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Series / Good Luck Charlie

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Pictured left to right: Gabe, Teddy, PJ, Amy, Toby, Bob, and Charlie.

"If you ever try and pull anything over on Mom, good luck, Charlie."
Amy Duncan

Good Luck Charlie is a domestic comedy series produced for the Disney Channel. It premiered on April 4, 2010 and aired its finale on Feburary 10, 2014 after 97 episodesnote .

The show revolves around the Duncan family, a typical working-class family living in a Hollywood writer's version of the Denver area. The family starts out as mother Amy, father Bob, eldest child P.J., eldest sister (and main character) Teddy (played by Bridgit Mendler), middle brother Gabe, and the new addition (implied to have been an unexpected pregnancy) of the youngest sister Charlotte (or "Charlie", giving the series its name). Season 3 also added a fifth child to the family, a boy named Toby.

In each episode, Teddy adds to a video diary that contains advice for Charlie about navigating life in their family and as a teenager in general, with each entry ending with Teddy (or another family member — even Charlie) saying, "Good luck, Charlie."

Believe it or not, Good Luck Charlie is the first low-concept Disney Channel show in nine years, since Lizzie McGuire premiered in 2001 (making it the first such series in the recognized Disney Channel Live-Action Universe). The creators worked meticulously on crafting a show with broad appeal and relatable characters, and wanted a show that whole families would watch and enjoy, rather than just tween girls. As with most KidComs, it is a bit of a stretch to call the Duncans a normal family.

A Disney Channel Original Movie of the series, Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas!, was originally aired on December 2, 2011, the first Christmas-themed DCOM to premiere in 10 years. It follows the Duncans as they try to make it to Palm Springs, California (and Amy's parents' new condo) in time for the holidays. Though they originally board a flight to Palm Springs, Teddy volunteers to be let off the plane due to overbooking in exchange for another plane ticket she plans to use for Spring Break. Due to all other flights being full, Teddy, accompanied by Amy, need to find an alternate means to get to Palm Springs. Wacky Hilarity Ensues.

Also had a Crossover Episode with Shake it Up titled Charlie Shakes it Up; unlike other Disney live-action series crossovers this only consisted of a single Good Luck Charlie episode rather than an episode for each participating series. A larger-scale crossover with Jessie aired in November 2013, Good Luck Jessie: NYC Christmas. There are also three extended episodes, Snow Show, Sun Show (both of which have the Duncans go on vacation) and Duncan Dream Home (the Season 4 opener).

After five years, four seasons and exactly 100 episodes, the series closed out on February 16, 2014 with the one-hour episode, Goodbye Charlie.

Not to be confused with Good Luck Chuck.note 

Good Luck Charlie provides examples of:

  • Abuse of Return Policy: In the B-plot of the episode, "Baby's New Shoes", Amy buys a $400.00 pair of high-heel shoes for a fancy party, but plans to return them to the store after the party. Unfortunately for Amy, Charlie finds the shoes and runs around the yard wearing them, getting them dirty and leaving Amy unable to return them.
  • Acting for Two: Bridgit Mendler as Teddy and Future Charlie in a dream in "Bye Bye Video Diary"note .
    • Patricia Belcher was acting for six as Mrs. Dabney and her quintuplets in the Credits Gag. But initially in the episode, she was only Acting for Two.
    • Jason Dolley in the Credits Gag of "Meet the Parents" in which a mostly Identical Stranger from Britain visits. PJ was pretending to be an ironically similar character earlier that episode, only this guy was from Ostritchishishishire.
    PJ: Ah. One "shish" short.
    • Leigh-Allyn Baker played both Amy Duncan and her jealous polar opposite spinster sister Jamie Blankenhooper in "Sister, Sister".
    • Eric Allan Kramer played both Bob and his non-canon mother during the Credits Gag of "Dress Mess".
  • Actor Allusion: In "Return to Super Adventure Land", Amy was replaced for the role Gabe's Mom by Gabe's (actual) mom.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Teddy in The Movie seemed to not learn her lesson at the end when she volunteers to get off the plane to get another free ticket, similar to how she did in the beginning that set the events of the movie in motion in the first place. This time Bob decides to chase after her instead of Amy.
    • Which fits in well with the whole Truth in Television aspect of the show.
    • Then with regards to Charlie's jealousy of Toby—In Doppel Date, Charlie is still jealous of Toby, despite learning to get over it in Guys and Dolls.
    • Amy has this in spades. She was banned from the kids' high school for attacking Teddy's Asshole Victim of an English teacher, who played Rules Lawyer in a very petty manner to lower her grade. You'd think that she'd remember this when the director of Charlie's day-care center does the same when she gives Bob grief over how he's dressed at drop-off; instead, she backs the director when Bob indulges in some well-played Loophole Abuse to get his point across.
