Last year we talked about the Dexter's Laboratory TV series, the background, characters, the Voiceovers and even discussed some of the best episodes on the show. Today, we will still go back in time to the days when Dexter’s Laboratory was the most popular TV show. But this time, we will travel back in time to discover what you missed from this epic mid- ‘90s show.
I know most of us will be related to the show. Even if you didn’t have a secret laboratory in your bedroom, you must have had the experience of having a stubborn brother or sister like Dee Dee. That sibling who always messed up your stuff. Did you have such? I did! Sometimes I wished we could sleep in separate bedrooms, but who was I to change the rules of the house at the time.
This is one of the reasons Dexter’s Laboratory was a hit for kids back in the day. I remember watching it back-to-back and repeated binging on it every weekend on ends without getting bored. It was just very relatable and funny at the same time. Surprisingly, Dexter’s Lab was loved by both parents, teens and kids of all ages. It was a family show that made everyone laugh at the time.
About Dexter’s Laboratory
Dexter's Laboratory, created by Genndy Tartakovsky for Cartoon Network, became one of the most popular and successful cartoons on television. The series follows Dexter, a young prodigy who invents fantastic things and goes on adventures.
He also has to contend with his free-spirited sister Dee Dee, who frequently distracts him or disrupts his job. But, while you presumably already knew what Dexter's Lab is about, here's what you didn't.
Now, let us take a look at some amazing facts that you may have missed from this show back in the ‘90s.
1. Did You Know It Was the First Time Cartoon Network Did Such A Show?
In 1995, during the showcase series What a Cartoon! the new cable channel began airing fresh animated shorts in addition to historic Waner Bros., MGM, and Hanna-Barbera cartoons. This included Dexter’s Laboratory, which won the most popular short series vote and was subsequently turned into an ongoing series in 1996 and 1997, it was the highest-rated series on the turner-owned network.
2. Dexter’s Voice was Done by Two Women
Christine Cavanaugh, a talented voice actor gave the ideal voice for both Chuckie Finster on Rugrats and the eponymous Babe in the 1995 film. She ended her role as Dexter in the third season of the show, in 2001, when she retired from voice acting.
Candi Milo took her position. Unfortunately, Cavanaugh died on 22nd December 2014 at age 51. She died at her home in Cedar City Utah of undisclosed causes. Later on, she was cremated and her ashes were scattered into the Great Salt Lake.
3. Two Women Voiced Dee Dee
In the first season, creator Genndy Tartavovsky cast his undergraduate classmate Allison More as Dee Dee. Kat Cressida took over when Moore became tired of voice acting and decided to pursue a career on Broadway.
Moore officially returned to the role when the show returned for a third season. Then, before the fourth and final year, Cartoon Network stepped I and brought Cressida back, claiming that the show’s audience was more accustomed to her voice.
4. Did You Know That Dexter Has An Accent Because Every Popular Scientist Does?
When asked about Dexter’s accent by the New York Times, Tartakovsky said it was because Dexter was a scientist. This was a popular cliché back then that all well-known scientists should have an accent. Cavanaugh likened the petite scientist’s voice to a small Peter Lorre in an interview with the Washington Post back then. Rob Renzetti, a director-storyboard artist-animation director-Tartakovsky roommate at California Institute of Arts, may have prank-called Tartakovsky with a similar voice during their school days.
5. Dexter’s Laboratory Idea Started from a Drawing of a Ballerina
For his college animation homework, Tartakovsky designed a tall, blonde dancer one day. It inspired him to create a polar opposite - a short younger sibling who enjoys science. Dexter evolved gradually, with Tartakovsky's computer engineering brother Alex serving as another source of inspiration.
6. Tartakovsky Was Inspired to Create The Justice Friends by Reading Marvel Comics As a Child
Tartakovsky and his parents moved to Chicago when he was seven years old. His father retired as a dentist who worked with clients such as the Soviet National Hockey Team. The wannabe animator learned English by reading Marvel Comics and watching Warner Bros. cartoons.
7. Justice Friends Included Spongebob and Scooby-Doo
Dexter's Laboratory was also worked on by Tom Kenny, who portrayed SpongeBob SquarePants, and Frank Welker, who voiced Scooby-Doo and Scooby's pal Fred. In the Justice Friends shorts, Kenny played Valhallen, while Welker played both his roommate, Infraggable Krunk, and Dexter's Monkey, who appeared in the Dial M for Monkey segments.
8. Tartakovsky Was Not Convinced That Justice Cartoon Was Good Enough
When questioned in 2001 if any of his projects, which included Samurai Jack at the time, didn't live up to expectations, Tartakovsky responded that Justice Friends "could have been funnier and the characters could have been fleshed out better."
9. Dexter’s Burrito Place is Real
When Tartakovsky was growing up in Chicago, he loved going to a specific restaurant similar to Dexter’s favoured Burrito Place in the Tv show.
10. Macfarlane Seth doubled up as a Writer for the Show
The future Family Guy creator worked as a storyboard artist on Dexter's Laboratory and co-wrote four episodes. Craig McCracken, who went on to create The Powerpuff Girls, worked as a director, art director, model designer, and storyboard artist on the show. Tartakovsky's The Powerpuff Girls began as a What a Cartoon! short before becoming a full-fledged series.
