Undergrads

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Clockwise from midnight: Cal, Rita, Jessie, Nitz, Rocko, Gimpy, Kimmy, Mump


Undergrads was a short-lived animated series from 2001, made for MTV. Like other MTV cartoons, such as Daria and Beavis and Butthead, it was adult-oriented and contained very mature content. Only 13 episodes were produced, and the show ended on a cliffhanger.

The show is about four lifelong friends and their experiences during their first year at college. Nitz, the protagonist, is an Every Man who constantly lets college life stress him out. Cal, his roommate, is a Dumb Blonde Ditz with an inexplicably rich sex life. Rocko is part of a fraternity and is obsessed with girls, booze, and Wacky Fratboy Hijinx, to the annoyance of his frat mates. The fourth, Gimpy (called G-Prime by his peers), is a tech geek who attends an MIT-like university and develops a personal cult due to his hacking prowess. He stays connected to the others mainly via the internet, though they all still live in the same city.

At the start of the year, two major people are introduced to the audience: Jessie, a hip, punk-ish girl who befriends Nitz and helps him learn the ropes (and later develops a crush on him), and Kimmy, a beautiful drama student with whom Nitz is smitten (and has been since high school). There are other recurring characters as well, including Rocko's frat "friends," Nitz and Cal's hippie-like Residential Assistant The Douggler, Jessie's friends (Brody, a film student with an encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture and old movies, Krueger, a profanity-spewing chain smoker, and Dan, a geek who just laughs), Kimmy's (unbeknownst to her, gay) friend Mark, and Gimpy's minions.

Although the show is set in college, the characters are almost never shown in class; episodes mainly focus on other aspects of campus life, like dealing with roommates, fitting in with groups, attending mixers, getting student loans, and figuring out what to do in life. Oh, and girls and booze, naturally.

Tropes used in Undergrads include:
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Kimmy to Mark, Nitz to Kimmy, Jessie to Nitz...
    • Hell, in one episode Nitz to Jessie. That's right, they both manage to have unrequited love towards each other. Why she never bothered to reciprocate (or have mixed feelings) about this when he was openly crushing on her wasn't explained.
      • It could be that Jessie's earlier rejection of Nitz was meant to show that she knew he wasn't really into her because he liked her, but because he had accidentally seen her naked.
        • When Nitz initially proposes they go out (and then 'get in the same bed'), Jessie doesn't flat-out reject him - all she says is that she can't because she has a previous commitment that night to work on a project with her classmates. If Nitz hadn't subsequently made a big show of asking Jessie out in public, disrupting her plans and embarrassing her, she might well have reciprocated.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Played with in the show. Nitz at first had no real concern about being a virgin until he saw the girl of his dreams buying a heap of condoms and such. He then attempts to be a Celibate Hero, but when that didn't work he decided to try and become a manly Casanova Wannabe persona. Then he realized it doesn't actually matter that much and stopped worrying about it.
  • Author Appeal: The Thompson Twins song "Hold Me Now" shows up a few times in the background in an instrumental version. It's also Gimpy's go-to karaoke song.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Jessie's preferred dress style.
  • Betty and Veronica: Played with to a more complex level. Kimmy is nice like Betty, but her concept is "The Unattainable Girl" like a Veronica, while Jessie is more cynical and mean like Veronica, but is the "pal" like a Betty.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Nitz, Jessie, Brodie, Kruger & Dan play this role... In a team deathmatch when they arrive to help an outguned Gimpy defeat Spud in a contest to decide if Star Wars or Star Trek is to be the dominant force in their dorms.
  • Big No: In Slow Motion, when Rocko "rescues" Nitz from alcohol.
  • Biting the Hand Humor: They take pot shots at Good Charlotte, who wrote the theme song.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Gimpy's first love is She-Prime, a girl online. At the end of the episode it revealed that their dorm rooms are located right next to each other. And neither of them ever found out.
    • The entire series ended on this note. Kimmy and Nitz got together. Things work out well for the other three, and the only thing that went wrong was that Jessie and Nitz aren't on easy terms now.
  • Brainless Beauty: Cal.
  • Buffy-Speak: Mump: "I'm just to absorb all of your ill will like some kind of ill will absorbing...absorber?"
  • Butt Monkey: Cal - In one episode, Rocko tries to start a college rivalry with State U by beating up Cal after he becomes their mascot... A manatee. However, this doesn't have the desired effect, as nobody really liked the mascot anyway so they just start cheering Cal getting his ass kicked. Lampshaded at the end of the episode, when the characters remark on what they've learned...

