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YMMV / Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: An exchange between Riya and Stretch in "The Age of Flexarium" might make the former seem like a former Secret Secret-Keeper.note 
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  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Because of the previous Stretch Armstrong dolls lacking any personality or detailed backstory, and looking very different than this version of Stretch, this show only seems liked by viewers who can keep an open mind, and/or previously enjoyed other cartoons Victor Cook directed.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Season two addressed laments calling Riya Dashti a Flat Character by having her continue to become less reclusive, while still not rushing into a romance with Jake, and by hiring the show's first female writer — Jennifer Muro — to flesh out Riya's past and motivations.
  • Awesome Music: The show's theme song — written by all three of the show's developers — is a very heroic tune, and you will be humming it to yourself all day.
  • Bizarro Episode: "Biomass" pits the Flex Fighters against talking plants, who have no connection to Stretch Monster. Chris "Doc" Wyatt has explained that this episode exists mainly to give Walter Koenig, the voice of the kids' botany teacher and the titular plant monster, more to do.
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  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Riya being revealed as Blindstrike. She openly expressed dislike for the Flex Fighters when Jake tried asking her out, she was a pretty flat despite how much focus was given to her, and her talk to Jake about balancing her social life with her private life was practically Five-Second Foreshadowing. Now that the Flex Fighters know this secret, everyone at Hasbro and Netflix seem to have pretty much given up trying to hide it, including Victor Cook; the figure also has an un-advertised unmasking feature.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Brick and Mortar earned some popularity, due to completely inverting the trope idea that two silly dudes can't also be capable of delivering an immediate Curb-Stomp Battle to the protagonists, their likable banter and close friendship, and their endearing goal of wanting to help people with the very device they're inventing. Near the end of season two, they team up with the Flex Fighters against the Tech Men, and push Hasbro's boundaries of appropriate kids' show language by referring to the Tech Men as, "fascists". Certainly helps that they're voiced by Wayne Knight and Troy Baker.
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    • Similarly, Mechanica is pretty popular as well among the season two antagonists, due to her cool design, the implementation of a formerly used background character, and her devotion to Rook.
    • Outside of the villains, Malouf is pretty popular despite his minimal lines, simply for his ability to completely destroy two armored robots on his own despite having no superpowers.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Rook is handsome and charismatic, even as he's coldly attempting to murder the Flex Fighters.
    • In-Universe, Ricardo seems to have this opinion of the Freak Sisters.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: You can't topple a corporate monopoly.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • Blindstrike's Origins Episode leaves some holes that the viewers could fill.note  Earlier, the show also glosses over Blindstrike's reaction to discovering the Flex Fighters' true identities.
    • The lack of a season three leaves viewers to tie up the several loose ends themselves, from several criminals remaining at largenote , to the Flex Fighters' parents still unaware of their sons' double lives, to Jake and Riya continuing to have a non-romantic friendship.
    • What if civilians the Flex Fighters helped in "The Breakout" or the second season tried to disprove the unflattering news about the young men?
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: "Singularity Event" has Nathan word his fears of rejection from Erika in an oddly specific manner, that he expected her to say that she'd "rather eat poison" than date him. In "The Age of Flexarium", Rook tricks Nathan and his friends into eating poison snowcones.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In "The Gangs of Old Town", Kane teaches that it takes courage to change for the better, while only cowards settle for disorder. This sounds less inspirational in season two, when Kane leads the Tech Men in a scheme to mind-control everyone in Charter City into fulfilling their standards for peace.
      Kane: It wasn't brave to stay an Old Town gangster, Simmons. It was easy. Change is hard. Maybe next time you should pick a team with the courage to do that.
      Wingspan: Is he talking about us?
      Omni-Mass: No way. That sounded nice.
      (later, to the Flex Fighters)
      Kane: ...sometimes the most frightening path is the one that's best.
    • In "Lie Sandwich", Jake wishes aloud that Rook were his father, shortly before he and his friends get a call from him. When Nathan picks up his phone, he comments, "Speak of the devil..." After "The Age of Flexarium", Rook/Stretch Monster seems more like a devil than someone who'd make a cool dad. Additionally, season two reveals that this story has Jake both tell lies, and fall for one.note 
    • In "Endgame", Riya explains to Jake that "school stuff mixed in with mom stuff" stresses her out. Season two elaborates that Stretch Monster killed Riya's parents, so Riya became Blindstrike in order to avenge them, with Dr. C acting as her rather tough trainer and commander. As if that doesn't already sound stressful enough, the episode preceding "Endgame", "Secret Ninja Party", ends with Dr. C and Blindstrike getting ambushed by Stretch Monster and the Flex Fighters, so any guilt that Riya would develop after failing to fend them off would remain fresh on her mind when telling Jake about her problems.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • Nathan's and Erika's discussion in "The Endgame" about her adjusting to transferring to the Academy gains some poignancy with all the curveballs they endure in the next season:
      Nathan: Change is tough.
