Clifford the Big Red Dog. If you're from North America, you've most probably heard of this series of picture books, although you probably didn't know that the first book was originally published in 1963. Since then, many, many more books have been published, as well as an animated adaptation.
The books, which were written by Norman Bridwell, star the adventures of the eponymous Clifford, a giant of a dog, and his owner, Emily Elizabeth Howard. Clifford originally started out as the runt of the litter, but Emily Elizabeth's love made him growand grow, and grow, and grow, ad infinitum. Well, not quite he stopped growing once he was about twenty-five feet high, although his height isn't set in stone; it varies, depending on the story. He was way too big for the Howards to properly take care of Clifford in the city at this point, so they moved to the country (Birdwell Island in the TV adaptation) where he could have more room to move around.
In the 80s, Nelvana picked up the rights to the series and spun off six half-hour direct to video specials with it. Starring Alyson Court opposite Brent Titcomb, each special featured a typical slice-of-life storyline peppered with two songs, and was animated with No Fourth Wall, allowing Emily and Clifford (as a Talking Animal) to "converse" directly with the viewers, but strangely Emily and Clifford could never converse among themselves in English, as to leverage on Scholastic's then-recent study that children learned better through participation rather than through repetition. After that, the franchise reverted to books (unless you count in the discontinuity that is "Clifford's Sing Along Adventure", the live-action mixed footage direct to video special by Warner Home Video that was released in 1986).
This went on until the year 2000. Scholastic wanted to do another animated adaptation. Throwing away the old format and rebooting the continuity, it now featured Grey DeLisle as Emily Elizabeth, opposite John Ritter as Clifford, with two new characters added to the leading cast, these being timid bulldog T-Bone (Kel Mitchell) and hyperactive poodle Cleo (Cree Summer). The new version was such a phenomenal success that it ran for two seasons, spun off a movie, and even resulted in a licensed kiddie ride. Things weren't so rosy after the movie, however. John Ritter passed away shortly after of a heart attack on the set of 8 Simple Rules (at that point called "8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage daughter"). While Scholastic had been pondering upon the idea of a sequel for a while, the death of Mr. Ritter cemented the decision on a spinoff, titled Clifford's Puppy Days. Two seasons were made before Scholastic decided to take a break from making a series out of the franchise again, while maintaining the series franchise. The books are still being printed, along with merchandise.
In May 2012, it was announced that Illumination and Universal were working together to create a new Clifford movie, which would be based on the original book, but wouldn't have anything to do with the television series. However, the film went into Development Hell and Universal ended up moving on to other projects, causing the rights to expire. The rights were then picked up by Paramount, and Justin Malen (who penned the Baywatch movie) was attached as screenwriter. Watch the teaser here. The film was released on November 10, 2021 in theaters and on Paramount+.
Norman Bridwell passed away in December of 2014. Two more books were released after his death, but it seemed that the series has come to a final end following that.
...until a reboot was released in December 2019 on Amazon Prime, with episodes also being broadcast jointly on PBSKids. (which, for its purposes, labels it as "Season 3" on its video app.) Further information revealed that the series shows Clifford and Emily Elizabeth talking directly to each other, that a massive new book launch in association with the series is planned, and that the Paramount film is still in the works. Among the staff of the remake is Jennifer Oxley, known for series such as Peg + Cat and Wonder Pets!. Books featuring the new design and continuity began releasing in June 2019.
Clifford the Big Red Dog contains examples of:
- 100% Adoration Rating: Pretty much everyone on Birdwell Island loves Clifford. Even the Bleakmans have moments where they admit they care about Clifford and like him. Theres even an episode called Everyone Loves Clifford! The 80s theme song even lampshades this.Here comes Clifford, everyone loves Clifford...
- 65-Episode Cartoon: The 2000 series. 40 episodes in season one, 25 episodes in season two, for a total of 130 segments. The show wouldve averted this trope with a third and final season, but John Ritters unfortunate heart attack forced Scholastic to can the final season.
- Adapted Out: Cleo, T-Bone, Mac, and anyone else in the 2000's show except for Clifford and the Howards do not show up for the 2019 series, despite PBS claiming it to be a third season.
- Emily Elizabeth's father is left out of the 2021 movie adaptation.
- Adult Fear: There's an episode where Mac runs away from Jetta because he accidentally ruined her favorite sweater. Jetta tells Mac, when they find him, that she cares more about him than about a sweater because she doesn't want her dog to be hurt.
- Aesop Amnesia: You'd think all the lessons Jetta learns about friendship would start to sink in at some point.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Many of the animals have nonstandard fur color like bright red and purple, mainly the first part. Some, like T-Bone's yellow and Mac's blue, can be interpreted as exaggerations of colors like blonde and grey, but then there are ones like Cleo, the purple poodle.
- The eponymous dog from the Speckle stories is yellow, whereas his friend Luna is an orange raccoon, and his other friend Ravi is a partially blue panda.
- An Aesop: Each episode has its own lesson to teach, but recurring, broader morals are found in the Cliffords Big Idea segments, such as playing fair, working together, and believing in yourself.
- "A New Friend" has each of the main three dogs react differently to the new dog Casey and his lack thereof fourth leg. Clifford gives Casey special treatment, T-Bone is impressed with the feats he can do despite only having three legs, and Cleo develops a fear that Casey has a "leg-losing" disease they could catch. Later, Casey points out that none of these reponses to his leg is the right way to go about it. At the end of the day, he's just himself and he just wants to be treated like everybody else.
- Animal Jingoism: Subverted in The Difference Between Cats and Dogs, where the moral is judging people on an individual basis and not based on an arbitrary group that theyre a part of. Clifford, T-Bone, and Cleo try to chase two cats out of T-Bones backyard because they believe thats what they are supposed to do as dogs. They rely on stereotypes of cats to come up with plans that backfire and only amuse the cats, who, much to the dogs shock, do not adhere to these cliches.
- Animal Talk:
- In the 2000 Scholastic series, Clifford and his animal friends can talk to each other, but humans can not understand them; whenever a human is around, all that comes out is barking.
- The dogs ability to communicate with other animals is a bit inconsistent. Monkeys, cats, and elephants are capable of speech, while rabbits, whales, squirrels, skunks, frogs, seals, crabs, and birds seem to be completely speechless. The prequel series introduce Daffodil and Norville, who can talk and are respectively a rabbit and a bird, making things more confusing.
- In the 2019 series, Clifford and his animal friends talk both to each other and to the humans, though only Emily Elizabeth can understand them.
- In the 2000 Scholastic series, Clifford and his animal friends can talk to each other, but humans can not understand them; whenever a human is around, all that comes out is barking.
- Animated Adaptation: Three television series, a series of videos from The '80s, and one movie.
