Earthworm Jim (animation)

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"Earthworm Jim! We think he's mighty fine!
Earthworm Jim! A hero for all time!"

Yes, it's every bit as messed up as the video game on which it's based.

A Saturday Morning cartoon adapted from the side-scrolling action game for the Super Nintendo and Genesis, Earthworm Jim is the saga of Jim, once an ordinary earthworm until a super-suit fell from space, and he crawled inside it and was mutated into a slightly-goofy superhero. With the assistance of his sidekick Peter Puppy (who has a tendency to turn into a hulking purple monster when provoked) and the beautiful Princess What's-Her-Name (who was changed from her typical Damsel in Distress role in the games, with backstory portraying her as a ditzy stereotypical beauty type, into an Action Girl), Jim battles an assortment of oddball villains, including The Evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-Filled, Malformed Slug-For-A-Butt (Princess What's-Her-Name's evil sister); the bird-headed mercenary Psy-Crow; the aptly-named Mad Scientist Professor Monkey-For-A-Head (and his sidekick, Monkey Professor-For-A-Head); Evil The Cat, the diabolical feline ruler of Planet Heck; and Bob the Killer Goldfish.

Rife with Post Modernism, this show played with and subverted about five tropes per week. The first season included mid-interval shorts, usually revolving around a brief glimpse of some villain not involved in the main story, but the second season dropped this.

A DVD set has finally been announced for a North American release!

Tropes used in Earthworm Jim (animation) include:


  • Acting Unnatural: A scientist observes the fibers in an evil sofa that brainwashes people into becoming couch potatoes. Said fibers turn out to be alive, and one of them shouts "We're being watched! Act natural!", followed by the fibers indulging in Not So Innocent Whistling.
  • Action Girl: Princess What's-Her-Name
  • Adaptation Decay: In transition from the video game to the TV series, two villainous characters were lost: Major Mucus and Doc Duodenum for being an athropomorphic booger and an anthropomorphic body organ, repsectively. (For some reason Snott got to stay, though.) Evil the Cat's status as one of the Demon Lords and Archdevils is reduced to him simply being the ruler of a firey planet who wants to destroy the universe. They also put clothes on Peter Puppy who is a naked anthropomorphic in the game.
  • Adorkable: Peter Puppy. So. Very. Much.
  • Affably Evil: Most of the villains despite their card-carrying nature possess this to an extent (Evil the Cat especially likes to balance movie nights and romantic affairs alongside the torturing of minions and attempted complete and utter destruction of the universe).
  • Ascended Extra: Peter Puppy is now Jim's right hand man.
  • Badass Adorable: Peter Puppy
  • Badass Santa: The epsiode "For Whom The Jungle Bell Tolls" reveals that Santa is actually the Norse God of Judgment. "May the Naughty tremble!"
    • In the same episode, while under the Queen's Mind Control, Santa shows some espionage and gadgetry knowledge, attempting to destroy Jim with "The Kissing Ball of Death" which Jim averts, then steps on.
  • "BANG!" Flag Gun: In "Bring Me the Head of Earthworm Jim", after Jim gets the weak suit:

Jim: Eat dirt, nefarious--
(Jim pulls the trigger, and a flag pops out of the gun. It says, "YOU LOSE, WORM")
Jim: ...Whoa.

  • Berserk Button: Peter had lots of these.
    • Inverted slightly as Peter himself expresses in the first episode he has no control over his Berserk Button induced alter ego and spends most of it trying to apologize vigorously for brutally attacking Jim earlier on.
    • In the episode "Upholstered Peril" it is revealed Professor Monkey-for-a-Head really hates fruit carts. Why? Because a fruit cart-A STINKING fruit cart-killed his pa!
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
  • Bigger on the Inside: Jim's suit, which has tunnels big enough for Jim and Snot to casually crawl through, complete with giant killer security robots wandering them.

Jim: You're right! This IS a violation of the laws of physics! I'll make sure to notify the Physics Police at once!

  • Brought Down to Normal: relatively speaking, to the extent that a hyper-evolved worm in a super-suit can be: Jim once had his super-suit replaced with one that one that gave him the strength of a normal person. A normal, really big person, as professor Monkey-for-a-Head found out the hard way.
    • Played more straight in "The Origin Of Peter Puppy" when Jim tries to cure Peter's transformations by disposing of the demonic spirit possessing him. This unfortunately also empowered his anthropomorphic abilities and turned him back into a normal non-anthro dog.

