Leslie Nielsen is well-known his work in Hollywood, from serious roles like Forbidden Planet and The Poseidon Adventure to comedic ones like Airplane! and Police Squad!. However, even the most dedicated followers of his career probably haven't heard of this show.
Zeroman is an obscure and short-lived Canadian animated series that first aired on Teletoon in September of 2004. A creation of Amberwood Entertainment, the show ran to December of the same year, lasting thirteen episodes. Half made as a parody of the Superhero genre and half made as a Grossout Show, the series was made as a Leslie Neilsen vehicle from the start, following in the spirit of the more lowbrow material found in Leslie Nielsen's movies.
Leslie "Les" Mutton (voiced by Leslie Nielsen as an Ink-Suit Actor of himself) is a 63-year-old - he'll be 64 in three weeks - mail carrier for the fine people of Fair City who still lives with his mother, Jaundice, much to her chagrin. So, yeah, not the most exciting man in the world.
That is, until a giant flaming O flies through the air!
From there, Les flees to the toilet and takes the poop chute to his lair, becoming Zeroman, sworn protector of the city. With the help of his Mission Control, Ty Cheese (voice of Ryan Reynolds), and his faithful sidekick-still-in-training O Boy, Zeroman takes to the streets, fighting villainy wherever it may rear its head.
Zeroman contains examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Les' own mother is an admirer of Zeroman. Needless to say, he doesn't like it.
- Affectionate Parody: Of Superman and typical superhero stories.
- Alliterative Name: O-Boy's full name is Gary Glengarry.
- There was also one-time villain Dependable Derby Dinkle.
- Big Bad: Rusty Woodenwater, voice of Kevin McDonald, who is Zeroman's archenemy.
- Big Labyrinthine Building: All the architecture in Fair City is ridiculously oversized. Concept artist Andrew King has said that this idea was originally pitched as a joke, but Leslie Nielsen loved it and approved it.
- Camp Gay: Ty. He may prefer earth-tone clothes, but plenty of other stereotypes apply.
- Catchphrase: Zeroman has a couple.
- "Great Flaming Hole!"
- "Out, out, and awaaaay!"
- Rusty's henchman, Don, occasionally says "Ba-Wango!".
- Celebrity Toons: Starring Leslie Nielsen as a superhero lookalike of himself in this case.
- Clark Kenting: Parodied; Zeroman disguises his secret identity by wearing glasses when wearing his superhero costume.
- Companion Cube: The judge in "Disorder In The Court" has a baby-head squeaky toy that he named "Binky". He is VERY attached to Binky.
- Courtroom Episode: "Disorder In The Court" In it, Mayor Todd McWadd is put on trial for the murder of his opponent in the election. It ultimately turned out he was set up by the judge, so the judge could be the next mayor.
- Damsel in Distress: Sally Uberchick, Les Mutton's co-worker and frequent target of Rusty's plan against Zeroman due to the rumours that she's Zeroman's love interest.
- Dirty Cop: Helga, the chief of police of Fair City. She aids Rusty in a scheme of his because of a crush she has on him.
- Elmer Fudd Syndrome: Derby Dinkle and his henchwoman spoke this way.
- Evil Sounds Deep: The Castrato's voice drops multiple octaves once he gets the Zero Suit. Until he gets hit in the crotch with a shoe, resulting in an Instant Soprano.
- Expy: Les Mutton and his superhero identity of Zeroman bear strong similarities to Nielsen's Lieutenant Frank Drebin character in the Police Squad! and The Naked Gun series.
- Former Child Star: Rusty Woodenwater. He was once the town darling, and even had his own show. That all changed when he hit puberty, though. Now he's an embittered supervillain out to get Zeroman's suit (it was originally designed for Rusty to use).
- Gasshole: Zeroman launches himself through the sky by farting.
- Groin Attack: This is how The Castrato is ultimately defeated.
- Grossout Show: The show relies a lot on Toilet Humor and other dirty jokes, being inspired by some of the more lowbrow material Leslie Nielsen's movies often feature. In case you're wondering, Leslie Nielsen was in on the whole thing from the start and gleefully indulged in it, even bringing a fart soundmaker (the same one he infamously once took with him to Late Night with Conan O'Brien) with him during production.
- I Have No Son!: Rusty's relationship with his mom is actually worse than Leslie's. She renounced him as her son when he got booed off his own show.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Most of the show's characters are modelled after their voice actors. Leslie Nielsen as Zeroman, Ryan Reynolds as Ty Cheese (like his character, Reynolds did have a mustache at the time), Kevin McDonald as Rusty Woodenwater, and and Don Cherry and Ron MacLean, as Don and Ron.
- Kid Sidekick: Gary Glenngarry/O-Boy, a 10-year-old boy millionaire who helps Les/Zeroman.
- Mama's Boy: Leslie STILL lives with his mother at over sixty years of age. He even goes into fetal position muttering "Mommy, mommy, mommy" when she gets kidnapped.
- Old Superhero: Zeroman himself obviously. He's almost sixty-four and defends Fair City from various villains.
- One-Word Title: Zeroman... That's it.
- Toilet Humor: According to a former production staff member, the show's concept was to take the potty humour of Leslie Nielsen flicks like The Naked Gun and Airplane! and turn it into a crass cartoon. This is well and clear in many episodes; for instance, Les accesses his secret lair through a toilet that scans his butt, and flies as Zeroman by farting.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Zeroman's weakness is anti-static sheets, which mess with his suit's systems.