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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:

  • Absent Animal Companion:
    • In "I Will Never Forget You, Nibbles", the eponymous siblings adopt a mouse named Tickles to replace their dead one, Nibbles. We never see Tickles again.
    • In one book, Lola wants a dog, but gets a rabbit instead. Charlie pretends it's a dog and Lola either plays along or is fooled. This rabbit is never seen in any other book, nor in the show.
  • Agony of the Feet: In "How Many More Minutes Until Christmas?", Casper the cat breaks his paw.
  • Alternate Species Counterpart: Sometimes, the siblings watch movies or read comics about a parody of Batman called Batcat.
  • Animal Lover: Lola loves reading about animals and playing with them, and she wants a dog (but can't have one since the family apartment is too small).
  • 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 behaviour anywhere from amusing (hence him calling her "very funny") to endearing.
  • Appetite Equals 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 arguments about various things that mostly consist of them yelling contradictions at each other. Eventually, after one too many, their parents send them to time-out or the "Simmer Down Chairs."
  • 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.
  • Barbershop Episode: In "I Like My Hair Completely The Way It Is", Lola's hair has grown too long that it keeps falling in her face, so Charlie insists she get it cut. Lola is afraid to get her hair cut because she worries the finishing result would make her look like Charlie, and after she admits her fear, Charlie promises her hair will still be the same. She finally gets her hair cut and Charlie gives her hair bows so she has her own personal style.
  • 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.
  • Birthday Episode:
    • "This is Actually My Party" focuses on Charlie's birthday.
    • "You Won't Like This Present as Much as I Do!" is set on Lotta's birthday.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Downplayed for "How Many More Minutes Until Christmas?", which leans heavily on the "sweet" side — Casper's broken paw may not have completely healed, but he still accompanies Granny and Grandpa to Charlie and Lola's apartment, meaning they got to have their happy Christmas after all.
  • Book Smart: Minnie, one of Lola's classmates, is very knowledgeable and is sometimes shown explaining things to the other four-year-olds.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Downplayed for Lola, who is usually very cheerful but sometimes becomes whiny or grumpy if she's disappointed or conflicting with her brother, as is typical for a four-year-old.
  • Cat Up a Tree: In "Help! I Really Mean It!", Lola and Lotta try to get Casper, the siblings' grandparents' cat, down from a tree.
  • Character Tics: Lola walks hunched over when sad.
  • Cheerful Child: Lola is very bubbly and happy most of the time and can be seen skipping along cheerfully.
  • Children Are Innocent: No matter how many times Lola messes things up, Charlie forgives her, and she never does anything out of malice.
  • Christmas Episode: "How Many More Minutes Until Christmas?" involves the siblings excitedly anticipating Christmas. There's a bit of drama when Casper, the grandparents' cat, breaks his paw (since they think that means they can't come) but they manage to come and bring him anyway.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Downplayed for Lola, who sometimes has weird imagination sequences or thinks up bizarre notions about how things work.
  • The Cloud Cuckoolander Was Right: In one episode of the cartoon, Lola correctly guesses that Bert the guinea pig is actually a girl seemingly just from blind luck.
  • Collector of the Strange: In "I am Collecting a Collection", Lola wants to start a collection and she tries collecting cookies (only to give up and eat them) and other people's things (only to return them).
  • The Compliance Game: In "I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato", Charlie gets his little sister Lola to eat her food by giving it crazy names and claiming that it comes from other planets.
  • Crying Wolf: In "Help! I Really Mean It!", Lola wrongly shouts, "Help!" three times — first was when she actually did want help retrieving Casper but made it sound more serious than it was, second was when she and Lotta were playing a game, and thirdly when they were quoting said game. Thus, when Casper gets stuck up a tree, Charlie and Marv don't believe the girls when they call for help.
  • 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: Subverted in "I Will Never Eat a Tomato". Lola claims she hates 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 was once afraid of thunderstorms, but it completely disappeared after Charlie came up with a solution for his sister.
  • Flipping Helpless: Lola thinks that beetles' inability to right themselves when flipped upside down is the funniest thing ever.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The characters are all drawn with eight fingers.
  • Free Prize at the Bottom: In "I Am Collecting a Collection," Charlie pours all the cereal out of a box and gets the second-to-last dinosaur he needs for his collection of plastic dinosaur figures. Lola getting the final one Charlie needs when it's her turn to open the cereal forms the episode's conflict.
  • Friend to Bugs: In "I'm Not All That Keen on Spiders", Lola befriends two spiders and names them Sidney and Robert.
  • 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 that 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.
  • "Getting Ready for Bed" Plot: The plot of "I am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed" — Charlie is put in charge of putting Lola to bed. Lola keeps making excuses (like pretending there are whales in the bath, dogs have stolen her pyjamas, etc), so Charlie plays along with the excuses but still steers her towards going to bed (for instance, when she claims there are whales in the bath, he pretends to shoo them down the plughole).
