Series / Adventures in Wonderland

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

Adventures in Wonderland is 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) is portrayed as a teenage girl who can come to and from Wonderland simply by walking through her bedroom mirror (a reference to Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass).

The usual episode format consists of Alice coming home from school and talking to her cat, Dinah, about a problem facing her that day, then going into Wonderland and finding the residents (all of whom she considers her friends) facing a similar crisis, and returning to the real world with An Aesop relating to her own problem. Notably, most episodes include as many as three or four musical numbers. Along with standard life lessons, the series was meant to introduce young viewers to various literary conventions and elements of story.

Unfortunately for fans of the series, no DVD release has been 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"
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The Queen, the Hatter, and especially Tweedledum and Tweedledee, who are sleek, athletic dancers instead of the fat little twins of tradition, and the Duchess, who goes from a Gonk to Teri Garr.
  • Adaptational Dye Job: The Caterpillar is green instead of blue.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Annoying Patient: The Hatter becomes this to the Queen and the Rabbit in "The Hatter Who Came to Dinner," after he hurts his back while trimming the Queen's hedges and has to stay in bed at the palace. Made worse when he keeps Playing Sick even when his back feels better so he can keep living in luxury.
  • Anti-Escapism Aesop: "TV or Not TV" and its anti-television aesop. Although the argument against too much TV is a lack of exercise and neglecting real life friends and responsibilities, it is still somewhat hypocritical in that Alice seems to spend most of her after school life escaping reality and wandering Wonderland. Note also that the Disney Channel was a premium channel you had to pay extra for at the time the show aired, making the aesop extra ironic.
    • It's somewhat softened by the fact that both the Red Queen and the White Rabbit say that watching television is OK in moderation throughout the episode, unlike other shows that point out how absolutely amazing a lack of television is ("Arthur's TV-Free Week" comes to mind). Plus it seems that Wonderland operates on a different time schedule, considering that the whole episode takes place over three days, but when Alice exits her mirror, she talks to Dinah as if she left two minutes ago.
  • 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: In the episode "This Bunny for Hire," the rabbit accidentally breaks a "crystal" vase belonging to the Queen, and has to take a second job plus various odd jobs 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: The Mad Hatter's "How true that is" and the Queen's "Oh harrumph!"
  • Cats Are Snarkers: The Cheshire Cat, with some instances of the Visual Pun Literalist Snarking he displays in the movie.
  • 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.
  • Clown Car Base: Dormouse's teapot home.
  • 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—
    • Even the reasonable Alice falls victim to this trope occasionally. In an episode about pizza making, she declares that she only likes plain cheese. The Caterpillar suggests that she try a variety of flavors, and she replies "I like a variety of cheeses on my pizza!"
  • 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.
  • The Conscience: While they all have their moments, the Hare often acts like one to the group whenever they reach a poor choice of judgment.
  • 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.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: The Copy Catter Hatter. Complete with moustache, all-black outfit and shifty behavior.
  • 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.
  • Distant Duet: The Hatter and his evil cousin do one in "Copy-Catter Hatter". The use of the Split Screen makes it seem like they're aware that it's happening.
  • Does Not Know How to Say "Thanks": This was the Queen's Compressed Vice in the Thanksgiving episode "Gratitude Adjustment."
  • Eccentric Townsfolk: All the characters except Alice, naturally.
  • Fainting: The White Rabbit is prone to this in moments of extreme stress.
  • Fantastic Racism: The citizens of Wonderland have to learn tolerance when the Walrus moves into their neighborhood, with a bad reputation preceding "his kind".
  • Feud Episode: "Party Pooped" has the Hatter and Hare stop speaking after an argument, while "Metaphor Monday" has the Tweedles' sibling rivalry over a costume contest get out of hand.
  • 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.
    • In "Card 54, Where Are You?" the Queen becomes obsessed with collecting a set trading cards and makes the White Rabbit, Alice and the Tweedles eat through hundreds of the cereal boxes they come in. The Rabbit insists that this won't be a problem, because "I never tire of Carrot Crunchies." Cue a close-up of the Rabbit eleven boxes later, forcing himself to keep eating, obviously sick of the stuff.