  • Afraid to Hold the Baby: In the episode, "Baby Steps", Bob is afraid to carry his youngest son, Toby up and down the stairs after accidentally dropping Charlie in the series' first episode, as he's worried he might do the same to Toby. Gabe spends the episode trying to help Bob overcome this fear by having him practice carrying other things up and down the stairs. Near the end of the episode, Bob finally overcomes his fear, when P.J. bumps into him, causing him to drop Toby. Not only does Bob's fear come back, but it's now stronger than ever.
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted - Bob & Amy are fairly on the ball when it comes to what's going on under their roof, and have figured out several of the kids' schemes.
  • All Bikers are Hells Angels: PJ and Bob meet a gruff biker couple who threaten to gut them like fish when they try to steal their motorcycles. Subverted when the man starts bawling like a baby when Bob explains that they need the bikes to get to the hospital for Charlie's delivery.
    • Heck two of them become Charlie's godparents, to Amy and Bob's chagrin, though they do let them on anyway.
  • All There in the Manual: As per Disney Channel tradition, the website gives more in-depth information than could perhaps be gleaned from the show.
  • Almost Kiss:
    • The premiere has at least half a dozen between Teddy and Spencer.
    • Happens again in "Charlie Goes Viral".
    • Teddy and Spencer almost kiss twice in "Le Halloween" but are interrupted by the clowns.
  • Aloof Big Brother: (and Aloof Big Sister) PJ and Teddy toward Gabe, most of the time.
  • Amateur Film-Making Plot: In the B-Plot of "Termite Queen", Gabe's friend Jake gets a video camera as compensation for getting cut from the baseball team. This gives Gabe the idea to make a film called "Attack of the 50-Foot Baby", featuring Charlie as the titular baby. When Charlie doesn't do what Gabe and Jake want for the movie, Gabe glues Charlie's shoes to the floor. When Amy finds out, she is not happy, and takes Charlie out of the picture. During the closing credits, we get to see the blooper reel for "Attack of the 50-Foot Baby".
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents:
    • Bob and Amy Duncan are often considered embarrassing to their kids, and some episodes show they even do it intentionally.
    • Ivy's parents are even worse. Their idea of "fun" includes building a jigsaw puzzle, eating liver and onions and playing on the piano "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" in German. Ivy even admits that her parents' antics are the reason she spends most of her time at Teddy's house.
  • And Starring: Jason Dolley, who plays eldest son PJ, rather than one of the two parents as is more typical for family sitcoms (though Eric Allan Kramer gets a "with" credit). This is probably because of his years of long and loyal service to the Mouse House.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Gabe.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Jo says that she likes "monster trucks, mixed martial arts... and dolls."
    • In "Hawaiian Vacation Part 2", Amy claims that "it's all because of the curse. Me getting stuck in that elevator, the boys almost crashing in a helicopter, Teddy getting knocked out, you buying that shirt....
  • Art Reflects Personality: Amy has been taking art classes in her private time and asks her family to critique a painting she had made. They aren't sure what the painting is depicting and make way off guesses about what it is (mostly pertaining to what they like), much to her frustration. It's a banana. Amy is frustrated because this means her family's oblivious and inconsiderate of how much work she puts into taking care of them.
  • Artistic License – History:
    PJ: Hey, this is just like the time that Gandhi and Billie Jean King teamed up to help stop the Civil War!
    Teddy: Wow, almost every single word in that sentence was wrong.
  • Artistic License – Law: A plotline of "Snow Show" involves Amy and Bob discovering that they aren't legally married because the judge who issued their marriage license wasn't a real judge. However, they live in Colorado, which recognizes common law marriages. Amy and Bob meet the basic requirements (living together, having the legal right to marry, and generally acting as a married couple), so their lack of a genuine license should be a non-issue.
  • Ass Shove: When PJ interrupts Teddy's make-out, er... study, session with his loud guitar playing, she threatens to do this with his amplifier cable:
    Teddy: Next time I have to come down here, this is getting plugged in someplace else.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In "Girl Bites Dog", Teddy has two dreams that feature a giant Charlie attacking Spencer, one before and one after the break-up.
    • In another episode, Gabe tries to film a movie called "Attack of the 50 Foot Baby."
  • Baby Talk: In the episode "Baby Comes Back", Amy and Bob constantly use baby talk around Charlie to the point where Teddy sends them out on a date to distract them.
    • In a later episode, PJ's new girlfriend, Kayla, always speaks this way around Charlie.
