Series: Good Luck Charlie
Good Luck Charlie
is a domestic comedy
, produced for the Disney Channel
. It premiered on April 4, 2010 and aired its finale on Feburary 10, 2014 with 97 episodesnote
The show's billed cast consists of the members of the Duncan family, a typical working-class family living in a Hollywood writer's version
of the Denver
area, who are adjusting to the recent addition (implied to have been an unexpected pregnancy) of a new family member, namely the titular Charlie.
Believe it or not, this is the first low-concept
Disney Channel show in nine years
, since Lizzie McGuire
premiered in 2001 (making it the first such series in the recognized DCLAU
). The creators worked meticulously on crafting a show with broad appeal and relatable characters, and wanted a show that whole families would watch and enjoy, rather than just tween girls. As with most KidComs
, it is a bit of a stretch to call the Duncans a normal family.
The Duncan family consists of eldest sister (and main character) Teddy (played by Bridgit Mendler
), mother Amy, middle brother Gabe, youngest sister Charlotte (or "Charlie", giving the series its name
), father Bob, eldest child P.J. and newest edition Toby. The series now has a Character Sheet
, Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas!
was originally aired on Disney Channel December 2, 2011. It concerns the Duncans trying to make it to Palm Springs, California (and Amy's parents' new condo) in time for Christmas. Though they originally board a flight to Palm Springs, Teddy volunteers to be let off the plane due to overbooking in exchange for another plane ticket she plans to use for Spring Break. Due to all other flights being full, Teddy, accompanied by Amy, need to find an alternate means to get to Palm Springs. Wacky Hijinks Ensue
. Much like how the series was the first low-concept series on Disney Channel for just as long, Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas!
was the first Christmas-themed original movie
to premiere on the network in ten years.
Also had a Cross Over
Episode with Shake It Up
titled Charlie Shakes it Up
; unlike other Disney live-action series crossovers this only consisted of a single Good Luck Charlie
episode rather than an episode for each participating series. A larger-scale crossover with Jessie
aired in November 2013, Good Luck Jessie: NYC Christmas
. There are also three extended episodes, Snow Show
, Sun Show
(both of which have the Duncans go on vacation) and Duncan Dream Home
(the Season 4 opener).
After five years, four seasons and exactly 100 episodes, the series closed out on February 16, 2014 with the one-hour episode, Goodbye Charlie
Not to be confused with Good Luck Chuck
Good Luck Charlie provides examples of:
- Acting for Two: Bridgit Mendler as Teddy and Future Charlie in a dream in "Bye Bye Video Diary"note .
- Patricia Belcher was acting for five as Mrs. Dabney and her quintuplets in the Credits Gag. But initially in the episode, she was only Acting for Two.
- Jason Dolley in the Credits Gag for one episode ("Meet the Parents") in which a mostly Identical Stranger from Britain visits. PJ was pretending to be an ironically similar character earlier that episode, only this guy was from (and this troper may have spelt it wrong) Ostritchishishishire.
PJ: Ah. One "shish" short.
- Leigh-Allyn Baker played as both Amy Duncan and her jealous polar opposite spinster sister Jamie Blankenhooper in the episode "Sister, Sister."
- Eric Allan Kramer played both Bob and his non-canon mother during the Credits Gag of "Dress Mess".
- Aesop Amnesia: Teddy in The Movie seemed to not learn her lesson at the end when she volunteers to get off the plane to get another free ticket, similar to how she did in the beginning that set the events of the movie in motion in the first place. This time Bob decides to chase after her instead of Amy.
- Which fits in well with the whole Truth in Television aspect of the show.
- Then with regards to Charlie's jealousy of Toby—In Doppel Date, Charlie is still jealous of Toby, despite learning to get over it in Guys and Dolls.
- Adult Fear: One episode has the kids looking after Charlie while their parents go out to dinner. They all take her out of the house and after a while, think they've lost her and have no idea where they can possibly find her. Anyone who has ever lost a child they're responsible for in a store or on the playground can relate to the terror the kids show.
- Adults Are Useless: Averted - Bob & Amy are fairly on the ball when it comes to what's going on under their roof, and have figured out several of the kids' schemes.
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: PJ and Bob meet a gruff biker couple who threaten to gut them like fish when they try to steal their motorcycles. Subverted when the man starts bawling like a baby when Bob explains that they need the bikes to get to the hospital for Charlie's delivery.
- Heck two of them become Charlie's godparents, to Amy and Bob's chagrin, though they do let them on anyway.
- All There in the Manual: As per Disney Channel tradition, the website gives more in-depth information than could perhaps be gleaned from the show.
- Almost Kiss: The premiere has at least half a dozen.
- Aloof Big Brother and Aloof Big Sister: PJ and Teddy toward Gabe, most of the time.
- And Starring: Jason Dolley, who plays the eldest son, rather than one of the two parents as is more typical for family sitcoms (though Eric Allan Kramer gets a "with" credit). This is probably because of his years of long and loyal service to the Mouse House.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Gabe.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Jo says that she likes "monster trucks, mixed martial arts... and dolls."
- In "Hawaiian Vacation Part 2", Amy claims that "it's all because of the curse. Me getting stuck in that elevator, the boys almost crashing in a helicopter, Teddy getting knocked out, you buying that shirt....
