[[caption-width-right:340:"We're gonna turn it on, we're gonna bring you the power!"[[note]] Pictured: the main cast of the first season. From left to right: Judy Graubart, Creator/MorganFreeman, Rita Moreno, Creator/BillCosby, Lee Chamberlin, Skip Hinnant.[[/note]]]]

->''"Hey you GUUUUUUYYYYYYS!"''

EdutainmentShow that ran from 1971-77 on Creactor/{{PBS}} (the last two seasons reran until 1985) from Children's Television Workshop, the company that previously brought the world ''Series/SesameStreet''. Its main purpose was to teach reading to reluctant readers by using SketchComedy, but its clever writing, memorable characters (such as Easy Reader, Fargo North Decoder, J. Arthur Crank, Jennifer of the Jungle, Paul the Gorilla), appearances by Franchise/SpiderMan, animated inserts with the superhero Letterman, and psychedelic Scanimation visuals made it a cult hit with all ages.

The cast was made up of a diverse group of performers such as Rita Moreno, who was already a well-known actress in her own right. Creator/BillCosby was a cast member in Season 1, and "The Adventures of Letterman" shorts featured the voices of GeneWilder, Zero Mostel, and Joan Rivers. But most notable was a young and then-unknown Creator/MorganFreeman, who played Easy Reader ([[OldShame and has been trying to live it down ever since]]). Other cast members included Skip Hinnant (best known as the voice of ''WesternAnimation/FritzTheCat''), Judy Graubart (a member of the improvisational comedy troupe ''The Second City''), Luis Avalos, Jim Boyd, Hattie Winston, and Lee Chamberlin. In addition to the adult cast, there was a FakeBand called the Short Circus, which consisted of 11- to 17-year-olds; [[TwoFirstNames June Angela]] was the only member of the Short Circus to stay the whole series' run. Other notable members included Irene Cara, later to become a hit-making solo artist; Todd Graff, brother of ''Mr. Belvedere'' actress Ilene Graff, and Denise Nickerson, at the time known for playing Violet Beauregarde in ''Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory''.
From 2009 to 2011, the series received a ReTool on PBS Kids (often referred to as '''''The New Electric Company''''') that introduced a cohesive episode-to-episode plot while still retaining the sketch comedy elements. The new series was based on a group named after/for the show, consisting of four [[KidHero teenagers]] using the power of the "Word Ball" to protect the neighborhood from the Pranksters, a group of small mayhem-loving teenagers. (See the "Characters" link at the top of this page for tropes relating to each character.)

The show received very polarized reception [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks for its status compared to the 1970s original.]]
!!"tr" "opes" "tropes":

[[folder:1971-77 Version]]
* AccidentalMisnaming: When [[Series/SesameStreet Big Bird]] shows up at Fargo North's office with a message for him to decode, in keeping with his tendency to get names wrong back home, he keeps addressing the decoder as "Furpo" rather than "Fargo", despite Fargo's attempts to correct him. For the inevitable payoff, he finally gets it right at the end of the sketch, and Fargo reflexively "corrects" him to "Furpo".
* AffectionateParody: Of the historical figures who appeared in sketches, such as IsaacNewton and [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution Paul Revere]]. Inverted in [[HarsherInHindsight the end]] [[HilariousInHindsight of a sketch]] featuring ChristopherColumbus (played by, [[HilariousInHindsight hilariously enough,]] MorganFreeman).
* AgonyOfTheFeet: Several sounds can be made with this trope. Examples:
** A drum major shouts "Gimme an 'O'!" His wished is obliged, ''with one on each foot,'' making him make the "oo" sound.
* AnachronismStew: In any historical or {{Western}} skit, this is to be expected.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: [[ScaryTeeth The Teeth,]] according to the newspaper, has eaten "New York, New Jersey, and a dozen jelly doughnuts!"
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: PlayedWith and subverted in an animated {{Western}} parody that takes place in Or, Utah
--> "Or, was it Montana?"
* AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever: Do not bother this tiny person. Or he will send his [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin big]] brother after you!
* TheBadGuyWins: Surprisingly for a children's show, sometimes Spider-Man would fail to defeat the [[VillainOfTheWeek Villain Of The Day]].
