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Larry 3000: We at Time Squad enforce the past to protect the future.
—A Cartoon Network promo for the show
Imagine that as time continues into the future, the past starts to unravel, with various points in history coming out all wrong: Abraham Lincoln leaves his presidency to pull pranks, Eli Whitney invents flesh-eating robots instead of the cotton gin, Winston Churchill becomes a nudist, Ludwig Van Beethoven becomes a professional wrestler, Edgar Allan Poe writes cheerful children's stories, Amelia Earhart is too afraid of germs to become the first female pilot, Al Capone uses circus clowns to run his crime syndicate, and so on.
Enter Time Squad, who travel through time making sure that the past stays right on track. The show follows one section of Time Squad: Buck Tuddrussel, who likes to shoot first and forget the questions, Larry 3000, an uppity, effeminate, snarky robot who originally worked with kings, senators, and diplomats, and Otto, an orphaned history buff picked up along the way who assists with his knowledge of the past. "Enforcing the past to protect our future."
Unless you count Otto's exposition, this show doesn't even try to be historically accurate. In fact, the basic premise revolves around the inaccuracies. And yet, most of their "successes" often leave behind many more inaccuracies...
The show premiered on Cartoon Network in June 2001 and was cancelled in November 2003. It reran for a time in 2004 and 2005 (strangely, yet appropriately, after Adult Swim's weeknight line-up), but the show has now all but disappeared from the airwaves.
This show provides examples of:
- A Day in His Apron: In "Hate and Let Hate," Tuddrussell finds himself on the side of the satellite with the kitchen (Larry's domain) and decides to cook for himself after not having a decent meal in days. Subverted in that Tuddrussell actually does a good job at cooking.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Amelia Earhart toward Tuddrussel in "Love at First Flight." This is a somewhat unusual example--Tuddrussel and Amelia Earhart get along well until she declares her desire to marry him.
- Abraham Lincoln: As a prankster after getting sick of everyone praising him for being honest and good.
- Adult Child, Stepford Smiler, and Tastes Like Diabetes: Edgar Allan Poe, until he was Maddened Into Misanthropy by the main characters.
- Albert Einstein The Used Car Salesman
- All Psychology Is Freudian: Literally--Freud is the only psychologist who appears in canon. On a more tangentially related note, the series is obviously influenced by Freudian theory.
- Ambiguous Clone Ending: The end of "Day of the Larrys."
- Ambiguously Jewish: Attila the Hun.
- Anachronism Stew: In one episode ("Kubla Khan't") Otto lampshades this. "I didn't know comic books even existed back then."
- Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: Buck and Larry's hug after their fight in "Hate and Let Hate" which can be inferred as Vitriolic Best Buds or a romantic relationship
- Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: A slight variation seeing that it's paired with Hilariously Abusive Childhood, and that Tuddrussel acts more like an uncle or a brother and rarely shows any sort of "paternal" emotions for Otto (outside of saying "That's my boy!" during the birthday party sequence in "Love at First Flight"). At the beginning of the episode "Father Figure of Our Country", Tuddrussel tries to bond with Otto by teaching him how to play baseball, ride a bike, and fish. This goes about as well as you'd expect, disastrous. At the end of the scene Otto is completely battered and bandaged up because of Tuddrussel's blind negligence.
- Big, Thin, Short Trio: Tuddrussel, Larry, and Otto, respectively. In "The Clownfather," they are mistaken for a trio of gangsters who have similar builds.
- Book Ends: The series premiere "Eli Whitney's Flesh-Eating Mistake" began with Tuddrussell and Larry appearing in Otto's bedroom and taking him away from the orphanage. The series finale "Orphan Substitute" ended with Otto reuniting with Tuddrussell and Larry after Otto gets taken back to the orphanage.
- Brain Bleach: Referenced in this line from "The Prime Minister Has No Clothes":
Tuddrussel: A 300-pound man skinny-dipping with a robot. That is just not right.
- Brick Joke, Overly Long Gag, and Leave the Camera Running: "Killing Time," where after the Time Squad guide Copernicus to be an astronomer instead of a farmer, the trio spends the rest of the episode waiting around for Larry to restart his time travel software so they can go home. Just as the Time Squad zap back to the satellite, Copernicus runs back and yells, "Wait! I forgot to ask! What is the sun?".
