Dan Vs. is an animated comedy series that premiered on The Hub on January 1, 2011, and the first original animated show on that network that's not based on an existing property. It focuses on a Comedic Sociopath named Dan, who has it ingrained in his mind that every single negative thing that remotely happens in his life is the fault of some random unseen force, from New Mexico to The Wolf Man. His daily misadventures stem from his desire to provide swift retribution on whatever supposedly caused his problem, much to the chagrin of his best friend Chris. Hilarity Ensues.
Perhaps the best way to describe the show comes from this Internet quote: "It's... like some inversion of My Name Is Earl." Indeed, it features a lot of the same sort of humor and characterization as that show, only with more cartoonish absurdity and less adult humor (but not none, mainly in the form of Black Comedy).
- Acquired Poison Immunity: In "Baseball", Dan mentions that he's been hit with tear gas and pepper spray so many times that he doesn't even feel their effects anymore. Unfortunately, everyone else around him still does. Shows up again in "The Bank", where he casually walks through a cloud of tear gas shot by the cops.
- Action Girl: Elise, when the situation calls for it.
- Adobe Flash: The animation style.
- Aesop Amnesia: At the end of "The Barber", Chris comments to Dan, "Well, at least you haven't learned anything."
- All Little-Known Facts Are True
- The Alleged Car: Dan's car. An artist painted over it in "Art", assuming it was abandoned, and in "The Salvation Armed Forces":
Dan: There has been a mistake. My car was taken from outside your store today.
- Almost Kiss: Between Dan and Hortense at the end of "Burgerphile".
- Ambiguously Brown: Becky and her father.
- Ambiguously Bi: Dan's sexuality at any given moment is whatever's funniest.
- Angry Fist Shake: Dan does a two-fisted version along with a Skyward Scream Once an Episode.
- Twice in "The Monster Under The Bed," when it turns out that Chris and Elise orchestrated the whole thing.
- Subverted in "The Gym". Dan is so sore from his workout that it hurts to raise his fist or even scream. The result is a half-hearted cry while leaving his palms open on the floor.
- In "The Dinosaur", the dinosaur does it when Dan sends her the invoice for his car repairs.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Dan believes in werewolves, psychics and Santa (among other things), but in "The Magician", he doesn't believe in magic.
- Area 52: Elise sneaks in and steals an alien spacecraft from it.
- Artificial Human:
- The androids in "Technology", right down to the funky eye color.
- The androids in "The Gym".
- Ascended Meme: A fsjal is seen at the bottom of Dan's hate chart in "The Lemonade Stand Gang".
- Asshole Victim: Dan. The victim part comes from the fact that someone does continually wrong him in every episode (although not necessarily before he vows revenge on them).
- Attack Its Weak Point: Dan attempts to exploit werewolves' weakness to silver in "The Wolf-Man". Also, one of his first lines in the show is asking Chris what New Mexico's weaknesses are.
- Author Avatar: Dan Mandel and Chris Pearson used their negative qualities when creating Dan and Chris.
- Awesomeness By Analysis: It seems all Dan needs to know who has wronged him (and so far he's always deduced correctly) are a couple of random objects and a unique sense of logic.
- Ax Crazy: Timmy, Chris' great-great-grandfather, Hiram, the chainsaw maniac,...the series has a lot of Ax Craziness going around.
- Badass Cape: Dan decides he must sport one while taking down the dinner theatre.
- Bad Bad Acting: What causes Dan to start considering revenge on the Shakespearean Dinner Theatre. Seriously, they weren't even trying.
- Bad Impressionists: In "The Ninja", Chris dresses up as Dan to act as a decoy, and he tries to imitate his attitude by saying, "I'm Dan! I get mad at everything, then I yell a lot. And I sure don't appreciate my friend Chris!"
- Bad Santa: Dan's target in "The Mall Santa". Not that Dan's really any better when he takes over the job at the end of the episode.
- Bag of Holding: Used as a brief gag with the toolbox in "The Dentist", where Dan throws out a wide variety of objects such as several tennis rackets before reaching the crowbar.
- Bait and Switch Comparison: From "The Wolf-Man":
Dan: What wears shoes, but also has paws? The wolf-man!
- Batman Gambit: How the Lemonade Stand Gang is defeated.
- Berserk Button: You do NOT ask Chris to make cocoa in the middle of the night, and then LEAVE before it's ready! SIT DOWN!
- Best Served Cold: Or immediately, according to Dan.
- Big Eater: Chris. Occasionally inches close to Extreme Omnivore territory. In "Art", Chris eats an entire plastic apple pie and half a plastic sandwich that was part of a realistic looking exhibit, but once he realizes what they are, he heads to the hospital to get his stomach pumped. In "Golf" he has no problem eating Mr. Mumbles' birthday cake, which is primarily comprised of cat food and in "Dan" Elise mentions that he once ate her shoes along with half a bottle of shampoo.
Chris: Sometimes people do things in their sleep, I once ate a pair of shoes.
- Acknowledged in-universe in "Stupidity", where Chris enters an eating contesting because he thinks eating is the only thing he's talented at. He wins, but lands himself in a hospital as a result.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: Chris is 6' 2 as seen on his driver's license, and Dan is at least a foot shorter than him.
- Big No: Barry Ditmer when his security android is destroyed.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: A yeti shows up in "Canada."
- The Blacksmith: Dan secretly had the ability to expertly craft arrowheads out of silver. He'd probably use this skill to get a job, if it didn't require work.
- Brand X: "Generic Cereal" is on Dan's revenge list.
- Brick Joke:
- "The Salvation Armed Forces": the entire episode commences because Dan's toaster is broken and he couldn't get a toaster because the lady in front of him at the store bought them all. At the very last second, he steals one from said Armed Forces.