* BedsheetGhost: Creator/MorganFreeman and Hattie Winston play a couple trying to sleep. The husband is spooked by weird noises, while the wife is non-plussed. Ultimately, he is kicked, and becomes frightened by a very polite ''visitor'' who apologizes for it and even turns off the electric lamp ''with his breath.'' Morgan Freeman is on the verge of {{Fainting}} as this happens!
* BilingualBonus: Frequently occurred among characters played by native ''hispanoparlantes'' Luis Avalos and Rita Moreno. A good example were the "Pedro's Plant Place" sketches. (Another bonus: in that, Maurice the guard plant spoke a language of his own!)
* BowledOver: The conclusion of the animated song "The Skull is connected to the Skeleton," complete with the bones as bowling pins.
* BreadEggsBreadedEggs: Here, it's an educational tool. Two silhouetted faces going "Ch." "Ew." "Chew." "Bl." "Ew." "Blew." And so on.
* ButtMonkey: Many of Jim Boyd's characters were the objects of comic mischief, but none more so than J. Arthur Crank, whose grouchy manner made him a natural magnet for laughs at his expense. For example, in one sketch (a clip from which appeared in the opening titles of Seasons 5 and 6), he tells the viewers that they will see a lot of words beginning with "cr-", but struggles to think of examples even though his surname, "Crank", is flashing on the screen next to him. When he finally tells us to take his word for it, "Or my name ain't J. Arthur ''Crank!''", bells and whistles sound and confetti drops as though he has said the secret word on ''Series/YouBetYourLife'', prompting a [[CatchPhrase "Who's the dummy writing this show!?"]] rant from the bewildered Crank.
* {{Calvinball}}: Jim Boyd's inventor/salesman introduces Luis Avalos' game company executive Mr. Overprice to the game called "Pay." It involves hitting a Koopa (an enormous baseball) with a cudgel and running around the bases (i.e., the office furniture). Afterwards:
--> '''Mr. Overprice:''' I think you named it right in naming it "Pay," because you are about to pay for everything you've broken!
-->''(Mr. Overprice grabs the inventor in rage)''
-->'''Inventor:''' Ah, Mr. Overprice, you can't touch me while I'm standing on home base.
-->'''Mr. Overprice:''' Ye! ''({{Fainting}} into the resulting clutter)''
-->'''Inventor:''' ''({{Beat}})'' [[CaptainOblivious He didn't even say if he liked it!]] ''(understated, two-note {{sting}})''
* CannotTellFictionFromReality: J. Arthur Crank is convinced this trope is in play whenever someone tries to tell him that Franchise/SpiderMan is part of the cast of ''The Electric Company'', pointing out that Spidey is just a character in a comic book. Inevitably, he never notices the many times Spider-Man is standing right behind him, often engaged in a prank at his expense.
* CatchPhrase:
** If you came to this page, you know it: HEY... YOU... GUUUUUUUUUUUUUYS!
** [[WhoWritesThisCrap "Who's the dummy writing this show?"]] was used by various characters, but most often by J. Arthur Crank.
* CelebrityParadox: In a "Spidey Super Stories" segment, Spider-Man sits in front of a TV to watch his favorite show: ''The Electric Company''.
* ChainOfCorrections: The "Giggles, Goggles" sketch. One person misuses a word, the other corrects her, and they do this several times until they come back to the original word.
* CheesyMoon: There is a sketch where Fargo North is an astronaut in space who receives orders to proceed to the moon. He protests that is impossible since the Moon is made of green cheese and his exasperated partner reminds him that he was told otherwise in training.
* ComedicSociopathy: The Corsican Twins (Jim Boyd and Skip Hinnant), like the characters in the Creator/AlexandreDumas novel ''The Corsican Brothers'', each feel pain when the other is hurt. They use this as an excuse to hurt ''themselves'' and cause each other pain in their sketches. For example, in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnCTl8FJYNs one sketch,]] they perform their own version of the talking silhouettes (complete with the music from those segments) to demonstrate words ending in "-ow".
