Series / The Thundermans

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/p10259786_b_v8_ab.jpg
The Thundermans is a live-action comedy based on a suburban family of super humans. The series was created by Jed Spingarn. It debuted on October 14, 2013 on the Nickelodeon network. As of 2016, it became the first live-action series on the network to win a full-order fourth season since iCarly and Big Time Rush.

The show focuses on a 14 year old set of superhero twins named Phoebe and Max. Together, they learn to get through life with their superhero parents Barb and Hank and three younger siblings Nora, Billy, and Chloe.

In July 2017, it was revealed that the series was cancelled, ending at four seasons. Remaining episodes will be burned off through 2017 up to the start of 2018.


Tropes found in this series include:

  • Academy of Evil: Max hopes to go to a school for supervillains.
  • Aerith and Bob: The names in the band—Oyster, Gideon, Angus (replaced by Wolfgang) and Max.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • Every single time that Max and Phoebe showed how much they cared about each other, they acted like it was the first time it had ever happened.
    • Anytime Max learns a lesson about his behavior or shows that he's a good person it's forgotten by the next episode.
    • "I'm sorry I doubted you, Max." — There is no question that Max screwed up a lot, but he didn't fail all the time. He did have some significant strengths, and Phoebe had to learn repeatedly that simply dismissing Max out of hand was not a good idea.
    • Perhaps the most egregious example of this occurs in "Thundermans: Banished!" The previous episodes - "Aunt Misbehavin'," "Stealing Home," and "Thundermans: Secret Revealed" - had explored the disconnect between Max and his family, particularly Max's unhappiness at always being in his sister's shadow, which was the entire reason why he wanted to become a supervillain in the first place. In "Thundermans: Secret Revealed," Dark Mayhem uses this to try to convince Max to turn against his family and join the Villain League, and nearly succeeds. But in the end, Phoebe's pleas finally reach her brother and he rejoins his family. As hard as it is to believe, though, in the following episode "Thundermans: Banished!," Max is once again struggling with living in Phoebe's shadow. When Max swallows his pride and agrees to accept superhero training from Phoebe, she brushes him off, saying that she can't risk having him make a "rookie mistake" that will make her look bad to the Z Force. Barb then makes a well-intentioned attempt to help, but her patronizing offer to train Max on the playground monkey bars only makes things worse. Max is once again left on his own, and Dr. Colosso even attempts to use Max's frustrations to persuade him to return to being a supervillain. Fortunately, Max rejects Dr. Colosso's advice and works to distinguish himself as a superhero instead. But it was certainly no thanks to his family.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Gender inverted that Max has fallen for a bad girl who happens to be the sister of the boy Phoebe is crushing on. This trend repeats whenever Max meets a bad girl, he instantly falls for her.
  • All Women Love Shoes: Barb is known to regularly spend over $400 on a single pair of shoes. Phoebe berates Max when his failed plan to revert the mutant plant to normal ruins her "favorite pair of flats."
  • Alpha Bitch: At least two have been featured: Veronica from "Pretty Little Choirs" and Madison from "Cheer and Present Danger" and "Mall Time Crooks" (who also appears in "Parents Just Don't Thunderstand" in a minor role).
  • And Starring: "With Chris Tallman and Rosa Blasi."
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Billy and Nora.
  • Artistic License - Mathematics: In "Report Card," the students are asked to solve an equation written on a card. But the equation on the card was simply the quadratic formula. There was nothing to solve. There were no values to plug into the formula. Tyler claims to know the answer (even though no answer exists), but is conveniently unable to elaborate because Max uses his telekinesis to prevent Tyler from speaking.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: At the end of "A Hero is Born", Barb lists the three things that happened in the plot that she missed in this order: "So Max turned Dr. Colosso back to a human, Phoebe told Cherry our family secret, and Nora has been banned from the baby store?
  • Ask a Stupid Question... :
    • In "Weekend Guest," when the giant mutated plant tries to drag Billy into Max's lair, Phoebe asks Max :
      Phoebe: [Pulling Billy away from the lair] Is this Trevor?
      Max: [Rolling his eyes] No, it's my OTHER monster plant!
    • In "Parents Just Don't Thunderstand," Phoebe and Max need to find a way to get Hank and Barb to kiss each other.
      Phoebe: Don't you have some kind of, like, love potion, or something?
      Max: Why ask me? Ask all my girlfriends - Of course I don't have a love potion, that's why I'm in a band!
    • In "Thunder in Paradise," when Dark Mayhem's sidekick, Destructo, tells Phoebe about the secret supply of Malvexium :
      Phoebe: Malvexium? You mean the only element that can destroy a hero's powers?
      Destructo: No, the diaper cream. [Beat] Yes, that Malvexium!
    • In "Max to the Future," when the two criminals see that Phoebe and Max have escaped from the handcuffs :
      Criminal No.1: Hey! They got loose!
      Criminal No.2: Should we get 'em?
      Criminal No.1: [Rolling his eyes] No, we should let 'em walk away. Yes, we should get 'em!
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: King Crab is very easily distracted, even in a battle, by bubbles as seen in "A Hero is Born".
  • Bad Future: Glimpsed in "Winter Thunderland," when Hank and Barb are Drunk on the Dark Side, Phoebe becomes an Alpha Bitch who literally rules her high school with an iron fist, Billy goes From Nobody to Nightmare (and turns Max into a Talking Animal who he forces to live in a cage and starves, after he takes over his lair), and Nora straddles the fence between being a Crazy Homeless Person and a Homeless Hero (living in the family's old home with only beans to eat, and dolls with her family's faces) because she refused to turn evil like the others.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Dr. Colosso was a notorious supervillain who Thunderman turned into a rabbit. Now why does that seem familiar?
  • Beard of Evil: Discussed in "I'm Gonna Forget You, Sucka" when Max was told by the Big Bad that Max had a baby face and couldn't be taken seriously as a bad guy.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: King Crab is a Large Ham obsessed with bubble wrap who's only apparent superpower is having a crab claw for an arm. He also comes dangerously close to killing Max and Colosso and said claw turns out to not only be super strong but completely indestructible to the point he deflects most of the attacks Phoebe attempts to use against him and gives her a very tough fight.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just when Colosso is facing certain doom and the twins have given him up for dead, Hank arrives to save him.