- In "The Fancy Restaurant", Dan laments his favorite sandwich shop being bought out by a trendy gourmet restaurant, since he won't be able to get his favorite turkey sandwich anymore. When the sandwich place comes back at the end of the episode, Dan and his friends order the fabled turkey sandwich, which Dan takes one bite of before flatly declaring they're not as good anymore.
- In the start of "The Beach", Dan gets a toy eyepatch from a ceral box and puts it in his pocket. It goes completely unmentioned from there on, until near the end when he hijacks a ship, puts it on and goes "Arrr".
- The Brute: Harold of "The Lemonade Stand Gang"
- The Bully: Dan frequently acts this way toward Chris.
- Burger Fool: Hortense the Burgerphile girl, complete with the stupid hat.
- Butt Monkey: Chris. If someone's going to be hurt or humiliated, chances are it will be him, or, if not alone, he'll be the one who gets it the worst.
- Call a Human a Meatbag: The androids in "The Gym" refer to humans as meat batteries.
- Call Back: In "The Monster Under the Bed", Dan notes that Canada hasn't recovered from the avalanche he caused in "Canada".
- Call It Karma: From the episode New Mexico:
Dan: Hey, you date a married woman, you get hit by a bus. Karma.
- Calling Your Attacks: Dan does this alot, mostly calling the noun that he's going to attack his target with. Results are mixed on his sucess.
- The funniest example being in "Baseball" where the Commissioner of Baseball shouts his counterattack. Too bad for him Dan has an Acquired Poison Immunity to mace.
- Canada, Eh?: The entirety of "Canada."
- Cannot Spit It Out: Dan in "The Wedding" when he tries to tell Hortense he loves her.
- Captain Obvious: In "The Magician":
Chris: Watch your step.
- Casual Kink: "Canada". It seems that Dan would like to be eaten off of...by Chris.
- Catch Phrase: Dan's "Aw c'maawwwwwn!"
- Whenever someone can easily give/replace something that Dan's trying to earn back, say, 50 cents or a free burger when his order is screwed up: "It's not about the X/X, it's about the principle!"
- Chaotic Stupid: Dan will attack anyone who he believes wronged him, even the police.
- The Chew Toy: Chris has it worst. However in the beginning of several episodes, Dan's car is the principal victim.
- In "Dancing", both Elise and Dan treat Chris like a object to be shared, despite repeated objections on his part.
- Christmas Episode: "The Mall Santa," where Dan's new mall job as a holiday elf brings him into conflict with a Bad Santa.
- Chronically Crashed Car: Something happening to Dan's car is usually the reason he wants revenge on the episode's subject.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Chris, while under the effects of blowgun toxin in "The Ninja".
- Comedic Sociopathy
- Comically Small Bribe: In "Art," Dan attempts to get a set of records from an art school by offering the secretary a sandwich. When she doesn't go for it, he adds a bag of ruffled potato chips.
- Continuity Nod:
- In "The Wolf-Man," Chris points out to Dan that there is an animal shelter right next to his apartment. The animal shelter returns in "The Animal Shelter," where Chris remembers telling Dan about it.
- Also, we actually see Chris's tomato garden before he accuses Dan of never asking about it in a later episode.
- And in "The Salvation Armed Forces," Elise gets Chris a pink bathing thong and he can be seen wearing it later in "The Beach." Chris even mentions that she bought it for him.
Dan: Chris?! Oh no! Someone stole your pants!
- In the beginning of "The Barber," Dan meets Becky at Ninja Dave's, the restaurant from "Dan Vs. The Ninja."
- In "Burgerphile", Chris and Elise go to Cafe Puree for lunch while Dan and the crowd protests against Jeff the Burgerphile manager.
- Dan gives Chris George Washington's ax (from "Dan Vs. George Washington") to destroy a child's bike in "The Lemonade Stand Gang".
- In "Elise's Parents" Dan tells Elise that he has no dental records. A possible nod to "The Dentist" in which he stole his own records to prove that his dentist was a supervillain.
- In "Monster Under the Bed" Dan returns to Madame Zelda's from "George Washington" and Canada is still suffering from the iceberg disaster from "Canada".
- In "The Dinosaur" Elise's brother mentions that their parents are house-hunting. A possible nod to "The Family Thanksgiving" in which Dan burned down their house.
- Cool Mask: Dan wears a white mask while stalking the theatre. It looks reminiscent of both Cyrano De Bergerac and Phantom of the Opera.
- Crashing Dreams: "The Wolf-Man" begins with one of these.
- Cross-Popping Veins
- Crossover: Fans of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic occasionally joked about a "Dan vs. Ponies" episode. Months later, the Hub released these commercials.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Dan. He seems illogical, weak, and pathetic most of the time; but he can, and will, go ape on you if you mess with him or his friends enough. Example: The family camping trip when he saves Chris from a chainsaw-wielding serial killer by fighting him with only a weed-whacker.
- Chris himself can be seen as this. He is normally a big, lovable oaf, but he can easily take down someone by beating them up when he wants, or is told, to.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Literally, Dan tells the angry mob of theatre-goers attacking the defeated actor to "rise up, and stab him with your spoons".
- Curse Cut Short: In "The Wedding". when Elise is dragging Dan out of the passenger seat, he screams "Get off me you filthy wh-!"
- Dark and Troubled Past: Elise is a parody of this in "New Mexico". Like Dan, she wants revenge on New Mexico. In her case, though, it's because roadrunners (the official state bird) once stole her cotton candy when she was a child, mentally scarring her.
- That damn cactus also popped her balloon...
- According to "The Ninja" she ran afoul of a ninja clan when she was fourteen.