- Artistic License – History:
- Ass Shove: When PJ interrupts Teddy's make-out, er... study, session with his loud guitar playing, she threatens to do this with his amplifier cable:
Teddy: Next time I have to come down here, this is getting plugged in someplace else.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In "Girl Bites Dog", Teddy has two dreams that feature a giant Charlie attacking Spencer, one before and one after the break-up.
- In another episode, Gabe tries to film a movie called "Attack of the 50 Foot Baby."
- Awesome Mc Cool Name: PJ's full name is revealed to be Patrick John Darth Duncan. Bob and Amy's fifth child is named Toby Wan-Kenobi Duncan. Bob's a big fan of the movies.
- Keep in mind that the middle names were revealed during the Credits Gag of the episode in which Toby is born, and Bob crashes a car through an interior wall in a room on the eighth floor of the hospital; these names do not need Word of God to confirm that they are non-canon.
- Berserk Button: This cannot be stressed enough: Do not call Amy "crazy" or "a pest" in front of Bob. (Yes Mr. Piper, we're talking to you.)
- The B Grade: In the episode "Teddy's Little Helper", Teddy uses Charlie to help her get out of the abomination of getting a B in English class on her progress report. Hilarity Ensues.
- Inverted with Ivy in the same episode. She gets a B and is pleasantly surprised. But when she gets a second B in a row, she realizes her mom will come to expect good grades from her, so she decides to change it to a D.
- Big "NO!": In "Battle Of The Bands," when Teddy finds out who Skyler's dating...
Teddy (looking at the pictures of Skyler and friend that just came out of a photo booth): No, no, NOOOO!!!
PJ (popping out of said booth): Yes, yes, YES!
- Bilingual Bonus: in Appy Days, we learned that Amy is a Spanish speaker.
- Birds of a Feather: Gabe and Jo
- Birthday Episode:
- This was done one once a season for the title character.
- There was also one for "Gabe's 12 1/2 birthday", which involved a belated birthday celebration for Gabe.
- Bishōnen: PJ. Then again, Jason Dolley is one of Disney's token teen heartthrobs...
- Black and Nerdy: Emmett.
- Black Best Friend: PJ has Emmett, and Teddy has Ivy. It is very fitting, as Emmett and Ivy were once in a relationship until they broke up prior to the events of the first episode.
- Kelsey can also be this, seeing as how she has joined Teddy' s circle of friends
Gabe: Teddy, we both know there's a motorcycle, we both know there's a guy, and we both know I have photos.
- Bland-Name Product: A movie theater box office is shown to accept "Vista" cards, which might also be a reference to the Vista Federal Credit Union, a large bank on Walt Disney World property that also hosts the world's largest sundial. And Gabe plays "Pokeo" (but not Wigimon), a game with cartoon creatures.
- Book Dumb: Ivy, who waited until her sophomore year in high school to get her highest grade ever: a B.
- A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family: The family has 2 boys, 2 girls and a baby.
- The Brainless Beauty: Skyler.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: From "Baby's First Vacation": "It's the ghost." "Or the killer." "Or the killer ghost." "Or the ghost killer."
- Brought Home the Wrong Kid: PJ hits on a girl with an identical baby carriage. Charlie is a girl, but this girl was carrying a boy with her. You can imagine what happened.
- Bumbling Dad: Bob.
- Burger Fool: "Kwikki Chikki" is a textbook example, apart from being a KFC ripoff as opposed to "one of them burger boys".
- Butt Monkey: Gabe.
PJ: We used to do all kinds of fun stuff.
Gabe: When did that stop?
Teddy: Let's see... how old are you?
- California Doubling: Semi-Averted in The Movie, filmed largely in Utah and Las Vegas (where at least portions of the plot play through). Played straight in the series, which is entirely shot on a Burbank soundstage.
- Speaking of The Movie, the exterior shot of "Denver International Airport" is really Reagan National Airport. You can clearly see the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument in the background!
- Call Back: "Baby Steps" calls back to the first episode, "Study Date."
- "Sister, Sister" calls back to "Take Mel Out to the Ball Game."
- "Down A Tree" goes full circle with "Up a Tree", where the whole family is on the treehouse, and it falls, again.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : In the supermarket, Charlie takes a pair of sunglasses off a stand like babies are prone to do and is caught by security when they go through the sensors.
- This wouldn't be so bad if the 'psycho, thinks he's a cop', security guard didn't treat Charlie like a hardened criminal. He takes mugshots of her, refuses to let anyone leave until the cops come to take them away, and accuses the baby of being a little person.
- Many of Teddy's video logs (the ones she's recording for Charlie) reflect upon this trope.
- Captain's Log: Teddy's video diary, intended for Charlie's viewing later on, forms a substantial portion of the narrative.
- The Cast Showoff: Bridgit Mendler's singing.
- PJ is the guitarist for his band, and Jason Dolley plays the guitar in real-life as well as the piano. However, opinions vary on PJ's playing ability but that is a different trope.
- Spencer and Emmet both can dance and they have a dance-off in which they take turns serving each other.
- Spencer also sings part of "One Step Closer" (a song on Shane Harper's self titled album) during a talent show.
- Teddy has a few chances to sing on the show, once for a talent show, a contest, and an audition for a school musical.
- Her friend Skyler does a duet with Teddy for the talent show, but they combine with PJ and Emmet's band and mash-up both songs and subsequently win the talent show.