-->'''Ramon:''' N... ''(clonks self over head)''\\
'''Miguel:''' Ow! ''(rubs head)''\\
'''Both:''' Now.\\
'''Ramon:''' H... ''(punches self in jaw)''\\
'''Miguel:''' Ow! ''(grabs jaw)''\\
'''Both:''' How.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: Frequently used in the skits to teach words. The most popular were:
** "Gordon, you drive me up the wall!" – Where a woman finally confronts her grunting, lazy husband, henpecking him all the time. Finally, he grabs her and sets her on his lap, presses a button (as though to start a motor inside his recliner) … and then [[LiteralMinded literally drives her up the wall!]]
** "We are out of sweet rolls!" – A customer does not get the hint (or stubbornly refuses to believe) a waitress when she explains there are no more sweet rolls in stock. She goes from nice to firm to irritated to shouting upset … and finally (when he suggests he wants just a sweet roll) losing her cool and [[DrivenToMadness running off in a blind rage]] to the kitchen. A LiveActionAdaptation was also done, with Hattie Winston and Jim Boyd playing the roles of the exasperated waitress and the galling customer, respectively.
* ComputerGeneratedImages: Scanimate, then a cutting-edge analog video synthesizer, was a constant treat. It allowed humans to interact with words doing all sorts of things for, with, ''and against'', the characters.
* CordonBleughChef: Julia Grown-Up. How about some grilled dill pickles with chilled vanilla filling?
* {{Corpsing}}: A rare example happening off-screen. In a ballet sequence to illustrate the word "sun," the three dancers are joined by MorganFreeman (yes, in ballet costume too) with a letter "t," shoves himself in to create the word [[WeirdSun "stun."]] [[ThrowItIn The musicians off-screen audibly join in his chuckling until Joe Raposo calls them to attention with his baton.]]
* CrossOver:
** Big Bird, Grover and Oscar the Grouch from ''Series/SesameStreet'' all paid visits in separate episodes.
** The "Spidey Super Stories" comic.
** A primetime Creator/{{ABC}} special in 1974, ''Out to Lunch'', featured the ''Electric Company'' cast and the ''Sesame'' Muppets.
* CutASliceTakeTheRest: A staple. When it was used in a live segment, the character doing so remarked that he'd "learned this from the Spellbinder [Letterman's animated foe]."
* DagwoodSandwich: {{Deconstructed}} in that the ingredients are actually given for "our delicious '''and''' sandwich": "ham ''and'' cheese ''and'' tomato ''and'' bacon ''and'' lettuce ''and'' baloney ''and'' cream cheese ''and'' celery ''and'' chopped meat ''and'' soy sauce ''and'' coleslaw ''and'' meat loaf ''and'' pot roast ''and'' olives ''and'' tuna fish ''and'' turkey ''and'' shrimp ''and'' corned beef ''and'' peanut butter ''and'' liverwurst!" This is subverted when the customer, when told there is no salami, no longer wants it!
* DisneyDeath: Inverted. Otto has had it with with a DamselInDistress (Judy Graubart) drowning in the quicksand, going deeper as she cannot say her line. The mood changes immediately when she disappears in it, and Otto, cast, and crew are visibly distraught. Cut to Graubart alive and well (and dirty) and making work demands. [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere Otto then inserts herself into the quicksand!]]
