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Cartoon Network: Dexter's Lab vs. Johnny Test


During the 90s, when I was a kid, I watched a show called Dexter's Lab. It is still one of my favorite shows of all time. The show centers around a young boy named Dexter. He is a boy genius and has a secret laboratory in his house, hidden from his parents. His older sister Dee Dee, discovered his lab and one of her favorite things to do it destroy his creations (whether intentional or by accident). Dexter's mom and dad are standard cartoon parents, silly and kind of dumb at times, but obviously love their children. They don't have names and are simply referred to as "Mom and Dad". He has a pet Monkey in his lab named Monkey who is secretly a super hero. Dexter also has several reoccurring friends as well as enemies. Dexter's Lab is a witty show with humor and jokes that applied to the time and in my opinion still apply today.

Johnny Test is a show that originally aired in 2005 on Kid's WB Television, but was not popularized until its debut on Cartoon Network in 2008. Personally, I find the show annoying, but that's just me. The show revolves around a kid named Johnny Test. Johnny is incredibly energetic and basically is what you think of when you think “11 year old boy”. He has two twin sisters, Mary and Susan, who are very smart and often test their inventions on him, if he doesn't steal or ruin them himself. Johnny has a mom and a dad, Lila and Hugh, who are another type of stereotypical cartoon parents. One is always working (mom) and the other is oblivious (dad), but again, clearly care for their children. Johnny's best friend is his talking dog, Dukey. There are also several reoccurring friends and enemies of Johnny in the show.

Here are just some of the similarities:


Dexter vs. Susan and Mary Test

Most importantly, Dexter is a genius. Susan and Mary are geniuses. Dexter has red hair. Susan and Mary both have red hair, Mary has curls in hers resembling Dexter's. Dexter wears large glasses. Susan and Mary both have large glasses, their only difference being their eyes are blue-ish, but Dexter's glasses make the area around his eyes blue. Dexter always wears a lab coat and black shoes. Susan and Mary both wear lab coats and Susan always has on black shoes. Dexter loves science, any science. Susan and Mary love science, but they differ in which (regular or fiction). Dexter has a lab. Susan and Mary have a lab.

Also note, Mandark from Dexter's Lab is actually his name given to himself. His real name is Susan.


Dee Dee vs. Johnny Test

Dee Dee is incredibly impulsive and hyper. Johnny is incredibly impulsive and hyper. Dee Dee destroys Dexter's experiments. Johnny is always messing with Mary and Susan's inventions. Dee Dee has blonde hair and blue eyes. Johnny has blonde hair and blue eyes. Dee Dee is basically a stereotype for how a girl would act. Johnny is a stereotype for a boy. When Dee Dee has a problem she demands Dexter fix it for her. Johnny makes his sisters help him with his problems too. Dee Dee looks more like her dad. Johnny looks more like his dad (and their dad's even look similar!)

Also, Dee Dee wears a blue one-piece swimsuit when they go to the beach, Susan also wears a blue one-piece swimsuit. Mary wears a pink two-piece which reminds me of Dee Dee's ballet outfit.


Dexter's Dad vs. Lila Test

It is Dexter's Dad who rivals Lila because they are more characteristically the same (but physically he resembles Hugh Test). Dad is the working parent of the family. Lila also works while her husband stays at home. It is never clear what Dad does aside from working at an office. Lila's occupation is also not completely clear except she is a business woman. Dad is always is his work suit. Lila is always in her work attire. Dad is incredibly protective over his sports games. Lila is incredibly protective over her electronics. Dad is all about quality time with the family. Lila always enjoys family vacations and events. Dad looks more like his daughter. Lila looks more like her daughters.

In relation to Hugh, Dad is more proud of his daughter than of his son, like Hugh is with his daughters. Dad is the ruler maker, Hugh always threatens to ground his kids. Hugh and Dad are both naivee and not very smart.


Dexter's Mom vs. Hugh Test

Same with Dexter's Dad, Dexter's Mom more so resembles Lila, but is characteristically similar to Hugh. Mom is obsessed with cleaning and everything in the house being clean. Hugh is also obsessed with cleaning. Mom enjoys cooking. Hugh loves cooking. Mom cannot stand to be without her gloves. Hugh has to have both of his shoes. Mom is a stay-at-home-mom. Hugh is a stay-at-home-dad. Mom wears green. Hugh wears green.

In relation to Lila, Mom also has fighting skills. She helps Dexter on a couple missions like Lila does Johnny, and they're both more intelligent than their husband.

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Mandark vs. Bling-Bling Boy (Eugene)

Mandark is Dexter's archenermy. Bling-Bling Boy is Johnny's archenemy. Mandark is in love with Dexter's sister. Bling-Bling boy is in love with Johnny's sister. Mandark will team up with Dexter to fight a mutual foe. Bling-Bling Boy will team up with Johnny when he needs to. Mandark is as smart as Dexter. Bling-Bling boy is as smart as Johnny's sisters. Mandark has a stereotypical “dork” haircut. Bling-Bling Boy also has a stereotypical dorky haircut. Mandark has a giant lab. Bling-Bling Boy has a giant house.

Also, Sissy Blake of Johnny Test looks almost exactly like a minor character named Lisa from Dexter's Lab (his babysitter in one episode).

Also, Sissy Blake of Johnny Test looks almost exactly like a minor character named Lisa from Dexter's Lab (his babysitter in one episode).


Plus, Dukey is a talking dog. There was an episode of Dexter where he finds a dog and gives it the ability to talk.


I think the shows are too similar to call it a coincidence, but just different enough that no one can really claim copyright. Maybe Dexter inspired Johnny Test, but I've never seen anything stating such. Still, Dexter's Lab is not only the better show, it's the original show. Even if Johnny Test claims to be completely, 100% different, it has far too many comparisons with Dexter to be unique.


harliquinn (author) on July 24, 2012:

Absolutely! Those were some of my favorite shows growing up. I am interested lately in how cartoons seem to suck now. There are a few redeemable shows (I love Adventure Time) but mostly now, the shows are just flat out stupid. I love cartoons and I still watch cartoons, but the really new ones I hardly laugh at all. Now the thing to do is repeat what we used to have only change it slightly so youth think its "new"

AE Williams from Atlanta, GA on July 24, 2012:

Lol.. hilarious. I LOVED Dexter's Lab and can say I haven't seen Johnny Test but you found those similarities. Honestly the show might literally be a revisit to the Dexter's Lab genre. The show was funny, action packed, and at some times very weird. If you find a show similar to PowerPuff Girls let me know lol. I also loved that show. I guess you also watch Cow & Chicken, Johnny Bravo and Ed, Edd, and Eddy...?

MundaneMondays on July 23, 2012:

LOL they took it and flipped it, lol i never noticed how alike they were

harliquinn (author) on July 22, 2012:

I'll give it that it is better than most of the stuff on now. And I do remember the episode. I think it had to have influenced Dukey, only the dog from that episode was mostly just there to annoy Dexter haha

MundaneMondays on July 22, 2012:

Johnny Test is at least better than most of the stuff on now.....but i agree it's a "carbon copy" do you remember then episode where the dog talked ? i think that was the concept for dookie

harliquinn (author) on July 21, 2012:

That's true. But its annoying because Dexter's Lab was so good and they have effectively taken the concept and the show, and blew it up.

timmathisen on July 21, 2012:

I grew up in the same time period and have noticed some similarities in the shows, but I wonder if it has something to do with Johnny's Test's producer, Chris Savino, who worked on Dexter's Lab, too.

If a certain blend of cartoon characters work, why deviate too far from it, eh?

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