In the very first episode, Diego is asked to fill out a form in Monastario's office while the Big Bad himself fools around with a saber, including slicing Diego's quill in half. Then Garcia comes in to report and Monastario hands him the saber, telling him to put it away. The moment both characters' backs are turned, Diego gives Monastario a jab with the business end of the quill. While viewers aren't shown exactly where the jab lands, it isn't difficult to guess.
Zorro's first appearance is loaded with these (also doubling as moments of Awesome for Zorro). He begins by surprising Sergeant Garcia, who is unarmed and half-dressed, in his quarters, and pins him against a wall with his own saber. Then he proceeds to lock both Monastario and Licenciado Pina in one of their own jail cells. And then, when Garcia comes back for round two, Zorro simply disarms him and backs him up at swordpoint until he falls into a nearby well. Monastario's facepalming sells it.
Later still, Garcia is shown trying to climb out of the well and shout orders at the same time, which ends with him falling right back in.
In "Zorro's Secret Passage", when a private explains that he can't read after asking Garcia what a poster says, Garcia replies, "Now you know why you are a private and I am a sergeant." Moments later, Garcia himself suggests to Monastario that Zorro being friends with Don Nacho means that someone will turn them both in. Monastario's response? "Now you know why you are a sergeant and I am the Comandante."
Diego's antics when asked to try on a copy of Zorro's costume have to be seen to be believed. And then, when Monastario tries to test his fencing ability, he first gets tangled up in a tree and then trips over his own feet and nearly knocks over a table. The fact that he's faking to throw the comandante off the scent arguably makes it funnier. Even Monastario finds it amusing.
Later in the same episode, Monastario's attempt to duel Benito, his prime "Zorro" suspect, is interrupted by the real Zorro. Monastario's expression at this revelation is funny enough, but it gets even funnier when Garcia comes in to investigate the racket. Monastario shouts at him to get the rest of the lancers; Garcia nods and turns to leave—and then pulls a hilariously exaggeratedDouble Take as he realizes what's going on.
Garcia: Hey, for a vaquero, he's not a bad swordsman!
Monastario: Idiot! Get the men, quick! This is the real Zorro!
Diego, having narrowly evaded the lancers and made it back to his room just in time to fend off Monastario's attempts to question him again, jokingly comments on the uneventful day he's had. Then he asks Bernardo what they should do that night. Bernardo's expression says it all.
The 3rd episode, "Zorro Rides into the Mission", gives this moment when Captain Monasterio, the Big Bad on the first story arc, tries to arrest Don Ignacio Torres, who took sanctuary in the Mission of San Gabriel. Padre Felipe points out to Monasterio that he is not allowed to arrest Torres so long as he has sanctuary in the church, which leads to this;
Monastario finds himself verbally outmaneuvered at every turn in this episode—when he tells Diego that in his place, he would mind his own business, Diego cheerfully retorts that if he were in Monastario's place, he wouldn't want to anger both the Pope and the king by breaking sanctuary.
The entire exchange between Monastario and Garcia at the beginning of the episode, but especially this part:
Monastario: What is the matter with your feet?
Garcia: I—I hurt them chasing El Zorro, the Fox, through the rocks.
Monastario: Are you sure, Sergeant, he was not chasing you?
Garcia: How can—how could that be possible? Chasing me...well, maybe a little toward the end.
Later still, Diego winds up picking oranges after all.
The Halloween episode of the first season has Diego planting the seeds in García's mind about a ghost that haunts the mission. Henry Calvin's reactions just sell it.
No one is better at interpreting Bernardo's sign language than Diego, but even he sometimes has trouble. This often results in hilarious exchanges as Bernardo tries different combinations of signs to try and get his point across.
One such exchange takes place after Bernardo is knocked out and locked in a storage room because he witnessed a kidnapping:
Diego: What were you doing in there?
Bernardo: *pointing to his head*
Diego: You have a headache? Well, I'm sorry you have a headache, but what were you doing in there?
On another occasion, Bernardo overhears Monastario and Licenciado Pina mentioning a plan to destroy Zorro. When he tries to communicate the word "destroy" to Diego, however, he runs into some trouble. Diego guesses that the comandante plans to shoot, hang, and poison Zorro in response to Bernardo's increasingly frustrated signs before hitting on the right word. Viewers with sharp ears will actually hear Bernardo's relieved exhale when Diego finally gets it right.
Diego is fond of lampshading his activities as Zorro with seemingly innocuous comments slipped into ordinary conversation. While none of the characters around him pick up on the double meaning, Diego can often be seen smiling at his own cleverness. Bonus points if Bernardo is close by and able to react to his antics.
In "Zorro Fights His Father," this exchange after Zorro successfully frees an innocent prisoner just before he is executed and escapes, thoroughly dismantling the trap the Magistrado and Don Alejandro set for him. Poor Garcia, who has been trying to stall the execution in any way possible and has just had rings run around him by Zorro, bears the brunt of the Magistrado's fury.
Magistrado: In the entire Spanish Empire, there is only one thing that is flatter than that bellyof yours. You know what that is, Sergeant!?