- Art Evolution:
- Clifford's Really Big Movie is a massive jump from the TV show it is based off of in terms of visuals, as it features far more elaborated and detailed backgrounds, on top of incorporating more advanced lighting and shading compared to the show's flat aesthetic. The humans and other dogs are also given white sclera and black eyes akin to Clifford instead of the Black Bead Eyes they had in the show.
- Also, there's a major art shift between the 80s specials (which were much more faithful to Norman Bridwell's illustrations) and the 2000s TV series.
- The 2019 series has an entirely new look that doesn't look quite like anything before (though Clifford's appearance is more faithful to that from the books) and most closely resembles the style of Peg + Cat, which was designed by the same people.
- Artistic License Law: One episode has Mr. Bleakman convincing Sheriff Lewis to ban people from bringing their dogs to the park all because he was fed up that they had disrupted the peace and quiet he desired while watching the birds. It seems highly unlikely that such a radical measure would be enacted on the protests of a single citizen over such petty circumstances, and it would almost certainly take more than the town sheriff to actually approve it.
- Attention Whore: Jetta, especially in "And Baby Makes Four", when she spends the entire episode trying to get attention away from her new baby brother at his arrival party.
- Babysitting Episode: There are a few:
- Babysitter Blues: Mr. Bleakman babysits Clifford and tries to paint his masterpiece (which went from a self-portrait, to a tree, to the ocean, to a sailboat) while putting up with Cliffords shenanigans. He ends up painting himself and Clifford having fun at the beach.
- Then Came Bob: Vaz babysits Bob, a dog Dr. Dihn got from the dog pound, whose troublesome behaviour proves problematic, especially when Clifford is blamed for his actions.
- A Job Well Read: Jetta babysits her baby brother while her mother prepares a party. Charley and Emily Elizabeth end up helping her out.
- Balloon Belly:
Frankie: Oh sure, I feel bigger, in my tummy.
- Clifford, T-Bone, and Cleo after eating a lot of dog treats in "Tummy Trouble".
- Frankie the chihuahua in "Little Big Pup".
- Be Careful What You Wish For:
- In Dog for a Day", Charley envies the lives of the dogs so much and wishes he were a dog so that he didn't have all the responsibilities of a human. He gets his wish, only to find that he can't enjoy the things he does as a kid. It all turns out to be just a dream, with Charley now appreciating what he is.
- In The Dog Park, Mr. Bleakman becomes so fed up with the dogs interfering with his birdwatching in the park that he actually convinces the sheriff to ban all dogs from the park just so he can finally have some peace and quiet. Instead nobody comes to the park because they can't enjoy the company of their dogs. This forces Mr. Bleakman to realize that he had been selfish in his actions.
- Be Yourself: A common Aesop, such as in Tough Enough, T-Bone, Dog About Town, Cliffords Charm House, and Guess Whos Coming to Birdwell.
- Big Damn Movie: Clifford's Really Big Movie. This trope came here just to see a big red dog.
- Big Friendly Dog: Clifford of course - extra emphasis on big. He may not be the Trope Namer but he is certainly one of the strongest examples of this trope. He is literally as big as a house and is a such a lovable sweetheart.
- Birthday Episode: Cliffords Big Surprise, The Best Party Ever and The Best Gift, which are respectively about Clifford, Emily Elizabeth, and Carolines (Emilys mom) birthdays.
- Black Bead Eyes: Everyone except for Clifford, who is the only character to have normal eyes; this trope is played straight with his puppy counterpart. Averted with the character designs in Clifford's Really Big Movie.
- Blatant Lies: Cleo lies about having a bruised paw in Thats Snow Lie, and her lack of honesty becomes increasingly sloppier when she keeps picking a new paw to act as the bruised one, which she blames on the injuries spreading.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: Clifford uses new dog Artys Am I right, or am I right? after convincing him to play the way he and his friends play at the end of Led Astray.
- Both Sides Have a Point: In two different episodes, Mr. Bleakman and the other characters teach each other something. In "Party Pooper", everyone throwing the party at Emily Elizabeths' home teach Mr. Bleakman that trying new things can be a good thing, as it opens up one to new experiences. In another episode "Lights Out", Mr. Bleakman also finds his stride when he teaches everybody on Birdwell Island to make due without their usual technology using old-fashioned means.
- Camping Episode: Camping It Up. The Howards go camping and Emilys friends tag along, but Jetta spends the episode trying to import her way of life into the wilderness, to the point of bringing stuff like a microwave, a kiddie pool, portable video games, a TV with a VCR, and a computer.
- Canis Major: Again, when they say "big", they aren't kidding.
- Canon Foreigner: All the characters except Emily, Clifford, and Emily's parents were created specifically for the three shows.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: T-Bone when he tries to impress Mimi in "T-Bone, Dog About Town".
- Cardiovascular Love: The second T-Bone sees Mimi in T-Bone, Dog About Town, his eyes turn into hearts. It happens again when he spots her on the binoculars in Big-Hearted T-Bone.
- Catchphrase: Cleo's "Have I ever steered you wrong?"
- Central Theme: Accepting how different we all are.
- Character Narrator: All of the books are narrated by Emily Elizabeth.
- Cheaters Never Prosper: Mac cheats against T-Bone in order to win a race against him in return for his collar, putting forth the challenge almost purely to spite T-Bone. He wins, only to feel guilty over his actions and insist that T-Bone keep his collar, promising to beat him fair and square next time.
- Circus Episode: Cliffords favorite circus troupe visits Birdwell Island to perform in Circus Stars, and he, T-Bone, and Cleo become part of the show after learning that Gordo the elephant has a cold.
- Clueless Aesop: "A New Friend" introduces KC, a three-legged dog who Cleo fears at first but eventually grows to like. The intended Aesop was to be nice to disabled people, but a 2008 study found that Cleo's fear caused children to take the moral literally, saying that it was about being kind to three-legged dogs. On the contrary, an edited version where Cleo's fear was removed tested better with children, as they understood the moral. It's likely that the 11-minute runtime and usage of a dog in lieu of a disabled human made the execution wonky.
- Cone of Shame: Cleo got to wear one in the episode "Cleo Gets A Cone" because she was itching a spot behind her ear too much. At the end of the episode, Mac starts itching, and Cleo tells him that he'd look good in a cone.
- Continuity Reboot: Between the Nelvana videos and the Scholastic self-produced TV series. The former made no mention of Birdwell Island and/or any of Clifford's or Emily's friends that the latter is much more commonly known for.
- There is also one between the two PBS shows. The only things from the 2000 original that survived the transition to the 2019 reboot are the setting of Birdwell Island and Emily Elizabeths surname being Howard.
- Cool Teacher: The kids in Ms. Carringtons class consider her to be one, as shown by their collective disappointment when she announces she is moving to the mainland in Wedding Bell Blues.
- Cool Toy: Cybo in Cyber Puppy Problems is waterproof, has a built-in lamp, can fly by spinning his tail around, and is exceedingly obedient.
- Coordinated Clothes:
- Sheriff Lewis and T-Bone, and later T-Bone and Mac, in Clothes Dont Make the Dog.
