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Western Animation / The Replacements

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The Replacements (2006-2009) is a Disney Channel animated television series created by children's book illustrator Dan Santat.

As the Expository Theme Tune goes, one day while cleaning the sleeping area in their rundown orphanage, orphaned siblings named Todd and Riley stumble across a Fleemco comic book and an ad that promises a low-cost "replacement service." Mailing the ad back for $1.98, the kids get new parents: a female British secret agent named K (along with her sarcastic talking car) and a none-too-bright professional daredevil named Dick Daring. In addition to this, they also receive a pair of Fleemco phones that allows them to dial the company's CEO, Conrad Fleem, and request for any person/animal they want to be replaced with something more to their liking.

The series continues on to follow Todd and Riley's chaotic misadventures as they continuously use Fleemco in an attempt to better their lives in nearly every problematic situation they encounter. As the series progressed, the hired replacement would cease being a direct source of a given conflict, with plots being driven more by quirky behaviors of the main and recurring cast. The show's second season also forwent the Two Shorts format of the first, consisting mainly of 22-minute stories. The Grand Finale, "Irreplaceable", aired on March 20, 2009 and revealed in a self-admitted Shocking Swerve that Conrad Fleem is Todd and Riley's long-lost uncle, who created the "replacement" service as a way to care for them indirectly because he knew nothing about parenting. Upon this revelation, Conrad asks them to help him bring the service to children around the world, to which they readily agree.


No relation to a football movie starring Keanu Reeves or the Minnesotan punk band.

