Each episode is in Three Shorts ABA format. The A series is Garfield, derived from the massively famous comic strip of the same name. The B series (referred to in the title sequence as "and Friends") is U.S. Acres (renamed "Orson's Farm" on pre-2019 DVD releases and in international versions), based on Davis's other, less famous comic strip. Before the second and third shorts would be a "Quickie", a short cartoon derived directly from the comic strips. The first and second seasons had many songs (Once an Episode during U.S. Acres), but this practice was retired later.
Garfield is a fat, lazy orange cat whose hobbies include sleeping, eating lasagna, sleeping, watching television, eating Italian foods other than lasagna, sleeping, eating foods other than Italian, and oh yeah, sleeping. He lives with his human owner, Jon, and Jon's dog, Odie, who slobbers incessantly and lacks internal speech. Other recurring characters include Nermal, the world's cutest kitty-cat; a tribe of mice (Garfield refuses to hunt mice, since human food tastes better and is easier to catch); Liz the vet, on whom Jon has a crush; the relentlessly annoying TV show host Binky the Clown (who even got his own Quickie segment, Screaming with Binky, for a time); and Penelope, a Suspiciously Similar Substitute of Arlene who appeared late in the series.
Unlike Garfield's non-talking pets, U.S. Acres is set on a farm inhabited and apparently run by Talking Animals. In the first three seasons, nearly every episode included a point where the characters stop and sing a song related to the episode's plot or theme, often including a more or less arbitrary Aesop. In the later seasons, the episodes got Denser and Wackier and less about an Aesop. note
- Orson Pig. Relatively normal and mild-mannered, but reads a lot and lets his imagination run away with him from time to time. Has three Jerkass bullying brothers, Mort, Gort, and Wart, who show up occasionally to make trouble by attempting to steal the crops.
- Roy Rooster, a lazy practical joker with a high opinion of himself.
- Wade Duck, a hypochondriac who can work himself into a frenzy of fear over anything ("Why; oh, why do I run in fear from everything under the sun? Including the sun. Why am I so timid? Now, don't tell me, don't tell me; I'm afraid of the answer!"). He's even afraid of water, and always wears a kiddie pool inner tube around his waist; it has a duck head on the front that looks just like him and mimics his facial expressions.
- Bo and Lanolin, a brother-sister sheep duo. Bo is laidback to the point of absurdity, while Lanolin is hot-headed and argumentative to the point of contrariness.
- And the little chickens Booker and Sheldon. Booker hunts worms with an obsession comparable to Elmer Fudd's pursuit of Bugs Bunny (with similar results). He likes ninjas. Sheldon, the younger of the two, appears as an egg with a pair of legs sticking out the bottom. He chose to stay inside his shell after reading horrible world news from a pile of newspapers put under him while incubating.
Veteran TV and comics writer Mark Evanier was the showrunner, wrote most of the episodes, and was responsible for a lot of the edgier humor. Compared to other children's cartoons of the era and especially the source material, the writing was surprisingly sharp, witty, and even surreal without completely going over the top of viewers' heads or completely veering off into strange territory.
Uses the exact same art style and voice actors as the Garfield Specials (which began earlier) .
While the show was very successful for all of its seven season run, it was cancelled after the last episode was compeleted due to CBS choosing to scale back its Saturday morning block. (the only indication of the series finale was in one of the Garfield quips at the start of the show note ). After the show ended production, it also ran in reruns in the United States on Cartoon Network (with the U.S. Acres segments cut out and more Garfield segments added) and later Toon Disney before disappearing from television entirely. The show was released to DVD in its entirety in the mid 2000s, though the sets have now gone out of print. More recently another media company named 9 Story Media Group licensed both Garfield and Friends and the specials and began re-releasing them in 2018 using an "HD" remaster... for a budget DVD release (and international broadcasts) which cropped the image to fit modern 16:9 televisions, along with the opening having to be completely redone in Flash due to the footage having been lost. Boomerang (which holds exclusive US rights to this show as of 2021) streamed 60 of these remastered episodes, while Tubi has remastered episodes beginning with season four (the Garfield Specials are included as "season 8"). Most recently, Pluto TV — owned by ViacomCBS, which acquired the Garfield and U.S. Acres IPs some time ago — has launched a 24/7 channel devoted to the show, albeit using the HD prints (and half of the seasons cut due to the first three seasons still being at Boomerang)
The show was previously available on multiple streaming services in its original SD version, though not all of them stream every episode. Currently the Boomerang app are the only services with every episode.
The show's YouTube channel which contains clips from the show and the Garfield Specials (the clips are not viewable in the US for existing reasons) is here.
This series contains examples of:
- Actionized Adaptation: The comics were gag-a-day strips, while the show added many cartoony action sequences and genuine moments of peril, especially in the Garfield TV specials.
- Actor Allusion:
- In "The Curse of Klopman" Garfield answers the door and remarks to the man knocking "This is Garfield, your doorman."
- Crosses over with Credits Gag in the episode guest-starring Dick Tufeld, which references his persistent Signing-Off Catchphrase by billing him as "Dick Tufeld Speaking"◊.
- Aloysius Pig says two of Kevin Meaney's catchphrases: "That's not right!" and "I don't care!", although the latter was only said once (twice if you count the line "I don't care what it says!").
- Adaptation Expansion: Common, especially in the quickies.
- Binky only appeared in a single week of strips in the mid-1980s (on-panel, at least; Garfield would regularly watch his show on television, with the reader only seeing his dialog. His on panel appearance wasn't nearly as wacky as his cartoon counterpart).
- This sometimes applies to the quickies themselves, which are generally direct adaptations of the strip. For example:
- The Quickie based on this strip◊ continues with this:
- The Quickie for this strip◊ has Garfield deciding, "Two". Jon then pours two spoonfuls of sugar into the cereal in Garfield's mouth and leaves.
- The Quickie for this strip◊ keeps Jon's underwear out of frame when Jon leaves the house. Garfield pulls out a pocket watch and counts three seconds before Jon walks back into the house, this time with the underwear on-camera.
- In one comic, Garfield tries to smash a spider on a windowsill, only for the entire house to collapse. The Quickie version adds a bonus punchline where Garfield states that at least he killed the spider... until it walks past unharmed.
- An Aesop:
- "Binky Gets Canceled...Again!" As the title implies, Binky's popular kids' show is canceled after parents complain that the program isn't educational. Binky points out that his show does teach educational content: "I make children laugh! I entertain!" The station manager then declares that entertaining simply isn't enough for children's shows anymore — they need to have "social content" to get airtime. This seems to be a reaction against programs that treat kids like idiots while hammering home countless Aesops. It's not subtle, but it does make the legitimate claim that it's OK for children to simply have fun and enjoy themselves while watching television, rather than constantly having to learn something from it.
- Thanks to head writer Mark Evanier, every time the Buddy Bears show up, we get a message about groupthink and The Complainer Is Always Wrong, namely that blindly following the group and being unable to form your own opinions is not the way to be. This is particularly effective in "Big Bad Buddy Bird", because it frames the Buddy Bears as a Show Within a Show. Roy leaves the farm and looks for a new job in showbiz; he's placed on the Buddy Bears Show as their new friend "Big Bad Buddy Bird", who, in his own words, "never agrees with the group and sets a bad example for impressionable children everywhere". Towards the end of the episode, which features one of the Bears constantly giving up what they want to do to go with the group and outright telling children "NEVER have an opinion of your own!', Roy—who's been punished with sixteen-ton safes being dropped on his head whenever he disagrees—delivers a speech that summarizes exactly what's wrong with the groupthink; it helps that he's literally pressed up against a television screen while the Bears try to pull him off, which makes it seem like he's actually speaking directly to children watching Garfield and Friends."NO! No more examples! Kids, don't listen to any of this—these Bears are dangerous. You should have opinions of your own! You should think and decide and not listen to what everyone else says! Use your own mind—don't do everything your friends do just because they do it, have a brain of your own! LET GO OF ME! THE GROUP ISN'T ALWAYS RIGHT!"
- Aesop Amnesia: Lampshaded several times.
- In one episode, Wade states that he will be brave until next week's show... and doesn't even make it that long before reverting to his standard characterization.
- "Angel Puss" ends with Garfield deciding to start being nicer to Odie, "at least until the next cartoon."
- Ageless Birthday Episode:
- "Birthday Boy Roy" is about Roy's birthday.
- "The Binky Show" is about Garfield trying to get Jon a present on his birthday.
- The very first cartoon, "Peace and Quiet", takes place on Garfield's birthday.
- "Happy Garfield Day" is about the lead-up to Garfield's birthday. Garfield celebrates by singing a song about the birthday dinner he wants Jon to make for him.
- Aliens Speaking English: Any alien on the series speaks English.
- Animated Adaptation: Unlike the actual episodes, the Garfield "Quickies" were directly adapted from the original strips. Also, some of the first episodes were minor arcs from the original comic padded out to fill a 7-minute cartoon.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Does this a few times, especially in the U.S. Acres shorts. Usually, the last thing mentioned was the lineup/schedule of a rival TV network (the show aired on CBS).Roy: Wade's confessing his crimes.
Orson: What crimes?
Roy: So far, the sinking of the Titanic, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, the Spanish-American War, and last season's NBC fall schedule.
- Garfield also made a few pointed comments in "The Garfield Crime Files: Canine Conspiracy" about acts that should be considered criminal.Garfield: Like Benny "The Celery Stalk" Burlap, wanted for embezzlement, armed robbery, and buying a leisure suit after 1971.
Garfield: Or Sam "The Spatula" Schmidlap, wanted for gambling, smuggling, and having one of those "Baby on Board" signs in his car windows.
- And again, in "Arbuckle the Invincible":Garfield: Don't ever ask anyone to hit you over the head with a baseball bat.
Garfield: Don't ever ask anyone to drop a ten-ton safe on you.
Garfield: And especially don't ever sign a contract with an agent who dresses like that. That's really dangerous.
- In "Feline Felon", a dream sequence with an America's Most Wanted parody shows one of the criminals is wanted for burglary, stealing the Klopman Diamond, and using a small child as a bookmark. Then another is wanted for robbery, extortion, and doing the Pennsylvania Polka in Rhode Island. Garfield's own list of crimes is more like "Arson, jaywalking and murder", as it starts with stealing baked goods and moves on to him stealing "a kiss", "third base" (during an actual baseball game), "the spotlight", and even "a fleeting glance" before showing him stealing peoples' pants.
- Garfield also made a few pointed comments in "The Garfield Crime Files: Canine Conspiracy" about acts that should be considered criminal.
- Art Evolution: A fairly minor example, but throughout the series' run, the animation became increasingly smoother and crisper (alongside the further developing, yet mostly finalized character designs).
- Artistic License Geography: When Garfield starts to sing the song about mailing Nermal to Abu Dhabi, he spins a globe and stops it on a place under his finger. The place he points to on the globe in no way resembles where Abu Dhabi actually is. (The globe is more a collection of vague shapes than a real globe, but he appears to have been pointing somewhere in the middle of China, far from the Persian Gulf in the Middle East where Abu Dhabi is located.)
- Ascended Extra: Binky the clown. While Garfield would regularly watch his show on TV (with the reader only seeing Binky's dialog), the clown himself only appeared on panel in a single week-long story arc in the strip. Cartoon Binky however becomes a major recurring character in the cartoon series, continuing an ascension he began in the earlier tv specials, where we first saw his face on Garfield's TV in Halloween Adventure
- Asshole Victim: Happens a fair few times through the series, the usual victims being Roy, Nermal and Garfield himself. Perhaps the biggest example though is Mr. Burnside, he is a very frequent target of Garfields mischief but is himself essentially all of Garfields vices without any of his good qualities. Best exemplified in his last major appearance where he is put through absolute Hell for the whole episode, but remains such a big bully its hard to feel sorry for him.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted with Nermal, the World's Cutest Kitty Cat; Garfield finds him very annoying and often tries to get rid of him.
- Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: In "Jailbird Jon", where Garfield is replaced by an inmate wearing a cat suit. The police doesn't even bother to take a glance at what's going on.
- Bicolor Cows, Solid Color Bulls: Cattle rarely appear in the show, but when they do, cows are black-and-white and bulls are brown.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Invoked in "Mistakes Will Happen" the Buddy Bears' cameo appears to be a parody of this trope. They appear out of nowhere, sing their theme song, and then disappear.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: Many jokes are made in reference to "the network", a.k.a. CBS.
- An example which predicted the reason behind cancellation was seen in "The Discount of Monte Cristo", which is all about Aloysius cutting the show's budget (CBS wanted budget cuts, and the creators refused to suffer. In the episode, Orson hated Aloysius ruining the story by firing production members in order to keep the budget low).
- In "Kiddie Korner", Aloysius plans the fall schedule using a dart board.
- Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: In his "Shorty" persona, Garfield feeds some leftover blazing-hot chili to a horse named Certain Death in order to break him out of his lethargy (brought on by eating lasagna).
- Bluffing the Advance Scout: Garfield tells the alien scout that Earthlings eat a lot of food and sleep a lot. The scout analyzes Garfield and becomes convinced that's Garfield telling the truth, then concludes that Earthlings will make terrible slaves.
- Break the Motivational Speaker: One U.S. Acres segment has a motivational speaker who manages to fire up the Weasel, allowing him to successfully steal the farm's chickens. In response, Orson and Roy send Wade, who manages to be so Hypochondriacal and Paranoid it drives the speaker insane.
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: In the Garfield segment "Sales Resistance", Garfield is forced into a closet by a salesman that has entered the Arbuckle house and will not leave; only their eyes are visible before Garfield turns on a light.
- Call of the Wild Blue Yonder: "Airborne Odie" sees Odie wishing to fly, which comes true after finding a magic lamp at the beach that contained a genie (voiced by Buddy Hackett). After using up two of his wishes to fly more properly, Odie uses his final wish to save Garfield from a shark.
- Cinderella Plot: In the U.S. Acres segment, "Bedtime Story Blues", Orson attempts to read the story of Cinderella to Booker and Sheldon (as it's the only book he hasn't read to them yet), but the twins make numerous changes to the story, much to Orson's ire. These changes include making Cinderella and her stepsisters boys (and the latter ninjas), having Cinderella work at a pet store, making the king's messenger a rapmaster, making the fairy godmother the richest guy in the world, and an attack by dinosaurs. Orson eventually becomes so annoyed with the twins' changes that he reads the story the right way very fast.
- Common Meter: The verses to "Picnic Panic".
- The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Parodied, rather viciously at times, with the Buddy Bears. They believe in agreeing with everything and, not only expects others to do the same, they are obligated to follow in practice. They mention it directly in their introductory song:Buddy Bears: "Oh we are the Buddy Bears, we always get along,
Each day we do a little dance and sing a little song
If you ever disagree, it means that you are wrong
Oh we are the Buddy Bears, we always get along!"
Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we never have a fight,
Anyone who disagrees is never, ever right,
If you have a point of view, then keep it out of sight,
Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we never have a fight!
- When they replaced Binky's show with their own in one episode, Garfield tries to find a way to switch them back. Using a disguise, he manages to get them to disagree on something, when he asks them to choose pizza toppings (something which, he claims, no two people "in the history of Italian cooking" have ever been able to agree on). This leads to an argument within the trio during broadcast, and they were cancelled as a result.
- Garfield also exploits this near the end of another episode, after firing them while they worked as Jon's housekeepers (they literally clean out the fridge and food pantries along with the rest of the house). When they ask for payment, he lies and says he already did. They disagree, to which he calls mentions how it goes against their way of thinking, and they couldn't say otherwise.
- Mark Evanier worked on several cartoons in the early 1980s that played this trope straight (including Dungeons and Dragons), and has stated that the Buddy Bears were his way of getting back at his employers on those shows.
- When they replaced Binky's show with their own in one episode, Garfield tries to find a way to switch them back. Using a disguise, he manages to get them to disagree on something, when he asks them to choose pizza toppings (something which, he claims, no two people "in the history of Italian cooking" have ever been able to agree on). This leads to an argument within the trio during broadcast, and they were cancelled as a result.
- Con Man: A.J. Swindler (A.G. Swindler after season 3). This guy with the long nose loves to target Jon Arbuckle for his naivete even going as far as to force him to sell him his house and cheat a carnival owner that leads to ruins. And he STILL doesn't learn his lesson.
- Couch Gag: Garfield always says a different short line at the end of the theme song. (Lampshaded at least twice.)Garfield: You notice how every week I say something different here?
- Creator Cameo: Jim Davis voiced a number of minor characters throughout the show's run, including the offscreen director in a few episodes, as well as a policeman in "Mistakes Will Happen".
- Credits Gag: The episode guest-starring Dick Tufeld, in reference to his Signing-Off Catchphrase, credits him as "Dick Tufeld Speaking"◊.
- Crooked Contractor: Swindler is the Plain Criminal sort in "Home Sweet Swindler". He's hired to fix the plumbing but instead tinkers with the doorbell. When Jon finds that the doorbell doesn't ring, Swindler appears as a handyman and is hired to fix it, during which he drills holes in the roof and places ice cubes, so Jon will believe there's a leak.
- Crossover: Several times throughout the show, the two cartoons would interrupt or seam into each other, often in line with both of their fondness for meta-gags.
- Crying Wolf: Orson tells the story of "The Wolf Who Cried Boy" about a wolf who cries "boy" too often until finally none of his pack believe him when a young hunter comes up the hill. In the middle of telling the story, Orson realizes that Roy's constant cries of "Wolf!" throughout out the episode may not be another prank.
- Culturally Sensitive Adaptation: In one strip, Garfield is telling jokes on the fence, one being that his car is so old it's insured against "Indian raids". The show changes this to "dinosaurs", both removing the potentially offensive content and enhancing the joke by making the car even older.
- Damned by a Fool's Praise: In "Rolling Romance", Jon is the only one at an Honest John's Dealership who's interested in a particular car that even the dealer is initially hesitant to sell him—it turns out the car is possessed and madly in love with Jon (whereupon Garfield is quick to question the car's tastes).
- Derailed Fairy Tale: There are quite a few U.S. Acres episodes where someone attempts to tell the chicks a bedtime story and the plot goes wildly off the rails.
- The two-parter "Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarfs" is... well.
