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Western Animation / The Ripping Friends

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The Ripping Friends (2001-2002) was a very short-lived animated series created by John Kricfalusi of The Ren & Stimpy Show fame. It was about four brothers who are superheroes: Crag (the leader), Rip, Slab and Chunk Nuggett. Their chief is their mother, He-Mom, who is a very masculine woman. Their servant and biggest fan is Jimmy the Idiot Boy from The Goddamn George Liquor Program (and the "Spumco" production card at the end of the John K-produced episodes of Ren and Stimpy): a brain-dead, idiotic 8 year old who can't speak properly. Their Rogues Gallery included Citrocet, a Mad Scientist; the Indigestible Wad, a living wad of gum; Flathead, a sapient tapeworm; and Frictor, the Elemental Embodiment of friction.

Intended to be Kricfalusi's Spiritual Successor to Ren and Stimpy, its production (much like Ren and Stimpy when it was on Nickelodeon and when it was remade as Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon") was stymied by his usual creative differences with American networks and Canadian animation studio heads, both of whom dismissed his trademark off-model custom poses for something more conventional (see the show's Trivia page for more information on that), spoiling his vision for the show until he came to outright loathe it, resulting in its short run.

The series aired on Fox Kids in the twilight years of the block before it was replaced by the Fox Box, and once aired on [adult swim] (since this show was considered to be too gross and sexual for "children's entertainment") in 2002.

Ripping Tropes:

