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Western Animation / The Inspector

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The Inspector and Deux-Deux.

The second animated series from DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, and something of a Spin-Off from The Pink Panther series (specifically A Shot in the Dark), The Inspector can best be described as what would happen if you turned the Mind Screw of the Pink Panther films up to eleven, while dialling down the incompetence of its main character. The cartoons feature the titular Inspector attempting to solve surreal crimes in his home country of France, and generally failing miserably (occasionally, he would succeed miserably). The other main characters are the Inspector's dim-witted Spanish assistant, Deux-Deux, and the Inspector's boss, the Commissioner. Henry Mancini (the composer of the films) did the series' soundtrack.

There were 34 cartoons produced between 1965 and 1969, making it DFE's longest-running series apart from the animated Pink Panther shorts. The Inspector was also the companion series for the Pink Panther cartoons in The Pink Panther Show for its first three seasons, after which it was replaced by The Ant and the Aardvark. The eponymous Inspector also appears in the Animated Credits Opening of the 1968 live-action film Inspector Clouseau.

Both the Inspector and Commissioner were revived as recurring characters in the 1993 Pink Panther revival.

The Inspector provides examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Inspector is replaced with a robotic cop, who does his job so efficiently that even the Commissioner finds himself in a homeless shelter eating soup with the Inspector.
  • Animated Adaptation: Is one of The Pink Panther films. Ironically, it's more faithful to the films than the Pink Panther cartoons are, which are instead based off of the animated opening sequences of the films.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Pique Poquette of Paris", the Inspector discovers that Spider Pierre had stolen his watch, badge, wallet, comb, diner's card, fountain pen, and his mother's picture.
    The Inspector: [angrily] We're not dealing with a pickpocket! We're dealing with a vacuum cleaner!
  • Awful Wedded Life:
    • The Commissioner and his wife in "That's No Lady, That's Notre Dame", when the Inspector disguises himself as his sister, and he ends up being henpecked. It gets worse when Deux-Deux, who has disguised himself as his sister, is invited by the chief to talk about the successful mission in his office, and the chief's wife shows up and beats the daylights out of him, with Deux-Deux leaving the office just in the nick of time.
    • Edna, the sarcastic wife and suffering husband Charlie in "Le Ball and Chain Gang"; the Inspector tries to get in touch with the husband urging her to fess up to the crime, and Charlie panics, turning out the lights to try and clobber the Inspector, only to hit Edna, and as she regains consciousness, he's prepared to testify against his wife in court, only for the Inspector to reveal that he merely came to give Charlie a jury duty summons, and Edna starts beating him up with a wooden club.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Inspector very rarely solves cases successfully, and even when he does, the crooks still tend to find some way to screw him over. However, the bad guys are almost always brought to justice or punished in some way, notable exceptions being "Pierre and Cottage Cheese," and the Matzoriley brothers and the Blotch getting away completely in "The Great DeGaulle Stone Operation" and "Cirrhosis of the Louvre" respectively.
  • Bears Are Bad News: In "Bear de Guerre", when the Inspector goes quail hunting in a nature preserve and keeps running afoul of a brown bear who thinks he's the one being hunted with the bear warning the Inspector that there will be trouble if he doesn't watch his step. After repeated mishaps, where both the bear and the park ranger are accidentally shot/run over, respectively, the ranger gives the bear a hunting license to shoot the Inspector. With a cannon.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: The Commissioner boasts a truly impressive set of these.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In "That's No Lady, That's Notre Dame", the Inspector orders Deux-Deux to dress as a lady to catch a purse snatcher. Later on, after the Inspector himself pretends to be his sister and unsuccessfully returns, Deux-Deux successfully nabs the purse snatcher.
    • In "Sicque! Sicque! Sicque!", the Inspector and Deux-Deux search for a monster created by a Mad Scientist. At the end, as the Inspector drives away with Deux-Deux chasing after him, begging him not to leave him alone with the monster, unaware that he himself is the monster, thanks to some Jekyll-Hyde formula he drank, mistaking it for seltzer, the real monster comes out at the end.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • The Inspector only rarely wins at the end, and is usually screwed over when he does.
    • Deux-Deux in "La Feet's Defeat", where the Inspector lets an eager young Deux-Deux handle the dirty work of testing for land mines and booby traps while the Inspector is perfectly intact.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin':
    • In "Les Miserobots", the Inspector's attempts to get rid of his mechanical replacement backfire horribly.
    • In "Le Cop on Le Rocks", the Inspector is framed for a bank robber that looks like him. Every time he gets caught trying to break out of prison, the warden adds more years to his sentence. When working at the rockpile, the warden tells him that he will be free after one more rock. Unfortunately, it happens to be the Rock of Gibraltar.