  • Band Episode:
    • In "Battle of the Bands", PJ and Emmett sign up for the titular contest, and Teddy starts her own band with Skyler. Teddy's ex-boyfriend Spencer also competes, but he is alone (which the people running the contest allow, saying it attracts more people). During rehearsals, Skyler takes an interest in PJ and he takes an interest in her as well, which leads Skyler to not want to practice with Teddy anymore, as she doesn't want to compete against her new boyfriend, saying it will affect their relationship. Teddy, Skyler, PJ and Emmett all join forces, which results in their band winning first prize.
    • In "The Bob Duncan Experience", after PJ accidentally breaks the one and only record made by Bob's titular high-school band, he gets the band back together. However, the band have trouble rehearsing when Amy keeps butting in.
  • Barbershop Episode: In the C-plot of "Bad Luck, Teddy!", P.J. gets too old for his haircut at the Orange Balloon barbershop, so Bob takes him to his regular barbershop, where P.J. falls for Syd, an attractive female barber. When P.J. finds Syd giving a haircut to another client, he has another crazy barber who works at the same place cut his hair to make her jealous, which results in him getting endless scrapes and cuts.
  • Being Good Sucks: Gabe feels this way whenever he is forced to do something good.
  • Berserk Button: This cannot be stressed enough: Do not call Amy "crazy" or "a pest" in front of Bob. (Yes Mr. Piper, we're talking to you.)
  • The B Grade: In the episode "Teddy's Little Helper", Teddy uses Charlie to help her get out of the abomination of getting a B in English class on her progress report. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Inverted with Ivy in the same episode. She gets a B and is pleasantly surprised. But when she gets a second B in a row, she realizes her mom will come to expect good grades from her, so she decides to change it to a D.
  • Big Eater: Bob is a huge eater as he eats a lot of things. It makes him very fat and the entire family (mostly Gabe) makes fun of him for it
  • Big "NO!": In "Battle Of The Bands," when Teddy finds out who Skyler's dating...
    Teddy (looking at the pictures of Skyler and friend that just came out of a photo booth): No, no, NOOOO!!!
    PJ (popping out of said booth): Yes, yes, YES!
  • Bilingual Bonus: It is revealed in Appy Days that Amy is a Spanish speaker.
  • Birds of a Feather: Gabe and Jo
  • Birthday Buddies: Toby was born on the same day as Charlie three years apart.
  • Birthday Episode:
    • This was done once a season for the title character.
    • There's also "Gabe's 12 1/2 birthday", which involved a belated birthday celebration for Gabe.
  • Bishōnen: PJ. Then again, Jason Dolley is one of Disney's token teen heartthrobs...
  • Black and Nerdy: Emmett.
  • Blackmail:
    Gabe: Teddy, we both know there's a motorcycle, we both know there's a guy, and we both know I have photos.
  • Bland-Name Product: A movie theater box office is shown to accept "Vista" cards, possibly a reference to the Vista Federal Credit Union, a large bank on Walt Disney World property that also hosts the world's largest sundial. And Gabe plays "Pokeo" (but not Wigimon), a game with cartoon creatures.
  • Book Dumb: Ivy, who waited until her sophomore year in high school to get her highest grade ever: a B.
  • Book Ends: In the first episode, Teddy is making her first video diary entry for Charlie; in the series finale, she makes her last entry.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: In "Wentz's Weather Girls", Gabe starts making his own video diary complete with a play on Teddy's tagline: "Good Fortune, Toby."
  • Bouquet Toss: Played with during Amy and Bob's second wedding. Teddy Ivy and all the other girls in the ski resort fight over who gets the bouquet. It ends up being caught by Charlie.
  • A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family: The family started with 2 boys and 2 girls, with Charlie going from about 9 months old to about 4. Gabe generally filled the "baby" role for plot lines. Season 3 added an even younger child, which gave Charlie some issues about no longer being the youngest.
  • Boyfriend-Blocking Dad: Bob toward Teddy. Given her eagerness to make out with guys, he has good reason.
  • The Brainless Beauty: Skyler.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: From "Baby's First Vacation": "It's the ghost." "Or the killer." "Or the killer ghost." "Or the ghost killer."
  • Broken Aesop: In "Guys and Dolls", Bob gives Spencer an impromptu session on a sure-fire way to calm Teddy down over ANY issue that may upset her, no matter how trivial it is. Unfortunately, Amy overhears this and tells Teddy, who turns the tables on Spencer soon afterward. Amy also puts Bob in the doghouse over this as well, with both ladies overlooking the fact that while the guys were a bit shady in how they did things, they were trying to make Amy and Teddy feel better about themselves.
  • Brought Home the Wrong Kid: PJ hits on a girl with an identical baby carriage. Charlie is a girl, but this girl was carrying a boy with her. You can imagine what happened.
  • Bumbling Dad: Mostly averted with Bob. Although he has plenty of his own quirks, he's a very competent father and often plays Only Sane Man when someone else, especially Amy, creates a scheme.
