Dilbert (animation)

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Where have I seen this before?

Animated version of Scott Adams' cult comic that ran for two seasons, starring the voice of Daniel Stern as Dilbert, an engineer working for a soulless and bureaucratic corporation, underneath an incredibly thick-witted, Pointy-Haired Boss (Larry Miller). The opposite of him in almost every way is his dog, Dogbert (Chris Elliott), a morally gray genius who constantly exploits Dilbert, Dilbert's company and everyone else with consummate ease.

Adams developed the series with Seinfeld writer Larry Charles, which explains guest voice roles from Jason Alexander (Catbert) and Jerry Seinfeld (Comp-U-Comp).

The theme song was a revision of Danny Elfman's opening theme from Forbidden Zone.

Can be watched on Hulu here, but only from within the U.S.

Aside from the tropes carried over from the comic, tropes used in Dilbert (animation) include:
  • Adaptation Distillation: While the series lost its focus on office humor early on, it also reverted to the strip's original format to establish Dilbert as a proper protagonist.
  • Animated Adaptation
  • Ascended Extra: Loud Howard, a one-shot joke character in the comic, became a regular part of the cast in the series.
    • Probably as a need to fill in the spot of Ted The Generic Guy with someone... less generic.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Alice thinks so...until the realities of taking care of one drive her to the breaking point.:
  • Big Damn Heroes Dogbert in "The Off-Site Meeting".
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tower of Babel. Dilbert fulfilling his lifelong dream of getting his own office. He then learns he'll only get to keep it for another few minutes due to the company moving back to its original building. He's understandably sad, but takes those few minutes to live out his other dream; closing the door and dancing around his desk in his boxers.
  • Body Horror: An epidemic of these in "Tower of Babel" results in the company building a new building. Everyone is pretty nonchalant about it.
  • Bound and Gagged: In one episode: though many people are tied up and can't move or speak through the gags, only Loud Howard still speaks/yells through his gag:


  • Brain Drain: Attempted in the episode with the merger with the company that does just that to their acquisitions. Unfortunately the C.E.O. of the company tries this on Marketing and starves to death.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: An inverted example from the 'Prototype' episode: "Decapitate Dilbert, steal idea, 2 quarts milk, box of muesli..."
  • Butt Monkey: Asok the intern. Pretty much anyone who isn't Catbert, Dogbert, Dilmom, or the Garbageman.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Catbert has a sign on his door that indicates his job title is "Evil Director of Human Resources". Also, there's the episode with a character named Bob Bastard:

Dilbert: But he's the embodiment of all that is evil and loathsome in the world!
Alice: Just because it's written on a bathroom wall doesn't make it true.
Dilbert: He wrote it!

  • Comically Missing the Point: Often by the Pointy-Haired Boss and marketing people in general. One example is during a proposal for an underwater barbeque:

Marketing Guy: I was thinking, does it have to be underwater, and does it have to be a barbeque?

  • Conspicuous CGI: In the intro sequence, when there is a flythrough of the office. The characters are traditionally-animated, but the whole office and everything else is CGI.
  • Crapsack World: Very much so.
  • Crazy Prepared: Wally, amazingly enough. As it turned out, he helped install the company's mainframe, and secretly documented the programming in it to point out all of the code that would need to be altered to make it Y 2 K compliant. And he did all this long before anyone else had even considered the Y 2 K problem's existence.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Dogbert in "The Off-Site Meeting."

Ratbert: He left early this morning. Something about installing a puppet government?
Dilbert: He's always installing a puppet government when I need him!

Dilbert: I didn't know you wanted kids, Alice.
Alice: I didn't (turns to gaze lovingly at the baby she's holding) until right this moment.

"'All you can eat'... Well, we'll see about that."

Dilbert: People are basically good.

  • Sudden Anatomy: Done to Dilbert and any other character who typically had No Mouth.
    • The added mouths usually disappear when closed.
  • Take That: To a lot of things, obviously, but most prominently to marketing people. They are invariably portrayed as imbecilic Jerk Jocks who make a business out of Comically Missing the Point and stealing credit wherever possible. At one point, adding a marketing department to an idealistic company directly caused it to fall apart (literally, as in the building itself physically fell apart and burst into flames.)
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Dilbert's mother predicts Dilbert's every response to her taped message.

Dilbert: Am I so predictable you can record your half of the conversation in advance?
DilMom on tape: Yes, you are so predictable I can record my half of the conversation in advance.

  • Torches and Pitchforks
  • Undead Author: The story of Lena killing opposing Field Hockey players ends with "None of the witnesses ever talked." When Dilbert asks how they all knew the story then, it was revealed to have come off her website.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Dilbert gets these a lot, even though the problems he's being called out for are caused more by the stupidity around him rather than his own ideas. A great example would be the Nirvana Company, who blamed Dilbert for destroying their company by suggesting that a Marketing Department be started, even though he was constantly trying to tell them that he wasn't suggesting it. Of course, this made him a well-known industry figure and benefited him in the long run...
    • The details of what Nirvana Company tried to claim are unclear (as we only get Dilbert's disjointed reading from an article about the collapse of the company) but they appear to have tried to blame it on Dilbert's spur-of-the-moment idea for an underwater barbeque instead of the ill-advised marketing department.
    • Oddly enough, one of the few times where Dilbert did genuinely screw up (in the episode "The Knack", where Dilbert accidentally knocks most of the communication satellites around Earth out of alignment), he is actually praised for it.