Diego's father has injured his leg and is having the wound examined by a doctor. As the doctor begins to probe the site of the injury, Diego hastily excuses himself, claiming "I cannot bear to hear my father scream in pain." Alejandro retorts that he will never hear that happen. Immediately after, he lets out a pained shout. Cue Diego turning around and grinning as if to say, "I told you so."
In "Zorro By Proxy," Diego is arrested after being framed as Zorro. Lacking access to his costume, he improvises by "borrowing" Sergeant Garcia's saber and cutting a mask from the blanket provided in his cell. Then he throws what's left of the blanket over his shoulders to stand in for a cloak. This is amusing by itself, but the kicker comes when one of the guards posted on the walls spots him and raises the alarm. To keep any of the soldiers from getting a good look at him, Diego resorts to hiding behind Sergeant Garcia and dragging him around the cuartel like a human shield.
Raquel: Stay right with him, Sergeant! Don't let him get away!
Garcia: I am pursuing him, in a way!
Throughout the ensuing fight scene, Diego can be seen stopping to readjust the blanket several times when it almost slips off of his shoulders. He also runs around with one hand holding the edges against his chest, lest the corners flap and expose the everyday clothing he's still wearing underneath. To say this makes Zorro look awkward is an understatement.
He even lampshades his improvised costume at the end of the episode.
Diego: You know, things must be going very badly with him. One thing I do remember: I saw him up close and he was very poorly dressed.
Isabel Allende's novel
The Lemony Narrator has sarcastic comments for everyone, including herself:
When describing the methods of the Francescan monks to recruit and convert Indios the narrator makes disparaging comments on their habit of using lazo and stick and explain that La Perouse more compassionate methods had been dismissed by most of them due a most unfortunate circumstance: he's French.
When describing don Alejandro's mansion, the narrator explains that he's also making experiments to find a new and better way to preserve meat to sell to the sailors, and adds that, due the mansion being close to the sea, the smell of such experiments influences the migratory paths of whales.
When Zorro first wears his costume, the narrator points out what the mask actually hides: Diego's humongonous bat-like ears.
When he learns that Lolita is engaged to Diego, Gabriel challenges him to duel for her hand before the whole city. Hilarity Ensues.
After the 'duel' Gabriel, having proved that Diego is a mollusk, asks Lolita to break her engagement and become his fiancee Only to learn she hates soldiers and anyone wearing a uniform. Her rant leaves him looking at her with his mouth hanging open, much to the laughter of the viewers And the in-universe witnesses.
And later still, Diego as Zorro orders Garcia to forget the debt while holding him at swordpoint.
Bernando warning Diego of a group of bandits (actually working for Gabriel) riding toward Lolita's home, telling him he wants to take part to the action... And being tied up and left behind.
After fighting the bandits and being nearly killed due their leader using hypnosis on him, Diego comes back home, tells Bernardo he's OK, and falls asleep next to him... leaving Bernardo still tied up.
Gabriel has framed Zorro for the heist, but Lolita says she doesn't believe it, and reveals that she knows how to recognize the bandit leader in spite of the mask due having wounded his right forearm. Then Bernardo, Lolita, her parents, and Gabriel realize that Diego has a wound right there... And for a moment even Gabriel entertains the idea before they all get a good laugh.
Later, she catches Diego with another girl (actually the victim of Raymond's latest scheme—Diego is trying to help her enter the town so she can claim her inheritance). Hilarity Ensues (at least until Gabriel shows up).
Raymond has put road blocks around the town to stop the lawful heiress of the late Don Fernandes from claiming her inheritance, and Diego is trying to smuggle her, disguised as a shepherd, through Garcia's roadblock. In exchange for passage, Diego and offers him a case of wine:
Garcia: "This is bribery!" *Diego nods* Garcia: "Well, I can't refuse such a gift... Let them pass!"
As Diego, Bernardo and the heiress are passing through, Garcia orders them to stop...because her poncho has the worst stench he has ever smelled.
After Diego is imprisoned with the heiress, Lolita comes to help, tries to convince Garcia to let her pass by feigning jealousy, and when that fails she lifts her skirt...to reveal a bottle of wine. That one works.
The soldiers going crazy due the plan Diego suggested to Lolita, namely a dozen people disguised as Zorro riding through the pueblo to distract them.
The finale: Garcia, left alone to guard the jail, is confronted by Lolita and Bernardo, both dressed as Zorro. Lolita suggests that he should faint...and he immediately produces a bottle of wine and knocks himself out.
Episode 13 is basically Home Alone, Recycled WITH ZORRO, complete with Bernardo using one of the traps from the original movie (the heated doorknobs). That is all.
Episode 16 revolves around Raymond buying a katana, believed to be able to cut straight through another sword ''and'' the guy wielding it, as a gift for the governor. A three-way fight quickly ensues between the soldiers escorting it, a group of bandits trying to get their hands on it, and Zorro trying to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. In the end, the leader of the bandits gets hold of it and slashes at Zorro, who has no choice but to block with his sword. The katana promptly snaps in half. Turns out it was a bamboo sword painted to look like a real katana, and nobody in California knew it. Hilarity Ensues immediately, and then again when the governor and Raymund find out.