Absentee Actor: Jake T. Austin in the most recent episodes. He took a break to go back to New York where he goes to school, while the writers wrote his character to be temporarily played by a different actor.
An unusual, possibly unique, case, in that the actor playing his part is a girl.
David DeLuise would miss a few episodes every season, usually with a reference to Jerry being out of town. Sometimes this was because DeLuise would be directing an episode.
As stated above, David Henrie does not partake in the reunion special, for reasons he describes here (see Put on a Bus below).
Abusive Parents: There's an example to be had in almost every episode, though usually played for laughs.
In the first seasons, Harper's parents are implied to be pretty abusive and the reason why she ends up becoming a member of the Russo family.
In "Delinquent Justin", David Henrie plays four different versions of himself, two of them at the same time.
Also, Selena Gomez plays herself and Harper in "Family Game Night". In "Quinceanera", she plays herself, her father and her mother. In "Third Wheel", she plays herself and Justin. So, basically, she played almost every main character, except for Max.
Special mention to "Family Game Night" where Alex and Harper's brains are in the same body
She also plays Alex's evil side in the new special, The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex.
Jake T. Austin plays Max, Justin and Alex in "Three Maxes And A Little Lady".
Both David DeLuise and Maria Canals Barrera play Alex in "Quinceanera".
Adults Are Useless: Neither of the parents have magical powers, though Jerry did before. Also averted and played with as Jerry is often the one who has a fix for whatever Alex has screwed up, and sometimes is the catalyst for her screwing up.
An Aesop: Responsibility and loyalty are fairly common themes.
All Girls Want Bad Boys: Alex and Dean, although they did break up - partly because it was a Long Distance Relationship, and partly because Alex decided that it wasn't working out. Of course this being a Disney show his "badness" is limited to wearing a leather jacket, liking fast cars and occasionally cutting class. Alex is the "bad" one of that relationship. On more than one level.
In Alex vs. Alex, we have this:
Alex: Dominic is evil? Harper: Is it weird he's even more attractuve now?
Angrish: Jerry frequently lapses into this, which involves it being Lampshaded in one episode by Justin, who says that they can always tell when he is angry by him spouting gibberish. According to him, these rants often end in "ALEX!" while pointing accusingly at her.
Alex deliberately tries to provoke Justin this way. During the Stevie Saga, she replaces his jazz band with rock, all as an excuse to see him explode. It works, because Justin knows she's doing it, and that makes him even angrier.
Anguished Declaration of Love: Inverted, in the movie. It was more like an Anguished Declaration of Admiration/Desperation. Justin and Alex may have Incest Subtext coming out of every orifice, but saying they love each other is the one thing they refuse to do. This is lampshaded in "Delinquent Justin". They're probably saving the 'I love you' for a crowner in the final movie/finale.
Which didn't happen - perhaps because TPTB felt that having that happen would take the focus off the wizard competition and onto Alex/Justin - which is probably why they made Mason a Stalker with a Crush on Alex, and had her eventually get back with him (sound familiar, anyone?).
Anti-Hero / Anti-Villain: Alex Russo. She is self-centered, manipulative, irresponsible, and often cruel to those she loves, but she really does love them and will usually do the right thing in the end, even though "the right thing" usually means fixing a problem she created.
Most things regarding New York locations. For example, in the episode with a flying carpet, they are badly superimposed over Manhattan, where they see Shea Stadium. Shea Stadium, when it existed, was very much in Queens.
Not only that — Waverly Place itself is about a two block street just off Washington Square by NYU, at least the portion that is east of Washington Square Park, and this portion is definitely nothing like the SoCal-icized location shown. It does continue west of the park, however, for several blocks well into the West Village, and the set depicted on the show appears to be a somewhat plausible fictionalization of Waverly Place in the West Village. Not overly so, but at the very least, it's probably intended that the Russos live on Waverly Place somewhere in the West Village, as opposed to the eastern portion of it, which in reality is bounded by nothing but NYU buildings and one or two non-NYU apartment buildings.
The most egregious error regarding the actual depiction of Waverly Place is that it's shown as a pedestrian mall/walkway, complete with a staircase in the middle of it just before the entrance to the Waverly Sub Station. The real Waverly Place is a major thoroughfare for car traffic, like any other major street in a large city. Such a blatant error was probably done to make the set more friendly for television production.
Additionally, the area surrounding the baseball field in the episode "The Supernatural" has a little too much fauna (and not exactly specific to Downstate New York) to be located anywhere in the five boroughs.
Artistic License - Physics: Usually irrelevant due to supernatural forces being at work, but also surprisingly subverted in that the Laws of Thermodynamics are maintained by stating that magic is fueled by an external power source.
Artifact Title: "The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex" is actually one. With Jerry already mortal when the series began, Max losing his powers and becoming mortal in the series finale, and David Henrie not reprising his role as Justin, Alex Russo is the only wizard returning for the special.
Author Appeal: Todd Greenwald created Justin, Alex and Max out of inspiration from his own kids. Originally they were even going to have the same names. For example, in the first episode, Justin calls himself 'Jman', Todd's son's nickname.
Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: In at least one episode, "Don't Rain on Justin's Parade—Earth", Alex is upset at the thought that she has become good under the tutelage of Mr. Laritate, and is pleased and relieved when he calls her an evil genius.
Because Destiny Says So: In "Future Harper", the future Harper wondered if Alex's bad mood was because of Mason breaking up with her. A second one from 'Future Harper': She mentions that one of the four of them will reveal magic because he or she 'has a big mouth'. They blame Max in the episode despite the fact that Justin revealed magic to the government and Alex suggested that they need to reveal magic to the world. Luckily the whole situation wasn't real.
