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Literature / Diary of a Wimpy Kid
aka: Diary Of A Wimpy Kid The Long Haul

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First of all, let me get something straight: This is a JOURNAL, not a diary. I know what it says on the cover, but when Mom went out to buy this thing I SPECIFICALLY told her to get one that didn't say "diary" on it.
Greg Heffley

A series of heavily-illustrated novels by Jeff Kinney based on his webcomic of the same name hosted on FunBrain, aimed at preteens. They tell the story of Greg Heffley, a self-proclaimed "wimpy kid" attempting to navigate the pitfalls and perils of middle school life. The books are presented as Greg's own journals, filled with handwritten notes and stick drawings of his daily adventures.

Greg's family includes his mother, Susan; his father, Frank; and his two brothers, Rodrick and Manny. Rodrick is older and often picks on Greg, whilst Manny is the baby of the family who can get away with anything. Other kids in the neighborhood include Greg's friend Rowley, and the Creepy Child Fregley, who lives down the block.

Probably one of the most popular and influential children's book series ever, spawning a massive movement of similar children's realistic fiction book series presented as diaries that combine text and drawings.


The books to date are:


To date, there have been the following movie adaptations:

There is also a Do-It-Yourself Book (2008; expanded in 2011) and, tying in with the film adaptation of the first book, a making-of Movie Diary (2010; updated in '11 and '12 to include the sequels, and a separate one called The Next Chapter about the making of the Long Haul film in '17), as well as a Spin-Off book set from Rowley's perspective called Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid (2019).

See also Zombie Kid Diaries, a parody of this series which the author actually sued the creators over.

This series provides examples of:

  • 555: In Dog Days, the number on the VIP Lawn Service poster starts with 555.
  • Abandon the Disabled: Greg is nearsighted and wears contacts. He mentions that he is glad that he isn't a caveboy, because then his family might abandon him because he wouldn't be able to hunt.
  • Absentee Actor: Rowley does not appear in The Long Haul and The Getaway except for very briefly. In the former, he only appears in a flashback.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Rodrick. His film self plays up the All Girls Want Bad Boys / Loveable Rogue angle, with a few gratuitous Shirtless Scenes for extra fanservice.
    • Bill Walter is quite a bit more handsome in the movie than he is in the book, where he's depicted as a hairy middle-aged man with a beer gut.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Rodrick. The movies have him start off as an antagonist like his book counterpart, but the second and third films add more depth to his character by having him bond with Greg, becoming more of a Cool Big Bro.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • Chirag. In the books Greg plays a cruel prank on him for no reason, so Chirag's hostility towards Greg is very understandable. In the movies he is extremely condescending and arrogant.
    • Patty Farrell. In the books, at worst Patty is a Teacher's Pet and is only implied to be an Attention Whore — in fact, she's never directly interacted with Gregnote  — while in the movies, she's a nasty two-faced egomaniac who goes out of her way to antagonize Greg.
    • Heather Hills. In the books we don't learn much about her but what we did learn never implied she was the snobby stuck-up bitch she is in the movies.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • In the books the titular wimpy kid is a huge Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist. In the movies, many of his Kick the Dog moments are removed and others are made more justified by the circumstances. Because of this, Greg's rivals (Patty, Chirag) get the Adaptational Jerkass in order to make Greg's actions more understandable.
    • Greg's dad. In the films, he's actually less strict on his sons than Susan is.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Especially in the second movie.
    • In the books, at Rodrick's Wild Teen Party, Greg is locked in the basement all night until Rodrick needs help cleaning up from it. In the movie, Rodrick locks Greg in the basement, only for him to find a phone down there and call Rowley to come rescue him. When his parents call, Greg threatens to tell their parents about the secret party if Rodrick doesn't let him out, so Rodrick lets him out. Also in the book, their parents don't find out until they go through the camera and see a picture accidentally taken of the party. In the movie their mom finds out when a bathroom door they had to replace has no lock on it, which their father had questioned in the books.
    • The movies also expand on the school that Greg goes to; it's called "Westmore Middle School" and has a hornet as its mascot.note 
    • Rowley only appears briefly in a flashback in The Long Haul, but the movie has him actually show up in person. Granted, his movie appearance isn't particularly long, but it still counts as this trope.
    • The characters in the movies are much more layered than how Greg portrays them in his diaries, making them seem more human and more like people you would most likely meet in real life.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Frank's childhood pet Nutty is a cat in the webcomic, but a dog in the books.
  • Adapted Out: Ben, Greg's former best friend who moved away never appears in the books.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The second movie for Rodrick. It even has his name in the title.
  • Adorkable: Greg and Rowley.
  • Adults Are Useless: Most of the grownups in the books are idiots, to put it lightly. It's not only a genre trait of school-themed works, but also stories from the point of view of a teen.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: Greg celebrates his birthday in Dog Days, although his age is never stated. Additionally, Rowley has his birthday in Rodrick Rules, although he doesn't get older.
  • Allegedly Free Game: In-Universe. Net Kritterz is a fictional Virtual Pet game Greg is addicted to. The game requires real money to mainly gain Kritterz Kash, and the pet needs new items to be happy. This causes Greg to beg his parents regularly for money, before he is forced to earn money by himself.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: "Chicks dig bad boys."
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: In the first book, Greg wants to be elected treasurer so he can use his power to do favors for the cheerleaders.
  • Alpha Bitch:
    • Heather Hills in the third movie. She is pretty, rich and popular, and uses this as an excuse to treat everyone, including her sister, like dirt.
    • In the books, one of the comics submitted for the cartoonist job position (and a few bonus ones in the Do-It-Yourself Book) was called "Girls Rule" which the entire punchline is about extremely shallow girls insulting boys and other girls for their fashion. Obviously reflecting the traits of the girls who wrote it. Despite never being shown as actual characters, there is no denying they are Alpha Bitches.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Everyone's parents, although since Greg is the narrator his parents' antics get the spotlight most often.
    • Subverted to the point where it actually helps Rowley's image out in the film.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Fregley is supposedly very smart but possesses a complete lack of understanding of social norms and personal boundaries and his strange speech euphemisms (screaming "juice" when he needs to go to the bathroom, for example).
  • Ambiguous Ending: This is how The Long Haul ends, as it's never revealed in it or the later books whether Greg tells his family that the key to the locker at the water park was in his shorts after all, which would have saved everyone so much trouble had it been found earlier, or not.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Sometimes, Rowley's actions are a bit suspect, especially with Greg. You'd think that a 12-year-old boy would realize that sharing a "Best Friends" locket (in the shape of a heart) with another 12-year-old boy isn't something that looks straight or realize that being a fan of a rather effeminate pop singer isn't exactly manly. It could be argued that he's just completely unaware of these things considering that he is a Cloudcuckoolander and is completely sheltered, however. Also supporting this is that he's the one who gets a girlfriend in The Third Wheel.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Enforced in-universe in Double Down. While working on their No Budget indie horror film Night of the Night Crawlers, Rowley is so freaked out that Greg has to shoehorn in a joke to keep him from running away. This joke turns out to be an unnamed man reacting to his wife's horrifying death by saying "Well, I guess this means I'm single!" and winking at the camera.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Manny is seen this way by Greg.
  • Appeal to Tradition: The driving trope of Old School. First of all, Mom wants her family to take a break from electronics and live like the old days. She successfully convinces the town to set an Electronic-free Weekend. Second, Greg goes to Hardscrabble Farms, which is old-styled and doesn't allow anything modern.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From the tenth book.
    But if Mom had HER way, we'd be living like people did before there were computers and cell phones and baby wipes.
  • Art Evolution: The art used in the novels is less sketchy than the one in the webcomic, and as the series has gone on, the illustrations have gotten more and more cleaner and detailed.
    • In the first movie, the Imagine Spots done in the style of the books were done in very Conspicuous CG that was cel-shaded. In the sequels, while they are still cel-shaded, the fact that they were computer-animated is less obvious.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care:
    • The Heffleys couldn't take care of a living thing if their lives depended on it.
    • In The Getaway, a monkey is regularly served at a swim-up bar. This is frowned upon in real life.
  • Art Shift: In the movies, sometimes the perspective will change from live-action to animated versions of the book illustrations.
  • Asian and Nerdy: One girl in Rodrick's middle school, Kathy Nguyen, was voted onto the "Most Likely To Succeed" page in the school yearbook.
  • Attack of the Political Ad: Parodied. When Greg runs for treasurer, he makes posters that use fabricated stories to smear his opponent. This gets him kicked out of the election.
  • Author Tract: The school paper's Wacky Dawg comic is cancelled because the author has been using his comic as a mouthpiece to talk to other students.
  • A Weighty Aesop: Greg gets hit by this in Cabin Fever, when his school starts promoting good eating habits and replacing junk food with healthy food.
  • Balloon Belly: Rodrick's fish gets one after he eats Greg's fish.
  • Berserk Button: Do NOT make the gym teacher drop his groceries.
  • Be Yourself: The moral of the hilariously Eighties-tastic movie Greg watches in one of his classes.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble:
    • Greg Heffley has plenty of enemies, mostly bullies or adults that look down on him. Namely Rodrick, Patty, Mr. Jefferson and in Cabin Fever, Manny.
    • The movies make the main villains more clear: Pete Hosey in the first, Bill Walter (the closest you're gonna get) in the second, and Heather Hills and/or Stan Warren in the third.
  • Big Brother Bully: This trope could practically be called "The Rodrick".
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Rodrick.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Heffleys are definitely not a stable family. Frank's a Jerkass and Bumbling Dad, Susan's absolutely oblivious to how teenagers are nowadays, Rodrick's a step away from dropping out of school, Manny is a spoiled brat who can't seem to stay in school and Greg is a slacker who could very well end up like Rodrick.
  • Bile Fascination: In-Universe - Greg and his dad can't resist reading the dreadful comic Li'l Cutie (a parody of The Family Circus) just to see how bad it is. (One of the captions for a Li'l Cutie comic was, "Daddy, is rain just God sweating?")
  • Bird-Poop Gag: The second movie has Rowley's bird poop on Patty.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Most of the characters have these. Unless they're wearing glasses of course, but even with that Patty Farrell is an exception.
  • Black Sheep: Several members of the extended family — especially Uncle Gary who is explained as having been married at least four times. It gets worse in The Third Wheel when he moves in with Greg and company.
