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Ug: Camp Anawanna...

Z.Z.: We hold you in our heart...

Donkeylips: And when we think about you-

Budnick: It makes me wanna fart!

[other kids laugh]

Ug: It's "I hope we never part"! Now get it right or pay the price!
—~Excerpt from the opening theme

Airing on Nickelodeon in the early/mid nineties, Salute Your Shorts was a network contemporary of such shows as Clarissa Explains It All, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, and Are You Afraid of the Dark??, and like those three tends to be among the more clearly and fondly remembered pieces of the era (making it a prime candidate for the Nostalgia Filter). A sitcom centered around a group of kids at summer camp Annawanna. The title of the show comes from a common prank in initiating new campers. Older, jerkier campers would loot their luggage, steal their underwear, and run them up the nearest flag pole to let them flap in the breeze. Seeing how there's no way to un-steal it, the appropriate response is to, "stand at attention, click your heels, and salute your shorts!"

The first episode introduced Michael Stein, the Naive Newcomer, to the existing ensemble cast, which was set up as a Six-Student Clique. The other campers included:

  • Budnick: The Schemer and resident Jerkass, Budnick is a con artist and more than a bit of a bully, preferring to use manipulative ploys more often than outright coercion, though he has Donkeylips to back him up in that department as well. His attitude initially repulsed most everyone at camp, but as time went by his hostile veneer started to rub off.
  • Donkeylips: The muscle (Donkeylips is fat, but tough enough to qualify) and sometimes Budnick's enforcer, though he is rather amiable in personality otherwise. Openly crushes on Dina, to her disgust... most of the time.
  • Sponge: the quirk, a smart, scrawny kid with occasional hyperactive tendencies.
  • Telly: the smart one, although more in a common sense way, Telly is a tomboy obsessed with sports. Also the token black kid.
  • Dina: the pretty one - a bit of a Brainless Beauty, and can be a Rich Bitch
  • Z.Z.: the wild one - Granola Girl and Cloudcuckoolander, very conscientious about the environment but less conscious of just about everything else.

The only authority figure in sight is Kevin "Ug" Lee, the dim-witted loser guy counselor. Dr. Kahn, his superior, is only heard through loudspeaker.

In season two Erik MacArthur left the show and accordingly Michael left camp, (ostensibly due to chicken pox), and was promptly replaced by Ronnie Pinsky. Pinsky, in his debut episode, is established as a wise-cracking Ferris Bueller-like character (Michael's polar opposite, really) and immediately becomes the most popular kid in camp (except with Budnick). Later in the season, however, he becomes much more restrained and fallible (though still with his moments of Bueller-like mischief), and his popularity is significantly lower.

This show contains examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Well, only one, really...Camp counselor Kevin "Ug" Lee. But he's still useless.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Dina doesn't like Budnick unless he's a bad boy.
  • Alliterative Name: Z.Z. Ziff.
  • Alpha Bitch: Dina, more or less.
  • Amusing Injuries: Nine times out of ten, Ug, but "Budnick Loves Dina" had so many characters suffer accidents that by episode's end those two were the only people not on crutches.
  • Anticipatory Breath Spray: Michael does this repeatedly in the "Cinderella Play" episode when he's cast as the male lead (who thus gets to kiss Dina). When the actual moment does come, however, he winds up chickening out and shaking Cinderella's hand instead.
  • Badass Bookworm: Sponge, occasionally.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Donkeylips and Sponge
  • Big woman on campus: Telly.
  • Butt Monkey: Ug.
  • Call Back: Pinsky's introductory episode is one Call Back after another to Michael's, right down to the pranks. However, events don't play out the same way a second time, a few outcomes being reversed entirely.
    • "The Wrath of Kahn, Jr." references the "Awful Waffle" from the first episode. Also the music used when the girls' trap was tripped plays when Kahn's niece gets her just desserts.
  • Capture the Flag: Episode of the same title.
  • Catch Phrase: "Roasted, toasted, and burnt to a crisp."
    • "Tough nuggets."
  • Chained to a Railway: A model train rail, in this case.
  • The Chew Toy: Ug.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Z.Z.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Often.
  • Control Freak: Ug.
  • Continuity Nod: Michael's "wuss hat" is Harry the Hippo.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Punishments have included:
    • Having to fill the swimming pool with water, one bucket at time
    • Ringing a bell with your nose while doing push-ups
    • Having to clean entire rooms with your own toothbrush (a perennial favorite)
    • Hugging a tree (this is apparently terrifying)
    • Forced to hold out buckets of water at arm's length (similar to Standing in the Hall)
  • Crosscast Role: Almost happens in-universe with the Cinderella play. When Dina claims she lost her voice (she really got stage fright), Cinderella is nearly played by the only other person that knows all the lines: Sponge, who is briefly shown in costume.
  • Curse Cut Short