- At her 8th birthday party, Elise volunteered for a magic act....and was tormented by Magnifico The Magnificent's swords and knives.
- Hinted at with Dan himself in "The Dentist". Having an unnecessary root canal at the age of 5 couldn't have been good for his psyche.
- Hinted even more so in "Dan", where talking about his childhood makes a professional psychiatrist run screaming out of the room.
- Which in turn was brought up on the official Facebook page for Dan vs. run by Dan Mandel who stated that he had been raped by clowns. (This was subsequently retracted.)
- Death Trap: Dan tries to set one up for the commissioner of baseball by suspending him over a kiddie pool with squeaky sharks in it.
- Defictionalization: Dan's "Almost Grandma’s Deviled Eggs" recipe from "The Family Thanksgiving".
- Delayed Reaction: In "The Animal Shelter", Chris eats a meatloaf that Dan made as Dan explains his need for revenge on the animal shelter. When Dan says his plan involves a poisoned meatloaf, Chris continues to eat for several beats until he realizes he's been poisoned.
- Dem Bones: In "The Wolfman".
- Department of Redundancy Department: "To the car mobile!"
- Depraved Dentist: Dr. Pullum.
- Did Not Do the Research: A few examples in the New Mexico episode, one: the State Fair being in the middle of the desert, (the State Fair is actually located in Albuquerque's Uptown area, in the middle of the city, nowhere near the desert), and two: cacti being seen throughout the episode despite only being common in Southern New Mexico.
- Diner Brawl: Well, dinner theatre brawl, but pretty much the same. Incited by Dan.
Dan: Who would've thought an angry mob would get so out of hand..?
- Dinner Theatre: "Ye Olde Shakespeare Dinner Theatre", obviously.
- Dirty Coward: Elise's ex Colby, who would let her parents die to "protect" her.
- Dirty Old Man: In "The Wedding" Jeremiah Burger wants to marry Hortense, who is less than half his age.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Kind of the show's whole theme...
- Although averted in the "The Wolfman". Dan discovers his car's been scratched by what he believes to be the Wolfman (and he ends up being right). So what does he do for revenge? He tracks down the Wolfman, finds where he lives... and keys his car.
- From the Thanksgiving episode: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. If you can't join 'em ... BURN THEIR HOUSE TO THE GROUND."
- In "The Telemarketer", Imposter Dan spends a fortune and puts in a lot of effort trying to drive Dan insane as payback for Dan sending him to prison for six months. It's disproportionate since that only happened because Imposter Dan tried to steal Dan's life. Dan even points this out.
- Distaff Counterpart: The Tyrannosaurus Rex is this to Dan. He's also the one who says she's just like him and she does the same Angry Fist Shake as Dan at the end of the episode.
- Donut Mess with a Cop: In "The Wolf-Man" Dan and Chris chase a kid down the street and pass by a cop eating a donut, who doesn't pursue them until he realizes, "Oh, yeah, I'm a cop!"
- Downer Ending: "The Telemarketer". Dan is sent to jail for six weeks, while the Dan impostor fishes at a cabin, having had his revenge.
- "The Barber", but like "The Telemarketer", Dan isn't aware of it.
- Dumb Muscle: Moose and Harold of "The Lemonade Stand Gang", Chris occassionally boarders on this.
- Dysfunctional Family: Dan unsurprisingly is implied to come from one. A cherished gift from his mother was a pair of brass knuckles. Also, he shouts "No, you shut up!" to his grandmother (and she responds in kind) as if "No, I love you more" was being said instead.
- Elise's family also has issues. There's a reason Elise doesn't particularly enjoy spending time with them.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Earlier episodes had more sci-fi and supernatural elements to them, such as zombies, wolfmen, and alien technology. The second season has the scifi elements return with androids attempting to take over the world in "The Gym". A Unicorn named Eunice and Saber-Toothed Cat named Mittens show up in "The Catburglar".
- In earlier episodes, it was heavily implied that Dan had a crush on Chris. This is almost never brought up again in recent ones. He still hates Elise, though.
- Elvis Presley: Shows up in "The Catburglar".
- Embarrassing Nickname: Elise and her mother share the same name, so her parents sometimes call her Junior.
- Enfant Terrible: Dan goes up against a group of sixth-graders in "The Lemonade Stand Gang".
- Episode Finishes the Title
- Episode Title Card: In place of a title sequence, the "Dan Vs." titles are above the episode title, creating the trope above.
- Escalating War: Dan's war against the Lemonade Stand Gang. The kids were lucky Chris stepped in to change the rules, or Elise would have shipped them to Korea.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Dan's Teddy Bear Brutus, Mr. Mumbles, and Chris betray Dan in "Dan".
Et tu, Brutus? [...] Et tu, Mr. Mumbles?
- Even Evil Has Standards: Dan never resorts to homicide in his plans and is disgusted with Chris whenever he suggests it as a logical extension to Dan's current scheme.
- Dan's also rather shocked when Chris admits that he'd kill for bacon.
- Every Japanese Sword Is a Katana: Averted in that Elise's sword was pointed out to be a ninjato.
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Parodied in "The Ninja", when Ninja Dave pulls a katana on Dan, he puts it away and says, "Just kidding," though he's the only one laughing.
- Everything Is Better With Dinosaurs: A Tyrannosaurus Rex is the antagonist in "The Dinosaur".
- Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Dan and Chris steal a shark from the aquarium in an attempt to drive beachgoing tourists away in "The Beach". It doesn't end well.
- Everything's Worse With Bears: Played with in "Canada".
- In "Family Camping Trip", Dan gets covered in bear hormone and a female bears mistakes him for a mate.
- Evil Laugh: A very nice one in "The Wolfman", complete with lampshaded lightning.
Chris: That's odd...it's not even raining.
