Turbo is a 2013 DreamWorks Animation CG family film that revolves around a garden snail, Turbo (Ryan Reynolds), who dreams about becoming fast so that he can race like his Indianapolis 500 idol, Guy Gagne (Bill Hader). His dreams make him a little distant from his slow-paced snail society, which includes his careful brother Chet (Paul Giamatti), who is constantly putting up with the embarrassment Turbo brings into his life. As luck would have it, a freak accident causes Turbo to get just what he's asking for when nitrous oxide becomes infused in his DNA. This causes him to become a snail racing wonder, and the possibility of competing in the Indianapolis 500 is just within his grasp.
Before the film even aired, a Flash-animated television series entitled Turbo F.A.S.T. (Fast Action Stunt Team) was announced to begin airing on Netflix in December 2013. The first season's episodes were released in blocks of about five episodes at a time every three months from December 24, 2013 to December 1, 2014; season two starting July 31, 2015; and season three started on February 5, 2016. The series is animated by Titmouse, who previously did another Flash-animated series involving high-speed action, Motorcity.
This film provides examples of:
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: After mastering his Super Speed, Turbo begins showing this trope, mainly by blowing off the Snail Crew when they propose him to join. They're quick to give him a lesson and deflate his ego.
- Actor Allusion: Michelle Rodriguez plays a Wrench Wench, as she did in another movie about car racing.
- All-CGI Cartoon
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The snails range in all sorts of different colors.
- Artistic License Animal Care: A deep crack in a snail's shell like the one Turbo suffers cannot heal on its own, and requires a lot more than a bandage to repair: the exposed cavity must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and the breach, carefully sealed with gauze, plaster of Paris, and nail varnish. Bringing Turbo to a race before confirming his shell was restored was also extremely dangerous, as snails' exposed bodies are extremely vulnerable to desiccation, infection, or exposure to air pollutants.
- Artistic License Biology: The shot of Turbo's heart being imbued with nitrous oxide shows it attached to a branching network of blood vessels. Snails have an open circulatory system. Snails are also hermaphrodites,note so the running joke of Chet's gender is a moot point.
- Artistic License Chemistry: Nitrous oxide isn't anything especially fast. It just allows engines to burn more fuel. And if anything it slows animals down (it's laughing gas).
- Artistic License Physics: As mentioned elsewhere on this wiki, Super Speed has one of the longest Required Secondary Power lists there is, and this is only exacerbated by Turbo being a snail.
- Artistic License Sports: Racing practically runs on Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught; because of this, what defines a car is pretty rigorously defined, negating the Animal Athlete Loophole. Also, a crash like what happened on the last lap would have almost certainly drawn a red flag and stopped the race - having Turbo and Gagne "racing" to the finish line - one dragging his broken car, the other dragging his broken shell - was pure Rule of Funny.
- Badass Crew: The Snail Crew. Period. For example, they are able to hijack a flock of crows - who've spent the whole movie preying on snails - to use as their personal Power-Up Mounts.
- In the final race, each one of them gets a shell upgrade: their own customized, stylish, Transformers-style miniature vehicle to help them compete in their snail races.
- Big Bad: Guy Gagne
- Big Brother Instinct: Chet is this to Theo A.K.A. Turbo: It's justified since Turbo is quite reckless.
- Big Little Brother: Tito hovers over his older brother, Angelo.
- Birds of a Feather: Non-romantic example: Turbo and Tito.
- Bizarre Alien Locomotion: The "tuck and roll" maneuver which carries Turbo across the finish line.
- Broken Pedestal: Guy Gagne, Turbo's idol, is actually a self centered jerkass who only supported Turbo in order to promote himself.
- Brought Down to Normal: A surprising subversion. Even though Turbo's shell did crack and made him lose his Super Speed, the shell only needed to heal on its own for his Super Speed to return.
- The Cameo: Phil the monkey can be seen on a newspaper article when Angelo tells Tito that his monkey petting zoo idea was crazy.
- Chekhov's Skill: Tuck and roll.
- Close on Title: The movies title does not appear until the very end.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: The Snail Crew, particularly White Shadow.
- Contrived Coincidence:
- Turbo landing right on the hood of a car about to race.
- The birds carrying Turbo to the hood of a truck belonging to a guy who races snails.
- The Indy 500 truck showing up right when Turbo is being asked what they should do next.
