Series / Adventures in Wonderland

Use your imagination and you'll understand
It's an adventure in Wonderland.
Theme song

Adventures in Wonderland was a live action children's sitcom and a loose adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which ran on the Disney Channel from March 1992 to 1995, and reran until 1998. In the series, Alice (played by Elisabeth Harnois), was portrayed as a teenage girl who can go to and from Wonderland simply by walking through her mirror (a reference to Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass).

Usually the format consisted of Alice coming home from school and talking to Dinah (her cat) about a problem facing her that day, then going into Wonderland and finding the residents of that world facing a similar crisis, where she would learn An Aesop relating to her Real Life problems. Also of note is that each episode usually included around three or four musical numbers. At the end of each episode she would return to the real world with a solution to her problem, which were usually mundane everyday problems.

Unfortunately for fans of the series, no DVD set is even being planned.

This show invokes the following tropes:

  • Acid-Trip Dimension: Alice steps through her mirror into one Once per Episode on her way to Wonderland.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Hare in the episode "Vanity Hare"
  • Adipose Rex: The Queen, of the Big Beautiful Woman variety.
  • Affectionate Parody: The songs, which send up everything from country and rock to jazz and the blues.
  • An Aesop: Each episode has its own moral. Some are Anvilicious, but still others are actually poignant.
    • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: A variation, as Alice would end most episodes discussing the day's aesop with her cat Dinah, providing the lesson in a way that wasn't disconnected from the rest of the episode.
  • Balloon Belly: One episode features the Hatter gaining a noticeable amount of weight after eating too many cookies. Subverted in that, instead of instantly returning to normal, the rest of the episode centers around him trying to lose the extra pounds.
  • Batman Gambit: Brilliantly pulled off by the Mad Hatter in "Copy Catter Hatter" to outsmart his aptly-named titular cousin.
    Mad Hatter: Righty-roo, while I kept a completely different design for myself!
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Aesop of "The Adventures of Spectacular Man." The Hatter discovers that being a superhero means having no time for tea.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The Duchess. Especially in "Take the Bunny and Run".
  • Broken Treasure: the rabbit accidentally breaks a crystal vase belonging to the Queen, and has to take a second job in order to afford to replace it. It turns out the original vase was made of cheap glass.
  • Butt Monkey: Rabbit. It's not easy working for the Queen.
  • Calvinball: Meewalk, a favorite game of the Wonderlanders, has only one rule—the rules can be changed at any time. The Queen takes this Up to Eleven by changing the rules after the game is over.
  • Carnivore Confusion: There never appears to be any conflict between the Dormouse and the Cheshire Cat. Then again, they were almost never shown onscreen together; possibly to avoid this.
  • Catchphrase: Mad Hatter's "How true that is."
  • Christmas Episode: Apparently Christmas traditions in Wonderland include hanging fruits and vegetables as decorations, playing the 'Christmas kazoo', and bobbing for Christmas crabapples. And the citizens of Wonderland find the concept of a 'Christmas tree' to be extremely odd (which is understandable, if you think about it). Never mind the fact that it's odd a parallel world like Wonderland would even have a Christmas.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Both the Hare and the Hatter. The former usually moreso than the latter, oddly enough.
  • Cold Open: Each episode starts with Alice in her house, talking to Dinah, before walking into the mirror, at which point the Theme starts.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Pretty much everybody does this at some point. It's turned Up to Eleven in the following exchange:
    Tweedle Dum: Okay. Hare should be here any minute. Any questions?
    Mad Hatter: Just one. If the word "knee" is spelled k-n-e-e, why isn't it pronounced "kuh-nee?"
    Tweedle Dee: Because the "K" is silent. But wait a minute... What does that have to do with the price of rice in—
  • Composite Character: The Queen is based on the Queen of Hearts and Red Queen, and is even referred to as both on different occasions.
  • Compressed Vice: This appears a lot on this show. Several episodes have one or more characters abruptly developing a bad character trait—the Hatter can't resist reading the Hare's mail, Tweedledum has been eating junk food non-stop, the Hare develops a superiority complex, the Queen suddenly loses all patience for people talking during her speeches, all of the male characters start doing nothing but watch television...the list goes on. But after twenty-two minutes, the problem would be solved, and never brought up again.
  • Continuity Nod: In The Bunny Who Would Be King, the White Rabbit's brother asks for half a cup of tea and the Hatter hands him a teacup that has been cut in half, just like in the movie. The Hare comments how he "never changes".
  • Dark Is Evil: Three of the one-off villains are dressed head to toe in black.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Cheshire Cat, with some instances of the Visual Pun Literalist Snarking he displays in the movie.
