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Western Animation / Wacky Races (2017)

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The 2017 reboot of the original 1968 series by Hanna-Barbera.

In contrast to the original's formula, this version of Wacky Races is less about the actual races, even if some episodes start out that way. Another big difference is that at the end of each episode, there might be no clear winner (or loser, for that matter), and if there was, it could be someone nobody expects or someone who's not even a part of the race at all. Instead, the show is more focused on what kind of hijinks the racers get into every episode, as well as putting more focus on the characters and their dynamics with each other.

Nevertheless, each race car is still equipped with some sort of weapon or contraption to help them get through a race and of course, Dick Dastardly still tries to cheat his way into the race by setting up traps, sabotaging the other racers, and what have you only to backfire on him (obviously).

Also of note, of the ten racers from the original not including Dastardly himself, only three remained (these being Penelope Pitstop, Peter Perfect, and the Gruesome Twosome), while adding new characters in their place. Three completely new racers come in the form of I.Q. Ickley, a kid genius riding in a hovercraft of sorts; Pandora, Penelope Pitstop's evil twin; and the P.D.Q. Crew, a band of pirate racers. Another reoccurring new character is Brick Crashman, a live announcer who replaces the Interactive Narrator entirely, and P.T. Barnstorm, who manages the races.

First debuted on Boomerang's streaming service in the United States on August 14, 2017 and subsequently renewed for a second season. A third season was also put into production but was never released due to the anti-trust litigation placed on WarnerMedia. Animatics from the cancelled season are available on former writer Mike Disa’s Vimeo page.

This series provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects:
    • All the racecars are 3D animated, which makes them stand out quite a lot in a show where everything else is drawn in a flat and cartoonish 2D style. Like almost all other aspects of the production, this is eventually lampshaded in "Peter 2.0".
    • The Muttley mech suit in "Attack of the Mega-Muttley" is similarly done in CG.
  • 555:
    • In "Smokey and the Racers", Peter Perfect advertises a Japanese product called Steakasaki and the phone number for orders is 1-555-0123.
    • In "Cold Rush", 555-0123 is a phone number used to help penguins.
    • In “King Solomon’s Races”, the numbers used to vote on whether Dastardly should be mauled by vicious gorillas are 555-YES! and 555-NOPE.
    • In “Signed, Sealed and Wacky”, the phone numbers given for the producers of the show are all 555 numbers.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The Gruesome Twosome, known as simply Big Gruesome and Little Gruesome in the original series, are now named Tiny and Bella, respectively, though "Backseat Drivers" has Bella indicate that Gruesome is their surname. Their car, the Creepy Coupe, is now the Doombuggy - which happens to be a monster truck.
  • Adapted Out: Only one-fourth of the original cast remained. The Slag Brothers, Professor Pat Pending, Red Max, Sergeant Blast and Private Meekly, the Ant Hill Mob, Luke and Blubber Bear, and Rufus Ruffcut and Sawtooth have all been axed from the reboot. Word of God states that this was due to the complex copyright process involved in the original show.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Dick Dastardly loves to go on spiels that resemble this every time he berates Muttley or anyone else.
  • Affectionate Parody: When the show parodies anything, it’s clear that the staff have a ton of respect for the source material.
    • "Little Pink Riding Hood" gives us a Disneyesque sequence where Penelope laments in song about the snarky tone of the episode before realizing she has control over herself and escapes her prison. While the first half of the sequence is satirical in tone, the second half is a straightforward tribute.
    • "Attack of the Mega-Muttley" includes a scene homaging several influential works in the tokusatsu genre.
    • "Muttastic Park" is one giant tribute to Jurassic Park, with the Hooded Claw in place of Nedry.
  • Alternate Reality Episode: "People Who Need Purple" sees Dastardly using I.Q.'s latest invention to travel to a reality where the other racers are just like him: excessively hammy, wear purple, and cheat.
  • Anachronism Stew: Played for Laughs, every time a race/episode is set in the past.
  • And You Were There: In "It's a Wacky Life", Dick Dastardly has an out-of-body experience where he meets a "celestial accountant" who looks like I.Q. Ickley and shows him scenes of his past and what the other wacky racers' lives would be like if he never existed. Once he returns, he tells the others he had a dream and they were there.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: "Attack of the 50 Foot Pandora", a Homage to classic B-movies, combines this with Teens Are Monsters, turning Pandora into a giant woman with far more progressive world views than the rest of 50s society.
