Aaahh!!! Real Monsters

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Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was a show that aired on Nickelodeon from 1994 to 1999. It focused on three monsters who lived under a dump and were in a monster school, taking "scares" as lessons. The main cast included:

  • Ickis, a little red Killer Rabbit Ugly Cute monster who often got mistaken for a bunny, much to his dismay. Could grow to impressive sizes, but wasn't very good at controlling this change at the start of the series, and frequently struggled with his scares. Tended to be both arrogant and very insecure, due in no small part to trying to live up to his famous father's reputation. Despite his bumbling and trouble-prone nature, also saved the day more than once.
  • Krumm, a strange, hairy pink monster with free-rolling eyes that he normally carried around in his hands. Smelled horrible, and reveled in it: "I love being smelly." A happy-go-lucky Big Eater who didn't stress about scaring as much as his friends.
  • Oblina, who resembled a black candy cane with big red lips and eye stalks. Could pull her insides out at will; naturally, this made her the best at scaring, and she was considered the Gromble's best student. Came from a rich family, and had a strange accent. Often fought with Ickis over his bad habits, and had a tendency to lecture, which... never really helped her make her case.
  • The Gromble, the Sadist Teacher and Headmaster who constantly belittled and punished his students for poor scares. Was particularly hard on Ickis (who admittedly brought a lot of it onto himself), but also occasionally showed fondness for him and his other students.
  • The Snorch, The Unintelligible monster in charge of punishing students who broke the rules. His punishments tended to be oddly unthreatening, such as listening to classical music or performing opera—though, of course, the students were terrified of such things. Was actually very intelligent, though the communication barrier generally prevented him from demonstrating this.

