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Film / The Little Rascals

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Boys will be boys, girls will be girls, and sometimes kids can really be rascals. (Poster for the 1994 film.)

Hal Roach created this series of short comedy films in the 1920s. During the silent years (1922–29), Roach tried such series names as Hal Roach's Rascals, but since the first short was titled Our Gang, moviegoers began to call them the "Our Gang Comedies", and that name soon became official. The series moved to sound just prior to the onset of The Great Depression. In 1938 Roach sold the series to its distributor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, a move which is generally regarded by fans as the start of the series' Seasonal Rot period. The child cast changed almost annually until the series ended in 1944.

It is said that Roach got the idea for the comedies that revealed the world as seen from a child's point of view after hearing through his office window some children in a lot next door arguing over some discarded scraps of wood they were trying to split up for salvage.

MGM sold the films back to Roach in 1949 but retained the rights to the Our Gang name. Thus, when Roach packaged the films for television syndication in the mid-'50s, the series was retitled The Little Rascals, leading to a certain amount of Title Confusion over the years.

A revolving cast of child stars came and went throughout the course of the series. Among the better-known personalities were George "Spanky" McFarland, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas, Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, Eugene "Porky" Lee, Tommy "Butch" Bond, and Darla Hood. Cast members who went on to adult acting careers (some shorter than others) include Ernest "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison, Scotty Beckett, Matthew Beard, Dickie Moore, Carl Switzer, Tommy Bond, Robert Blake, Jackie Cooper, and Dorothy Dandridge.

Part of the reason why the series is remembered even to this day is that it showed black and white (in both senses of the term) children playing together as equals, which was more or less unheard of for films of its day. Hal Roach was actually planning to make a whole series out of Ernie Morrison, one of the first black child stars in Hollywood, but when distributors said it wouldn’t fly, he put Morrison in the Our Gang films alongside Allen Hoskins as Farina and the white child actors for the rest of the group. From then on, every iteration of the series had at least one black child, who in the shorts got to play with their white counterparts, eat in the same places as them, and even go to school with them! This is not to say that racial humor wasn’t ever used (see below), but the casting was radical enough that Southern theaters often complained or outright refused to show the series.

Derivative works:

  • The earliest issues of The Dandy in the late 1930s featured a Comic-Book Adaptation of Our Gang, drawn by legendary comics artist Dudley Watkins.
  • General Spanky, actually an Our Gang feature film from 1936. After it fared poorly at the box office Hal Roach went back to using the characters in shorts exclusively.
  • Dell Comics published a 12-issue Little Rascals comic book series from 1957 to 1962. It featured Spanky and Alfalfa, along with some original characters. The cover of the first issue featured an unnamed girl who was probably intended to be Darla Hood but bore a greater resemblance to Dorothy DeBorba.
  • A series of clay-animated Little Rascals Color Specials, produced for television in the 1960s, presumably by Bura and Hardwick, the British studio responsible for Camberwick Green.
  • A 1979 animated Christmas Special on NBC, whose voice cast included Matthew "Stymie" Beard and Darla Hood, as well as a series of public service announcements.
  • A 1994 feature film, directed by Penelope Spheeris and released by Universal Pictures. It won Young Artist awards for no fewer than six members of the cast: Ross Bagley, Juliette Brewer, Bug Hall, Brittany Ashton Holmes, Travis Tedford and Kevin Jamal Woods.
  • A direct-to-video sequel, The Little Rascals Save the Day, directed by Alex Zamm, released in April 2014.

For the Saturday-Morning Cartoon produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1982, see this page.

Little Rascals films with their own pages:

Other films contain examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Buckwheat and Porky begin laughing at Alfalfa's predicament at the end of Two Too Young. Spanky, initially shocked, can't help but join them.
  • Adults Are Useless: Part of the series' charm was that the kids would regularly (and unintentionally) teach the adults a lesson.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Alfalfa has a cocky side to him that always lands him into trouble. Despite the number of times he has had his ego knocked down, Alfalfa can't help but return to his old traits.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Every now and then, Darla will prefer Butch over Alfalfa.
  • All Just a Dream: Seein' Things, Mama's Little Pirate, and Our Gang Follies of 1938.
  • An Aesop: The later MGM entries regularly end with an adult lecturing the kids on good behavior.
  • And the Rest: Because so many characters appeared in the series, modern day promotional material will often list a few of the Rascals' names, followed by "and the rest." Example, from an old AMC promo:
    • "Join Spanky, Alfalfa, and the rest of Our Gang..."
  • Animals Hate Him: In "Dogs is Dogs," Wheezer and Dorothy's spoiled, whiny stepbrother is pushed into a well by his own dog.
    • To be fair, it's difficult to tell whether the dog is being mean or is just incredibly stupid.
  • Animal Talk: In Fire Fighters, the first few minutes depict several neighborhood animals acting like humans.
    • Dog Heaven has Pete interacting with other neighborhood dogs.
    • Tale of a Dog ends with the kids' new dog randomly talking (in an African-American dialect).
  • The Artifact: Darla didn't really seem to serve much of a purpose when Carl Switzer (Alfalfa) was dropped from the series. Her role in the series was largely someone for Alfalfa to pursue.
  • Asian Speekee Engrish: Harry Lowe, Jr. in Washee Ironee ("washee clothesee, washee clothesee").
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: When Alfalfa and Spanky dress up as ballet dancers, the other boys mistake them for girls and flirt with them.
  • Beast in the Building: In the 1928 short Barnum & Ringing, Inc., the kids hold a circus in a ritzy hotel with all the live animals they could get their hands on, which soon escape and run amok.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The kids fall under this trope in a handful of shorts, notably when they rescue their adopted grandma in Fly My Kite.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The boat in Captain Spanky's Show Boat, and pretty much every barn or cellar appearing in the MGM era.
  • Black Like Me: Spanky disguises himself as Buckwheat (even going so far as to cover his skin black) in Anniversary Trouble.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Several examples, usually involving a character secretly spiking the food of another for revenge. Jay does this to Wheezer in "Rainy Days." The same gag is repeated with Dickie and Spanky in "Birthday Blues" and Wheezer does this to his spoiled stepbrother Sherwood in "Dogs is Dogs."
  • Bowdlerized: A lot of the TV reruns of the shorts have had scissors taken to them to remove scenes which have negative racial overtones.
  • Call-Back: Several of the sound shorts borrow story lines and gags from the silent era.
  • The Cameo:
    • The Silent-era Rascals appeared in such Hal Roach films as The Fraidy Cat (Charley Chase, 1924), Rupert of Hee Haw, Short Kilts (both Stan Laurel, 1924), Battling Orioles (Glenn Tryon, 1924), and 45 Minutes from Hollywood (Glenn Tryon, 1926).
    • In 1931, the cast appeared in the all-star short The Stolen Jools.
    • Stymie Beard briefly shows up in Charley Chase's 1934 short Four Parts.
    • Alfalfa Switzer briefly appears in Charley Chase's Southern Exposure (1935) and Life Hesitates at 40 (1936).
    • Laurel and Hardy briefly appear in "Wild Poses" (1933)
    • Tommy Bond briefly appears in the Laurel and Hardy film Block-Heads (1938).
  • Catchphrase: "O-tay!" (Porky), "Uh-huh" (Uh-huh), "Like my Aunt/Uncle always says..." (Froggy).
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The series took a noticeable turn towards drama during the 1930-1932 era and the MGM era.
  • The Chase: Several of the silent films, and even a few of the talkies, feature scenes in which the kids are chased around town by an angry adult (usually a police officer).
  • Chased Off into the Sunset: Happens at the end of a number of episodes, mostly from the silent era.
  • Christmas Episode: Good Cheer, where Mickey Daniels and Johnny Downs bring gifts to the poor kids.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:Every single characters except for Buckwheat, Froggy, Mickey and Janet.
  • City of Adventure: Greenpoint, the hometown of the Little Rascals, first mentioned by name in Duel Personalities. It seems to be a fairly large city but with lots of suburban areas and wilderness that the kids explore.