- Leigh-Allyn Baker appears for have professional dance training, and Amy Duncan tries to teach her family simple and complicated dance moves and routines in an episode when she wants them to do a song and dance number for her hospital's fundraiser. When they don't even try to duplicate what she just showed them, she asks, "what are you waiting for?" and Teddy says "10 years for dance lessons." Which may be a hint to Leigh-Allyn having dance training, or could just be a joke, or both. She even gets an applause track played after the more complicated part of her routine, probably pointing to the former.
- Then there's also Victor, who sings very well in an episode, as his actor, Kevin Covais was a finalist in American Idol.
- Catch Phrase: "Good luck, Charlie"
- Caught on the Jumbotron: This happens when Teddy's Great-Uncle Mel is brought to a baseball game and proceeds to moon the playersï¿½thankfully, Teddy and Ivy manage to cover Mel with foam hands when the camera predictably ends up on the scene.
- Character Development: Spencer started out looking like a Satellite Love Interest, but later turned out to be pretty interesting. And then turns out to be a cheating Jerkass.
- To his credit, Spencer deeply regretted his actions, and has made up with Teddy. They're dating once more.
- Then there's the time Spencer and Teddy broke up again, this time due purely through circumstance. It simultaneously cemented the relationship while demoting it
- Then there's Charlie herself—as she grows up, she seems to take after Gabe, who was jealous of her, whereas now Charlie is jealous of Toby. She also appears to be shaping up to be a troublemaker, like Gabe.
- Childhood Memory Demolition Team: Bob has to saw down the kids' old tree house in a deal made with Mrs. Dabney.
- Christmas Episode: Got two; the first one was actually The Movie.
- Cloudcuckoolander: PJ and Skyler.
- Continuity Nod: In the movie: while Charlie is on somewhat of a rampage at her Grandma's living room, she knocks over a fragile and expensive knick-knack. Bob hurries to catch it, which he does. This may remind viewers of the first episode (and the trailer for the episode) in which Bob catches Charlie in a similar slow-mo fashion.
- The C-plot of The Movie (the Duncan men ending up in a paintball war) ties back to Gabe's love of video games. Also, the Z-Cube 700 confiscated at the airport is a direct Shout-Out to the events in "Can You Keep A Secret?"
- In the episode "Special Delivery", a couple of Charlies old toys that were present in earlier episodes make an appearance at Charlie's birthday party. The mangled stuffed monkey from "Monkey Business", and Tennis ball head from "Up A Tree", which is a doll with no head and tennis ball in its place that was originally Teddy's.
- Also from the same episode, Amy proclaims, "Mama's having a baby child" Which she tried to ad-lib into Teddy's play in "Pushing Buttons" about Bob and Amy telling her she was pregnant with Charlie. However Amy didn't actually say this when she was pregnant with Charlie, and she didn't go into labor with Toby when she said it the second time, it was just a diversion.
- An interesting (albeit accidental) inversion: In "Teddy and the Bambino", Bob mentions having dropped both Charlie and Toby, which recalls both the pilot ("Study Date") and "Baby Steps." However, in "Study Date" Amy claims that Bob dropped yet another one of the kids as a baby, making the total at least three.
- In "Doppel Date" it's revealed that Bob and Amy still have yet to correct P.J.'s legal name from "Potty John."
- Also from that episode, Spencer's date who looks a lot like Teddy is named Gigi, which was Teddy's nickname in "Ditch Day".
- Cool Big Sis: Teddy can be this to Gabe when she's not busy being the Aloof Big Sister.
- Could Say It But: Gabe uses this on PJ a couple of times in the Hawaiian episode.
- Crappy Holidays: The Christmas special movie.
- Credits Gag: Over the end credits of every episode there's an epilogue to the story, usually with something unrealistic happening.
- Crossover: With Shake It Up, entitled "Charlie Shakes It Up".
- The season 4 premiere is a crossover with The Muppets.
- A Christmas themed crossover with Jessie titled "Good Luck Jessie: NYC Christmas"
- The Cue Cards Knew You Would Say That: In one episode, Teddy comes down with laryngitis the day before a critical presentation in class. When she tells her partner that she has to do the presentation, she responds to her objections with a set of bizarrely specific pre-written cards. Lampshaded by Bob.
- The Cutie: Charlie.
- Deadpan Snarker: Gabe, constantly.
- Teddy has the occasional Snarker moment as well.
- Pretty much all the Duncans have shades of this. Not to forget their neighbor Ms. Dabney.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Back-to-back in "Teddy's Bear". Mr. Piper gives Teddy a lower grade because 'she didn't fill the oval in completely', and then writes up a disciplinary notice on her when she breaks the point off one of his pencils.
- In "Boys Meet Girls", Jo dislocates Gabe's shoulder when she thinks he's cheating at the game they're playing.
- In "Charlie Did it!" Hugo the store manager arrest Charlie, a infant for taking a pair of sunglasses. This is further show by his having mugshot of her done.
- Distracted by the Sexy: In the episode "Baby Come Back", PJ takes Charlie out for a stroll in the park. He runs into a post at the sight of Emma, a cute girl taking her baby brother out for a stroll. This would've been only mildly amusing if not for the following:
Teddy: (furious) How could you bring home the wrong baby?
PJ: I'm sorry; I got a little distracted: Emma is really cute!
Teddy: Yeah, so's our little sister.
- The Ditz: Gabe's friend Jake, almost to the point of being an Expy of Ralph Wiggum.
PJ: He can't even count to 10, which coincidentally is the number of years he's going to be in high school.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: "Hang In There, Baby", performed by Bridgit Mendler.
