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Dragon Tales was an animated Sesame Workshop and Columbia TriStar/Sony Pictures show on PBS Kids. Its original run lasted from 1999 to 2005. Repeats were also seen on PBS Kids Sprout, but are no longer being broadcast, though a number of DVD releases remain available. As of January 2013, it is now available on Netflix instant streaming.Max and Emmy find a magical dragon scale upon moving into their new home. By reciting the rhyme, "I wish, I wish, with all my heart, to fly with dragons, in a land apart," the magic sends them to Dragon Land. Once there, they meet and play with their new magical dragon friends: Cassie, Ord, Zak and Wheezie (the latter two are a two-headed dragon). They are also often accompanied by the Cool Old Guy dragon Quetzal, and in later seasons, they are joined by their friend Enrique.The show has a considerable Periphery Demographic, as it resembles an 1980s cartoon that was trapped in a time warp. Well, it's colorful, fantasy themed, and is enjoyably trippy at times. Sound familiar? (Note that Sugar Apocalypses are not part of the package on this show - although, amusingly, this show shares some talent withthe latest incarnation of that show.)Not to be confused with Dragon Tails.
Provides Examples Of:
Absentee Actor: Cassie is missing without any explanation in 7 episodes including "Wheezie's Last Laugh". Ord is missing without any explanation in 2 episodes "Zak and the Beanstalk" and "Out With the Garbage". And Zak and Weezie were missing without any explanation in 9 episodes.
Agony of the Feet: Zak in "Calling Dr. Zak" after stepping on the spinypine thorn, though it's Wheezie's foot that hops up and down while his foot, with the thorn in it, stays off the ground.
Animation Bump: Some episodes such as "The Fury is Out on this One" and "Bully for You" have much more expressive and less stiff animation than most of the others, which makes it even more glaring when the Stock Footage mentioned below is used.
Argument of Contradictions: In "Tails You Lose," Zak is conducting a game of freeze dance with the song "The Wings on the Dragon," a variation of "The Wheels on the Bus." He conducts and sings the song very slowly, leading Wheezie complain that fast music is better for the game. Zak responds "Is not," she says "Is too!" and they're off, until Wheezie snatches the baton and conducts the game to a fast version of the song.
Breath Weapon: Subverted. Fire breath is rarely used as a weapon and more like a tool in the series.
Broken Aesop: One episode features Cassie showing off her new anthropomorphic crayon that is capable of bringing anything you draw with it to life. She has to learn to share it with everyone else, even if it means she gets no time with it. The problem is that it never once occurs to her to draw more crayons. That's not what makes it this trope though; what does is that the episode very clearly demonstrates this as being a possible solution when the crayon draws clones of himself to help clean a mess.
The Bully: Spike is one in "Bully for You," until the problem is solved. Also, "Teasing is Not Pleasing" is about a dragon-basketball team that teases Emmy.
The Clan: Cassie. She's got a bigger family than me and you. Her brothers and sisters total seventy-two.
Clueless Aesop: Occasionally. See Inspirationally Disadvantaged immediately below. There was also a very odd episode where Wheezie must learn patience and to wait her turn for a roller coaster. Thing is, one of the reasons humans enjoy and built roller coasters is because they are lacking in the wings department.
Compressed Vice: Usually, the show can get away with averting this (generally the morals are assigned to characters it would fit the best on, and when it won't, they typically introduce a side character to take care of it), but when it happens, it shows. Probably the worst example is "Tails You Lose" — Emmy, clean out of nowhere, gains a Sore Loser trait with no buildup or explanation at the beginning of the episode. She had never shown any signs of this in any previous episode, even when she did lose a game.
Cuddle Bug: Ord often tends to give Max and Emmy a big hug when they arrive in Dragon Land, much to their chagrin, as he's much bigger than them and tends to squish them a bit.
Zak and Wheezie usually don't have anybody to ride them, at least until Enrique comes around. Played for laughs when he is introduced — he thinks that he's about to ride Zak and Wheezie like a horse, not realizing they're about to get airborne.
Edutainment Show: Generally of the pro-social values or personal growth type, i.e. learning to be a good sport, overcoming a fear of the dark, etc. However, the show also taught a lot about things like colors, counting, music and shapes.