 Budnick: Right now we gotta swear to each other.

Donkeylips: Ok! You're a big dripping piece...

Budnick: I'm not talking swear like that. I mean, swear that whatever we find, we'll split 50/50.

  • Dartboard of Hate: Budnick does this, but it's just a piece of paper with Pinsky's name written on it.
    • But he gets bonus points for doing it while Pinsky's still in the room.
      • Ironic since Pinsky later seems to become Budnick's partner in crime.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everybody is this on occasion.
  • The Ditz: Both Z.Z. and Dina have exhibited ditzy traits.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Despite being his friend and enforcer, Donkeylips had no qualms about doing this if Budnick went too far.
  • Drunk with Power What happens to Budnick on Opposite Day.
    • And Pinsky in "The Pinsky-Sponge Gazette"

 Pinsky: Material's no problem. If it's a slow news day, we'll just go out and create it ourselves.

Donkeylips: But what will people think of that?

Pinsky: They'll think what I tell them to think. (Cue evil music)

  • Economy Cast: Now and again there will be some extras milling around, or even an additional speaking role, but for the most part as far as the show was concerned there could have been only seven kids and one counselor in the entire camp.
    • This could be justified as it's repeatedly suggested that Anawanna is a really crappy camp.
  • E=MC Hammer: Uttered by Dina during an Imagine Spot of Budnick's.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Michael is "Moosh-Moosh" to his grandparents.
  • The Everykid: Michael.
  • Evil Redhead: Budnick.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: After sneaking out of camp to go to the theater, Sponge and his date manage to avoid detection from Ug by kissing passionately in the phone booth they'd been trying to hide in. Ug (who's being dragged out the door anyway) reasons it can't be Sponge if he's getting some action... meanwhile, in the booth, Ug has been long since forgotten and the episode ends with them still kissing.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Food Fight: Of course.
  • Freudian Excuse: Budnick comes from a broken home.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Maybe friends is too strong a word, but after "Budnick and Michael Fake Being Sick," the two get along much better and pretty much have each other's respect.
  • Friend in the Black Market: Budnick sells candy to campers at sizable prices. Given the "No Outside Food" rule, no one complains too much.
  • Full House Music: Played surprisingly straight on occasion.
    • Most notably in the episode where Budnick and Michael play sick to get out of Instructional Swim.
  • Funny Foreigner: Z.Z.'s friend Spanakopita.
  • Gasshole: Donkeylips.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Many times. In the episode "The Radio Call-in Contest", Eugene "Sponge" Harris quite clearly says "I'm pissed off because I'm not as smart as I thought I was!" The profanity was never removed from the episode. Also, several mentions of flipping the finger are made in "Budnick and Michael Fake Being Sick".

 Pinsky (re: Budnick's crush on Dina): I don't know what you're thinking with, but it is certainly not your brain.

    • It also happened in "Brownies for Thud Mackie"

 Budnick How many fingers am I holding up?

Michael: How many fingers am I holding up?

Donkeylips (in an outhouse): Hey! There's this thing on the wall that sells balloons!

    • In the first episode, Ug offers a milkshake and a pizza every night for the rest of the summer to the person who reveals to him who set up the trap that got him Covered in Gunge and feathers:

 Budnick: And rat on our friends? Sorry, Big Bird, go pluck yourself!


 Z.Z.: Look, I found a Junior Park Ranger's badge!

Michael: Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!

