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Western Animation / Widget the World Watcher

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Widget, the World Watcher is a 65-Episode Cartoon. The show originally ran in syndication from September 29, 1990 to December 3, 1991; reruns continued until 1997.

The show focused on Widget, a 4-foot-tall purple alien from the Horsehead Nebula who could shapeshift. He and three young human friends, Brian, Kevin and Kristine, would go through a number of adventures to protect Earth's natural environment. Widget is frequently accompanied by the Mega Brain, an extremely intelligent but somewhat clumsy being who appears as a floating head (with a transparent cranium) and floating hands.

The show was produced by Calico Creations to teach children about the dangers of pollution. In each episode, Widget contended with a villain wishing to exploit Earth's environment or natural resources, like Dr. Dante, Mega Slank and Widget's evil twin, Ratchet the World Trasher. In this respect, Widget, the World Watcher is very similar to Captain Planet and the Planeteers, both heroes attempting to save the Earth from ecological harm.

This show has examples of the following:

  • Accidental Misnaming - In almost every episode, Widget gets a message from two of his planet's elders that give him his mission. The male elder almost never gets Widget's name right, and the one time he DOES, Widget can't believe it.
    Male Elder: World Watcher Widget...
    Widget: At your servi...Jumping Jupiter! You got my name right!!
    Male Elder: Huh? Oh...
  • Achilles' Heel - Widget can't shapeshift when being held upside down.
  • Alliterative Title: Widget the World Watcher.
  • Big Bad - Widget faces many villains, but the ones that appear the most frequently are Ratchet, Mega Slank and Flim Flam McSham.
  • Dastardly Whiplash - Although it's more in appearance. Both heads of Flim Flam Mc Sham indeed look like a cross between Dick Dastardly and Snidely Whiplash.
  • Evil Twin - Ratchet
  • Fairy Companion - Well, more like a Fairy Hero with Human Companions.
  • Green Aesop - There are enough other things going on in the show for this not to be totally Anvilicious.
  • Handy Remote Control: Some characters carry these around.
  • Hammerspace: Megabrain has that.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs - Widget likes that with space-based alterations.
  • How Do I Shot Web? - In the first couple episodes Widget seems to still be figuring out his shapeshifting powers, or at least what Earth animals are like so he can change into accurate ones.
  • Humanity Is Insane: Earth has been a huge problem to the Watchers, and they can't ever seem to make things right there. Widget is the latest in the line of aliens assigned (accidentally) to try to keep humans from destroying themselves and their planet with them.
  • Insufferable Genius: Both Widget and Mega Brain do have their smug moments from time to time, lecturing humans on their own mistakes while failing to appreciate the local customs involved. Cue Mega Brain hiding and Widget bring forced to correct the mistake he created.
  • Jekyll & Hyde - Human villain Dr. Dante's a subversion. His normal "Jekyll" side is still a villain, but his "Hyde" persona takes things up to eleven and is Always Chaotic Evil.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Bonkula who shows up in one episode acts a lot like a nasty punk, but does save Kevin when he's seriously in danger, admitting he's just a joker and doesn't really want anyone to get hurt.
  • Kid Sidekick: Half-Pint, Widget's younger tagalong cousin.
  • Kill It with Water: How Mega-Slank's Synthetic Space Slug meets its end.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Ratchet's minions, the Half-and-Half Mutants.
  • Morphic Resonance - Widget is always purple, and sometimes retains other features, no matter what he otherwise looks like. Except when he isn't... (See below.)
  • Multiple Head Case: Flim Flam McSham.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They're aliens from the planet Bonklavania, they have Psychic Powers of Mind Control and Mind over Matter, and their teenagers, known as "Bonkulas", are notorious as good-for-nothing intergalactic goofoffs.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Instead of hanging out in human form, Widget would disguise himself as a human by wearing a goofy disguise.
  • Rogues Gallery: Recurring villains included the alien bandit Mega Slank, the human poachers Bob and Betty, human Mad Scientist Dr. Dante, the alien circus maestros Flim Flam McSham and Widget's Evil Counterpart Ratchet the World Trasher.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Subverted in one episode - Mega Brain accidentally sends them back in time to Ratchet's home planet before it was turned into a disaster area. They hope to prevent that from happening, but going back in time also causes Widget to devolve into an alien caveman who's no help. By the time Mega Brain cures him they're too late, serving up an aesop about how there's no shortcuts to saving the environment, and we need to protect the here and now if our world is going to be a good one in the future.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Not that things were ever especially grim, but Widget and his human friends battle rather mundane antagonists for the first few episodes while he's acclimating to Earth and seems to still be figuring out his powers. The first episode has them taking on a whaling fleet, then a pair of hyenas, a caretaker at a marine zoo who's just doing his job trying to keep the animals from escaping, etc. It's only after a while that "true" supervillains start becoming Widget's opponents.
  • Talking Animal: Widget after changing his shape.
  • Villainous Underdog: Despite being Widget's Evil Twin and designated archenemy, Ratchet doesn't seem to have any of Widget's powers, and if anything his minions are even less competent than most other villains in the show.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting - Widget's special ability, which was also...