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Western Animation: The Amazing World of Gumball

"I started looking back at the characters that I created for commercials. It was a big mash-up of 2D, stylized 3D, realistic 3D and even stop motion. I lined them up and the result looked varied and unusual. I really liked the idea of a show without graphic unity. All these characters had been rejected; they served no purpose. I found that quite endearing. I integrated them in the photo of a schoolyard and was quite excited with the outcome."
— Creator Ben Bocquelet

Created by Ben Bocquelet, the series is the first commission from Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe. Combining a mixture of several animation techniques with live-action backgrounds, the series follows the misadventures of a hapless twelve year old cat named Gumball, who lives in the quaint little town of Elmore - where nearly everything has the power to come to life! Joining him is his best friend Darwin, the one-time pet fish who grew legs and joined the family. The two of them go to Elmore Junior High where all sorts of strange characters roam the halls.

The series received a twenty-episode second season before the eighteen-episode first season even premiered, another twenty-episode third season shortly after the second season premiere, and two more twenty-episode seasons right before the third season premiere, bringing its total to 49 hours worth of episodes. It got a "sneak peek" (i.e., the first of two episodes) in the UK on May 2nd, 2011, and in the US on May 3. The official US premiere was May 9 and the UK on September 5th.

A Comic Book Adaptation published by KaBOOM! Comics was announced in March 2014 and started in June of that year. It is written by Frank Gibson of Tiny Kitten Teeth with art by Tyson Hesse of Boxer Hockey.

You can check out the show's Recap page here and the character page here. It also has a page for trivia and Shout Outs. Please list examples relating to specific episodes and characters on the corresponding page.

It also has its own wiki.

The Amazing World of Gumball provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Some episodes have it stronger than others. Nicole is pretty much the only consistently competent adult in the show, though she does have her wild moments.
  • Aerith and Bob: Most of the cast have normal given namesnote . The exceptions are Darwin (which is normally a family name), Ocho, Juke, and Gumball. In "The Name", Gumball's name is revealed to actually be Zach. Unfortunately, he develops a psychotic split personality named, of course, Zach, so Gumball shuts him down by legally changing his name to "Gumball".
  • All There in the Manual: Darwin is Gumball's adopted brother who grew legs when he was overfed, but you wouldn't know that unless you read it online from the creators despite being heavily implied through-out the series.
    • The DVD (the DVD, not the episode) also makes mention of this in the "Meet the Wattersons" feature.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song:
  • Animate Inanimate Object: EVERYTHING in Elmore is a living, sentient being. Lampshaded in "The Internet" where Darwin scoffs at Gumball's idea that they can track down the internet, as it is an object not a person and everything in the room they're in comes to life and suggests otherwise.
    • "The World" takes this Up to Eleven, focusing on the everyday lives of the objects themselves.
  • Arc Number: The number 700 frequently pops up, particularly in "The DVD" where it's the cost of the overdue fee for the titular DVD, "The Refund" where it's the cost of the game console the manager sells Richard, and "The Watch" where it's how much the titular watch is worth.
  • Art Evolution:
    • The designs of the 2D characters were streamlined for the second season. Now they're drawn with thicker lines, less shadows, and some of them were completely redesigned.
    • The third season made more changes, though they weren't nearly as noticeable: the most notable is that the Wattersons' eyes are always circular instead of switching between circular and rectangular/ovular depending on their expression.
  • Art Shift: Strangely, whenever there is a wide shot wherein the characters are meant to be far off in the distance, they are represented by bold, single-colored rectangles or silhouettes rather than their usual character models.
  • Big "NO!": Richard does one after dropping a piece of toast in the series trailer.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Rocky's shirt from season 2 onwards has the word "Bisou" on it, which is French for KISS.
  • Bowdlerise: Like many Cartoon Network shows, numerous scenes were cut or shortened in the CN Asia, Australian, Arabic, and Latin American airings. A small number of episodes have been edited in America as well (most notably "The Skull", which cut out an entire scene where Gumball, Darwin, and Clayton get electrocuted), leaving the U.K. as basically the only place every episode airs unedited (though the cut scene can be seen on YouTube on Cartoon Network's channel).
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Tobias is short and squat, with hair covering his face. However, his sister Rachel is taller and more humanoid. This also extends to their parents, with Harold being covered in hair and their mother being more humanoid.
  • Calvinball: "Dodge or Dare", a board game that Gumball and Darwin created, which involves taking a card and doing whatever is says on it. The trope applies in that, while the concept is (very loosely) structured with a set of "rules", the "rules" themselves are only there to ensure that sheer chaos results from playing it. Pretty much a parody of Jumanji.
