Cartoon Callback: Dave The Barbarian

By Megan Lanham

Have you ever had that cartoon you remember watching as a kid, but could never recall it as an adult aside from some vague memories of it? Lately I’ve been having just that sensation, so I am dedicating myself to tracking down these old shows and revisit them. 

Back in the early 2000s, I remember spending mornings watching the Disney Channel before school. The cartoon block usually consisted of classic morning cartoons which consisted of shows like Lilo & Stitch: The Series & Proud Family. Amongst them was a cartoon known as Dave The Barbarian, which was significantly shorter a series than I thought it was as a kid due to the constant reruns and my short attention span. 

The series premiered Jan. 23 in 2004 and ended Jan. 22, 2005. It spanned only 21 episodes at 22 minutes each (42 segments in total) with only a single season, making this whole series a short and sweet watch. The show centers on a barbarian named Dave, and his friends and family who go on absurdist medieval-themed adventures. 

Taking place in the kingdom of Urdogoth during the Middle Ages, Dave, his siblings and Uncle are tasked with running the kingdom. While their parents Throktar and Glimia are away “fighting evil”, they must defend the kingdom from various episodic threats, each being their own individual surrealist adventure. 

One of my favorites of these adventures has got to be “The Maddening Sprite of the Stump”,  where Dave’s magic talking sword, Lula, gets stuck in a tree stump during one of his attempts to protect the magic forest against a man-eating giant muffin. No one in the royal family can remove Lula from the stump. A tree sprite of the stump eventually pops out and claims that, according to the rules of the kingdom, only the true ruler of Urdogoth can remove Lula from the stump. This results in a re-enactment of the old King Arthur tale, with the whole kingdom attempting to remove the sword, which according to the tiny, winged tree sprite, makes him the de facto ruler of the kingdom. 

Even the first episode represents the absurd and surreal quality that this cartoon has. It really goes off the walls with its creativity and is really fun to watch because you will never know where it goes from episode to episode. Though it is short, you can tell the whole cast and production team had a lot of fun creating it. It makes me wish that the show was actually brought to Disney+ so it could properly support and gain more of an audience. 

If you are looking for a cartoon that does not really take itself seriously, with ridiculous humor and some fantasy elements, this is the cartoon for you. All episodes are available for free on Youtube to watch. I definitely recommend that you give it a try.

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