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"Comedy, or at least the kind of comedy I like, are the ones that make you feel a bit uncomfortable and then hit you with a great joke."—Creator Thurop Van Orman
From the mind of Mark "Thurop" Van Orman comes a whale-of-a-tale about a young boy who dreams of adventure, a washed-up pirate and a whale. Flapjack is an orphan raised by a motherly whale named Bubbie. One day, they rescue a pirate named Captain K'nuckles who regales Flapjack with tales of a mystical place called Candied Island, a land that he's spent much of his life searching for. Enamored by this, and much to the chagrin of Bubbie, Flapjack decides to help him on this quest for Candied Island and dreams of being a great adventurer like K'nuckles.
And that just barely touches the surface of this Cartoon Network animated series set in the messed-up port town of Storm-Along Harbor. 50% Nightmare Fuel, 25% freaky facial expressions and another 25% of unsettling humor, there's only one way to describe it: "seriously weird."
The show debuted in January, 2008. The series finale aired unadvertised on August 31, 2010 (so, essentially, only people subscribed to Orman on Deviant art were even told it was happening.) The finale featured a live-action segment with Thurop as K'nuckles and his son as Flapjack, with the trio deciding they will find a new place to live, and finally leaving Storm-Along for good.
- Abnormal Ammo:
- One episode featured a guy using a cannon that fired angst-ridden children.
- Peppermint Larry's Carmel Cannon.
- Ambiguously Gay: The Real Adventurer. Even though he has a girlfriend/wife, he still has an interest in Flapjack, and wants to adopt him.
- Anthropomorphic Food: Candy Wife, maybe...
- Anti Role Model: Captain K'nuckles doesn't always have Flapjack's best interests in mind and is frequently selfish. Flapjack looks up to him anyway, and K'nuckles does view Flapjack as his best (and only) friend.
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering??: Happens in "Low Tidings", although K'nuckles response to the question ("That Scoops Pennington is a hack?") does at least follow logically from what had gone before. Flapjack was actually suggesting that they take the place of the two sick actors in the Low Tide Day pageant.
- Art Shift:
- Authority in Name Only: In "Over the Moon", K'nuckles declares himself to be 'the Moon King' and starts giveing orders to the moon.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: The concept is parodied in the Moon episode with: "Captain K'nuckles, King. Moon King."
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In "Wishing Not so Well", K'nuckles wishes to be left alone and is immediately finds himself in a Stormalong that contains no other people. It doesn't work out so well for him.
- Bedouin Rescue Service: A Liliputian variety appears in Lost at Land
- Benevolent Architecture: When K'nuckles and Flapjack are in a runaway trolley, we cut to Stormalong's resident Gadgeteer Genius, having just completed a ramp-like structure. "I call it R.A.M.P! Radical Ascension-" Then the trolley smashes right through it.
- Big Bad: 8-Armed Willy
- Big No
- Bigger on the Inside:
- Stormalong Harbor is a bigger community than it looks from the outside. It even has a slum and an upper-class quarter. In any case, it seems unlikely that it really has a population of no more than one hundred, as one of the episodes suggest.
- Big "What?": One that extends to the The End screen.
K'nuckles: Eh, I never learned to sail anyways.
- Body Horror:
- The Plague victims.
- Happens to K'nuckles often, especially in "Fancy Pants".
- Call Back: At the end of "Rye Ruv Roo", a newspaper is shown with the Colonel elected as mayor. Guess who wins at the end of "Mayor May Not"?
- Cannot Tell a Joke: Lolly Poopdeck. In "Day Without Laughter", he attempts to become a comedian, but the punchlines to all his jokes consist of really strained puns based on his own name.
- Can't Get in Trouble For Nuthin'
- Can't Live Without You: Once all of Stormalong was infected by the Plague, K'nuckles goes off to find Flapjack living on Plague Island and tells him this. Flapjack thinks of this as being a Living Emotional Crutch when K'nuckles told him that they couldn't live without him, but then he tells him that they literally cant live without him. Flapjack's blood contained the antidote.
- Catch Phrase:
- "Hmm, yes"
- Charlie Adler: Casting and voice director for the show.
