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Small Details You Missed In The Cuphead Show!

By turning some of the most popular games into acclaimed TV shows, Netflix continues to be a strong force for video games on television. Netflix video game adaptations of "The Witcher" and "Castlevania" caught the world by storm when they debuted, and they've got plenty of projects in the same spirit on the horizon. Earlier this year, Netflix released their animated adaptation of Studio MDHR's 2017 breakout hit "Cuphead" fittingly titled "The Cuphead Show!" The series follows the wild and wacky adventures of brothers Cuphead (voiced by Tru Valentino) and Mugman (Frank Todaro) as they come across a strange cast of characters and avoid The Devil's (Fred Millington-Drake) grasp.

"The Cuphead Show!" delivers a lot of great laughs for everyone to enjoy as well as a visual feast that pays homage to the Golden Age of cartoons. The two seasons of misadventures are a total treat for fans looking to delve even further into the "Cuphead" franchise. "The Cuphead Show!" includes a wide cast of characters and references that are ripped right from the game. While some of series' nods and connections to the games are incredibly clear, there were some details that could fly under fans' radars.

Two nods in a few seconds

Before the series' jazzy opening theme plays, there's a great reference to an old-school logo and a memorable vehicle from the games that fans might've missed. Some may have noticed that before the opening credits, there's a small scene of Mugman flying around a gigantic floating Cuphead head in space. That scene actually carries two interesting references — one pertaining to an old movie studio logo, and another to specific levels from the game.

During the late 1920s to the early '30s, the brief logo on display before one of Universal Studios' movies was a claymation Earth with a propeller plane flying around it. This scene of Mugman flying around a planetary-scale Cuphead is undoubtedly a reference to the classic logo sequence. Mugman flying around in a propeller plane is also a reference to the game's flying levels. In the game, players often must fly a plane to fight bosses including a giant robot and a kaiju-sized mermaid.

A gameshow host played by a gameshow host

One of the most beloved bosses from the game is undoubtedly King Dice and he makes a big appearance in the series. In the Season 1 episode "Roll the Dice," Cuphead and Mugman find themselves the newest contestants on King Dice's popular gameshow but are unaware that he's actually working with The Devil to steal souls. Over the course of this fun episode, Cuphead drives King Dice completely mad and exposes his ruse, which leads to a disastrous meeting between him and The Devil.

While many know King Dice as one of the most iconic bosses of "Cuphead," many also know the man that voices him, Wayne Brady, as both a talented comedian and a gameshow host. Brady is known for hosting "Let's Make a Deal," which makes his casting as King Dice especially fitting. After all, who knows how to be an energetic gameshow host more than a real-life gameshow host?

The Devil's transformative art

Cuphead and Mugman's greatest foe is undoubtedly The Devil, as the horned ruler of Hell constantly tries to nab Cuphead's soul. Throughout the series, The Devil tries to pull tricks on Cuphead and Mugman to lure them into traps and even uses his transformation abilities to disguise himself. At one point he's a villainous carnie, on another occasion he's the wise wishing pool Quadratus (Gary Anthony Williams); The Devil will do just about anything to get Cuphead's soul.

In the game, The Devil serves as an extra tough final boss to overcome as his flying minions and transformations can be rough to deal with. While The Devil never does any of those transformations in the show, there is a nod to his shape-shifting talents in the episode "Roll the Dice." As King Dice enters The Devil's throne room, he passes by three paintings depicting all the major transformations The Devil undergoes during his final boss fight. These paintings can also be seen again in the Season 2 finale when The Devil is looking for his pitchfork. It's a simple, blink-and-you'll-miss-it reference that fans will certainly want to pause on in order to bask in its glory.

Are those skeletons dancing?

In the Season 1 episode "Ghosts Ain't Real," Cuphead and Mugman come across a variety of supernatural specters looking to give them a real fright. As they try to escape the situation, the pair arrive in a visually stunning house of paranormal horrors. In one scare in particular, they run into a group of dancing skeletons. Most folks would just see this scene as a fun sequence in which many skeletons bust a move, but it's actually a reference to Disney's 1929 animated short "The Skeleton Dance."

