Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is the 2nd book in Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Releasing in 2008, this book follows the same example as the first book of Greg writing in his diary with simple illustrations.
This book heavily features Greg's brother, Rodrick, and Greg's grandparents. Major moments in this book include Rodrick playing with his band in a talent show, Greg enjoying a Dungeons and Dragons knockoff, Greg's mother inventing a monetary system for them, and Greg trying to prevent Rodrick from telling about an embarrassing secret.
Rodrick Rules provides examples of:
- A Day in the Limelight: This book has a focus on Rodrick.
- Ageless Birthday Episode: Rowley has his birthday in, although he doesn't get older.
- Asian and Nerdy: The girl voted "Most Likely To Succeed" in Rodrick's middle school yearbook is named Kathy Nguyen, a common Vietnamese surname.
- Bland-Name Product:
- Car Ride Games: 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.
- Comically Missing the Point: Susan plays Magick & Monsters with Greg, Rowley, and Leland.Leland: You run into a pack of orcs... and they look HUNGRY!
Susan: We give them all of our food!
- Concert Episode: Rodrick plays in his band for the talent show. They become famous, but only because of Rodrick's mother's ridiculous dancing.
- Crappy Homemade Gift: Manny breaks Greg's video game device and tries to make him an apology gift. Unfortunately, being only three, the best he can come up with is a ball of tinfoil with toothpicks poking out, which Greg's friend Rowley accidentally sits on.
- 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.Frank: Well, for starters, Abraham Lincoln didn't write To Kill a Mockingbird.
- Deliberately Cute Child: Discussed by Greg. He says that he used to have to do Rodrick's fundraisers for him, but now Rodrick makes Manny do them.Greg: Um... hello, sir... would you like to help support...
Man: Not interested!
Manny: Wood you wike some chokwits?
Man: How precious!
- Embarrassing Old Photo: 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: 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".
- 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.
- 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 spectacularly when he tells 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 for Rodrick, since the story gets mutated into Greg sneaking into the girls' changing room at Crosslands High.
- Hopeless Auditionees: Greg and Scotty are the only people to not get into the talent show. This is due to Greg not handing Scotty any of his props for his magic act.
- Hypocritical Humor: 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.
- Just Following Orders: When Greg's mom wants Greg to no longer lie, he tells every single truth from the fact a 200-pound kid can't play basketball due to his weight to the fact that Rowley's grandfather might not be alive next year.
- I Coulda Been a Contender!: Bill Watson, who was voted "Most Likely To Succeed" in Rodrick's middle school yearbook, ended up dropping out of high school and now works as a grocery store cashier. According to Greg, people still treat him like he's something special.
- 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.
- Magic Ampersand: Greg plays a game called Magick & Monsters.
- Memetic Mutation: In-Universe example: 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".
- Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Mom's attempt to make Greg and Rodrick resolve a fight consists of writing down what they did wrong and making them draw pictures of it (something she did with misbehaving kids as a preschool teacher). Greg draws a picture of baby Rodrick crying after being called a name and Rodrick draws himself pushing Greg off a cliff into the mouth of a hungry shark.
- 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.)
- Noodle Incident: Subverted. Greg talks 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.
- 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.
- Inept Aptitude Test: Greg takes a test for Career Day at his school. He thinks he'll be a billionaire with a mansion, but the test gives him the result "clerk."
- Stupid Good: In-Universe, Greg's mom plays Magick & Monsters 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. It fails miserably.
- Rock Bottom: By the end of the book, Rodrick has essentially hit this: His science project ends up being a complete waste of time, and without a makeup project, hell not only fail Science, hell flunk out of school all together. To make matters worse, his band both lost the school wide talent show, and the recording of the performance intended for record companies was ruined by Susan, who both commented over the tape and them danced to it, resulting in her embarrassing dance moves going viral and Rodrick (and Greg to a lesser extent) getting teased over it. Despite everything thats happening, Greg decides to take pity on his brother and help him make a new science project. While the outcome isnt revealed, its clear that Rodrick is still in school at least.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Greg's mom forces Rodrick to play Magick & Monsters 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.
- Take That!: Sherlock Sammy is a parody of the Encyclopedia Brown series. Each novel has the same plot, 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.
- Toilet Humor: Greg's "secret" is that he once walked into the wrong bathrooms at Leisure Towers.
- Why Don't You Marry It?: 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!
- Wild Teen Party: A major plot point in the book: Rodrick has one 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.)