Freaky Fred is part two of the fourth episode of Season 1 of Courage the Cowardly Dog, which aired December 3, 1999, following The Demon in the Mattress. It was directed by John R. Dilworth and written by David Steven Cohen, with storyboard by Bill Marsilii.
Muriel's seemingly odd nephew Fred is coming for a visit, much to Courage's chagrin. Fred arrives at the door while Courage imagines all sorts of horrible things Fred could be. Both are anxious of the stay, though in a completely different sense. Instead of all the horrible things Courage fears, stands a polite, yet freaky man which seems to frighten him more.
As Muriel invites Fred to sit down in the living room, Courage is understandably wary of him, especially since Fred is now visibly fixated on him. Eustace is about to leave for the hardware store to fix the problem of the bathroom door not opening once it's closed, however Muriel gets him to welcome and sit with Fred and Courage on the couch though Eustace ignores Fred after a gruff hello. After Courage notices a wristband on Fred for a "Home for Freaky Barbers" with a contact phone number, he tries to call Muriel's attention to it. Instead, Muriel has Courage show Fred to the bathroom so he can freshen up from his long trip.
Forgetting to give Fred fresh towels, Muriel has Eustace bring some upstairs. While Courage nervously waits outside the open door, Eustace throws him inside and deliberately locks both Fred and Courage in. Eustace leaves and goes to various other places during the rest of the episode. As Courage cowers, Fred begins to tell Courage of how he first began to realize his compulsion to cut hair which started with his pet hamster while preparing to shave Courage. Desperate, Courage hides in the toilet, but Fred finds him anyway and pulls him out. During his reminiscing he's already used his trimmer to give Courage a mohawk. This prompts another memory, this time of his former girlfriend Barbara. Trimming more fur from Courage, Fred reveals they eventually broke up due to his shaving her bald. He continues to psychotically shave Courage bald.
He goes on to say how he tried to control himself, but inevitably gave in. Once again, Courage tries to escape, this time down the sink drain, but is only half-way there (and half-way shaved) before Fred pulls him out. Oblivious to what's presently happening, Muriel reassures the two Eustace will be back any second and gives them pancakes. Courage pulls out a phone and begins to dial the number on the wristband, but Fred is quick to hide the number under his sleeve and to stuff Courage's mouth full of food to keep him from speaking. However, before another flashback, Courage grabs the wristband free.
When a long bearded man arrived at his barber shop one day, Fred once again gave into his compulsion after only giving him a small trim at first. Afterward, it's assumed he was admitted into the Home for Freaky Barbers. He proceeds to shave Courage bald except for the tail. Taking an opportunity, Courage manages to dial the number. Fred beckons Courage towards him and despite insisting to a terrified Courage that shaving a tail "would be weird," Courage refuses.
Sirens are heard in the background and Fred gets up to look out the window, with a sigh realizing he'll have to go back to the mental home. Orderlies break down the door. Restrained in a blanket in a manner similar to a straitjacket, the orderlies escort him away in a van with a padded back. Still smiling, Fred looks back on the farm wishing everyone farewell in his mind. Courage, however, is left with a little parting gift: "With Love, Fred" on his backside.
In Ball of Revenge he appears on The Bagge' s TV saying "Courage..." Courage screams in terror, thinking is Freaky Fred going to try to kill him too like The Farmer, Katz, The Puddle Queen, Big Toe, Le Quack, Cajun Fox and Mr. Weremole because Fred was holding up a shaver.
Fred: Barbara, my love was named, and her fair hair, a mane untamed, until one evening, I'm ashamed, I got a little... naughty. The look upon my young love's face, was sweet as lace, but in this case, I realized she... needed space.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Freaky Fred. His next appearance would be at the end of Ball of Revenge.
- Fred says "naughty" 14 times.
- This is one of the few episodes in which neither Eustace not Muriel were falling victim into Fred.
- Fred was mentioned in Mega Muriel the Magnificent by The Computer when Courage types in a episode plot.
- The places that Eustace goes to ditch Muriel are, The Bagges' truck to read the paper, The Beach to relax, and The Cinema where he sees a movie while sleeping during the movie.
Cultural references and parodies
- Fred is a parody of Sweeney Todd, another crazed barber. However, while Fred does display a rather bizarre obsession, he shows no other psychotic tendencies. Unlike Todd, who sought to punish the wicked or be "merciful" to the innocent by killing them.
- When Courage and Fred are looking at each other, Courage is nervous.
- As Courage was looking up the ceiling, the dog was at first upstairs, but was later sitting next to Fred, looking at him. Either he wasn't seeking properly or Muriel forced him to sit down.
- Although it would've seem that Fred warned Courage not to play in the toilet because it was wet, Fred did, however, cut off his fur unexpectedly when Courage was completely wet.
- The clipper was never damaged by water; although in real life, a clipper can be damaged by water after cutting wet hair.
- Muriel brung her chair and TV set upstairs; either to keep Courage and Fred busy or just waiting on Eustace to come back.
- Jeeves Weevil, who won't premiere until Evil Weevil, appears in Courage's thought bubble.
- In the end of the episode, Courage looks on his backside with a little fur left saying "With Love, Fred". However on several near-end scenes, there were no fur behind his back (except his tail).
- Fred's ex-girlfriend's name coincidentally contains his own profession in it.
- The wristband Fred wears swaps wrists in the episode. In the beginning, Courage first sees it on Fred's right arm. Later, when they are locked in the bathroom, it's on his left.
- When Eustace talks to Courage about Fred and his barber shop, Courage shakes and as he chatters his teeth; his upper left tooth with a cavity hole is replaced with a regular tooth. For somehow, throughout the episode, his decayed tooth reappears.
- Also, on Courage's backside, the two birthmark dots also disappear as well (leaving only one); However, in some scenes of this episode, both of the dots are back on his behind (now leaving all three).
- When Courage calls the operator, he presses the numbers. As we look closely, his hands re-appeared pink.
- In previous scenes on this episode, he had his whole fur shaved by Fred (including his hands), exposing his skin; On the next shot, as Courage speaks to the operator, his hands are shown shaved once again.
- He also had the tag that said "Home for Freaky Barbers" which included the number on there. As he was holding it while calling the number, the next scene appeared and afterwards, the tag was unexpectedly gone.
- While Courage was screaming as Fred continued to cut off his fur, his voice of him yelling wasn't heard throughout the scene over the clipper buzzing, hair/fur shreds, Fred's off-screen narration and ambient-oriented vocalizations.
- As security officers enter the home, the door was still permanently locked while Eustace was gone.
- When the officers walked upstairs to breach Fred and rescue Courage, they broke down the door and as we look closely on the outside, the lock was completely gone. It is unclear how the lock disappeared from the door.
- When Fred shreds part of the hair on Courage's foot, the dog's left toe was big and swollen. Afterwards, the piece of the foot's hair was cut off and Courage's left toe was the same size again.
- When Fred resumed shaving Courage's wet hair, he did not realize that cutting the hair off while it's wet can damage a clipper in real life. Although, in this episode, the clipper wasn't damaged nor did it malfunction while the dog's wetted fur was shaved.
- The phone number for the Home for Freaky Barbers is 555-1234. The number that Courage punches in on the cell phone is 555-381.
- Outside of the U.S., a part of where Courage tries to quietly tell Muriel about Fred's phone number bracelet (and morphs into it) was cut, probably to avoid foreshadowing the plot.