Western Animation: As Told by Ginger
Serving as the 12th show in the popular Nicktoons
franchise, the show focuses mainly on the life of junior-high-school student Ginger Foutley. She, along with her friends Darren Patterson, Dodie Bishop and Macie Lightfoot, all try to rise from the position of school geeks as they solve many conflicts that come their way. Luckily for Ginger, the most popular girl in school, Courtney Gripling, has taken a liking to her and often includes her in her social plans. She is intrigued by her (what Courtney calls them) 'gingerisms'. However, Miranda Killgallen, Courtney's right hand woman, makes sure that she is not bumped down from her position thanks to Ginger. At home, Ginger records her lively adventures in her diary. Her little brother Carl, is often scheming with Hoodsey Bishop in his own side plots; and her mother, Lois, is always there for advice, which Ginger is always open to listen to. The series takes place in the fictional town of Sheltered Shrubs, located in Connecticut. It ran for about 4 years from 2000 to 2004 (with the finale being released on DVD and most of the episodes leading up to the finale being left unaired in the US, although one of these episodes finally aired in 2006 on Nicktoons Network).
It was among the few animated series in Nickelodeon
that was ahead of its time, featuring (relatively) realistic situations and teenage issues which soon set a mark for the future titles
to come in the TeenNick
time slot. The most notable among the show pointed out that it didn't follow the Limited Wardrobe
trope compared to the other Nick titles. It is also one of the only shows, not just on Nickelodeon, but perhaps in all of children's entertainment, to portray interracial romance in a serious (and positive) light.
Provides examples of
- A-Cup Angst:
- Courtney. She is a young adolescent, but she is not pleased about her small size. To the point where an episode's plot involves foiling a plan by two High School Alpha Bitches to expose her as a bra-stuffer.
- Macie has a more subdued version of the trope. In "The Easter Ham" when Dodie was ranting about how Darren's Birthday Party was one of "the most important BFF thing to happen since we got to buy training bras!" Macie then replied "Those were my darker days," and then left it at that.
- Accidental Misnaming: Blake seems to never get Hoodsey's name right, often calling him "Woodsey" much to his annoyance.
- Courtney often does this to Dodie ("Podie") and Macie ("Stacie" or "Kacie")
- Acquired Situational Narcissism:
- Dodie in "Of Lice And Friends" when she replaces Chett Zipper for school announcer and uses it for gossip, becoming somewhat popular in the process, but only because she dishes dirt on other people.
- Also occurs in the episode "Wicked Game," in spades. The episode in which Dodie's mother ends up subbing at Lucky Junior High suggests Dodie inherited this tendency from Mom.
- Added Alliterative Appeal - Sheltered Shrubs. Protected Pines. Avalanche Arts Academy. Camp Caprice. Heathered Hills. Doctor Dave.
- Adorkable: Macie and Darren.
- Affectionate Parody - The titular play of "I Spy A Witch" is essentially a musical of The Crucible.
- All Girls Like Ponies:
- Ginger is quite fond of them, as her room would suggest. Along with the song she sings in summer camp involving copper-colored ponies.
- Dodie too, she has a shelf full of them.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys
- All of the Other Reindeer: Noelle Sussman is largely ignored by her peers because she's a total Cloudcuckoolander, but she doesn't seem to care.
- Aloof Big Brother / Big Brother Bully: Darren has one in the form of Will.
- Alpha Bitch: Chantelle and Andrea.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Joann Bishop to Dodie.
- American Accents - Surprisingly few for a show set in New England. Lois has a thick Noo Yawk accent, and the Griplings speak with posh mid-Atlantic (mid-Atlantic as in FDR-ish, not mid-Atlantic as in DC-area) accents, but most of the main cast sounds vaguely Midwestern.
- The episode in which Ginger tries to set her mom up with Buzz the Plumber has Buzz and his boys speaking with horrifically thick Southern accents, and engaging in many stereotypes thereof (i.e., paintball, sloppy eating, watching cartoons in underwear, scratching selves).
- Amicably Divorced - Lois and Jonas. They don't hate each other, just split up because they have radically different lifestyles. Ginger too is on good terms with Lois and Jonas too, but the same doesn't exactly apply for Carl, who resents Jonas and is rather out of touch with him, in part due to him being much younger and having known Jonas for less of his life. (It also doesn't help that Jonas wasn't making much effort to connect with his kids for the first season or two.)
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Carl can be this to Ginger at times.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking - This quote from the second part of "The Wedding Frame":
Ginger: Dodie, Macie...do you think I'm unreasonably distrusting, and maybe that's why I'm having a whole time with this whole marriage thing, and this whole...Orion thing?
Dodie: Well, you did have your heart broken once.
Macie: And you are a child of divorce.
Dodie: Oh, oh, and remember when you sent away for a T-shirt using the proof of purchase from your cereal box?
Macie: And the T-shirt never came?
Dodie: That couldn't have helped.
- Also, in "The Summer of Camp Caprice," after Ginger and her friends violate 14 rules of Camp Caprice, Margie lists them
Margie: Three counts of breaking curfew, one count of swimming in the lake without supervision, two counts of illegal use and operation of camp equipment, four counts of failing to report a violation of Camp Caprice rules, two counts of assisting the illegal deliverance of non Caprice Campers to Camp Caprice Grounds, one count of having a member of the opposite sex SPEND THE NIGHT in an ALL-GIRLS CABIN!
Other Campers: (gasps and murmurs)
Macie: Margie, with all due respect, that was only thirteen broken rules. I counted.
Margie: And one count of chewing gum at an assembly! Spit it out, Macie!
Macie: (spits out gum) Oh sorry, that's fourteen, yup.
- Art Evolution - Contender for Most Triumphant Example—the show very carefully aged the characters as it progressed.
- Darren is arguably the best example in the show, slowly developing from a scrawny teen with head gear to a really in-shape young man due to him playing football in High School.
- Although still retaining the Klasky-Csupo look, the animation improved drastically from the pilot.
- The Artifact - The animation during the theme song, which still has Darren's headgear well after it was removed and Lucky Junior High even after the main characters go to high school.
- Artistic License – History: The beginning of "Next Question" has the answer to the trivia question "In what year was Abraham Lincoln first elected into office?" being "1860." Not true—he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1846. Though "What year was Abraham Lincoln was elected president?" was probably what they were going for.
- Ascended Extra: Noelle Sussman, who can be seen in multiple episodes as a background character. Pretty much lampshaded by Carl when he can't recall her despite being in his class. Hope Rogers too. Her pre-makeover self can be seen in the background in plenty of episodes.
- Attention Whore: Dodie, to seriously ridiculous levels.