* DissonantSerenity: This is initially Fargo North's reaction to the telegram Alison has for him in the "Your desk is on fire" sketch. Having established that she should end her sentence with an exclamation point to convey appropriate urgency, he has the following conversation with her:
-->'''Fargo North:''' ''(switching off the optospectrometer)'' By the way, who's the message for?\\
'''Alison:''' It's for you.\\
'''Fargo:''' ''(as his hand slips off from where he is resting on the machine)'' For me? Why?\\
'''Alison:''' BECAUSE YOUR DESK IS ON FIRE! ''(in a wider shot, we see smoke billowing from Fargo's desk and hear the crackle of flames)''\\
'''Fargo:''' ''(brightly)'' Oh, ''so it is!'' Thank you for pointing that out to me, Alison! ''(pats her on the head)'' That's very nice of you!\\
'''Alison:''' ''(overlapping)'' It's... quite all right.\\
'''Fargo:''' ''(walking to the door with Alison)'' Oh, boy. You be a good girl now! ''(hops over his wastebasket)''\\
'''Alison:''' I will.\\
'''Fargo:''' Eat your spinach, do your homework.\\
'''Alison:''' Goodbye.\\
'''Fargo:''' ''(opens the door for her)'' Bye-bye! Say "hi" to the folks!\\
'''Alison:''' Okay!\\
''(Fargo closes the door and walks over to the phone, smiling and waving his hand at the thickening smoke billowing from his desk; he picks up the receiver and dials, singing the tones as he dials them)''\\
'''Fargo:''' Hello, fire department? This is Fargo North here! ''(laughs)'' Fine, yourself?... Wife, kids?... Good, glad to hear it. ''(the smoke gets ever thicker)'' Oh, yeah, I'm still in the old decoding game. Sure am. How 'bout you? Still fighting fires, eh? Terrific, because... '''''[[SuddenlyShouting MY DESK IS ON FIRE!!]]''' (slams down the phone, grabs a vase of flowers from on top of his file cabinet, and empties the water (and flowers) over the fire)''
* DrivenToMadness: The "sweet rolls" sketch and its {{Live Action Adaptation}}s.
* DrivesLikeCrazy: Sweeney (Luis Avalos) the TaxiDriver in the "Swerve, Sweeney!" sketch. Lee Chamberlin played the very frightened passenger.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: From the first season:
** A puppet chicken named Lorelai (voiced by Jim Boyd, who was mostly off-screen that season).
** In the earliest episodes, uncredited children were in some skits, a la ''Series/SesameStreet''.
** During Friday episodes – where the extended closing credits were played – aired during the first two months of the show's life, an extended version of the corporate credits theme (played every day) was used. The Dec. 31, 1971 show was the first to use a bright marching tune unique to the closing credits, and that theme would be used through the end of the 1972-1973 season.
** The episode number was written on a piece of paper, illuminated by a lit match.
** Bill Cosby as a full-fledged cast member. Some of his material would be re-used in later seasons, making him seem more like a recurring SpecialGuest. It's odd to see him in those first season ensemble pieces.
* EducationalSong: Using GenreRoulette.
* EndOfSeriesAwareness: The last episode aired, #130B, ends with the entire cast (except Rita Moreno, who had left the show by that point), singing a song that ends, "''The show is done. We hate to run. We're sorry, but that's all.''"
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: Paul the Gorilla.
* FlyInTheSoup: There is a variation of this in a three-part skit where each diner complains to the waiter that "there is a moth in my broth."
* {{Fonts}}: Franklin Gothic was its stock in trade, perfect for the psychedelic [[ComputerGeneratedImages Scanimate sequences]].
* FracturedFairyTale: Two kinds. There was the feature "A Very Short Book." There were also several skits that were based on, and often {{deconstructed}} FairyTales, including ''Literature/SnowWhite'' and ''Literature/{{Cinderella}}.''
* FunnyForeigner: With his AnthonyQuinn-like ability to do a plethora of accents, Luis Avalos frequently played this. Also, Skip Hinnant sometimes did mangled British accents.
* GeniusDitz: Fargo North is a skilled decoder (though it sometimes takes him a few wrong guesses to arrive at the correct answer), but is otherwise a complete space cadet. For example, in the "Dig deep by the dump before dark" sketch, he is writing a letter to his parents when there is a knock at the door, causing him to write "Knock, knock, knock!" - and then say he can't write that, as he already said that in his last letter. At the end of the sketch, he starts the letter anew, and this time writes "Honk!" when the horn sounds at the end of his {{Leitmotif}}.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Check out Rita Moreno performing "Wild", complete with VictoriasSecretCompartment.
* {{God}}: Morgan Freeman and Jim Boyd sit on a bench when each sneezes and the other in turn replies "bless you." [[RuleOfFunny Then they both sneeze at once and guess who bellows "bless you."]]
* HeroBall: As close as The Blue Beetle ever was to anything that passes for heroic!
* HollywoodHeartAttack: The animated skit "Who is it?/It's the plumber, I've come to fix the sink," which the plumber suffers shortly after losing his cool when he unsuccessfully conveys to (unknown to him) a parrot, who could only squawk "Who is it?" with each knock on the door. After the fourth such exchange, the plumber grasps his neck, gasps for air and contorts severely before passing out.