- In The Best Gift, Jetta tries to convince Emily Elizabeth that the best gift for a mother from her daughter is a set of outfits that match. Not only does Clifford have an Imagine Spot where Emily and Caroline both wear Emilys usual attire, but when Emily tries out various outfits at a store, she ends up dressing up exactly like Jetta, ponytail and all, and of course, this outfit ends up being Jettas favorite.
- Covers Always Lie: The cover of the Warner Home Video release Clifford's Sing-Along Adventure had a black girl hugging Clifford. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but fans are used to seeing Emily Elizabeth hugging Clifford and not some random kid. Hence said fans were understandably worried that Warner had given Emily Elizabeth a Race Lift.
- Crush Blush: T-Bone blushes when Cleo mockingly sings about his crush on Mimi in Mimis Back in Town.
- Crying Wolf: "The Dog Who Cried Woof" has Cleo repeatedly telling the others a ghost skunk named Wiffy, who she'd told ghost stories about, was after her as a prank and they finally get fed up with it and leave after Clifford sees she's playing another trick. When she gets her bow stuck on a bush, she calls for help, but they are too far away to hear her. Then a real skunk appears and sprays her. Meanwhile, Clifford and T-Bone hear that Cleo still hasn't arrived home, so they return to the woods to look for her, and they smell that she got sprayed. Cleo apologizes to Clifford and T-Bone for her cruel pranks and promises never to do it again. The next day, after receiving several baths in a row to get rid of the smell, a now complimentary-odored Cleo exits the vet's office where Clifford and T-Bone are waiting outside.Cleo: Don't worry, you guys. I've learned my lesson. The stinky way!
- Cultural Translation:
- In the U.K., the show was redubbed with British actors with Tom Eastwood being the voice of Clifford.
- According to Ben Small, he played a character named George in "Clifford's Puppy Days", which is probably Jorge.
- Cut Short: The show had a third and final season in the production phase in 2003, which would have concluded with Clifford getting married and having babies. Unfortunately, that same year also saw the death of John Ritter, who suffered a fatal aortic dissection on the set of 8 Simple Rules. This resulted in the show's third season being canned and Clifford's Puppy Days taking its' place.
- Cute Kitten: Billy and Betty, which Clifford lampshades in The Trouble with Kittens.
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-universe, Clifford and T-Bone call out Cleo for Crying Wolf and claiming Wiffy the skunk got her; they were actually worried both times. She doesn't listen, only for karma to hit in the form of a real skunk and being trapped in the woods.
- Cute Giant: Clifford himself, of course.
- A Day in the Limelight: Betty and Billy, two kittens introduced in The Difference Between Cats and Dogs, return in A Big Help and The Trouble with Kittens, which are appropriately two segments of the same episode.
- Detective Animal: K.C., Clifford, T-Bone, and Cleo in Doggie Detectives.
- Diary: Jetta and Emily Elizabeth each have one of their own, as revealed in Jettas Sneak Peek. Emily constantly adds new things to her diary, from recollections of past events, to wish lists, to drawings, to poems, but she really dislikes it when people read her diary, especially without her permission.
- Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Very much so for the animated series, so much in fact, that almost any in-universe sing-song is sung to the tune of the theme song, such as Emily Elizabeth's father's song about raking leaves, or Cleo's mocking love-song about T-Bone and Mimi.
- Dude, Where's My Reward?: When the dogs start getting treats for delivering newspapers in The Big Fetch, they start feeling entitled to the rewards, especially Cleo. So, they take the recycled newspapers and dump piles of them in front of every house in the neighborhood. They are surprised when people are upset, and Cleo in particular is even more shocked when Emily cleans up the dogs mess without expecting anything in return.
- Easily Forgiven: Mac cheats against T-Bone in order to win a race against him. When he confesses, his friends take the news just a tad too well.
- Edutainment Show: Of the moral/life lessons variety, especially in the Cliffords Big Idea segments.
- Embarrassment Plot:
- Embarrassing Moments: After Vaz rips his pants and embarrasses himself, his friends share their most embarrassing moments to make him feel better.
- The recurring theme in Thats Snow Lie is the fear of embarrassing yourself at something youve never done before, which prompts Cleo to lie about having a bruised paw.
- Ensemble Cast: Although Clifford is officially the main character, the 2000 series focuses on the other main and supporting characters almost, if not as often as the red canine himself. Emily, T-Bone, Cleo, Jetta, Mac, Charley, and even Vaz and Mr. Bleakman get multiple episodes that focus on them specifically, with Clifford either sharing a main role or becoming a supporting character.
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Happens frequently.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Dino Clifford, obviously. Vazs sister Teresa studies paleontology and comes back to Birdwell Island to dig up dinosaur fossil bones. There are even a few Imagine Spots where the dogs are dinosaurs and Emily is a cavegirl.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The books and cartoon are about a dog named Clifford who is big and red.
- Exact Words:
- Becomes a plot point in "Doggie Garden"; the kids state that "almost anything grows on Birdwell Island", and Cleo takes the "anything" part a bit too literally, opting to grow a garden full of dog toys. Needless to say, it doesn't work out.
- Another good example is when Clifford volunteers to watch T-Bone's pile of leaves while he's away from the group, intending to jump on them later. Clifford however gives into temptation and takes the jump without T-Bone's permission, resulting in his entire pile being blown away. Clifford resolves to collect every single leaf he can from the pile, as in the exact same leaves that have now been blown all across the island, even rejecting every other leaf he can sense was not from T-Bone's pile. Naturally, Cleo thinks he's being ridiculous, and yet somehow he manages to pull it off all before T-Bone gets back.
- The prohibition sign in Stinky Friends shows a human silhouette, so Cleo assumes that dogs are still allowed to play in the bushy fields.
- Expository Theme Tune: The 2000 series theme song:Clifford needed Emily,
So, she chose him for her own,
And her love made Clifford grow so big,
That the Howards had to leave their home.
[ ]So, they packed up the family car,
And the Howards left the city
They moved to Birdwell Island,
and found many new friends,
There to greet Clifford and Emily!
* Face Your Fears: Clifford and Cleo spend the entirety of The Ears Have It trying to help T-Bone overcome his fear of loud noises.
- Fainting: Jetta when she meets Courtney Amber in Fan Mail.
- Fantasy Sequence: When the dogs roleplay in Flood of Imagination, whatever that pops up in their imagination is visually represented.
- Feigning Healthiness: Played with in "An Itchy Patch". Clifford's not really sick, but he has a very itchy rash on his back and refuses to go to the vet, so he tries his hardest not to scratch himself in front of Emily Elizabeth. Eventually, the jig is up when he gets caught rubbing his back on a bridge.
- Feud Episode: Who Moved My Bone?. Cleo and T-Bone fight after the former accuses the latter of stealing her bone, and they end their friendship, forcing Clifford to help them make up.