  • Cats Have Nine Lives: In "Le Quiet Squad", when an alley cat is deliberately making a large racket when the Commissioner is trying to get some rest, the Inspector shoots it. Unfortunately, this causes the cat's nine lives to appear and cause a bigger racket.
  • Catchphrase:
    • When the Inspector assigns a task to Deux-Deux, he will usually say, "That's an order, Deux-Deux".
    • The Inspector frequently reminds Deux-Deux "Don't say 'Sí', say 'oui', and Deux-Deux will respond with a confused 'Sí... I mean 'oui'..."
    • Deux-Deux sometimes says "I should have stayed in bed..." when things look tough.
  • Chained Heat: When the Inspector was transporting a criminal back to Paris while handcuffed to him, the criminal escaped with the Inspector being dragged along in an homage to The Defiant Ones. In the end, the Inspector managed to regain control of the situation when the two got stuck in a hay bale with the criminal immobilized.
  • Clear My Name:
    • In "Le Cop on Le Rocks", after the Inspector is arrested after being mistaken for a criminal, he keeps trying to escape so he can find the real criminal. Unfortunately by the end, he's still in there.
    • The Inspector tries repeatedly to do this in "Le Escape Goat"; after letting a dangerous criminal seeking revenge on the Commissioner escape, he gets suspended and his repeated attempts to apprehend the criminal on his own end up hurting or endangering the Commissioner to the point that he orders the Inspector to be apprehended as well and later tries to outright kill him with a gun.
  • Clueless Detective: The Inspector—though the cartoons go back on forth (often within the same cartoon) as to whether he's a bumbler with a Hypercompetent Sidekick, or bumbling but semi-competent with a clueless sidekick who still manages to get the job done in the end.
  • Combat Pragmatist: In "Ape Suzette", the Inspector's sense of honor when confronting the sailor—a rather short and unimpressive-looking man—gets him a good beating (which is actually delivered by the sailor's pet gorilla, Judy, who was hiding in a room next to him). When it's Deux-Deux turn, however, he doesn't take any chances and beats the crap out of the little guy and arrests him on the spot, much to the Inspector's admiration.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: The Inspector has one in "Le Cop on Le Rocks", which results in the Inspector getting sent to prison.
  • Determinator: Clueless and egotistical as he is, slacking is not one of The Inspector's flaws (as "Le Pig-Al Patrol" shows).
  • Dissonant Laughter: In "Plastered in Paris," the Inspector and Deux Deux are chasing after a villain named X who sprays laughing gas at them. They crash into a tree, and the following dialogue takes place while the two are laughing uncontrollably:
    Inspector: What's so funny, Deux Deux?
    Deux Deux: I think I broke my back.
    Inspector: You think that's funny? I think I fractured my leg!
    Deux Deux: Does...does that hurt you?
    Inspector: Of course, you idiot! The pain is unbearable!
  • The Eeyore: Deux-Deux really just wants to go home... or wishes he were back in Barcelona.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep":
    • Throughout the animated series, the titular character is simply known as the Inspector.
    • The Commissioner is always called "Commissioner", with the only character to ever mention his real name, Henri, being his wife in "That's No Lady, That's Notre Dame".
  • Exploiting the Fourth Wall: In one short the Inspector tells the animator to comply with the law and put the criminal he's been chasing behind bars.
  • Explosive Cigar: In "French Freud," the Inspector is aware someone is out to get him at the start, due to the numerous mishaps occurring to him. At a restaurant, he catches on and is afraid to smoke his after-dinner cigar as it may be an exploding one. He tosses it out the window, and sure enough, it blows up. So he sticks with his "trusty old pipe," which also ends up exploding when lit.
  • Expy: The Inspector himself, for the live-action Inspector Clouseau. Unlike Clouseau, the animated Inspector isn't dangerously incompetent, and while he certainly isn't very good at his job, he's much more prone to bad luck than bad judgement. Likewise, the Commissioner is in effect an animated version of Chief Inspector Dreyfus from the live-action films (Herbert Lom's Dreyfus debuted in A Shot in the Dark), though he only lashes out at the Inspector in anger rather than actually plotting to kill him. (On one occasion he did throw a bomb at the Inspector for failing to protect him from a mad bomber, though this being a cartoon series, being blown up is just a minor inconvenience.)
  • Eyes Always Shut: Deux-Deux's eyes are typically shut unless he's shocked/surprised, as when he turns into a monster in "Sicque! Sicque! Sicque!", and for the entirety of "La Feet's Defeat" (which also had him with a completely different personality).