- Butterfly of Doom: "Planet of the Flies" was about this trope.
- The Cameo: While Tuddrussell and Larry are trying to find another Child Prodigy orphan on the series finale "Orphan Substitute," one of them is...Dexter (voiced by Candi Milo, not Christine Cavanaugh), who points out he's not an orphan.
- Cannot Stand Them Cannot Live Without Them/Like an Old Married Couple: Tuddrussell and Larry
- The Cape: George Washington is the only character whose depiction hasn't been warped (though he came close on "Father Figure of Our Country, when he wanted to quit being the first U.S. President and be an actual father).
- Cast of Snowflakes
- Children Raise You: Otto often resorts to being the parent to Tuddrussel and Larry, who can act like bickering siblings (or, in a lot of cases, husband and wife). Even Dr. Freud makes a comment on the dysfunctional relationship, saying that the poor kid is slowly being robbed of his childhood and will be traumatized by this in his adult life (this, by the way, is all Played for Laughs).
- But while Larry and Tuddrussell have a lot of problems, they still manage to give Otto a better life than he would have had in the twenty-first century (when he was in the orphanage and kept getting harassed by the other kids and forced to do chores by Sister Thornley).
- The Chosen Many: For many of the early episodes, it seems that Buck, Larry and Otto are the only Time Squad unit, until we are introduced to at least two featuring the same "Officer-Robot" dynamic (one with Tuddrussell's ex-wife and Larry's rival, the XJ-5 and another with J.T. Laser and The Lance 9 Trillion, whom Buck and Larry idolize). Lampshaded when Otto asks in "Kubla Khan't"-
Otto:"You mean we're not the only Time Squad?"
- Commercials Always Lie: Some commercials portray Otto as a hyperactive curious kid who'll more likely screw the missions of Tuddrussel and Larry. In the actual show, Otto is the Only Sane Man who had to deal with the wacky antics of his two friends-cum-"foster parents".
- Dead Baby Comedy: On "The Clownfather," Larry and Tuddrussell fight each other over who gets to entertain kids at a party. Tuddrussell wows the kids by balancing a piano on his nose. Larry throws down a banana peel and Tuddrussell slips on it. The two almost get into a pie fight until a panicked mom finds her son crushed by a piano and the mobsters (including the Time Squad, who joined Al Capone's gang because Capone mistook them for three gangsters who look like them) bail before the cops can come.
- The many times Otto has been beaten up or abandoned -- both when he lived in the orphanage and when Larry and Tuddrussell "adopt" him.
- Did You Just Have Sex?: Try not to think about the exact "mechanics" of it, but this was all but explicitly stated to be the cause behind Larry's sudden, over-the-top good mood at the beginning of "Ex Marks the Spot" . Otto even calls him out on it and the Freudian symbolism of the food involved (the gravy being pumped into the turkey and a lone cherry sinking into the gravy-smothered turkey) seems to speak volumes of why Larry is such in a good mood.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: This show lives and breathes on this trope, thanks to the seemingly constant flashes of Ho Yay, Ambiguously Gay behavior, and moments of Freud Was Right. Examples:
- In "Larry Upgrade," Tuddrussell and Larry argue like a married couple (but not before sending Otto out to play).
- Then, there's the "break-up" between Lewis and Clark on "Lewis and Clark and Larry," along with Clark getting jealous that Lewis "went exploring" with Larry.
- "Ex Marks the Spot," from the literal take on Food Porn to Larry declaring that Tuddrussel is sleeping on the sofa (even though Tuddrussel did nothing to deserve it).
- A rare example that has nothing to do with the homosexual undertone of the show occurs in "Child's Play," where Shakespeare gets into creative differences between his agent (who wants him to do kids' plays for merchandise) and Larry (who acts as a Moral Guardian and keeps objecting to the plays' content). Considering how short-lived "Time Squad" was, one has to wonder if this wasn't Dave Wasson (the show creator) speaking out against the creative output of his show or if this was merely a satire on the mediocre quality of current kids' TV programming and movies due to greed and Political Correctness Gone Mad.