Tropes used in Aaahh!!! Real Monsters include:
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Large enough they can hold surfing contests inside. Not to mention how they normally use toilets to get into different houses and such...
    • With the using pipes to infiltrate buildings, that's less because the pipes are large and more because monsters can squeeze... Ickis is shown moving effortlessly through a pipe maybe a centimeter wide in one episode.
  • The Ace: Slickis, Ickis' talented and famous father. Oblina also qualifies, being the best scarer at the academy and the Gromble's prize pupil.
  • Agony of the Feet: Those high-heels on the Gromble's feet? He got them stuck there the first time he went to the human world and he can't get them off. This is part of why he's so vicious to his students.
    • Actually he can take them off easily.
  • Amusement Park: Appears in a few episodes; Oblina visits one while wearing the human suit in "The Monster Who Came In from the Cold", and Ickis starts haunting a ride in another.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Monsters don't believe in ghosts.
    • Similarly, the residents of Luluville readily believe Ickis, Oblina and Krumm to be aliens, but scoff at the idea of monsters.
  • Badass Teacher: The Gromble; you do not threaten his charges. (That's his job.)
  • Banging Pots and Pans: In "Attack of the Blobs", the three take shifts in taking care of an infant monster. Ickis is banging the trash can lids during his shift.
  • Becoming the Mask: Happened to Oblina once; while disguised as a human to gather information on them, she had a bad reaction to cotton candy and ended up believing she was really human.
  • Berserk Button: Whatever you do, do not mess with The Snorch's golden hair...
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ickis got these a lot, whether he wanted to or not. The rest of the main cast got their times to shine, too.
  • Biological Mashup: 'Krickiss'
  • Black Comedy: This whole animated series.
  • A Boy and His X: "Puppy Ciao" involved Ickis trying to keep a puppy, Fungus, and hiding it from the Gromble.
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Oblina ended up with these once, because her teeth were straight (due to her youthful indiscretion of brushing her teeth once). This actually caught the attention of the Romantic False Lead, who admired his reflection in the massive things.
  • Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: Monsters have their own names for certain 'human' things; for instance, dogs are called 'barknbites'.
  • Camp Straight: The Gromble was expressive and melodramatic, and wore bright red high heels on all four of his feet.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Bradley first appeared in "Monsters, Get Real!". At the end of the first season, he reappeared in "Simon Strikes Back" as a key figure, and wound up becoming Ickis' Secret Keeper and a recurring character.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The Snorch punishes students through such horrors as square dancing.
  • Couch Gag: The different phrases shouted by the Gromble during the opening credits.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Ickis. At times appears to overlap with Brilliant but Lazy—he appeared to have the talent to pull off some amazing scares, just not the discipline, not to mention all his other issues...
  • Curse: "Curse of the Krumm" reveals that Krumm's species (which are all called 'krumm') are cursed to eventually lose their stench. With his friends' help, he manages to break it.
    • No, this was his family specifically. It usually skips a generation which was why his father never told him.
  • Cute but Cacophonic: Ickis had a very shrill voice at times. And when he tried singing...
  • Dark Is Not Evil: While they take great delight in scaring humans half to death, none of the Monsters hurt anyone, and are quite nice if you get to know them on a first name basis.
    • The monsters of this series are of the 'only exist if people are scared of them' variety. They have to scare humans to stay alive.
  • Dean Bitterman: The Gromble and Blook.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Ickis comes down with a case of spontaneous combustibility, the other monsters shun and avoid him, afraid they'll catch it if they touch or come anywhere near him.[1]
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Krumm's species is simply known as 'the Krumm'. Interestingly, his father had a name: Horvak.
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: Used in "Rookie Monsters" to show how different the cast acted when they first met—for instance, Oblina was a Lonely Rich Kid Shrinking Violet, and Ickis was acting like a Jerk Jock and exploiting his father's reputation.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Krumm's father, Horvak, lost one of his eyes and wore a black glove on that hand afterwards.
  • Eyes Are Unbreakable: Played straight with Krumm and Horvak, save for the above incident. Which is good, considering how many times Krumm lost or misplaced one or both of his...
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: Eyes should not be free-rolling!
  • For Halloween I Am Going as Myself: In "The Switching Hour", we learn monsters are actually forbidden from doing this, as it runs the risk of exposing the Masquerade. Naturally, the main trio does it anyway, and runs into trouble when Oblina and Krumm accidentally bring back a boy in a red rabbit costume instead of Ickis...
  • Forbidden Fruit: Ickis's fascination with human culture partly stemmed from the Gromble forbidding everything to do with it.
  • Freudian Trio: Ickis (Id), Krumm (Ego), and Oblina (Superego).
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Eeny meeny slimy guts, catch a monster by the..." Also the allusion in a reference to "scare-us interruptus."
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: Or rather Monsters Need Scares Badly. In "Where Have All The Monsters Gone?" it's shown that, if humans stop being afraid of monsters, then monsters will start disappearing, one body part at a time.
  • G-Rated Sex: "Dancing."
  • Gross Up Close-Up
  • Gross-Out Show
  • Halloween Episode: "The Switching Hour", which also served as the first episode.
  • Heel Face Turn: In "Simon Strikes Back", Ickis convinces Bradley to abandon his monster hunter apprenticeship and help them escape.
  • Hidden Depths: The Snorch honestly enjoyed classical pursuits like opera and was highly intelligent. However, since he was also The Unintelligible, there was a communication barrier he couldn't breach. It didn't help that Zimbo served as his 'voice', leeching off of the Snorch's terrifying reputation.
  • High-Class Glass: Chimera (the leader of the cement-imprisoned monsters in "Cement Heads") wears a monocle and so does Blook, the Gromble's overseer.
  • Historical In-Joke: Quite a few, especially as monsters are quite long-lived. Monsters were involved in The Shot Heard 'Round the World, the Boston Tea Party, and the writing of FDR's "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" speech, among others.
  • Hollywood Tone Deaf: Monsters generally don't like music that isn't tone deaf. The Snorch is an exception.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: That episode where Zimbo exaggerated Ickis' sickness and everyone got afraid. The Gromble reminds that monsters aren't supposed to be afraid of what they don't understand, that's a human trait.
  • The Hunter: Simon the Monster Hunter.
  • I Warned You:

Oblina: I hate to say I told you so, but... actually, I don't hate it at all! [laughs, singsongs] I told you so, I told you so, I told you so~!

