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Western Animation / Tripping the Rift

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Left to right: T'Nuk, Gus, Chode, Six, Whip

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:

  • Animated Shock Comedy: One of the few CGI examples.
  • 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.
  • Art Evolution: The animation in Season 3 is more fluid than the first two.
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  • Bandito: One episode has a group of Mexican freedom fighters helping the Jupiter 42 crew.
  • Beauty Contest: "Miss Galaxy 5000" is a intergalactic beauty contest.
  • Big Bad: Darph Bobo, the main antagonist of the series and ruler of the Dark Clown Empire. However may overlap with Laughably Evil.
  • 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 the ship itself as a sarcastic family friend).
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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 being due to animation budget cuts. Happens a few other times during the third season as well.
  • Camping a Crapper: In "Skankenstein", the princess of Slovenia ends up getting brutally killed while on the toilet.
  • 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 led by Commander Adams 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 sentient 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.
  • 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 prevents him getting himself out of the gutter as a smuggler.
  • 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.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Six. Practically anything she does will make a guy's jaw hit the floor.
  • The Empire: The Dark Clown Empire
  • Ethical Slut: Six is this when she's not being Shameless Fanservice Girl. Although she's a sexbot at the core, she's possibly the most ethical and considerate member of the cast and tries to convince Chode to be morally upright from time to time. She's also a staunch adherent to women's rights and dislikes women being treated as tools for sex.
  • 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.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: Chode always walks around naked, which Six points out once.
  • 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.
  • Expy: 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.
    • Gus is an Expy of C-3PO. To really nail it in, his vacuum cleaner in the opening looks (and sounds) like R2-D2.
    • 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.
  • Fanservice: Six.
    • T'Nuk is entirely convinced that she is this as well. The rest of the crew disagrees, Chode especially who constantly voices his opinion on the matter.
      • She's considered one to the inhabitants of Planet Kubrick.
  • "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.
  • The Federation: The Confederation.
  • Flanderization - A little bit with Six, but the biggest example here, is Gus. He went from being a not-exceptionally-masculine bot with some ambiguously gay tendencies to his stereotypically gay characteristics being the sole definition of his character.
  • 419 Scam: The plot for "The Need For Greed" kicks off when Six recieves 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.
  • 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.
  • Gag Boobs: 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 off her own breasts.
  • Gainaxing: ANY female with a noticeable chest (which is pretty much every female on the show), but Six is the one who is noticed the most.
  • The Gambler: One of Chode's many vices.
  • God - from the series premiere "God is Our Copilot" and the season 2 episode, "Chode's Near-Death Experience".
  • God is Dead: Chode and Gus traveled to the beginning of the universe and accidentally killed him after he made the Big Bang in "God is Our Co-Pilot".
  • God Is Evil - Well... a grade-A Jerkass at any rate. And usually towards the Jupiter 42 crew.
  • 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.
  • The Greys: The bickering 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.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Six. She is the only one to truly care about whether people live or die in a setting where life is pretty much cheap.
  • 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 former.
  • Insult to Rocks: This little exchange between Chode and T'Nuk
    Chode: 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.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his man flaws, Chode always do the right thing at the end including saving members of his crew in peril (particularly Six and Whip which are the ones he cares the most, or maybe the only ones he cares at all), not rat on them while under torture and saving the universe.
  • 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 has only come close.
  • Lizard Folk: Whip, who looks like a giant chameleon.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: A variation of it. The crew encounter 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.
  • Mean Boss: Chode isn't particularly nice to his crew.
    • Chode states that the only reason he keeps Gus around, is because he doesn't need to pay him.
    • He intentionally creates a hostile work environment through his constant verbal bouts with T'nuk.
  • Meaningful Name: The confederation captain's son apparently has a future in Law Enforcement.
  • Meaningful Sdrawkcab Name: T'nuk Layor.
  • Mind over Matter: Darph Bobo in 'Chode & Bobo's High School Reunion' which is parodying Carrie.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Six is literally made of this trope.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Nephewism: Whip is a teen and is Chode's nephew (somehow). It's implied Chode adopted Whip after he was abandoned by his mother, who was one of his former lovers.
  • No Flow in CGI: Averted, but awkward looking during the first two seasons.
  • 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.
  • Persecution Flip: In the episode "You Wanna Put That Where?" the crew arrive on planet where homosexuality is the norm and heterosexuality is seen as deviant.
  • 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 prefer 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.
  • 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.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Six in spades. Though she doesn't age, she DOES need to breathe.
  • 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.
  • Sapient Ship: The space ship was both sapient and afraid of wide open spaces...
  • 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.
  • Sexbot: Six.
    • And this will give you an idea of the caliber of the crew on this ship: She doubles as the ship's science officer, because she's STILL the most intelligent and best educated member of the crew, INCLUDING the ship's built-in AI.
  • The Slacker: Whip.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Her name is spelled either "T'Nuk" or "T'nuk".
  • Starfish Aliens: Most aliens are very starfishy, including the protagonist Chode who is a three-eyes purple monster with tentacles in the head.
  • Stealth Pun: Six (of One, "half a dozen of the other")
  • Stripperiffic: Pretty much anything Six wears.
  • Take That!:
    • "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".
    Chode: So what does this Hal guy do?
    Hal: Nothing, I'm a computer program that refuses to do anything.
    T'nuk: Be careful, it sounds' like it's from Microsoft.
  • Team Mom: Six tends to fall into this, being the only member of the crew with any sense of responsibility or compassion.
  • 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 this could be zigzagged as he seems to be very handsome for his species.