    • In "Thundermans: Secret Revealed", while Max and Phoebe were fighting the Big Bad and had nearly lost, Chloe saves the day.
  • Big Red Button: The Max 10 missile had a nice, big, shiny, red launch button.
    • In "It's Not What You Link", Nora and Billy find one in a closet after lifting a secret lever in the form of an old pair of shoes. A big red button is revealed behind a door that leads to Hank's secret man cave.
    Billy: We're pushing that, right?
    Nora: It's too red not to push.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family
  • Black Sheep: Max is an aspiring supervillain in a family of superheroes.
  • Blatant Lies: In "Thundermans: Secret Revealed!", Dark Mayhem was flying in a helicopter and tired of talking with Dr Colosso on video chat. He finally said that they were going through a tunnel.
  • Booby Trap: Many non-fatal ones are in effect on the path to the heart tree in the episode "Date of Emergency".
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: After getting her father's powers, Chloe imitates her father "Thunderbaby Away!"
  • Brand X: In "This Looks Like A Job For," Phoebe and Max want to buy the new Me Phone. Phoebe and her friends use the social networking site Chirper.
  • Breath Weapon:
    • Phoebe and Max have ice and heat breath.
    • One of the superhuman juvenile delinquents Max and Phoebe meet in "Orange is the New Max" is a girl named Gale Force, who the guard describes as a "human wind tunnel." She can blow powerful winds, and claims that she once destroyed an entire city with a tornado made of corn, a "cornado."
  • Bullying a Dragon: Darcy Wong threatens Nora and would have been on the receiving end of a literal Death Glare if Phoebe hadn't intervened to stop her sister.
  • Call-Back: Just before Nora lands on Billy after coming down the slide in "Ditch Day," he says "Not again," a reference to this happening previously in "Adventures in Supersitting."
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • In "Cheer and Present Danger," Phoebe warns Cherry that the cheerleading squad is planning to pull a humiliating prank on her, but Cherry thinks that Phoebe is just jealous that Cherry made the squad and Phoebe didn't. Phoebe is jealous, but she's also telling the truth. Also, Max wins a month of free pizza from Mrs. Wong by correctly guessing the number of pepperoni slices in a jar, but Mrs. Wong, Max's family, and even Dr. Colosso won't believe him when he says he didn't cheat.
    • In "Change of Art," Phoebe surprises everybody when she presents a beautiful vase as her art project, after showing herself to have no talent for art (both in this episode and earlier in "Report Card"). When Barb asks Max if he helped Phoebe with her sculpture, he casually tells her that the vase was actually stolen from an art museum. Naturally, Barb assumes that Max is kidding. He's not.
    • Combined with Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. In "Max to the Future", Max creates a gadget that can predict crimes but neither twin really believes it works. The first one, graffiti at the school, eventually happened by Max to prove the gadget right. The second one, a gold smuggling at the waterfront, actually happened, though neither twin believed it.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: In at least two episodes, the kids change clothes super fast. In "Change of Art", Phoebe, Max, and Billy chnge into Egyptian clothes to replace the dummies in a display. It takes no more than a few seconds with the guard's back turned. They replace the clothes and dummies in a few seconds as well. In "Call of Lunch Duty", Phoebe quickly changes into a full Mexican wrestling outfit in less than five seconds.
    • Played for laughs by Dr Colosso in many episodes. he puts on one of his varied costumes in no time flat even though he is a rabbit.
    • Done with a superhero costume change in "Thundermans Secret Revealed" when Phoebe goes behind a barrier in a dress and emerges less than a second later in her Thundergirl outfit.
  • Character Shilling: We will never know what made Link such a great guy, but we will take Phoebe's word for it that he was.
  • Childhood Brain Damage: In "A Hero Is Born," it is revealed that when Barb was pregnant with Billy, Hank tried to fly her to the hospital and she wound up giving birth in mid-air. Barb indicates that something bad happened as a result:
    Barb: What if I have the baby in mid-air? Remember what happened the last time? [Points at Billy, while trying to hide the motion with her other hand]
    Billy: Why are you pointing at me? What happened last time?
    • Despite asking repeatedly, "What happened last time?", Billy gets no answer. The implication of this dialogue seems to be that Billy's lack of intelligence is the result of whatever happened when he was born. (Most likely, the audience was expected to conclude that Billy was dropped on his head. Given the violent power surges Barb was generating during Chloe's birth, it would make sense that Hank was unable to carry both her and the newborn Billy to the hospital without incident.)
  • Clark Kenting: Played with, in that Hank's hero code-name is "Thunderman," and his last name is... Somehow, very few people make the connection.
    • Maybe because in the Thundermans' universe, Thunderman was so famous that people take his name as a surname, the way people change their names to other famous person's names.
    • Probably averted in "The Haunted Thundermans," as Hank and Barb take the kids with them to New Orleans specifically because they fear the Green Ghoul would come to their home (which means that he would know to track the family from Metroberg to Hiddenville).
    • Lampshaded in "Doppel-Gamers." Cherry assures the Thundermans that she can prevent Oyster from catching on to their superhero secret. She then proceeds to call out, "Hey, Oyster! Ever thought about the Thundermans' last name? Well, don't!"
    • Parodied in "Thundermans: Banished!". Max assures Phoebe that he is a master of disguise, and in the next scene, the twins appear wearing black-framed glasses. Phoebe incredulously says, "Glasses, Max?" and Max replies, "Who is this 'Max' you speak of? I'm just a boy with poor eyesight!"
  • Compliment Backfire: In "Who's Your Mommy?", the children are amazed and impressed to learn that Barb had many extraordinary adventures during her long career as Electress, which she has never spoken about. Phoebe tells her mother, "You really used to be somebody!" and Barb replies, "Thank you ... I think."
