The Disney Channel aired “Dave the Barbarian,” an original series crafted by Doug Langdale, from 2004 to 2005. Set in the medieval kingdom of Udrogoth, the story follows Dave, a brawny yet timid barbarian, his elder sister Candy, the princess, and their younger sister Fang.
But Dave isn’t your typical hero – he’s more into gourmet cooking and writing poetry than battling monsters. His quirky interests and fears (like his hilarious fear of the dark) drive much of the show’s humor and heart.
Dave The Barbarian
This cartoon is a blast! With two kids at home, I watch animation regularly, and this stands out as one of the funniest and most captivating shows.
While it doesn’t focus on adult themes, it’s packed with witty remarks that adults can enjoy. The show is misplaced in its current time slot. It deserves a prime spot on Saturday mornings or as an after-school feature in widespread syndication.
A Kingdom Full of Wacky Antics
Udrogoth is not your everyday medieval kingdom. From a talking sword that’s too tired for its own good to a pig who acts as the royal family’s oracle, the land is filled with bizarre and memorable characters. Each episode sees our protagonists facing odd challenges.
One day, they’re battling an evil sorcerer, and the next, they’re contending with Dave’s addiction to a magical video game.
The series does a fantastic job of blending fantasy tropes with modern-day humor.
It’s common to see dragons, wizards, and ancient prophecies alongside jokes about shopping, pop culture, and teen angst. This wonderful mashup offers fresh, laugh-out-loud moments in every episode.
Breaking the Mold with Comedic Adventures
The magic of “Dave the Barbarian” lies in its ability to subvert expectations. Where most animated series would have a brave hero vanquish his enemies with strength and valor, this show sees its protagonist more likely to win the day through a heartfelt song or an impressive culinary dish.
This continual breaking of the mold kept audiences coming back for more.
Furthermore, while it’s primarily a comedy, the series doesn’t shy away from showcasing genuine character growth and heartwarming moments.
The bond between Dave and his sisters, Fang and Candy, drives many of the stories. Their love for each other and their commitment to protecting Udrogoth, even in the most unconventional ways, adds depth to the show’s comedic exterior.
Doug Langdale created and wrote the show. It first aired on Disney in 2004 and moved to Toon Disney in 2005. In Latin America, Jetix broadcasts the show.
Drawing inspiration from classics like Hagar the Horrible, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and the brief The Roman Holidays, Dave the Barbarian blends elements of both ancient and contemporary worlds.
For instance, Candy shops at a nearby mall and employs a crystal ball for her online shopping escapades. Every so often, characters in the series break the fourth wall, either speaking directly to the viewers or interacting with the narrator.
What is Dave the Barbarian All About?
The series unfolds in the medieval kingdom of Udrogoth. Dave, voiced by Danny Cooksey, is a strong yet timid barbarian who shares his home with his fashion-conscious older sister Candy, voiced by Erica Luttrell, and his fiery younger sister Fang, brought to life by Tress MacNeille.
Their parents, Throktar and Glimia, reign as King and Queen. However, they’ve journeyed afar to combat evil, occasionally touching base via a magic crystal ball or cauldron. In their absence, Candy assumes the role of Princess Regent, overseeing the kingdom, while Dave, being the largest, shoulders the responsibility of its defense.
The trio, along with their food-loving, somewhat bumbling “wizard” uncle Oswidge, takes on the task of governing and safeguarding Udrogoth from the not-so-sharp yet wicked Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy, with Paul Rugg lending his voice.
Jeff Bennett voices a unique character, the Narrator or “the Storyteller.” He interacts directly with the show’s characters, creating a playful breach of the fourth wall. This dynamic peaked when Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy once captured him, forcing the Narrator to recount tales according to the villain’s whims.
“Dave the Barbarian” boasts a colorful cast of cartoon characters, each bringing their own quirks and charm to the series:
Voiced by Danny Cooksey, Dave is the titular character. Despite being a hulking barbarian, he is gentle, kind-hearted, and more interested in cooking, poetry, and playing the lute than in typical barbarian pursuits like battling and conquests. He possesses immense physical strength but is timid and fearful in many situations, especially when faced with anything remotely scary.
Candy is Dave’s older sister, voiced by Erica Luttrell. She is left in charge of the kingdom as Princess Regent during their parents’ absence. Fashion-forward and somewhat self-centered, she’s torn between her responsibilities as ruler and her love for shopping and modern luxuries. She often uses a crystal ball as her means of online shopping.