- Cheerful Child
- Constructed World: The world of Flapjack occasionally shows some elements of this, the most notable example possibly being in the episode, "Lost At Land," in which we get to see Flapjack's world from space.
- Continuity Nod: It's safe to assume that if either of the Inventors show up, there's a continuity nod or two. An example is the Grand Flying Contraption, it was destroyed at the end of "Several Leagues Above The Sea", but in "The Return of Sally Syrup", the Inventor's Brother has been working on a new and improved version.
- Cool Ship: Flapjack calls Bubbie "the fastest ship in the sea", despite, you know, Bubbie being a whale.
- Crapsack World: Stormalong Harbor is seriously one screwed up place.
- Creepy Monotone: Doctor Barber. Mmm. Yes.
- Cross-Dressing Voices:
- Parodied in "Flapjack Goes to a Party", when Flapjack attends a birthday party for a "Kelly". When he asks where she is, a boy named Kelly who is rather obviously voiced by a woman steps out from the crowd, offended, and tells Flapjack "You're the one who looks like a girl!"
- The episode "Something's A Miss" is dedicated to this concept.
- The Dock Hag is voiced by Daran Norris.
- In Italy, Bubbie is voiced by a man named Andrea Zalone. Andrea is a male name in Italian.
- Department of Redundancy Department: "Have you ever had to make a decision that would decisively decide every decision that you would ever decide?"
- Depending on the Artist: So often you can tell who storyboarded the episode by style alone. Some examples here.
- Deranged Animation.
- Disproportionate Retribution:
Oh, tryin' to be friends, but people are jerks,
So I'm gonna put some fleas on you
And the fleas'll have the plague, and they'll make you cough a lot,
And then you'll be to sick to hurt my feelings anymore.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Every one of Bubbie and K'nuckles' arguments sound suspiciously Like an Old Married Couple. Then there's the obsession with 'candy', and especially K'nuckles stash of Maple Syrup, which adds a whole new layer to their relationship.
- Bubbie and K'nuckles' Like an Old Married Couple relationship is really, really played up in "Come Home, Cap'n". Lampshaded by Thomas Hatch during his song, when while pretending to be Flapjack, he calls them a husband and a wife. Cue Capt'n's and Bubbie's hilarious 'wut' faces.
- The entirety of "K'nuckles and his Hilarious Problem" and his candy addiction. When you get to the point where you have scenes of K'nuckles chugging a bottle of maple syrup, stumbling, slurring, and finally falling down the stairs, they're not even trying to be subtle anymore.
- Lady Nickelbottom has an enormous "beauty" mark on the top of her head, which, in her conversation with Flapjack (who was standing in for Doctor Barber), is implied to be a tumor that is possibly malignant.
- K'nuckles' termites in "What's Eatin' Ya Cap'm?".
- The whole "get foreigners oil" thing.
- The very literal cathouse, where sailors go to spend time with the cats.
- Double Entendre: There are a few of these.
- One of the larger ones was when, after being chased by a barber they thought was trying to kill them, K'nuckles says "Whew! I thought you were going to kill us! Now... do you have anywhere I can swab my poop deck?" Yes, they got a joke about K'nuckles shitting himself past the radar.
- Dr. Barber and sweepers: "Oh no he did nooooooooot!"
- The Character Eight Armed Willy wears an eyepatch, so an alternate nickname for him is One Eyed Willy
- After Flapjack states that Bubbie could beat any ship in a race, a sailor says "That whale couldn't beat my legless mermaid!"
- Dramatic Wind: The Real Adventurer's hair, which flows even inside Bubbie's mouth. It only stops flowing when Flapjack rejects him.
- Drowning My Sorrows: K'nuckles occasionally, though it is maple syrup.
- Drunk on Milk: K'nuckles and maple syrup.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: In one episode several people mistake Flapjack for a girl, with one man asking if Flapjack would marry his son because he believed he had a girl's voice.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Tee Hee Tummy Tums. He's so beautiful that a crowd of men form around him and throw money at him just to see his face.
"PLEASE!! Lemme see yo' face!"
