This week, we’re looking at a Cartoon Network classic, “Ed, Edd n Eddy” (1999–2009). The series follows three middle school boys — the titular Ed, Edd (nicknamed “Double D”) and Eddy — throughout their daily shenanigans, which often involve money schemes, jawbreakers and embarrassing moments. The boys’ plans are usually foiled by their cul-de-sac neighbors: Jonny 2×4 (and his wooden friend Plank), Jimmy, Rolf, Sarah, Kevin and Nazz. The Kanker Sisters, who live in a nearby trailer, appear too. The sisters’ plots usually involve their love and obsession for the Eds, who don’t feel the same way.
“Ed, Edd n Eddy” sets up interesting conflicts between all of these characters. The three Eds aren’t exactly friends with the other neighborhood kids — rather, they’re social outcasts, which strengthens their bond as a trio. But these three couldn’t be more different. Ed’s dumb but lovable, Double D is intelligent and anxious and Eddy sports a short temper and acts as the de facto leader of the group. These eclectic personalities lead to fighting within the group that’s both humiliating and hilarious.
It’s that combination that makes the series so special. They aren’t exactly lovable protagonists (most of the time). When Ed, Edd and Eddy develop their schemes to make money to buy jawbreakers, their plans often come at the expense of others. In the first episode, the three set out to catch a “serial toucher,” who’s stealing everyone’s belongings, eventually capturing Jonny and torturing him until he falsely confesses to the crime. When Ed, Double D and Eddy discover that there never was a serial toucher — rather, all of the items were simply misplaced by their owners — they still use the money they raised to capture the toucher to buy jawbreakers.
The show doesn’t let them get away with their lie. A series of events leads to the boys losing their jawbreakers and chasing them down the street into the setting sun. This structure is relatively prevalent throughout every episode of the show, even when the focus is, say, a bet involving gravy between Ed and Eddy, or Rolf’s meals of seafood. No matter what, the boys fight for and almost get what they want. That rectification doesn’t mean “Ed, Edd n Eddy” has it out for its titular trio; rather it resets the balance at the end of each episode, allowing for the next episode’s trio to start back at the bottom again. If the goal is to get jawbreaker candies, then Ed, Double D and Eddy can never get too close without going back three spaces.
Beyond its plot, “Ed, Edd n Eddy” features a really interesting animation style. It’s simultaneously classic and zany. The show’s characters are designed with iconic features — Eddy’s three slicked hairs and big teeth, Double D’s hat (it’s unknown if he’s hiding a bad haircut or some sort of birthmark underneath) and Ed’s big green jacket. The animation is matched with slapstick sound effects and violence, all creating a hilarious and often eccentric environment.
“Ed, Edd n Eddy” is available on HBO Max.