Tripping The Rift is a computer-animated sci-fi parody created by Chris Moeller and Chuck Austen (of "The Draco" infamy) in 1998 as a short film released on the Internet.
The film gained popularity, especially after being shown on the Sci Fi Channel, and was made into a television series in 2004 featuring a group of smugglers trying to scrape a living while going perilous adventures.
This show provides examples of:
- 419 Scam: The plot for "The Need For Greed" kicks off when Six receives a hefty inheritance from someone claiming to be her creator's second cousin once removed. At the end, after she gives it to Chode, who wires the necessary jurisdictional inheritance transfer fees, the crew catches on when Chode mentions that said fees were sent to Nigeria.
- All-CGI Cartoon: The show is made entirely on CGI.
- All Webbed Up: Six is briefly captured and webbed up by a giant spider in the episode "Creaturepalooza".
- Animated Shock Comedy: One of the few CGI examples. It is filled with crude humor, satire and sex jokes galore.
- Art Evolution: The animation in Season 3 is more fluid than the first two. The series is also rendered out in 16:9 aspect ratio and features more advanced lighting.
- Art Shift: The Peaceter special in "Santa Clownza" is rendered in Cel Shading.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Though Chode often treats Six like a sex object and regularly demeans her, he genuinely cares for her, enough to nearly sacrifice his life to save her more than once. In turn she's fiercely loyal though constantly exasperated with him.
- Bandito: One episode has a group of Mexican freedom fighters helping Chode rescue the Jupiter 42 crew after they end up on a slave trading ship disguised as a cruise liner.
- Beauty Contest: "Miss Galaxy 5000" is an intergalactic beauty contest.
- Big Bad: Darph Bobo, the main antagonist of the series and ruler of the Dark Clown Empire. He tends to overlap this with Laughably Evil, both literally and figuratively on more than a few occasions.
- Bigger Than Jesus: In the episode "Cool Whip", Whip becomes an instant celebrity on a planet where the king proclaims him "Bigger than Jesus" but not The Beatles. Though he learns that he is going to be hunted and mounted, like every identical lizard alien before him.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: Also covers Cool Uncle, Evil Uncle, and Honorary Uncle since Whip and Chode refer to each other as nephew and uncle (with Six as Team Mom, T'nuk as the bitter spinster aunt, Gus as the Camp Gay cousin, and ship itself as a sarcastic family friend).
- Black-and-Gray Morality: The villains are outright evil, but the heroes are morally ambiguous at best if not full Anti-Hero.
- Black Comedy Rape: The pilot contained an unpleasant anecdote about the history between Chode and Darph Bobo:Six: Where do you know this guy from?
Chode: Oh, well yeah, he and I were in prison together a while back...
Gus: Don't tell me. Judging by his size, I'd say you were the bitch, am I right?
Chode: (sheepishly) Yeah.
- Chode also mentions in other episodes that he's been a prison bitch more than once, which explains why he's such a perverted sex hound for females since he's secretly trying to compensate for reluctantly enjoying his time as a prison sex slave.
- Blood Sport: Mutilation Ball is a Fictional Sport in which two teams use chainsaws and incapacitate each other with them while using the body parts to score points.
- Boob-Based Gag: Spamela Anderslut, a rather savage parody of Pamela Anderson, from the planet Titius Maximus. Her breasts are so big that she actually needs a specialized device just to carry them around. They even end up leading her downfall: just as she was about to win the "Miss Galaxy 5000" pageant, T'Nuk purposefully kicks her device out of the way, causing Spamela to fall and injure herself under the weight of her own breasts.
- Brainwashed: In "Power to the Peephole", Conservative presidential candidate George Goodfellow uses a special device to reprogram Six and turn her into an airhead sex slave, completely obedient to him.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In "Skankenstein", when Chode decries the episode being in black & white due to animation budget cuts. Happens a few other times during the third season as well, notably T'Nuk namedropping John Melendez (Bob's voice actor) in "Raiders of the Lost Crock of @&$#!".
