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Western Animation / Undergrads

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Clockwise from midnight: Cal, Rita, Jessie, Nitz, Rocko, Gimpy, Kimmy, and Mump.

Undergrads was a short-lived Canadian-American animated series from 2001, from MTV and Decode Entertainment. Like other MTV cartoons, such as Daria and Beavis And Butthead, it was adult-oriented and contained very mature content. And like every MTV cartoon not called Daria or Beavis And Butt-Head, it only lasted a handful of episodes, ending on a cliffhanger.

The show is about four lifelong friends and their experiences during their first year at college. Nitz, the protagonist, is an Everyman who constantly lets college life stress him out. Cal, his roommate, is a ditzy Dumb Blonde with an inexplicably rich sex life. Rocko is part of a fraternity and is obsessed with girls, booze and Wacky Fratboy Hijinx, to the annoyance of his frat mates. The fourth, Gimpy (called G-Prime by his peers), is a tech geek who attends an MIT-like university and develops a personal cult due to his hacking prowess. He stays connected to the others mainly via the internet, though they all still live in the same city.

At the start of the year, two major people are introduced to the audience: Jessie, a hip, punk-ish girl who befriends Nitz and helps him learn the ropes (and later develops a crush on him), and Kimmy, a beautiful drama student with whom Nitz is smitten (and has been since high school). There are other recurring characters as well, including Rocko's frat "friends", Nitz and Cal's hippie-like Residential Assistant The Duggler, Jessie's friends (Brody, a film student with an encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture and old movies, Kruger, a profanity-spewing chain smoker, and Dan, a geek who just laughs), Kimmy's (unbeknownst to her, gay) friend Mark, and Gimpy's minions.

Although the show is set in college, the characters are never shown in class; episodes mainly focus on other aspects of campus life, like dealing with roommates, fitting in with groups, attending mixers, getting student loans, and figuring out what to do in life. Oh, and girls and booze, naturally.

On September 24th, 2018, a Kickstarter was launched seeking funding for Undergrads: The Movie. It reached its funding goal on October the 27th of that year.

Undergrads provides examples of:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: It's hinted that Cal has won every Risk game the clique plays despite being completely oblivious to the rules. Rocko always gets eliminated early, which results in Nitz and Gimpy focusing entirely on each other as Cal is no threat — this always escalates to Gimpy getting so worked up he uses Kamikaze attacks which leaves both their armies so decimated that Cal is the only one left who possibly can win.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Kimmy to Mark, Nitz to Kimmy, Jessie to Nitz... Hell, in one episode Nitz to Jessie. That's right, they both manage to have unrequited love towards each other. Why she never bothered to reciprocate (or have mixed feelings) about this when he was openly crushing on her wasn't explained.
    • It could be that Jessie's earlier rejection of Nitz was meant to show that she knew he wasn't really into her because he liked her, but because he had accidentally seen her naked.
    • When Nitz initially proposes they go out (and then 'get in the same bed'), Jessie doesn't flat-out reject him - all she says is that she can't because she has a previous commitment that night to work on a project with her classmates. If Nitz hadn't subsequently made a big show of asking Jessie out in public, disrupting her plans and embarrassing her, she might well have reciprocated.
  • All Women Are Lustful: At least as far as Cal is concerned, as any woman will drop everything and anything for a chance to sleep with him. Only Jessie and Kimmy seem to be immune to this.
  • Almost Famous Name: Nitz is excited to find out the school got Rage Against the Machine for a festival, only to find out it's Reg Against the Machine, a one-man band.
  • Ambiguously Gay: All we know about Dan, besides the fact that he laughs a lot, is that he also kissed Nitz in one scene.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: After Gimpy's antics cause some explosions in his dormitory, his RA does a quick inspection of his room with the following observations:
    RA: "Thirty plugs going into one socket, broken windows, severe water damage illegal hot plate!"note 
  • The Art of Bra Removal: One of the many girls Cal hooks up with breaks up with him because he can't figure out how to get it off her. It does beg the question of why she's wearing underwear while showering with him.
