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Western Animation / The Smoggies

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The Smoggies, known as Stop the Smoggies in the US, is a Canadian cartoon produced by Canada's Global Television Network and CINAR. The Smoggies, consisting of the vain, bossy Emma, the brilliant, henpecked Clarence, and the musclebound, childlike Polluto, are a trio of treasure hunters with no regards for the environment. They arrive at the beautiful Coral Island in pursuit of a magical coral that Emma believes will grant her everlasting youth. In fact, said coral doesn't exist, but she refuses to accept this fact.

The unwitting destruction that the Smoggies carry out is countered by the efforts of the Suntots, a race of seemingly eternally young, child-like people who have invented many brilliant, ecologically sustainable gadgets and gizmos that take advantage of the plentiful water, wind and solar power their home provides. They wish the Smoggies would leave Coral Island, but are too peaceful to use violence to drive them away. The Smoggies aired on the Global Television Network until August 1997.

List of tropes in The Smoggies:

  • Aerith and Bob: Emma and Clarence are typical names, but Polluto is not.
  • Ambiguously Human: Polluto has an ability to eat things a regular human could not, which calls into question if he's a regular human with abilities, or a "metahuman". However, he may just be a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Michel Lotito, aka Mr. Mangetout, who actually did do this sort of thing.
  • Antagonist Title: The series is named after the villainous trio, the Smoggies.
  • Anti-Villain: Zigzagged.
    • Played straight with Clarence and Polluto; neither of them are truly bad people, but Clarence is devoted to Emma and doesn't think through the consequences of pleasing her, while Polluto is just too stupid to realize the damage the Smoggies are causing.
    • Emma, on the other hand, really is a villain — she's greedy and selfish, and doesn't care what kind of damage the Smoggies do to the environment, so long as she gets what she wants.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: Sport the Suntot gets kidnapped that way by the Smoggies. The Smoggies plan to take him as their prisoner. The Suntots rescue him and get him out of the sack.
  • Bamboo Technology: Most of the Suntots' machinery seems to be made out of wood, although they rely on wind, water and solar power.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Polluto, Emma and Clarence respectively.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While the Smoggies' havoc is always stopped, the damage they wreak tends to linger, with many episodes noting it could take months or even years for affected parts of Coral Island to recover.
  • Bungling Inventor: Clarence, whose mishaps include stumbling on a size growth formula while he was trying to invent invisible paint.
    Polluto: Who's going to want invisible paint?
    Clarence: who can't decide what color to paint their houses!
  • Cast of Snowflakes: There are a lot of Suntots on the island, and each of them have a unique hair colour to go with it. However, the hairstyles for most of them are identical, making it easy to make background characters.
  • Comic Trio: The Smoggies. Emma is the domineering leader, Clarence is smart but spineless, and Polluto is a big strong idiot.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Invoked in "Oil or Nothing"; the Suntots demand that the Smoggies leave the oil in the tarbog's pit alone because that oil allows the tarbog — a strange bird with a single luminescent eye — to reach the top of its hole. And the tarbog is the only predator of the mighty marauder moths; a species of moth from the deep wilderness of Coral Island characterized by its voracious appetite and which feeds on chuckaberries, which are the Suntots' primary food source. So, if the oil is taken, the tarbog can't eat the moths, which eat all the berries and leave the Suntots on the verge of starving. Of course, guess what happens?
  • Dumb Is Good: Subverted; Polluto is explicitly a villain because he's an idiot. In one episode, when he gets affected by an intelligence booster, he loses his love of muck and grime, including his love for eating garbage, and defects to the Suntots. When the intelligence booster starts wearing off, he rapidly reverts to his pollution-loving, cleanliness-hating ways.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Polluto. He regularly eats coal — and once ate a diamond because Clarence told him diamonds were made from coal — and screws, and he likes drinking oil, which is the reason they couldn't leave Coral Island during the one occasion they wanted to. On his birthday in "Bubble Mania", he is given a motor oil cake with axle-grease frosting.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The Smoggies will never find the Magic Coral of Youth, as it doesn't exist. The Suntots, likewise, will never be able to convince them to leave or that the coral isn't real.
  • G-Rated Drug: Purple silly sauce, which was powerful enough to contaminate an eco system and cause whomever came into contact with it to involuntarily sing and dance perpetually, even in diluted amounts.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Despite officially being antagonistic towards each other, neither the Suntots nor the Smoggies bears any real hostility towards each other, and when given the chance they will interact peacefully. This is hinted at by the way they dance together in the opening credits. One notable example is during the episode in Polluto celebrates his birthday; when his bottle addressed to the "Faraway Fun Farm" asking for a bubble-blowing pipe winds up at the Suntots village, they decide to make one for him, since it is his birthday and it was bad luck that his message in a bottle went off course.