  • Bad Humor Truck: In "Unraceable", one of the jobs Dick Dastardly tries is that of an ice cream man. His career doesn't go well because he only gives the children broccoli-flavored ice cream and lets the cones get covered in dirt before handing them to the children.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: The episode "Formula Racing" has Dick Dastardly forced to babysit the other racers when they've turned into babies while P.T. Barnstorm and Brick Crashman leave to get a contraption needed to return the racers to their normal ages. Dastardly ends up going through a lot of pain while trying to keep the babies safe.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: This line from "Venetian Vacation" as the crate the racers are in begins to fall:
    Dastardly: We’re doomed! What a fearsome fate to fall upon a classic and beloved Hanna-Barbera character!
    Bella: Yes, everyone’s going to miss Muttley...
  • Balloon Belly:
    • In "Mambo Itali-Go-Go", all the racers (except I.Q. who doesn't appear in the episode) get one.
    • In “Uncle Dickie’s Happy Sunshine Children’s Hour”, Dick Dastardly gets one after a pie he’s allergic to is thrown at him.
  • Bankruptcy Barrel: In "Guru My Dreams", when Dick Dastardly's negative attitude starts affecting the Collected Dream World, he ends up wearing two barrels, one around his body and one on his head.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • At the end of "Sister, Twister", the unmasked Pandora Pitstop demands "what's coming" to her and suffers the same forms of slapstick other characters received in the episode.
    Penelope: You did say you wanted what was coming to you.
    Pandora: That's not what I meant.
    • In "Purple Who Need Purple", Dick is tired of his rivals and wants to live somewhere with people who are like him. He goes to a dimension where everyone's like him and finds himself unable to keep up with rivals who are cheaters like him and ultimately cancel each other out, resulting in constant ties between them.
    • In "His Way or the Highway", Dick buys a genie lamp in spite of the salesman's warning about the twists that usually come with the wishes and uses the first wish to make his rivals behave more like himself. Each one stops to cheat like Dastardly himself usually does (with the usual disastrous results) and he's so upset about it he uses the second wish to change them back. He then tries to use the third wish to win the race but, since he words it as wishing "to be number one", the genie literally turns him into a number one.
  • The Bet:
    • Dick Dastardly and Peter Perfect make one in "Cold Rush". If Dastardly goes through the whole race without cheating, Peter will wear a pink tutu and hold a sign reading "Dastardly is da Man". Dastardly wins the bet.
    • They make another bet in "Sister, Twister". That episode's race was a charity drive and Peter challenged Dick to be nice through the entire race. That and Pandora abducting and replacing Penelope resulted in Dick winning the trophy.
  • Big Little Brother: The Gruesome Twosome are confirmed brothers in the reboot, and the ironically named Tiny, despite being the younger brother, towers over Bella.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: A common form of humor in the later episodes, due to the show’s lack of marketing.
    • The standards & practices lady forces Penelope to use a styrofoam boomerang in "Racer Roundup".
    • In "Super Wacky", the nerd that the racers try to help shows them a video he made by himself on a website called Australian Throwing Stick. For a split second, a screen can be seen stating that the website was deleted due to lack of interest.
    • "What A Wacky Development This Is" is essentially an entire episode of this. Due to the show’s constantly decreasing viewership, Dingles barges in as an executive to try and change the show against the racers’ whims.
      • Penelope suggests to Dingles that if they had advertised their race show on a consistent basis (or at all), more people would tune in to watch it. This suggestion is promptly shut down when the executive discusses the appeal of “familiar formula shows”.
    • In "Spooky Races", when basic cable is mentioned as one of the horrifying features of the haunted hotel, we see a TV showing Teen Titans Go!, with a small subtitle reading “If you want better shows, go online!”
  • Bowdlerise: Played for Laughs: "Romin' Racers" features Peter in a pillow fight, only for him to question this. His opponent states that "the games were always a family-friendly event". Heck, when Peter pins down his opponent and the Emperor gives the thumbs-down order, Peter proceeds to wet-willy him!
    • "Racer Roundup" also parodies this, where the show’s producer forces family-friendly restrictions on the racers in the Wild West.
  • Brain in a Jar: The Creator in "Wackyland" is the isolated brain of the TV executive who greenlit the original cartoon.