- Fictional Holiday: The people of Birdwell Island seem to have the most random traditions, such as Silly Sports Day, Topsy Turvy Day, the Kite Flying Festival, and yearly parades and model-building contests that kids can participate in.
- The Film of the Book: The live-action/animated movie qualifies as one.
- Finale Movie: Cliffords Really Big Movie acts as one for the 2000 series, since the third season was canned and the reboot, despite being officially called season three, is a new continuity and a new take on the premise that barely has anything in common with its predecessor.
- Firehouse Dalmatian:
- Clifford's brother from the book, "Clifford the Firehouse Dog".
- Tucker from the 2019 series is a Dalmatian puppy who belongs to Fire Chief Franklin and resides in the fire station.
- Fishing Episode: Fishing Lessons, although its more about Charley not teaching Emily how to fish despite his promise rather than fishing itself.
- Five-Token Band: Both the main groups of dogs and kids count:
- Among the dogs, there is:
- Clifford, a big red Labrador Retriever.
- T-Bone, a yellow and orange bulldog.
- Cleo, a purple poodle.
- Mac, a blue greyhound.
- The kids consist of:
- Emily Elizabeth, who is from the city and naturally stands out due to her pet.
- Charley, who is of Jamaican descent.
- Jetta, who is rich and seems to have been born and raised on Birdwell Island.
- Vaz, who is of Spanish descent.
- Both groups have a disabled friend that occasionally hangs out with them: the dogs have K.C., whos three-legged, and the kids have Mary, whos in a wheelchair.
- Among the dogs, there is:
- Flashback: The books are told by Emily Elizabeth as a flashback to a past event.
- Fluffy Dry Cat: Clifford, T-Bone, and Cleos fur poofs up after the townspeople give them baths in Stinky Friends.
- Food as Bribe: Mac can and will put his pride aside to do anything if he gets a treat in return.
- For Want of a Nail: When Mr. Bleakman bans dogs from the park, he's confused when the park is empty the next morning, save for him and his wife. Mrs. Bleakman goes into a long explanation about how everyone's reason for being there is because of the dogs.
- Forgiveness: The entire point of Forgive and Forget.
- Four-Fingered Hands: All the humans have four digits on each hand, and the pets have the animal equivalent in three digits.
- Free-Range Pets: The dogs all walk around town on their own, even Clifford despite the fact he's a hazard.
- A Friend in Need: This trope shares its name with an episode where Jetta insists on doing tasks on her own, and stubbornly refuses to admit that she needs her friends help until the episodes ending, way after Emily and Charley helped her out due to their friendship.
- Friend to All Living Things: Emily Elizabeth, even if you ignore the fact that her bond with her dog is so strong, he turned into a giant. Little Clifford establishes that she is passionate about dogs in general, but she also takes care of a baby bird in And Birdy Makes 3, and in Islander of the Year, she nominates Dr. Dihn because she always helps animals out, including baby whales. Shes even capable of having fun with wild seals. Her only negative on-screen interaction with an animal is a crab pinching her finger. In When I Grow Up, she shockingly reveals that she wants to become a veterinarian when she grows up.
- Fun Personified: T-Bone learns that brightening peoples day is what makes him special in Special T-Bone.
- Gentle Giant: Clifford, emphasis on giant.
- Gigantic Adults, Tiny Babies: It's because he was so tiny as a pup that Emily Elizabeth wished he would grow bigger.
- A Girl and Her X: Emily and Clifford are a girl and her big red dog. Emily is the recipient of morals from the stories, and grows from her interactions with Clifford. The TV series expanded more on Clifford's point of view as a dog and what he learns as well.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: T-Bone in Big Hearted T-Bone, when he has to choose between properly taking care of Kiki and playing with Mimi.
- Good Luck Charm: Turns out that Emily has a lucky stone that affects her confidence, as seen in Lucky Charm.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Emily Elizabeth: young, blonde, with enough love to overcome basic biology.
- Halloween Episode: "Boo!" The town watches a spooky movie at the beach. Jetta continually boasts about how brave she is.
- Handicapped Badass: K.C. is a dog with only three legs, but he is perfectly capable of doing sports and fun things despite this.
- Has Two Mommies: Samantha Mulberry, a character from the 2019 reboot, has two mothers.
- Hates Baths: Cleo is not fond of going to the groomers, even though as a poodle she needs a regular trim. No Baths for Cleo is all about her disdain for cleanliness.
- Haughty "Hmph":
Charley: Pirate costumes would be more fun.
- Jetta and Mac have done this quite a few times, especially in the earlier episodes.
- Both Emily Elizabeth and Charley are guilty of this in Clifford on Parade when they disagree on what float to make for the Birdwell Island parade.
Emily Elizabeth: Well, I think basketball uniforms are better, and I like this float. (points to Clifford wearing the basketball-themed accessories)
Charley: What was wrong with my float?
Emily Elizabeth: Nothing! Mine is just better!
Charley: Well, I think mine is better.
Emily Elizabeth: Then why dont you go ahead and do yours alone and Ill do mine alone?
Emily Elizabeth: Fine!
Charley: Ill do mine.
Emily Elizabeth: And Ill do mine.
Emily Elizabeth: Fine!
(They turn back and cross their arms. Clifford starts whimpering, and is comforted by Emily and Charley)
Emily Elizabeth: Its okay Clifford, we just cant agree on what to do together.
Charley: So, were each going to do a float alone.
(They look at each other, turn back, cross their arms again, and go hmph)
- Height Angst:
- T-Bone is the smallest the main dogs, and occasionally feels self-conscious about it.
- When the In-Universe best basketball player Skyscraper Jackson pays a visit to the Howards in Short-Changed and starts spending a lot of time with Clifford, Emily Elizabeth starts feeling insecure about her height and her ability to effectively take care of Clifford.
- Frankie from Little Big Pup develops a complex regarding his size after meeting Clifford, and expresses a desire to become bigger. He gets over it by the end of the episode.
- Hiccup Hijinks: Cliffords Hiccups. Said hiccups prove to be quite problematic; not only are they loud, but they literally make things jump.
- Humans Are Special: The general message of Special T-Bone, and a philosophy Emily subscribes to according to Clifford. Because of the episodes focus on T-Bone, humans might as well include any sentient being.
- Imagine Spot: These very frequently take place, courtesy of Clifford most of the time.
- In Defence Of Storytelling: Flood of Imagination shows how the dogs entertained themselves by acting out a story on the spot. It is also established many times, most obviously during the Speckle segments, that Emily reading stories to Clifford is one of the activities that strengthens their bond the most.
- Infant Sibling Jealousy: Jetta in Baby Makes Four, whose attempts at drawing the attention away from her newborn baby brother grow more desperate as the episode goes on.
- In-Series Nickname: Clifford, Mac, and especially Cleo tend to simply call T-Bone T.
