If ever in your life you are faced with a choice, A difficult decision, a quandary, Ask yourself, "What would Edgar and Ellen do?" And do exactly the contrary.
A series of children's books by Charles Ogdennote actually a pen name used by multiple authors that was adapted into an animated series. The title characters, a pair of 12-year-old twins, are notorious pranksters who cause mischief and mayhem in the town of Nod's Limbs. The two of them live in a thirteen-story house on the edge of town with their pet (named 'Pet'), a strange creature that vaguely resembles a one-eyed, hairy mop head. Their groundskeeper, Heimertz, lives in a shack near the house, never says a word, and wears a perpetual Slasher Smile. There is also a junkyard near the house where the twins get parts for the many unlikely contraptions that they build. Nod's Limbs itself is an overly cheerful town run by the inept Mayor Knightleigh. His daughter, Stephanie Knightleigh, is Edgar and Ellen's main rival in their quest for amusement.The books and the animated series start with similar setups, but soon diverge. While the book series moves into an overarching plot, the animated series focuses on day-to-day hijinks.The books in the series are:
Rare Beasts (2003)
Tourist Trap (2004)
Under Town (2004)
Pet's Revenge (2006)
High Wire (2006)
Nod's Limbs (2007)
Hot Air (2008) note The first book in the Nodyssey sub-series
Frost Bites (2008)
Split Ends (2009)
Additional material includes: Mischief Manual, Hair 'Em Scare 'Em (a pop-up book), and Graphic Novelty (a comic collection).Character page here, but beware of book spoilers.
The books and TV series provide examples of:
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Tropes shared by both
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Explained in the books. First, they're the storm drain variety of sewer, not the sewage kind. Second, they were originally built so that people could take leisurely, well-lit strolls in them, but gradually fell into disrepair and had the lighting grates paved over.
In the animated series, the "Heimertz Family Album" segments serve to reveal bits of Heimertz's past this way.
Gadgeteer Genius: Both of the twins to some extent, but especially Edgar. Exaggerated in the animated series, where they build much more elaborate contraptions.
Girl Posse: Stephanie has one in Cassidy Kingfisher and Pepper Poshi, mostly in the TV series due to the books' lack of school scenes. The books mention a couple of others too, but these two seem to be at the top of the pecking order.
Mad Scientist: Edgar. Ellen could qualify as a mad botanist, given the way she dotes over her carnivorous plant.
Man-Eating Plant: Ellen has one, but it's not big enough to actually eat anyone. It's subverted in the books; Ellen eventually reveals that that species of plant is incapable of digesting a human. No, not even the plants that actually are big enough to swallow people.
Thirteen Is Unlucky: The twins' house has thirteen floors, and their mere presence is certainly bad luck for the rest of town. In a sort-of aversion, though, only eleven of those stories are above ground; the other two are basement levels.
Under Town. The twins fail to protect the Gadget Graveyard and it gets demolished, killing Ellen's pet plant Berenice. There is one ray of hope left though, noted above under Bittersweet Ending.
High Wire. Ormond gets away. Ronan and Dahlia are wrongfully arrested by the Heimertzes. The Midway Irregulars turn their backs on the twins. Pet is still dying. And to top it all off, the twins lose ownership of their home.
Gold Fever: The town eventually succumbs to this in Nod's Limbs, after many days of working on the treasure hunt together finally wear down their spirits.
Humiliation Conga: Rare Beasts. Not only was the twins' scheme a complete failure, they get blasted with hoses and left lying in the mud, while all the kids they wronged get some payback as they walk past by insulting them, kicking mud at them, pulling their hair, etc. Oh, and a jar of fire ants from earlier broke, so they're swarming all over the twins and biting them. You can't say they didn't deserve it, though...
Idiot Ball: Edgar in Split Ends. He goes a bitunhinged in his isolation and ends up derailing his plans for some needlessly complicated personal vengeance, which both fails and lands him in deeper trouble.
Laser-Guided Karma: Rare Beasts puts the twins through a Humiliation Conga at the end, and Tourist Trap—despite the twins having far more sympathetic goals this time around—ends with them getting caught in a rain of pigeon poop.
In "Rare Beasts" the twins cause untold misery when they steal all the pets in town. In "Nod's Limbs" they are desperately trying to save their own.
Wham Line: The man gave a smile so wide and eerie that both Pierre and Robbins recoiled. "My name," he said, "is Sigmund Heimertz."
Tropes from the TV series
Alternate Continuity: Not explicitly, but there are some important differences between books and show which clearly set each apart as its own thing. Pet's lethargy is not carried over from the books. And the show cannot be set after Pet was cured of it, because by that point in the books, Ellen's pet plant Berenice was dead.
Bee Afraid: In "Manners Marathon," the twins present Stephanie with an exploding pot of honey, drenching her in the sticky stuff and attracting a nearby swarm of bees that chase her away. She's badly stung in the next scene.