  • Continuity Nod: "In Patch Me If You Can", after his encounter with Harris, Max's black jacket and shirt are ruined, but Nora tells him that he may have found his new uniform, rips and all. When Max does go bad in "Thundermans: Secret Revealed", this is the very outfit Max is wearing.
  • Continuity Snarl: In "Haunted Thundermans", it was established, as described in Dangerous Forbidden Technique that double freeze breath is extremely dangerous if the blasts touch, but in "Aunt Misbehavin'", they are doing that very thing out of boredom and annoyance with each other.
    • In "The Girl with the Dragon Snafu", Tyler expressed regret for talking with Evan when they were both in fourth grade. However, it is revealed in "I'm Gonna Forget You, Sucka" that Evan was actually 50 years old and an undercover agent posing as a high schooler.
  • Convection Schmonvection: At the end of "Thunder Van", to escape the van, the kids had to melt a hole in the floor of the van, which Phoebe states would happen if they got it to 2,000 degrees F. There is no way they could survive in the van at those temperatures nor would they be able to sit on the panel they melted off of the van floor while the rockets fired all around them as the van launched.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Hank is outnumbered at least three to one by supervillains. Despite their leader mocking him for "letting himself go," he shows them that retirement has not weakened him in the slightest by defeating them all in less then two minutes.
  • Cutting the Knot:
    • When Phoebe activates the self-destruct in Max's lair, trapping them inside with metal plates impervious to their superpowers and attempting to shut down the countdown via computer command only decreases the time until detonation, Phoebe's solution is to smash the computer controlling the countdown with a sledgehammer.
    • When Phoebe and Max try to tell their father the password required to open the locked door to the League of Evil Headquarters, he simply punches a hole in the wall next to it.
  • Dance Off: When a shallow girl he is crushing on takes a college senior to the dance as her date, Max's confrontational attitude causes the senior to challenge Max to a dance off to prove who is the better man.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Phoebe and Max have a technique called Double Freeze Breath which can freeze even the most powerful of enemies. But if the freezing blasts should happen to touch when they do this, an entire city will be frozen solid as a result. If their heat breath also works this way, that would not be very good.
  • Death Glare: Barb is an expert at this technique. When she uses it on Hank, he backpedals fast!
  • Deface of the Moon: Max "babysits" his younger siblings by getting them to help carve his initials in the moon. It is revealed at the end of the episode what was actually written is "Nora Rules."
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune
  • Door Stopper: The All American Blob's autobiography read at the reading of his will.
  • Dumb Blonde: Phoebe's best friend Cherry is one of these.
  • Disguised in Drag: Billy in "Crime After Crime." Apparently, the alternate disguise was a baby, which Nora ended up with.
  • Elevator Failure: Link's first save in "Give Me a Break Up" involves a malfunctioning elevator. Lampshaded when Link worries that it would fall and Phoebe assures him that only happens in cartoons—until...
  • Embarrassing Last Name: In "Aunt Misbehavin'", we find out Barb's maiden name is McBooger.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: In "Winter Thunderland," Barb calls Max by his full name - Maximus Octavius Thunderman. When Hank and Barb demand that Max apologize to Nora for giving her an empty box as a Christmas present, Max replies, "Only if you apologize for my middle name!" To Max's surprise, his parents actually do say they're sorry, although he then still refuses to apologize to Nora.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Despite being a self-proclaimed supervillain, Max will react quite aggressively to anyone who puts any member of his family in danger. Family loyalty is very important to him.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Max goes into this a lot.
  • Evil Twin: Max is this to Phoebe.
  • Expy: Dr. Colosso is one of Salem.
  • Expository Theme Tune
  • Express Delivery: In "A Hero is Born," it is revealed that superhero pregnancies are very quick, about a day.
  • Extracurricular Enthusiast: In "Report Card," it is established that Phoebe loves going to school, and considers it to be her equivalent of Max's lair. She even goes to school when she doesn't need to ("Ditch Day" and "On The Straight and Arrow"). Her afterschool activities have included competing in the Math Bowl ("Report Card"), taking care of a teacher's rare plant ("Weekend Guest"), student government ("You Stole My Thunder, Man"), science fairs ("Weird Science Fair"), charity bake sales and volunteering at a library ("Phoebe's A Clone Now"), choir ("Pretty Little Choirs"), cheerleading ("Cheer and Present Danger"), ballet ("You've Got Fail"), organizing school dances ("The Amazing Rat Race"), writing for the student newspaper ("Call of Lunch Duty"), and probably others as well.
  • Eye Beams: Nora's power.
  • Face–Heel Turn: While he wasn't ever really completely good to begin with, Max turns evil in ""Thundermans: Secret Revealed"
  • Flying Brick: Thunderman's superpower set.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Dr. Colosso is a combination of number eight and nine (and if you go with the Alternate Character Interpretation that Hank took Colosso in to protect him instead of throwing him into jail, one and three apply as well). Seriously, allowing your son to room with a former supervillain who actually has the means to leave at will, if he chooses, but sticks around and actually cares about the boy? Hank and Barb want to keep the rabbit close at hand for some reason...
  • Forced Meme: Nick tried to promote the show by making image macros about the show and putting them in their commercials.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Any television show depicting characters with superpowers (or magical powers, or anything of that sort) is bound to run into this eventually.
    • "Phoebe's A Clone Now" - Max is utterly terrified of the large, angry man he encounters in the library, and acts completely helpless in his grasp. Max seems to have forgotten that not only is he telekinetic, but also skilled in hand-to-hand combat. The twins have shown in various episodes that they can use their telekinesis in subtle enough ways to avoid detection in public, and in any case, a lot of people know martial arts, so it wasn't as if using those skills in public would make anybody suspect that Max was a superhero.
    • In the same episode, when Phoebe and Max are chasing the cloned Phoebe, neither seems to realize that telekinetically tripping the clone would be a good way to slow her down and buy time to catch up to her. Also, when Phoebe is struggling with the clone under the table, she fails to realize that a single blast of freezing breath would be a far more effective way to stop the clone than trying to physically overpower her.