- Another non-homosexual example: the two times Larry has acted drunk (in "Eli Whitney's Flesh-Eating Mistake," where his Non Sequitur Thud after being beaten by angry townspeople is "I'm okay to drive. Just help me to the car." and in "Pasteur Packs O'Punch where Larry experiences wild mood swings after being electrocuted, where he drunkenly tells Tuddrussell that he loves him, offers to drive despite being in no condition to operate anything, telling off Otto with a slurred, "Hey, don't tell me what to do!", and embarrassing himself at a party by standing on a table and declaring himself, "The Queen of France").
- In a similar vein, on the first episode "Eli Whitney's Flesh-Eating Mistake," there was Fantastic Racism in the form of the townspeople who were attacked by Eli Whitney's flesh-eating robots attacking Larry because he may be a flesh-eating robot and Tuddrussell taking offense to being called a "robot lover" (though the rampant, mostly one-sided Ho Yay begs to differ). However, the whole scenario could be taken another way, because Tuddrussel only takes offense ("Hey! You watch who you're calling 'robot lover'!") when a townsperson labels Otto as a 'robot lover' ("This must be some kind of flesh eating robot lover trick!") right after Otto explains that Larry doesn't have any teeth. Tuddrussel having taken offence to someone other than himself being labeled as such can vaguely be interpreted as pure jealousy.
- "Daddio DaVinci" (season one, episode three) had Otto opening Larry's gear box on his chest and Larry covering himself in the same way a woman would if her breasts were exposed.
- Dysfunctional Family: Despite that none of them are related to each other, the writers have made them out like a family (albeit one with a lot of problems). Freud even said that the trio were like this in "The Island of Dr. Freud."
- Erotic Eating: In the opening of "Ex Marks the Spot," Larry gives a gravy-drowned turkey to Tuddrussel, who eats it on the couch. The camera cuts away from Tuddrussel, but we hear him devour the turkey voraciously, suggestively splattering gravy on the wall and on Larry, who moans when the gravy lands on him.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Tuddrussel's reaction to J.T. Laser is groupie-like and borderline orgasmic (as is Larry's to the Lance Nine Trillion, but that goes without saying).
- Excellent Adventure
- Exiled to the Couch: Larry told Tuddrussel that "Tonight, [he was] sleeping on the sofa!" when he thought that Tuddrussel and his ex-Sheila were getting back together. It Makes Sense in Context. No prior episode -- unless you count the part on "Old Timers' Squad" where Larry's, Tuddrussel's, and Otto's older selves are shown in the same bed -- ever established that Buck and Larry shared a bed, so the line indicated that their relationship had become, er, closer (see the Fridge Brilliance tab on this page for an alternate interpretation of this scene).
- Fag Hag: Cleopatra is implied to be one, considering that the Larry 3000 only likes her for her fashion sense and her plans to turn the pyramids into a mall.
- Four-Fingered Hands
- Funny Background Event: In "Larry Upgrade," when Buck and Larry are about to start an argument, they tell Otto to go play outside, too angry to remember they live in a space station. While the two are arguing, you can see Otto drifting in space outside a window and having the time of his life.
- Food Porn: Taken rather literally -- the show had a lot of suggestively-shaped food: phallic (lots of long French baguettes, sausages, bananas, etc), vagina-esque [inner and outer] (pies [none of which were cherry], the turkey Larry stuffed with gravy in "Ex Marks the Spot," Larry's muffins in "A Sandwich by Any Other Name," the ice cream tacos on "Forget the Alamo"), testicular (grapes, nuts, olives), or semen-like (whipped cream, gravy, Cheez Whiz)
- Foot Popping: Larry (who else?) does this when hugging Tuddrussel in "Hate and Let Hate."
- George Washington - appeared on "Betsy Ross Flies Her Freak Flag" and "Father Figure of Our Country."
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: This show made the radar its bitch (moreso than Regular Show, Western Animation/MAD, and Adventure Time combined) thanks to getting away with the following:
- References to homosexuality, a lot of which centered around the Larry 3000 and made up a good chunk of what got past (the Ho Yay page will fill in any and all details)
- Drug humor (season one's "Eli Whitney's Flesh-Eating Mistake" and season two's "Pasteur Packs O'Punch" had Larry acting drunk and both of those times, the "drunken" Larry has muttered something about wanting to drive or being okay to drive despite being under the influence [and the obvious fact that the Time Squad doesn't have a car]; in "Betsy Ross Flies Her Freak Flag," Betsy Ross and George Washington's army all have red-rimmed eyes and act like stoners. On top of that, there was a strange, white cloud around the "Magical Farm Place Farm").