Jim: I think I pulled a stupid...

  • Brown Note: According to 'Book of Doom', if all of the Reeking Beasts of the Malodoron system see a fondue fork, they will emit a sound that will shatter the universe. Thankfully for the universe, there's one Reeking Beast who's not only near-sighted, but possibly bonkers.
  • Butterfly of Doom: In "Sword of Righteousness", Jim learns of the eponymous sword's "Portal of Time" ability and decides to play a trick. He hands Peter a penny and tells him to watch Lincoln's face change. He then travels back to the Gettysburg Address and interrupts Lincoln mid-speech, shaving his beard off (to which Lincoln says "That's a big goodbye to my credibility.") When he returns to the present, expecting everything except the penny to the be the same, he instead finds that Peter is now a southern gentleman who looks like Colonel Sanders and Jim himself is now known as "Earthworm Bubba." The sword orders Jim to go back and fix everything, and forbids any further time traveling. The whole fiasco lasts less than two minutes.
    • Also provides a nasty bit of Fridge Horror when you realize the implication of Peter suddenly being from Dixie: in this timeline, the South won the civil war, and Peter owns a plantation, which likely means that Peter Puppy is a slave owner.
  • Catch Phrase: "Guh-roovy!"
    • "EAT DIRT, [Blank]! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
    • "By the Great Worm Spirit" etcetera...
    • Evil has "A minor setback..."
  • Cats Are Mean: Evil the Cat
  • Canon Immigrant: Snott was worked into Earthworm Jim 2, and Evil Jim later became the villain of Earthworm Jim: Menace 2 The Galaxy.
    • Actually, Snott was in EWJ 1 (as the platforms in the final boss fight). Henchrat was in Menace 2 The Galaxy, though.
      • Menace 2 The Galaxy was based more on the cartoon rather than the original games.
  • Cartoon Creature: Evil the Cat looks more like a rat with pointed ears.
  • Christmas Episode: Also the last episode.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Parodied in an episode where, after his super-suit has been swapped for a weaker version, Jim tries various generic ways of gaining super powers (including space radiation and radioactive arachnid bites). One of his attempts is to tell the viewer he will get powers if the audience were to "Believe! Believe and clap very hard!" prompting

Jim: ...Well? Are they clapping?
Peter: A few of 'em, most of them are just changing the channel.

Peter: They'll strip the flesh from your bones in seconds!
Jim: Good thing worms don't have bones! ...wait, that's not going to help, is it?

  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Professer Monkey-For-A-Head tried to get another Battery of the Gods, and the gods turned him into a living breadmaker as a result.

Professor Monkey-For-A-Head: Actually, it's kind of handy. If I twist the monkey's tail I can make pumpernickel.

  • Couch Gag: The many, many variations of the "cow falls on somebody" closing gag. Sometimes it would fall on Jim, sometimes on the villain, sometimes on the very thing Jim spent the entire episode trying to save. And let's not forget the Evil Cow:

Evil cow: You fools. I shall destroy you all. Starting with the lactose-intolerant. Moo moo. Moo.

  • Crack! Oh, My Back!: Lower Back Pain Man.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Peter Puppy
  • Death Glare: In "Sword of Righteousness", Jim learns of the "Eye of Truth", which requires him to simply stare at anyone in order to force them to admit their darkest secrets. Jim attempts this on Peter, but Peter thought he was being challenged into a staring contest and unwittingly shoots a Death Glare right back at him.

Jim: (breaks down crying) When I was young, I wet the burrow!
Peter: Um... thanks for sharing.
Sword: You stink at this magic power stuff, you know.