* JunglePrincess: Jennifer of the Jungle.
* LargeHam: Everyone had a turn at this, although Jim Boyd's characters were frequently the largest at being a Large Ham - "''and'' cheese ''and'' tomato ''and'' bacon ''and'' ... ".
* LargeHamRadio: Mel Mounds. "Sounds righteous, delight-eous and outta-sighteous!"
* LastSecondWordSwap: In the "Menu song" sketch, a waitress (Rita Moreno) sings the various types of soup, sandwich, salad, and ice cream on the menu to a customer (Creator/MorganFreeman). At the end of the list of ice creams, she lists sarsaparilla, manzanilla, caterpillar, and plain old-fashioned... gorilla. The customer, who was clearly expecting the last flavour to be vanilla, gives up and goes to the laundry across the road for a bowl of soap flakes.
* {{Leitmotif}}: For the Fargo North, Decoder sketches.
* LiveActionAdaptation: Probably the UrExample for this trope relative to WesternAnimation, as it occasionally remade its own animated sequences into live-action skits, sometimes {{Lampshading}} and [[TheParody Parodying]] the original (for example, ''The Adventures of Letterman'' was spoofed with Jim Boyd as the Spoil Binder and Skip Hinnant as Litterman). Either way, HilarityEnsues.
* {{Malaproper}}s: The Giggle Goggle girls.
* MediumAwareness: One sketch starred both Dr. Doolots and Fargo North, Decoder, with the latter visiting the former to find the missing word ("is") in his "The doctor ___ in" sign. When the missing word is discovered (having been eaten by Paul the Gorilla), the closing theme from the Fargo North sketches plays, leading Dr. Doolots to ask what Fargo's theme music is doing in his office.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed:
** Fargo North appears to have been based on Creator/PeterSellers' Inspector Clouseau, although the voice is more of a rip-off of [[Series/GetSmart Maxwell Smart]]. (Skip Hinnant admitted this was on purpose in the PBS pledge drive special ''The Electric Company's Greatest Hits and Bits''.)
** The recurring character of Dr. Dolots was an amalgam of [[Creator/MarxBrothers Groucho and Harpo Marx]].
** Jim Boyd played Krojak/Flapjak, depending on the skit, as a {{Parody}} of {{Kojak}} complete with lollipop!
* NurseryRhyme:
** {{Deconstructed}} in "A Very Short Book" segments.
** In an animated segment, a Music/FatsDomino {{Expy}} cat [[CoverVersion does a jazzy soul take]] on "Hey Diddle Diddle," with [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a cat playing the fiddle.]]
** "Rub-a-Dub-Dub" was remade as:
Three men in a sink\\
The butcher, the baker, and Freddy the fink\\
Fred gave a tug and pulled out the plug\\
And I think that sink will soon sink
* OfficerOHara: Combined with PoliceAreUseless characterizations in skits by Jim Boyd and Skip Hinnant.
* OnTheNext: Usually follows a format in which a clip from the next episode plays, and a cast member announces, "Tune in next time, when [character] says [a word or phrase appears onscreen, accompanied by one SoundEffectBleep for each syllable]."
** Episodes from the last four seasons recycle these as {{Precap}}s, with "Tune in next time" replaced with, "Today on ''The Electric Company''..."
** The first season didn't use these; instead, the final scene would be "And now, the last word", and would show a word next to a bare light bulb, which would then be turned off by a hand pulling its pull-chain. Usually, the word would be repeated out loud in the dark.
* OurGhostsAreDifferent: Such as in "Ga''ll''oping Sa''dd''le" sketch, a {{Western}} pastiche.
* ParentalBonus: Lots, especially given the large number of adult actors.
* PhlebotinumPills: A huckster invents "ue" pills, so words will come out a person's mouth with the "ue" sound in them.
* PoliceAreUseless: The show took this trope as far as was possible for a children's show. Police were portrayed many times as either incompetent, outsmarted by the criminals, or even crime victims themselves. When they actually apprehended anybody, the criminals were then the less competent ones.