- Cool Car: The car in which Turbo gets his powers from is a heavily modified Chevy Camaro.
- Creative Closing Credits: The snails messing around objects pertaining to who worked on what ( Example: A laptop for animators. An ipod for Music Composers, etc) as well as objects seen in the movie. Followed by a long sequence of credits on the taco truck's menu board.
- Deadpan Snarker: Chet. Especially towards Theo AKA Turbo.
- Determinator: Turbo and Tito definitely qualify, especially the former.
- DreamWorks Face: Well, duh.
- Down L.A. Drain: Where the race that Turbo gets caught in takes place.
- The Faceless: The driver of the Camero never has his face shown.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Brothers, plural, in this case. One scene even has Chet and Angelo mirror each other as they chastise Turbo and Tito respectively. Hilariously, Chet even goes "what he said" to one of Angelo's comments.
- Fat and Skinny: Seems this way with Turbo and Chet.
- Fiery Redhead: Burns. Technically she has red skin, but it counts.
- Fragile Speedster: Being a snail, Turbo already can't take too much damage as it is. Racing down a speedway alongside cars that could cripple or kill a non-protected human...yeah.
- French Jerk: Guy Gagne, although he's French-Canadian.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: The rest of the crew seems to find White Shadow more annoying than anything else.
- Fun with Acronyms:
- F.A.S.T. stands for Fast Action Stunt Team.
- At one point Chet mentions something called Crow Awareness Week—in other words, C.A.W.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Had Guy not felt the need to make himself look like a supporting and fellow racing competitor and lead a rally to get Turbo to compete in the Indy 500, he wouldn't have lost in the race; to make it worse on his part, Turbo won without his Super Speed.
- On top of that, his attempts to stomp on Turbo and him jumping out to grab him only HELPED Turbo cross the finish line.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Turbo wants to be more than just your average garden snail. He gets his wish.
- I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: Twice by Whiplash.I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear what I clearly just heard!
- Impossible Hourglass Figure: Paz.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Several, with Luis Guzman as Angelo being the most notable.
- Jerk Jock: Guy Gagne seems to be a subversion at first but quickly shows he's this before the final race.
- Love Interest: Played With. Burn has Love at First Sight... for Chet.
- Meaningful Name: Guy Gagné. 'Guy' comes from 'Guido', which is derived from an old word for 'leader', and 'gagné' is French for 'won', so he's the leader who won. Some argue that Guido comes from the verb 'guidare', meaning to drive, which would make him the Driver Who Won. Unfortunately for him it doesn't come true in the end.
- Memetic Mutation: In-universe, "Whoa! That snail is fast!" complete with remix videos.
- Metronomic Man Mashing: Turbo does this from inside a crow that swallowed him just after he saved his brother Chet. Nope, it's NEVER a good idea to eat something with super powers.
- Miniature Senior Citizens: Kim-Ly
- Never Mess with Granny: Kim-Ly as Guy found out the hard way.
- Nonstandard Character Design: The crows are photorealistic, but the snails are cartoony, and humans somewhere in between. Justfied; this was done to set the crows apart as feral predators and later Power-Up Mounts to the Snail Crew.
- Official Couple: Chet and Burn by the film's end.
- One-Word Title: Also a Protagonist Title.
- Only Sane Man: ChetChet: Has the world lost its mind?!
- Power Glows: After gaining his super speed ability, Turbo leaves behind a phosphorescent blue trail in his wake.
- Product Placement: Features several companies due to race cars having branding. Verizon also appears on a mobile phone.
- Production Throwback: The chimpanzees from Madagascar appear in a newspaper page when Angelo reminds Tito of his past failed plans to get customers.
- Protagonist Title
- Reality Ensues: Sure Turbo is a fast racer but he quickly finds that racing by himself or with the rest of the Snail Crew is nothing like racing with real race cars, especially with his size. He nearly gets crushed a few times on the first few laps of the race and nearly suffers a breakdown till the Snail Crew snapped him out of it.
- Recycled In Space: Ratatouille WITH SNAILS!! The plot of Turbo and Ratatouille involve a single main character who desires to break out in a field in which it is discouraged due to their species and not their skills. Both Turbo and Rémy are The Speechless. Both characters have a brother who attempts to discourage them but eventually, grudgingly supports them. Both glimpse this world through the TV. Both are forced from their world due to circumstances involving natural disaster. Rémy is cast away by a flood and Turbo rescues his brother from a hungry bird. Both situations force them far from their original location. Both works include a bittersweet success at the end. The restaurant in ratatouille closes down and Turbo loses his Super Speed. Rémy ends up working at a small bistro, and Turbo regains his superpowers.