- Courtney is a more benign example. In "And She Was Gone", she spends a lot of it dressed as an Emo Teen and pretending to be depressed when Ginger started getting attention over her poem. She even admits it- and in "No Hope For Courtney" she almost undergoes Sanity Slippage when Hope becomes the most popular girl in school instead of her.
- Attractiveness Isolation: Discussed in "Piece of my Heart"
Miranda: So, Ian, anyone ask you to the Sadie Hawkins dance yet?
Ian: No, but my dad says it's probably because I'm really good-looking. See, when you're really good-looking, people are sort-of intimidated by you.
Miranda: Right. So, you want to go with me?
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Ginger and Carl.
- Back to School
- Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: Attempted by Hope Rogers in "No Hope For Courtney" but ultimately subverted - Hope admits she admired Courtney and the two become good friends.
- Beautiful All Along:
- The girls at school view Darren this way after his headgear is first removed. May be justified since a good portion of his face was obscured by metal.
- Macie is also proven this in "Butterflies Are Free."
- Becoming the Mask:
- Thea Mipson. While she was deceiving Ginger (she even wears a wig) she admits that she actually did come to like her and to a degree did feel guilty about the deception, and may have legitimately wanted Ginger to stay.
- Ginger herself is in this situation in "Deja Who?" where Courtney asks her to take her place after having an allergic reaction to lobster in order to impress a senator's son. Dodie and Macie are decidedly not pleased with this.
- Beta Bitch: Miranda to Courtney. She has one too in Mipsy.
- Big Brother Bully: Will Patterson towards Darren sometimes, but deep down, he cares about his little brother.
- Big Fancy House: The Gripling family lives in one very large house as does Mipsy and Mirandas' families.
- Big Heroic Run: In "Of Lice and Friends", Dodie finds a list of students who have lice and begins to read the names over the school's PA system. Courtney, who is on the list, begs Ginger to stop her, so she makes a mad dash to the office and dives at the microphone cord, unplugging it right before Dodie reads Courtney's name.
- Big "NO!":
- Hoodsey does one accompanied by a Slow Motion Fall in "Sibling Revile-ry."
- Hoodsey also does one in "Family Therapy" after Carl tells him that he was scared of a naked mole rat.
- Carl does one in "Hello Stranger" after finding out that Lois drank part of his sea snake mix, which is so loud that Ginger comes running downstairs.
- Both Carl and Hoodsey do one in "April's Fools" after Joann tells them that she threw away Blake's tonsils.
- In "Sleep On It", a grounded Carl sends Hoodsey in his place for a sleepover with Blake with the goal of getting back Carl's petrified eyeball. Because Hoodsey has a bedwetting problem, Carl tells him not to eat or drink anything that night.
Hoodsey: It's the eyeball. I got it!
Carl: Good job, Hoodsey. Now, get out of there!
Hoodsey: But what about the sleepover?
Carl: Forget it! Come home, boy! Come home!
Blake: Woodsey, we're in luck. Cook left us some chicken cordon bleu in the fridge.
- Big, Thin, Short Trio: Respectively Chet Zipper, Ginger, and Macie in "Next Question"
- Black Best Friend - Miranda for Courtney, Darren for Ginger.
- Blackmail - Miranda blackmails Ginger in "Cry Wolf" when she threatens to reveal Ginger's secret about her not being allowed to shave if Ginger doesn't do her bidding.
- Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Used by Carl when he's blackmailing Blake.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead - Ginger is redhead, Macie is brunette and Dodie is blonde.
- Blond Guys Are Evil - Blake Gripling.
- He's not really evil so much as a snob. There are times he even dips into nice territory, although not as much as his sister.
- Buzz and his sons also play this somewhat straight. While Lois is dating Buzz, he and his sons cause chaos around the house, what with Buzz's "man's touch" and his sons' out-of-control behavior.
- Averted with Hoodsey. He's blond under that hood.
- Big Beautiful Woman: Lois is on the chubby side, but it doesn't stop a couple of men in the show taking interest in her. She loses most of the weight through the series when trying to fit in her wedding dress.
- Big Sister Instinct:
- She gets irritated with Carl very often, but Ginger gets noticeably angry when Joann calls him Hoodsey's "rotten little playmate" in the episode "Lunatic Lake".
- Ginger even extends her protection to Hoodsey, her brother's friend and a brother of one of her friends.
- Interestingly, Carl sometimes displays this towards Ginger, even if she's his big sister.
- Will Patterson often picks on Darren, but he does care about his little brother, as shown in "Piece of my heart".
- Bittersweet Ending: In "Driven to Extremes," Ginger stands up to the substitute, but ends up in detention as a result.
- Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Darren wears these in the first season. It resembles a reverse bear-trap.
- The Brainless Beauty: Courtney Gripling
- Character Development
- Childhood Friend Romance: Ginger and Darren. Especially in the Distant Finale, when we see Darren holding a baby girl with supsiciously familiar ginger-hair.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Brandon Higsby, Noelle Sussman, Polly Shuster, Carl and Hoodsey. Although sometimes Hoodsey dips into Cloud Cuckoo Landers Minder.
- Commitment Issues: Ginger expresses this doubt in the finale. Ginger's mother is getting remarried, and Ginger's new boyfriend Orion is pressuring her to go steady, but Ginger doesn't want to because she doesn't feel comfortable. She wonders if this is wrong, but her friends suggest that she has commitment anxiety due to her parents being Amicably Divorced and because she once dated her best friend Darren. She and Darren had since broken up after he showed interest in Simone and felt guilty about two-timing Ginger. She also wonders how her mother could take getting remarried after being divorced once, but her mother reassures her that while nothing is certain, she's happy to remarry anyway.
- Cool Loser: The main character and her friends are great people, but not as popular or "successful" at Lucky Jr. High. Subverted with Dodie—she desperately wants to be part of the "in crowd", but the popular kids can sense her wannabe attitude a mile away.
- Cool Teacher: Ms Zorsky, Ginger's middle school teacher.
- Collector of the Strange: Carl, so very much!
- Continuity Nod - Another thing that made the show unlike other cartoons was the strict linear continuity. Every episode would make some reference to a previous episode.
- Some good examples are quite subtle. "No Hope For Courtney" featured a loser-girl named Hope who temporarily displaces Courtney as popularity queen, and she shows up in "About Face" where a crowd of popular girls come to Dodie's house to confront her about how her mother, the new Home Ec. teacher, is forcing herself in their in-crowd, and Hope is mentioned by name as Dodie welcomes them like a laundry list.
- Ginger stealing the bank sign in the first episode "Ginger the Juvey" is mentioned many times in different episodes.
- In "About Face", Mipsy gets hit in the eye with a rock twice that was aimed for Dodie's window, and she shows up at graduation in "Butterflies are Free" wearing an eye patch.