  • Gone Horribly Right: In "Les Miserobots", the Commissioner fires the Inspector and hires a robotic cop in his place. The robot cop's work is so efficient, he ends up taking over the Commisioner's job, with the ex-Inspector and ex-Commissioner eating soup from a homeless shelter.
  • Gratuitous French: The Inspector sprinkles his sentences by using some French words in-between. It's notable in that none of the other French characters do this.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick:
    • In the episode "Reaux, Reaux, Reaux Your Boat", Crab Louie appears to be this for Captain Clamity.
    • Deux-Deux is a Later-Installment Weirdness variant only in "La Feet's Defeat", as compared to other episodes.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Wong of the Matzoreilly brothers is prone to this in "The Great De Gaulle Stone Operation", with the Confusion say malaprop proverbs "Three heads not always better than one", and "Place for hot ice is in glass of cold water."
  • Identical Stranger: Charlie's grandmother, from "Le Ball and Chain Gang", is extremely similar to the Inspector, down to wearing the same costume and carrying the same purse he did when trying to pass off as her.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: In "Le Ball and Chain Gang", when the Inspector is trying to reach Charlie, the husband who is being hassled by his nagging wife to confess to the crime Charlie panics, turning off the lights and clubs Edna when he was aiming for the Inspector, and just when Charlie gets prepared to testify against Edna in court, the Inspector reveals that he only came to give Charlie a jury duty summons.
  • Insistent Terminology: Deux-Deux, being Spanish, frequently says "" for "yes". The Inspector, being French, always tells him, "Don't say , say oui," to which Deux-Deux would often respond, "...I mean oui." These exchanges were kept in the Spanish language dub, where every character speaks accented Spanish and no indication is ever given that Deux-Deux is Spanish, so the effect is much weirder.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: Originally composed by Henry Mancini for the live-action Clouseau film A Shot in the Dark, with an earlier version appearing in the The Pink Panther cartoon, "Dial 'P' for Pink".
  • Karma Houdini: Quite a few of the villains the Inspector goes after manage to either get away scott free or get the last laugh against him. Even the Commissioner gets away with doing things (usually acts of violence/abuse against the Inspector) that would get a real-life law enforcement official suspended/fired and investigated, if not outright arrested.
  • Large and in Charge: The Commissioner towers over the Inspector and is typically roaring at the top of his lungs at the Inspector's latest goof-ups.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: In the 1968 short "La Feet's Defeat", Deux-Deux is recast as an eager new recruit and Butt-Monkey rather than the quiet Straight Man to the Inspector that he was in all of his previous appearances. It's worth pointing out that this was Deux-Deux's last appearance in the shorts. This episode could be considered a flashback to Deux-Deux's rookie year, since he was a more enthusiastic and eager sidekick who is oblivious to pain, as compared to other episodes where he reluctantly complies with the Inspector's orders with a weary, resigned, pessimistic outlook.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In "Les Misèrobots", the Commissioner gets rid of the Inspector by replacing him with a robotic officer. The robot is so competent he also gets the Commissioner's job, and both the Commissioner and Inspector find themselves eating soup at a homeless shelter.
  • Living Drawing: The Blotch from "Cirrhosis of the Louvre" is a living blotch of red paint.
  • Mad Bomber: One comes after the Commissioner in "Napoleon Blown-Aparte." Hell, he even is called "the Mad Bomber" (or how the Inspector pronounces it, "the Mad Boomber").
  • Maker of Monsters: "Transylvania Mania" has another Mad Scientist (who's also a vampire) attempting, with the aid of his Bumbling Sidekick, to steal the Inspector's brain for the latest monster he's created.
  • Mama's Boy: Deux-Deux decides he needs to call Mom in the middle of "Reaux, Reaux, Reaux Your Boat".
  • Mean Boss: Averted in the sense that the Commissioner usually has good reason to reprimand the Inspector for his goof-ups, but that does not excuse him being such a loudmouth tyrant with zero patience for any of his subordinate's mistakes or explanations. He's also not above playing practical jokes on his subordinates and while he doesn't send the Inspector on missions with the intention of killing him (unlike his live-action counterpart), he does resort to violence in several episodes.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Spider Pierre, the pickpocket from "The Pique Poquette of Paris" has four arms that look like that of an actual spider.
  • Negative Continuity: Applies to some extent, as some shorts featured one or all three of the central characters in some sort of seemingly irreversible trouble only to be safe again by the next short. "Bomb Voyage", in particular, ends with the Inspector, Deux-Deux, and the Commissioner stranded on another planet with no manned aircraft coming for them for the next five years.