    • In "Game Shows People Play," the Queen is a contestant on "Name That Adverb" and gets to move on to the bonus round. "What's the bonus round?" she asks. We then cut to her sitting in a dunk tank, where she'll be dunked in cold water if she gets a single adverb wrong, asking "This is the bonus round?"
  • 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 or cancel a party). This is probably due to it being Lighter and Softer than the source material.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Tweedledum goes through this in "All That Glitters," when trying to decide whether or not to eat a fruit that will make him stronger but might make him sick.
  • Green Aesop: Several. "A Litter Help From My Friends" deals with littering, "Bubble Trouble" with water pollution, and "Weed Shall Overcome" with plant conservation.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: The March Hare bills himself this way for his magic act in "Off the Cuffs."
  • Halloween Episode: Two of them: "Boo Who?" and the series' final episode, "A Wonderland Howl-oween."
  • Herr Doktor: The Hatter's disguise as Professor Memory in "Forget Me Knot".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The Hatter and the Hare.
    • Ho Yay: Not an episode goes by that the duo don't do or say something homoerotic.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: The Hare almost always has whatever prop is called for at the time stored in his jacket. Almost.
  • Hypno Fool: The episode "Hippity Hoppity Hypnotist" has the Hare try and fail to hypnotize the Rabbit, but accidentally hypnotize the Queen instead. She ends up making a fool of herself on a live TV cooking show by imitating a chicken every time she hears the word "red."
  • 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.
  • I Owe You My Life: In the episode "From Hare to Eternity," the Hare appoints himself the Queen's new bodyguard after she saves him from quicksand and drives her crazy with his overzealous attempts to "protect" her.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Queen. She's pompous, irritable and usually wants her way, but she cares about her subjects and can be very friendly and pleasant. See also Pet the Dog.
  • 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.
  • Lost Voice Plot: In "Lip-Sunk," the Queen loses her voice just before she's supposed to give a speech. The other Wonderland characters try to find her missing voice, but in the end Alice cures her with lemon-and-honey tea.
  • Lovable Nerd: The March Hare. He's very Adorkable, wears Nerd Glasses and tacky clothes and is pretty intelligent, though short on common sense, and is also a very likeable guy.
  • The Moving Experience: In the episode "Welcome Back Hatter," the Hatter wins a "castle" in a contest and everyone thinks he'll be moving away from Wonderland to live in it, but in the end it turns out that the castle is a tiny toy.
  • 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 
  • No Matter How Much I Beg: The Hatter evokes this trope word for word in "He's Not Heavy, He's My Hatter," when he makes the Hare promise not to let him eat any more cookies so he can lose weight.
  • 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.
    • A running gag throughout the series is that whenever the characters plan something that would be ruined if the Queen found out, the Hatter says "Only if she recognized us!" and gives everyone Groucho glasses. This gag gets a holiday variation in "Christmas in Wonderland," when 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.
    • In "The Bunny Who Would Be King," the Rabbit rattles off a list of the movies his brother Rabbit De Niro has starred in, which are all rabbit-themed spoofs of Robert De Niro's actual movies: "Raging Bunny," "Cape Fur," and even "Taxi Dermy".
  • Pet the Dog: The Queen might be a bit of a Royal Brat, but whenever the show deals with serious social issues like bigotry or ableism, she's usually the one who helps teach the Aesop, not learn it:
    • 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 even praises a fruit-covered hat that Hedda designs for her, despite having hated fruity hats in a previous episode.
    • In the Walrus's debut episode, when all her subjects are afraid of him and refusing to interact with him, she wholeheartedly welcomes him, and then bans the others from her party to show them how it feels to be shunned.
  • Plot Allergy: In the episode "Something to Sneeze At," the Hatter thinks he's allergic to the Hare, but really he's allergic to flowers from the Hare's garden.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Subverted, actually. Even including the original novel, this is one of the very few versions of Lewis Carroll's story in which the Mad Hatter is seen actually designing and making hats.
  • Race Lift: The Queen, Tweedledee, Tweedledum and the Walrus are played by African Americans.
  • 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?).
