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WordGirl is an animated television show on PBS. The title character is a superhero who fights crime with her powers of literacy as well as her powers as a Flying Brick. The show is an Affectionate Parody of the superhero genre, and uses writers from comedy sketch shows like Saturday Night Live, plus actors known for adlibbing ability, in hopes of making a show as entertaining for adults as it is educational for kids.
WordGirl uses her great vocabulary to fend off villains such as The Butcher, Dr. Two Brains, Granny May, Tobey, and Chuck The Evil Sandwich Making Guy. She never reveals her alter-ego to anyone, including her own family. She and Huggy use their crashed spaceship as a secret hideout.
The show provides examples of:
- Absent-Minded Professor: Prof. Boxleitner. It's what changed him into Dr. Two-Brains!
- Adorkable: Tobey fits the description perfectly.
- Adults Are Useless: It's a kids' show. Surprised? Averted, though, with some of the villains. Becky's parents also seem to be getting smarter and more useful as both have shown off the ability to outwit villains when needed.
- AI Is a Crapshoot: Inverted, Tobey's Mecha-Mooks occasionally refuse to obey him, sometimes even turning against him. Notable in particular with his WordBot in the episode by the same name, which he programmed to be "devoted" (one of the words of the day) to him, only for it to turn against him when he kept paying too much attention to WordGirl and decide to be devoted to destruction instead.
- Alien Among Us: Though her intentions are good!
- All Girls Like Ponies: WordGirl's favorite show is The Pretty Princess and Magic Pony Power Hour, she has a collection of porcelain unicorns, and even a unicorn poster on her bedroom wall.
- Violet, as well, is a fan of Pretty Princess and is fond of pegasi.
- Leslie also likes this show.
- Lady Redundant Woman can be seen watching this at her apartment.
- Alliterative Name:
- Becky Botsford, Bampy Botsford, Beatrice Bixby, Seymour Smooth, and Shelley Smalls are all examples of this.
- All Love Is Unrequited: The two main romances of the show both fit: Tobey crushes on WordGirl, who doesn't like him, while she crushes on Scoops, who doesn't seem to notice.
- All-Star Cast: See Hey, It's That Voice! below.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Violet Heaslip, she has tenuous grasp on reality around her.
- Ambiguously Brown: Justified for WordGirl, since that's what the creator of the show was really shooting for. Interestingly enough, her adoptive family are a -different shade- of ambiguous brown.
- Yes, her adoptive family.
- And Call Him George: Eileen's enthusiastic tea party and dressing-up of Captain Huggyface.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: TJ
- Art Initiates Life: Lady Redundant Woman can bring pictures to life.
- A Simple Plan: In fact, one of the show's episodes is titled "A Simple Plan."
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: Eileen in pretty much all of her episodes (first seen in "The Birthday Girl").
- Tobey's gigantic Mecha-Mooks.
- Attack Pattern Alpha: WordGirl's "Emergency Plans".
- Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Violet can be very easily distracted.
- Badass Grandpa: Bampy, Becky's grandfather, who is the only non-main character to know her secret identity, and can jump and backflip like nobody's business. He took down a giant robot with just a screwdriver! Twice!
- Badass Mustache: Steve McClean in "The Ballad of Steve McClean" had a mustache so impressive that various other characters tried to be as snazzy as him with fake mustaches of their own. It even got to the point where Dr. Two-Brains, in an attempt to reclaim his title as number one villain, redubbed himself as Dr. Cool-Brains and had two mustaches, with one attached to his exposed brain.
- Banana Peel: Captain Huggyface uses one to defeat The Whammer in "Crime in the Key of V."
- Basement Dweller: This is Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy's secret villain lair.
- He tried to move into his own lair once, but got too homesick and ended up moving back.
- Being Good Sucks: Becky frequently misses fun events in her life because of her crime fighting. It even leads to to wish that WordGirl didn't exist in "A World Without WordGirl".
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Becky and Tobey's "rivalry".
- Though it is just one sided.
- Berserk Button: Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy has been shown to be extremely offended by negative comments about sandwiches. The best example of this is in the episode, "Chuck The Nice Pencil-Selling Guy".
- Leslie gets enraged when someone gets the facts of The Pretty Princess and Magic Pony Power Hour wrong.
- Lady Redundant Woman will make anyone who messes with her copy machine pay. When Royal Dandy made the mistake of doing this, she erased him from existence!
- Ms. Question hates the phrase "No questions asked."
- WordGirl gets enraged everytime someone breaks her favorite unicorn, Angel Face
- Eileen wants things her way, if you don't let her, you will be sorry.
- Even some of Tobey's robots are seen to go berserk because of things other characters say or do.
- Big Red Button: In "Mecha Mouse", Two-Brains is defeated by one of the self-destruct variety. It's made frustrating by the fact that it was on well-designed power armor. Also, the button was on the exterior, which Two-Brains couldn't touch anyway.
- Then there's the "Holy Cow! Don't Press This Button!" button.