The black and white cartoon takes viewers into a creepy graveyard where skeletons rise from the dirt and dance under the midnight moon. It's a supremely memorable short that's been referenced dozens of times, especially in memes and GIFs. While it's not exactly a perfect mirror, "The Cuphead Show!" certainly pays homage to this prominent piece of animation history.

Cuphead's flying soul

Although Cuphead and Mugman can generally outwit The Devil in his attempts to snatch Cuphead's soul, there are moments when The Devil has Cuphead's soul in his grasp. As early as the premiere episode, Cuphead's soul gets ripped right out of him, forcing Mugman to spring into action to save his brother. While most of the souls seen throughout the series look similar, Cuphead's is noticeably different — in fact, it looks exactly like his soul from the game.

With a halo over his head and a distinctive pink heart on his chest, Cuphead's soul design is clearly a nod to the game, as is Mugman rescuing him. In the game's co-op play, if one player runs out of health, they will float as a soul to the top of the screen and die permanently unless their partner comes and parries the soul's heart to bring them back into the action. It's another simple, yet effective reference that fans will surely enjoy.

The carrot's crazy eyes

The Root Pack — a trio of dastardly vegetables comprised of a crying onion, a cap-wearing potato, and a crazed carrot — are yet another element from the video game that appears on Netflix. In the series, the Root Pack terrorize Cuphead and Mugman in their own episode fittingly titled "Root Packed" as they take over Elder Kettle's (Joe Hanna) vegetable garden and invite all their evil veggie friends. While the Root Pack is taking control of the garden, there's a moment where the carrot orchestrates a band of vegetables and eagled-eyed fans will notice that his eyes look particularly familiar.

In the Root Pack's boss fight in the game, the carrot pops up during the final section of the fight and sends hypnotic beams and spiraling carrots towards players to throw them off. During the carrot's psychic attacks, his eyes show a hypnotic spiral pattern, and that same pattern appears in the show. When the carrot takes one last big gulp of the land before scramming, his eyes display that same yellowish spiral, making for a subtle callback.

A familiar eight ball

While King Dice is widely known as one of the toughest bosses in the "Cuphead" game, he's mainly hard because of all the bosses players must face to get to him. From an evil stack of chips to a terrifying magician's rabbit, King Dice's lackeys put up quite a fight and practically redefine the gaming term "boss rush." One of those sub-bosses is an anthropomorphic eight ball named Mangosteen who is pure trippy nightmare fuel and can be spotted in the Season 1 episode "Sweater Off Dead."

In "Sweater Off Dead," The Devil is doing everything in his power to get Cuphead to take off an invisible sweater that stops The Devil from stealing his soul. The Devil takes the form of a devious carnie who lures Cuphead into a funhouse that's actually a trap. On the wall of the funhouse, you can spot a picture of Mangosteen clear as day. It would've been cool to see Cuphead and Mugman go through a trippy fight against Mangosteen, but we'll accept a nod to the psychedelic sub-boss.

Cuphead faces familiar foes

"The Cuphead Show!" brings some of Cuphead's most memorable bosses into the mix for Cuphead and Mugman to battle in a scripted, streaming capacity. The Devil and King Dice are easily the most notable, but there are others that get their own special episodes. Bosses like The Root Pack and Ribby (Chris Wylde) and Croaks (Rick Zieff) face Cuphead and Mugman on their own in hilarious and conflict-filled misadventures.

One famous "Cuphead" boss only appears for a quick little cameo. At the end of "Dangerous Mugman," the boys give Porkrind (Cosmo Segurson) an egg they got from Mount Eruptus. Before you know it, it hatches to reveal a three-headed baby dragon. Then suddenly, Porkrind's store roof flies off to reveal Grim Matchstick, the infamous dragon who's one of the toughest bosses in the game. Matchstick hilariously torches Porkrind's store before leaving with the baby. While Grim Matchstick sadly only appears briefly, hopefully the character gets an episode dedicated to them sometime soon. 

