George and Harold – Two 4th grade pranksters, who are best friends and next-door neighbors. They have started a comic book making club called “Treehouse Comix Inc.,” and every day at school they go to the secretary’s office and photocopy and print off several hundred copies of their latest comic book and sell them on the playground. George is identified by his tie and flat top haircut, Harold is recognizable by his T-shirt and bad haircut. George is 9 3/4 years old while Harold is 10 years old. They are considered the class clowns of 4th grade at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School, a school which discourages imagination and fun (Jerome Horwitz is the given name of Curly Howard of the Three Stooges).
Mr. Benny Krupp – The mean principal of Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. Mr. Krupp has a very deep hatred of children, and also tries to protect Jerome Horwitz Elementary from George and Harold’s antics.
Captain Underpants – The main hero of the series. He always wears underpants and a red cape with black polka-dots. He is actually Mr. Benny Krupp hypnotized to think he is “Captain Underpants,” a character created by George and Harold. Whenever Mr. Krupp hears the sound of fingers snapping, he turns back into Captain Underpants which causes George and Harold to follow him and keep him out of trouble. Captain Underpants turns back into Mr. Benny Krupp when water is poured on his head. He gained his superpowers by drinking some “Extra Strength Super Power Juice” found on an alien spaceship in book 3. Captain Underpants is considered to be the ‘light side’ of Mr. Benny Krupp himself, as he is kind and nice to everyone, especially to children.
Sulu and Crackers – George and Harold’s pets. Sulu was Melvin’s abandoned pet bionic hamster after he yelled at Sulu which offended him, but afterward was adopted by George and Harold. Crackers is their pet pterodactyl. Sulu appeared in “The Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1.” Crackers appeared in “The Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2.” Sulu was briefly a villain after being hypnotized by Evil George and Evil Harold in The Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People. Crackers was hypnotized as well, but didn’t turn evil (presumably because Crackers is a female and hypnosis has the opposite effect on females).
Melvin Sneedly – George and Harold’s nerdy nemesis. He is an annoying tattle-tale and a mechanical genius. He was first introduced in the book Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets where he invents the “PATSY-2000″ for the science fair. Melvin is described as “the kid with the bowtie and glasses”. He was the main villain of book 6 Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets after accidentally transforming himself into the Bionic Booger Boy. In “Purple Potty People,” the alternate Melvin was not at all intelligent. In book 7, at the end he was chased because of the trouble he caused. His fate after that is unknown.
Ms. Tara Ribble – George and Harold’s mean 4th grade teacher, introduced in the first book as an unnamed character. In book 5, she turned evil after George and Harold accidentally made her think she was “Wedgie Woman,” one of the characters in their comic books. Afterward, the two made her change her behavior to be nicer and happier with their 3D Hypno-Ring, including making her serve freshly-baked cookies to the class every day of school. She enjoys chunky tofu ice cream, as revealed in the fifth book. She also almost marries Mr. Krupp, but refuses because he has a “silly nose” (the joke being that they have identical noses). Ribble made her last appearance in the 6th book after catching a sickness and not being seen in the series again. It is unknown if she will return in a later book, but it seems plausible. Her name is a pun. Tara Ribble is a pun on the word “terrible” and Ms. Ribble is a pun on the word “miserable”.
Mr. Meaner – Jerome Horwitz Elementary School’s gym teacher. He is depicted as being a fat man, and with a personality similar to Mr. Krupp’s. Like him, he is very cruel to students and often yells at them. His name is a reference to the word “misdemeanor.” George and Harold express their dislike for him by constantly having gym teachers being attacked or killed by various monsters in their comics, but no one ever cares.
Ms. Edith Anthrope – The school secretary. She is not very nice. She helped set up Ms. Ribble and Mr. Krupp’s marriage. Her name is a reference to the word “misanthrope”. Her full name is a pun on the phrase “Eat it and throw up”.
Mr. Morty Fyde – Mr. Fyde is the Jerome Horwitz science teacher. He quit in the book Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants. He is not mean and rather dorky; his name is a pun on the word “mystified” while his full name is a pun on the word “mortified”. Mr. Fyde quit because he dreamed he had been eaten by a talking toilet, imagined that the school got flooded with sticky green goop, thought he saw a group of abominable snowmen chasing George and Harold down the hallway and he saw a big fat bald guy in his underwear fly out the window. (That big fat bald guy was Captain Underpants.) Mr. Fyde, thinking he had obtained madness, “Left Jerome Horowitz Elementary School for the greener pastures of The Piqua Valley Home for the Reality-Challenged.”
