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Sheep in the Big City (2000-2002) is an original animated series from Cartoon Network in the mold of Rocky and Bullwinkle. The titular Sheep fled to the titular Big City in order to escape the sinister Secret Military Organization, who were seeking him to use in their sheep-powered ray gun. The various episodes revolved around Sheep adjusting to life in the Big City while trying to win over his love interest, Swanky the Poodle, and dodging such foes as General Specific (leader of the secret Military Organization still trying to track Sheep down) and Lady Richington (Swanky's ill-tempered, sheep-hating owner with a stainless steel wig). It was notable for humorous fake advertisements and variety sections before and after real commercial breaks, often being strange non-sequiturs and general weirdness.
- All Just a Dream: One entire episode focuses on several bizarre plots that turn out to be dreams that the characters are having. This infuriates the Narrator… though it turns out that the entire episode is all just a dream of his. When he wakes up, however, he finds himself in the exact position he was in at the end of the dream.
- Animated Actors: The whole final episode happens behind the scenes, though the actors' names and real personalities are exactly the same.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: One of the Oxymoron segments shows a trailer for a movie called Attack Of The 50 Foot Creature, a giant monster consisting of 50 evil feet. Released in Europe as The Approximatley 17 Metre Creature That Amusingly Enough Happens To be Made Entirerly Out Of Feet Movie. Yeah, its that kind of show.
- A season 2 episode that used pretty much every Disaster Movie trope humanly possible has sheep enlarged and attacking the Big City (well, not so much as attacking, but accidentally tripping over buildings).
- Berserk Button: The Angry Scientist does not like to be called mad.
- Better Than a Bare Bulb
- Catch Phrase: In (nearly) every episode, one of the commercials will proclaim the item sold does whatever it does "With the power of an OX!"
- The City
- Clear My Name
- Captain Obvious: Among others, there is a short man with glasses, whose entire role is to read aloud various signs that are on screen at the time and occasionally comment on fonts.
- Couch Gag:
- Every episode except for the first one starts with Sheep watching something random on TV and changing the channel halfway through.
- The Ranting Swede's bit at the end of every episode.
- Deadpan Snarker: The Narrator.
- Enfant Terrible: Lisa Rental.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's a show about a sheep in a big city. Many other things in this show have this same trope. The sheep-powered raygun is a raygun powered by sheep, the plot device is a device to move along the plot and the Ranting Swede is a Swedish Man who rants about things.
- Funny Foreigner:
- The Ranting Swede.
- The Angry Scientist. His grasp of English grammar is extremely limited.
Angry Scientist: Why are you not my Еnglishnes be understanding? All the timing with that.
- Gag Series: Oh, Hell yes.
- Gargle Blaster: A rare non-alcoholic version - Shrimpola Cola. It combines the taste of cola and 12-week old sun-dried shrimp and will burn your brain, as advertised by its rapping shrimp mascot Shrimpy.
- Genre Savvy: The Narrator, at times, flying into a rage during an episode that was merely a series of dreams, and again when sheep gets amnesia.
- Hurricane of Puns: Often to the narrator's dismay.
- His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Far Mer John.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All chapter titles contain some sheep-related pun, except for the one ironically named "Some Pun on the word Sheep".
- Incompetence, Inc.: The Oxymoron Corporation, whose products are featured in the episodes themselves, and advertised between segments. Among their products and services are "Shrimpola Cola", a cola with 12 week old sun dried shrimp inside that causes severe brain burns, "Oxymoron Airlines", which take their poor customer service, horrible conditions and overbooking as something to be proud of, and the "Super Cool Fresh Rocket Ball", which is, in fact, a metal cube, that somehow requires 97 batteries to work.
- Insistent Terminology: "Angry! I am an angry scientist!"
- Interactive Narrator
- It Runs on Nonsensoleum: The sheep powered ray-gun, that only works with one sheep and only if he's alive.
- Kangaroo Court: In one episode Sheep is assured that he'll "be found guilty in a completely fair trial." The judge declares him guilty after his opening statement. In the form of song and dance.
- Lampshade Hanging: The show is practically fueled by Lampshade Hanging. It's one of the most common types of humor in the series, after puns and sight gags.
- It is regularly acknowledged that making a ray gun that uses a more practical power source than sheep would be less trouble than hunting Sheep down. And don't you dare asking General Specific why he simply doesn't pick any sheep and have the ray gun compatible to it.
- In another instance, Private Public asks the Angry Scientist why he can't make a ray gun that works without a sheep after he just invented a time machine. His response basically amounts to "I'm the scientist here."
- Large Ham: With the exception of Far Mer John and Private Public, almost every recurring human male character in the show was a Large Ham at some point. Including one that was actually a ham sandwich.
