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HULK SMASH!!!

The Incredible Hulk is a 1996-97 animated series based on the comic book series of the same name. It's the second Hulk animated series, following one in the 1980s. Compared to most Hulk adaptations, it is considered Darker and Edgier (for an animated series for kids). The series stars Neal McDonough as Bruce Banner and features Lou Ferrigno, the Hulk actor from The Incredible Hulk live action series, as a speaking role.


The show provides the examples of

  • Actor Allusion: John-Rhys Davies, who played Thor in this series, played the Kingpin in Trial of the Incredible Hulk, which featured Lou Ferrigno in his well-known role as the (non-speaking) Hulk of the time.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The show took bits and pieces from Hulk's then-35 year history and compressed them into an animated series. Everything is covered, from Bruce becoming the Hulk, to Bruce trying (and failing) to find a cure, Hulk being incredibly protective of Betty, and the origins of Leader, Sasquatch, and Wendigo. The Abomination's origin, however, wasn't covered, since we don't know whether or not he's Emil Blonsky, a random Mook, or a genetic creation of the Leader. Also Bruce's abusive father issue was never used. But we guess one Jerkass father was enough already. In this case, Betty's.
  • Adventure Towns
  • All There in the Manual: Arguably, episode 1.
  • Anti-Hero: Type II (Green Hulk), and Type III (Grey Hulk)
  • Appropriated Appellation
  • Ascended Extra: She-Hulk, who had appeared in Season 1's "Doomed" and "Fantastic Fortitude", becomes a regular in season 2.
  • Asshole Victim: There are a few. Luckily, since it's a kids' show, none of the asshole victims die at least.
    • Talbot is even more of an asshole victim, since 1. He interrupted Bruce's experiment using a rocket launcher in the pilot. 2. He used the gamma taser on Hulk just when Hulk was calming down (he ends up at the receiving end of Ghost Rider's Penance Stare), and 3. He interrupted the Nutrient Bath process, only for Betty, Doc Samson and Rick Jones to call him out on it.
  • Badass Bookworm: No shit when it comes to Banner.
  • Badass Normal: When the model show was interrupted by Leader, She-Hulk, Betty, and 3 models managed to retake the building they were doing their show in.
  • Bash Brothers: Hulk rarely teams up with other superheroes due to the fact that he doesn't get along with them too well. He briefly teamed up with the Thing because they were fighting the Gamma Warriors (fighting alligators in the zoo didn't count). However, Hulk DID team up with Grey Hulk against the alien creature that possessed Bruce in "Mind Over Anti-Matter".
  • Because Destiny Says So: Leader would like Gargoyle (and annoyingly enough, the audience) to think that because he is responsible for Hulk's creation, he deserves his power. Who would like to call bullshit?
  • Bench Breaker: From time to time, Bruce gets tied to a chair and then Hulks out, breaking the chair more or less automatically
  • Berserk Button: It IS a Hulk show, after all.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The gamma-powered Outcasts arrive to save Bruce and Hulk on separate occasions. They're quite reliable.
  • Big No: There's A LOT.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family/Dysfunction Junction: Betty's. That is all.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The first season has A LOT of these. It isn't until season 2 that things get less serious.
  • Blood Knight: Abomination. Wendigo to an extent. Plus he had to get his ass kicked by a worthy opponent so he can be free, and as a result, learn humility.
  • Body Horror: For a kid's show, it shows what happens when one transforms into a gamma monster. The Leader's Gamma Warriors had this in effect. Although Jennifer Walters' transformation was kinder, since hers doesn't look as painful, because she rather... enjoys it.
  • Book Dumb: Even though he lacks Banner's intelligence, the Hulk can show a lot of cunning when he needs to. And for a supposedly mindless berserker, the Hulk can still come up with some fairly creative tactics when he's in a tight spot.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Yeah, Talbot. Leave the poor man alone. Seriously though, are people tired of living when Banner specifically says "Don't make me angry"?
  • Butt Monkey: Gargoyle.
  • The Cameo: Lou Ferrigno appears as himself in animated form, but with no lines.
  • Car Fu: Rarely, the Hulk uses cars as weapons. Not weaponized like boxing gloves mind you.
  • Catastrophic Countdown: In "Mind Over Anti-Matter", the alien creature that possessed Bruce attempts to launch nuclear missiles in an attempt to destroy humanity. After his defeat, Bruce manages to gain control of himself before the missile hits zero.
  • Catch Phrase: "HULK SMASH!!!" "HULK BASH!!!" "EAT GREEN!!!" "So says the Leader." The last line annoyed the hell out of Gargoyle.
  • Clip Show: Some portions use flashbacks for this reason.
  • Comic Book Shows Don't Use Codenames: Averted. How else are people are gonna figure out what the other characters are? Especially guest appearances from other super-heroes?
  • Color Contrast: A big green guy with (somehow) purple pants. That is all.
  • Crapsack World: Pretty much.
  • Crossover: In-universe with Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and to a minor extent, X Men's continuities. Meaning it's one bigass universe, like the DCAU.
  • Cursed with Awesome: As much as his Hulk condition has made Bruce's life a complete shambles as a fugitive, the only reason he survives his adventures is due to transforming into the Hulk in times of need.
  • Darker and Edgier: VERY much so. As mentioned above, the 2nd season got less serious.
  • Deadpan Snarker: This little gem:

 Doc Samson: "Interesting though, how the Hulk whipped both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the military on the same day."

Ross and Agent Jones (deadpan): "Ha ha ha."

    • Grey Hulk loves being a sarcastic jerkass.
    • Gargoyle. "And to think, I left a disease-ridden deathbed for this?"
  • Demoted to Extra: Betty Ross, who had major focus in the first season, only appeared in certain episodes in season 2. Also, Doc Samson and Rick Jones were demoted even more after season 2's premiere.
  • Do Not Call Me Paul: The Hulk hates being called Bruce. Though, it's justified in that they actually are separate entities inhabiting the same body. Unless your name is Betty, he doesn't seem to mind for some reason.
  • Determinator: Hoo-boy. There's alot of determination in this show: Bruce is trying to cure himself of the Hulk, General Ross and Talbot are trying to kill the Hulk, Betty and Doc Samson are trying to create the Nutrient Bath to separate Bruce from Hulk, Leader wants Hulk alive so he can possess his strength, and Gargoyle just wants to be normal. Some of the determinations die off eventually.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Good job distracting a dock worker doing his job, Jennifer.
  • The Dragon: Abomination to Leader, Talbot to General Ross, and Crusher Creel to Allure.
  • Dumb Is Good: Usually. Many of the times Hulk clashes with the cameo Superheroes is due to some misunderstanding.
  • Dumb Muscle: Hulk and Abomination. Although Hulk's rage will sometimes redirect towards someone else (usually by Betty or She-Hulk, or someone who cares about him). Played completely straight with Abomination and the Gamma Warriors.
  • Dynamic Entry: Hulk makes one crashing into Dr. Doom's castle, while land-stomping on Doom's robots.
  • Elite Mooks: Leader's Gamma Warriors. And the military's Hulkbusters.
  • Evil Counterpart: Abomination, Leader, and hell, Dark Hulk.
  • Excuse Me, Coming Through: Rarely.
  • Freak Lab Accident: As it turns out, Samuel Sterns (Pre-gamma Leader) was responsible for Hulk's creation (he lampshades this), thus the cause of everything that transpires in the first place.
  • Gentle Giant: Try to get to know the Hulk before you piss him off.
    • Grey Hulk isn't exactly gentle, but he's above killing Mooks.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The ENTIRE SHOW has this in the first season. Most of them are trying to reverse the effects of hulking out while someone, usually Talbot or another enemy, always has to fuck everything up to the point Bruce turns into the Hulk.
    • The second season's series finale involved a S.H.I.E.L.D. double-agent trying to recover experimental organisms, but she was caught and merged with the creatures she was supposed to steal. This gave her the ability to possess other organisms as a result, and, on the plus side, healing them as well.
  • Green Eyes: When Banner becomes the green Hulk. She-Hulk also has green eyes.
  • Hellish Copter: Hulk, and anything else that tries, ALWAYS takes down a helicopter, usually unconventionally.
  • Heroic BSOD: Where. The. Hell. Do. I. Begin? In the season 1's finale, Bruce suffered an enormous BSOD when finding out Rick fell into the Nutrient Bath, followed by this line:

  Bruce: Rick! No, not my friend... He doesn't deserve to be in that... That nightmare!!

