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"If you believe you must be big in order to be tough, then you should get to know her. She'll teach you other stuff!"
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 (who 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 1988 that CINAR and DiC 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 DiC 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, DiC decided to make a Madeline TV series. Reusing the character designs, some of the talents (Christopher Plummer was held back by DiC 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-DiC 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 DiC 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 DiC 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 2002, one year 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 (portrayed here as having the "real" name of Lord "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.
Cool Big Sis: Tatiana the prima ballerina from Madeline at the Ballet. She might have the most important role, but she makes sure all of her co-stars are treated fairly, including Madeline, who was initially left out of the production because the dance teacher thought she was too short. Even after Madeline botches the first rehearsal, Tatiana finds her backstage, comforts her and still allows her to dance in the production, and they pull it off flawlessly.
Creator Cameo: In the animated series episode Madeline at the Louvre, Madeline meets up with an artist named after Ludwig himself.
Disney Acid Sequence: Used in every song, but much, much more in the DiC version (ironic since they used to be with Disney).
Unsurprisingly, this show airs on the Disney channel in regions outside the US.
Disproportionate Retribution: Pepito is a brat and he is almost killed when one of his pranks goes too far and he's caught in the middle of pack of dogs fighting over a cat. Not to mention Madeline rubbing it in while the poor kid is bedridden and covered in bandages.
His cousins, by their own admittance, are worse, but they still get chased and nearly gored by an angry full-grown bull.
Foil: Pepito to Madeline. Both are rebellious, brave and adventurous. He's probably what she would have become without her supporting friends and Miss Clavel.
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.
LaCroque of Lost in Paris has one. Downplayed in that it's she lost her entire cabaret career after tripping, falling offstage, and exposing her underwear. She was forced to sell her hair to make lace, and perhaps out of revenge, began a lace-making sweatshop that imprisoned little girls.
Heartwarming Orphan: Madeline in the second DiC series and The Movie. All other adaptions have her parents alive and well (the old house is a Catholic boarding school, not an orphanage).
Laser-Guided Karma: Zigzagged. In "Madeline and the Costume Party," the girls contract chicken pox and Pepito laughs every time he sees them. Of course, on the eve of the party, Pepito has caught the illness from the girls and fully expects them to laugh at him too. They spend the evening with him to watch the fireworks instead.
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.
Limited Animation: It was produced by DiC in the late '80s to the beginning of the 2000s, after all. Though it's extremely evident in the original specials.
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.
Named by the Adaptation: Madeline's peers had no names given in the original books, but have received them in adaptations of the series:
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!
Overly Long Name: The Movie introduces the birthday boy as Jose Marco Filippo Franloco Lopez de Vega Esteban Machado Jorge Santiago dela Rocha Gaspar Carlos de Fuentes Coruna Diego y Sevilla. Of course, his friends call him Pepito.
Pint-Sized Kid: Madeline's short height is often a source of frustration for her, like the time she was rejected from a ballet production because her legs were too small, or that time Yvette told her, "Short girls don't model, ever!"
Race Lift: Nona originally had light skin, but it was changed to be dark brown in season 2 of the DiC series. Anne and Janine also had their skintones darkened. This may have been done to add more diversity to the show.
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 Breadcrumbs: In "Lost in Paris", Madeline drops beads so that her friends can follow her to wherever her "uncle" is taking her.
Traumatic Haircut: Downplayed. LaCroque threatens the lace shop girls with this all the time because lace is supposedly made from human hair. But when she finally cuts Madeline's hair, it's a few strands on one side; this is treated as if the poor girl has been shorn. Her 11 schoolmates later copy the cut in solidarity. However, Fifi's haircut is much more ragged and unattractive, thus playing the trope a little straighter.