    • In "The Car", Gumball is told to build a Rube Goldberg Device in order to launch a projectile into the air using anything found in the trash. The projectile in question is a bowling ball, and when it finally fires off, it malfunctions and launches right at Gumball's face. Right before it hits him, Darwin pauses the moment like a VCR (complete with line of static and jumpy tracking) to point out that the card says that Gumball can't use his hands to block, leading to him getting his face smashed in.
  • Carnivore Confusion: All of the food and everything else in Elmore sentient, can talk, and some of it doesn't like being eaten. Anthropomorphic folk will sometimes eat the non-human-like (but still sentient) version of their own kind. Sometimes anthropomorphic folk even eat other anthropomorphic folk—a poster in the background of Elmore Middle School listing rules includes one about not eating other students.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Most of the characters don't even share the same art style. As mentioned in the page quote, Ben Bocquelet had a portfolio of characters he created for advertisements and when he superimposed them on a photo of a school, he decided to make a TV show about it.
  • Character Blog: Richard's Twitter account, and Anais' Flickr account.
  • City of Weirdos: Elmore is basically a city where some completely useless thing like a paper hat, is alive and can have children with Mount Rushmore and no one objects or sees it as weird. It's just Tuesday for Elmore.
  • Conspicuous CG: The CG itself isn't any more out of place than anything else, but occasionally it will be out of sync with the 2D objects or characters. For instance, in "The Poltergeist" Mrs. Robinson put something in the mailbox and while her hands moved and a sound was made the mailbox stayed closed.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: Occasionally happens throughout the series, usually when a character moves something amongst a series of things that were put in the background. Often, the characters will handle things that are conveniently animated in the same medium as their holder rather than not. Even when other, similar things are animated differently: for instance, the Watterson's TV is live-action but their remote is animated just like they are.
  • Couch Gag: Every title card has a different piece of music that plays over it appropriate to the episode's plot and often a preview of a longer piece that plays later on in the episode itself.
  • Crapsaccharine World, Comedic Sociopathy, and Black Comedy: For a series which takes place in a brightly-colored, whimsical world were anything can happen, a lot of the humor and situations in episodes are either very funny in a sick way or just plain cynical (like something The Simpsons would do back in its Golden Age or a less gross Rocko's Modern Life), particularly those in seasons two and threenote . Some episodes that best exemplify these tropes include "The Cursenote , "The Bumpkin," "The Flakers," "The Finale," "The Recipe," "The Job,"note , "The Bet," "The Joy," "The Remote," "The Fraud," "The Ape," "The Apology," "The Void,"note , and "The Pizza."
  • Deranged Animation: Anything in Elmore can come to life and conventional wisdom comes and goes at will.
  • Denser and Wackier: As of Season 3 Gumball went the Saints Row route of making everything more lighthearted and wacky. It's now a show that annihilates tropes on a daily basis and will always do unexpectedly bizarre stuff just because it can.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: There's one in the show's logo.
  • Everything Talks: A central premise of Gumball's universe. Everything is alive and sentient, as seen in "The World".
  • Everybody Owns A Ford: Mid-1980's to 1991 Crown Victorias, to be exact.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: In every flashback and yearbook, all the adults in Elmore, no matter what age, all seemed to have attended Middle School around the same time.
    • In "The Wand", Mr. Robinson and Gary (the old man that's purple and has antlers) are at Elmore Jr. High despite being way older than Richard.
    • In "The Gi" Nicole went to the same school, revealing Mr. Small, Mr. Fitzgerald, and others went to the same school.
    • Ms. Simian has been a teacher there for hundreds of thousands of years, which together with the above means she's been pretty much everyone's teacher.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: None of the police officers use guns, visibly lacking even holsters. Instead they always use tasers they pull out of Hammer Space. The one criminal we always see uses a spoon that is treated as if it were a deadly weapon by everyone but the police.
  • Fictional Counterpart:
    • Elmore Stream
    • There's also JUNK
    • Seemingly everyone in Elmore Junior High is on ElmorePlus; ironic given its namesake does not allow anyone under the age of 18. An earlier episode has a brief appearance of a site called "Fessebook" ("fesse" being French for "buttock").
    • Pictures are edited using Shotofop.
  • Furry Confusion: Every single thing in the world, solar system, and possible the universe is sentient and capable of speech, but seem to be divided into two types: the ones who act mostly human and look at least somewhat human and the ones which talk but aren't otherwise very human-like. Sometimes the latter becomes the former, as was the case with Darwin.
  • Genius Loci:
    • "The World" shows that the Earth is alive. The stars and planets are as well.