- In the first season Ginger had a crush on a popular boy, but the character proved less interesting than the relationship budding between her and Darren, so he quickly became The Artifact and disappeared from the show. In one of the later episodes Ginger saw his name drawn on the back of her locker and comments that "That was ages ago..."
- In the episode Wicked Game Dodie & Macie conspire with Mipsy and Miranda to break up Darren & Ginger. Courtney exposes the plot to Ginger and Darren at the end of the episode. The very next episode, Dodie, Macie, & Ginger act as though nothing happened, for a while it seem almost a discontinuity. However, it is brought up once in a single off hand comment by Courtney, implying that the girls decided to deal with what happened by never speaking of it again.
- Courtney is heard singing her theme-song from "Come Back Little Seal Girl" in Season 2's "Family Therapy".
- One exception, however minor: Ginger went from being right handed to left handed sometime between season one and season two.
- Creepy Child: Sometimes Carl dips into this. His prize collection is a Petrified Eyeball.
- Creepy Laugh: Mrs. Bishop's laugh sounds as Ginger puts it "like a middle-aged goat being tortured and slaughtered."
- In the series finale, Niki La Porte, the impostor disguised as Dr. Dave's ex has a hoarse laugh that scares away a flock of nearby pigeons.
- Crossdressing Voices: Both Carl and Hoodsey were voiced by women (Jeannie Elias and Tress Mac Neille). Also Blake was voiced by Kath Soucie.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Jonas tells Carl in 'Ten Chairs' that the reason he left is that he thought the sting of divorce would be better than having to live with two people who didn't get along.
- Daddy Didn't Show - The episode "Hello Stranger."
- Darker and Edgier - The show is very noticeably more adult than Klasky-Csupo's other shows, like Rugrats and Rocket Power.
- Dark Skinned Red Head: Noelle Sussman. Darren & Ginger's daughter as seen in the Distant Finale
- Deadpan Snarker - Miranda. Macie, at times. Also, Ginger's mom.
- Disappeared Dad - At the start of the series, Ginger and Carl's father is nowhere to be found, but is referred to as still alive. He first appears in the Christmas Episode, where he and Carl talk about his lackluster parenting. Afterwards, he resolves to be more involved in his family's lives and makes recurring appearances.
- Distant Finale
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune - In international broadcasts of the first episode, Ginger's voice Melissa Disney sung the theme song, but was replaced by Miranda's voice actress Cree Summer and later R&B singer Macy Gray.
- In the US, the first few episodes used the Summer theme, but was soon changed to the Gray version even for reruns of the first episodes.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: In "The Right Stuff" Darren calls his older brother Will: "Wilbert". This results in him angrily throwing him in a swimming pool.
- Joann tells Carl not to call her "JoJo", but he always does anyway. Even Lois does sometimes, but not to her face.
- As a Running Gag in "Summer of Camp Caprice", Macie keeps calling Courtney "C.G.", much to her annoyance.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Played for laughs in "Ginger the Juvie", wherein Miranda convinces Ginger and her friends to steal the "ENTER" sign from the parking lot of the local bank so that Ginger can give it to Courtney as a birthday present. Even though they're just going to steal a wooden sign, the episode plays out as if they're planning an elaborate bank robbery, with Ginger wondering if she could handle going to prison, and the girls ultimately sneaking to the bank at night wearing black turtlenecks and watch-caps. Miranda rats them out to the police, and they do get arrested at the end...for attempted vandalism.
- Downer Ending - "No Hope For Courtney": Carl's teacher, Ms. Gordon, dies. Made sadder by the fact that she was originally going to get out of retirement, but the voice actor for her passed away during production.
- "Driven to Extremes": Ginger stands up to Mrs. Grimley and promptly gets detention.
- Dreadful Musician: Miranda is noted by Macie as "the only person who can make a clarinet sound bitter."
- Drill Sergeant Nasty - George McGrority, the "Big Brother" Ginger assigns Carl in "Sibling Revile-ry" as part of her "Persuasion, Not Punishment" program. A former military school cadet, George constantly carries (and blows) a whistle, makes Carl turn his room into a barracks and sneaks into his doghouse when he tries to flout the 8 pm bedtime imposed by George.
- Dude Magnet: Surprisingly enough, Ginger. Of the course of the show she manages to attract Michael in "Deja-Who?" (until she shouts at him for insulting her friends), Joaquin in "In Love With a Proper Foreign Exchange Student", Jean-Pierre in "Stealing First", Fred from Avalanche Arts Academy, Camp Caprice Sasha, Although he does get back together with Clover., Jake flirts with her somewhat, Orion and, of course, Darren.
- Dumb Blonde: Courtney, somewhat.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The pilot episode "The Party" seems very strange when compared to the rest of the series. The art style is like an early draft of what is typical of most series, the some character design is odd looking at best with both Miranda and Darren get a race lift (Darren had grey hair and his headgear squeaked every time he spoke which got annoying fast). A lot of personalities are the same with the exception of Blake who seems like a normal kid instead for his typical snobbish personality. The episode is the only one that is never referenced too again (the fourth episode Sleep On It is very similar plot wise but with a sleepover instead of a party).
- Easily Forgiven - No other way to explain for Dodie and Macie who tried to break Ginger and Darren up.
- Embarrassing Middle Name - Blake Sophia Gripling!
- Embarrassing Nickname: Carl gives one to his teacher Mrs Gordon - "Gordo". She doesn't like it but he keeps calling her that. Even Lois starts using it.
- Enter Stage Window
- Evil Detecting Children: In "The Nurses' Strike", a few children are heard crying after hearing Miranda's Evil Laugh.
- Evil Laugh - Miranda does this in "The Nurses' Strike," when she discovers Ginger's mom is working as a cleaning lady, effectively scaring a nearby family away.
- Et Tu, Brute? - As Ginger finds out that Dodie and Macie are trying to break up her relationship with Darren.
- When Ginger sees her friends defecting to the other side in Battle of the Bands:
Et tu, Macie?
- Expository Hairstyle Change: As the main characters leave become older, leave junior high for high school and become more mature their hairstyles change. Ginger lets her hair grows out and no longer uses her yellow hairclips, Dodie stops wearing her pigtails in favour of a hairband, and Macie's hair grows out quite a bit. Courtney and Darren let their hair grow longer, too.
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: In-universe. Ginger wrote a poem about a girl who wants to fly and ends up vanishing. Everyone interprets it as a metaphor for suicidal thoughts, and asks her to get counseling for depression.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: Courtney is the most popular girl in school, after all.
- Fiery Redhead: Mostly averted with Ginger, she's usually very sweet but can be moody.
