Nostalgia Rewind: Dexter's Laboratory
Updated: Nov 24
Dexter’s Laboratory (pronounced luh-BORE-ah-tore-ee) was a staple for Cartoon Network in the ‘90s. I will admit to being more of a Nickelodeon kid growing up, but Dexter was one show that could make me change the channel. Does it hold the same power today? As always, let’s start by reintroducing ourselves to the main characters.
Dexter: The diminutive boy genius is what I imagine every mad scientist was like as a child. Dexter has a super lab hidden in his room where he conducts all kinds of experiments that inevitably go wrong, even if he has good intentions. I do not want to see what he ends up like as an adult.
Dee Dee: Dexter’s older sister somehow always finds a way to break into his lab and mess with his experiments. The kid has traveled through time and space and has brought inanimate objects to life, but he can’t come up with a better door lock? Dee Dee is full of energy, joy, and curiosity. She can’t help herself from pushing Dexter’s literal and figurative buttons.
Monkey: To Dexter, Monkey is just a lab pet, but in his spare time, Monkey uses his secret superpowers to fight crime alongside Agent Honeydew. Monkey never gives up and always chooses to see the good in everyone. Even though he can only speak in monkey sounds, Monkey shows an incredible range of emotions. One of the most underrated superheroes of all time.
Mandark: Every boy genius needs a rival. Mandark and Dexter are always trying to outdo each other in school and in their scientific breakthroughs. Mandark also has a duck named Ducky whose alter ego, Quackor, is Monkey’s rival. Let’s start the campaign for a Monkey vs. Quackor movie! Who’s with me?
What Do You Remember?
If there’s one thing you remember from Dexter’s Laboratory, it’s Dexter’s laboratory. How does he afford all this stuff?
Dexter’s accent. Why is he the only one in his family with this accent? Does it just come with being an evil genius?
Dee Dee’s body proportions make no sense. Some of her organs must be stored in her freakishly long legs.
Dial M for Monkey!
The possibilities seemed endless in the lab. Aliens, dinosaurs, monsters, adorable super powered animals, explosions. Dexter’s Laboratory brings it all to life. They really nailed the mad scientist look for Dexter. Monkey goes to all kinds of amazing places too. Really, I just want more Monkey.
The theme song starts innocent and sweet like Dee Dee until she falls into the creepy, dangerous lab. The song quickly shifts gears and lets you know this is straight out of a horror film. Just listen to the end credits song, “There is doom and gloom while things go boom…in DEXTER’S L-A-A-A-B!” Dexter is a villain. Change my mind.
The lab will always be one of the most iconic cartoon settings, so I loved going back for a visit to relive all the wacky experiments. Did anyone else pretend they were in Dexter’s lab when using their Creepy Crawlers set?
I remember liking this show as a kid, but it made me laugh way more as an adult. It’s not that you wouldn’t necessarily understand the humor as a kid, but it becomes funnier as you get older, which is a great balance for a cartoon to have. The parents especially have some sneaky one-liners. There are also a ton of pop culture references sprinkled in. Hearing the voice of Macho Man Randy Savage didn't hurt either.
There’s nothing better than rewatching something you love and finding new reasons to love it more. Do yourself a favor and take the time to revisit the lab. I’m still serious about the Monkey vs. Quackor movie. Someone pitch me a script.