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"If you ever try and pull anything over on Mom, good luck, Charlie."—Amy
The show's billed cast consists of the members of the Duncan family, a typical working-class family living in the Denver area, who are adjusting to the recent addition (implied to have been an unexpected pregnancy) of a new family member, namely the titular Charlie.
Believe it or not, this is the first low-concept Disney Channel show in ten years, since Even Stevens premiered in 2000. The creators worked meticulously on crafting a show with broad appeal and relatable characters, and wanted a show that whole families would watch and enjoy, rather than just tween girls. It's the same careful planning that went into Gilligan's Island. Though, to be fair, this probably is the most gritty and realistic show on the Disney Channel since... ever.
- Teddy R. Duncan (Bridgit Mendler): A 15-year old high school sophomore and, until the new arrival, the middle child of the family. She records a series of video diaries for her baby sister for when she's older, which form a substantial portion of the show's narrative. She cares a great deal for her family, even if she isn't great at expressing her affection for some of them, and has a special attachment to her baby sister, Charlie. So far, she appears to be a good student, and is obsessed with most of the things typical of girls her age, preeminently boys.
- Amy Duncan (Leigh-Allyn Baker): The 30-something mother of the Duncan family, who works as a nurse at a hospital. The main source of the show's humor and drama is the rest of the family's often-misguided attempts to help take care of the baby as Amy returns to work. She seems like the Only Sane Man but her ego and Spotlight-Stealing Squad mentality keeps her from this.
- Gabriel B. "Gabe" Duncan (Bradley Steven Perry): The sarcastic, often dour 10-year old son, who resents Charlie for having usurped his position as the baby of the family, and thus drawing a good deal of attention away from him. His perceptions seem somewhat justified. Continues the proud Danny Bonaduce tradition of looking nothing like the rest of the family.
- Charlotte "Charlie" Duncan (Mia Talerico): The 9-month old (as of the series premiere) newest addition to the Duncan family. She begins the series as an infant, not doing much except make noise, pooping and spitting up. Nonetheless, she's extremely cute, and quickly progresses to new milestones, such as making her first attempts at real English words, and taking her first steps.
- Bob Duncan (Eric Allan Kramer): The 40-something man of the house. Bob runs his own business as an exterminator. He seems rather absent-minded (not being able to recall Gabe's birthday or where he goes to school), and can be quite clumsy at times. He's also quite fond of his daughter Teddy, and can thus be overprotective of her.
- Patrick John "PJ" Duncan (Jason Dolley): The 17-year old eldest child of the family. He's a phenomenal airhead and a horrible student. His passion seems to be playing rock and roll, even though he's not very good at it. He cares a good deal about his family and wants earnestly to do his part in helping raise his baby sister, but his absentmindedness makes this difficult.
- Emmett (Micah Williams): PJ's somewhat nerdy best friend, and the drummer in his band. He has an incredibly creepy crush on Teddy, which he's deluded himself into thinking is an actual relationship.
- Ivy Wentz (Raven Goodwin): Teddy's best friend. She hopes some of Teddy's popularity will rub off on her, and she thinks the Duncan family is incredibly strange but more entertaining than her own family. She's also a horrible student who rejoices over receiving her first B. Possibly Disney Channel's most positive portrayal of a heavy-set character.
- Spencer Walsh (Shane Harper): Teddy's study buddy, love interest, and eventual boyfriend (and then eventual EX-boyfriend). After numerous botched attempts, he finally gives Teddy her first kiss. He comes from a wealthy family, about which he's quite modest, and enjoys hip-hop dancing... oh, yeah, and he's a two-timing Jerkass. Teddy recently decided to give him a second chance and they're back together.
- Mrs. Estelle Dabney (Patricia Belcher): The Duncans' next-door neighbor. Mrs. Dabney is cranky, unfriendly, and at times, Manipulative Bastard. Born in 1958 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, she comes from a set of identical quintuplets, none of which are anything like her personality-wise.
Not to be confused with Good Luck Chuck.
Good Luck Charlie provides examples of:
- Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male: There is a girl in Gabe's class that beats him up constantly and even gives him a busted lip. But it's totally justified since she has a crush on him. It's also Truth in Television for pre-teens.