- First World Problems: Lampshaded in a discussion between Courtney and Miranda when observing Lois and Ginger cleaning and discussing a girls' weekend one day.
Courtney: How come Mama and I never have this kind of fun? We've had hard times too.
Miranda: What hard times?
Courtney: Umm, well...like the time when she lost the Platinum card in Jamaica
Miranda: Please, they replaced it in three hours
Courtney: The longest three hours of my life thank you very much!
- Flyover Country: Lois is perplexed by the idea of Dave booking a honeymoon in Omaha (as is Dave himself when the travel agent proposes it to him), prompting both of them to ask, "What's in Omaha?"
- Freaky Is Cool: Carl certainly thinks so. He develops a crush on Noelle Sussman because she's even weirder than he is.
- Freudian Excuse: It's implied that Miranda is such a jerk because her own dad, who is a Policeman, is quite a hardass himself.
- Friend to All Living Things: Carl Foutley. A number of his capers over the series involved helping animals, from stealing a heart that was going to be used in a science class dissection to save a cow who needed a heart transplant to attempting to cultivate a flea circus, leaving a bucket full of acorns in the attic that attracted squirrels to help them out with a long cold winter ahead. When he accidentally burst the Lucky Elementary septic tank, he did it to help feed whales, but got a number of details wrong with his plan, which he fully admitted to. Carl nearly faltered with a fear of naked mole rats, but then resolved to overcome his fear by finding the missing rodent and realized she was just as scared as he was and safely brought her home. By the end of the series, he becomes a self-declared vegetarian during Thanksgiving and attempts to set a live turkey free, even though the turkey is clearly vicious and malevolent.
- Friend Versus Lover: A platonic example, but Dodie is obviously quite jealous of how much time and attention Darren gets from Ginger.
- Funny Background Event: "Losing Nana Bishop" has a funeral that takes place on a boat. As Hoodsey attempts to give a eulogy for his late grandmother (who he wasn't very close to), a speedboat drives past the funeral which causes the boat to rock back and forth for a while. The casket rolls from one side of the room to the other (due to Macie accidentally unlocking one of its wheels earlier), which Hoodsey never notices despite the crowd's gasps. After he finishes speaking, another boat speeds by and causes the casket to shatter a window.
- G-Rated Drug - The Mocoloco Frothinator in "Stuff'll Kill Ya."
- Generation Xerox - Courtney is just like her mother. Same personality, same obsession with fashion, and both are very much Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense.
- Ginger fears this for Dodie. JoAnn Bishop was once a teenager obsessed with becoming accepted by the popular crowd and often alienated people with her actions.
- Darren's older brother Will is very much like their father.
- Gender-Blender Name: Sasha is a unisex name, but it's more commonly used on girls.
- Get Rich Quick Scheme: Pretty much every plan Carl and Hoodsey come up with that does not revolve around getting even or a prank.
- Girlish Pigtails: Miranda of all people starts wearing these when she and Darren are briefly dating.
- Dodie wears them in most episodes.
- The Ghost: Mr. Gripling (Until the finale)
- Girl Next Door: Switched as the lead is female and Darren is the boy-next-door, although Darren is implied to have had the crush on Ginger first.
- Gossipy Hens - Dodie.
- Grass Is Greener: "Someone once told me the grass is much greener, on the other side..." Once even a theme in the episode "T.G.I.F"
- Hair Color Dissonance - Macie's hair is supposed to be brown but is actually a greenish gray.
- Happily Married - Lois and Dr. Dave, in the series finale, The Wedding Frame.
- Ginger and Darren appear to be one in the Distant Finale, as seen in The Wedding Frame as well.
- He Cleans Up Nicely - Darren upon getting his braces off.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Jake is usually in a leather jacket.
- Hen Pecked Husband: Dave Bishop, although he can sometimes get his own way with Joann.
- Her Boyfriend's Jacket: During the brief time they were dating, Ginger did wear Darrin's jacket.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners - Carl and Hoodsey.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Miranda to Courtney.
- Winston to the whole Gripling family, particularly Mrs. Gripling.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Courtney and Blake, who come from upper class families, try to fit in with the lower-class kids at their school.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog - In "Kiss Today Goodbye," Dodie avoids telling Simone about Ginger's relationship with Darren, and Ginger about Darren's newfound feelings for Simone, both times using some variation on "needing to feed her ferret."
- Darren tells Simone this one to avoid telling her about the Foutley-Dave wedding:
Darren: I have this, uh, spinal condition that needs adjusting, or else I could wind up, uh...spineless!
- I Read It for the Articles: Macie's reasoning for having a Knowing Your Hamster magazine in "Kiss & Make-Up".
- Iconic Item - Darren only has his headgear in the first season, and they're off for the rest of the series. But they are still one of his most recognized features, and the opening credits stay the same throughout the show's run.
- Dodie's pigtails were, until she ditches them for a hairband in later seasons.
- Important Haircut - In the special "Far From Home" Ginger gets her hair straightened and given a blue streak to signify how much she's changed away from home.
- Innocently Insensitive - Hoodsey tries to comfort Ginger after her appendectomy by reading to her at her bedside—from a romance novel. Hoodsey has no idea that Ginger had been dumped by Darren immediately before being admitted to the hospital.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Carl and Hoodsey are pals with Dwayne, a twenty-something year old garbageman.
- Also, Maude. Carl befriends her in the second episode. She dies, but later comes back as a ghost.
- It's All About Me - Dodie.
- It's Always Spring - Averted; the show has many episodes which take place during the fall and during the winter. Many episodes also include rain without it being relevant to the plot.
- Jerkass - Miranda.
- Mipsy manages to be even worse. At least Miranda shows a few occasional moments of compassion. Mipsy shows nothing but cruelty towards her (except for that one time when she and the others needed her help and that was pragmatism.) She masterminded the plan to get Ginger set away (granted it was too a really prestigious boarding school but still.) she also spread nasty rumors during the time away and tried to break up the Darren relationship to make her more vulnerable (and there's the whole "defame the school statue.")
- Joann Bishop anyone? She's very rude to Carl, to the extent she badmouths him in front of Ginger, whom she merely seems to tolerate because of Dodie and makes catty remarks about the Foutley's in general, not to mention just generally being a shrill, irritating nag.
- Sadist Teacher Mrs. Grimley takes this Up to Eleven. She makes the entire class push their desks against the wall and forces them to write progressively longer essays for infractions.
- Dr Dave's mother towards Lois. See Kick the Dog below.
- Jerkass Has a Point: She was a bitch about it, but Dodie did have a point when Ginger invited Darren to go with them to the State Fair without asking Dodie or Macie first, especially as it was a long-standing tradition between the three of them.
