Dexter’s Laboratory (or Dexter’s Lab) is an American animated television series created for Cartoon Network by Genndy Tartakovsky. It follows Dexter, a boy-genius and inventor who has a laboratory he keeps secret from his parents.
He is in a constant battle with his older sister Dee Dee. She always finds ways to get into Dexter’s lab and foil his experiments inadvertently. While most of us did not grow up in a secret laboratory, many of us had an irritating sibling.
That relatability is one of the reasons Dexter’s Laboratory has been popular with viewers of all ages since its debut in 1995. You probably already knew about Dexter’s Lab, here’s what you probably didn’t know.
First Original Animated Series on Cartoon Network
Initially running old cartoons of Warner Bros., MGM, and Hanna-Barbera 24 hours a day, the new cable channel began airing original animated shorts during the showcase series What a Cartoon!
One of those was Dexter’s Laboratory, which won the most popular vote in short series, and was later picked up as a series. It was the highest-rated series of both 1996 and 1997 on the Turner-owned network.
Dexter Was Voiced by Three Different Women
Christine Cavanaugh was Dexter’s first voice actress who also voiced Rugrats’ Chuckie Finster. After she retired from voice acting, she was later replaced by Candi Milo.
Additionally, Tara Strong provided the voice for Dexter in Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion. She voiced Powerpuff Girls’ Bubbles, too.
Dee Dee Was Voiced By Two Different Women
In the first season, Creator Tartakovsky has recruited his college friend Allison Moore to voice Dee Dee. When Moore grew tired of voice acting and left to pursue a Broadway career, Kat Cressida decided to take over.
When the series returned for a third season, Moore took back the role. Cartoon Network then stepped in before the fourth and final year and brought back Cressida, believing the show’s fans were more used to her voice.
Dexter Began With a Drawing of a Ballerina
One day, Tartakovsky drew a tall, blonde ballerina for an assignment in college animation. It has led him to think up a polar opposite: a short little brother who loves science. Gradually, Dexter took shape.
Another inspiration was Tartakovsky’s brother Alex, a computer engineer. Those two characters’ ideas eventually developed into Dee Dee and Dexter.
The Justice Friends Were Inspired By Comics Tartakovsky Read as a Child
Watching Warner Bros. cartoons and reading Marvel Comics helped the budding animator (then seven-year-old) learn English when his family emigrated to Chicago.
Major Glory is based on Captain America and Superman; Val Hallen is based on Thor and Eddie Van Halen. The Infraggable Krunk is based on the Hulk.
Spongebob and Scooby-Doo Were Two of the Justice Friends
Also working on Dexter’s Laboratory were Tom Kenny, who voiced SpongeBob SquarePants, and Frank Welker, who delivers the voice of Scooby-Doo and Scooby’s friend, Fred.
In the Justice Friends shorts, Kenny played Valhallen, while Welker played both his roommate, Infraggable Krunk, and Dexter’s Monkey, who starred in Dial M for Monkey installments.
Dexter’s Burrito Palace Was Based On an Actual Place
Dexter’s beloved Burrito Palace is based on an eatery frequented by Tartakovsky as he was growing up in Chicago.
Their most delicious attraction seems to be the Big Bad Burrito, of which Dexter seems pretty fond.
The Creator of Family Guy Was a Writer on the Show
The future Family Guy creator worked as a storyboard artist on Dexter’s Laboratory and co-wrote four episodes.
Craig McCracken, who would later go on to create The Powerpuff Girls, also served as a director, art director, and model designer.
A Segment Was Banned From Subsequent Airings
You will never see Dial M for Monkey segment titled “Barbeqor.”
It was pulled out of the lineup shortly after its initial airing because the Silver Spooner character displayed a negative stereotype of gay men.
Fans Have Some Interesting Theories About the Show
Some fans claim Dee Dee is actually the time-traveling daughter of Dexter, sent by Dexter back in time to prevent him from working on an invention that would end the planet.
There is also a theory that Dexter’s Laboratory is a prequel to The Big Bang Theory.
Everyone loves trivia about animated shows and series, but there’s always some new obscure fact to learn with over 100 years of animation history behind us. You think you know your cartoons? Dexter’s Laboratory is proving you wrong.