  • Compilation Movie: The 1981 television special Rascal Dazzle, broadcast in syndication, collected clips from the various shorts with narration by Jerry Lewis.
  • Cool Cars: Several. Most notably the taxi cab in Tire Trouble and Free Wheeling.
  • Cool Teacher: Miss Crabtree with her fashionable looks, roadster and generally liberal approach to teaching.
  • Cousin Oliver: Due to the series' revolving door cast, younger kids were added to the series every few years to (eventually) replace the older kids. However, new additions to the cast have generally gotten far more positive feedback from fans than the trope namer.
  • Crack Defeat:
    • Jerry loses the downhill race to the Rascals in Hi'-Neighbor!, despite having a better-looking car.
    • Waldo loses to Alfalfa in Three Men in a Tub, despite having a better boat (to be fair, he mainly lost due to a hole in the floor of the boat).
    • Butch loses to Alfalfa in both Came the Brawn and Football Romeo, despite being, well, Butch.
    • The older boys lose the 'horse race' in Derby Day. Farina. despite only having a tricycle, still manages to win (even on foot).
  • Creator Cameo: Series' early director Robert F. McGowan can be spotted briefly as a man trying to get out of the way of the Rascals' antics in both A Pleasant Journey and Back Stage.
  • Crossover: Spanky, Stymie and Tommy Bond appear in Charley Chase's The Cracked Ice Man.
    • Stymie also appears in Chase's Four Parts.
  • Crosscast Role: The character of Buckwheat was originally Stymie's little sister, played by Matthew Beard's real-life sister Carlena. Even after male actor Billie Thomas inherited the role, Buckwheat continued to be portrayed as a girl for several shorts. This has led to no small amount of Viewer Gender Confusion over the years.
  • Dark Horse Victory: Waldo wins Darla (rather than main competitors Alfalfa and Butch) in Came the Brawn, Party Fever, and Duel Personalities.
  • Demoted to Extra: Typically happened whenever a once popular cast member started to outgrow their roles.
    • Wheezer's role was reduced when Spanky McFarland and Dickie Moore were added to the cast. He is practically unnoticeable in his last episode.
    • Stymie has very little to do in his last few appearances, only getting one line in his last two episodes.
    • Buckwheat in the MGM shorts.
  • Dashingly Dapper Derby: Stymie's hat (given to him by Stan Laurel).
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The Big Show:
    Booker T.: "Let's give them a free show for nothing."
  • Disguised in Drag: Alfalfa and Spanky in ballerina drags in Rushin' Ballet.
    • Alfalfa as Darla's cousin Emilia in Mail and Female.
    • Froggy in Surprised Parties.
    • Buckwheat in Pay As You Exit.
    • Spanky in Aladdin's Lantern.
  • D.I.Y. Disaster: The household appliances are all mixed-up in A Tough Winter.
  • Do-It-Yourself Plumbing Project: Stepin' Fetchit plays with the plumbing in A Tough Winter, and ultimately mixes everything up.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Several examples. They usually involve stern or bumbling fathers, but even Miss Crabtree loses her temper with the kids on one occasion (for giving her ridiculous answers in class) and threatens them with a good "trouncing" in "School's Out".
  • Driven to Suicide: In Dog Heaven, Pete the Pup, of all characters, tries to hang himself after owner Joe Cobb pays more attention to a pretty girl than to him.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Early episodes mostly focus on Ernie "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison. This is somewhat fitting, since Hal Roach had planned to star Morrison in his own series.
    • Some of the earliest entries focus attention on farm animals acting like humans, à la Hal Roach's Dippy Doo Dads series.
    • The earliest talkies from 1929 - early 1930 move at a noticeably slower pace, and generally lack background music, solid dialogue delivery, and other aspects that became associated with the series.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: The sign outside of the kids' voice studio in Framing Youth regularly has the billing ("Spanky - Manager, Alfalfa - Crooner").
  • Expressive Ears: Petey was sometimes capable of raising his ears for an expression.
  • Expy: Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas reminded producer Hal Roach so much of the series' former star Allen "Farina" Hoskins that his character was modeled after Farina's. Right down to the pigtails, Viewer Gender Confusion, and being named after a breakfast cereal.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Spanky (Melancholic), Alfalfa (Choleric), Darla (Sanguine), Buckwheat and Porky (both Phlegmatic).
  • Flanderization: The entire cast became goody two-shoes when MGM took control of the series. This was a far cry from the characters' lovable, mischief-making personas that made the series so popular.