    • Later, Jim tries the Eye of Truth again, this time on Psycrow. Psycrow is unaffected and throws an anvil on top of him.
  • Determinator: Jim in general counts for this, but especially when he's trying to win the Princess' affections.
  • Disney Death: Averted with Bob's henchcats 1, 2 and 3. They went to the place where all cats go, Kitty Heaven.
  • Disability Immunity: Jim cannot be defeated by really bad sounds or smells, as he has no ears or nose. Overlaps with Forgot I Could Fly as this rarely comes into effect until one of the characters explicitly mentions this. Note that this doesn't ever stop Jim from being able to hear or smell normally.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Evil the Cat gets one . . . in Malice the Dog.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: Death, in his standard "Grim Reaper" garb, becomes an affable semi-regular character in the second season of the show, first appearing in "Opposites Attack" snapping his fingers when Jim survives jumping a chasm on his Wormcycle. Later on he becomes "The Tin Reaper" in the episode "Wizard of Ooze" taking departed souls to the mall of eternity, secretly coveting the free frozen yogurt the eternals enjoy. He later appears as himself in Jim's house in the same episode, assuring Jim "Don't worry it's just a social call." Finally, he appears among a variety of mythical characters in "For Whom the Jingle Bell Tolls" expressing jealousy over Santa Claus being everyone's favorite.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Jim loves these.
  • Drop the Cow: literally, Once an Episode, also the Trope Maker. Even lampshaded when he told Psy Crow that there would not be a Here We Go Again ending in his show. Psy Crow asked what Jim would prefer as an alternative and he drops the cow.
  • Earthworm Jim Can Breathe in Space: And so can the entire cast. But they can't breathe underwater, obviously. Even Bob the Killer Goldfish must remain in his bowl.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Queen.
  • Everyone Calls Her Princess: Well, it's a lot easier than always having to say "Princess What's-Her-Name."
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Especially with Princess What's-Her-Name.
  • Evil Twin: Evil Jim.
    • There was one episode where Evil Jim got hold of a gun that made Evil Twins of anything it hit (he wanted to make duplicates of the sidekicks so he would have some friends); unfortunately, the opposite of an Action Girl isn't particularly useful, and pissed off Evil Peter Puppy becomes a civilized monster. Eventually it was discharged against all the villains; Evil Evil The Cat becomes Good The Cat who neutralizes acid furballs, Evil Professor Monkey-For-A-Head becomes Monkey Professor-For-A-Head (they run away together), Evil Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is an old lady more concerned about knitting, and since evil Jim is already the opposite of Jim blasting him with the gun creates another Jim, lots and lots of other Jims.

Evil Jim: I should warn you, this is going to hurt like the dickens.
Other Villains: We figured.

    • Evil Jim at one point lampshades the illogical nature of the 'copy that stands for everything the hero doesn't.'

Jim: I've been thinking about this whole "exact opposite" thing. Since I hate losing, YOU must LOVE it! So why not give up right now?
Evil Jim: Oh, don't be so literal-minded.

  • Evilutionary Biologist: The series two episode "Darwin's Nightmare" revolves around Bob the Goldfish's trying to "evolve" himself into a higher lifeform, recognizing that his fishy body is a physical limitation in his particular line of work. What makes this a bit strange is the fact that Doug TenNapel, is a creationist and the fact that Bob talks like a caricature of a fire 'n' brimstone Southern Baptist preacher (with a slight Mexican accent).

Bob: Ah still believah that fish are the highest form of life, but I gotta get me some arms and legs!

Jim: Quick, little buddy! Whip me! Whip me!
Peter: ...I beg your pardon?
Jim: I mean use me as a whip!
Peter:Oh! Right!

    • Censors were taking a nap during the production of the episode "Peanut of the Apes." First, Jim attempts to increase his show's ratings by appearing, together with Peter, on a beach dressed in thong bikinis complete with Peter commenting "My suit is giving me a snuggie." Later in the same episode Jim barges in on Professor Monkey-For-A-Ahead shouting "Just what do you think you're doing?!" The professor quickly yanks a french maid outfit off of the monkey on his head and counters "Nothing! Nothing at all!"
    • A one-time character's name "Ethel" is pronounced incorrectly due to a lisp, sounding like "asshole".
  • Gone Horribly Right: Bob has this happen to him on numerous occasions, especially in the mid-intervals. Two of the more notable examples are when he finally manages to make his fishy minions intelligent enough to understand him by mutating them to have giant brains (they become intelligent enough to realise he is a dangerous megalomaniac who must be destroyed and blast him with psychic powers) and when he tries giving them an actual demonstration of what he means by destroying things (a bigger fish leaps out and starts beating him up).
    • The episode "Exile of Lucy" has Queen Slug-For-A-Butt dethroned by her henchmen for having no compassion for others. She is exiled to earth where she makes friends with Jim's Nosy Neighbor and returns, having learned her lesson about friendship, only to kick her henchman off the throne herself.
  • Green Lantern Ring: The Orb of Quite Remarkable Power
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Jim, Peter and Snot sneak into a research facility to get Jim's suit back by...walking right through the front entrance, past a pair of security guards. And greeting them.