11. Dexter's animation was Influenced by Merrie Melodies Cartoon
The Dover Boys at Pimento University is a classic Warner Bros. cartoon, and Tartakovsky was inspired to develop in a similar style after seeing it. Back in the ‘90s, the cartoon industry was just picking up and it was a norm for the animators to borrow notes from other related shows. And Dexter’s Lab was one such show.
12. Dexter Attended The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Dexter attended the parade twice. This was in form of a giant balloon version of dexter that went through Central Park to Herald Square. The first time he attended the parade was in 1998 and did again the following year in 1999. This was an awesome show because Dexter had become a household name around that time.
13. Some Parts of The Show Were Banned from Airing
The segment for the Dial M for Monkey called Barbeqor was shown once and banned completely from the air. It was withdrawn from the schedule shortly after its original showing because the Silver Spooner Character conveyed a negative portrayal of gay males. The clip was changed on all the show’s season one DVDs.
14. There Is a Segment that Was Never Shown Until 2013
“Rude Removal” was first released in 1998. It became a cult classic over time since Cartoon Network refused to run it owing to its excessive cursing (it didn't seem to matter that the 13 words were bleeped). Finally, on January 22, 2013, Adult Swim—Cartoon Network's primetime programming block—posted "Rude Removal" on its YouTube channel.
15. The Show Received Some Mixed Reactions from Fans
Some fans think Dee Dee is Dexter’s time-travelling daughter, sent back in time by Dexter to stop him from working on a world-destroying invention. There is also less credible suggestion, like Dexter’s Lab begin prequel to The Big Bang Theory.
The show was cancelled in 1998, and Genndy Tartakovsky went on to work as a supervising producer for another Cartoon Network show, "The Powerpuff Girls." "Dexter's Laboratory" resumed in February 2001 for two more seasons until ending on November 20, 2003.
17. Do You Know How Old Dee Dee Is in the Show?
DeeDee is a 15-year-old cheerful, pleasant, and highly girly girl. Despite being Dexter's blood-related sister, she has the polar opposite demeanour and attitude of Dexter and is a highly happy person. She is incredibly girly, as evidenced by her constant wearing of pink and her demeanour.
There you go, those are the top amazing facts about Dexter that I thought you should know. If you watched Dexter’s laboratory back in the mid to late ‘90s, how did it influence you? I feel like binging on Dexter’s Laboratory changed my life forever! It opened up my mind to creative thinking and fostered imagination.
How Dexter’s Laboratory Changed My Life Forever!
Remembering Dexter’s Laboratory today gives me a strong nostalgic hit of how sweet the days were back then. Honestly, this show played a big role in my life. It brought out the scientist in me in more ways than one.
Despite many memorable moments, American animation in the 1970s and 1980s was primarily motivated by a desire to sell toys rather than by creativity. This began to alter in the 1990s when Nickelodeon began producing creator-driven programming. Soon after, the medium's next "eureka moment" occurred when Cartoon Network began producing fresh cartoons rather than simply rerunning old masterpieces. It was a small show called Dexter's Laboratory that catapulted the network to the forefront of the animation industry.
Tartakovsky was now able to accomplish all he was never allowed to do by producers because he was in complete control of a show from the outset. "I worked as a storyboard artist on 2 Stupid Dogs, and the producer despised everything I produced in storyboards," Tartakovsky tells SYFY WIRE. "And it's undeniably aggravating. We're all creative folks looking for our unique voice." Tartakovsky wanted to see if the insane ideas he had bubbling in his head had any value, thus getting the green light on Dexter's Lab was a sort of test for him.
The Inspiration Behind Dexter Laboratory
These outlandish concepts were the consequence of a mash-up of inspirations that were not confined to animation. Craig McCracken, who has been a part of the Dexter's Lab team since the beginning, remembers the early '90s as a time when an animator couldn't bank on ever being able to develop their own show, and even those who did weren't guaranteed to stay long. Seeing John Kricfalusi fired from Ren and Stimpy, a show he created for Nickelodeon, was a wake-up call for McCracken. "In these episodes, we'd best put everything we've ever wanted to put into a cartoon," McCracken adds. "Massive robots? Yes. Superheroes? Yes. What kind of science-based nonsense is this? Yes. We weren't sure if we'd ever get another chance to do something like this again."
All of this and more might be found in Dexter's Lab. Unlike Animaniacs, which focused on throwing as many homages and parodies at the audience as possible, Dexter had a distinct visual storytelling style that integrated its various influences rather than simply imitating them. Episodes were made up of three 7-minute chunks (but they may sometimes be two 11-minute portions), therefore there was only so much time to convey stories. The goal was to cram as much story as possible into these Quibi-sized bits of animation. "We tried everything we could to avoid conversation and communicate more story," McCracken explains. The show would frequently use fast editing to move from one scene to the next, skipping transitions and focusing solely on the visual impact and meaning.
Tartakovsky and his co-creators discovered inspiration for their incredibly inventive children's cartoon in unexpected areas. Among other notable filmmakers, both Sam Raimi and the Coen brothers — who are adept at telling a story without saying much — influenced the look and tone of Dexter's Lab, to the point where segments like "Dexter Dodgeball" directly quoted Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead 2.
Dexter's Lab, on the other hand, did more than just hide Evil Dead Easter eggs. Rami, in particular, had a significant impact on the show's visual design. To deliver stories with as little dialogue as possible, the cartoon focused on visual jokes.
What are your thoughts on Dexter’s Lab?
Do you think we have left out any interesting facts?