Mason is pretty nice, too, as long as you don't hit his Berserk Button.
Big Applesauce: Generally played straight, since the show is set in New York, but subverted (probably unintentionally) in "Quinceanara" when Jerry claims to have caught Alex in the check-out line at the mall. There are very few shopping malls in New York. *
Not entirely unrealistic, though, given that Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn have such malls as Queens Center, Gateway Center, and Kings Plaza, respectively.
Big Brother Instinct: Played straight, and one of the foundations of the show. Justin enjoys Alex messing up, and usually puts on a winning, smug smile when he's told he has to fix her mistakes.
Happens a number of times in The Movie, where she flat out admits that she expects for him to come up with the ideas on what to do.
Big Eater: Alex, stealing food from paying customers, emptying granulated sugar right into her mouth, keeping pizza and milkshakes in her school locker.
Bittersweet Ending: "Wizards vs. Werewolves" ends with Mason being turned into a full wolf, Juliet becoming an old woman after losing her vampire powers, and Alex and Justin mourning over the loss of their loved ones. While some were unhappy with Juliet's death, most found this to be a satisfying ending that allowed them to go back to the more family-oriented storylines. At least for a little while.
Body Paint: Justin, in the "Wizards On Deck" crossover.
Bond One-Liner: Mason gets a great one in The Wizards Return, when he tells Alex that he'll handle Dominic.
Mason: Go on, love. I'll just stay here - and have a snack.
Book Dumb: Alex. Lampshaded in one episode, in which the school is having an academic contest in which Harper is competing but one of the other contestants, Nellie Rodriguez, had to drop out:
Harper:(to Alex) I wish you were smart. Then you could fill in for Nellie. Alex: I am smart! I'm street smart. Harper: But not book smart. Alex: I am too book smart! Sure, I don't read books, but I hollow them out and hide things in them.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Harper's intelligent enough so that cribbing off her and getting her to do her homework is one of the reasons Alex hangs with her but she is decidedly odd, especially when it comes to fashion choices. Although, in "Dollhouse", her ability to paint incredibly small things precisely (due to her fashion design skill - those are some very strange outfits) helps Justin make a nice chunk of change.
The Bus Came Back: The Wizards of Apartment 13B story arc loves this trope. So far, Mason, Gorog and other Wizards who've played large parts in certain episodes come back, and in the final episode, reaveled thanks to a commercial on Disney Channel, Juilet comes back, although it may or may not be her, since it is Gorog they're dealing with here.
Cain and Abel: Not a serious, dramatic case, but it gets pretty intense sometimes, even though it's not quite clear who is Cain and who is Abel in Justin's and Alex's relationship. There are episodes when Justin is angry at Alex, because she's easily forgiven by their parents and gets away with her mischief and there are episodes when Alex is jealous of Justin, because he's smarter, more mature and better than her at almost everything. She even made a wish with a genie that everyone would stop comparing her to Justin, resulting in the genie making everyone forget him. Which resulted in... other, creepy stuff.
Cartwright Curse: The writers have played with our expectations by leading us to believe that Justin and Juliet, as well as Mason and Alex, might actually go the distance. Mason goes from werewolf to full wolf, and Juliet gives new meaning to "showing her age".
Cassandra Truth: At first, Alex didn't believe Justin when he said that their Aunt Megan was just like her, but after Megan says that she doesn't like hard work, Alex comments, "Oh my gosh, she is just like me". Subverted later in the episode, when Justin rescinds his statement and points out the difference between the two of them: Megan never learned how to apologize or even admit that she was wrong.
Cast Incest: Selena Gomez and David Henrie have been seen going on dates, and being much more friendly with each other than they are with rest of the cast members, throughout the course of filming the show.
Casual Danger Dialogue: In the movie, regardless of whether they're hovering over a doomy canyon of doom, or trying to thread narrow walkways with falling pillars, Justin and Alex still find time to snark incessantly at each other.
And Alex for Justin, whenever he happens to turn into a wolf or goes crazy.
The Cheerleader: Subverted with Harper who is nice, smart and not at all slutty. Played somewhat straighter with Alex who can be a bitch and is Book Dumb but also subverted in that she doesn't want to be one but was tricked into it by Justin.
Chekhov's Gun: A future Harper is introduced in Season 2. She wrote books based on Alex and her adventures. Some of the things she says are used as plot points later on and guess what Harper's doing in Season 4. She's writing the books.
The fact that Mason likes to paint dogs takes on a whole new meaning when it turns out he's a werewolf.
Chewing the Scenery: In "Wizards vs. Finkles", Justin lampshades this after eating some enchanted ham by running onto the stage and asking the Finkles if they mind if he chews up a little scenery.
Max is actually an interesting variation. In "Wizards vs. Werewolves", he makes a comment that implies that his Cuckoolander-ness may actually be intentional.
In "Alex Tells The World", we learn he is a minor example. He's still The Ditz, but he exaggerates it to prevent himself from breaking the Masquerade.
Harper wears Lady Gaga-esque clothing, complete with meat clothing and fishbowl outfits she actually has to feed. That's not the weirdest part, she comes from the future where everyone knows about magic to write about wizards in the past, taking Alex's stories and selling them.
Alex also has moments of this (such as being so dependent on magic, she can't even zip her jacket without it), but she's more of a Cloudcuckoolander's Minder for Harper.