- Jerk Jock: Darren Patterson's older brother Will.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold - Carl. Hoodsey even calls him a "bad boy with a heart of gold" in "Stuff'll Kill Ya." (Carl isn't really a jerk per se, just a naughty boy who sometimes enjoys teasing other kids mercilessly. And he really is kindhearted on a fundamental level.)
- Courtney also qualifies. She may act vain and have a big ego, but deep down, she's a nice person.
- Dodie, although it varies.
- Jewish American Princess: Mipsy Mipson. She is part of the inner circle of popular and wealthy girls, her parents hired a sushi chef from Osaka for her 13th birthday, and in "Far From Home" she mentions Bat Mitzvah money. This trope is avoided with the more working-class and less observant Lois and Ginger.
- Junior High
- Karma Houdini - Miranda is usually exposed for her crimes (as to let her victims off the hook) but is rarely otherwise punished. Mipsy is just as bad as her, but is never shown getting what she deserves (in fact, one episode has Ginger accuse Miranda of something Mipsy did to her). Simone also counts.
- She did get a rock to the eye in one episode. which is something. and she's wearing an eye patch a few episodes later so it definately stuck.
- In "I Spy A Witch," virtually all the girls in the play (besides Ginger and her friends) know Miranda and Mipsy defamed a statue and presumably framed Ginger for it. Miranda is forced to confess everything during the play, but is never shown being punished and successfully cheated Ginger out of the play. Mipsy gets off the hook, and the girls who knew what was going on should have said something, but get away with it.
- Made even worse by the fact that her father is the Chief of Police. If anyone was going to bust her, you'd think he would eventually.
- In "Driven to Extremes," although the jerkass substitute teacher Mrs. Grimley gets her house tp-d, she doesn't get any adequate punishment for being a mean-spirited teacher to the students, and Ginger ends up in detention instead.
- Kick the Dog: In the series finale, Dr. Dave's mother sets up an evil plan to keep him from getting married to Lois.
- Killed Off for Real - Mrs. Gordon And Maude, too, in the second episode no less, and in the middle of dinner! Her death became a part of "I Spy A Witch" where Carl uses her gallstone to conduct a séance to help him prank his mother and help Ginger.
- Klatchian Coffee - Ginger gets addicted to this in "Stuff'll Kill Ya." It makes her into a major Motor Mouth with an extremely short attention span and a tendency to oversleep.
- Leitmotif - Stately-sounding oboe music plays every time Blake Gripling speaks.
- Carl's doghouse scenes had a very eerie sounding theme as well.
- Most episodes would end a distinct guitar melody, particularly when Ginger writes in her journal at the end.
- Lesbian Jock - The gym teacher in "Gym Class Confidential" is implied to be this way.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again - Implied with Ginger and her friends when its deals with Dodie and Macie trying to break her and Darren up as by the next episode, no one wants to talk about it.
- Lonely Rich Kid - Macie teeters on the edge of this since her only friends are Ginger, Dodie and Darren. She lives in a big house complete with pool and tanning room and her parents are rich psychologists whom she has to make appointments to see and they even forget her birthday.
- Courtney seems to become this in high school since Miranda disappears from the picture and she's almost always seen by herself.
- Brandon Higsby as well.
- Loose Lips - Dodie.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch - Courtney.
- Lovable Rogue: Carl.
- Limited Wardrobe - Averted, notable because most cartoons don't. The main characters had about 5-6 outfits they rotated through. Even minor characters had at least 2 outfits.
- Played straight with Carl and Hoodsey, who always wear the same things unless there's a change in weather, with the implication that they don't bathe too often.
- In "Ginger's Solo", Carl starts a fortune telling business and charges kids "100 cents" a session. Most kids payed a dollar, but Brandon pays Carl 100 pennies.
- In "Come Back Little Seal Girl", Mrs. Gordon tells Hoodsey to show Carl the door. He gestures at the door and says, "It's here, Carl."
- Little Professor Dialogue - Carl and Blake both indulge in this, bordering occassionally on sesquipedalian loquaciousness. Blake talks like this because he was raised in the very-proper Gripling family, but Carl talks like this because he's just slightly eccentric.
- Called out a couple times by Hoodsey, claiming he knows what those words mean because he learns the same vocabulary as Carl does.
- Love Epiphany
- Magic Realism - It's an achingly accurate portrait of junior high, yet it also has things like ghosts and telekinesis every so often. Go figure.
- Mama Bear: Lois- she goes absolutely nuts when she finds out one Carl's teachers tricked him into thinking he was going to die.
- Manipulative Bitch - Miranda.
- Polly also counts, having managed to convince Carl, Blake and Brandon to give up their prized petrified eyeball, pickled tonsils and monkey tooth necklace respectively in the school time capsule saying that clinging to them would be childish and immature. She nearly succeeds in taking them all for herself if the three boys weren't so shocked and had second thoughts as they all showed up to exhume the time capsule to retrieve the objects, only to find that Polly was there first squawking "Finder's Keepers!"
- Meaningful Name: Lucky Junior High
- Also, Ginger. She's a ginger.
- Miranda is the daughter of a police officer, after all.
- Courtney derives from an aristocratic English surname.
- Hoodsey's nickname (presumably) originated from the purple hoodie he always wears.
- The Missus and the Ex: Ginger invokes this trope in the Thanksgiving episode "Ten Chairs" where she invites Jonas (her Mother's ex-husband) to the Thanksgiving dinner where Lois's fiancee Dave will also attend.
- Mistaken for Gay: Jonas Foutley, Ginger's Dad. His answering machine mentioned him living with a guy named Ben. Until it is revealed Ben is his dog.
- Mood Whiplash: In "And She Was Gone", Carl manages to track down the school Noelle moved to and they share a tender moment and it looks like they might kiss, with Noelle saying, "Carl..." then she abruptly shouts in a weird voice, "This is what my voice would sound like if we were underwater!". Carl finds this endearing.
- In "Never Can Say Goodbye" Miranda and Darren have a fight and Miranda immediately goes from angry to romantic because they had their "first fight" as a couple.
- Motor Mouth: Dodie, sometimes.
- My Beloved Smother: Dr. Dave's mother.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: In "Never Can Say Goodbye" when Blake addresses Carl, Hoodsey, and Brandon.
Blake: Gentlemen... Woodsey.
- My God, What Have I Done?: How Macie's parents react when they realize they forgot her birthday.
- Also Dodie and Macie have one when they realize that Ginger was listening in on their plan to break her and Darren up.
- Mythology Gag: The Distant Finale shows the now adult Ginger reading from her novel, the cover of the said novel has a picture of Ginger as she appeared in the pilot episode (which has a very different art style then the rest of the series and is otherwise never referenced to.)
- Naive Every Girl - Ginger, of course.
