Literature: Madeline

"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 later re-released by Shout! Factory on DVD, 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.

Madeline provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Chloe gets one in "Madeline and the Old Violin."
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The DiC series changed up a few of the girls' hair colors between seasons:
    • Janine was a blonde, up until season 3 where her hair suddenly became dark brown.
    • Sylvie (or Simone) had greenish-colored hair while Monique's appeared to be a pink color. Both of them received brown hair in season 3.
    • Ellie also had greenish hair early on, but it was darkened to black by season 2.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The gypsies from Madeline and the Gypsies seem like kidnappers who take Madeline and Pepito into their circus, and eventually hide them in a lion's suit so that Miss Clavel can't find them. The TV special instead had the gypsies tell Madeline and Pepito to go home after they come down from being stuck on the Ferris Wheel, only for the two of them to express a desire to join their circus. They also don't make Madeline and Pepito wear the lion's suit until after their own lion becomes too sick to perform.
  • Adult Fear: Why, hello there, Lost In Paris.
    • The original "Something is Not Right" sequence. Especially the ending.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Pepito's cousins return in "Madeline and the Mummy" and seem to have completely forgotten why they stopped being brats in the last episode.
  • Animation Bump: Madeline: Lost in Paris has better animation from the specials and TV series.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Pepito gets a kiss on the cheek from Madeline after he gives her a new parasol in "Madeline's Birthday at the Zoo."
  • 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.
  • Author Avatar: Sort of. There's an artist named Ludwig in the TV series who is friends with the girls and is even seen working on the original picture book in one episode.
  • Award Bait Song: The song "Wishes" from the Madeline's Christmas special stands out as this because of its pop-like quality and sound despite not being sung by someone famous. Nonetheless, this doesn't lose the syrupy nature of most Madeline songs, and it fits.
  • Badass Adorable: Madeline.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Madeline and Pepito, especially in "Madeline and the Bad Hat" though it still does occasionally occur afterwards.
  • 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.
  • Break the Cutie: Pepito begins to waste away after being separated from Madeline. Luckily his parents rectify this by inviting the little girls to London for his birthday party.
  • 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.
  • Cheerful Child: Madeline herself.
  • Chekhov's Army: At the start of Madeline and the Forty 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.
  • Cinderella Circumstances: The lace shop girls in Madeline: Lost in Paris.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Nicole in the cartoon.
    • And Cloe in the first special.
  • 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compare Lost in Paris to the rest of the franchise.
    • My Fair Madeline qualifies as well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Miss Clavel in The Movie.
  • 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.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Inverted.
    "Although she was small, the smallest of them all, she was not afraid of mice."
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Fifi in Lost in Paris, due to her lack of sunlight.
  • Every Episode Ending: Each episode of the cartoon ends with the narrator saying, "And that's all there is. There isn't any more." Those lines originally appeared at the end of the first Madeline book.
  • Everything Sounds Cuter In French
  • 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).
    • 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"
    • Sugar Dimples in "Madeline in Hollywood."
  • 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.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Of course, Madeline speaks English with a French accent. The others characters also speak English with a French accent, except for the ones with voice actors who are Not Even Bothering with the Accent. In the movie, everyone has British accents. The characters, however, particularly Miss Clavel, do occasionally speak a bit of French here and there, in fact, enough that if you watch through the entire series you can probably pick a fair few French phrases.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Madeline's peers had no names given in the original books, but have received them in adaptations of the series:
    • Animated series: Chloe, Nicole, Danielle, Yvette, Nona, Lulu, Anne, Ellie, Monique, Janine, and Sylvie/Simone
    • Live-action film: Aggie, Vicki, Chantal, Lolo, Serena, Beatrice, Lucinda, and Marie Odile
    • Musical play: Juliette, Regine, Kate, Daphne, Simone, Camille, Marie, Amy, Dominique, Isabelle, and Anne
  • Nice Hat: The girls' all wear yellow hats with black ribbons on them, plus Pepito and his family wear nifty black hats ... even if it does denote their respective personalities.
    • Hair Decorations: Madeline and her friends had a penchant for wearing ribbons in their hair.
  • 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.
    • Subverted through all the adaptations themselves. Pepito starts out as an antagonist, but is then redeemed a little later on.
  • 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!
  • 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!"
  • 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.
    • DiC brought him back.
  • 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.
  • Red-Headed Heroine: Madeline.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Everyone in the books and specials, the narrators of the series and movie.
  • Running Gag: When Pepito accompanies the girls on a trip, the taxi always leaves him behind at first.
  • Ruptured Appendix: In the first book.
  • Shipper on Deck: The Spanish Ambassador for Madeline and his son Pepito, mainly before Madeline visits Pepito later on in "Madeline and the Bad Hat".
  • Sick Episode: Madeline and the Costume Party.
    • Also Madeline's Christmas (The book and TV special).
  • Slasher Smile: Pepito gets a few in the "Bad Bat Hat" song.
  • 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 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.
  • 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!