  • Author Appeal: The Thompson Twins song "Hold Me Now" shows up a few times in the background in an instrumental version. It's also Gimpy's go-to karaoke song.
  • Bait-and-Switch: There are two separate occasions where it seems like, ironically enough, Cal is "mastering his joystick" only for it to be revealed that he actually wasn't at all.
  • Berserk Button: Don't tell The Duggler to go to Hell!
  • Betty and Veronica: Played with to a more complex level. Kimmy is nice like Betty, but her concept is "The Unattainable Girl" like a Veronica, while Jessie is more cynical and mean like Veronica, but is the "pal" like a Betty.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Nitz, Jessie, Brodie, Kruger & Dan play this role... in a team deathmatch when they arrive to help an outgunned Gimpy defeat Spud in a contest to decide if Star Wars or Star Trek is to be the dominant force in their dorms.
  • Big "NO!": In Slow Motion, when Rocko "rescues" Nitz from alcohol.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: They take pot shots at Good Charlotte, who wrote the theme song.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Gimpy's first love is She-Prime, a girl online. At the end of the episode it's revealed that their dorm rooms are located right next to each other. And neither of them ever found out.
    • The entire series ended on this note. Kimmy and Nitz got together. Things work out well for the other three, and the only thing that went wrong was that Jessie and Nitz aren't on easy terms now.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted when the gang plays a video game. Rocko uses all his ammo by firing wildly and shooting Cal, then has his character's rifle disappear, forcing him to use karate chops instead.
  • Brainless Beauty: Cal.
  • Brick Joke: About halfway through "Virgins," Rocko eats a banana without realizing that it had a condom on it. Toward the end of the episode, he coughs it up after being on the receiving end of a Groin Attack.
  • Bros Before Hoes: Nitz is often accused of violating this rule by putting his infatuation over Kimmy above his friends.
  • Buffy Speak: Mump: "I'm just to absorb all of your ill will like some kind of ill will absorbing...absorber?"
  • Butt-Monkey: Cal. In one episode, Rocko tries to start a college rivalry with State U by beating up Cal after he becomes their mascot... A manatee. However, this doesn't have the desired effect, as nobody really liked the mascot anyway so they just start cheering Cal getting his ass kicked. Lampshaded at the end of the episode, when the characters remark on what they've learned...
    Rocko: "I shouldn't hit Cal up 'cause he's the State U Manatee... I should hit him 'cause he's Cal."
  • Camp Straight: Cal is fond of wearing short-shorts and singing, and speaks with a high pitched lisp, but he is an absurdly unstoppable lady's man.
  • Cathartic Scream: In the last episode, Brody and Kruger are studying for exam week, when the social and academic pressures become too much for Brody. He opens up a window and starts screaming. Kruger declares it brilliant, and joins in, sparking a chain reaction which eventually causes the entire city to erupt in a massive chorus of screams.note 
  • Celibate Hero: Nitz until the last episode.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: In a homage to the ending of A New Hope, Nitz joins Gimpy's Quake game against the Trekkies at the last minute and the gang wins.
  • Chick Magnet: Cal. Women flock to him without him even trying.
  • Childhood Friends: The opening shows that Nitz, Gimpy, Rocko, and Cal have all been friends since they were infants.
  • Cliffhanger: On the last day of first year, Nitz and Kimmy have a drunken makeout session and afterwards, Jessie chews Nitz out for not realizing she's been in love with him the whole year, and then... the show ends. Forever.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Pretty much everything Kruger says.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: After spending the night in the drunk tank and waking up with a wicked hangover, Rocko goes to a church and swears off alcohol, only for the priest to offer him a drink from his hip flask. Rocko goes back to his frat house to find it's Alpha-Alpha's "Drink All Day Day".
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Cal decides to become an RA for the following school year, he reads the handbook and finds an RA can't have sex with anyone on their floor.
    Cal: "Guess I'll just have to have sex on my bed."