  • Call-Back:
    Dastardly: Haven't seen that one either, have you, hm? Spending too much time on the Internet, complaining that the Ant Hill Mob wouldn't take a pay cut to work on the new series, aren't you?!
    Penelope: Dastardly, be nice!
  • The Cameo:
    • Space Ghost and Rosie make brief appearances in "Mars Needs Racers".
    • Speed Buggy makes a cameo in "The Trial of Dick Dastardly" as the car that the villains are driving during the chase montage.
    • Computer-generated versions of Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo make cameos in "Unlicensed to Drive" as obstacles during the driving simulation.
    • Little Dog and Big Dog make a cameo in "Spooky Races" as statues outside the haunted hotel.
    • Scrappy-Doo is rank number 1 on a bulletin board labeled "Bad Cartoon Characters". It's implied that Scrappy retaliated, which kicked off the episode's plot.
    • Snagglepuss makes a cameo in "Much Ado About Wacky."
  • Casting Gag: Phil LaMarr voices Hong Kong Phooey in the crossover episode, with his performance clearly channeling the character's original voice actor, the late Scatman Crothers. LaMarr had previously done this when voicing Jazz - another character originated by Crothers - in Transformers: Animated.
  • Christmas Episode: "It's a Wacky Life" and "Dashing Thru the Snow" from the first season take place during Christmas.
    • "Signed, Sealed and Wacky" from the second season is a direct follow-up to season 1’s "Dashing Thru the Snow" and "Cold Rush", ending with the implication that the story will continue.
    • "Wack the Halls" from the unfinished season 3 involves the racers trying to stage a Christmas play with the help of Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
  • Closer to Earth: Played with. Penelope is certainly more together than the others and generally functions as the racers' voice of reason, but the show has a lot of fun making it clear that just because she’s saner than the others that doesn't mean she's not, herself, pretty bonkers. In fact, as a Running Gag she's even more maniacally obsessed with racing than the others, even if she would prefer to do it in a fair and sporting way. Not to mention her "kid friendly" racing course in "Uncle Dickie's Happy Sunshine Children's Hour."
  • Comically Missing the Point: In "Wacky Spaces", Dastarius plans to use an army of balloon animals to take over a spike-covered world and defeat the porcupines who defend it.
  • Crossover:
    Penelope: Oh my guest stars and garters! Who are you?
    • In “The Wack Stuff”, Penelope is saved by Space Ghost, complete with his wrist beam and superpowers although it turns out that he was simply an illusion.
    • The unfinished episode “Love Buggy” features the return of Speed Buggy, who falls in love with IQ’s car.
    • Huckleberry Hound makes cameos in a few episodes, including a job as a stunt double in "Hong Kong Screwy" and "Peter 2.0" and creating a competing theme park in "Wackyland".
    • The chief from Super Secret Secret Squirrel makes a return appearance in "Muttleys Are Forever" as the instructor for Muttley’s spy mission.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Trope co-namer Dick Dastardly and his canine sidekick Muttley, naturally.
  • Decomposite Character: This time, Dastardly the race car driver and Dastardly the pigeon-chaser aren't the same character.
  • Denser and Wackier: The "wacky" part of the show is given more emphasis than the "racing" part.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: Averted, as Dastardly seldom has the commanding leads he did in the original, generally hovering around second or third place. This makes his cheating much more understandable.
    • Also deconstructed. A lot of the characters point out that Dastardly can win more races if he actually avoided this trope. This reached its height in "Grandfather Knows Dast" where, despite his own grandfather pointing this out, he still cheats. Heck, even Dastardly himself acknowledged this a couple of times.
    • Dastardly is put on trial for his cheating after the creators of the original show banish him. The jury are cartoon villains and the prosecutor is The Hooded Claw.
  • Dirty Cop: One of Dick's relatives is one. He uses him as part of his plan by warning him about the other racers speeding, only for himself to get arrested as well for the same offense.
  • Distaff Counterpart:
  • Driving Test: The unfinished episode “Unlicensed to Drive” is about the racers trying to get back their drivers’ licenses after they’re revoked.
  • Dumb Muscle: Peter Perfect’s stupidity is even more pronounced in the reboot.
    • "Wackyland" invokes this when it is revealed that Chuck is unaware that Peter’s stupidity has changed from what it was in the original series, ruining his plan to take over the world with animatronic replicas of the racers.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first half of season 1 was safer in terms of humor and had more fluid animation compared to the sillier, self-aware tone of the later episodes.