- Camping a Crapper: In "Skankenstein", the princess of Slovenia ends up getting brutally killed while on the toilet.
- Canada, Eh?: Gus winds up owing a Canadian mafia a hefty casino debt in "To Ebay Or Not To Ebay". Chode buys their marker off of them and forces Gus to repay him for the porno magazines he sold off earlier.
- Couch Gag: The different phrases shouted by Spaceship Bob during the opening credits.
- Crapsack World: The general setting is that known space is politically divided between two superpowers run by bloodthirsty power-mad tyrants: the Confederation (led by Humans, and a parody of the Federation from Star Trek) and the Dark Clown Empire (a parody of the Galactic Empire from Star Wars). The Dark Clown Empire is a totalitarian, tyrannical police state, led by the evil Darph Bobo. In contrast, the Confederation is technically a democratic society, but in practice, is dominated by mega-corporations and bloated bureaucracies. Ultimately, both superpowers end up exploiting and restricting their inhabitants, albeit in different ways. The value placed on life is so commercialized in the Confederation that clearly sapient robots and androids are reduced to essentially slave status. The Dark Clown Empire practices actual slavery, and while the Confederation does not, most of its inhabitants (including the Human ones) are openly described as living in wage slavery. The only place that anyone can truly be free is in the border region between the two superpowers, which is directly controlled by neither. This borderland is known as "the Rift", hence those outlaws (like the main characters) on the fringes of society who cling to their freedom by moving back and forth around the Confederation/Dark Clown Empire border to evade detection are said to be "Tripping the Rift".
- Cross Dresser:
- Chode dresses like a hooker in "Nature vs. Nurture" to hide from peasants with Torches and Pitchforks.
- Gus regularly indulges in it, much to Chode's chagrin.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Chode is this considering he manages to concoct plans to consistently outwit and physically manhandle Darph Bobo and make up sly plans to benefit himself on the fly. However, his perverted tendencies, greed, and all-around incompetence prevent him from getting himself out of the gutter as a smuggler.
- Cyborg: Six wavers in and out of this, some sort of genetic creation, and being a full-on robot like Gus Depending on the Writer.
- Deal with the Devil: The devil's contract for Chode's soul is rendered void because he signed it under duress, regardless of whether the event of the duress really happened or not.
- Decapitation Presentation: In "God Is Our Co-Pilot", Six beheads T'Nuk in the alternate timeline where God is dead, and presented her severed head this way to Chode and Gus.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In "The Sidewalk Soiler", Chode is put on trial after spitting his gum out on a planet where littering is punishable by death. They even vaporize another offender when he misses the trash bin just after arresting Chode.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Practically anything Six does will make a guy's jaw hit the floor.
- The Empire: The Dark Clown Empire, Bobo often wishes he can have a Death Star-like battle station to complete it.
- Every One Has Standards: Chode, while initially excited to watch amateur cave painting porn, isn't into four-legged women, running away with a scream.Chode: Well, this is a surprise, apparently I do have standards.
- Expospeak Gag:Chode: What the hell you been fixin' in these past two days?
Gus: The trans-digital Freon converter.
Chode: And what's that for?
Gus: It makes ice cubes.
- Darph Bobo is an Expy of Darth Vader.
- Darph Bobo's Clown Troopers are Expy's of the Stormtroopers while the name is a play on clone troopers.
- The Confederation are Expys of Star Trek, complete with SEVERAL Expys of Captain Kirk at various stages of his career. You can also see Spock at the bar in one episode, failing at doing the Vulcan neck grip.
- "Fantastic Voyage" Plot - the season 2 episode, "Honey, I Shrunk the Crew" deals with male members of the crew entering Bobo's body whilst shrunk. Chode being Chode benefits from this in the end by stealing Bobo's identity and humiliating him.
- The Federation: The Confederation.