Mr. Rected – Mr. Rected is a teacher at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. It is unknown what subject he teaches. His name seems to be a pun on the word “misdirected”. He appears in books 4 and 5. He is shown pictures but speaks no lines in book 8.
Ms. Guided – Ms. Guided is a teacher at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. It is unknown what subject she teaches. Her name seems to be a pun on the word “misguided” She appears in book 5, and is seen in pictures in books 4 and 8.
Boxer Boy and Great Granny Girdle – Appearing in the eighth book, Boxer Boy and Great Granny Girdle are (respectively) Harold’s grandfather and George’s great-grandmother. They battled (and beat) Captain Blunderpants to save their grandchildren. George and Harold accidentally gave them Super Power Juice while showing them a new comic in a two-family dinner during Grandparents’ Day.
The Lunch Ladies – The lunch ladies do not play large roles in most of the books, but are essential to the plot of the third book. Two of the ladies’ names are given; they are: Mrs. DePoint and Ms. Creant, which are puns on “misses the point” and “miscreant”, respectively. The lunch ladies quit because George and Harold were making awful comic books about them. Zorx, Klax and Jennifer then take their jobs, and try to take over the world.
Dr Diaper- A villain whose plan was to blow up the moon with the Lasermatic 2000: all the big hunks of it would come crashing down on earth, crushing every major city. This chaos would allow him to take over the planet. He made a brief appearance at the end of the fourth book, where he met Professor Poopypants in jail and along with all the other inmates, laughed at his name, much to Poopypants’ annoyance and anger.
The Turbo Toilet 2000 – A giant toilet who planned to eat Captain Underpants and take over the world. He was later defeated and flown to Uranus; in the fourth book, in the newspaper Professor Poopypants was holding, one of the articles was that there were talking toilets found on Uranus and the “Piqua Order Of Professional Space Interplanetary Explorers” (POOPSIE) later discovered the talking toilets on Uranus yet again. It is also a running gag in the book series that bad guys get sent to Uranus.
The Talking Toilets – Miniature toilets who worked for the Turbo Toilet 2000. They were killed by the cafeteria food.
Zorx, Klax and Jennifer – Three space aliens who had the head of a frog, the face of a snake, the tentacles of an octopus and the legs of a slug who planned to turn everybody into zombies by using a special juice. They were later incinerated in a horrific UFO explosion.
The Dandilion Of Doom – A dandilion that drank alien juice. He and the aliens are basically the reason Capt. Underpants got his super powers, especially him.
Professor Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants (Tippy Tinkletrousers) – A villain who is described as having a funny name and plans to make everybody’s names as silly as his since people teased him. He was briefly a science teacher after Mr. Morty Fyde quit. George convinces him to change his name, but it is still silly.
Wedgie Woman – After a hypnosis attempt against Ms. Ribble backfired, Wedgie Woman was created: a villain with octopus-like hair capable of giving super wedgies who planned on destroying Captain Underpants and to rule the world. She is super intelligent and knows Captain Underpants’ weakness to starch. She is later changed back to normal by George and Harold, where she becomes nice and bakes chocolate chip cookies everyday for the class.
Robo-George and Harold 2000 – Two robots built by Wedgie Woman based on George and Harold. They want to destroy everything, and will attack Captain Underpants every time they hear him shout “Tra la laaaaa!” They were completely destroyed by Captain Underpants when he used the Harold 2000′s own hands against them.
The Bionic Booger Boy – A mix of Melvin Sneedly, snot and a robot in an invention test. He went crazy after an idiotic, fat person named “Mr. Snoddy” in the sixth book threw tissues at him. He grew bigger and more annoyed, and plotted to get revenge. He is later broken down by Sulu, George, Harold, and Mr. Sneedly.
Carl, Trixie and Frankenbooger (The Robo-Boogers) – Boogers that planned to destroy Captain Underpants. They all came from the Bionic Booger Boy. They all share a weakness to oranges, which Captain Underpants successfully used to destroy the rampaging trio of living mucus.
Captain Blunderpants – An evil version of Captain Underpants from an alternate dimension who plots on taking over the world and destroying Captain Underpants. Captain Blunderpants has a toupee and looks and acts more like Mr. Krupp. He was defeated by Boxer Boy and Great-Granny Girdle.