Guard 1: ...did a giant worm, a talking dog and a smiling booger just walk by?
Guard 2: Yep.
Guard 1: *picks up the phone* Hello, DNA lab? Whatever you guys are doing in there, cut it out!

Jim: EAT DIRT, EVERYBODY IN THE GENERAL VICINITY! *begins shooting wildly* AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    • "Note to self: do not throw super-villains at buses full of orphans."
  • How We Got Here: One episode starts with Psycrow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head gloating over how they defeated (and taxidermied) Jim, and most of the episode is spent in flashbacks explaining how they got to that point. Turns out their taxidermist was Peter in disguise, and Jim wasn't really taxidermied at all.
  • Hulking Out: Peter Puppy is a good guy, but if he gets scared or hurt, his monstrous alter ego takes it out on whoever is in the vicinity, which usually is Jim.
  • Ice Cream Koan: The Master of Wow-Lin, whom Jim claims to have studied under. He spouts nothing but useless platitudes so nonsensical even Jim is quick to realize he's "a senile old bat-nugget"
  • Idiot Hero: Jim has four incredibly advanced worm brains.

Brain One: I'm hungry.
Brain Two: I'm cold.
Brain Three: I'm itchy.
Brain Four: Where are the girls?

    • The fact that they can form coherent sentences makes them advanced for worm brains.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Sword of Righteousness claims to be a legendary powerful sword. Subverted as it turns out none of its wielders have ever won a fight with it.
  • Interspecies Romance: Jim (male mutated giant Texan Earthworm) insists that he and Princess Whats-Her-Name (female deformed Insektikan -- an alien race descended from insects) are a couple. The Princess makes it fairly clear that she is not interested in him and has never given him reason to believe that she is, Jim merely chooses to ignore her denials to fit in with his own delusions, which results in her being more openly irritated by his claims in the second season. There is also Peter Puppy (male Earth dog possessed by a demonic spirit) and Grogamel the Destroyer (female alien) in one first season episode, and Evil the Cat (male demonic feline) and Malice the Dog (female demonic canine) in a surprisingly romantic relationship in one second season episode.
  • Jerkass: Most of the villains, but Psycrow and the Queen really stand out here.
  • Kid Sidekick: Peter Puppy.
  • Killer Rabbit: Again, Peter Puppy, but a heroic variant.
  • Lame Comeback: "Don't play dumb with me, you... dumb guy."
  • Laughably Evil: The ENTIRE Rogues Gallery is friggin' hilarious.
  • Madness Mantra: Peter often keeps himself calm by reciting the first few lines of the "Litany Against Fear" from Frank Herbert's Dune
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Monkey-For-A-Head, and his close associate, Monkey Professor-For-A-Head
  • Meaningful Name: Pretty Much everyone/thing/where has one of these, whether it's the Boulevard of Acute Discomfort, or Henchrat, or the Orb of Quite Remarkable Power
    • Whats-Her-Name's name was retconned into being meaningful when a flashback revealed she got her name from being The Unfavorite.
  • Metaphorgotten: "Superheroes and evil twins go together like peanut butter and...evil peanut butter!"
    • In the same episode, Peter's interpretive puppet show using condiments describing his Heroic BSOD devolves into something like this, until Peter's just having everybody throw up by dumping the condiments onto the table.

Peter: 'I'm just a sugar, but I'm gonna barf too!' And the jelly! Jelly barf, jelly barf!

Peter: You just made that up, didn't you?
Jim: Don't question it.

