Cow and Chicken

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Cow and Chicken was an animated television series, running from July 1997 to July 1999. Cow and Chicken are sister and brother, a cow and a chicken, with human parents. The creators were faced with the question of whether and how to explain this scenario. Sometimes opening credits are cumbersome vehicles for an origin story. David Feiss approached this problem in the series' opening title sequence:

Mama had a chicken
Mama had a cow
Dad was proud,
He didn't care how!

This is all that is ever offered in explanation, although in one episode, their father threatens to send both Cow and Chicken back to 'the orphanage'.

Cow and Chicken's extended family consists of various other types of animals, including Cousin Boneless, who is a boneless chicken (unable to walk or get up from the floor); Snail Boy, a snail; Cousin Black Sheep, a sheep; and Sow, an evil pig. They also have an uncle Longhorn Steer, who appears in "Professor Longhorn Steer". The episode "Happy Meat" also showed the ghosts of a pair of Cow and Chicken's ancestors, a male (human) farmer married to a female chicken. Friends and close associates include Chicken's two buds Flem and Earl, and a loud and obnoxious school teacher. And then of course, there's the Red Guy, who they run into frequently in various guises.

Initially, the show included a Three Shorts format with two Cow and Chicken episodes and one of I Am Weasel. Later on, I Am Weasel was spun off into its own series.

Tropes used in Cow and Chicken include:

"It all began when I was a little boy of nayn..."

  • Fully-Absorbed Finale: The I Am Weasel episode "Who Rubbed Out Cow and Chicken?"
  • Furry Confusion - Jesus, so much. Just read the opening.
  • Gender Bender - "Which Came First?" revolves around Chicken being convinced that he is a girl because he laid an egg (when in reality, it was just a bird egg that the Red Guy put in Chicken's bed sheets overnight as a prank). Of course, Flem and Earl jumped the gender barrier once they find out Chicken's current gender identity.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: So very, very much, but what do you expect from a show that's the Cartoon Network Expy of Ren and Stimpy (and has some of Ren and Stimpy's animators and writers)?
    •'s The 6 Creepiest Things Ever Slipped Into Children's Cartoons mentions a great example.
    • In the episode "Piano Lessons", Red Guy brings Cow and Chicken's piano concert to a halt, to which Chicken asks him what's the problem; Red Guy responds with, "What's the problem?! WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?!! WHAT'S THE DAMN PROBLEM?!!" So... "divot" is censored because people thought it sounded like "dammit", but the actual word "damn", heard clearly, is left intact?
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Supercow and Wonder Wattle speak this.
    • Inversion - the Spanish-language version has Supercow and Wonder Wattle speaking Gratuitous English.
      • Must be some Latin-American dub, because in the European Spanish dub the Wonder Wattle speaks with a Gratuitous Mexican accent.
  • Gross-Out Show
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: The Red Guy, who never wears pants. His aliases are always puns referring to his dress (Ben Pantzd) or his prodigious heinie (Mr. Derriere).
  • Hanna-Barbera
  • Happily Married- Mom and Dad seem WAY too happy.
  • I Am Not Weasel - The Red Guy often thought Chicken was a duck or turkey and Cow as a moose, horse or antelope. Weasel from the Trope Naming I Am Weasel was often referred to by The Red Guy as a squirrel, a gerbil, a ferret and several other species of rodents, despite weasels not being rodents, I.R. Baboon got this treatment too. Being often mistaken for other species of primates
    • In the episode "Duck, Duck, Chicken" The Red Guy (as a door to door doctor) thought Chicken was a Duck and surgically altered him into a non-sapient one.
    • One episode had Chicken perform a magic trick and pull Weasel out of his hat. After being referred to as a squirrel, Weasel responds, "I am not a squirrel. I am Weasel!"
  • I Have Many Names: the Red Guy. Aka Baron von Nien Lederhosen. Aka Lance sackless. Aka Seargent Wedgie Aka just Red. Most of his aliases have to do with the fact that he hardly ever wears pants(the Seargent Wedgie thing was before he faught over The Dad for the mom, at the end of which he was flung into a tree, yanking his pants off. He then said he was happy his perpetual wedgie was gone, and thanked The dad by allowing him to have the mom with no competition from him.
  • Interspecies Romance- Cow and Chicken's great grandfather was married to a non anthropomorphic hen. Try not think too hard about that.
    • One of their relatives being married to a normal sized, but talking snail.
    • Cow has some flings with human boys too, and Boneless Chicken attempts to date a human girl.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals - the Red Guy seems to have a lot of identical, er, "relatives," including a beige version of him known as "The Scab Fairy," who collects scabs for money the same way the Tooth Fairy (or in this show's case, the Molting Fairy) does.
  • Island Help Message: Parodied with a message that is way too long.

"I threw my boneless cousin too high and we got stuck on the roof. And now we need... need what?"

  • Jerkass: The Red Guy
  • Ho Yay- Flem and Earl who once spent an entire episode in a bathtub together. Naked.
    • One "I Am Weasel" episode ends with Weasel telling Baboon "We must never marry," and Baboon said they should only remain good friends. It Makes Sense in Context...barely.
    • There's a lot of gender-bending and Ho Yay in this series (not as much as Time Squad, but pretty close). And the many times that Dad has alluded to the fact that he used to be a woman (or that Mom is more of a man than he is).
  • Large Ham: The Red Guy
  • Laughing Mad: Mom & Dad's laugh by default.

Cow: Sometimes, I question their sanity.

Boneless: I'm serious!

  • everyone laughs again *

Boneless: What is wrong with you people?