- Insistent Terminology: The dogs always call their owners their humans. Justified since the dogs are semi-anthropomorphized, and as a result, owner-pet relationships do not seem be to very hierarchical.
- In Jettas Sneak Peek, Emily and Jetta always call their diaries journals.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: In Little Big Pup, Cleo and T-Bone comment on how small Frankie is despite the huge billboard he appears in. Frankie then says that its impossible for a dog to be as big as the billboard, and of course, as soon as he says that, Clifford shows up.
- It's a Wonderful Plot: Hes Wonderful Mr. Bleakman is a variation. Emily Elizabeth expresses her occasional frustrations with Mr. Bleakman, and admits that she sometimes wishes he wasnt her neighbor, but nothing supernatural happens and Mr. Bleakman doesnt disappear. She and Charley simply think of the good things Mr. Bleakman has done and conclude that life wouldnt be as good without him.
- It's All Junk: Macs thoughts on Cliffords miscellaneous hoarded objects in Clifford Cleans His Doghouse at least until Clifford finds something that makes him think of Mac, which makes the greyhound change his mind.
- Jaw Drop: Jetta's jaw drops in "A Friend in Need" after she arrives back at the park and sees how Emily Elizabeth and the others finished cleaning it up for her, despite her insistence that she didn't need help.
- Jealous Pet:
- When Mrs. Diller babysits her sisters puppy, Susie, in Who Me, Jealous?, Cleo becomes jealous of the attention the puppy is receiving from her owner, especially when everyone, including Clifford and T-Bone, starts calling Susie cute.
- In Clothes Dont Make the Dog, once Birdwell Islanders start calling T-Bone adorable and giving him treats because of his new sweater, Mac becomes jealous of the attention T-Bone is getting and convinces him to ditch the shirt by telling him that adorable means silly when referring to dogs.
- Mac becomes one again in Cyber Puppy Problems, when Jettas new birthday gift (a toy robotic dog) gets all of her attention, much to his dismay and disbelief. He even starts thinking that Jetta might prefer her new toy over him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Mr. Bleakman. Heck, this trope is basically the premise of Hes Wonderful Mr. Bleakman.
- Mr. Bleakmans heart of gold especially shines in Fan Mail, where he not only politely tells Clifford to do his digging somewhere else instead of grouchily shouting at him, but arranges a meeting between the kids and his niece (who happens to be a singer they like) once he finds out about Emily Elizabeths letter.
- Jetta, Mac, and Cleo have bigger egos than the other characters and have their moments of selfishness, but they ultimately care for their friends.
- Mr. Bleakman. Heck, this trope is basically the premise of Hes Wonderful Mr. Bleakman.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Mr. Bleakman is presented as a grumpy old man who easily gets annoyed at Clifford some of the time, with his mere presence being a pet peeve. However, considering some of the stuff Clifford does (trespassing into his neighbors property and/or making a mess to it, licking the man and making him take a hard fall, etc.), it can be hard not to see he`s in the right for some points of the series.
- Jerkass Realization: Cleo goes through this in Fluffed Up Cleo after realizing that her bragging about her fluffy fur and victory in a contest is boring from Clifford and T-Bones perspective after being similarly bored to death by Macs own bragging.
- Kaiju: Clifford himself is approx 25 feet tall, about as tall as a Tyrannosaurus rex, which qualifies him as a (friendly) kaiju.
- Karma Houdini: In "False Friends", Cleo gets a new playground assembled in her backyard and Mac insists on being the first to play on it, spending the episode conning his way onto it at the expense of T-Bone and Clifford. Eventually Cleo sprains her paw while playing and Mac doesn't care enough to help her inside or stay by her side, leaving her to fend for herself. Cleo realizes his deceit, but Mac is never forced to answer for it in any meaningful way. We can only assume she never let him access her playground again, but we never get to see that on-screen.
- The Kiddie Ride: The infamous Clifford ride◊ made by Jolly Rogers of the UK. They're actually pretty common worldwide, you may have seen one at your local mall.
- The Killjoy: Mr. Bleakman, although his fun side occasionally pops up, such as in Babysitter Blues, Potlucker Party Pooper, and Fan Mail.
- Clifford is indirectly labelled as one by Arty after standing up to the latter in Led Astray, although Arty changes his mind not even a minute later.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- Cleo and Mac in "Cleo Gets a Cone". While they don't say it to her face, they do talk about how "ridiculous" a dog wearing a cone looks, completely unsympathetic that the dog's wearing the cone to heal from something. By the end of the episode, both are soon forced to wear one themselves. Clifford and T-Bone, who don't make such remarks, are completely fine.
- Jetta in Promises, Promises. She cancels her plans with Emily Elizabeth at the last minute because an older girl invited her to go somewhere, only for that older girl to cancel her plans with Jetta at the last minute for the same reasons Jetta canceled her plans with Emily.
- A positive example in Welcome to the Doghouse. How does Clifford get his trademark huge doghouse? The people of Birdwell Island build it for him as a reward for the countless times he helped them with their problems.
- Licensed Games/Edutainment Games/iOS Games: About a dozen or so titles for PC/Macs. One for the iPhone (with a separate, HD version for the iPad, and an iPad-exclusive title). Also one title for the Leapfrog Leapster console. And that's not counting the platforms that are technically not gaming devices!
- Limited Wardrobe: Everyone in the show wears the exact same outfit on a daily basis.
- Live-Action Adaptation: The Paramount film is one, with Clifford himself being rendered as a CGI animated character not unlike Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog (2020).
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: Jetta might be a snotty Rich Bitch in training, but she's still part of the group (and Clifford likes her). Mac is a rare male example.
- Lyrical Dissonance: The Really Big Tribute CD. Jody Gray loves this trope. They got Jody Gray to write the score and lyrics to the CD. Cue Emily singing about how great Clifford is- to a tune that sounded bitter. This also happens to some extent in the movie, who's music and lyrics are, unsurprisingly, scored and written by Jody Gray. Although the movie leans towards Mood Whiplash instead.
- Martial Arts Uniform: Charley, Jetta, Vaz, and Emily Elizabeth during Charleys karate class in When I Grow Up.
- Meaningful Name: Subverted in Wedding Bell Blues. The kids assume their new teacher will be grouchy and crabby because her name is Mrs. Grumbly, but she turns out to be friendly and enthusiastic about her profession, being able to guess who Charley, Jetta, and Emily Elizabeth are just by interacting with them for less than a minute and with the brief descriptions Ms. Carrington provided.
- Merchandise-Driven: To some degree with the 2000 television series. Not so far with the 2019 series, which doesn't yet have any known merchandise to date, other than tie-in books.
- Mistakes Are Not the End of the World: Probably one of the most consistent messages in the entire series. So many stories, both in the books and in the cartoons, have major goof ups on one or many characters part, and no matter how humiliating and frustrating the consequences are, the characters are forgiven because everyone makes mistakes.
