It's certainly without question that Dexter is a certified genius in every way (except designing sister-proof locks) but his family is not wealthy and he has only limited access to resources.

His laboratory is a multi-level underground facility big enough to contain interstellar vehicles, a central power chamber, generators and a fighting robot at least 50ft tall.

He's not Bruce Wayne and doesn't have billions to play with, so how was he manage to build such a vast lab and fill it with such amazing (and expensive) stuff?

enter image description here

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    I think you may have found a plot hole! – Misha R Sep 21 at 0:57
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    He doesn't have to actually build his lab; he only has to draw it. – Jeeped Sep 21 at 1:03
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    @MishaR Not really. I was just trying to figure this out so I could find a way to construct my own ;-D – Russhiro Sep 21 at 1:05
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    Well there is the possibility that it's all in his head... I mean the "origin story" episode does pretty much suggest he built the lab in his closet so either he's perfected hammerspace or he's insane. – SpaceWolf1701 Sep 21 at 1:56

In the musical episode LABretto, we learn about Dexter's formative years. In short, he was forced to work in the family's closet in order to gain some semblance of peace and quiet from his sister. After she invaded his privacy (for the umpteenth time) he realised that the three walls of the closet were simply a baffle, preventing access to a much larger space under(?) the house. No explanation is given as to how it got there but it appears to be a natural cavern.

These were my last four walls,
and yet she made them fall,
must I work at the mall?

Will my science be done,
and must I say "farewell, so long"?

[The walls literally fall away and Dexter is revealed to be inside a large cavern]
[He looks around in surprise and wonderment]

enter image description here

This place is new,
this place is huge
and so secret from the world!

I know now,
what I must do,
and no-one will ever know.

I'll build a place,
where I can be,
for math! For science! for...ever free!

  • where that does explain where the space was, but not how he managed to get everything in there with no budget or assistance. From the negative response to this question, I may have to delete it, though. Not understanding so many negative aspects. – Russhiro Sep 22 at 21:11
  • @RussRainford - You can't delete a question with an upvoted answer. You can try to improve the question (wording) but not fundamentally change it – Valorum Sep 22 at 21:11
  • Any suggestions to do so, then? I was as specific as possible in terms of forgoing the cartoon logic for the sake of plausible discussion, but doesn't seem to resonant positively with our fellows. – Russhiro Sep 22 at 21:57
  • @RussRainford - I'd suggest editing it with an axe. Remove all of the commentary and chatter and just focus on the question. If you'd like, I could have a stab at it. – Valorum Sep 22 at 22:10
  • Go for it, buddy. You have more experience at this than I do. – Russhiro Sep 22 at 22:26

The cartoon does not and likely never will develop a canonical answer for where Dexter gets his resources because to do so would counter and confuse the visual rhetoric message of the cartoon. The cartoon medium is an art form which circumvents our normal reality-based expectations and places perceptive concepts in place of tangible elements. As a quick example, look at Dexter's left hand and notice it only has 4 fingers. If this were a live action character that would be terrifying, as would the proportions of his head and body. Our minds easily suspend disbelief in visual rhetoric, simply because the expectation of realistic proportions does not exist. You can further notice that the glass beaker is not transparent, he has no eyelids, and his ear is on the back of his head. What is important here is that if no one ever mentioned these things, the audience would not even notice. They see a normal hand, a normal ear, glasses, a glass beaker, and so on. That is the communicative advantage of the comic medium, the audience has no expectation of realism because our mind "fills in the blanks" for us through semiotic processes.

This suspension of disbelief carries beyond the visual rhetoric and into all elements of the medium, allowing a message to be tightly focused without distraction. Realistic resource limitations, logistics, and physics actually become distractions in comic medium and generally slow down the communication. Consider the cartoon Ren and Stimpy which occasionally featured realistic drawings and photographs within the animations. At those point, the program had to focus on the realistic visual for several seconds so the audience could adjust their focus.

enter image description here

One classic example of a cartoon's dismissal of limited resources is Warner Brothers' "Acme Corporation," which was an endless supply of any resource a character needed to communicate their message.

Acme Explosive Tennis Balls

The comic medium uniquely allows the audience to gloss over realistic concepts like "How much did the balls cost" and "How did they deliver them so fast?"

In the case of Dexter the focused message is the boy-genius who can solve any problem with his intellect. The message would be completely lost if the program veered off into logistics of how and where he got his money. This is specifically because his audience doesn't have a grasp of money and economy as an integral part of life.

While this may not be the adult answer you were looking for, it is the reason he doesn't need imaginary money to buy his imaginary stuff - the intended audience simply does not have an expectation of economic feasibility, and our minds don't have an expectation of perceptual accuracy. Details are destructive in this medium.

Thus, Dexter get's all of his resources from the Cartoon Network equivalent of the Acme Corporation. For the good of the message, it just is.

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