  • Enemy Mine: Dick in several episodes uses his cheats and trickery in scenarios to get all the racers out of trouble.
  • End-of-Series Awareness:
    • This happens at the end of the first season finale "40 Yard Dash", where havoc breaks loose after a simple attempt to finally finish an actual race backfires horribly.
    • Various episodes in season 2 acknowledge the show’s decrease in attention and popularity. The episode Wacky Races: The Movie takes place immediately after the show was cancelled in-universe.
    • The unfinished episode “Wacky Con” ends with Brick having left the show to work on a crowd-funded sequel to Cosmic Quest 2000. Penelope states that she’s grateful they still have their show, but Dastardly questions the notion.
    • In "Unlicensed to Drive", one of the buildings destroyed by the racers is an animation studio. A voice from inside asks “aren’t you cancelled?” before it’s destroyed.
  • Epic Fail: In "Cave Racers", the cast's Stone Age ancestors have the first race in history. They first attempt to build racecars which, rather than Flintstones-esque Stone Punk vehicles, are just piles of rocks, bones and debris. The prehistoric I.Q. notes, "maybe we should have invented engineering before making cars".
  • Everyone Hates Fruit Cakes: Averted in "It's a Wacky Life". Pandora tells Dick she joined the other racers' Christmas celebration for the fruitcakes and gladly eats one. It's further averted in the end when Muttley eats another fruitcake.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: In "It's a Wacky Life", it's revealed that, except for I.Q., the racers went to school together.
  • Evil Twin: Pandora Pitstop to her sister, Penelope Pitstop.
  • Expy:
    • I.Q Ickley serves as a replacement for Professor Pat Pending. Like Pat Pending, I.Q. is a Gadgeteer Genius with an Alliterative Name who is associated with the colors orange and yellow.
    • The P.D.Q. Crew are essentially the Ant Hill Mob as pirates. Both groups even have a grouchy leader with five-o-clock shadow and a dimwit among their members. Word of God states that the characters were disliked among the staff of the show and were intended to be killed off in season 3.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Dick Dastardly still doesn't win a race for reasons anyone should be aware of by now.
    • Sometimes, this applies to the race in general, where either nobody wins at the end or the race ends in a draw.
  • Famed In-Story: The Wacky Races are very popular with locals in several locations, ranging from Italy to natives from Easter Island, the latter showing the most love - including Dick Dastardly and Muttley fans!
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: The aptly named "Fantastic Race" takes place inside Dick Dastardly after a shrinking ray causes the racers to be accidentally ingested by him.
  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: In "Brains Before Brawn", Tiny’s father fixes the broken half of Tiny’s brain. With the other half restored, Tiny becomes far more intelligent, but also turns into such a jerk that he quits racing and becomes a rich life coach instead.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Done in "Swap Meet".
  • Friend to All Children: Tiny seems to get along with children, such as happily dancing with them in "Mambo Itali-Go-Go" and is seen being cheered by another group after breaking back into prison after breaking out in the first place for an ice cream truck.
    • Tiny also has the best experience out of any of the racers in “Wacky Con”, constantly having the attention of a ton of young fans.
  • Fountain of Youth: "Formula Racing" has Peter Perfect, Penelope Pitstop, I.Q. Ickley, and the Gruesome Twosome turned into babies, with Dick Dastardly and Muttley having to look after them until Brick Crashman and P.T. Barnstorm can find a way to return them to normal.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Space Time Unlimited Peregrination Internal Device.
  • Future Me Scares Me: In "Race Against Time", some racers meet their respective future selves and don't like what they see.
    • Peter Perfect is okay with his future self until he finds out the latter is bald and refuses to wear a wig to hide it. After giving up to convince his future self to wear it, Peter puts it on and vows never to take it off so it'll appear on Future!Peter's head. The plan works but Future!Peter becomes a fat slob, making Peter afraid that people in the future never heard of sit-ups.
    • Dick Dastardly is upset that his future self forgot the fun of cheating.
    • Penelope's future self is afraid of racing or doing anything else that's exciting.
    • Bella's future self lost his sanity.
  • The Game Come to Life: “Game On” involves the Racers being put into a racing video game controlled by Pandora and Muttley.
  • Gender Flip:
    • The episode "Raceketeers" is an adaptation of The Three Musketeers where D'Artagnan is Penelope Pitstop.
    • In “Roamin’ Racers”, P.T. Barnstorm is male and the Emperor.