- Mood Whiplash: The music from the movie. For something that's supposed to be fun, they have extremely depressing songs about how you gotta hit the lows before you can find the highs.
- Motor Mouth: One of the other dogs on the island Al, who likes to broadcast their beach ball games while he himself also happens to be playing. This often leads to him being caught unprepared when the ball heads his way.
- The Movie: Clifford's Really Big Movie is one for the 2000 television series.
- The Moving Experience: The entire plot of Goodbye T-Bone consists of Clifford and Cleo trying to make sure that T-Bone has the best time possible on what they think is his last day on Birdwell Island.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A rather literal example. In Special Delivery, Clifford is delivering a present that is meant to be mailed to Emily Elizabeth's cousin for her birthday. When he runs into Cleo and T-Bone at the post office, Cleo's first instinct is to take the package and open it to find out what it is, even though it's not hers to play with. It turns out to be a rubber ball that automatically self-inflates, and when they can't get it to deflate Clifford sits on the ball to force it in the box. It ends about as well as you'd expect.
- The conflict in Screaming for Ice Cream is caused by Samuels ice cream machine going haywire, and all of Charleys attempts at fixing the machine only making it pour even more ice cream than before.
- Nice Guy: Clifford is so sweet, helpful, and lovable its hard to not fall in love with him. Even though he is large and can cause trouble because of this...admit it, you wish you had a dog as wonderful as Clifford
- Nice Girl: Emily Elizabeth is a very kind and sweet little girl who is very responsible of Clifford and loves him oh so deeply.
- The Nicknamer: Arty from Led Astray gives the main dogs nicknames, such as Red for Clifford, and Curly for Cleo. He drops the nicknames once he starts properly bonding with them at the end of the episode.
- No Antagonist: Unless you count George Wolfsbottom from Clifford's Really Big Movie, the wealthy CEO of Tummy Yummies who kidnaps Clifford for his spoiled daughter Madison.
- Jetta Handover is perhaps the closest thing to a recurring antagonist, but her worst crimes usually just center around her need for attention and occasional annoyance with Clifford.
- No Name Given: In the books, Emily Elizabeths parents are just that, her parents, and are referred to as such. In the 2000 series, they are given the names Mark and Caroline.
- Nobody Poops: If you google "Where does Clifford poop?" you'll get some highly disturbing results. That said, the very idea pretty much cements this trope...
- Non-Standard Character Design: Clifford is the only character without Black Bead Eyes until the movie. Or Clifford's Puppy Days, if you count that.
- Obsessive Hobby Episode: Vaz Goes Down the Tube is all about Vaz getting a new satellite dish and watching TV at the expense of his friends, other hobbies, and school projects.
- Ode to Family: In a non-musical example, Emily Elizabeths gift for her mother in The Best Gift is a poem about her and how much Emily appreciates their time spent together.
- Only Known by Initials: Its unknown if K.C. stands for something or if thats actually the dogs full name.
- Only One Name:
- The dogs, obviously.
- Emily Elizabeth in the books. She only got the surname Howard in the 2000 series.
- Charley, Vaz, Mary, and their respective relatives surnames are never revealed. In an inversion, the given names of several adults, such as Sheriff Lewis and Mrs. Diller, are never revealed.
- Opaque Nerd Glasses: Mr. Bleakman doesn't have pupils from his glasses, though averted in the movie when he's given the same eyes as everyone.
- Our Founder: Birdwell Island was discovered by, and named after, Captain Birdwell, as revealed in Captain Birdwells Treasure.
- Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: The inciting incident in Goodbye T-Bone is triggered by Cleo overhearing a conversation between Sheriff Lewis and Pedro about Sheriff Lewis moving meaning that T-Bone is also moving. What Cleo didnt hear was Sheriff Lewis saying that they were only moving a couple of blocks away from their current home.
- Out Sick: In one book, Clifford subs for a circus elephant (even dressing up as an elephant) because the elephant has "a cold in his nose".
- Overly Long Name: The main character of the book Emily reads to Cosmo in A Job Well Read is called Fisherman Phineas Flounders One and Only Amazing Abalone Seashell Boy from the Lost Lagoon. Its a name that will take him far.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: When Jetta lies about owning a giant pet parrot in Jettas Tall Tale, she proves that her parrot exists by strapping a giant fake beak and a bunch of fake feathers onto Clifford. All the other kids, including Emily Elizabeth, fall for it.
- Parody Name: Clifford, Cleo, T-Bone, and Mac form a band in Doghouse Rock and call themselves the "Backstreet Dogs".
- Passionate Sports Girl: Emily Elizabeth obviously loves sports. She is on the Birdwell Island soccer team, has expressed an interest in basketball, and is considered to be the best at rollerblading out of everyone on Birdwell Island.
- Performance Anxiety:
- Cleo suffers from this in Limelight Fright, and is unable to do her dancing number during the groups first show, but overcomes it with Clifford and T-Bones help, and gets so over her stage fright that she continues dancing long after the show has ended.
- Jetta suffers from a milder case in Clifford and the Beanstalk. She gets stressed out when the show starts because she didnt practice her lines, which forces her to give the Jane role to Emily, who also auditioned and unlike Jetta, memorized the lines.
- Mary didn't want to do her piano performance in "Stage Struck" as she is afraid of doing it in front of people. Emily Elizabeth tells that she would perform with her, but this was changed as she was stuck in a magic box when Vaz was trying to find the key. Mary was afraid of doing it by herself, but Emily encourages her that she can do it, and just reminds her that she can by just imagining that there's only Clifford. She gets over it when she gets more confidence.
- Photo Montage: In Another Fine Mess, the kids time spent at the pond is mostly told through a montage of photographs taken by Vaz.
- What Makes Me Special starts with a compilation of pictures in Emilys photo album.
- Phrase Catcher:
- If the human characters hear barking, loud footsteps, and everything around them starts tumbling down, you can expect them to say Here comes Clifford!.
- A fair amount of episodes end with Emily affectionately hugging Clifford after someone praises him, and saying Hes Clifford, my big red dog! or a variation depending on the episode, such as Clifford, my tie-dyed dog in Tie-Dye Clifford.
- Picture Day: Theres not an episode about it, but Emily recounts an embarrassing picture day where she had to take her picture without her bangs after she got gum stuck in them in Embarrassing Moments.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Sheriff Lewis doesn't seem to do any police work. It would seem that Birdwell Island is a peaceful, law-abiding place and there are no crooks or crime. There's even an empty jail cell.
- Platonic Valentine:
- "Cliffords Big Heart" is Valentines Day-themed, but doesnt really involve romance, notwithstanding the brief scene with the Bleakmans. Instead, it focuses on the bond between a pet and its owner (Clifford and Emily Elizabeth).
- Cleos Valentine Surprise also focuses on platonic relationships, but this time its specifically about the dogs friendship.
