Definitions

Dexter

Dexter

[dek-ster]
Dexter, Timothy, 1747-1806, American merchant and eccentric, b. Malden, Mass. He gained a fortune from the American Revolution by buying up depreciated certificates of indebtedness that were afterward reclaimed at full value. He also gained money by shrewd mercantile transactions. He was styled "Lord Timothy Dexter" by his fellows, and he accepted the title. Dexter wrote A Pickle for the Knowing Ones (1802), remarkable for the totally individual spelling and the absence of all punctuation. In the second edition he added a page of "stops" so that readers could "peper and salt it as they please."

See biographies by J. P. Marquand (1925 and 1960).

Dexter's Laboratory (Dexter's Lab for short) is an Annie Award-winning American animated series created by Genndy Tartakovsky about a boy genius named Dexter, who has a secret laboratory hidden behind a bookshelf in his bedroom. His enemy and rival is a boy named Mandark, but he feuds even more often with his older sister Dee Dee, who does not share his intellectual capabilities.

Production

Dexter's Laboratory was inspired by one of Genndy Tartakovsky's drawings of a ballerina. After drawing her tall and thin shape, he decided to pair her with a short and blocky opposite, Dexter. In 1991, he made his first "Dexter" short. On February 20, 1995, Dexter's Laboratory made its first run on the What a Cartoon! Show. In March 1996, the first season began airing. Directors and writers on the series included Genndy Tartakovsky, Rumen Petkov, Craig McCracken, Seth MacFarlane, Butch Hartman, Rob Renzetti, Paul Rudish, Mark O'Hare, John McIntyre and Chris Savino.

Dexter's Laboratory ended its initial run in 1999, with the series finale being the episode "Last But Not Beast", but re-entered production in 2001. The new episodes, which ran for two more seasons, had a different production team than the originals, since Genndy Tartakovsky was busy working on Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars. The second series featured new character and background designs, alternative storyline and character backgrounds, and different sound effects (which were mostly all classic Hanna-Barbera sound effects). Also, Dexter's voice actress changed from Christine Cavanaugh to Candi Milo.

In the United States, the show currently airs on Cartoon Network's sister channel, Boomerang at 9:30 P.M. It aired on Cartoon Network on June 8, 2008 on the That's Nacho Chip Marathon on 12:30 P.M, and aired again on June 22, 2008 at 1:15pm during the You Big Baby Marathon.

Premise

The series revolves around a boy genius named Dexter, who has a secret laboratory filled with highly advanced equipment hidden behind a bookshelf in his bedroom. Access to this never-ending laboratory is achieved by speaking various passwords or by activating hidden switches on the bookcase (such as pulling out a specific book). Dexter is normally in conflict with his ditzy older sister, Dee Dee, who has an uncanny talent for gaining access to Dexter's lab despite his best efforts to keep her out. Dee Dee eludes all manner of security and, once inside, delights in playing in the lab, often destroying his inventions and creations. For reasons left unexplained, Dexter manages to keep the lab a secret from his clueless, cheerful parents, and in the beginning of the show, Dee Dee is the only other character to know about his lab. In several episodes, however, he is forced to reveal his lab to his parents, although such episodes always end with his parent's memories being wiped.

Dexter has an arch-nemesis, a boy named Susan "Mandark" Astronominov. Often Mandark, through fraud or (rarely) by coincidence, attempts to take credit for Dexter's achievements. Mandark is also secretly in love with Dee Dee. In the later seasons, after the revamp, Mandark becomes significantly more evil, his laboratory dark-looking and spiky (instead of the bright, cartoony lab featuring the Death Star from earlier seasons) and his plans more diabolical and nasty. It was shown in an episode that when Mandark was referred to as "Susan" Dexter mocked Mandark for looking like a girl and this sparked his hatred toward Dexter.

The show's humor derives in part from Dexter's essentially one-sided and intense rivalry with his sister (in which Dexter, although brilliant, never gets the upper hand) and from exaggerated stereotyping of his high intelligence and social awkwardness. Much absurdist and surrealist humor is used as well.

The show breaks the time-honored TV rule of returning the characters and situation to the status quo at the end of each episode; most episodes end in an unresolved state with no easy solution offered for returning the characters to normal; e.g. Dexter is a mutated mass of protoplasm, a large tentacled monster attacks the house, there are multiple clones of Dexter and Dee Dee running around, the entire lab self-destructs and is completely gone, Dexter destroys the lab and is later turned into a sandwich, etc. However, each episode always begins from the accepted "normal" premise of the program.

An hour-long special, Ego Trip, aired on Cartoon Network in 1999, in which Dexter travels through time and meets several of his future selves. Ego Trip was originally supposed to conclude the series, but two additional seasons followed.