- Recycled Premise:
- A non-human with dreams normally only achievable by humans? Gaining an indirect mentor (through television) in a famous practitioner of that dream? The protagonist having a unique trait that makes that dream possible, as well as a human Heterosexual Life-Partner? This, in a lot of ways, is the DreamWorks Animation equivalent to Ratatouille if it was based around racing, starred a snail, and with the protagonist meeting the Gusteau analog (with the Gusteau analog being a villain).
- The above includes a heaping dose of Pixar's Cars. A racer (snail) finds himself in a town (shopping mall) that can't drum up enough business to make ends meet? In the end his winning a race in an unorthodox way leads to putting the town (shopping mall) on the map again? Check.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: Guy Gagne
- Shout-Out: The tagline "He's fast. They're furious".
- Sore Loser: Guy Gagne does not take kindly to being shown up by anyone, let alone by a snail.
- Spicy Latina: Burn.
- Stealth Pun: Look at that S(nail)-car GO!
- Super Hero Origin: One thing that does distinguish this from Ratatouille is that it's basically a superhero origin story - with a snail as the superhero.
- Super Speed: Turbo gets this, becoming fast enough to compete with a race car.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: A crow eats Turbo post-transformation, and the result isn't pretty (see above). Yup, still not a good idea to eat something with super powers.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The fact that Guy was a great A Jerkass Glory Hound was pretty much on every commercial whereas in the film he is treated as a kind-hearted team player until the Wham Line around two-thirds into the movie.
- Uptight Loves Wild: Inverted, as the wild Burn instantly falls for the very uptight Chet.
- Viewer Gender Confusion: In-Universe Humans can't tell that Chet is a boy, much to his chagrin. Hilariously, snails in real life are hermaphrodites.
- Wham Line: While relatively minor, the moment the line dropped was the moment that Guy Gangé was going to be the central antagonist, and if it doesn't help, then the music by the end of his speech turning sinister and him acting like a massive jerk afterwards will.Well, the sad truth is, uh, underdogs seldom win. And the dreamers... let's just say, eventually they have to wake up.
- Zany Scheme: Tito is guilty of concocting some zany gimmicks in order to promote his and his brother's restaurant.
Turbo: F.A.S.T. provides examples of:
- Aborted Arc: The first season introduced Breakneck, a conman snail voiced by Mark Hamill, and Whiplash's old mentor. Whiplash alludes to a particular incident between them that led to them falling out, and he seemed to be being built up as a major villain. He was put in jail at the end of his second appearance and hasn't been seen since.
- Adaptation Expansion: Due to actually having time to give them focus, the racing snails are much more rounded characters in the series. Of particular note is Skidmark, who was notable for having nothing notable about him in the film, becoming a Crazy-Prepared Conspiracy Theorist, Gadgeteer Genius and all around Mad Scientist.
- Adapted Out: Tito and Kim-Ly are the only Starlight Plaza humans to appear, which is particularly noticeable in the case of "Dos Bros Tacos", which now appears to be run entirely by a single Bro. Angelo is only mentioned once when Tito calls him.
- Affectionate Nickname: "Boo" for Chet, by Burn.
- Animal Gender-Bender: "Terror of Tickula" features a group of male mosquitos that drink blood.
- Art Shift: 2-D Adobe Flash Animated.
- This also happens within the show in "Ace of Race" when Turbo imagines a hypothetical situation, done in a cut-paper style similar to South Park.
- The cut-paper style returns during "Hardcase Returns" when Chet imagines what type of crimes Hardcase could commit.
- Asshole Victim: Pasadena Paul the groundhog in "Groundhog Stay". While Skidmark and White Shadow's motive for attacking him isn't exactly reasonable (they want to keep him from bringing the spring to avoid spring cleaning), it's very hard to feel bad for this Jerkass.
- Batman Gambit: Breakneck's plan in "Breakneck's Back". He enters the Tomato Games to ensure that Whiplash also enters, then purposefully cheats, knowing Whiplash wouldn't pass up a chance to expose him and disqualify himself, thus having Whiplash win the cup and the ceremonial shell... so that he could steal his motorshell.
