Ruby Gloom

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Ruby Gloom (2006-2008) is a Canadian Animated Show originally created as a tie-in with a line of stationery. Despite the melancholy feel of said stationery, the show is fairly upbeat; in fact, it's a prime example of the Perky Goth mentality.

Two seasons, a combined 40 episodes, were released, although at somewhat hectic intervals across different regions.


Tropes used in Ruby Gloom include:
  • Absentee Actor:
    • There are several episodes where one of the main characters is absent without explanation. Usually Iris.
    • Scaredy Bat is mysteriously absent in the episode where Boo-Boo needs to scare someone to become a full-fledged ghost, because of course if he was there the story would be over in a few minutes.
  • Acrophobic Bat: Scaredy Bat
  • Alliterative Family: Misery's family
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The ending theme in the Japanese version is called "Siren" by Nana Kitade, who used the alias "Ruby Gloom" for this single.
  • Amusing Injuries:
    • Misery is always hit by lightning, only to say "ouch" and come back ten seconds later in best shape.
    • Inverted in one episode, where Misery isn't hurt at all—the other characters are getting hurt instead.
    • Ruby gets her own taste of pain in "Disaster Becomes You" when she has Misery's bad luck and in "I'll Be Home for Misery" when Misery's cousin Mayhem gives her a strong handshake. Though the "I'll Be Home for Misery" example turns out to be part of a dream.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Possibly Misery and her family.
  • An Odd Place to Sleep: Misery's bed of nails.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In "Once in a Blue Luna" despite what kind of world she lives in Misery is adamant that monsters don't exist. Until the end.
  • Artistic License Animal Care: Ruby has no qualms with feeding her cat muffins that contain chocolate.
  • Awesome but Impractical: No sane person in real life would play a guitar using barbed wire as strings.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: Ruby starts a scary story with "It was a light and sunny day."
  • Balloon Belly: In "Broken Records" Iris has one when trying to break the record for eating the most of Gloomsville's stinkiest cheese; gorgonlimburgerazola. It disappears as soon as she gives up.
  • Be Yourself: Of course.
  • Bollywood Nerd: Scaredy has the right accent, and he's actually rather smart. So he is possibly a rare non-human example of this trope.
  • Brick Joke: The punchline of "Missing Buns".
    • Also, that comment about Misery's family having a high lead content in their blood? It's the reason they're able to return from outer space in the episode Out Of This World.
  • Butt Monkey: Misery, and her bad luck.
  • Call Back:
    • The caves and flytrap forest from "Iris Springs Eternal" reappear in "Misery Loves Company." It also has Misery singing the "Train Wreck" song.
  • Calvin Ball: The quiz show in "Lucky Me".
  • Captain Ersatz: In an inversion, a lot of people consider Ruby the polar opposite of Mandy.
  • Catch Phrase: Ruby has "Look on the bright side" and to a lesser extent "I hate to say this, but..."
    • Up to Eleven in "Hair(less) The Musical", there's a whole musical number dedicated to this catchphrase and it's repeated several times.
    • Iris has "I'm good."
    • Misery has "Ow."
    • Mad Libs Catchphrase: Skull Boy has "I think I might come from a long line of _________s"
  • Cheerful Child: The triplets Myopic, Malice and Misbegotten from "I'll Be Home for Misery", which is odd considering they come from a family of Eeyores.
  • Centipede's Dilemma: Throughout the second half of "Lucky Me" Ruby asks Skull Boy questions that he answers perfectly without thinking when up to that point he'd had trouble with even the simplest questions after losing his lucky charm. Skull Boy falls apart once this is actually pointed out to him.
    • Ruby does something similar for Venus in "Venus de Gloomsville," encouraging her to just relax or have fun with her writing.
  • Companion Cube: Mr. Buns.
  • Cool Pet: Doom Kitty.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Intentionally exemplifies this trope. Ruby's friends include a two-headed Frankenstein's Monster, an animate skeleton, a banshee, a cyclops, a black cat, a bat, a ghost, a venus flytrap, a doll and three ravens. Despite being traditionally being monstrous or "dark", all are decidedly not evil, and very friendly, if a bit eccentric.
  • Decade Dissonance: The show takes place in an odd timeline in regard to technology. The gang has an old timey radio and no television, yet Frank and Len have modern musical instruments.
    • And, oddly, their amp seems to be coal powered.
    • Ruby has a portable music player... which is a tiny phonograph that she listens to with earbuds.
  • Defanged Horrors: To the max.
  • Dem Bones: Skullboy, and the Skele-tunes.
  • Depending on the Writer: Misery switches back and forth between hating her bad luck and tolerating it. In "Disaster Becomes You" she even likes it.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose In Life: Skull Boy.
  • The Ditz: Frank and Len.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Doom Kitty.
  • Earthquake Machine: Misery is a living one whenever she jumps up and down on the ground, despite her supposedly low weight.
  • The Eeyore: Misery.
  • Elegant Gothic Lolita: Ruby, Misery, and Iris.
  • Escalating Punchline: Skull Boy, when describing his lucky charm in "Lucky Me":