Comedic Sociopathy: Really applies to pretty much every wizard and everything magic on the show. Max shattering Stevie apparently didn't register with anyone as an accidental homicide; no one seems to see anything wrong with Justin creating a frankenstein-esque monster and setting her loose in school; and Stevie's sending Jeremy from Science down some magical hole to "no idea where" is purely played for laughs even though Harper implied he died. Compared to these offences, even though she's the perennial trouble maker Alex's petty pranks aren't actually all that bad (especially since she invariably ends up punished or apologising).
Continuity Cavalcade: A lot of the spells that the Russo's have used over the course of the series come back in the Grand Finale, either as an answer to a quiz question or a spell that they use in the competition.
Continuity Nod: In an early episode the action news weatherman is replaced by a new girl that Justin thinks is hot. Several times in later episodes he references her and it's her vision that he sees in the "Eye Of The Beholder" spell that shows everyone what they want to see. At end of an episode, Alex asks Justin if he is curious about what she did to his cape and lightsaber. In the beginning of another episode, we hear someone telling Justin to pick up his cape and lightsaber at Lost and Found, to which Alex comments: "I can't believe they found out where I hid those."
Continuity Porn: The writers take this show's continuity very seriously, as seen in Season 3. Although, they sometimes attempt this so much that they tend to mix things up. Justin confusing the Edgebono Utoosis spell with another is one example. In "Future Harper", Max refers to a pet lizard that ran away, with Alex and Justin inferring that it died. Later, in "Max's Secret Girlfriend", Max's dead lizard is his most loved possession.
Mason is pretty much a product of this. In "Future Harper", the Future Harper asks Alex if she had broken up with Mason yet. Alex looks confused, and nothing more was said about the subject. Guess who shows up later on?
Future Harper seems to be the hub for all plans, because she wrote books based on Alex's wizard adventures. Dozens of episodes later, regular Harper began to write a book based on Alex's life.
In the Grand Finale, there are plenty of Call Backs to previous episodes, and there are a lot of spells that are used in this episode that have shown up throughout the entire show.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: During the episode "Dancing With Angels" Max (who has been turned into a little girl) refuses to tell his parents where Alex, Harper and Justin have sneaked off to. His punishment? Being entered into a beauty pageant for 7-12 year-old girls.
Interesting to note is that Selena Gomez was in all three shows, but not as Alex Russo in the other two. Also worth noting that despite the supposed three way crossover, none of the Wizards cast actually interacts directly with any of the Hannah Montana cast. Though, since Selena Gomez does play Alex and Miley's rival, Mikayla, it would be best to keep the Russo family as far away from Miley, Lilly, and Robbie Ray as possible to avoid confusion and conflict. However, it would have been interesting to have Alex appear as Mikayla's look-alike, and see what might happen.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: Alex knows she's going to get her way, and she'll be a Smug Snake till it happens. Averted in later seasons, where Alex is wrong more and more frequently.
Darker and Edgier: As the series progressed, werewolves, vampires, mummies and Franken-monsters passed by, not to mention that Alex's magnificent Noble Demon skills developed and Justin became a monster hunter and a Mad Scientist. Oh, and Max lost his conscience for an episode or two. Really. Not to mention that they apparently killed off Stevie without anyone seeming to care. Alex even made a harsh, sarcastic comment about her death, then walked away happily.
Season 4 seems to be taking it up a notch with the "Wizards vs. Angels" trilogy.
Discontinuity Nod: In "Max's Secret Girlfriend", when asked about what he told to Nancy, Max says that he told her about everything except the dragon dog. In "Curb Your Dragon", the Russo's adopt a dragon dog, but it never appears again.
Does Not Like Magic: Theresa even openly admitted to HATING magic. In the movie, that is completely true, in the series, it varies from episode to episode, sometimes she hates it, sometimes she is just being cautious, and sometimes she enjoys it. She also implied that she wanted to be a wizard too, so much of this inconsistency can be attributed to...let's call it "WandEnvy".
Played straighter with Harper, who mentioned giving Theresa her 'I hate magic' T-shirt, and pushes Alex to learn how to do things normally (during Alex's 10-Minute Retirement from the magic competition).
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Alex's painting that resembled the symbol of anarchism in "Paint by Committee", Justin playing with his wand under the sheets in The Movie, Alex asking Justin to give her his wand, Alex's and Justin's hug in "Dollhouse" and many more.
Downer Ending: The first episode of Season 4, "Alex Tells the World". Alex and Justin are found guilty of revealing magic to the world and are demoted back to Level 1 wizard studies, which results in everyone thinking that Max will become the family wizard.
Drop-In Character: Since a lot of the plot takes place in the sub shop, it's easy for characters to 'drop in'. Harper was this until she actually started living with the Russos.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: This is Disney so you can bet they were not actually going to kill someone off (even a vampire) so instead they settled for sending the growing in popularity Julietto ''hell''.
The problem is they have. On screen. Granted, it's not graphic but people don't usually come back from being frozen and shattered.
Early Installment Weirdness: The first two seasons, and the first season especially, look and feel like a subtly different show. Alex isn't quite as chaotic as she's normally associated with, mostly just being disinterested. Justin uses magic far less frequently other than during the wizard lessons, and if anything (on a network that tends to FlanderizeToo Dumb to Live characters further into stupidity) Max arguably becomes more competent as the series goes on, reaching a point in Season 4 where in certain situations he's better talented and more competent than either Alex or Justin (with appropriate Lampshading). WizTech starts off as just one of possibly many wizard educational institutions (with the existence of competing institutions being implied) but soon becomes almost synonymous with the wizard realm itself. Professor Crumbs likewise goes from being merely WizTech's headmaster to practically the supreme ruler of the wizard realm by the beginning of Season 4, with no transition and an attitude of "this is how it always was." And of course, the series becomes Darker and Edgier along the way.