    • "Max's Minions" - Just a little applied telekinesis would have gone a long way toward foiling Lionel, Jake, and Tom's prank on Max. Also, one has to wonder why Phoebe would go to the trouble of using a vacuum cleaner on a single cobweb that she could easily clear out with her telekinesis.
    • "The Amazing Rat Race" - If Phoebe and Max were willing to do something as risky as using the Animalizer on Billy in order to win the race ... then why not just use a little telekinesis to "hurry" Max's real rat along the race track instead? That would have been a far less dangerous plan, after all.
    • "Thundersense" - Phoebe and Max's danger-detecting sixth sense never appears again after this episode. It certainly would have been useful when, for example, Max was attacked from behind in "Exit Stage Theft."
    • "The Haunted Thundermans" - When Max battled the Green Ghoul (who had taken possession of Phoebe), neither combatant used his powers anywhere near as effectively as he could have:
      • Max tried to take down the Ghoul using martial arts, which is a dubious strategy at best when your opponent is telekinetic. Apart from one blast of heat breath, Max made no attempt to use his powers to fight the Ghoul.
      • The Ghoul used Phoebe's telekinetic powers to great effect, but made little use of her heat or ice breath. More importantly, he did not use any of his own ghosting powers. The Ghoul would likely have defeated Max very easily if he had used just a little of the magic that ghosts are routinely seen using on The Haunted Hathaways.
      • At one point, Max and the Ghoul were in hand-to-hand combat. Neither seemed to notice that, with his opponent right in front of him, just one quick blast of freezing breath could have ended the battle.
      • At the end of the episode, Hank and Barb, for some reason, make no attempt to aid Ray, Max, and Phoebe in capturing the Ghoul.
    • Discussed by Nora in "Call of Lunch Duty" when she and Billy think Mrs Wong is an alien and are hiding from her. Nora reminds Billy that they are superheroes and comes up with a plan using their powers.
    • "Stealing Home" - Hank, Max, and Phoebe could have easily guaranteed winning the food-tossing contest by using just a little telekinesis, either to make sure that Hank caught the food, or better yet, to prevent Chainsaw from catching his. It was a difficult game, so most likely, nobody would have thought anything of it if Chainsaw missed the food by a few inches. Yes, that would be cheating, but when did that ever stop Phoebe or Max before? Granted, they won the contest anyway, but considering what was at stake, and how terrified the Thundermans were at the prospect of losing, why take the chance?
    • "Why You Buggin'?" - Max behaves as if he's completely defenseless against Quinn when she approaches him threateningly, in her insect form. Max seems to have forgotten that he possesses superpowers of his own, and that he could keep Quinn at bay by freezing her, by telekinetically suspending her in mid-air, etc. Meanwhile, Phoebe and Link watch this unfold in seemingly helpless fear, apparently forgetting that they, too, possess superpowers, until Phoebe remembers her father's old trick with the hot sauce. Finally, if Quinn's insect form is vulnerable to heat, then wouldn't Phoebe and Max's heat breath have been a more effective way to subdue Quinn than using the hot sauce?
    • When Billy and Nora were frozen in "The Neverfriending Story," Nora used her eye-beams to thaw herself out. But, for some reason, Nora seemed unable to do this when she and Billy were frozen in "Are You Afraid of the Park?"
  • Funny Background Event: "Crime After Crime" has many of these as a running gag. The kitchen blackboard has "Welcome to the upside down episode" written on it which you can only read if you rotate the image to be the correct way up. During the episode, many background props are briefly inverted.
  • Gender-Blender Name: In "Why You Buggin'?", Phoebe is excited to meet Linx's childhood friend, Quinn, trying to practice her guy talk to be able to be friends with him, until Quinn turns out to be a girl.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Delivered by Dr. Colosso to Max in "Max's Minions" - along with an Armor-Piercing Slap - when Max whines about his former minions getting the better of him. And it is beautiful to witness.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Happens in the The Haunted Hathaways crossover when the Green Ghoul possesses Chad and then Phoebe. Nora's eyes will also glow as she prepares to use her superpower.
    • In "Happy Heroween", the second ghost story that Dr Colosso tells had Chloe as a zombie who comes to her family's rescue, have glowing eyes and a demonic voice to scare Mrs Wong.
    • In "Come What Mayhem", after Phoebe can't get rid of Dark Mayhem's powers, her eyes glow red. This continues throughout the sequel hour-long special "Thunder in Paradise".
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: In "Can't Spy Me Love", Phoebe is torn about whether to use a superhero app to find a boy she had a crush on. She had good and bad angels discussing it on the counter with both agreeing to do it. Bad Angel then revealed that IT Phoebe already got everything ready.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The lesson Max ultimately tries to teach and show the juvenile delinquents in "Orange is the New Max". He explained you don't have to be a goody-two-shoes to be a hero.
  • Gratuitous French: In "Paging Dr. Thunderman", Nora speaks in French to impress the private school principal who is interviewing her.
    • In "He Got Game Night", Billy uses Max's intelligence device on Nora, who suddenly starts speaking in fluent French. When the answer to the 'Who Arted' game they are playing was the Eiffel Tower, Nora says it in French and her mother accuses her of this trope.
  • Groin Attack: In "You've Got Fail", Nora hit Max and Billy by the baseball bat.
  • Halloween Episode: "Happy Heroween" is an episode where Dr Colosso tells the family three scary stories.
  • Harmless Freezing: Phoebe and Max possess this power, and it's a Running Gag in the series. In both the first and the fourteenth episode it's a plot point.
  • Hates My Secret Identity: Mrs Wong joins the Thundergirl fan club, but is always being unpleasant to Phoebe Thunderman.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Following Max's Face–Heel Turn in the "Thundermans: Secret Revealed" episode, he comes to the realization that he can't harm his family and turns on the villains.
    • Maddy was one of the stuck-up cheerleaders who tried to play a humiliating prank on Cherry in Season 2's "Cheer and Present Danger." Later on, in Season 3, however, Maddy became friends with Phoebe and Cherry.
