Since its beginning all the way back in the 1990s, Courage The Cowardly Dog has left its fans with mystery and intrigue. The simple plot of a worried dog trying everything he can to protect his owners against recurring danger is not only wholesomely unique, but it also has proven to be horrifyingly impactful.
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With so much terror lurking around every corner and no explanation whatsoever as to what is going on, it’s no surprise that die-hard fans of the series have taken a great deal of time coming up with the most interesting theories. Some might think these theories are a bit of a stretch, but the way that fans analyze and justify their ideas is incredibly convincing. Everyone has their own ideas of the famed cartoon, but these theories might be turning heads.
Updated on November 21st, 2023 by Chelsea Steele: If there’s one thing fans love, it’s coming up with new and interesting theories about their favorite shows. Among the many that series fans enjoy analyzing, Courage the Cowardly Dog is one with the strangest, not to mention creepiest, fan theories of all time. Though many seem far-fetched and can easily be debunked, plenty of others sound believable and could even be true. This list has been updated with even more mindblowing theories that actually make a lot of sense.
10 Courage The Cowardly Dog Is Based On A True Story
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With such a unique premise, it’s only natural to wonder what inspired Courage the Cowardly Dog. Many fans actually theorize that the series is based on the true story of a real elderly couple and their dog. The theory goes that the old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere is a real place in New Mexico.
The husband and wife living there were said to have reported many strange incidents, until one day, they suddenly vanished, leaving only their dog. There’s no denying that this story sounds eerily similar to the famed cartoon series, and the old farmhouse even looks near-identical to the one Eustace and Muriel call home. That said, the idea that this couple inspired the cartoon series is highly believable.
9 Courage’s Perfectionist Teacher Isn’t Real
In the episode “Perfect,” Courage is forced to undergo various tests at the hands of a mean and judgemental teacher. Any time he messes up or does something imperfectly, she reminds him of his failures. Her constant criticism wears Courage down until his spirit is nearly broken. Though her domineering presence is felt throughout the episode, many theorize that this teacher actually isn’t real.
Instead, she’s a reflection of Courage’s own self-doubt and desire to be perfect. Once Courage realizes that he’s perfect just the way he is, this fearsome instructor disappears without a trace. Though it’s never said one way or another if she was really there, the idea that she was all in Courage’s head the whole time makes a lot of sense.
8 Eustace & Muriel Once Had A Son, But They Lost Him
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One thing that sticks out early on about the Bagge family is that Eustace and Muriel don’t seem to have any children. Many fans have tried to explain the possible reasons why, and the most popular theory is that they actually did once have a child, a baby boy. However, they ended up losing him one way or another — most fans believe he was taken and eaten by the Cajun Fox.
To fill the void of losing her son, Muriel then adopted Courage. Unfortunately, Eustace was unable to move on from the loss, thus taking his pain and anger out on Courage. Though there’s nothing to really support this theory, it definitely explains why they never had kids, as well as the relationship dynamic between the three main characters.
7 The Villains Are Targeting Courage For A Nefarious Scheme
In one of the most elaborate analyses of the series, one fan came to the conclusion that the villains have a greater purpose than simply bringing drama to the series. This fan, who looked in-depth into the entire series, picked up on how different the villains were and how they were all after Courage, some even wanting Courage’s help in their evil plot. Allegedly, these villains were trying to unleash something within the little pink dog.
The world of Nowhere is full of characters who were pushed by society to become “evil,” and since Courage was abandoned as a baby, he has the potential to become like any of them. The villains in Courage the Cowardly Dog see themselves in Courage, and as a result, they’re drawn to him, which is why he deals with so many terrifying encounters. This theory is far-reaching, but it’s well thought out and makes fans rethink a lot about the series they thought they knew.
6 Courage & His Family Are Living In A Post-Apocalyptic World
Some fans come up with the most creative theories, but one theory stands out because of how much it actually makes sense. One fan shared their view that the setting for the show is actually taking place in a post-apocalyptic future where the world was ravaged after a nuclear fallout.
