The Strange Chores is an Australian animated series released in 2019 on ABC Me. Created by Charlie Aspinwall and Daley Pearson, the show is produced by Ludo Studio (of Bluey fame) and Media World Production, with animation provided by 12Field Animation. As with all Australian cartoons, production was funded by the Australian government.
The series follows the adventures of timid tech geek Pierce and wannabe popular kid Charlie, two friends who discover one day that their oddball neighbour Old Man Helsing (voice of Nick Tate) is in fact the world's greatest Hunter of Monsters. Helsing’s age is catching up to him however, and he won't be able to rid the world of vampires, werewolves, and other horrors for much longer. Deciding he needs somebody to succeed him soon, Helsing agrees to make Pierce and Charlie his apprentices in exchange for having them carry out various tasks around his home that he dubs "strange chores".
Thus, Pierce and Charlie find themselves taking on all manner of duties both mundane and fantastic, many of which are complicated by the involvement of monsters and the supernatural. Joining our two young heroes in these unusual endeavours are two equally odd tenants of Helsing's home — a playful and mischievous Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl named Que and a little green monster named Snorp.
The first season debuted on Halloween of 2019 and ran to November of that year for a total of twenty-six 11-minute episodes. Season 2 premiered on June 24, 2022, with an additional 26 episodes and a sneak peek being released on April that year. Outside of Australia, the show has also aired on CBC Kids in Canada, Pop in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Disney Channel in Asia. In the United States, the series is available on The Roku Channel.
A third season is currently in production and slated for a 2024 release.
Tropes In This Series:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: S.P.H.E.R.I.E, a robotic virtual home assistant who quickly snaps and sees the gang as a threat.
- Alpha Bitch: Season 2 introduces a trio of popular girls called The Bengals at Pierce and Charlie's school who become friends with Que. They're not really all bad however, even if they barely take any notice of Que's male friends.
- Animate Inanimate Object:
- In "Finish The Mop's Bucket List", the trio has to help complete the bucket list of a mop that they bought to life. Said mop goes on to become a recurring character in Season 2.
- Charlie and Pierce briefly become a sentient teapot and mobile phone respectively in "Swap Back The Body Swap".
- One of the monster hunters seen in "Host a Monster Hunter Tournament" is an animate toaster.
- "Put the Barbarian Back in the Box" features sentient miniatures for a D&D-styled tabletop RPG, with said miniatures later reappearing in Season 2's "Stop the Noisy Neighbors".
- Artificial Limbs: Pierce and Charlie's teacher at school has a mechanical arm.
- Atlantis: It was apparently sunk when three kids prank called the monster Frank.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Happens to Snorp courtesy of a growth potion in "Tame the Wild Wild Pest".
- Bait-and-Switch: In "Stop The Monster Slime", it initially looks like the bully girl wanted to kiss Charlie. Turns out she actually just wanted to shake his hand.
- Balloon Belly: Que gets one in "Walk Wolfman" when she attempts to take on a pizza-eating challenge.
- Battle Rapping: "Stop The Monster Battles" reveals that Que hosts these amongst the bottled monsters in an attempt to keep them contained. Pierce partakes in one of these against Monster Head and loses, making him briefly consider no longer doing the Strange Chores.
- Beam-O-War: Parodied in "Scare Helsing;" after facing their fears, the trio shoots a beam of courage at the Fear Bears, overcoming their beam of fear. It's worth noting that they weren't affected by their powers anymore, though.
- Bedsheet Ghost: Que in "Don't Trick or Tweet," even using it scare Snorp. She is a real ghost, after all.Que: My costume must have a fever because it is sick!
- She also considers doing this in "Unclog The Toilet" after an unsuccessful attempt to scare a monster.
- Big Brother Bully: Charlie's brother, seen in "Survive The Strange Loop". Every morning, he attempts to prank Charlie by ruining his breakfast.
- Blob Monster: Many of these show up in the series, including, the monster slime that Pierce accidentally brings to life in "Stop The Monster Slime", the monster that continually attacks the gang in "Survive the Strange Loop", and the monster that Pierce uses as a thinking chair in "Clean The Archive Room."
- Brain in a Jar: The monsters captured by the characters are imprisoned in special bottles, but Monster Head stands out in particular for being little more than a severed, still-sapient head who often taunts the characters or interacts with them from the confines of a jar filled with some sort of liquid.
- The Bully: Seasons 1 and 2 feature two different bully characters messing with Pierce and Charlie, with the former season having a girl named Daisy (who was heavily implied to be a Loving Bully for Charlie) and the latter replacing her with the more straightforward Bad Tony.