Rocko: "I shouldn't beat Cal up because he's the mascot... I should beat Cal up because he's Cal."

  • Celibate Hero: Nitz until the last episode.
  • Cliff Hanger: On the last day of first year, Nitz and Kimmy have a drunken makeout session and afterwards, Jessie chews Nitz out for not realizing she's been in love with him the whole year, and then... the show ends. Forever.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Pretty much everything Krueger says.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: In the last episode, it's was never made clear just how far Nitz got with Kimmie.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Jessie to Nitz in the final episode.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Gimpy's rival/love interest is a female hacker known only as She-Prime.
  • The Ditz: Cal, though Kimmy has traces as well.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Two of the three sunbathing girls Cal applies suntan lotion to in "Risk". One owns nothing but one bikini, the other changes into regular clothes but still does not wear shoes.
  • Does Not Like Women: Gimpy, who firmly believes that, besides Agent Scully, all women are the enemy.
  • Dominatrix: The female RA at Tekerson Tech dressed like this while Cal was visiting her, taking geek chic to a whole new level. See She Cleans Up Nicely below.
  • Dramatic Wind: The first time we meet Kimmy (bonus points because she is indoors.)
  • Dumb Blonde: Cal.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Parker Walsh and Justin Taylor are always addressed as "Nitz" and "Gimpy", respectively. By pretty much everyone.
    • Finding out their real names is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it detail that you'd easily forget they even have a different name. Nitz is even written on his financial aid cheques and the birthday cake sent by his mom.
  • Face Palm: Nitz has been waiting for Kimmy to show up at a party. When she calls, Cal answers and tells her she doesn't have to show up because there are plenty of other pretty ladies there. Cue Face Palm, first by Nitz, then by everyone else at the party.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • The Fool: Cal, again. Everything always turns out the best for him, except the episode "Identity Crisis" that ends with him forgotten and stuck in a tree in the middle of winter.
  • Generation Xerox: In the grand tradition of animation, Gimpy's parents both have his trademark weird eyes, and his dad looks pretty much like an older version of him in a slightly-more realistic style.
  • The Generic Guy: Nitz is an in-universe example of this. He manages to make many friends over the first semester, but after winter, no one on campus even remembers him.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Rivalries, there's a guy in the crowd during the final showdown wearing a shirt that says 'Tuck Fech'. (The episode is about the competitiveness between Tekerson Tech and State U...)
  • Gibberish of Love: Whenever he talks to Kimmy, most of what Nitz tries to say will come out as "Bluh."
  • Gilligan Cut: In New Friends.

Nitz: "Eh, I'm sure the clique doesn't need my help."
Rocko: "Man, we could sure use Nitz's help!"

  • Gonk: Gimpy.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Kimmy, the object of Nitz's infatuation.
  • Hollywood Hacking: When She-Prime infects Gimpy's computer.
  • Ho Yay: Rocko had a sex dream about Cal once. And in a scene where Nitz is messing around in a photobooth, Dan kisses him on the cheek.
    • Mump is kind of clingy and protective of his relationship with Gimpy, going so far as to sabotage Gimpy's friendship with Nitz, and Gimpy does seem to care for him above the other minions, worrying about, missing and later hugging him when Mump got carpal tunnel.
    • Cal once said "I love that guy." about Gimpy (episode being Rivalries). Sure, he's an idiot, but he also got completely broken up when Nitz left the dorm in Roommates and replaced him with a watermelon labeled 'Nitz Guy'. And judging by the flashbacks, Nitz is always the guy Cal wants to do stuff with. Heck, he's probably so stupid, he doesn't even know his sexuality; he just does whoever jumps on him.
    • Nitz and Gimpy's "Oh you..."
  • The Hyena: Dan. All he does is laugh.
  • I Am Spartacus: Parodied: When the RA asks who has been pulling pranks around campus, all Gimpy's minions stand up and claim to be the man responsible. In a supreme act of Comically Missing the Point, Gimpy gets angry with them, assuming they are all trying to mooch in on his fame. One of said minions even specifically says "I am Spartacus!"
  • Incoming Ham: Gimpy usually pops up on Nitz's computer on his webcam saying "Did someone just say my name?" On some episodes it works, in others it doesn't.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Subverted with Rocko's fraternity. The college banned embarrassing hazing rituals, so they just have a get-together party. Rocko refuses to believe there is no hazing, believing it all to be a Secret Test of Character, so he goes out and does several bizarre, humiliating acts in the name of his frat.
  • Jerk Jock: Rocko has this persona, despite not being an athlete. He is quite burly, though.
  • Kavorka Man: While Cal is attractive and good-natured, the sheer amount of women he attracts is obscene.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Pretty much everyone. Nitz however favors the "closet full of the same outfit" version of the trope, as shown in the last episode when Cal gives out his clothes to girls after sleeping with them.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The probable reasoning behind the eXposed eXpo, when freshmen run around naked during the first snowfall.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Some characters look more realistically drawn, such as Rocko, Kimmy, and Nitz. Others look much more cartoony, like Mump, Cal, and Gimpy, who almost seems like he's from a different show entirely. Several characters have giant heads (Nitz, Gimpy, Kimmy), while others are more-or-less realistically-proportioned (most background characters).
  • Not So Above It All: Nitz thinks he's the Only Sane Man in his circle of friends, but he has plenty of moments of craziness and stupidity himself.
  • Oblivious to Love: Jessie was never really that subtle about her feelings for Nitz, not that he ever got the message.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: It's like no one at this college goes to class.