- Dead Baby Comedy: see the Dude, Not Funny entry in the Your Mileage May Vary section.
- Lines of dialogue that come off as rather...risque.
- Some racial/ethnic stereotyping (Larry saying the orphans looked cute with their "black faces" [which they got from mining coal] in "Orphan Substitute"; Atilla the Hun portrayed as a Mort Goldman-esque Jewish stereotype in "A Thrilla at Atilla's") .
- Even a couple of the titles were iffy, particularly "To Hail With Caesar" (try affecting a Southern accent and saying it out loud) and "Big Al's Big Secret" (which comes from watching too much South Park).
- Godiva Hair: Averted with the legend herself on "If It's Wright, It's Wrong." Larry shows Otto some past videos of Buck trying to arrest historical figures, one of which is Lady Godiva riding naked on her horse. Rather than use her impossibly long hair to cover her nudity (as it was depicted as being a realistic shoulder-length), Godiva's nudity was covered with black censor bars.
- Gone Horribly Right: When the Time Squad successfully (and inadvertently) return Edgar Allen Poe to his original manic-depressive (emphasis on "depressive") self, they feel bad about it and leave without saying a word.
- Gun Porn: Parodied. Tuddrussel's magazine in "Kubla Khan't" appears to be literal pornography with guns instead of nude pictures.
- Henpecked Husband: Napoleon in "Napoleon the Conquered." Lampshaded by Tuddrussell, who, after hearing Napoleon get yelled at by his wife, snickers, "Man, that guy is whipped!" (just before Josephine pokes her head out the door and Tuddrussell Screams Like a Little Girl)
- Historical In-Joke
- Hypno Fool: Alternate-history Sigmund Freud enjoys making his patients act like barnyard animals.
- Hypocritical Humor: Tuddrussell to his ex-wife and her robot in "Nobel Peace Surprise".
"Aw, come on. Does the solution to every problem have to involve violence with you two?" (everyone stares at him) "What?"
- Another one from Tuddrussel in "Planet of the Flies" after Larry scolds him for smearing barbecue sauce all over the Declaration of Independence.
"(Obnoxious Burp) Well pardon me for having good hygiene!"
- In "Blackbeard, Warm Heart," Otto, Tuddrussell, and Blackbeard's crew lament over being called "lily-livers," "buttercups," and the dreaded S-word ( sissies). The Larry 3000 comments that he's been called a "sissy" his whole life and the slights against the crew's masculinity shouldn't get to them. There are three things that don't exactly inspire confidence in that little pep talk: 1) Larry slightly lisps when he says, "sissy," 2) Larry is saying this while sleeping in an all-pink and lace bottom bunk, and 3) It's Larry saying this. The same Larry who wore a pink bandanna as a scarf earlier in the episode that featured this part.
- Speaking of Larry and Hypocritical Humor, there's most of the episode, "Child's Play," in which Larry acts like a Moral Guardian (and shatters the fourth wall by pointing out that Tuddrussell's catchphrases "Go time!" and "Get some!" are inappropriate for children and making two speeches about how people have lost their sense of morality) and even gets involved in censoring Shakespeare's plays -- and also reveals that he reads novels by Jackie Collins, which aren't exactly what you would call "child-friendly."
- Inventor of the Mundane: Time Squad had plenty of these. Whether the inventors actually got around to inventing their mundane inventions was completely subject to plot convenience.
- It Runs on Nonsensoleum: When it doesn't run on Ho Yay, Getting Crap Past the Radar, Does This Remind You of Anything?, Hypocritical Humor, and Freud Was Right.
- Job Title
- Karma Houdini: Sister Thornley, the vividly abusive owner of the Orphanage of Fear where Otto used to live, is never punished for her crimes.
- Landing in Someone's Bathtub: In "Ludwig von Bonecrusher," only replace "landing" with "teleporting".
- Sorry I Left the BGM On: Larry in "Floundering Fathers". When Otto voices the first verses of the Declaration of Independence, patriotic music plays in the background, which is later revealed to be Larry using his chest as a radio.