- Catchphrase: Pierce has one which is "Ah Strawberries".
- Cats Are Mean: In the episode "Train Snorp" the cats team up and try to kill the gang as revenge for Snorp menacing them on a regular basis.
- Cute Ghost Girl: Que. You can't help but see her as Adorkable.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Several instances from Charlie;
Monster Head: Who said that? Who interrupted me?Charlie: It was Pierce!Pierce: Charlie!Charlie: Well, it was.
- In "Stop The Monster Battles:"
Pierce (after the mummy wakes up): Wait, sir, if you're gonna take one of us... take Charlie.(Charlie and Que glare at him)
- In "Babysit The Mummy:"
Charlie: What have we done?Que and Pierce: WE?!!
- In "Scare Helsing," after all three of them agree to contact the Fear Bears:
- Cool Car: Helsing's car. It even has its own theme tune.
- Cool Old Guy: Helsing, a semi-retired monster hunter who serves as a mentor and grandfather figure to the kids while also still knowing a thing or two about fighting demons, undead, Eldritch Abominations, and other supernatural monstrosities.
- Cowboy Episode: In "Tame the Wild Wild Pest", the gang discovers a community of mutant humanoid flea cowboys living on Snorp's back after they accidentally turn him into a giant and are consequently roped into a Wild West-styled adventure.
- Demonic Dummy: The trio befriends one they defeat in "Stop The Dummy's Dummy" even making him a member of their friendship circle and giving him his own dummy as a present. Unfortunately, the dummy's dummy turns out to be one as well, and he's even eviler than the first one.
- Dracula: He's a recurring character here, and (naturally) the most dangerous enemy of Helsing and the kids. However, his bald appearance in the series might remind one more of Nosferatu.
- Fat and Skinny: Pierce and Charlie, respectively, the former being rather short and tubby and the latter being tall and gangly.
- Fictional Video Game: "Que's The Strange Chores", a video game created by Que based on their adventures and which Charlie and Pierce get trapped in.
- Flat Scare:
- Que does this to Mrs. Wilson in "Survive The Strange Loop." And just when she was celebrating her own birthday alone, too.
- And again to the ghost hunter in “Haunt The House” in order to lure him into capturing the boys and pretending she’s a hoax.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: In "Swap Back The Body Swap", the inspector is coming, so Helsing tasks the trio with putting Snorp's mind into a house plant. Unfortunately, a misfiring on Pierce's part causes Charlie and a teapot, Snorp, and Helsing, and Pierce and a phone to swap minds. Even worse, Snorp in Helsing's body destroys the machine which does the body-swap, which makes the inspection a bit more difficult.
- Fun with Flushing: The plot of "Clean The Toilet" is kicked off when Charlie, being uninterested in going the whole way down to the archive, decides to flush a newly bottled monster down the toilet. This leads to it breaking free and him trying to deal with it without Helsing finding out.
- Future Badass: "Meet Future You" sees Charlie encounter his future self, who has become this. Deconstructed as Charlie learning about his future self causes him to become lazy as he now believes he no longer has to work hard because of what he'll be like in the future except it turns out Future Charlie has become both very evil and very stupid.
- The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: Discussed and subverted; after the kids wonder aloud if a genie they just released will make pop culture references, he just responds that he's a more low key genie.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: "Survive the Strange Loop" has Pierce create one using Helsing's Quantum Remote in order to make Que and Charlie remember his birthday.
- Halloween Episode: "Don't Trick or Tweet" is set on Halloween, with an explanation that monsters and monster-slayers are not allowed to fight each other on that day.
- Heatwave: "Shut the Freezer" opens on one of these. It's hot enough that a girl's bicycle melts into the road.
- Hellhound: Or rather, a "heckhound". In the episode "Mind the Heckhound", Charlie is tasked with taking care of one, the classic three-headed Cerberus-styled type. However, "heckhounds" are not to be fed human food, as it makes them bigger, stronger, and more dangerous.
- Heroic BSoD: In “Don’t be Weird”, after Que invites some of the popular girls over for a sleepover, she has several of these when she’s worried about them figuring out that she’s a ghost. Even worse, every time she has one, she temporarily loses control of her magic to catastrophic proportions.
- Hunter of Monsters: Helsing is one of these, and Charlie dreams of becoming the greatest one ever.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode is named for the task that the main trio have been assigned to.
- Insane Troll Logic: Charlie and Pierce warm to Dracula in "Survive Fright Swap" almost immediately, even after he scared the trio right off the bat. Why? Because he made a pun.