  • Burger Fool: "Kwikki Chikki" is a textbook example, apart from being a KFC ripoff as opposed to "one of them burger boys".
  • Butt-Dialing Mordor: This happens to both Teddy and PJ in the episode "Butt-Dialing Duncans".
  • Butt-Monkey: Gabe.
    PJ: We used to do all kinds of fun stuff.
    Gabe: When did that stop?
    Teddy: Let's see... how old are you?
  • California Doubling: Semi-Averted in The Movie, filmed largely in Utah and Las Vegas (where at least portions of the plot play out). Played straight in the series, which is entirely shot on a Burbank soundstage.
    • Speaking of The Movie, the exterior shot of "Denver International Airport" is really Reagan National Airport. You can clearly see the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument in the background!
  • Call-Back: "Baby Steps" calls back to the first episode, "Study Date."
    • "Sister, Sister" calls back to "Take Mel Out to the Ball Game."
    • "Down A Tree" goes full circle with "Up a Tree", where the whole family is on the treehouse, and it falls, again.
  • The Cameo: The season 4 premiere featured many of The Muppets.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': In the supermarket, Charlie takes a pair of sunglasses off a stand like babies are prone to do and is caught by security when they go through the sensors.
    • This wouldn't be so bad if the 'psycho, thinks he's a cop', security guard didn't treat Charlie like a hardened criminal. He takes mugshots of her, refuses to let anyone leave until the cops come to take them away, and accuses the baby of being a little person.
    • Many of Teddy's video logs (the ones she's recording for Charlie) reflect upon this trope.
    • Most of the humor around the Bob/Amy relationship is built around this trope. Bob's usually on the receiving end (Guys and Dolls is almost the Trope Codifier for this) but this trope occasionally bites Amy on the rear end, too.
  • Captain's Log: Teddy's video diary, intended for Charlie's viewing later on, forms a substantial portion of the narrative.
  • Catchphrase: "Good luck, Charlie."
  • Caught on the Jumbotron: This happens when Teddy's Great-Uncle Mel is brought to a baseball game and proceeds to moon the players —thankfully, Teddy and Ivy manage to cover Mel with foam hands when the camera predictably ends up on the scene.
  • Character Development: Spencer started out looking like a Satellite Love Interest, but later turned out to be pretty interesting. And then turns out to be a cheating Jerkass. To his credit, Spencer deeply regretted his actions, and has made up with Teddy. They're dating once more. Then there's the time Spencer and Teddy broke up again, this time due purely through circumstance. It simultaneously cemented the relationship while demoting it.
    • Then there's Charlie herself—as she grows up, she seems to take after Gabe, who was jealous of her, whereas now Charlie is jealous of Toby. She also appears to be shaping up to be a troublemaker, like Gabe.
  • Childhood Memory Demolition Team: Bob has to saw down the kids' old tree house in a deal made with Mrs. Dabney.
  • Christmas Episode: Two of them: the first one was actually The Movie.
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury: In "Boys Meet Girls" Gabe gets beat up by a girl bully twice and hides his black-eye with a hat and his busted lip with his jacket, respectively. Teddy doesn't fall for either case.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: PJ and Skyler.
  • Clueless Aesop: When Teddy was dating the last Po-Ki-Oh player, the intended Aesop was "don't change yourself for your boyfriend," but the viewer can see it as "Don't date nerds because they have strange hobbies".
    • On top of that, it seems just a wee bit like a Broken Aesop, as well; the beginning of the episode had Teddy trying to learn more about her boyfriend's interests. So Gabe teaches her how to play the game, and in the process, Teddy not only learns more about what her boyfriend likes, but strengthens the bond between her and her brother Gabe. Seems like a nice "nerds are people too" lesson, right? Well, it's undercut when we learn that the boyfriend's a LARPer and his friends are all a bunch of stereotypical childish losers.
      • What's worse, they weren't even acting like stereotypical childish losers if you really think about it. As far as they were concerned, Teddy, supposedly a veteran player, wanted to join their LARP group, only to then insult everyone and complain about being there. Of course they wouldn't respond well to that. And then there's the reason why Teddy's "don't let someone force you into something you don't enjoy" doesn't stand: her date didn't force her to play Po-Ki-Oh. Quite the opposite, actually. He didn't even want her to know he was playing the game. He decided to take Teddy to a Po-Ki-Oh LARP on a date because she pretended to like the game, not the other way around.
    • Also, in the episode where Teddy gets back together with Spencer, the only lesson that could be glean from that was "if a guy cheats on you, lies to you about it, and basically shows no regard for you whatsoever in doing that, it's still okay to get back together with him as long as he's hot." However, Spencer did feel guilty about it, and he nobly considered quitting his job so that Teddy wouldn't have to feel uncomfortable, so it could be taken the lesson is "If a person's truly sorry, its okay to give them another chance". To be fair though, their actors started dating in real life shortly before their characters got back together.