  • Diminishing Villain Threat: The Queen of Hearts is good-natured, though still a little short tempered (particularly toward the White Rabbit). She seems to be based more on the Red Queen from Through the Looking-Glass (she's even called "the Red Queen" roughly half the time).
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The opening theme counts as a rare live action Disney Acid Sequence.
  • Fantastic Racism: The citizens of Wonderland have to learn tolerance when the Walrus moves into their neighborhood, with a bad reputation preceding "his kind".
  • Friendly Enemies: The Queen and the Duchess. They constantly compete, try to upstage one another, trade insults (the Duchess calls the Queen "Twinkle Toes" for no discernible reason), and mock each other. There's even an entire episode dedicated to their "antagonistic" relationship, with commentary from all of the Wonderlandians about the pair. However, at the end of that episode, the Queen and Duchess sing a duet together that reveals that while they may be bitter rivals, they do like each other deep down, to the point where they swear they'll be frenemies forever.
  • Furry Confusion: The anthropomorphic animal characters portrayed by actors in prosthetic noses and ears live alongside Talking Animals portrayed by puppets, and alongside normal, real animals.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Both the Hatter and the Hare have shown their fair share of wacky inventions; their most notable being a (supposed) time machine.
  • The Gadfly: The Cheshire Cat, when he's not being a Trickster Mentor.
  • Gilligan Cut: In "TV Or Not TV," Alice expresses concern that the Tweedles, the Hatter, and the Hare are more concerned with watching television than practicing softball for the upcoming Wonderland Picnic. The Queen tells her not to worry: "It's not like they're going to do nothing but sit there for three straight days and nights and watch TV!" We then cut to a montage of the group doing just that.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: A rare aversion (unless she's in one of her moods, but even then the worst she can do is yell). This is probably due to it being Lighter and Softer than the source material.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: The March Hare bills himself this way for his magic act in "Off the Cuffs."
  • Insane Troll Logic: When asked which came first, the chicken or the egg, the Hare concludes that since eggs are for breakfast and breakfast comes first, then the egg came first.
  • Karma Houdini: In "The Rabbit Who Would Be King", Rabbit is never seen being punished for lying to his movie-star brother about being king while the Queen is away. Even after she returns in the middle of the charade. The closest thing he gets is her "accidentally" hitting him multiple times during a musical number.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When Tweedle Dum gets trapped in a pair of magic handcuffs, Tweedle Dee sings a song that is both making fun of his brother and bragging that such a thing would never happen to him. Right when the song ends, Alice puts the cuffs on Dee too.
  • Last Name Basis: Or a variant thereof, as the characters are usually referred to by the last part of their full names. So, for the most part, you hear them call each other Queen, Rabbit, Hatter, Hare and so on.
  • Light Bulb Joke: How many Queens does it take to change a light bulb?
    Tweedle Dee: None!
    White Rabbit: She makes me do it.
  • Lighter and Softer: Well at any rate, you won't be seeing the Queen order the beheading of any of the characters.
  • Literal-Minded: Mainly the Hare's thing, but just about all of the Wonderland inhabitants were prone to this on occasion.
  • Lost Episode: "White Rabbits Can't Jump," featuring special guest star...O. J. Simpson. Really. The only remaining trace of this episode is the children's book adaptation by M. C. Varley and Lynn Houston, which Disney published in 1993.
  • Musical World Hypothesis: Falls under the Alternate Universe type. It makes sense, considering that in the source material, both Alice and the characters she met frequently broke into rhymes and songs.
  • Nerd Glasses: This incarnation of the March Hare sports them.
  • New Super Power: Played straight and parodied in "The Adventures of Spectacular Man," in which the Hatter wishes that he could be a comic book superhero. Next thing we know, he has turned into a combination of Superman and The Lone Ranger.
    The Tweedles: Who was that masked man?
  • Nice Hat: No prizes for guessing who has one.note 
  • Offscreen Teleportation: The Dormouse can somehow relocate himself to another teapot (and a flowerpot in one occasion) by utilizing this. It's never explained, though then again, this is Wonderland.
  • One-Man Band: The Caterpillar is sometimes seen playing multiple instruments at once, thanks to his extra pairs of arms.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: A favorite trope on this show. It's particularly ludicrous because there are exactly six humans (or humanoids) living in Wonderland, and everyone always knows when someone new comes to town—yet the disguises are often foolproof (which says something about the nature of the place).
    • In "The Queen Who Came in from the Cold," the Red Queen wants to go undercover to determine who has been writing letters that criticize her latest taxes. She swaps her red dress and crown for a red dress and large red hat. It works.