- Nerd Glasses: Macie.
- Never Say "Die": Applies to the first few episodes, but the show averted this by Season 2. Some examples...
- In "Carl and Maude", Maude drops dead onscreen at the Foutley's dinner table (Courtney is also present) and no derivative of "die" is ever used in the scenes that follow.
Ginger: Mom...is Grandma...napping?
Lois: I don't think so, Ging...Somehow, I really don't think so.
Courtney: Poor dear!
- In "The Right Stuff", Courtney asks two high school girls, "Who retired and made you crossing guards?", even though the phrase is typically "Who died and made you __________?"
- By the time the show became OK with averting this, an entire episode was made about the death of Dodie's grandmother, with several uses of "die" and its derivatives, and even showing a funeral and an open casket (but not the body itself).
- Lampshaded by Hoodsey in a conversation with Carl in "The Easter Ham", where he is worried that disobeying his mother (who recently had/possibly faked a heart attack) by continuing to see Carl (by selling Easter candy together) could make her "go" and he "doesn't want to lose her".
Carl: But what about Hoodsey's Karaoke Den? [a dream business Hoodsey wished to start with all the money they were making]
Hoodsey: That dream will have to die, Carl...Oh! I didn't mean to say "die"! Never mind!
- Nice Guy: Darren.
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Courtney's mother has one.
- Courtney herself has a posh giggle.
- Noodle Incident: Many examples, most of which involve Carl and/or Hoodsey:
- At the very beginning of "Sleep On It"...
Ginger: Well, we can't have the slumber party at my house. Our VCR's still broken since...you know.
Dodie: Someone has to tell your brother that maple syrup and electronics just don't mix.
- In "The Right Stuff", Carl and Hoodsey are kicked off the school bus offscreen...
Hoodsey: You really shouldn't have done that to the bus driver, Carl. This is a long walk.
Carl: That woman has no business being behind the wheel in the first place.
- In "Come Back Little Seal Girl", Mrs. Gordon's class is eager to see a mummified hand that is believed to be cursed...
Hoodsey: I don't want to see the hand, Carl. I can't afford another curse. I told you about the black cat incident that led to a whole semester of summer school.
- In "Gym Class Confidential", an ambulance is called to the school (offscreen) after a "geometry class accident".
Macie: Those protractors should be outlawed!
- In "Stuff'll Kill Ya", Carl did something so horrible to a remedial math class that a student's father, who is also Carl's science teacher, scares him into thinking he'll die within 48 hours.
Ms. Zorski: What you did to that remedial math class, that was wrong, Carl.
- Not So Above It All: Lois of all people does get involved in some of Carl's schemes - like selling the Easter Candy and starring in his horror movie.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up - Notably averted for a cartoon. The characters all age throughout the series, and show subtle signs of physical changes as they grow into their teen years.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Dr. Dave's mother towards Lois Foutley.
- A slight example with Lois's late ex mother in law, who overly doted on her grandchildren and was full of unsolicited advice about how to get Ginger asleep.
- Official Couple
- Only Known by Their Nickname: You know something is up when Hoodsey asks Carl to call him "Robert" when he gets a concussion in "Deja Who?"
- Dodie is only called "Deidre" by her mother.
- Melissa Mipson is only called Mipsy, except by teachers.
- Only Sane Girl - Ginger and Macie can be this.
- Opposites Attract: In the last episode it is revealed that Dodie, the peppy and energetic girl marries and has a daughter with the guy who was pretty much the slowest character in the show.
- Pair the Spares: Dodie ends up marrying Chett Zipper, of all people.
- Averted with Miranda and Darren; Miranda finds Darren very attractive once his braces come off and Darren is flattered that one of the most popular girls in school likes him. They do seem to genuinely enjoy each other's company for a time, but eventually break up because they want to spend time with their friends. (And because Miranda can't stand Ginger.) But they do part on relatively pleasant terms, telling the other they made a decent match.
- Our Founder: A statue of "Revolutionary War hero" Nathaniel "Lucky" Winslow stands between the namesake Lucky Jr. high and high schools. It's unsure weather or not he's a founder or not.
- Out-of-Character Moment - "Wicked Game", while Dodie conspiring to break up Ginger and Darren sadly isn't that much of a stretch, Macie actually getting involved with it too is quite out of character.
- Parental Hypocrisy - Lois forbids Ginger things like using makeup and shaving her legs, but it's immediately shown that Lois has a whole bathroom full of beauty products that she keeps locked. Although she has implied that she forbids Ginger from doing so because she feels she's too young for them - which isn't too far-fetched.
- This even gets pointed out in "Stuff'll Kill Ya" when Lois bans Ginger from drinking any more coffee. When Dr. Dave asks if this isn't a bit hypocritical of Lois, she replies, "But Dave, I'm an adult!". She is met with silence from Dave and Carl, and then is shown throwing away her instant coffee-maker. This use of the trope makes it a much more straight (and less explainable) example of the trope.
- Parental Substitute: Winston is implied to be one for Blake.
- Dr. Dave is one for Carl (he even goes as far as to call him dad a few times). And by the last scene of the final episode, even Ginger called him her "soon-to-be-dad."
- Peek-a-Bangs: Hope Rogers, before she gets her makeover.
- Pet the Dog - Miranda, just once in "Ginger's Solo". Ginger is in the bathroom sad, and when she explains why to Miranda, Miranda tells Ginger exactly what she needs to hear.
- However, she had done so before in the TV movie, when she had tried to swim across a lake, but couldn't get very far due to a cramp. Macie then came to the rescue, and in the cabin, was nice to her. Macie questions this, and Miranda said that she did save her life, after all, with a smile of gratitude on her face.
- Pigeonholed Voice Actor: Miranda was originally going to be a white chick but was changed to African American due to the casting of Cree Summer as her VA.
- Plot Hole - Miranda's knowledge of Ginger's feelings for Sasha are an important part of the plot of "Ginger's Solo," when Miranda consoles Ginger in the bathroom after Ginger has a run-in with Sasha's Alpha Bitch girlfriend Clover and Sasha rejects Ginger, leaving her heartbroken. However, Miranda and Courtney left Camp Caprice before the first time Ginger confesses her crush on Sasha, which is even more puzzling given that Miranda knows about the lyrics to Ginger's song:
Miranda: Sasha? Camp Caprice Sasha? 'There were copper-colored ponies'-Sasha?
- Courtney knew she had a crush, it's quite possible she told Miranda. And when Miranda is present in the cabin at night, Ginger giggles while saying "you're so funny, Sasha". She also sings the song through a microphone moments after Courtney and Miranda walk from the area, they easily could have heard it.