The last two seasons of the show literally look and feel different from a technical perspective as well. Between Seasons 2 and 3, the show switched from standard def to hi-def, and a different company was contracted to handle post-production. Consequently, and aside from the change in aspect ratio, older episodes now have a weird, "washed-out" appearance when seen on Disney Channel's present hi-def feed. This also roughly corresponds with the developmental changes described above.
Easily Forgiven: Justin and Alex cycle through this. Lampshaded and inverted a few times.
Elevator School: The only explanation for Max being in the same school as Justin and Alex since the show started.
It's even more blatant after Max gets turned into a little girl (apparently in the fourth grade) and still goes to the same school.
Expy: Alex is basically a female version of Hyde from That '70s Show. And looks like she could be Jackie's sister.
The Alex and Mason relationship is very much like another relationship - and the episode where Alex met Mason's family (all of whom wanted to eat her) makes the entire relationship (after Wizards Vs. Werewolves) seem like a bad rehash of Twilight.
Face Palm: Justin uses this a lot. And everyone has used this at least once when it comes to Max.
Fan Fic: Since this is a show about magic, naturally this opens up the doors for every type of fanfiction imaginable. (Warning: Most fics in this fandom are Justin/Alex fics, hopefully with a Don't Like, Don't Read summary. Although sometimes, even a story that claims NOT to be a Jalex fic, will end up one anyway.)
Hurt/Comfort Fic: This is a big one. In order to make the Justin/Alex plot make sense, usually the two are set up in a hurt/comfort situation: either someone dies (often the entire rest of the family), or they can't get over a breakup with a lost loved one (Mason and Juliet usually). Almost all Harper fics involve her terrible home life or self-loathing issues, and her latching onto Justin, Max or Zeke for support.
Other common ones include Dark Fic (the 'bad Justin' from "Delinquent Justin" has nothing on the Justin in dark fics...), Child Fic (either Harper or Alex get preggo, and Justin is usually the father.), and Continuation.
Fantastic Racism: Wizards have problems with both werewolves and vampires. Giants are more accepted but there are still offensive jokes.
Don't forget the Monster Hunters, who were prepared to hunt down Juliet and her entire family simply for being vampires, despite the fact that they hadn't hurt anyone!
Except for the thousands of people they killed.
Well, Juliet is nice, but her parents are understandable...
They also apparently imprison tons of monsters, which is probably justifiable for some, but one that we're shown basically does nothing but be a Deadpan Snarker (the manual Justin gets says that's its only tool for survival. It makes you wonder if the wizards are paranoid or just jerks).
First Girl Wins: Averted, in that Harper never seems to catch a break in terms of landing Justin. They do, however, find out that they do make excellent friends - but things revert back, because Status Quo Is God. And now she's not interested anymore.
Freak Out: When Alex's schemes are involved, expect at least one.
Freaky Friday Flip: In the episode "Quinceañera", Alex switches bodies with her mom to avoid her titular 15th birthday party. Which is okay with Theresa, who never got a Quinceañera and always wanted one.
Freudian Slip: "Alex Does Good" with Harper, "It's time I got some appreciation, Mom!" We also see this in The Movie, when Justin lets slip that the reason he's always tried so hard to be perfect is that he's afraid that his parents won't love him otherwise. And Harper again in "Monster Hunters" when she's teaching Alex study tricks. She starts singing a mnemonic song and it turns into a rant on how Alex is a bad friend.
Friends Rent Control: Nobody in New York, especially not owners of a sandwich shop that seems to be perpetually half-empty, can have a house, complete with basement, parking lot, and balcony in TriBeCa. Though there could be explanation in that Jerry (the dad) seems to STILL have some very big pull in the magical world. This would help with the situation.
Functional Magic: Formulaic Magic and Item Magic. It's strongly implied that the incantations mainly serve to focus the thoughts of the wizard on a specific spell and aren't strictly necessary.
Gambit Roulette: One of the villains on the show was a shopkeeper who sold the kids a pet dragon. For some reason, Alex can't tell her parents about it. So she pretends it's a lost dog that they found, and they post lost & found posters. Suddenly the shopkeeper apparently responds to the posters and takes it back, claiming to have done this several times before. This way, he can sell the dragon several times to different people while getting it back each time. So the guy apparently planned for Alex, and everyone he sells it to ever, to do something stupid like that. Either the guy was just a really devious shopkeeper, or you could just blame this on bad writing.
Gender Bender: Max undergoes one in "Three Maxes and a Little Lady", thanks to a mutant spell cast by Alex and Justin. The end of the episode states that he will remain female for a while.
Generation Xerox: Justin, Alex, and Max's sibling dynamic was revealed to be surprisingly similar to Jerry with his brother and sister. To cap it all off, Justin won the Wizard competition, but gave up his powers, just like Jerry, though both the reason he did it and the sibling he gave his powers to are different.
Grand Finale: Alex becomes the family wizard. Professor Crumbs retires and passes on full wizardry power to Justin, who becomes the Headmaster of WizTech. Max inherits the family business.
Gratuitous Spanish: Odd aversion - despite only Theresa being Hispanic (Jerry's Italian), they apparently never spoke it in front of their kids, one of whom is now failing Spanish.