- And the "Merge With Copier" button.
- Then there's the "Holy Cow! Don't Press This Button!" button.
- Big Eater: Captain Huggyface/Bob, who nullifies the Butcher's meat attacks by eating them.
- Big Word Shout:
WordGirl: Change it BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK !
- Bilingual Bonus: In "The Fill-In", the fictional ancient city Santa Palabra literally means "Saint Word" in English.
- Big No: Employed quite a few times in the series.
- Black Comedy:
Mayor: "Whoa - a dog from the old days! That dog is probably dead now." -- "Two Brains Quartet"
- Blatant Lies: Becky's many excuses whenever she must change into her superhero identity.
- BLAM Episode: "Sandwich World".
- "Mouse Brain Take Over" may be the most prominent example of this trope on the show, depending on individual's opinions.
- Brainwashed: Mr. Big's whole gimmick.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: Tobey.
- Nocan The Contrarian is another example.
- Blondes Are Evil: Victoria Best, Lady Redundant Woman, Miss Power, and Leslie can all be considered examples.
- Bow Ties Are Cool: Tobey wears one. So does Bampy. Both of them are pretty cool.
- So does Dr. Two-Brains, on that note...
- Brainy Brunette: Becky Botsford, aka WordGirl
- Buffy-Speak: Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy. The name speaks for itself.
- Not to mention his brother, Brent the Handsome, Successful, Everybody Loves Him Sandwich-Making Guy. Yes that's his full name.
- Bumbling Dad: Becky's Dad...but her Mom's just as bad.
- The Butcher: The name of one of the main villains. Lampshaded when "The Baker" and "The Candlestick Maker" are added to the mix.
- Calling Your Attacks: Used by the Butcher and occasionally Tobey, and Lampshaded by WordGirl in "Book Ends".
- Word Girl herself frequently does this as well. "Monkey Throw!"
- Cartoon Cheese: Thanks to Two-Brains' cheese addiction, there are more examples of this in the show than you can count.
- Catch Phrase: "Worrrd UP!"
- Warden Chalmers has one too: "...I'll eat my hat!" Made funny by the fact that he actually WILL eat his hat, and seems to enjoy the taste.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: "Who Wants Candy?"
- Chronic Villainy: "Tobey Goes Good".
- City of Adventure
- Clark Kenting: Occasionally lampshaded.
- Clear My Name: WordGirl has had to do this in multiple episodes, notably in "The Wrong Side Of The Law".
- Cliff Hanger: The two part stories "The Wrong Side of the Law, "WordGirl Makes a Mistake" and "A Better Mousetrap." It was one of the featured words in the second half of "A Better Mousetrap," with WordGirl providing the definition.
- Cliffhanger Copout: At the end of part 1 of "WordGirl Makes a Mistake," Mr. Big uses the Lexinite to disable WordGirl by clipping a collar around her neck with a star-shaped chunk of it on. No wait, come part 2 a few minutes later, she's actually been put in a Lexinite cage instead.
- Clip Show: "A Better Mousetrap." The first half featured WordGirl reminiscing with Scoops about the many times that she's defeated Dr. Two Brains. At the end of the first half, Two Brains took over the show, then in the second half he showed a series of clips designed to humiliate WordGirl.
- Cloning Blues: In "The Young and the Meatless", one of Lady Redundant Woman's copies falls in love with and starts dating The Butcher, while trying to avoid disappearing.
- Contrived Coincidence: Very, very often with the themed villains. One episode's plot is even based around lampshading this trope.
- Continuity Cavalcade: "Showdown at the Super Secret Spaceship Hideout". Dr. Two-Brains discovers the room where WordGirl keeps mementos of all of her past adventures, including weapons from all of the other villains and a display that has all of the different ray guns Two-Brains has used in the show. The episode even gives a nod to the fact that Dr. Two-Brains once penned the book Superheroes and You: A Practical Guide.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Big, more or less
- Crazy Prepared: WordGirl
- Cloudcuckoolander: Violet Heaslip.
- Cool Old Lady: Is there any argument that Granny May's robotic, jet-propelled, air-conditioned supersuit is not cool?
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Lampshaded in "When Life Gives You Potatoes...", when Dr. Two-Brains' henchmen ask him why he doesn't just use the gold he steals to buy things, instead of turning it into potato salad and then into cheese. Dr. Two-Brains instantly rejects this idea because it doesn't fit his cheese theme.
- The Butcher could've been rich is he just sold the meat at an affordable price. Chuck tries to make a legit life but only to return a life of crime over a small slight.
- Darker and Edgier: The Rise of Miss Power.
- Dating Catwoman: Tobey rather obviously has a thing for WordGirl, though she continually rebuffs him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Leslie
- Department of Redundancy Department: Lady Redundant Woman is a villainess whose superpower is making copies of herself, and she first sends them out to steal a sofa, a couch, and a futon. She also speaks in this manner (taunting WordGirl: "You're confused...perplexed...").