- French Maid Outfit: In "Emasculating Chode" where T'Nuk took over as captain since Chode is having a masculinity crisis over his severed tentacle, T'Nuk forced Six to wear one while the remaining crew serve her.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Chode is many things, but being above working for the clowns once and a while is not one of them. He helps Darph Bobo out in "2001 Space Idiocies" by planting the Clown Empire monolith, then again in "Chode and Bobo's High School Reunion" in an effort to help Bobo become cool.
- God - from the series premiere "God is Our Copilot" and the season 2 episode, "Chode's Near-Death Experience". He puts in a few other cameos throughout the first two seasons.
- God and Satan Are Both Jerks - To Chode at least. They don't want him in Heaven or Hell, so they each try to get him to go to the opposite side. To be fair, it's Chode we are talking about.
- God Is Dead: Chode and Gus travel to the beginning of the universe and accidentally kill him after he made the Big Bang in "God is Our Co-Pilot". Thanks to a time paradox, God winds up perfectly fine at the end, while copies of Chode and Gus get run down in his stead.
- God Is Evil - Well... a grade-A Jerkass at any rate. And usually towards the Jupiter 42 crew.
- The Greys: The bickering scam artist couple in "Roswell".
- Henpecked Husband: Darph Bobo and Commander Adam. So much so that they'd rather fight a war with each other and ruin any chance of peace in the galaxy between their factions than spend time at home with their wives. Chode mocks them for this endlessly.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: What nearly happened to Whip in "Cool Whip".
- Impossible Hourglass Figure: Six, Babette and really just about any female character that's supposed to be attractive is drawn with large breasts, equally wide hips and a waist that looks nowhere wide enough to be in between the two formers.
- Insult to Rocks: This little exchange between Chode and T'NukChode: She's not a cow.T'Nuk: Thank you, Chode.Chode: Cows have a quiet dignity and serve a purpose.T'Nuk: Jackass!Chode: Let's not drag your mother into this.
- Kangaroo Court: In "The Sidewalk Soiler", Chode is put on trial for littering (the penalty for guilty litterbugs being death). Though the judge belongs to the planet's native species, each member of the jury is an actual kangaroo.
- Lighter and Softer: Only slightly. The original pilot contained nudity, whereas the series comes close, but not quite.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: A variation of it. The crew encounters a crooked stripper named Haffa Dozen, whom Six was modeled after. Six wasn't created as a fantasy girl by nerds as Gus always assumed.
- Meaningful Name: The confederation captain's son apparently has a future in Law Enforcement.
- Mind over Matter: Darph Bobo in 'Chode & Bobo's High School Reunion' which is parodying Carrie.
- The Monolith: In "2001 Space Idiocies", one appeared at the beginning. But it turns out to be placed there by Darph Bobo to make the inhabitants on Planet Kubrick his slaves. Later on, the Confederation pulls this same stunt, to the dismay of the Kurbrician elder.
- Monster Clown: Darph Bobo and everyone else in the Dark Clown Empire.
- Mooks: Clown Troopers.
- Multiboobage: T'Nuk Layor has three breasts and a centaur-like body.
- Near-Death Experience: "Chode's Near Death Experience". God and Satan make a bet on trying to make it final before settling on simply screwing with him.
- The Neutral Zone: Is set in a region of space called the Rift that is between the Confederation and Clown Empire regions.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Ignoring all the mentions and caricatures of popular, of-the-time personalities, the show wears a couple of these on its sleeve.
- Darph Bobo's voice is very much influenced by Ed Wynn.
- Adam is a reference to William Shatner and his performance as Captain Kirk, even down to sharing the last name as Shatner himself. A version of Kirk later appears in "Chode and Bobo's High School Reunion" voiced by Jess Harnell, doing a more on-point vocal imitation.
- No Flow in CGI: Averted, but largely awkward looking during the first two seasons due to the limitations of the format.
- The Nudifier: Chode apparently has one handy for Six, and makes use of it when she tries to make a (Conservatively dressed) statement at the Miss Galaxy 5000 pageant.
- Perpetual Poverty: Often discussed and shown, be it due to Chode's frequent boozing and whoring, or botched missions.