  • Bland-Name Product: Several products throughout the series; these especially cropped up within the webcomic-to-book transition presumably to avoid copyright issues.
    • Greg mentioned in the earlier books that his favorite game is "Twisted Wizard".
    • In Rodrick Rules, Greg is introduced to a game called Magick and Monsters, an obvious Dungeons & Dragons analogue.
    • In the same book, there's also mentioning of a book Greg repeatedly does book reports on called Sherlock Sammy Does It Again, with Sherlock Sammy being an equivalent of Encyclopedia Brown.
    • In Cabin Fever, Greg is addicted to a online game called Net Kritterz, a parody of online pet games like Moshi Monsters and Webkinz.
    • In the same book, the students drink an energy drink called "Rowdy Riot".
  • Blind Without 'Em: Patty Ferrell. Greg is also revealed to be one in the third book (he wears contact lenses).
  • Bratty Food Demand: In one of the movies when Greg is imagining his adulthood with him as a pampered rich man, he demands that his servant replace his ice cream sundae as he wants the vanilla on the bottom and chocolate on the top.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • "I can name at least half a dozen jobs I can never have if I can't grow a beard or a mustache or at least dome decent stubble." The jobs Greg lists? Magician, pirate, lumberjack, artist, cop, and...criminal.
    • In one of the books, Rowley brings some home videos and suggests that he and Greg watch some. They're titled "Rowley's 5th Grade Play", "TRIP TO [obscured by another DVD]LIA", and... "Rowley's Birth".
  • Brick Joke:
    • There's a picture in The Last Straw that reveals that Greg once turned in a book report 4 pages long (cover included), and only a few sentences long because he took up more than half of the last page writing "THE END" in big letters, using the excuse that he was running out of paper. That spoiler-tagged part comes up at the end when Greg at first says that he was ending his story on sort of a generic happy ending note, but then admits that he's running out of paper...
    • In "Hard Luck", the Easter egg hunt plot goes nowhere. However, near the end of the book, the egg is found in a pile of wood in Gramma's yard. It's actually hinted at earlier, visually, where the egg will be found- the egg is seen in the same pile of wood.
    • Also in Hard Luck, Fregley claims he can blow a bubble with bubble gum in his belly button. It doesn't work, and Greg comments that he should have known that was impossible. Later, Greg's taking his picture for the yearbook, and he does it, much to Greg's shock.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in The Getaway. Greg finds a giant spider in his slipper and attempts to flush it down the toilet with the help of the room service waiter. Later, Dad says he tried to use the toilet, but that same spider was on the underside of the seat, so he hit it with the room's bathrobe and it seemed to disappear into thin air. This joke continues near the end of the book when Greg attempts to scale a fence to evade security, and Rodrick tries to help Greg over as he cannot quite reach the top. The spider crawls out of his sleeve and onto Greg, causing him to fall. This is because Rodrick had to wear the bathrobe dad hit the spider with to a fancy restaurant as he could not find any trousers, and he carried the spider with him all along.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Taken Up to Eleven with Manny.
  • Bridal Carry: In the second movie, Greg's dad has to do this to him while in the middle of a roller-skating rink.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: A lot of Greg's problems in school would be avoided if he wasn't so lazy.
  • Broken Aesop: The Be Yourself video in the first book, which is lampshaded. Apparently it says you should be happy about who you are. All the kids at Greg's school (most of which are bullies) misinterpreted it as it's fine to be a jerk if you are.
  • Bumbling Dad: The father seems to act rather old for his age...and we mean like an 80-year-old. Except for the fact that he hates Li'l Cutie.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Rowley.
  • Butt-Monkey: Any boy in Greg's year that isn't popular (i.e. anybody who's not Bryce Anderson and his flunkies), it's just that we see Greg being a Butt-Monkey the most since it is told from his point of view.
  • Car Ride Games:
    • In Rodrick Rules, Greg tries to entertain Manny in the car by making silly faces, but when Manny laughs so hard that apple juice goes down the wrong way, their mother says "You could've killed him!" which makes Manny cry.
    • In Dog Days, Manny tries to entertain his family in the car by telling nonsensical jokes.
    • In The Long Haul, the Heffleys are on a road trip and they play two games: Alphabet Groceries where people have to think of food that begins with each letter of the alphabet, and I Must Confess which is similar to the real-life game Never Have I Ever.
  • Character Development: Throughout the books, Rowley learns to stand up for himself and grow a spine instead of blindly following people. By the end of The Third Wheel, he's also learned how to talk and relate to girls via the student council, becoming a couple with Abigail.
  • Charlie Brown Baldness: The way Greg draws himself and Rodrick.
  • Chatty Hairdresser: Greg befriends some at his mom's beauty salon in Dog Days.
  • Chekhov's Gift: In Dog Days, Greg gets a "Ladybug" phone that can only call home and 911 as a birthday present. At the end, he calls 911 with it because he thought Frank was going to sell him (It Makes Sense in Context).
  • Chekhov's Gag: The sheer number of gags and comic setpieces that turn out to be these goes up with each book.
    • In The Third Wheel, Corny's Family-Style Restaurant turns out to be where Greg goes with Abigail and Rowley for dinner before the dance.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The cheese in the first book.
    • The muddy hand in Dog Days.
    • The picture on the very first pagenote  in The Ugly Truth.
      • Actually, it's a close-up of Tyson Sander's bent arm taken during the "Lock-In" story arc.
    • Throughout the series, Susan constantly says that Manny is special and very smart for his age. This finally pays off at the end of The Long Haul, in which Manny being completely fluent in Spanish saves everyone.
  • Chest Burster: In The Getaway, Greg gets startled by a sea horse while snorkeling, and in a panic, swallows some water. Worried that he might've accidentally swallowed the seahorse, Greg imagines it bursting out of his midsection at school.
  • The Chew Toy: Greg is such a Chew Toy he could give Charlie Brown and Al Bundy a run for their money.
  • Children Are a Waste: Greg says that when he grows up, he wants to spend his money on himself and not a bunch of ungrateful kids.
    • He also makes sure to dispose of his gum and Popsicle sticks properly out of fear of being cloned when he's rich and famous, and said clones come to his house asking for money.
  • Christmas Creep: A "Back to School" variant in Dog Days. Greg, in his newspaper, discovers a Back to School ad, two months before school actually starts. He thinks that who ever advertised that doesn't like children.
  • Christmas Episode: Cabin Fever and The Getaway, though the latter plays with the trope and doubles as a Vacation Episode by having the Heffleys take a Mexican resort vacation to avoid traditional Christmas trappings and hassle.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Several.
    • Patty Farrell has not appeared in the books following The Last Straw and the movie adaption of Dog Days.
    • Chirag, one of Greg's friends who was at times a plot central character, later disappeared following a brief scene in Cabin Fever.
    • Trisha, a girl from New Mexico was introduced and set up to be a major character at the end of The Last Straw. After a brief appearance in Dog Days, she's never heard from again. Justified since she ditched Rowley and Greg at the country club in the summer between the end of The Last Straw and the beginning of Dog Days.
    • Subverted with Aunt Cakey - she made an early appearance in the webcomic, disappeared from it and never appeared in any of the other media...and then had a minor role in 2013's Hard Luck.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Fregley is this to the point where he gives Osaka a run for her money in the weirdness department. Rowley is a less extreme example.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Rowley. He doesn't seem to be all that interested in girls, yet in Rodrick Rules he's managed to socialize with some of the most popular girls in his year. At the end of Book 7, he ends up in a relationship with Abigail. It doesn't last, but that he'd be used to make another boy jealous is impressive.
  • Cool Big Bro: Rodrick can be this when he wants to.
  • Cool Loser: Subverted. Greg wants to be seen as such by others (the reader included), but most will tell you that Greg is a dork.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: Spoken by the Safety Patrol teacher in the film version.
  • Comic-Book Time: Lampshaded in Old School.
    And to be honest with you, I feel like I've been in middle school FOREVER.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Greg feels that the girls and Rowley did this in regards to the egg sitting project.
    • Grandma buys some LEGO so the boys have something to do when she comes over - then, to keep them from getting scattered, she glues them all into one giant block.
    • The mean kids at Greg's school mistake the message of the "It's Great To Be Me" video to say that its alright to be a bully if you are already one.
    Bully 1: (shoving a kid) It's great to be me!
    Bully 2: Ha ha ha!
  • Contemptible Cover: Greg's comment on the cover of the fantasy novel Shadowdoom, a cover that features a female barbarian warrior in a Chainmail Bikini:
    Greg: I've read Shadowdoom, and from what I can remember there aren't even any women in the story. In fact, I kind of wonder if the person who designed the cover even READ the book.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Greg. Other people also do bad things to him. In Old School, Grandpa chooses Greg's bed and Greg must sleep with Manny. Also, in The Ugly Truth, the Jeffersons hire someone to be Rowley's replacement friend. See The Chew Toy and Butt Monkey above.
  • Covers Always Lie: The Ugly Truth. Greg is seen with his egg that he has during the brief Egg Sitting plot. It goes on for two journal entries, has no impact on the plot, and is never mentioned again.
    • Also in-universe regarding Shadowdoom. See Contemptible Cover above.
    • Hard Luck has raining 8-balls with Greg holding his diary.
    • The Meltdown features Greg's face on a snowman.
  • Crapsack World: Type 2.
  • Creator Breakdown: An In-Universe example. In the first book, the school newspaper needs a new cartoonist after the kid who drew Wacky Dawg starts using it to handle his "personal business".
  • Creator Cameo: Jeff Kinney appeared in the second and third movies as Holly Hill's dad.
  • Creepy Doll: Greg's lost Alfrendo baby doll from Cabin Fever. Things went From Bad to Worse when Greg found it again.
  • Cringe Comedy: From start to finish, each book is filled with it.
  • Critical Research Failure: In-Universe.
    • Greg stated in his science project that the moose, along with humans, evolved from birds. The teacher was not amused.
    • Rodrick when he attempts to write an essay.
    Dad: Well, for starters, Benjamin Franklin didn't fight in Vietnam...note 
  • Cut-and-Paste Comic: The artwork in the illustrations is reused constantly. (Explains why there is a Christmas Tree in the background when Greg is opening his Wonderwoman Underoos Birthday present in July.)
