“Courage The Cowardly Dog” aired in 1999 on Cartoon Network. (same year Batman Beyond aired) The show spawned three seasons, merchandise and an upcoming crossover film with Scooby-Doo titled, “Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo meets Courage The Cowardly Dog.” Before the upcoming crossover film comes out, I wanna share my thoughts on the first season. When I was a kid, I used to watch Courage The Cowardly Dog during Cartoon Network’s golden age.
This review contains SPOILERS. Must of us kids who grew up in Cartoon Network’s golden age have gone memories of the show.
The Entire Season
Pros: Voice Actors all did a good job for their respective voiceover performances.
John R. Dilworth did a good job mapping out all self-contained episodes sharing no continuity. Think of it as an anthology series like “Black Mirror.”
Animation still holds up bringing every single detail to life.
The show is influenced by “Looney Tunes,” Salvador Dali & Charlie Chaplin.
Each bad guy is memorable. My favorite is The Eggplants.
Courage’s sarcastic computer sounds like Pierce Brosnan.
Courage’s catchphrase is “The things I do for love.”
Courage often “Breaks The 4th Wall.” Translation, speaks to the audience.
Humor is filled with slapstick, visual gags, Courage reacting to a sinister presence etc.
In nearly every episode Eustace gets his comeuppance as a result of being greedy and downright self-absorbed. He comes back with no explanation whatsoever. Again, each episode is self-contained sharing no continuity.
My favorite episode from Season 1 is the one with an army of eggplants.
Cons: I know this is a cartoon, but there are some Plot Holes. I’ll list one from a selected episode.
Many characters are able to understand Courage speaking English. Muriel & Eustace ignore his dialogue.
As a kid, I never got mentally scared by the show’s nightmare fuel. I don’t think it’s an issue. I’ll just let this con slide.
Episode 1 – A Night At Katz Motel
Light: Courage, Muriel & Eustace go to a hotel owned by a Katz. He attempts to feed his pet spiders on his prey.
Courage & Katz compete in a game of wallball.
Dark: An optional con for those who have a fear of spiders, you might wanna skip this. If not? So be it.
Episode 2 – Cajun Granny Stew
Tasty: A crazed fox with big eyes like Marty Feldman, attempts to cook Muriel as an ingredient for his stew.
Episode 2 is a non-stop slapstick tribute to “Looney Tunes.”
Disgusting: No cons.
Episode 3 – The Shadow Of Courage
Up: Courage says “Or my name is Shirley, and it’s not. Shirley The Medium later makes an appearance on the 12th Episode.
Down: At the 11:16 mark, an animation error with Courage speaking without his lips moving.
Episode 4 – Dr. Le Quack, Amnesia Specialist
Smart: After Eustace accidentally hits Muriel, she suffers amnesia. Courage contacts a doctor, who turns out to be a con artist.
Courage & Le Quack engage in battle using their wits.
Eustace gets a taste of his own medicine. Le Quack hits him in the head. He suffers from amnesia. Karma at its finest.
Dumb: Nothing bad happened.
Episode 5 – Courage Meets Big Foot
Huge: Courage encounters Big Foot. They have a food fight, and a dance-off. They eventually become good friends.
Eustace attempts to capture Big Foot for a reward.
Tiny: No boo boos found.
Episode 6 – Hothead
Calm: Courage discovers Eustace’s hair tonic contains a side effect. Getting angry will cause something to explode.
Angry: There’s an animation error with Courage playing the harp saying “stay calm.” His lips aren’t moving.
Episode 7 – The Demon In The Mattress
Light: Episode 7 is a parody of “The Exorcist.”
The way Courage & Eustace try to get rid of the demon is pretty funny.
Heavy: No cons spotted.
Episode 8 – Freaky Fred
Peaceful: Episode 8 is a parody of “Sweeney Todd” minus the killing.
Freaky Fred’s appearance and big smile reminds me of Gary Busey.