  • Food Fight: The ending of "Shivering Shakespeare" degenerates into a big Pie in the Face fight.
  • Framed Face Opening: The 1936-1938 shorts features photos the main cast on the opening title cards.
    • The earlier silents did something similar, using cartoon likenesses as opposed to photos.
  • Free-Range Children: Througout the series the Our Gang kids are seen running wild all over town without supervision.
  • Gender Scoff: The boys in The Buccaneers, Hearts Are Thumps, and Mail and Female, among other episodes.
    • Rich man Dick in Shrimps For a Day.
    • Mickey and Sally in The New Pupil.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Rivals Mickey and Jack become pals at the end of The Champeen!
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Stymie's frequently-mentioned jailbird father.
    • Spanky's Uncle George in The Kid From Borneo.
    • Froggy's many relatives that have strange sayings.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Trope Namer, though NOT an actual example of the trope.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: In the film "School's Out", some of the kids stole Jack's clothing while swimming in a lake as they're afraid he's going to marry their teacher Miss Crabtree (though he's actually her brother). He resorted by using leaves and branches.
  • Heroic BSoD: Jackie at the end of Teacher's Pet.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Buckwheat and Porky, Spanky and Alfalfa, Butch and Woim.
  • Hey, Let's Put on a Show: Several examples. Sometimes goes awry, as when Spanky and the guys tried to stand in for the 'Flory Dory' girls.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Alfalfa, to the point that it became a Berserk Button during public appearances, when fans asked him to sing off key.
  • Identical Stranger: Alfalfa's Double.
  • Idiot Hair: Alfalfa's trademark, a part down the middle and a big old cowlick sticking up in the back.
  • I Got Bigger: Porky, hired to play Spanky's little brother, eventually grew taller than Spanky.
    • Dorothy was let go after just a couple of years because of a growth spurt.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: The kids had a few elderly friends in the series, notably Grandma (Margaret Mann) and Cap (Gus Leonard). In the earlier silent films, the role of the much older friend/mentor was normally given to either Richard Daniels or Florence Lee.
  • It's Like I Always Say: Froggy regularly makes references to his relatives' strange sayings (example: "Like my Uncle Walt always says...")
  • Jerkass: Several. Notable ones include:
    • Jerry Tucker in Hi'-Neighbor!.
    • Butch and Woim.
    • Leonard Kibrick and his dad in For Pete's Sake! and The Lucky Corner.
    • Spike (Dickie Jones) and the military academy captain in The Pigskin Palooka.
    • The stepmother in Dogs is Dogs.
    • Dan, the son-in-law, in Fly My Kite.
    • Every kid given the nickname "Toughey."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: All the kids who don't have a Jerkass entry are this.
  • Laughing Gas: In "Wedding Worries", Darla (in her final short) and the boys take a tank of laughing gas out of her father's dentist office and use it to disrupt his wedding by causing wild laughter in the ceremony room.
  • Long Runner: Over twenty years (9/10/22-4/29/44).
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: Allen Hoskins (Farina) and George McFarland (Spanky) had two of the longest runs in the series. But both were eventually retired due to the series' revolving door cast.
  • Lovely Assistant: Jean Darling to Johnny Downs in Chicken Feed.
  • Menace Decay: Partially averted, even then the earliest stories have some kind of "shouldn't they be at school" undertone.
  • Missing Mom: In Wedding Worries, Darla's father remarries.
    • Also the missing mother in Little Mother.
  • Motivation on a Stick: In one short, Free Wheeling, the boys have a "taxi" powered by a mule/donkey pushing from the back and a carrot on a stick in front of it that's used to make it push.
  • The Movie: General Spanky with the original cast in 1936. Later, The Little Rascals (1994), and The Little Rascals Save the Day (2014).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Jackie, at the end of Teacher's Pet.
  • Mythology Gag: Several of the talkie shorts borrow gags from the silents.
  • Negative Continuity: As was common for short comedy series, Our Gang almost never contained any continuity. For instance, in one film the kids might be seen living with parents, but may suddenly be living in an orphanage in the next outing.
  • Nice Guy: Dickie Moore.
