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Western Animation / Unsupervised

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Unsupervised is an animated, half-hour comedy on FX, about two eternally optimistic best friends, Gary and Joel, who are navigating the harsh landscape of adolescence and trying to do what's right despite having no parental guidance whatsoever.

Gary's father took off years ago and left him with his absentee stepmom, while Joel's elderly parents remain unseen and uninvolved. And the adults who are actually present in Gary's and Joel's lives are anything but role models. At first glance, Gary and Joel's world may be bleak, but their worldview is bright as they guide themselves through life with each other to depend on.

Unsupervised was created by David Hornsby, Scott Marder & Rob Rosell, known for their work on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It is animated by Floyd County Productions, the same studio that creates Archer.

Unlike Archer however, the show never found much success, receiving average-to-negative reviews and suffering from extremely low ratings. It was axed after its first season.

Unsupervised provides examples of

  • A-Cup Angst: Megan even hallucinated the mirror mocking her for being flat-chested.
  • Adults Are Useless: Seems to be the case with most of the adults on the show, though Gary and Joel don't seem to believe it.
    • The teachers range from well-meaning, to apathetic, to outright incompetent. Consider the case of "Slow Joe" on the episode "Stupid Idiots": the teachers were either untrained, or simply didn't bother, to screen him for a specific learning disability, and simply lumped him in with the other mentally handicapped kids (who get "taught" in a shipping container). When the students demand that everyone be allowed to take the P-Dot test (an ersatz PSAT), Slow Joe is the only student in the entire school who gets a perfect score. As it turns out, "Slow" Joe simply has a crippling speech impediment - which the school completely failed to diagnose, much less help him with.
  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Russ whips one out in "Fires & Liars".
  • All Periods Are PMS: Usually mild-mannered Megan went berserk when a new girl she was mentoring stole her cramp medication in a bizarre attempt at getting high.
  • All-Loving Hero: Both Gary and Joel are ridiculously nice and accepting to everyone. Megan doesn't even count them as real friends as a result of their attitudes.
  • Baseball Episode: Gary and Joel try managing a team to get more positive influences with mixed results.
  • Berserk Button: Darius's sensitive to his "weight problem." Also, don't diss the sun in front of Joel.
    Joel: It's just when people don't love sunshine I get fricked out, man! ... it makes me so mad sometimes I wanna murder the whole world.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Sid told the boys a story about him living with kangaroo pack. It was supposed to teach them that they won't be happy pretending to be something they're not, but they only noticed that he had sex with a kangaroo lady. He also heavily implies that he was much happier with the kangaroos.
  • Big Brother Bully: Not only is Joel's big brother a bullying, criminal jerkass who constantly picks on him, smokes in his bed and steals from him, he's 40 years old and still leeches off his own family.
  • Black and Nerdy: Darius definitely has the most school smarts of the group and is the only one in the "eagle track", their highest academic curriculum.
  • Butt-Monkey: Holy shit, poor RUSS. His life is so awful it makes Joel and Gary's lives look like a vacation. Its so awful it borders on Dude, Not Funny! at its worst.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: The high school boys certainly think this of Danielle aka Rocket Tits.
  • Cheerful Children: Gary and Joel are the epitome of this trope.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Although the F stands for "frick".
  • Crapsack World: Gary and Joel's home lives are pretty screwed up, as is their neighborhood and city. But shockingly they don't let it deter them from being pretty happy...most of the time.
  • Dancing Theme: Gary, Joel, Darius, and Megan get to show off some moves during the short theme song.
  • Dean Bitterman: Principal Stark isn't the most extreme example, but she's made it clear that the happiness of her students is not her priority.
  • Delayed Explosion: Happens when the boys are waiting for a dumpster to explode, shortly afterwards the whole parking lot goes up in fire.
  • Disappeared Dad: Gary's dad left ages ago, and all he has to remember him by are his own drawings.
  • Expy: Gary and Joel are a kinder, friendlier, but still ignorant version of Beavis and Butt-Head.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: The students refer to Principal Stark as "Skunk" due to the white stripe in her black hair.