- Also "I'm Gonna Run to You", also by Bridgit Mendler, for The Movie
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: There is a girl in Gabe's class that beats him up constantly and even gives him a busted lip. But it's totally justified since she has a crush on him. It's also Truth in Television for pre-teens.
- Dreadful Musician: PJ and Emmett.
- Driving a Desk: All of the scenes involving automobiles thus far.
- Drives Like Crazy: Bob with the new car. First, he crashes it into the kitchen. Then, in the credits, he crashes it into the eighth floor of a building.
- Dumb Jock: Spencer, from Victor's point of view.
- The Eeyore: Gabe seems to find some therapeutic value in bemoaning his new family situation.
- Embarrassing First Name: According to his birth certificate, PJ's name is revealed to be "Potty John". Bob tries to get it corrected, but PJ's name is now "PP" Duncan.
- Every Episode Ending: Teddy's last entry in the video diary for the episode, which always ends with a Title Drop.
- Evil-Detecting Baby: In "Girl Bites Dog", Charlie bites Spencer because she somehow knows he's cheating on Teddy.
- Evil Overlord List: Played with in Gabe, who probably has the damn thing memorized, but occasionally slips up. For example, in "Appy Days", he forgot rule #20 before drinking a glass of water....
- Expy: PJ is a grungier, working-class version of Newt Livingston. This is made even more pronounced by the fact that the same actor plays both characters. PJ is probably smarter than Newt, but the characters on this show are smarter too, so it balances out.
- PJ and Emmett's band is in a similar style to Cory and Newt, minus the singer. As for PJ's intelligence, Newt was intelligent, but only when it came to things that the others didn't know; PJ on the other hand does not have any form of intellectual knowledge, but is capable of handling himself.
- Ivy is also clearly Mercedes.
- Fake Video Camera View: Used for Teddy's video diaries.
- Five-Man Band: The Duncan family.
- Depends on how you look at it, either this:
- or, alternatively:
- Foe Yay: In-universe example between Victor and Victoria.
- Don't forget Jo and Gabe! A part of why they antagonize each other is because they in fact like each other.
- Follow in My Footsteps: Amy pushes Teddy to try to be the school mascot, purely because she was the mascot when she was a student.
- Bob states that he'd like PJ to join him in pest control, and he'd rename the company to "Duncan & Son" if he did. PJ immediately decides to go study.
- Foreign Remake: Rather than broadcasting a dubbed or subtitled version (like they do in, you know, every other country), Disney Channel India created its own show, "Best Of Luck Nikki", in Hindi with Indian actors and localized content. The storylines are usually identical for every episode, but they actually went to the trouble of Indianizing the cultural jokes and translating the theme song.
- It's not a bad tool to use to learn Hindi.
- Foreshadowing: The chalkboard on the fridge has a section for chores, as well as sections which mostly serve as To-Do lists for each Duncan, even Charlie. If it's visible, expect it to at least vaguely be part of the episode and most of the time a huge part of the it.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Bob (sanguine), Amy (choleric), P.J. (phlegmatic), Teddy (melancholic), Gabe (sanguine/choleric), and Charlie (leukine).
- From the Mouths of Babes: Charlie ruins Amy's baby shower by showing just how much she understood of an earlier conversation. There was also an episode where Amy and Bob tried to find out how Charlie learned a bad word.
- Future Loser: Charlie in the vision that Teddy has of her as a teenager in "Bye Bye Video Diary".
- Gamer Chick: Jo, and she takes it very seriously. She ends up dislocating Gabe's shoulder when she thinks he's cheating at the game they're playing.
- Gasshole: The entire Duncan family has such tendencies (Teddy even admits it), but special mention goes to Amy while she was pregnant.
- Bob admits to having a gas-related joke for every venue.
- Gaussian Girl: Gabe has this reaction when he sees Jo dressedup for Cotillion.
- Gender-Blender Name: Charlie, Teddy and Jo.
- Charlie's real name is Charlotte though, so it's really more of an 'Only Known by Their Nickname' case. Jo is also probably short for a more feminine name as well.
- Genre Savvy: Every single Duncan. Arguably, one of the major drawing points of the show.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Now with its own page.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Well, that's how Charlie got there, and why the new kid is on the way. It's even lampshaded on occasion - usually by Teddy and PJ.
- G-Rated Drug: Ivy is apparently a recovering chocolate addict.
- Halloween Episode: There were 3 Halloween episodes in this series: "Scary Had a Little Lamb" "Le Halloween" and "Fright Night".
- Happily Married: Bob and Amy.
- Has Two Mommies: The penultimate episode featured Charlie on a play date with a girl who had lesbian parents.
- Heh Heh, You Said X:
Amy: Grab your buns! It's sloppy joe night!
Gabe: Heh heh, Mom said "grab your buns."
- Henpecked Husband: Bob.
- Hide Your Pregnancy: In a unique straight-playing case, Leigh-Allyn Baker announced to the cast and crew that she was pregnant with her second child after they finished filming the birth episode. Thus, she filmed several episodes of the show after Toby was born wearing looser shirts that could be passed off in-universe as not having lost the baby weight.
- High School Sweethearts: Bob and Amy. Bob played basketball; Amy was the mascot.
- Holding Both Sides of the Conversation: In "Appy Days", Teddy tricks both her mother and Ivy's mother into letting them both go to a senior party by recording a conversation on her phone and playing it back so it appears their mothers are giving their approval.