- Invisibility Cloak: In "Destroy the Invisibility Jacket", Helsing assigns the kids to dispose of one that had been stolen by his previous apprentice.
- Jerkass Ball: Oh, does Que grab it HEAVILY in “Possess Charlie” in order to win the class election. Controlling Charlie’s body while knowing he’s not comfortable with it, treating Pierce like a slave so her promises can be fulfilled, and all of this just to prove how “normal” she is? Yep, definitely Jerkass material.
- Last of His Kind: Snorp is initially the last of his species, the rest of them having been bottled by the monster hunters. Helsing does free them at the end of "Swap Back The Body Swap" however.
- Mini-Mecha: Pierce dons one in "Wear a Mech Suit" to make himself feel more confident about giving an important speech to his school, much to the annoyance of Que, who had built it for Helsing to use in fighting monsters.
- Mummy: The episode "Babysit the Mummy" sees the gang take care of one. Said mummy has the ability to steal the senses of living beings (eyes, noses, ears, etc.), robbing the victim of their sense and using it to indulge in its own pleasures.
- Nightmare Face: Que pulls these off pretty often and quite effectively too.
- Not-So-Forgotten Birthday: Pierce initially thinks this is happening on his birthday in "Survive The Strange Loop," and ends up being right-only to believe they actually forgot it a a few scenes later. Though he did forget Charlie's birthday and Que's death day earlier in the year.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: While able to pass through walls and possess people, Que doesn't seem to follow most ghost logic, including being able to eat, being scared, getting Bound and Gagged, being able to be touched (to an extent), and, if needed, turning into a more monstrous version of herself. Also, extreme cold makes her less ghost-like and removes her magic.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: As seen in "Coach the Gnomes", gnomes in the series are less magical fairy beings, more living versions of the classic garden decorations. Pierce accidentally shatters their leader, but he's able to glue her back together, and her fragments can still speak and interact with her surroundings.
- People Jars: Monsters captured by the characters are magically shrunk down by their specialized firearms to be imprisoned in specialized bottles where they float in brightly colored liquid. They can still talk to the characters or each other, but unless the jar is broken or someone releases them, they are completely powerless and unable to move their limbs around much.
- Pokémon Speak: Snorp can only say his name.
- Prank Call: The trio use the opportunity in "Call A Monster" to prank call each monster in the monster phonebook. This backfires on them when they prank call Frank, the only monster that Helsing fears.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The bottled monsters serve this role, with a fair amount of each episode's plots involving them escaping, usually accidentally, and causing havoc.
- Show Within a Show: "Fright-Swap", a Wife Swap-esque show that the gang have to participate in.
- Helsing's name is a reference to Dr. Abraham Van Helsing of Dracula fame. In fact, he's outright implied to be the Helsing on a few occasions, saying his friends call him "Abe" and being suggested in some throwaway lines to be Really 700 Years Old.
- The Season 1 finale "Scare Helsing" introduced a race of Eldritch Abominations called the Fear Bears, who are basically demonic parodies of the Care Bears.
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Que is meant to be one, although her blue hair does obscure this somewhat.
- Talent Contest: "Infiltrate the Talent Show" is naturally about one held at Pierce and Charlie's school. Helsing assigns the two to audition for it when it turns out somebody is passing around magical talent-granting lollipops to the participating students, needing them to find out who's behind it and why.
- Teacher's Pet: Season 2 introduces Malcolm, a goody two-shoes classmate of Pierce and Charlie who is class president, the top student, and an overall thorn in Charlie's side.
- Team Pet: Snorp. While he was originally adopted by Helsing, he's shown to be closest with Que.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Que is able to transform her arms into tools or weapons to fight.
- What Does This Button Do?: A running gag in “Clean The Car” involving Que; despite Pierce continually telling her to stop, she just can’t resist, which keeps getting them into trouble.
- Wicked Witch: Witchy is an example of this, having been imprisoned for trying to eat Pierce. She is trying to be a better witch though.
- Win to Exit: In "Escape The Strange Chores", Pierce and Charlie get trapped inside a game Que's playing ("Que's The Strange Chores"). To get out, Pierce must save Charlie and win the game.
- Wolf Man: Wolf Man himself shows up from time to time. Despite the gang's numerous efforts to rehabilitate him, they never succeed.
- Zombie Apocalypse: "Stop the Zombies", of course, thanks to Pierce deciding to submit one of Helsing's masks as his school art project, not knowing it was cursed.