    • It's very heavily implied in "The Void" that the entire universe is sentient, and has a desire to remove what it perceives as mistakes and cover up that they ever existed.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Gumball and Darwin seem to be locked in an everlasting battle to out-ham one another. The insult fight between Gumball & Darwin somehow turned this into actual combat.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title is "The [noun]", except the holiday specials ("Christmas" and "Halloween").
  • Laborious Laziness: Richard is a master of this.
  • Limited Wardrobe: All of the Wattersons have one set of day clothes and clothes that they sleep in.
    • In one instance, this leads to Gumball wearing a dress for an entire episode & being mistaken for a girl by everyone
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The character page on the official site already lists 30 different named characters. And that's not even the entire cast! There are also a sauropod named Molly and a chin puppet named Sussie, the latter of whom even appears in the intro.
  • Medium Blending: The Trope Codifier. Just look at the page image (and Ben Bocquelet's quote about how he combined all these characters drawn in different styles initially for product and company logos, but decided to make them cartoon characters).
  • Missing Trailer Scene: Almost every trailer for the show had complete original scenes and were never in the actual episodes.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Gumball ends up naked fairly often.
  • Never Say "Die": Carrie the ghost mentions her "afterlife" and having a body before (which itself was subject to a Retcon), but never being "dead". Especially noticeable in "Halloween": we see many ghosts, some of them coming out of their graves, but they are never referred to as "dead", only as "spirits" or "from the underworld".
  • Non Humans Lack Attributes: Averted with Gumball, who's body is pixellated when he doesn't wear clothes, but played straight with a lot of other characters who don't wear clothes at all.
    • Parodied whenever Darwin is naked. He's completely uncensored except his feet.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: While most characters are drawn with a flat, stylized look, there are also quite a few that run the gamut from paper cutouts to photo-realistic dinosaurs, CGI cubes, Muppet-style puppets, and live-action chin puppets.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Every once in a while the British voice actors lose their American tongue for a second. Nicole does this in some scenes where she's talking calmly and smoothly.
  • Official Couple: Gumball and Penny as of "The Shell". .
  • Out of Order: Word of God has stated as such, and also said it's why they're not doing any multi-part episodes.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Video games seen at various points all have very 8/16-bit looking graphics. This trope is possibly lampshaded by how "The Refund" has Gumball trying to put what looks like an SNES cartridge into the disc drive of a console that looks like an Xbox 360 (with the controllers of an SNES) before realizing there's something wrong.
  • Pixellation: When Gumball is naked, he gets this. What's extra funny is that in some frames they missed applying it, and as you might expect there isn't anything to cover.
  • Quarter Hour Short/Two Shorts: A somewhat odd case, as while several of the first episodes were aired as Two Shorts, both new, it's then changed to a new Quarter Hour Short and a rerun played subsequently with one opening and ending between them. Or two different quarter-hours rerun. Which confuses the heck out of most DVRs since it thinks that it's a new episode every time just because those two episodes haven't been paired before. Close to the end of the the first season they switched the new and old episode around, but changed it back to new-then-old for the second season. Season three started with each new quarter-hour episode sharing a half-hour slot with Clarence, but after Clarence went on break, Gumball resumed the previous format and Clarence instead shared a half-hour slot with Steven Universe when it resumed.
  • Quote Mine: Seen in one of the show's trailers, where Gumball stitches together quotes from several of his friends and family members:
    Ms. Simian: GUMBALL!!
    Carrie: the most...
    Anais: Amazing!
    Darwin: DUDE!
    Nicole: I don't have time...
    Richard: say all the good things...
    Mr. Small: ...abooooout...
    Banana Joe: ...this!
    Anais: Amazing!
    Darwin: DUDE!
  • Retcon/Series Continuity Error: Carrie's first major appearance in "The Ghost" was based around her taking over Gumball's body to taste food again, and she once specifically says she misses having a body. A season after that, in "Halloween", she states she was born a ghost. The later episode "The Mirror" suggests the latter still holds true, as it turns out her parents are a female ghost and a mortal man who used magic so he could interact with that ghost.
  • Retro Universe: Most of the appliances have a very 70's/80's aesthetic (and have a lot of inventions from that time, like VHS tapes and video rental stores), but there are a lot of late 20th/early 21st century inventions, like DVD players, social media websites (Elmore Plus, which is a mix between Google Plus and Facebook), a YouTube equivalent website (Stream It), and in "The Refund," Darwin says:
    Darwin: Why is [this store] called [the Ripley] 2000 anyway? It's not like it's the future anymore!
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: The majority of the show's scenery starts as live-action photograph, but with filters and some objects drawn to blend the character in with the scenery.