  • Hidden Badass: Max was always the show's "designated loser." The writers sometimes took advantage of this to cross up the audience's expectations, by having Max display impressive ability in situations where viewers were likely expecting him to fall flat on his face.
    • "Report Card" : When Phoebe dismissively says that the underachieving Max (who actually sleeps through some of his classes) couldn't possibly keep up with the advanced material in her honors math class, he responds to her challenge. In the class Math Bowl, Max not only excels, but outperforms Phoebe, and he only loses the competition because he deliberately answers the final question incorrectly (after learning how much academics mean to his sister).
    • "You Stole My Thunder, Man" : This episode used a "formula" sitcom plot - An overachieving girl runs for Class President, and loses to an underachieving boy who comes in at the last minute to capture the students' interest. The "standard" ending for this plotline is for the boy to fall flat on his face (to the smug satisfaction of the girl he beat for the office) when he finds that the responsibilities of being Class President are more than he bargained for. Instead, Max's performance as Class President impresses the principal and students. Admittedly, Max did steal Phoebe's ideas to accomplish this, but he also improved on her ideas, and in the end, Phoebe admits that Max is a great Class President.
    • "Going Wonkers" : After being rejected by a girl he asks to the school dance, Max is challenged to a "dance off" by the boy she does go to the dance with. The audience was likely expecting Max to either make a fool of himself on the dance floor, or cheat his way to victory with his telekinetic powers. Instead, Max shows himself to be an extremely talented dancer, and completely shows up his overconfident opponent. In the end, he even gets the better of the girl who rejected him, when she tries to ditch her date in favor of Max, only to get rejected by him.
    • "Haunted Thundermans" : Max battles the Green Ghoul, who has possessed Phoebe. Although he proves to be completely outmatched by his far more powerful opponent, Max gives an impressive showing, managing to fight the Ghoul to a standstill at one point.
    • The writers tried to do this with Phoebe in "It's Not What You Link." When Max tries to stop his minions from attacking Phoebe, and Max and Link are seen cringing to the sounds of an offscreen battle, the audience is supposed to think that the minions are beating up Phoebe. The next shot, revealing Phoebe standing victorious over the battered minions, is intended to come as a surprising twist. This simply doesn't work, because (1) Phoebe has superpowers and there was no indication that the minions were anything other than normal humans, (2) the episode "Haunted Thundermans" had already established that the Thundermans are skilled in hand-to-hand combat, (3) sitcom violence is only "funny" when the victim is male, and (4) Phoebe is the show's "designated winner," in contrast to Max being the "designated loser." Ultimately, it is highly unlikely that the viewers ever believed that Phoebe was in any danger from the minions.
    • Nora and Harris are the only characters in the series to be seen unfreezing themselves. Harris however, needed an evil inducing MacGuffin to access his full power, without it, his fire powers aren't that impressive. Not even Evil Man could break out nor could Phoebe when Max froze her.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: combined with Laser-Guided Karma from the "Better Off Wed" episode. Dr Colosso created the animalizer to ruin Hank and Barb's wedding by turning them into animals. When Dr Colosso was eventually caught, his invention was used against him.
    • In "Thundermans: Secret Revealed", Dark Mayhem powers are eventually taken from hum by the device he created to take Phoebe's powers.
  • How We Got Here: The episode "A Hero is Born" starts with Max trying to save Dr Colosso with his telekinesis, but fails. The voice over, in Dr Colosso's voice, then transitions the episode to when it all began. The scene that started the episode comes at the very end.
  • Humble Hero: When a dedicated fan of Electress drives home the point that the twins don't know anything about their mother's superhuman adventures, Barb explains that her normal life as a mother is more important to her then what she did in the past.
  • Hypocrite:
    • In "The Amazing Rat Race," Phoebe sees Max and his band holding their pet rats, and she teasingly congratulates the boys for finding "dates" for the school dance. Nobody seems to notice the irony that one of the band members is Oyster, who Phoebe dated in the earlier episode "Pheebs Will Rock You."
    • In "It's Not What You Link," Phoebe disparages Live Action Role-Playing (LARP) Gamers as "giant nerds," even though Phoebe herself has traits that some would consider "nerdy," such as enjoying school, to the point where she goes to school even when she doesn't have to ("Ditch Day" and "On the Straight and Arrow"), participating in academic competitions (the Math Bowl in "Report Card"), being an Extracurricular Enthusiast (several different episodes), and, for that matter, gaming ("Doppel-Gamers"). Then again, Even Nerds Have Standards.
    • Phoebe has often stated that a superhero always keeps her word. But lying, breaking rules, committing crimes (such as breaking and entering, vandalism, and theft), impersonating a doctor, cheating (in an academic competition, tennis tournament, rat race, or archery class), joyriding in a van, and wiping out people's memories are apparently all acceptable - provided, of course, that she never promised that she wouldn't.
    • In "Doppel-Gamers," Phoebe and Max become so caught up in their own activities that they neglect to spend any time with their younger siblings. Billy and Nora are so upset by this that they wind up bonding with two teenagers they meet at a gaming convention. Phoebe and Max ultimately learn the error of their ways. It's a lesson that Billy and Nora later have to learn themselves, when they become so caught up in their newfound fame that they ignore Chloe's pleas for attention in "Thundermans: Banished!".
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: In "Doppel-Gamers," Max declares, "No one humiliates Max's brother and sister except Max!"
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • When Phoebe's phone keeps alerting her to Instant Messages (alert tone: chirping bird), Max's comment is "Can I not hear a dying bird while I enjoy my turkey leg?"
    • Phoebe has told Cherry that her family are really superheroes and says "lying is never the answer" and doesn't even pause for breath before saying "You have to lie to everyone about our superpowers.
    • In "Going Wonkers," Dr. Colosso is seen uploading videos of Max's dancing, and he says, "Two million hits! Take that, stupid talking animals! Ha, ha! ... Wait a minute ..."
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Phoebe sometimes sees her family's powers as a hindrance and wishes she did not have them.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Max would rather be the world's best supervillain than second best superhero to his sister.