Another one of King Dice's companions

Mangosteen isn't the only one of King Dice's sub-bosses that appear in the series. Another one of King Dice's heavies — a domino featuring a male and female face named Pip and Dot — can be spotted in the background of a couple episodes. Cuphead and Mugman never directly interact with Pip and Dot in the show; they' apparently appear exclusively for the amusement of video game fans. 

In "Roll the Dice," Pip and Dot can be easily spotted sitting in the audience of King Dice's gameshow. In the Season 1 finale, "In Charm's Way," Pip and Dot are sitting in a movie theater when Cuphead and Mugman chase after Ms. Chalice (Grey Griffin). Hopefully Pip and Dot can get out from the background and have their own time to shine. For now, at least Netflix brought them along for the ride.

A changing Ms. Chalice

In the Season 1 finale, "In Charm's Way," Cuphead and Mugman meet Ms. Chalice, a street-smart charmer who gets what she wants, and hijinks ensue. Ms. Chalice's appearance in the series reflects her more prominent appearance in the games as she recently became a playable character in the expansion "Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course." However, before she was playable, Ms. Chalice was an NPC who befriended Cuphead and Mugman in their journey.

The series pays homage to Ms. Chalice's spectral past in an interesting way that could change the character's prospects for the future. When their big scam job goes wrong, Ms. Chalice decides to leave the boys and run. But before she leaves, she actually turns herself into a ghost and escapes through the wall. The fact that she can simply transform into ghost whenever she wants is incredibly intriguing and opens up a lot of questions about how this will affect her future appearances. Will this reveal turn into a prominent storyline in upcoming episodes? For now, though, it's a very cool reference to the character's humble beginnings.

Rumor Honeybottoms' police force

Fans will likely remember the boss Rumor Honeybottoms from "Cuphead," as she delivers quite a unique challenge. Rumor Honeybottoms is a queen bee who puts players into a vertical fight for their lives as she uses other bees and some special powers to take players down. One of her lackeys is a tough police bee in an old-school cop outfit. Bee-lieve it or not, that police bee shows up throughout the Netflix show, most notably in the Season 1 finale.

In the episode, there's a moment where Ms. Chalice's escapades get the attention of the police and she's approached by a police bee who looks exactly like the one from Rumor Honeybottoms' boss battle. Luckily, Ms. Chalice is able to give him the slip by impersonating a person in need of a dime. There's no doubt that Rumor Honeybottoms is likely to appear at some point in the show's future, but in the meantime, her arrival is foreshadowed with a glimpse at one of her most notable helpers.

Quick help from Quadratus

When Cuphead and Mugman look for help during the episode "Sweater Off Dead," Mugman decides to seek assistance from the wise, rhyme-loving Quadratus — a pool of water that grants wishes and helps those in need. Quadratus fulfills Mugman's request by giving him invisible thread to knit a sweater to help Cuphead and delivers some laughs in the process. Fans who fully explored Inkwell Isle in the game likely remember seeing Quadratus in an inconsequential but amusing role.

Like his appearance in the series, Quadratus delivers some delightful rhymes to players, but those that go to him also find out how many times they've died during the game. He's pretty easy to miss in "Cuphead," so his appearance in "The Cuphead Show!" is a nice surprise to those who have met him before. Quadratus plays a much more prominent role in the series in helping Cuphead and Mugman deal with The Devil and hopefully fans will see more of him in the series' future.

The Baroness' favorite gumball machine

Baroness Von Bon Bon (Zoë Moss) is a classic "Cuphead" boss who makes her big debut in the Season 2 episode "Sweet Temptations." In the game, the Baroness is a dessert-loving mischief maker who uses a variety of sweets to stop players in their tracks. One of those special enemies is a gumball machine whose fast-moving feet and army of raining gumballs gives players some trouble halfway through the fight.

In the Season 1 finale, there's a small nod to the Baroness' gumball machine ally as Ms. Chalice brings a gumball machine to life by sticking a quarter into it and giving it a quick tickle. As it doesn't get up and run, it's not precisely the same gumball machine from the boss battle, but it's undoubtedly a nod to the same character. The gumball machine can also be found in Season 2 as a member of the angry mob that chases Ms. Chalice in "Charmed and Dangerous."

