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Literature / Charlie and Lola

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"I have this little sister Lola. She is small and very funny."

Charlie and Lola is a series of books by Lauren Child, later adapted into a cartoon. The original book was published in 2000. The stories focus on Lola and her older brother Charlie as well as their friends. Lola is an energetic, imaginative and random little girl; Charlie is a patient and kind older brother who has his work cut out (but is always willing) to help Lola learn and grow.

The TV show was seen on The BBC's CBeebies and on Playhouse Disney in the United States. The program was dropped from Playhouse Disney sometime before it became Disney Junior, but repeats were picked up for the 24/7 Disney Junior network. A number of DVD volumes were released. There was an album with music from the television show as well, though it was only released in the U.K. Neither the books nor the television show are currently in production, as far as new material goes. A complete series DVD boxset of the show has been released in the UK, cementing the fact that no further episodes will be produced.


It is occasionally broadcast in Scotland in Gaelic as Charlie is Lola.

As of 2017, the series has been made available freely to stream for those who have Amazon Prime / Amazon Video, and was picked up by Universal Kids in December of 2017.

The series contains examples of:

  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Lola fits this trope sometimes, but Charlie is often patient and understanding with her. She's probably one of the mildest examples of this ever, while Charlie does occasionally get irritated by her, oftentimes he seems to find her behavior anywhere from amusing to endearing.
  • Appetite = Health: In "I'm Really Ever So Not Well", Lola has a cold and says, "I don't feel like eating or drinking anything!".
  • Argument of Contradictions: The story "Yes I Am, No You're Not" is about Charlie and Lola having a number of these about various things. Eventually, after one too many, their parents send them to time-out, or the "Simmer Down Chairs."
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  • Art Evolution: While the series is still unmistakably Lauren Child's art style, the proportions of the faces and hair have been adjusted a bit from the original books.
  • Bilingual Animal: Discussed in the book "We Honestly Can Look After Your Dog", where the four-year-old girls Lola and Lotta claim that Sizzles (the titular dog) can speak English as well as some other talents, but he's never heard speaking English so they're probably just spinning yarns.
  • Captain Ersatz: Bat Cat, a character from Charlie and Lola's favorite comic. And Pirate Captain Squidbones.
  • Children Are Innocent: No matter how many times Lola messes things up, Charlie forgives her, and she never does anything out of malice.
  • Death by Newbery Medal: "I Will Not Ever Never Forget You Nibbles" deals with Charlie helping Lola come to terms with the death of her pet mouse, Nibbles.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Lola claims this about many foods, but she's never actually tried them, and when Charlie has enough creativity to get her to eat them, she turns around completely.
  • Fear of Thunder: Lola once had this, but it completely disappeared after Charlie came up with a solution for his sister.
  • Flipping Helpless: Lola thinks this trope in regards to beetles is the funniest thing ever.
  • Free Prize at the Bottom: In "I Am Collecting a Collection," Charlie pours all the cereal out of a box and get the second-to-last dinosaur he needs for his collection of plastic dinosaur figures.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider: In the episode "I'm Not All That Keen on Spiders", Lola meets two spiders. She's scared of them at first, but then her Cool Big Bro Charlie tells her about the ways spiders are good, and she names the two she finds Sidney and Robert.
  • Full-Body Disguise: In "But I Am an Alligator", Lola wears, for a majority of the episode, a large, dark green alligator costume which covers her entire body, with the exception of her arms and legs. This embarrasses Charlie, as she wears it in public, and the size of the costume makes it difficult for Lola to perform basic tasks such as tying her shoelaces.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: The episode "I Can't Stop Hiccuping" involved Lola getting the hiccups after she sang a high note. After various cures that all fail, Charlie does a special trick where he pretends to transfer her hiccups to him. The episode ends with Charlie getting hiccups while Lola is cured of hers.
  • Hidden Track: The final track of "Charlie & Lola's Favourite & Best Music Record" is an extended version of the show's main title theme. After about a minute of silence, an unlisted bonus, "It's Snowing!", in which Lola gets excited about the first snowfall of the season, set to a beautiful instrumental, plays.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The majority of the episode titles are essentially statements from Lola, often in a humorously protracted fashion. Examples include "I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato", "We Do Promise Honestly We Can Look After Your Dog" and "I Do Not Ever, Never Want My Wobbly Tooth to Fall Out".
    • Each is read out loud by Lola, and it is not unusual for her continue the statement as the show proper starts. In some cases, what's said and shown on the program don't match up with what's in schedule listings. For example, "I've Got Nobody to Play With" is listed as "Playing On My Own." In other cases, the really long titles are simply shortened, sometimes to as a little as one word.