  • The Informant: The Gromble's spy Zimbo.
  • Insufferable Genius: When it came to scaring, Oblina usually knew what she was talking about, and gave her roommates good advice (like doing their scaring homework on time instead of putting it off). Unfortunately, she came off as extremely overbearing and a smarmy know-it-all. Didn't help that she loved rubbing it in Ickis' face when she was proven right.
  • Is That What He Told You?: When Krumm learns Horvak didn't willingly drop out of the Academy; he flunked out.
  • It's Personal: The first time they met, Simon was just trying to prove monsters existed. After Ickis and the others thwarted and humiliated him, however, he developed a personal vendetta against Ickis and went out of his way to target him.
  • Jerkass: Zimbo. The Gromble was a Sadist Teacher, but often showed that he did care about his students; The Snorch handled their Cool And Unusual Punishments, but was actually pretty nice overall. Zimbo, meanwhile, was just a flat-out creep who enjoyed making the students' lives miserable, and would go out of his way to get them in trouble and torment them. And all the while, he relied on The Snorch's reputation to keep him safe.
  • Keet: Ickis again; he could get... very hyperactive at times.
  • Killer Rabbit: Aww, lookit the little bunny-eared thing! Isn't it just the strangely cutest thing you've ever... Uh. Why is it growing...?
  • Klasky-Csupo
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Ickis managed to be cocky and insecure at the same time, along with being a cowardly slacker who only took his scaring seriously when he was in trouble. Yet when serious threats came along and he found himself forced into the hero role, he wasn't half bad at Indy Ploys or going One-Winged Angel to help his friends.
  • Lighter and Softer: In-universe example: an amusement park ran a "Monsters Aren't Scary" Tunnel for a while. Ickis took advantage of this to score some easy scares and undermine the intended message. This works TOO well, as the ride operator figures out people prefer the scarier version and sets a trap, intending to make Ickis scare people for his fiscal gain.
  • Loud of War: The Snorch punishes students by making them listen to opera and bagpipe music.
  • The Masquerade: Humankind is unaware that monsters are real, and the monsters want to keep it that way, because Humans Are Bastards. Several episodes revolved around the risk of exposure, such as getting 'flashed' by a photographer or caught by Simon.
  • Mickey Mousing
  • Mood Swinger: Ickis, whose emotional state swept from cocky Jerkass to wide-eyed eagerness to learn more about human culture to bitterly sarcastic to panicky and insecure woobie.
  • The Movie: It was in the works but went splat.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Ickis was both horribly insecure and incredibly arrogant.
  • Naive Everygirl: Gender aside, Ickis fits this. He's got all of the flaws, plus a tendency to say he's giving up... only to come back when it counts.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Oblina's speech mannerisms, though widely considered to be just an unusual accent, are easily recognizable as an exaggerated Bette Davis impression.
  • Not So Different: It's repeatedly implied the Gromble had a lot of the same problems when he was a young monster that Ickis has now.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Simon was crazy, sure... Unfortunately, he was also frighteningly devoted to getting his revenge and proving to the world he was right all along. A few times it came down to Ickis having to stop him solo because everyone else had been captured or was otherwise unable to help out.
  • Opening Shout-Out: During the opening titles when Ickis frightens a baby, a pull toy styled after Duckman (another cartoon by Klasky Csupo) and a Potty Chair styled after Fluffy and Uranus (also from Duckman) can be seen.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird
  • Parental Issues: Ickis had a whole slew of emotional issues thanks to his famous father; Oblina's mother was an overbearing control freak; The Gromble's mother still treated him like a child... Krumm got along okay with his father, though. Aside from learning that he'd flunked out of the Academy after losing his stench.
  • Parodic Table of the Elements: Ickis has to go on some quest while the Gromble keeps the class busy by going over a chart of human phobias that's a direct parody of the periodic table.
  • Peek a Bogey Man
  • Pet the Dog: The Gromble got these now and then to show that he really does care about his students.
  • Pilot: "Monsters, Get Real!", the second episode, is actually a Remake of the pilot with updated animation and an extended plot.
  • Ping-Pong Naivete: Ickis.
  • Pride: All three of the monsters suffer from this. Oblina because she's a know-it-all, Krumm because he smells so awful, and Ickis because it's the only way he can step out of his father's shadow.
  • Prison Episode: When Ickis gets put in jail because he was mistaken for a fugitive.
  • Rashomon Style: In an episode titled, appropriately enough, "Rosh-O-Monster". The viewfinder the Gromble uses to view the students' assignments breaks down so the trio tells the class how their scare went. Ickis tells his story in a Film Noir style with him as the hero, while Oblina's account portrays her as a superheroine who has to rescue Krumm and Ickis from humans. The less-egotistical Krumm's retelling (which is animated in a childish scrawl) only indicates that Oblina and Ickis spent most of the assignment arguing. Of course in the end the viewfinder is repaired and we see what really happened. Turned out that they kept screwing up and the scare was a total accident. Of course, the Gromble wasn't pleased and punishes them by having them shine his massive collection of shoes.
  • Real After All: One episode had the Power Trio trapped in a severely haunted house, the rub being that while monsters exist, ghosts do not (this is repeatedly stated by Hermione Oblina). It turned out that the house was the bunker/battle ground for a soldier monster who caused all of the strange happenings - except one. All four monsters quickly leave, and the house resumes all of its disturbing behavior.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The monsters evidently live very, very long lives.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Happens to Ickis when using his size-augmenting ability.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Sadist Teacher/Stern Teacher: The Gromble managed to be both. He genuinely enjoys tormenting his students but does also genuinely want to teach them.
    • Taken Up to Eleven when the Gromble actually physically inhales Ickis, leaves him in there for a few moments, and then spits him back out in full view of the entire class.
  • Secret Keeper: Bradley, Ickis's human friend.
  • Shaming The Cowards: The Gromble berates the entire student body for spreading rumors about Ickis' spontaneous combustibility and their trepidation around him because of it. Basically they were acting like everything they hate: humans.


  1. For those who don't get it, when this episode aired, the outbreak of transfusion-contracted HIV cases was causing public concern, which resulted in many cases of prejudice against HIV positive children.