- Hollywood Genetics: Parents Bob and Amy both have blonde hair and blue eyes, which are recessive genes. Yet, PJ is their only blonde-haired, blue-eyed child. Gabe and Toby have brown hair and brown eyes. Teddy and Charlie are both blonde, but Teddy's eyes are brown and Charlie's are hazel.
- Hollywood Law: Apparently, Grand Theft Auto and kidnapping are dismissed as harmless pranks as long as it's funny.
- Hospital Hottie: Amy.
- How We Got Here: The episode in which Charlie turns two opens on all four of the Duncan kids in a prison cell. Bob and Amy arrive, prompting them to relate the events leading up to their incarceration.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Bob is played by Eric Allan Kramer, who measures 6'3" (190 cm), and quite noticeably dwarfs his wife Amy, who (based on comparison with Teddy) is maybe 5'3" (160 cm) on a good day.
- Humiliation Conga: Bob and Amy's preferred form of punishment, when the kids try to sneak out to parties and the like.
- Hypocritical Humor: In "Duncan's Got Talent", Ivy calls Spencer chicken for not telling Teddy she can't dance, but Ivy didn't tell her either.
- If It Bleeds, It Leads: In the 2013 Halloween episode, Amy, in search of an interesting news story, leaves Victor trapped in a hole just so that she could do a story on it, ignoring his pleas for help until somebody else responded to the call.
- If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Amy to Spencer after he and Teddy get back together.
- Intoxication Ensues: In the series premiere, Bob returns from the emergency room, having been administered some crazy powerful pain pills. He shakes Teddy's hand (believing her to be her study date, Spencer), kisses Spencer goodnight (believing him to be Teddy), and derives an unlimited amount of amusement value from the word "coccyx".
- Irony: In "Special Delivery", one of the tricks that Teddy attempts to get Amy to go into labor is scaring Amy (which doesn't work). The next day, determined not to give birth on Charlie's birthday, Amy asks for peace and quiet. When Bob crashes the new car into the kitchen while Amy is in the kitchen, the shock of the crash may have ironically caused Amy to go into labor.
- It's Always Spring: Averted, as several episodes have taken place during the winter, without ever mentioning Christmas.
- One episode was notable for taking place during the late spring... and having a huge blizzard.
- It's Pronounced Snoo-TAY: The prison guard from the episode where the Duncans all end up in jail.
- Jerkass: Mrs. Dabney.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Mr. Piper, to the level of Genre Blindness.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Mr. Piper, in "Teddy's Bear". He's also a Karma Houdini, as the principal doesn't ask why Amy was chasing him (or demand that he change her grade back - the cause of all the problems). Amy is forced to apologize to him; he makes rude comments to Bob about Amy, and neither of them manage to catch him.
- The Lad-ette: Jo is a prepubescent version.
- LARP: In the episode "LARP in the Park", naturally enough.
- Lawful Stupid: The store manager in "Charlie Did It!" who detained the kids because Charlie unknowingly shoplifted a pair of sunglasses.
- Left the Background Music On: Played with in the episode "The Case of Mr. Dabney", in which Mrs. Dabney says things to Bob that reinforce Gabe and PJ's suspicion that she killed her husband, punctuated by omninous-sounding music coming from a murder mystery playing on TV. Only the third time, it's not coming from the TV.
- Let Me Tell You a Story: Subverted in one episode. Gabe is feeling down because of jealousy over Charlie and Mrs. Dabney says she's going to tell him a story. She proceeds to tell him about the sister she hated as a child and caps it off by...saying that she still hates her. He asks how it's supposed to make him feel better and she says "I didn't say it was gonna make you feel better, I said I was gonna tell you a story."
- Mama Bear: Actually used by the Duncans to describe Amy - and she owns the trope to very good effect.
- One episode title directly lampshades this trope - the episode where Amy goes after one of Teddy's teachers is titled "Teddy's Bear."
- Manipulative Editing: In "Duncan's Got Talent", Jo tricks Gabe into letting her record footage of him, claiming they'll use it in a campaign ad for him, but she instead makes it a campaign ad for her, showing the clips out of context to make him look bad.
- Middle Child Syndrome: Gabe, although he's technically not (nor has he ever been) the middle child. It would appear this trope was averted prior to Charlie's birth, as the middle child was also the Duncans' only daughter.
- He is gonna be the middle child soon, however, as now we know that Amy is pregnant with another baby.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Subverted. Teddy thinks Spencer is cheating on her with Skyler, but then learns from Spencer that she's his cousin. He turns out to be lying. He is cheating on her with Skyler, who believes that Teddy is his cousin.
- Mistaken for Murderer: PJ and Gabe misinterpret their next door neighbor Mrs. Dabney's outburst at her soap operas, and her attempts to get rid of a bad smell and a large, heavy trunk as evidence that she murdered her husband.
- The Mountains of Illinois: An unusual example of this trope in a mountainous state. When Teddy drives Mrs. Dabney to Boulder, it's portrayed as a distant destination "in the mountains," complete with perilous roads containing hazards like getting stuck in a mudhole or running out of gas. In reality, Boulder is (traffic notwithstanding) not that long of a drive from Denver, the road connecting them is a superhighway, and the space between them mainly comprises existing or expanding suburbs.
- Mouthy Kid: Gabe IS this Trope, it could almost be called The Gabe.