- And then in "Traffic" he asks Chris and Elise what he thinks of the one he put at the end of his taped message. It's more of an evil giggle. Cute, but lame.
- And in "Ye Olde Shakespeare Dinner Theatre," Dan gives out a few more evil laughs.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Dan never leaves his house without a black t-shirt with the word "Jerk" printed on it. No word suits Dan better.
- Expy: Chris Pearson once referred to Dan as "Calvin as a grownup, if his life had gone horribly wrong."
- Eye Scream: Happens to one of the mooks in "The Gym" after being bashed in the head by a pipe several times. He's a robot though
- Facial Horror: In the Shakespeare episode, Chris is whipped with a fencing epée, marking him for most of the episode; when waiting in line, a girl handing out programs is repulsed and flees.
- Fake Static: Dan does this to get out of a phone call with Elise in "The Animal Shelter", and she becomes angered that he's just saying "crackle" and "buzz".
- False Friend: Elise's parents to Dan in "Family Thanksgiving".
- Fat Bastard: Averted with Jeremiah Burger. He's genuinely in love with Hortense and only had Dan thrown out of the wedding rehearsal because he was making a scene.
- Fat Idiot: Moose and Harold of "The Lemonade Stand Gang".
- Fate Worse Than Death / Reassigned to Antarctica: Jeff the Burgerphile manager seems to think getting sent back to HQ in Maryland for retraining is this, and goes to great lengths to avoid it.
- Fictional Counterpart: The Salvation Armed Forces and Greatwill. And to a lesser extent Barry Ditmer's unnamed company, a parody of Apple.
- Flash Back: Parodied in "The Ninja." Elise starts to say, "It's a long, long story," harp music starts to play, and the screen starts to ripple...but then she says, "I don't want to talk about it," and everything goes back to normal.
- In "Canada", Chris begins to tell the story of his Canadian ancestry.
Dan: No one wants to hear your boring story.
- Dan had his first encounter with bad traffic in "The Wolf-Man." Then came "Traffic."
- Occasionally, something will rile Dan up while he's in the middle of exacting revenge on another party. This results in Dan whipping out a steno pad and writing down the offending object on his list of things to get revenge on later. (The list includes: Babies who cry at the park, babies in general, generals, dull pencils, pencils that are too sharp, and Arizona.)
- In Animal Shelter Dan adds Burger Phile after accidentally drinking Chris' milkshake there. Later in the season, a whole episode revolves around Dan's vendetta against the fast food restaurant.
- When Barry Ditmer hears that the threat recorded by Dan's computer was someone who had never owned a computer before, he jokes "Maybe some weirdo in a cabin in the woods somewhere." Guess who Dan and Chris run into and who ends up defeating Ditmer in the end?
- Forgotten Anniversary: In "The Fancy Restaurant" both Chris and Elise forget when their anniversary is.
- Formally-Named Pet: In "The Animal Shelter", Dan takes home a kitten and names it Mr. Mumbles.
- Freak-Out: Chris in "George Washington" suffers bouts of "Prairie Madness" during the road trip to Mount Vernon.
- French Cuisine Is Haughty: In "The Fancy Restaurant", Dan's favorite sandwich shop is replaced by Cafe Puree. Of course, Dan vows to take down the restaurant. Elise joins in when she feels scammed by their small, expensive portions and exceedingly slow service.
- French Jerk: Chef Puree
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Downplayed. Chef Puree was, to be fair, completely outmanned and surrounded when he surrendered, and several of the cooks rebelling against him were French as well.
- Friendly Enemy: The identity thief/telemarketer has shades of this with Dan, but is outright this with Chris and Elise. When he dumped Chris in a trap hole to keep him out of the way, he had a pie waiting for him. Justified, since he doesn't think of Chris and Elise as his enemies.
- Gagging on Your Words: In "The Dentist", it takes Dan great effort (he actually starts sweating from the strain) to say "Thank you," to Elise.
- Gang of Bullies: The Lemonade Stand Gang.
- Generic Cuteness: Mr. Mumbles is little more than big eyes and fur.
- Genius Ditz: Hortense mistakes Latin for French, but "The Wedding" shows she's a professional businesswoman.
- Gentle Giant: Chris
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- In "New Mexico", Dan is beamed up into a spacecraft and believes he is being abducted by aliens:
Dan: Keep your filthy tentacles off my--! (puts hands over groin)
- In "Dan Vs. The Animal Shelter," Dan goes to the hospital after being scratched by Mr. Mumbles, when this exchange happens:
Doctor: Okay, let's get those pants off.
- In "Traffic," one of the things that stops Dan is a shepherd guiding his sheep across the road.
Dan: "Move the flock out of the way!!"
- In "Technology," when Hiram offers Dan and Chris to use his zoetrope, he tells them something a little personal:
- While telling them, Hiram even suggestively wiggles his finger, and Dan quickly moves his hand away from the Zoetrope.
- In "Art", Elise seemed to have enjoyed that picture of Chris a little too much.
- In "Burgerphile", the Burgerphile founder offers to make burgers for Dan and Hortense. Dan says, right to Hortense's face, "I'll have mine naked."
- The founder seems a little too eager to take Hortense away, like he wants her for himself. And since they get married, that's apparently the case.
- From "The Lemonade Stand Gang":
Dan: (calling Chris) I'm bruised and sticky!
- In "The Family Thanksgiving" Chris awakens tied up in bed and turns to Elise, saying "What did we do last night?"
- At one point, Dan's list displays "Movies about eunuchs" , actually it said eunices, which is an equivalent of a unicorn as seen in "The Catburglar".
- In general, Dan uses the word "crap".