- Beach Episode: "Surf 'N Turf"
- Big "NO!":
- Burn gets a brief one in response to her chewed gum collection being incinerated by Skidmark's latest mishap in "Skidzo-Brainia".
- In "Turbo Does Laundry", this is Turbo's response to finding out that he's out of dryer sheets at the landromat.
- Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Subverted at the beginning of "The Escargot Affair."Tito: Bill, stop sending your mail to the restaurant!
- "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Inverted. In "Beat-A-Fajita", Tito calls out Dean for using their secret recipe and he corrects him by saying he prefers the word "stole".
- Bloodless Carnage: Almost taken to the point of self-parody in during the titular Death Course from "Bumperdome". A lot of racers enter, and suffer hits that couldn't be anything but fatal, yet by the time it's down to the final two competitors, there's nary a corpse to be seen and the track is pretty much spotless.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Used frequently:
- "Curse of the Cicadas":
- In "Taco Tank", when the tank is about to crash into the Brentwood Home for Unwanted Puppies and Lonely Grandmas, the F.A.S.T. crew see offscreen a puppy wandering in front of the tank, a grandma coming to pet the puppy, and a second grandma with a hat made of puppies coming to give a birthday cake to the first grandma.
- In "The Packet Racket", Captain Dirtbeard asks Turbo if he wants to be killed using a salt packet, a spork, or a salted spork.
- In "Smoovin' on Up", Kim-Ly tells two would-be customers that the only options for her nails are smiley face, cat, and smiley face cat.
- In "C.O.N.S.P.I.R.A.C.Y.", Mr. Tinfoil tells everyone present at the meeting to silence their phones, cameras, and camera phones.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Lumino's response to the Giant Albino Spider.
- Cast of Snowflakes: While most of the main snails have similar eye shapes, they have different body types and mouths.
- Casting Gag: Reid Scott replaces Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Turbo. This alludes to Motorcity, another Chris Prynoski executive produced show where he voiced the lead.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Skidmark and White Shadow.
- Combining Mecha: Parodied with Snailtron, which is all of the snails attached to White Shadow in a humanoid shape, except Skid is too distracted by his phone to properly form the face.
- Consolation Prize: Turbo gives everyone that competes in his Van Nuys 500 a participant trophy since he thinks that would be fun.
- Continuity Porn: The finale to Season 1 has all of Turbo's friends and enemies partake in one grand race. Even Guy Gagne enters it.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Turbo may be an Indy 500 champion, but that just means he's good at going around in circles. When it comes to stunt racing, he is out of his element.
- Curse Cut Short: At the end of "Dungball Derby," White Shadow decides to take in the atmosphere of the arena, only noticing the dungball...White Shadow: Wait—is this just a giant ball of—(Episode ends)
Chet: Ugh, you smell like a big pile of-
- Happens again in "Turbo Stinks"
Tito: Air fresheners! Coming through!
Whiplash: Hah! I knew this was a sham! This moth is full of-
- And again in "Gypsy Moth Prophecies".
Gypsy Moth: Shh!
- Dartboard of Hate: Two variants: "The Snailman" had Turbo's enemies go to town on a piñata of him, and "He Got Game Night" has Hayaku sparring with a punching bag of him.
- Death Course: What the titular course in "Bumperdome" turns out to be, much to the team's horror. For maximum Black Comedy, the team member who gets duped into entering? Poor old Chet. Of course, as the field begins to dwindle, any semblance of racing disappears and it devolves into a pure Blood Sport.
- Don't Explain the JokeTurbo: Who is Breakneck?
Burn: A snail whose name makes no sense! BURN!... Snails don't have necks, so-
Turbo: I got it.
- End-of-Series Awareness: "Stalks on a Plane" may be leaning on this, as it ends with the normally unfunny Turbo finally making everyone laugh.Turbo: All right, that's it for me! (looking at the camera) So long, everybody!
- Egopolis: As part of an over the top celebration for one of Turbo's racing victories, Chet has Starlight City renamed Turbo Town, a name change that sticks for the rest of the series.
- Escalating Punchline: In "Taco Tank" when the titular tank is careening out of control and headed for the Brentwood Home for Unwanted Puppies and Lonely Grandmas:Burn: Oh, no! An adorable puppy has wandered in front of the tank!
Smoove Move: Oh, no! Now a grandma has wandered out to pet the puppy!