- Acting for Two: Bridgit Mendler as Teddy and Future Charlie in a dream in "Bye Bye Video Diary".
- Adult Fear: One episode has the kids looking after Charlie while their parents go out to dinner. They all take her out of the house and after a while, think they've lost her and have no idea where they can possibly find her. Anyone who has ever lost a child they're responsible for in a store or on the playground can relate to the terror the kids show.
- Adults Are Useless: Averted - Bob & Amy are fairly on the ball when it comes to what's going on under their roof, and have figured out several of the kids' schemes.
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: PJ and Bob meet a gruff biker couple who threaten to gut them like fish when they try to steal their motorcycles. Subverted when the man starts bawling like a baby when Bob explains that they need the bikes to get to the hospital for Charlie's delivery.
- All There in the Manual: As per Disney Channel tradition, the website gives more in-depth information than could perhaps be gleaned from the show.
- All Women Are Lustful: Well, Ivy is. She has tried to hit on every borderline attractive male her age in the show.
- Almost Kiss: The premiere has at least half a dozen.
- Aloof Big Brother and Aloof Big Sister: PJ and Teddy toward Gabe, most of the time.
- And Starring: Jason Dolley, who plays the eldest son, rather than one of the two parents as is more typical for family sitcoms (though Eric Allan Kramer gets a "with" credit). This is probably because of his years of long and loyal service to the Mouse House.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Gabe.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Jo says that she likes "monster trucks, mixed martial arts... and dolls."
- In "Hawaiian Vacation Part 2", Amy claims that "it's all because of the curse. Me getting stuck in that elevator, the boys almost crashing in a helicopter, Teddy getting knocked out, you buying that shirt...
- Artistic License History:
- Ass Shove: When PJ interrupts Teddy's make-out, er... study, session with his loud guitar playing, she threatens to do this with his amplifier cable:
Teddy: Next time I have to come down here, this is getting plugged in someplace else.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: In "Girl Bites Dog", Teddy has two dreams that feature a giant Charlie attacking Spencer, one before and one after the break-up.
- Berserk Button: This cannot be stressed enough: Do not call Amy "crazy" or "a pest" in front of Bob. (Yes Mr. Piper, we're talking to you.)
- The "B" Grade: In the episode "Teddy's Little Helper", Teddy uses Charlie to help her get out of the abomination of getting a B in English class on her progress report. Hilarity Ensues.
- Bilingual Bonus: in Appy Days, we learned that Amy is a Spanish speaker.
- Bishonen: PJ. Then again, Jason Dolley is one of Disney's token teen heartthrobs...
- Black and Nerdy: Emmett.
- Black Best Friend: PJ has Emmett, and Teddy has Ivy.
Gabe: Teddy, we both know there's a motorcycle, we both know there's a guy, and we both know I have photos.
- Bland-Name Product: A movie theater box office is shown to accept "Vista" cards. And Gabe plays "Pokeo", a game with cartoon creatures.
- Book Dumb: Ivy, who waited until her sophomore year in high school to get her highest grade ever: a B.
- A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family: With a 5th child on the way, the family will have 2 boys, 2 girls and a baby.
- The Brainless Beauty: Skyler.
- Brought Home the Wrong Kid: PJ hits on a girl with an identical baby carriage. Charlie is a girl, but this girl was carrying a boy with her. You can imagine what happened.
- Bumbling Dad: Bob.
- Burger Fool: "Kwikki Chikki" is a textbook example, apart from being a KFC ripoff as opposed to "one of them burger boys".
- Butt Monkey: Gabe.
PJ: We used to do all kinds of fun stuff.
Gabe: When did that stop?
Teddy: Let's see... how old are you?
- Alice, who is also a Woobie.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': In the supermarket, Charlie takes a pair of sunglasses off a stand like babies are prone to do and is caught by security when they go through the sensors.
- This wouldn't be so bad if the 'psycho, thinks he's a cop', security guard didn't treat Charlie like a hardened criminal. He takes mugshots of her, refuses to let anyone leave until the cops come to take them away, and accuses the baby of being a little person.
- Captain's Log: Teddy's video diary, intended for Charlie's viewing later on, forms a substantial portion of the narrative.