- "The Name Game" messes up Rumpelstiltskin.
- "Hare Force" turns The Tortoise and the Hare into a science-fiction story.
- "Jack II: The Rest of the Story" has the farm animals writing a sequel to Jack and the Beanstalk that answers questions such as how Jack dealt with the dead giant in his yard.
- In "Badtime Story", a normal bedtime story for Orson gets mangled when multiple people try to help with telling it.
- "Bedtime Story Blues" is about Orson telling the story of Cinderella, only for Booker and Sheldon to change it.
- Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Several episodes begin with a character humming along from where the title music left off; in "Short Story", Bo remarks that he's had the tune in his head all day, and wonders where he heard it.
- End-of-Series Awareness:
- Spoofed in "The Binky Show", where Garfield thinks a buzzer means the show's been cancelled.
- The plot of "The Discount of Monte Cristo" is about Aloysius cutting the show's budget, which is why Garfield and Friends ended.
- At the end of "Kiddie Korner", we find out that the name of "The Network" is called "SUUS The Network". If you say it out loud, it sounds like "Sue Us, The Network!", likely a Take That! at CBS cancelling Garfield and Friends.
- Garfield's final post-theme quote is "After seven seasons, we've pretty much said everything you can say in this spot."
- Everyone Has Standards: Garfield doesn't mind his cartoon being interrupted by extra commercials, as he's being paid a lot to put with them and happily goes "and now a word from our sponsor!" ... until they're selling sub-par microwave Lasagna (which he noted from the ingredients on the back doesn't contain tomato, cheese, or really anything edible).Garfield: Some things are more important than money, bad tasting lasagna for one!
- Exact Words: A joke where Garfield, eating an ice cone, offers a lick to Odie - and then proceeds to literally lick him.Garfield: "You have no idea how long I've waited to do that to him."
- In "First Class Feline", Garfield promises to never ship Nermal to Abu Dhabi again. So instead he ships Nermal to the North Pole.
- Executive Meddling: Invoked more than once.
- The Aloysius Pig character spoofs this, enforcing budget cuts and more "wholesome content."
- The Buddy Bears in "Learning Lessons". They start explaining all the jokes and giving educational lectures of anything Garfield mentions.
- Exploding Calendar: In multiple episodes to mark the passage of a lot of time, generally with some trick to it (like the episode where Garfield wished for no more Mondays and got his wish; the calendar that "exploded" had no Mondays in it). Parodied at least once in a U.S. Acres segment where several months passed without rain; a monthly calendar lost several pages in this manner before Orson (as narrator) interrupted with "Hey, would somebody fix that calendar?"
- Exploding Closet: In the first theme song sequence where Garfield constantly tries to get the U.S. Acres gang off screen, he emotes shoving them into a proverbial closet at one point, only for them to slam down on him.
- Fancy Camping: While on a camping trip, Garfield not only brings the television, but also the fridge, microwave and whole lot of other stuff....even an inflatable house to store it all in!
- Fantasy Keepsake: "The Lasagna Zone", a sendup of The Twilight Zone, Garfield gets Trapped in TV Land and, during the escapade, Garfield acquires a scarf and Odie accidentally drops the remote, breaking it. When Garfield wakes up, he's convinced that it was all a dream, but he notices the broken remote on the floor and then sees the scarf still on him.
- Fattening the Victim:
- In "Nighty Nightmare", near the end of Garfield's Dream Sequence, it is revealed that the reason Garfield was eating every scrap of food in the world and growing to gigantic proportions was because an alien was using a mind-control ray on him to fatten him up for Thanksgiving dinner for the planet Clarion.
- In "Pest of a Guest", Garfield exploits this trope and makes a freeloading cat who's been faking being sick think this is what his going to happen to him. He makes a recipe card that has one kitty cat as the main ingredient to Jon's casserole. Later Jon (who doesn't know what Garfield did) casually mentions to the cat "we've got to fatten you up" and that the casserole is Odie's favorite dish. Odie licks him and that cat thinks Odie is tasting him, causing him to flee from the house.
- Fictional Currency: Whenever an in-story is told, payment is made in "zordniks".
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: An alien disguises itself as a purple ball, but later reveals his true, uglier, form when using a phone.
- Formula-Breaking Episode:
- "Ode to Odie" has no dialogue, only narration in the form of a rap song.
- Some episodes, like "All About Odie", "It Must Be True", "Secrets of the Animated Cartoon", and "How to Be Funny", take the form of academic lectures.
- Friendly Local Chinatown: A visit to one of these is the subject of "China Cat", including a trip to a chinese restaurant and Garfield frightening everyone due to resembling a mythical figure the staff are familiar with.
- HeelFace Turn: The female dogs who hang out with Butch in "Ode to Odie". At first, they join in making fun of Odie, but when Butch doesn't stop, they find that he's being too mean and leave. Odie seems to accept this, as he plays with them in the yard and they become friends.
- Hell Hotel: Setting for "The Sludge Monster". "Housebreak Hotel" exploits this, as the advertiser makes it look like a luxury resort for pets to lure unsuspecting and gullible owners, figuring the pets can't talk and likewise register a complaint anyway. That is, until Garfield steps into the picture.
- Hypno Fool:
- While not being actual hypnosis, Garfield's Hawaiian cat flu in "...Goes Hawaiian" causes him to dance the hula or do something Hawaiian whenever someone mentions something Hawaiian.
- Played straight in "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Wade", in which Wade overhears Orson talking about someone who might have hypnotized themself, and is thus unwittingly hypnotized to turn into a monster when he hears a bell.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- Twice in "Crime and Nourishment" when Garfield says "I like getting away from it all; especially when we bring it all with us" in response to Jon musing on the wonders of having a picnic out in the country, followed by later saying he'd have to take the blame for the missing picnic basket..."and this time, [he] didn't even do it."
- In "The Wise Man", Maharishi suggests that Garfield find peace and serenity, to which the latter suggests finding a gross horror movie on TV (only to discover the TRUE "horror" that Maharishi has taken the TV away!)
- I'm Thinking It Over!: In one episode, Jon said he'd no longer feed Garfield unless Garfield got along with Nermal. As Jon started to repeat his ultimatum, Garfield interrupted him to tell he was thinking over it.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: In "The Cartoon Cat Conspiracy", Garfield created a Show Within a Show titled "Sam the Cat", actually a Self-Parody, Garfield overpromoted himself in the opening credits and apologized for not having space to give Odie due credit for animating the story. (Garfield got Odie to do it because he was cheaper than any Korean staff.)
- Inexplicably Speaks Fluent Alien: Any alien can talk with Garfield.
- Ink-Suit Actor: A large number of guest stars during later seasons, including, but not limited to, Rip Taylor, Ray Jay Johnson, George Foreman and Eddie Lawrence doing his "Old Philosopher" routine in cat form. Most notable was adding Aloysius, a pastiche of stand-up comedian Kevin Meaney (right down to his catchphrase, "That's not right!"), as a recurring character on U.S. Acres.
- Inner Monologue: Garfield, along with the other characters who used Thought Bubble Speech in the comic strip, now have voices to go with their thoughts.
- Invisible Writing: This was also used in "The Legend of Long Jon". Garfield and Odie were reading from the journal of Jon's pirate ancestor Long Jon Arbuckle, when Odie started drooling on an apparently blank page, which causes writing to appear on the page. It turned out that Long Jon Arbuckle had written on the blank pages in invisible ink, telling about how he was able to arrest some bandits that were carrying phony documents.
- Jekyll & Hyde: Parodied at least twice.
- "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Wade" revolves around Wade unwittingly being hypnotized into becoming a version of Hyde whenever he hears a bell.
- "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse" revolves around Garfield telling a version of the story, in which Jekyll is trying to make a diet cola without any aftertaste and tests it on a mouse (an exterminator's cat also gets hold of some later) to the audience while waiting for his food to finish microwaving.
- Lampshade Hanging: Entire episodes of both cartoons consisted purely of this, such as Garfield's lecture "How to be Funny" (which covered the Running Gag, timing jokes, and funny costumes) and "Secrets of the Animated Cartoon" on U.S. Acres, which discussed Cartoon Physics.
- Lethal Chef: Jon, on more than one occasion. Once he replaced whipped cream with mayonnaise on the grounds that they were the same color. In another episode, Jon created yogurt that turns out to be a huge disaster that covers up the entire house. Zig-zagged however, as Jon is often shown to cook delicious meals.
- Lighter and Softer: Much more focused on comedy than the original specials which would often mix in drama and often have the characters in serious peril.
- Meaningful Name: Sleazy used car salesman Al G. Swindler.
- One episode has Jon going on a game show which matches people up on dates. The host's name? Skip Yenta.
- Mugged for Disguise: In "Jailbird Jon", a prisoner tricks Jon into a closet and switches clothes with him to escape.
- Multi-Part Episode: When done in this show, the first part is shown in one episode, with the second episode in another. The second parts, counting as different episodes, often begin with recaps.
- "Snow Wade And The 77 Dwarves" is a Fractured Fairy Tale version of the story of Snow White.
- In "Grape Expectations", Roy is accused of not living up to being a rooster.
- "Egg Over Easy" is about Wade hiding in an egg shell, and the problems that arise from it.
- In "The Horror Hostess", Garfield arranges for Jon to meet a TV hostess he likes, who turns out to be evil.
- Musical Episode: Quite often, particularly later in the show.
- "The Garfield Opera" is an opera song about Garfield's eating habits, called a "Serious Cultural Moment" by the Buddy Bears.
- "The Life and Times of the Lasagna Kid" details the Lasagna Kid (Garfield) saving Mona (Penelope) in a wild-west setting.
- "The Garfield Rap" is a rap song about various Running Gags, such as kicking Odie off the table and his love of lasagna.
- "The Picnic Panic" has Garfield, Odie, and Jon dealing with ants that invade their picnic.
- In "Another Ant Episode", the ants from "The Picnic Panic" return and invade Jon's house.
- "The Guy of Her Dreams" is about Penelope wishing that her dates with Garfield were more exciting.
- "The Garfield Musical" has Penelope fall in love with a rock-and-roll cat instead of Garfield.
- "Truckin' Odie" is a country song about Odie accompanying a trucker on his delivery.
- "Ode to Odie" is a rap in which Odie meets a mean dog.
- "The Ocean Blue" has Jon, Odie, and Garfield encountering a shark at the beach.
- "The Man Who Hated Cats" is a downplayed example, as while not all of it is told in rhyme like the other musicals, there are about five songs in it.
- The U.S. Acres segments only had one musical episode: "Kiddie Korner", where the characters sing nursery rhymes. However, they keep getting interrupted by Aloysius, who finds unwholesome things in each one.
- Mutually Fictional: Played With. Some U.S. Acres cartoons feature Garfield as a fictional TV show in their universe. Others feature actual appearances by Garfield or other characters from his segments.
- Never Say "Die":
- In the episode "The Man Who Hated Cats", Garfield overhears the man singing about a cat he owned when he was young who ran away. He sings, "Foo-Foo had fled/I wished I was..." and starts sobbing.
- A U.S. Acres segment parodying the poem Casey at the Bat includes a quip about the fans chanting "'Kill the Umpire!' long and low/But you cannot kill a person/On a TV cartoon show."
- Averted in one segment of U.S. Acres about nursery rhymes. In that episode, Orson says "dead" twice, "kill" and "murder", and Aloysius says "kill" twice and "death".
- In "Another Ant Episode", the ants sing that they "cannot be killed."
- Nobody Poops: Averted multiple times. Notable examples include:
- One quickie (based on the April 23, 1989 strip) had Jon thinking that Garfield wet his bed. Odie was actually drooling right beside his bed.
- One U.S. Acres segment parodying Jack and the Beanstalk had a scene where Jack's mother forces the goose to lay one more egg, a spoof of toilet-training young children. To cap this off, a fart noise was played when the goose finally laid an egg.
- Bertie Buddy Bear farted in "Roy Gets Sacked". Aloysius did the same thing in "The Discount of Monte Cristo", Roy did it in "Happy Garfield Day", and Wade did it in "The Old Man Of The Mountain" after being thrown by Gort.
- No Fourth Wall: Garfield knows he's in a TV show, and frequently speaks directly to the audience.
- The U.S. Acres characters also address the audience directly at times.
- The show also casually references itself as just being a TV show or even a cartoon (on a few occasions, Garfield characters and U.S. Acres characters had a pencil and/or an eraser to illustrate this), one episode even involved Orson giving an academic lecture on cartoons with many references to the characters being animated. Also, in many instances, they would show things happening off set or have multiple takes. There were even times when what's in-universe and what's breaking the fourth wall were so blurred that the show's plot resolution required doing things that broke the fourth wall. In fact, there are very few episodes where the fourth wall breach is NOT apparent.
- The episode "Pros and Cons" takes it Up to Eleven when Garfield turns on the TV and watches the episode he's currently in so he can see what happened in a scene he wasn't present for.
- In "What's It All About, Wade?" Wade runs himself out of the cartoon. Jim Davis (offscreen) convinces Wade to go back in through an analogy.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: Normally averted, but there are some exceptions such as Roys chicken hostess in Mystery Guest and the turtle mother in Scrambled Eggs. There are also occasions where the usually realistically flat Penelope and Lanolin are given ample chests, usually in a dream sequence or when playing a specific role.
- Nonsense Classification: According to Garfield, the four basic food groups are: pasta, cheeseburger with fries, chocolate cake, and more pasta.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Garfield once showed two videos of Jon's previous dates. The second one was so short that, before starting it, he warned the viewers there weren't any cuts.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- Jon is interested in almost every attractive female he comes across. Yet he's so annoyed with Sylvia Svelte and her scam food that he's not attracted to her. In the same episode, Garfield tells Sylvia that it's this trope when he doesn't eat something.
- In another episode, Odie is mad at Garfield after a cruel trick on Nermal and growls at him, when Garfield dismisses it as "he deserved it", Odie start to bug Garfield nonstop until he gives in and agrees to go looking for Nermal with Odie.
- In "Brainwave Broadcast", Garfield hears about a bank robbery but ignores it because he doesn't keep any money in that bank. The viewers convince him to go and alert the police about the robbery.
- Garfield is usually very friendly and amicable towards mice until one makes him the butt of jokes while he's sleeping. He wakes up and informs the mouse that while he usually doesn't chase mice, he's about to make an exception. Luckily, Floyd showed up and asked for his old house back.
- When Garfield loses his memory, the part where he asks Liz if he's due for his shot surprises everybody.
- In the US Acres segments, whenever Orson has a Tranquil Fury moment, even his brothers know it's time to high tail it outta there.
- One-Book Author: Thom Hugenote who voiced Jon Arbuckle, Binky the Clown, and Roy the Rooster never did voicework on any cartoon after Garfield. This is because he was actually an employee of Paws, Inc. (Jim Davis's company in Indiana) who was meant to be a stand-in voice, but did such a great job they didn't want to replace him.
- Opening Credits Cast Party: Generally the only place the Garfield and U.S. Acres characters appeared onscreen together. Garfield characters occasionally guest-starred on US Acres, though.
- Opening Narration: Before the proper theme song, the show starts with a call of, "Ladies and gentlemen! Garfield, and Friends!"
- Opening Shout-Out: Various.
- In "Short Story", Bo sings the lyrics to "Friends are There". He comments that it's a catchy song, then turns to the viewers and comments, "I wonder where I heard it?"
- Lanolin sings her own version in one episode: "Friends are there to help you get started, but once you get started, who needs 'em?"
- "The Genuine Article" contains a recreation of the final scene of the opening, where Booker writes on the logo and Garfield appears. However, it's now titled Gabriel and Friends, after a cat imitating Garfield. Garfield is horrified by this.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: One of the favorite gags of the show, and often lampshaded.
- In "Moo Cow Mutt," Garfield dons various wigs, hats, and props and pretends to be various passerby to convince Odie that he's a cow, not a dog. Odie falls for it, apparently missing the fact that all of the "passerby" have bright-orange fur (but then again, it is Odie we're talking about).
- The opening of one episode has an ice cream man offering kids in the park free popsicles. Garfield stands next to his cart and cycles through different wigs so he can look like multiple children and eat his entire stock.
- In the very first episode, "Peace and Quiet," Binky mistakenly believes that Jon's address is the home of Edna Fogarty, an elderly woman who's celebrating her 97th birthday. Since he won't go away until he sings to her, Garfield eventually resorts to putting on a gray wig, purple dress, and glasses to pass himself off as Edna.
- In one U.S. Acres segment, Roy hosts a "mystery guest" game show. The guest is Garfield wearing nothing more than a black bandana with eye holes. Orson immediately identifies him, but Roy insists that no one else will—and sure enough, no one has any idea that it's Garfield. Not even Jon.
- In one episode, Roy pulls a prank on Orson, then starts fearing that he's plotting a revenge trick. His fears come true when a farm inspector called the "Rooster Ranger"—who looks exactly like Orson, only wearing a trench coat and mustache—shows up. Roy says it's a "pathetic disguise" and shoves the Rooster Ranger into a mudhole. The trope is then subverted when Orson walks up and asks what's going on. Roy panics and runs off...and then the double subversion kicks in when the Ranger removes "his" outfit and reveals that it's actually Lanolin in a Latex Perfection disguise of Orson wearing a bad disguise!
- Pie in the Face: Characters getting hit by cream pies is a running gag in the series. It's even in the theme song.And pies of (and pies of) all sizes!
- Parodied in "Films and Felines". Garfield claims that a cat invented the joke: when people were trying to find a funny food to throw in others' faces, a Jon-lookalike retrieved a pie from a cat and accidentally threw it, creating the joke.
- A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: "The Jelly Roger" is about a TV repairman who decided to follow the footsteps of his pirate ancestor and become a full pirate (in fact, the episode describes the TV repairman job as a way for pirate descendants to keep close to their roots). This modern day's pirate's criminal career was helped by the fact the authorities refused to believe whenever his victims reported him.
- Politicians Kiss Babies: In an episode of U.S. Acres, Roy kisses eggs when running for the title of "leader of the barnyard", since he is a male chicken, and chickens lay eggs.
- PostWake-Up Realization: In the episode "Odie The Amazing", after Odie gains possession of a magician's discarded wand, the wand produces a camel, which Garfield nonchalantly walks under when he goes to the kitchen to get a doughnut.