- Warden Chalmers talks like this sometimes.
Warden Chalmers: Today is a historic day in history, for on this historic day, history will show that we have indeed made history.
- In fact, many of the characters speak redundantly as a means for the show to indirectly teach kids synonyms.
- Did Not Do the Research: Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy, when he decides to reinvent himself as "The Handsome Panther". It quickly becomes clear that he knows pretty much nothing about "real" panthers, such as the fact that they're nocturnal.
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: Miss Power in "The Rise of Miss Power."
- Double Entendre:
WordGirl: "Hold it right there, Butch...er?"
- In Tobey's very first episode, (back when the series was still comprised of shorts,) we got this fun little exchange:
Becky: "You're awfully mischievous."
- In the original shorts, Reginald referred to The Butcher as "smelly wiener man", and the Grocery Store Manager told him he'd have to "leave his personal meat at home".
- Dramatic Irony: In "The Wrong Side of the Law, Pt. 1," it is made obvious to the viewer immediately that the Birthday Girl is the criminal, but nobody else can figure it out. Even WordGirl doesn't get the answer right away, even though to her it should be obvious.
- Drunk with Power: As her name suggests - Miss Power. She nearly corrupts Word Girl as well.
- Leslie has a brief moment of this in "Leslie Makes It Big".
- Edutainment Show: The main purpose of the show, though it is written and acted cleverly enough to attract a large Periphery Demographic.
- Einstein Hair: Two-Brains, of course.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Eileen
- Enemy Mine: Word Girl joins forces with Dr. Two-Brains in the episodes "Mouse Army" and "Dr. Three-Brains"
- In "The Rise Of Miss Power", all of the show's villains team-up against Miss Power and help Word Girl defeat her.
- Episode Title Card: Every single one of them.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: There are quite a few blonde characters.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Captain Huggyface, General Smoochington, and even Colonel Gigglecheeks.
- Cute Kitten: Little Mittens in "Meat with a Side of Cute", and Violet's pet cat. Possibly even Bootsy The Cat in "Mousezilla".
- Evil Albino: Dr. Two Brains due to a Freak Lab Accident involving an albino lab rat... who was also evil.
- Evil Is Hammy: Most of the villains are this way.
- Evil Minions
- Evil Genius: Tobey and Victoria Best, not to mention Dr. Two Brains.
- Evil Redhead: Eileen AKA the Birthday girl
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy, The Butcher, and Dr. Two Brains are a sandwich chef, a butcher, and a guy with two brains, literally.
- Extracurricular Enthusiast: Victoria Best is a negative example. She's a student forced by her parents to be "the best" at every activity. She's genuinely good at all of them, and flaunts her overachieving, but is a jerk and a Sore Loser.
- Evil Tastes Good
Dr. Two-Brains: (munching on his own cheese ball) I may be bad, but I sure taste good.
- Face Heel Turn: Dr. Two-Brains was actually the Q to WordGirl's James Bond before his Freak Lab Accident, in the serial two-minute shorts.
- Face Palm: Dr. Two Brains, WordGirl, and other characters do this from time to time.
- Fan Boy: Glen
- Ascended Fanboy no less.
- TJ is Word Girl's biggest fanboy.
- Flanderization: WordGirl's arrogance seems to be at a premium in season 3.
- Flying Brick
- Forgot About His Powers: Even Wordgirl is not immune to this occasionally.
- We also see the villains in jail frequently, yet nothing is ever done to stop them from using their superpowers except in "The Return Of The Reprise Of Lady Redundant Woman". It's as if they don't have powers while in jail.
- For Halloween I Am Going as Myself: Implied in "Vocab Bee," then subverted in "Tobey's Tricks and Treats"
- Formally-Named Pet: That's Captain Huggyface, to you!
- Also Granny May's cat "Colonel Mustard", and the other two monkeys in the show - General Smoochington and Colonel Gigglecheecks.
- Four-Fingered Hands: All human characters - and even the monkey - have four fingers.
- Freak Lab Accident: Dr. Two-Brains' origin.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Tobey. Not much else to say, really.
- Genius Bruiser: Word Girl
- Genre Savvy: When something that might be peril rears its ugly head, WordGirl knows she's facing a Harmless Villain who is in no way threatening to her. She even offers the occasional bit of advice.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "A Hero, a Thief, a Store and Its Owner" is probably one of the only PBS Kids episodes whose namesake is an X-rated movie.
- In the episode "The Invisi-Bill Hand", Invisi-Bill is trying to hail a cab and he said to himself, "Can't an invisible guy get a Taxi around here?" Sounds like a black joke to me.
- "I'm going to prove that I'm smarter than you, and then you'll be mine, all mine!"
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Victoria and her parents have these several times in the episode "Victoria Best"
- Gollum Made Me Do It: Also Dr. Two-Brains
Dr. Two-Brain's Henchman: "Stop running, stop!"