- The Cast Showoff: Bridgit Mendler's singing.
- PJ is the guitarist for his band, and jason Dolley plays the guitar in real-life as well as the piano. However, opinions vary on PJ's playing ability but that is a different trope.
- Spencer and Emmet both can dance and they have a dance-off in which they take turns serving each other.
- Spencer also sings part of "One Step Closer" (a song on Shane Harper's self titled album) during a talent show.
- Teddy has a few chances to sing on the show, once for a talent show, a contest, and an audition for a school musical.
- Her friend Skylar does a duet with Teddy for the talent show, but they combine with PJ and Emmet's band and mash-up both songs and subsequentally win the talent show.
- Leigh-Allyn Baker appears for have professional dance training, and Amy Duncan tries to teach her family simple and complicated dance moves and routines in an episode when she wants them to do a song and dance number for her hospital's fundraiser. When they don't even try to duplicate what she just showed them, she asks, "what are you waiting for?" and Teddy says "10 years for dance lessons." Which may be a hint to Leigh-Allyn having dance training, or could just be a joke, or both. She even gets an applause track played after the more complicated part of her routine, probably pointing to the former.
- Catch Phrase: "Good luck, Charlie"
- Caught on the Jumbotron: This happens when Teddy's Great-Uncle Mel is brought to a baseball game and proceeds to moon the players—thankfully, Teddy and Ivy manage to cover Mel with foam hands when the camera predictably ends up on the scene.
- Character Development: Spencer started out looking like a Shallow Love Interest, but later turned out to be pretty interesting. And then turns out to be a cheating Jerkass.
- To his credit, Spencer deeply regretted his actions, and has made up with Teddy. They're dating once more.
- Childhood Memory Demolition Team: Bob has to saw down the kids' old tree house in a deal made with Mrs. Dabney.
- Cloudcuckoolander: PJ and Skylar.
- Continuity Nod: While Charlie is on somewhat of a rampage at her Grandma's living room, she knocks over a fragile and expensive knick-knack. Bob hurries to catch it, which he does. This may remind viewers of the first episode (and the trailer for the episode) in which Bob catches Charlie in a similar slow-mo fashion.
- The C-plot of The Movie (the Duncan men ending up in a paintball war) ties back to Gabe's love of video games. Also, the Z-Cube 700 confiscated at the airport is a direct Shout-Out to the events in Can You Keep A Secret?
- Cool Big Sis: Teddy can be this to Gabe when she's not busy being the Aloof Big Sister.
- Could Say It, But...: Gabe uses this on PJ a couple of times in the Hawaiian episode.
- Credits Gag: Over the end credits of every episode there's an epilogue to the story, usually with something unrealistic happening.
- Crossover: With Shake It Up, entitled "Charlie Shakes It Up".
- The Cutie: Charlie.
- Dawson Casting: Most of the actors are older than their characters. Bridgit Mendler is about 3 years older than Teddy, Jason Dolly is about 2 years older than PJ, When the show first started Gabe was supposed to be 10 making Bradley Steven Perry 2 years older. Amy and Bob were supposed to be high school sweethearts. Leigh Allyn-Baker was 37 when the show first started and Eric Allan Kramer was about 10 years older.
- Deadpan Snarker: Gabe, constantly.
- Teddy has the occasional Snarker moment as well.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Back-to-back in "Teddy's Bear". Mr. Piper gives Teddy a lower grade because 'she didn't fill the oval in completely', and then writes up a disciplinary notice on her when she breaks the point off one of his pencils.
- In "Boys Meet Girls", Jo dislocates Gabe's shoulder when she thinks he's cheating at the game they're playing.
- Distracted by the Sexy: In the episode "Baby Come Back", PJ takes Charlie out for a stroll in the park. He runs into a post at the sight of Emma, a cute girl taking her baby brother out for a stroll. This would've been only mildly amusing if not for the following:
Teddy: (furious) How could you bring home the wrong baby?
PJ: I'm sorry; I got a little distracted: Emma is really cute!
Teddy: Yeah, so's our little sister.
- The Ditz: Gabe's friend Jake, almost to the point of being an Expy of Ralph Wiggum.
- Also, Van Brunt.