Skull Boy: A horseshoe.
Poe: Well that shouldn't be hard to spot.
Skull Boy: A seahorse horseshoe.
Others: Ohhhhhh.
Skull Boy: For a baby seahorse.
Others: Ohhhh...
Skull Boy: A baby miniature seahorse.
Others: Oh.

  • Establishing Character Moment: The first episode gives introductory scenes to most of the cast. The best one may be Misery's, where a few sentences into an already gloomy conversation, she puts the always-optimistic Ruby at a temporary loss for words by describing her own genetic predisposition toward being struck by lightning.
    • Two seconds later, Ruby further establishes her own character by changing the subject and managing to lift her spirits a little anyway.
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop: Whenever the characters dance it's always the same animation looped over and over.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: Boo-Boo's bosses/guardians/mentors/whatever, Mr. White and Mr. Whyte.
  • Fantasy Twist: From "Skull Boys Don't Cry":

Misery: I used to have imaginary friends too. But they blew up.

Misery: Um, Iris... That conditioner you gave me didn't work. Although, I suddenly have an urge to "get my groove on." Whatever that means.

Iris: Yeah, but they've spent the last three hours alone in a dark room. How much fun can that be?
Misery: Actually, a lot.
[Everyone reacts]

    • And let's not forget Poe's poem:

Poe: ...The bats will not harm you, I told them, "Let pass!" The ghouls are a problem, best watch your...
[Edgar and Allen stop playing and give him a surprised look]
Poe: ...em... bottom...

      • And in another episode:

Poe: There once was a crow from Nantucket...

Skull Boy: Misery, we're having a brainstorm session. My room in ten minutes! (hangs up)
(Misery, Scaredy, Frank and Len exchange awkward looks)
Skull Boy: (picks up again) Oh, that goes for the rest of you too.
Others: Oh.

  • Gosh Hornet: Misery and Malady both get attacked by bees and, despite the swelling, don't seem too bothered.
  • Halloweentown: Gloomsville, of course.
  • Handcar Pursuit: "Last Train to Gloomsville Part 2"
  • The Hat Makes the Man: "Ruby Cubed"
  • Hiccup Hijinks: Misery's hiccups can create tornadoes.
  • Hollywood Tone Deaf: Ruby and Iris sing in off-key, off-rhythm shouts that, although still not totally realistic, are not as overdone as some examples of this trope. Misery (while awake) does sing in the top-of-her-lungs, randomly-pitched shrieking wail that exemplifies this trope, but it's justified, as she appears to actually be a banshee.
  • How We Got Here
  • Hypno Fool: Len in "Grounded in Gloomsville."
  • Intellectual Animal: Poe is a subversion of this, being a Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • I'm Good: Iris says this all the time whenever her boundless energy and recklessness gets the better of her. Also, yet again, Misery's deadpan "Ow"s whenever something happens to her.
  • Ironic Fear: There's a bat who's afraid of heights and the dark.
  • Ironic Name: Ruby Gloom herself. Her last name may be Gloom, but she's the opposite of gloomy.
    • However, before the cartoon was made, Ruby really was gloomy[1].
  • It's Been Done: Venus struggles with this during "Venus de Gloomsville."
  • It Was Here, I Swear: Skull Boy trying to introduce the guys to the Skeletunes in "Skull Boys Don't Cry". The first two times they stay hidden to mess with him as a joke, but they do show up the third time.
  • Jack of All Trades: Skull Boy
  • Jive Turkey: The Skeletunes. On the various occasions when Ruby and company encounter the lead singer, they're left utterly perplexed.
    • Ruby becomes one of these in "Hair(less) the Musical" after soaking up enough of his lingo to replicate it... somewhat.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Poe
  • Large Ham: Misery - of all people - sometimes fit this trope:

"I'm also the Queen of disasters, by the way. And the Princess. And the Baroness! And the Countess! And the Viscountess! THE EMPRESS!!"
"BEWARE!!!...of the cupboard!"

    • As well as some of her relatives: Morose ("Why?! Why?!"), Mayhem ("Hah Hah Hah!") and Migraine ("I'm Queen of the world!")
  • Leitmotif: Enter Misery, cue spooky organ music.
  • Lethal Chef: Misery
  • Light Is Not Good: In an episode when Misery goes away the dark clouds covering the sky of their home place instantly disappear; while the main characters are delighted at first then the sun's rays increase the temperature drastically and everyone tries to get Misery home.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: When Skull Boy temporarily moved in with Poe they started acting like a couple on the verge of divorce, complete with Ruby acting like a marriage counselor.
  • Living Toys: Mr. Buns is a strange example. The other characters treat him as if he's alive, and he seems to do things when he's not on-screen... but whenever he's on-screen, he's just a lifeless sock-bunny. In the most extreme case, he's fencing with Poe from just off-screen, only for the sword to drop the moment he's visible in the frame.
    • Many people think that Ruby Gloom herself is, in fact, a Living Doll. This is supported by her hobby of sewing, pure white skin, and the stitches around her eyes.
  • Meaningful Name: Misery is generally not the perkiest girl in the world.
  • Mickey Mousing: Uses this up to a point, but it is particularly notable for the character Doom Kitty, whose every movement and action is punctuated by an appropriate violin chord. It's adorable.
  • Minimalist Cast: The bulk of episodes generally only feature the main cast. The exceptions usually either become recurring characters in their own right or are related to Misery.
  • Mirror-Cracking Ugly: Misery has cracked mirrors, as well as other things made of glass, just by looking at them.
  • Mistaken for Dying / No Longer with Us: Parodied with Frank and Len in "Gloomer Rumor" when they think Ruby is dying.
  • Multiple Head Case: Frank and Len.
  • Musical Episode: Hair(less): The Musical. And it's actually pretty friggin' good.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted, surprisingly or not.
  • Nice Hat: Misery's lumberjack hat in "Misery Loves Company".
    • The hat Skull Boy finds in "Ruby Cubed" which turns him into a Shakespearean thespian.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Misery could be this sometimes, depending on the writer.
  • No Export for You: Despite starting all the way back in 2006, it still hasn't aired in the US, despite having been aired and even dubbed pretty much everywhere else. What makes this especially odd is the Ruby Gloom franchise is owned by Mighty Fine, an American company. Mighty Fine's website even has a link to the TV series' website on its Ruby Gloom page.
    • It is available in the US off of Netflix's streaming service so perhaps they simply do not see a large enough rating potential for a TV slot.
  • Nonverbal Miscommunication: A Running Gag with Doom Kitty.
  • Noodle Incident: Misery again:

Misery: The last time I was surprised, that pack of wolves was ruthless...