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Greg, but his dad isn't really far behind him in levels of snarkiness.
    • Rodrick can get quite sarcastic at times. "Monkeys can't speak English, stupid."
  • Death by Newbery Medal: Greg is aware of this trope. When his mom tries to organize a summer reading club in Dog Days and assigns him Charlotte's Web, he predicts that either the girl or the pig pictured on the cover won't live to the end of the book. He never learns he's wrong — it's Charlotte the spider who dies — because he only gets three chapters into it.
  • December–December Romance: Grandpa Heffley is still into dating, as shown in Hard Luck and Old School. Greg is surprised by this.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • In the books, Fregley slowly became this, meriting only one mention in The Third Wheel. Though in Hard Luck Fregley does get a lot more attention. He becomes the most popular kid in school, because he can launch stuff from his belly button across the room. After disappearing completely for the next four books, he returns in The Meltdown for two jokes.
    • Collin was a major character in the webcomic as Greg's second best friend but he only makes a brief appearance in the first book and most of the stuff he did in the webcomic is given to Rowley. He has a different design in the books as well.
  • Didn't Think This Through: In Cabin Fever, Greg's school replaces the soda vending machine with a bottled water machine as part of its effort to get its students to eat healthier. Where do they put it? Right next to the water fountain.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: In the movie when Rodrick catches Greg and Rowley in his room, Rowley clings to Rodrick's leg to hold him off.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • In the movie, Patty holds a massive grudge over Greg because he insulted her in kindergarten. And the movie deals with the characters entering middle school.
    • In the webcomic, Greg writes an allegory story for school involving a monkey attempting and failing to fix a car, then shows it to Rodrick, who was fixing his own car. When Rodrick gets it, not he only tears up Greg's story, but he tells all his friends about Greg's embarrassing incident in the retirement home toilets.
    • In Cabin Fever, Manny warps up the password to Greg's Net Kritterz account, messes up the family's TV's parental controls, cuts the power to the rest of the house save his room, and even STEALS ALL THE FOOD FROM THE KITCHEN! All of this? Because no one taught him how to tie his shoes!!
    • Manny also once threw a tantrum at school just because his sandwich wasn't cut the way he wanted it to be.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: After Greg's school stops selling an energy drink called Rowdy Riot, several students who have been drinking several cans of it on a regular basis start to suffer from withdrawal.
    • In The Meltdown, a kid called Mitchell Pickett sells pre-made snowballs. When there's a big snowfall he expands his business to include more advanced weaponry like snowball launchers, icicles and even custom-made snowballs with a slushy center. He sells to the kids on the Surrey Street hill and the kids on Lower Surrey Street who are in a constant feud with the kids on the hill. He buys a snowmobile with the money he makes. Greg comments that this proves war CAN pay. One imagines Mitchell would be very successful as an amoral Arms Dealer should he decide to go down that route when he grows up.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: In an incident from the original webcomic that becomes a flashback in Hard Luck, a younger Greg has to stay with his Aunt Cakey for the night while his parents are away. Right before Greg goes to bed, Aunt Cakey tells him not to touch the iron because it's still hot. Guess what Greg does after Aunt Cakey goes to sleep.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet:
    • The Long Haul has Greg go into a gas station bathroom only to find out that it's full of graffiti, toilet paper sprawled on the floor, and the mirror is partly broken. He decides to go in there anyway.
    • In Old School, Greg's father reveals that when he went to Hardscrabble Farms, the only available toilet was a gross outhouse.
  • Downer Ending: Dog Days ends with Greg and Rowley's friendship temporarily in shambles and Greg's vacation being absolutely atrocious.
  • Duck!: Greg and his dad in this scene in Dog Days.
    Greg: (Dad is standing up in the canoe and about to hit his head on a tree branch) Duck! Duck!
    Dad: (looking through binoculars) Where? Where?
  • The Dreaded Thank You Letter: In the first book, Greg doesn't want to write his Christmas thank-you notes due to wanting to spend time on his snowman-building project instead. He hurriedly writes fill-in-the-blank letters with the format, "Dear A. Thank you very much for the awesome B. I love the way the B looks on my C. All the other boys will be jealous that I have my very own B. Sincerely, Greg Heffley", which comes out looking awkward for the one about the pants.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: The very few times Rowley calls out Greg for being unfair, he's completely right.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The Heffleys, and as later books would show, this goes for almost everyone in their extended family as well.
  • Easily Embarrassed Youngster: Greg is extremely easily-embarrassed, which is why he can be bossy (believing nonconformity is a no-go) and a lot of the comedy comes from him getting into embarrassing situations.
  • Egg Sitting: Used for a mini-plot in The Ugly Truth. All the boys break their eggs except for Greg and Rowley; Susan accidentally scrambles Greg's egg for breakfast.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Used a lot actually. There is a time in which Rodrick had a high-school yearbook that had his second grade picture instead of his seventh, due to a screw up on the part of Greg's dad.
  • Embarrassment Plot: Greg is easily-embarrassed. Usually this only is used for one-scene jokes, but sometimes it becomes a plot.
    • In the Long Haul movie, the film has a sub-plot of Greg becoming a meme known as "Diaper Hands" from getting a diaper stuck on his hand at the ball pit.
    • In the Rodrick Rules book, Rodrick blackmails Greg with an embarrassing secret, which turns out to be accidentally walking into the women's bathroom at a senior home and being mistaken for a "peeping Tom".
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": "Nasty Pants" in the 6th book. It's implied that that's actually his name, however, as Greg calls his mother "Mrs. Pants". Or Greg simply didn't know his name himself.
  • Everyone Has Standards: In "Hard Luck", Greg refuses to cheat on a science project using one that had been made by another student, after he notices his brother's science project (the school dumped tons of old projects and papers in a storage room, and some bullies were using it as a monkey-making venture). He knows it's going to land him in huge trouble, and thinks it's stealing. (He thanks his instincts as he later notes the teachers staged a raid after a tip-off from another student, and the bullies landed in summer school.) He also hides a precious diamond ring near the end, so Mom's family won't kill each other over it. In an earlier book, he also refuses to buy a paper off of Rodrick, noting that even though he's copied off of other people during quizzes, buying a paper from someone is too far, even for him.
  • Everytown, America: Greg's town is called Plainview in the movies.
  • Exact Words: In Rodrick Rules, Rodrick drives Greg home, but makes him ride in the back. He then slams on the brakes each time they stop so that Greg hits his head. The next time Rodrick drives Greg, Greg asks him to please go easy on the brakes. What does Rodrick do? Say "okay", but then go over every speed bump he can.
  • Escalating War: The climax of The Meltdown ends up being about this, as the different factions of kids' in Greg's neighborhood go to war over long-simmering tensions on a snow day— soon all sorts of other factions join and it devolves into a massive free-for-all, which is ended by the snowplow coming up the road and blindsiding everybody.
  • Extremely Overdue Library Book: In Dog Days, Greg has a book, titled How to Make Sock Puppets, that he checked out when he was eight. He is most likely 12-13, which means the book is 4-5 years ago. He is afraid he will get arrested if he returns to the library.
  • Eye Scream: In the webcomic, Greg's pet angelfish has its eyes ripped out by Rodrick's fish. [1]
  • The Faceless: A character in the webcomic named Herbie Meaner. He's the leader of a gang of bullies and the reason why no sane kid in Greg's school stays on the basketball courts past 3:00.
  • Faked Rip Van Winkle: Rodrick's "you slept through summer vacation" prank on Greg in the first book. In the movie he doesn't explain why the summer has ended, he just counts on Greg being to sleepy to know.
  • Fake Interactivity: In The Long Haul, Greg recalls watching TV shows that pretended to be interactive. He believed that the characters actually listened to what he told them, so his mother had to tell him that they couldn't.
  • False Reassurance: Deny, deny, deny.
  • Fat Best Friend: Rowley.
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: Frequently, Greg will try to cover up a mistake and the situation only snowballs to disastrous proportions when it finally catches him.
  • Fictional Video Game: Twisted Wizard and Net Kritterz
  • Film of the Book: Actually, film of the book of the webcomic.
  • First Day of School Episode:
    • The first movie focuses on Greg's first day of middle school.
    • In the second book, Manny gets scared by his classmates' Halloween costumes on his first day of preschool.
    • Throughout the series, Greg has two flashbacks about his first days of preschool and kindergarten.
  • First-Person Smartass: Greg frequently makes snarky comments.
  • Flanderization:
    • Rowley was simply gullible and slow on the uptake before becoming a kiddy kid. This Flanderization is countered by his Character Development, however; The Third Wheel even implies that he is maturing faster than Greg is.
    • Susan Heffley. At first she only showed concern if Greg did something she objected to, and was sometimes embarrassing and behind the times of what teenagers were into, such as trying to get Greg less interested in video gaming. Her stern attitude only showed if something severe had happened (such as Rowley's broken arm in the first book or the party that happened in Rodrick Rules). As of Hard Luck, however, Susan's character has essentially delved into a Think of the Children! type mother who shows extreme distaste to anything electronic to the point she gets the town as a whole to unplug (which she simply bribed her way through by getting elderly partygoers of Grandpa to sign the signatures she needed).
  • Follow the Leader: Discussed in-universe in Old School when Greg complains about a kid copying his lemonade stand even though opening one wasn't his idea in the first place — his father did the same thing as a child and suggested it to him.
    See, this is the problem when you have an original idea. Five seconds later you've got a million copycats.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In The Third Wheel, Greg at one point creates a chart detailing the relationships between the kids in his grade. On the chart, he shows that students Abigail Brown and Michael Sampson are currently dating, though a second girl, Cherie Bellanger, is also shown to be interested in Michael. This comes back around just before the Valentine's Day dance when Michael has a family obligation and can't go to the dance, leaving Abigail date-less and leading to Greg and Rowley taking her out to the dance. Cherie factors into this because it turns out that Michael was actually planning on going out to the dance with Cherie (and was lying about the family obligation) instead of Abigail, who catches the two-timer red handed when he (who was clearly not expecting Abigail to be there) shows up at the dance with the other girl. Ultimately, this sets up Abigail's brief relationship with Rowley.
