Dilbert (TV series)

Dilbert is an American adult animated sitcom adaptation of the comic strip of the same name, produced by Adelaide Productions, Idbox and United Media, and distributed by Columbia TriStar Television. The first episode was broadcast on January 25, 1999, and was UPN's highest-rated comedy series premiere at that point in the network's history; it lasted two seasons with thirty episodes on UPN and won a Primetime Emmy before its cancellation.[1]

Cover of Dilbert DVD Boxset.jpg
DVD cover
Based onDilbert
by Scott Adams
Developed byScott Adams
Larry Charles
Directed byRick Del Carmen
James Hull
Voices ofDaniel Stern
Chris Elliott
Larry Miller
Gordon Hunt
Kathy Griffin
Jackie Hoffman
Jason Alexander
Theme music composerDanny Elfman
Opening theme"The Dilbert Zone"
Composer(s)Adam Cohen
Ian Dye
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes30 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Scott Adams
Larry Charles
Producer(s)Jeffrey L. Goldstein
Ron Nelson
Kara Vallow
Editor(s)Mark Scheib
Running time22 minutes
Production company(s)Idbox
United Media
Columbia TriStar Television
Global Entertainment Productions GmbH & Co. Medien KG
(season 1)
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Original networkUPN
Picture format4:3 SDTV (NTSC)
Audio formatDolby Surround
Original releaseJanuary 25, 1999 (1999-01-25) –
July 25, 2000 (2000-07-25)


The series follows the adventures of a middle-aged white collar office worker, named Dilbert, who is extremely intelligent in regards to all things that fall within the boundaries of electrical engineering. Although Dilbert's intelligence greatly surpasses that of his incompetent colleagues at work, he is unable to question certain processes that he believes to be inefficient, due to his lack of power within the organization. Thus, he is consistently found to be unsatisfied with the decisions that are made in his workplace, because of the fact that many times he has many suggestions to improve the decision, yet is incapable of expressing them. Consequently, he is often found to show a pessimistic and frustrated attitude, which ultimately lands him in various comedic situations that revolve around concepts like leadership, teamwork, communication, and corporate culture.


The first season centers on the creation of a new product, the "Gruntmaster 6000". The first three episodes involve the idea process ("The Name", "The Prototype", and "The Competition" respectively); the fourth ("Testing") involves having it survive a malevolent company tester named "Bob Bastard", and the fifth ("Elbonian Trip") is about production in the famine-stricken fourth-world country of Elbonia. The prototype is delivered to an incredibly stupid family in Squiddler's Patch, Texas, during the thirteenth and final episode of the season, "Infomercial", even though it was not tested in a lab beforehand. The family's misuse of the prototype creates a black hole that sucks Dilbert in; he instantly wakes up in the meeting seen at the start of the episode, then locks his design lab to keep the prototype from being shipped out.[2]

The second season features seventeen episodes, bringing the total number of episodes to thirty. Unlike the first season, the episodes are not part of a larger story arc and have a different storyline for each of the episodes (with the exception of episodes 29 and 30, "Pregnancy" and "The Delivery"). Elbonia is revisited once more in "Hunger"; Dogbert still manages to scam people in "Art"; Dilbert is accused of mass murder in "The Trial"; and Wally gets his own disciples (the result of a complicated misunderstanding, the company launching a rocket for NASA, and a brainwashing seminar) in episode 16, "The Shroud of Wally".[3]

The theme music, "The Dilbert Zone", was written by Danny Elfman. It is an abbreviated instrumental rewrite of the theme from the film Forbidden Zone, originally performed by Elfman's band, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.


Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, decided to create the series for UPN because the network promised 13 episodes on air, while other networks would only consider the series against other programming options. Adams added to that "If we had gone with NBC, they would have given Dilbert a love interest with sexual tension." UPN was the sixth-ranked network at the time and picked up the show in hopes of broadening their appeal and to prove they were committed to riskier alternative shows. Adams stated about turning Dilbert into a series "It's a very freeing experience because doing the comic strip limits me to three (picture) panels with four lines or less of dialogue per issue, in the TV series, I have 21 minutes per episode to be funny. I can follow a theme from beginning to end, which will add lots of richness to the characters." Adams wanted the series to be animated because the live action version shot previously for FOX didn't translate well. Adams added to that "If Dilbert's going to be at the top of the Alps, you just draw it that way and you don't have to build an Alps scene. You can also violate some laws of physics, and cause and effect. People forgive it very easily. So it's much more freeing creatively."[4][5][6][7]


On November 22, 2006, when Adams was asked why the show was canceled, he explained:

It was on UPN, a network that few people watch. And because of some management screw-ups between the first and second seasons the time slot kept changing and we lost our viewers. We were also scheduled to follow the worst TV show ever made: Shasta McNasty. On TV, your viewership is 75% determined by how many people watched the show before yours. That killed us.[8]



Griffin was starring in the NBC series Suddenly Susan during the time that Dilbert was in production. Under the terms of her contract with NBC, she could not receive on-screen credit for any roles in series that aired on other networks.[10]

Guest starsEdit


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113January 25, 1999 (1999-01-25)May 24, 1999 (1999-05-24)
217November 2, 1999 (1999-11-02)July 25, 2000 (2000-07-25)

Season 1 (1999)Edit

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
1"The Name"Seth KearsleyLarry Charles and Scott AdamsJanuary 25, 1999 (1999-01-25)101
Dilbert is tasked with naming a product that hasn't even been designed yet, and the stress (brought on by a recurring nightmare) makes Dilbert think he's turning into a chicken.
2"The Prototype"Alfred GimenoJeff KahnFebruary 1, 1999 (1999-02-01)102
Dilbert and Alice must work together to stop a rival team led by the legendary "Lena" from stealing their ideas and presenting them to the Boss as her own.
3"The Competition"Seth KearsleyNed GoldreyerFebruary 8, 1999 (1999-02-08)103
Dilbert is fired from his job when he is suspected of being a spy for a rival company (which was a rumor cooked up by Dogbert's online newsletter) and gets hired at a company that actually treats their workers like people.
4"Testing"Chris DozoisDavid Silverman and Stephen SustarsicFebruary 15, 1999 (1999-02-15)104
The Gruntmaster 6000 prototype is put to the test by evil-masked test engineer Bob Bastard (Tom Kenny).
5"Elbonian Trip"Mike KimDavid Silverman and Stephen SustarsicFebruary 22, 1999 (1999-02-22)105
Dilbert, Alice, Wally, Dogbert, and the Pointy-Haired Boss take a business trip to Elbonia. Alice and Dilbert attempt to free the Elbonian people (Alice adopts an Elbonian baby while Dilbert introduces the workers to human rights) while Wally becomes a prophet.
6"The Takeover"Andi KleinLarry Charles and Scott Adams and Ned GoldreyerMarch 1, 1999 (1999-03-01)106
Dilbert and Wally become majority shareholders of their company after Dogbert manipulates the stock market.
7"Little People"Barry VodosDavid Silverman & Stephen Sustarsic and Scott Adams and Larry CharlesMarch 22, 1999 (1999-03-22)107
Dilbert discovers that the office is inhabited by a race of former employees who have been "downsized" (literally shrunken down to size after they've been laid off) after finding all of his belongings used, the dry-erase markers disappearing, and X-rated websites on his computer.
8"Tower of Babel"Gloria JenkinsDavid Silverman and Stephen SustarsicApril 5, 1999 (1999-04-05)108
The repetitive passing-on of the same cold strain in Dilbert's office causes it to mutate and turns the coworkers into monsters. Rather than eliminate the virus, the company decides to start fresh by moving everyone to a new office, which Dilbert is tasked with designing in exchange for a new office.
9"Y2K"Jennifer Graves
Bob Hathcock
Andi Tom
Andrew Borakove and Rachel Powell
and Scott Adams and Larry Charles
April 26, 1999 (1999-04-26)109
On the eve of the new millennium, everyone — except Dilbert — is making New Year's plans. While assuring everyone that the company is prepared for Y2K, Dilbert discovers that the computer mainframe's main processor isn't Y2K-compatible and all the company's systems will crash if it isn't fixed. Dilbert is rewarded for discovering this by being assigned to fix it, and he discovers that the system's original programmer was Wally. But have years of drudge work dulled his brain too much to be able to tackle this crucial task?
10"The Knack"Michael GoguenNed Goldreyer and Scott Adams and Larry CharlesMay 3, 1999 (1999-05-03)110
Dilbert loses "the knack" for technology when he gets management DNA from accidentally drinking from the Boss' cup. His resulting missteps send the world back to the Dark Ages.
11"Charity"Chris DozoisDStephen Sustarsic & David Silverman and Scott Adams and Larry CharlesMay 10, 1999 (1999-05-10)111
Dilbert questions the idea of charity and is forced to be the coordinator for the "Associated Way" charity drive.
12"Holiday"Andi KleinNed Goldreyer and Stephen Sustarsic & David Silverman and Scott Adams and Larry CharlesMay 17, 1999 (1999-05-17)112
Dilbert thinks there are too many time-wasting holidays; Dogbert concurrently convinces Congress to abandon all holidays in favor of a National Dogbert Day.
13"The Infomercial"Todd Frederiksen and Joe VauxNed Goldreyer and Scott Adams and Larry CharlesMay 24, 1999 (1999-05-24)113
The pre-production, non-lab-tested Gruntmaster 6000 is scheduled to be tested by a Texan family whose ill treatment of it threatens to destroy the world. Meanwhile, the Boss begins predicting the future while asleep after injuring his head while making a commercial for the Gruntmaster 6000.

