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Bruno: How'd a loser like you create a great character like Bugsy?
Eliot: Well, sometimes it's just staring you in the face.
Dog City was an animated/Muppet series based on a half-hour segment in The Jim Henson Hour. The original "Dog City" was about an anthropomorphic German Shepherd named Ace Yu, facing bulldog gangster Bugsy Them (the Dogfather) in a film noir environment. The segment was just recently released on DVD from Lionsgate, excluding the Jim Henson Hour part.
In the series, Ace became private eye Ace Hart, and Bugsy became Bugsy Vile. They also became cartoon characters, with the original puppet versions becoming Eliot Shag, the cartoonist, and Bruno, the super of his apartment building. Other characters from the special were transplanted similarly; the character appeared in the cartoon, and the puppet appeared as someone in Eliot's building, supposedly inspiring him to create the animated version. Ace and Eliot would also have conversations with each other about the progress of the stories and how Eliot uses what he draws in the cartoon to solve problems in his real life.
Dog City included examples of:
- Binocular Shot (Parodied. From the POV of villain Bugsy Them, we see the two leads through two overlapping circles. Then the camera cuts to a wide shot to reveal that Bugsy isn't looking through binoculars -- he's just holding up a piece of cardboard with two overlapping holes and looking through it.)
- The Cameo: Rowlf the Dog plays piano at the bar.
- Dogs Are Dumb (mostly averted. the only exception is Bugsy's hired muscle, Mad Dog, whose two- I mean, fourteen years of obedience school have done nothing for his thinking ability)
- Family-Friendly Firearms (Averted big time.)
- Getting Crap Past the Radar (Colleen Barker's musical number)
- Incredibly Lame Pun (It's Muppet production, natch.)
- Punny Name (Rowlf even Lampshades the names of Ace Yu and Bugsy Them as 'Cheap joke names')
- Running Gag (Amounts of time being translated into dog years)
- Who's on First? (With names like Ace Yu and Bugsy Them, this is a given.)
- You Killed My Father
- A Day At the Bizarro: "In Your Dreams", where Eliot manages to fall asleep and then the whole episode goes to the dogs.
- And You Were There (almost; the animated characters are counterparts to the Muppet characters, but have different voice actors)
- Animated Actors (the Duck Amuck version)
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: All over the place.
- Catch Phrase: Bugsy's "senselessly violent", Frisky's "crazy", Chief Rosy's "by the books" and Eddie's "It's a well known fact that...".
- Deadpan Snarker: Ace, in spades.
- Delusions of Eloquence: Bugsy Vile, no doubt as filler for the family-friendly mafia parody.
- Dumb Muscle: Bugsy's nephew, Bruiser.
- Eviler Than Thou: Bugsy and Baron von Rotweiller.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Baron von Rotweiller again, complete with a cameo of his mutter.
- Fair Cop (Rosie O'Gravy)
- The Family for the Whole Family
- Femme Fatale (Miss Kitty)
- Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal
- Funny Animal
- Furry Reminder: All over the place. Fire hydrants, full moons, squeaky toys, treats, drooling. Yep!
- Genre Savvy: Ace shows shades of this sometimes, and other times gets served. And once or twice, served again.
- Gratuitous German: Baron Von Rottweiler, full stop.
- "Growing Muscles" Sequence: Ya Gotta Have Hart, where in-universe Executive Meddling wanted Ace to become a superhero named "Wonder Dog", complete with super strength, speed and leap tall obstacles. Ace disapproved of the meddling, but the idea of being dogly muscular didn't seem like a completely bad idea, judging by his reaction when Eliot pops his suit with a pencil.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Mad Dog wears only a vest, fedora, spats, and a collar(!)
- Hurricane of Puns: YES.
- Innocent Bystander: Or innocent pups, as it were, complete with a playpen and a giant sign saying "Innocent Bystanders" at the worst possible moments. Ace calls this out already the second time it happens.
- Internal Reveal: In episode Old Dogs, New Tricks, the cartoonists Eliot Shag and Scratch McCollie fight on whether or not to use this trope. As it pertains to a Show Within a Show, it's a bit late to cover up that plot point from the audience.
- Limited Wardrobe
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The usual suspects.
- Polka Dot Paint: Whenever something is drawn, it's done this way.
- Private Eye Monologue
- Rubber Band History: Baron goes back to the time the pilgrims purchased the new world from the natives and made a better offer: squeak toys. This created a Bad Future where he rules. Somehow, Ace and Eddie had Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory and, after visiting a timeline where Eddie ruled, went back to the past and made an even better offer: a technologically advanced (even for present time standards) fire hydrant the heroes took from the Eddie-ruled timeline.
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: "Comedy of Horrors", featuring blink-and-you'll-miss-them cameos of other characters, up until Ace and Baron von Rottweiler crash.
Ace: "This is getting silly..."
Baron Von Rottweiler: "Ja, it's not something I'd want mamma to see."
- And then before the above exchange.
- The Scrappy: Eddie the newspup got turned into one in-universe for one episode, and then he was literally Rescued From the Scrappy Heap. Whether he actually was a scrappy for the audience is a different story.
- Sexophone: Given that the animated segments are parodies of classic detective stories and Film Noir, one would occasionally play for Rosie O'Gravy (specifically whenever Ace would think of her in his narrations).
- Show Within a Show
- Shout-Out: Way too many to name, but here's one example.
- Speech-Impaired Animal (Mad Dog; subverted by being in a world full of Talking Animals)
- Species Surname (most characters apart from Ace and Bugsy had vaguely dog [or cat] related names)
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute (Terri Springer replaced Colleen as Eliot's love interest. Suprisingly, she was voiced by the same actress, the writers just thought she'd be a more interesting character)
- Those Wacky Nazis: Baron von Rottweiller gives off this vibe in "Old Dogs, New Tricks" as he plots to detonate a hydrogen bomb over Dog City and emerge the leader of a "superior doggy race".
- Will They or Won't They? (Eliot and Colleen/Terri and Ace and Chief Rosie O'Gravy)
- Write Who You Know