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Evil Inventor's twin brother's "Grand Flying Contraption" (it even says so in the blueprints) from "20,000 Leagues Above the Sea"
- Another example is when Captain K'nuckles is standing in line to register a boat and, after drinking an excessive amount of water, needs to go to the bathroom. He asks the man in front of him to hold his spot while he goes to the bathroom. The man cuts a hole in the ground and holds it.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: In No Syrup For Old Flapjacks a stack of rotting pancakes gains sentience and proceeds to knock out King Hotcakes hard enough to break his neck, and according to Flapjack is now the new ruler of Maple Syrup Island. Yes, this is one screwed up show.
- Fan Disservice: Multiple occasions. Special mention goes to K'nuckles kissing the Dock Hag's foot.
- The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles
- Forbidden Fruit: "Mind the store, don't look in the drawer."
- Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Flapjack's pants fit like a skin on a grape.
- For Science!: Doctor Barber regularly preforms surgery for no reason. This surgery could be necessary, dangerous and almost always turns out bad.
- "Friend or Idol?" Decision: A variation. In "Flapjack Goes To Party", he must choose between hiding his true identity and shunning his "family" to win the approval of his peers or admit that he is that "weirdo Flapjack" and forever be an outcast...he chooses option B obviously.
- Gainax Ending: Instead of finally ending the show with the three making it to Candied Island, they get turned into Real Life instead. Huh?
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Many examples. Besides the blatant Nightmare Fuel, there is also literal crap getting past the radar in the example for Double Entendre.
- "My best hand? The hand I oiled every day? The hand I... Soiled everyday?"
- "Crabs! I've got Crabs!"
- "What is a sextant?" "A sextant? Err.. uhh...* mumbling* "
- "I'm all greased up and ready to enter!"
- The fisherman instructing each other how to "rub it" from the same episode.
- "She's been doin' Do-do on me all these years!"
- From "Bam!": K'nuckles and Flapjack taking their shirts off to wrestle, various sailors ripping off K'nuckles' limbs and putting him in a dress, etc.
- Bubbie: "These peepholes are my only friends!" Flapjack: "That's crazy! A hole can't be your friend." K'nuckles: "There's all kinds of friends, boy. All kinds of friends."
- Considering the context, it's an alcohol reference. Double whammy?
- Giant Enemy Crab: There is one at the beginning of episode My Guardian Angel.
- Gonk: Most of the human characters, actually.
- G-Rated Drug: The show makes more sense when you replace candy with alcohol. Hell, with they way they use it, the candy probably is a symbol for weed/anything that gets you high. That leaves Candy Island to be a very special place.
- Gross-Out Show: Probably even worse than The Ren and Stimpy Show. Cannabis does accurately represent the effects of candy on K'Nuckels and Flap
- Gross Up Close-Up: Oh so much. So so so SOOOO MUCH!
- Grotesque Gallery
- Half the Man He Used To Be: Played around very strangely in "Sea Legs" where a giant leaves his bottom half behind temporarily.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Doctor Barber is usually on the side of Flapjack and K'Nuckles, and often helps them. This doesn't mean that he is above preforming grotesque experiments or generally being creepy, however.
"Goods news sir, you got the Plague..."
- Hey, It's That Voice!!:
- Captain K'Nuckles is voiced by Brian Doyle-Murray, who also voiced The Flying Dutchman from SpongeBob SquarePants, the Boat Captain Salty from Family Guy, the boss of the car store in The Middle, the mayor of New York City in the Ghostbusters video game, and Coach Gills in My Gym Partner's a Monkey.
- Gregg Turkington frequently contributes miscellaneous voices to the show. You may know him better as everyone's favorite anti-comedian, Neil Hamburger.
- The legendary June Foray provided the voice of Ruth in Bubbie's Tummyache. The fact that the episode aired right after a Looney Tunes episode that had Witch Hazel made it all the more easier to pick up. Considering she's 93, her line as Ruth, "I just want to have a little fun... before I die", is a possible Casting Gag, in which case it's one of the darkest and saddest casting gags ever.
- Bubby is one of the muses from Hercules.
- Peppermint Larry is Johnny Bravo!
- Poseidon doesn't want your damn lemons.