    • In the first episode, "Her-Story in the Making," the Hatter and Hare apparently don't like grocery shopping - each tries to convince the other to do it, until finally they fob it off on Alice. In the later episode "Dinner Fit for a Queen," they enjoy doing it, especially when one of them gets to ride in the shopping cart.
  • 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.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The "real world" plot of "The Red Queen Crown Affair" is Alice trying to determine which of her siblings ate the candy she was saving for herself. After the Wonderland plot, she returns and tells Dinah that she's remembered that neither of them did—she brought the candy to a softball practice and shared it with her friends. The clues implicating her brother and sister were her own mistakes.
    • The Friday the 13th episode kicks off when the Hatter breaks a few teacups at his party; he and the Hare decide this unlucky event means that the superstitions about the day are true. At the end of the episode, he casually mentions that he broke less teacups on the thirteenth than he did the day before.
  • Shout-Out: Alice's sister's name? Kathryn.
  • Slice of Life: Albeit very quirky life.
  • Spinning Clock Hands: Parodied in "The Adventures of Spectacular Man," when the Hatter and Hare spend the night reading comic books - the Hare comments "You really should fix that clock," and the Hatter pounds it to make the hands stop spinning.
  • Stage Magician: The Hare becomes one in "Off the Cuffs", called the Amazing Hair-Raising Hare.
  • Start My Own: One episode sees the Hatter upset that the Hare is always late to their tea parties, so the Hare decides he's going to throw his own at precisely the same time. The rest of the Wonderlandians don't want to make either feel bad, so they go to both and end up too full to enjoy themselves.
  • 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.
  • Stock Animal Diet: The White Rabbit loves carrots and leafy green vegetables, the Cheshire Cat loves cream, and the Dormouse loves cheese... even though dormice aren't really mice. (Then again, real mice don't actually love cheese either.)
  • 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.
  • Temporal 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.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: There doesn't usually have to be much of an excuse for them to break into song, often without warning.
  • The Tonsillitis Episode: "Take My Tonsils... Please!" is this for the Hatter.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Just about all the Wonderlandians, compared to the Disney animated 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 Disney movie, but here he's gone back to approximately the same level of kindness he displayed in the original book.
  • Too Many Cooks Spoil the Soup: 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.
    • In one episode, the Walrus eats a delicious food called "Purple Potato Pancakes," but it turns out that the process of making them is extremely complicated. The Wonderlandians are reluctant to do it, until the Cheshire Cat mentions that there's a treasure hidden in the potato patch; he later explains that the treasure is in the potatoes themselves, so they'll have to be peeled. Whether he was implying that the "treasure" was the results of their hard work or simply tricking them isn't explained.
    • In "Christmas in Wonderland," the Queen is crabby about the Wonderlandians' attempt to bring her snow, especially since the snow they found melted and ended up as a bucket of water on her head. The Cheshire Cat fades in and pretends to commiserate with the Queen, casually dropping hints about all of the hard work her subjects did to make her happy. She quickly realizes she's been a jerk and rushes off to apologize.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Alice and the Queen are the only female main characters.
  • 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.
  • Who's on First?: "Hippity Hoppity Hypnotist" includes an an entire song like this, as the Queen asks the Hatter for a recipe for his "special tea," but he thinks she's saying "specialty" and offers her all his favorite recipes except tea.
  • 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.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: While the show never came down firmly on the question of how Wonderland and "real world" time differ, a few episodes drop clues that Alice returns to her bedroom mere seconds after her trips regardless of their length. "TV or Not TV?" is explicitly stated to take place over a period of three days, but when Alice comes back to sum up what she's learned to Dinah, she talks about the homework she has to do that night (the same homework that she was complaining about when the show started), so it's been a period of minutes at most. Similarly, "Christmas in Wonderland" happens over the course of at least eight hours (it's bright and sunny when Alice arrives, and nightfall at the end of the Wonderland segment), but again, she returns to the real world without any time elapsing.
  • 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.
  • You Mean "Xmas": Averted with Valentine's Day, Halloween and Christmas, which are all celebrated in Wonderland, albeit in unusual ways, but played straight with the Thanksgiving-esque "Thanks-A-Lot Day."