- Potty Failure: Spoofed in one quickie on the 40th episode, in which Jon thought Garfield wet his bed.
- Protagonist and Friends: The first opening sequence has Garfield and the U.S. Acres fighting over screen-time. All with ironic lyrics about friendship.
- Public Domain Soundtrack:
- A good deal of the show's background music was this. Examples include The Barber of Seville, The Happy Farmer, English Country Garden, and Greensleeves. In the Hall of the Mountain King specifically serves as a Leitmotif for Orson's older brothers.
- "The Garfield Opera" deliberately invokes it when the Buddy Bears present the day's cartoon as "The adventures of Garfield," "As set to a fine piece of classical music." "Which, since it is real old, we didn't have to pay for." (Specifically, it's "Dance of the Hours".)
- Pun-Based Title: "Garfield Goes Hawaiian" (Gidget Goes Hawaiian), "School Daze" (School Days), "Nighty Nightmare" (Nighty Night), "Banana Nose" (Banana notes), "Ode to Odie" (Ode to Joy), "Good Mousekeeping" (Good housekeeping), and "The Perils Of Penelope" (The Perils of Penelope Pitstop).
- The Rashomon: Notably the "Twice Told Tale" episode about Jon and Garfield blaming each other for the mass yogurt incident with exaggerated details on the 'blamer'.
- Red Live Lobster: In the episode "Maine Course", Jon gets a lobster to cook, but the lobster turns out to be alive, so they decide to not cook it. The lobster is notably red.
- Reminder of Impossibility:
- One episode has Garfield getting chased by a dog. At one point, the chase has them on the ceiling. During that moment, Garfield stops to ask if the dog has sharp claws. When the dog shakes his head, Garfield tells him that he shouldn't be on the ceiling causing the dog to fall.
- Lampshaded during a U.S. Acres segment. Orson points out that, in the real world, if you stepped off a cliff, you'd fall into the chasm the exact moment your feet stepped into thin air - whereas, in a cartoon, if you do the same thing, "you don't fall until you realize you're falling".
- Replaced the Theme Tune: "Friends Are There" in season 1, "We're Ready to Party" after that, and then the unnamed rap theme in the last season (but only in the US). In an unusual variant, "Friends Are There" was sometimes heard as a Leitmotif.
- Running Gag: Many.
Garfield: Do you see this, Odie? This is the Klopman Diamond, a rare and valuable gem! And also a pointless running gag on a kids' TV show.
- The "Klopman Diamond" is often listed as a valuable or desirable object.
- The appearance of, or reference to, the Buggy-eyed Razor-beaked Fnark.
- Every alien on the show says that they came from the planet Clarion.
- In the post-"Temp Trouble" Aloysius episodes of U.S. Acres, there are two. One, a fart sound is played at some point, and two, Aloysius will pull something from the back of of his jacket via Hammerspace.
- In Season 2, any reference to the non-existent episode "Much Ado About Orson" was common.
- Garfield transforming or turning people who chase after them into one thing people are scared of... Mimes.
- The Pie in the Face gag is quite common on the show, especially in earlier seasons. It's even referenced in the theme song, which mentions "and pies of (and pies of) all sizes!"
- Nermal getting mailed to Abu Dhabi after annoying Garfield.
- Parodied in one early season episode, where Garfield calls "Lights!" (for a spotlight) and people hand him lightbulbs. He points out that it isn't funny, but if people keep doing it, it becomes a running gag. Of course, this joke happens multiple times in the episode.
- In "Fishy Feline", Jon falls off the pier while fishing. Garfield predicts how many times Jon will fall off in the episode, and he's correct.
- Whenever Orson gets too invested in a book, it will start manifesting around people (reading a space adventure sends the farm into space, reading a book about a beach convinces him it's summer, etc.)
- Script Swap: One of Garfield's favorite forms of mischief.
- In "D.J. Jon", Jon becomes a DJ. Someone wants Jon to read a commercial on air, so Garfield writes an alternate script full of insults, which Jon unknowingly reads.
- In "Supersonic Seymour", Jon hires a man named Seymour to encourage him to do work faster. When Seymour's advice gets in the way of dinner, Garfield writes a new list of chores for Jon, and when Seymour reads it, it turns out to be instructions to Jon to humiliate him. Jon complies.
- In "Health Feud", Garfield switches an on-TV workout man's switch with scripts from other shows. This results in him instructing the viewers to do such ridiculous actions as wearing a dress and doing "the Binky the Clown dance."
- In the US Acres episode "Kiddie Korner", Roy finally writes a "wholesome nursery rhyme" by doing this. It results in Aloysius Pig being chased by the gang because the song ends with lyrics about pie throwing.
- Shout-Out: Has its own page.
- Sleep Learning: Jon tries this in an attempt to stop biting his nails, but due to Garfield and Odie screwing things up ends up learning Spanish instead.
- Standard Snippet:
- Orson's Brothers onscreen would always have "In The Hall of the Mountain King" as their theme, usually performed by a lazy-sounding tuba. "Mountain King" also gets used whenever a character is stealing or otherwise engaged in shifty behavior. Likewise, Odie's presence was often accompanied with the fox hunt call. Finally, a recurring Mad Scientist character had "Did you Ever See a Lassie?" as his theme.
- Background music for the episodes would frequently be portions of common children's songs, some of which were related to the plot and some of which weren't. Some examples: The Itsy Bitsy Spider for a Quickie involving a spider; and My Grandfather's Clock at the beginning of "The Lasagna Zone".
- Strong Ants: In "The Picnic Panic" and "Another Ant Episode", the ants are able to pick up large objects.
- Sucks at Dancing: In one TV special when Garfield's owner Jon heads out to the dance floor, Jon does a surprisingly epic dance... But unfortunately he's doing disco in the mid-1990s and gets ridiculed by everybody else in the club.
- Jon: Boy, you learn a dance, and then zango! 14 years later they change it!
Garfield: Go figure.
- Take That, Audience!: The first logo box quip was "You folks have this confused. I'm real, and you're animated".
- Talking Animal: Although like in the comics, all Garfield characters are actually thinking rather than talking.
- And yet the animals still communicate between themselves like this, so apparently they're capable of telepathy.
- However, on many occasions, Jon (and other humans) understood Garfield's thoughts as if spoken aloud, showing appropriate facial expressions and even responding to them. The best example being Jon singing the opening bars of Garfield's song "The Garfield garbage can and tin pan alley revue". Once, Nermal asked Jon why a commercial was taking a long time and Jon explained what an infomercial was.
- One episode, "Brainwave Broadcast" has Garfield reveal to the audience that there's a special microphone the show uses that verbalizes thoughts (and then he uses it for hijinks), similar to a comic strip that showed how he learned to project his thoughts. This leads to him helping a policeman in a bank robbing by putting some donuts together to form the words "Bank Being Robbed". There are no humans in U.S. Acres except in one episode, "Grape Expectations, Part 1".
- On the other hand, as in the comics, Odie has no dialogue beyond barking and other dog noises. Sometimes his barks sound like words, such as "Ta-da!" or "Yeah, yeah, yeah!"
- Although Garfield seems to be able to understand Odie just fine and has on a few occasions seemingly translated for Jon, the audience, or another human.
- The Garfield case of this tends to get confusing - a few animal characters (like the Buddy Bears) actually talk while the Garfield animal regulars only think. Sometimes they're even portrayed as talking animals whose mouths don't move (sometimes when Garfield meows his mouth doesn't move either, making him more like Mister Ed in these instances, such as in "The Garfield Garbage Can And Tin Pan Alley Review" (where Jon tried to show the cop that Garfield can talk and sing) than a seemingly telepathic animal like usual.
- And yet the animals still communicate between themselves like this, so apparently they're capable of telepathy.
- Thematic Theme Tune: Subverted with the original theme, which had Garfield and the cast of U.S. Acres sing about friendship while fighting each other for screen time. This theme was used as a Leitmotif even after the switch to the Title Theme Tune in season 3.
- Title Drop: A ton, but mostly with episode titles.
- "The Bunny Rabbits is Coming!": The characters repeat this phrase throughout the episode.
- "The Ocean Blue": At the end of most verses of the song is "Out there on the ocean blue".
- "Wanted: Wade!": Somewhat of a title drop, with the line "Wade, you're a wanted duck!"
- "Fortune Kooky": Done a few times, as the episode's title is just "fortune cookie" with a silly misspelling.
- "Banana Nose": This is Roy's nickname throughout the episode after a pirate joke he does. It was also, of course, in the closing song.
- "I Like Having You Around": Like "Banana Nose", it was in a song.
- "Hogcules": Hogcules is also the name of Orson's alter-ego.
- "The Wolf Who Cried Boy" has both the episode title example and the show name example. First, Orson tells the story of "The Wolf Who Cried Boy" and Orson sings "Come on in, it's time to party with Garfield and- Oh, I love that song!"
- "The Lasagna Zone" is introduced by an announcer who says the episode's title.
- Title Theme Tune: "Come on in, come to the place where fun never ends! (You bet!) Come on in, it's time to party with Garfield and Friends!"
- Toilet Humour: Some episodes contain a weird sound that sounds like a fart noise, like when Orson and Roy watch TV in "Happy Garfield Day".
- Trademark Favorite Food:
- Garfield loves lasagna.
- The last words of "Hare Force" state Orson Pig's favorite food: "Chocolate chip! My favorite!"
- Aloysius Pig, Orson's cousin, revealed two of his in "The Discount Of Monte Cristo": donuts ("Add to the cost of cels and pencils, and all those donuts, and-") and pizza ("Couldn't you just send out for a PIZZA?). A hidden frame just before Aloysius says the latter phrase has him staring happily at crepes, so he possibly could like crepes, too.
- Wedding Episode: The episode "Wedding Bell Blues" is about the wedding of Jon's cousin Marian. Garfield gets worried when he overhears the news—Marian is marrying Harold John, and declares that she'll soon be "Marian John," which Garfield mishears as "marryin' Jon." He thus to try to the stop the wedding.
- Wild Take:
- Wade, at least Once an Episode, whenever he's reacting to something he's afraid of.
- In "The Cartoon Cat Conspiracy", Garfield says, "Are you as sick of cartoon characters doing that as I am?" He summons a "cartoon character", who reacts in an incredibly exaggerated and loud manner to even the most minor problems ("Your bus is running late!" "And it's partly cloudy outside!"). Later, he visits a real network executive, who has the exact same wild reaction. Garfield comments that he now knows where it comes from.
- "Where? Where?":
- An episode has the dead ancestors of the cast of "US Acres" appear. Someone shouted, "Ghost!" and Not-Wade does the "Where? Where?"
- Garfield does the "Where? Where?" when he's pretending to be a dog and someone refers to him as a cat.
- In another episode where Garfield's had an unwitting "Freaky Friday" Flip with Odie, he looks around for the dog as a dog.
- Whole Plot Reference: "Hansel and Garfield", "Odielocks and the Three Cats", "Bedtime Story Blues", "The Name Game", "Badtime Story", and Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarfs.
The Garfield segments contain examples of:
- Absentee Actor: Jon does not appear in "Flat Tired", despite the episode being set entirely in the Arbuckle household.
- Adaptational Nice Guy:
- While still grumpy at times, Garfield is notably more considerate and amiable than in the original comic strip. He will help out Jon or Odie when they're in trouble. One notable example is in a quickie adapted from the strip where Odie deliberately locked Jon and Garfield out of the car so they'd be stuck in the rain while he ate all the picnic food. The original comic strip actually had Garfield encourage Odie to suffocate in the car, while the quickie instead has Garfield berate Odie for doing something as stupid as locking himself in the car.
- In the comics, Nermal had moments of being a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who would deliberately insult Garfield about his weight and age. In the show, he's a Nice Guy who genuinely wants to be Garfield's friend.
- Adults Are Useless: Normally played straight, Jon's is naturally quite stupid and some of the adults Garfield and Jon met are just as if not more stupid. However this is sometimes Subverted, Jon can be surprisingly clever on occasion and there are some other adults who are quite competent, Liz being the most notable.
- A particularly shining example of the trope is in "Cash and Carry". Seriously, who hires people to work in a new shopping mall that have NEVER seen real money before? Even going as far as calling security to interrogate Jon, who happens to have cut up his credit cards.
- Mr. Fluster is arguably the dumbest and most incompetent person on the whole show, he installs a high-tech (though ultimately useless) security system on Jon's house and acts as a security guard demanding Jon give him a password to come in... Even though he clearly has met Jon and should not have to force him to answer a password. Also not only did he not tell Jon the password, but he himself doesn't know it and has the gall to ask Jon what the password is. Needless to say, It's very funny to watch.
- Alien Animals: In the cartoon "For Cats Only", we learn cats are from the planet Felinis and convinced humans they are still in charge of the planet while waiting hand and foot on their cat pets.
- All Just a Dream:
- In "The Binky Show", Garfield's bad experience on Binky's show is all in his head. He runs home and finds himself sleeping, then kicks himself and wakes up.
- "Rip Van Kitty" has Garfield wake up from his nightmare in which food is simply a pill. He is glad to wake up, and Jon hands him a pill to eat... Garfield runs away screaming. Double subverted when Jon reveals it was just a vitamin he had to take before eating his real food.
- In "The Lasagna Zone", Garfield's Trapped in TV Land adventure ends with him waking up in his bed. He realizes that a scarf he got while in the TV is still with him.
- And a Diet Coke: In "Jailbird Jon", escaped felon Big Louie goes to "Greezy Burgers" and orders, "A jumbo king-size grease burger with extra fat, a side of fries, your cash register, and a large diet cola!"
- And Now You Must Marry Me: One segment had a witch turn into a pretty young woman to snag a husband, since her male companion spurned her proposal. After revealing her true form, she took Jon to her house, where she locked him in a cage. Garfield and Odie arrived just in time as a priest was performing the ceremony.
- Animated Actors: Some episodes play with the idea that the characters know they're animated. For example, in "A Little Time Off," Roy is angry at the episode's writer for having a lame pun. There's also episodes where characters lecture the audience on things that annoy them, common cartoon gags, how to be funny, and so on.
- Ant Assault: Two Musical Episodes revolve around Garfield, Jon, and Odie fending off a group of singing ants. In "The Picnic Panic", they're smart enough to steal and eat all the food from their picnic, even throwing Jon and Garfield into a river. In "Another Ant Episode", they steal all the food from the house, and are able to counter most of an exterminator's methods.
- Anti-Advice: When Garfield is wondering how to attract a girl cat, he decides to watch Jon in action. "Then I'll know what not to do."
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
Garfield: I can wish for riches! I can wish for eternal life! I can wish for rice pudding without raisins in it!
- In "Airborne Odie", when Garfield was describing what he could wish for with the magic lamp he and Odie found:
- At the start of "Bad Neighbor Policy", a man is brought before a court on charges of "Robbery, vandalism, and impersonating a cow".
- In "Canine Conspiracy", Garfield mentions the criminals "Benny "The Celery Stalk" Burlap - wanted for embezzlement, armed robbery and buying a leisure suit after 1971. Or Sam "The Spatula" Shmidlap - wanted for gambling, smuggling, and having one of those Baby On Board signs in his car window".
- Art Shift: A few times:
- "Attack of the Giant Robots", used to parody other cartoon series such as The Transformers and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.
- A similar style, used to parody X-Men, can be seen in "Clash of the Titans".
- "The Automated Animated Adventure" has Garfield turn into different versions of himself, including ones styled after The Simpsons and Felix the Cat.
- "Mistakes Will Happen" has Odie briefly turn into Marmaduke for a scene, drawn in his usual style.
- "Cartoon Cat Conspiracy" opens and closes with a cartoon done up in late-80s Hanna-Barbera stylenote .
- The U.S. Acres shorts are done up in a more simple, yet fluid, style. Which makes the crossovers between the two segments stand out a little more.
- "Attack of the Giant Robots", used to parody other cartoon series such as The Transformers and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.
- Ascended Extra: Binky the Clown had a very important role in the show, despite the fact the he had appeared personally in a total of three strips at the time, all from an arc that involved Garfield joining the circus. (And even today, he's only been in four. The one new one was just a minor title panel cameo)
- Assumed Win: "Caped Avenger" has Garfield assume his superhero identity of the Caped Avenger is going to be the basis of Jon's new cartoon. Nope, it's Odie and his far fancier outfit.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
- One episode features Garfield eating so much that he grows into giant size. Naturally, it's All Just a Dream - Garfield even says so in the middle of the episode, before he wakes up.
- It happens again in "The Garfield Opera", when Jon feeds Garfield enormous amounts of food after Garfield puts on a corset so he appears skinny.
- Award Snub: In-Universe example in the episode "Video Victim", where Garfield has a bet with Jon that he can go a full day without watching any TV.Garfield: I don't care if they rerun "The Creature that Devoured Muncie". I'm not watching.
Jon: Hmmm, look what's on channel 37. "The Creature that Devoured Muncie".
Garfield: A cinema classic! To think they gave the Oscar that year to "Gandhi". (also a Inside Joke as Muncie, Indiana is where the Garfield franchise is run from under the name Paws, Inc.)
- Banana Peel: "Fraidy Cat" and "Supermarket Mania" both have antics from slipping on banana peels.
- Batman Gambit: Garfield pulls off a great one in "Pros And Cons" in order to get the money Odie sold to a con man cat in exchange for a sock back. Here's What Happened
- Bedtime Brainwashing: The episode "Jukebox Jon" had Jon trying to hypnotize himself in his sleep into not biting his nails with help of a special device in order to appeal himself to a comic book executive who despises said habit. However, it backfires when Garfield accidentally breaks the record that was playing on the device, so he substitutes it with some Spanish records and old 50's records instead. Hilarity Ensues.
- Berserk Board Barricade: In "Fair Exchange", to keep Garfield (in Jon's body) out of the house, Jon (in Garfield's body) grabs a bunch of wooden boards and nails them over the door.
- Big Ball of Violence: "Good Cat, Bad Cat" has Garfield's shoulder devil and shoulder angel get into a fight where they become a ball of smoke.
- Big Eater: Garfield, of course, but he actually isn't the only one. Orson's brothers count. There's also Jon's Uncle Ed.