—"When Life Gives You Potatoes..."
- The Good Captain: Huggyface, to be precise.
- Granola Girl: Violet, to some degree.
- G-Rated Drug: Most prominently, Two Brains' apparent cheese addiction. He seems to go through serious withdrawal in "A Simple Plan".
- Green Aesop: In "Earth Day Girl", especially during the "Cleanup Montage", which is so campy and over-the-top that it may actually be a Stealth Parody.
- Group Hug: In the episode "Granny's Book Club" all the villains hug Granny May, one even exclaiming "Hugsies!"
- Girlish Pigtails: Victoria Best
- Also Violet and Becky, when they were very young.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Nearly every character is played by a famous actor/comedian. Chris Parnell of SNL fame, H. Jon Benjamin from Home Movies, Patton Oswalt from Ratatouille, John C. McGinley...just check out the cast page on IMDB.
- Hair Reboot: Seen in "Becky's Birthday."
- Happily Adopted: While being the only member of her family that seems to remember that she's adopted, Becky shows no inclination to find her real parents. It's also extremely easy for the viewers to forget she's adopted (aside from the opening theme singing she's "from the planet Lexicon") since it's almost never mentioned and she's very close to her family.
- Happily Married: The Botsfords are really the only example of this one the show, but they're a perfect example of it. They contrast with all the other seemingly single parents on the show (The Butcher's father, Great Granny May, supposedly Granny May herself since she has grandchildren, Chuck and Brent's mother, Mrs. Heaslip, Clair MacCallister, possibly Eileen's mom is a single parent as a dad has never been mentioned, etc.). Even the two other married couples, the Mings and the Bests, aren't shown having any measurable degree of chemistry between them.
- Hiccup Hijinks: "Word (Hicc) Up!," with Mr. Botsford being the one to come up with all the crazy cures. Amusingly, it's one of the villains (Chuck the Evil-Sandwich-Making Guy) who comes up with the solution by telling her to simply hold her breath... only for Mr. Botsford to ruin it by scaring her into starting to hiccup again.
- High-Class Glass: Reginald, the jeweler. Count Cloudy in "The Pretty Princess and Magic Pony Power Hour" also.
- Human Aliens: All the way.
- Hurl It Into the Sun: How WordGirl destroys Mr. Big's Lexonite machine at the end of "Word Girl makes a Mistake."
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Leslie to Mr. Big.
- Idiosyncrazy: The various villains with permanent gimmicks.
- Discussed in "The Young and the Meatless". Lady Redundant Woman and The Butcher keep trying to steal the same things because they are both meat and matching or redundant sets.
- Incest Subtext: Becky/WordGirl and TJ. Averted a bit, because technically she's adopted. She still finds it gross, though.
- Now to be fair, TJ has no idea that Word Girl is his sister.
- In-Series Nickname: Todd "Scoops" Ming.
- Insult Backfire:
WordGirl: You fiend!
- Interactive Narrator: Often Lampshaded or played with. In "Have Snob, Will Travel," WordGirl tries directly asking the narrator where the Butcher went, since after all, she knows that he knows. The narrator refuses because, after all, there are formal (one of the featured words) rules that they're supposed to follow regarding this sort of thing. WordGirl manages to get the one-up on him anyway.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Steven Boxleitner and WordGirl, at the beginning of the series.
- Possibly Exposition Guy and Eileen in "The Birthday Girl's Monstrous Gift".
- Interspecies Romance: Whichever shipping you may prefer, any character with WordGirl is this. Even with the most-canon shipping, WordGirl and Scoops, she's still an alien, which might make things slightly... odd, if there's any signs of a serious relationship.
- Is This Thing Still On??: In "You Can't Crush City Hall," Chuck shouts at WordGirl from his giant sandwich press and then "signs off." He then starts singing and dancing to himself, calling himself "Chucky-boo" and "Mr. Handsome," until WordGirl points out that he left the PA on.
- Jerkass: The new assistant librarian. He's more obsessed with fining late returners.
- Jumping Out of a Cake: Bob does this in the episode "Becky's Birthday", and The Butcher does it in "Granny's Book Club".
- Kid Heroine: Obviously.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Violet
- Kryptonite Factor:
Mr. Big: I don't get it, Leslie. WordGirl has always dominated me in the past, both in her battle skills as well as her flawless way with words. Something... mmm... fishy is going on around here.
—"WordGirl Makes a Mistake"
- Lampshade Hanging: The show loves to do this.
- Large Ham: The Whammer. Wham!
- Large Ham? No! SMALL HAM! Nocaaaaaaaaan!
- The Butcher, as well.
The Butcher: Sausage CYCLOOOOOOOOOOOONE!!
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: The episode Two-Brains Forgets, used with Master of Delusion.
- Laughably Evil: All the villains on the show.
- Most notably, Amazing Rope Guy, who even the other villains think is lame.
- Leet Lingo: In "Two Brains Highway," the security code for the alarm on the rare cheese exhibit at the museum is 1337.
