Beard to Be Feared is the first part of the 1st episode of season two in Dexter's Laboratory, which first aired on July 16, 1997. In this episode, Dexter decides to grow his own beard after watching an Action Hank movie.
The episode begins with an evil doctor laughing because he has kidnapped two supermodel scientists and tied them up in his lab. He explains his evil plan of taking the machine that the girls built to use for good, and using it for evil. Just then, Action Hank busts in. The evil doctor exclaims that he thought that a giant squid was attacking him. Action Hank responds saying "It seems he got tied up at the last minute." and punches him in the face. It shows to be something that Dexter is watching on TV. Dexter continues with watching the show as there are sounds of punching and fighting going on. Dexter flinches every time he sees another punch. Then, Dee Dee comes up from behind the couch. She goes back down again and then she suddenly jumps out of one of the couch cushions screaming and roaring, making Dexter leap back in fear. Dee Dee continues to bite one of the pillows and tear it apart and feathers fly everywhere and fill up the screen. Dee Dee says that she wants to wrestle with Dexter. Dexter is sitting at the other end of the couch, shaking and trembling in fear over her. Dee Dee stops and then reaches out to touch Dexter but then he screams and hides under the couch cushion. Dee Dee tells Dexter that he's a wimp and that he's afraid of being beat up by a girl. Dexter argues back that he is just afraid of getting cooties from her. Dee Dee tells Dexter that he needs to become more rugged. Dexter denies this and walks away. He comes across the dog who is sleeping on the ground and he jumps back in fear. Then he admits that he does need to become more rugged but then asks how he can do that. Then, he sees Action Hank on TV and the two scientist supermodels are feeling his beard telling him that he needs to become more rugged. Then he looks and sees him Mom rubbing his Dad's beard telling him that he is rugged. Then Dexter says that it must be the beard that makes a person rugged.
In the next scene, Dexter is in his laboratory with a new invention of his called "The Beard-A-Tron". Dexter gets into the machine and a laser zaps on him that gives him a mustache. Dexter tries it again and the machine gives him a goatee. Dexter tries it again and gets a full grown beard. He goes outside walking around the city showing off his new beard. Then he passes by Dee Dee, Lee Lee, and Mee Mee who are playing jump rope and they stop to look at him in shock of how rugged he is. Dexter passed by a police car where two police men are sitting inside of. When the police men see them they think that he's "the guy they're looking for" and they drive out after him. The police men stop Dexter in his path and apparently are mistaking him for Action Hank. They tell him that there is a gang of rugged villains that he needs to stop. Dexter tries to correct the police and tells them that he is not Action Hank but they don't listen and they take him away.
The police men carry him off down to the pier to an old abandoned building. They tell him that the rugged villains are in there and that he needs to go in there. They tell him that they have choppers, attack dogs, and the S.W.A.T. Team as backup. Dexter question why they don't just send them in and they tell him it's because they only have mustaches. Then he yells at him to get in there and Dexter rolls inside of there. The screen shows the hands of the rugged villains who seem to be getting a bag of flour which they are going to use to make bread so that they can be "rolling in dough". Dexter asks himself what to do and his reflection in a mirror next to him tells him that he is rugged and that he can take care of it. Dexter jumps out and shows himself and the rugged villains turn around to see him revealing themselves to have rugged beards as well. Dexter is stumped and has no idea what to do then, Action Hank breaks through the window and comes down and says that he's going to help out. The rugged villains attack and Action Hank asks Dexter to give him his beard. Dexter throws his beard at Action Hank and then Action Hank ties his beard together with his. Action Hank throws Dexter and he grabs on to a pipe going along the ceiling. He pulls Action Hank up and out of the way of the rugged villains and they land on the other side. The rugged villains pull out guns and Action Hank throws Dexter at them. Dexter kicks the guns out of the hands of the villains and starts beating them up. The leader of the rugged villains uses his beard as a sword to attack them. He is about to stab Action Hank with his beard until Dexter jumps out and uses his beard as a shield. Dexter's beard breaks the rugged villain's beard and he falls back in shock over him losing his beard. Action Hank congratulates Dexter for his win but then Dexter confesses that his beard is not actually real and that it is just a synthetic beard. Action Hank tells him that it's okay that his beard is not naturally real. He tells him "It doesn't matter if you have the beard on the outside, all that matters is that you have it on the inside." and they both laugh. Action Hank jokingly slaps Dexter making him roll into a bag of flour making him all white and he leaves. Then, Santa's elves come up and tell Dexter that they've been looking all over for him and Mrs. Claus is worried sick about him. They grab him and take him off to the North Pole obviously mistaking him for Santa Claus and the episode ends.
Between the scenes of Dexter realizing he needs a beard and the scene of him building the Beard-A-Tron, there was a transition that was similar to the ones in The Justice Friends, only the background was purple and the letter was a "D" for Dexter.
When Dexter was walking down the street with his new beard, he passed by George Jetson and Fred Flintstone, both of whom were seen with five o'clock shadows.
One of the rugged villains slightly resembled Aquaman.
The rugged villains slice open a package of flour and say it's 100% pure. This is a reference to the drug cocaine.
After Dexter passes by Dee Dee, Mee Mee and Lee Lee on the street, Dee Dee exclaims, "That is one rugged brother-" and is cut off by the other two who tell her to shut her mouth. She apologetically says that she's only talking about Dexter, and the girls reply, "We can dig it." This is a reference to the theme from the 1971 blaxploitation film Shaft performed by Isaac Hayes.
Although this episode along with "Quackor the Fowl" and "Ant Pants" were aired on July 16, 1997, they were produced in the same year according to the credits.