Last month, I wrote about “The SWAT Kats – The Radical Squadron,” it reminded me of another classic cartoon by Hanna-Barbera called “Two Stupid Dogs.” This is an American animated TV Series that caused a sensation in the mid- ‘90s as the two goofy canines got into all sorts of mischief and trouble.
I remember watching this show every weekend on Channel 4. This was one of those shows with a fascinating name; others were Aaahh! Real Monsters! Taz-Mania, Gargoyles, among others. The humor of this cartoon is still fresh in my mind.
As the title suggests, the show features two dogs as the main characters. One was a small dachshund dog with an irritatingly high-pitched voice, and a large Old English Sheepdog with a purple nose and a low pitched voice. The Old Sheepdog always had his hair over his eyes. The funny thing is that these dogs were both unnamed. Creative hah!
The two dogs were incredibly dumb and were always doing stupid things that got them caught up in awkward situations, most of which were just silly mistakes.
And in Comes the Secret Squirrel.
Two stupid dogs were created by Donovan Cook and produced by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. It was released in 1993 and ran for two years until 1995 on TBS. It was part of the Sunday Morning In Front of the TV show.
The show was an answer to the Ren and Stimpy Show, which was a hit two earlier before the release of the Two Stupid Dogs. Just like Ren and Stimpy, the Dogs are stupid. Asked for a comparison, Fred Seibert, who was then the CEO of Hanna-Barbera, stated that the show was “like Pearl jam, who was worried about being compared to Nirvana.”
In the first season, there was a backup segment where Super Secret Secret Squirrel was shown, which was a remake of the original Secret Squirrel. This was typical of Hanna-Barbera shows; they would slide in some shows from another stand-alone series.
Now that I have mentioned The Secret Squirrel Show let us take a quick look at the secret Squirrel.
The Secret Squirrel
I cannot avoid saying something about the Secret Squirrel, yet another one from Hanna-Barbera. The original show was created in 1965. In 1966 it got its series, but in 1967 the show was reunited with Atom Ant for another season.
The Plot: Secret Squirrel was a spy genre parody, and mostly parodied James Bond movies. The Secret Squirrel was also called Agent 000. The Secret Squirrel made an appearance in 1993 in-between the 2 Stupid Dogs series. The show featured the newly revised Super Secret Secret Squirrel.
The show came back with significant updates in quality and changes in characters as compared to the 60s show. In the revived show, Jess Harnell was the voice of the Secret Squirrel, and Jim Cummings voiced Morocco. All the characters were new animals except for a gingerbread man and a quark. Double Q was voiced by Tony Jay, who was referred to as The chief. Yellow Pinkie was replaced by a sea lion called Goldflipper, which was also voiced by Jim Cummings, who appears in one episode of the revival series.
Back to our 2 Stupid Dogs!
One episode that struck me the most was when the dogs were searching for a quarter coin after the little dog heard the voice on the telephone saying, “Please deposit 25 cents.” It was hard getting some coins as the change machine offered none. They then resolve to do some tests in the hope of making some money, but that doesn’t work either.
At one point, the stupid dogs are introduced to a get rich quick scheme by a smart salesman whose tongue was hanging out! This was so funny J In their quest to get a coin, the big dog goes to a bank and says, “give me $10,000.” He is mistaken for a robber and ends up in prison. The small dog uses the quarter that they finally got to talk to him on the phone. Believe you me; all this took place In a seven-minute-long episode.
Another episode that I liked was when the dogs appeared as contestants in a game show parody called Let’s Make A Right Price. There were a few other characters in the show, including a cat that was afraid of the little dog and an irritable man named Mr. Hollywood, who used to shout a lot.
The Two Stupid dogs series was produced in 26 episodes and are among the few non-CBBC/ CITV Cartoons of the ‘90s that I enjoyed. The show was repeated on Cartoon Network sometime in the mid-2000s. Two decades on, this show is still funny. I have just binged on it on YouTube.
Was it a Parody of the Ren and Stimpy show?