Season 2 (1999–2000)Edit

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
141"The Gift"Gloria JenkinsNed GoldreyerNovember 2, 1999 (1999-11-02)201
Dilbert's mother's birthday is coming up, and in search of the perfect gift, he returns to the mall where he was abandoned by his father (voiced by Buck Henry) years ago. 7 of 9 alarm clock voiced by Jeri Ryan.
152"The Trial"Chris DozoisJoe Wiseman & Joe PortNovember 9, 1999 (1999-11-09)202
Dilbert is sent to prison after the boss frames him for a fatal traffic accident that kills multiple nobel prize winners. Once inside, he applies his knowledge of mathematics and engineering to prison life and takes over his cell block.
163"The Shroud of Wally"Andi KleinScott AdamsNovember 16, 1999 (1999-11-16)203
Dilbert has a near-death experience at a gas station, and finds that the afterlife is exactly like the office. Meanwhile, a group listening to a multi-level marketing speech become hypnotized, and through a bizarre accident caused by a crashing space shuttle and the birthday kit create a religion based on Wally. Dilbert and Dogbert manage to cover up the crash, while Wally turns away his followers with his odd habits.
174"The Dupey"Michael GoguenLarry Charles & Scott AdamsNovember 23, 1999 (1999-11-23)204
Dilbert's attempts to design a Furby-style children's toy go horribly awry when the toys gain sentience and mutate into hideous but benevolent creatures that want independence.
185"Art"Linda MillerNed Goldreyer & Scott Adams & Larry CharlesNovember 30, 1999 (1999-11-30)205
Dilbert is assigned to create a digital work of art. The result, the "Blue Duck," ends up appealing to the lowest common denominator of society and destroys the value and popularity of classic artworks.
196"Hunger"Craig R. MarasScott Adams & Larry CharlesJanuary 18, 2000 (2000-01-18)206
Dilbert tries to end world hunger by creating a new, safe, artificial food, but it tastes so bad that even people dying of starvation refuse to eat it – until his mother gets involved.
207"The Security Guard"Rick Del CarmenScott AdamsJanuary 25, 2000 (2000-01-25)207
After a heated debate, Dilbert and the building's security guard (voiced by Wayne Knight) trade jobs to see who can do the other's job better. Dilbert quickly finds himself in over his head when he discovers an illegal casino being run underneath the building.
218"The Merger"Jim HullStory by : David Silverman and Stephen Sustarsic
Teleplay by : Larry Charles & Scott Adams
February 1, 2000 (2000-02-01)208
The Boss decides that the company needs to merge with another, and chooses a company of brain-sucking extraterrestrials.
229"The Off-Site Meeting"Seth KearsleyRon Nelson & Mark Steen and Scott AdamsFebruary 8, 2000 (2000-02-08)209
Dilbert's home is chosen as the location for an off-site meeting when a dendrophile sues his company because of their deforestation policies.
2310"The Assistant"Gloria Jenkins & Declan M. MoranMark Steen & Ron Nelson and Larry Charles & Scott AdamsFebruary 15, 2000 (2000-02-15)210
To hide that there are engineering jobs elsewhere, Dilbert is unwillingly promoted to management and given an assistant (Andy Dick), sparking a showdown with the other engineers.
2411"Company Picnic"Chris DozoisDavid Silverman & Stephen Sustarsic and Scott AdamsFebruary 22, 2000 (2000-02-22)211
The annual company picnic comes around and so does the softball game between Marketing and Engineering. This episode is based on Romeo and Juliet.
2512"The Virtual Employee"Perry ZombalasNed Goldreyer & Larry Charles & Scott AdamsMay 30, 2000 (2000-05-30)212
Dilbert and his co-workers find an empty cubicle and start dumping their obsolete computer equipment into it. To keep the marketing department from claiming the cubicle, they hack into the human resources database and create a profile for a fake engineer named Todd. The plan backfires when Todd is named project leader and develops a messianic reputation.
2613"The Return"Mike KunkelNed Goldreyer & Larry Charles & Scott AdamsJune 6, 2000 (2000-06-06)213
Dilbert tries to buy a computer online but gets the wrong model, leading to an unpleasant surprise when he tries to return it to the company warehouse. Jerry Seinfeld and Eugene Levy guest-star as Comp-U-Comp and the plug guard, respectively; Jon Favreau guest-stars as Holdem Callfielder.
2714"Ethics"Michael GoguenLarry Charles & Scott AdamsJune 13, 2000 (2000-06-13)214
After the company employees are forced to take ethical training classes, Dilbert is put in charge of designing a nationwide Internet voting network. His scruples are put to the test when an attractive female representative of a tobacco special-interest group tries to seduce him.
2815"The Fact"Linda MillerRon Nelson & Mark Steen & Larry Charles & Scott AdamsJuly 11, 2000 (2000-07-11)215
Dogbert becomes rich and famous by writing a best-selling book about an imaginary disease, "Chronic Cubicle Syndrome, and Dilbert finds himself saddled with the job of devising a cure.
2916"Pregnancy"Andi KleinLarry Charles & Scott AdamsJuly 18, 2000 (2000-07-18)216
Ratbert accidentally sends Dilbert's model rocket into space. When it returns with samples of DNA from aliens, cows, hillbillies, engineers, and robots, it rectally impales Dilbert, impregnating him.
3017"The Delivery"Craig R. MarasLarry Charles & Scott AdamsJuly 25, 2000 (2000-07-25)217
Dilbert's pregnancy turns into a media circus as the various "parents" of his baby sue for custody, with Steve Austin presiding over the hearing. Austin guest-stars as himself.