- Poor Communication Kills: The eponymous sweater in Jettas Sweater is a gift to Jetta from her grandma, who is visiting Birdwell Island. Turns out that this is the same sweater Jetta just gave Emily Elizabeth. Instead of being upfront about it, Jetta spends the episode trying to trick Emily into giving her the sweater back, which leads to her grandma seeing Emily with the sweater when they meet, much to Jettas dismay.
- The Power of Love: The franchises entire premise essentially amounts to this, with Emily Elizabeth loving her dog to the point where he went from the runt of the litter to a behemoth and all.
- Power Outage Plot: The entire islands power goes out in Lights Out after the townspeople collectively use too much electricity. Although most characters are initially dismayed, they find ways to adjust to the lack of electricity.
- Pseudolympics: In Nobodys Perfect, Emily Elizabeths class participates in the annual Silly Sports Day which includes juggling jiggly bags that contain green slime, and doing a long jump into whipped cream.
- Public Domain Stories: In Clifford the Pirate King, the kids read Treasure Island and throw a party based on the book, although the party ends up being more about pirate cliches in general. Justified since that book introduced most of what people think of when pirates are brought up to begin with.
- Red Is Heroic: Clifford has red fur and is a nice dog.
- The Runaway: A non-human example in Come Back, Mac, when Mac runs away from home out of shame and fear after tearing apart Jettas sweater.
- The Scapegoat: Clifford takes the fall for the actions of younger animals in Then Came Bob and The Trouble With Kittens.
- Jetta accuses Emily of stealing her medal and mirror in To Catch a Bird, when the culprit was actually a seagull.
- Cleo accuses T-Bone of stealing her bone in Who Took My Bone? when Mac is the one that actually took it.
- School Play: Clifford and the Beanstalk is about, as the title implies, a stage adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk called Jane and the Beanstalk performed by Emily Elizabeths class. They notably forget to make a beanstalk when building the set, forcing them to improvise by painting Cliffords tail green and using it as the beanstalk.
- Series Continuity Error:
- Although New Dog in Town shows that T-Bone had already grown when he met Clifford, Friends Forever reveals that when he was as a puppy, T-Bones friend Hamburger moved away, and on that same day, Clifford and the Howards moved to Birdwell Island. Getting to Know You is another episode about how T-Bone and Clifford became friends that shows T-Bone with his current appearance, despite airing after Friends Forever.
- The premise of Wedding Bell Blues is Ms. Carrington moving away due to her marriage and being replaced by a new teacher called Mrs. Grumbly. Just a few episodes later, in Stage Struck, Ms. Carrington is the one organizing the kids talent show, and Mrs. Grumbly is nowhere to be seen. Even more baffling, Ms. Carringtons significant other is seen in the audience.
- A flashback episode has Clifford's doghouse being built so that he can have somewhere to live, and a construction crew even helped build him one. An earlier episode has the Howards introducing themselves to the townsfolf and neighbors, and when Emily calls for Clifford, he literally comes running out of his doghouse.
- Shaking the Rump: The dogs seem especially fond of this whenever everybody's dancing.
- Sick Episode: Get Well. Emilys the one stuck with a cold, and Clifford, T-Bone, and Cleo spend the episode trying to get gifts for her so she can feel better.
- Significant Anagram: The "Birdwell" from Birdwell Island is a simple and obvious anagram of the last name of Clifford creator Norman Bridwell.
- Slice of Life: Although the series is about a red dog of ginormous proportions whose size is both a product of his owners love for him and a potential recipe for disaster, especially when combined with his playful nature, the stories are mostly about the characters everyday lives, and everyone, humans and animals alike, deals with relatable problems, such as keeping up with how much a loved ones changed, adjusting to life with a new sibling, feeling insecure about a relationship with a loved one, and not having ones privacy respected.
- Small Name, Big Ego:
- Jetta Handover, who is constantly seeking to be the center of attention. Prominent examples include when she initially tried to hog the spotlight at her baby brother's own arrival party and when she nominated herself for Islander of the Year, for something she mostly managed to do with Cliffords help at that. Suffice to say, her efforts usually leave her humbled in some way.
- Her conceitedness seems to have rubbed off onto Mac, who is similarly smug and early on was not above showing off even to his closest friends, much to their chagrin; He does get better as the series goes on, though.
- Cleo has her moments of this as well. Though in one episode when she brags about her latest dog show win to her friends, she has enough sense to realize later why this wasn't fair to them and apologizes for getting carried away.
- Smelly Skunk: "The Dog Who Cried Woof" had Cleo taunting the other dogs with ghost stories about a giant ghost skunk named Wiffy. She kept pranking them by saying he was after her, and they finally got fed up with it. Then a real skunk shows up and she scares it. The others, while out looking for her, smell that she got sprayed.Cleo: Aww, man! P.U.!!! That is definitely not a ghost skunk! That is the real thing!
- Spinoff Babies: Clifford's Puppy Days.
- Spoiler: In Magic in the Air, theres a Running Gag where Jetta tries to help her friends finish the most recent book in the series theyre reading by spoiling the ending, prompting them to cover their ears and tell her to be quiet.
- Stealth Pun: Mac's name is short for "Machiavelli". Often, he has skewered or misguided morality, such as when he cheated in "The Great Race", or wrongfully assumed Emily Elizabeth really did steal Jetta's spelling bee medal. But often, Machiavelli is wrong.
- Storybook Opening: How the Episode Title Card was handled both in the 2000 show and Puppy Days. They also closed every episode on the same book segue as well.
- Stock Femur Bone: Any of the bones the dogs play with.
- Supporting Protagonist: For being the main character, Clifford isn't the focus a ton in the 2000 animated series.
- Surprise Party: The eponymous Cliffords Big Surprise, organized by most of the cast for Cliffords birthday. To prevent Clifford from ruining the surprise for himself, everyone, from Emily Elizabeth to his fellow dogs, declines his offers to play and insists that theyre busy.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
- In The Dog Who Cried Woof, a trapped Cleo panics when she sees a skunk, mistaking it for the ghost Wiffy. Her first instinct is to bark at the "ghost" hoping it will go away. Instead, the skunk turns around and sprays her.
- Happens in the movie, when Clifford arrives in the city. Naturally, the population gets freaked out at the sight of a dog, literally larger than a house, having just emerged from the harbor waters! Welcome to Birdwell Island shows something similar: everyone appropriately reacted with shock or fear when they first saw Clifford, who had to put out a forest fire to earn the townspeoples love and respect.
- Although the 2000 series intro romanticizes Cliffords growth spurt and the Howards decision to move to Birdwell Island, Welcome to the Doghouse and to a lesser extent, Clifford Grows Up, show that taking care of a gigantic dog like Clifford, such as feeding him, putting him to bed, and especially finding him a doghouse, came with all the challenges youd expect.
- Swapped Roles: Jetta and Emily Elizabeth take care of each others dogs in Topsy Turvy Day. Emily proves herself to be very adaptable when spending time with Mac. Jetta when she's with Clifford...not so much.