Porkrind's got some special stuff

In a couple of the episodes, but mainly "Dangerous Mugman," Cuphead and Mugman pay a visit to the one-eyed store owner Porkrind. Fans know him also as the store owner in the game. When players visit Porkrind, they can buy new weapons and power-ups that help them battle the vast number of bosses. The series gives us a deeper look into Porkrind's Emporium, but fans will notice some familiar trinkets and bottles on his shelves.

For a short glimpse in "Dangerous Mugman," you can spot the same elixirs and trinkets that players can purchase in the game. There's a green beaker representing the chaser power-up, a heart medal representing an additional hit point, and plenty of other little nods to the game. While Cuphead and Mugman never use any powers in the show, it is nice that the series throws in another fun connection to game.

Is that a blimp?

While "Cuphead" generally keeps its players on the ground running and gunning through levels or taking on bosses, there are some levels that take to the skies for some high-flying boss battles. The first boss players use their plane to take down is Hilda Berg, an anthropomorphic blimp and a tough challenge early in the game. Her laughing demeanor makes her a devious threat and her transformations can be highly deadly. Hilda Berg is certainly a memorable boss from "Cuphead," and she has a small cameo in Season 2.

In the episode "Charmed & Dangerous," Cuphead, Mugman, and Ms. Chalice all go on a misadventure with Elder Kettle's car. During this wacky trip, they spot a familiar face in the sky. Chalice points out a blimp that suddenly transforms into Hilda Berg, who smiles, laughs, and waves at the group. While it's a bummer that Hilda Berg doesn't stay around for long, it's especially funny how the group happily waves back since we all know their original game versions become Hilda Berg's bitter enemies.

A brotherly bond

One of the most notable episodes of Season 1 is "Ribby & Croaks," where Cuphead and Mugman tangle with the titular pair of boxing brothers. Ribby and Croaks provide some hilarious banter with their bickering and boxing, but also give the series one of its biggest nods to the game. It's never clear if the battle toads would simply have one-off appearance or reappear somewhere down the line, but Season 2 gives viewers the answer through a cameo.

With the episode "Another Brother" consisting of such a brother-focused storyline, it's no surprise that Ribby and Croaks show up. Just as Cuphead is mourning the loss of his bond with Mugman, he starts to look around at other brothers hanging out in the park. One set of brothers is Ribby and Croaks enjoying some time on a seesaw. It might be just a small, insignificant cameo, but if Ribby and Croaks are officially still around, that means they could face off against Cuphead and Mugman sometime soon.

A famous cartoon cat

"The Cuphead Show!" is full of nods to characters from the game ranging from simple NPCs to big bosses, but it also has a lot of original characters floating around. From the screwdriver store owner Cuphead and Mugman meet at the end of the Season 1 finale to a mischievous baby bottle, there are plenty of new characters in "The Cuphead Show!" One particular character seen in a couple of episodes is possibly a reference to the classic cartoon icon Felix the Cat.

Felix the Cat debuted back in 1919 during the silent era of film and has a legacy of being one of the most widely recognized cartoon characters of all time for his simple design and memorable antics. While Felix himself doesn't appear in "The Cuphead Show!" there is a small black and white cat first spotted during the premiere who looks just like Felix. The cat's spiky ears and general look could very well be a nod to Felix, and the character can be spotted throughout the series; the cat is in the angry mob that's chases Ms. Chalice, and the cat watches Cuphead kill it at Skee-Ball. 

A different Cuphead and Mugman

Due to Cuphead and Mugman's rising popularity, their looks are becoming iconic and "The Cuphead Show!" has taken them to new heights. The voice work of Tru Valentino and Frank Todaro as Cuphead and Mugman, respectively, has given the characters more distinct personalities and their great 2D designs allow them to embark on hilariously wild adventures. In the Season 2 episode "A High Seas Adventure!" though, fans get to see a different version of Cuphead and Mugman's designs.