- Bilingual Bonus: In "Guaranteed Trouble", Madman Murray sells Jon a Takashimatta TV. In Japanese, "shimatta" is roughly equal to "oops", possibly foreshadowing the fact that the TV is defective.
- Blind Mistake: Mr. Rhizome, the nearsighted botanist, who mistakes a meat-eating fern (Nefrolapus monstera autoverum deliciosa strangula) for an ordinary nefrolapus exaltata house plant, and accidentally waters the telephone instead of a plant.
- Boring Vacation Slideshow:
- In "Brain Boy", Jon visits his cousin, Al, who has recently developed 16 rolls of photos from a cheese dip festival. Later in the episode, we see three consecutive slides of Al's wife waving; Jon is not entertained.
- Parodied in "The Longest Doze", where Garfield is trying to set the world record for the longest nap in history. To help him get to bed, he gets Jon to show him slides of his trip to Miami. Garfield warns beforehand that this method is so intense it should not be attempted at home. Odie is asleep by the fifth slide, while even the guy coming over to prove the record can't stay awake for it.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
One can of orange juice, one can of grapefruit juice, one can of orange grapefruit juice...
- In "The Perils Of Penelope", Garfield tries to get Penelope to lose interest in him by saying, "You wouldn't like me. I snore. I eat. I snore while I eat."
- Also, from another episode with Garfield and Odie getting groceries:
- In "Top Ten", Garfield gives a list of things he hates to find on the dinner table. These include Nermal, raisins, and Nermal with raisins.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Far too many times to count. Garfield and Roy are the most likely to directly address the audience. Two particularly good examples are in "The Incredibly Stupid Swamp Monster" and "The Bear Facts", where characters look at the title card in the middle of the episode to predict what will happen.
- Call-Back: In "Attack Of The Mutant Guppies", Garfield decides to check and see if it's all a dream by running back into his house and see if he's asleep in his bed. This is probably a reference back to "The Binky Show" when Garfield learns it was all a dream by running home and seeing himself asleep.
- Canon Foreigner:
- Floyd the mouse, replacing Squeak, an infrequently-appearing character in the comic. His attempts to get more appearances per season are a Running Gag.
- Penelope, who was created because CBS had some sort of issue with portraying Arlene in the series the way she is in the comics, leading Jim Davis to decree that if they wouldn't allow Arlene his way then she should not be in the cartoon at all.
- Captain Ersatz: Mr. Rhizome, the nearsighted botanist, of Mr. Magoo.
- Captive Audience: In "Video Airlines", the only movie showing on TV for Garfield, Jon and Odie is "Kung Fu Creatures on the Rampage 2", as well as the only title available at the video rental store. They go to a movie theater, only to find out that the only movie playing in the cinema is "Kung Fu Creatures on the Rampage 3". They encounter an audience full of kung fu creature aliens, and are left with no choice but to sit down and watch the movie.
- Casanova Wannabe: Jon has constantly failed at dating, just like in the comic strips.
- The Cat Came Back: Garfield's attempts to get rid of Nermal always end in failure... especially when Garfield's trying to send Nermal to Abu Dhabi.
- Cat Concerto: As in the comics, occasionally Garfield does comedy routines on a wooden fence at night. Once or twice, Odie has upstaged him.
- Chekhov's Gun: The board game at the beginning of "Pros and Cons". It looked like it was just there to have a reason why Jon was sending Odie to the store (Garfield wrote a fake card that said for your cat to eat everything in the fridge, and he did so), but the play money in it was actually an important part of Garfield's Batman Gambit (see above).
- Chekhov's Skill: In the first scene of "Binky Goes Bad!," Binky is taken to court and makes horrible puns about all of the legal language ("Take the stand." "Where do ya want me to take it?"). When it turns out that a criminal named Stinky has disguised himself as Binky to commit crimes, Garfield lures the crook into the courtroom, leading to a Spot the Impostor scenario. Garfield solves the problem by having the judge say "Order in the court," and one clown immediately fires off with "I'll have a ham on rye. Hold the mayo!"—as the fat cat puts it, "The real Binky could never resist a very old joke."
- Christmas in July: In "Heatwave Holiday", Garfield takes the refrigerator out to the yard and uses it as a snow-maker. Jon and Garfield go out to the garage where the Christmas decorations are stored, and soon, the neighbors put their Christmas decorations up, with stores having Christmas sales, only for the news reporting that the mayor investigated and it is actually July, with the city council voting that it was August. At the end, it's revealed that Santa himself thought it was Christmas, too!
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Liz was a pretty important character during the first two seasons but is seen only once afterwards (in "Frankenstein Feline") and mentioned maybe once or twice.
- Comically Missing the Point:
Jon: I can't believe you tried to give Nermal away!
- After another iteration of the Running Gag where Garfield tries to get rid of Nermal:
Garfield: Well, who's gonna pay for something like that?
Jon: You can't give Nermal away!
- In another episode:
Garfield: I know. I've tried.
- Compressed Vice: "Sales Resistance" revolves around Garfield's obsession with buying useless stuff off the Shopping Channel - an obsession which he has only in this episode.
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: Jon, as in the comic. Lampshaded in "The Garfield Opera":Garfield: Make an omelet,
make a waffle.
Though your cooking's
Make me pancakes,
make me bacon.
If you think that I will eat this,
- Counting Sheep: In "Arrivaderci, Odie", Garfield tries to go to sleep by counting sheep, but his guilt at supposedly causing Odie to be sent away makes him count Odies instead.
- Cowboy Episode: Quite a number of shorts had Jon, Garfield and Odie visit the local dude ranch Polecat Flats, run by their cowboy friend Cactus Jake.
- Cross Promotion: Garfield references Wheel of Fortune in one of his post-theme quotes ("I'd like to buy a vowel, please"). At the time its episode aired, a daytime version of Wheel was running on CBS.
- Crying a River: In Binky Gets Cancelled, after finding out he lost his job, Binky cries so much he floods his bosss office.
- Cryptid Episode: The episode "Bigfeetz" is about Jon trying to find the titular cryptid, since a TV host is offering a big cash reward for photos of him. They don't get the reward because the host has plenty of Bigfeetz photos already - he actually wanted photos of Bigfeetz and Elvis Presley together.
- Cultural Translation: In the Brazilian dub of "The Fairy Dogmother", the line where Mr. Wishnitsky's secretary mentions people from Cleveland wishing for the Indians to win a few games is changed to people from Rio de Janeiro wishing for Botafogonote to win a few games.
- Currency Cuisine: The episode "Crime and Nourishment" had Garfield come across an underground village inhabited by beings that ate money and used Italian food as currency.
- Cut a Slice, Take the Rest: Subverted in "All About Odie", in which Garfield uses a pie chart made with real pie to represent Odie. Two tiny pieces of the pie, both of which Garfield eats one at a time, represent Odie's brain and common sense, respectively, and the rest of the whole pie, which Garfield then consumes, represents Odie's tongue.
- He plays the trope straight on many other occasions, though. One time he even went back for the slice.Garfield: You knew I was going to do that.
- He plays the trope straight on many other occasions, though. One time he even went back for the slice.
- Deadpan Snarker: Garfield takes this Up to Eleven. Just about everything that happens results in him making a sarcastic aside to the audience.
- Liz the veterinarian is also this. She talks in a very deadpan tone and often sarcastically dismisses Jon's romantic advances towards her.
- Jon also has his moments, particularly when he knows Garfield is up to something.
- Odie, despite only speaking in barks and growls, shows shades of snark. Particularly during moments where he secretly knows Garfield is playing him for a fool.
- Denied Food as Punishment: Because Garfield is such a Big Eater, Jon will use that to his advantage to control Garfield's behavior.
- In "Fair Exchange", Jon punishes Garfield for gluing Odie's head to the table by sending him to bed without his pre-bedtime-post-midnight-snack-meal (he already gave him his supper, post-supper, and post-post supper snacks). Though Garfield being Garfield overreacts by throwing a fit then storming off to bed still hungry.
- In "Hansel and Garfield", Jon threatens to never feed Garfield again should he mistreat Nermal.
- In "Sales Resistance", Jon threatened to never feed Garfield lasagna again for the rest of his life (in those exact words) should Garfield spend his money to buy another useless, overpriced item again from a conniving salesman.
- In "Bouncing Baby Blues", after a baby crawled into the load of groceries Garfield took home, Jon forced Garfield to look after the baby until the mother arrived or else "No chocolate layer cake for a year."Garfield: Oof, he knows just how to threaten me.
- In "The Multiple Choice Cartoon", John punishes Garfield for catapulting Odie into the woods by forcing him to go retrieve Odie or else (as the audience chooses) either "A: No food for a day, B: No food for a week, or C: No food until the next time Haley's Comet cruises the galaxy". The audience chooses (like all the other answers) "C". Garfield doesn't remember his punishment too well, since while looking for Odie he wanted to give up and go back eating cheeseburgers with Pigeon Suit thinking Jon will feed him regardless.
- Devil in Plain Sight: "Pest of a Guest" revolves around a stray cat who just wants to con and mooch off Jon, but only Garfield realizes he's not as helpless as he seems.
- Did Not Think This Through: In a few plots.
- "A Weighty Problem" has Jon buying a new talking scale that proves sentient when it (she?) repeatedly insults Garfield. Garfield decides to get some revenge by tampering with the device to make Jon think he is fifty pounds overweight. Jon puts himself and Garfield through Training from Hell, and the fat cat decides to reset the scale. Here's where the trope comes into play: when Jon weighs himself again, the scale—which, as established, has a sentience that Garfield knew about—tells him that the cat messed with its circuitry! Had Garfield considered that the scale might rat him out, he could have spared himself a day of exercise.
- One episode has Garfield using a wishing well to eliminate Mondays from reality. It works, and he's originally happy, but he also forgot to consider all of the consequences: Monday is apparently the day where Jon gets paid (and cooks lasagna), movies are changed, garbage is collected in the neighborhood, and the lawn is mowed.
- Dinner Order Flub: Jon is at a French restaurant and tries to order in French and is served a pair of boiled athletic shoes by a French Jerk waiter. In another episode, he ends up ordering the name of the chef.
- Does Not Like Spam:
- As in the strip, Garfield hates raisins.
- Binky the Clown: "I'll have a ham on rye! Hold the mayo! Hehehehe!"
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- When all the food in the refrigerator comes to life in "Revenge of the Living Lunch", the pickles are acting like they're drunk. ("Pickled", if you will.)
- In "Peanut-Brained Rooster", when Roy was obsessed with peanuts, the lyrics of his songs were like this, "Those lovely, luscious, round, delicious, pretty peanuts are driving me out of my mind..." Plus the giant half peanut shell (in the song) with the peanuts inside seemed to resemble breasts.
- The peanuts seem to be a G-Rated Drug for Roy. Additionally, the rooster's house ("Casa De Roy") has a sign outside saying "Chicks Welcome".
- In "Barn of Fear II", near the end of the song, when Wade was in his bed, under the covers, a gleeful Roy was also under the covers with him, making this the weirdest 'communal roosting' ever. Also Roy gleefully appeared from the covers below Wade's innertube/waist. Noteworthy that Wade wasn't upset about that. He was more scared that there could be scary creatures around and even asked "What are we gonna do, Roy?!"
- The Dog Bites Back: In "Annoying Things," Garfield hosts a Show Within a Show about things that annoy him. A tough-talking dog is waiting outside the studio and warns him that if he makes even one joke about dogs being annoying, he'll beat him to a pulp. Garfield agrees and instead repeatedly lists Nermal as something incredibly irritating. But then...Garfield: (Reading a cue card) Annoying Thing Number 20: DOGS! Dogs stink! They're stupid! They're useless! They're...they're...Hey! Who put that on my cue card—(Cut to Nermal happily waving the cue card above his head)Garfield: NERMAAAAAL!
- Donut Mess with a Cop: The episode "Brainwave Broadcast" uses this as a plot device. Garfield has to alert a cop of a bank robbery, so he forms the words "bank being robbed" out of donuts.
- Downer Ending: Quite often.
- "Green Thumbs Down" has Jon planting a garden in an attempt to save money on groceries. In the end, Jon's garden is flooded and ravaged by animals, and he has wasted all his money for nothing.
- "The Big Catnap" revolves around Jon trying to enjoy his mother's cookies delivered once a year. Garfield steals them once again, and Jon goes insane.
- "Well Fed Feline" ends with Nermal getting locked in jail.
- In "Another Ant Episode", the ants sing that they "cannot be killed" and will return for a Sequel Episode (on the bright side, this episode was actually the ants' final appearance).
- "Puss in Hi-Tops" ends with Garfield getting chased by a mad ogre.
- Dream Sequence: Multiple times, with "Nighty Nightmare" and "Fair Exchange" being whole-episode examples. This gets lampshaded by Garfield.Garfield: I think I feel a dream sequence coming.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: The obedience school trainer in "School Daze" and the pizza shop army general from "The Pizza Patrol".
- Dripping Disturbance: In "Peace And Quiet", Garfield is annoyed by a dripping faucet while trying to get some rest.
- Dumbass DJ: DJ Jon, much to Garfield's dismay.
- Emergency Taxi:
Garfield: Yeah I know you all picked "C." But if you want a counted vote, get your own show.
- The last vote in "The Multiple Choice Cartoon" determines how Garfield and Odie deal with a finark (a large, multicolored, carnivorous bird). The choices are A) hail a cab, B) get rescued by a forest ranger or C) fight the thing. The audience picks C, but Garfield and Odie hail a cab anyway.
- Garfield does this again to escape the Buddy Bears and their constant educational tidbit sprouting. It doesn't work, since one of the bears is driving the cab he's in (His driver's license is even place on the back of the driver's seat!)
- Eskimos Aren't Real: From "It Must Be True":Garfield: There's no such place as Wyoming. Think about it. Have you ever met anyone from Wyoming?
- Even the Dog Is Ashamed: In "Cutie and the Beast", Garfield played a trick on Nermal to make him think he wasn't cute anymore, for which Odie continuously gave Garfield an angry growl, even when he tried to sleep, until he made it right.
- Extreme Doormat: Both played straight and subverted by Jon, especially in the Mr. Swindler episodes.
- Fake Interactivity: "The Multiple Choice Cartoon" is about Garfield supposedly letting the viewers vote for what they want in the cartoon. As a Running Gag, the answer is always "C".
- Fire-Breathing Diner: Garfield breathes fire in "Peace and Quiet" when Binky the Clown tricks him into eating chocolate-covered peppers.
- Food Porn: Considering this is Garfield we're talking about here, expect a whole lot of this to come up in many occasions.
- Forgotten Framing Device: "Truckin' Odie" opens with Garfield on stage, playing a banjo and leading into the song. While this shows up again midway through for Garfield to say that he's "not in this episode", it isn't referenced at the episode's ending.
- Forgot Their Own Birthday: Near the end of the episode "Peace and Quiet" after Garfield finally tries to sleep after getting rid of Binky the clown, Jon and Odie come home and surprise him for his birthday; which apparently Garfield was so just busy trying to sleep that he didn't remember. However the joy for him is short-lived when Jon showed him who he hired for the celebration...
- "Freaky Friday" Flip:
- Garfield and Odie in "The Idol Of Id".
- Jon and Garfield in "Fair Exchange", which turns out to be All Just a Dream. Garfield's head is put on Jon's body and vice versa, and Garfield realizes just how much trouble he can be.
- Friendship Song: The first season's opening theme song is about friendship and having fun. This song stops by the end of season 2.
- Genre Savvy: In the episode "Count Lasagna":Count Dracula: Wake up, Count Lasagna! The villagers are storming the castle!
Count Lasagna: The villagers always storm the castle. Haven't you ever seen a monster movie?
- Gift Shake: On the advice of Garfield's evil side, he jumps into the mail cart, and, after finding the package Jon is waiting for, shakes it. This doesn't break it directly, but he accidentally drops it on the brake, releasing it, while it bounces off onto the sidewalk. Turns it was a present for him... a personalized mug, which promptly shatters in his hands as soon as he tempts fate.
- Gilligan Cut: Garfield has one of these when he refuses to dress in a bunny costume for Jon's magic trick in "Hare Replacement".
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: "Good Cat, Bad Cat" revolves around Garfield having to deal with his shoulder angels as they alternately try to influence his behavior. The episode ends with Jon's own shoulder angels manifesting and arguing over whether Jon should get rid of Garfield.
- Goofy Print Underwear: Binky the Clown has this in "The Binky Show".
- Grandma's Recipe: One episode had Jon and Garfield find an Italian restaurant run by an elderly Italian grandmother who was trying to avoid having her restaurant bought out by a big corporation. Finally, it was proposed that they resolve the issue via a cooking contest: if the corporate cooks could follow her pizza recipe and make a pizza that was as good as one of hers, she'd sell the restaurant. Naturally, Garfield was named the judge of the competition. They initially tried substituting cheap, low quality ingredients, but even after they faithfully followed the recipe they still couldn't make a pizza that was as good as Grandma's. After they gave up, Garfield revealed her secret: she paid attention to what she was cooking and tasted it to see if it needed extra seasoning or other tweaks, while the corporate cooks just mechanically followed the recipe.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: "Magic Mutt" has this take affect on Merlin the dog. When one trick has sent both he and Garfield to the ceiling, Garfield points out that claws are needed to stay up there... Merlin, who lacks them, promptly falls.
- Guinness Episode: In "The Longest Doze", Garfield tries to break the world record for the world's longest nap so he can win 1000 dollars. He manages to make it through the first 9 hours, and in the last 10 minutes, annoyingly loud noises start playing outside the house (such as a jackhammer and a marching band) that Jon tries to stop. When Garfield is 20 seconds away from beating the record, the original record holder walks in and wakes him up with a pan of lasagna.
- Guilt-Induced Nightmare: There's a U.S. Acres/Orson's Farm segment where Wade accidentally removes a mattress tag. You know, the ones that say "Do not remove under penalty of law" but forget to add "except by the consumer"? Wade is so petrified that the cops are coming to get him that he has a nightmare about it.
- Happy Circus Music: Binky the clown is often accompanied by upbeat calliope music. In one episode, he is shown to actually have a calliope in the back of his clown car, and he sings and plays "Happy Birthday" in a similar style.