Evil George and Evil Harold – The opposite versions of George and Harold from an alternate dimension who are both intelligent and evil. They helped Captain Blunderpants and they are actually good authors and illustrators. Additionally, they also tended to correct the spelling on signs (whilst their counterparts often change the signs into funny or rude words). They were shrunk and sent back to their universe by George and Harold.
Captain Underpants novels
The Adventures of Captain Underpants (1997)
Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets (1999)
Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds) (1999)
Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants (2000)
Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman (2001)
Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets (2003)
Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy, Part 2: The Revenge of the Ridiculous Robo-Boogers (2003)
Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People (2006)
Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers (2010)
The Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book o’ Fun (2001)
The All-New Captain Underpants Extra-Crunchy Book o’ Fun 2 (2002)
The Captain Underpants Cartoon-O-Rama, Book 1: Heroes, Villains, and Super Creeps (2010)
Super Diaper Baby novels
The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby (2002)
Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers (2010)
Recurring Jokes and Themes
George and Harold often break the fourth wall. The characters in the series are all well aware that they are inside of a book, frequently referencing pages, chapters, and other books in the series. On one occasion, George speaks directly to the unseen narrator, another time he mentioned the third book, “the one with the annoyingly long title”, and at the end of the fourth book, Harold stated,”I think this is the first time one of our books had a moral!”
The last phrase of a chapter is often answered by the title of the next chapter. (Example: Mr. Krupp says “Where, oh where?”; the title of the next chapter is “Here, oh here”).*In the 7th book, George said he knew that Melvin said something about the purple potty on page 77 (Which was, “Don’t use the purple potty two days in a row”).
Every book has a chapter with just a few words and one page, titled “To Make a Long Story Short”. “It did” is the usual phrase in the chapter. The eighth book bent this a little, making two chapters on it, the first being the usual, and the second being entitled “To Make An Even Longer Story Even Shorter”
Every book begins with “George and Harold” as the first chapter, with George and Harold switching a sign around to make a funny phrase. This pattern was bent in Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy (part 2), which also introduces Melvin Sneedly, Mr. Krupp, Sulu, Carl, Trixie, and Frankenbooger, due to the chase. George and Harold still switch a sign around. Also, the eighth book did not include introductions of Sulu and Crackers. George and Harold didn’t change a sign around, and they were introduced as “skeletons”.
Every book has two comics, one at the beginning (an intro) and one in the middle (for humor, and someone often complains about it afterward). The exceptions are book five where George and Harold create a third comic to save the world and book eight where the evil twins of George and Harold created a third comic. This book is also the only one without one of George and Harold’s Captain Underpants comics, as the comic was about Boxer Boy and Great-Granny Girdle and also, the people who read it liked it even if it was one of the likeliest comics where someone would complain about it.
There is a little boy who, after seeing a fight between Captain Underpants and the book’s villain, tells his mother about what is going on, which the mother denies by asking him how he expects her to believe something so riduculous. She is often seen reading something even more unbelievable, such as a book about how to lose 300 pounds in 1 day (and while she’s reading that, she says, “Yeah! Just how gullible do you think I am?!”). In fact, in book 4, the boy notices Professor Poopypants climbing into the then-giant Gerbil Jogger 2000. His mother then sarcastically asks if the next event will be the giant robot fighting a giant in his underpants in the middle of the city. Later on in the book, the boy sees Poopypants and Captain Underpants fighting each other, just as his mother predicted: “Mommy?” “Yes?” “Um, never mind.” He and his mother only appeared in books 1, 2 and 4.
Every book has a chapter known as “The Incredibly Graphic Violence Chapter”, which has an animation mode known as Flip-o-Rama or “The Cheesy Animation Technique”. It begins with a warning about how the “violence” might be offending, instructions on how to work Flip-o-Rama by flipping one page back and forth, and then one to three groups of pages that you flip back and forth. Instead of a violence chapter, book 7 includes instructions on how to do the Underpants Dance. However, book 8 did not include a warning on the first page of the flip-o-rama chapter. In Book 6, which has flip-o-rama in it like every other book, it also has a warning on the page before the first page of chapter 14 (which is not fip-o-rama) warning how the chapter is extremely gross.
At the end of Chapter 1 in every book the last line is “But before I can tell you that story I have to tell you THIS story”, reverting to another sub-plot story that often ties into the main-plot.