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: After Gimpy's rival, Spud, takes control of the dorm, he takes revenge on Gimpy by prying his eyes open Clockwork Orange-style, and forcing him to watch every episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming: "New Friends". The episode revolves around a team deathmatch in the original Quake, yet the graphics look nothing like the game, the in-game avatars just look like the characters dressed in Rambo-esque fatigues, and even the weapons are wrong.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • Rocko's book of "Things Cal Does That Make Me Want To Kill Him Dead Dead Dead Dead Dead."
    • Rocko trying to find a place for him and his friends to live next semester.
      Rocko: "Okay, there needs to be a bar in the basement, Gimpy needs a T1 line, and Cal requested a bi... det, whatever that is. And there needs to be a bar in the basement."
  • Did They or Didn't They?: In the last episode, it's was never made clear just how far Nitz got with Kimmy.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Jessie to Nitz in the final episode.
  • Disco Dan: The Duggler is a '60s hippy (the whole reason he joined the school newspaper is so he can pretend he's a student activist) decades after The '60s ended. Kimmy has her moments, what with her role in campus protests.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Gimpy's rival/love interest is a female hacker known only as She-Prime.
  • The Ditz: Cal, though Kimmy has traces as well.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Two of the three sunbathing girls Cal applies suntan lotion to in "Risk". One owns nothing but one bikini, the other changes into regular clothes but still does not wear shoes.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Nitz constantly puts himself out for Kimmy in the hopes she'll fall for him in return.
  • Dominatrix: The female RA at Tekerson Tech dressed like this while Cal was visiting her, taking geek chic to a whole new level. See She Cleans Up Nicely.
  • Doing It for the Art: In-universe: Gimpy treats his creation of fake IDs as this. Naturally, he doesn't take it too well when his "customers" don't take time to appreciate them, since all they want is easy access to alcohol.
  • Dramatic Wind: The first time we meet Kimmy (bonus points because she is indoors).
  • Dumbass Has a Point:
    • Even lampshaded by Rocko when he comes up with an idea his friends don't think is a bad one for once:
    Nitz: "Wow, Rocko. That's actually a great idea."
    Rocko: "Eh, law of averages."
    • In "Drunks", Nitz plans to visit a bar to get closer to Kimmy, and the topic of what he's going to drink comes up. Cal makes a very valid point, seeing as Nitz is underage:
    Cal: But what are you going to drink, guy? You don't drink alcohol.
    Nitz: I'll have soda or water. You don't have to drink booze to be at a bar.
    Cal: (with a dead serious expression) Yeah, you do. They check. If you're not drinking you're out of there.
    Nitz: (sarcastically) Right, Cal, sure.
    Jessie: He's got a point, Nitz. You just can't walk into a bar and order milk, they're going to know you're not supposed to be there. Bartenders can smell fear.
  • Dumb Blonde: Cal is a childishly naïve and easily-distracted airhead.
  • Easily Forgiven: A Running Gag with Cal is how quickly women will forgive him after he does something to annoy or anger them. After going on how much of a jerk he is, they'll then say: "Call me."
  • Eating the Eye Candy: After Nitz accidentally walks in on Jessie and her towel falls off in "Roommates", he starts to realize how physically attractive she is and finds himself staring at her butt and chest. Jessie for her part surprisingly fails to notice Nitz awkwardly staring at her.
  • The Everyman: Nitz.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Parker Walsh and Justin Taylor are always addressed as "Nitz" and "Gimpy", respectively. By pretty much everyone. Finding out their real names is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it detail that you'd easily forget they even have a different name. Nitz is even written on his financial aid cheques and the birthday cake sent by his mom.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: Gimpy's keyboard explodes and injures Mump in "New Friends". Gimpy responds that Mump gets injured every week and doesn't seem that concerned about it.
  • Face Palm: Nitz has been waiting for Kimmy to show up at a party. When she calls, Cal answers and tells her she doesn't have to show up because there are plenty of other pretty ladies there. Cue Face Palm, first by Nitz, then by everyone else at the party.
  • Fan Disservice: Toward the end of "Traditions," Gimpy strips naked to remove the evidence on his clothes that he had gone outside to prank the RA. When she goes into his room to confront him, she is notably squicked at his appearance.