Theresa: With my help you'll be fluent in Español in no time! Alex: Great! What's es-pan-yol? Theresa: It's Spanish. Alex: Right, Spanish for what? Theresa:Ay caramba...
In The Movie, we find out that Justin also speaks Spanish - and although Jerry may not speak the language, he understands enough to know what Spanish-speakers are talking about.
The amount of Spanish has increased in later seasons. Theresa calls Alex mija (and so does Max when doing an imitation of her), but the kids still don't seem to understand her.
Theresa: (running from a childhood monster) I promise I'll behave, Mama! I'm sorry! (Unintelligible Spanish) Justin: What's she saying? Max: It sounded like she was ordering a number four from Fiesta Express.
Growing Up Sucks: Only one of the Russo kids (the one who's found to be the most experienced) will get to keep their magic when they reach adulthood. Has potential for Chekhov's Gun when combined with "Wizards cannot marry non-wizards" - Justin or Alex are going to be (a) non-wizard(s).
Heh Heh, You Said X: In the episode "Future Harper", our teenage wizard heroes travel about using a device called the Inter-wizard People Porter. Max (and a oneshot character in Egypt) pick up on the fact that the acronym sounds like "I pee-pee".
Helping Hands: Justin creates a floating hand as a project to help the elderly.
High School Dance: Many are talked about, but only one is actually shown in an episode.
Historical In-Joke: While in 1957, Harper manages to invent both the poodle skirt and the sock hop. Max invents the high-five, but twenty years too early, so it ends up being called a "max" instead, which Alex considers a Close Enough Timeline.
Hollywood Nerd: Even though Justin is a nerd, he is very good-looking and has little trouble with finding a girlfriend.
Lampshaded on one occassion with an exchange between Justin & Max, during an episode where he's dealing with a Stalker with a Crush:
Max: Congratulations! I never thought you'd get in a relationship. Justin: What are you talking about? The werewolf girl, the goth chick, the centaur girl. I date ALL the time! Why is it that people never think I date anyone?
Hot Mom: Hmm, be a wizard, or marry a smoking hot Latina? So long, Professor Crumbs! This is also a point in The Movie, when the dad (after meeting the mom post-Alex's latest screw-up) deliberately blows her off, stating that he could fall for her, but that he doesn't want to give up his powers. And later falls for her anyway.
Human Aliens: The aliens who land at Waverly Place in the episode "Wizard For A Day" to steal Jerry's milkshake machine wear silver suits and have dealy-bobs coming out of their heads, but otherwise look just like us. You'd probably see weirder things on an average day in New York.
Invisible Streaker: In one episode, Justin is turned invisible by Alex's careless wording of a wish to a Literal Genie. He strips off his pajamas so his parents won't notice him, leaving him naked in a room with his parents and his sister. Hilarity Ensues as Alex attempts to prevent the parents from accidentally sitting on him, etc.
The entire latter half of the 1-hour Werewolves special, Justin can be seen (whether he's prominent in the current shot, or in the background) giving Mason the dirtiest looks he's ever given. In fact, Justin is just blatantly pissed off in general, and it wasn't until Mason was gone that he finally stopped being angry long enough to comfort Alex, and deal with his own loss.
Konami Code: The spell used to go to the Bermuda Triangle begins as this.
Alex's grandmothers seems to be a more elderly version of this:
If I see one scratch on that bike, someone's gonna eat spokes.
Lampshaded Double Entendre: Alex explains to her parents her new idea of a sandwich called "Meet Me In Turkey", then she turns to Justin and grins, telling him that he knows where she's going with that.
Alex and Mason are throwing water balloons from the roof to below residents, whom are not amused.
Mason: We should run. Alex: No, we should have a romantic montage.
And when the Russos are investigated by the government for being wizards, a scientist starts asking questions, and the man says "you skipped all the questions you asked the other kid" and he says "excuse me for keeping it fresh".
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At the very end of the Grand Finale, Chancellor Tootie Tootie says, "And that's our show, everybody! Thanks for watching!" Almost as if it, and the gameshow itself was directed towards us, the viewers.
Love Dodecahedron: Alex and Justin have a complicated relationship, meanwhile Alex is going out with Mason, who in turn confessed his undying love for Juliet, who is also the current girlfriend of Justin, who Harper has a stalkerish crush on but who may also love Zeke, and...
Mayfly-December Romance: Justin and Juliet. She may have been joking when she talked about Caesar but she's been to well over five hundred proms.
When she talks about her relationship with Mason during the finale of that arc, she says she loved him a 'long time ago' - 'Like, before America was discovered'. Which would mean that this trope applies to Alex and Mason's romance too.
Tutor the tutor. According to Alex in that episode, parents in the Wizard World always name their children for jobs they want them to do. Of course, she says it doesn't always work.
"My dad goes to a doctor named Butcher."
Medium Awareness: Alex declares the start and end of her Falling in Love Montage with Mason, and in another episode, stops talking for about a minute to prove that comedies are unfunny without dialog.
Middle Child Syndrome: Justified in that it explains why Alex does what she does (she's not only the middle child but a daughter), and inverted/lampshaded in the episode where Aunt Megan is introduced. (Jerry/Megan/Kelbo = Justin/Alex/Max.)
Misfit Mobilization Moment: Justin's delinquent class in "Everything's Rosie For Justin", when they do their wand drill. Subverted in that they all fail, because Rosie has no magic.
Also, that they all passed, because Rosie was never a wizard, and the rest of Justin's class knew what they were doing. This doubles as yet another Ass Pull to keep Justin and Alex behind in the wizard competition.