  • Gone Horribly Right: Dick's efforts to be nice in "Sister, Twister" end up with him unable to revert to his jerkass self.
  • The Grinch: "It's a Wacky Life" establishes that Dick Dastardly hates Christmas so much that he actively makes an effort to ruin the other racers' celebrations of the holiday every year.
  • Half Identical Twin: Zig-zagged, due to being the same gender, but Penelope Pitstop and her sister, Pandora, look exactly alike save for different hair and eye colors, and a flashback confirms that these are their natural colors. Pandora is mostly purple while Penelope is mostly pink.
  • Halloween Episode: "Backseat Drivers", where the racers spy on the Gruesome Twosome to figure out where they disappear to every night.
  • Hell Hotel: "Spooky Races" takes place at one operated by Tiny’s father.
  • Heroic BSoD: I.Q. goes through one in "The Wack Stuff" when his attempts to use mind control on the aliens fail. Penelope tries to snap him out of it.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • Dastardly suffers one for almost the entirety of "Curses, Foiled Again" thanks to a cursed amulet.
    • Immediately after trying not to get killed in "Spooky Races", Brick is subject to one.
  • Hypocrite: The Trope Namer for Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat criticizes others who do the same.
  • Illogical Safe: A running gag in "The Wacky Always Races Twice" involves these. By the end of the episode, safes wipe out almost the entire cast.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: In "It's a Wacky Life", Dick Dastardly gets so hurt testing new cheating devices he gets out of his body and, after showing him how he wasted his life, an angel who looks like I.Q. Ickley shows how the other racers' lives would be if he never existed. Muttley became the President and added his face to Mount Rushmore; Penelope Pitstop became an astronaut; Bella and Tiny are talk show celebrities; and Peter Perfect won more races than he did in the mainstream timeline. The last part is what drives Dick furious enough to want to live again.
  • Joker Jury: Dick Dastardly has to face a jury made up of former Hanna-Barbera villains in “The Trial of Dick Dastardly”.
  • Large Ham: Dastardly is so caught up in his ego that he’ll overact in response to complaints about his overacting.
  • Latex Perfection: Parodied in "Muttleys Are Forever". Agent Z was actually Muttley the whole time and the S.C.H.T.I.C.K agency were actually each other, who are actually the other racers, who are actually other Hanna-Barbera characters. Yes, really.
  • Loony Fan: Dastardly gets one in "Double Trouble", who’s also his only fan and aspires to be like him in every way. Subverted as the two get along by the end of the episode, to the point that she acts as a security guard for his booth in "Wacky Con".
    • The racers are harassed by one who forces them to save him, despite not being in any real trouble, in "Super Wacky".
  • Lying Finger Cross: In "Cold Rush", Peter Perfect makes Dick Dastardly uncross his fingers and his toes when he promises not to cheat in the race for once.
  • Mad Scientist: Outside of I.Q., the elf that tells the racers about the Claus family’s whereabouts in "Signed, Sealed & Wacky" happens to be one. The two get along almost instantly and are the first to realize that something is off about the resident seals.
  • Media Watchdog:
    • Parodied with Sunny Manners, a network censor that occasionally tries to ensure the show isn't inappropriate for the audience. This is naturally irritating to the racers, though they suffer in "Racer Roundup" for explicitly ignoring her warnings and notes.
    • Bud and Jay talk to the racers in "The Trial of Dick Dastardly" about how "carefully practiced standards" must be abided by to make sure the show can still air. As an example, they state that they couldn't simply hit Dastardly over the head with a frying pan because that's something kids at home could imitate, but they can inflict all kinds of over the top, zany slapstick on him. When Peter asks if hitting Dastardly with a wrecking ball would be allowed, he's told yes, as long as he covers it with a Hit Flash.
  • Mirror Routine: Pandora pulls one with Penelope in "Sister, Twister". It doesn't work. Pandora herself can't exactly follow every single move.
  • Mistaken Identity: The organization of KITTY from "Hong Kong Screwy" features villains who think Muttley is Hong Kong Phooey's Secret Identity.
  • Musical Episode: The unfinished episode "The Racers of Penzance" is this.
  • My God, You Are Serious!: Peter's reaction in "Grandfather Knows Dast" when he realizes Penelope isn't joking while suggesting Dick might win that week’s race.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: In "Yes, We Canyon", the Wacky Racers fall down the Grand Canyon and I.Q. Ickley says he saw his life before his eyes - and that he should go outside more often.