- Limited Wardrobe: Granted, Larry doesn't wear clothes (but if he does they're always different and it's usually a costume -- and even then, it's often Stripperiffic drag) and Otto will sometimes be seen in P Js or occasionally in period costume, but Buck is never seen without his uniform. Ever. He'll wear things over it but the uniform can always be distinctly seen -- even in the shower, as seen in "Larry Upgrade."
- Man Hug: Averted in "Hate and Let Hate"--Tuddrussel and Larry reunite with a perfectly ordinary, tender hug.
- Missing Episode and Schedule Slip: For reasons unknown, "White House Horrors" was supposed to air after "Repeat Offender," but was replaced with "Ladies and Gentlemen, Monty Zuma." It has been speculated that because of the stringent censorship about mocking the government that was prevalent after the September 11th attacks, depicting The White House as a haunted house would have been in bad taste (though the more logical explanation is just the fact that the whole episode was a Scooby Doo parody and Dave Wasson [the show creator] didn't exactly have permission to mock it). "Floral Patton" and "Orphan Substitute" (the final two episodes) were also held back for reasons unknown, especially "Orphan Substitute" since that had a caricature of George W. Bush that Cartoon Network censors thought would have caused controversy. Considering how low-key the show was, that didn't happen.
- Mona Lisa Smile: On the show, the coy, mysterious smile was because Mona Lisa had bad teeth when she gave a big smile.
- Mobster Clown: In "The Clownfather," Al Capone uses clowns to run his crime syndicate while his mobsters become birthday party clowns.
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Larry speaking French while trying to reason with Napoleon in "Napoleon the Conquered" apparently didn't work, as the three are then sentenced to die by guillotine. In "Out with the In Crowd," H.M. Stanley (the explorer known for the memetic quote, "Dr. Livingston, I presume?") tries to get the jungle natives to stop attacking him, but whatever he said translates to "My name is Silly Suzy and I am wearing rubber underpants."
- Naked People Are Funny: "The Prime Minister Has No Clothes"
- Orphanage of Fear: Where Otto lived before Larry and Tuddrussell "adopted" him.
- Our Time Travel Is Different
- Parental Bonus: Everything mentioned in Ho Yay, Freud Was Right, Does This Remind You of Anything?, Genius Bonus, and Getting Crap Past the Radar, along with a significant number of Shout Outs.
- On the episode Child's Play (the one with Shakespeare doing children's shows), Otto tells Larry they're going to visit one of the greatest writers of all time. Larry's two guesses are Danielle Steele (known for writing light romance and mysteries) and Jackie Collins (whose novels are like soap operas centered around the rich and famous being naughty, only with more explicit descriptions of sex, drugs, violence, and other things not suitable for children).
- The name of the robot disco on "Day of the Larrys" is "Studio 3K." How many kids are gonna understand that it's a reference to the infamous '70s New York nightclub Studio 54?
- Larry requests for a daiquiri in "Ladies and Gentlemen, Monty Zuma." According to popular culture, daiquiris are a cocktail associated with stereotypically effeminate men or just plain sissies, as made relevant in a sketch from Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In (also, in most TV shows and movies -- and possibly in Real Life -- men always buy drinks for women -- or in this case, effeminate robots).
- Parody Episode: The season one episode "Larry Upgrade" seems to be a parody of The Stepford Wives, but with a happier resolution than in the book or movie.
- Pec Flex: Tuddrussell. With those muscles, who wouldn't?
- Personality Swap: Buck and Larry enter one by accidentally switching their usual areas of habitation and going native in "Hate and Let Hate." Worth noting because this wasn't done as the usual Freaky Friday switch in which some magical or scientific third party switches Larry's and Tuddrussell's personalities into each other's bodies.
- The Rashomon: Otto, Buck and Larry all have very different ideas when it comes to what happened with the Mongol army. Over a series of flashbacks we see were their stories converge and diverge only to find that Otto was the only correct and non-biased one... but wasn't used for the mission report because Otto technically isn't an official Time Squad member.
- Real Men Wear Pink: If the show wasn't doing jokes about how Ambiguously Gay the Larry 3000 is, then it's doing jokes about how seemingly macho men have unmanly hobbies and interests. To wit:
- "Tea Time for Time Squad" had the Sons of Liberty having an actual tea party instead of throwing the taxed tea into the harbor (which they ended up doing after Otto offers coffee to everyone).