  • The Ace: Rip. In a thirteen-episode series where every character has at least one spotlight, Rip is the central character in at least three episodes. He's often shown as the strongest, angriest, and most impulsive in a universe where brute strength and anger are superpowers.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Jimmy, an ordinary moron, is able to fly perfectly while emulating Pooperman.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Superheroes.
  • Amusing Injuries: Most of the time the Ripping Friends inflict these on each other.
  • Artistic License – Biology: No, there is no such thing as a "fart gland", even forgiving Stinkybutt's in-universe Bizarre Human Biology.
  • Badass Baritone: Crag as voiced by Mark Dailey.
  • Balkan Bastard: Citrocet is introduced as a tin-pot dictator from "Euroslavia", conquering his neighbours and aspiring to seize the United States as well.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Citron" is French for "lemon", which is the logo on Citrocet's uniform.
  • Bizarre Human Biology: In "Stinkybutt", the Ripping Friends' plan to defeat Citrocet requires Chunk to sneak inside his body and sabotage a "fart gland", since Citrocet has acquired Fartillery superpowers. However, the mission is nearly jeopardized when it turns out that Cirtocet's new powers have dramatically altered his biology, rendering Chunk's map of the human body useless.
  • Catchphrase: "Five, four, three, two, one, ZERO—It's ripping time!"
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: There are superpowered heroes in the show's universe, such as Pooperman, but the Ripping Friends themselves got as strong and tough as they are thanks to He-Mom's Training from Hell. Rip in fact dislikes superpowers because he thinks they're a cheap way to fight crime.
  • Child Soldier: Citrocet, in his debut episode, deploys these to fight his wars in Europe. They're better fed and healthier than they claim to be, but that's still a two-year old girl using an assault rifle in a poverty-stricken war-zone. It's about as funny-disturbing as you'd expect.
  • Cool House: RIPCOT, the Really Impressive Prototype City Of (next) Tuesday.
  • Cruel Mercy: When the Ripping Friends accidentally create Frictor and ruin her meal of fried eggs, He-Mom punishes them by not punishing them. The Friends, being masochists, consider this a nasty punishment.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Each of the Ripping Friends has at least one episode devoted to them.
  • Destructive Savior: The Friends' usual conduct.
  • The Ditz: The Ripping Friends' manservant is none other than Jimmy the Hapless Idiot Boy, one of John K.'s previous characters.
  • Ditzy Genius: The Ripping Friends are hailed as scientific geniuses in dozens of fields, but are often portrayed as clueless, easily distracted, and having no concept of tactics. They, in their mid-thirties, do not understand the physical differences between men and women.
  • Domino Mask: Slab
  • Expy: Rip is basically just Kirk Douglas, one of the many references John K. makes to his favorite actor.
  • Fartillery: The seventh episode features Citrocet magically gaining flatulence-based powers and calling himself "Stinky Butt the Foul". His farts are all-purpose: not only are they noxious, but he can fly, create monsters, and skywrite with them.
  • Friction Burn: Frictor's power is to manipulate friction in all its forms, which includes a slew of heat-based abilities. He incapacitates Chunk by enhancing the friction of his thighs until they catch fire, rubs up his legs to launch like a rocket towards the moon, and can blast a heat ray by quickly rubbing his hands together.
  • Grossout Show: Not as much as Ren & Stimpy, but there are moments of this (and there would have been a lot more if John Kricfalusi had more control of the show).
  • Homosexual Reproduction: Jimmy was created by combining the DNA of the Ripping Friends. That might explain a lot.
  • Humanoid Abomination: In one episode, The Ripping Friends accidentally mutate their foot calluses into Frictor, a malevolent friction elemental.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In one of the post-episode shorts, a pair of manual writers are arrested for "circumlocution" and "convolution".
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Rip turns into various visual puns of "Jerkass" when he feels guilty about Jimmy getting kidnapped. Apparently, that's what happens when you anger "The Great Cartoonist".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rip is the most violent of the Ripping Friends (which is saying something) and trades constant snark with his brothers, but he loves his family a hell of a lot. He's usually the first to experience an emotional breakdown when someone is in danger, and he also breaks into ashamed tears when he learns about Jimmy's friction-less hands (after having gotten annoyed with his inability to hold a sewing needle properly).
  • Kid Sidekick:
    • Parodied with Man Man's sidekick, Boy Boy; Crag notices how Man Man tends to put Boy Boy in ridiculously dangerous situations and goes to stop him, taking Jimmy along as his own Kid Sidekick.
    • Chunk gets this treatment from his brothers due to being 35-and-a-half, compared to 36 for Crag, Rip and Slab.
  • Kryptonite Factor:
    • Riptonite, created by bombarding the Ripping Friends' DNA with radiation. It's actually a ruse Crag created when fighting The Man From Next Thursday; the time-travelling villain was getting all his info from comic books, so Crag had the comic print the baloney story about their weakness.
    • A more logical weakness for The Ripping Friends is lack of meat. If they're not gorging themselves regularly with meat products, their muscles shrink and they become skinny frail wimps. Slab, fortunately, has a greater tolerance for meat withdrawl.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Each of the brothers have one.
  • Manchild: All four of The Ripping Friends are men in their mid-thirties, yet behave like rowdy children most of the time. Chunk especially qualifies due to his love of comic books, cartoons, candy, and the carnival.
  • No Fourth Wall: Besides the fan mail segments that end episodes, Crag once set out to complete a mission on his own after pointing out that he didn't have an episode to himself yet.
  • Off-Model: Averted, unlike most of John K's other shows. Executive Meddling caused the animators to keep the characters on-model at all times.
  • Perma-Stubble: Rip. Frictor reduces him to tears by giving him a clean shave using his friction powers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "Jimmy Gets Kidnapped" a talking gorilla dances while singing "Oot Greet" which was a well known Don Martin sound effect.
    • In "The Ovulator" Slab's disembodied head flies past a mustached ranger in a helicopter, who then turns to the audience and says "Some way or another I bet THAT bear is behind this."
  • Stock Scream: The Insane Tantrum Scream is used when the titular villain of the two-part episode "The Man from Next Thursday" zaps Crag with Riptonite.
  • Stout Strength: All of them are super strong, but Slab is a bit bulkier than the others.
  • Stylistic Suck: As with all John K. cartoons. The goal when drawing the characters on this show was to make them "Stiff, but stylish," as a tribute to old fashioned superhero comic art.
  • Super Hero: The Ripping Friends are super-strong crimefighters who battle many powerful foes.
  • Take That!: Pooperman is an obvious dig at Superman. As if the puerile parody name isn't enough, the Ripping Friends also shame him for doing nothing to help when the heroes redirect the course of the asteroid Pooperman sent to Earth while under the influence of Rip's corrupted shorts.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: The tagline for the show is "The World's Most Manly Men". Even their MOM is masculine.
  • Token Minority: The Ripping Friends are brothers, yet Slab is black. Characteristically, Slab went from doing Mr. T-esque one liners to saying a thing or two that might raise a few eyebrows.
    Slab: Jimmy's still smooth! Not smooth like James Brown but still smooth! ("Frictor")
    Slab: Brothers! I have set you free! (To the kidnapped cows in "Ovulator")
    Slab: That's not flesh color, that's some sort of off-pink...THIS is flesh color! (Said while pointing to a chocolate bar in "Man-Man and Boy-Boy")
    • Also parodied, to an extent. The Ripping Friends seem unaware that Slab is at all different from the rest of the family, with Craig going so far as to claim that "an outsider could probably not tell the difference" between Slab and Chunk, even as he holds their heads close together for comparison.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Pain resistance is part of their extreme physical training, but Rip in particular seems to enjoy it.
    • In "The Infernal Wedding", Citrocet writes off torture as a plan to defeat The Ripping friends, because "The Ripping Friends LOVE pain!"
    • Averted in the episode "Jimmy's Kidnapped": Jimmy might be a moron who gets beaten up by his family on a regular basis, but even he knows what torture is, especially when it's performed by Citrocet and his Gorilla Head Examiner. Rip and company are mortified when Citrocet sends them a video ultimatum.
  • Training from Hell: The Ripping Friends dive on live grenades as part of their daily workout. They also have a cement room, which they use for relaxation akin to a spa. And God forbid they cry about it, or He-Mom will have a FIT.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Parodied by "The Man From Next Thursday" two-parter. RIPCOT (the Really Impressive Prototype City Of (next) Tuesday) is considered to be so technologically advanced that it effectively inhabits a different time-frame compared to the rest of the world. The time-travelling villain hails from "next Thursday", an even more futuristic time period.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: While they have some impressive tech back at base, the Ripping Friends rely on brute strength to solve most of their problems.