PJ: He can't even count to 10, which coincidentally is the number of years he's going to be in high school.
- Do-It-Yourself Theme Tune: "Hang In There, Baby", performed by Bridgit Mendler.
- Dreadful Musician: PJ and Emmett.
- Driving a Desk: All of the scenes involving automobiles thus far.
- The Eeyore: Gabe seems to find some therapeutic value in bemoaning his new family situation.
- Embarrassing First Name: According to his birth certificate, PJ's name is revealed to be "Potty John", but when Bob tries to get it corrected, PJ's name is now "PP" Duncan.
- Every Episode Ending: Teddy's last entry in the video diary for the episode, which always ends with a Title Drop.
- Evil Detecting Baby: In "Girl Bites Dog", Charlie bites Spencer because she somehow knows he's cheating on Teddy.
- Evil Overlord List: Played with in Gabe, who probably has the damn thing memorized, but occasionally slips up. For example, in "Appy Days", he forgot rule #20 before drinking a glass of water...
- Expy: PJ is a grungier, working-class version of Newt Livingston. This is made even more pronounced by the fact that the same actor plays both characters. PJ is probably smarter than Newt, but the characters on this show are smarter too, so it balances out.
- PJ and Emmett's band is in a similar style to Cory and Newt, minus the singer. As for PJ's intelligence, Newt was intelligent, but only when it came to things that the others didn't know; PJ on the other hand does not have any form of intellectual knowledge, but is capable of handling himself.
- Older viewers might notice a few striking resemblances to Spicoli. Take away the surfer accent, the Brilliant but Lazy facets of Spicoli and the fact that Disney can't feature the main trait that everyone remembers Mr. Spicoli for, and you have PJ.
- Ivy is also clearly Mercedes.
- PJ and Emmett's band is in a similar style to Cory and Newt, minus the singer. As for PJ's intelligence, Newt was intelligent, but only when it came to things that the others didn't know; PJ on the other hand does not have any form of intellectual knowledge, but is capable of handling himself.
- Fake Video Camera View: Used for Teddy's video diaries.
- Follow in My Footsteps: Amy pushes Teddy to try to be the school mascot, purely because she was the mascot when she was a student.
- Bob states that he'd like PJ to join him in pest control, and he'd rename the company to "Duncan & Son" if he did. PJ immediately decides to go study.
- Foreign Remake: Rather than broadcasting a dubbed or subtitled version (like they do in, you know, every other country), Disney Channel India created its own show, "Best Of Luck Nikki", in Hindi with Indian actors and localized content. The storylines are usually identical for every episode, but they actually went to the trouble of Indianizing the cultural jokes and translating the theme song.
- It's not a bad tool to use to learn Hindi.
- From the Mouths of Babes: Charlie ruins Amy's baby shower by showing just how much she understood of an earlier conversation. There was also an episode where Amy and Bob tried to find out how Charlie learned a bad word.
- Full House Music: nearly averted, but they slowed down the melody of the opening theme of the show at the end of the scene when Teddy finds out that her boyfriend, Spencer, is cheating on her and she subsequentally dumps him. Most of the time, the theme music is played in a more up-tempo, cheery manner. This one of (if not the only) time the show uses this trope.
- Future Loser: Charlie in the vision that Teddy has of her as a teenager in "Bye Bye Video Diary".
- Gamer Chick: Jo, and she takes it very seriously. She ends up dislocating Gabe's shoulder when she thinks he's cheating at the game they're playing.
- Gasshole: The entire Duncan family has such tendencies (Teddy even admits it), but special mention goes to Amy while she was pregnant.
- Bob admits to having a gas-related joke for every venue.
- Gaussian Girl: Gabe has this reaction when he sees Jo dressedup for Cotillion.
- Gender Blender Name: Charlie, Teddy and Jo.
- Charlie's real name is Charlotte though, so it's really more of an 'Only Known by Their Nickname' case. Jo is also probably short for a more feminine name as well.
- Genre Savvy: Every single Duncan. Arguably, one of the major drawing points of the show.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Now with its own page.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Well, that's how Charlie got there, and why the new kid is on the way. It's even lampshaded on occasion - usually by Teddy and PJ.
