Meet Lizzie McGuire, a completely normal 13-year old girl, living a completely normal life. She goes to a completely normal school, with students (The Alpha Bitch Kate Sanders, ditzy hottie Ethan Kraft), and friends (dependable but emotional Miranda Sanchez, Teen Genius David Gordon, aka Gordo). Her home life is completely stereotypical, with a Nuclear Family that consists of her gnome-loving dad, Sam; level-headed mom, Jo, and bratty brother, Matt.Also, Lizzie has an animated conscience inside her head narrating her every move.This (and the transformation of Hilary Duff into an Idol Singer) managed to keep this series on Disney Channel for a full 65 episodes. From January, 2001 to February, 2004. It is commonly misblamed for being the first of Disney's tween sitcoms geared toward a more surburban audience, when the first being That's So Raven...being created by that one company known as ItsALaughProductions, but not the last Disney Channel shows (not counting cartoons) not made by that company, the last being Phil of the Future.It also has the honor of being the first Disney Channel Live Action TV series to gain a theatrical movie. A feat followed by its Spiritual Successor, Hannah MontanaNow has a Character page.
This show provides examples of:
Absentee Actor: Lalaine left the show towards the end of its run (in production, not broadcast order), and gets various excuses for missing episodes.
Alternative Foreign Theme Song: An interesting example of this one. Instead of using the original opening, the Japanese dub uses a dubbed version of "I Can't Wait" sung by Chieko Kawabe.
Adults Are Useless: Averted in a few places (usually with Jo), particuarly "Lizzie's Eleven".
Alpha Bitch: Played ludicrously straight with evil head cheerleader Kate.
Complete with Girl Posse, right down to having a second-in-command who's even more of an Alpha Bitch than she is.
Just to elaborate on the point above. When Kate broke her arm and her second in command took her position at the top, she banned non popular girls from using the bathrooms, and wouldn't let non popular students use tables for lunch forcing them to sit on the grass.......all of which could have been avoided if they told a teacher, she was doing it to every kid in school not just Lizzie, the teachers would have believed half the student body complaining about the same girl. She does this to Kate as well. Once Kate recovers though the second in command breaks her wrist, but Kate treats her no differently.
Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: It varied from episode to episode, but Lizzie's parents would sometimes qualify for this trope depending on their actions, though Jo was usually embarrassing for being overly motherly while Sam was more consistently embarrassing for just being himself.
Big Bad: Kate at first, though in the movie she had a Heel-Face Turn and the role is taken over by Paolo Valisari.
Black Hole Belly: Toon Lizzie has been seen swallowing some pretty big (to her) food items whole without any change to her size except for maybe a split second of Dinner Deformation on occasion.
Brainless Beauty: Ethan is the handsome target of affection for every girl in school, and is buffoonish to the point of being a Cloudcuckoolander, complete with "wooshing" sound-effects when he says dumb things.
On the show, Matt's best friend was Lanny while Melina was a minor Recurring Character. In the movie, Lanny is gone and Melina seems to have replaced him.
Cool Loser: Lizzie isn't supposed to be ugly, but she's considered a loser. Roger Ebert laughed at this in his review of the film, wondering how someone with a smile that shines brighter than all the stars in the sky could be unpopular.
The show once explained that Lizzie and Miranda are losers because they developed later than the other girls. The friends that developed early turned on them.
The episode where a sympathetic Lizzie teaches a broken-armed, ostracized Kate how to do cartwheels and regain her status as head cheerleader plays with this trope.
She has a few moments in the series as well. Most notably when she is paired with Lizzie for a school project. The two wonder what happened to their relationship. In the end nothing changes in these episodes.
Dojikko: Lizzie, strangely enough for a North American series. This was flanderized in the movie.
Hidden Depths: Kate. One episode revolves around her and Lizzie having to work together and it lead to them remembering they used to be good friends. At the end of the episode Kate and Lizzie smile at each other briefly. While Kate doesn't stop being The Alpha Bitch, we do see her have some nice moments with Lizzie over the course of the series and The Movie.
Ironic Name: In "Bad Girl McGuire", Lizzie is led astray by a Goth girl named "Angel". The video Gordo and Miranda make for Lizzie's intervention Lampshades this, referring to her as "a devil named Angel".
Just a Stupid Accent: When Lizzie goes to Rome in The Movie, we learn that Italians all speak English with Italian accents. They even perform pop musical numbers in English. So did the Italian audience spend the whole "What Dreams Are Made Of" number wondering what on earth Lizzie and Isabella were singing about?
Leitmotif: Whenever Matt is the focus of a scene, the same cheery, bouncy melody can be heard in the background.
Lighter and Softer: The first season was comparatively edgy for a Disney show, with more cynical humor and a lot of references to puberty and the Alpha Bitch's chest size. Afterwords, it settled into the family-friendlyness Disney Channel is better known for.