- Honest John's Dealership: Al G. Swindler is a combination businessman and con artist, who frequently tricks Jon into buying inferior products.
- Hostile Show Takeover: One episode had Nermal and Jon hijacking "Garfield's Tales of Scary Stuff" (This only happens in Change of Mind when both accidentally wish to be Garfield's place thanks to a wishing star). Of course before the episode end guess who's not to happy about this.
- Human Mail: Garfield mailing Nermal to Abu Dhabi, or threatening to do so, is something of a Running Gag.
- Humiliation Conga: In "Monday Misery", as soon as Jon makes Garfield go outside, he gets rained on, hit by the dreaded "splut", has a grand piano fall on him, and stows away in Jon's care package to Samoa and getting hit by a crate, an anvil, and stamped by a careless clerk at the post office, hoping that by the time he gets there Monday will be over, only to discover that once he crossed the International Date Line, Monday is just starting in Samoa, and he discovers that the "gorsh" is the Samoan version of "splut".
- Hypocritical Humor: The original opening has Garfield and the cast of U.S. Acres sing about friendship while fighting each other for screen time.
- Identity Amnesia: In "Forget Me Not", Garfield loses his memories and interests upon being hit by a lasagna pan; these return when the pan hits him again.
- The Igor:
- "Rainy Day Dreams" has Garfield use his imagination to compare the girl Jon has at his house to the Bride of Frankenstein. He points out to Odie the assistant Igor and tells him that it's the law for all lab assistants to be named Igor.
- Odie plays the role of hunchbacked assistant in "Frankenstein Feline" when Jon falls asleep while watching a Frankenstein movie and dreams that he is a mad scientist creating a Frankenstein monster cat that resembles Garfield.
- "I Hate" Song: In "The Man Who Hated Cats", Mr. Block gets a song about how much he despises cats.Mr. Block: They're screeching and yelling, and always rebelling,
And that's why I hate a pussycat!
Their litter's aroma could bring on a coma,
And that's why I hate a pussycat!
- This is inverted at the end of the episode, where Mr. Block changes his mind and decides that he loves cats, singing a song about how great they are.
- Illogical Safe: "Monday Misery", in a Dream Sequence. A safe "bashes" Garfield, he unlocks it, and then continues walking.
- Impossible Insurance: When Jon Arbuckle had a car crash, the insurer's only show of efficiency was at raising Jon's monthly payments. The insurer then required several documents and, for last, the car. Garfield and Odie, as a result of trying to get food from the car, accidentally crashed it at the insurer's office. After paying for the car's repairs, the insurer tried to collect payment from the insurance company covering the office but he instead found himself at the other side of the insurer/insured relationship.
- Inner Monologue Conversation: Garfield and Odie talk this way, in reference to the comic strip's thought bubbles.
- It Came from the Fridge: The Creature That Lived in the Refrigerator, Behind the Mayonnaise, Next to the Ketchup, and to the Left of the Cole Slaw.
- It Will Never Catch On: A western version Garfield said this about television in one episode.
- I've Heard of That What Is It?: In "Sound Judgment", Garfield needs someone to add sound effects for his show. He asks Odie if he knows what a sound effect person does. Odie pants "yeah, yeah" happily before shaking his head and saying "uh-uh."
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Given the show reveals Garfield's softer side more often and even makes him outright heroic at times, he is a much stronger case of this than in the comic. In particular Garfield unquestionably cares about Odie very much in the show: One episode, "Ode to Odie", is a rap about an adventure Odie had one day. It does start out with Garfield being his usual jerky self, but it ends with him smiling as he sees Odie has made two new friends. It is also easy to lose track of the amount of times Garfield helps someone else without expecting a reward.
- Binky the clown may be incredibly mischievous and EXTREMELY LOUD, he really does want to entertain people and make them smile.
- Liz may be deadpan and sarcastic in tone, but she cares a lot about Jon and is a very dedicated veterinarian.
- Kangaroo Court: Two mice stole a slice of pie from Garfield and framed Odie, who demanded a trial. Garfield then said Odie would get a fair trial where he'd be convicted. During the trial, Garfield called Nermal to testify despite Nermal having not to do with the episode until then and asked question that had nothing to do with the case. Garfield later asked his teddy bear to say anything if Odie wasn't guilty.
- Karma Houdini: Just like in the comic strip, Garfield. Though about one third of the time a trick he plays backfires miserably, most of the time he gets away with his mischief. Unlike the comic this is usually alleviated by the fact it there are several times where Garfield is antagonizing someone who deserves it.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: A possibly unintentional example follows the segment "Sit on It", thanks to the episode's arrangement. Throughout "Sit on It", Garfield drives Jon to madness by refusing to budge from atop a book he needs, simply out of amusement (and because a Jerkass cat on television told him it's "what cats do"). The Quickie that follows sees Garfield suffer comedic bodily harm while trying to catch a bird, perhaps to rectify his particularly petty behavior in the preceding segment.
- Kawaiiko: Nermal, as in the strip.
- Kids Prefer Boxes: "Beddy Buy" has Garfield wanting an expensive cat bed, only to end up sleeping in the box it came in. Not wanting it to go to waste, Jon sleeps in the cat bed instead.
- Lazy Bum: Garfield lazes around quite a lot, just like in the comics.
- Leitmotif: Odie's appearances are usually accompanied by the "Charge" bugle call or "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again".
- Lethal Chef: Jon, as in the strip. In "Good Mousekeeping", his "Avacado Stew with French Dressing" is what finally drives the mice out of his house, and Garfield and Odie are similarly disgusted that they decide to join the mice in the alley.
- "Let's Watch Our Show" Plot: In "Mistakes Will Happen," Garfield addresses concerns that his show contains mistakes. To prove that it doesn't, he sits down with Odie and watches an episode titled "Mistake Will Happen"; the episode is filled to the brim with animation, coloring, and voice acting errors, with Garfield denying that anything shown is an error. He claims that the three errors are incredibly minor things, such as his picnic not having any mustard.
- Limited Wardrobe: Jon always wears a blue shirt and brown pants and shoes. Except during dates and special occasions, when he either puts either a regular suit or a a really screwed up suit.
- Lots of Luggage: Less "impractical" but still over-packed is this example. Jon takes Garfield and Odie out camping, and Garfield hates it every time. So one time he brings an inflatable house, labelled "Never leave home without a home". Jon makes an Aside Glance and asks, "This is roughing it?"
- Obsessive Hobby Episode: In "Sales Resistance", Jon tells Garfield to not buy stuff from TV informercials, or else he won't get lasagna for the rest of his life. Garfield struggles with this Compressed Vice.
- Mad Libs Catch Phrase:
- Make a Wish: Nermal ends up switching places with Garfield after wishing on a shooting star in "Change Of Mind".
- Mathematician's Answer: From "Best of Breed", when Garfield enters a cat show:Snooty Cat: Hmm, how did, *ahem*... you get in here?
Garfield: I made a left turn at the Taco-Rama and here I was.
Snooty Cat: No no, I mean, do you have papers?
Garfield: Jon gets some. I usually read the comics and throw the rest away.
- Meat-O-Vision: In "Box o' Fun", one of Garfield's imagined sequences is of him and Odie in a lifeboat. He hallucinates food all around him and is prepared to eat Odie, who looks like a club sandwich.
- Mega Neko: Two episodes have Garfield eating until he gets to monstruous proportions:
- Merchandise-Driven: The show sometimes cracks jokes about the franchise's heavy merchandising. For example, in "The Genuine Article", Garfield is afraid that imposter Gabriel will steal his merchandising.
- Mind Screw: "A Vacation From His Senses" has Garfield and Odie deliberately set one up for Jon to get him to go on a vacation after the work he's put them through (after Garfield puts on an anti-vacation video, no less). It's complete with a trippy background, Odie with a lightbulb on his forehead, a zebra in the bathtub, and of course, Garfield as a spider.
- Monster Mash: Vivacia's guests in the second part of "The Horror Hostess" are a vampire, a Frankenstein monster, a hunchback, a werewolf, a ghost, a mummy, a skeleton and a slug monster.
- Narrator All Along: In "The Ocean Blue", the voice of the song throughout the episode comes from the shark pursuing Garfield, Jon, and Odie.
- Needle in a Stack of Needles: In one US Acres short, Orson uses the power of his imagination to send his brothers into space. When they ask how they'll get home, Orson tells them to ask Phil when they reach their destination. Of course, everyone on that planet is named Phil and the brothers are told, "That's him/her over there," every they ask the next person if they're Phil.
- Nerd in Evil's Helmet: An episode had the Masked Mauler, a pro wrestler so bloodthirsty that nobody will wrestle him because he never follows the scripts. When he roped Jon into a match against him, Garfield saved Jon by discovering that the Masked Mauler was allergic to cat hair, making him sneeze so hard that his mask flew off, revealing his nerdy face.
- Never My Fault: The "Screaming with Binky" quickies. Regardless of what Binky ruins with his No Indoor Voice, he always considers it the victim's fault.
- Garfield has this attitude in "Frankenstein Feline" where Jon is getting beaten up for his bad behavior.
- Never Say "Die": A notable aversion when Jon adopts a lobster named Therm that soon takes ill. Garfield states, "We can't let him die. He's family."
- Never Win the Lottery: "Fat & Furry": Garfield and Jon win millions in the lottery, but the win is disqualified when the authorities discover that it was Garfield who bought the ticket — not because he's a cat, but because he's under eighteen.note
- News Monopoly:
- Niche Network: "The All-How-to-Prepare-Potatoes Channel" (in which a man lists all the different ways to prepare potatoes), "The All Snail Racing Channel", and "The All Lasagna Channel" are a few examples.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The museum curator in "The Legend of Long Jon" episode physically resembles Benjamin Franklin.
- No Indoor Voice: Binky the Clown's "Heeeeeeeeeey kids!" This is part of the "Screaming with Binky" quickies, in which a professional is doing something very carefully, and Binky screaming his catchphrase causes them to mess up.
- No Name Given: Strangely, Jon in "The Garfield Rap". Despite appearing twice, he is never referred to by name, and Garfield refers to him as "the guy I live with" and "this guy".
- Non Sequitur, *Thud*: When Jon blindly bumps into a tree in "Mistakes Will Happen":Jon: "No, ladies, I'm not Tom Selleck. But I can understand how you can make that mistake."
- Noodle Incident:
- In "Dirty Business", Jon Arbuckle's cousin Berferd remarks about Garfield and Odie crashing through a wall by stating that it's worse than the time Arnold Frag brought a live moose into his store.
- In "Canned Laughter", Jon is outraged at the cost of a comedy robot, saying that he can "do it himself in his garage for half the price." According to Garfield, Jon had the same reaction when he was told he needed his appendix removed.
- No Sense of Direction: In "A Vacation From His Senses" somehow, it took Jon a whole day for him to find the way out of a tunnel. He even ended up at the South Pole when he was looking at the map to Texas.
- Notably Quick Deliberation: When Jon puts him on a diet, Garfield frames him for animal cruelty by tying a girdle around himself so tightly it looks like Jon's starving him. When the judge for Jon's trial sees Garfield without the girdle, he immediately dismisses the case.
- Viciously parodied in "Mistakes Will Happen", where the animation goes off-model on purpose while Garfield "reviews" the episode in search of mistakes. Even though there are many blatantly obvious ones (e.g. a misspelled title card which has Garfield's face on Odie's body), the only three he points out aren't really "mistakes".
- On the other hand, there were plenty of instances where the Ink & Paint department clearly screwed up. Or when small bits of a character are missing for a few frames.
- Jon jitters a for a frame in one shot of "The Automated Animated Adventure".
- Viciously parodied in "Mistakes Will Happen", where the animation goes off-model on purpose while Garfield "reviews" the episode in search of mistakes. Even though there are many blatantly obvious ones (e.g. a misspelled title card which has Garfield's face on Odie's body), the only three he points out aren't really "mistakes".
- Offscreen Teleportation: Garfield, on a few occasions:
- In "Nighty Nightmare" Jon orders a pizza without Garfield knowing. After getting the pizza, he speeds into a room and barricades himself in, only to find upon opening the box Garfield has somehow slipped into the box and eaten the pizza.
- In "Sit on It" Garfield takes a stand on Jon's Spanish book. Jon lures him away from the book with food, but the second he turns around, Garfield is back on the book.
- Or Was It a Dream?:
- Subverted in "Rip Van Kitty", when Jon hands Garfield a small pill after saying it's lunchtime (Garfield had dreamed that he was visiting the future, when all food was processed into similar pills). The cat runs off panicking to find a cheeseburger, and Jon reveals that the pill is just a vitamin.
- Happens in "The Lasagna Zone", with Garfield briefly becoming Trapped in TV Land, acquiring a scarf along the way. At the end of the episode, he wakes up and thinks it was all a dream...but then sees that he's still wearing the scarf.
- Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: In "Arrivaderci, Odie", Garfield notices that Odie is gone after he tried to frame him for breaking Jon's vase and overhears Jon talking over the phone about how he finally got rid of an insect that was bothering him. Garfield comes to the conclusion that Jon had gotten rid of Odie over breaking the vase, unaware that Jon was referring to a fly that was bugging him when he talked about getting rid of an insect and that he actually wasn't mad at Odie and just had him taken to Dr. Liz Wilson when the dog started sneezing.
- Out of Focus: In "Truckin' Odie", Garfield appears at the very beginning, playing the banjo and narrating the song. He briefly appears to sing a verse about sleeping, and is at the episode's ending, but Odie and Billy Bob's delivery is done entirely without Garfield. Referenced midway through:Garfield: If you're wondering what became of me, I was nowhere near the road. I can't rescue Odie. I'm not in this episode.
- Papa Wolf: Ludlow's dad from Sweet Tweet Treat quite violently protects his son.
- Percussive Maintenance: Garfield does this to the TV in "Hound of the Arbuckles". It doesn't work.
- Pick a Card: Jon tries to do the trick with Garfield, but fails. After taking out every card in the deck, Jon gives up and asks Garfield what his card was. Garfield reveals that he chose the manufacturer's guarantee of quality card.
- Planet Looters: "Rip Van Kitty" includes an alien race that descend on defenseless planets and eat all their food; in a development that even the characters remark on as obvious, they turn out to look an awful lot like Garfield.
- Police Code for Everything:
- In one short:Chief: Looks like we got an 817, Jones.
Cop: A creature living in the refrigerator, behind the mayonnaise, next to the ketchup, and to the left of the coleslaw?
Chief: You got it.
- Also, the episode "Binky Goes Bad" has this:Cop: We've got a 708! That's right! A clown barricaded in a bakery with pies!
- In one short:
- Poor Communication Kills: In Here Comes Garfield Garfield refuses to tell the dog catcher that he and Odie belong to Jon, which almost results in Odie being put to sleep. He does, however, tell the dog catcher not to take Odie.
- Prefer Jail to the Protagonist: In the episode "Tooth Or Dare", a saber-toothed tiger (depicted as a present-day tiger with saber teeth instead of the correct depiction called a Smilodon) kicks Garfield out of the house, disguising him as a saber-toothed tiger while the real tiger is free to roam about through the house whenever he likes. At the end, the tiger is finally driven out of the house and begs for the museum guards to take him back to the museum. The museum guards do so and it is revealed that Garfield had invited Nermal over to pester the tiger about how cute he was, which was what made the tiger want to leave the house.
- Put on a Bus: Binky's appearances started to thin out and eventually stop altogether as the show went along. Hilariously lampshaded when we find out there was a reason for this: the network made Garfield promise to not have Binky on the show anymore.
- "Psycho" Strings: In "Monday Misery", these are used to trigger a Dream Sequence in the form of a parody of a horror movie trailer:From the people that brought you the terror of Wednesday and the horror of Friday, comes the most horrifying, terrifying day ever, a day invented just to make the rest of the week seem good... MONDAY!
- Rapid-Fire Nail Biting: An episode had Jon being a nail biter, to find out such habits turned off a potential employer.
- Rip Van Winkle: In "Rip Van Kitty", Garfield takes a nap and (dreams that he) wakes up 20 years later to see how technology and people have changed. Nermal hasn't aged at all, however, to Garfield's horror.
- Road Runner vs. Coyote: One segment involved Garfield deconstructing Tom and Jerry-style cartoons from a cat's POV, wondering why dirty, disease-ridden vermin would be presented as heroes and questioning why the resident Angry Guard Dog would be so immediately and violently hostile towards the cat. At the cartoon's end, Garfield himself is forced into a Tom and Jerry-esque segment due to Executive Meddling.
- Running Gag:
Garfield: Take note: if something isn't funny, you just keep doing it, and eventually it becomes a running gag.
- Nermal getting sent to Abu Dhabi, as explained here (skip to 2:15).
- Deconstructed in one episode: while attempting to explain humor, Garfield explains that mundane jokes can be made funny through repetition. As an example, throughout the entire episode, he calls for "Lights!" and is offered lightbulbs.
- Characters have a tendency to use the term "reasonable facsimile".
- Later seasons would feature flashbacks with Garfield or a similar looking cat named after a different president.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Done in "Monday Misery", where Garfield is CRASHED, BASHED, and yes even SPLUTTED! In each case, a rather unenthusiastic voice shouts "Smash!" "Bash!", "Splut!", and later "Gorsh!", after Garfield learns that it's Samoan for Splut.
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: "Magic Mutt", with a three-compartment magician's cabinet.
- Garfield himself does this a few times, in-universe.
- In one show, before he intends to give a lecture about himself, he shows Odie's fan-mail, which is so much, it falls on him when he opens the door to the room, while he only has one letter (and it's a sweepstakes notification). He gives in, and changes the lecture to one about Odie.
- Another instance that he called "Basket-Brawl", where he played a food-themed Basketball game with the Arbuckles, as the dumbest episode they did all season.
- In "Binky Goes Bad," he reads the script and laments that the show has decided to do an Evil Twin episode, of all things.
- This is a cartoon and yet some episodes feature characters who depreciate cartoonists. Jon's Aunt Prunella even berates him for being a cartoonist instead of having a real job.
- One post-title sequence quote has Garfield remark that there will be a quick look in the writers' joke vault, then adding "That's right, we're examing both jokes".
- Garfield himself does this a few times, in-universe.