- G-Rated Drug: Ivy is apparently a recovering chocolate addict.
- Happily Married: Bob and Amy.
- Heh, Heh, You Said "X":
Amy: Grab your buns! It's sloppy joe night!
Gabe: Heh heh, Mom said "grab your buns."
- Henpecked Husband: Bob.
- High School Sweethearts: Bob and Amy. Bob played basketball; Amy was the mascot.
- Holding Both Sides of the Conversation: In "Appy Days", Teddy tricks both her mother and Ivy's mother into letting them both go to a senior party by recording a conversation on her phone and playing it back so it appears their mothers are giving their approval.
- Hollywood Law: Apparently, Grand Theft Auto and kidnapping are dismissed as harmless pranks as long as it's funny.
- Hospital Hottie: Amy.
- Hot Mom: Again, Amy.
- How We Got Here: The episode in which Charlie turns two opens on all four of the Duncan kids in a prison cell. Bob and Amy arrive, prompting them to relate the events leading up to their incarceration.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Bob is played by Eric Allan Kramer, who measures 6'3" (190 cm), and quite noticeably dwarfs his wife Amy, who (based on comparison with Teddy) is maybe 5'3" (160 cm) on a good day.
- Humiliation Conga: Bob and Amy's preferred form of punishment, when the kids try to sneak out to parties and the like.
- Hypocritical Humor: In "Duncan's Got Talent", Ivy calls Spencer chicken for not telling Teddy she can't dance, but Ivy didn't tell her either.
- I Am Not Spock: Disney Channel in the UK has taken to advertising Minutemen and Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure as featuring "PJ/Gabe from Good Luck Charlie" as opposed to actually naming Jason Dolley & Bradley Steven Perry.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Amy to Spencer after he and Teddy get back together.
- Intoxication Ensues: In the series premiere, Bob returns from the emergency room, having been administered some crazy powerful pain pills. He shakes Teddy's hand (believing her to be her study date, Spencer), kisses Spencer goodnight (believing him to be Teddy), and derives an unlimited amount of amusement value from the word "coccyx".
- Irony as She Is Cast: PJ is dimwitted and a poor guitarist, but Jason Dolley had a 4.0 GPA in high school and is able to play guitar and piano.
- It's Pronounced Snoo-TAY: The prison guard from the episode where the Duncans all end up in jail.
- Jerkass: Mrs. Dabney.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Mr. Piper, to the level of Genre Blindness.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Mr. Piper, in "Teddy's Bear". He's also a Karma Houdini, as the principal doesn't ask why Amy was chasing him (or demand that he change her grade back - the cause of all the problems). Amy is forced to apologize to him; he makes rude comments to Bob about Amy, and neither of them manage to catch him.
- The Ladette: Jo is a prepubescent version.
- LARP: In the episode "LARP in the Park", naturally enough.
- Lawful Stupid: The store manager in "Charlie Did It!" who detained the kids because Charlie unknowingly shoplifted a pair of sunglasses.
- Left the Background Music On: Played with in the episode "The Case of Mr. Dabney", in which Mrs. Dabney says things to Bob that reinforce Gabe and PJ's suspicion that she killed her husband, punctuated by omninous-sounding music coming from a murder mystery playing on TV. Only the third time, it's not coming from the TV.
- Let Me Tell You a Story: Subverted in one episode. Gabe is feeling down because of jealousy over Charlie and Mrs. Dabney says she's going to tell him a story. She proceeds to tell him about the sister she hated a child and caps it off by...saying that she still hates her. He asks how it's supposed to make him feel better and she says "I didn't say it was gonna make you feel better, I said I was gonna tell you a story."
- Mama Bear: Actually used by the Duncans to describe Amy - and she owns the trope to very good effect.
- Manipulative Editing: In "Duncan's Got Talent", Jo tricks Gabe into letting her record footage of him, claiming they'll use it in a campaign ad for him, but she instead makes it a campaign ad for her, showing the clips out of context to make him look bad.
- Middle Child Syndrome: Gabe, although he's technically not (nor has he ever been) the middle child. It would appear this trope was averted prior to Charlie's birth, as the middle child was also the Duncans' only daughter.