    • In Old School, the kids start discussing the tale of Silas Scratch, one of them says that his dad told him about a child named Frankie encountering him, traumatized to the point of being unrecognizable. Later the children start noticing inconsistencies with the story, and when Greg's dad has to substitute for Mr. Jefferson as the overseer for Greg's hut, he seems to know everything about the camp already. It's pretty weird that the name of the kid was explicitly stated, since it was actually a clue that Frank made the story up when he was at the camp.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In-universe, the movie about the muddy hand in the 4th book. The last person who sees the hand is always the next victim. At the end of the movie, the hand crawls straight towards the screen, implying that Greg and Rowley are the next victims. This kept them nervous and paranoid for the rest of the book.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • In the first movie, when Greg and Manny are having breakfast, you can see Ice Age playing on a TV in the background.
    • During The Stinger of Rodrick Rules when Greg and Rowley are checking out their YouTube video, you can see that while the video only got 4 views, it received 24,963 comments.
    • In the third movie, the news report near the end has a ticker filled with strange news items, such as "High school kid accidentally eats salad", and "New 'square' wheel fails to impress".
  • Funny Foreigner: Chirag.
  • Gainax Ending: The Getaway ends with Greg showing Rowley the website of his resort, only to find an image of the piror events, asking for the identities of the family.
  • Gag Nose: Many background characters are drawn with one.
  • Garbage Hideout: In the film adaptation of Dog Days, Rodrick hides in a dumpster while he waits for Greg to sneak him into the club. He gets trash dumped on him when Greg takes too long and is not amused.,
  • Gaslighting: In Cabin Fever, Greg believes Rodrick was doing this to him with the Santa Scout.
  • Generation Xerox: In The Ugly Truth, it turns out that Greg looks exactly like Frank's cousin, Terrence. He's not happy about it.
  • Genre Savvy: Greg knows that most classics his mom will force him to read will have the Death by Newbery Medal trope. He does mess up on one prediction, though. He says that because Charlotte's Web is a "Classic", either the girl or the pig won't make it to the end of the book. He doesn't finish it, so he doesn't realize that it's Charlotte the spider who dies.
  • Gentle Giant: Rowley.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    Manny: Wipe my heinie, Ploopy!
    • In Dog Days, when everyone tries to find a name for Sweetie (their new dog), Rodrick suggests they him "Turtle", or...
    Rodrick: Turd for short.
    • In the Dog Days movie, the commercial for Spag Union features a group of miserable young boys forced to chant the school's name while raising their firsts in the same angle as the Nazi Salute, the only difference being the lack of an open palm. The commercial also portrays the school as borderline totalitarian in terms of student discipline.
    • In The Getaway, during the Treasure Dive, people are seen stuffing coins into their swimwear, including a girl stuffing coins into the top area.
    • While talking about the lies Rodrick told him as a joke, Greg states that Rodrick told him that wearing camo would make him invisible to everyone else and citing that it got him temporarily banned from the swimming pool. The picture depicting the incident shows Greg against the wall of the girl's changing room wearing full camo as a changer calls him out.
    Patron: Hey!
    • In The Meltdown, Greg's mom discovers Greg and Rowley secretly hanging out in Gramma's basement (Gramma was on a cruise at the time) and wearing Gramma's clothes while also being partially naked. She later sits down with Greg to tell him that it's okay to "play pretend" at his age. It's obvious to older viewers that she thought Greg and Rowley were getting in touch with their feminine side by crossdressing, maybe even Mistaken for Gay.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Greg's mom tells him that if he lies again he'll be grounded for a month. The result? Greg starts to use Brutal Honesty.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Rodrick's plan to permanently ruin Greg's life by making an embarrassing secret public (After Rodrick got hold of Greg's first diary while they were visiting Grandpa at his retirement home, Greg managed to get it back and locked himself in the bathroom to destroy it, only to find out that he locked himself in the ladies room. He got caught out later.) fails spectaculary when he told the secret to his friends who had younger siblings who attended Greg's school, only for the message to get so screwed up when apparently according to a bit of Greg's guesswork; said friends told their siblings who told their friends about the story to the point where it turned into an entirely different story where Greg infiltrates the girls' changing room at Crosslands High School. This earns Greg a boatload of respect with the majority of the students for apparently pulling off a ballsy stunt, at the cost of the female students being absolutely disgusted.
  • Gossip Evolution: After all the footage of Rodrick's band performing at the talent show proves unsuitable to send to record companies, he takes it out on Greg by repeating an incident where Greg accidentally locked himself in the ladies' room at their grandpa's retirement home. This backfires, since the story gets mutated into Greg sneaking into the girls' changing room at Crosslands High.
  • Gossipy Hens: A variation. Albert Sandy has a lot of stories to share at lunch, such as how a guy practiced jumping out of a hole that he made slightly deeper everyday until he was able to jump several feet in the air. Whether or not they’re actually true or if he's spicing it up or not is never revealed. Of course, the other kids believe him straight, though Greg has come to realize by "Meltdown" that most of what he has to say is just completely phooey.
  • G-Rated Drug: The energy drink Rowdy Riot (see Does This Remind You of Anything? above for details).
  • Heavy Sleeper: Greg and Rodrick. The latter has even slept one autumn from Sunday night to Tuesday morning.
  • High-School Dance: The Valentine's Day dance in the 7th book, where The Climax takes place.
  • Hood Ornament Hottie: Referenced. Manny gets ahold of one of Rodrick's magazines, which Greg mentions has a picture of a woman in a bikini spread out on the hood of a car on the cover. Manny brings it to show-and-tell Although Greg said it was "nothing to get worked up over", their mother is not pleased.
  • Horrible Camping Trip: In The Last Straw, the father-son Boy Scout trip is a wash for Greg and his dad after the first night. And it's not even Greg's fault!
  • Horrible Judge of Character: In Double Down, Susan thinks that Maddox Selsam, a homeschooled boy with No Social Skills whatsoever who does nothing but practice his violin and build Lego sets, is a good role model for Greg. Probably because Maddox's mom doesn't let him play video games or watch TV.
  • Hot Drink Cure: When Greg is sick and talks about how his parents usually fuss over him when he gets sick, he draws Susan offering him a steaming mug and saying, "Are you strong enough to hold this cup?".
  • Human Snowman: The cover for The Meltdown has Greg as one. In the book proper, Fregley is seen as one when Greg passes by him while walking to Rowley's house.
    Fregley: Wanna finish "building" me?
  • Humiliation Conga: Greg suffers one at the beginning of the second movie, which finishes with him falling into a cake and subsequently getting beaten up by the irate birthday girl and her friends.
  • Hype Backlash: In-Universe in the webcomic; Gregory is shown as being incredibly anxious to play a video game called "Twisted Wizard 2" and then says it's the lamest game ever made (mainly because of a horrible control scheme).
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Greg says that at his school there was an "No Smoking" poster contest. Ironically, though, the guy who won actually smokes a lot himself.
    • Susan frequently calls out Greg for lying to her but she lies occasionally too, such as the one time she pretended to call the dentist when finding out Greg wasn't brushing his teeth.
    • One of the books shows that there is no playground equipment at Greg's school. Despite this, the kids are not allowed to sit down at recess, and one illustration shows a teacher yelling at a kid for sitting down when she's doing the exact same thing herself.
    • In Old School, Greg complains about a kid copying his lemonade stand even though making one wasn't his idea in the first place — his father did the same thing as a child and suggested it to him.
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: When Rodrick tells Greg that Rowley's new babysitter Leland is the biggest nerd in high school, Greg is reluctant to play "Magick and Monsters" with him, but it turns out he really likes it. Subverted in the fact that he ends up agreeing with Rodrick that Leland is the biggest nerd in the school.
  • Illness Blanket: While Greg likes being wrapped in a blanket anyway, he plays this trope straight in "The Last Straw" when he's sick and is seen sitting on the couch in a blanket with a thermometer in his mouth.
  • Implausible Deniability: In Hard Luck, Greg mentions that a kid named Aric Holbert got suspended for breaking into the school and spray painting "Aric Holbert is cool" on the lockers. He tried to deny it was him, but as Greg points out, "it was pretty pointless".
  • Intellectual Animal: The pig seems to be this in "Double Down". He can walk on two legs, is seen holding a toothbrush at one point, and uses a "See and Talk" toy correctly to say "Pig eat ice cream".
  • Ignoring by Singing: In the third book, when Greg and Rowley are being driven to a roller skating rink to impress Holly Hills and Susan overhears the conversation:
    Greg: LA LA LA...I CAN'T HEAR YOU!
  • I Got a Rock: Each year for Christmas and his birthday, Greg gets nothing but clothes and books.
  • Implausible Deniability:
    Frank: (displaying a photo of Rodrick's party on the TV screen) Can you explain what you're doing in this photo?
    Rodrick: That's not me.
    Frank: (lowers eyes) That's not you?
    Rodrick: (averts eyes) Nope.
  • Injured Limb Episode: In the first book, Rowley breaks his left hand falling off a tricycle. This happens in the first movie, too.
  • It Won't Turn Off: In Double Down, the witch Rodrick gets cackles at the slightest movement, even after Frank removes the batteries.
  • Jerkass:
    • Greg can be a hard guy to like sometimes. When he and Rowley often try to accomplish tasks together, he usually makes him do all of the work while he takes all the glory. Also, there's his treatment of Chirag Gupta and pelting Patty Farrell with apples. (The movie makes this a little more justified, by portraying Patty Farrell as a Jerkass who is stuck on an insult he did in kindergarten.)
    • Let's just say that Rodrick would drive anyone to commit fratricide. He always abuses his brother for no good reason (and it goes way beyond the normal siblings-pick-on-one-another thing), and he never gets in trouble for it. He also has never been nice to Greg ONCE in the book. Even when Greg does something really nice for him at the end of Rodrick Rules, he doesn't ease up, even for a bit.
    • Manny is a horribly spoiled and bratty Karma Houdini, to the extent that he did not get punished in Book 6 when he left his entire family for dead in a blizzard.
    • Greg's dad is a bit of an asshole to his sons, and frequently forces them to engage in activities they dislike (i.e. sports).
    • Aunt Cakey in the webcomic (and later the books). Even though it's Manny she's responding to, passing off his displays of affection as a sign that he needs speech therapy is pretty cold.
    • Patty Farrell in the movies is selfish, annoying, and could nearly make Greg look like a saint in comparison.