- Left the Background Music On : Whenever The Butcher and Dupey interact, romantic music plays. Everyone wonders where it is coming from, then a guy apologizes and turns off his boombox.
- Leitmotif: Dr. Twobrains organ fugue, or Victoria Best's harpsichord ditty.
- Light Is Not Good: Miss Power's outfit looks similar to that of DC Comics' Power Girl but in appearance only.
- Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded with both Dr. Two Brains and Becky’s wardrobes.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: They keep adding new villains every season to keep the show fresh. The shorts originally had five villains, as of Season 4 the show has about two dozen repeat offenders.
- Loony Fan: A bit of a spin with Glen, who emulates (until he decides to replace) his hero, Dr. Two Brains... who happens to be a villain.
- Love Makes You Evil: Tobey's threats to destroy the city are usually just out of an attempt to battle (and flirt with) WordGirl.
- Loves My Alter Ego: Inverted, as Tobey is infatuated with WordGirl but usually indifferent toward Becky.
- TJ as well.
- Loss of Identity: Steven Boxleitner is this when his mind merges with that of a demonic lab mouse and he becomes the evil Doctor Two-Brains.
- And played straight with TJ.
- Made for TV Movie: "The Rise of Miss Power," which premiered on February 20, 2012.
- Mad Scientist: Again, Dr. Two Brains.
- Malaproper: Arguably The Butcher's most notable feature after the meat-based attacks; he butchers words.
- The Man Behind the Man: Mr. Big to Chuck in "Bongo Rock".
- Master of Delusion: See Laser-Guided Amnesia, above.
- Meadow Run: The Butcher and Dupey (a duplicate of Lady Redundant Woman) in "The Young and the Meatless".
- Medium Awareness: The offscreen narrator often converses with the characters, although it's possible that the narrator is a character (i.e. in their universe an omniscient voice always narrates); at one point, however, Becky gives a thumbs up and winks at the camera. One of her friends then asks her who she's winking at.
- Me's a Crowd: Lady Redundant Woman
- Meganekko: Leslie
- Mentor Ship: Could be loosely implied for the WordGirl/Dr. Two Brains ship, due to him teaching WordGirl everything she knows as a hero back when he was Prof. Boxleitner.
- Mind Control: Mr. Big's company's mission statement, actually: "We strive to constantly use mind control."
- Mind Control Eyes
- The Minnesota Fats: Steve McClean
- Momma's Boy: Tobey and Chuck.
- Muggle Foster Parents: Word Girl is adopted into a fairly normal human family with no superpowers whatsoever.
- Mundane Utility: Tobey's artistically-gifted robot, as well as his minor-do-gooding robot in "Tobey Goes Good".
- My God, What Have I Done? : Becky has this moment when she wished that WordGirl would never exist, not knowing that the birthday cake was enchanted due to the Energy Monster's overload.
- My Name Is Not Durwood: Many characters have mistaken Captain HuggyFace's name for something like "Captain Hoozywinks" or "Colonel HairyFace".
- Also, The Whammer could never get Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy's name right.
- Narrating the Obvious: There is a minor character, among the fans he's referred to as "Exposition Guy", who is literally the personification of this trope, showing up wherever Becky is, whenever anything of importance is going on, confused and thinking it's the police station.
- He does this at the start of "WordGirl Makes a Mistake, Part 2" after WordGirl has already been captured. It gets him tossed into the trap with WordGirl.
- Never Say "Die": Becky is almost "Done For", "Finished Off", told "Good-Bye" by a villain preparing to crush her with a giant robot, and we're often told it could be "The End" for WordGirl. Since the main character is 10 and the target audience is not quite that age, we're never told she's going to be killed by the few dangerous bad guys.
- The Nicknamer: Victoria Best
- Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Tobey has one of these in the episode "Cherish is the Word" - he draws a Valentine's Day card for WordGirl picturing him holding hands with her and a robot ready to destroy her in the background.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Captain Huggyface
- No Sense of Direction: Exposition Guy is the definition of this.
- No Sense of Personal Space: The Whammer. Ironically, his superpower is repelling objects.
- Not a Date: "Have You Seen the Remote?", this troper believes, is a fine example. (On WordGirl's part, at least.) Because we all know that the most efficient way to search for something is to go to the park and eat ice cream.
- Not Blood Siblings: See No Yay below.
- Not-So-Innocent Whistle: Becky's dad does this once, and Hal Hardbargain does it in "Rat Trap".
- Obfuscating Disability: Granny May regularly pretends to be hard-of-hearing.
- Oblivious to Love: Scoops is very blind sighted to Becky's affection.
- Word Girl's awareness of Tobey's crush also fluctuates from time to time.