- He is gonna be the middle child soon, however, as now we know that Amy is pregnant with another baby.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Subverted. Teddy thinks Spencer is cheating on her with Skyler, but then learns from Spencer that she's his cousin. He turns out to be lying. He is cheating on her with Skyler, who believes that Teddy is his cousin.
- Mistaken for Murderer: PJ and Gabe misinterpret their next door neighbor Mrs. Dabney's outburst at her soap operas, and her attempts to get rid of a bad smell and a large, heavy trunk as evidence that she murdered her husband.
- The Movie: Good Luck Charlie: It's Christmas!
- Mr. Fanservice: Spencer, most notably in "PJ In The City" when Teddy meets him while shopping for Picture Day-worthy clothes, and later when she interviews for a job where Spencer works.
- Multiple Demographic Appeal: Specifically made to be a show the whole family can watch, as opposed to Disney's usual targeting of young children or tweens. This show could very easily be aimed at adults if they shifted the focus of some episodes.
- My Friends and Zoidberg:
Bob: It's so nice to have kids we can trust... and PJ.
- Naked People Are Funny: In "Snow Show", when PJ is chased out of the hot girls' cabin by their mean, physically-imposing father, and told to leave the robe he's wearing as he's shown the door, PJ makes his way back to the lodge in the buff, covering his man-parts with his snowboard.
- Never Say "Die": This show departs from Disney Channel tradition and averts this hard by having PJ and Gabe suspect and accuse neighbor Mrs. Dabney of murdering her husband.
- It's zig-zagged in another episode when PJ says his car had an elderly woman die in the driver's seat, but then find other ways to say the same thing.
- Lampshaded in another episode, when Bob uses the phrase "take care of" Gabe notes that whilst Bob can say that, everyone knows what he really means.
Bob: It is my job as an exterminator to take care of pests.
Gabe: When you say take care of, I know you mean kill.
- In the same episode, Gabe later tells Mrs. Dabney that he wants to take care of her. Bob kicks Gabe out of the living room.
- Averted even harder in "The Bob Duncan Experience" when Leo and Gabe argue over the name of their guacamole stand until they are reduced to skeletons and. When Gabe gives up, Leo responds with something along the lines of, "You couldn't have said that before we were dead?"
- The Nose Knows: Bob was able to identify the sex and species of a mouse, as well as the fact that it was pregnant, by analyzing the scent of its droppings.
- Official Couple: Teddy and Spencer, as of "Charlie Goes Viral", and up until "Girl Bites Dog". Restarted in "Can You Keep a Secret?"
- Once an Episode: The Title Drop and Teddy's video diary.
- Overprotective Dad: Bob toward Teddy. Given her eagerness to make out with guys, he has good reason.
- Ping-Pong Naivete: Charlie often appears really smart for a baby, but she'll be the Spanner in the Works if the plot calls for it.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: For a couple of working stiffs who supposedly don't have enough time for their kids, Bob and Amy spend a lot of time hanging out around the house.
- Playing Gertrude: Leigh-Allyn Baker is only 19 years older than Jason Dolley in real life, and was only 37 when she was shooting the pilot. (The actress has said that Disney Channel had been courting her for a while to play a mom, but she kept turning them down for this very reason). Her youthfulness is handwaved on the show by establishing that Bob and Amy were High School Sweethearts; presumably they married and had PJ soon after graduating. (Ironically, this means that Bob falls victim to Dawson Casting; Eric Allan Kramer is ten years older than Baker).
- Plot Device: Charlie.
- Poke the Poodle: Teddy tries to show she can be bad by - GASP! - drinking milk out of the carton. She refuses to swallow it, however, and runs to the sink to spit it out. Later on, Teddy makes a more earnest effort at being bad by ditching school and going to Super Adventure Land. After taking down a theft ring at the park, Teddy realizes she just doesn't have it in her to be a bad girl, and embraces her goody-good image.
- The Prankster: Gabe.
Teddy: Are you going to prank Dad?
Gabe: I'm Gabe; it's what I do!
- Precocious Crush: Gabe and Jo.
- "The Bob Duncan Experience" shows that this is how Emmett's crush on Teddy started.