Harper: I had my mom's private investigator track her down. Alex: Oh, how's the case going? Harper: Oh, everything's fine. Turns out my dad was just sleeping in the car.
Moment Killer: Poor Harper, she tried so hard to get Zeke to kiss her.
Monochrome Casting: Aside from Theresa and her family, everyone is at least half-white. Considering they live in New York, this is a little strange.
Mood Whiplash: The show is a lighthearted teenage comedy without any serious consquences for anyone for years until suddenly Justin's very old vampire girlfriend ages to her real age and Alex's boyfriend turns out to be a jerkass and is turned permanently into a wolf.
Motionless Makeover: While Justin practices a time freeze spell, he puts a glass of water on Alex's head while she's frozen. This plan backfires as Justin falls to the ground, causing time to unfreeze, Alex to look down, and the glass to fall on Justin.
My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: G-Rated Version in "Wizards vs. Werewolves", in which Mason gives Alex a magic pendant that glows when the person wearing it is in love with the person who put it on them.
Never Say "Die": Averted in the movie when Jerry says that every year two or three wizards go looking for the Stone of Dreams and wind up dead.
Never Trust a Trailer: The promo for "Alex Charms A Boy" makes it looks like Alex sadistically charms some random boy into falling in love with her. In the actual episode, the boy becomes her boyfriend the old fashioned way, and she only puts a charm on him to get him to paint her.
Nonuniform Uniform: the outfits that the wizards wear for the competition and other activities 'in the field', so to speak, judging by the fact that Jerry (in The Movie) also had a similar uniform.
Noodle Implements: When Justin asks Alex's advice of how to get rid of a girl and she tells him to use a road flare, a barrel of maple syrup and a mini-trampoline. Then she goes on to say that the maple syrup isn't for what he thinks.
To fix the lamp he broke, Max will need "A broom, a dustpan, double-stick tape, and small dog." The first three are subversions, as it's obvious enough what they'd be used for, but it's never explained what he intended to do with the last one.
Noodle Incident: In "Saving WizTech - Part 1", Justin is being mocked by Dean for being a teenager wearing a suit without any special reason —he thinks. Justin then replies that he could tell people he was going to advocate him, for what Dean happily answers:
"Would you do that?! Great! Now we just have to prove I couldn't throw that thing so far..."
In The Movie, we never do find out what it was Giselle did that caused her to be turned into a parrot.
Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Superintendent Clanton was played as a bad guy (and was a little stern), but was probably better for the students than Mr. Laritate. He didn't fear Alex, didn't let Justin brown nose him, and even convinced Max to go to college.
Not Using The D Word: In "Dancing with Angels" and "Wizards vs. Angels", fallen angels are consistently referred to as "angels of darkness", and their place of residence is referred to as "the dark realm." They are never called demons or devils, and their realm is not called hell. Furthermore, Rosie, despite the fact that she uses Justin's love for her to get him to do bad things, is never called a succubus.
Additionally, the ruler of the angels of darkness is called "Gorog", not Satan, Lucifer, etc. The good angels do sing "hallelujah", but that is the only reference they make to God.
N-Word Privileges: In the episode "Third Wheel", Alex and her new wizard friend make fun of media portrayals of wizards by donning pointy hats and beards. When Harper tries to join in the fun by holding her hair in front of her face and pretending it's a beard, both Alex and Justin tell her it's offensive.
Of Corsets Sexy: In "Western Show", not only does Theresa say she likes the corset she's wearing, but then Jerry asks why he doesn't have one.
Ominous Message From The Future: Harper of the future comes back to, first, write books about the wizard adventures she has with Alex because in the future one of them will have told the World about wizards, so the books aren't all that interesting or unique, and, second, make sure that Alex has those adventures with her. In secret.
Out-of-Character Moment: More like Out of Character episode. In "Alex's Logo", written by first time writer David Henrie, everyone is generally not themselves, and ironically the biggest victim is Justin.
Painting the Medium: In "Magic Unmasqued", Alex starts to have a flashback and tells it to go away.
Parody Magic Spell: Most of the spells are either the last name of one of the show's creators and a made up word that rhymes, or exactly what the spell does, with a Latin suffix such as "ius" tacked onto the end. Those that aren't are probably Shout Outs of some kind.
Wizard storybooks are an inversion of the concept: Rather than the reader entering the book, reading them makes the story become real in our world.
Power Trio: Alex (ego), Max (id) and Justin (superego). Also: Harper (ego), Alex (id), Justin (superego).
Protagonist-Centered Morality: Really driven home in the Alex vs. Alex special. Alex gets drilled, again, for being irresponsible and selfish by her family. Being depressed over this, Alex pulls a stunt that endangers the world, again. She gets stripped of her powers, again, for her actions. At the end of the special, she gives a speech about how only Harper appreciates Alex for being herself and not trying to change her. This It's All About Me speech actually manages to deem her worthy of having her powers again.
Put on a Bus: Justin in the Alex vs. Alex special, who is mentioned heavily but not actually seen. At the time, David Henrie was working on another movie, but the scheduling conflicts were impossible to rework, so he chose not to return.
Alex: Now normally, I would be all for giving up without a fight, but this wand drill's too important. Felix: Come on, Alex. How's a ragtag team of misfits like us expected to beat the odds?
Reality Subtext: David Henrie (Justin Russo) and Selena Gomez (Alex Russo) liked one another in Real Life (and they probably still do), a fact which affected their characters' relationship to the point where even the fans, the critics and their friends noticed that Justin and Alex acted a little "strange" around each other, especially in The Movie.