* PrimaDonnaDirector: Otto, a real [[IncrediblyLamePun drama queen!]] Justified, apart from [[TheBully bullying the actors]] and terrorizing cue card holder [[BeleagueredAssistant Marcello]] (MorganFreeman), as she is [[SurroundedByIdiots surrounded by actors who constantly flub their lines.]]
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: HEY... YOU... GUUUUUUUUUUUUUYS!
* PunnyName: Fargo North, Decoder (Fargo, North Dakota); J. Arthur Crank (British film producer J. Arthur Rank); Dr. Dolots (''Literature/DoctorDolittle''); Julia Grownup (Julia Child, "The French Chef"); Morgan Freeman's Easy Reader (''Film/EasyRider''); Short Circus ([[MakesSenseInContext short circuit]]); Johnny Charge (JohnnyCash).
* ReadingIsCoolAesop: The theme of the theme song and a RunningGag for Easy Reader.
* ScaryTeeth: PlayedForLaughs as a couple experiences the terror of [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Teeth]]. Subverted as said Teeth proclaims, [[LukeYouAreMyFather "Look dad, no cavities!"]]
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: Otto's frequent response when's she's had enough of an actor flubbing a line.
* ShoutOut:
** Whenever Letterman would come in to save the day, Creator/JoanRivers would make a speech reminiscent of one used for ''Franchise/{{Superman}}''.
--->Faster than a rolling O! Stronger than silent E! Able to leap Capital T in a single bound! It's a word, it's a plan, it's Letterman!
** Every "Love of Chair" sketch would end with the narrator and a cast member asking random questions, the second-to-last of which was always, "What about Naomi?" referring to producer Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, mother of [[JakeGyllenhaal Jake]] and [[MaggieGyllenhaal Maggie]].
** In a courtroom sketch, the participants rap a snippet of [[RowanAndMartinsLaughIn "Here Comes the Judge"]]
* SoapOpera: "Love of Chair," a {{parody}} of the Creator/{{CBS}} soap opera ''Love of Life'' that even used the same continuity announcer (Ken Roberts).
* TheSpeechless: Spider-Man, in the "Spidey Super Stories" live-action skits, speaks only with word balloons.
* {{Sting}}: The show had a cool collection of these to conclude skits. A few were specific to certain themes, such as Western ([[StockSoundEffects trumpet sounding like a horse whinny]]) or medieval parodies ({{Parody}} of BaroqueMusic, with concluding {{Rimshot}}-like bell). Even Fargo North Decoder had one that {{parodied}} the opening theme for the sketch.
* StuffBlowingUp: Skip Hinnant picked up a book in the library called ''Explosions.'' [[HilarityEnsues The inevitable]] [[NonFatalExplosions happens.]] Afterwards, he looks at the screen:
--> [[IncrediblyLamePun I really get a bang]] [[AnAesop out of reading.]]
* TheTaxi:
** Two words: [[DrivesLikeCrazy "Swerve, Sweeney!"]]
** A scanimate sketch actually shows the back of a taxi ... going away.
---> '''Skip Hinnant's voice:''' Taxi! Oh, taxi! ({{Beat}}) ''(sigh)'' They never stop when you want them!"
* TheTelevisionTalksBack:
** In a skit taking place in a TV shop, not only did the TV talk back, ''it turned itself on'' - "when it wasn't plugged in!"
** One skit sees a character played by Jim Boyd sleeping in front of a TV broadcasting an ad with a pitchman voiced by Morgan Freeman. The pitchman declares, "Put some ''Sh''ip ''Sh''ape on your face after you ''sh''ave, and you'll feel ''sh''arp all day!" Jim continues sleeping, and a slightly irritated Morgan clears his throat and repeats the pitch. When this still doesn't rouse Jim, a hand reaches out of the screen and slaps him across the face. Jim finally wakes up and sarcastically says, "Thanks! I needed that!"
* ThemeTuneExtended: Friday shows featured the instrumental theme in full (in Franklin Gothic, of course), along with a credits roll. Viewers only heard part of the theme during the corporate sponsor announcements.
* TooDumbToLive: An animated segment and a live-action segment frequently appeared back-to-back, each featuring a man who should never be allowed to ride in small seafaring vessels.
** In the animated segment, two men are on raft:
--> '''First man:''' Hey, ''(removes the plug)'' what's this?