    • Possibly in "Up A Tree." The Duncan family couldn't get sleep because Mrs. Dabney got an obnoxious dog that was barking all night keeping them up. Bob agrees that if she brings the dog in at night, he'll cut down a branch causing her problems. Teddy is against it because if the branch goes so does her old tree house they don't use anymore. In the end the entire family takes her side. What's the lesson here? "Remnants of your childhood are more important than getting sleep (which you need to live) even if you don't need them anymore."
      • And then it turns the dog didn't belong to her, that it was someone else's dog she was taking care of and she was messing with them the whole time, which makes this entire episode pointless.
  • Continuity Nod: In the movie: while Charlie is on somewhat of a rampage at her Grandma's living room, she knocks over a fragile and expensive knick-knack. Bob hurries to catch it, which he does. This may remind viewers of the first episode (and the trailer for the episode) in which Bob catches Charlie in a similar slow-mo fashion.
    • The C-plot of The Movie (the Duncan men ending up in a paintball war) ties back to Gabe's love of video games. Also, the Z-Cube 700 confiscated at the airport is a direct Shout-Out to the events in "Can You Keep A Secret?"
    • In the episode "Special Delivery", a couple of Charlies old toys that were present in earlier episodes make an appearance at Charlie's birthday party. The mangled stuffed monkey from "Monkey Business", and Tennis ball head from "Up A Tree", which is a doll with no head and tennis ball in its place that was originally Teddy's.
    • Also from the same episode, Amy proclaims, "Mama's having a baby child" Which she tried to ad-lib into Teddy's play in "Pushing Buttons" about Bob and Amy telling her she was pregnant with Charlie. However Amy didn't actually say this when she was pregnant with Charlie, and she didn't go into labor with Toby when she said it the second time, it was just a diversion.
    • An interesting (albeit accidental) inversion: In "Teddy and the Bambino", Bob mentions having dropped both Charlie and Toby, which recalls both the pilot ("Study Date") and "Baby Steps." However, in "Study Date" Amy claims that Bob dropped yet another one of the kids as a baby, making the total at least three.
    • In "Doppel Date" it's revealed that Bob and Amy still have yet to correct P.J.'s legal name from "Potty John."
      • Also from that episode, Spencer's date who looks a lot like Teddy is named Gigi, which was Teddy's nickname in "Ditch Day".
  • Cool Big Sis: Teddy can be this to Gabe when she's not busy being the Aloof Big Sister.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: PJ "accidentally" drops a bully's phone in a chemistry beaker in an attempt to destroy an Irrevocable Message. It doesn't work.
  • Could Say It, But...: Gabe uses this on PJ a couple of times in the Hawaiian episode.
  • Crappy Holidays: The Christmas special movie.
  • Credits Gag: Over the end credits of every episode there's an epilogue to the story, usually with something unrealistic happening. Generally regarded as non-canon.
  • Crossover: With Shake it Up, entitled "Charlie Shakes It Up".
    • A Christmas themed crossover with Jessie titled "Good Luck Jessie: NYC Christmas"
  • Crotch-Glance Sex Check: Parodied in "Special Delivery." Bob refers to his new car as a "she," and PJ, confused as to how he can tell the car is a girl, drops down to look underneath the car.
  • The Cue Cards Knew You Would Say That: In "Nurse Blankenhooper", Teddy comes down with laryngitis the day before a critical presentation in class. When she tells her partner that she has to do the presentation, she responds to her objections with a set of bizarrely specific pre-written cards. Lampshaded by Bob.
    Bob: Hey, I bet you don't have a card for me.
    Teddy: (holds up card that reads "GET OUT")
  • The Cutie: Charlie attracts an "Aww" from the studio audience nearly every time she's on camera.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gabe, constantly.
    • Teddy has the occasional Snarker moment as well.
    • Pretty much all the Duncans have shades of this. Not to forget their neighbor, Ms. Dabney.
  • Deliberate Under-Performance: "Teddy's Little Helper" has both Ivy and Teddy receive a B in class. To Teddy, this is The B Grade, and she desperately tries to do better. For Ivy, it's at first a miracle, as she almost never gets a grade that high...until it happens again, in which case, she starts to panic, realizing her parents will start to expect this from her.
  • Delayed Reaction: PJ refuses to go to the dentist so Amy asks him to bite on an apple to prove if his teeth are really healthy as he is saying. Seconds after PJ leaves the room, Amy starts counting leading to PJ's painful scream.