  • No Name Given: Most of the kids are only known by their nicknames, though in the 1994 movie, the trophy and prize money are announced to be given to Alfalfa Switzer and Spanky McFarland, effectively showing their last names; however, the rest of the gang is still known only by their nicknames.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Unlike series creator Hal Roach, MGM was noticeably reluctant to let the cast members go once they outgrew their roles. Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla, and Buckwheat were all on the onset of puberty (and wearing costumes that no longer fit them) when they were finally dropped from the series.
  • Numbered Sequels: Parodied; Alfalfa's boat is called Darla the Fourth in Three Men in a Tub and his balloon in Party Fever is Darla 2nd.
  • Official Couple: Darla and Alfalfa, Mickey and Mary.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Several of the characters.
  • Orphanage of Fear: "Boys to Board", "Bring Home the Turkey", "Mush and Milk" and "Shrimps for a Day." "Shrimps for a Day" has the kids at the Happy Home Orphanage, "Where Kindness Rules". The master of the orphanage is an ogre who yells at and intimidates the children.
  • Panty Shot: A few in some early 1940s Our Gang shorts that involved music and dancing. Even Darla had a few panty shots in a few of the shorts.
  • Passing the Torch: Occurred regularly, due to the series' revolving coor cast.
  • Pet the Dog: In "Small Talk", when Farina gets passed for adoption while his other friends get adopted into a new home, he goes off alone and breaks down in tears, with Petey showing up to comfort him. By chance, the house the other kids are adopted into has a black maid, who takes pity on Farina and adopts him on the spot.
  • Pie in the Face: Playin' Hookey and Shivering Shakespeare.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: A Tough Winter was intended to be the pilot for a proposed Stepin' Fetchit series. Fetchit turned down the offer for a series, not wanting to go from being a feature film player to a short subject one.
  • Poverty Food: In the short "Mush and Milk" the gang are all living in a boarding school run by an old man who serves mush & (spoiled) milk every day because he doesn't have any money. He's waiting for his pension to come in. Once his pension comes in he treats the kids to a high class meal...which turns out to be porridge.
  • Precocious Crush: Jackie Cooper for Miss Crabtree.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: George "Spanky" McFarland had his name in the opening titles for three of the films, making him the only cast member to receive such an honor. His name also showed up on many of the 1930s' lobby posters.
  • Punchline: Many of the Roach era films would end on some sort of a visual gag.
  • Recurring Extra: Various background kids throughout the run of the series.
  • Retool: Occurred several times, usually when several crucial cast members left at the same time.
    • Perhaps the most notable example is when MGM bought the rights to the series in 1938, and gradually turned the comedy series about a gang of kids getting in trouble into a series of wholesome morality plays about a gang of kids acting like mini adults.
  • Reunion Show: Silent cast members Jackie Condon, Mickey Daniels, Allen "Farina" Hoskins, Joe Cobb, and Johnny Downs were reunited on the television show You Asked For It.
  • Revival: The Little Rascals (failed TV pilot) (1977), The Little Rascals' Christmas Special (1979), The Little Rascals Animated Series (1982-1984), The Little Rascals (1994), The Little Rascals Save the Day (2014).
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Farina and Stymie have a few in their home in Little Daddy.
  • Running Gag: Something going wrong whenever Alfalfa sings.
  • Saving the Drugstore: The main plot for both Our Gang (the series' first film) and Helping Grandma.
  • Schmuck Bait: In "Going To Press" the gang executes a sting operation against the boss of the Gas House Gang by using "The Greenpoint Flash" with little subtlety: "P.S. Don't forget that the office will be closed today on account of going fishing and that the Gas House evidence is in the safe." Amazingly, Frank falls for it.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Alfalfa and Spanky.
  • Separate Scene Storytelling: Jubilo Jr. features Jubilo (Will Rogers) telling a three hobos about his childhood. separate
    • Time Out For Lessons features Alfalfa's dad telling his son to imagine what college life will be like for him.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Waldo in Three Men in a Tub.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: Several, including Happy, who was brought in to replace Spanky following his departure in 1942. Happy was dropped after only a few episodes.
  • Shout-Out: In "Small Talk", when Farina is adopted, he says "Mammy!" in a pose and tone thats clearly referencing Al Jolson's ministrel scene from The Jazz Singer.
  • Shouldn't We Be In School Right Now?: Typical with most series focusing on kids, several episodes show the kids out of school. On rare occasions, this is justified:
    • July Days, Boys Will Be Joys, and Wiggle Your Ears reference Summer vacation.