Remember When You Blew Up The Sun: Right before the wizard competition, Jerry listed Alex's many world-saving achievements as his reasons as to why he thought she would win.
Retcon: In "Alex's Logo", Mr. Laritate has mysteriously forgotten that Ms. Majorheely "texted in her resignation". This is due to actor David Henrie writing the episode, but that doesn't justify the error. The majority of fans have already shunned this episode from canon anyway, not without reason.
Rule of Symbolism: When Justin and Harper find Alex who is painting in an artists alley she's painted her first initial surrounded by a circle. That symbol also happens to be the universal symbol for anarchy. Symbolic much?
Running Gag: Justin forcefully grabbing Alex's arm and dragging her after him to tell her something in private, or pull her away from a certain situation. The same for Alex, who usually snatches him to complain about her problems. Lampshaded in "Delinquent Justin".
The lamp on the bookshelf in the living room goes through a never-ending cycle of being broken, usually because of some use of magic, and replaced by a similar lamp.
Which became a wonderful point of Continuity Porn in The Wizards Retrun, when she and her Evil Twin battle through the living room, blowing things up - but when they simultaneously zap the lamp nothing happens.
Alex:That's weird, right? Evil Alex:Really weird.
They then both push the lamp over to break it.
Rummage Sale Reject: Harper. Her clothes have been based around such things as food and markers.
Harper goes beyond this and into crazy costumer, since she makes her own outfits.
Sadistic Choice: Humorously subverted in "Wizards vs. Vampires: Tasty Bites". Jerry and Theresa consider the possibility that they might only be able to save either Alex or Harper from Juliet's vampire parents. By the time of the confrontation, however, they've already decided to save Harper - reasoning that she's the one who will take care of them in their old age.
Sarcastic Clapping: Justin does it one episode, after Max attempts to take out the garbage using magic and fails. (This is the episode just after Alex and Justin have been bounced back to level one wizard training.)
Justin:(clapping) Ladies and gentlemen, the future family wizard.
And then a moment later, when Alex declares she's quitting the wizard competition.
Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Professor Crumbs gives full Wizard status to both Justin and Alex, despite the fact that there's a rule saying that only one wizard per family can be a full wizard. This is so Justin can take over his position as headmaster of WizTech. The only reason he could possibly be allowed to disregard the rules in this manner is because he is the head of the governing body that created them.
Screw Yourself: Alex doesn't meet herself to do... you know what, but she still falls in love with herself when she drinks both halves of a love potion. And her head gets big.
Secret Test of Character: The premiere of the 4th season revealed that the whole Government discovering wizards was actually another test by the wizard council to see if the Russo kids could avoid exposing magic. Alex and Justin fail miserably and end up knocked down to Level 1 Wizards, putting Max in the lead of the competition.
In "Who Will Be The Family Wizard?", it turns out the cancelling the competition was this as well. The Wizard Council wanted to know whether the Russo family bond could survive the loss of magic. It did.
In the episode "Art Teacher", Mr. Laritate is surprised that his phone gets text messages when a teacher "texted in her resignation". In a later episode, he apparently still doesn't know what a text message is.
In the episode "Monster Hunter", Jerry says that he remembers when Justin was still turning bricks into rabbits and Justin nostalgically responds "Edgebono Utoosis". However, in "The Crazy 10 Minute Sale", it's shown that "Edgebono Utoosis" is a spell to create a duplicate of whatever it's cast on. Not to mention Justin never turned a brick into anything. He duplicated a rabbit, and in a totally different episode, Alex turned a dove into a brick.
A recent episode had Alex say that every wizard learns the zombie language when they're little, but an earlier episode established she didn't know she was a wizard when she was little.
In "Make it Happen", Jerry says his father was a rodeo clown, but in "Rock Around the Clock", Grandpa Russo clearly owns the sandwich shop.
Ship Tease: A lot between Justin and Alex, but the most blatant ship teasing would be in Max's Secret Girlfriend, where Justin and Alex willingly pretend to be married with three kids. Bonus points awarded for them getting into a heated argument, and then snapping back into 'loving' mode, just like actual married couples.
Shouldn't We Be In School Right Now?: Surprisingly almost completely Averted. A huge chunk of the series has at least a few scenes that take place at or deals with Tribeca Prep, the "Muggle" high school the Russos attend, or WizTech, the Wizard World equivalent. And the Russos attended their wizard homeschooling (or in the case of Justin in the final season, taught wizard classes) roughly Once an Episode.
Justin: What was that ruckus?" Alex: What ruckus? Justin: I heard a ruckus. Alex: Can you describe the ruckus?
Shown Their Work: In the episode where Jerry teaches Alex to fly a magic carpet, Jerry tells her never to fly into any clouds because she can become disoriented in them. Despite Alex's protests that there's nothing to run into inside a cloud, this is exactly what they tell real-life pilot trainees (either running into another aircraft or becoming disoriented enough to actually run into the ground).
Smart People Play Chess: In the episode "Make it Happen", the Russo's kids have to choose an alternate career in the case of they don't become wizards. Justin's first idea is to make money by traveling the world defeating robots at chess.
Smug Snake: Justin occasionally in the series, much more so in the movie although he gets better. Alex more than a few times too.
Spicy Latina: Theresa, when the mood strikes her. Averted with Alex who's too all-American to fit this.
Spiritual Successor: To Phil of the Future, in the sense that it's Disney's current show with supernatural/magical elements. It's been said that the money Disney gained from the success of Phil was used to create Wizards.