Like Joker & Alex from “A Clockwork Orange,” Freaky Fred is an unreliable narrator.
Nightmare: No boo boos spotted.
Episode 9 – Night Of The Weremole
Well: When Muriel is bitten by a weremole, Courage searches for a cure.
Gotta love Eustace’s signature weapon. A massive mallet.
Sick: Plot Hole 1 – After Courage suffers a heart attack, a scene cuts to an ambulance. Who rescued him? Eustace was taking a bath unaware of Courage’s predicament.
Plot 2 – Weremole bites and treats Courage (wearing a disguise) as a chew toy. How come Courage isn’t infected?
Episode 10 – Mother’s Day
Empathy: Courage tags along with Eustace as they visit the latter’s mother.
Eustace becomes jealous towards Courage, because his mother favors the dog instead of her own son.
Episode 10 is a breather episode not involving a dangerous threat.
Eustace’s mother has a big secret. She’s bald like her son.
Psychopathy: Nothing terrible occurred.
Episode 11 – The Duck Brothers
Balanced: Muriel is captured by the titular siblings. They use her as some sort of puppet in order to rescue their brother who’s about to get cooked by a chef.
The Duck Brothers sound like Ringo Starr.
Courage & The Duck Brothers have a Rock Em’ And Sock Em’ style fight using Muriel & Eustace in combat.
Unbalanced: Plot Hole 1 – No security cameras or armed men in a military base are present.
Episode 12 – Shirley The Medium
Happy: Eustace contacts Shirley The Medium, so he can talk to his deceased brother where a key to a box contains something valuable. Courage however, knows there’s something suspicious going on with that box.
Sad: No issues discovered.
Episode 13 – King Ramses’ Curse
Lifted: Arc Words are “What’s your offer?” Don’t forget King Ramses’ “Return the slab.”
My favorite part is Ramses’ music curse playing awful music. I would like to see an edited video with Courage destroying the record player as it plays Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop.” Her music is atrocious since “Hannah Montana” so you can bite me.
King Ramses is computer animated giving him a creepy appearance. As a kid, he never gave me the heebie jeebies. Same with Freaky Fred.
I got a chuckle when Muriel preps up one last meal. She thought she was gonna die.
Cursed: The issues found.
Episode 14 – The Clutching Foot
Healthy: Eustace has a severe fungus on his foot. It swells him into a giant taking full control. The Big Toe has a personality of a 1930s gangster.
Before Eustace swells up, I laughed my butt of when Muriel uses painful methods on his foot.
Courage crawls inside a ventilation system. In the words or John McClaine from “Die Hard,” “Now I know what a TV dinner feels like.” I always quote that line whenever a character craws inside a vent.
The Big Toe telling Muriel to shut up and calling her a fat woman made me chuckle.
Thanks to Courage licking his tongue defeating The Big Foot, his tongue becomes infected. Which is played for laughs.
Unhealthy: Nothing terrible occurred.
Episode 15 – The Hunchback Of Nowhere
Clean: Courage befriends a homeless hunchback.
The Hunchback stands up to himself defending Courage and giving Eustace a taste of his own medicine.
It’s pretty rare to hear Eustace calling out Courage’s name. He usually calls him stupid dog.
Episode 15 is another breather episode with no dangerous threat. Eustace is the antagonist.
Filthy: Not a single con spotted.
Episode 16 – The Gods Must Be Goosey
Immortal: A god (literally a goose) immediately falls in love with Muriel. He attempts to woo her and make her his queen.
I cracked up when The Goose thinks Eustace’s truck is flirting with him. Courage honks the horn to prevent him from taking Muriel. The Goose communicates honking. To spice things up a notch, Eustace cries when The Goose took his truck.
Mortal: No cons found.
Episode 17 – Queen Of The Black Puddle
Ascend: A mystical creature seduces Eustace. She kidnaps him in an attempt to eat him alive.
When Eustace is kidnap. Courage tries to cheer up Muriel by beating himself up is funny as heck.