Brody: I feel like I haven't cracked a textbook or seen the inside of a classroom all year.

  • Poor Man's Porn: At one point Rocko starts reading Cosmo, but only for the pictures.
  • Reality Subtext / Write Who You Know: All of the characters are based on the creator and his best friends and people he met in college. In fact Jessie is voiced by the actual woman she's based on.
  • Right Behind Me: Nitz says right after calling Rocko a terrible friend.
  • Serious Business: For Gimpy, Star Wars, The X-Files and Quake. For all of the gang, Risk.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: When Gimpy introduces Cal to his RA we suddenly see her with no glasses, hair down, in a cut-off shirt and daisy dukes. Later in the episode she takes geek chic to a whole new level.
  • Shout-Out: Many, mostly to Star Wars. The episode "New Friends" in particular, which focuses on a Star Trek versus Star Wars conflict in Gimpy's university.
  • The Sixties: The Duggler is pretty stuck in them. Kimmy has her moments, what with her role in campus protests.
  • Slice of Life
  • Soapbox Sadie: Kimmy, especially in the episode "Financial Aid".
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Duggler.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Charity towards Rocko, and pretty much any guy.
  • There Are No Girls on the Internet: Gimpy's belief until he encounters She-Prime.
  • Take That: Rocko has a homoerotic dream about Cal. When Nitz starts to say that it may not have been homoerotic, Rocko immediately asserts that Keanu Reeves was there.
  • Talking to Himself: Almost all of the male characters are all voiced by the same guy.
  • Those Two Guys: Brody and Krueger usually fit this role.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Jessie and Kimmy.
  • Transparent Closet: Mark, a drama student whom Kimmy carries a torch for. It's obvious to everyone he's gay...except for Kimmy and Nitz.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: For almost every episode of the series, Jessie has a crush on Nitz. For one mid-season episode, he has feelings for her and she doesn't reciprocate.
    • Though that was mostly because his way of approach was completely wrong.
  • Verbal Tic: Cal's "Guy" and slurping. Kruger's bleeped-out swearing. Gimpy's "...the hell?" might count.
  • Virginity Makes You Stupid: Kimmy and Charity (Rocko's girlfriend during "Virgins").
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Rocko and Cal are a Type 1. Rocko absolutely cannot stand Cal, and never hesitates to abuse him, verbally and physically. Cal, however, is oblivious to his outright hostility, and still considers Rocko his friend despite it all.
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: Rocko believes this is what fraternities are all about. The other members of his fraternity...not so much.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: In one episode, the disciplinary RC at Tekerson Tech (Gimpy's school) is removed from the picture after her introduction to Cal. Chaos ensues amongst the students and soon Gimpy decides that they need the RC back.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Nitz gets this frequently -- usually because he was ignoring his friends to chase Kimmy. Jessie gives him one of these frequently (and literally at least once), and the rest of his gang also mock him for bailing on them.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The colleges the characters go to give no indication for the location, such as the delightfully impossible "State University"
    • They seem to have New York State I.D.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Rocko thinks he's about to enter a wacky fratboy movie akin to Animal House. Turns out that's not how his frat actually works.