Whiplash: Oh, no! Now a second grandma with a hat made of puppies has come out to give a birthday cake to the first grandma! And she brought a dozen grandma friends to celebrate! And they're leading an adorable puppy parade! With a kitten marching band! And they're all in our path!
Everyone: (with big text appearing) Oh, no!
- Evil Mentor: Breakneck to Whiplash.
- False Reassurance:
- When Turbo first defeats Hardcase, the latter extends his hand to Turbo, saying that no one ever calls him a Sore Loser, before adding that it's because no one who's ever beaten him has lived to tell about it, as he was prepared to have his minions destroy the city.
- When Chet denies Burn's accusation that he assembled her birthday party in 5 minutes, White Shadow tells her that it was actually 7.
- Fantastic Racism: Starting in Season 2; Snails and Slugs do not think very highly of each other.
- Fast-Forward Gag: In "Karmageddon" as Turbo explains the very long Chain of Deals he has set up, Painting the Medium as the fast forward effect shows a Netflix playback interface.
- Fight Magnet: The series sees various creatures that keep showing up to challenge Turbo and the F.A.S.T. team, either in Starlight City or elsewhere.
- Five-Man Band:
- Fourth-Wall Observer: Skidmark has his moments.Smoove Move: The Shadow we know and dig isn't afraid of anything!
Burn: Darn right! Bee or no bee!
Skidmark: Yeah, Shadow's big with no fear, it says so in the theme song!
Whiplash: What theme song?
Skidmark: The theme song! You know, from our lives? (beat) You guys don't hear it too?
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Chet scrolls through a Wikipedia-like article on tiger beetles to verify Hardcase's claims, this gem can be found:Genus: Manticora from the latin manti "mandible" and chora "large". Males of the species have exaggerated scythe-like pincers to impress the ladies. (edit: The ladies are not impressed).
- Fun with Acronyms: In "Crazy Fast," the team decides to call themselves "Fast Action Racing Team" to which White Shadow responds "Go F.A.R.T.!" (Beat.) Turbo decides to change it to "Fast Action Stunt Team" and everyone agrees.
- "C.O.N.S.P.I.R.A.C.Y." features the titular club being unable to agree on what their name is actually an acronym for.Gum Guy: I thought it was the Cabal Of Nutcases, Schemers and Paranoi-
Mr. Tinfoil: No, no, no! It's the Coalition Of Naturally Suspicious-
Skidmark: Guys, the "C" definitely has to stand for "Conspiracy".
- "C.O.N.S.P.I.R.A.C.Y." features the titular club being unable to agree on what their name is actually an acronym for.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Burn does this to Chet in the second trailer (and follows up by kissing him).
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Considering this is an original series for Netflix and not airing on any network, the censors seem pretty lax, but quite disturbing as it airs on Discovery Kids in Latin America.
Skidmark: These aliens aren't gonna expose themselves!White Shadow: Well, I should hope not.
- In "African Queen", Chet develops an apparent addiction to bananas which worries his girlfriend. Sure, totally nothing suspect about that.
- In "Clamsquatch", some Mardi Gras beads are thrown at Burn. She rejects them, snapping "What kind of snail do you think I am?!"
- White Shadow's Curse Cut Short from "Dungball Derby", where he almost refers to the titular dungball as "a giant ball of shit".
- In "Ready, Set, Glow"
- Skidmark's proposed name for the Skidmark/Turbo team, "Turdmark."
Gulpy the Frog: ... and she had the nerve to say she got the warts from me!
- From "Snails in Jail"
- Hulk Speak: Gigantus the Rhinoceros Beetle, from "Bumperdome".
- Impact Silhouette: In "Skidzo-Brainia", an unfortunate skateboarding snail makes this through a cardboard wall when he's blasted by a speaker set off by Skidmark cutting the city's main power line.
- I Never Said It Was Poison: In "In Snails in Jail", when Turbo is racing Rudy Guana so he can visit a fan who wrote a letter to him, Rudy accidentally reveals that he knows his name is Timmy and that he had a crooked shell.
- Inevitable Waterfall: Played with in "African Queen", as from the snails' point of view it's dark and dreaded, but the camera zooms out to show that it's about a foot, and pristine.
