Western Animation / Little Bill

Little Bill is a book series by Bill Cosby, which later became an animated children's show created by Cosby and Chris(tine) Nee (Doc McStuffins). The show aired on Nick Jr. from 1999 to 2004. It stars William Glover Jr., or "Little Bill" for short, an inquisitive and imaginative 5-year-old living in Philadelphia. He lives with his father "Big Bill", mother Brenda, and siblings Robert and April. He also has a pet hamster named Elephant. There is also Little Bill's great-grandmother "Alice the Great", who often teaches him life lessons.

The show is animated in Flash but with a construction paper style, similar to Blue's Clues or South Park.

Tropes, tropes, zoopity zopes!

  • Argument of Contradictions: Little Bill and Andrew have one in "Copy Cat" over if Little Bill is a copy cat or not because he wanted to be a rooster like Andrew.
  • Beach Episode: "A Day at the Beach."
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: From "I Got a Letter":
    Big Bill: Here's one for me, and another for me...and another for me...Oh! Little Bill! Here's one for you!
  • Birthday Episode: Split in two: "The Birthday Present" and "The Birthday Party", both pertaining to Fuchsia. Another episode has Alice the Great's Birthday.
  • Redheaded Best Friend: Andrew Mulligan.
  • Broken Aesop: "The Promise" has April allowing Little Bill to bring her basketball trophy to show and tell by making him promise that he will not let anyone touch it. However, his promise is broken when his friends touch her trophy and break it. While it's true that Little Bill broke his promise, his friends broke her trophy, despite Little Bill telling them not to. They do not apologize for their actions or appear to regret doing so. Little Bill doesn't even mention this to April when he shows her the trophy. The message of the episode is about keeping promises that you make, but the plot acts as if Little Bill let his friends touch and break the trophy, thus breaking his promise.
  • Camping Episode: "The Campout" and "Going Camping."
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Dr. Winthrop Klinkscales is introduced as Ms. Murray's fiance, and he is said to work at the children's hospital. Guess who is charged with treating Little Bill's broken arm in a later episode?
  • Christmas Episode: "Merry Christmas, Little Bill."
  • Cool Old Lady: They don't call her "Alice the Great" for nothing.
  • Creator Cameo: Bill Cosby himself, in the title sequence, as well as a few guest spots as Captain Brainstorm.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: The end of "The Bills Go to Work" foreshadows the episode "Dad Goes to School." Both episodes feature Bill explaining his work.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Bill, in one episode: "I'm going to find my thing!"
  • Episode Title Card: Someone reads it, and someone else who is with them repeats it.
  • Eye Glasses: Bobby, as well as Ms. Murray, Little Bill's teacher.
  • First Name Ultimatum: Bobby gets them a lot, and usually because he has spoken out of turn.
    • In one episode, Little Bill's classmate, Dorado gets this when his mother, Valencia, brings him along to a hair appointment.
    Valencia: Now, how do we behave at the hair salon?
    Dorado: Like a clown?
    Valencia: *Sternly* Dorado...
    Dorado: *Contritely* Like a good boy.
  • Forgiveness: "When Friends Get Mad"s moral. In the episode, Kiku accidentally ruins Little Bill's picture by spilling water on it. She apologizes but Little Bill retaliates by crumpling up her picture on purpose. He refuses to apologize to her and has to sit in time out. At home, his parents help him understand that what Kiku did was an accident and she didn't mean to. The next day, Little Bill apologizes for what he did and they become friends again.
  • Good Parents: Little Bill's parents are patient, caring, and understanding of Little Bill's questions and problems and are always willing to give advice.
  • Happy Birthday to You!: Bill Cosby wrote an original birthday song for this show.
  • Halloween Episode: "The Halloween Costume" and "The Haunted Halloween Party."
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Monty. Unlike most examples of this trope, Monty is introduced in the first episode, and he has a recurring role.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Little Bill and Bobby. Little Bill signs his library card as "Little Bill Glover."
  • Meta Guy/Audience? What Audience?: At the end of every episode Little Bill sums up the episode's aesop to the viewers, prompting a member of his family to ask him who he's talking to.
  • Parrot Exposition: The title of almost every episode is said by one of the adults, and then Little Bill and/or his friends or siblings will repeat it. The exception is The No-Talking Contest; Bill is accompanied by April, Bobby, and Little Bill, who silently exchange stubborn glances.
  • Performance Anxiety: "The Stage Trick".
  • The Quiet Game: "The No-Talking Contest" involves all three of the kids being disruptive while trying to do their chores, so Bill suggests to start one of these to help them be productive. It ends up spiraling out of control enough that it continues even after they finish their chores, and ends up being problematic after Robert's watch falls in the trash, and nearly taken to the dump until Bill makes a last-minute attempt to break the rules and say something about it.
  • Sequel Episode: It is normal for this show's two eleven-minute shorts to be directly connected. For instance, one episode covers a ride to the amusement park, and the following episode shows what happens at the park.
  • Shout-Out: Captain Brainstorm is a fairly obvious send up of Captain Video.
  • Sick Episode: Elephant and Little Bill each get one.
  • Slice of Life: Since this is a show for young children, it's no surprise.
  • Stop Copying Me: Subverted. In the episode "Copy Cat", Little Bill and friends are playing farm. Andrew wanted to be a rooster and so did Little Bill. When Little Bill pretended to be the rooster to wake everyone up, Andrew got mad at Little Bill and called him a copycat, believing that Little Bill was copying him. Little Bill wasn't really copying him. He just wanted to do the same thing because they're friends and they have similar interests.
  • Title Drop: In a show with a five-year-old protagonist, it can't always be helped.
  • Title Scream: In the Title Sequence, Little Bill's siblings, his classmates, and finally, Little Bill himself.
  • Token White: Andrew Mulligan and family.
  • The Tonsillitis Episode
  • The Unapologetic: Little Bill is this in "When Friends Get Mad." Kiku accidentally spills water on Little Bill's picture. After he ruins her picture, he is told by everyone that he should apologize for his actions, but he refuses because he thought that Kiku did it on purpose. He later learns that what she did was an accident and he does apologize in the end.
  • Unwanted Assistance: In the episode "Monty Joins The Class", Monty is joining Little Bill's class and Little Bill decides to be his "super helper" which Monty agrees to. However, Little Bill takes it literally and he talks for Monty, doesn't let Monty try and get a fish from a fish game, and takes a dump truck that Monty is playing with to show him how it works. This causes Monty to not want to play with Little Bill. That night, Alice The Great offers to help Little Bill with his pajama shirt but Little Bill claims that he doesn't need it. She helps Little Bill learn that Monty can do things for himself too and he apologizes to Monty the next day.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: One episode had Little Bill begging his parents for a Captain Brainstorm video game. When he finally got it, he and his friends were rather disappointed at its primitive nature, preferring to use their imaginations to create their own Brainstorm adventures instead.
  • Wedding Day: "The Ring Bear"; "Ms. Murray's Wedding".
  • World of Snark: Little Bill's whole family.
  • Youthful Freckles: Andrew has these.