  • Go-to-Sleep Ending: "I am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed" ends with Lola falling asleep.
  • Hated Item Makeover: In "This is Actually My Party", Lola takes down her older brother Charlie's decorations for his birthday party and changes it from a monster theme to a ballet theme. This annoys him to no end, partly because he doesn't like the change, partly because a lot of the decorations were pink and he hates pink, and partly because he feels Lola is acting as though it's her party instead of his.
  • Heat Wave: In "I'm Extremely, Absolutely Boiling", the siblings, plus Arnold Wolf, are annoyed on a very hot day and wish it was cooler.
  • Here We Go Again!:
    • At the end of "I'm Really Ever So Not Well", Lola recovers from her cold, but Charlie catches it.
    • At the end of "I Can't Stop Hiccupping", Lola's hiccups go away, but now Charlie has the hiccups.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: The episode "I Can't Stop Hiccupping" involved Lola getting the hiccups after she sang a high note a little too high. 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 to 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 little as one word.
  • Imaginary Friend: Lola has this in Soren Lorenson, a character who sometimes acts as Lola's conscience (especially in the TV series) and sometimes leads her astray (such as in one book, whereupon he convinces her to lie about breaking Charlie's model rocket).
  • Imagine Spot: At least Once per Episode has someone (usually Lola) briefly imagine something. 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 him 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 gets in on the game by eating the dreaded tomatoes...which she frames as "moonsquirters" you can spray juice from by taking a bite.
  • 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.
  • Library Episode: In "But That is My Book", Charlie takes Lola to the library to rent a book she wants to read, Beatles, Bugs, and Butterflies. When she cannot find the book anywhere, Charlie suggests Cheetahs and Chimpanzees as an alternate option, but Lola isn't interested and insists they find what she wants. Lola is devastated when another girl finds the only copy of the book she wanted and checks it out, so she checks out Charlie's suggestion and finds herself liking it.
  • 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. This 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, trillion, quillion, million...
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: "I'm Really Ever So Not Well" establishes that the only time Lola isn't "very funny" is when she's sick.
  • Pet Dress-Up: In "Help! I Really Mean It!", Lola and Lotta put a knitted hat on Casper the cat.
  • Picture Day: In "Say Cheese", Lola is to have her first school photographs taken and Charlie has to make sure she stays clean long enough for the photo, something Lola isn't very good at. Lola ends up getting dirty anyway and her photos turn out awful, so Charlie combines the photos together to make a collage.
  • Pretty in Mink: In "I Will Be Especially Very Careful", 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.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: In one episode, Lola is right that Bert the guinea pig is actually a girl, but she thinks it's because her fur is long. Actually, fur length doesn't determine the sex of a guinea pig, Bert just happened to be a girl.
  • 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 unique visual style, which Lauren Child has used for most of her works.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: In the ending of "I've Won, No I've Won, No I've Won," Charlie asks Lola if she's asleep. She replies that she is and he asks how she can be asleep if she's talking to him. She answers that she's talking in her sleep.
  • 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.
  • Title Reading Gag:
    • Because "I'm Really Ever So Not Well" involves Lola with a cold, she reads the title in a groggy voice and sneezes before reading it.
    • The title card for "Yes I Am, No You're Not" has Lola read the first three words in a Punctuated! For! Emphasis! voice, and Charlie read the last three words in a frustrated voice, because the episode is about their Sibling Rivalry.
  • 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).
  • Trojan Veggies: In "I Will Not Ever, Never, Eat a Tomato", Lola refuses to eat any of the foods on her plate, so Charlie tricks her into eating it by pretending it comes from silly places like outer space or the clouds and giving it wacky names.
  • Twisted Christmas: Subverted in "How Many More Minutes Until Christmas?", when it seems as though the kids' grandparents can't come for Christmas because Casper, their cat, has broken his paw. As it turns out, however, they can come after all, and they bring the injured Casper with them.
  • Unnamed Parent: Nobody's parents are named, with the exception of Charlie and Lola's father in terms of his last name (it's Sonner, since Charlie gives that as his last name in an episode).
  • Unwanted Glasses Plot: Inverted when Lola wants glasses even though she doesn't need them.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Charlie And Lola


Lola's Germs

In "I'm Really Ever So Not Well" from "Charlie & Lola," Charlie takes Lola to the bathroom mirror to show her the germs in her mouth, or at least spark her imagination to see them. When she comments on the large number, he suggests she count them and Lola does, but soon starts skipping increasingly large amounts of numbers.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / OneTwoSkipAFew

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