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In an old house in Paris, that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. In two straight lines they broke their bread, and brushed their teeth, and went to bed. They smiled at the good, and frowned at the bad, and sometimes they were very sad. They left the house at half past nine, in two straight lines, in rain or shine. The smallest one- was Madeline.
Madeline is a series of children's picture books first published in 1939 by Ludwig Bemelmans, about a little French boarding school student, her eleven friends, her teacher, Miss Clavel, Spanish prankster and friend Pepito (first appears in Madeline and the Bad Hat), and her dog, Genevieve (first appears in Madeline's Rescue).
The rest of the books were written and published in The Fifties, including Madeline and the Bad Hat, Madeline and the Gypsies, Madeline in London, Madeline's Christmas (although it wasn't published until the `80's), and Caldecot-winner Madeline's Rescue. After the death of Bemelmans, his son, John Bemelmans wrote several others, including Madeline in America, Madeline Says Merci, Madeline and the Cats of Rome, and Madeline at the White House.
Although critically acclaimed animated versions of the original books were produced throughout The Fifties (the first was even nominated for an Academy Award), it wasn't until 1989 that Cinar and Di C created the widely remembered TV special based on the first book for HBO. It gave names to three of Madeline's friends (Nicole, Danielle, and Chloe) who would be present in later TV showings. The special was a success, so Cinar and Di C created more specials based on the rest of the books. The project also saw a soundtrack CD, "Madeline's Favorite Songs", with music from the specials released.
In 1993, after their partnership with Cinar had ended, Di C decided to make a Madeline TV series. Reusing the character designs, some of the talents (Christopher Plummer was held back by Di C as the narrator), and the Title Theme Tune from the old specials, Madeline's other friends were given names, and had various adventures that were not present in the books. Similar to the specials, the show was filled with Ear Worm music. It premiered on The Family Channel. Some notable differences between the Cinar-Di C Partnership version and this version were new voice actors, some girls hair colors were changed, the animation was much better, and various supporting book characters made more appearances as well. In 1995, more episodes premiered on ABC Saturday mornings, under the title The New Adventures of Madeline. Following a second Soundtrack CD release ("Hats Off To Madeline"), the franchise went into a 4-year hiatus.
The silence ended when Di C made a direct-to-video movie, known as Madeline: Lost in Paris. The plot was a man posing as Madeline's uncle came to take her to a finishing school in Vienna, but it was actually a lace factory that put orphan girls to labor. This movie had a slightly different color palette than the 1993 version, and different voice actors. Released by Disney in 1999, the movie was re-released by Shout! Factory recently, but removing all Disney idents.
This was immediately followed by the 3rd series, in 2000, when Di C made more episodes, also under the title The New Adventures of Madeline, with improved animation (to follow up with the direct-to-video movie). Also, the color palette changed again for a few of the girls. Many of the voice talents also changed in this version. This version of the cartoon premiered on Playhouse Disney. A third soundtrack CD was released shortly after, "Sing-A-Long with Madeline", after which the franchise once again fell silent.
The latest and possibly final project involving everyone's favorite redhead is the direct-to-video movie My Fair Madeline (although it did air on Nickelodeon once), which was released silently in 2004, three years after the regular cartoon ended. The plot was Madeline and her friends going to stop a gang of thieves. There have been no new episodes of the show produced since.
Tristar released a live-action feature-length movie based on Madeline, Madeline and the Bad Hat, Madeline and the Gypsies and Madeline's Rescue in 1998. It followed the books, but also expanded the plotline, because...well, it's a picture book series. The expanded plot was for Madeline and her friends to stop Lord "Cu-Cu Face" Covington from selling the boarding school. Madeline was also turned into an orphan in this version.
Basically, it's not a children's book series, it is the children's book series.
Madeline provides examples of:
- Adult Fear: Why, hello there, Lost In Paris.
- Alpha Bitch: Vicki in The Movie.
- Art Evolution: Went a long way from the original books to the last special, My Fair Madeline. And it's still evolving, but thankfully now at a slower pace.
- Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: The live-action movie, with the word "damn" used a few times.
- Badass Adorable: Madeline.
- Bilingual Bonus: Generous doses of it, considering that the girls are speaking untranslated French through half of everything. Lost in Paris springs to mind.
- Black Bead Eyes
- Bragging Theme Tune: "I'm Madeline". Also counts as an "I Am" Song.
- Catch Phrase: Miss Clavel turning on the light and whispering "Something is not right". Usually happens Once Per Book. It was even turned into a song in the 1993 movie.
- Channel Hop: From HBO to ABC Family to ABC to Disney Channel.
- In Malaysia: RTM-TV2 to Disney Channel to Playhouse Disney Channel.
- Chekhov's Army: At the start of Madeline and the Fourty Thieves, we see a pair of magpies fly briefly across the screen. It turns out that they are the 40 thieves.
- Christmas Episode: A number of them, actually.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Nicole in the cartoon.
- And Cloe in the first special.
- Creator Cameo: In the animated series episode Madeline at the Louvre, Madeline meets up with an artist named after Ludwig himself.