    • In "Wonderland: The Movie," Hatter and the Hare, eager to get more screen time, don Groucho glasses and pass themselves off as "Mr. X" and "Mr. Y."
    • In "Forget Me Knot," the Hatter becomes "Professor Memory" by putting on a graduation robe and square cap.
    • In "Christmas in Wonderland," the group meets to plan a holiday surprise for the Queen; to disguise themselves, the Hatter gives everyone (including Alice) Santa Claus beards. This one, at least, is lampshaded by Alice as unrealistic.
  • Parental Bonus: Lots of literary allusion titles ("From Hare to Eternity," "What Makes Rabbit Run," "The Bunny Who Would Be King," "The Grape Juice of Wrath") and film/TV allusion titles ("Pie Noon," "Lady and the Camp," "Card 54, Where Are You?").
    • In "The Red Queen Crown Affair," the Hatter's Box of Clues includes a sled named Rosebud.
  • Pet the Dog: When the Hatter's wheelchair-bound cousin Hedda comes to visit, the Queen is the first one to say she doesn't care if Hedda's disabled, as long as she can make beautiful hats—which she can, of course.
    • She later requests a fruit-covered hat from Hedda, despite having hated fruity hats in a previous episode.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Subverted, actually. Even including the original novel, this is one of the very few adaptations/spin-offs of Lewis Carroll's story in which the Mad Hatter is seen actually designing and making hats.
  • Race Lift: The Queen, Tweedledee and Tweedledum are played by African Americans.
    • As is the Walrus.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Queen of Hearts. Though she occasionally passes silly rules, she's generally a kind monarch who cares about her subjects and is willing to help them with their problems.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: In one episode, the White Rabbit catches "rhymitis", which has this effect on his speech.
  • Series Continuity Error: The Sound and the Furry centers around the whole cast learning sign language and the Queen and the White Rabbit don't even know what it is until about halfway into the episode. In Take My Tonsils... Please!, during the musical number going over ways to communicate without speaking to the Hatter, the two mention sign language, with the Rabbit even signing the Queen's singing part. No matter what order you watch the episodes in, it makes no sense continuity-wise (if the Hatter knew that he was going to lose his voice after getting his tonsils removed, why didn't they think of sign language right away?).
  • Setting Update: Alice obviously isn't living in the 1800s during the segments where she's in the real world. In fact it's extremely doubtful she's even from England.
  • Shout-Out: Alice's sister's name? Kathryn.
  • The Storyteller: The Caterpillar tells a short story Once per Episode, which is animated with Clay Mation and has An Aesop which relates to the moral of the rest of the episode.
  • Strictly Formula: The plots were all built around An Aesop (the basic formula is in the article description), but the characters themselves arguably kept the show entertaining.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: The song the White Rabbit sings after he's cured of his "rhymitis" is built entirely out of these — he's just overjoyed to finally be able to not rhyme.
  • The Summation: The Hatter does this at the end of "The Red Queen Crown Affair." Given that it's the Hatter, and the missing crown is under his hat, this goes about as well as could be expected.
    Hatter: What I have to say will shock you. It will startle you. It will remind you of a hundred old movies.
  • Theme Naming: The Hare family has a month-theme going on, with Mother June, Cousin April, Aunt May, Uncle August and of course the March Hare himself.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Just about all the Wonderlandians, compared to the original movie and even the book versions of them. The Cheshire Cat is an interesting example, because he famously Took a Level in Jerkass for the movie, but here he's gone back to approximately the same level of kindness he displayed in the original book.
  • Too Many Cooks: In "Her-story in the Making", Alice tries getting her Wonderland friends to write a story for her school assignment for her. They each write a passage and it comes out... less than comprehensible.
  • Trickster Mentor: The Cheshire Cat, on occasion, takes on this role.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: The Mad Hatter and his evil second cousin twice-removed, the Copy Catter Hatter. Just about any of the character's relatives count, actually. (See Acting for Two in the Trivia section.)
  • Unfazed Everywoman: Alice.
  • Villain Song / The Villain Sucks Song: A Distant Duet between the Mad Hatter and the Copy Catter Hatter is both of these.
  • Wily Walrus: Subverted. Walruses are apparently viewed as wicked, malicious creatures - most likely because of the walrus from "The Walrus and the Carpenter" - and thus everyone is appalled when Alice befriends a nice, polite walrus. Whether that walrus was an outlier in Wonderland is unrevealed.
  • With Friends Like These...: The Queen and the Duchess, big time.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: This time with a healthy eating theme! Tweedledum, who is apparently the "King of Junk Food," is visited by a Jacob Marley-esque Hare and the Ghosts of Nutrition Past (the Hatter), Present (the Queen), and Future (the White Rabit) to learn about the consequences of his diet.