Throughout the series, fans will notice that there are 3D backgrounds that resemble claymation to give the environments more depth and be a visual treat for the eyes. In "A High Seas Adventure!" there's a moment that shows Captain Brineybeard's (Jason Vande Brake) ship passing through some islands seemingly created with physical effects. Eagle-eyed fans will notice that a unique looking Cuphead and Mugman are also on the boat with a 3D design. This could simply be a way for them to fit into the 3D environments or it could be a nod to the promotion for the Delicious Last Course expansion in which they appear as physical puppets. Either way, it's awesome.

Small stage presence

In the episode "Dead Broke," Cuphead, Mugman, and Ms. Chalice are on the hunt for easy cash in order to satisfy their ice cream cravings. Their scheme of having Ms. Chalice haunt people in her ghost form so Cuphead and Mugman can get paid for their ghost removal services ends up generating quite a lot of cash. Of course, then they have to deal with some real vengeful ghosts. More importantly, their first customer is a familiar face from the game.

Sally Stageplay is another notable boss from the game whose fight takes place on a stage and boy does she put on a show ... of brutality. In the series, Sally Stageplay is Cuphead and Mugman's first customer and sports the same character design she does in the games. Also, the curtain for her stage is exactly the same as the one that transitions the different segments of her boss fight. Hopefully, Sally appears in a larger role in a future episode, because her bout with Cuphead and Mugman could be a real visual treat.

Season 2 brings back more bosses

The first season has a couple bosses from the game appear as episode-specific antagonists, and Season 2 continues that trend by bringing in even more fan-favorite bosses from the game. Cuphead and Mugman not only run into Captain Brineybeard in "A High Seas Adventure!" but also Cala Maria (Natasia Demetriou). The series adds some interesting lore for both Brineybeard and Maria by having Brineybeard go after Maria's heart; meanwhile, Maria simply wishes to turn to stone and devour anyone she comes across.

Baroness Von Bon Bon also makes her debut in "Sweet Temptation" and tricks Cuphead and Mugman into a sadistic candy wonderland. Another boss who appears in this series is Werner Werman (Chris Kattan), a tiny but very handy brown rat. While his mechanical cat is MIA, Werner pulls some "Tom & Jerry" shenanigans on Cuphead and Mugman after he invades their home. He even gets into a big brawl with Elder Kettle and he uses his soup can cart from the game. Werner's episode, "Rat's All, Folks" is easily the strongest episode of Season 2, and hopefully Werner can return for more hijinks.

Don't forget about Disney

Disney has delivered some of the most beloved and innovative animated flicks of all time, and the look of the original "Cuphead" game — and by extension, this series — definitely borrows from old-school Disney animation. Ergo, it's no surprise that "The Cuphead Show!" features a blink-and-you'll-miss-it nod to some of Mickey Mouse's favorite pals.

As The Devil goes on a mischievous rampage across Inkwell Isle during the Season 2 finale, "The Devil's Pitchfork," he pops a trio of balloons and makes their owners super sad. One of those owners looks just like a shorter Goofy, wearing Goofy's signature baggy clothes and floppy ears. In the scene afterwards, where The Devil turns a pigeon into a giant beast, you can also see a grandma who basically looks like an older version of Minnie Mouse. It seems not even "The Cuphead Show!" could resist throwing in some nods to classic Disney characters.

A unique kind of whistle

In "Charmed and Dangerous," Ms. Chalice takes Cuphead and Mugman for a joyride in Elder Kettle's car. Unfortunately, she also puts them in some serious danger as a fast-moving train crushes them soon thereafter. As the train approaches, it lets out a whistle by turning its parts into hands and whistling like a person. Now, most viewers would probably just see this as a classic cartoon gesture, but it's actually a specific reference to a sequence from "Popeye." 

During an episode where Bluto captures Olive Oyl, prompting Popeye to swing into action, Bluto pulls a classic cartoon villain maneuver by tying her to the tracks as a train approaches. Just before it gets close, the train makes the same whistling gesture. This bit from "The Cuphead Show!" is a clear nod to a memorable "Popeye" moment. It's another way the series pays homage to the classics.