- In "The Bank", Dan and Chris, who is dressed as a clown, are about to be arrested for breaking into a bank. Chris is worried about going to prison, leading Dan to ask him "You know what they do to clowns in prison?" before cutting to a commercial break.
- In "The Gym" Dan actually says hellbent.
- In "The Wedding" Dan almost calls Elise a "filthy whore", but gets cut off before he can finish.
- In "The Family Camping Trip" Dan is implied to be raped by a bear
- From Gigundo-Mart, after Dan catches Chris shopping at a supermarket that Dan hates, Dan outright accuses Chris of sleeping with the enemy. Even more hilarious was Chris replying, "I haven't been sleeping with anyone!"
- The Ghost: It seems as though this mysterious ex-friend of Dan's, Ted, is shaping up to be one...who is he and what did he do to make Dan's list?
- Go Look At the Distraction: Chris calls the cooks at the dinner theatre away to look at an obvious distraction. They discuss it for a moment before deciding to go see it.
Chris: You missed it. Never mind.
- Grave Robbing: In "Golf", Dan mentions that the naval outfit he's wearing used to belong to his uncle, who was buried with it. Elise is appropriately disgusted.
- Green Eyes: Dan.
- Hair Flip: Hortense in "The Wedding" after taking off her hat.
- Happily Married: Chris and Elise
- Heel Face Turn: Ninja Dave.
- Hellish Copter: The copter Dan hijacks in "Traffic" crashes to the ground and is destroyed.
- Help, I'm Stuck!: In "The Fancy Restaurant," Dan escapes the dungeon by crawling through the vent that leads to the men's room, only to get stuck on the way out. Fortunately, Chris was able to pull him out.
Dan: My revenge is being stalled by this narrow vent. Free me!
- Here We Go Again:
- The ending of "The Beach."
Dan, after seeing his car wrecked by hippies: HIPPIES!
- The ending of "Baseball" is pretty much a much shorter version of the intro, but with basketball instead.
- The ending to "Neighbors" after Dan forces the previous ones out with a roach infestation.
- He Knows Too Much: Elise almost does something like in "The Bank" (but Dan is an accomplice, not a Innocent Bystander) and even says it word for word.
Elise: Dan we need to go.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Dan
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Dan and Chris.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Dan will actually do the right thing, occasionally, if it involves lives; he doesn't kill anybody, tries to get Chris to a hospital when he's poisoned and even saves all of the animals in the shelter before blowing it up. He does have feelings in there somewhere.
- High-Pressure Emotion
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- The dentist at the end of the third episode.
- The identity thief at the end of "Dan", who gets arrested in Dan's place after Dan misses a court appearance.
- Hollywood California: The show takes place in Van Nuys.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: Jeremiah Burger is prone to these due to his eating habits.
- Humble Goal: Hortense's dream of becoming Regional Manager of Burgerphile.
It's all I ever think about!
- Hypocrite: Imposter Dan says that Dan should let things go at the end of "The Telemarketer" yet he spent the entire episode driving him insane out of revenge.
- Hypocritical Humor
- I Ate What?: The theatre-goers' reactions upon discovering they've been eating soap soup. Except Chris, he just keeps eating.
Chris: My stomach hurts...but I do feel clean inside.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy:
- At the end of "Burgerphile", Dan tells his new girlfriend Hortense to forget about him so she can move to Santa Monica and achieve her dream of becoming Burgerphile's Regional Manager (despite the fact that Santa Monica is only a twenty minute drive from Van Nuys, but then again, we all know what bad luck Dan has with his car...)
- Subverted in "The Wedding". While Dan does eventually let Hortense go, he plans to back together with her when Jeremiah Burger dies.
- I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine: Kids in The Hall alumni Kevin McDonald voices the Steve Jobs Expy in "Technology."
- Ice Hockey: The swimming version is played in "Canada".
Player: ...Hey, I'm drowning, eh?
Chris: So I'm expendable?
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Cookie-stealing ninjas, at that.
- Dan. He actually goes around wearing a shirt that says "Jerk" on it.
- Elise's parents, more so with Elise's dad.
- It's subtle, but the Bank Manager from "The Bank". While she seems nice enough, she refuses to acknowledge anyone who doesn't have a big bank account and when the police think Dan is holding a clown (Chris) hostage, she convinces them to storm the place despite the risk to "the hostage". She even refers to him as "Collateral Damage". On the plus side, she's voiced by Tara Strong, so... she's got that going for her.
- "Jump Off a Bridge" Rebuttal: In "New Mexico".
Elise: Okay, but we're having salad for dinner.
- Kafka Komedy
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: In "New Mexico", Dan destroys a bunch of hot air balloons. However, the balloonists were making a Human Sacrifice
- Kids Are Cruel: The Lemonade Stand Gang.
- Knight Templar:
- Dan sometimes justifies his actions by talking about how his most recent target is a menace to society and how dealing with them would be doing mankind a favor.
- Dan believes Chris to be this in "The Wolfman".
Dan: He scratched up my car, and you want to kill him?
- Ironically enough he keeps trying to get Elise to kill Ninja Dave just for eating his cookies. He stops though when Ninja Dave replaces them.
- La Résistance: There is apparently a secret cult of French Canadians that wish to destroy Canada. Dan turns all the "failed" chefs imprisoned in the restaurant basement of "The Fancy Restaurant" into this.
- Lame Comeback: In "Canada".
Chris: Good luck getting home.
- Lampshade Hanging: Too many instances to list.
- Large Ham: Timmy
- Laser Hallway: In "New Mexico", Elise has to get through one in Area 52. She just flips it off with a light switch.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Whenever Dan wants to take something down, his determination and focus go way up, no matter how ludicrous the target is.
- Like a Son to Me: Elise's ex, Colby, to her dad. Though it might no longer the case, since Colby would let Elise's parents be killed by a serial killer to "protect" her.