    • He seems to be on his way to get his wish where he and Phoebe are candidates for an elite class of superheroes, as a team meaning either both will get in or neither will.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode is a pun of a popular TV show, movie, song or saying.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Phoebe (and sometimes Hank and Barb) say this to Max as he used to be nicer.
  • Impact Silhouette: When Phoebe tells her younger siblings not to say "science fair" while Max is in the house, they shout it out at the top of their lungs. Upon hearing this, Max comes running only to slip on the freshly washed floor and leave his mark through the wall.
    • In "Beat the Parents", Hank supersneezes towards Billy and Nora, where they are stuck in the impact silhouettes they leave in the garage door.
  • Ironic Echo: In "Thundermans: Banished!", Billy and Nora are so excited by their newfound fame and fans that they repeatedly ignore Chloe's pleas for them to play with her. One evening, they brush off their little sister by promising to have a tea party with her "tomorrow morning," only to brush her off again when Chloe asks them to join her for the promised tea party. Later, Billy and Nora are in trouble and call the house for help. Chloe answers the phone, and when Nora tells her they need help, Chloe replies, "I can help you ... tomorrow morning!" and hangs up.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: In "Thundermans: Secret Revealed!", After thinking he hung up on Dr Colosso, Dark Mayhem told his cronies that the first person to die after the Thundermans was going to be Dr Colosso. Dr Colosso overheard thus and this actually helps to save the Thundermans as they were Dr Colosso's only hope of getting away.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Mrs. Wong is very rude and condescending towards the Thundermans, though seeing as Max and Phoebe have ruined her restaurant at least 3 times (albeit accidentally), her treatment towards them is somewhat justified.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Max's relationship with Phoebe is definitely adversarial, but he genuinely cares about her happiness as he occasionally makes self-sacrificing gestures for her benefit. We also see this in "The Haunted Thundermans", when he talks Taylor up to her boyfriend after almost causing their breakup.
    • In "Thundermans: Banished!", after Billy and Nora break their promise to have a tea party with Chloe, and the rest of the Thundermans are off doing their own things, Dr. Colosso, of all people, is the only one to sit down with Chloe for her tea party.
  • The Jinx: In "Nothing to Lose Sleepover", Cherry believes she is a jinx at sleepovers. The last one she was at, a helicopter crashed on the porch.
  • Kid Has a Point: In the climax of "Up, Up, and Vacay," the feud between the male and female members of the family becomes exceptionally childish, with Hank and Max taking their spaghetti sauce to the garage and Barb and Phoebe eating their spaghetti plain. Ironically, it is the two actual children in the family, Billy and Nora, who recognize how absurd this is.
  • Kid Hero: Phoebe became this after getting her cape while still in high school. At the end of "Thundermans: Secret Revealed", all of the Thunderman children get to participate in helping to take down the bad guys.
  • Large Ham: Hank Thunderman is still hamming it up in retirement. As time goes on it becomes clear this is more or less the standard method of all the superheroes and supervillains in existence. Even Max and Phoebe have the moments (quite memorably while trying save her brother from some actual villains, Phoebe resorts to an unnecessarily complicated method of entrance, and then complains when she realises the villains weren't present to see it).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At the end of "Phoebe vs. Max: The Sequel," Hank looks into the camera and says that his guess was right regarding what Chloe's superpower was going to be. Lampshaded by Phoebe and Max wondering what he is looking at.
  • Lethal Chef: Barb is one of these. To the extent that her children come up with ways to pretend they are eating her cuisine when they are really throwing it into the garbage and sometimes secretly destroying the cooking appliances when her culinary skills fail more then is normal for this trope.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: In "Exit Stage Theft," Billy tells Nora he is going to his friend's house after she and Chloe forgot about him during their hide and seek game. Nora doesn't believe him and asks which friend. Billy sees a jar of Luigi's pasta sauce and announces "Luigi. Luigi Marinara."
  • Logic Bomb: In "Thundermans: Banished!", Max and Phoebe happen upon their friends brainwashed by Candy into thinking each one of them is Candy's best friend. When the group goes after the twins, they ask how each one of them could be Candy's best friend, leading them to fight amongst themselves.
  • MacGyvering: The first test in the fifth grade superhero assessment test from the episode "Back To School" involves a pair of students having to put together a device that can defeat a robot in a certain allotted time.
  • Made of Indestructium: Billy's Indestructibo Bot in the episode, "Nothing to Lose Sleepover". The point of the robot was to try to destroy it. Hank couldn't even make a dent in it.
  • Magic Pants:
    • Averted in "The Amazing Rat Race." Max and Phoebe turn Billy into a rat but his clothes do not change with him. It isn't shown when they turn him back, but it can be assumed all of his siblings were there.
    • This is averted with Doctor Colosso, as not only does his temporary transformation back to human has him appear fully clothed, his cape enlarges to fit and the ring marking around his left eye is shown to be a monocle.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Max mutates Phoebe's plant from school into this.
  • The Masquerade: Implied (in The Haunted Thundermans) that superheroes are part of keeping the secret of ghosts, which includes policing them in the human (physical?) world. The Hero League is in charge of catching dangerous ghosts, and Phoebe and Max are aware of the numerical system of ranking ghosts' power levels.
  • Mathematician's Answer: In "Change of Art" Nora is trying to keep her mother from knowing where her siblings are:
    Barb: Where's Max?
    Nora: With Phoebe.
    Barb: Where's Phoebe?
    Nora: With Billy.
    Barb: Where's Billy?
    Nora: Hey look, they're starting.
  • Mean Boss: Mrs. Wong is one of these when Phoebe and Max are hired to work at her pizza parlor.
  • Mind over Matter: Both Max and Phoebe's most common power.
  • Mundane Utility: The opening of the pilot revolves around all the kids using their powers to set the table for dinner. This is a common theme throughout the series.
  • New Super Power: After Max took their powers, he had a change of heart and gave the powers back to his parents and younger siblings. Unfortunately, they get the wrong powers and have to fight the Big Bad and his fellow villains. Hank got Barb's electric powers. Barb got Billy's super speed, Billy got Nora's eye beams, Nora got Chloe's teleportation, and Chloe got Hank's super strength and flying. They had to adapt to these powers quickly as they were fighting the bad guys.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: One line from "Thundermans: Secret Revealed" says it all :
    Max: We weren't mortal enemies before, Phoebe ... but we are now.