- More egregiously, even though the dognapper is discovered at the end of the summer of Camp Caprice special, Carl and Hoodsey mention having caught the dognapper in the previous summer, and Milty has The Duchess back. How did they catch her? And did any other recently kidnapped dogs (such as Muffin) return? We never find these out - only that she was caught, and that Milty was reunited with The Duchess.
- The Pollyanna - Brandon Higsby, especially in relation to his monkey.
- Poor Communication Kills: Carl and Hoodsey's arc in The Summer of Camp Caprice could have been completely averted had Milton simply told Carl and Hoodsey "I have a dog, I want you to clean up after her". He could have simply said "I'm keeping her safe from the petnapper" and still not have been lying to the boys.
- Popular Is Dumb: Aside from Miranda, none of the popular kids seem all that bright.
- Power Trio - Dodie is the Id, Macie is the Super-Ego and Ginger is the Ego.
- Potty Failure: Hoodsey in the slumber party episode.
- Precocious Crush - Carl develops a crush on an eccentric old lady he met at a nursing home, even considering their friendship to be a May-December Romance. He was about to propose to her with a worm shaped into a ring, but she died suddenly at the dinner table. He keeps her gallstone as a memento of her.
- Courtney has one on Will for a while, even trying to ask him to Junior prom in "Piece of my Heart". Darren thinks she's asking him out, though.
- Ginger gets a crush on her teacher Mr. Gardner in "Next Question". And one on Jake in "Fast Reputation."
- Hoodsey has one on Macie, even anonymously asking her to the dance in "Piece of my Heart."
- Race Lift
- Word of God has it that Miranda was originally white, but they redesigned her as black to introduce more diversity to the cast.
- Can be seen in the pilot.
- Darren too. Curiously in his original form he had gray hair.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Courtney is the Red to Miranda's Blue.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech - Darren gives Dodie a minor one in "The Easter Ham".
- Ginger gives Mrs. Grimley a major one in "Driven to Extremes".
- Ginger gives Dodie one in "Of Lice and Friends".
- Recurring Extra: Several. Noelle Sussman a frequently seen classmate of Carl is was often seen long before she became a main cast member. Another background classmate of Ginger's Hope, gets her own episode and made appearances even afterwards.
- Relationship Upgrade - Ginger and Darren. For a while.
- And then the Distant Finale shows us that they get back together, and have a baby girl.
- Red-Headed Hero - Ginger and, in a way, Carl.
- Repetitive Name - it's confirmed in "The Wedding Frame" that Dr. Dave's full name really is Dr. David Dave.
- Rich Bitch
- Courtney, who's more of a Brainless Beauty so her bitchiness is not really mean spirited.
- Miranda is a straighter example.
- Mipsy is a better example- Miranda isn't ever explicitly stated to be rich and Mipsy is much meaner, which is saying something.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense - Courtney.
- Riches to Rags - The Gripling family in the finale.
- The Rival - Carl and Blake are this to each other, though Blake seems to harbor more of a jealous admiration for Carl, while Carl just finds Blake bothersome.
- Rule of Three: A running gag in "Summer of Camp Caprice" is saying a word three times for emphasis: "Camp spirit, spirit, spirit!" ... "Lights out is lights out is lights out, Ginger" ... "That is all, all, all" ... "It's over, over, over!"
- Sadist Teacher: In "Driven to Extremes", Ginger's class get an extremely strict substitute teacher, Mrs. Grimley, when Ms. Zorski comes down with the flu. It gets so bad that Miranda and the others decide to TP her house and pelt her with eggs.
- Also, the high school Ms. Zorski, who greets Ginger with, "Let me guess, you're an ex-student of Eleanor's...my cousin and I have nothing in common except the last name." Her actions from that point forward could just be considered a bad case of Stern Teacher, but the fact that she doesn't seem to notice or care that she scares Ginger and the other kids to death and stresses them out is a red flag.
- She calls Ginger a "lazy freshman" and throws her "chicken scratch" homework in the trash right to her face after Ginger accidentally missed her class that morning.
- Then there was the fact she gave Ginger a full days suspension for sleeping in her class which she only did because she had a caffeine crash which she started just to get through her classes. But worse of all pretty much telling Ginger to get over it and giving her no sympathy after she returned from recovering from a burst appendix. Almost every character seems to admit that Ms. Zorski has a personal grudge against her.
- And we can't forget Carl's middle school science teacher, Mr. Brooks, who was so anxious to set the poor kid up to fail that he convinced Carl that he had contracted a deadly virus that killed victims within 48 hours from the off-limits lab freezer. There was no such thing, and Lois chews Brooks out over it.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man - Hoodsey and Carl.
- Serenade Your Lover - Ginger confesses her crush on Sasha in the first Camp Caprice special by playing him a song she had written for him on the guitar.
- Series Continuity Error - Mrs. Gordon appears in "And She Was Gone," three episodes after her character died. Since this was a case of the voice actress dying as well, this is probably a production vs. airdate error, but is still bizarre.
- Series Fauxnale - "Butterflies Are Free" serves as this in many respects—for a show largely centered around the junior high experience, it focuses on graduation from junior high, and even contains a retrospective montage with clips from earlier episodes at the very end.
- Shout-Out - Carl takes a liking to an eccentric old lady named Maude due to her having a lot in common with him.
- Shower Shy - In "Gym Class Confidential" Hoodsey is not too fond of showering after PE, but Carl manages to convince him otherwise at the end of the episode.
- Shrinking Violet - Macie fits to a certain degree, although it borders on The Snark Knight and Little Miss Snarker
- Sick Episode - When Ginger gets appendicitis.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: Miranda and Darren, for the episode they dated.
- Sickly Neurotic Geek - Macie.
- Slippery Swimsuit
- Small Reference Pools - In "Battle Of The Bands"
Ginger: (in reference to Darren) Who does that guy think he is? A couple months on the team and he thinks he's...what's the name of a famous football player?
- Speech Impediment: Brandon has a little bit of a lisp, which Carl finds very annoying. It doesn't help Brandon insists on talking in a high-pitched, sing-songy voice most of the time.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Is it Macie or Macy?
- The credits for every episode confirm that it's Macie.
- Spell My Name with a "The": Principal Milty's dog: The Duchess.
- Spoiled Sweet - Courtney, she's naive and more than a little vain. But she almost always has good intentions and genuinely seems interested in Ginger's life. And one time she actually helps Ginger avoid a breakup when Courtney's two friends and Ginger's two friends try to do so. Macie as well. She's quite rich and undeniably a better friend to Ginger than Dodie.
- Stalker Shrine: Blake has a lot of pictures of Carl.
- Stalker Without a Crush: Dodie gives off this vibes towards Courtney. Although...
- Blake also has this vibe towards Carl.