  • Jerk Jock:
    • Kenny Keith seems to fit the description. However, Greg is a jerk to Kenny whenever he gets the chance and we don't see how Kenny acts around people he actually gets along with.
    • Subverted with Bryce Anderson. Greg tries his best to make him seem like one, but so far there's no real evidence that Bryce is one of these.
  • Just Following Orders:
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Rodrick. He never gets punished for bullying Greg.
    • Greg himself once, in a flashback when he wrote very rude anonymous Valentine's Day cards to everyone in his class (case in point: "Dear James, you smell.") He was savvy enough to write a card for himself so the teacher wouldn't suspect him. It worked.
    • Manny no matter what he does. In Cabin Fever, he shuts down all power in the house except for his room, steals food, water, toys, and a space heater, and leaves the rest of the family for dead during a blizzard. Despite all this, he receives absolutely no comeuppance whatsoever for his actions. Their mother only gives Manny a talking-to... in which he blames all his brattiness on no one teaching him how to tie his shoes.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Hard Luck had Greg introduced to a shady science fair project black market run by some students which puts past projects on sale. Understandably, Greg turns down the offer and gets shooed away. A short time later, an anonymous tip caused a group of teachers to raid the market and managed to get everyone connected to it acquitted with a mandatory term at summer school.
  • Kiddie Kid: Greg's best friend Rowley acts like a seven-year-old. It's justified by the fact that he's extremely sheltered because of his overprotective parents. Manny might be a "baby kid", being older than 5 (two years have passed after he mentions that he's only 3), but still acting like a toddler.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Well, this is middle school, after all. Greg himself isn't above it; Chirag Gupta will tell you that firsthand.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: In Dog Days, Greg and Rowley watch a B-Movie called Hello, You're Dead that they found in Rodrick's room, featuring a muddy hand. Rowley has his eyes covered the whole movie. Greg doesn't find the movie all that scary... until the end, when the "muddy hand" crawls straight to the screen, meaning the "hand" is coming for the viewer next.
  • Kiss of Life: Rodrick gets one of these when he pretends to be drowning in order to attract Heather Hills, who's working as a lifeguard. Unfortunately, Heather ignores him, and he gets the Kiss of Life instead from a big burly guy who adminsters it on him despite Rodrick being both conscious and obviously breathing
  • Large Ham:
    • Rodrick in the movies.
    • Frank also has his hammy moments in the movies too.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: For Greg in the second movie: Chirag Gupta is actually the one who gets the last laugh in Greg's "invisible Chirag" prank by tricking Greg into acknowledging him by pretending to have Holly want to meet Greg, only for it to be Chirag dressed like Holly instead. The result is Greg losing the little game as Chirag celebrates and the nearby Circle of Shame laughs at him.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Since The Long Haul, the books are usually single events rather than the usual random plot-relevant events. Double Down possibly averts this.
  • Lean and Mean: Greg and Rodrick.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In Old School, Greg lampshades that it seems he's been in Middle School forever. That book represents the fourth time we've seen Greg start a school year and each successive book spans a shorter period of time (the first being a year, the latter books spanning months or weeks). Then again, it's pretty normal for some schools to consider Middle School as being up to the 9th or (on MUCH rarer occasions) even 10th grade.
  • Less Embarrassing Term: Greg states that he doesn't want to take Home Ec. 2, even though he was pretty good at Home Ec. 1, because this kept happening:
    Kid 1: Hey, look, Greg has a purse!
    Greg: Actually, it's an embroidered bookbag.
    Kid 2: Okay, Pursie.
    • And, in case you forgot, it's a journal, not a diary!
  • Lie Detector: Parodied in Cabin Fever when the school is vandalized. The police come there to question the worst troublemakers, but it's obvious that their "foolproof lie detector" is just a photocopier with a label taped to it reading "Lie Detector". Whenever the troublemaker says something they don't like, they hit a button to copy a sheet that says "He's lying". Predictably, they fail to catch the real culprits.
  • Lighter and Softer: The books when compared to the webcomic. And the movies to the books, which gives some hints that Greg's cynical worldview taints his journals and distorts reality.
  • Literal-Minded: Greg is this often, leading him to think his parents saying "maybe we should go away for the weekend and recharge our batteries" means that his parents could be robots.
  • Loophole Abuse: Rodrick finds a way around mom's ban of the word "ploopy" as an insult in "The Last Straw". He calls Greg "ploopy" over the course of three days, beginning with "pl" on the first day, moving onto "oo" the second, and finishing with "py" on the third.
  • Losing Your Head:
    • In the Xtreme Sk8ters comic strip, one of the stick figures gets decapitated by a telephone wire. His head still manages to talk.
    • In Double Down, Greg's bizarre dream involves himself kicking his own head, which is shouting, "Mustards on my turnips, please!"
  • Loud of War: When Rodrick's garage band attracts loitering teenagers, Greg's dad fights back by playing classical music from a boom box in the window.
  • Love Triangle: Greg, Rowley and Abigail in The Third Wheel. Greg loses.
  • Lucky Charms Title: The U in Hard Luck is a horseshoe.
  • Ludicrous Gift Request:
    • In "Dog Days", Greg wants a dog and a leather recliner for his birthday. He gets neither, although he does get a dog later, but never a recliner.
    • In the movie adaptation of the first book, Rowley is seen sitting on Santa's knee and asking for a puppy, a cat, and a gumball machine.
  • Magic Ampersand: Magick & Monsters
  • Mega Meal Challenge: Referred to at one point. The main character mentions that his Uncle Gary finished the "Monstrilla Burger" in one sitting and got a tattoo for it.
  • Memetic Mutation: In-Universe examples:
    • The local cable channel captures Greg's mom dancing while taping Löded Diper's performance while recording the winter talent show. After being uploaded to the internet, the video is dubbed "The Dancing Mom video".
      • Same goes for the movie, except it happens in a theatre-shown talent show (Plainview's Most Talented) and Greg uploads it (which quickly goes viral, complete with a inaccurate view count animation).
    • "Zoo-Wee-Mama!" from the comic that Greg and Rowley created, and which Rowley later used in his own comic, becomes a meme at school, much to Greg's dismay.
  • Messy Pig: The pig that Manny and Susan accidentally win at the country fair and are stuck with, which they then leave at a petting zoo, then eventually come back for. It became the family pet, and has yet to be named. By The Meltdown, it had ran away over being excluded from the Heffleys' trip in the previous book, The Getaway.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Greg. His older brother Rodrick frequently bullies him and gets away with it through intimidation and covering his tracks. Meanwhile, his younger brother Manny makes himself a pest, but Greg can't do anything to him without getting into trouble with his parents.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: Discussed; Greg says that his mom often claims that her mother (Greg's maternal grandmother) has ESP. Greg remarks that if it's true, she's not using her powers to their full potential.
    Greg: So, Gramma, what do you think the lottery numbers will be tonight?
    Grandma: I'm not sure, but I "predict" you're going to enjoy these cookies!
  • Misleading Package Size: Greg Heffley recalls opening a video-game sized gift-box only to find a memory card.
  • Missing Child: In the movie adaptation for The Long Haul, Rodrick and Greg sneak off to a video game convention and their mother Susan notices they're gone. However, she sees them on TV and goes to the convention to tell them off.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In "The Meltdown”, Greg and Rowley sneak into Gramma's house while she's gone so that they can get warm. Greg figures that they could warm their clothes in the dryer in the basement, but since they’re naked otherwise, they decide to use some of Gramma's clothes. Cue Greg's mom walking in on them. Initially, it seems that she’s in Tranquil Fury that they went into Gramma's house without permission to do shenanigans, but she later sits down with Greg to tell him that it's okay for boys to "play pretend" and that it's part of growing up. Greg doesn't understand what she means, but it's obvious to older readers what she was thinking.
  • Mistaken for Thief:
    • In "The Last Straw", Mrs. Craig, the teacher, notices her dictionary gone. The bullies accuse Peter Lynn and Coery Lamb as both use big words a lot. Actually, it wasn't stolen. Alex Aruda had simply been using it to study. Unfortunately, Corey gets put in detention because Mrs Craig saw him put it back.
    • In "The Long Haul", the Heffleys think the "Beardos" stole their luggage, but in actuality, they just got the locker number wrong.
  • Moral Guardians: In-universe example when a teacher yells at Greg and Rowley for listening to rock and roll because it's "evil" and is going to "ruin [their] brains". Susan tries to be this as well with various rates of success.
  • Movie-Making Mess: In Double Down, Greg tries to make a horror movie titled Night of the Night Crawlers. He has to shoehorn jokes into the script because the only actor, Rowley, is easily frightened and doesn't even want to make a horror movie. Rowley keeps forgetting his lines and refuses to wear a dress when he plays an unnamed woman. The terrible special effectsinvoked include throwing gummy worms at Rowley's face in an attempt to make a scene where worms come out of the shower. After Rowley runs out of the house with barely any clothes on and climbs a tree to escape the geese that ate the gummy worms on the ground, Greg's dad gets home and the attempt to make a movie comes to an end.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Rodrick, in the movies.
  • Multiple Choice Form Letter: Greg does this in the first book, typing out his Christmas cards on the computer with parts missing so he could just fill in the necessary adjustments to it later. (It doesn't work completely well though, such as when he fills out a thank you card for a new pair of pants and he has to say that all his friends would be jealous of it or that he likes how it looks on his legs).
    • The candygram messages used to raise money for the Valentine's Day dance in The Third Wheel are designed for the giver to fill in their and the recipient's name. Greg tries to cover multiple bases by filling in the blank with one girl's name, then writing in a P.S. telling her that if she doesn't want to go to the dance with him, she should give it to a particular girl who sits nearby.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Anyone with even just the most rudimentary knowledge of Spanish can tell that Susan Heffley doesn't understand Spanish nearly as well as she thinks she does—she thinks "Tengo hambre" means "Tango hamburgers" (it actually means "I'm hungry") and she thinks that "Te amo" means "What's your name?" (it actually means "I love you"). It embarrasses a younger Greg when he once tried asking a Spanish-speaking waiter what his name was by repeatedly saying, "Te amo."
  • Myspeld Rökband: Rodrick's band is called Löded Diper (although Greg remarks that his brother probably doesn't know how to spell "Loaded Diaper" anyway).