Bob: Gabe, you wearing aftershave?
Bob: Why would you do that? You're not shaving.
Gabe: As long was we're being logical, why you do still have a comb?
- The Movie: Good Luck Charlie: It's Christmas!
- Mundane Made Awesome: Bob's penchant for bugs; the pillows on the Duncans' couch are upholstered with spider-patterned fabric.
- Mr. Fanservice: Spencer, most notably in "PJ In The City" when Teddy meets him while shopping for Picture Day-worthy clothes, and later when she interviews for a job where Spencer works.
- Multiple Demographic Appeal: Specifically made to be a show the whole family can watch, as opposed to Disney's usual targeting of young children or tweens. This show could very easily be aimed at adults if they shifted the focus of some episodes.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg:
Bob: It's so nice to have kids we can trust... and PJ.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In the Movie, when Amy is shocked after realizing that accusing Teddy of ruining Christmas would hurt Teddy's feelings. Teddy breaks down crying and walks away from Amy.
- Mythology Gag: Bob dropping Toby is almost a shot-for-shot remake of Bob dropping Charlie back in the pilot, complete with the second youngest child (Charlie/Gabe) eating a sandwich. They even replay the original scene at the beginning of the episode.
- Naked People Are Funny: In "Snow Show", when PJ is chased out of the hot girls' cabin by their mean, physically-imposing father, and told to leave the robe he's wearing as he's shown the door, PJ makes his way back to the lodge in the buff, covering his man-parts with his snowboard.
- Never Say "Die": This show departs from Disney Channel tradition and averts this by having PJ and Gabe suspect and accuse neighbor Mrs. Dabney of murdering her husband.
- The Nose Knows: Bob was able to identify the sex and species of a mouse, as well as the fact that it was pregnant, by analyzing the scent of its droppings.
- Nice Guy: Victor
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Debatable; Ever since Teddy took back Spencer, his basketball team hardly won any games, and now the whole school thinks Teddy is a jinx on Spencer.
- Official Couple: Teddy and Spencer, as of "Charlie Goes Viral", and up until "Girl Bites Dog". Restarted in "Can You Keep a Secret?" and PJ and Skyler.
- Once an Episode: The Title Drop and Teddy's video diary (with the odd exception like "Charlie Shakes It Up," which has a Title Drop - from Rocky and CeCe rather than Teddy or any member of the Duncan family - but no diary).
- Overprotective Dad: Bob toward Teddy. Given her eagerness to make out with guys, he has good reason.
- Pick Up Babes With Babes: There are two instances where P.J. does this with Charlie:
- The first in season one's "Baby Come Back" has him meeting a girl who is carrying her baby brother in a stroller as P.J. is doing with Charlie in the same park, resulting in both grabbing the wrong strollers and P.J., Teddy and Gabe searching for their baby sister ( only to find her in a restaurant with the girl from the park).
- Season two's "Something's Fishy" features P.J. using Charlie to get girls (even coaching her to say "I love P.J.", only for Charlie to say "I love poopie" instead, when it was actually time to say it); however Kayla, the girl he does score a date with, spends more time with Charlie than P.J. and blows off dates with P.J. when she finds out that Charlie isn't coming along ( reaching the point where Kayla actually comes over to P.J.'s house for the sole purpose of seeing Charlie, ultimately causing P.J. to realize that she is more interested in spending time with his baby sister than him and breaking up with Kayla on the spot).
- Ping-Pong Naïveté: Charlie often appears really smart for a baby, but she'll be the Spanner in the Works if the plot calls for it.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: For a couple of working stiffs who supposedly don't have enough time for their kids, Bob and Amy spend a lot of time hanging out around the house.
- Plot Device: Charlie.
- Poke the Poodle: Teddy tries to show she can be bad by - gasp! - drinking milk out of the carton. She refuses to swallow it, however, and runs to the sink to spit it out. Later on, Teddy makes a more earnest effort at being bad by ditching school and going to Super Adventure Land. After taking down a theft ring at the park, Teddy realizes she just doesn't have it in her to be a bad girl, and embraces her goody-good image.
- The Prankster: Gabe.
Teddy: Are you going to prank Dad?
Gabe: I'm Gabe; it's what I do!
- Previously On: Used for 2-parters.
- Put on a Bus: Skyler moved to New York City midway through the second season while dating PJ which causes him to follow her for that episode only. Bob shows up and tells him to let her go, explaining that if they're meant to be, they will get back together again someday. And Skyler ends up coming back in the Good Luck Jessie: NYC Christmas episode and she get's back together with PJ.
- Real Life Writes the Plot:
- The reason why Gabe ends up in an arm cast for a number of episodes without explanation is because Bradley Steven Perry actually did break his arm.
- Bridgit Mendler's and Shane Harper's real-life relationship may be the reason why Teddy and Spencer ended up back together
- The whole reason why Skyler was Put on a Bus in the first place was because she got her own show.
- The Reveal: In "It's Christmas", we find out Amy's pregnant with another baby.
- Road Show: The movie It's Christmas which focused on Amy and Teddy trying to get to Palm Springs after getting thrown out of the airport.
- Running Gag:
- Mrs. Dabney gushing over her son/cat/whatever, and one of the Duncan kids asking "what about Mr. Dabney?" which always gets the response "Yep, love that [X]."
- Teddy had to be pretend to be her mother on more than one occasion.