  • Running Gag:
    • Characters smashing through the school's windows is a common occurrence throughout the series, happening in "The Mystery", "The Sock" and "The Bet". The Australian airings almost always edits out any of these scenes to avoid copycat incidents.
    • In the second season, Darwin bluntly but cheerfully (or sometimes snidely) pointing out Gumball's personality faults - usually at inappropriate times - often getting hit by something immediately after.
    • Characters (most often the Watterson kids) tend to use outlandish simile to describe things, sometimes having multiple people suggest them one after another, i.e. in "The Poltergeist" Gumball compares an electrified Mr. Robinson to a bulldog staring at the sun, while the turtle in "The Puppy" is described as everything from an angry green hat to an evil wiener poking out of a ravioli.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Gradually comes into effect over the course of the series. Early on, the physical comedy was far more often toward the male cast, with Nicole and Ms. Simian being the occasional exception. Around the second season, slapstick becomes more likely to be applied to anyone. Sarah and Teri seems especially prone to this—within the first couple episode of season three, both have been maimed, melted, burned, or partially eaten.
  • Snap Back/Status Quo Is God: Many episodes end in ways with situations not resolved by episode end, but they change back anyway. Deconstructed and subverted in "The Finale." It starts off as a Clip Show, but as the Wattersons begin to reminisce, the various people come to them and demand restitution for all the damage they've done to them and the town. After failing to make amends to the townspeople and having to escape jail, they decide to only way to get their happy ending is to take their destructive habits Upto Eleven and cause more trouble than ever before. This ends up causing the entire town to form an angry mob and corner them in their home and Gumball proclaims that the only way out of this is "some magical device that resets everything" right as the episode ends. It's the credits.
    • Surprisingly averted as of "The Shell" involving Penny's true form and she and Gumball becoming official.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Penny (before she broke her shell) was a female peanut with antlers. You know, a doe-nut.
    • Darwin is a fish with legs.
    • Ocho, who looks like a ship from Space Invaders, has a mother that is a giant flying vehicle. She's the mothership.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Generally inverted. Lots of male characters have feminine features (particularly Darwin, who also has a very feminine voice), while lots of female characters don't have any (Nicole is a full-grown woman and has a completely flat chest). This lampshaded in "The Party" (Gumball isn't sure if Masami is a girl) and at the end of "The Coach" (it results in Gumball and Darwin not realizing Coach is a woman).
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Quite literally, in "The Mustache". They even have a song about it!
  • There Are No Therapists: Double Subverted thanks to most of the adults being useless- the school's counselor Mr. Small is a recurring character, but he almost always makes things much worse.
  • The "The" Title: Used to title the episodes, save for the holiday episodes "Halloween" and "Christmas" (though some Internet guides will still have these episodes titled as "The Halloween" and "The Christmas," even though it wouldn't grammatically make sense).
  • Third Wheel: Darwin starts to feel ignored after Gumball and Penny’s Relationship Upgrade.
  • Truncated Theme Tune: The show has an Instrumental Theme Tune, but the actual opening is only seen in the UK version. The US airing only had the opening as part of the show's "sneak peek" premiere, but every time after, it's been cut to a Title-Only Opening.
  • Two-Teacher School: Elmore Junior High only has a principal (Principal Brown), one teacher (Miss Simian), one guidance counselor (Mr. Small), one nurse (the Band-Aid Nurse), a PE instructor (introduced in season three and only referred to as "Coach"note ), and one guy who does everything else (Rocky; mostly he's the janitor/groundskeeper, but some episodes have him as a bus driver or a cafeteria worker. "The Curse" also has Rocky as the clerk at the lost and found office). "The Bet" lampshaded this when Rocky tells Gumball, Darwin, and Bobert that school's been canceled because Mr. Small, Miss Simian, and Principal Brown aren't here.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Mr. Small's rainbow-patterned shirt.
  • Unnamed Parent: Oddly, Gumball's parents aren't this in the actual show (they're referred to as Nicole and Richard), but both the credits and website only call them Mum (the British way of saying "Mom") and Dad. One of the writers joked that Gumball is the one who made the credits.
  • Voice Of Dramatic: Parodied in one of the show's commercials, where Darwin adopts a deep, dramatic voice to narrate the commercial in the style of a movie trailer.
  • Vocal Evolution: As both Gumball's and Darwin's voice actors went through puberty, their voices got noticeably deeper (especially Gumball's) before they were re-cast in Season 3. The first episode of that season even makes their voice changes a plot point.
