift on an iceberg in shame.
  • Mythology Gag: Grey Hulk's persona as "Joe Fixit" gets a nod, in the aptly named "They Call Me Mr. Fixit".
    • The Thing's guest star appearance features his enmity with the Yancy Street Gang.
    • Interestingly enough, She-Hulk's attraction to the Thing.
    • The flashback to how Bruce became the Hulk: first, the Hulk was grey, before turning into the familiar green Hulk. The Grey Hulk appeared later in the series. This is how it was in the comics: The Hulk was originally grey, but became green after issue #3 after the publishers couldn't find a consistent grey tone. The Grey Hulk would later have his own run.
  • New Season, New Name: The show was retitled The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk for the second and final season.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Villain:
    • General Ross played it straight... In season 1's finale he went mad to the point he caused Bruce's heart attack and unintentionally knocked Rick Jones into the nutrient bath that was meant to re-merge Hulk and Bruce, turning Rick into a Hulk himself. This, in turn, led to the emergence of the original Grey Hulk.
    • Glenn Talbot has this in spades.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: The Hulk, and many of the enemies he encounters, are highly resistant to injury. She-Hulk assumes she has this at first, but it seems to be a really high end of Super-Toughness.
  • Noble Demon: Gargoyle, after being cured of the gamma virus that was slowly killing him, uses enough of the dosage to give to Bruce Banner, who helped him create it, for a chance to save Betty Ross. Gargoyle could have used it to cure himself of his mutation, but was apparently very grateful for Banner's help and inspired by him making the same sacrifice in making the cure. Although he later warned him that the next day, they'll be enemies again, and he shouldn't expect such kindness in future from him.
  • Nice Girl: She-Hulk unlike the Hulk is a sweet, polite and nice woman who is very social with people and despite being a green skinned woman people fall in love with her partly because of her nice and sweet nature.
  • Nuclear Mutant: In a show about the Hulk, superhumans created from people being mutated by gamma radiation comes with the territory.
  • Oh, Crap!: The usual reaction by the Mooks in each episode when they are chasing Banner, and he turns into the Hulk, is to realize that they are screwed.
  • Partial Transformation: Ogress freezes Banner part-way during his transformation in "Fantastic Fortitude".
  • Pet the Dog: The "savage" Hulk almost always gets a moment where he proves he's just a big softy at heart. He literally pets a dog and fed it snow on "Man to Man, Beast to Beast".
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: Ghost Rider's guest appearances both here and in the Fantastic Four: The Animated Series series that was airing at the same time.
  • Put on a Bus: Majority of the characters in season 1 get phased out of the show, the exceptions being recurring villains, General Ross and Betty.
  • Recycled In Space
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Banner becomes Grey Hulk, he has red eyes.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: First season was a Darker and Edgier, while second season was a Lighter and Softer.
  • Roar Before Beating
  • Run for the Border: In "Man to Man, Beast to Beast", Bruce finds himself in Canada.
  • Sanity Slippage: Eventually happens to General Ross in the Season 1 finale, "Darkness and Light, Part 3", after he gets more obsessive (than usual) in defeating the Hulk (who is now separated from Bruce). This leads to him shooting an anti-Hulk weapon at Talbot's vehicle, and aiming a gun at Banner's head during his daughter's wedding. He even causes Rick Jones to fall into a nutrient bath, transforming him into a Hulk himself. Only then does he realise he's gone too far.
  • Save the Princess: Notably in "Wendigo" when Betty gets kidnapped by Wendigo. It becomes Hulk and General Ross's motive to save her when they are forced to work together.
  • Servile Snarker: Gargoyle to the Leader. Sometimes the Leader loses patience for it.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: Jenifer Walter is a normal if petite woman with short hair and, while quite friendly, is not terribly socially confident. But when she is critically injured, and her cousin Bruce gives her a blood transfusion, she transforms into a tall, green skinned woman with long hair and becomes very socially confident and extroverted, even preferring her altered green skinned state to her norm.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: She-Hulk can apparently maintain her form whatever the circumstance, and even Bruce doesn't fully understand why. There was an episode where she was returning to normal Jennifer, but after experiencing the same stress Bruce usually feels before he hulks out, she becomes the She-Hulk again. Unlike Bruce, She Hulk prefers to be a tall green skinned woman than her normal form and likes it that way so she stays that way for most of the series.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Rick thinks Tony Stark's bodyguard is named "Iron Maiden" instead of Iron Man.