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: The protagonist is voiced by Reid Scott who played Mike Chilton, the protagonist of Titmouse's previous cartoon (with most of the same staff and a similar animation style): Motorcity. In "Ace of Race" we meet Breakneck (hinted to be a main villain), voiced by Mark Hamill, who played main villain/Mike's enemy Abraham Kane in the same show.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Despite writing it with the accented e, Cajun Cliché insists it's pronounced "Cajun cleech".
- Is This Thing Still On?: In "Hardcase Returns", the titular character does this with the phone call he makes, not realizing that it's still on after making a challenge for Turbo. During this time, he asks (someone off-camera, apparently) if he's able to send e-mail with the phone in question.
- Kryptonite Is Everywhere: Somewhat justified as Turbo is famous for being fast enough to outrace Indy cars, and so he is almost never challenged to a straight up normal race. Presumably, the reason racing is phased out is so they don't have to continue coming up with gimmicks to keep Turbo's powers from trivializing them.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: While present in the film, Whiplash's is far more pronounced thanks to the show's angular style.
- Left the Background Music On: Smooth Move often does this, such as in "Breakneck's Back."Turbo: Smooth, enough with the musical sting!Smooth Move: I provide the soundtrack of our lives, baby! (Beat.) Haters.
- Literal Metaphor: When Chet realizes he forgot Burn's birthday, a part explodes out of his ambulance shell causing him to crash. Skidmark comments that Chet just literally blew a gasket.
- Logo Joke: Chet is in the moon fishing, he catches Turbo who does a little stunt off of the crescent that causes Chet to fall off. Turbo then grabs the fishing rod and uses it to catch Chet.
- Lower-Deck Episode: "Turbo Does Laundry" follows an extremely large amount of side or one-shot characters through their adventures while Turbo himself is busy doing his washing (part 1) and drying (part 2).
- Lyrical Dissonance: Chet and Smoove Move's show tune-y song about dying in space in "Turboldly Go".
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Smooth Move does this during the game in "Dungball Derby."
- Mook Debut Cutscene: Most characters in the first season are introduced with one of these, generally a quick splash screen showing 3 random stats, but occasionally a different kind suiting the theme of the episode. Even the main characters get this treatment in the first episode.Turbo
- Moon-Landing Hoax: Parodied: while on a talk show, Skidmark claims that the moon landing was real, but the moon itself is fake.
- Mouse World: The snails and various insects in the series seem to have this, including a whole snail city initially built, unusually for this trope, by a human, Tito.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: In "Hardluck Hardcase", Turbo discovers a car horn is included in his set of car powers, mostly so that he can be a reference to the Road Runner.
Skidmark: "I conveniently know how to read lips."
- Lampshadedd by Skidmark in "Home on Our Own".
- Non-Action Guy: Chet. He tries to overcome this in "Bumperdome."
- Noodle Incident: So far, the reason Breakneck and Whiplash are mortal enemies. It's even referred to as "The Incident *dramatic musical sting from Smoove*"
- In "Karmageddon", an entire extremely perilous escapade to get an unknown glowing green MacGuffin with Turbo, Whiplash, and White Shadow takes place completely offscreen.
- Not My Driver: Hardcase turns out to be driving the car Turbo is riding on while he was trying to escape/hide from him.
- No, You: One scene in "Turbo Does Laundry" when Hardcase needs help sending a video on a smartphone:Hardcase: Will middle clicking the mouse help?
Jerry: No. You don't have a mouse. That's your TV remote.
Hardcase: You're a TV remote.
- Of Corpse He's Alive: A non-lethal version, the whole plot of "R/C Turbo" is built around Turbo being rendered unconscious by a nerve pinch right before a huge charity race, complete with press conference. Hilarity Ensues.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The members of F.A.S.T. other than Skidmark escaping from S.E.C.R.E.T. in "C.O.N.S.P.I.R.A.C.Y."
- Oral Fixation: Burn's chewing gum.
- Out-Gambitted: In "Breakneck's Back" Breakneck does this to Whiplash; Whiplash came up with a plan to catch Breakneck cheating, but it turned out Breakneck wanted that to happen, so when Whiplash was wearing the shell-shaped trophy, Breakneck could steal Whiplash's motor-shell.
- Overly Nervous Flop Sweat: In "Tur-Bros", Tito does this when he's rehearsing his speech for a racing convention, and he ends up soaking most of his shirt. He tries to overcome this by wearing a wetsuit under a white coat, but that just causes the sweat to build up.