Backup Segments

Two short segments ran in between episodes during 21-minute slots called Dial M for Monkey and The Justice Friends. These segments existed within the Dexter's Laboratory universe and main characters from either "show" appeared in actual episodes regularly. The episodes of the first half of Season 1 of the show included the Dial M for Monkey segment in between two Dexter shorts. The last half of Season 1 included a Justice Friends segment in between the two Dexter shorts. Monkey often appeared in the Justice Friends segments and vice versa, teaming with his fellow superheroes.

Dial M for Monkey

The Dial M for Monkey shorts feature Dexter's lab monkey, Monkey (played by Frank Welker), who (unknown to Dexter) has superpowers and fights evil with his partners. One episode, "Barbequor," caused a controversy and eventually led to that episode's banishment because of its portrayal of gay stereotypes. "Barbequor" was the second Dexter's Laboratory episode to be banned, first one being "Dexter Dodgeball". Monkey revealed his secret to Dexter in the all-star episode Last But Not Beast, only to erase his memories afterward. The segment's title derives from Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder. It may also reflect the DC Comics backup feature "Dial H for Hero".

The Justice Friends

Major Glory, Krunk, and Valhallen are all room mates who live in an apartment complex. Most of the adventures of the Justice Friends deal with the three trying to balance out their superhero adventures while just trying to keep their composure living in the house. They have also appeared on at least one episode of The Powerpuff Girls, thereby tying the "universes" of those two shows together. Most of these adventures play out like a sitcom along with a laugh track, used in a satirical manner. The segment's title likely derives from the DC Comics superhero organization The Justice League and its sanitized animated cartoon version, Super Friends. The three main characters are based on the Marvel Comics characters of Captain America, Hulk, and Thor. Valhallen's name comes from "Valhalla", the spiritual plane of Norse mythology (Valhallen frequently refers to himself as the "Viking God of Rock") and Eddie Van Halen.

Both of these segments crossed over into episodes of Dial M For Monkey. In addition to Agent Honeydew and Monkey, the three superheroes are seen in action along with additional superheroes, similar to the large amount of Justice League members in "Challenge of the Superfriends".

A TV series seen in the apartment of Major Glory, Valhallen, and Krunk called "The Puppet Pals Show" (or simply "TV Puppet Pals") is seen as a few small segments with live-action puppets. One of the cartoons featuring Dom DeLuise's character Koos-A-La-Goop-A-Goop has an opening similar to the two main back up segments.

Characters

Episodes

Media

Ego Trip

Ego Trip is an Annie Award-winning one-hour animated television special spawned from the Cartoon Network animated television series Dexter's Laboratory, produced by Hanna-Barbera (now Cartoon Network Studios) for Cartoon Network, and aired in 1999.

Music videos

Four music videos were made in 2002 and had occasional airings between shows on Cartoon Network. One was a mock-anime video sung by They Might Be Giants called Dee Dee and Dexter.

The other three were rap songs which were released on a compilation album:

  • Back to the Lab (by Prince Paul): A pop art video highlighting the walkway sequence of a stern Dexter, marching presumably back to his lab. The video consisted of various clips and animation derived from the series' later seasons.
  • Secrets (by will.i.am): will.i.am singing/rapping within a color-tinged record studio, with Dexter bumping his head and mixing up beats on a turntable in the background.
  • Dexter (What's His Name) (by Coolio): A pseudo "live" performance, essentially Coolio freestyle-rapping beside Dexter on an animated stage before a large cheering crowd composed of a host of Cartoon Network characters.

Dexter's Laboratory: The Hip Hop Experiment

Dexter's Laboratory: The Hip Hop Experiment, a compilation album featuring songs by various hip hop artists inspired by the series, was released on August 20, 2002. The track listing for the CD are as follows:

  1. "Dexter's Laboratory Opening Theme"
  2. "Secrets" - will.i.am
  3. "Dexter (What's His Name?)" - Coolio
  4. "Love According to Dexter" - Phife Dawg, introducing Slick E. Rose
  5. "Sibling Rivalries" - De La Soul
  6. "Mandark's Plan" - YZ
  7. "Back to the Lab" - Prince Paul

Video games

Four games were released to tie in with the series, Dexter's Laboratory: Robot Rampage for the Nintendo Game Boy Color, Dexter's Laboratory: Chess Challenge for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance, Dexter's Laboratory: Deesaster Strikes! for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance, and Dexter's Laboratory: Mandark's Laboratory? for the Sony PlayStation all developed and produced by the now defunct publisher BAM! Entertainment.

DVD Release

Title Release date Episodes
The Complete Season 1 February 19, 2008 (AUS) 1-13
This two-disc release includes all thirteen episodes from the first season and contains the two pilot episodes "Changes" and "Big Sister", as well as a limited edition door hanger.
Title Release date Episodes
Season 2 (Part 1) June 11, 2008 (AUS) 14-32
This two-disc release includes the first half of episodes from the second season.
Title Release date Episodes
Season 2 (Part 2) October, 2008 (AUS) 33-52
This two-disc release includes the second half of episodes from the second season.

Note: No US or UK release has yet been announced.

References

External links

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