- Persecution Flip: In the episode "You Wanna Put That Where?" the crew arrives on a planet where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuality is seen as deviant. Complete with a fundamentalist preacher promoting the sins of heterosexuality.
- Predatory Prostitute: Haffa Dozen, the human stripper that Six was modeled after, is one in addition to being One Bad Mother to Six. Angered Six was made and profits were collected from her time as a sex slave without her inclusion, Dozen left life as a downtrodden stripper and resorted to massive robbery and black market dealings, eventually framing Six and nearly having her imprisoned for life.
- Rape as Backstory: Six's time as a Sex Slave among the Clowns as she prefers to die than return, though she's still highly promiscuous with others of her own will.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Darph Bobo when he's really annoyed. He even manages to go full Carrie on his old high school classmates at his reunion.
- Reference Overdosed: The show revels in its sci-fi setting that it's almost impossible to count the references to both the genre and pop culture in general. Star Trek is the main influence on the series in terms of structure and general aesthetics however.
- Religious Robot: The robots justify their belief in God by stating:Gus: If we didn't believe in God, we'd have to worship the engineering dweebs who designed us
Six: And frankly, the God I pray to doesn't need acne medicine and chronically masturbates.
- Reset Button: Lampshaded by Chode at the end of The Need For Greed.
- Roswell That Ends Well: "Roswell" is about the Jupiter 42 crew and a bickering Grey couple accidentally thrown back in time to 1942, where they crashed in Roswell, New Mexico.
- Satan: Chode meets God and the devil in Chode's Near Death Experience. They don't want him in Heaven or Hell, so they each try to get him to go to the opposite side. To be fair, it's Chode we are talking about, and in the end, they decide to screw around with him a little longer after their bet.
- Space Cossacks: The Rift is a border region between the two superpowers of space that is the only place where anyone can be truly free. The inhabitants, including the main characters, that cling to their freedom by living within the border region are said to be "tripping the Rift."
- Spell My Name with an S: Her name is spelled either "T'Nuk" or "T'nuk".
- Starfish Aliens: Most aliens are very starfish-y, including the protagonist Chode who is a three-eyed purple monster with four tentacles on top of his head.
- Stealth Pun: Six (of One, "half a dozen of the other")
- Take That!:
Chode: So what does this Hal guy do?
- "Did anyone care that they canceled Enterprise?" (One of the Couch Gags.)
- T'nuks' warning when the ship has been taken over by the computerprogram "Hal".
Hal: Nothing, I'm a computer program that refuses to do anything.
T'nuk: Be careful, it sounds' like it's from Microsoft.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: T'Nuk and Six
- Too Dumb to Live: Doesn't the Jupiter 42 have a shuttlecraft? So when you're conscripted to find the commander of the Confederation and have 24 hours until an earwig eats your brain (think Escape from New York), wouldn't it be a good idea to USE THAT to find who you're looking for, rather than waste all your time wandering around on the surface of a planet infested with dangerous B-movie monsters?
- Transparent Closet: A frequent Running Gag is Gus's barely-hidden queerness. Chode, and everyone else on the Jupiter 42, mock him for this constantly.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: In "Miss Galaxia 5000" Darth Bobo is revealed to have an attractive teenage daughter.Chode: Hard to believe that sweet ripe thing is the fruit of your rotten circus loins, Darth Bobo.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Chode is in an active relationship with Six. Basically, a short, fat, purple, multi-eyed alien, manages to get with an incredibly hot space babe. Though he seems to be very handsome for his species, having relationships with (almost) Anything That Moves.
- Universal Universe Time: The entire galaxy adheres to Earth's time system.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Chode, who alternates between getting away with some or all of his actions, or getting completely screwed over and humiliated.
- The Unreveal: Exactly what is T'Nuk's species is anyone's guess. Needless to say, she's the butt of a lot of bovine jokes from the rest of the characters thanks to her appearance. Six even lampshades this fact in "All for None".