- One Steve Limit: While most of the characters, villains or not, have nicknames, this trope is true for the most part. However, it's subverted in "The Ballad of Steve McClean", most likely for subtle comedic affect in that Steve McClean takes Dr. Two Brains' Number 1 spot on the Top Villains List, and Dr. Two Brains' original human name was Steven Boxleitner. (Fair City isn't big enough for two villains named Steve!) After this episode, there is, quite literally, only one Steve because McClean, while showing up for silent background cameos, is never mentioned again.
- Onion Tears: It's shown in one episode that Raul Demiglasse, a chef who challenged others' cooking skills on his TV show, used onion flakes to make his opponents cry.
- Only Sane Man: Word Girl is considered a genius by the other characters - although she is pretty smart, the truth is that everyone else in the show is an idiot (with a few exceptions, like the Narrator) to one degree or another (the less dumb often manipulate the stupider ones.) The fact the populace is so easily tricked often frustrates the heroine. And this becomes a plot-point in the Big Damn Movie.
- Pretty Princess's magic horse.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: An "in-character" example. Tobey feigns a British accent unless and until he is speaking to his mother.
- There's also Guy Rich, who spoke with a southern accent until he revealed himself to be an ordinary person, not the affluent man he lead everyone to believe he was.
- Outlaw Couple: Leslie and Mr. Big can be an example for this at certain points of the series. They are always cooking up schemes and trying to get away with crime together.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: The Butcher in "Ch-ch-ch-change Day," wearing nothing but an obviously fake mustache. That, and WordGirl herself to a degree.
- In "Oh What a Tangled Knot You Tie, Amazing Rope Guy", the titular villain uses these combined with his impression skills to pretend to be his fellow villains and commit crimes. Being as stupid as the populus is, they actually believe him to be said villains.
- Parental Bonus/ Genius Bonus: WordGirl's home planet is called "Lexicon", a linguistics term that basically means "vocabulary".
- The Password Is Always Swordfish: Chuck the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy's password was "mustard," and later the name of his childhood pet.
- In the episode "Lunch Lady Chuck", Chuck threatened to demolish the whole school with a giant sandwich press, and the only way to stop it was with the password... that he forgot. Word Girl literally spends half the episode frantically scouring everywhere Chuck went during the day to try to figure out the password, to no avail... Until Chuck remembers, just in time, the password was "password".
- Perplexing Plurals: Several characters struggle with the plural of the word "thesaurus" in "I Think I'm A Clone Now".
- Photo Booth Montage: From the episode "Theme Park WHAM-page".
- Picky Eater: In "The Butcher, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker," a subplot involves Becky desperately trying to obtain a very weird type of birthday cake for her father.
- Chuck's boss in "Chuck The Nice Pencil Selling Guy" hates all sandwiches except grilled cheese.
- Plot Device: Exposition Guy is a character who shortly shows up after nearly any crime is committed by one of the super villains. He constantly is showing up wherever Becky happens to be at the time, mistakenly thinking he's at the police station. The show actively acknowledges this character is clearly just a plot device. To quote Word Girl herself after one such encounter with Exposition Guy: "Sometimes we need a little help getting the plot moving."
- (Lady Redundant Woman has just taken over City Hall)
Mayor: What do we do now?
- Plucky Office Girl: Mr. Big's assistant, Leslie, is this.
- Police Are Useless: Because if they were actually at all useful, then WordGirl wouldn't have nearly as much to do. Lampshaded pretty blatantly in "Ch-ch-ch-change Day." Becky and Bob are trapped by the Butcher in a bank vault surrounded by customers and are unable to transform into WordGirl and Captain Huggyface. Pressed for options, Becky suggests with a tone of hopelessness that maybe the police will solve the problem. Outside the bank, one of the police officers asks the chief for direction and he is forced to admit that he doesn't know what to do because normally WordGirl would have solved the problem by now.
- Powered Armor: Granny May
- Preppy Name: Theodore "Tobey" McCalister III
- The Rashomon: "A Hero, a Chef, a Store, and its Owner"
- Reformed but Rejected: Tobey by WordGirl, "Tobey Goes Good".
- Rivals Team Up: Two-Brains and WordGirl against Glen in "Dr. Three-Brains".
- In the comic, WordGirl also teams up with Tobey against the Coalition of Malice.
- Rogues Gallery
- Samaritan Syndrome: Causes Becky's frustration in "A World without WordGirl". It really doesn't help that Bob and the narrator are there to railroad her into saving the day.
- Sampling: In one episode, a BGM track samples the drums from Daft Punk's Da Funk.
- Self-Duplication: Lady Redundant Woman
- Self Fanservice: A few minute tour of the WordGirl fanart on deviantART is enough to notice that some artists portray her as drastically enhanced.
- Two brains has a bit of this kinda art as well.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Rather subverted, since Becky has a great vocabulary, but seems to prefer being understood rather than showing off. One episode even has her telling a villain it's more important to use the "right" word than the biggest.
- Another episode features a villain inducing this in people in order to sell dictionaries.
- Sexy Secretary: Leslie.
- Shaped Like Itself: Beatrice Bixby : "He's just lucky that my half-hour lunch break is only thirty minutes long."