- Painted Tunnel, Real Train: Spoofed in "Hardluck Hardcase", where Hardcase draws a road on a trampoline hoping to cause the snails to bounce off over a cliff. When they seem to go through it, he tries it himself and gets launched off instead. Pan to the snails who simply went around the painting instead of through.Smoove Move: Did he really think we can't tell a road from a painting?
- Pity the Kidnapper: Clip and Clap kidnap White Shadow thinking he's a movie star. Shadow is oblivious to having been kidnapped and ends up getting on their nerves.
- Placebo Eureka Moment: In "Crazy Fast," Chet goes to give Turbo a pep talk. Turbo guesses everything Chet was going to say, yet tells him he's right and goes off to practice.Chet: Leave it to Turbo to give a pep talk to himself.
- Pokémon Speak: White Shadow really likes saying his name, and thus occasionally devolves into this.Whiplash: Our boy's in trouble. Ideas, now!
White Shadow: Uh, uh... White Shadow?
Burn: Get him some foot oil, pronto!
White Shadow: Oh! White Shadow!
Whiplash: He greased up with fish guts earlier, any fish nearby?
White Shadow: White Shadow! Ooh ooh ooh! (Gestures to bottles of fish-based hot sauce)
Skidmark: The hot sauce!
Whiplash: But we've got no time for a pitstop!
White Shadow: WHITE SHADOOOOOW!!
- The Psycho Rangers: In one episode, the F.A.S.T. team takes on the F.A.J.I.T.A. team, basically a team comprised of evil versions of them... The usual solution of the Opponent Switch is invoked, but notably it's still a very close match (in the form of a relay race.)
- Purple Is the New Black: Whiplash was a very dark grey in the movie, but here he's rendered in a dark purple.
- Reality Ensues: In "Gills!", after Whiplash gets eaten by a giant goldfish, Smooth Move comments that, from what he's seen in the movies, goldfish's stomachs are enormous. Therefore, Whiplash must be relaxing in the belly next to a fire he built. Cut to the interior of the goldfish's belly, and we see Whiplash in a very tight, confined area with the other two snails that the goldfish ate earlier.Whiplash: Well this stinks.
- Real Men Wear Pink: In "Snails in Jail," Whiplash apparently orders a "Ladies' Choice" perfume. When his soft side gets out in "Tough as Snails", he ultimately decides to own this trope and becomes a popular spokesperson for "Sensitive Side Lavender Extreme". Earlier, in "The Challenge", he flunks out of the titular challenge because he had to race two women to keep them from buying out a sale on the aforementioned lavender skin lotion.
- Retool: Season 1 is fairly evenly divided between episodes that revolve entirely around a race and general comedic plots not involving races. Season 2 is entirely general comedy and racing is barely even mentioned. However, the third season seems to balance the two out fairly well once again.
- Running Gag:
- If something is destroying town, expect the Teen Rec Center getting destroyed.
- Turbo constantly mentioning that he won the Indy 500, and White Shadow being sick and tired of hearing about it constantly.
- Scenery Porn: A lot of the backgrounds have a lot of detail and texture, as opposed to just being a solid color. It's gorgeous.
- Self-Serving Memory: In "Faking Amends", Burn's sister Ember visits and is as nice as can be despite Burn's claim that Ember was the meanest of her older sisters and constantly pranked her growing up. It's later revealed that Burn was the one who was always mean to Ember and all of the pranks Burn remembered being pulled on her were her own pranks that backfired.
- Shout-Out: "Flymm's Arcade" in "Bumperdome."
- Also from "Bumperdome": Don't flip me, bro!
- In "Ants Ants Revolution", ALL YOUR TOMATOES ARE BELONG TO US.
- "Turbo Stinks" is pretty much a shout-out to The Birds.
- Whiplash in "Surf 'N Turf": "Double Rainbow All the Way!"
- Mutt and Cyborg Dan have very briefly appeared in the background. Which is understandable, since a good portion of this show's team also worked on Motorcity.
- During the Lock-and-Load Montage from "Broaches", the music is unmistakably a Suspiciously Similar Song to The A-Team's Theme.
- In "Turbo Drift", Chet gets knocked into a battle between a giant toy robot and a giant toy Kaiju. When Chet finds a way out of the toy store they're fighting in, the Kaiju does a dropkick via dragging his tail while the robot can be seen dragging a toy ocean liner behind it and getting ready to beat the Kaiju with it.