  • Never My Fault: You can probably count the number of times that Greg has (whether voluntarily or forced to) taken responsibility for something bad he's done or otherwise acknowledged that he made a mistake on one hand. Again, this book is probably (intentionally or not), an excellent exploration of the Protagonist-Centered Morality trope and the thought process of a borderline sociopath.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: In the first book and film, Pete Hosey and his goons forced Rowley to eat the cheese and attempted to force Greg to do the same. The aftermath ultimately led to Greg and Rowley becoming friends again.
  • No Budget: In-universe in Double Down, where Greg and Rowley try to make an indie horror film. Their low-end equipment is "borrowed" from their parents, the only actor is Rowley, and their "special effects" are gummy worms and ketchup.
  • No Infantile Amnesia: Greg claims this applies to him at the beginning of The Third Wheel. He goes on to explain that he was born three weeks early because he couldn't take all the noise he heard from the outside world (especially because Mom was using prenatal speakers to talk to and play classical music for him) and that as a result he has been trying to catch up on all the sleep he missed out on ever since. His love of long baths also stems from memories of peacefully floating in the womb.
  • Noodle Incident: Throughout The Ugly Truth Greg and Rowley avoid each other following a massive fight at the end of last summer (which was never shown in Dog Days.) Then again, it's strongly implied to have been the incident where Rowley crushed Greg's hand with a mallet after Greg pulled a prank on him.
    • Subverted in Rodrick Rules where Greg has often talked about how Rodrick is blackmailing him with an embarrassing secret that isn't revealed until the end of the book. He got stuck in the woman's bathroom at the old folks home.
  • Noodle People: Everyone. Subverted with Rowley, Mr. Beardo, and a few other minor characters.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Greg started middle school in the first book and stays there. Jeff Kinney is on record saying Greg will be in middle school forever.
    • This was the reason why everyone had to be recast for the film adaptation of The Long Haul, since a Floating Timeline doesn't translate well and age is an unstoppable factor.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In The Ugly Truth, a group of boys take a photo of one boy's bent arm for a class game, but the teacher mistakes it for a photo of someone's butt crack, and doesn't believe otherwise until the boys recreate the position of his arm, using a mole on the elbow as proof.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Invoked:
    • Mild example in the webcomic — Greg stays with a relative and complains over how boring it is. He then tells a story where him and Rodrick find an old board game at said relative's house. They open to find out that it was filled with spiders. Greg has a hard time opening boxes after that. The Do-It-Yourself book alludes to this, with Greg saying to write your worst nightmares, and shows a drawing of Greg parachuting into a yard full of giant Tarantulas. Aside from these subtle references, this phobia is never brought up in the actual books.
    • A similar example comes up in the sixth book when Greg explains that he has a phobia of puzzles because when he opened a box of puzzles once, it was full of crickets.
    • Another in-universe example: In Dog Days, Greg watches an old B-Movie about a muddy hand who kills the person who sees it right after it kills someone else. The last shot of the movie implies that the hand will go after the viewer next, causing Greg throughout the rest of the book to try to prevent a muddy hand attack.
    • Yet another in-universe example occurs when a younger Greg gets scared because Shel Silverstein looks scary to him. His father uses this to his advantage by telling him if he gets out of bed he's run into the writer in the hall, who visits each day. Greg still doesn't leave his bed at night.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book:
    • Played with when Greg has to draw what he thinks teenagers would draw after watching violent horror movies (as part of Rodrick's science project). Played straight when Manny accidentally watches one of the movies from the same project, then draws a bunch of pictures that scare Greg when he finds them. (It's never explicitly stated that the movie actually scared Manny; in fact, the picture in the book just shows him looking at the TV confused.)
    • Fregley is also a major Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant, serving as the master of squick without even trying.
  • One Episode Fear: In "The Ugly Truth", Greg becomes afraid of eggs due to accidentally stinking the neighbours out by putting devilled eggs in a plastic plant. However, previously and since then, he has not been afraid of eggs.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Rowley. In the fourth book and in the webcomic, when Rowley has a nightmare, his parents rush to his aid and ignore that Greg was thrown on his face.
  • Only Sane Man: Greg sees himself as this. Even if he often does stupid things, he can be the snarky narrator to his clueless parents, his Dumbass Teenage Son older brother, and his odd and spoiled little brother. Greg's dad can also play this role, both in the books and the movies.
  • Operation: Jealousy: It's implied that Abigail Brown only dates Rowley to make her ex jealous. It works.
  • Our Slogan Is Terrible: In Cabin Fever, a box of Bac'n Snax has the slogan "Made with REAL animal by-products" printed on it.
  • Out of Focus: Everybody save for Greg, his immediate family and the Beardos in The Long Haul, in which Rowley only turns up in a flashback illustration and no other recurring characters appear. Averted for Rowley in the film adaptation, as he gets to come along with the Heffleys to a restaurant.
  • Parental Favoritism: Greg's parents clearly favor Manny, to the point where he's becoming a Spoiled Brat. Manny is allowed to get his way, such as throwing tantrums over minor things like how his sandwich wasn't cut the right way. And his parents let him do it.
    • Manny is also Gramma's favorite (all you need to do is look on her fridge for proof), to the point where everyone in the family (yes, even Susan) is aware of it.
    • Grandpa, however, will tell you straight up who his favorite is.
    Grandpa: Gregory is my favorite!
  • Parental Obliviousness: Susan seems to be completely unaware of modern teenage behavior. One notable example in Rodrick Rules is that she thinks that the other students at Greg's school would agree that walking into the ladies bathroom at the retirement home by accident was an honest mistake and they'll let him off easy.
  • Periphery Demographic: An in-universe example: Rowley's favorite musician is a European singer named "Joshie", but Greg looks at the album cover and immediately tells Rowley that Joshie's music is more than likely targeted at eight-year old girls. More or less confirmed in The Ugly Truth, when Rowley talks about the time when he went to a Joshie concert and is the only boy at the concert. (And the only one over 10, to boot.)
  • Perpetual Frowner: The default state of most characters sans notable exceptions like Susan.
  • Perspective Flip: The spin-off Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid is set from Rowley's point of view.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Zig-Zagged. Greg's mom doesn't appear to have a job, but he mentions that she runs an article in the newspaper, and it's implied she might have been a therapist (but one for younger kids if anything) but is implied to go to school. Otherwise...she's not really doing anything. Greg's dad escapes this because they don't mention what he does, only that he takes a carpool. This is arguably a case of Fridge Brilliance - it's told from Greg's point of view. What would he know about what his parents do on a day-by-day basis?
    • Actually the books outright state that his mother was at one point a Kindergarten Teacher.
  • Playing a Tree: Greg is a tree in his school's production of The Wizard of Oz. Subverted in that he wanted this role (it meant he got to throw apples at Dorothy AKA Patty Farrel), in part because he didn't want to be in the show but was forced to audition by his mom. Another student ends up with the role of a shrub due to too many students applying which outweighed the actual number of characters. He ends up delaying the start of the play due to stage fright. Greg even comments on how ridiculous the whole situation was. In the movie adaptation, Greg wanted a main role in the play to make Rowley jealous. He can sing extremely well, but he's a male soprano. The theatre director said the only soprano parts in the play were Dorothy (he quickly made her drop that idea) and the Trees.
    Greg: You'd think that someone whose job it was to sit on the stage and do nothing could just suck it up for one performance.
  • Pokémon Speak: In Verse example with "The Snurples", which was once Manny's favourite TV show.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Several things could have been avoided if Greg just told people what was going on.
    • In The Ugly Truth, this is what leads to Uncle Gary's second divorce.
    Lydia: I've got about thirty thousand in the bank.
    Gary: And I've got forty-five!
    Greg: As it turns out, Uncle Gary only had forty-five dollars, not forty-five thousand.
  • Porn Stash: While Rodrick's magazine as seen would be sold right out on the open shelves in any store, his mother treats it as such. He gets into trouble when Manny found it and brought it to show-and-tell at preschool.
  • Potty Dance: Fregley does this in the first book, while screaming "JUUUIIICE!"
  • Potty Emergency: Happens several times.
    • When Fregley has the urge to go in the first book, he says "Juice! Juice!"
    • In the first book, Rowley has to use Grandma's bathroom during Halloween.
    • Discussed in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, where Greg dreads the bathroom situation at Spag Union and says he highly doubts he can hold it in all summer.
    • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down, Rowley has one while stuck in the same costume as Greg.
    • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, both Greg and the pig have one while on a road trip.
    • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, Greg and Rowley discuss what will happen if Rowley has one of these while in a box. Greg gives him a bottle, but then Rowley asks what happens if he has to go #2. Then Greg says he shouldn't think about that until it's really time to.
    • Discussed in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School. After Albert Sandy claims that Silas Scratch might move through the pipes, the kids get too scared to use the bathrooms. Some of them decide to hold it in until they get home, but Greg writes that it doesn't sound so smart because they're only on day 2 of a week-long trip.
  • Potty Failure: It is revealed in Cabin Fever that Greg had a bed-wetting calendar when he was eight.
  • Pretty Boy: Rowley's favorite singer, Joshie, is more or less described as being one of the sort. Emphasized in The Ugly Truth when Rowley goes to a Joshie concert and notices that he is the only boy in the audience.
  • Product Placement:
    • A TV set in the first film plays Ice Age, another 20th Century Fox production.
    • Greg and Rowley are seen playing the Wii in the same movie.
    • Cabin Fever has an illustration which includes a console similar to the Wii, and it is subtly implied that Greg's mother is playing Wii Fit.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Greg suffers from this big time. For example, in the second book, he mistreats Chirag Gupta by pretending he doesn't exist. If the same thing happened to him, he'd almost certainly complain about it and call the kid(s) doing it to him bulllies. The book series might actually be one of the best explorations of this trope, especially if one treats it as a look into the worldview, life and perceptions of a borderline amoral Middle School student.
  • The Quiet One: Manny. Averted at the end of The Long Haul where he has a conversation with two mechanics in fluent Spanish for almost an hour.
  • Reality Ensues: In the first book, the school is putting on a production of The Wizard of Oz, and Mrs. Norton, the director, whispers everyone their lines during rehearsals and doesn't require them to memorize their scripts. When it's actually time to perform the play, nobody remembers their lines.
  • Really Fond of Sleeping: This applies to all three Heffley brothers:
    • Greg dislikes waking up early and often takes naps in the afternoon to feel rested.