    • Ask Grandma mentions a two week vacation (according to the silent film title card, the kids could bear the shock if the vacation lasted two years).
    • Several episodes take place on a Saturday.
  • Signature Headgear: Spanky's striped beanie, Scotty's sideways baseball cap.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Darla from the later, better-known shorts. In the earlier films, this role was filled by Mary Kornman, Jean Darling, Mary Ann Jackson, and Dorothy DeBorba, among others. After Darla's departure, the role was given to Janet Burston.
  • Special Guest: Will Rogers in Jubilo Jr, Laurel and Hardy in Wild Poses.
  • Speech Impediment: Buckwheat and Porky (actors William Thomas and Eugene Lee really did have speech impediments). Both eventually grew out of it.
  • Spin-Off: Hal Roach's The Boy Friends series of the early 1930's is considered by some to be a spin-off, especially since it makes a semi-reference to the Little Rascals in the 1932 entry Too Many Women. Furthermore, former Rascals Mickey Daniels and Mary Kornman were among the series' stars.
  • Spiritual Successor: Hal Roach produced two Our Gang-like films (Curley and Who Killed Doc Robbin) during the late 1940's.
  • Squirrels in My Pants: In Framing Youth, Alfalfa gets a frog stuck in his tuxedo while he is performing at a talent show.
  • Stock "Yuck!": Chubby's Limberger cheese makes all but him hold their nose and cower.
  • Tagalong Kid: Every generation of the series had one. Spanky, Stymie, Buckwheat, Porky, Scotty, Jackie Condon, and Farina were all in this position in their early years.
  • Team Pet: Pete (usually called Petey by the kids), a friendly american pit bull terrier with a ring around his eye who tags along with the kids wherever they go.
  • Television Geography: The Rascals supposedly live in California, though a New York-like city appears in several entries.
  • Those Two Guys: Spanky and Scotty, Buckwheat and Porky, Stymie and Wheezer.
  • Title Drop: In the later MGM shorts, the Rascals are sometimes officially called "Our Gang."
  • Tomboy: Mary Ann is the closest thing to this in the series. Dorothy also has her moments.
  • The Tonsillitis Episode: Darla has a tonsillectomy in "Men in Fright", and Mickey has one in "No Noise".
  • Token Minority: Ur-Example. Every iteration of the gang had at least one black child actor, which is surprising for the pre civil rights era of Hollywood.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Several of the kids seemed to get dumber as they got older. A notable example is both Spanky's and Alfalfa's stupidity in Canned Fishing.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Used several times:
    • Spanky and Alfalfa tried it in both Teacher's Beau (to scare their teacher's fiancé into leaving town) and Two Too Young (posing as a G-Man in order to convince Buckwheat and Porky to give up their firecrackers).
    • Stymie and Dickie tried this in Fish Hooky to get past truant officer Mickey Daniels.
    • Johnny Downs and younger Mickey Daniels did this when posing as Santa Claus in Good Cheer.
    • Farina and Pleurisy tried it in Election Day in order to get past the other kids.
  • The Unintelligible: Porky starts his run on the series as a pre-verbal toddler, but once he begins to talk, his lines are only semi-intelligible at best. The "O-Tay" line that is often attributed to Buckwheat was actually Porky's.
  • Verbal Tic Name: Uh-huh is named that because it's the only thing he (usually) says.
  • The Voiceless: Buckwheat and Porky in their earliest appearances.
  • Wacky Sound Effect: The moaning noises coming from the cake filled with household items (thanks to Spanky) in "Birthday Blues".
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The Little Rascals' hometown of Greenpoint. It is implied to be somewhere in Southern California, possibly a suburb of Hollywood as some of the shorts have the Rascals' home addresses as being in Long Beach or Los Angeles. But some of the shorts show Greenpoint resembling parts of New York City.
  • White Like Me: A kind of horrifying gag in Baby Brother. Joe wants a little brother. So Farina, the one black kid in the gang, takes his baby brother, paints his face white, and gives him to Joe.
  • Women Are Wiser: The adult women in this series (usually mothers or teachers) tend to be kinder and more grounded than the men, who are often bumbling or pompous at best and downright abusive at worst.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The step-mother in Dogs is Dogs.
  • You Meddling Kids: The gang occasionally battled evil grown-ups. They are arguably the Ur-Example.
  • Your Other Right Hand: Unintentionally happens in Hide and Shriek when Alfalfa has Porky and Buckwheat raise their right hand to take an oath. Three-year-old Eugene Lee mistakenly raises his left hand, but switches when he notices William Thomas has raised his right.