- Status Quo Is God: For the most part, surprisingly averted for a Kid's show. (Notably with Darren's headgear) But on the plus side, the episodes are disconnected enough that one won't suffer Continuity Lockout. There are sometimes passing mentions to past episodes, and often make for a bit of a Rewatch Bonus when you see characters in the background that had A Day in the Limelight the previous episode.
- Stink Bomb: In "Sleep On It", it is revealed that Carl and Hoodsey had been storing a jar of moldy, rotten eggs deep in Hoodsey's closet since 2nd grade and they didn't plan to open it until 9th grade. Carl gets the idea of using the jar in Blake's room so that Hoodsey can take back Carl's petrified eyeball. The stink is so bad that merely twisting the jar lid loose stinks up the entire Bishop house in seconds, sending Joann's book club downstairs running and screaming out of the house.
- Stock Audio Clip: Dodie has a distinct whimpering cry that sounds like "Boo-EEE-ooh!". The same audio clip of this cry is used in three episodes: "Summer of Camp Caprice" (when she gives her whistle back to Margie), "Love With a Proper Transfer Student" (when she runs out of the auditorium after Ginger kisses Joaquin during a play rehearsal), and "The Easter Ham" (when she rides off on her bike after Darren tells her how selfish she is).
- Stuck on a Ski Lift - Ginger's brother pays off the operator to stop it in order to break the world record for the longest time stuck on a ski lift. Unfortunately for him, Lois shows up minutes later and threatens to have the operator fired if he doesn't start it back up.
- Supreme Chef: Carl, surprisingly enough.
- The Talk: The episode "Gym Class Confidential".
- Team Mom: Macie. She even lampshades it and calls herself a "den mother" in one episode.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Bizarrely, Ian Richton has very feminine eyelashes for some reason, even though almost all the other males on the show are drawn without them. (Except Brandon.)
- They Wasted Perfectly Good Coffee: In "Stuff'll Kill Ya", Lois confronts Ginger as she walks out of a cafe with six Mocoloco Frothinators (her recent addiction). She takes all six of them, which Ginger bought just moments ago and didn't even start drinking yet, and throws them in the trash.
- In "Mommie Nearest", Ginger plans to surprise Lois with a glazed donut and coffee. When she sees that Courtney just gave Lois a box of biscotti, she hides the coffee and bag behind her back, then throws them in the trash as soon as Lois leaves the room.
- Those Two Guys - Carl and Hoodsey.
- Token Minority Couple - Darren and Miranda in "Never Can Say Goodbye," and Darren and Simone in the latter half of season 3.
- Top-Heavy Guy: Darren's older brother Will.
- Toxic Friend Influence - A lot of Ginger's problems seem to stem from Dodie giving really awful advice; perhaps the most obvious example being the episode 'Next Question', when Dodie encourages Ginger to ask out a teacher she's crushing on. She's also incredibly self-centered, such as when she tries to break up Ginger and Darren, and in the very next episode she thinks Darren's party (organized by Ginger) shouldn't go ahead because she's not allowed to go (never mind all the inconvenience it would cause to the other guests). Even Courtney, who is billed as the popular ditz, often proves herself to be a more supportive and caring friend to Ginger than Dodie.
- Fridge Brilliance - They're in Middle School, a time when kids haven't mentally matured and tend to be more self-absorbed
- Not to mention, Joann is Not So Different from Dodie.
- Trauma Swing
- Uncanny Valley Makeup - In one episode the girls try to look glamorous by wearing makeup they made themselves. The fact that they have no prior experience in applying makeup is made very clear. They end up looking like clowns.
- Ungrateful Bastard - Hope. She tries to tell Ginger that she'll be a loser if she hangs out with Courtney. The only reason she's now the most popular girl in school is because Ginger helped her gain confidence and advice on how to improve her image.
- Unsettling Gender-Reveal: The series finale, "The Wedding Frame," ends with Romantic False Lead Niki La Porte being exposed as a cross-dresser.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist - Dodie.
- Upper-Class Twit - Claire
- Valley Girl: Mipsy is the most obvious example.
- Verbal Tic: Chett Zipper always talks very slowly and tends to end sentences with question marks.
- Victorious Childhood Friend - Subverted with Ginger and Darren. Double subverted with Ginger and Darren, as seen in the Distant Finale where they've gotten back together and with a baby girl to boot.
- Visit by Divorced Dad - Ginger and Carl's dad shows up in a handfull of episodes. He is shown to be more than a little flakey, and it is probably for the best that he wasn't the one with custody of them, considering he doesn't even remember Carl is deathly allergic to peanuts. But he is shown to genuinely care about them.
- Wacky Guy - Carl.
- Walk On The Wild Side Episode - Ginger gets fed up with being called a nice girl and crashes a high school party. This leads to a rumour getting started about her and a bad boy called Jake. Ginger realises she preferred being known as a nice girl.
- Weirdness Magnet: Carl actively tries to get bad luck on Friday the Thirteenth.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield? - Averted, Sheltered Shrubs is located in Connecticut.
- Wicked Stepfather: Miranda unsuccessfully tries to convince Ginger of this in "The Wedding Frame", due to Miriam Baccelli, the girl whose locker is next to Miranda's, recently getting a jerk for a stepfather.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Carl, on occasion.
- Blake is apparently quite booksmart - He is depicted in Carl's class, yet the series ends with them entering Middle School in grade 6 - before Blake had mentioned that he was "Seven and three quarters" - meaning that he was in grade 6 and is at most nine or ten years old.
- With Friends Like These... - Dodie to Ginger, and Miranda to Courtney.
- Women Are Wiser - Played with in that Lois is more reliable than her ex-husband and more able to speak up for herself than her current husband, but also that Dodie and Hoodseys' father shows in one episode that he is more clear-eyed and nicer than his wife Joann. (Not that that's hard.)
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes? - In Macie's case, learning about female reproduction.
- You Are Fat: In "About Face", Dr. Dave's Mother comes for dinner and when Ginger comments that Lois is a great cook, Mrs. Dave snipes: "She has to be from the looks of her" and "I guess good nutrition falls by the wayside when you're a working mother."
- Your Cheating Heart: Happens to poor Ginger twice. First with Sasha and Clover, then Darren and Simone. Although at least Sasha was never officially dating Ginger and was obviously feeling bad about the whole thing.
- Your Television Hates You: Happen so to Ginger in "The Wedding Frame." She is still reeling from her break-up with Darren and is hesitant about entering into a new relationship, is at home watching a music video where the curly and titian haired chanteuse is singing about being abandoned by the man she loves. This trope is soon turned Up to Eleven where Ginger soon imagines herself and Darren in place of the characters in the song and she finally drowns.