- Switching P.O.V.: The eponymous Basketball Stories are retellings of the basketball game Charley couldnt attend from Vaz, Emily, and Jettas perspectives, which are all explored in the episode.
- Take a Third Option: When Emily Elizabeth and Charley cant pick between a sports float or an ocean float in Clifford on Parade, they opt for a hotdog-themed float, with Clifford being the big red hotdog.
- Talking Animal: The dogs, but only among themselves, since humans only hear barks.
- Talking in Your Sleep: In "Paw Print Picasso" from Clifford's Puppy Days, after Clifford gets paint paw prints all over Emily Elizabeth's painting and his friends suggest he tell her the next day, Daffodil discovers him alone the next morning on Emily Elizabeth's bed, tossing and turning in his sleep and muttering "It's my fault, it's my fault..."
- Team Spirit: This trope shares its name with an episode where Jetta and Vaz learn about their individual worth as members of Birdwell Islands soccer team.
- Thick-Line Animation: This is the standard for both Clifford the Big Red Dog and Clifford's Puppy Days - thick black lines with generally bright coloring inside.
- Third-Person Person: Cleos niece Kiki talks like this.
- ¡Three Amigos!: Clifford, T-Bone, and Cleo. Emily Elizabeth, Charley, and Jetta also qualify, despite the latters dynamic with the other two.
- Three Shorts: The animated series ran like this on PBS with two 11 minuted shorts divided by a story segment featuring Emily and Clifford.
- Title Theme Tune:
- The 2000 animated series has this: "Clifford's so much fun, he's a friend to us all! I love Clifford the Big Red Dog! (woof!)"
- The 2019 animated series goes with this as well: "Singing 'hey, it's a big red day / nothing in our way / So come and play with Clifford the Big Red Dog'!"
- Tomboy: Cleo is the only girl of the dogs and while she may look girly she actually hates getting her fur done and jumps in the mud immediately after it's over. She also gets along great with Clifford and his other friends.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Arty to Clifford in Led Astray. Clifford is peer pressured by Arty into doing things he knows isnt right, such as taking Cleos pet hedgehog without her permission and finding it behind a tree once playtime is over, and digging at the construction site, releasing a bunch of muddy water in the process.
- Tsundere: Mr. Bleakman towards Clifford, especially in Babysitter Blues
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Clifford was a subversion when he first came to Birdwell Island, but became a straight up example after most of the islands residents got used to him.
- The dogs shenanigans are played straight. Some of the things they do indicate that they just might be more intelligent than they let on and yet, the human characters treat their actions as if they were perfectly normal.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Cleo, usually due to her overconfidence. Often lampshaded when she utters her catchphrase "Have I ever steered you wrong?", to which Clifford and T-Bone will often say yes.
- Valentine's Day Episode: Cliffords Valentines Day Special, which combines two Valentines-themed segments that previously aired in different episodes:
- Cliffords Big Heart: After watching Charley, Jetta, and Emily Elizabeth make Valentines Day gifts in his doghouse, Clifford decides to make his own gift for Emily, with T-Bone and Cleos help.
- Cleos Valentine Surprise: Cleo spends the episode making a giant heart shaped pile of bones for Clifford and T-Bone, with K.C.s help.
- Visible Odor: Clifford, T-Bone, and Cleo in Stinky Friends.
- We Are Not Going Through That Again: Jetta's trip to Titanic Tower in the city results in this after she and her mother spent the entire day just trying to get to the darned thing......only for their view of the city to be ruined by clouds and smog. After having earlier rubbed it in Emily's face that she couldn't join them for the trip, Jetta comes back home to Emily (who thanks to Clifford had a much better afternoon) to suggest that next time they could go see the tower together. Her mother immediately shoots down the very idea, saying next time they'd just go to the zoo instead.
- What You Are in the Dark: In "The Great Race", Mac pulls all sorts of dirty tricks in order to slow T-Bone down and win the race. And ultimately, he does win. But when T-Bone so graciously offers up his collar as part of the agreement, the only thing that keeps Mac from taking the spoils is his guilty conscience. At everyone's insistence he won fair and square, he comes clean and admits he cheated.
- When I Was Your Age...: In Lights Out, Mr. Bleakman laments that Birdwell Islanders are too dependent on electricity, and constantly compares what he did as a boy to what people do nowadays (the sun vs. dryers to dry clothes, signs vs. traffic lights, books vs. computers to learn, self-made shows vs. TV for entertainment, playing board/card games vs. playing video games)
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The location of Birdwell Island is never revealed.
- Whole Episode Flashback: There are several:
- Little Clifford and Welcome to Birdwell Island (two segments of the same half-hour package) explain the Howards backstory in further detail. The former is a flashback to Emily getting Clifford for her birthday and the dogs overwhelming growth, told through Emilys favorite memory assignment, and the latter is a flashback to the Howards first day on Birdwell Island, when Clifford proved himself to the locals by helping them put out a forest fire, told through a conversation between Emily and Charley as they are getting a ride home from school, courtesy of Clifford.
- Cleo Comes to Town is a flashback to Cleo moving to Birdwell Island and T-Bones initial reluctance to accept her as part of his friend group, told through Clifford and T-Bone nostalgically thinking of their first few days with Cleo while waiting for her to come back from vacation.
- New Dog in Town is a flashback to T-Bone getting over his initial fear of Cliffords size after bonding with the big red dog, told through T-Bone reminiscing about his first encounters with Clifford after the latter accidentally scares a squirrel away.
- Welcome to the Doghouse: As Emily Elizabeth goes through her photo album with Clifford, she recalls the challenges her family had to face when taking care of Clifford when they first moved to Birdwell Island, specifically what doghouse Clifford would live in.
- Hes Wonderful Mr. Bleakman: When Mr. Bleakman snaps at Clifford for messing up his garden, Emily Elizabeth admits that she sometimes wishes he wasnt her neighbor. As she spends time with Charley and Clifford in the latters doghouse, they think of the good things Mr. Bleakman has done, which are told through flashbacks, including one to Babysitter Blues.
- Clifford Grows Up is a flashback to a post-growth spurt Cliffords time in the city and what he could (not) do because of his size, told by Emily Elizabeth as a final bedtime story.
- Friends Forever is mostly a flashback to T-Bones time spent as a puppy with his first friend, Hamburger, and how they dealt with Hamburger and his owner moving away. T-Bone tells the story to Clifford and Cleo as he is waiting at the dock for Hamburger to arrive in the ferry. Turns out that Hamburger moved away the same day Clifford and the Howards moved to Birdwell Island.
- The 2000 series last episode, Getting to Know You, is a flashback to the earlier parts of Clifford and T-Bones friendship and how they learned to adapt to each others traits.
- Wild Goose Chase: The Kibble Crook has T-Bone eat Cleos tasty dog food behind her back and make his friends search for the culprit while being completely aware of the truth.