  • The Dentist Episode: In the B-plot of "Charlie in Charge", P.J. is afraid of going to the dentist for an appointment, and since Bob has to take Amy to the spa (with a side-stop to get rid of a possum, later revealed to be a skunk), Teddy has to take P.J. to the dentist. She does so by tricking him into thinking she broke her tooth. This leaves Gabe and Jo to look after Charlie until they get back. Because P.J. puts up quite a fight, Teddy's tooth is broken for real, and thus both Teddy and P.J. have to spend the rest of the day at the dentist.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Back-to-back in "Teddy's Bear". Mr. Piper gives Teddy a lower grade because 'she didn't fill the oval in completely', and then writes up a disciplinary notice on her when she breaks the point off one of his pencils.
    • In "Boys Meet Girls", Jo dislocates Gabe's shoulder when she thinks he's cheating at the game they're playing.
    • In "Charlie Did it!" Hugo the store manager arrest Charlie, a infant for taking a pair of sunglasses. This is further show by his having mugshot of her done.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In the episode "Baby Come Back", PJ takes Charlie out for a stroll in the park. He runs into a post at the sight of Emma, a cute girl taking her baby brother out for a stroll. This would've been only mildly amusing if not for the following:
    Teddy: (furious) How could you bring home the wrong baby?
    PJ: I'm sorry; I got a little distracted: Emma is really cute!
    Teddy: Yeah, so's our little sister.
  • The Ditz: Gabe's friend Jake, almost to the point of being an Expy of Ralph Wiggum.
    • Also, Van Brunt.
    PJ: He can't even count to 10, which coincidentally is the number of years he's going to be in high school.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: "Hang In There, Baby", performed by Bridgit Mendler.
    • Also "I'm Gonna Run to You", also by Bridgit Mendler, for The Movie
  • Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: In the episode "Doppel Date", Teddy, while trying to move on from Spencer, briefly dates a guy named Zach who looks almost exactly like Spencer.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: There is a girl in Gabe's class that beats him up constantly and even gives him a busted lip. But it's totally justified since she has a crush on him. It's also Truth in Television for pre-teens.
  • Dreadful Musician: PJ and Emmett.
  • Driving a Desk: All of the scenes involving automobiles thus far.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Bob with the new car. First, he crashes it into the kitchen. Then, in the credits, he crashes it into the eighth floor of a building.
  • Dumb Jock: Spencer, from Victor's point of view.
  • The Eeyore: Gabe seems to find some therapeutic value in bemoaning his new family situation.
  • Embarrassing First Name: According to his birth certificate, PJ's name is revealed to be "Potty John". Bob tries to get it corrected, but PJ's name is now "PP" Duncan.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: The last episode is called "Good Bye Charlie". Teddy is also making her last video diary before leaving for college.
  • Entertainment Below Their Age: PJ is a fan of The Gurgles, a singing group and TV show of the same name for toddlers.
  • Every Episode Ending: Teddy's last entry in the video diary for the episode, which always ends with a Title Drop.
  • Evil-Detecting Baby: In "Girl Bites Dog", Charlie bites Spencer because she somehow knows he's cheating on Teddy.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Mrs. Dabney has been practicing her evil laugh for years, making her voice sound deeper as she does it.
    • Gabe also has an evil laugh in "Appy Days".
  • Expy: PJ is a grungier, working-class version of Newt Livingston. This is made even more pronounced by the fact that the same actor plays both characters. PJ is probably smarter than Newt, but the characters on this show are smarter too, so it balances out.
    • PJ and Emmett's band is in a similar style to Cory and Newt, minus the singer. As for PJ's intelligence, Newt was intelligent, but only when it came to things that the others didn't know; PJ on the other hand does not have any form of intellectual knowledge, but is capable of handling himself.
    • Ivy is also clearly Mercedes.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: In one episode, PJ learns that Skylar's wrestler ex-boyfriend Brock is jealous of their relationship and wants to fight him. PJ is afraid he'll get the snot beat out of him but then it turns out that, like most high school wrestlersnote , Brock is a short, skinny guy who is absolutely dwarfed by PJ and can't beat him up.
  • Face Doodling: Charlie draws on Teddy's face when the latter is forced to sleep in the former's crib because of Gabe's Slumber Party. This ironically helps Teddy get a role in the school play of Beauty and the Beast. Teddy even lampshades this in her video diary.
    Teddy: If you ever draw on my face again, well good luck Charlie.
    • In a later episode, PJ, Gabe and Jake's brother, Logan, draw on Bob's face as a way for PJ to show Gabe and Logan that he isn't becoming like Bob. They try to draw on Amy too, but she catches them and kicks them out. Bob mistakenly thinks that Amy was the one who drew on his face to teach him a lesson for giving bad advice to Spencer about guys impressing girls by getting angry over the simplest of things.
  • Fake Video Camera View: Used for Teddy's video diaries.
  • Fictional Board Game: In "Teddy and the Bambino", PJ, Gabe and Charlie play a board game called Puppy Town. As they play the game, PJ and Gabe keep getting arrested by Sheriff Kitty, and question the logic of why a dog would take orders from a cat.