The monsters and aliens are really mutated creatures that survived, and the UFOs are just sports model hovercrafts for those who survived. Muriel and Eustace are normal human beings because they are protected by a military vault from radiation, and Courage continues to protect them from any threats. It’s a little bit of a stretch for the cartoon for sure, but with how outlandish the show is, it’s not really that unbelievable. Moreover, it wold establish Courage as one of the best cartoon pets on television, doing anything to keep his owners from harm.
5 Muriel & Eustace Are Still Puppets That Courage Can’t Let Go Of
One quite depressing theory involves the Season 1 finale. When Muriel and Eustace are turned into puppets by the magician Fusilli, Courage takes control of them and begins to play with them at the end of the episode. Although Courage is able to use Fusilli’s magic against him and turn him into a puppet, it doesn’t undo the curse on Muriel and Eustace, so he simply acts out their typical everyday behaviors for them.
With such a shocking end to the series’ first season, it’s no surprise that many wonder if Eustace and Muriel ever returned to their normal selves. Fans theorize that Courage is still pulling the strings into Season 2 and onward. Unable to cope with the fact that his owners are now gone, he keeps them alive by puppeteering them so he doesn’t have to face reality.
4 Courage The Cowardly Dog Is Really About Domestic Abuse
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It’s pretty easy to see how abusive Eustace is both to Muriel and to Courage, so one fan came up with a theory that adds a layer of harsh realism to the cartoon. According to the theory, Courage represents a young child trying to protect their mother from an abusive father.
This idea would explain the dynamic between the three characters, especially Eustace’s mistreatment of both his wife and their dog, who often takes on the role of their child in varying situations. They also explained their belief that Courage has an anxiety disorder, which is why he’s scared of everything. Given everything he and Muriel have to put up with because of Eustace, this theory certainly has some merit and explains a lot about the characters.
3 Nowhere Is The Void Between This World & The Next
As is stated in the show’s intro, many creepy things happen in Nowhere, and fans have a lot to say about that. There is a belief that the barren land that Muriel, Eustace, and Courage call home is a void between the mortal world and the world of the supernatural.
It doesn’t sound so far off, especially when the government is keeping such a close eye on the area. Their home being right on top of the entrance and exit to the supernatural world does make a lot of sense and explains why Courage and his owners are common targets for so many strange occurrences in this dark and twisted series.
2 The Monsters Only Exist In Courage’s Fearful Eyes
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For most of his life, Courage has lived with no one but his two elderly owners in the middle of Nowhere. Considering that he’s not used to other people or new events happening around his quaint home, it makes sense that fans think the monsters are all in Courage’s head.
Courage does have a bit of an imagination, seeing the worst happening even when all is well. To say that the scary things that happen to him and his family are only seen through his frightened eyes does seem very likely, in that case. After all, he’s a little dog that’s been through a lot and doesn’t have many other experiences. It would certainly explain why no one besides Courage seems to ever notice these horrifying events and monsters.
1 Courage Is Stuck In Purgatory
Many theories for Courage The Cowardly Dog are creative and have a degree of logic to them. Still, few of them manage to explain away everything. Some fans have spoken about Courage being stuck in purgatory, which would explain why Nowhere is so empty and why such terrifying creatures come to the main characters’ front door.
On top of being stuck in purgatory, one fan believes that the land resets after every challenge Courage faces. Despite Courage’s unparalleled cowardice, constantly forced to overcome his fear in order to save his loved ones from danger. Sometimes, all ends well. Other times, he fails to rescue them fully. Either way, he’ll have another day and another challenge to try again for the rest of eternity. While most would simply just chalk this concept up to typical cartoon logic, in the world of Courage, it actually does make sense.
Courage the Cowardly Dog
The offbeat adventures of Courage, a cowardly dog who must overcome his own fears to heroically defend his unknowing farmer owners from all kinds of dangers, paranormal events and menaces that appear around their land.
- Release Date
- November 12, 1999
- Adventure , Comedy
- John Dilworth
- Main Cast
- Marty Grabstein, Thea White and Lionel Wilson