- Darker and Edgier: Compare Lost in Paris to the rest of the franchise.
- My Fair Madeline qualifies as well.
- Did Not Do the Research: Happened a few times, but then the series is not to be taken seriously in the first place. For example, Madeline In Egypt had the characters locked in a museum by accident, and they had lunch next with King Tut, implying that they were eating lunch next to the sarcophagus. In this reality we live in, neither the sarcophagus nor King Tut's body has ever left the tomb due to the well-known curse. So it couldn't be in the museum. And outside food and drinks in a museum? Can that even happen?
- The lunchboxes aren't so unusual. Different museums would have different rules, but a school field trip might well be allowed to bring lunches.
- Most notably, the main character's name is mispronounced in order to function in the rhyme scheme--the French pronunciation of her name should be something like Mad-LEN
- And then there's the girls introducing French fries to the US. Erm, fries/chips weren't even French- they originated from Belgium.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Used in every song, but much, much more in the Di C version (ironic since they used to be with Disney).
- Unsurprisingly, this show airs on the Disney channel in regions outside the US.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Fifi in Lost in Paris, due to her lack of sunlight.
- Everything Sounds Cuter In French
- Freudian Excuse: Madeline and the Bad Hat shows glimpses as to Pepito's behavior; since his parents are busy ambassadors, he vents out his frustrations on animals.
- Hair of Gold: Yvette and this curly blond girl in the show (she became a brunette in 2001), and Vicki in the movie.
- That would be Sugar Dimples, the show's universe's Expy of Sherley Temple.
- Heartwarming Orphan: Madeline in the second Di C series and The Movie. All other adaptions have her parents alive and well (the old house is a Catholic boarding school, not an orphanage).
- And the orphans in Lost in Paris.
- Heel Face Turn:
- Pepito in "Madeline and the Bad Hat"
- Mr. Grump in "Madeline's Holiday With Mr. Grump"
- Ill Girl: Fifi in Lost in Paris.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Again, Fifi. Of course, by the end, it goes away.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Vicki in The Movie.
- And Pepito to some extent.
- Lampshade-Wearing: In Madeline and the Big Cheese. See CMOF page for details.
- Licensed Games / Edutainment Games: Tons of edutainment titles came out for PC/Macs between the 90s and the turn of the century. Chances are if you studied grade school in the US during the 90s, you would've played one of the titles in the classroom.
- Little Miss Badass: If you ever face a tiger, always do what Madeline does. Say this:
Madeline: (to tiger) Pooh-pooh!
- Mama Bear: Miss Clavel.
- Merchandise-Driven: Well, it started with books, and even today, toys are still being produced.
- Meganekko: Chantel in the movie.
- Moral Dissonance: Pepito is called out for his cruelty towards animals. But in the hospital, Madeline does almost nothing to comfort him. Instead, she spends the entire time telling him what an ass he is as he's reeling in pain from it and already knows. And then, the girls force him to become a vegetarian, just to make it more obvious they don't like him torturing animals. And before he even does a thing, the girls judge him at first sight. Their cruelty to him is never called out. Miss Clavel's "I'm sure he's just misunderstood" is the closest to an objection raised. And even that is revealed to be misguided.
- Nice Hat: The girls' all wear yellow hats with black ribbons on them.
- No Antagonist: Played straight most of the time. The only places where antagonists show up are in the two direct-to-DVD movies and in Madeline and the Singing Dog.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Genevieve, the dog.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: When Madeline sings Without You in Madeline And The Science Project. If you're able to refrain yourself from crying, you'll notice that Madeline has suddenly lost her French accent.
- Oh Crap: Madeline helped Pepito free all animals and no longer abuse them. It worked a little too well when Pepito starts freeing animals in the zoo!
- The Other Darrin: The cast went through a few changes in the cartoon. In particular, Madeline herself went through 4 different voice actors through the series and specials.
- The Power of Friendship: "We love our bread. We love our butter. But most of all, we love each other."
- Put on a Bus: Pepito left for London in Madeline in London.
- Di C brought him back.
- Redheaded Hero: Madeline.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Everyone in the books and specials, the narrators of the series and movie.
- Ruptured Appendix: In the first book.
- Talking To Herself: You get that when Miss Clavel talks to Genevieve in the animated series. Although Genevieve could only bark back.
- That Reminds Me of a Song: Every episode.
- Title Sequence Replacement:
- Disney Channel tacked the theme song of The New Adventures of Madeline onto the original specials and Family Channel-era episodes.
- The post-Lost-in-Paris episodes of the show broadcast Asia had the theme song of Hats off to Madeline, the second series theme song, replacing Oh Madeline, the third series theme song.
- Trail of Bread Crumbs: In "Lost in Paris", Madeline drops beads so that her friends can follow her to wherever her "uncle" is taking her.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Mr. Grump in "Madeline's Holiday With Mr. Grump."
- "The Villain Sucks" Song: "A Bad Bad Hat," describing Pepito's mischievous period.
It's time to go, au revoir,
Though you may shout, "Encore!"
That's all there is,
There isn't any more!