- Series Continuity Error: The singing ants are black in "Picnic Panic" and in "A Vacation from His Senses", but (in spite of being referred to as the same ants as before) are red in "Another Ant Episode".
- She's a Man in Japan: Two instances with Nermal.
- Spanish-language dubs originally referred to Nermal (whom, for some reason, was Dub Named "Telma") as gatita, the word for a female kitten, and had a feminine voice. Later episodes finally get his name right and his voice becomes a little more androgynous, but they were still inconsistent with his gender.
- The Brazilian dub also couldn't make up its mind in regards of Nermal's gender during the first season. One episode he was referred as "she" and then "he" on the next just to go back to "she" in the next and so forth. This was fixed in the subsequent seasons. Still, Nermal's voice was done by a woman.
- Shoot the Television:
- The episode "Renewed Terror" has Jon watching The Buddy Bears on TV, when the magazine subscription guy he's been trying to avoid all day interrupts the show, saying the price of the magazine Jon signed up for (to try to get rid of the guy) has been lowered to 40 cents an issue. Jon is so terrified he throws his shoe at the TV, effectively breaking it.
- Jon does this in "Happy Garfield Day" when he sees a news report saying it's only two more days until Garfield's birthday. (He doesn't break it this time, though.)
- Show Within a Show:
- Mixed with No Fourth Wall. Season 2's The Mail Animal is prematurely ended in favor of a US Acres cartoon titled "Much Ado About Orson". As Orson's about to explain the episode's plot to Wade, Garfield frantically interrupts and announces that his cartoon isn't over yet. His cartoon, thus, resumes until completion.
- The plot of "Much Ado About Orson" was used in "A Little Time Off". The WMG page for U.S. Acres has more on this topic.
- Interestingly, the US Acres cartoon that aired afterwards was NOT "Much Ado About Orson" but "Peanut-Brained Rooster".
- Something Only They Would Say: Crosses over with Spot the Imposter in "Binky Goes Bad". A crook dresses up like Binky to commit crimes around the city, and both the real thing and the fake are brought to court to try to determine the truth. Garfield solves the problem by having the judge say "Order in the court!"; Binky immediately answers "I'll have a ham on rye. Hold the mayo!", which proves his identity—as Garfield puts it, "The real Binky could never resist a very old joke."
- Sparedbythe Adaptation: In Nighty-Nightmare, Jon successfully feeds the ever-growing gigantic Garfield with a lot of ingenuity and work. In the comic strips that likely inspired this ep, Jon is casually tossed down Garfield's mouth when he runs out of food.
- The Speechless: Odie. He does speak coherently once, as a "mistake" in "Mistakes Will Happen".
- Status Quo Game Show: "The Binky Show": Garfield tries to win something nice for Jon on Name That Fish!, but the prizes are terrible, the games are riged to humiliate the contestant, and in the end it's All Just a Dream.
- Stupid Question Bait: In the episode "All About Odie", Garfield lets the audience ask questions before beginning the lecture, only to be asked; "Is wrestling fixed?"
- Garfield: I should've asked, "Are there any intelligent questions?"
- Stylistic Suck:
- The art quality during one of the Screaming with Binky segments took a turn for the worse when Binky's yelling disrupted the animator.
- The science fiction movie Garfield, Jon and Odie watch at the beginning of "Close Encounters Of The Garfield Kind". It's a cheesy B-Movie with cardboard stage props, over-the-top acting and a cookie-cutter plot about an alien takeover.
- Surprise Jump: Garfield does this a few times when startled by either Nermal or Binky the Clown.
- Swapped Roles: "Fair Exchange" is a dream sequence about Jon and Garfield switching roles.
- Take a Number: Happens to Garfield in "Mini Mall Matters", while waiting to get yogurt at a frozen yogurt store. His number is 3478; the cashier calls out for number three. Despite the fact that he is the only customer there. Becomes a Brick Joke at the end of the episode when a man who hasn't eaten in months and was marooned on an island visits the frozen yogurt store. He gets the number 2912, and the cashier calls for number six.
- Take That!: Hoo-boy.
Garfield: Okay, any questions.
- One episode in the last season has a Tyrannosaurus Rex enslave mankind by painting himself pink and singing sappy songs on television. You can probably guess what they're making fun of here.
- Also, many episodes contain swipes at Professional Wrestling.
Man in "audience": Yeah. Is TV wrestling fixed?
Garfield: Let me repeat. Are there any INTELLIGENT questions?
Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we always get along
- This post-opening sequence line: "Hey, Heathcliff, eat your heart out."
- Garfield's post-theme line from the fourth season premiere is "Don't bother checking NBC, kids. They're not running cartoons anymore."
- The Buddy Bears in general were a vicious mockery of all the cartoons with groupthink morality that were common in the era. Several of which Evanier himself (reluctantly) wrote.
Each day, we do a little dance and we sing a little song
If you ever disagree, it means that you are wrong!
Oh, we are the Buddy Bears, we always get along!
- One title sequence quote has Garfield guarantee that his show does not have giant robots or small annoying blue people.
- In "Good Cat, Bad Cat", Garfield asks his shoulder devil what happens to liars. Devil Garfield answers that they get jobs reporting the weather on TV.
- "Invasion of the Big Robots" is a rather scathing middle finger directed at Merchandise-Driven action cartoons of the 1980's as well as cartoons with groupthink morality like the Buddy Bears were. The plot has Garfield wake up in another cartoon and being annoyed by all the trappings of it, with the character Star Wolf an unflattering portrayal of the protagonists of those kinds of cartoons by having him automatically assume Garfield is the enemy just because he's different. Eventually, Garfield escapes the caroon, only to end up in another one inhabited by cutesy animals who announce that they'll teach Garfield to be nice. Garfield then hurriedly tries to make his way back to the robot cartoon on the grounds that he finds it preferable to the saccharine cartoon he's in now.
- Talk Show Appearance:
- "The Big Talker" has Jon go on a Morton Downey, Jr.-esque talk show to defend Garfield after the host blasted cats as useless and challenged anyone to come on and prove him wrong. After Jon is unsuccessful in making his argument and they both wind up being humiliated and kicked off, Garfield gets revenge after learning that the host is superstitious, especially about black cats.
- "Newsworthy Wade" has Wade go on the show Seven Minutes to talk about himself to the program's host, Dick Drake.
- Tempting Fate:
- Played for laughs in "Rip Van Kitty", when Garfield hears that the Zizzabottawittawottaboinkboinkthreebians, an alien race of short creatures that sleep twenty-three hours a day and deplete the food supply of a planet in their one hour awake, are coming to Earth. Garfield thinks aloud as their ship descends:Garfield: Gosh—short, lazy, and they eat an entire planet's worth of food. I wonder what they look like?(The ship opens, and countless aliens that look exactly like Garfield begin emerging from it)Zizzabottawittawottaboinkboinkthreebians: I'M HUNGRY! WHERE'S THE LASAGNA? (etc.)
- In "Monday Misery", Jon makes Garfield go outside on a Monday, and Garfield tries to console himself that Monday is just another day, only for a Humiliation Conga to ensue:Jon: Garfield, you're being ridiculous. Monday is just a day. Now go on outside and enjoy it!
Garfield: No, don't send me out there, not on a Monday. Please, not on a Monday! [resigning himself to reluctant acceptance] Get ahold of yourself, Garfield. Jon's right. Monday's just a day, and a nice day at that. The sun's shining, the weather's warm, what could possibly go wrong? [It starts to rain on Garfield] The minute I said that, I knew I was gonna get dumped on.
- In "The Lasagna Zone", Garfield gets Trapped in TV Land. He ends up on one show with a snarling, drooling monkey about to attack him and says that it's the worst place he could possibly be. Odie changes the channel, and Garfield ends up on The Binky Show. He quickly corrects himself and says that this is worse.
- In "How to Be Funny!", this is one of the Running Gags Garfield mentions. He says that only an idiot would be happy on a Monday, only for Odie to show up with a sign reading "HOORAY FOR MONDAY."
- Played for laughs in "Rip Van Kitty", when Garfield hears that the Zizzabottawittawottaboinkboinkthreebians, an alien race of short creatures that sleep twenty-three hours a day and deplete the food supply of a planet in their one hour awake, are coming to Earth. Garfield thinks aloud as their ship descends:
- They Called Me Mad!:
Jon: They said it couldn't be done! They laughed at me! They won't be laughing long!
- Dr. Garbanzo Bean frequently invokes the trope of being called a madman for his ideas as well as bringing up people who were also called nutty for their ambitions, such as the Wright Brothers and Thomas Edison. He also brings up that his uncle was called mad for inventing the telephone in 1987, questioning how his uncle was supposed to know that the telephone already existed.
- "Frankenstein Feline" has Jon dream that he is a mad scientist creating a Frankenstein monster cat that resembles Garfield, with Odie being The Igor. Jon goes into this kind of ramble when he gets ready to bring the monster cat to life.
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: Jon's Uncle Ed, who comes to visit in one episode, and ends up staying for months as he eats Jon out of house and home. It's revealed he did this because his wife, Jon's Aunt Edna, put him on a diet when Garfield gets Jon to call her to come get him and drag him back home.
- Third-Party Deal Breaker: "The Pie-Eyed Piper", based on The Pied Piper of Hamelin, Garfield plays the titular piper and makes a deal with Jon, the kingdom's exterminator, to rid Hamelin of mice in exchange for Italian food. Jon thinks the deal is fair; however, after the piper gets rid of the mice, the cowardly king refuses to honor the deal, saying that doing so he would have to admit that he wasn't in command of the situation. The piper retaliates against the king by taking away all the Italian chefs in the kingdom.
- 30 Minutes, or It's Free!: In "The Pizza Patrol", Garfield managed to make sure no delivery boy from a militaristic-themed pizza parlor would deliver a pizza within 30 minutes. The owner eventually signed a peace treaty with Garfield, who was now wondering if there was any Chinese restaurant offering delivery in 30 minutes.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Jon never gets a single girlfriend But during the end of the episode Dream Date, he did get a date with the former secretary of the TV studio, Judy, who was trying to tell Jon that the show was rigged as a setup and to humiliated him for higher ratings. Garfield lets Jon date her, and lampshades it to Odie:Garfield: New rule of the show, Pup: Every 9 weeks we do a happy ending. Come on, let's go steal their pizza.
- Title Drop: A Show Within a Show example: "You! You're not Sylvia! You're one of the Kung-Fu Creatures on the Rampage! 2!" and later "You! You're not Sylvia! You're one of the Kung-Fu Creatures on the Rampage! 3!"
- Top Ten List: In "Top Ten", Garfield gives four of these lists.
- How to tell when Garfield has had enough to eat.
- Why Jon's dates fail.
- Things Garfield hates to find on the dinner table.
- How a robbery at the Arbuckle home will be foiled.
- Trapped in TV Land: "The Lasagna Zone" is a The Twilight Zone (1959) spoof where Garfield is zapped by a satellite dish and ends up in the TV. As Odie changes channels, Garfield finds himself on a football game, a western show, a ballet, a jungle movie, The Binky Show, and finally, an infomercial where he's given a scarf. Odie accidentally breaks the remote control, causing the TV to change channels rapidly. Garfield realizes the whole sequence was All Just a Dream, though he can't explain why he's still wearing the scarf and how the remote is still in its broken state.
- Tyop on the Cover: In-universe. In "Mistakes Will Happen", Garfield and Odie watch the episode itself. The title card reads "Mistake Will Happen" and has Garfield's head on Odie's body.
- TV Never Lies: "It Must Be True" that there was a short by that name, a satire of Ripley's Believe It Or Not and similar reality TV shows of the time, where unusual facts and feats were presented, myths were explained, etc. In this installment, the "facts" are absurd and bloated to the point of comic exaggeration, if not completely false ("Raisins are actually shrunken bowling balls," "There is no state of Wyoming," etc.) ... until Garfield presses his luck by telling the audience that dogs are stupid. Cut to an audience full of dogs ... who, needless to say, don't take this tidbit well.
- Under the Truck: In the episode "Speed Trap", Jon and Garfield are running from the cops and do this. Thing is, they are in a CAR. So the roof gets torn off while they duck.
- Unimpressive Progress Reveal: In "Weighty Problem", Jon makes Garfield go jogging with him, and it only takes a short while before Garfield collapses from exhaustion.Jon: Garfield, we're still in front of our house.Garfield: Yeah, but it's a long driveway.
- Vinyl Shatters: "Jukebox Jon": When Garfield bowls Odie into the table where Jon's record player is playing self-hypnosis records to help him stop biting his nails, the records come off the turntable and break, each in two large pieces and a bunch of little pieces.
- Walk Into Camera Obstruction: "Don't Move!" did this twice with Odie when he is riding down the sidewalk in a shopping cart. His eyes fill up the screen twice and it then cuts to the next scene each time.
- Watch Out for That Tree!: In "The Pizza Patrol", Garfield is swinging on a vine growing in his backyard and takes a drill sergeant's pizza in an attempt to avoid having to pay for it. Unfortunately, he smashes into a tree and the sergeant gets his pizza back.
- Way Past the Expiration Date: Garfield stops Jon from cleaning out his refrigerator because (Garfield claims) some of the food has historical value; the mustard was used to disinfect wounds during the American Civil War.
- What Are Records?: Garfield and Odie break Jon's record player in "The Record Breaker". Trying to find a replacement, the only person who's even ever heard of one is the proprietor of an antique store.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: In "Clash of the Titans", the superheroes are all expies of the X-Men except for Curd Man, who can only control all forms of cottage cheesenote .
- Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: A Running Gag in the series. Garfield says something like "who would be stupid enough to [X]?" and then Odie appears, very eager for the activity. Garfield starts lampshading this, pointing out that Odie "hasn't missed a cue yet."
- Wishing for More Wishes: Discussed when Garfield says what he'd wish for if he had Three Wishes. He says he'd wish for lasagna, more lasagna, and more wishes so he could wish for even more lasagna.
- Wraparound Background: Lampshaded in "The Cartoon Cat Conspiracy", where Garfield watches a Hanna-Barbera style cartoon:Garfield: Did you notice how large the living room is? It's about three miles, I figure! And they've run past that same table about 20 times.
The U.S. Acres segments contain examples of:
- Absentee Actor: Becomes especially egregious in situations where villains are stated to have captured all of the cast when they've really just captured all of that episode's cast.
- Accidental Hero: "Flop Goes The Weasel" has Wade unwittingly foiling the weasel's plans, allowing him to be removed from the farm. Later, when the weasel returns, Wade's mere presence scares him into leaving again.
- Acrophobic Bird: One of Wade's main fears; even if he is afraid of almost everything, his fear of heights is particularly embarrassing for him since he's a duck. One episode shows his (failed) attempts to conquer this fear.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: Both Lanolin and Roy. While still rather foul-tempered, Lanolin is noticeably nicer than her comic strip counterpart, who at times, is downright aggressive. Roy still plays the obnoxious role of The Prankster, but it's (mostly) playfully to a lighter degree and nowhere near as sociopathic as became with the comic strips.
- Adaptation Expansion: The version of the Hypno Fool story arc presented had Wade freeing a bull mid-story, so that things would continue to happen after Roy undoes the hypnotism, culminating with Wade standing up against the bull despite his fears.
- Adapted Out: The last two characters introduced in the comic weren't present in the show. The farm was introduced to both Cody, a white-and-black dog who loves to chase people, and Blue, a blue cat who tries to prevent Cody from getting in trouble. While Blue and Cody had two cameos in Garfield comics, they're absent from Garfield and Friends all together.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Hog Noon", Orson has a fantasy set in the old west. Wade tells him that Hammerhead Hog is coming and he's wanted for "Robbery, rustling, and using accounts and descriptions of the game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball."
- In "Egg Over Easy Part 1", Sheldon claims he didn't want to be born because he saw all the bad news of the world - wars, the economy, and the NBC fall lineup.
- In "Wanted: Wade", Wade imagines being sentenced to prison for 9,999 years:Dog Convict: I robbed 50 banks and 60 gas stations.
Rat Convict: Yeah, well, I robbed 70 banks, see, and 90 gas stations, and I stole the Klopman diamond. What are you in for?
Wade: Uh... I tore the tag off a pillow. [he laughs; the other convicts gasp in shock and plead to be let out]
- Artistic License Medicine: In "Swine Trek", Orson has a cold. He recovers after sleeping it off but his friends have caught the disease from him as he warned. They then warn Orson not to come near or he could get sick again so Orson wears a spacesuit while caring for them to stay safe. This is actually unnecessary as the animals are ill with the same virus that Orson already recovered from so he would have immunity to it. Technically he could be at risk if his immune response was weak, but given that he's already better, it's clearly robust.
- Ascended Extra: Orson's brothers, Mort, Gort, and Wart. While they only showed up for the first one or two weeks in the comic strip, they're some of the main villains on the show.
- Award Show: "The Orson Awards" is about Orson hosting one of these. His brothers try to threaten him into giving them an award at the show.
- Barbaric Bully: All three of Orson's brothers - they're bigger (either in height or width) than all the animals, they're stupid, and they always have nasty looks on their faces.
- Beanstalk Parody: "Jack II: The Rest of the Story" begins with Orson reading the story of Jack and the Beanstalk to Booker, Sheldon, Wade, and Roy. The four decide to write their own sequel to the story after questioning the ending of Jack having an unconscious giant in his front yard. In this sequel, Jack is arrested for theft, attempted murder of a giant, and chopping beanstalks out of season. Meanwhile, the giant takes back the Goose that lays golden eggs and uses the gold to turn his castle into a mini-mall.
- Beyond the Impossible: In "An Egg Citing Story", Orson says he has no idea how, but Sheldon while in a full egg shell had newspapers delivered that he read, and decided he didn't want to see a world so full of bad news, so Sheldon remains unhatched.
- Card-Carrying Villain: The Weasel is open about his underhandedness and despicable nature, complete with actual business cards.
- Cast as a Mask: One episode had Lanolin disguise as Orson. While in the disguise, she is voiced by Orson's actor, Gregg Berger.
