Tripping The Rift
Format: Animated series, science fiction, sitcom
Created by: Chris Moeller, Chuck Austen
Starring: Stephen Root, Carmen Electra, Maurice LaMarche
Country of origin: Canada (yeah more Canadian stuff, Eh?)
No. of episodes: 39
Producer(s): Andrew Makarewicz
Running time: 20 minutes
Original channel: Sci Fi Channel, Space Teletoon (Canada)
Original airing: March 4, 2004
Tripping the Rift is a CGI science fiction comedy television series. It is based on two short animations published on the Internet by Chris Moeller and Chuck Austen. The series aired on the Canadian speciality channel, Space, in 2004.
Canada's cartoon network Teletoon has been airing the series since August 2006. In September of 2007, Teletoon aired its third season, and a feature-length movie version was released on DVD in 2008.
Many episodes parody or allude to movies, television shows or novels, e.g. "23 1/2" makes reference to the series, 24 and "The Graduate".
In 1997 Chris Moeller, who was working on King of the Hill and who had been producing animation shorts with Dark Bunny Productions, met Chuck Austen and pitched their idea for a science fiction comedy to animation studio Film Roman. In early 1998 they launched the first pilot Love and Darph on the Internet. The Chode character first appeared in the 1994 short, Wisconsin. In 2001 Film Roman released the Oh Brother teaser for episode 2, and Chris claimed the full version was made, but its release was left up to Film Roman.
In 2002, CinéGroupe acquired the rights to the five minute short Love and Darph and approached animator Bernie Denk to direct the series, with Sci Fi US submitting the scripts and ordering changes. Bernie Denk's team worked in Montreal on preproduction (character design, modelling and textures) while both Montreal and Malaysian teams worked on animation, lighting and compositing. Keyframe animation was chosen instead of the requested motion capture to give a more cartoon-like effect, and to reduce labour.
The universe is modeled largely after the Star Trek universe, with references to including 'warp drive' and 'transporter' beam technology, occasional time travel, the Confederation and the Vulcans. The series also includes elements borrowed from other sources such as Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Battlestar Galactica.
Chode McBlob (Stephen Root) -- Chode is a three-eyed, purple alien with green spots, who is the captain of the Jupiter 42, a smuggling spaceship. He didn't like how his world determines what job an individual does so he left his planet. He is stupid and selfish and often gets his crew in trouble because of it. Chode is always horny and lets people know about it. He was raised by a promiscuous single mother. He has twin brother, Regis Filbrick, who was adopted at birth and is king of the planet Moldania. The ship's name is a reference to both the Jupiter 2 of Lost in Space and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which describes the number 42 as being "The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything."
Six of One/Six of Nine (or just Six) (Patricia Beckmann and Terry Farrell in the pilot (two versions), Gina Gershon in season 1, Carmen Electra in season 2 and Jenny McCarthy in season 3) — Six is a sexy cyborg that was designed as a sex slave. She acts as the ship's science officer, thanks to a programming upgrade by Chode; much to his chagrin, this upgrade has also given her a conscience and sense of decency (in spite of her sexual nature). She often gets the crew out of trouble by using her erotic attributes. Six's name is a parody of Star Trek: Voyager's Seven of Nine and the phrase "Six of One, Half a Dozen of the other". Six's character is also a parody of Zev the Love Slave from the Canadian Sci-fi series Lexx. The final episode of the second season revealed that she was modelled after a stripper named "Haffa Dozen".
T'Nuk Layor — (Gayle Garfinkle) T'nuk is the ship's ill-tempered, triple-breasted, quadrupedal pilot. Most other characters consider her of grotesque appearance, while she has a great libido and believes herself to be attractive. She was chosen as the pilot because she is particularly good at keeping Spaceship Bob in check; she also acts as cook. Her full name is a reverse misspelling of "Royal cunt," and the T-apostrophe at the beginning is taken from the spelling of various female Vulcan names in Star Trek shows and movies.
Whip (Rick Jones) — Whip is a bipedal alien reptile, and Chode's nephew. He serves as the ship's foreman, though he is rarely seen working, and is an impulsive, horny teenager. He is a chameleon, and is able to conceal his appearance and cling to walls, as well as regenerate lost body parts.
Gus (Chris Moeller in the pilot, Maurice LaMarche in the series) — Gus is Chode's robot slave. He is the ship's engineer and is implied to be homosexual (a running joke, he frequently denies his sexuality, often while engaging in stereotypical homosexual behavior). Though smarter than those around him, he is forced to serve them, as silicon organisms don't have the same rights as carbon-based life. He has a cynical attitude, resulting from the many failures he has experienced due to his less intelligent carbon-based bosses' actions. His appearance and voice is a parody of C-3PO.
Spaceship Bob (John Melendez) — Spaceship Bob is the A.I. that controls the ship. He suffers from agoraphobia, and often has panic attacks at inconvenient times. Only T'nuk's insults can snap him out of his panic attacks. He also desires Six, even though she says they're just friends. Bob is a parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey's Hal 9000.