    • In "Innocent Blood" Rick and Betty pretend to hate Hulk in order to make him mad enough to burn through some poison in his system. Hulk leaves before they can explain and, still emotionally devastated, is seen remarking to a Gargoyle that he is lucky to be made of unfeeling stone. This evokes the line from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)" where Quasimodo says to a Gargoyle "Why was I not made of stone, like thee?".
  • Sibling Team: Bruce and Jennifer are a cousin variant in season 2, although their bond was always more similar to brother and sister since they were kids.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Betty would rather be with Bruce than with Talbot, whose Jerkass tendencies took a level of asshole from the comics. Although she also loves the Hulk and is even more understanding towards him.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Jennifer's mother lives to see her daughter become the She-Hulk in the series.
  • Split Personality: Bruce has three personalities: himself, the original "savage" Hulk, and the sarcastic Grey Hulk.
  • Stripperiffic: A number of She-Hulk's outfits, with the purple get up she wears in "They Call Me Mr. Fixit" being particularly absurd.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: The series finale is basically this. The episode opens with General Ross, who is very sick, getting his body taken over by a parasite, who later on, takes over Betty and tries to break into the SHIELD seabase. In the end of the episode, the Hulk fights off the parasite while She-Hulk tries to help him and it looks like both the Hulk and She-Hulk have died in the fight… only for them to suddenly emerge riding on dolphins. Gabriel Jones thanks Banner, off-the-record, admitting that SHIELD would never actually do that. Then he reveals to Betty that something unexpected happened to General Ross’s health: he is all healthy and fit again! As the father and daughter begin to reconcile, Bruce decides to leave them alone, because of their history, only for Ross to stop him, announcing that he will be retiring and wants to start fresh, by getting to know his future son-in-law better. As the three walk away, She-Hulk asks Gabriel Jones out on a date, which he accepts.
  • Tempting Fate: In "Mortal Bounds", The Hulk is sealed in a special cage and seemingly captured. Agent Gabriel of SHIELD exclaims "Only the gods themselves could release him from that contraption". In comes Thor who uses his hammer to disable the army's tank and teleport The Hulk from Mount Rushmore to New York.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In "Darkness and Light, Part 1," Hulk sees his reflection in water while in mid-transformation, realizing the truth about himself and Bruce.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Season 1 was full of people not caring about taking a life if the being that's to be killed isn't considered human.
  • Wounded Gazelle Warcry: A non-battle example in "Innocent Blood." Hulk was trapped under rubble, turning back into Bruce Banner, and affected by a faulty tranquilizer, which would kill him if he returned to human form before it wore off. To make him turn into the Hulk and save himself, Rick Jones pretended to be hurt and called for help.
  • Wrongly Accused: In Season 2's premiere, Bruce was charged with attempted murder (how they got this word in syndication is beyond us), when in fact, despite how much of a Jerkass Grey Hulk is, he was actually trying to save General Ross's life.
  • Yandere: Crusher Creel was dangerously close to it. He's willing to do everything Allure tells him, even kill the competition. He drives this further trying to kill Bruce in a warehouse explosion. Luckily, for Bruce and thanks to the Grey Hulk, he survives.
  • You Just Ruined the Shot: Happens in the episode "Hollywood Rocks", where She-Hulk steps in to stop a bus from crashing into a woman pushing a baby carriage. It turns out to all be a scene being shot for a movie and that the woman was actually a male actor in drag.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: Although the line was "You wouldn't like me when I'm mad!".


Jen's Class Reunion

Jennifer surprises her old classmates when she shows up for a class reunion as She-Hulk.

How well does it match the trope?

4.64 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / SheIsAllGrownUp

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