The show was more or less a rip-off of the Ren and Stimpy show. The show appealed to many, but at the same time, it was equally loathed by some teens back in the ‘90s. In the “Cartoon Canines” episode: the two dogs are seen learning to be funny, like Ren and Stimpy, in an army camp.
If I remember correctly, the is this time when the dogs changed into something that looked like Rem and Stimpy! It was pretty funny.
Animation Quality and Plot
The Two Stupid Dogs was created with a deceptively innocent style of animation that featured smooth shapes, soothing colors; The creators paid attention to details. Although I found the soundtracks to be a little off, they never portrayed what is happening on set.
The plot was not dumb, just minimal. Some episodes could be narrated in one sentence, with exaggerated facts. I enjoyed every single episode of this show. I remember watching most of them on black and white TV.
The little dog was the best example of any small dog in real life. However, the big dog was my personal favorite. He was just a lazy glut, but when he decides to talk, you were supposed to listen to him like an envoy from a foreign country. Holly molly, I can watch this show a hundred times over and over without getting bored.
The Nostalgia behind Two Stupid Dogs.
Today it crossed my mind, and I did a YouTube Search of this show. The fond and nostalgic memories of watching this show on a VCR just hit me. This was an excellent cartoon. This one was the mother all of the World Premier Cartoons like the What a Cartoon! Series. It did set the stage for Dexter´s Lab, Power Puff Girls, Johnny Bravo, Dumb and Dumber, and other cartoons that followed after that.
The only bad thing about this show was the length; I think the entire series lasted only for 2 hours. But still, the two hours were classic and filled with fun. Some episodes stood out, like the Red trilogy and Brady Buch rip-off. Another good one was the Hollywood’s Ark that mimicked the Noah’s Ark take-off. The episode tries to explain why the unicorns are extinct.
In reality, this cartoon had some philosophical highlights. Like when the Big dog says to Kenny, “Love is the only chance you will ever have for happiness in this life, and if you are going to let a little thing like rejection stand in your way, you just might as well stay on the ground, because people will walk all over you for the rest of your life.” I found this line very uplifting and downright philosophical. I may not have interpreted it the same way back in the ‘90s as I do now.
The show was dangerously addictive
2 Stupid Dogs was among the very many shows by Cartoon Network that were so addictive. Mostly because it was made by some of the talented people in the cartoon industry. Genndy Tartakovsky was among the crew that worked on this show before he moved to Dexter’s Laboratory. You can see the semblance of the two. In that regard, this week, I will also talk about Dexter’s Laboratory.
Hollywood’s trademark statement was, “Isn’t that cute…but it’s wrong!”. The cast made the show to be simple with well-organized buy highly summarized plots and scripts. Like the Vegas Buffet, in which the Big Dog and the Little Dog were looking for “Super Cheap Economy Style One Pound Hot Dog Buffet” and gets mixed up in gambling instead.
The show is among the best satire, and parody shows that Cartoon Network has ever created, particularly in “Cartoon Canines” type of shows like “Hobo Hounds,” “Family Values,” and “Let’s Make a Right Price.” I think the earlier comparisons with Ren and Stimpy were not justified simply because Two Stupid Dogs is more low-key. Ren and Stimpy’s dementia is on your face, while the Two Stupid Dogs are more realistic and gentle.
I think it Two Stupid Dogs is one of the lost classic shows from the ‘90s Children TV that ranks up there with the Nickelodeon’s Adventures of Peter and Rocko’s Modern Life. This week I will commit to watching all the Hanna-Barbera shows of my youth. I find them exciting, and they are never a letdown decades later.
The show had some adult humor that I did not realize back in the ‘90s. For example, the episode “At the Drive-In” where you see the cars going up and down in the drive-in theater. As I kid, you would wonder what they were doing. However, some episodes could overdo the adult humor and send out some wrong messages in gambling and lying.
The bottom line, I loved the show; the nostalgic walk down memory lane was worth it. You should watch the episodes available on YouTube, thanks to technology. A perfect repository for treasured memories.