  • Granola Girl: Z.Z.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Dr. Kahn, the camp director, who 'appears' only as a disembodied voice over the loudspeaker.
    • Someone once hung a sign on a goat saying "This is Dr. Kahn", and all they got was a loudspeaker request to remove it.
  • High School Dance and School Play: despite being set at a summer camp rather than a high school.
  • Hidden Depths: Generally Ug is portrayed as dim-witted, kind of lazy, and a bit of a loser, but he has moments of scary competence, usually sees through most of the kids' schemes, and is a certified athletic trainer. He may seem a little high-strung sometimes, but dealing with those kids would drive someone to drink.
    • Donkeylips showed he had some decent wrestling chops in one episode. He is also a very clever strategist as shown in "Capture the Flag".
  • High School Hustler: Pinsky on his better days. His Zany Schemes backfire, he often promises more than he can deliver and some of the stuff he gets away with is only by virtue of having no shame, but he did get Sponge a girlfriend and helped Donkeylips live out his dream of championing a game of "Capture the Flag."
  • Homage: More than a few elements of the show harked back to ~M*A*S*H~. The most obvious were the frequent establishing shots of the camp overlaid with some bizarre news or orders from Dr. Kahn's PA. Ug's general character as the erstwhile but hapless authority figure drew inspiration from Colonel Blake, down to wearing the same hat.
    • Ug also draws parallels from Frank Burns, Sponge sometimes channels Radar, and Pinsky fills in the Hawkeye role once he comes to camp.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Dina in particular supplies a lot.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: When a celebrity kid comes to camp, he just wants to be treated like everyone else, which supremely frustrates Dina.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Poor Z.Z.

 Z.Z.: I know I'm gonna hate myself for saying this. But if you tell Dina, what you just told me? She'd probably change her mind about you.

  • Jerkass: Budnick.
    • Ug is also this to some extent.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Also Budnick, whose good qualities start coming out more frequently in the second season.
    • Really, almost all of the campers tended to fall into this at one point or another.
  • Judgment of Solomon: Ownership of "Wartbreath" is settled this way.
  • Karma Houdini: Dina and Telly in "Bunk Chief Elections". They leave the boys to take blame for the mess left in their personal Food Fight, with nary a qualm of guilt, even knowing Ug's been making their lives hell for some time already and is just looking for an excuse to dish out more punishment.
  • Keep the Reward: Z.Z. can't get the campers to pitch in and help the environment until she creates an incentive to save up for a trip to the water park. At the end of the episode, they decide to surprise her by using the funds to purchase a tree instead.
  • Limited Social Circle
  • Locked in a Room: The A-plot of "Budnick and Michael Fake Being Sick".
  • Mood Whiplash: The gang feeling depressed with Michael gone, only to cheer up when they meet Pinsky who one-up'd Budnick.
  • Motionless Makeover: Ug is in a trance after his girlfriend dumps him. One of the campers puts a danish on his head.
  • Mouthy Kid: Budnick and Pinsky.
  • Naive Newcomer: Michael. Pinsky, less so.
  • Nerd Glasses: Sponge, although Telly had a pair that were never seen past the first episode (she got contacts).
  • Noodle Implements: The "Awful Waffle", apparently based on a Real Life hazing. The viewer never gets to see what one looks like, and the ingredients list grows longer and stranger each time it's invoked.
    • The original hazing was probably the act of a bare-skin butt-paddling with tennis racket applied to leave a "waffle-like" bruise pattern. This troper has heard of, but thankfully never seen nor experienced such a thing.
      • In the first episode, the dorky kid who's taking the blame for Michael and Sponge is about to get an awful waffle. Budnick grabs a bottle of syrup and they stretch him out on a table, making it look like the traditional "Press tennis racket on stomach and pour syrup over it" tradition. (It also needs to be said that there's another, much more disgusting version of an awful waffle, that would NEVER fly on any show, ever.)
  • Not So Above It All: Ug. Sure, he dispenses severe and exaggerated punishment, but in the context of the campers actually breaking the rules. Still, whenever given the chance to prank Budnick, he jumps at the chance.
  • Odd Friendship: Donkeylips and Sponge.
  • Oh Crap: The gang groans when they learn that Kahn's niece will be coming to camp the next summer. And she learned a few tricks from them.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Ug, Donkeylips, Sponge and Z.Z. (Their real names were used very occasionally; as is mentioned in the intro to this article, Ug's real name is Kevin Lee, while Donkeylips' real name is Eddie Gelfen and Sponge's real name is Eugene Harris.)
  • Opposite Day: Budnick and Ug switch places as camper and counselor.
    • And the girls dressing up as guys and vice-versa. In fact, one of the girls says she looks forward to it because "it's the only time you can see Budnick in a dress." Make of that what you will.
  • Pet the Dog: Both the kids and Ug have (rare) moments where they show they actually do care about each other somewhat.
  • Playing Cyrano: Pinsky does this for Sponge, creating a new persona for him to get him with a girl from another nearby camp that's way out of his league. It later turns out that the girl in question was just as geeky, and her fellow campers also were pulling the same stunt.
  • Playing Sick: A popular ploy for getting out of instructional swim. Budnick has a killer recipe for realistic-looking vomit.
  • Please Dump Me: Dina employs this to break up with Budnick, who ceased being bad boy while they were a couple (and thus ceased to be interesting).
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The pilot aired on another Nickelodeon program called Special Delivery.
  • Positive Discrimination: Telly is the most athletic camper, and frequently the most honest and level-headed one as well.
  • "Previously On...": At the beginning of "Budnick Loves Dina, Part 2". Donkeylips uses flag signals explaining what happened in the previous episode as Sponge writes them down while cutting to scenes from the last episode. This was done so they could get their merit badge. However, a bee was on Donkeylips and he tries to swat it with his flags, confusing Sponge.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Used a lot, though not exclusively. Tchiakovsky's "March Slav" is frequently used.
  • Radio Contest: An entire episode.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses: As an in-universe example, Telly is pathological about this.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Ug can be this when the kids aren't making his life hell.
  • Rich Bitch: Dina, although she tends to be shallow and ditzy more often than outright bitchy.
  • Right Through the Wall: Subverted in "Park Ranger Mona" when Ug and Mona start to fight. But they notice they're being watched, so Ug closed the door on the campers, but the door has glass so they can still see.