  • Mythology Gag: A whole lotta them for a show like this. See here.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Little Gruesome is now Bela.
    • P.T. Barnstorm for P.T. Barnum.
  • Never Shall The Selves Meet: In "Race Against Time", some racers meet their respective future selves and it somehow creates a Bad Future not unlike the world from Wacky Raceland.
  • Never Trust a Title: With the show's focus having moved away from the races themselves (a fact the show's producers were aware of), a more accurate name for the show would be Wacky Racers.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Dick has wrecked two major locations:
      • The Grand Canyon by throwing a stone from his shoe into the canyon, after Peter showed a sign saying not to do this.
      • Ancient Rome by a fireball-throwing catapult which burned down a hedge maze and eventually the city.
    • Muttley grabs a tiki statue off a bigger one in Easter Island since Dick wouldn't let him have a replica from the airport. This leads to the statues on the island coming alive and plan to take over the world.
    • Invoked in "Venetian Vacation", where it turns out that Barnstorm was fully expecting the racers to destroy his replica of Venice because of their destructive tendencies.
  • No Fourth Wall: In the vein of some of the 90s WB Animation cartoons, the show contains frequent fourth-wall-breaking, meta jokes, and even self-depreciation from the showrunners.
  • Noodle Implements: In "Cold Rush", Dick Dastardly has a global warming accelerator device. It's not shown how it's supposed to work but one of its parts is a cow.
    • Which produce a lot of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, so that's actually not too crazy.
    • Peter’s proposed plan to escape the catfish in "Wacklantis" involves mayonnaise and a box of hand puppets.
  • Not Me This Time: Dick Dastardly deactivates all his booby traps to prove he can win a race without cheating in "Cold Rush." When calamities and misfortunes occur along the race route, the other racers assume it's Dastardly's doings. He vehemently pleads his innocence and is proven right when the racers' path is blocked by some ornery penguins.
  • Obvious Stunt Double:
    • Huckleberry Hound serves as Peter's in "Hong Kong Screwy".
    • In "Peter 2.0", he makes a reappearance as a stunt double. For himself.
    • The final product of "Wacky Races: The Movie" inverts this, where the racers are replaced by more marketable characters and the only time we see the racers is when they’re beat up.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In "Peter Imperfect," race financier P.T. Barnstorm uses I.Q. Ickly's duplicating machine to make a copy of Peter so one copy can make public appearances while the other can race. Dastardly enters one of the machine's chambers as Peter enters the other. The result: Peter becomes a mooching slob while Dastardly becomes polite and bent on doing good deeds.
  • Periphery Demographic:
    • Acknowledged in-universe in "Wackyland", where Brick states that the Wacky Races have become a marginal cult success with several users of the Internet.
    • Dastardly doesn’t take too keenly to a letter from a Moral Guardian parent in "Another Uncle Dickie’s Happy Sunshine Children’s Hour", particularly taking offense to how he’s an adult who still watches cartoons. He gets pelted with explosives immediately afterwards.
  • Pimped-Out Dress:
    • Penelope gets one in the Collected Dream World from “Guru My Dreams”.
    • She also obtains one during the Disneyesque song sequence in “Little Pink Riding Hood”.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: In the future-based episode "Race to Infinity", the heroes are trying to prevent Lord Dastarius (Dick Dastardly expy) from obtaining the Heart of the Galaxy, hidden inside the invincible mobile space fortres. Turns out, he didn't need the Heart at all. He want the forterss.
  • Prison Episode: The episode "Smokey and the Racers" had Dick Dastardly attempt to put the other racers out of action by reporting them to his cousin Sheriff Longarm D. Law for speeding. True to his usual dirty tricks, Dastardly's scheme backfires when he also gets arrested, and the rest of the episode has the Wacky Racers trying to bust out of jail.
  • The Quisling: In "His Way or the Highway", seeing all of the Wacky Racers behaving like Dick Dastardly makes Brick believe they've been replaced with aliens who want to take over Earth. He offers them support by the end.
  • Reading Ahead in the Script: The characters are given scripts of each episode in-universe and occasionally make comments on them.
    • In "Peter 2.0", Peter is seen reading a script with Magilla Gorilla where Magilla beats Peter up while he’s dressed like a banana. As soon as Peter reads the part of the script stating this, it happens.