Max: Hey, my underwear!! Hey! You know what? I was wearing those for ten straight days!! (runs after the trophyman)
Stalker with a Crush: Harper with Justin. She actually somewhat lampshades this by once dumping soda over his head after spying on him and his date at a movie theater, saying "Just because I'm your girlfriend and you don't know it doesn't mean you can cheat on me!"
She made him a sweater out of her own hair.
A more serious and frightening example is Mason towards Alex.
Stationary Wings: Wings do not flap when flying. There's even a spare set in the angel's disembarkment agency "sitting around, just in case."
Good Wings, Evil Wings deserves to be a subtrope of this since feather color, stated to be a distinguishing angel trait, is not a permanent quality.
Status Quo Is God: This show is very good at avoiding this, given its strong sense of continuity. The only instance where this trope was invoked was with the dragon dog.
Stealing From The Hotel: In an episode Teresa and Jerry go away for their anniversary weekend. When they check on the kids at home they see that they're causing havoc and Teresa tells Jerry to "grab the towels, I'll get the bath soap" as they're hurrying out of the hotel.
Alex: No, I'm not. Harper, am I a wizard? Harper: Alex? A wizard? Please! It's not like she's got a magic flying carpet or can duplicate herself or knows a spell that can make a really klutzy person not klutzy when they work at their sandwich shop. If she was a wizard, she could do those things, but she doesn't, so she isn't. Maxine: Hey, Professor Crumbs! Professor Crumbs: Who's that adorable little girl? Alex: It's not Max 'cause Max is a boy!
The Password Is Always Swordfish: Justin, in trying to activate the manual override self-destruct mode on a Time Bomb missile to blow up an asteroid, is told that there are 100,000 possible 5-digit combinations. Of course, Alex gets it right on the first guess, with "1-2-3-4-5".
Took a Level in Jerkass: In the episodes following "Wizards vs. Werewolves", Justin transformed almost instantaneously from a stand-up guy who was willing to fight to the death for his loved ones, into Alex's bitter, vindictive arch-rival. This seems to have been a temporary change, but Justin is still not as kind-hearted and noble as he was in Season 2.
The three siblings in the finale, temporarily. They soften up towards each other once they work together to bring business to the sub shop.
Trailers Always Spoil: Mason is a werewolf. The promos try to be vague about it, but anyone with half a brain can put the clues together.
The Cablevision description for the episode "Moving On" is "Harper convinces Alex to her transform into Juliet to help heartbroken Justin move on." For the record, the fact that Juliet is actually just Harper in disguise is supposed to be a suprising twist.
The title "Future Harper" - three guesses as to who H.J. Darling is, and the first two don't count.
Rosie's an angel. Or, "She's an angel" as Justin put it in the promos as they showed Rosie with wings and advertised it as the first episode in the "Wizards vs. Angels" trilogy.
Trash the Set: Though the destruction did not happen onscreen, in the final season Alex's school was destroyed by an asteroid and her graduation ceremony happened in the wreckage.
Troubled Fetal Position: Justin almost goes into this in "Third Wheel", although falling debris kept him from completing the pose.
Tuckerization: Executive Producer Peter Murrieta likes to insert his last name randomly into episodes, such as the name of a business on Waverly Place, and in the incantation for a spell. Also, the sub station is across the street from Greenwald's Hardware.
Tsundere: Alex, Type A. Mostly uses The Taunt strategy, and her blatant insults towards Justin are what keep her from being full Kuudere.
He also seems to be somewhat of a stud by Wizard World standards, having dated a centaur, a werewolf (briefly), and a vampire, all of whom seemed to find him resonably attractive. Not to mention attracting an angel, although she initially only approached him in order to corrupt him. However, her love for him was enough to make her turn good eventually.
Versus Title: Few of the episode titles start with "Wizards VS".
Vitriolic Best Buds: Alex and Harper, type 1. Alex and Justin, type 2. Alex spends a good portion of the time insulting or using the people around her and they either don't notice (Alex: Why don't you go start on my homework and I'll make some sandwiches?" Harper: "Oh, you're such a good friend!") or snark back. Recently Harper has begun to transition to Type 2, specifically in "Franken Girl" and "Monster Hunters".
Inverted somewhat with Alex and Laritate. they usually don't get along to well and constantly clashing though they do have there moments where they get along very well.
Possibly justified in that magic is derived from natural sources, and plastics are a purely synthetic substance that doesn't exist in nature. It's a variant of Rock Beats Laser. Plastic's resistance to magic has been used elsewhere as well, such as Sabrina the Teenage Witch. *
Note that in Sabrina, magic simply didn't work on plastic, as opposed to plastic actively cancelling out the effects of magic. The rules in the Wizards universe seem to be different though.
Weirdness Censor: To the point where the characters can just cast spells in front of everyone.
We Want Our Jerk Back: Alex in "Positive Alex", after her cheering for the other team caused her own school's cheerleaders and pep band to be banned from sporting events. Harper was especially not to happy about this.
Justin: What's... what's going on? Gorog: Oh, you'll soon see. You brought me the Moral Compass, so I'm done with you.
You Look Familiar: Amanda Tepe has played a worker at the Gurt Barn, a museum security guard, a hot dog vendor, and even a worker in the Wizard World.
Youngest Child Wins: How many people think the series is going to end, with heavy hinting that way in the last season. It has been averted, however. Alex, the middle child, wins, though the oldest Justin doesn't exactly lose.