- Claudio Moneta, who voices Knuckles in Italy, is SpongeBob.
- Historical In-Joke: In one episode Flapjack and K'nuckles fall prey to a bar with trapdoors in the floor, through which over-candied sailors would be spirited away and enslaved. Anyone familiar with the local lore of Portland, Oregon will recognize the Shanghai Tunnels in this episode; in fact, the only real difference is that in real life they used alcohol (also, more people insist that with the Shanghai Tunnels, it really happened).
- Human Popsicle: This happens when Flapjack and K'nuckles go hiking in the mountains.
- Hurricane of Puns:
- An episode with the "Stormalong Harbor Pun-off" consisted of a huge string of these.
- When K'nuckles and Flapjack had to can fish as part of community service, Flapjack said: "Yes we CAN! It'll be just like shooting fish in CAN! Nice work if you CAN get it. So CAN it, you loose CAN-non!"
- If you were a treasure chest, you would LIE at the bottom of the ocean! You would LIE in a LIEGHTHOUSE full of LIEONS and LIEMA BEANS!
- The Hyena: Flapjack.
- Hypocritical Humor: Bubbie, frequently. She'll give k'Nuckles no end of grief for not being a good role model and later she does EXACTLY what she berated K'Nuckles for. Flapjack calls her on it frequently, too.
- I Lied is something that K'nuckles has said on mutltiple occasions (although he's not necessarily a villain).
- Impossible Task: In the episode "Willy", Flapjack bets a man that he can capture Eight Armed Willy or he will never say "adventure" again. Willy has the reputation of killing everybody he meets, so it seems that Flapjack is doomed. Being the main character, Flapjack of course succeeds, with the help of K'nuckles and the Stormalong Writer's Guild.
- Innocent Inaccurate: A particularly odd case; a plague rat drastically oversimplifies the effects of the plague... possibly because its brain is too small to fully comprehend them.
- In the Style Of: Arguably, Tom Waits.
- It Tastes Like Feet: "This candy tastes like horse poop, Cap'n!"
- It Will Never Catch On: In "Fastest Man Alive", Flapjack and K'nuckles go to the under-sea inventor seeking help in escaping the constable on the bicycle. Flapjack proposes a bicycle with three wheels called a "tricycle", and the inventor proposes methods of transportation he invented that never became popular, such as the "automobile", the "heliocopter" (helicopter), and the "rocket". K'nuckles rejects all of these ideas.
- Jerkass/ Jerk with a Heart of Gold: K'nuckles and a few other Stormalong residents, Depending on the Writer
- Keet: Flapjack.
- Kids Are Cruel: "Flapjack Goes to a Party"
- Large Ham: Lord Nickelbottoms.
- Laugh Track: Used in "Please Retire" and "Under the Sea Monster". Word of God says this (and the "drawn in front of the live studio" gag) was included because he felt they wern't the strongest of the episodes.
- Leitmotif: Whenever the Real Adventurer spoke.
- Let's Meet the Meat: "No Syrup For Old Flapjacks".
- Lost Him in a Card Game: Subverted. K'nuckles bets Flapjack in a card game, but actually wins. But still, Flapjack is insulted enough that he leaves to become a banker.
K'nuckles: "What d'ya got?"K'nuckles: (shows hand) "Pair of threes."
Player: "Pair of TWOS!!!"
—(Player runs off crying)
- Subverted again (but in another sense played straight), in that K'nuckles win's somebody else's kid sidekick in that card game
- Love Triangle: It's implied at the end of Lovebugs that K'nuckles may have a thing for Candy Wife. It gets payoff in Candy Cassanova, when K'nuckles runs away with Candy Wife so he can marry her.
- Lyrical Dissonance: The upbeat, albeit gravelly-voiced "Plague Song"
- Mad Doctor: Take a guess. Here's a hint: he provides the page quote.
- Mama Bear: Well, more like a Mama Whale, but still ...
- Medium Blending: From the start! This is in the opening credits.
- Also, according to Thurop's Deviant Art, the finale will be live action.
- Mistaken for Pregnant: Happens to K'nuckles a few times in "Who's That Man in the Mirror?", oddly.
- Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate: Doctor Barber is far too obsessed with performing strange surgeries on people.
- Mushroom Samba: Drinking sea water sends Flapjack and K'nuckles down a trippy hallucination in the episode "How the West Was Fun".
- My Beloved Smother: Dr. Barber and his mom.
- Musical Episode: All Hands on Deck
- Nerf Arm: One weapon is a giant nerf pointing hand, with which one pokes people. In one fight, the "hand" was pulled off of its handle, only to reveal an actual sword. Despite this, the party holding the sword declared himself to be defenseless and jumped off the whale/ship.
- Never Say "Die": "I'd rather not live!"
- But more importantly, the show seems to consciously avoid using the word "slave". And this is significant, since Flapjack and K'nuckles have been forced into slavery on at least three different occasions so far.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Doctor Barber, again.
- No Cartoon Fish: Most of the time averted. But played straight in a recent episode with live action fish.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Inventor is a parody of James Mason, keeping with his debut episode being a Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea parody.
- Not So Different: Anyone who complains about this show for the same reasons they loved Ren and Stimpy is big hypocrite.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The episode "Over the Moon" had Flapjack and Captain K'Nuckles see and nearly touch Candied Island...but since it wasn't the Grand Finale, the moon's gravitational pull grabbed them back and they were forced to watch the sugar-coated island float off into the distance. At least Flap was able to taste it...
- Not-So-Safe Harbor: Stormalong Harbor.
- Older Sidekick: K'nuckles is an old man.
- Older Than They Look: "GROW UP? I'M THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS OLD!" (Cue Gross Up Close-Up)
- Orphanage of Fear: Flapjack gets sent to one in "Oh, You Animal".
- Our Monsters Are Weird: The Skymaids and those horrible fish/hair monsters count as two of many examples
- Our Mermaids Are Different
K'nuckles: ...Mermaids are weird.
- Overly Long Gag: Lolly Poopdeck's painfully drawn out delivery of a punchline (which is his own name!) in "Day Without Laughter".
- Parental Bonus: "Where'd you get the mud?"
- Parental Abandonment
- Pirate + The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything
- The Plague: Played for laughs.
- The Power of Love: It gives Flapjack the power to play billiards perfectly. When playing against Peppermint Larry, Flapjack actually causes every single pool ball to fly straight up through the ceiling and orbit around the moon in a figure eight before falling back down into the pool table holes. IN ONE SHOT. To make the whole scene complete; there's even a Carmina Burana-like chorus playing as the BGM.
- Prehensile Hair: The fish head and hair monsters made by Dr Barber in "Fish Heads".
- Pun-Based Title: Every single episode.
- Pungeon Master:
- Quick Nip: Captain K'nuckles' maple syrup
- Raised by Wolves: Flapjack was raised by Bubbie, an intelligent, talking whale, who loves him dearly. Bubbie is kinder, smarter, and more moral than basically every human on the show. And yet she thinks that Stormalong Harbor is a safer place for Flapjack to live than Candied Island -- the rationalization being that it's better to live in a stable populated place than risk life and limb to find Candied Island, even if the stable place is Stormalong.
- Real Dreams Are Weirder:
Skymaid: "Keep wishing, and all your dreams will come true!"
Flapjack: "Even the scary ones?"
Skymaid: "Ahahahahahahahahahahaha... YES."
- Running Gag: Every time a man is about to tell he flashback, he announces it by saying "Back when I was handsome..." Even if they looked exactly the same back then.
- Samus Is a Girl:
- The Scottish Trope:
- Saying the word "west" tends to summon very weird and eldritch creepies.
- "French fry? You want french fry?"
- Screwed by the Network: Flapjack seemed to quickly vanish out of Cartoon Network's focus midway through the second season, by the time Adventure Time came out, it had all but replaced the show. Giving it a quiet unceremonious finale. At least they cared enough to give them a series finale, right?
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules: Tee Hee Tummy Tumms
- Serious Business: Shopping for fancy pants.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: "I don't love any woman! Or man, for that matter."
- The episode "Whale Times" makes reference to the programming block the series aired on in the United States.