  • Fanservice Extra: Basically every girl that Cal hooks up with is a bombshell, and very few of them have names, many lines of dialogue, or character traits beyond "wants to sleep with Cal".
  • Flat Character: Invoked. Jessie's group of friends don't have anything more than a single trait about them, which she points out. Brody is full of crap, Kruger is a swear machine, and Dan just laughs.
  • The Fool: Cal, again. Everything always turns out the best for him, except the episode "Identity Crisis" that ends with him forgotten and stuck in a tree in the middle of winter.
  • Foreshadowing: Jessie opens up the beginning of the last episode with this saying: "The 'Walk of Shame' is particularly prevalent during Screw Week, that unique time of the year when the collegian finally put the moves on their close friend of the opposite sex before summer break." She doesn't get a chance to "put the moves on" Nitz, but she does effectively reveal her feelings for him...after he irreparably screws up everything between them.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": Nitz attempting to reach the school's Financial Aid office. The first two options make sense, but after that, it first directs him to a line for registering for a class on Ancient Mayan History, then a ticket office for buying tickets to Annie Get Your Gun. It then asks him to hold to talk to the next available operator, and simply disconnects the call.
  • Fratbro: Rocko. He's so prone to Wacky Fratboy Hijinks that he hazes himself when the frat doesn't. He spends the rest of his time drinking and being a perv. He's such a fratbro that he joined a fraternity even though he goes to community college.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes:
    • None of the main gang really seem to like Cal all that much. Nitz tolerates him at best, Gimpy seems indifferent, and Rocko flat out hates him.
    • Rocko is very much disliked within his fraternity.
  • Friends with Benefits: Rocko suggests Nitz try this with Jessie:
    Rocko: Friends can do it.
  • Generation Xerox: In the grand tradition of animation, Gimpy's parents both have his trademark weird eyes, and his dad looks pretty much like an older version of him in a slightly-more realistic style.
  • The Generic Guy: Nitz is an in-universe example of this. He manages to make many friends over the first semester, but after winter, no one on campus even remembers him.
  • Gibberish of Love: Whenever he talks to Kimmy, most of what Nitz tries to say will come out as "Bluh."
  • Gilligan Cut: In "New Friends".
    Nitz: "Eh, I'm sure the clique doesn't need my help."
    Rocko: "Man, we could sure use Nitz's help!"
  • Go-Getter Girl: Kimmy seems to participate in just about every service, club and event at State U, including taking on multiple jobs at the Spring Fling. Deconstructed in that she seems perpetually stressed and hurried because of it.
    Kimmy: "Oh my God! I'm late for...something! Ahh!!"
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: In "Identity Crisis," Rocko instantly loses his grip on reality when he realizes he actually kind of likes Cal (or at least, turned him into someone he could stand).
  • Gonk: Gimpy looks more like a skinny mole man than a human being. The intro shows that he's looked like that his entire life.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: The three girls that Cal showers with his "Cal Juice"note , do this when Cal walks away with their bikini tops. Amusingly, one of them apparently only owns a bikini and spends the rest of the episode topless, sometimes covering her chest with her hands.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Gimpy, who firmly believes that, besides Agent Scully, all women are the enemy.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Kimmy, the object of Nitz's infatuation.
  • Hikikomori:
    • Gimpy, natch. He'll go to extreme lengths to avoid leaving his room, going so far as to send Mump poorly disguised as him to his home on Christmas vacation.
      Gimpy: "I'm out of the will, but it's worth it."
    • In "Identity Crisis," Nitz gets fed up with his status as the Generic Guy on campus and isolates himself in his room. Subsequently, he becomes more popular at that point as legends begin to build up around the mysterious "Room Guy."
  • Hollywood Hacking: When She-Prime infects Gimpy's computer.
  • The Hyena: Dan. All he does is laugh.
  • Hypocrite: Played for Laughs. In "Risk", Jessie complains to her friends that Nitz always drops everything and does whatever Kimmy asks him to. Cue Nitz showing up and asking Jessie to do him a favor, and her friends immediately point out that "Jessie always drops everything and does whatever Nitz asks her to".