    • Rodrick likes napping even more than Greg and once accidentally napped for a day and a half.
    • Manny hates being woken up from his naps.
  • Red Herring: In The Long Haul "The Beardos" would appear to be villains, stealing the Heffleys' beach chair, locker key and in turn wallets and cellphones. But, aside from the beach chair (which could have easily been a misunderstanding) and being slight jerkasses they aren't.
  • Reluctant Gift: Greg is supposed to put a twenty-dollar bill into the church collection basket but is trying to hold on to it. His mom Susan does it for him.
  • Retcon: The later books have flashbacks to events that could only have happened during the timeframe of earlier books. For example, in The Long Haul, Greg mentions that the previous summer, his parents tricked him into believing they were visiting relatives, when they were actually planning on going to Disney World. This equates to the summer during Dog Days, which has no mention of this.
  • Retool: The Long Haul focuses on just one summer trip, whereas all the other books unfold over longer timespans — one year for the original, six months for 2 and 3, and two-to-three months for later installments. Some wondered if this was an effort by Kinney to get another movie squeezed out of a series formula which was getting repetitive by that point. (If it was, it worked.)
  • Retraux: In the film version, "It's Awesome to Be Me" appears to have been made in the 1980s, complete with obviously outdated fashion.. The book describing the film's production even lampshaded it.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Greg's mom forces Rodrick to play Dungeons & Dragons with Greg. On the very first turn, Rodrick [the DM] declares that everyone fell into a hole and died.
    Rodrick: You and your group of nerds fall into a pit and it's full of dynamite and you blow up. The end.
  • Sadist Show: The books rely heavily on misfortune and the misery of everyone, but since it's Greg's diary, we see most of his misfortune and misery - he also could be an Unreliable Narrator for all we know.
  • Santa Ambiguity: While the webcomic clearly states that Santa isn't real, the books leave it ambiguous. A doll named Santa's Scout who initially reports to Santa at night changes position but Greg never sees him move and wonders if it's really Rodrick who moves him. Greg also doesn't believe in Santa, but he's very far from always being right.
  • School Play: In the first book, Greg's school puts on a production of The Wizard of Oz. It does not end well. Though granted in the movie, Frank tries to cheer Greg up. While in the book he simply says nothing while Susan throws the flowers she brought into the garbage.
  • Serenade Your Lover: In the third movie, Rodrick tries to win Heather Hills with Justin Bieber's "Baby". Given she loathes Rodrick and the series' tendency for Comedic Sociopathy, it goes downhill pretty fast.
  • Sequelitis: In-universe with the Slumber Party Pals series. Greg thinks the first 30 books were good, but that the quality went downhill when the author ran out of ideas. Volume #87 is titled Lindsey Loses a Mitten.
  • Serious Business:
    • Bingo, for the old ladies that Greg's grandma hangs out with. They use things like lucky blotters and Bingo Trolls and whatnot when they play. ("One of Gramma's friends is so good she memorizes all her cards and she doesn't even NEED to use a blotter to mark them off.")
    • At one point, Greg accidentally calls out Bingo when he doesn't have the matching numbers and a rival table sends out one of their own to intimidate Greg because they don't like it when newbies win on their first night. Serious business indeed.
    • Toilet paper for the students at Greg's school. One candidate for student council president didn't bother campaigning at all and his entire speech was him promising to make the school replace the regular toilet paper with the quilted kind. He won the election by a landslide. It's decided that, since the school doesn't have enough money to replace the toilet paper, kids can bring in their own from home. The kids bring in so much of it, they have to carry bags of the stuff to class with them because it wouldn't fit in their lockers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing: in Dog Days, Greg and his family have a Father's Day brunch. Dad tells the story of his dog Nutty running away to a butterfly farm when he was a kid, and Grandpa reveals that Nutty didn't actually run away to a butterfly farm; he was accidentally run over by Grandpa's car. Angry, Dad leaves Grandpa with the brunch bill, goes out and buys a dog. Rodrick suggests that the dog's name be Turtle.
    • The Sherlock Sammy books are similar to Encyclopedia Brown. (In the webcomic, Greg really did use Encyclopedia Brown books for his book reports.)
    • In Cabin Fever, Greg, annoyed by Manny wanting mustard across his hot dog, talks about watching movies starring a preteen who finds out he has magical powers and goes to a special school.
    • The Pig the family adopts in The Long Haul in the next book begins walking on its hind legs, wearing clothes, and starts acting oddly human, with Greg theorizing pigs would take over the world because of them. A shout out to the climax of George Orwell's Animal Farm, in which the pigs (a representation of Stalinist leadership) begin separating from animalism (communism) by walking, dressing and acting like the former human overlords (the capitalists), ensues.
    • In the movie adaptation, Greg's mom tells him something along the lines of: "It's our choices who make us who we truly are..."
    • The Underpants Bandits series in The Long Haul is a clear nod to Captain Underpants, right down to the Moral Guardians being opposed to it being used for book reports.
    • In Old School, the Spineticklers series is a clear nod to Spinetinglers and Goosebumps.
    • In The Getaway, Manny's obsession with collecting sea creatures and turning them into "pets" is a reference to Animaniacs where Dot has a obsession of collecting monsters and putting them into her box as "pets", which in numerous occasions, scares people (or animals) with them. The gimmick works for Manny, except it's backwards because the parents see what's inside his bucket. Later in the book, the Jerry Lewis caricature (AKA Director of Fun) pokes around in Manny's bucket and gets scared because there is a box jellyfish in his bucket.
    • Real life musician George Deveney appears in Double Down.
  • Shown Their Work: Yes, there really are Box Jellyfish around the caribbean.
  • Shrunken Head: While one doesn't physically appear, Rodrick asks for one on his Christmas list. This is normal for him.
  • Sick Episode:
    • In The Last Straw, Greg gets sick with the flu before a camping trip, and is forced to skip it.
    • Rowley gets chicken pox in The Third Wheel. Greg catches it from him at the end of the book.
    • In Old School, Rowley's father inhales poison ivy.
  • Slice of Life: The entire series is written around the perspective of an average teenager.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Extremely cynical for a children's book series (however, this might just be Greg's view on the world, as he's displayed some sociopath styled tendencies, and thus this leaks into his journals). The main character, Greg, is a lazy, selfish, self-absorbed Jerkass with almost no redeeming qualities. Almost all the other child characters are Jerkasses & bullies as well. All authority figures are incompetent, and the school itself is a Sucky School. The only truly nice character in the main cast, Rowley, is coddled by his parents and abused by Greg (who doesn't seem to like him despite calling him his best friend). Greg's family is quite dysfunctional, and his father and older brother seem to actively hate him. Almost everyone who does something bad is a Karma Houdini.

    A good example of the cynical attitude in the books is the Hero Points story in Hard Luck. The teachers start giving Hero Points to kids whenever they catch them going good deeds, and the points can be exchanged for rewards like extra recess time. Not even this manages to make them nicer: most decide to fake good deeds when teachers are around, or just buy counterfeit Hero Points. After the program is shut down due to the rampant counterfeiting, Greg remarks that "now that extra recess is off the table nobody's willing to do anything nice".
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • Singer Krisstina claims to be internationally famous, but Greg doubts that she's even performed in another state after one look at a piece of her merchandise which featured a huge list of venues she performed at, all apparently local.
    • Greg actually thinks everyone is an idiot except him. In The Last Straw, he's talking about his family's New Year's resolutions and about finding ways to improve himself...but it's not easy for him to improve himself because, in his own words, "I'm pretty much one of the best people I know". So he starts thinking of ways to "improve other people" and telling them what he doesn't like about them.
  • Spartan Sibling: Rodrick has it in for Greg.
  • Special Effects Failure: In-universe in Double Down, where Greg tries to create a homemade horror movie on No Budget:
    • Rowley is the only actor, and has to act for many. Since Greg has no video editing skills, this means that no scene in the movie can feature more than one character.
    • Rowley plays an unnnamed woman. Unfortunately, he refuses to wear a dress, and they don't have a wig for him. He ends up wearing yoga pants and a hooded sweater, and having the character never show her face.
    Woman: I hope you don't mind if I don't turn around but I am really concentrating on doing these dishes.
    • They try to make a scene in which an unnamed man tries to take a shower, but worms come out instead of water. Greg can't find a way to make it looks natural, and settles for throwing gummy worms at Rowley's face and hoping it'll look realistic once they make the final cut.
    • They use ketchup as fake blood.
    • Discussed when Greg point out that he still hasn't figured out how to film the climax of the movie, which would feature a battle against a giant worm. Sadly, they never get around to attempting this scene at all.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": It's Rodrick, not Roderick.
  • Spoiled Brat: Manny. Though one could argue he's not to blame; the fact his parents are the ones who spoil him rotten and never tell him the difference between right and wrong is practically child abuse.
  • Status Quo Is God: No matter what happens by the end of a book (ex. Greg meets a pretty girl neighbour wanting to be friends with him and Rowley), its always negated by the events of the next book (ex. she doesn't have any romantic interest in him at all and he immediately forgets about her).
  • Stealth Pun: On page 52 of the first book, there's a picture of a guy with a hockey mask and a chainsaw chasing Greg and Rowley with the written sound effect "RRRRRRRRRRRRR!" (with exactly thirteen "R"s).
  • Stick-Figure Comic: The Xtreme Sk8ters comic strip.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • Greg and Rodrick in the movies. Hell, Rodrick in the book is Greg with thicker eyebrows and hair, so it's hinted Greg sees the resemblance between him and Rodrick, but considers Rodrick a nastier version of him.
    • The Ugly Truth had Greg find out that one of his relatives was physically identical when they were his age. He then makes plans for plastic surgery for the future.
  • Stupid Good: In-Universe, Greg's mom plays Dungeons & Dragons this way. For example, her solution to the party being attacked by a band of orcs is to give the orcs all of the players' food. She then gets the idea that the game is a good way to teach Greg and Rodrick to get along better.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • Li'l Cutie. Oh, dear lord. "Daddy, is rain just God sweating?" This is the only thing that Greg and Frank agree to hate.
    • The Do-It-Yourself book features comic strips by some of the characters. Most of them fall under this. In Rowley's strip Action, the only action was one character hitting the other with a Frying Pan of Doom. The rest of the page is just them discussing what's about to happen.