Voiced by Tress MacNeille, Fang is Dave’s younger sister. She’s feisty, aggressive, and has an insatiable desire for combat and adventure. Despite her small stature, she considers herself a barbarian at heart. Her physical appearance is somewhat reminiscent of a monkey, a recurring joke in the series.
- Uncle Oswidge
The siblings’ uncle is a self-proclaimed wizard, although his magic often goes awry. He loves food and often ends up in comical situations due to his questionable magic skills and his gluttonous tendencies.
- Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy
The primary antagonist of the series, voiced by Paul Rugg. He might sound non-threatening, but he constantly hatches plots to conquer Udrogoth. However, his plans are often as absurd as his name, leading to hilarious outcomes. Despite his ambitions, he’s not the brightest villain around.
- The Narrator
Voiced by Jeff Bennett, the Narrator or “Storyteller” provides amusing commentary throughout the episodes. He’s unique in regularly interacting with the characters, breaking the fourth wall. His exchanges with the cast, especially with the antagonists trying to control the narrative, make for some of the show’s funniest moments.
Dave’s sarcastic enchanted sword, she’s sharp in more ways than one. Lula frequently shows her frustration with Dave’s non-barbaric behavior and often laments her fate of being wielded by such a gentle barbarian. She’s been part of many adventures, and her history occasionally intersects with some of the show’s villains.
Dave’s pet dragon, who behaves more like a dog. Despite being a dragon, Faffy isn’t particularly fierce and often ends up causing more trouble than helping. He has an obsession with shiny objects, especially lightning bolts, which he collects.
- Dinky and Cheezette
Two moles from Moleland who occasionally surface to assist or interact with Dave and his family. They usually have comical roles and show admiration for Dave and his sisters.
The god of freshly laundered trousers, he is one of the show’s recurring antagonists. Quosmir has a lot of powers but also a lot of quirks, making him a hilarious deity with a keen sense of fashion.
- The Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy
As mentioned, he’s the primary antagonist. Chuckles wears a waistcoat and possesses the “Mystic Amulet of Hogswineboar”, a powerful artifact. Though he’s a main character, his antics and the methods he uses to try to take over Udrogoth are diverse enough to earn him a place in the villains’ list too.
- Princess Irmaplotz
An evil princess and sorceress who has a complicated relationship with Dave. She’s torn between her romantic feelings for him and her desire to be evil, which leads to a lot of internal conflict and funny scenarios.
- Queen Zonthara
Irmaplotz’s mother and a more competent sorceress. She’s more straightforward in her evil endeavors and often expresses her disappointment in her daughter’s failure to be genuinely wicked.
- Ned Frischman
A geek from the future who travels back to Udrogoth with advanced technology, trying to conquer the past because he feels unappreciated in his own time.
A sorcerer and rival to Chuckles who also has his eyes set on conquering Udrogoth. He occasionally teams up with other villains but is also just as likely to work against them.
The Subtle Life Lessons
Beneath its layer of humor, “Dave the Barbarian” also incorporates valuable life lessons. Themes like the importance of family, overcoming personal fears, and embracing one’s uniqueness are seamlessly woven into the narrative.
For instance, Dave’s love for culinary arts in a world that expects him to be a ruthless barbarian underscores the message of being true to oneself.
In episodes where the siblings squabble or face personal dilemmas, resolutions are always framed within the context of understanding, love, and compromise. It’s a subtle reminder for viewers, especially younger ones, about the core values that matter in life.
Is Dave The Barbarian Worth A Watch?
I am completely enamored with this TV series and have become a devoted fan!
Drawing inspiration from classics like Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle, and Animaniacs, this cartoon masterfully blends their essence, throwing in a pinch of the Ren & Stimpy vibe for added zest.
Its zany antics and witty humor, capable of eliciting uncontrollable giggles over things as bizarre as evil lederhosen, resonate with toddlers, preschoolers, and adults alike. It’s a rare gem in the realm of animation.
Give it a shot, and there are only two outcomes: you’ll either become instantly enamored, or it just might not be your cup of tea. This cartoon isn’t just a kids’ treat; it artfully caters to diverse age groups, ensuring that everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, finds something to chuckle at.
Dave the Barbarian – E01
- Danny Cooksey
- Erica Luttrell
- Tress MacNeille
- Kevin Michael Richardson
- Frank Welker
- Estelle Harris