- Put on a Bus: Skylar moved to New York City midway through the second season while dating PJ which causes him to follow her for that episode only. Bob shows up and tells him to let her go, explaining that if they're meant to be, they will get back together again someday.
- Which makes its kinda sad considering the high chance of Skylar's bus not coming back, now that she is the leader of The Perfs.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The fifth Duncan child came about because Leigh-Allyn Baker is pregnant with her second child
- The Reveal: In "It's Christmas", we find out Amy's pregnant with another baby.
- Road Show: The movie It's Christmas which focused on Amy and Teddy trying to get to Palm Springs after getting thrown out of the airport.
- Running Gag: Mrs. Dabney gushing over her son/cat/whatever, and one of the Duncan kids asking "what about Mr. Dabney?" which always gets the response "yep, love that [X]."
- Teddy had to be pretend to be her mother on more than one occasion.
- Serious Business: Bob insists upon being called a "Pest Control Specialist" rather than an "exterminator", and keeps a statue of a Jerusalem cricket in his living room.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Jo, in "Duncan vs. Duncan", prompting the usual jaw drop and uttering of "wow" from Gabe.
- Shout-Out: The Bob Duncan Experience is an obvious reference to The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
- Show Within a Show: "Higgins And Zork". They Fight Crime IN SPACE!
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Teddy's first kiss was one of these.
- Silliness Switch: A rare TV example, nearly every Credits Gag is this. Especially those that feature Charlie doing something unrealistic, such as speeding on a motorcycle, being a doctor at her mom's hospital, and being the main attraction at on the dance floor at Teddy's high school.
- Slow No: Occurs in the pilot, when Bob sends Charlie flying through the air. The entire family participates... well, except for Gabe, who's immersed in his sandwich. He gets a Slow Mmm.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Amy likes to think that she's the best at everything she does, and seems to believe that she's a big time star just waiting to be discovered, she once replaced her family for a group talent show for which she didn't technically apologize for.
- Hugo, the owner of the grocery store 'arrests' Charlie, Gabe and Teddy after Charlie picks up a pair of sunglasses, tries to detain them in-store for 9 hours with the intention of turning them over to the police, as much a case of making himself look more powerful than he actually was.
- The Snark Knight: Gabe, Mrs. Dabney and Jo all work this trope like dogs on a T-bone.
- Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: Teddy tries in vain to win the favor of her Jerkass English teacher Mr. Dingwall (most because he gave her a bad grade). Dingwall has a Pet the Dog moment when he explains to Teddy that just because he doesn't like her doesn't mean there's anything wrong with her.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Amy, in-universe. In fact, when Teddy and Spencer are acting in a play, they pretend they're going out on dates instead of rehearsals to avoid Amy intervening.
- Stalker with a Crush: Emmett toward Teddy. He's actually convinced himself that they're in a real relationship.
- Standardized Sitcom Housing: With the exception of the giant bug in the living room, played painfully straight. The exterior shots appear to be from the same house as those from Phil of the Future.
- A slight subversion, however, in that it's explicitly stated that the family would be better off in a larger house as there isn't really enough room for four kids - Gabe and PJ are forced to share a room, while Teddy is moved into the basement.
- Stand-In Parents: Gabe cons PJ and Teddy into standing in as his parents for a parent-teacher conference so their real parents don't find out.
- Stealth Pun: One episode has Spencer try and play with Charlie. Charlie bites his finger.
- Stuck on a Ski Lift: Happens to Teddy and Spencer.
- Take That: The episode "Blankie Go Bye Bye" had one to people who are extremely obsessed with things like Star Wars and dress up in costumes and role play. The mother referred to them as 36 year old nerds. It didn't help that one of them wished that they were a robot.
- Tinkle in the Eye: The kids are busted in "Baby Come Back" because none of them can explain the pee stains in the living room.
- Today X, Tomorrow the World!: President Gabe Duncan.
Gabe: Today Room 12, tomorrow Room 14. (Beat) Room 12 is being painted, so we're moving to Room 14.
- Toilet Humor: In a Disney Channel sitcom with two immature boys and a baby, what can you expect?
- Tomboyish Name: Jo, Teddy and Charlie.