  • Green Aesop: The Suntots use all-natural energy sources, while the Smoggies do nothing but pollute. A lot of plots revolve around preserving nature, and the Smoggies' desire to destroy it or otherwise pollute. Occasionally the Smoggies will attempt something environmentally-friendly, like extracting salt from seawater to make freshwater baths for Emma or planting cocoa trees, but their quick solutions end up polluting anyway.
  • Happily Married: Clarence and Emma are very much this, despite Emma's overbearing attitude.
  • Henpecked Husband: Poor Clarence, being married to an egomaniac diva like Emma, is doomed to this. He's stood up to her on extremely rare occasions, but in general, she stands over him.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The Suntots certainly have reason to think so, given everything the Smoggies have put them through.
  • I Gave My Word: When the Smoggies decided to leave Coral Island in the episode "Oil or Nothing", they needed to replenish their ship's oil supply due to Polluto consuming most of it, and their only hope was extracting oil from Coral Island. As part of a deal between them and the Suntots, the Smoggies could extract oil from Coral Island on the proviso they didn't take any oil from the tarbog's pit. When Emma wanted to break the deal, her usually Henpecked Husband invoked this trope.
  • Jerkass: The Smoggies pollute the island and destroy natural habitats often for no other reason than them wanting to. Emma especially fits this trope, being generally abusive towards her husband and Polluto.
  • Lilliputians: The Suntots are much smaller than the Smoggies.
  • Loophole Abuse: Clarence might have given his word he'd not extract oil from the tarbog's pit, but Emma pointed out she didn't give hers.
  • MacGuffin: The entire series is built around the quest of the Smoggies for the magical youth-restoring coral that Emma is convinced lies in the waters off of Coral Island. Unfortunately for her, it doesn't exist.
  • Manchild: Polluto is a Kindhearted Simpleton with an endearing childishness about him. He almost seems to view the other Smoggies as parental figures. At one point Emma complains that they "can't take him anywhere", as if he were their bratty son.
  • Minion with an F in Evil:
    • Polluto only harasses the "Sunsquirts" when Emma tells him to. Left to his own devices he's friendly towards them.
    • Clarence is friendly most of the time and is only villainous when Emma orders him around or his machines have unintended consequences.
  • Morality Pet: Polluto's pet bird Ralph is a sign he isn't all bad, and on occasions where Ralph is in danger Polluto drops everything to rescue him. Conversely, whenever Polluto is doing something particularly nasty, Ralph keeps him in line.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: A rare villainous example, Polluto's pet bird Ralph.
  • Obliviously Evil: Clarence and Polluto are classic examples, in that most of the damage they cause is a result of their trying to please Emma. Clarence is so devoted to her that he doesn't take into account the damage he's doing in indulging her, while Polluto simply does whatever the other Smoggies tell him to.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Clarence dabbles in everything from chemistry to engineering, but his competence is less than stellar.
  • Patchwork Map: Coral Island has snow-capped mountains, iceberg-filled waters, warm beaches, farmland, forests, and more, all crammed into one tiny island.
  • The Pig-Pen: Polluto actively enjoys being dirty and filthy, which is one of the reasons why he's a Smoggie in the first place.
  • The Power of Friendship: When Ralph gets caught in one of the tar-bubbles in the episode "Bubble Mania", Polluto goes charging off through the Stinky Poo's gunwale before swimming for dear life to try and rescue his avian friend. Much to the bewilderment of Clarence.
    Clarence: He can't even swim!
    Princess Lila: True friendship, like love, conquers all.
  • Princess Protagonist: The primary female protagonist of the show is the Suntots' Princess Lila.
  • Rake Take: One for Polluto during the show's intro.
  • Rich Bitch: Implied with Emma. We don't learn much about her and Clarence's background, but they can somehow afford to own and sail a massive ship (the Stinkypoo) stocked with other vehicles (an airship and a submarine), a printing press, enough spare parts and tools for Clarence to make any number of other things, and enough food, fuel and other supplies to last them indefinitely while they search for the magic coral.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The whole reason the Smoggies are there is to try and find the magic coral so that Emma can use it to maintain her youth and beauty. However, there was no magic coral. The Suntots stay young and beautiful through living cleanly and taking care of their environment, but Emma does not want to believe that. Moreover, Clarence is already completely in love with Emma, and he'd likely remain so no matter what she looked like.
  • Terrible Trio: The eponymous Smoggies, with Emma as the demanding leader and her co-dragons being the short genius Clarence and Dumb Muscle sidekick Polluto.
  • Villain Song: The first verse of the theme song is sung by the Smoggies. Probably one of the most upbeat examples - you'd never think they are the villains unless you listened to the lyrics.
  • Wham Line: In episode 51, "Oil or Nothing", there are two from Emma in short order: "I want to leave", and "Maybe there is no magic coral". The latter is particularly shocking, because the Suntots have been trying to convince her that there's no such thing as Coral of Youth for the entirety of the series, to no avail.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: The Smoggies have all sorts of gadgets aboard the Stinkypoo, ranging from an airship to a submarine to a printing press to enough spare parts for Clarence to build any number of other machines.