 Z.Z.: I can't believe they're fighting! This is terrible!

Donkeylips: I know! I can't hear a word they're saying!

  • Running Gag: If a food fight breaks out Ug is always the one to blow the whistle to stop it and always gets hit with something immediately after he blows the whistle.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Donkeylips can not only track people but determine the kind of sandwich they were eating at the time. Dina, meanwhile, is not good at tracking most of the time but is a crack expert at following limo tracks.
  • Second-Person Attack: In the first season finale, Michael is leaving to avoid a large and very aggressive bully. In the episode's climax, Michael decides to face the bully down. The camera switches to Michael's POV for the confrontation just before the bully delivers an anticlimactic One-Hit KO and the screen goes black.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Ug and Mona, and Dina and Budnick for all of five minutes.
  • The Smart Guy: Sponge.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Z.Z.
  • Speech Impediment: "Donkey Lips".
  • Spinning Paper: In "The Pinsky-Sponge Gazette".
  • Spoiled Brat: Dina.
  • The Strategist: Donkeylips' ambition in "Capture the Flag".
  • Summer Campy: The entire premise.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: This would be a subversion, as while the song is supposed to be about how great camp is and how strong the friendships are, the obviously forced and insincere delivery of the sappy lyrics really serve to tell the audience how bad it is, while hinting at the flaws that are bound to cause friction in individual character relationships.
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Mona says that's what everyone calls her in the episode "They Call Me Ms. Tibbs".
  • Title Drop: Sponge does it in the first episode, just before the cut to the theme song.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Telly and Dina.
  • Troubled but Cute: Budnick has had both Dina and Z.Z. crushing on him.
  • TV Teen: Played completely straight. Although they evolve/develop a bit during the second season, the characters generally remain married to their respective high school stereotypes.
    • Michael is somewhat of a subversion, since he's less easily stereotyped than the others. The downside is that he had no real personality to speak of. So maybe, in this case, it would've been better if he DID have some kind of stereotype attached to him!
  • Upper Class Wit: Pinsky.
  • The Voice: Dr. Kahn.

  Dr. Kahn: Man or Myth?