Colby: You never hugged me like that.
- Limited Animation: Characters from previous episodes are sometimes copy/pasted into the background, and the city backdrop is often two-dimensional during driving scenes. And vehicles turning is animated at roughly four frames per second.
- Mad Libs Catchphrase: Dan's Skyward Scream in the opening of each episode counts despite not containing one consistent word -- just its delivery.
- The Mafia: Dan's plan to get revenge on Elise's parents involves convincing the police that her father is part of it, which leads to real Mafiosi trying to kill him. It's a lie, of course, but it turns out Elise's mother is secretly working for a rival Family.
- Male Gaze: In "Technology", once Elise is put under mind control and gets into that chrome skin-tight suit, the camera doesn't hesitate to get as many shots of her from the rear as possible.
- Married to the Job: Jeff the Burgerphile manager, to the point where he would rather lie about getting Dan's order wrong than admit to the mistake and blemish his otherwise perfect service record.
- Marrying What Daddy Hates: Elise's dad despises Chris.
- The Dentobots.
- The androids. They may look human, but they're hard as a rock and surprisingly brittle.
- Mind Control Device: A weapon used by Barry Ditmer in "Technology". There's also a more powerful version he made in said episode in the form of a headband which later gets placed on Elise.
- Mistaken Identity: A cop mistakes Dan for a homeless guy in the Shakespeare episode. Hilarious that the trope page says that this trope was a favorite of Shakespeare's.
- Morality Chain: Subverted. Chris tries to be this for Dan, but Dan just refuses to listen.
- Morality Pet: Mr. Mumbles. Dan flies into a vengeful rage when someone scratches his car up, but isn't even slightly irked when the cat scratches him up on bath day.
- Motionless Chin: On everybody.
- Mouth Cam
- Mundane Fantastic
- Mushroom Samba: Chris starts hallucinating after a ninja shoots him with a "poisonous" dart.
- Mystery Meat: According to Elise, Burgerphile's "chicken" nuggets are actually made from soybeans and recycled newspaper.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Agzegoth the Devourer from "The Monster Under The Bed" even lampshaded by Chris.
- The Napoleon: Dan
- New Age Retro Hippie: Crunchy, as well as all the hippies from "The Beach".
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Magnifico from "The Magician" is an obvious parody of Criss Angel. And Barry Ditmer from "Technology" is based on Steve Jobs. (Which makes the crazy guy they meet in the woods Steve Wozniak.)
- No Indoor Voice: Dan
- Noir Episode: "The Catburglar", complete with Private Eye Monologue narration by Dan, a Femme Fatale named Honey O'Houlihan, and a sepia tone filter over most of the scenes.
- Noodle Incident: Dan's grandmother died at some point (offscreen). Since then, Dan has expressed his dislike of her and made mention of some unspecified unpleasantness which he does not regret.
- No Seat Belts:
- Averted. Dan even refuses to let Chris drive away from an imminent explosion until he puts on his belt.
- Played straight in "Technology" when they get in a wreck and Dan is thrown through the windshield resulting in a Non Sequitur Thud.
Dan: Rainbows are nature's rainbows.
- No Theme Tune: The beginning of the episodes tend to have something terrible happen to Dan, and then Dan screaming skyward about the episode's subject. There actually is an ending theme, but it's only heard on the online and downloadable copies, since The Hub runs promos during the credits on their broadcasts.
- Not So Different:
- Dan and Elise on occasion, since Elise also has a pretty vindictive side. In "The Dinosaur", Dan bonds with the dinosaur when he sees her enjoying television, eating burgers, and yelling angrily at people. Just like Dan. He can't bring himself to kill her after that and settles for sending her his car repair bill. She responds with a Skyward Scream. Just like Dan.
- Imposter Dan may be nicer than the real Dan but "The Telemarketer" reveals that he's just as vengeful as Dan is.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: The governor and his work release employee in "Stupidity". The governor is a British villain pretending to be an uneducated hick in order to bring down the education system in America while the employee is a government agent working undercover to stop him.
- Odd Couple: Chris and Dan.
- Of Corpse He's Alive: Dan drags along an unconscious Chris to help him exact his revenge in "The Animal Shelter."
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Elise.
- Once Killed a Man with A Noodle Implement: In "The Salvation Armed Forces", Dan tells his friend Chris that the bell ringer knows twelve ways to kill a man with a bell. Chris thinks about it, but can only come up with one.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In an argument with a pitcher, Dan can be heard ranting about how he didn't learn how to tie his shoes until he was twelve.
- Only Friend: Chris is Dan's only friend. Ted is occasionally mentioned, but has yet to actually appear on the show, probably because Dan is usually mad at him.
- Only One Name: Dan, although given that Chris' last name is Pearson, and named after one of the show's writers, it's quite probable that Dan's last name is Mandel, after his own namesake.
- Only Sane Man: So far, Chris is the most normal of the cast aside from the fact that he's apparently a werebear or something. Dan really should rethink his habit of sticking his fingers in Chris's mouth.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: The Wolfman in the eponymous episode doesn't seem to know about being a werewolf, as evidenced by wondering aloud who shot him in the butt with a silver arrow. The Wolfman itself is a general troublemaker, but isn't seen doing anything worse than damaging cars.
- Our Zombies Are Different: They're dance-fighting monsters.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: Happens a few times, with "The Dentist" being one of the more jarring examples.
- Palette Swap: Often done as a cheap way to make background characters. For instance, the guy who gets hit by the bus in "New Mexico" is clearly seen with new hair and shirt colors in "Baseball" as one of the members of the seating feud.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Used by Dan and Chris on several occasions, but probably most hilariously in "Elise's Parents", when a very-obviously male undercover cop poses as Dan's girlfriend and Elise's parents don't seem to notice.