In "Forest of Darkness" he leaves a nice clean outline in the ground when a gigantic gum bubble pops.
Ord does this through several clouds in "Stormy Weather".
"On Thin Ice" sends Ord sliding into a wall of snow when he slips.
Max and Eunice the Unicorn do this with a tree in "A Tall Tale".
Max does this a second time with Enrique when they crash their sled in "Super Snow Day".
Mondo Mouse sees it fit to send the entire gang doing this through rainbow in "Max's Comic Adventure".
Establishing Shot: Almost every episode begins with a street view of Max and Emmy's house. It appears to be in the southern United States, with a Mexican architectural design and palm trees. This outside view and the interior of the kids' playroom is all we ever see of the human world, save for a few small peeks of the hallway when somebody opens the door to the playroom.
The Faceless: The dragon parents, such as those of Ord and Cassie, make appearances in some episodes; however, their faces are never shown and they are only viewed from the neck down.
Face Palm: Zak does this in "Knot a Problem" when Wheezie asks who she can be with when they go to search for the missing pony, Winnie, and Zak indicates himself, then Wheezie acts like she got a brainwave and says she can be with him.
Dragons Don't Believe in Humans Either: Before meeting Emmy and Max, Ord and Cassie had only seen kids in fairy tales. Later, Spike didn't know what Emmy and Max were until Cassie told him they're children.
Fantastic Flora: All of the characters loved the dragonberries, though Ord was definitely the biggest fan. Also, Dragon Land is loaded with unusual plants in general— the third season story "A Small Victory" features all of the main characters (and guest Lorca) searching for unusual flowers.
Feud Episode: Max and Ord begin fighting with each other about which color to use for the castles they were making whilst pretending to be kings. Eventually, they lament about how they're going to stop fighting. In the end, they solve the problem by combining their preferred colors to make one big castle.
Also, in "Tails You Lose," Emmy actually wishes herself back home for a while after getting into an argument.
Floating in a Bubble: Ord in one episode, after he overshoots his use of bubble soap. The others have to freeze the bubble by heading the coldest part of Dragon Land in order to get him out.
The Giant of Nod also counts, as he is only trying to protect his little people
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Priscilla, the manager at the lost-and-found, who during her first appearance, was feeling embarrassed because her wings (often called "feathers") were bigger than other dragons'. She eventually realized that boy dragons like girl dragons with big wings and raises her self-esteem.
Also, the show got away with "stupid," which is normally taboo on shows like this.
A subtle example: Cassie has a massive number of siblings—72 siblings, actually! Exactly how often were Cassie's parents, um, madly in love with each other that they had that many babies?
Don't forget one of Max's first lines in the show.
At one point they decided to sing "Are You Sleeping?" in Spanish, despite it being a French song.
Green-Eyed Monster: In "Cassie the Green-Eyed Dragon," Cassie takes her cute little baby brother Finn to school and gets jealous when everyone pays him attention and doesn't notice her achievements. As this is one of those shows that teaches kids how to handle their emotions, Quetzal helps her by explaining how we all feel jealous sometimes and gives her some help to feel better.
Growling Gut: Happens to some characters like Zak, Wheezie or Cassie, but mostly Ord as he is gifted with a stomach bigger than himself!
Harmless Villain: Cyrus the Slinky Serpent, included to function as a "bad guy". The worst things he does are done almost exclusively to find food. For example, he takes Emmy's detective kit to find Dragongull eggs to eat, which is seen by the cast as more of an immoral act than the actual theft itself.
Not only that, he gives up very easily, mostly stalking off in a huff.
Hey, That's My Line!: The Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge" when Wheezie says that she and Zak are pals forever.
Mundane Utility: Fire breath is often used as a substitute oven or microwave.
Narnia Time: Can get confusing at times. It may be sunny outside when they leave for Dragon Land, and then when they get back, it'll be pouring rain. Also, it seems possible that the reason their parents don't notice they're missing is that the magic of Dragon Land / the dragon scale has a sort of Invisible to Normals effect, so that any time anyone starts to wonder where they are, they find themselves thinking about something else instead.
The Nicknamer: The Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge." "Zackarooni, Zackmeister," pretty much a different one each time it addresses Zak.