Tropes specific to the 1994 movie:

  • Actor Allusion: Buckwheat's mother. "...Whoop-ee."
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the original shorts, the Big Bad Ensemble never did anything antagonistic towards Alfalfa and the gang, aside from typical bullying. In the movie however, they both try to outright murder Spanky and Alfalfa during the race at the climax through different means; Waldo with tire spikes, and Butch and Woim with a smoke bomb.
  • All-Natural Fire Extinguisher: The He-Man Woman Haters Clubhouse catches fire after Spanky sabotages Alfalfa's date with Darla. Petey, a dog, attempts to put out the fire by peeing on it.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Buckwheat and Porky, who isn't taken seriously for most of the rest of the movie, are praised for collecting roughly five hundred dollars in bogus talent show admissions charges, enough money to pay for lumber to rebuild the clubhouse.
  • All There in the Manual: Miss Crabtree is Spanky and co.'s teacher, but since none of this film takes place at their school, there's nothing in the film to indicate that she's their teacher. In the context of this film, she might have just been a woman Spanky new from the neighborhood.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: If the "Finders keepers losers suck!"/"Ah, bite me!" exchange didn't push the movie to a PG-rating, the scene where Alfalfa loses his underwear in a pool definitely did.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Butch, Woim, and Waldo.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Alfalfa spends the majority of the movie as a bit of a wimp, preferring trying to talk his way out of fights and/or simply running away. But then, after all the trouble he was put through during the movie, including the harrowing go-cart race and winning back Darla's heart, Butch and Woim make the mistake of trying to confront him one last time:
    Alfalfa: Now usually, I'm a lover, not a fighter, but in this case, I'm willing to make an exception! [Punches Butch into a pig pen, and intimidates Woim into jumping in after Butch.]
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: When Alfalfa is in disguise at the ballet recital, talking to Darla.
  • Butt-Monkey: Alfalfa. From his picnic with Darla to the end of the movie bad things constantly seem to happen to him.
  • Cash Lure: The old "buck and a duck" trick.
  • Catchphrase: "O-tay!", "Uh-huh".
  • Chekhov's Skill: Or lack there of. Buckwheat and Porky can't read and Alfalfa uses this to trick them into taking a love note to Darla, telling them it's a hate note. It backfires when Porky blows his nose on the note and Buckwheat tells Darla what it said from memory.
  • Colonel Bogey March: Courtesy of a marching band at the fair; this establishes the mood for the club's money-earning mission.
  • Covered in Mud: At the end, Butch and Woim end up in a pig pen. Alfalfa punched Butch into it, and then Woim jumped in himself to avoid being punched.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Stymie, though mostly with eye rolling and vocal intonation. Also, Waldo.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: During Alfalfa and Darla's first meeting with Waldo:
    Darla: I'll be appearing in the talent show coming up.
    Alfalfa: Yeah! The two of us will both be singing a duet. Together.
    Waldo: How redundant.
  • Disguised in Drag: Alfalfa and Spanky in ballerina drag. Bullies Butch and Woim find them quite attractive.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Alfalfa gets "excited", his Idiot Hair spikes up.
  • Don't Ask: Alfalfa. He runs up to Porky wearing nothing but socks and underwear, prompting Porky to ask if he had a rough day.
  • Evil Laugh: Spanky makes an evil chuckle while twiddling his fingers after giving Alfalfa a wedgie while he was singing to Darla.
  • Exact Words:
    • The kids try to get people to pay to see a "four-foot man eating chicken". As in one of them dressed as a man eating a bucket of chicken.
    • After Waldo's cheating in the race, Darla says, "pull over. I am not finishing this race with you." She never said that she wasn't finishing the race.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Spanky spends the first minutes of the film trying to separate Alfalfa from Darla, and the rest of the film trying to get Alfalfa to give up on her.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Spanky calls Alfalfa by his full name when sentencing him for burning down the clubhouse. Spanky gets a "Spanky McFarland!" from Ms. Crabtree in turn when she sees him getting people to pay for admission to see the talent show when it was supposed to be free.
  • Gender Scoff: The tent/sleepover scene, after Alfalfa and Darla break up.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Indeed, they are!
  • I Can Explain: See Don't Ask.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Spanky: All the money in the world is no substitute for hard work and ingenuity.
    Waldo: You lead a rich fantasy life.
    Spanky: Thank you.
    Waldo: Moron.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Spanky's remark that the go-kart which Butch and Woim stole from the rascals "looks like The Blur with a new paint job."
  • Lint Value: The gang tries to buy materials from the lumber yard to rebuild the clubhouse. They ask the guy working there about how much they can get...for a little over three or four dollars (they took up a collection). The man holds up a single hinge and asks, "Paper or plastic?"
  • The Movie: A number of classic Little rascals shorts adapted and woven together until the plot of a single film, it largely reflects an effort to maintain the classic feel, but has a few contemporary touches.
  • Mythology Gag: The movie borrows gags and situations from the original shorts:
    • Three Smart Guys (1943): Porky and Buckwheat unknowingly reeling each other in while fishing.
    • Anniversary Trouble (1935): The gang and the "hi/high-sign".
    • Hearts are Thumps (1937): The gang spiking Alfalfa & Darla's lunch.
    • Hook and Ladder (1932): The gang as firefighters.
    • Teacher's Beau (1935): Spanky and Stymie imitating adults by sitting on each other's shoulders in order to appear taller
    • Mail and Female (1937): Porky and Buckwheat as messengers for Alfalfa's love letter
    • Rushin' Ballet (1937): Alfalfa and Spanky in drag at a ballet recital
    • Hearts are Thumps (1937): Alfalfa's "bubble song" (during the talent show)
    • Hi'-Neighbor! (1934): building the go-kart (a fire engine in the original)
    • Auto Antics (1939): the go-kart race
    • Hi'-Neighbor! (1934) and Divot Diggers (1936): knocking over pedestrians in the go-kart