    • Max had been eager to join Dark Mayhem and the Villain League ... until he found out that they wanted him to use the power-sapping orb to steal Phoebe's superpowers. Dr. Colosso tries to persuade Max to do it, but Max says that he doesn't think he can, arguing that he and Phoebe are not mortal enemies. But then Phoebe, having learned of the plot, angrily snatches the orb from Max and uses it (albeit accidentally) to take away his powers. This pushes Max to cast aside his reservations about joining Dark Mayhem, and with Dr. Colosso's help, he retrieves the orb, regains his powers, steals his family's powers, and goes to the prom to destroy Phoebe. There, Phoebe tries, and fails, to get the orb away from Max, and finds herself at Max's mercy when Dark Mayhem arrives. In desperation, Phoebe tries to reason with Max, pointing out everything, and everybody, he would lose if Dark Mayhem conquered Hiddenville. Her pleas finally reach her brother, and he turns away from the villains and rejoins his family. The great irony here is that if Phoebe had tried reasoning with Max at the beginning, when Max was wrestling with the decision of whether to follow Dark Mayhem's orders (and leaning toward not doing so), she would likely have defused the entire situation right there. Instead, Phoebe's aggressive efforts to foil Dark Mayhem's plot wound up igniting the very crisis she was seeking to prevent.
  • Nostalgia Filter: In "Beat the Parents", Billy and Nora remember a favorite kiddie show they used to watch when the one Chloe likes is too babyish for them. After watching it with Chloe, they realize it was actually not a good show, albeit because the host taught bad manners and criminal activity.
  • Not So Above It All: In virtually every episode in which she appeared, Allison occupied the moral high ground in her relationship with Max, frequently calling him out for his immaturity, self-absorption, and insensitivity. But then, in "21 Dump Street," Allison broke up with Max by text message, and a very brief, curt message at that. Further increasing the irony, this came as Max was cheerfully preparing a vegetarian feast with all of Allison's favorite foods, eagerly looking forward to welcoming her back from a three-month trip.
  • Oh, Crap!: Max in "Thunder in Paradise," upon realizing that Phoebe still has Dark Mayhem's evil powers.
    Max: You never gave them back.
    Phoebe: Of course not. How else is a girl supposed to take over the world? [Blasts Max]
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business" In "Winter Thunderland." Max is dressed up as an elf and is trying to spread Christmas joy to his family. His family is leery and very suspicious of him, but he genuinely wants to make them happy.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Oyster
  • Paranoia Gambit: Max pulls a successful one on Phoebe, following her responding to their escalating prank war. However it ends up backfiring, as Phoebe gets so Paranoid she tries to end the war by pranking herself and ends up causing Max's lab to start the self-destruct countdown and locking them both in it.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: In "No Country for Old Mentors", Nora and Billy call out their mother for punishing them for losing their things by not replacing them when she herself loses things and buys new ones all the time. Of course, she already realized her own hypocrisy before they confronted her.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Not only are superhero pregnancies very quick (lasting about one day), but their children age very rapidly. Actress Maya Le Clark was four years old when she first appeared as Chloe, in "Phoebe vs. Max: The Sequel," only three months after the character was born.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: The only traits Phoebe and Max share are their powers.
  • The Reason You Suck: In "Date Expectations," Allison delivers a ripping one to Max, calling both him and Phoebe out for their self-absorption.
  • Reset Button: It would almost be easier to list the episodes that didn't have the Reset Button pushed afterward.
    • Every single time that Phoebe did something selfish or irresponsible, which was a fairly frequent occurrence, it was completely forgotten by the next episode, and she was again being doted on as if she could do no wrong.
    • Every single time that Max showed his fundamental decency, which was also fairly frequent, it was similarly forgotten by the next episode, and he was once again being viewed as the guy who never did anything nice or good.
    • Every single time that Phoebe and Max showed how much they cared about each other, which was fairly frequent as well, it was ... Well, you get the idea.
    • At the end of "Thundermans: Banished!", Super president Kickbutt convinces everyone that she has taken the Thundermans' powers. Cherry still knows the truth, though.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Link has absolutely no function in the show other than being Phoebe's boyfriend. He has only appeared in episodes that are about him and his relationship with Phoebe. Otherwise, his name is never even mentioned.
  • Secret Keeper: Cherry becomes one for the Thundermans in "A Hero is Born."
  • Secret Test of Character: The episode Evil Never Sleeps was this for Phoebe to see if she would do the right thing (busting a villain) over putting her romantic relationships first. She passed, but was not amused.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Max's evil lair has one.
  • Shock and Awe: Barb's power.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show, Don't Tell: Inverted with Phoebe and Link's relationship, but played straight with Max and Allison's.
    • In "Meet the Evilmans," whatever emotional connection that Phoebe formed with Link occurred entirely offscreen. In the opening scene, the two meet each other for the first time, and in the very next scene in which Link appears, he is giving Phoebe a gift, the ketchup bottle "that brought us together." Apparently, Phoebe and Link fell in love while the opening credits were rolling. The audience was never given a chance to become emotionally invested in Phoebe and Link's relationship. The episode went directly to Phoebe and Link being a couple, and trying to be together over their families' disapproval. In fact, most of the episodes about their relationship were about them overcoming obstacles to spending time together. The writers didn't seem to understand that they'd never given the viewers a reason to care whether Phoebe and Link could be together or not.