There is occasional meta-humor; the most common joke being a character declaring something only happening in poorly written children’s stories (or really lame adventure stories), usually right before the actual event happening.
There is often a mention of things that happened in previous books (usually in the background). Like in the fourth book when Professor Poopypants was at the cafe, the newspaper he was reading said that NASA discovered robots living on Uranus (at the end of the second book the heroes told Robo-Plunger to take the evil toilets to that planet). In the fifth book they make numerous references to the previous books, like when Harold says that the stuff that fell on Ms. Ribble was the alien juice from the third book, George asks “You mean the one with the annoyingly long title?”.
In George and Harold’s comics, the gym teacher and some unimportant object are attacked somehow by the antagonist, and the principal seems to care more about the object. In the first book’s comic, for example, the principal says “Oh, no! Not folding chairs!” (without saying “the”)
In both parts of Bionic Booger Boy, George’s ideas are stolen. In book 6, Mr. Sneedly claims that George’s idea of switching the batteries in The Combine-O-Tron 2000 was his idea. In book 7, Melvin steals George’s idea of building the Purple Potty Time Machine.
All of George and Harold’s comics have bad spelling and grammar. In the 8th book, it shows one of Evil George and Evil Harold’s comic books about Captain Blunderpants. In it, it has correct spelling, grammar and better artwork. George and Harold humorously mention later that they thought words were spelled wrong in it, and that the pictures looked horrible.
In some books, there is a poster visible that says “GO Purple Dragon Sing Along Friends!” due to George and Harold switching a security camera tape with a Purple Dragon Sing Along Friends tape, so when Mr. Krupp brought it to the football team(The Knuckleheads), they liked it so much, they changed their names.
There are many allusions in the series; for example, to Superman and Batman. Two of Harold’s hampsters are named “Dr. Fine” and “Dr. Howard,” the school the boys attend is called Jeroem Horwitz Elementary, the initial team name is the Knuckleheads, and George and Harold get their hypnotic ring from the “Li’l Wise Guy Novelty Company,” all references to The Three Stooges.
The Captain Underpants books were reported by the American Library Association to be the sixth most frequently challenged books in the year 2002. Dav Pilkey also mentioned this in his website. According to the American Library Association, Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series was banned in some schools for insensitivity and being unsuited to age group, as well as encouraging children to disobey authority.
Captain Underpants Halloween costumes created controversy at Long Island (NY) high school. Three female students dressed up as Captain Underpants and the principal placed a costume ban for all students. The three girls put on beige leotards and nude stockings under white briefs and red capes. According to Principal Restivo, “the appearance was that they were naked.”
Distribution outside of the USA
Brazil: Cosac & Naify
Canada, Argentina, Mexico, UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, India, Australia, New Zealand: Scholastic
Catalan: Editorial Cruilla, a division of Ediciones SM, Barcelona
Chinese Simplified: Thinkingdom/New Buds
Chinese Traditional: Commonwealth
Danish: Forlaget Sesam, a division of Egmont
France: Le Petit Musc, a division of Playbac, Paris
German: Ueberreuter, Vienna
Greek: Modern Times
Iceland: JPV Forlag
Italy: Piemme (Captain Underpants), Salani (Super Diaper Baby)
Japan: Tokuma Shoten
Norway: A.W. Damm
Romania: Editura National
Russia: Machiny Tvoreniya Publishing (title: “Kapitan Podshtannik”)
Slovene: Zalozba Mladinska Knjiga
Spain: Ediciones SM, Madrid
Sweden: Egmont Richters
Thai: Pearl Publishing
Turkish: A.I. Iletisim/Altin Kitaplar
^ Pilkey.com, August 27, 2007. Accessed August 27, 2007.
v d e
The Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
Captain Underpants novels
The Adventures of Captain Underpants Attack of the Talking Toilets Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds) Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy (Parts 1 & 2) Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People The Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers
The Adventures of Captain Underpants: Collectors’ Edition Talking Toilets: Collectors’ Edition Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space: Collectors’ Edition
Super Diaper Baby
The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers
Categories: Children’s novels | Novel series | Children’s fiction books | Series of children’s booksHidden categories: Articles lacking reliable references from August 2008 | Wikipedia articles needing style editing from October 2009 | All articles needing style editing | Articles needing cleanup from October 2009 | Wikipedia introduction cleanup from October 2009 | All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements from September 2009
About the Author
Quick stop to change Diapers @ Magic Kingdom
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