    • It also brings out the original Grey Hulk as a result. Also, Betty has this after Bruce's, lamenting the fact that things will never return to normal, and seeing how changing fate was beyond their control.
  • Hot-Blooded
  • Hulk Speak: The Trope Namer. Averted in Grey Hulk's case.
  • I Am a Monster: In "Man to Man, Beast to Beast", Walter Langkowski turns into the Sasquatch permanently, and during his fight with the Hulk, he realizes he has harmed the child Hulk had befriended. Realizing this, he decides to drift endlessly, believing he has become a monster.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Bruce Banner and Gargolye's motice in the series.
  • I Lied
  • I Love Nuclear Power
  • In Medias Res: The Hulk's origin is conveyed when Bruce remembers how everything started, not knowing Samuel Sterns was responsible.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Of the Hulking Out variety (but of course!)
  • Jerkass: Quite a lot with Glenn. Grey Hulk is one too.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Grey Hulk, once again, is this. After getting his ass handed to him by Crusher Creel, he's trying to snap Banner out of his senses to help him remember that Betty Ross is the only woman he loves, not Allure. It works.
  • Kid Sidekick: Rick Jones is technically a teenager, but he's loyal to Bruce after being saved by him when the gamma dome exploded. Since the incident, he goes around hoping to make sure Hulk's Berserk Button doesn't go overboard.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Hulk is unusually fast for an 8-foot, muscle-bound gamma mutate. He also jumps pretty far. She-Hulk plays this straight. Hilariously averted with the Thing as he climbs the stairs inside the Statue of Liberty; he gets worn out by climbing said stairs.
  • Marvel Universe: More like Marvel animated universe.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Grey Hulk.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Talbot and Crusher Creel against Bruce. Talbot's wasn't a Yandere level thankfully, but Crusher Creel almost is. Luckily, Bruce doesn't have feelings towards Allure anymore thanks to Grey Hulk.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Villain: General Ross played it straight... In season 1's finale he went mad to the point he caused Bruce's heart attack and unintentionally knocked Rick Jones into the nutrient bath that was meant to re-merge Hulk and Bruce, turning Rick into a Hulk himself. This, in turn, led to the emergence of the original Grey Hulk.
    • Glenn Talbot has this in spades.
  • Oh Crap: The usual reaction by the Mooks in each episode when they are chasing Banner, and he turns into the Hulk.
  • The Other Darrin: Maurice LaMarche plays Doctor Strange in this series while John Vernon plays him on The Amazing Spider-Man. Likewise, Lisa Zane plays She Hulk in season 1 while Cree Summer plays her in Season 2. Lou Ferrigno briefly plays as the transforming Grey Hulk in season 1's finale, while Michael Donovan plays him when Grey Hulk makes a later appearance.
  • Partial Transformation: Ogress freezes Banner part-way during his transformation in "Fantastic Fortitude".
  • Pet the Dog: The "savage" Hulk almost always gets a moment where he proves he's just a big softy at heart. He literally pets a dog and fed it snow on "Man to Man, Beast to Beast".
  • Recycled in Space
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Banner becomes Grey Hulk.
  • Roar Before Beating
  • Run for the Border: In "Man to Man, Beast to Beast", Bruce finds himself in Canada.
  • Save the Princess: Notably in "Wendigo" when Betty gets kidnapped by Wendigo. It becomes Hulk and General Ross's motive to save her when they are forced to work together.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Betty would rather be with Bruce than with Talbot, whose Jerkass tendencies took a level of asshole from the comics. Although she also loves the Hulk and is even more understanding towards him.
  • Split Personality: Bruce has three personalities: himself, the original "savage" Hulk, and the sarcastic Grey Hulk.
  • Stern Chase: Oh is it ever.
  • Superhero
  • Too Dumb to Live: Talbot. TALBOT.
  • Unstoppable Rage: In "Darkness and Light Part 2", it's literally unstoppable. However, the Hulk's rage breaks to the point he remembers Betty, but it ends up also affecting Banner as well.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Mentioned above in regards to General Ross, due to his obsession with destroying the Hulk, and being responsible for Rick's unintentional transformation into a "Teen-Hulk".
  • Weak but Skilled: At least most characters are.
  • What Have I Done: When Doc Samson goes to try to save the Hulk from being destroyed by S.H.I.E.L.D. after separating Bruce and Hulk with the Nutrient Bath, only to find him in a mindless rampage, and realizes what he has done.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Season 1 was full of this.
  • Wrongly Accused: In Season 2's premiere, Bruce was charged with attempted murder (how they got this word in syndication is beyond us), when in fact, despite how much of a Jerkass Grey Hulk is, he was actually trying to save General Ross's life.
  • Yandere: Crusher Creel was dangerously close to it. He's willing to do everything Allure tells him, even kill the competition. He drives this further trying to kill Bruce in a warehouse explosion. Luckily, to Bruce and Grey Hulk, he survives.
  • You Gotta Have Green Hair: Hulk technically has black hair with a green tinge to it. Doc Samson and She-Hulk have green hair (since Doc's gamma powered). Leader's Gamma Warriors have brown hair.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Although the line was "You wouldn't like me when I'm mad!".
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