- "Every Poe Has A Silver Lining" had Edgar Allan Poe as a cheerful children's writer who decorated everything in pastels (and even wore a pastel purple suit that looked more like something teenaged boys from the '70s and '80s would wear to senior prom).
- "Floral Patton": General Patton running a florist shop, though his Drill Sergeant Nasty personality didn't change.
- "Forget The Alamo": Tuddrussel is shocked to find that his ancestor, Jeremiah Tuddrussel, is a party planner instead of one of the fighters of the Alamo.
- "Hate and Let Hate": Tuddrussel teaches himself how to cook with Larry's books after accidentally sequestering himself on Larry's side of the satellite.
- "Blackbeard Warm Heart" and "Repeat Offender": Bloodthirsty pirate Blackbeard (real name: Edward Teach) is an environmentalist and animal lover.
- Refuge in Audacity: The entire series packed more Ho Yay and other risque jokes and visual innuendo than any adult cartoon currently on TV (and some that have long-been cancelled). NOTHING was bowdlerized or edited in syndication.
- "Every Poe Has A Silver Lining": Poe decorating the fire-ravaged forest (and the animals who somehow survived, but are shown blackened and burnt), dressing up as a clown in a hospital (by changing in front of a man in a full-body cast), and decorating a cemetery with streamers would be considered outrageously offensive if it wasn't made funny by Poe's over-the-top cheery behavior.
- Sister Thornly (in probably the only example of Refuge in Audacity that is more cruel than funny or awesome): As mentioned in the Karma Houdini entry, Sister Thornly regularly abuses and uses her orphans as cheap labor (doing everything from harvesting sugar canes to mining coal to cleaning the windows of the Empire State Building) and even had them pack government cheese on a bus during a trip to Washington, D.C. (which is densely packed with all manner of security officers) without getting caught. In fact, she's never punished for what she's done. Whether it's because Police Are Useless or her status as a nun lets her get away with such atrocities is up for debate.
- Regular Caller: The History Instability Alarm. "Cabin Fever" lampshaded this.
- Rich Bitch: Cleopatra.
- Rule of Funny
- Sarcastic Confession: Tuddrussel denying that he brought home Ivan the Terrible to keep as a pet in "Ivan the Untrainable."
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Larry and Tuddrussel. In season one, it was played straight; in season two, it was exaggerated.
- Sex for Services: Implied in "Ex Marks the Spot."
- Shout-Out: to The Benny Hill Show (in "The Prime Minister Has No Clothes"), Planet of the Apes (in "Planet of the Flies"), The Day Of The Locust (in "Day of the Larrys"), Scooby Doo (in "White House Weirdness"), The Shining (in "Cabin Fever"), The Stepford Wives (in "Larry Upgrade"), and even the 1960s Batman series (in "Houdini Whodunit").
- A scene in "Planet of the Flies" had Larry meet his other self in a time paradox. As one of the Larrys gestures towards the other;
Larry 1: Ugh! Am I really that fat?
E-3PO: E chu ta.
- Larry's line; "The calla lilies are in bloom again," in "Floral Patton" is a Signature Line by Katherine Hepburn from her role in Stage Door which is accompanied by one of the most memorable monologues in film.
- In "Big Al's Big Secret", the pig that finished off Larry's disguise as a Texan farmer was mentioned as being named "Zeek". Dave Wasson (Time Squad's creator) himself owns a pet pig named 'Zeek'.
- A single shot in "Out with the In Crowd" contains five different Shout Outs. When Larry adoringly asks for the Lance Nine Trillion's autograph, he holds up an autograph pad signed by HAL 9000, C-3PO, RoboCop, Mr. Roboto (from the Styx song of the same name) and Robby.
- The entirety of the episode "Billy the Baby" was a shout out and homage to the animation direction of Tex Avery, and to the Spaghetti Western director Sergio Leone , where we get the Clint Eastwood expy as The Man With No Name breaking the forth wall like this was a Droopy cartoon.
- The episode "White House Weirdness" is a homage to the original Scooby Doo series, complete with a similar plot (the ghosts of former Presidents apparently haunting the White House turns out to be a plot by William Howard Taft to run unopposed in the 1912 elections), the iconic music from the original Scooby Doo cartoon, and even a scene with Scooby Doo Doors.
