Caitlin's Way is a 2000-2002 Nickelodeon live-action teen drama series. In Australia it is known as Just A Kid
Caitlin (Lindsay Felton) is a troubled girl who has bounced from one foster home to another after her father leaving and her mother's death. Her pain is hidden by a tough exterior and troublemaking, which eventually leads to her getting kicked out of Catholic school. Instead of going to a juvenile detention center, she decides to move to Montana with relatives who don't know she exists. As the three seasons progress, she learns to adapt to the place so foreign to her and work out her problems, as well as build connections to the people around her.
This was the biggest Teen NICK
attempt at drama, and it was not attempted again until Zoey 101
Tropes related to the series:
- All Girls Like Ponies
- Alpha Bitch: Taylor, but her brattiness is suggested to stem from her daddy issues.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Caitlin's karate instructor delivers one in "Side Kicks":
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Griffen and Caitlin tended to have these moments when not fighting.
- The B Grade: Averted in "Testing." Griffen is overjoyed to discover that he was in the 89th percentile a standardized test. (As he should be, considering that a grading mistake had him previously believing that he was in the bottom 30 percent.)
- Bait-and-Switch Comparison: In "Boundaries":
"I'm not getting in the back with that smelly thing (beat)
or the pig."
- Griffen returns the favor in "Beautiful Dreamers" during his comedy routine:
I hear you've added a girl and a wild horse to your family? What's that like? Griffen:
Well it's been pretty weird. There's the bucking, the stomping, the whinnying (beat)
and then there's Bandit.
- Catholic Schoolgirls Rule
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Garth seemingly drops off the face of the earth after the first season despite being an important potential love interest and is never mentioned again. His place is taken by stereotypical bad-boy Will.
- Clear My Name: Subverted in "Making Allowances". Caitlin is falsely accused of stealing 200 dollars from a department store and it looks like she's guilty for sure when the money turns up in her bag. The subversion is that she simply runs away, making no effort to clear her name and ends up doing so by accident: The photo she had agreed to take for Griffen showed the real culprit putting the money in her bag.
- Deadpan Snarker: Cailtin and Griffen were both pretty good at this. A hilarious example from "Boundaries":
Caitlin: You didn't think I knew the answer, did you?
Griffen: No, I thought you were choking on your words for dramatic effect.
- Delinquents: Several throughout the series, but the protagonist too.
- Double Meaning Title: The season one episode "Caitlin's Trust" refers to both Caitlin questioning whether or not she can trust the Lowes after learning they were receiving government checks for letting her live with them and the trust fund they opened in her name, which they've been depositing those checks in.
- Engineered Public Confession: Done to Taylor in "Dr. Truth" after she gives out bad advice as the host of a school radio show. Caitlin comes in and chews Taylor out and Jordan sends it out over the air so that people will hear Caitlin's insight. Taylor is extremely embarrassed that her opinion of popularity (that to be popular, you have to sacrifice your personality) was expressed on the air and wonders how she'll face her friends. Caitlin sarcastically responds "Well maybe they'll understand."
- Fatal Flaw: Caitlin's is that she's stubborn and always has to be right. Pointed out by Dori in "Side Kicks".
- Fire-Forged Friends: Taylor and Caitlin after having to deal with being lost in the woods together. It doesn't last though.
- Fish out of Water: Caitlin
- Whole Episode Flashback: "Truant"
- Flashback with the Other Darrin: In a bizzare instance of this trope, in "Truant", a flashback is shown to Caitlin's expulsion from her Catholic school and the actress who played the school administrator was replaced...by a male actor.
- Future Loser: Caitlin has a vision of herself as this when she considers dropping out of high school in "Truant"
- Garage Band: Griffen and his friends have one.
- Genre Savvy: Caitlin picks out the members of different social cliques at her school in High River after spending about a minute there:
- Idiot Ball: Caitlin getting scammed at Three Card Monte twice in "Money Walks". As someone who used to run that scam herself, she should have known that she was going to lose money playing it.
- Jerkass: Caitlin's foster parents in the pilot.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Caitlin, although she's more sarcastic and easily annoyed than an actual jerk.
- Jive Turkey: Jordan is the "stereotypical black" in every way with this.
- Large Ham: Eric.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Taylor, on a good day.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: In "Solar Mates":
"Griffen, there are two kinds of music in this world: Music people like to listen to (beat)
- Not So Different: According to Dori, Caitlin and Taylor have the same Fatal Flaw.
- Old Friend: Charlie Sullivan from "Heartbeat".
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: Caitlin had several, including her mother's CD player but most noticeably the locket she always wore.
- Out of Order: Twenty-six episodes were produced for season one, but only twenty-two were broadcast at the time. The other four were shown later, but not until after the season two premiere had already made reference to some of the events from those episodes.
- Pun-Based Title: A few of the episodes did this. For example, "Making Allowances" was about Caitlin earning her first allowance and "Bear With Me" was about an escaped bear being loose in High River.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite Caitlin's anti-authoritarian attitude, a lot of the authority figures she dealt with were pretty reasonable.
- The Snark Knight: Caitlin had her moments of this. It's one of the reasons Taylor initially hated her, stating that it wasn't normal for Caitlin not to care about having friends.
- Starving Artist: Caitlin's dad, and the trope is deconstructed when his pitiable position and lack of money gets him blamed for a counterfeit scam.
- Tagalong Kid: Julie
- Title Drop: Done in Caitlin's ending monologue of the episode "Heartbeat", though she title drops the episode, not the show:
Caitlin: I'm glad I'm not where Charlie is. Because I could be...in a heartbeat."
- Token Black: Jordan
- Ungrateful Bitch: Taylor's gratitude to Caitlin for saving her life doesn't seem to extend beyond the end of "Solar Mates", as future episodes have her getting on Caitlin's case when she joins the soccer team and giving her a hard time when she fills in for a friend at the local diner.
- Visit by Divorced Dad: Played straight in an episode with a guest star, when her father returned but angered her by forgetting about her hockey game.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: A lot of characters use this for depth / character development, two major characters being Eric and Taylor.
- Will They or Won't They?: Constantly.