  • Fishing Episode: In the A-plot of "Teddy On Ice", the Wentz family invites Teddy to go ice fishing with them in a cabin in the mountains. Mr. Wentz is reluctant to let Teddy fish with his favorite fishing pole, Betsy, due to her accidentally destroying his old car, Gracie, in a previous episode, "Amazing Gracie". Sure enough, when Teddy tries to catch a fish, she accidentally drops Betsy into the water. Near the end of the episode, when Teddy accidentally falls into the water, she manages to catch the fish that swallowed Betsy. This redeems her in Mr. Wentz's eyes, and he invites her to come back next year, much to her horror.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Amy pushes Teddy to try to be the school mascot, purely because she was the mascot when she was a student.
    • Bob states that he'd like PJ to join him in pest control, and he'd rename the company to "Duncan & Son" if he did. PJ immediately decides to go study.
  • Foreign Remake: Rather than broadcasting a dubbed or subtitled version (like they do in, you know, every other country), Disney Channel India created its own show, "Best Of Luck Nikki", in Hindi with Indian actors and localized content. The storylines are usually identical for every episode, but they actually went to the trouble of localizing the cultural jokes and translating the theme song. It's not a bad tool to use to learn Hindi.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The chalkboard on the fridge has a section for chores, as well as sections which mostly serve as To-Do lists for each Duncan, even Charlie. If it's visible, expect it to at least vaguely be part of the episode and most of the time a huge part of the it.
    • In "Weekend in Vegas": Harry and Mary Lou taking Teddy and Ivy to the Four Corners Monument is the first clue that they're going to Las Vegas, New Mexico.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Duncan Kids
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Charlie ruins Amy's baby shower by showing just how much she understood of an earlier conversation. There was also an episode where Amy and Bob tried to find out how Charlie learned a bad word.
  • Future Loser: Charlie in the vision that Teddy has of her as a teenager in "Bye Bye Video Diary". Averted in the actual continuity, as the Flash Forward episode shows Future!Charlie to be a lot like Teddy.
  • Gamer Chick: Jo, and she takes it very seriously. She ends up dislocating Gabe's shoulder when she thinks he's cheating at the game they're playing.
  • Gasshole: The entire Duncan family has such tendencies (Teddy even admits it), but special mention goes to Amy while she was pregnant.
    • Bob admits to having a gas-related joke for every venue.
  • Gaussian Girl: Gabe has this reaction when he sees Jo dressed up for Cotillion.
  • Gender-Blender Name:
    • Charlie, Teddy and Jo.
      • Charlie's real name is Charlotte though, so it's really more of an 'Only Known by Their Nickname' case. Jo is also probably short for a more feminine name as well, like Joanne.
    • Mad Dog and Francis, Charlie's biker godparents.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Prior to the introduction of Toby midway through the show's third season, the Duncan family consisted of three males (Bob, PJ, and Gabe) and three females (Amy, Teddy, and Charlie).
  • Genre Savvy: Every single Duncan. Arguably, one of the major drawing points of the show.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Amy and Bob try to interrogate Gabe this way about Charlie saying a bad word. Naturally, Amy plays the bad cop and Bob plays the good cop. However, Gabe sees through their deception.
  • Gone Horribly Right: PJ tries to use Charlie to pickup girls at the mall. Unfortunately, it works so well that the girl he scores is only interested in Charlie.
  • G-Rated Drug: Ivy is apparently a recovering chocolate addict.
  • Grocery Store Episode: In "Charlie Did It!", Teddy goes to the Reddi Mart to buy more diapers for Charlie. Gabe volunteers to go with her, having been punished for making a mess in the kitchen and blaming it on Charlie. When Charlie takes a pair of sunglasses when they try to leave, Hugo, the store's manager, who has had many a nasty experience with Gabe before, thinks Charlie is a shoplifter and holds the Duncan kids hostage so he can take mugshots of Charlie. To escape from Hugo, Teddy encourages Gabe to trash the store as much as he can.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: In the episode where Charlie was born, Bob is threatened to be gutted like a fish after he and PJ are caught trying to steal bikes to get to the hospital where Amy is in labor. Fortunately, he manage to explain everything and the bikers agree to give them a ride anyway.
  • Halloween Episode: There were 3 Halloween episodes in this series: "Scary Had a Little Lamb" "Le Halloween" and "Fright Night".
  • Happily Married: Bob and Amy.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X":
    Amy: Grab your buns! It's sloppy joe night!
    Gabe: Heh heh, Mom said "grab your buns."
  • Henpecked Husband: Bob.