The Replacements provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Sierra spends the rest of season 1 and most of 2 trying to break Riley and Johnny up so Sierra can be with him. Yet after Johnny broke up with Riley, Sierra seems to have lost interest in him. Though she created a misunderstanding with Riley and Johnny's cousin.
  • Acme Products: It seems everything in the world is made or run by Fleemco.
  • Action Dad: Dick Daring, a brave "dare-devil dude" who nonetheless is a loving father.
  • Action Mom: Agent K, a superspy and a loving mother.
  • Adults Are Useless: One of the driving points of the show as the adults Todd and Riley run into usually are quite ineffective in helping them, though more often then not the ones that do get replaced turn out being much worse.
  • Advertisement:
  • All There in the Manual: The timeline on the official Fleemco website revealed that the company's previous owner was Conrad's brother Chauncey, a stubborn man who refused to listen to other people or try to understand them, nearly running the company into the ground as a result (he supported Betamax, for crying out loud). Conrad inherited the company after Chauncey disappeared during an ill-advised rafting expedition. This serves as the only foreshadowing to the reveal that Conrad is Todd and Riley's uncle, explaining how they wound up in the orphanage and why Conrad wanted to teach them about understanding other people before revealing their heritage and birthright.
  • Alpha Bitch: Sierra McCool. She's bratty, rude, and at the top of the school food chain.
  • An Aesop: Most every episode, and occasionally subverted. We learn in the final episode that teaching various lessons like this was the point of the replacement program, even if it admittedly didn't always work.
  • Art Evolution: Season 2 uses a warmer color palette and thinner linework. Some of the other art changes include different body proportions, noses being drawn differently, characters going from Four-Fingered Hands to five-fingered ones, and overall more angular designs.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Dick Daring, Ace Palmero, Travis Bodie, and in what might be the straightest possible example of this trope, Sierra McCool.
  • Beautiful All Along: Variation: Until season two, nobody had any idea what Tasumi really looked like.
    • Lampshaded with Shelton in season one. Subverted with his sister.
  • Be Yourself: When Riley becomes the coolest person in school, she quickly becomes sick of everybody copying her. She delivers a big speech to the school about how everybody should stop mindlessly following trends and trying to be whatever some magazine says is cool right now, they have the freedom to choose for themselves. Quickly turned into a Spoof Aesop when Sierra replies that mindlessly following trends is what they chose to do and Riley has no right to try and stop them. Riley can't think of a rebuttal for that and gives up.
  • Book Dumb: Todd Daring. He's not unintelligent, but does bad in school.
  • Brainless Beauty: Tasumi and Riley both realize that the boys in school will do anything for them as long as they act stupid and helpless.
  • Bumbling Dad: Dick Daring. He's a loving father, but hardly the most intelligent.
  • Butt-Monkey: Shelton Klutzberry, the nerdy klutz who always gets picked on.
  • Casting Gag: The subplot of "Buzzwork Orange" had Dick and K switch bodies. However, while they kept their voices, their accents were swapped. This results in K speaking in an southern American accent, much like Kath Soucie's own Betty DeVille on Rugrats .
  • Celebrity Star: Celebrity Starr, played by Miley Cyrus.
  • Chick Magnet: Shelton unwillingly turns into one of these when his glasses are removed. "His obvious reluctance merely makes him more desirable!!"
  • Continuity Nod: Used frequently in season 2, for some reason. Though this might've been their way of pointing out that the series was coming to an end.
  • Cool Car: C.A.R., the talking, self-stearing, weapon-filled spycar.
  • Corrupt Politician: The mayor at one point outright states 'in public' that his position means he can do anything he wants.
  • Couch Gag: The Fleemco public service announcements.
  • Deep-Fried Whatever: Including roadkill and a football in Carnie Dearest.
  • Disobey This Message: Subverted, as Riley learns everyone else is allowed to be whoever they want even if that means they act like everyone else.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: One of Dick's running gags. Even when the thing he's trying to fix is a sandcastle, he tries to use it.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Agent K's middle name is Mildred.
  • Engrish: Tasumi speaks like that, since she's Japanese.
  • Enslaved Tongue: Todd gives himself "lie spice" to make his lies 50% more believable, but too much consumption of the salt causes Todd to have uncontrollable lying.
  • Even Beggars Won't Choose It: Riley and her friends were once selling jerky. It was so bad hungry wolves refused to eat it.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In one episode, a snobby upper-class well-dressed gentleman wouldn't go to a public pool. But even he's outraged when Riley broke the lifeguard's heart and ruined everyone's pool day.
  • Evil Laugh: Dick lampshades about it after he heard Clyde's laugh in "London Calling".
  • Expository Theme Tune: The theme song explains how Todd and Riley lived in an orphanage until they found an ad from Fleemco.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Dick eats 50 pinecones in an episode. He was only dared to eat three, but found them so tasty he couldn't help himself.
    • There's also Dick easily defeating The Human Garbage Can in a contest of who could stomach the most rancid food while on a spinning carnival ride in "Carnie Dearest"
  • The Faceless: Conrad Fleem. The first time he was shown facing the camera was in a Halloween special - and his face was hidden three times by various different masks. It wasn't until the final episode that his face was finally revealed.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: This was true for season 1, but later they all acquired five fingers.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Happens to Dick and K in ""A Buzzwork Orange" (where Freaky Friday is even lampshaded.)
    • Voices Are Mental, however, is averted (which is a rare event in cartoons). Instead, the viewers rely on the different accents to tell them apart.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Many examples.
    • One of the more obvious examples was in the episode where Fleemco turned out to be developing an anatomically-correct robotic duplicate of underage Riley. Part of her assembly was shown, with scientists gawking at the double's naked leg in a scene which strongly implies that the rest of the robot was also naked.
    • Then there's the episode where Abby's sister basically treated Todd like a gigolo, showering him with gifts in return for dating her
    • In the "Freaky Friday" Flip sideplot of an episode when Dick in K's body drives C.A.R, he was highly disturbed to find out that he was being driven by Dick the whole time and tells in horror the details with what he had allowed him to do. To that end, he gives himself a traumatized wash down while saying he'll "never get clean".
  • Genre Savvy: Garth the janitor is downright obnoxious about this in one episode. He refuses to help Riley because "every time I slightly inconvenience you or your funny-looking brother, some guys in jumpsuits show up and send me somewhere nice for a few weeks." When said jumpsuits turn up, he's waiting impatiently for them with his suitcase already packed.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Agent K wields one frequently, being that she is a super-spy.