  • We All Live in America: The show's writers and most of the cast are British, the creator and several crewmembers are from France, while animation is done in London, Germany, and (in the first season) Ireland. Although any connection Elmore has to real life geography is tenuous at best, it does seem to be located in the United States. However, some British English and other culturally specific Euro-centric bits slip by:
    • Cars are sometimes shown driving on the lane to the driver's left instead of the right.
    • The scenes inside stores in such episodes as "The Fridge", "The Castle", and "The Limit" have the prices depicted with a comma separating the dollar and cents values rather than a period/decimal point (which is common in Europe). Weight may also be listed in kilograms (metric system) instead of pounds (imperial system).
    • Listings for amounts of money (like the bank statement in "The Treasure" and a price for a frozen chicken in "The Fridge") will sometimes have the dollar sign after the number amount (where a Euro sign is usually put in Germany, though not the UK), instead of before it (American).
    • The show's website states Miss Simian is a second grade teacher when most of her students are twelve years old. In the UK, the second grade of secondary school is the equivalent of the seventh grade in the United States. Someone on staff appeared to have noticed this, as Gumball instead states he is in the seventh grade in "The Lesson".
    • In "The End", Richard sees there are a bunch of people in front of them at the checkout and shouts "Queue!", but the more common term in America is "line".
    • A sign in "The Third" lists distance in meters (metric) instead of feet (US).
    • In "The Laziest", a digital clock on a car radio uses a period instead of a colon, something usually only done in Germany.
    • In the first season, a door in the Watterson's house is labelled "W.C." for water closet, which, in Europe, is a separate bathroom that just has the toilet and a sink (as opposed to most American houses that have the toilet, the sink, and the tub and/or shower all together in one room, though there are a lot of American houses that have two bathrooms — one with the toilet, sink, and tub/shower, and a smaller one with just the toilet and sink). The room itself is shown to be a bathroom though, as it has a tub/shower.
    • In "The Car", a European fire siren (which sounds lower than the American sirens) can be heard during the flashback of the last time Gumball, Darwin, and Richard played "Dodj or Daar" (which ended with the house on fire).
    • In an Easter Egg in "The Remote", a sign states: "No Kung-Fu fighting in the Car Park." A "car park" is what Americans call a "parking garage" or a "parking lot."
    • Dates are often listed as day first, followed by the month. In America, it's the other way around (which can get confusing when one is writing dates for the first twelve days). Examples include a suspension form shown in "The Apology" and a date stamp on a weather program in "The Laziest".
    • Nicole and Granny Jojo have an argument in "The Authority" about which way to look first before crossing the road. Granny Jojo says you see the closer oncoming cars first by looking to your right, which is only true with left-handed traffic.
    • In "The Tag", Richard gets out a bag of "Nacho Crisps." In America, "crisps" are referred to as potato chips.
    • In "The Coach", a stammering Gumball's subtitle reads "apologised" (in America, it's spelled "apologized"). Likewise captioned bird speak in "The Extras" uses "realise" ("Dude, you do realise that I'm a guy?") instead of "realize".
    • In "The Joy", the bloodied clock shown throughout the episode uses a twenty-four hour clocknote , something more common in Europe than the US (unless you are in the military), but still uses "AM" and "PM" on top of that (which is only used for the 12-hour clock system that the US has).
    • A subtle example is in "The Law" when a weatherman says the temperature is 122 degrees Fahrenheit. This seems like a randomly specific number unless you know that's exactly 50 degrees Celsius.
    • In "The Pizza" during his goodbye phone call, Larry mentions a pizza special that cost "five dollars ninety-nine". In the U.S., $5.99 is usually said either "five dollars and ninety-nine cents" or "five ninety-nine".
  • Where The Hell Is Elmore?: Popular fan theory is that Elmore is located in California, mainly due to some of the background shots from the neighborhoods being taken from Vallejo and of the school from San Francisco. No official location is given in the show (though it's apparently about a hundred miles from the Pacific).
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Most of the jobs around Elmore done by one of four people: Larry (cashier or clerk, usually for the video store, the pizzeria, the supermarket, or the gas station), Rocky (any school job that's not a teacher or an administrative figure, like the janitor/groundskeeper, the bus driver, the lost and found clerk, or a cafeteria worker), a blue thing named Pantsbully (construction), or an elderly, pink muffin lady (interviews for jobs and product testing). Lampshaded in "The Finale" when Larry says that any time he so much as looks at a Watterson, something terrible happens, and that's why he goes through so many jobs (though in "The Pizza," it's stated that Larry has a lot of jobs because, without him, the economy of Elmore would collapse and civilization would fall).
  • World of Weirdness: The town of Elmore, where anything can (and will) come to life or spontaneously evolve from pet to family member. Not to mention the wackiness that happens from day to day.

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