  • The Noseless: Ruby looks like this when not in profile.
  • Oktoberfest: Uta and Gunther - Much to the disappointment of German fans, who thought Ruby Gloom was above such stereotyping.
  • One We Prepared Earlier
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Boo-Boo
  • Out-of-Character Moment: In "Ruby Cubed" Iris and Misery childishly and kind of cruelly tease Skull Boy about being the romantic male lead. While it's arguable if that's out of character for Iris, it's definitely out of character for Misery.
  • Perky Goth: Ruby fits this trope perfectly, being bright, cheerful and friendly in every situation. The only thing that can get her down is bright colors. The strange thing is that the merchandise on which the show was based kind of gave Ruby a very melancholic feel, but whatever.
  • Plague of Good Fortune: Every Friday the 13th, everyone in Misery's family has extraordinarily good luck and their normally extraordinarily bad luck is spread to those around them.
    • Misery has so much good luck to make up for that she even gains Fertile Feet.
  • The Power of Friendship
  • Ravens and Crows called Edgar, Allan and Poe respectively. Partially justified when they are revealed to be descended from Paco the pet bird of Poe Himself.
  • Rear Window Investigation: "Poe-ranoia"
  • Reverse Psychology: Ruby attempts this on Scaredy in "The Beat Goes On". It fails.

Misery: Well, that was a complete success!
Iris: What? No it wasn't. It was... Oh!

Poe: The bats will not harm you,
I told them, "Let pass!!"
The ghouls are a problem;
Best watch your....

  • music stops abruptly*

Poe: "Erm....bottom."

  • Suddenly Voiced: Venus, as of "Venus de Gloomsville".
  • Three Shorts: Actually uses an unusual format, where one full-length episode is framed by two super-short segments.
  • The Chew Toy: Misery
  • The Millennium Age of Animation
  • The Wiki Rule
  • Toothy Bird: Poe, Edgar and Allen
  • Troperiffic: Misery, as evidenced by this page.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: All shown members of Misery's family are just her design with a few changes.
  • The Un-Smile: Misery, though she does occasionally smile and laugh sincerely.
  • Up to Eleven: In the episode "Ruby Gloom Out of This World", after they get the house back from orbiting the moon, Frank and Len crank the volume of their music up to eleven. Cue fireworks and an explosion that sends Poe, Frank, and Len into space. And orbiting the moon.
  • Vague Age: Pretty much everyone. Ruby is six years old and Iris may be the same age, If not older, and Boo Boo is also a kid. Skull Boy, Misery, Frank and Len are all obviously teenagers. Scaredy Bat is also an adult, despite his cowardice. Poe is the oldest. Mr. Buns and Venus are both the youngest since they were both created. It is unclear how old Doom Kitty is.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Misery, obviously. And everyone on her mother's side of the family.
  • Watch Out for That Tree: Edgar and Allen in "Poe-ranoia."
  • Weird Moon: The moon is alive. Other than singing the theme song, it has no additional dialogue.
    • Although it did giggle in one episode.
  • With Catlike Tread: Iris in "Yam Ween" when attempting to peak at the presents and seeing the chime she thought she broke was still broken.

"AHH! I mean... Ahh... IT'S STILL BROKEN!"

  • Wraparound Background: Parodically lampshaded during the episode "Name that Toon". As Skull Boy leads Scaredy Bat past the backdrop sheets of his cartoon, he says he'll try to avoid Repeat Pans, another name for this trope, and Scaredy Bat agrees that they invariably look cheesy. This entire sequence is shot in front of a Wraparound Background, made particularly obvious as the same two distinctive backdrop sheets are repeated over and over.
    • Lampshaded again in "Last Train to Gloomsville" when Frank and Len admire the scenery outside the train. "Cool house! Nice boulder! Cool rickshaw! Cool house! Nice boulder! ... Rickshaw..."

Frank: Does anything about this seem strange to you?
Len: No.
Frank: Me neither.

  • You Mean "Xmas": Instead of Christmas (or Halloween) they celebrate Yam Ween.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Just as every member of Misery's family has tears permanently running down their face, Mildew and Morose's makeup is permanently running.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: In one episode Misery thinks she got a cold from a sick bunny and starts experiencing very real symptoms. Once she learns the bunny never had a cold her symptoms immediately vanish.

Notes

  1. Sort of