--> '''Second man:''' That's a plug, stupid!
** The live action segment is a {{Parody}} of "Rub-a-Dub-Dub." Read more about it in the NurseryRhyme entry.
* TranslatorBuddy: The NewAgeRetroHippie for Tex the sax player, with assist, of course, from words appearing on the screen!
* TheUnintelligible: Maurice, the guard plant in Pedro's Plant Place. Yet he could make sounds that allowed him to take part in a "Soft Shoe Silhouette" routine. Yet he actually spoke in his first ever appearance (it was the voice of Jim Boyd doing a FunnyForeigner bit) and never did so again.
* VegetarianVampire: Morgan Freeman's Vincent the Vegetable Vampire, of course (though WordOfGod says that he was originally supposed to be {{Dracula}}).
* {{Visual Pun}}s: Taken UpToEleven!
* VolleyingInsults: Two cowboys on a screen exchange words, and it is subverted at the end.
-->'''Jim Boyd's cowboy:''' Rat
-->'''Luis Avalos' cowboy:''' Snake
-->'''Jim Boyd's cowboy:''' Worm
-->'''Luis Avalos' cowboy:''' Weasel
-->'''Jim Boyd's cowboy:''' Skunk
-->'''Luis Avalos' cowboy:''' Dirty dog
-->'''Jim Boyd's cowboy:''' Pussycat
-->''[[BreakingTheFourthWall Both turn toward the audience]]''
-->'''Jim Boyd's cowboy:''' Pussycat?
* WeirdWest: Exemplified by the "galloping saddle" and "My Name is Kathy" sketches.
* WhereTheHellIsSpringfield: {{Deconstructed}} in the animated {{Western}} {{Parody}} that takes place in Or, Utah ...
--> [[BrickJoke "Or, was it Montana?"]]
* WhosOnFirst: Not with a person, but, true to the program, a word. MorganFreeman and Lee Chamberlin start an escalating exchange when he is offering the word '''"what."'''
* WhoWritesThisCrap: The CatchPhrase "Who's the dummy writing this show?"
* WithCatlikeTread: In "O-U (The Hound Song)", a hound sings very l'''ou'''dly about how he dare not make a sound.
* WordSaladHumor: As educational as it was silly!
* WordSaladLyrics: Often, the only thing the words had in common were similar sounds or consanant blends, such as this birthday song parody:
--> Happy birthday, Miss '''Jones''', you sure got nice '''bones!'''
* WordSaladPhilosophy: The show's approach to teaching reading.
* WordsCanBreakMyBones: Literally.
** In an animated ''Disney/ChickenLittle'' parody, the [[TheSkyIsFalling iconic phrase]] appears on the top of the screen and the wolf thinks he has dinner when the sentence ''falls'' on him, [[LaserGuidedKarma sending him to the ground.]]
** In a {{Western}} skit, a cowboy (Jim Boyd) was constantly annoyed by a ''sentence'' in the air, to the point of pushing him as it made slide whistle sounds. "My Name is Kathy" -- a subverted BadassCreed [[BrickJoke named after a Short Circus song]] -- taunted the cowboy into a fight. The sentence won as the cowboy merely vanished. After one last whoop from the victorious sentence came the cowboy's voice: [[AnAesop "Weeelll, you can't win'em all!"]]
->"Who's the dummy writing this page?"

[[folder:2009-2011 Version]]
* AesopAmnesia: Expect the Pranksters to forget any lesson they learn by the start of the next episode. The Electric Company is guilty of this, too - no matter how many times it's proved you can't trust a Prankster, one of them will get suckered in again.
* AliensSpeakingEnglish: Skeleckians.
* AmusingAlien: The Skeleckians, with all their bizarre customs.
* ArtShift: The "Prankster Planet" segments feature animated versions of Jessica, Marcus, the Pranksters, and Paul the Gorilla.
* TheArtifact: The soft-shoe phonetics routine ("Wuh! All! WALL!"), used with much less frequency.
* CallBack: Keith and Marcus have the same reaction to their first word balls.
* TheCameo: Many celebrities pop up for a segment, including Creator/JimmyFallon and WhoopiGoldberg.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: Francine can throw wordballs as her power, but they're [[PaletteSwap PURPLE]].