  • Nosy Neighbor: In "The Egg-Beater" Mrs. Bleveredge, Jim's next-door neighbor demands Jim return the Egg-Beater he borrowed, only to become a Chew Toy as Jim takes her from planet to planet in search of it.
    • She returns in the episode "Exile of Lucy" becoming friends with Queen Slug-For-A-Butt. (they share the same voice actress.) The very next episode "Hyper Psy-Crow" shows her sitting in a throne to the right of the Queen.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Subverted. Professor Monkey-For-A-Head can replicate the super suit at will. It's just that he can't power the damn thing without another Battery Of The Gods and when he went to them to try and get a new one, they turned him into a bread maker.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Dan Castellaneta's interpretation of Jim lacks the thick southern drawl of his games counterpart, replacing it with a cliched hammy superhero dialect.
  • Odd Job Gods: When Jim goes to get a replacement for the Battery of the Gods, he meets the God of Puns, the Goddess of Disco, and the God of Nasal Discharge.
  • Once Per Episode: Peter Puppy eats haggis, the one food that he doesn't like, and states verbatim that it is "the heart, lungs and liver of a sheep boiled in its own stomach." The origin being that he loved haggis until finding out what it really is.
    • Also, most episodes has Peter Puppy turning into a monster whenever he gets hurt or scared.
    • Every episode ends with a cow falling from the sky for no reason. It usually lands on Jim.
  • One-Shot Character: Grayson, immediately dubbed as "Turlawk's Resident Boy Genius and President of the Earthworm Jim Fan Club" only appears in the episode "Upholstered Peril," convieniently providing scientific explanations for the evil furniture, and subbing for Peter, who is turned into a zombified couch potato.
  • Only Sane Woman: Princess What's-Her-Name.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: The president in this series, as he points out in every episode he appears in, is one of those generic presidents TV shows use to keep from being dated.
  • Overly Long Name: The Queen's full name is Queen Bloated, Pulsating, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-Filled, Malformed, Slug-For-A-Butt, which is said in full at least once in every episode she's in.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: One of Psycrow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head's plots to steal Jim's suit involves setting up a fake dry cleaners next to his house. Said dry cleaners is just Psycrow's spaceship with a sign on it, and the guy running the front desk is the Professor with a mustache and a cowboy outfit, complete with ludicrously large hat to hide the monkey. The Professor then talks like he normally does, except with added cowboy slang. Then a banana peel falls out of his hat, which he blames on head lice. Jim completely falls for this.

"Hiss, Hiss! Hello, I am a steam pipe. The intruders went that way. Hiss, hiss! Steam!"

    • From Hyper Psy-Crow:

Peter: Aren't you going to take your helmet off for a lady?
Psy-Crow: A lady?
Peter: Okay, okay, a dog in a dress, JUST TAKE OFF YOUR HELMET PINHEAD!

Jim: Peter, you keep a look out while Snot and I...journey to the center of the suit!
Snot: *gibberish*
Jim: I dunno, Snot. Who's Jules Verne?

  • Single Biome Planet: La Planeta de Agua! Arriba!
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The Princess and The Queen.
    • Moreso in the fact that by alien standards Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is considered the pretty one while her sister Princess What's-Her-Name is considered hideously deformed. An unrelated episode featured the Princess being okay with being hit by a ray gun that turned her fat as "this look is very popular on her planet."
  • Spinoff Babies: One of the mid-interval shorts was a trailer for Young Earthworm Jim.
  • Talking Animal: Jim, Peter Puppy
    • Also practically everyone else in the entire series.
  • Talks Like a Simile: Jim and Peter in the denouement of several episodes. "Once again, evil is as grass beneath the mighty lawnmower of justice!"
  • The Teaser
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Evil the Cat once tried to destroy the universe with one of these...and a fondue fork. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • The Unintelligible: Snot.
    • Also, Monkey Professor-For-A-Head.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Not only is the Narrator prone to being corrected by the characters, he's also at one point bullied into reading a scene transition by Psy-Crow and Professor Monkey-For-A-Head which skips over the two actually having to do what the transition says they've done.
    • The episode "Wizard of Ooze" takes this to extremes: The narrator continually takes a sarcastic, defeatest and cranky attitude towards his job through the episode, at one point even asking the audience to read a book and calling his agent in the middle of the show. Jim snaps him out of it by threatening him with a jar of vocal chord-eating parasites.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Done frequently. Often a premise for mid-interval shorts in the first season with one of the Rogues Gallery in lead role.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Apparently condiment theft is a truly atrocious crime in the Earthworm Jim universe.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Most of the Galactic Justice League falls under this category (Turns-His-Eyelids-Inside-Out Boy and Zantor, Master of the Flying Toupee, are prime examples of this trope)
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Everything for the Planet of Easily Frightened People.

"Ahhhh, something green! Ahhhh, something not green!"