  • I Am Spartacus: Parodied: When the RA asks who has been pulling pranks around campus, all Gimpy's minions stand up and claim to be the man responsible. In a supreme act of Comically Missing the Point, Gimpy gets angry with them, assuming they are all trying to mooch in on his fame. One of said minions even specifically says "I am Spartacus!"
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Referenced in "Drunks", as Gimpy tells Cal and Nitz he's hosting a discussion about the Stormtroopers and whether their lack of success at hitting targets is due to bad eyesight or lousy aim.
  • Incoming Ham: Gimpy usually pops up on Nitz's computer on his webcam saying "Did someone just say my name?" On some episodes it works, in others it doesn't.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Subverted with Rocko's fraternity. The college banned embarrassing hazing rituals, so they just have a get-together party. Rocko refuses to believe there is no hazing, believing it all to be a Secret Test of Character, so he goes out and does several bizarre, humiliating acts in the name of his frat.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: According to the commentary on the last episode, just about everything about Jessie, from her personality to her character design, is based off of her voice actress (who is also the lady Jessie is based on).
  • Innocently Insensitive: Cal's stupidity causes him to annoy his buddies or hurt the feelings of his girlfriends without realizing it.
  • Irony: In "Virgins", Nitz and Cal host a support group for virgins. For starters, Cal is anything but a virgin, and the support group is populated by girls who want to get into Cal's pants.
  • Jerk Jock: Rocko has this persona, despite not being an athlete. He is quite burly, though.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rocko does legitimately care about his friends (besides possibly Cal), though. Tellingly, when Nitz calls the guys out on forgetting his birthday, Rocko is the only one who actually looks regretful and immediately apologizes (and also punches himself in the face for good measure).
    Rocko: It was your birthday? Man I'm sorry.
  • Kavorka Man: While Cal is attractive and good-natured, the sheer amount of women he attracts is obscene.
  • Kick the Dog: This is how Rocko dumped his ex. He tells her that he's breaking up with her so he can hook up with tons of girls when he goes to college. To make things worse, he did it while they were at the prom. And it was also her birthday.
  • Le Film Artistique: The film Nitz watches with Jessie and her friends which is a parody of The Thin Red Line in particular and The Vietnam War movies in general (although the former is actually a World War II movie).
  • Likes Older Women: Cal not only attracts women of his age, but older too. Rita (who is implied to be quite a bit older) is instantly attracted to him and when Rocko brings Cal to his fraternity, one of the students mentioned that his mother is putting the moves on Cal.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Pretty much everyone. Nitz however favors the "closet full of the same outfit" version of the trope, as shown in the last episode when Cal gives out his clothes to girls after sleeping with them. Taken further with one girl in "Risk" who literally owns nothing but one bikini, and spends most of the episode covering her boobs with her hands, looking for her missing top (Cal has it).
  • Love Triangle: Between Kimmy, Nitz, and Jessie. Kimmy remains oblivious to Nitz's love for her and Nitz himself remains oblivious to Jessie's growing affection for him and grows increasingly frustrated about it. Amusingly, Nitz actually does try to go for Jessie in one episode but is turned down because of how he went about trying to ask her out.
  • Malaproper: Rocko really seems to think the phrase "quid pro quo" is pronounced "skid row bro," even after Nitz corrects him.
  • Matrix Raining Code: Seen on Gimpy's computer in "New Friends".
  • Minor with Fake I.D.: In "Drunks", Nitz can't get into a bar because he's too young. Jessie shows him her fake ID and suggests he ask Gimpy, who then starts a business making fake IDs. Rocko, meanwhile, has a fake ID that is just a piece of cardboard with his photo and "I Am 21 so Drinking is Yes" written in pencil, which somehow works (or the bouncers don't really care).
  • Morality Pet: Nitz would qualify as this for Rocko. The latter is often utterly obnoxious to just about everyone, but he always looks out for Nitz.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The probable reasoning behind the eXposed eXpo, when freshmen run around naked during the first snowfall.