- There have been several incidents throughout the show where a character will come to visit the Duncan household, and something will happen during the course of that visit which causes said character to flee the house in terror while being chased by a member of the Duncan family, who is yelling something crazy, at which point said member looks off-screen from the porch and says, "Hi, Mrs. Dabney..."
- Whenever a Duncan needs to get out of a unfavorable situation with another family member they yell "coming" and leave the room as if someone else is calling them
- Secondary Character Title: Charlie's the baby of the family. Teddy's the main character who makes video diaries to Charlie, and title drops each of them.
- Serious Business: Bob insists upon being called a "Pest Control Specialist" rather than an "exterminator", and keeps a statue of a Jerusalem cricket in his living room.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Jo, in "Duncan vs. Duncan", prompting the usual jaw drop and uttering of "wow" from Gabe.
- Ship Tease: Between Teddy and Victor. It usually occurs in the form of either one of them mistaking the other's offer as a date.
- Shout-Out: The Bob Duncan Experience is an obvious reference to The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
- One of the episodes is called "Teddy's Lonely Hearts Club Band".
- The closing credits of "Ditch Day" parodies Dragnet.
- The episode Nurse Blankenhooper has a character with a weird -onnie name get her name mistaken for a more common name like Bonnie, an obvious reference to Crazy Ponnie, an episode of Victorious.
- In "Wentz's Weather Girls" P.J. and Charlie say "Winning isn't everything, its the the only thing." Which is a Shout-Out to the UCLA Bruins Football Coach Red Sanders. But most people assume it was said by Vince Lombardi.
- Show Within a Show: "Higgins And Zork". They Fight Crime IN SPACE!
- The Gurgles, a Teletubbies parody featuring people dressed as shapes. It's PJ's favorite show.
- Technically, Shake It Up Chicago, on which Amy, Teddy and Charlie danced as guest stars for an episode.
- Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Like most Disney Channel shows, the young characters are almost never in school or one kid will have a plot at home while another has a simultaneous plot while at school.
- Played with in "Ditch Day" when Amy asks, "Are any of my kids in school?"
- "Shut Up" Kiss: Teddy's first kiss was one of these.
- Silliness Switch: A rare TV example, nearly every Credits Gag is this. Especially those that feature Charlie doing something unrealistic, such as speeding on a motorcycle, being a doctor at her mom's hospital, and being the main attraction at on the dance floor at Teddy's high school.
- Slow No: Occurs in the pilot, when Bob sends Charlie flying through the air. The entire family participates... well, except for Gabe, who's immersed in his sandwich. He gets a Slow Mmm.
- Happens again when Bob trips and sends Toby in the air. Cue PJ and Gabe saying, "Nooooo!"
- Small Name, Big Ego: Amy likes to think that she's the best at everything she does, and seems to believe that she's a big time star just waiting to be discovered, and even once replaced her family for a group talent show for which she didn't technically apologize for.
- Hugo, the owner of the grocery store 'arrests' Charlie, Gabe and Teddy after Charlie picks up a pair of sunglasses, tries to detain them in-store for 9 hours with the intention of turning them over to the police, as much a case of making himself look more powerful than he actually was.
- The Snark Knight: Gabe, Mrs. Dabney and Jo all work this trope like dogs on a T-bone.
- Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: Teddy tries in vain to win the favor of her jerkass English teacher Mr. Dingwall (mostly because he gave her a bad grade). Dingwall has a Pet the Dog moment when he explains to Teddy that just because he doesn't like her doesn't mean there's anything wrong with her.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Amy, in-universe. In fact, when Teddy and Spencer are acting in a play, they pretend they're going out on dates instead of rehearsals to avoid Amy intervening.
- Stalker with a Crush: Emmett toward Teddy. He's actually convinced himself that they're in a real relationship.
- Standardized Sitcom Housing: With the exception of the giant bug in the living room, played painfully straight. The exterior shots appear to be from the same house as those from Phil of the Future.
- A slight subversion, however, in that it's explicitly stated that the family would be better off in a larger house as there isn't really enough room for four kids - Gabe and PJ are forced to share a room, while Teddy is moved into the basement.
- Stand-In Parents: Gabe cons PJ and Teddy into standing in as his parents for a parent-teacher conference so their real parents don't find out.
- Stealth Pun: One episode has Spencer try and play with Charlie. Charlie bites his finger.
- Status Quo Is God: Averted, even when you ignore Charlie being a baby in Season 1 & Gabe hitting puberty - PJ & Teddy both start & leave jobs in addition to starting & ending relationships, PJ graduates from high school & moves out, the Duncans have another baby, Amy quits her job, and the house is destroyed by termites.
- Stuck on a Ski Lift: Happens to Teddy and Spencer.
- Take That: The episode "Blankie Go Bye Bye" had one to people who are extremely obsessed with things like Star Wars and dress up in costumes and role play. The mother referred to them as 36-year old nerds. It didn't help that one of them wished that they were a robot.
- Teens Are Short: Averted in that Amy is shorter than both her son PJ and her daughter Teddy.
- That Poor Cat
- Tinkle in the Eye: The kids are busted in "Baby Come Back" because none of them can explain the pee stains in the living room.
- Title Drop: Obviously said Once an Episode, but uttered first by Amy on her way to work in the first episode.
- Today X, Tomorrow the World!: President Gabe Duncan.
Today Room 12, tomorrow Room 14. (beat)
Room 12 is being painted, so we're moving to Room 14.