  • Imaginary Friend: Lola has this in Soren Lorenson, a character who is actually her conscience, but sometimes her bad side.
    • In the books and in shows derived from the books, Soren Lorenson, while not malicious, is the darker and more selfish side of Lola; he's the one who encourages her to play with Charlie's rocket and lie about it when it gets accidentally broken, he's the one who drinks all the pink milk that Charlie was hoping to share with Marv, and he's the one who Lola is scared will be lonely on her first day in school. More of an id than a conscience, then.
      • However, Soren takes the role of a Superego in the television series, trying to sagely guide Lola against creating chaos, and when his ideas accidentally cause problems, he shows genuine concern or alarm, and gets worried when he is ignored.
  • Imagine Spot: At least Once per Episode. The animation gets very creative.
  • Injured Limb Episode: In "Charlie is Broken", Charlie breaks his hand.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • When Lola wants to wear the same costume for Halloween two years in a row, she claims that an alligator costume is now a crocodile, which is much more spooky. Charlie, though, insists that she can't wear the same costume two years in a row.
    • In "I Will Not Never Ever Eat a Tomato," Lola insists that she won't eat various foods - no wonder in her age, but Charlie makes up more fanciful names for them to get her to try them.
    Lola: Charlie! They look like fish fingers to me and I'll never eat a fish finger.
    Charlie: Fish fingers?! They are not fish fingers. (initiates a shared Imagine Spot in which he and Lola are swimming underwater) Lola, they are not fish fingers. They are ocean nibbles from under the sea. (they enter a mermaid supermarket) Mermaids always eat ocean nibbles.
    • In the end Lola is so brainwashed (or rather, she realize her Don't-eat-what-you-don't-know attitude was totally unjustified), that she herself calls the tomatoes moonsquashers.
  • Invisible Parents: Throughout the books and TV series, Charlie and Lola's parents are mentioned, but never seen.
  • Jump Scare: In-universe. In "BOO! Made You Jump!", Lola wants to tell a scary story to Charlie, Marv, and Lotta, with the intention of getting one of them to jump, but her scary storytelling loses its power at the climax. Marv's dog Sizzles does a much better job.
  • Medium Awareness: In the Christmas Episode, the holiday grinds to a halt because Santa's elves have run out of paper to wrap the presents. As Charlie and Lola head home depressed, Lola notices that the starry sky is made of wrapping paper (see Stylistic Suck), and they tear it off and give it to the elves, thus Saving Christmas.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: In "This Is Actually My Party," Charlie says that all of his friends are invited to his birthday party, and Lola. Which comes across as a bit odd since the two are generally pretty friendly.
  • Name and Name: The title is Charlie and Lola.
  • One, Two, Skip a Few: Whenever Lola counts. For example, in "I'm Really Ever Not So Well," when Lola gets a cold, Charlie tells her it's because of all of the germs in her mouth. After an extended musical sequence, she comments that there must be thousands and hundreds of germs. He suggests that she count them, so she does so.
    Lola: One, two, three, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, sixty-four, eighty-nine, a thousand three hundred, 64 billion, 500 trillion, twenty-two thousand, twenty-two hundred, twenty-two thousand, one hundred billion and trillion gazillion, million, tillion, quillion, million...
  • Pretty in Mink: Lola's friend Lotta has a "very white fluffy coat", and she lets Lola borrow it after Lola keeps admiring it. Things don't stay so pretty once this happens.
  • Sick Episode: "I'm Really Ever Not So Well," in which Charlie has to try to cheer up Lola when she has a cold and then he gets it. It was also adapted as a book.
  • Signature Headgear: The butterfly decorations in Lola's hair help to emphasize her femininity, as her hairstyle is fairly unisex.
  • Slice of Life: The animated series (and books) revolve around the titular characters' everyday lives.
  • Sneeze Interruption: The cartoon version of "I'm Really Ever So Not Well" has Charlie say, "[Lola] has a—" but then Lola sneezes and Charlie finishes, "A cold".
  • Stock "Yuck!": "I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato", with many other foods besides the titular one.
  • Stylistic Suck: The characters are depicted as childish drawings and the backgrounds are paper collages, giving the series a visual style unique to Lauren Child's work.
  • Themed Party: In "This is Actually My Party", Charlie has a monster-themed birthday party where his friends dress as and act like monsters.
  • There Are No Adults: While Charlie and Lola have parents and teachers, they are never seen and are always off-camera, only mentioned. You never even hear their voices.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Lola loves pink (strawberry) milk. Word of God says that it's not actually strawberry milk, just coloured pink, perhaps because of not wanting kids to insist that their parents buy them strawberry milk (which is loaded with sugar).
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: In one episode, Lola brings home the class guinea pig, who is called Bert. Lola insists that Bert is a female guinea pig, even though everyone else insists it's male. At the end of the story, Lola was correct. Bert has guinea piglets.

Alternative Title(s): Charlie And Lola


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