Home mediaEdit

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 on January 27, 2004. The set included some special features including trailers and clip compilations with commentary by Scott Adams, executive producer Larry Charles, and voice actors Chris Elliott, Larry Miller, Kathy Griffin, and Gordon Hunt.[11] The DVDs can be played on some PCs and DVD players with Region 2.

On November 8, 2013, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to the series. They re-released the complete series on January 21, 2014.[12]


Ray Richmond of Variety.com liked the show stating "it's surely the wittiest thing the netlet has ever had the good fortune to schedule, and based on the opening two installments, it has the potential to score with the same upscale auds that flocked to "The Simpsons" and transformed Fox from a wannabe to a player a decade ago."[13] David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun gave the show a positive review stating "sit down tonight in front of the tube with more reasonable expectations, and you will find yourself smiling, if not laughing out loud at least once or twice."[14] Terry Kelleher of People Magazine picked Dilbert for "Show of the week" and said the show featured "smart, pointed humor aimed at corporate bureaucracy, mendacity and absurdity."[15] In 2017, James Charisma of Paste (magazine) ranked the show's opening sequence #13 on a list of The 75 Best TV Title Sequences of All Time.[16]


Dilbert's premiere episode received a 7.3 rating from the nation's biggest 44 markets, the highest of the 1998-1999 season for UPN.[17] Across the whole country, the premiere episode received a 4.2 rating [18]


  • Primetime Emmy: Outstanding Main Title Design - 1999[19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Dilbert Debut Sets Record For Upn". Chicago Tribune. February 2, 1999. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  2. ^ "Dilbert: The Complete Series : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  3. ^ "Dilbert: Complete Series : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  4. ^ Knutzen, Eirik. "An Animated Cartoon `Dilbert' Comes To The Tube On Upn". The Morning Call. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  5. ^ Rubin, Sylvia. "Meeting of the Minds / `Dilbert' creators slogged through corporate mire to bring lovable office dweeb to TV". SFGate. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  6. ^ Rozansky, Michael. "`Dilbert' Is Serious Business From The Cubicle To ... Practically Everywhere". philly.com. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  7. ^ Jicha, Tom. "Dilbert To Get A New Cubicle -- On Upn". SunSentinel. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  8. ^ Foster, Darren (22 November 2006). "Scott Adams interview". GroundReport.com. Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Upn hopes ride on dilbert's white shirttails new animated series just doesn't do the job". The New York Daily News. Archived from the original on February 9, 2014. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  10. ^ "Chatty Kathy's credit no good on UPN's 'Dilbert'". New York Post. 1999-02-03. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  11. ^ "Dilbert - The Complete Series Review". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-09. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
  12. ^ Mill Creek to Re-Release 'The Complete Series' on DVD Archived 2013-11-09 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Richmond, Ray. "Review: 'Dilbert'". Variety. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  14. ^ Zurawik, David. "UPN is counting on `Dilbert'". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  15. ^ Kelleher, Terry. "Picks and Pans Main: Tub". People Magazine. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  16. ^ Charisma, James (January 4, 2017). "The 75 Best TV Title Sequences of All Time". Paste (magazine). Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  17. ^ Carter, Bill. "TV NOTES". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  18. ^ "TV Listings—January 25, 1999". TVTango.com. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  19. ^ "Dilbert". The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 9 February 2014.

External linksEdit