- Shout-Out: The names TJ and Becky might ring a bell. A Recess bell.
- Don't forget the two episodes titles that are based on Beatles Songs like "Book ends" and "Banned on the run".
- The following quote from "Kids Action News" may also ring a bell for Wrestling fans and San Diego residents alike
- Don't forget the two episodes titles that are based on Beatles Songs like "Book ends" and "Banned on the run".
WordGirl: "Huggy, initiate secret plan number 6-1-9!"
- Show Within a Show: A variation: the Word Girl episodes are followed by a segment featuring a Game Show that stars its own characters (and Captain Huggyface). Like the main segment they're intended to teach the meaning of words to the audience.
- There's also the Pretty Princess and Magic Pony Power Hour. The special "The Rise of Miss Power" let viewers watch an episode of it during the interstitials.
- Silent Partner: Charlie, the larger of Dr. Two-Brains' henchmen, never speaks out loud and the smaller of the two henchmen does all of the talking for him.
- Single-Minded Twins: Though not twins, and inverted by the presence of Dupey in "The Young And The Meatless", Lady Redundant Woman's clones frequently exhibit identical movements as their original, while saying the exact same thing. This is likely just a case of reducing animation and voice acting costs, even though it doesn't make sense for LRW's copies to know exactly what she's going to say, how she's going to say it, and how she's going to move while saying it, when she does. They only have their own personalities (such as Dupey) when it's needed for the plot.
- Skyward Scream:
- The Butcher provides a prime example of this in "The Young And The Meatless".
- Smarmy Host: Both Beau Handsome and Seymour Orlando Smooth.
- So Last Season: When the series made the jump from 2-minute shorts to a full series.
- Spin-Off: WordGirl started as a series of shorts that appeared after Maya and Miguel.
- Spiritual Successor: The premise is similar to The Electric Company short segmnent, "Letterman."
- Stalker with a Crush: Tobey.
- Super Strength: WordGirl, Eileen (aka The Birthday Girl), Nocan the Contrarian, the Whammer, and Miss Power all have this superpower.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: The Butcher : "Hi! I'm NOT the Butcher!" Also commonly employed during Becky's Blatant Lies.
- Take a Third Option: In "Change Day," Becky and Bob are trapped in a bank vault and faced with either letting the Butcher get away with bank robbery or revealing their secret identities as WordGirl and Huggyface to everyone. They take a third option by tricking the Butcher into opening the vault.
- Talking Is a Free Action: For WordGirl, when she stops to define a word in the middle of a heated battle.
- Talking in Your Sleep: Dr. Two Brains is guilty of this in the episode "Showdown at the Super Secret Spaceship Hideout".
- Talking to Himself:This has happened many times; an example would be when Two Brains rebuked TJ in "The Homerun King"
- Talking to Themself: Seen in the short "Mouse Trap" when Dr. Two Brains argues with his former self, Steven Boxleitner.
- The Teaser: Normally not used, but seen before the title theme in "The Rise of Miss Power" to introduce Miss Power.
- Tech Marches On: Is intentionally averted. The producers want it to look like it could have been made in the 60s, 80s, or today. No Internet, No Home Computers (the only computers seen take up almost half the room), small corner TVs, a few passing references to home video, and the journalist wannabe works at a newspaper a la Jimmy Olsen. Even the family car looks like a station wagon from the 70s. They claim if cell phones are ever used, they'll be bulky devices circa 1995.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Prof. Boxleitner's reaction when Squeaky is about to push the "Holy Cow! Don't Press This Button!" button.
Prof. Boxleitner: "Oh boy. This is gonna sting."
- This! Is! SPARTA!: Nocan the Contrarian. See Large Ham above.
- That Was Objectionable: Refer to the episode "The Wrong Side of the Law".
- Too Dumb to Live: Also in "WordGirl Makes a Mistake, Part 2." A handyman shows up to demand his money from Mr. Big for designing the trap in which WordGirl, Captain HuggyFace and the "This Just In" guy (see just above) are imprisoned. He gets thrown into the trap and doesn't even realize that he too is now a prisoner.
- Seymour Smooth's brothers are also this, to the point where they did not even know the answer to 1 + 1.
- Undesirable Prize: The prizes on the May I Have a Word? game show segments are almost inevitably some form of this.
- The Unintelligible: Huggyface can only be understood by Becky.
- TJ appears to have an understanding of his "language" in "The Homerun King", and Violet does too in "The Fill-In".
- Thick Line Animation: It's the page image. What do you expect?
- The Bad Guy Wins: No, you're reading this right. In Word Girl and Bobbleboy TJ's success in his Word Girl bobblehead dolls business distract our hero so much, that she gets smashed to the ground by Chuck's Crusher!! Luckily she gets better, but the villain featured for the rest of the episode was Dr. Two-Brains and NOT Chuck!