- Toilet Humor: In a Disney Channel sitcom with two immature boys and a baby, what can you expect?
- Tomboyish Name: Jo, Teddy and Charlie.
Mel: Teddy? Charlie? Doesn't your dad know any girl names?
- Trailers Always Spoil: A preview for the Disney Channel Saturday the week after the premiere of Duncan's Got Talent gave away the ending of the episode, since they aired it in the commercial break just before the ending.
- Not exactly a trailer, but the music video for Bridgit Mendler's "I'm Gonna Run to You" pretty much spoils the entire movie before the movie has even come out.
- Actual trailers for the Christmas movie spoil the fact that Amy is pregnant again, by talking about the poll to name the new baby.
- A trailer aired in the middle of the birth episode that revealed that the baby was a boy.
- The B-Plot of "Teddy On Ice" is that Charlie learned a curse word and Bob and Amy are trying to figure out who taught it to her. The end of the trailer shows Amy cursing at traffic with Charlie in the backseat. Can you guess where Charlie learned it?
- Treehouse of Fun: PJ and Teddy had one, except they always fought in it.
- Truth in Television: To Serial Escalation levels, and in every single episode.
- Tsundere: Amy Duncan. Dear God.
- TV Teen: Played straight in that all the character's actors have perfect complexions, but otherwise averted with all the characters being played by people in their age range, along with several of them being taller than a few of the adults.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: In "Bye Bye Video Diary", Teddy has a dream of the year 2026, wherein Charlie has grown up to be a rebel (because Teddy stopped making video diaries for her) with a boyfriend in jail, and Teddy is now the Governor of Colorado. Everything looks like present day, except for Teddy's use of a jet pack. Whether or not jet packs are commonplace or a special privilege for government officials is never addressed.
- In "Special Delivery", Amy has a dream that she gave birth on Charlie's 3rd birthday, and everyone is focused on the baby while Charlie is ignored and sad on her birthday. After the dream, Amy tries to relax in order to avoid giving birth on Charlie's birthday, but Toby ends up being born on Charlie's birthday.
- An upcoming episode called "Futuredrama" is set when Charlie is fourteen and Toby is eleven.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Often 3 plots per episode. It's a big main cast.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Attractive nurse as the mom? Check. Fat, balding guy as the dad? Check.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Teddy is a tall, leggy blond with a pretty face. Bob... well, he's tall and blond. Pretty... not so much.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance:
- A video of Bob from his high school basketball days shows that he looked exactly like his son PJ does today, only with longer hair. PJ chooses not to see the resemblance.
- Mrs. Dabney apparently comes from a set of identical quintuplets.
- The Unfair Sex: Subverted. The females in the family, with the exception of Charlie, are just as bad as the males.
- Jo is just as bad as (if not worse than) Gabe, and the writers don't even try to make us think otherwise.
- The Unfavorite: Gabe. Things are so hectic in the series premiere that the rest of the family forgets to feed him.
- Unfortunate Names: PJ's name was supposed to be Patty John, after his grandfather, but the guy who wrote his birth certificate wrote "Potty John" instead. This is fixed by the end of the episode though. But now it instead reads "PP".
- Vacation Episode: "Snow Show" and "Sun Show".
- Vomit Chain Reaction: In "Teddy's Little Helper". First Charlie vomits, then Ivy, then the teacher, then all the students in a literal chain, one after the other.
- Wham Episode:
- "Girl Bites Dog" has Spencer revealed to be cheating on Teddy.
- "Can You Keep A Secret?": Spencer and Teddy get back together.
- More like Wham movie! In It's Christmas Amy is revealed to be pregnant.
- The third season finale, "All Fall Down" - Spencer moves to Boston to attend a performing arts school, PJ drops out of college to attend culinary school, and the Duncan's home is destroyed by Termites.
- What Does She See in Him?: Regarding her previous relationship with Emmett, Ivy can only plead temporary insanity. Ivy has a similar sentiment toward Teddy's latest boyfriend, Derek.
- Teddy taking back Spencer. Usually it's a big no-no for Disney as this sends the wrong message to impressionable girls.
- Whole Episode Flashback: "Charlie Is 1" has the family flashing back to Charlie's birth.
- Worthy Opponent: Gabe seems to find Mrs. Dabney one, as he's impressed by the Halloween prank she pulled on him: She hired him to protect her house from pranksters, then egged and toilet papered her own house so that Gabe would have to work for her for a full day.
Gabe: Well played, Mrs. Dabney. You are a worthy adversary.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: In "Boys Meet Girls", after Teddy discovers that Jo, the bully who has been beating up Gabe, is a girl, she points out how because Gabe is a boy, he can't hit back.
- Yoko Oh No: An In-Universe example: It was Amy's meddling that led to the demise of Bob's old band, the Bob Duncan Experience.
- Younger Than They Look: Believe it or not, Shane Harper, Spencer's actor, actually is a teen. Sure, he's in his late teens to be specific, but he still looked the way he does now at age 16 when he started on the show. Seriously, he looks older than Jason Dolley, who in real life is 21 but looks 17-18 like his character.
- Your Cheating Heart: Turns out Spencer was using the "cousin" excuse to keep Teddy and Skyler from finding out about each other. Doesn't end well for him. For Spencer, this has since become his greatest regret, and it takes a whole season for him to eventually gains Teddy trust while she begins to remember what he meant to her before she fully forgives him enough to take him back.