- Chain of Deals: The premise of the episode "Goody-Go-Round", which begins with Bo asking Orson to get him a record player. Orson has to give Booker a skateboard in exchange for his record player, give Roy one of Lanolin's pies to get his skateboard and give Lanolin a stepladder in exchage for her pie. Wade is willing to part with his stepladder free of charge, but Orson insists on completing a trade, so he gives Wade the stick of hot sauce gum Roy attempted to use on him earlier. When Wade's mouth is burned by the gum, he ends up undoing the chain of deals, but Orson restores order and everyone gets what they wanted back. Roy can't help but make fun of Wade for how he's left with nothing, but Wade gets the last laugh by trading Roy's pie with his own hot sauce gum.Wade: Everybody got what they wanted. Or what they deserved.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Bo in "Mystery Guest": he first appears as a character who can easily grow vegetables already in salad bar form, an opposite of Wade who in the episode has a subplot about not being able to grow vegetables, however when Orson's brothers steal the tractor that Roy has as the prize for guessing the Mystery Guest (Garfield) Bo stops the tractor by literally growing a stop sign.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Early on in season 6, we met Roy's previously unmentioned niece Chloe. She prominently appears in two episodes (well, three, because the second was a two-parter; both these episodes are on the last disc of the Volume 4 DVD set) and is then completely forgotten afterward. When asked what happened to her, Mark Evanier stated he'd planned to have her make several more appearances, but it slipped his mind.
- It could have also been due to Aloysius Pig being loved by the staff due to him being voiced by Kevin Meaney, or loved so much that they forgot about Chloe.
- "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: In "The Legal Eagle", had Orson or Roy bothered to check in the old "Farm Laws" book, to see if the laws were still valid (which they no longer were), everybody wouldn't have ended up in jail, waiting for someone to help them out of the cage. Especially, Orson should've checked since he knew that book was really old. They acknowledged that fact at the end.
- Clown Car Base: Sheldon's shell purportedly contains all mod cons, including a microwave, barbecue, pinball machine, and table tennis table, and enough space to hang pictures on the walls.
- Commander Contrarian: Lanolin, whenever she gets into a heated argument with her brother Bo, will usually take the opposite side of the argument to drive him crazy, as noted in "Orson Goes on Vacation":Lanolin: The new water line goes over there, not here!
Bo: You're like, always so disagreeable!
Lanolin: Wrong! I never disagree with you!
Bo: You just disagreed with me!
Lanolin: I did not! Wade! You're in charge!
Bo: Yeah, like you settle this, man!
Lanolin: Tell him he's wrong that I disagree with him!
Bo: Like, my sister's wrong! Tell her, Wade!
Lanolin: I am not!
Bo: Am too!
Lanolin: Am not!
Bo: Am too!
Wade: Stop! Stop! [Wade runs away screaming]
- Counting Sheep:
- Inverted in "I Like Having You Around", where Bo the sheep counts people to go to sleep.
- Played straight in "Sleepytime Pig", where one of Lanolin's attempts at helping an insomniac Orson involves getting him to count a conga line formed by her relatives.
- Cowardly Lion: Wade himself lampshades that, despite his cowardly nature, he does something extremely brave to help his friends 'once a season'.
- Crossover: With the Garfield portions.
- In "Mystery Guest", the guest on Roy's gameshow wearing a Paper-Thin Disguise is revealed to be Garfield.
- Garfield makes an appearance in "Fast Food", in which Roy sets up a restaurant where courses are served too fast to be eaten, thereby making money without having to cook multiple meals. Orson solves the problem by making a call to the other half of the show.
- In "Flop Goes the Weasel", when Booker sets up a box trap with a cheeseburger as bait, Roy asks "Who's dumb enough to get caught in a trap like this?" It turns out to be Odie, with Booker telling him "Sorry Odie, but you're in the wrong cartoon."
- In one US Acres Quickie, Wade asks Orson if he could make a wish in a well. When Orson lets him (after failing to convince him that the well can't grant wishes), Wade wishes that nothing else would ever scare him. Suddenly, the Giant Radioactive Mutant Guppies from the Garfield cartoon "Attack of the Mutant Guppies" burst out of the well (this Quickie aired directly after the episode).
- Another US Acres Quickie featuring Orson telling Wade about a life-sized Thomas Jefferson okra statue that Roy is building ("How educational! Plus, it has Vitamin D in it.") gets disrupted by Garfield, who was still claiming that he wasn't fooled by the prank Jon and Odie pulled on him at the end of his "Moo Cow Mutt" cartoon (which came immediately before this Quickie).
- Odie appears in "Kiddie Korner" as Old Mother Hubbard's dog, which makes Aloysius extremely happy.
- Cutlery Escape Aid: Parodied in "The Discount of Monte Cristo"; Orson attempts to tell the story of The Count of Monte Cristo with him in the role of Edmond Dantes, but his cousin, Aloysius, is hired to keep him from going over the show's budget. In the scene where Edmond uses a spoon he had taken from his dinner tray to dig a tunnel out of his prison cell, only to reach no father than the cell next door, Orson discovers that the background for the cell next door is the exact same one from the previous scene. Aloysius informs him that he's using the same background because it saves money that way.
- Deadpan Snarker: Everybody has their moments of being sardonic, but Orson and Wade probably get in the most digs.
- Delayed Reaction: Parodied and exaggerated as one of the cartoon jokes Orson mentions in "Secrets of the Animated Cartoon." Booker tells Bo that aliens shaped like bottles of dishwashing liquid are invading. Bo doesn't react, but six months later, he suddenly realizes: "Dishwashing liquid? Oh no, man!"
- Dinner Order Flub: In "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Alpha Centauri", Roy Rooster orders a meal from an alien chef only to be told that he ordered "the chef's sister with cheese on her".
- Disney Death: Somewhat implied. In "No Laughing Matter", the aliens from Clarion get killed by laughing at Roy slipping on a banana. In the Quickie before "Much Ado About Lanolin" (a later episode), Orson, Booker, and Sheldon watch a show about the Clarion aliens, who are revealed to (still) exist at the end of the Quickie by coming out of the TV.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- In the U.S. Acres episode "Sooner or Later", the Wolf in disguise tells everyone about the joys of procrastination. Everyone would respond with "You can't talk about that on a cartoon show!" The characters were possibly thinking the Wolf forced them to do procreation (sex) or masturbation, since both those words rhyme and "procrastination" sounds more like "masturbation" than "procreation" (or it sounds like a mix of both).
- "Make Believe Moon", Roy and Wade were running from a 'graveyard', then they ended up crashing into a shed, half damaging it, then we see Roy come out carrying Wade. The scene resembled a couple mating in the shed, and the dominant one carrying the submissive other after intercourse. Also one of the weasels saw them like this and was like "Awww!".
- To try and get rid of Aloysius, Roy picked Wade up and told him to lie down (on the bed chair) then he gets paint and a paint brush and paint Wade's body with spots (to make him look sick). Wade asked awkwardly, "What...are you doing?" The scene seemed to resemble body paint sex and we are even given a close up shot of Roy painting Wade's crotch area...
- Double Entendre: In the episode "Double Oh Orson", Agent Orson said to Countess Lanolin, "I see you have a license to thrill."
- Early-Bird Cameo: Plato the rooster makes a cameo at the end of "The Bunny Rabbits Is Coming" as the owner of the titular rabbits. In the following episode ("Cock-A-Doodle Duel"), he's the main antagonist.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In the first few seasons of this segment, the characters would sing a song related to the episode's moral. After "The Legal Eagle", this was dropped like a hot potato. However, three post-"The Legal Eagle" episodes use songs, but they aren't moral-based: "Flights Of Fantasy" has Roy sing a parody of "The Farmer In The Dell" at the beginning, "A Little Time Off" has Wade sing Wild Blue Yonder for no reason at all, and "Kiddie Korner" was a Musical Episode where they did nursery rhymes.
- "Temp Trouble" is this for the later Aloysius Pig episodes for three reasons. Aloysius has a slightly different color scheme (his glasses seem to be entirely green rather than green and yellow), his glasses tend to "bounce" a bit randomly, possibly to signify that he blinked and he doesn't appear in every scene in the episode like the later Aloysius-centric ones, with most of the screentime going to Roy and Wade.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Notable examples would be in "Read Alert", where Roy and Wade kept getting into danger (a dinosaur, running away from a train chasing them, a spaceship blasting beams at them) thanks to Orson's imagination when reading books of examples mentioned above, Roy managed to earn both his and Wade's happy ending by giving Orson a 'safer' coloring book. A hilarious one would be "Temp Trouble" where Aloysius Pig kept giving Roy and Wade demerits so the two birds had to work together to get Aloysius out of their feathers. They got him out of here by telling his mom.
- Empty Swimming Pool Dive: Happens at the end of "Birthday Boy Roy", when Orson tries to jump into his hog waller only to find out the raccoon stole all his mud.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Parodied in "Wanted: Wade", where Wade, after ripping the tag off the bottom of a couch and learning that it's against the law, imagines himself in a prison cell with two dangerous-looking criminals:
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: Not if you ask Roy. In "Over the Rainbow", Roy searches for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and ended up in a game show similar to Let's Make a Deal. He ends up with a smelly sock.
- Exact Words:
Roy: If I say my line, will you promise not to drop a 16-ton safe on me?
- When Roy joined the Buddy Bears.
Buddy Bears: (in succession) We promise not to drop a 16-ton safe on you.
Roy: Okay, I want to ride the roller coaster!
Buddy Bears: (after two safes drop) We did not drop a 16-ton safe on you. We dropped two 16-ton safes on you!
- In a later episode, Roy rejoins the Buddy Bears and is told they no longer drop 16-ton safes. Other heavy objects are dropped on him and the last one is a 27-ton safe.
- In "Fortune Kooky", Wade and Orson plan a picnic, and Roy observes. He tells the viewers that he would never stoop so low as to do something really nasty like stealing Wade's picnic basket...and then explains that the food inside the basket is another story.
- In "Rooster Revenge", Orson promises that he will not play a revenge prank on Roy. That doesn't mean he won't get Lanolin to do one instead.
- Felony Misdemeanor:
- Tearing a tag off a pillow is so bad a crime it even gets two hardened robbers of banks and gas stations to grab the bars of the cell and want out when Wade admits his "crime" to them in "Wanted: Wade".
- Wade sees a police car on the farm and gets him into his panic. When Orson tries to convince Wade he won't go to jail for it, a voice tells them and Roy "We know you're in there, come out with your hands up! We have you surrounded!" The three adults run for it. It was all Booker playing a joke. Sheldon asks if it was very nice, and Booker, in an Ironic Echo asks "What harm can it do?"
- Fictional Holiday:
- At the beginning of "Big Bad Buddy Bird", we learn that today is "National Don't Mention Meat or Someone Will Hit You with a Banana Cream Pie Day". which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- In another episode, there's "Hit a Duck in the Face with a Lemon Meringue Pie" Day. When, unlike other characters, Roy won't settle for hitting Wade just once, Wade writes a letter to Congress asking for a Holiday to hit roosters with mud and it gets passed the same day the pie one. Roy and Wade go so far that Orson decides to punish them. Roy and Wade then get the Congress to pass a Holiday to paint pigs purple.
- In "National Tapioca Pudding Day", Roy makes up the titular holiday to pull a prank on Orson.
- Fluffy Tamer: In "Show Stoppers", Wade (of all people) has a fearsome bull who he calls Fido. We don't know what Fido is until he chases Orson's brothers away.
- For the Evulz: There's no real reason for why Orson's brothers torment him, other than... just because.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: A Running Gag in "Uncle Roy to the Rescue" is the audience repeatedly booing The Weasel. When they boo as The Weasel plots to eat Roy's little niece Chloe, The Weasel then threatens that he'll come for the audience next. Given that Roy beats him up in the next scene, he never gets to enact this threat.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: Many of the story retellings that Orson and his friends do are considered this. One example of this was the Cinderella story told in "Bedtime Story Blues", which had Cinderella changed to a boy who works in a pet shop with ninja siblings and a rich man who takes him to a night club, which ends with an earthquake, dinosaurs and a planet colliding with Earth.
- Another episode, "Kiddie Korner", inverts the trope—the group is originally going to do a take on Doctor Zhivago, but Aloysius Pig shows up from the network to demand that they perform family-friendly nursery rhymes instead. Unfortunately, since the gang plays them straight, they inadvertently reveal all of the violence, starvation, and death that the rhymes contain, and Aloysius won't stop griping about it. They eventually turn to Roy to write a new rhyme that allows them to throw Aloysius out in the cold.
- Friendly Tickle Torture: One Quickie (and also a U.S. Acres strip) has Orson and Bo trying to tickle Roy and Lanolin in an attempt to cheer them up. No reaction, aside from deadpan snarking when they leave.
- Fur Is Clothing:
- Lanolin is shown hanging some wool suits on a clothesline in "Banana Nose" and "Grabbity".
- In "Keeping Cool", one of the ways Orson's brothers try to get Bo mad is by unraveling his wool, resulting in him being nude below the waist. Bo simply opens a shed to get a new pair of wool pants to put on.
- Roy loses his feathers in "Temp Trouble" as the result of a prank he planned on Wade backfiring. After Wade and Aloysius chastise Roy for being indecent, Roy then rushes home to change into a new suit of feathers with a visible zipper.
- Gone Horribly Right: In "Wade, You're Afraid", they manage to hypnotize Wade to make him more brave. He eventually lets a bull out of its pen when he gets too brave.
- Gossip Evolution: "Return of Power Pig" has a reading of Humpty Dumpty evolving into a rumor of a monster on the farm.
- Grammar Correction Gag:
- "The bunny rabbits is coming!", a phrase repeated constantly in the titular episode. Lampshaded multiple times with several characters pointing out "Shouldn't that be the bunny rabbits ''are'' coming"?, rather than questioning what the message actually means.
- A blooper in "Weatherman Wade" had Roy say the line "None of us wears any!" when asking Lanolin why she appears on the show (to do laundry).
- Grammar Nazi: Lampshaded in "The Bunny Rabbits is Coming", when Roy is running away from the weasel:Roy: Orson, the chickens is missing!
Orson: Shouldn't that be "The chickens are missing"? You see, "chickens" is plural, so of course, you need a plural verb. note
Roy: Oh, great! The weasel has the chickens, and you're teaching grammar!
- Gratuitous Ninja:
- In Orson's superspy Imagine Spots, his arch enemy Pinfeather would always have a convenient army of ninja Mooks to throw at him.
- Also in "The Name Game" where Orson tells Booker and Sheldon the story of Rumplestiltskin, Booker keeps suggesting Orson add ninjas to the story to make it more exciting, in the end the story turns into a cluttered mess and Booker and Sheldon have left and Booker says "Maybe he just should've stuck with ninjas."
- Green Aesop: Spoofed in Bad Time Story, where everyone Chicken Licken encounters believes that the falling sky has been caused by ''all this tampering with the ozone layer''.
- Hammerspace: Aloysius pulls something out of the back of his jacket once every post-Temp Trouble episode via this.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen:
- Sheldon is an egg shell with legs. What he looks like under the shell is never revealed.
- Aloysius' eyes, as they are covered by glasses.
- Here We Go Again!: Happens in the episode "Peanut-Brained Rooster", where the Framing Device shows Orson having lunch with the viewer and telling the viewer the story of how Roy got addicted to peanuts after badgering Wade into letting him have just one. After the story ends, Orson then asks the viewer to share their potato chips and begs for more after having just one.
- Humorless Aliens: In one segment, aliens have come to steal Earths' sense of humor, since humor is a lethal weapon to them.
- "I Am" Song:
- "Stay Cool" is a song Bo sings to Orson in "Keeping Cool" on taking his personal approach to life.
- Wade has two songs that describe his personality: "I'm Afraid" from "Nothing To Be Afraid Of" and "Yah! Ah! Ooh! Eee!" from "The Bunny Rabbits Is Coming!".
- "The Legal Eagle", the final regular song note in a U.S. Acres segment, has Roy sing about his cop responsibilites.
- "There Once Was A Pig Named Aloysius" is a song Roy wrote for Aloysius to sing in "Kiddie Korner" about his personality, but with the twist that it was being used to reveal his fate of being hit with pies by his enemies.
- Identical Stranger: "Scrambled Eggs": Sheldon crosses paths with another ambulatory egg, and confusion results until one of them hatches.
- Imagination-Based Superpower: Orson's imagination is so vivid that whenever he reads a book, it affects the entire barnyard. This can even happen when he reads unusual reading material like cookbooks and phone books.
- Imagine Spotting: One of the most extreme examples. Orson's fantasies are a mix of this, And You Were There, and even Reality Warper; his spots could compete with The Backyardigans. The other characters are very well aware of their having been somehow transported into his mind with spoofs from The Taming of the Shrew to Star Trek. It's even lampshaded by Wade that Orson just has that vivid of an imagination.
- I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: In "Swine Trek", Wade plays The McCoy in Orson's Star Trek dream and when asked about a distress signal by Orson, Wade says in exasperation, "How should I know? I'm a Duck, not the Wichita Lineman!"
- Instant Illness: Orson warns his friends not to spend too much time next to him when he has a cold. The very next morning, Orson is magically better but the other farm animals all have the exact same cold.
- Involuntary Shapeshifter: "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Wade" had Wade turn into a duck version of The Incredible Hulk and back again when he heard a bell after Roy tosses out a way for Wade to induce hypnotize himself, then Booker gives the suggestion "I will turn into a monster whenever I hear a bell." Needless to say, Wade does go into self-hypnosis with said suggestion. When Orson's brothers ring that bell with Wade normal, his Hulk-Duck form comes out and mops the farm with them.
- Ironic Fear: Wade, a duck, is extremely afraid of water (not to mention just about everything else).
- It's a Wonderful Plot: "It's a Wonderful Wade" does this for Wade Duck. At first, it looks like a standard parody, as he learns that if he hadn't existed, everyone else's life would be exactly the same. But in the end, this becomes even more subverted: he comes back in time to prevent a robbery, using knowledge that he only gained because he had been a disembodied observer at the time! At the beginning of the episode, unlike many uses of this trope, Wade acknowledges the Trope Namer as "That movie they show every year at Christmas."
- Plural with Orson's brothers who try to steal the harvest and are generally a bunch of brutish bullies.
- Aloysius Pig also qualifies because of his tendency to force the other characters to submit to his moral standards.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Roy is a self-centered arrogant prankster, but he is not a bully and will often use these very qualities to help his friends out of trouble and has moments of remorse when he feels he might have gone a bit too far.