Descend: A “Deus Ex Machina” happened when Muriel’s tears creates a puddle allowing Courage to escape the monster’s wrath. Why didn’t this happen before?
Episode 18 – Everyone Wants To Direct
Alive: A zombified director makes a fake film using Muriel & Eustace as bait.
Benton Tarantella is a parody of Quentin Tarantino minus the foot fetish.
Dead: Plot Hole 1 – Benton’s script rewritten by Courage. He and his fellow zombie collaborator follow the instructions allowing Courage to bury them. You cannot be this stupid falling for an obvious trap.
Episode 19 – The Snowman Commeth
Cozy: A snowman who sounds like the late Sean Connery, tries to steal Eustace & Muriel’s DNA to stop himself from melting as he is the last of his kind when his species his nearly extinct.
The Snowman references James Bond’s catchphrase, “The names Bond, James Bond.” Replacing it with “Man, Snowman.”
A chase scene is pretty good.
Uncomfortable: Nothing utterly bad found.
Episode 20 – The Precious, Wonderful Adorable, Lovable Duckling
Cooked: When Eustace cracks an egg from a nest, a baby duck is born thinking Eustace is his mother. The Duck attempts to get rid of Courage & Muriel.
Overcooked: A Plot Hole involving why didn’t Eustace & The Duck die from suffocating in space. I know it’s a cartoon, but if this were real life, they’re boned.
Episode 21 – Heads Of Beef
Tasty: Courage & Eustace stop by at a restaurant. Courage suspects the manager serving human flesh.
A Plot Twist reveals the restaurant isn’t serving human flesh. Just normal designed after a customer.
Disgusting: No flaws spotted.
Episode 22 – Klub Katz
Open: Katz makes his return. This time he’s the owner of a Fantasy Island-esque business. He transforms Muriel & Eustace into a washing machine and wrecking ball. At least the latter has some decency than Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” music video.
“Titanic” is referenced when a a cruise ship barely passed an ice burg. Leonardo DiCaprio worked with Alex Garland in “The Beach.” Back when Courage’s first season aired in 1999-2000.
Closed: No boo boos found.
Episode 23 – The Revenge Of The Chicken From Outer Space
Free: The Space Chicken from the Oscar nominated 1996 short film seeks revenge after Courage zaps him into fried chicken.
The Space Chicken attempts to pop Muriel’s head and place it on his neck as a replacement. After Courage thwarts his plan, he picks Eustace’s head.
Courage outsmarts The Space Chicken by using himself as bait. Then a military rocket blows up the spaceship.
Trapped: No cons.
Episode 24 – Journey To The Center Of Nowwhere
Hydrated: Episode 24 is my favorite episode from Season 1.
Episode 24’s title is a play-on-word of “Journey To The Center Of The Earth.”
Courage poses as “The Great Eggplant.” He plays a “Simon Says” style game with The Eggplants.
Dehydrated: Nothing terrible occurred.
Episode 25 – Little Muriel
Float: After a tornado de-ages Muriel into a little girl, Courage is forced to take care of her while looking for a way to revert her predicament.
This episode spoofs the disaster movie genre. Particularly “Twister.”
A running gag with Eustace getting knocked out.
Katie Soucie (The Twins from Rugrats) guest stars as a de-aged Muriel.
Sink: Courage somehow manages to stop the tornado by making it trip using a rope.
Episode 26 – The Great Fusilli
Upgrade: Jim Cummings (Winnie The Pooh, Darkwing Duck) guest stars as the titular villain. He intendeds to turn Muriel & Eustace as his puppets.
Gotta love Eustace reacting to Muriel’s horrible acting.
Courage shows off his tap dancing skills.
Downgrade: No flaws discovered.
The Final Verdict: B, FOR BRILLIANT!
Courage The Cowardly Dog’s first season still holds up. If you’re excited to see “Straight Outta Nowhere,” I highly recommend all four seasons streaming on HBO Max.