  • Halloween Episode: "Halloween Spirits" from the first season. To win a decoration contest against Buzz and his dad, Todd and Riley need every house on their side of the street to be scary, but the Kelpmans are sugary sweet and never decorate. After the kids call in for some scary replacements, a couple that resemble a vampire and a witch move into the Kelpmans' house, and they bring in assorted nasty accessories. Todd and Riley begin to fear these aren't actually costumes, especially when Conrad later tells them the Kelpmans turned down being replaced "in this lifetime." It's all just an elaborate prank on Todd and Riley that the Kelpmans, Conrad, and others were participating in.
  • Happily Adopted: Riley and Todd were sad in their orphanage, and live happy lives with Dick and Agent K as their adoptive parents.
  • Happily Married: Despite the fact they are the chosen replacement parents of Todd and Riley, Dick and K truly love each other.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: "I left a pie in the washing machine."
  • Invisible Streaker: Todd becomes one in the episode Todd Busters.
  • Irony: Riley uses a cute lifeguard to make an unnoticed Johnny jealous, much to her frustration. Then Riley unintentionally broke the lifeguard's heart because he developed feelings for her. As a result, the pool was closed, which causes everyone to hate her, including Johnny who was about to ask her out.
  • It Came from the Fridge: During an Imagine Spot, Riley imagines Buzz's science project to be "What Happens to Pizza Left Under a Bed for Six Months?". The answer? It comes alive and crawls away.
  • It Tastes Like Feet: In "Todd Strikes Out", Riley and Todd are handed protein bars, leading to this exchange:
    Riley: "This tastes like tree bark!"
    Todd (reading the label): "Now with 48% more tree bark."
  • Jet Pack: Agent K has one of these, as part of being a super-spy.
  • K-I-S-S-I-N-G in a Tree: The episode where Riley tries to find a girlfriend for Shelton has Sierra not only tease her with this song, but Todd actually visualizes it. Also, Jacobo and Tasumi state that they were actually doing this in the last episode.
  • Last Minute Hook Up: Jacobo and Tasumi are revealed to be a couple in the last episode.
    • Though, it was revealed in "The Truth Hurts" that Tasumi has a crush on Jacobo.
  • Limited Wardrobe: All the characters. With Dick at least, it is specifically shown that he owns countless red-white-and-blue jumpsuits.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Todd takes an evil robot to school to threaten the teachers into accepting anything he says as correct, says the first president of The United States is "George Stapler"
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Shelton, twice in one episode:
    Agent K: Todd, it's your friends. And Shelton.
    Riley: This time it was Shelton, next time it might be someone we actually care about!
    • In another episode, Todd even uses the exact words "my friends - and Shelton -".
  • Nervous Wreck: In "The Truth Hurts", the head of the school newspaper who is replaced is a Nervous Wreck who is constantly jittery and gets extremely nervous about the idea of anything being published in the school newspaper that would make things like fruit on the bottom yogurt as opposed to being like plain yogurt, as he likes it.
  • Never My Fault: Riley doesn't even apologize to Johnny for her yandere-ish behavior.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Shelton again; he has Jerry Lewis' voice and mannerisms. Also, a sleezy salesman does a fairly good Phil Hartman.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Todd and Riley began in one of these. We never see it outside of the intro, though.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Agent K has quite a few of these, though sometimes they're effective. As a baseball player, for example, she simply wore her hair short and had a fake mustache.
  • Parrot Exposition: Happens almost once an episode with the Flemco Messengers talking with the replacee and them repeating what they apparently told them. Lampshaded in one episode.
    Ice Cream Vendor: You want me to take my Ice Cream to the royal family?!
    Flemco Messenger: Yes, that's what I just said! Why do you repeat it as a question?
    Ice Cream Vendor: Hmmm. Why do I repeat it as a question?
  • Positive Discrimination: Averted in the episode where a blind kid uses his disability to bully Todd.
  • Power of Love: Made fun of in 'German Squirmin': Shelton: "Princess Cuddlepuff wields the power of love... which apparently wasn't powerful enough to defeat his doom ray..."
  • Retool: During Season 2, the show went through several changes:
    • The artstyle was given a drastic overhaul.
    • The episode length was changed from two 11 minute segments, to a full 30 minutes (with commercials).
    • The show's concept of Todd and Riley calling Fleemco to replace someone with someone more interesting, was significantly downplayed.
  • Retroactive Wish: In one episode, Todd had the school librarian replaced with someone who'd turn the library into a place where he'd like to be. Riley got ran over by a hippopotamus right after she asked if they were what'd come next. She asked about a unicorn stampede but nothing happened. She complained because it worked with the hippopotamus, causing another one to run her over.
  • Running Gag: Several, notably that whenever Tasumi gets mad with someone, she puts them on her "list" of enemies (a series of Kaiju-type monsters). If you really anger her, you go above Gamozaur.
  • Sapient Steed: C.A.R. - the British, Talking car.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Corletta the lovely magician's assistant who taken K's place in "Abra K Dabra".
  • Token Trio: Riley, Abbey and Tasumi; the white girl, the black girl, and the Asian girl.
  • Tomato Surprise: Conrad's face resembles Todd's and Riley's. He's their uncle.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Inverted with Shelton's mom and her two offspring. Played straight with Shelton's dad and Shelton, who is revealed to actually be attractive without his glasses on.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Shelton's mom doesn't look anything like her husband or either of her two children. One episode reveals that Shelton is actually quite handsome without his glasses on, giving them a stronger resemblance.
  • Weaponized Car: C.A.R.. It even wields sawblades- and isn't afraid to use them as a threat.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Where is Pleasant Hills? - We're not sure, but it's probably not a suburb of Pittsburgh. In the series finale, they had to get to Fleemco HQ in Canton, Ohio (a real town), and they had to travel across a desert, so California seems likely.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Agent K suffers from crippling stage fright.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Riley and Johnny, as of season 2. Riley still has feelings for Johnny and tries to get him back, but her Yandere-ish nature ruins it. At the end of one episode, Johnny may want to get back with her, but Riley wasn't interested.
  • With Friends Like These...: Abbey seems to be a lost member of some Girl Posse, sometimes laughing or agreeing with Sierra's insults to Riley.
  • Yandere: Riley to Johnny Hitswell, seriously, she has puppets, a balloon Johnny... Just watch season 2, 18: Heartbreak in the City.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Todd justifies helping his sister with the following statement: "Either we save the day or I get to see her blow up when everything goes horribly wrong! It's win-win."


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