Darph Bobo (Chris Moeller in the pilot, Terrence Scammell in the series) — Darph Bobo is the supreme Dark Clown. He wants to take over the universe because he was teased as a child. He attended high school with Chode, and the two also spent time in prison together. He has a belittling wife, Bernice, and a daughter, Babette. Bobo is often seen with his "clown trooper" guards - a parody of Storm Troopers. Both his name and outfit are a parody of the Darths from the Star Wars movies, as is his desire to construct a Death Orb, a deadly battle station.
Captain Adam Francis Shatner — Captain Adam is the captain of a Confederation ship. He has a domineering wife, Nancy, and a clone/son named Adam 12. He has been known to blackmail Chode into doing his dirty work. Adam's halting and exaggerated speech pattern is a parody of James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner. Adam 12 is a reference to Adam-12, the police-themed television show..
Love and Darph (1998) (two versions with differing dialogue for Six)
Oh Brother (Teaser) (2001)
God is Our Pilot
Miss Galaxy 5000
The Devil and a Guy Named Webster
2001 Space Idiocies
Power to the Peephole
Nature vs. Nurture
Aliens, Guns & A Monkey
Love Conquers All...Almost
You Wanna Put That Where?
Honey, I Shrunk the Crew
All for None
Chode and Bobo's High School Reunion
Chode's Near-Death Experience
Six, Lies and Videotape
To eBay or Not to eBay
The Need for Greed
Chuckles Bites the Dust
Raiders of the Lost Crock
The Son also Rises
Battle of the Bulge
The show aired on Space in Canada and the Sci Fi Channel in the United States in March 2004. Sky One began airing the show in the United Kingdom in early 2005. Space and the Sci Fi Channel aired the second season in the fall of 2005. In Latin America it appeared on Adultswim. In Australia the show appears on the Sci Fi Channel. Re-runs of the show air in Canada on Teletoon. In Russia, a music television channel My3TB aired season 1 & 2 in 2007, and season 3 in early 2008. In Germany, DMAX (TV channel) is showing season 1 & 2 starting in March 2009.
Seasons 1, 2, and 3 are available on DVD in North America, along with an unrated direct-to-dvd movie.
Anchor Bay released the 75 minute unrated Tripping the Rift: The Movie on DVD on March 25, 2008. The story revolves around Chode's birthday party and the events that occur during and after it, all of which prompt his arch nemesis Darph Bobo to dispatch a time-traveling killer clown android to dispatch Chode.
If the plot sounds familiar, it's because the "movie" consists of footage from the season three episodes Chode Eraser, Skankenstein, Raiders of the Lost Crock of *@#?! and Witness Protection with new bits of additional footage stitching them together into a loosely cohesive whole.
While the movie strongly promotes itself as unrated, all that means is that the dialogue is now uncensored. The alien ladies from the Chode Eraser segment at the strip club -- and other similar situations -- still come with their censored balloons.
The main DVD extra is "Captain's Log: Making of Tripping the Rift: The Movie". This is nothing more than a couple of very short interviews with the voice actors. It is also only the second featurette for any Tripping the Rift DVD release.
Throughout the series, Chode has to answer to charges made by The Confederation. The Confederation is a parody of the United Federation of Planets from the Star Trek universe.
In one of the original short films made for the Internet, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine alumna Terry Farrell provided the voice of Six. Originally, this film short featured Patricia Beckmann as the voice of Six and was subsequently replaced by Farrell's voice for an episode of the Sci-Fi Channel's short film series Exposure in which Farrell was guest host. Farrell's version of Six was heard only once on television.
In the opening sequence Six reads a book where the words "Once Upon a Time" resemble the Star Wars opening crawl, Gus is seen using a vacuum cleaner that looks and sounds like R2-D2, Whip flies a remote-controlled model of the Enterprise, and there is a view of the back of T'Nuk's chair that resembles the black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Bob the computer utters a different phrase in each opening sequence (as Darph Bobo threatens the ship), including on one occasion referencing voice actor John Melendez's recent appointment as announcer for The Tonight Show.
Former SNL writer/castmember Terry Sweeney and his partner, Lanier Laney, are credited as story editors and creative consultants. Sweeney and Laney are also credited for writing several episodes.
Several runs of the DVD box set include stickers stating that the material is uncensored, however, much of the show is the same as the censored, syndicated run.
Ghostface from the Scream trilogy is a judge in some episodes.
In the episode "Roswell" (Season 2), when the Greys try to use their "On Star" system to call for help, it mentioned that service will arrive in six centuries. Since the events of Roswell took place in 1947, that means that the characters from this series come from the year 2547.
The writers reacted very fast in the second season, premiering with the "You want to put that where?" episode featuring a straight "Governor McJersey" on an all-gay planet, a direct take-off of disgraced New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey.
The Cuttlefish of Cthulhu from the band GWAR makes an appearance in the Power to the Peepholes episode as the head of Gus'