- Perpetual Frowner: Dan
- Pet the Dog: In "The Animal Shelter", Dan "adopts" a kitten and released all the animals before blowing up the shelter.
- Poisonous Friend: Dan to Chris (literally in "The Animal Shelter").
- Police Are Useless: In "Burgerphile", when Jeff tries to have Dan arrested, the cops try asking Dan nicely to unchain himself from the cash register, and when he refuses, they immediately give up and leave.
- Police Brutality:
- Those Canadian security guards are friendly, but violent.
- In "The Wolf Man," a police officer does taze Dan, but only after Dan made a scene at the station and took his hat after being warned not to.
- Potty Emergency: Why Dan is so harried at the beginning of "Traffic".
- Potty Failure: What sets Dan off against traffic.
- Pounds Are Animal Prisons: Dan thinks in "The Animal Shelter".
"I didn't ask you to build an animal jail across the street. Shut your prisoners up, warden!"
- Purple Eyes: Elise and the androids, brainwashed Elise has a different shade of purple in "Technology" have these.
- Recurring Character: Several, the most prominent being Crunchy.
- Roswell That Ends Well: The end of "New Mexico".
- Running Gag: The List, Dan breaking glassware.
- Samus Is a Girl: As revealed in "Art," Mr. Mumbles is female.
- Scenery Censor: Done with Elise's head on a naked Chris painting.
- Scream Discretion Shot: Hilarious in that nothing actually happens to Dan, but he screams anyway, while ordering Chris to hot glue his tooth back in or just sitting in the dentist's chair.
- Scarecrow Solution: Used by Chris in "The Monster Under The Bed" to scare Dan away long enough for him and Elise to enjoy their weekend.
- Security Cling: Dan and Chris have a tendency to do this.
- Serious Business: Chris takes cocoa preparation very seriously, and he does not appreciate being woken up at three in the morning to make it only to have it wasted. He actually manages to intimidate Dan into sitting down and drinking it.
- Shaggy Dog Story: "The Wolfman", as Dan and Chris go thorough a month of preparation just so Dan could key his car back.
- Shark Pool: One in "Baseball". With squeaky rubber sharks! Dan is not amused. Then there's one with a real shark in "The Beach", which Dan and Chris attempt to "borrow" from the aquarium.
- After Chris runs over a road runner in "New Mexico," Dan is pretty sure that it's THE Road Runner. Also, There's also a blue screen of death on the Librarian's computer in the beginning. Deviantart in "Monster Under the Bed"
- Dan has a poster of The Ramones in his apartment.
- The comic book store in "Canada" has posters of Spider-Man and Scott Pilgrim in the window.
- In "The Beach," while looking for the free toy in his cereal, he asks "What's in the box! What's in the bo-ox!". Also the theme and the attacking of Dan's boat when they release the aquarium shark into the ocean is pretty much a homage to Jaws.
- A Suspiciously Similar Song version of Quincy Jones' "Ironside" plays during Elise's fight with the android in "Technology".
- In the restaurant episode, a family named Dufresne is kidnapped, which is a reference to a Mitch Hedberg routine.
- In "The Family Camping Trip," Dan mentions Slasher Cats and Eek! The Murderer as movies featured at the horror festival.
- "Burgerphile" has two employees named Mac and Carl, likely references to real-life fast food franchises McDonald's and Carl's, Jr.
- In "The Lemonade Stand Gang", Dan quotes "inconceivable!".
- In "Ye Olde Shakespeare Dinner Theatre", Dan sneaks around a theatre while wearing a cape and white mask covering only part of his face.
- In "Baseball", Dan and Chris disguise themselves as bat boys to elude security, but Dan actually dresses in a mask and cape.
Dan: I'm Batboy!
Dan: Gather the troops. We attack in two hours.
- In Monster Under The Bed, Chris makes reference to a monster called Agrigoth of the Deviant ART.
- In "The Dinosaur", the government have a box that contains "someone who shouldn't exist, he's half spider, half man, and he fights crime."
- In The Telemarketer, after Dan breaks into Chris and Elise's living room, he starts watching The Haunting Hour the Series on their TV.
- In Gigundo-Mart, Dan calls Chris Bulkhead.
- Shout-Out/To Shakespeare: The entirety of "Ye Olde Shakespeare Dinner Theatre."
- Sidetracked by the Analogy: In "The Wolf-Man".
Dan: Come on, get after him! Pretend he's a sandwich!
- Silver Arrowhead.
- Skyward Scream: Dan does one just before each episode title is shown. Occasionally his enemies will do the same after Dan's retribution.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Dan.
- Smarter Than You Look: Dan is well versed in Shakespeare's works, even naming his teddy bear Brutus. In Dan vs. George Washington it is pointed out that Dan's knowledge can be very intricate, but random. For example when asked who carved Mount Rushmore, he gave the correct name immediately without even thinking about it, as well as the fact that his son had to complete it. However, when asked which U.S. state Mount Rushmore was in, Dan threw out a random guess, Ecuador.
- The Smurfette Principle: All but one of the chefs that Dan rescues in "Fancy Restaurant" are men. Justified as this is Truth in Television, ever see Ratatouille?
- Spoiled Brat: Timmy.
- Sticky Situation: Dan gets covered in maple syrup in "Canada", and with lemonade in "The Lemonade Stand Gang".
Elise: Oh, that Dan. Always covered in something.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: In "Elise's Parents," when Dan presents a very poorly edited recording of a conversation with Don as evidence that he's a mob boss, he tries to pass off the phrase "cupcake him" as slang for murder. Later, an actual mob boss uses the same phrase.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: Elise's ex, Colby, from "The Family Camping Trip", elicits this reaction in Dan, if Dan's comments are anything to go by.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Dan gives one at the end of "Ye Olde Shakespeare Dinner Theatre", with an impromptu victory poem.