  • False Flag Operation: Gary and Joel decided to set building on fire to prove that town needs fire department. Megan came along so she could write a report for school newspaper and frame homeless people.
  • For Science!: Sid claims that above-mentioned Kangaroo romance was "in the name of bloody science".
  • Free-Range Children: Helps to reinforce the lack of parental supervision
  • Funny Foreigner: Both of Gary's neighbors, Sid and Martin, hail from Australia and Panama respectively.
  • Happy Dance: "Gonna get new drawers~! Gonna get new fricken' drawers!"
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Gary and Joel are this in spades.
  • High-School Dance: "The Night of a Thousand Lights" is this for Mayford High.
    Darius: Dances are times of significant sexual benchmarks in a young man's life. It all goes down at the dance.
  • Hot-Blooded: Joel tends to get riled up easily.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Megan struggles with this, to the point where she volunteers for the new student tour program to force other kids to hang out with her.
  • Jerkass: Most of the characters that aren't Gary or Joel are this, but especially Gary's stepmom and Megan. Characters like Darius and Sid verge into Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gary's stepmothers boyfriend Reggie spent most of the show as a horrible person. When he dies in the final episode, the duo discover that he had a diamond ring among his few effects, leading the show to hint that he was going to propose to her. Its revealed at his funeral that its actually the ring she got from Gary's father, Reggie just stole it.
  • Loser Protagonist: Gary, Joel, Megan and Russ. Gary and Joel are lighter examples as neither seem to particularly care and they appear to be at least moderately liked by the town. Megan however is a complete outcast, and Russ is pretty much the only person in the show who's worse off than the main duo.
  • Mistaken for Gay:
    • Joel believed his brother was gay and ashamed of himself, but he was actually drug addict who had sex with men for money.
    • In the same episode Megan was mistaken for gay by a lesbian student. Her own mother was suspicious of Megan's sexuality as well, which causes her to push Megan onto questionable boys.
  • My Beloved Smother: Darius' relationship with his mother is like this. She even hires a babysitter to watch over him and brush his teeth, AND she makes his entry for the science fair for him. Darius is also terrified of angering her.
  • Mysterious Teacher's Lounge: Mysterious even to a couple of the teachers.
  • Nice Guy: Both Gary and Joel are both incredibly friendly, open-minded and trusting, but also very naive and ignorant.
  • Parental Neglect: The main driving force behind the entire show. Gary's stepmother is ether out of town with her boyfriend, or heartbroken and sitting in the dark smoking pot. Joel has it slightly better as his parents are more present, but both are impossibly old and still do little actual parenting.
  • Perpetual Poverty: It's stated that the boys are "poor as dirt" but they still manage to feed themselves and get by so far.
  • The Pollyanna: Gary and Joel.
  • Raging Stiffie: Gary gets one whenever he dances because, as he puts it, "it's the rawest expression of human emotion".
  • Rasputinian Death: Reggie's death in the last episode. He's mauled by dogs, hit by a car, shocked by a transformer, and finally dies falling off Gary's roof.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Joel and Gary, respectively. While both are excitable idiots, Gary is significantly more calm and mature than Joel is, likely due to having to raise himself.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Megan tries to present herself as a bright, morally upstanding future world leader, but is actually smug, prudish, judgmental and only marginally smarter than Gary and Joel are. This is perhaps best shown when they get put into assigned reading groups and Megan protest, but only because she was put into the remedial one.
  • Token Minority: Darius
  • Ungrateful Bitch: When a homeless woman saves Megan from a burning building, she proceeds to express disgust at being touched by her, and runs off screaming, intending to get an AIDS test.
  • Two-Teacher School: There's only been Ms. Petters, Ms. Davis, and Coach Durham. Durham doubles as the baseball coach and the English teacher for the "Turtle" students.
  • Verbal Tic: Gary and Joel frickin say frickin in almost every frickin sentence. It even shows in their writing. Anti-violence posters they made in 3rd episode are filled with word "frickin" and other swearing.
  • Verbed Title
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Sid.
  • Wild Teen Party: Unlike most examples, Gary and Joel face next to no consequences, mainly because they had the party at home, and have no parental figures.
  • World of Jerkass: With the exception of Gary and Joel, pretty much every character in this show is an unpleasant asshole.
  • Wretched Hive: Gary and Joel's neighborhood is a complete shitbox.