    • One of the arguments Dastardly uses to defend himself in "The Trial of Dick Dastardly" is the poorly written script. This argument is shut down by the Hooded Claw because the writer is clearly insane.
    • Dastardly complains a few minutes into "I, Racecar" about I.Q. having more lines than he does from what he’s read of the script, stating that he should write all the episodes.
  • Reboot Snark: The heavy bouts of Self-Deprecation come from mocking the high amount of reboots in current media, including the show itself. A couple of episodes even centered around executives attempting to reboot the reboot, much to the ire of the racers.
  • Related in the Adaptation: This continuity establishes that the Gruesome Twosome are brothers, when the original cartoon gave no indication that they were related.
  • Retool: The second season and unfinished third season were written more in the irreverent, meta style of Yogi's Treasure Hunt in comparison to the more family-friendly first season.
    • Also parodied in-universe in "What a Wacky Development This Is". In the face of decreasing ratings, Mr. Dingles (Duchess Delussionata's puppet and the newest network executive) discusses ways to "improve" the show: a cheesy family sitcom, an adaptation of an action-packed web series, a musical variety show, and finally Spin-Off Babies.
  • Robot Me: "Peter 2.0" follows the racers attempting to adjust to a robotic replica of Peter made by a producer who sent the real Peter to Hollywood. The robot quickly turns against the racers.
  • Rule of Three: A major source of comedy in the show. Lampshaded in "Another Uncle Dickie’s Happy Sunshine Children’s Hour" where the letter from Dastardly’s mother mentions that “Sight gags are funnier in threes.”
  • Running Gag:
  • Rushmore Refacement: In "It's a Wacky Life", it's revealed that, if Dick Dastardly didn't exist, Muttley would be the President and add his face to Mount Rushmore.
  • Self-Deprecation: Some of the show's humor comes from its frequent jabs toward itself, its writing, and the general consensus of reboots.
  • Sentient Vehicle: Ickley races in one.
  • Setting Update: It's not obvious, but this is shown to be the case when Penelope asks everyone to take a selfie with her in "Yes, We Canyon".
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Years of trying and failing to stop Yankee Doodle Pigeon left Dastardly's grandfather having freak outs in response to anything that reminds him of pigeons.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: "Much Ado About Wacky" is an entire episode dedicated to these.
  • Showing Up Chauvinists: Penelope’s motive in "Race to the Moon" is to prove herself as a capable woman astronaut in a male-dominated field. Lampshaded by I.Q., who goes on a tirade about outdated rules placed on women by society, complete with caption slides reading "SUBTLE SOCIAL COMMENTARY" and "NOT SO SUBTLE, ISN’T IT?".
  • Slapstick: Penelope is no stranger to the series' creatively excessive violence and/or jokes about said violence (in the first episode alone, she ends up in a body cast), and as the series went on and she became more of a principal character, it only happened more. Her evil sister Pandora, likewise, gets the same Humiliation Congas that come from being a villain and the same casual slapstick that comes from being a racer at the same time.
  • Social Media Before Reason: Peter’s answer to every driving question in "Unlicensed to Drive" is to update his social media page.
  • So Proud of You: In "Grandfather Knows Dast", Dastardly's Grandfather is proud of him for trying to betray the other racers.
  • Souvenir Land: The titular theme park in "Wackyland" is this. Dangerous rides, workers who were pulled out of art school, and the only reason why it became popular was because of the Creator brainwashing everyone.
  • Spanner in the Works: In "Pretzel Logic", Desdemona drastically changes Dick's plan to capture the other racers just until Dick wins the race into kidnapping everyone (and Dick) to work in her pretzel mines.
  • Spiritual Successor: Even though this series is a reboot of the original Wacky Races, the writers of this show clearly went more for the tone of the Affectionate Parody styled writing that defined some of Hanna Barbera's 1980s output like Yogi's Treasure Hunt and The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, all the way down to gratuitous amounts of cameos, fourth-wall breaks and mythology gags.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The running gag in "Ya Win Some, Ya Luge Some", inexplicably.
  • Subbing for Santa: "Dashing Thru the Snow" had the Wacky Racers attempt to fill in for Santa after accidentally knocking him out cold.