- Lanolin makes no secret of the fact that she's abrasive, but there are times when she's nice. She even gets a whole song, "I Like Having You Around", about how much she appreciates her brother.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: In one episode, Orson's brother Gort arrives at the farm, declaring that he had turned on the other two brothers in favor of a life of goodness/kindness. He and the other two later reveal that his "change of heart" was just an elaborate scheme to get the key to a silo where Orson and his friends were storing a ton of apples.
- Joker Jury: "Wanted: Wade", where Wade the duck actually starts thinking that he was a criminal after removing a tag on Orson Pig's chair. He then starts to have a nightmare where he is actually put on trial where Orson is the judge presiding over said trial and sentencing him to 9,999 years in prison after declaring him guilty... after which Wade's relieved, because...
- Karma Houdini: Brought up In-Universe in the episode, "Jack II: The Rest of the Story", Not satisfied with the ending for Jack and the Beanstalk, Roy proceeds to write a sequel Jack ends up facing repercussions for stealing, attempted murder (the giant was revealed to have survived the fall), and chopping beanstalks out of season.
- Karmic Butt-Monkey: Roy is a Troll who likes to prank his friends. Oftentimes, his own pranks will backfire on him, and even besides that, he's prone to Amusing Injuries and humiliation.
- Keep It Foreign: In one episode, Roy says "Au contraire" and Wade thinks it's Spanish. The Spanish language dub has him thinking it's English.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In one episode, Aloysius Pig lists things animators need to do cartoons like Garfield and Friends: cells, pencils and... donuts?
- Leitmotif: "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from Peer Gynt (composed by Edvard Grieg) for Orson's brothers.
- Longer-Than-Life Sentence: In "Wanted: Wade", Wade steps on a rake, sending him into a musical number, followed by a short trial sentencing him to 9,999 years in prison.
- The Lost Lenore: Played/parodied. Here Lenore's a little girl whose family moved away from Orson's neighborhood when he and she were four.
- Mattress Tag Gag: The whole plot of "Wanted: Wade". Wade thinks he'll go to jail for ripping a tag off of Orson's couch.
- "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: One of the lines in the song in "Orson Goes On Vacation", "I'm In Charge", is "Responsible is my middle name, I can not trust to luck!", which is said as Wade stands on the word that he claims is his middle name and holds a clover.
- Miles Gloriosus: In "Flop Goes the Weasel", after Wade accidentally collides with the weasel and Orson says that Wade's a hero for saving the farm from the weasel, Wade starts boasting about and exaggerating his heroic deed, and later that evening, Wade boasts "Why, if I could get my hands on that weasel again, I'd..."; when Booker and Sheldon tell him the weasel's back, Wade confesses to Booker and Sheldon that his actions were more motivated by fear than true bravery, and runs to take cover in a crate where the weasel is also hiding, where the crate tumbles downhill and hits the barn. As the weasel stumbles out of the crate, Wade admits that his actions were more out of fear than heroism, instead of boasting like he did the first time. This time, the weasel is so much more fearful than Wade is that he runs away.
- Multiple Head Case: In "Hogcules II", in Orson's dream, Roy and Wade are a two-headed giant, with Roy's tail and Wade's inner tube (The duck inner tube head even had a rooster head next to him to mimic Roy and Wade's expressions and interactions with each other).
- My Card: Aloysius Pig has a card in "Kiddie Korner" that he displays a few times:
- Non-Answer: When Roy tries to be elected farm leader, Bo asks about his position about the building of a new barn and Roy gives a long rant about how important the matter is, without actually answering the question. Bo sees this as what makes Roy a great politician.
- Noodle Incident: In "An Egg-Citing Story", Sheldon laments his peers not letting him play with them by saying that it's worse than when those women tried to get pantyhose out of him.
- Number of the Beast: In "The Legal Eagle", when (Deputy) Roy said to Wade, one of the rules to the "Farm Laws" book, "Impersonating a hubbard squash. That's a six hundred sixty six!"
- Nursery Rhyme: "Kiddie Korner" is about the cast doing these to make Aloysius Pig happy. But when he finds out that nursery rhymes can have offensive things in them, he starts banning them and forces them to do a wholesome one.
- Off the Rails: Happens in "The Name Game" when Orson tries to read Rumpelstiltskin to Booker and Sheldon. The boys keep asking Orson to change the characters into things like ninjas or monsters, but Orson puts a stop to that for the most part. Then Wade (who played the miller's daughter) butts in and has the daughter be changed to a son, and as a result, the price to be paid becomes the son's VCR. Things devolve into a Summon Bigger Fish duel when the miller's son is about to say Rumpelstiltskin's name because Roy (a Super Hero-style Rumpelstiltskin) tried to alter the ending in his character's favor, much to the protest of Wade and Orson:Roy: But before the duck son could say the name, a hurricane came up!
Orson: A, a hurricane?
Roy: Yes, a hurricane that blew the duck away so he couldn't take his VCR back.
Wade: Uno momento!
Wade: Then, a spaceship came by, and it rescued the handsome duck, and flew him back to reclaim his VCR!
Orson: Guys, stop this.
Roy: But the rooster was determined to get it back with the aid of his, uh, trained dinosaurs!
Orson: Trained dinosaurs? Where did the trained dinosaurs come from?
Roy: Same place all those ninjas came from.
Wade: But then the Third Marine Division landed, with their Anti-Trained-Dinosaur Squadron!
Roy: But the Mole People were too smart for the Marines!
(a few minutes later)
Wade: —Then eighty-three monsters take the VCR back!
Roy: Then eighty-four monsters and a giant moth grab it back from the duck!
- Out Of Control Popcorn: In "For Butter or Worse", Orson can't seem to finish the corn inventory because corn, somehow, keeps disappearing. He imagines him as Agent Double O Orson dealing with nemesis Pinfeather who was doing corn robberies. In the fight, Double O Orson's invention goes off under Pinfeather's limousine and popcorn, formed by the stolen corn, pops the hood right off. This gives the real Orson an idea; he brings a battery powered heater into Roy's coop; soon revealing what happened to the missing ears.
- Paper-Thin Disguise:
- When Roy Rooster hosted a show where the contestants had to guess a mysterious guest's identity (it was Garfield), the guest's only disguise was a blue mask. Even Jon Arbuckle didn't recognize him.
- In "Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarfs (Part 1)", Queen Lanolin's old hag outfit is this. She just got a purple hood and poison apples.
- Roy also uses these kind of disguises to easily prank Wade.
- In "The Bo Show", Bo wears a lame Garfield mask, and that's enough to make Orson's brothers not recognize him.
- Subverted in "Rooster Revenge". Roy thinks that Orson is about to prank him, and the "rooster ranger" arrives: a pig who looks like Orson in a suit and makes sure roosters are doing their proper work around the farm. Roy begins to prank him and says he wants to be sent to the South Pole; the rooster ranger actually does so. The ranger is then revealed to have been Lanolin in a full-body costume, and not Orson.
- Pinball Protagonist: The Dwarves from "Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarves". All 77 little silver balls. They didn't really get to do much other then having adjectives for names, carry Snow Wade to the coffin and watch. May have been done intentionally for laughs.
- Possibly spoofed in "Weatherman Wade" when Lanolin says without rain, she couldn't get the laundry done, and Roy stops the episode, asking what her purpose in the show is. Lanolin says that she washes clothes, but Roy says no one on the show wears any clothes.
- Popcorn on the Cob: Featured in both "Cornfinger" (in which Roy's been stealing corn and Orson makes it pop by bringing an electric heater close to him) and "For Butter or Worse" (in which Orson fantasizes himself into being Power Pig, and uses his heat vision to pop every ear of corn in a nearby field into popcorn and smother it with the melted butter).
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Most fans of the show are more familiar with Aloysius Pig than the comedian he spoofs, Kevin Meaney.
- Prepare to Die: Played with in "Cornfinger". Double-Oh-Orson is bound to a conveyor belt, and has found out Pinfeather had acted as "P. Cornfinger". Pinfeather says that won't matter:Pinfeather: You are going to be canned.Double-Oh-Orson: Are you saying I'm going be fired?Pinfeather: No, you are going to be canned! Canned cream-of-spy soup! (pulls switch starting conveyor belt towards canning machine) Farewell, Double-Oh-Orson! (Evil Laugh)
- Previously on : In Part 2 of "Egg Over Easy", Roy recaps the previous episode, Motor Mouth style.
- Rain Dance: Roy buys a robot that will do dances for whatever... rain, snow, buckets of bolts, etc.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Athletic, aggressive and angry Lanolin, vs her laid back, passive and artistic brother Bo.
- Reformed Bully: A childhood bully of Orson's swears to pay him back after being busted stealing his lunch money. Orson awaits the worst before the bully arrives, and literally pays him back all the money he stole in repentance. He had felt guilty about it and wanted to clear his conscience.
- Sanity Slippage Song: Roy sang on in "Peanut-Brained Rooster" about his obsession with peanuts. "If I don't get one quick or at least a salty lick, I'll go allegorically, even mandatorily, categorically insane!"
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: In "First Aid Wade", in Wade's dream when he was running from Doctor Roy and the other doctors.
- Self-Deprecation: In Orson's retelling "Ugly Duckling" to Booker and Sheldon, Wade bemoaned he was SO ugly... leading someone to ask, "How ugly are you?" He'd answer, "I'm so ugly..."
- "...when I enter a room, mice run up chairs."
- "...my face can stop a sundial."
- "...I frighten scarecrows."
- "...I look worse than my driver's license photo."
- "...I have to sneak up on the mirror to shave."
- This works in Wade's favor when he takes the bag off his head to frighten three lackeys intending to hurt him and show just HOW ugly he was. It also scares Lanolin (The Wicked Witch of the Wool) enough to let Wade snag her shoes. But seeing his ugliness work as a secret weapon gave him a feeling of confidence and he goes, "I am invulnerable!" We then see him near a full file cabinet, adding, "Plus, I have thousands of 'He's so ugly' jokes to use up." Wade ends up living more secure in himself, happily even if unsightly, ever after.
- Separate Scene Storytelling:
- Parodied in this U.S. Acres Quickie, in which the scenery changes around Orson and his friends as he's reading a story.
- Happens in "The Name Game" where Orson attempts to read "Rumplestiltskin" to Booker and Sheldon. Notably, all the characters who end up getting involved in the storytelling are automatically aware of which parts they play. This leads to Wade (cast as the miller's daughter) declaring he doesn't want to be a girl and getting his wish, and the plot going even more Off the Rails than it already had by the end.
- "Badtime Story" has the scene constantly flipping between characters reading "Chicken Licken" to the chicks, and the actual scenes as portrayed in the story.
- Shout-Out: Lots of them.
- "Stark Raven Mad" with Orson narrating "The Rooster" is a parody in the style of The Raven.
- Shown Their Work: In the episode "No Laughing Matter" during a song, they show Roy and Wade resting together back to back, In "Barn of Fear" they also tried sleeping close together as did Booker and Sheldon. Basically it's called "Communal roosting", birds in real life (though they don't usually sleep heavily), tend to sleep close together, to keep warmer or to decreases the risks associated with predators that makes sense in "Barn of Fear".
- The Smurfette Principle: Lanolin is the only female member of the gang.
- Sound-Effect Bleep: Whenever Da-Dum would be said on U.S. Acres, a sting would follow it. The sting in question sounded like incorrect answer horns, and when Orson read Aloysius' card, it sounded like he said a real swear.note
- Spanner in the Works: Both Orson's brothers and Roy are this, to Orson's benefit, in the episode "The Orson Awards".note
- Spoiler Title: "Uncle Roy To The Rescue", the episode where Roy's little niece Chloe, come to visit. Thanks a lot, for giving away a dynamic event in the episode!
- Status Quo Is God: One episode revolved around Sheldon hatching. What was inside the shell he shed? Another shell.
- Stealth Pun: In one episode, the gang meets a griffin who hosts a talk show and overall is an expy of Merv Griffin.
- Sting: Whenever The Network was mentioned in US Acres, Da-Dum would follow it. One time, Roy even said "Da-Dum" before they did Little Mrs. Muffet and it was even on Aloysius Pig's card!
- Summon Bigger Fish: In "The Name Game", Wade and Roy get into an argument as Orson is trying to read "Rumplestiltskin" to the chicks; Wade is playing the miller's son and Roy is Rumplestiltskin, with both constantly pulling this as they try to modify the events of the story in their characters' favor.
- Super Zeroes: Orson sometimes tries to fight crime as the costumed "superhero" Power Pig, dressing in a pair of aviator goggles, a blue undershirt with a giant P on the chest, and a pair of red- and white-striped shorts. As Power Pig, Orson has the power to subdue his enemies by making them laugh so hard at his ridiculous costume that they can't do anything else.
- Stock Scream: In the Spanish dub, Aloysius makes the same terrified screaming noise, usually in scenes where something doesn't go his way.
- Take That!:
Orson: Deja vu is when you get the feeling you're experiencing events that you've experienced before. Sometimes over and over.Roy: Sounds like having cable TV.
- When Orson told Booker and Sheldon the tale of the Hare and the Tortoise, the two of them decided to make it more interesting. When one of them suggested the tortoise could be a ninja, the other rejected the idea, asking who'd want to see it. It's odd coming from two kids who usually believe everything's better with ninjas.
- In "No Laughing Matter", Wade is asked what the world would be like without humor. His response? "A lot like cable television!"
- When Roy calls his agent about getting into another show, he mentions they're working on "a funny version of Ren & Stimpy."
- In "Deja Vu":
- Tempting Apple: One episode that parodied Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had Lanolin Sheep (wearing a purple hood and a basket of apples labeled "poison apples") offering a poison apple and openly saying it's poison note to Snow Wade while the other dwarves are still in the house. Just like in the story, Snow Wade then eats it and dies. His reason? "I'll accept anything that's free!"
- That Reminds Me of a Song: In the first three seasons, it was frequent for the characters to sing a song for no reason and for the song to never be brought up again.
- The Reveal: In Rooster Revenge it turns out the Rooster checker wasnt Orson in an outfit. Double Subverted when it turns out it was Lanolin in disguise.
- There Was a Door: In "Hogcules II", Orson (as the muscled Hogcules) just went and walked through the wall, which Booker had to point out to use the doors... of course there were no doors, but there was still plenty of exits.
- The Twelve Spoofs of Christmas: The episode "Happy Garfield Day" has Garfield celebrating his birthday by leading a sing-along of "The Twelve Courses of Dinner". Of course, for the twelve course, he says "I'd like seconds, please".
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: "Shy Fly Guy" is about Wade trying to get over his fear of flying, and Orson not wanting anyone to interfere because it won't help unless Wade solves his problem on his own.
- Too Dumb to Live: In "Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarves", Lanolin (as the evil Queen) gives Snow Wade a free apple and openly said it's poison. Snow Wade carefreely takes the apple and said, "Oh, I'll try anything once, that's free!" then bites the apple and dies.
- "Wanted: Wade" had Wade thinking that ripping a tag off the sofa was against the law, when it really wasn't.
- Tranquil Fury: In "Keeping Cool", Bo gets this way. He gets mad when he sees Orson's brothers picking on Orson, so he asks them to play a game of tug-of-war. Then he switches places with a bus. All without totally losing his cool.
- The Unseen: Some episodes make reference to all the animals are working for a human farmer, but he's never seen or heard from.
- Truth in Television: Cats usually don't like raisins. Good for them, because raisins and grapes in general are toxic for cats.
- Doubles as Fridge Horror when in a few episodes Garfield eats raisins.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: In part 1 of Grape Expectations, Roy goes to the supermarket in order to buy one grape to replace the missing one in the stash, and there are actually humans there. Nobody batted an eyelash about the fact that there was a talking rooster in the store.
- Viewers Are Goldfish: In "Wanted: Wade", the same spinning around frame we saw before "What Harm Can It Do?" began replays at the end of the song. May also be a Brick Joke.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Roy Rooster and Wade Duck. Although Roy's pretty much this to the rest of the U.S. Acres cast, his friendship with Wade fits this trope much more. He's always making pranks to scare Wade and other times they argue but there are other times when they act like real friends. Over the seasons their love/hate friendship evolved to the point where they had the closest friendship with each other, besides with Orson.
- Vocal Evolution: In the earlier episodes, Wade can't sing well, the best example being What Harm Can It Do. This improved over the episodes (he sings the chorus of "I Should Fly", but speaks the rest, except for the ending). When he finally sang perfectly in "Kiddie Korner", he was interrupted by Aloysius Pig, causing him to groan.
"I'm afraid of everything! Wait, stop the music! I can't even sing!"
- Lampshaded in the song from "Nothing To Be Afraid Of".
- Warm Milk Helps You Sleep: Referenced in "Badtime Story", when Orson remarks that when it comes to putting someone to sleep, the story of "Chicken Licken" is better than warm milk.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: A running gag in "The Discount of Monte Cristo" had Orson asking what happened to something in the story. The response: "I fired them!"
- Where No Parody Has Gone Before: "Swine Trek" is a parody of Star Trek.
- Who's on First?: The episode "Who Done It" is based on this routine, as three dogs come to help work on the farm, named Who, What, and Where. Roy and Wade don't know the names of the dogs, and Orson's explanations aren't very helpful.Roy: Orson, WHO is fixing the roof, WHAT is the name of the guy cleaning the shed, and WHERE is the other brother!?
Orson: You finally got it!
- Wicked Weasel: A sneaky weasel, who wants to steal chickens, is a recurring character.
- Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: In "Rooster Revenge", Roy plays a practical joke on Orson, and when Wade asks Orson what he intends to do about it, he replies "The worst thing I can think of: absolutely nothing!" He lets Roy drive himself crazy waiting for Orson to get even.
- You Are Grounded!: In "Holiday Happening", Orson runs behind the barn after he hears a loud splatter. Orson asks what Roy and Wade were doing and what they have to say for themselves. After the boys explain, Orson thinks that what they did was so out of hand that he punishes them, which meant no TV, stories around the campfire or pistachio nuts for a month. To get revenge on this, Roy and Wade make up their own holiday, "Paint A Pig Purple Day", to anger Orson.