- The Wiki Rule: It has one
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Word Girl doesn't kill or even harm any villain she's up against (Save for Tobey's robots and Lady Redundant Woman's copies).
- That is the result of a PBS Kids commandment.
- Training Montage : Lampshaded in Monkey-Robot Showdown.
- And "I Think I'm a Clone Now".
- And "Earth Day Girl".
- Quite a few episodes have some type of this.
- Ultimate Authority Mayor
- Up, Up, and Away: WordGirl's standard flight pose.
- Verbal Tic: "That is totally WHAMMER!" "Are you whammin' to what the Whammer is whammin'?" "Let's wham this thing!"
- Villainous Crossdresser: Mr. Big disguises himself as an elderly woman in episodes "Big Business" and "WordGirl Makes a Mistake".
- Villainous Crush: And the Fandom won't let you forget it.
- Villains Out Shopping: Variation - in "Becky's Birthday," WordGirl, while confronting another villain, encounters Dr. Two-Brains, who's just made a trip to the grocery store. He may steal cheese, but he buys the crackers he puts the cheese on.
- In another episode Becky runs into Tobey when they're both shopping with their mothers. Who were taking forever, incidentally!
- Villain Team-Up: Featured in, "Mousezilla". Tobey and Dr. Two Brains build a giant robotic mouse. Although it definitely starts out well, the team-up breaks down when they argue about what they should do the trapped WordGirl.
- Also in "Too Loud Crew".
- In "The Fill-In," The Butcher shows up as a temporary fill-in for Dr. Two Brains's henchman, Charlie. Dr. Two Brains tells him that he's too good to be just a temporary fill-in and tries to insist on one of these instead, but The Butcher turns him down flat because "they never work" and even tells him "It's Not You, It's Me." He later jets in the middle of a robbery when Charlie returns.
- Chuck teamed up with Nocan in "Nocan the Ingredient Finding Guy" and it worked out about as well as his team-ups with the Whammer.
- In the first issue of the comic book tie in, five of Wordgirl's villains form "The Coalition of Malice."
- Visual Innuendo: [From the episode Highway to Havarti.] Dr. Two Brains crotch-level ‘cactus’ while he’s waiting in the gas station check-out. (This could be an Accidental Innuendo, but this troper is inclined to think it was intentional.)
- We'll See About That: Mrs. Botsford says this two Dr. Two Brains when he says that he and his henchmen will win the soccer game in "Bend it Like Becky."
- Chuck also uses it on WordGirl in "Chuck With a Side of Brent" when she tells him "It's over!"
- We Used to Be Friends: WordGirl and Dr. Boxleitner used to be friends until he transformed into the evil Dr. Two Brains.
- What Could Have Been: The producers actually wanted Reese Witherspoon to voice WordGirl.
- What Does Becky See In Scoops?: I mean, seriously! Once he guessed Becky's secret identity as WordGirl, he didn't care about her actual feelings, he just wanted to take his kid-reporter career to the next level. Fortunately, Becky frustrated his desires by losing the Vocab-bee contest on propose, thus keeping her secret safe.
- What Happened to the Mouse??: Literally in "Mouse Army", when Dr. TwoBrains creates an army of super-intelligent mice, they are all reverted to normal in the end...except for one, but we never hear of it again.
- In the episode "Birthday Town", Mr. Botsford is watching TV and the mouse is seen in the news. The mouse seems to further its career in science and is shown that he fused a cat and dog's minds together.
- Mouse-Zilla is shown to have survived WordGirl throwing it into a lake, but it never returns as well.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Tobey's robots are the only enemies WordGirl is ever seen punching and kicking. Every other villain she usually just finds some way to subdue or tie up.
- Also Lady Redundant Woman's copies get destroyed right and left, yet in "The Young And The Meatless" and even "Lady Redundant Woman Gets The Blues", it's implied that the copies have separate personalities and even feelings. Dupey doesn't get turned back into paper in "The Young And The Meatless", most likely because she is actually shown to experience love.
- What the Hell, Townspeople?: The many residents in Fair City can go from idolizing their hero to hating her guts in as long as it takes Granny May to get out of prison.
- Where The Hell Is Fair City?
- Why Did It Have To Be Cats?: Since he has a second mouse brain, Dr. Two Brains is very afraid of cats. This fear comes up in a couple episodes, sometimes even showing cats attacking him because he's part mouse.
- Wild Hair: Two Brains did say he sported the dry look...
- Wonderful Life: "A World Without WordGirl".
- You Are Grounded
- You Get Me Coffee: In "Chuck With a Side of Brent," Chuck's brother Brent resurfaces and apologizes for having been such a bad sidekick to Chuck and begging for another chance. Chuck reluctantly agrees and asks him if he promises to do every evil and villainous thing he tells him. Brent agrees and Chuck tells him "You can start by picking up my dry-cleaning. Oh, and I have some ironing I need done too."
- Your Costume Needs Work: TJ consistently tells his sister that her WordGirl impersonation isn't very good.