July 3, 2002 (theatrical) November 4, 2003 (rerun)
Chicken Scratch is the second part of the 12nd aired and 11st produced episode in season 4 of Dexter's Laboratory. It originally aired before The Powerpuff Girls Movie on July 3, 2002, and later on Cartoon Network on November 4, 2003. In this episode, Dexter comes down with the chicken pox and Dee Dee tells him a tale about a boy who turned into a chicken by scratching too much. Unfortunately, Dexter is unable to resist from scratching, and he turns into a chicken shortly after.
Dexter gets the chicken pox and tries to find a way to cure it.
The episode begins with Dexter waking up in morning scratching himself and going to the bathroom to brush his teeth. He realizes some strange red dots on his body and is about to investigate the spots, but when he hears Dee Dee about to come into his room, he covers his body with toilet paper and orders Dee Dee out. But when Dexters begin to walk, the toilet paper falls off his body and Dee Dee sees it. Dee Dee tells him that Dexter has the chicken pox and tells him an untrue story about three evil contaminated chickens that escape from prison and begins breaking into people's house and begins to peck itchy spots on people. And when you scratch the spots, you will become an evil contaminated chicken yourself. Dee Dee also tells Dexter if he doesn't want to become an evil contaminated chicken he should not scratch his chicken pox. So he doesn't. But the itchiness was so great that he couldn't take it anymore and then he scratches like crazy, until Dexter really does turn into a chicken!
This is the Cartoon Network's first theatrical short.
Due to working on Samurai Jack, this is the only episode Genndy Tartakovsky was involved in after Ego Trip, even animating some of the episode himself.
Strangely enough, this short, produced in 2002, has an old-film video effect on the screen, just like older episodes from 1996. It was even animated in a similar way to a classic cartoon because it was a theatrical short being released with The Powerpuff Girls Movie in theaters. Because of this, it would be like the 1966 Dr. Seuss TV special, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.
Although "The Lab of Tomorrow" and "Garage Sale" aired on November 4, 2003, they were actually made in same year in the credits. According to the credits, the animated short made in 2002 "Chicken Scratch" is re-released on November 4, 2003.