- Spiritual Successor: The whole show is a 21st century spin on Peabody's Improbable History, which featured a similar plot, with things in the past being twisted, and the characters going back in time to set things right, or close to it. Also Otto looks and acts a bit like Sherman, and interestingly enough have a similar backstory- both were orphans living in abusive homes before being "adopted."
- Squee: Tuddrussell and Larry fawning over JT Laser and the Lance 9 Trillion on "Out With the In Crowd" -- and adding more points to Time Squad's Ho Yay Count.
- That's What She Said: The phrase itself wasn't said on the show, but one line from "Nobel Peace Surprise" might as well as have that phrase tagged at the end of it. When the XJ5 shows off his footprint detector, Larry scoffs, "It's not the size of the equipment. It's how you use it."
- Tuddrussel makes it into this trope too with his line in "Horse of Horrors". While reading a magazine "Burgers and You", he exclaims; "Man! Will you look at the size of those buns! Mm-mm!"
- The Ghost: Senator Fiskmeyer, the last government official the Larry 3000 worked with before being assigned to the Time Squad. Outside of being mentioned by Larry in "Dishonest Abe," "Robin and Stealing With Mr. Hood," and "Feud For Thought," Fiskmeyer hasn't actually been seen.
- This Is My Side: Used on the episode "Hate and Let Hate," only Tuddrussell and Larry end up on each other's sides (Tuddrussell is on the side with the kitchen and Larry is on the side where Tuddrussell's gun room/gym is), leading to a Personality Swap.
- Three Man Band
- Three Plus Two: When Sheila Sternwell and XJ5 join the party as the Action Girl and the Fifth Ranger in "Nobel Peace Surprise."
- Three Shorts: Played straight with the seventh episode of season one, which included "If It's Wright, It's Wrong," a fake recruitment ad for the Time Squad, and another short called "Killing Time"; averted with the rest of the series, which only have two shorts.
- Through His Stomach / Your Favorite: The beginning of "Ex Marks the Spot," complete with a Freudian gravy-pouring sequence.
- Time Police
- Time Travel
- Timey-Wimey Ball: This show has some of the worst time travel logic ever. The whole "the past is unraveling as time moves on" story itself would make The Doctor tear his hair out.
- Trojan Horse: Full of candy, no less.
- And then a giraffe full of chocolate, and then a soldier full of horses ...
- Unwinnable Training Simulation: The beginning of "Houdini Whodunit" where The Time Squad are tied up and stuck in their flaming satellite with an evil George Washington.
- Visual Innuendo: Lots of it, mostly centered on food (the "gravy-filling" scene from "Ex Marks the Spot" comes to mind) and Tuddrussel's phasers. See Freud Was Right and Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- Wayback Trip: Lampshaded in a commercial for the show where the characters watch Peabody's Improbable History on a computer screen. The resemblance between Otto and Sherman is pointed out, to which Larry responds, "Ugh, we did not copy their show!"
- Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: "Day of the Larrys" had a robot disco -- which included a Larry clone suggestively dressed as a cowboy.
- Winston Churchill: As a nudist on "The Prime Minister Has No Clothes."
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Otto, but at the same time he's just a normal kid in abnormal circumstances.
- Working with the Ex: Occasionally other Time Squad units join in to help the trio. One of these squads consists of Buck Tuddrussel's ex-wife Sheila Sternwell. While Buck is good-natured towards his ex, Sheila seems to hold nothing but enmity for him (then again, he is an idiot).
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Shakespeare speaks in this dialect. His agent, by contrast, sounds like Phil Silvers.
- at least by what the fandom says. It hasn't been confirmed by creator, Dave Wasson, or anyone else who has worked on the show
- Although (for the "black face" remark), considering how big of a fan of history this show was, it may have been a reference to William Blake's poems "Little Black Boy" and "The Chimney Sweeper". The former criticized the idea of blacks being punished with dark skin, and the latter compared the cruel treatment of the "black-marked" chimney sweeping children to the enslavement of Africans
- The episode even has a special credit at the end that dedicates "Billy the Baby" to Segio Leone and "the great Tex Avery"