  • Never Bareheaded: Nitz is almost never seen without his signature cap, with the exception of one opening scene showing him getting dressed, and another during his disleveled, slovenly "Room Guy" phase.
  • No Full Name Given: Only Nitz, Cal, Gimpy, and Kimmy have full names. Everyone else in the cast is only known by their first name.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Some characters look more realistically drawn, such as Rocko, Kimmy, and Nitz. Others look much more cartoony, like Mump, Cal, and Gimpy, who almost seems like he's from a different show entirely. Several characters have giant heads (Nitz, Gimpy, Kimmy), while others are more-or-less realistically-proportioned (most background characters).
  • Noodle Incident:
    Jessie: "Have you been walking around blindfolded again?"
    Nitz: "Uh, not since "the incident"."
  • Not So Above It All: Nitz thinks he's the Only Sane Man in his circle of friends, but he has plenty of moments of craziness and stupidity himself.
    • In "Virgins", when Nitz watches a bunch of blaxploitation movies from the 70's to learn how to flirt (Dave The Stoner advised him to watch them as reference material), and over the course of several hours, most of the dorm joins up watching with him.
    Nitz: Damn, that chocolate sauce is nothin' but sweet-ass trouble...
    Students: Mmhmm/yup/oh yeah/true dat!
  • Oblivious to Hatred: Cal never seems to realize that Rocko hates him. If the picture montage in the show's opening is any indication, Rocko has hated Cal for basically their entire lives and Cal remains blissfully ignorant of it. Cal is also blissfully unaware of how much other people hate him until Gimpy discovers an entire website dedicated to how much people (mostly men who had their girlfriends cheat on them with Cal) hate him.
  • Oblivious to Love:
    • Jessie was never really that subtle about her feelings for Nitz, not that he ever got the message.
    • Ditto for Kimmy. She just never realizes Nitz's crush on her.
  • Odd Friendship: While this trope can apply to any combination of the clique, it applies most to Gimpy and Rocko, a nerd and jock respectively. They have very little in common overall.
  • Older Than They Look: Rita the RA doesn't look that much older than the students she looks over, but she mentions that her "feminine troubles" stopped a long time ago, hinting that she's quite a bit older than the students.
  • One of the Boys: Jessie's the only girl in her circle of friends. She even lampshades this by describing herself as "a sarcastic cool girl who hangs out with dorks."
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Nitz's real name is Parker Walsh. It's mentioned a select few times. Nitz mentions in the pilot he's forgotten how and why he acquired the name. Gimpy's real name is Justin Taylor, but like Nitz the story is never revealed. It's unknown if Mump is a nickname or his real name.
  • Only Sane by Comparison: While Nitz is the Only Sane Man of the clique, he's often shown to be much weirder in his mannerisms than the characters outside the clique. This is especially apparent whenever he interacts with Jessie, who is by far the most down to Earth character in the show.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: While not an actual disguise, Rocko's fake ID is just a piece of cardboard with his picture stapled to it and the words "I am 21 so drinking is yes" written on it in pencil. Nevertheless, it works flawlessly.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: It's like no one at this college goes to class. This is lampshaded in the final episode.
    Brody: "I feel like I haven't cracked a textbook or seen the inside of a classroom all year."
  • Poe's Law: In "Virgins," Nitz's genuine attempts to seduce Kimmy in the health center are so over-the-top that she thinks he's auditioning as a date rape actor. He probably shouldnt have taken his pick-up ideas from blax/sexploitation movies from the 70's.
  • Poor Man's Porn: At one point Rocko starts reading Cosmo, but only for the pictures.
    Rocko: It's a buck cheaper than Jugs, and it smells like chicks!
  • Previously on…: Spoofed in "Work Study". The episode begins like this but none of the scenes depicted actually occurred in the show.
  • Rapid-Fire Typing: Gimpy and his nerd friends do it the most.
  • Really Gets Around: Cal has a ridiculous amount of sex with the girls on campus. In the final episode, he mentions that he's had sex with all the pretty girls on campus, and even some of the not-so-pretty ones.
  • Really 17 Years Old: In "Drunks", Gimpy makes fake IDs for everyone to get into bars. Rocko already has his own fake ID though.