It lies in ruin, plain for all to see!
- Super Villain: Turns out dentists are evil and want to take over the world. (At least one, anyway.)
- Suspiciously Similar Song: A version of "I'm Alright" from Caddyshack is heard in "Golf".
- Sword Fight: Probably the most inactive sword fight ever animated is in "Ye Olde Shakespearean Dinner Theatre".
- Take That:
- The Monster Under the Bed has Chris tell Dan that he should be lucky he's not being visited by Uggragoth of the Deviant ART
- In The Magician, the antagonist was modeled after Chris Angel.
- In Stupidity, one of the leading causes of Dan's crusade against the subject matter is a parody of Transformers, complete with the tagline "give up on story, more explosions."
- In Reality TV, Dan dates a woman who he mentions is "the only female wrestling fan he knows that's graduated high school."
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: In "The Fancy Restaurant", Dan writes a message on the cheesecake Chris and Elise ordered for dessert, telling Chris to meet him in the men's room. Elise comments, "This is weird," and the waiter immediately appears with another cheesecake reading, "It's not weird. Don't listen to Elise."
- There Was a Door: After infiltrating the Salvation Armed Forces store to get the file on his accidentally-donated car, Dan breaks the window to get back out, only to remember he'd left the file inside and casually go back in and out through the unlocked door. Revealing not only the broken window but the infiltration plan itself (he had hidden in a chair Chris donated) as pointless.
- This Is Reality: Played with in "The Wolfman".
- Those Two Guys: The two paramedics.
- Title-Only Opening / No Theme Tune'
- Too Dumb to Live: In "Stupidity", the antagonist's goal is to lower educational and entertainment standards so that all Americans are too dumb to live. Chris and Dan's near terminal stupidity at the end of the episode (Chris managed to set himself on fire and Dan tried to remove fire ants by beating himself with a two-by-four) convinces him that his job is done and he moves the operation to China.
- To the Bat Noun
Dan: To the Carmobile!
- Toon Physics: Used sometimes, like when Dan hid an entire car behind a scrawny tree.
- Trash of the Titans: Dan's apartment.
"How can a human being live like this? It's like a giant petri dish."
- Even Dan acknowledges how filthy it is.
"Man...I really need to vacuum..!"
- Tuckerization: Dan and Chris are named after the show's creators, Dan Mandel and Chris Pearson.
- The Unfavorite: In "The Family Camping Trip," Don states that Elise's ex Colby is the closest thing he has to a son. Elise Sr. then asks him about their actual son.
- Ungrateful Bastard:
- Dan himself, like 95% of the time.
- Even though Chris saved everyone from a serial killer and proved himself a man, Elise's father STILL hates him and swears to get back at him. He's probably angry that Chris one-upped Colby, who's more of a son to but, but Colby was ready to let everyone but Elise die.
- Unstoppable Rage: Impressively, Dan, in a state of berserker rage, hits a pane of bulletproof glass with his head hard enough to crack it in "Vs. The Bank".
- Unwilling Suspension: Dan does this to a costumed kid in "The Wolf-Man" and to the commissioner of baseball in "Baseball".
- Vanity License Plate: Chris's car has a license plate that reads, "PUSHOVR".
- Versus Title
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Dan the Jerkass is best friends with Nice Guy Chris.
- Weirdness Magnet: Dan. In at least three episodes random beings (including a dinosaur of all things) mess with his car for no reason whatsoever, prompting him to hunt them down, and in another episode he has to deal with a giant tentacled Monster hiding under his bed (this one was actually averted since it was only Chris pulling a prank).
- We Want Our Jerk Back: Subverted in "Dan". When Dan seems to have given up on busting the fake Dan and takes the pleasant personality of Biff, Chris is excited and wants it to stay that way. Elise is skeptical, and it seems as if she's going to play the trope straight, but all she really does is remark that "she knew he hadn't changed" when the cops take the Fake Dan away.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Specifically, at the end of "Dance", what happened to Mr. Mumbles? Mr. Mumbles was left alone at Dan's place long enough that, by Chris' account, she was emaciated and not moving. Before a week-long Time Skip. Chris asks what happened to her at the end of the episode, but Dan only turns on TV to show the dance hall getting blown. And she's not seen until two episodes later.
- What the Hell, Hero?: In "Dance", Chris expresses shock that Elise stuffed Dan in a box and mailed him to a ghost town populated by fight-dancing madmen to keep Dan from endangering her chances of winning a dance contest. Doesn't really go anywhere since Elise pacifies him with a shoulder rub.
- What Would X Do?: Dan asks himself "What would Mr. Mumbles do?" when trapped on a roof. He then displays cat-like agility by scaling a drainage pipe, landing on the stairway railing, then jumping the remaining distance to the sidewalk. He is amazed it actually worked.
- Wholesome Crossdresser:
- Ty, from "Ye Olde Shakespeare Dinner Theatre."
- Vinnie, from "Elise's Parents", wears a dress even when no longer undercover though since he's actually part of the mob, he may also qualify as a Creepy Crossdresser.
- William Shatner: is on Dan's enemies list.
- Women Are Wiser: Elise. Not always, however...
- Won't Take Yes for An Answer: "Baseball":
Chris: Okay, I'll go.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: One of the actors at Ye Olde Shakespearean Dinner Theatre keeps misusing archaic grammar. This really pisses Dan off.
Actor: Have at thou!
- Yes, Virginia: "The Mall Santa" has elements of this, though only so far as Dan admitting his genuine belief in Santa Claus.
"Of course I do! Read your Bible!"