  • Superhero Episode: The aptly named "Super Wacky", taking place in the fictional city of Wackopolis with the racers assuming the roles of heroes and villains alike. The heroes are Peter Perfect as The Mighty Chin, Penelope Pitstop as the Pink Protector, I.Q. Ickley as Cy-Q, and the Gruesome Twosome as Massively Marketable Bat-Dude (Tiny) and Whatzhisname (Bella), while Dastardly and Muttley are the villains, known as, respectively, the Purple Puppeteer and Sonic Snicker.
  • Take Over the World:
    • "Cold Rush" features penguins trying to accelerate global warming to take over the world.
    • "Mummy Mayhem" features aliens wrapped in toilet paper attempting to take over the world by taking advantage of human evolution.
    • "Signed, Sealed and Wacky" features not only the penguins from "Cold Rush", but a group of baby seals that have been the scourge of all evil throughout history attempting to steal Santa’s powers and take over the world.
  • Tangled Family Tree: The various Wacky Racers have new relatives that expand out into various directions - the biggest being Pandora Pitstop who is Penelope's Evil Twin. Other examples include Dastardly's cousin Sheriff Longarm De Law (who has a turkey deputy named Giblet), among others.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: In "Mambo Itali Go-Go", the racers stop at an Italian village where the locals insist on offering them feasts every day. By the time they're finally allowed to leave, they're too fat to fit in their cars and have to ride scooters for the rest of the episode's race.
  • Time Lapse:
    • Deconstructed and then played straight in "Brains Before Brawn", where immediately after Tiny becomes intelligent, Penelope & Dastardly discuss whether or not the writers will show Tiny’s accomplishments through a montage. Peter states that it would require effort from the writers to avoid doing one. Their discussion ends quickly.
    • Parodied in the unfinished episode "Unlicensed to Drive". As the racers wait for their DMV test, we see a shot of outside the DMV, where a billboard for the show constantly changes, aliens arrive, and lots of other bizarre things happen.
  • Ultimate Authority Mayor: Paul Perfect, Peter's older brother and Mayor of Perfectville from "Off Track", regulates every aspect of his citizen's lives (including the animals) to fit his vision of perfection.
  • Universal-Adaptor Cast: The cast are sometimes placed in other time periods, occasionally without the racing Framing Device.
  • The Unintelligible: Giblet is this whenever he appears. Averted in "Unlicensed to Drive", where he operates the driving simulation chambers and he can speak proper English as long as he has a translator helmet.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Many of the clothing patterns and other textures are animated this way, including most notably Muttley's fur, most likely for stylish reasons.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Muttley turns and hurls in "Backseat Drivers".
  • Wacky Racing: Why, of course, despite it being downplayed somewhat.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The Season 1 finale "40 Yard Dash" starts out as an attempt at a 40 Yard Dash, which has the Wacky Racers literally going 40 yards so as to ensure that the racers will actually finish a race for once. As usual, Dick Dastardly attempts to cheat by stealing the engine from Penelope's car... and it backfires BIG TIME, setting off a chain of events that threatens to have the race delayed indefinitely (much to the chagrin of the fans), and only gets worse when an old man calls out the racers for not actually doing a lot of racing, having lengthy conversations, and relying on cheap sight gags that barely make sense. All the cars running out of gas all of a sudden is the final straw for the already aggravated fans and the track descends into an all out riot.
    • The two-part finale of the show, "Muttleys Are Forever". It starts off as a typical race, until we learn that in Muttley’s spare time, he’s a secret agent working for the mysterious Agent Z. The rest of the episode follows Dastardly accompanying him on a mission, with the other racers relegated to background roles.
  • Who's on First?: Done in "Guru My Dreams". Bonus points for the guy they meet being named Hu, and the Shout-Out to the Trope Namers.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: In "Cold Rush", Dick Dastardly says this to the other racers when they won't believe he's not behind the episode's traps even after he gets caught on the last one with them. It's really not him this time.
  • Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal:
    • In "Backseat Drivers", to save Ickly, whose brain would likely be a very tempting target, Peter Perfect tries to distract the zombies by pretending to let them eat his brain. They walk right past him. Subverted because the zombies didn't want to eat any brains.
    Peter Perfect: Now, that's just insulting.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The Collected Dream World enables anyone inside it to make their fantasies exist.


Video Example(s):


Wacky Races (2017)

The racers stop at an Italian village where the locals insist on offering them feasts every day. By the time they're finally allowed to leave, they're too fat to fit in their cars and have to ride scooters for the rest of the episode's race.

How well does it match the trope?

4.78 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / BalloonBelly

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