    • The show did a much better job with Max and Allison's relationship, however. Over two episodes (as opposed to a single scene change), they established both Allison as a character and her strong, mutual dislike of Max. In the climax of "Date Expectations," after a disastrously failed attempt to work together, Max and Allison have a confrontation, during which they discover some common ground - They are each driven to do something that their parents won't support them on, and instead dismiss as "a phase." Recognizing Allison as a kindred spirit, despite all of their differences, Max humbles himself to her and also encourages her to pursue what she is so passionate about. In contrast to Phoebe and Link in "Meet the Evilmans," the audience is given a chance to become emotionally invested in Max and Allison's relationship in "Date Expectations," because the viewers are shown the couple forming an emotional bond, rather than merely being told that they did.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Allison delivers one to Max in the middle of fighting in "Thundermans Secret Revealed" as Max was apologizing for keeping his powers a secret. She even tells him that she kissed him to shut him up as he didn't have to apologize.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Max and Phoebe's feuding is the most obvious, but all four have some form of rivalry between them.
  • Spandex, Latex, or Leather:
    • The superhero costumes are mainly of the campy spandex variety.
    • Max often wears a leather jacket as part of his regular street clothes.
  • Spider-Sense: The Thundersense works this way/
  • Stalking Is Funny If It Is Female After Male: Sarah's obsessive crush on Max is played entirely for laughs. In "Change of Art," Hank refers to Sarah as "the girl I keep telling to stay out of my yard," and this is presented as funny.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • At the end of "Thundermans: Secret Revealed", the family's powers have been switched as seen in New Super Power above. In "Thundermans: Banished!", they are back to normal.
    • In the climax of "Thundermans: Secret Revealed," Gideon's long string of failures with girls seems to come to an end, when Phoebe's beautiful friend Maddy reveals that she has a crush on him. At the same time, Cherry and Roxy reveal their crushes on Oyster and Wolfgang. As the battle on the prom floor rages, the three newly formed couples realize that this may be their only chance to be together, and run off. They are later seen posing for prom pictures together (along with Phoebe and Link, and Max and Allison). However, while Cherry and Oyster did form a lasting relationship, Gideon is seen once again to be alone and desperate in "Date of Emergency."
  • Sticky Situation: Hank and Billy get themselves stuck to the flypaper they laid down to catch their newspaper thief.
  • Super-Cute Superpowers:
    • Chloe's baby power was making bubbles that floated in the air.
    • One of the superhuman juvenile delinquents Max and Phoebe meet in "Orange is the New Max" is a girl named Maisy, with hyperkinetic tickle powers, which Max describes as "evil and adorable." She uses her powers to torture Phoebe, to get her to reveal the code to unlock the prison door. Maisy claims that her powers have never failed to break anybody.
  • Superhero School: Phoebe is preparing for Superhero University.
    • SASS is an elementary school for supes.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Anyone who was born to superheroes or supervillains have superpowers that are varied and do not necessarily have to do with their parents' powers.
  • Super Speed: Billy's power.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • In "Cheer and Present Danger," Nora and Billy take some of the pizza and fish heads to feed the stray cat, Roscoe, which their parents had forbidden them to do.
    Nora: Come on Billy, let's take some pizza boxes out to the trash!
    Billy: Yes, to throw them out! No CAT is involved in what I just said!
    • In "Orange is the New Max," it is stated that Max once spent a summer in the Metroburg Juvenile Detention Center, and while he was there, the rest of the family did not go on vacation to Hawaii.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Chloe's superpower is teleportation.
  • Terrible Artist: Phoebe is one of these, but believes she is artistically gifted, in spite of a low grade in art (which came as a shock!) and her friends telling her she is not.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Gideon gets a girlfriend at the end of Season 3.
  • Tinfoil Hat: When Nora and Billy fear Mrs Wong is an alien in "Call od Lunch Duty", they don foil hats (Nora's with a foil bow).
  • Token Evil Teammate: Max.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: At least pitchforks in the second story in "Happy Heroween". In that, the "Monstermans" are a family of monsters who are trying to fit in on Halloween. When the people in the restaurant realize they are real monsters, they take out pitchforks. Lampshaded by phoebe asking where the pitchforks came from.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The previews for "Report Card" show Dr.Colosso as the paper thief, even though finding the thief is an episode long side plot.
  • True Companions: In "Blue Detective," we see that Max and Dr. Colosso truly care about one another. The rest of the Thundermans find this deeply disturbing.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Games created by Cybron James in the episode ""Doppel-Gamers". He advertised that all of his games were unwinnable. They were because he invoked this trope.
  • The Unfavorite: Max is clearly the least favorite child in the house. This seems to be a contributor to why he wants to be a villain. Max implies Phoebe has been doted on by the superhero community as the future greatest superhero ever. This is also a reason for his rebellious actions.
    • This was partially addressed in "Stealing Home" when Phoebe told Hank that Max was feeling upset because he never spent time with him. Max got a little bit of attention at the end but nothing else happened.
  • The Cape: Once superheroes get a certain accomplishment they get a cape.
  • Villains Out Shopping: When Dark Mayhem calls Max and gives him the address to his new HQ at the beginning of "Thundermans: Secret Revealed", Max finds himself at a fast food restaurant. Dark Mayhem explains they have to make money somehow after the unsuccessful jewel heist that Phoebe busted earlier in the episode.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Shaping up like this, but as they're technically trainee superheroes, it's more save whatever they've caused to go wrong.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Subverted In "Max's Minions" when Phoebe convinces Nora and Billy that doing certain tasks (her chores-she doesn't tell them) are parts of her special superhero training tasks for Nora and Billy.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: A great deal of Max's insecurities come from the treatment he gets from his Mom and Dad. And the reason why he's in the whole supervillain phase is simply to get attention from his parents, who obviously favor Phoebe over him.
    • Used as a plot line in "Stealing Home". Max hides all the furniture in the house just to get some attention from his father.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: The plot of "Winter Thunderland" where the three Christmas spirits show Max what would happen if he tried to ruin Christmas for Nora.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "The Girl with the Dragon Snafu", Nora and Billy bet their parents that they could run the household better than their parents. After the two kids were doing an amazing job, the parents started to try sabotaging things. Barb realized it was getting out of hand when she saw Hank loosening the chandelier put up on Nora ad Billy's watch and called him out on it.
  • You Are Not Alone: What Max tells Dr. Colosso to cheer him up in "Blue Detective," after he confesses to his blue-coloring prank to drive Max and his latest love interest apart.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/TheThundermans