  • Redundant Romance Attempt: During the mid-season episode where Nitz has feelings for Jessie, his attempts to woo the girl who already has feelings for him go poorly because he's trying so hard.
  • The Resenter: As the series goes on, Jessie grows increasingly more spiteful toward Kimmy as a result of Nitz's continual obsession with her, and becomes much less subtle about her frustration when talking to him.
  • Right Behind Me: After dealing with a drunken, obnoxious Rocko all weekend, culminating with him destroying the travel clock Nitz was going to give to Kimmy, Nitz finally erupts, ranting to Kimmy about what an awful friend Rocko is... only to realize he's standing right behind him. Which is of course right when Rocko has tried to fix the clock after realizing what a pain in the ass he'd been.
  • Ring-Ring-CRUNCH!: In one episode, Nitz stupidly promises Kimmy that he has a travel clock with an assload of features. While he's trying to find a clock to buy on the internet Rocko shows up and has nowhere else to go. Rocko decides the two of them should spend Friday night getting wasted rather than looking for a clock. Nitz doesn't drink and spends the whole night worrying about the clock. When he wakes up an hour before he meets Kimmy to give it to her he realizes he's fucked and Gimpy tells him to relax and it's on its way. When it arrives he goes to get ready to meet Kimmy. But since it's a travel clock designed for different time zones the alarm goes off waking up a hungover Rocko. Nitz returns to the room to find Rocko smashing it with a bat. Later, when Gimpy messages for help over the computer, Rocko holds up the same bat and say "Smash?"
    • In "Risk", Rocko is woken from his stupor by an annoying noise, and angrily smashes his alarm clock... only to realize he doesn't own an alarm clock. It then shows that Rocko actually smashed his computer keyboard, and the noise was coming from downstairs.
  • Serious Business: For Gimpy, Star Wars, The X-Files and Quake. For all of the gang, Risk.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: When Gimpy introduces Cal to his RA we suddenly see her with no glasses, hair down, in a cut-off shirt and daisy dukes. Later in the episode she takes geek chic to a whole new level.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Many, mostly to Star Wars. The episode "New Friends" in particular, which focuses on a Star Trek versus Star Wars conflict in Gimpy's university.
    • Some to The X-Files and The Matrix (Gimpy's screensavers).
    • "Roommates" has a Shout-Out to Daria and Star Trek II.
    • The final episode had a shout out towards Majora's Mask with the constant "X hours remaining" being pretty much the same.
    • The show's theme song is the Good Charlotte song "The Click" - At one point in the series, they're playing a show at State U & when Nitz is told this, he questions where he knows them from.
    • One of the girls in "Drunks" is wearing Ulala's costume.
    • In "New Friends", one of the weapons used in the Quake game is the pulse rifle from Aliens.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Gimpy and She-Prime form a relationship after they spend a straight 14 hours insulting each other online.
  • Slice of Life: The episodes simply follow the clique and the various things they do and how they interact with each other.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Kimmy, especially in the episode "Financial Aid". She wants to make a difference, but the only problem is that she doesn't seem to know of any actual problems to protest.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Duggler.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Charity towards Rocko, and pretty much any guy.
  • STD Immunity: Cal has an obscene amount of sex and never suffers any sort of disease because of it. He actually gets himself tested after learning about STDs and finds out that he's clean.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In "Risk" the clique flashes back to a scene in the eighth grade where Nitz tried to get out of a game to help Kimmy. After the flashback ends:
    Cal: Wow, that was weird! Were you guys just thinking what I was thinking?
    Rocko: Uh, I dunno. Were you thinking about Nitz's mom?
    Cal: Wow, yeah I was, guy! That's amazing!
  • Surprise Creepy: When Gimpy is training Rocko and Cal to help him win in a video game, he briefly finds Cal in the bathroom with his joystick. When Gimpy demands to know why he's wasting time, Cal just says in a very creepy way "Hey, Guy. I'm mastering my joystick." Gimpy then slowly backs away from Cal. Gets even creepier when you realize this is a reference to the "Gomer Pyle" suicide scene from Full Metal Jacket.