      Erika: But sometimes, it's necessary.
    • "The New Normal" has a line that also takes on new meaning with those curveballs, originally referring to the unpredictability of Erika's cat circus:
      Erika: Sometimes the best things in life are unplanned.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Stretch guessing that Mr. Savic is Blindstrike gains one level of hilarity in episode #12, which reveals Blindstrike as a young woman, not an old man (Wingspan even lampshades the wild inaccuracy of Jake's guess), and another one in episode #18, when Mr. Savic becomes the Monster of the Week.
  • Ho Yay Shipping: Tumblr does this with "Omni-Span".
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Some of the villains with more sympathetic motives can be seen this way. One good example is Multi Farious aka Don Robertson. Yeah, he's impulsive and has anger issues, but he's also had to put up with the poor treatment Rook gave him both before and after his transformation.
    • Believe it or not, Rook is also this, as of season 2, even with the moral event horizon mentioned below. While a corrupt figure, he also had to deal with the death of his terminally mother, and was rejected by the Episicon society that could've helped him become more successful.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Rook gradually gains control of almost all the parts of Charter City, a city that he essentially rebuilt from the ground up to begin with.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Stretch Monster crosses it in "Age of Flexarium" After the Flex Fighters assume he was destroyed in the explosion, Rook offers them gourmet snow cones to celebrate. After revealing he's Stretch Monster, he also reveals he poisoned their snacks so that they'd be unable to interfere any longer.
      • He crosses it again in the season 2 finale. Despite the Jerkass woobie entry above, he, just as Rook and without transforming, erases the Flex Fighters' footage of him confessing that he's Stretch Monster, and blames the Flex Fighters for working with the Tech Men. He also knocks out Dr. C.
    • The last few episodes of season 2 do this for Kane. He's revealed to be the leader of the Tech Men, whose goal is to bring order and discipline to the city even resulting in using the Smart Marks, aka mind control , to keep people in line.
  • Narm: The end of "Lie Sandwich" literally casting Dr. C in an evil light could look over-the-top, especially after the first season finale reveals her true motivations.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • People familiar with Stretch Armstrong from the 90's are surprised to not see Vac-Man as the Big Bad instead of Stretch Monster, who was Stretch's original Arch-Enemy from the 70's.
    • A countdown of the best cartoons to watch on Netflix listed Stretch Armstrong as the first one with an interactive episode, even though Puss in Boots and Buddy Thunderstruck already showed off this technology.
  • Padding: The 44-minute, non-interactive version of "The Breakout", shown on devices unable to let viewers choose the directions, picks some of the obviously stupid-sounding choices (e.g., fighting Multi-Farious without putting gear on first), so that the viewer could see both scenarios.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Hey, it's Ms. Marvel as Riya!
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Over the course of the last five episodes, Erika develops her own superpowers, which she uses to save Charter City from the Tech Men. However, the lack of a third season prevents any exploration of the effects this has on her life.
    • The toyline squandered a lot of potential: The Wingspan and Omni-Mass figures lack wings or mass-shifting abilities, nerfing them down to re-skins of Stretch. Also, only three of the Flex Fighters' enemies — Stretch Monster, Quick Charge, and Blindstrike — received their own action figuresnote , shafting anyone else who seemed like they'd make a fun toy, or at least a nice-looking one. Additionally, Stretch Monster's figure can't stretch.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The Reveal of who exactly leads the Tech Men frustrated viewers who wished that the show either never turned this character evil, or tried harder to make the reveal feel less abrupt.
  • The Un-Twist: "Endgame" left some viewers expecting Dr. C to become revealed as Riya's mom, until following episodes confirmed that they aren't related, as viewers would probably assume before "Endgame".
  • The Woobie:
    • All the main characters fall into this. For Jake, he has the struggle with trying to be a hero and maintain his social and personal life. For Nathan, there's him trying to stand out in his family, and his confidence issues. Ricardo suffers from abandonment issues.
    • Season two reveals that Riya still grieves her parents dying while she was just a little girl, because Stretch Monster/Rook took down the plane transferring the couple and Dr. C to another lab. Various points in the show also put Riya in danger of losing her latest mother figure, Dr. C.
    • Brick and Mortar are a rare villainous example that doesn't fall under Jerkass Woobie. The reason they robbed banks was because they needed money to fund a teleporter . The fact that they have an engaging dynamic like that of friends, and they intended to return the money, helps their case out.
    • Cat garners pity when "Endgame" leaves viewers worrying about where he would live after his owner, one of Stretch Monster's test subjects, appears to lose a battle with the Flex Fighters. The second season has Ricardo take him in, but Ricardo's parents moving out of Charter City threatens to leave Cat homeless again. As of the end of season two, Cat appears to have reunited with his previous owner, but only after the guy got roped back into Stretch Monster's evil plans.

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