Flapjack: Bubbie sure knocked him down to size!
K'nuckles: Har! Har! Tharsday!
- Show Some Leg: The entirety of the episode "Sea Legs.", albiet giant, green, horrid legs in short shorts.
- So Beautiful It's a Curse: A male example.
- Spell My Name with an "S"/ It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": The K in K'nuckles is pronounced.
- Stylistic Suck: Most of the original songs are sung off-tempo and off-key, with awkward lyrics. The general consensus is that they are awesome.
- Supercop: Parodied/deconstructed with the constable who invented the bicycle, which allowed him to easily pursue and capture criminals, in "Fastest Man Alive". He ended up only chasing and arresting Flapjack and K'nuckles, which he did at every opportunity, even when they weren't doing anything wrong, making their lives miserable and becoming the not-so heroic Hero Antagonist for that episode.
- Take That: The episode "Panfake" was a poke at a Disney cartoon that was being made (that was cancelled as soon as Cartoon Network found out), which was a ripoff of the series premise. The name of said cartoon? Poopdeck.
- That Came Out Wrong: In "Oh, You Animal", Bubbie attempts to explain about her and Flapjack:
"He doesn't live with me. He lives inside me. (pause) My mouth. He lives inside my mouth. (pause) That sounds weirder than it is."
- That Liar Lies: You LIED! If you were a treasure chest, you would LIE at the bottom of the ocean! You would LIE in a LIEGHTHOUSE full of LIEONS and LIEMA BEANS!
- "Boy, that guy sure sounds like a really big liar."
- The Full Name Adventures
- The Beard: Flapjack for K'nuckles... literally, as in, he disguised himself as K'nuckle's beard so he wouldn't be ashamed of himself. This is odd, because one episode implies that K'nuckles' odd blue coloration is, in fact, a weapons-grade case of Perma Stubble...which may itself be false.
- The Reveal: Several. Including the best one ever: Blood gnats.
- Third Person Person: Cammie hates sardines! And Cammie hates saying Cammie all the time! But, if Cammie didn't say Cammie, then no one will say Cammie.
- Too Dumb to Live: Very nearly literally true with K'Nuckles when he eats the last remaining fruit in Stormalong Harbor, and an angry, scurvy-induced mob threatens to carve him up to retrieve the fruit.
- Took a Level In Jerkass: Sally Syrup
- Tuckerization: Punsy McKale is named after show animator Patrick McHale. Unlike most Tuckerizations this is more of a disservice.
- Traveling Landmass: Candied Island.
- True Meaning of Christmas: Subverted in "Low Tidings" -- K'Nuckles learns the "better to give than to receive" Aesop...but it's made moot when Poseidon states that everyone can get gifts now, no matter whether they've been good or bad. You know, just like in Real Life.
- Verbal Tic: Doctor Barber... Hmmm?... Yes?
- Weird Moon: They had an entire EPISODE that centered around this trope.
- Whole-Plot Reference: The Highlandlubber is an extended parody/deconstruction of Highlander, presenting it's Ramirez expy as an escapee from Stormalong's Insane Asylum thinking he's immortal and jumping into a volcano to prove it
- Wide-Eyed Idealist
- Widget Series
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: In "Sally Syrup Returns" Sally tries to beat a pirate in a fight by acting helpless and saying "You wouldn't hit a girl, would ya?" but after he backs down and she starts kicking his butt, he grabs her and holds her at arm's length. Flapjack tries the same trick on a different pirate, but it turns out to be a woman and she kicks his butt.
- Write Who You Know: When Peppermint Larry starts putting on puppet shows, they revolve around "Pancake" and "Captain K'neecaps" and how lame they are.
- X Meets Y: This show is basically Ren And Stimpy's art style and unsettling humor meets Courage The Cowardly Dog's horror plotlines and Crapsack World setting.
- You Are a Tree Charlie Brown: In the Low Tides day pageant, a boy plays the tide. He sits down when asked to lower.
- You Mean "Xmas": Low Tides Day. The episode was titled "Low Tidings". Remember "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen"? The end of the episode has the holiday changed significantly to more resemble Christmas... sort of.