- Lampshaded in "Take Mel Out to the Ballgame":
Mel: Teddy? Charlie? Doesn't your dad know any girl names?
- Trailers Always Spoil: A preview for the Disney Channel Saturday the week after the premiere of Duncan's Got Talent gave away the ending of the episode, since they aired it in the commercial break just before the ending.
- Not exactly a trailer, but the music video for Bridgit Mendler's "I'm Gonna Run to You" pretty much spoils the entire movie before the movie has even come out.
- Actual trailers for the Christmas movie spoil the fact that Amy is pregnant again, by talking about the poll to name the new baby.
- The B-Plot of "Teddy On Ice" is that Charlie learned a curse word and Bob and Amy are trying to figure out who taught it to her. The end of the trailer shows Amy cursing at traffic with Charlie in the backseat. Can you guess where Charlie learned it?
- Treehouse of Fun: PJ and Teddy had one, except they always fought in it.
- Truth in Television: To Serial Escalation levels, and in every single episode.
- Tsundere: Amy Duncan. Dear God.
- Jo is this towards Gabe.
- TV Teen: Played straight in that all the character's actors have perfect complexions, but otherwise averted with all the characters being played by people in their age range, along with several of them being taller than a few of the adults.
- Twenty Minutes Into the Future: In "Bye Bye Video Diary", Teddy has a dream of the year 2026, wherein Charlie has grown up to be a rebel (because Teddy stopped making video diaries for her) with a boyfriend in jail, and Teddy is now the Governor of Colorado. Everything looks like present day, except for Teddy's use of a jet pack. Whether or not jet packs are commonplace or a special privilege for government officials is never addressed.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Often 3 plots per episode. It's a big main cast.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Attractive nurse as the mom? Check. Fat, balding guy as the dad? Check.
- Ugly Guys Hot Daughter: Teddy is a tall, leggy blond with a pretty face. Bob... well, he's tall and blond. Pretty... not so much.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance:
- A video of Bob from his high school basketball days shows that he looked exactly like his son PJ does today, only with longer hair.
- Mrs. Dabney apparently comes from a set of identical quintuplets.
- The Unfair Sex: Subverted. The females in the family, with the exception of Charlie, are just as bad as the males.
- Jo is just as bad as (if not worse than) Gabe, and the writers don't even try to make us think otherwise.
- The Unfavorite: Gabe. Things are so hectic in the series premiere that the rest of the family forgets to feed him.
- Unfortunate Names: PJ's name was supposed to be Patty John, after his grandfather, but the guy who wrote his birth certificate wrote "Potty John" instead. This is fixed by the end of the episode though.
- Vacation Episode: "Snow Show" and "Sun Show".
- Vomit Chain Reaction: In "Teddy's Little Helper". First Charlie vomits, then Ivy, then the teacher, then all the students in a literal chain, one after the other.
- Wham! Episode: More like Wham movie! In It's Christmas Amy is revealed to be pregnant.
- What Does She See in Him?: Regarding her previous relationship with Emmett, Ivy can only plead temporary insanity. Ivy has a similar sentiment toward Teddy's latest boyfriend, Derek.
- Teddy taking back Spencer. Usually it's a big no-no for Disney as this sends the wrong message to impressionable girls.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Bob's penchant for bugs; the pillows on the Duncans' couch are upholstered with spider-patterned fabric.
- Worthy Opponent: Gabe seems to find Mrs. Dabney one, as he's impressed by the Halloween prank she pulled on him: She hired him to protect her house from pranksters, then egged and toilet papered her own house so that Gabe would have to work for her for a full day.
Gabe: Well played, Mrs. Dabney. You are a worthy adversary.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: In "Boys Meet Girls", after Teddy discovers that Jo, the bully who has been beating up Gabe, is a girl, she points out how because Gabe is a boy, he can't hit back.
- Written in Infirmity: Amy's pregnancy at the end of season 2 is because of Leigh Allyn Baker's real life pregnancy.
- Yoko Oh No: An In-Universe example: It was Amy's meddling that led to the demise of Bob's old band, the Bob Duncan Experience.
- Your Cheating Heart: Turns out Spencer was using the "cousin" excuse to keep Teddy and Skyler from finding out about each other. Doesn't end well for him.