  • Take That!:
    • Rocko has a homoerotic dream about Cal. When Nitz starts to say that it may not have been homoerotic, Rocko immediately asserts that Keanu Reeves was there.
    • Gimpy force downloads an emulator that covers basically every video game console in existence at the time, but no Pokémon.
  • Taking You with Me: Gimpy always loses at Risk because he becomes frustrated and starts using kamikaze tactics against Nitz.
  • The Teetotaler: Nitz absolutely refuses to drink. Justified as he's underage. Gimpy is this too, although he's a bit more paranoid about it than Nitz is.
  • There Are No Girls on the Internet: Gimpy's belief until he encounters She-Prime.
  • Those Two Guys: Brody and Kruger usually fit this role.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Jessie and Kimmy.
  • Transparent Closet: Mark, a drama student whom Kimmy carries a torch for. It's obvious to everyone that he's gay...except for Kimmy and Nitz.
  • Unknown Rival: Rocko effectively becomes this for State U as a whole in "Rivalries," when he tries to start a rivalry between his school and the State U. It doesn't work because his college doesn't even have an athletics department and everyone finds his antics more amusing than offensive.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: For almost every episode of the series, Jessie has a crush on Nitz. For one mid-season episode, he has feelings for her and she doesn't reciprocate. Though that was mostly because his way of approach was completely wrong.
  • Verbal Tic: Cal's "Guy" and slurping. Kruger's bleeped-out swearing. Spud's "Schmah." Gimpy's "...the hell?" might count.
  • Virginity Makes You Stupid: Kimmy and Charity (Rocko's girlfriend during "Virgins"). Nitz briefly, if only because he got obsessed with the idea after Jessie told him you can tell if someone's a virgin just by looking at them. He snaps out of it by the end of the episode.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Rocko and Cal are a Type 1. Rocko absolutely cannot stand Cal, and never hesitates to abuse him, verbally and physically. Cal, however, is oblivious to his outright hostility, and still considers Rocko his friend despite it all.
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: Rocko believes this is what fraternities are all about. The other members of his fraternity... not so much.
  • Way Past the Expiration Date: Rocko drinks clam juice that expired in 1978. He then hallucinates the Great Gazoo.
  • Weight Woe: In one episode Nitz plans to join in on a annual streaking event held at the college, only to be horrified when he realizes he's gained the freshman fifteen. He begins to frantically work out to lose the weight in time, but winds up streaking anyway since it's too foggy for anyone to see his slightly pudgy build (though he didn't know that at the time he changed his mind, having decided that crazy memories of college are more important than worrying about passing embarrassment).
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: In one episode, the disciplinary RC at Tekerson Tech (Gimpy's school) is removed from the picture after her introduction to Cal. Chaos ensues amongst the students and soon Gimpy decides that they need the RC back.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Nitz gets this frequently — usually because he was ignoring his friends to chase Kimmy. Jessie gives him one of these frequently (and literally at least once), and the rest of his gang also mock him for bailing on them.
    • Mump calls Gimpy out on his making of fake IDs that would allow for underage students to drink illegally.
    • Gimpy's fellow students all turn on him after Mump is injured and Gimpy seems to show no regard for him. This leads to former Techerson Tech top dog Spud attempting to reclaim his former throne.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The colleges the characters go to give no indication for the location, such as the delightfully impossible "State University", though they seem to have New York State IDs, while Mump dresses as a California Highway Patrolman to spy on Rocko. There are also several references to University of Vermont with traditions such as a naked run, Ben & Jerry's Day, and Spring Fling, plus a New England climate.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Rocko thinks he's about to enter a wacky fratboy movie akin to Animal House. Turns out that's not how his frat actually works.
    • Gimpy in the first episode thinks that he and Rocko won't be able to continue being friends because frat boys and nerds can never get along. He then tries to sabotage Rocko's attempts to get into the fraternity by sending his nerd pals in... who actually get along very well with the guys thanks to their tech know-how.
  • Younger Than They Look: Rocko, who hardly looks like he needs a fake ID.