No Means Yes: The Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge" to Zak, the first time he tries to tell him to leave. "Your lips say 'Yes, yes,' but there's a 'No, no' in your eyes."
A rare justified variation of this trope, however: the Grudge is a magical creature and will not leave unless Zak actually loses his grudge against Wheezie. The first time Zak tells the Grudge to leave, he's only doing it because he's told to, and the Grudge senses Zak's insincerity since Zak is still mad at Wheezie.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Only Zak can choose to get rid of the Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge." If anyone else tries to remove it by force, it just clings on all the tighter.
On the Next: "Coming up next on Dragon Tales...!" This was dropped in later airings as PBS Kids kept adding in more of their own interstitial programming.
Our Dragons Are Different: One with the stomach of a bottomless pit, a little shy one from a extremely reproductive family, a two headed one, one in a wheelchair, a few Hispanic ones, one that is essentially an organic roller coaster... enough variety for you?
Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Cassie and Ord, respectively. Zak and Wheezie sort of count too as a green boy/purple girl.
Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Giant of Nod, who is only giant to the nodlings but miniature to the dragons and humans. Despite this, he's capable all of the three main dragons and the siblings up at the same time and chucking them into a tree off in the distance.
Pungeon Master: Sid Sycamore. His schtick is very specific— all of his puns use terms related to trees— i.e. "leaf / leave," "bark," etc.
Remembered I Could Fly: In "A Liking to Biking," Ord bicycles off the edge of a cliff and is left dangling from a tire swing, scared out of his mind that he's going to fall, until Cassie reminds him, "Ord! You're a dragon! Use your wings!"
Mostly averted in the show itself, for obvious reasons. But Cyrus, arguably the most reptilian character in the series, is portrayed as a thief and a liar.
There's a child psychologist who warns parents against letting young children watch Dragon Tales because "they may get the idea that reptiles are okay to play with." Never mind that the series is set in a Magical Land and the dragons don't even look particularly reptilian.
Stock Audio Clip: Max and Emmy reciting the rhymes to go to and leave Dragon Land almost never changes, in fact the only times it really does are when it needs to be subverted, such as when they interrupt it.
Stock Footage: The dragons flying off the wall and circling around Max and Emmy has the same animation in almost every episode, especially the early ones. Some later episodes did change it up a bit though.
Sugar Bowl: Dragon Land fits this trope perfectly.
The number one rule in Dragon Land is: "You can never hit anyone." This makes it possible for Dragon Land to be a place with no violence. (We first learn about the rule in "No Hitter" when Max hits Ord out of frustration: Dragon Land is enough of a sugar bowl that this is treated in-universe as something heinous.)
That Makes Me Feel Angry: Personified by characters such as the Grudge in "The Grudge Won't Budge." Used frequently in other instances as well.
Three Little Pigs: The characters perform this in "Four Little Pigs," though as the title indicates, with their own special twist.
Uncanceled: Sort of. There was a four year gap between the second and third seasons. Many people thought the show was gone for good, until Sesame Workshop announced the third season as a sort of Re Tool, featuring Enrique and an emphasis on Hispanic culture and folk songs.
The Voice: Max and Emmy's parents always call to them from elsewhere in the house (downstairs?) but we never see them, or the rest of the house besides the playroom. (This includes their bedrooms.) Their mom is heard more often.
Widely Spaced Jail Bars: In "Max's Comic Adventure," the gaps between the bars of Mondo Mouse's cage are clearly big enough for him to just walk through, but nevertheless, Max, Emmy and the dragons have to rescue him by figuring out a code to raise up the bars, making it a serious example.
Max: We can't, we have to go meet Cassie to set up for the par-
Emmy: Picnic! (Beat) Uhh...Max and I are having a picnic with Cassie, so uhh... Happy Birthday Ord...bye!
Winged Unicorn: Eunice in A Tall Tale. She even has a golden horn. And, was voiced byG3 Pinkie Pie. There's also a bunch of young unicorns in "Making it Fun" and they're all winged too, so maybe all unicorns in Dragon Land have wings.
Worthless Treasure Twist: Captain Scaliwag's treasure in "Sky Pirates" turns out to be pictures he drew as a little boy.
Written-In Absence: Emmy, Cassie, Zak and Wheezie are each absent for at least one episode.