The Merch: Fortune magazine estimated in 2003 that Lizzie McGuire merchandise had earned the Walt Disney Co. nearly $100 million! That's from Radio Disney's big CD promotion, books based on the episodes being sold, mystery books starring Lizzie (much in the same vein as the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen mystery books), Tokyo POP manga adaptations, bed sheets, Barbie dolls, board games, and The Movie.
Misblamed: For being the first Disney Channel sitcom. It is true that it's the first and the key show that catapulted Disney Channel to overnight success...only to be lost by That's So Raven, which stole almost all of its thunder.
Many people like to point to Even Stevens, which started a year before either show, as the transition point from old Disney Channel to new Disney Channel.
Montages: Once an Episode. Usually a pop song with some relevance to the action at hand would play over the montage.
Mustache Vandalism: Discussed when the cast gets issued their school yearbooks. Gordo rhetorically asks his friends what the first thing anyone does with their new yearbook is. Miranda and Lizzie say it's to draw a mustache on the gym teacher.
Not Important to This Episode Camp: Miranda gets plenty of excuses for not being in the last few eps (Once she was "visiting her Grandma". Another time she was "sick")... but gets fully Put on a Bus in The Movie, with Lizzie saying she's off visiting family in Mexico rather than going on the school trip.
Oblivious to Love: Seriously? Lizzie. It's ridiculous that it takes her until the Whodunit episode to figure out Gordo loves her. And she needs to have it spelled out to her by Kate of all people.
Once an Episode: Subtle, but for whatever reason Miranda wears some article of clothing (usually a shirt) with a British flag on it at some point in every episode.
Our Founder: Lizzie's school has a bust of the first principal, which Kate wrecks in the episode "You're a Good Man, Lizzie McGuire".
Also, Ronnie the paperboy. This is before Lizzie and Gordo were an Official Couple.
Sequel Non-Entity: Miranda is missing from several of the last episodes of the series, and is only mentioned in passing as being "in Mexico with her family" during The Movie.
Series Fauxnale: "Bye Bye Hillridge Junior High" and The Lizzie McGuire Movie showed Lizzie and Gordo graduate middle school and grow closer romantically, but since Disney Channel aired several of their shows' episodes at this time in an order that often differed drastically from the production order, ten more episodes aired afterward. (This was likely done to conceal Miranda being Put on a Bus.)
Shaking Her Hair Loose: In the murder mystery episode, Larry starts chatting up Veruca, both of them dressed in Edwardian era clothes. Veruca shakes her hair down as some faux-dramatic music plays.
Silent Bob: Lanny. The only times he ever talks are when he's on the phone and even then we never hear his side of the conversation.
Matt: Lanny's not talking to me. Sam: How can you tell?
Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: Lizzie and Miranda are totally gaga for Ethan Kraft, whose most positive quality (other than being attractive and popular) is that he's more of an idiot than a jerk.
Snapback: It seems that every two episodes Lizzie finds out Gordo likes her, but in the next episode she goes back to being completely oblivious.
Suck E. Cheese's: Sort of, a western-themed tourist trap called Grubby Longjohn's Western Emporium.
Straw Loser: One of Lalaine's reasons for leaving the show.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Ethan Kraft replaced Danny Kessler as the popular guy the girls fawn over. A bit of an odd example since, as mentioned above, Danny and Ethan appeared together in an early episode where the latter was presented as a Jerk Jock and so later got hit with some Characterization Marches On to fit Danny's role.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Kate prior to the start of the series as it's implied by her previous friendship with Lizzie that she was much nicer before hitting puberty and hanging out with the popular kids.
Totally Radical: Most of the kids indulged in this. Not to mention the veritable deluge of references to early-2000s celebrities and music.
Lampshaded (kinda) in the movie, when Kate accuses Lizzie of being an "outfit repeater".
Unrequited Love Switcheroo: A few lines on the show and commercial spots stated that Lizzie had a crush on Gordo when they were in the fourth grade. Come junior high, Gordo is the one crushing on Lizzie, who instead has other crushes on her mind.
Women Are Wiser: Jo is much more savvy and wise to her kids' games than poor Sam is. Lizzie even says once "Come on- we're just fooling dad here! It's not like we're fooling mom!"
Inverted in one episode where Sam manages to get Lizzie to open up to him, which Jo has trying trying and failing at doing, by sitting there and letting her talk. It's meant as an aesop for Jo who learns she has to listen to whats wrong with her daughter rather than 'telling' her whats wrong with her "with words like 'Hormones'".
Inverted quite a lot when it comes to Lizze, Miranda and Gordo. Quite often it is the boy Gordo who is wiser than the girls, is often shown to be more mature and is above caring what others think of his tastes.
You Go Girl: "One of the Guys", when Lizzie turns out to be really good at flag football.