* ComesGreatResponsibility: The whole pilot, especially [[ThePromise the pledge]].
* ContinuityReboot: Almost everything associated with the 1970s version has been thrown out the window, including the cast.
* DesignStudentsOrgasm: Just ''look'' at the [[http://www.5minutesforbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/tec-new-logo.jpg logo.]]
* DisproportionateRetribution: Danny Rebus. He takes offense at a lot of things and retaliates harshly.
* EvilGloating: Lampshaded in "Prankster Holiday". Turns out, blurting out the evil plan is a really bad habit amongst the Pranksters.
* EvilIsPetty: Very, very petty.
* EvilIsHammy: The Pranksters. Special mention to Manny Spamboni.
* GrandTheftMe: Annie Scrambler stealing Lisa's body in "Scrambled Brains".
* HalloweenEpisode: [[OppositeDay "Unmuffins."]]
* ICantHearYou: "Count Vacula's a little loud!" "What?! I can't hear you. Count Vacula's a little loud!"
** Bonus point because it had a mute button the whole time.
* IncredibleShrinkingMan: The Electric Company, Francine and Lisa's friend Dax in the episode "Lost and Spaced".
** And again in the episode "The Flube Whisperer", this time with Keith and Manny.
* [[RockBottom It Can't Get Any Worse]]: Used by Hector in "Trouble Afoot".
* JumpedAtTheCall: Marcus ''can't wait'' to join the company.
* LastSecondWordSwap: Combined with GoshDangItToHeck in the season three premiere.
* LocalHangout: The Electric Diner is a rare example of one being used as home base.
* MadScientist: Manuel "Manny" Spamboni is a teenage version.
* MadeOfExplodium: "I'm special agent Jack Bowser. And this place is about to ''explode''!"
* MasterApprenticeChain: Hector → Keith → Marcus.
* MeaningfulName: Annie ''Scrambler'', Danny ''Rebus'' and Gilda "Flip", [[DontExplainTheJoke who uses a flip phone]].
* MythologyGag: "The Slide and Drop" music sequence is done in 1970s-style costumes reminiscent of the original series.
* {{Ninja}}: Silent "E" is called "the ninja of the alphabet".
* OnceAnEpisode: There will be a song in the main storyline, or possibly a rap. Usually tied to the moral of the day.
* ParentalAbandonment: None of these parents of all members of the Electric Company were seen except Lisa's mother and Keith’s father. Ruiz sibling’s and Marcus’ parents were never seen and mentioned, Lisa has a mother but her father was never seen, and Keith’s father were seen but not his mother.
* PetTheDog: Annie and Danny have occasionally done some good deeds (and are literally both dog lovers). Manny and Francine have done it only if personal gain is involved.
* PhotographicMemory: Hector's superpower, in a more literal sense. He can actually call up any image he remembers, then manipulate it.
* PokeThePoodle: The Pranksters' deeds can only be considered evil ''in context''. If Creator/PBSKids took it any further than that, they'd be impressionable.
* RemakeCameo: June Angela had one, but did not say anything.
* ScienceFair: The premise of the episode "Lost and Spaced".
* SpiritualSuccessor: Given the show's timeslot and premise, it can be hard not to think of ''Series/{{Ghostwriter}}'' if you grew up in the 1990s.
* StatusQuoIsGod: At the end of the Unmuffin story, Danny and Manny eat the unbuns to go back to being pranksters. Jessica says they don't have to, but Danny says they do (with no further explanation).
* SuperSpeedReading: Viewers at home are told to [[InvertedTrope take their time reading]], because a word or sentence might end differently than they expect.
* TheTeaser: Used to set up the conflict of the episode. One member of the company sees something going wrong and rallies the team with "HEY YOU GUYS!" This doubles as a CouchGag.
* {{Timeskip}}: Between seasons 2 and 3.
* TrueCompanions: The four main characters.
* {{Tsundere}}: Annie on occasion; a villainous version.
* VillainSong: There are many, trust us.
* WillNotTellALie: In the pilot, Hector explicitly states that the members of the Company do not lie. And yet, they tend to lie sometimes.