- Letting the Air Out of the Band: In every episode, and every five minutes; sometimes, even seconds.
- Lemony Narrator: The Narrator more often than not will end up complaining about the script he's reading and the patent silliness of some situations. He is also essentially treated as a character both in the show and in the Show Within a Show.
- Meaningful Name: To say nothing of everyone else, the Plot Device is a robot that serves exactly that purpose.
Gen. Specific: How do you know that?
- Mega Corp: Almost all of the products in the fake commercials are sold by Oxymoron.
- Mister Muffykins
- Never Trust a Trailer: Hilariously lampooned by the live-action trailer.
General: We're not here to count sheep, soldier. We're not here to count sheep.
- Niche Network: The Watching Paint Dry Channel.
- No Fourth Wall
- Non Sequitur: Another frequent source of jokes, especially prevalent in the Oxymoron commercials.
Do you have a paper towel absorbent enough to pick up this acid?
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Happens quite frequently
- Only Sane Man: Private Public, the more Genre Savvy sidekick of General Specific.
- Overly Long Name:
- Mrs. Smythe Robertson Johnson Weathermocker Von Herbertson-Berski-Jackson, the woman in the Oxymoron commercials.
- "I call it, the portable sightness-reducing vision obscuring tactical cloth optics impairer." "Isn't that just a blindfold?" "Yes, but with a fancier name."
- Oxymoron Guaranteed Plastic Sealing Bag-type Containers. It also has a supercomputer-powered, laser-equipped robot attached to protect the freshness.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: Dinky - the superest turtle in the universe. He's slightly faster than a normal turtle. And he has a bitching cape.
- Parody Commercial: A frequent gag on the show.
- Parrot Expowhat: A plot twist (both Sheep and General Specific lose the mayoral election to a talking ham sandwich) leads to a long chain of characters going "Hubba-whah?"
- Punny Name:
- General Specific, Major Minor, Private Public, Private Public's father - General Public.
- Can't forget Far Mer John, Lady Richington, Ben Plotz, Lisa Rental, and of course, Sheep himself.
- But wait, there's more! Major Appliance, Major Pain, Major Television Event, General Lee Outrageous, Private Party, Major League Baseball, Corporal Ethereal, General Lee Speaking, Major Embarrassment, Private Thoughts and Major Historical Figure.
- Count To Ten. Okay - one, two, three, four...
- Put on a Bus: Lampshaded with the X-agent. "You're needed in Toledo... and no, this is not a convenient excuse to get you off the show."
- Running Gag:
- "Great Scott!" "Yes?" Subverted only once when he was sick.
- "We used the Plot Device." "Hello."
- Shout-Out: When Lisa Rental finally gets Sheep as a pet, she treats him like a dog. An obligatory reference to Snoopy is made with Sheep's new doghouse.
- Spinoff Babies: Parodied in a fake commercial for Secret Military Organization Babies, a fictional spin off wherein General Specific, Private Public, and the Angry Scientist were babies.
- Status Quo Is God: In the one episode where the secret military organization actually succeeds in kidnapping Sheep, General Specific declares that he will fire the entire group after installing Sheep into the ray gun the next day. In order to keep their jobs, Private Public, Angry Scientist, and the Plot Device break Sheep out that night. The next morning, General Specific thinks Sheep escaped on his own and things are back as they were.
- The Unintelligible:
- Sheep can speak entire sentences in a single bleat.
- Same with the X-agent, which makes his reports to the general somewhat problematic.
- Viewers are Morons: They parodied the network's request that all on-screen text be read out loud by creating a character whose sole purpose was to show up out of nowhere, read on screen text, and then mention how much he enjoys doing so before leaving. He even takes over as narrator for the Silent Movie episode.
- Visual Pun: Far, far too many to list.
- We Care: "Bio-Technical Corporate Concern Limited Company. We have no idea what we sell."
- Who Writes This Crap?:
- The Narrator has both wondered "Who writes this stuff?" and apologized for the writer not feeling well and doing a worse job than usual.
- Whenever the writer is actually shown, he's a buffoon at a typewriter.
- You and What Army?
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: General Specific threatens to fire the entire secret military organization once he activates the ray gun, now that they captured Sheep. It confirms that Sheep's capture is the sole purpose of the organization's existence.
- You Mean "Xmas": Played with with Clearance Day. Its origins are clearly shown to be different from Christmas - a calendar loving shopkeeper founded it when he noticed a single week in the year that didn't have any holidays associated with it, implying that Christmas exists as a separate holiday - but it seems to have taken on all of Christmas' trappings in the public mind.
- In case you didn't know, it's a pun on the old Cartoon Network slogan.