- One member of Dirtbeard's pirate crew in "Cruise Control", is a katana-wielding ninja turtle with a purple headband. This also, incidentally, makes him a Ninja Pirate.
- All of "Hard Luck Hardcase" is one to Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.
- "Maggotron": "It's time to form Snailtron!" (Voltron is also a DreamWorks property, via their acquisition of Classic Media in 2012)
- The toy car race in "Mall Is Well" is an extended shout out to Mario Kart complete with a heads up display and items.
- "How to Train Your Titmouse", crossing between DreamWorks' other project and [[Titmouse who produced F.A.S.T.
- During "Home on Our Own", Skidmark and Shadow scroll through a huge list of parody named shows and movies on Snailflix to find their favorite show Gossip Snail. Also visible are Pork Is The New Ham, Firefly Galactica, Fleas and Geeks, Whose Feeler Is It Anyway?, How I Met Your Mollusk and The Flukes of Hazzard.
- Sidetracked by the Analogy:Hardcase: Turbo! Say hello to your end!
Turbo: If it's my end, wouldn't I say good-bye?
Hardcase: No, because this is the first time you're meeting your end.
Turbo: But you've tried to end me several times already.
Hardcase: But not with this partic- Forget it!
- Snake Oil Salesman: Ace Gecko, to the point where even he is stunned when one of his products works exactly as he advertised.
- Speedy Snail: The title character is a snail who becomes really fast after an accident with a race car.
- Spoonerism: Mel Shellman (the announcer snail), introduces himself with one that he doesn't notice until he gets handed a note.Mel: "I'm your announcer, Shell Melman- *reads note* Correction, I'm your announcer Mel Shellman..."
- Sudden Anatomy: Starting in season 2, the snails occasionally make limbs stick out of them.
- That's All, Folks!: Skidmark delivers one of these at the end of "Hardluck Hardcase", completing the Road Runner parody, although he awkwardly realizes that as it was the first short of the episode, the show isn't actually over yet.
- Theme Tune Cameo: In "Turbo Drift," Whiplash sings "That snail is fast!" in Japanese at karaoke.
- Theme Tune Rap: "That Snail is Fast" remixed into a Theme Tune Roll Call, "Those Sails Are Fast".
- Those Two Guys: Skidmark and White Shadow. There are even several episodes that focus on the two of them.
- Villain Decay: Hardcase manages to be introduced as an intimidating villain, only to become more pathetic each time he appears.Hardcase: Can't I ever catch a break?
(Hardcase's parade float falls on him)
Hardcase: Oh thank goodness, it's only flowers.
(A power pole falls on Hardcase and electrocutes him. A whale falls on top of that)
- Wacky Racing: The season 1 finale, Turbo hosts a race in which he invites everyone he knows, including all of his enemies, which naturally devolves into chaos.Chet: That pileup Gagne caused has got to be some kind of violation! Where's the rule book?
Turbo: After dealing with Pirate Rules, Mall Rules and all of your rules, I thought this race might be more fun without any rules!
- Way Past the Expiration Date: In "No Can Do", the can of tomato juice that Chet opens turns out to have been several decades expired, so everyone who drinks from it starts worshipping it.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: The others towards Whiplash in "Surf 'N Turf." They find out the word "quit" triggers his old personality.
- This happens again in "The Dry Spell", where the snails try to get Burn's aggression and Brutal Honesty back.
- Who Is Driving?: White Shadow talks to the others about protecting Turbo... while he's supposed to be driving the car they built for him to hide from Hardcase.
- Whole Plot Reference: In case it wasn't obvious enough, at one point in "How To Train Your Titmouse", the characters can even be seen watching How to Train Your Dragon.
- Wilhelm Scream: First heard in "Bumperdome", when Baron Von Schwartzhozen lets one out after Burn torches him for inquiring about having Chet defend his title. Since then, it's appeared more or less Once an Episode.
- Worthless Yellow Rocks: When Skidmark tries to reverse-engineer pickle juice, he creates a gold bar instead, but he throws it with a pile of several others from previous attempts.
- You Dirty Rat!: Captain Dirtbeard, a pirate racer introduced in "Cruise Control", plays this trope straight and literally.
- Zany Scheme: Turbo is known for creating excessively zany schemes involving fake mustaches. When confronted with the prospect of having to use Skidmark's extremely dangerous experimental shells or Turbo's plan, Turbo describing his plan is all it takes for them to decide to use Skid's shells.