  • Suck E. Cheese's:
    • Corny's Family-Style Restaurant in The Third Wheel. Greg has a traumatic experience trying to rescue Manny from the indoor playground, and the serving staff and overall chaos easily makes up for the lack of animatronic robots and video games. Remember, anyone who comes in wearing a tie clearly isn't having fun and will get it snipped off.
    • Old-Timey Ice Cream Parlor in Old School, where Rodrick gets a job dressing as the restaurant's creepy mascot, Old-Timey Tobias. He doesn't enjoy it.
  • Symbol Swearing: Rodrick does this when he drops a glass on the floor and it breaks. Manny imitates him.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Greg may not like his siblings very much, but he does feel sorry for them when they get the short end of the stick. He thinks Rodrick is grumpy because he's The Unfavorite in the family and he feels bad for Manny for being too afraid of other kids to make friends.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: In-Universe example: Li'l Cutie.
  • Take That!:
    • Li'l Cutie is a Take That parody of The Family Circus.
    • Precious Poochie could be a subtle Take That! toward Peanuts. The two strips are not alike, but both are being run in papers despite the author having died years ago. Whenever the newspaper tries to replace it with something fresh, the strip's elderly fans protest.
    • Sherlock Sammy is a Take That! parody towards the Encyclopedia Brown series. It's described as they are all the same where some adult commits a small crime, makes some stupid mistake, and then Sherlock Sammy solves it and then makes the adult look like an idiot. ("Your first problem was that you forgot to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius!") In the webcomic, he actually names Encyclopedia Brown.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Discussed by Greg, mentioning that Frank often tries to dismantle Greg's video game system, but fails, due to his ignorance of technology and the fact that the manufacturers deliberately proofed it against this scenario. In Old School, Susan tries to convince the neighborhood to shut down electronics for a weekend, but flubs it when she uses a pet-tracking app on her phone to find Greg. Exaggerated in Cabin Fever, where Susan asks Greg to show her how the microwave works.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Besides the bullies at school, a lot of teenagers outside of Greg's school are portrayed as juvenile delinquents. Also, Rodrick, as an older teen, often acts aggressive and reckless. Frank believes this Up to Eleven and is noticeably more upfront with Greg after he turns 13.
  • Title Drop: A partial one in the second movie when one of Rodrick's friends scribbles "Rodrick Rules" on the Heffleys' bathroom door.
  • This Loser Is You: The readers are meant to identify with Greg, who is not only a self-proclaimed "wimpy kid", but who regularly gets tormented from the bigger kids around him and hangs out with the likes of Rowley and Fregley. Probably not the best example of this trope though if he's meant to represent the average Middle School reader since Greg is just really lacking in places most would at his age would be decent or excel at and it's telling that most readers and tropers are quick to identify him as quite immoral.
  • TMI: In Dog Days, Greg makes a comic strip telling people not to talk about that sorta stuff in public.
  • Toilet Humor: Used a lot.
    • Greg's secret in Rodrick Rules.
    • Greg and the pig in a gas station bathroom in The Long Haul.
    • Rowley peeing behind a rock in The Meltdown.
  • Totally Radical: Parodied several times.
    • Greg receives a book for Christmas called Math is Rad.
    "It'll help you get a jump-start on Algebra!"
    • The It's Awesome to Be Me filmstrip in the first movie.
    • The healthy replacement for French fries is called "Extreme Sports Stix" and comes in a cool box, but it is easily seen to be just sliced carrots.
  • The Swear Jar: Susan sets one up because Manny is learning too many bad words from Rodrick and Greg. And Manny gets the money.
  • The Un Favourite: Rodrick and Greg. Especially Rodrick, more so than Greg (not by much though).
  • Themed Stock Board Game: Scrabble of all things. There's also one for Hot Potato.
  • Token Good Teammate: Susan. She's the only one who isn't a total Jerkass in the family. However, she is also the epitome of Stupid Good.
  • Trailer Spoof: A trailer for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul film starts out as a yet another Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, until the Black "W" Symbol appears and fades to cartoon Greg Hefley in disguise of muscle and cape. When the announcer says "Wimpy", Greg deflates like a balloon as the disguise failed (the animation is actually reused from the first movie). Then the real trailer starts.
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • The books are a downright Sadist Show filled with incompetent characters whereas Greg seems to view himself as the Only Sane Man, but even his journal entries leave hints to the reader that all is not what it seems in his world.
    • An example where it's Played for Laughs. One good example is during Ugly Truth, Greg says that they got a good thing going whereas Rowley is shown pulling Greg up the hill.
  • Unsuccessful Pet Adoption:
    • When the Heffleys adopt a dog named Sweetie in Dog Days, they find him too annoying and give him away to Grandma.
    • Manny tries to keep multiple pets in The Getaway including a sea turtle and a box jellyfish.
    • The Heffleys adopt a pig in The Long Haul. It seems as though the pig will stick around, but he escapes in The Meltdown.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Greg. Boy howdy, Greg. The movies downplay this a bit and make him a more fleshed out Jerk with a Heart of Gold, so if we take the movies as to what really happens behind the scenes, then Greg really needs to work on writing himself better in his journals.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • Greg and Rodrick have their own special language that allows them to swear at each other without getting in trouble (e.g. "Spooky stork!" "Squishy slime stick!" "Raspberry plastic tickle bear!").
    • Ploopy.
    • Fregley's cries of "JUUUIIICE!" when he has to use the bathroom.
  • Urban Legends: In Old School, an urban legend occurs at Hardscrabble Farms, that a deranged and maniac farmer with long, sharp claws, known as Silas Scratch, roams the farms and will kill anyone who goes near his shed. It is revealed that it was a hoax created by Frank, so he could use the high-quality maintenance shed he found as a child. Greg decides to keep the legend going, since he wants to use the maintenance shed himself when he grows up.
  • Vacation Episode:
    • Book 3, The Last Straw, has a scene with Greg, Rodrick, and Frank on a camping trip.
    • Book 9, The Long Haul, unfolds over the course of a road trip for the Heffleys (and thus takes place in the shortest time span of the series — less than a month — up to that point).
    • Book 12, The Getaway. This time the Heffleys fly to the island resort while Frank and Susan spent their honeymoon. The first leg of the book is about the flight and then the story turns to the actual vacation. Doubles as an unconventional Christmas Episode; Frank wants a break from traditional Christmas trappings and hassle.
  • Web First: This series started a webcomic. Then it adapted into a successful book series, which in turn was made into a series of films.
  • Wild Teen Party: Rodrick throws one of these in Rodrick Rules when Frank and Susan leave. (When the parents take another weekend trip later on in Rodrick Rules (and also in The Ugly Truth), they have the boys' grandfather babysit all of them so this won't happen again.)
    • In Double Down, Mariana Mendoza is known for hosting annual Halloween parties, which are rowdy and wild. Her parents don't care, as long as the party stays in the basement. A year before the books' events, the party got so large, that it spread to outside the house and the police had to end the party. This year, Mendoza only invites the band (actually only the woodwind part), so Greg tries to join the band.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: In-Universe example: The Snurfles is a kids show that consists entirely of armless aliens who speak in a very alien language. On top of that, it messes up kids' language and social skills.
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Because this is told in Greg's point of view, we never find out what Frank's job is.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Holiday Bazaar in Cabin Fever is never mentioned again after Greg is accused of vandalizing the school.
    • In the same book, Manny hacks Greg's Net Kritterz account and disables it by changing the password, preventing Greg from being able to log in. It's never mentioned again after that, likely meaning Gregory's Little Friend died.
    • The "Mad Pantser" from The Third Wheel was never caught!
    • In The Long Haul Greg tries to remember the family locker number at a water park when he loses their key. The locker he remembered turns out to be empty, leading the family to believe their stuff was stolen, which means Mom and Dad have to cancel their credit cards and get new cell phones. At the end of the book, it turns out that Greg had the key the whole time and got the locker number wrong. He doesn't know what to do about it, but he knows it'll turn out badly. By the next book, the whole thing is completely forgotten.
    • Does Rodrick still have his job at the Old-Timey Ice Cream Parlor?
    • What happened to Maddox after Greg's "playdate" with him in Double Down?
  • What You Are in the Dark: Greg lies and says he threw away the Cheese in the first book (in the movie he says he ate it) to cover for Rowley being forced to eat it. Only he, Rowley, the teen bullies and, in the movie, Angie know the truth.
  • Where There's a Will, There's a Sticky Note: In The Ugly Truth, the narration reveals that Greg's great-grandmother, Gammie, is so old that people have started putting sticky notes on her stuff. Greg points out that it's disrespectful before admitting that he also did it himself.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: In Rodrick Rules (the movie), Chirag dresses up as Holly to play a prank on Greg.
  • Why Don't You Marry It?: In Rodrick Rules, Greg has a flashback to when he was little and a kid named Quinn asked him if he liked ice cream. Greg responds, "Yeah!" and Quinn says, "Then why don't you marry it?" Greg then thinks that he will literally get married to an ice cream cone. When his mother explains it, he tries the joke out the next day:
    Greg: You're gonna grow up and get married to some ice cream! Ha!
  • Women Are Wiser: Girls are portrayed as well-behaved and sensible, barely breaking any rules; meanwhile, the boys (except for Greg, Rowley, and Fregley) are portrayed as rude, mischievous, and complete troublemakers. The Meltdown Subverts this by introducing some girls who are just bad as the boys.
  • Written Roar: "SCREAM!!!"
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The comic Xtreme Sk8ters, which is made by some kid at Greg's school.
  • You Are Grounded: Well duh! Who wasn't grounded as a teenager?
  • Your Tomcat Is Pregnant: In a flashback in Hard Luck, Aunt Gretchen told the Heffleys that her rabbit, one of the many pets she offered them to look over, was male. The Heffleys weren't happy when it gave birth to a litter.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Only in that Manny winds up getting treated much better than his siblings.

Well, we're out of trope examples, so I guess this is THE END.

Alternative Title(s): Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Rodrick Rules, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Dog Days, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid The Long Haul, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid The Last Straw, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid The Ugly Truth, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Cabin Fever, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid The Third Wheel, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Hard Luck, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Old School, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Double Down, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid The Getaway, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid The Meltdown


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