  • Never My Fault: At the end of "The Pique Poquette of Paris", when the Inspector gets sent to prison on a counterfeit rap due to using children's play money he took from Deux-Deux, he says that upon getting out, he'll clobber the sergeant, even though Deux-Deux tried to tell him about the money being fake and the Inspector refused to listen.
  • No Name Given: The Inspector, although a comic book story posits his last name is Clouzot (a malaprop of the movies' Clouseau).
  • Non Fatal Explosion:
    • In "Napoleon Blown-Aparte", the Commissioner is targeted by a Mad Bomber and he keeps getting subject to various bomb attacks that leave him burnt and humiliated despite the inept efforts of the Inspector to protect him. At the end, the Commissioner is so annoyed that he attacks the Inspector with a bomb with the same effects.
    • Also in "French Freud," The Inspector is subjected to a series of explosive attacks coming from absolutely everywhere.
  • Not So Above It All: The typically no-nonsense Commissioner sometimes pranks on the Inspector for his own amusement, as seen in "La Feet's Defeat".
  • Only Sane Man: Either the Inspector or the Commissioner, and Deux-Deux, who frequently keeps a cool head. If the Commissioner appears in the cartoon, then he'll be the Only Sane Man, and if not, then the Inspector himself will take on the role, with Deux-Deux sometimes taking on this role when the Inspector gives him an order.
  • Phrase Catcher: Deux-Deux's "Sí... I mean, 'oui'..." when the Inspector reminds him "Don't say 'sí', say 'oui'."
  • Pun-Based Title: Frequently. "Napoleon Blown-Aparte", "Cirrhosis of the Louvre", "Unsafe and Seine", "Crow de Guerre", "London Derriere"...
  • Sanity Slippage: In "Le Cop on Le Rocks", after failing to escape out of prison multiple times which only caused more years to be added to his sentence, the Inspector has slipped into hysteria as indicated by his mad laughter by the end of the episode.
  • Serious Business: At the end of "Le Ball and Chain Gang", it's revealed that everything the Inspector had gone through to get into Charlie and Edna's house was just to give Charlie jury duty papers.
  • Slippery Skid: In "Le Pig-Al Patrol," the Inspector gets hit with this one hard (thanks to some "greasy skid stuff").
    The Inspector: Sur-render in the name of the laaaaaawwwww...!
  • Snipe Hunt:
    • In "Plastered in Paris", the Inspector and Deux-Deux are advised to keep an eye out for "Agent X", chasing him all around the globe. When they return, the Commissioner introduces them to Mr. X, who just happens to be the police department's physical trainer that just led them on a long and exhausting workout that circled the globe. The Inspector is so mad, he starts to give Mr. X a workout of his own by strangling him.
    • In "Unsafe and Seine", the Inspector receives word from a mysterious agent that his life is in danger. The Inspector and Deux-Deux go globetrotting on a wild goose chase, only to discover that the "agent" they were looking for is an insurance agent, who arranged for the Inspector to meet him in such dangerous locations to show him the hazards of police work, just to sell him a life insurance policy. The Inspector again is not very happy about this, but he ends up on the receiving end of a beating on this occasion.
  • Take That!:
    • "London Derierre" is basically one gigantic Take That against the British Police, mocking them because they don't carry guns.
    • The Inspector wants nothing to do with secret agents, as they are "immoral and untrustworthy."
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: There are some episodes where the Inspector does come out on top.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Deux-Deux loves sandwiches made with Tabasco, chili peppers, and garlic butter, as the Inspector found out when he ordered the Sargent to trade lunches with him.
  • Wild Goose Chase:
    • In "La Feet's Defeat", the Commissioner sends the Inspector and Deux-Deux after Muddy La Feet, a criminal who leaves a trail of muddy barefoot prints that the characters (or more specifically, Deux-Deux) follow into a series of traps. In the end, we see that it's actually the Commissioner leading the Inspector and Deux-Deux on an endless trail with a footprint stamp.
    • In "Plastered in Paris", the Inspector and Deux-Deux are ordered to be on the lookout for Mr. X, who leads them on a chase around the world. After the Inspector admits defeat, the Commissioner reveals that Mr. X is Captain Dumont, the newly hired physical fitness instructor.
    • In "Unsafe and Seine", the Inspector and Deux-Deux are scheduled to meet a mysterious agent, and encounter various hazards along the way. They finally meet up with the agent, who arranged all the hazards... to encourage the Inspector to buy accident insurance coverage.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Charlie in "Le Ball and Chain Gang", who would give his sharp-tongued wife Edna a right hand to the jaw, and when the Inspector comes disguised as the kindly mother-in-law, Charlie socks him, and when the actual mother-in-law shows up at the door, Charlie punches her as well.