  • Not Now, Kiddo: A deleted scene reveals that Porky and Buckwheat try to approach Spanky about their idea to charge admission to the talent show right away, but Spanky brushes them off.
  • Numbered Sequels: Parodied; The go-kart that Alfalfa ends up driving is called "The Blur 2: The Sequel."
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Alfalfa and Darla have one.
  • Re-Cut: The film on DVD and VHS was actually trimmed down for time and content from the original theatrical release (Universal had done this to other films, including Ghost Dad and Problem Child 2). The extended edit broadcast on TV is actually the original theatrical cut with the scenes that were taken out for the home video release, although that version also edits a few scenes out for content or language (the girls referencing that boys like "fighting and farting" as an example of grossness is one bit trimmed from TV airings).
  • The Rival: Waldo.
  • Road-Sign Reversal: While on his way to the race with Buckwheat, Porky pushes one of the signs marking the racetrack, which were built using tires, so that its arrow points straight ahead instead of pointing to the right like it's supposed to Three go-karts (Alfalfa/Spanky, Waldo/Darla, and Butch/Woim) go in that direction. A guy assigned by the arrow quickly moves it back to right as the other go-karts were coming.
  • Sad-Times Montage: Occurs after Alfalfa tells off Spanky for ruining his chances of making up with Darla at the talent show.
  • Samus Is a Girl: A.J. Ferguson
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Waldo did this a lot, as did Uh-huh, as revealed at the end of the movie, though Uh-huh is actually a case of Brilliant, but Lazy, as he explains that while he may have an extensive vocabulary, he just chooses not to use it.
  • Setting Update: A subtle variant. Waldo has a boom box, and the original "Our Gang" shorts predate the songs used in the talent show.
  • Shout-Out: The climactic derby race is similar to Wacky Races.
  • Smug Snake: Waldo.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Darla flattens Alfalfa's hair point and then gives him a kiss, causing his hair to spring right back up again.
  • Spiked Wheels: It happens during the go-kart race scene. The resident Spoiled Brat uses his money-fueled rocket car to take out Alfalfa's new MacGyvered car. Darla, then seeing Waldo for the jerk that he truly is, promptly throws him out of his own cart.
  • Stealth Insult: Waldo calls his dad on his mobile phone to tell him he's en route to the race, to which said father (played by Donald Trump, of course) tells him, "Waldo, you're the best son money can buy." Waldo, however, takes this to be a sincere compliment and thanks his dad.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Alfalfa and Spanky's dads look like adult versions of their kids.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Inverted. Butch says "Finders keepers" but replaces "weepers" with "suck".
  • Tempting Fate: While running around town in his underwear, Alfalfa says, "Things couldn't possibly get any worse!", just before running straight into Butch and Woim.
    • He even lampshades it
    Alfalfa: (After the above happens) And then the clouds opened up and God said "I Hate You Alfalfa!"
  • Title Drop: The film's title is hollered out by one of the pedestrians whom Alfalfa and Spanky run over during the climatic go-kart race.
    Old Pedestrian: YOU LITTLE RASCALS!
  • Took a Level in Badass: Alfalfa, when he pushes Butch into the pig pen after the race, and threatens to do the same thing to Woim, who just jumps into the mud with Butch to avoid getting hit.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue:
    • The boys and girls complain simultaneously about their troubles with the opposite sex, with the camera constantly switching between the boys' tent and the girls' Slumber Party. At one point, the scene switches between Spanky and Darla while he's talking, so that Spanky appears to speak the below line through Darla!
      Spanky and Darla: Why do they have to be so different?
    • It even contains a lampshade / fourth wall break, with Buckwheat responding with "No we don't!" to a line he couldn't possibly have heard.
  • Unnecessary Time Precision: Resident bullies Butch and Woim chase Alfalfa until they corner him. To stall for time, Alfalfa answers their rhetorical question —of how long has it been since they beat him up— with a ramble in which he calculates whether it's a leap year and how many days certain months have, only to say that it was yesterday.
    Butch: When's the last time we beat you up?
    Alfalfa: Well, let's see... today's the 10th... 30 days hath September, April, June, and November... it's not a leap year... yesterday.
  • Verbal Tic Name: Uh-huh so called that because it's the only thing he (usually) says.
  • Wham Line:
    Uh-huh: Uh-uh.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Apart from being kicked out of his own racer by Darla, thereby losing both the race and the girl, it's not shown whether or not Waldo received any more punishment. The last time we see him, he's in his limo telling Alfalfa and Spanky "You'll be hearing from my lawyers'' before driving off. It may have just been an idle threat.
  • You Answered Your Own Question: This might be justified, because Buckwheat is 5 years old.
    Buckwheat: Quick! What's the number for 911?
  • Your Other Left: "All raise your right hand! Your other right hand..."

Tropes specific to the 2014 movie:

  • Mythology Gag: As with the previous movie, this also borrows gags and situations from the original shorts:
    • Anniversary Trouble (1935): The gang and the "hi/high-sign".
    • Teacher's Pet (1930): Mistakenly getting kicked out of school just before a classroom party.
    • Helping Grandma (1931): Helping save Grandma's business.
    • Birthday Blues (1932): Preparing a cake with disastrous results.
    • Divot Diggers (1936): Working as caddies at a country club.
    • Forgotten Babies (1933): "REMARKABLE!"
    • Free Wheeling (1932): The homemade taxi cab.
    • Our Gang Follies of 1936 (1935): A hole in a fence used as a secret entrance.
    • Came the Brawn (1938): Alfalfa facing the Masked Marvel in the wrestling ring.
    • Mike Fright (1934): The International Silver String Submarine Band. A deleted scene reuses the gag in which two of the kids eat lemons, interrupting a performer's trumpet solo.
    • A deleted scene references 1933's The Kid From Borneo ("Yum, yum! Eat 'em up!").
  • Remake Cameo: Bug Hall, who played Alfalfa in the 1994 film, appears as the ice cream man in the beginning.

Alternative Title(s): Our Gang