  • Hey, Wait!: PJ and Gabe accidentally spill grape juice on the yellow couch and replace it with a green one that looks very similar to the one they used to have before the termite infestation, hoping to fool their parents' minds. Amy at first notices that something looks different, but claims it's a living room ornament being out of place and moves it. However,as she is walking up the stairs, she subverts this trope by shouting out: "Lucky for you guys, I hated that yellow couch!". This is invoked with Bob in the same episode, as he only suspects the "new old couch" because he keeps losing his phone in it.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: In a unique straight-playing case, Leigh-Allyn Baker announced to the cast and crew that she was pregnant with her second child after they finished filming the birth episode. Thus, she filmed several episodes of the show after Toby was born wearing looser shirts that could be passed off in-universe as not having lost the baby weight.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Bob and Amy. Bob played basketball; Amy was the mascot.
  • Holding Both Sides of the Conversation: In "Appy Days", Teddy tricks both her mother and Ivy's mother into letting them both go to a senior party by recording a conversation on her phone and playing it back so it appears their mothers are giving their approval.
  • Hollywood Genetics: Parents Bob and Amy both have blonde hair and blue eyes, which are recessive genes. Yet, PJ is their only blonde-haired, blue-eyed child. Gabe and Toby have brown hair and brown eyes. Teddy and Charlie are both blonde, but Teddy's eyes are brown and Charlie's are hazel.
  • Hollywood Law: Apparently, Grand Theft Auto and kidnapping are dismissed as harmless pranks as long as it's funny.
  • Homeschooled Kids: "Dress Mess" has PJ attend the prom of a girl who's homeschooled.
  • Homework Slave: Both played straight and inverted in "Butt Dialing Duncans"; P.J.'s lab partner is George Van Brundt, who saddles P.J. with doing all of their science project, and giving him his phone number to call him when said project is finished. Emmett's lab partner tells Emmett that there's no need for them to get together, and volunteers to do the science project all on his own and put both their names on it. This earns him a hug from Emmett, much to his disdain.
  • Hospital Hottie: Amy.
  • How We Got Here:
    • The episode in which Charlie turns two opens on all four of the Duncan kids in a prison cell. Bob and Amy arrive, prompting them to relate the events leading up to their incarceration.
    • The season 3 finale "All Fall Down" begins with the Duncans in a hotel and Teddy telling the story of why they're there.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Bob is played by Eric Allan Kramer, who measures 6'3" (190 cm), and quite noticeably dwarfs his wife Amy, who (based on comparison with Teddy) is maybe 5'3" (160 cm) on a good day.
  • Humiliation Conga: Bob and Amy's preferred form of punishment, when the kids try to sneak out to parties and the like.
  • Hurrying Home for the Holidays: In the movie, Teddy and Amy have to get to Amy's parents' house for Christmas after missing their flight with the rest of the family.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Duncan's Got Talent", Ivy calls Spencer chicken for not telling Teddy she can't dance, but Ivy didn't tell her either.
  • I Can't Dance: In "Duncans Got Talent", Teddy is shown to be a terrible dancer and makes such exploding moves that Spencer faked an injury to get out of entering the talent show with her. She enters with Emmett instead and ends up injuring everyone onstage.
  • Identical Grandson: Played for Laughs; The whole episode "The Bob Duncan Experience" has PJ being afraid he'll grow older being overweight and bald, looking exactly like his father, Bob, when Bob shows him an old picture of him from when he was in a high school rock and metal band with his old friends, and he emphasizes how he was identical to PJ as a young teenager. Flashbacks are even shown with the younger Bob looking exactly identical to PJ as a teenager.
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: In the 2013 Halloween episode, Amy, in search of an interesting news story, leaves Victor trapped in a hole just so that she could do a story on it, ignoring his pleas for help until somebody else responded to the call.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Amy to Spencer after he and Teddy get back together.
  • Informed Flaw: The messiness of the Duncan house.
  • Intoxication Ensues: In the series premiere, Bob returns from the emergency room, having been administered some crazy powerful pain pills. He shakes Teddy's hand (believing her to be her study date, Spencer), kisses Spencer goodnight (believing him to be Teddy), and derives an unlimited amount of amusement value from the word "coccyx".
  • Irrevocable Message: In the episode "Butt-Dialing Duncans", PJ and Emmett accidentally send a voice message of them insulting the school bully and try to stop him from hearing it. They thought they succeeded after destroying the bully's phone, but the bully gets the message on his new phone anyway and punishes them.
  • Irony: In "Special Delivery", one of the tricks that Teddy attempts to get Amy to go into labor is scaring Amy (which doesn't work). The next day, determined not to give birth on Charlie's birthday, Amy asks for peace and quiet. When Bob crashes the new car into the kitchen while Amy is in the kitchen, the shock of the crash may have ironically caused Amy to go into labor.
  • It's Always Spring: Averted, as several episodes have taken place during the winter, without ever mentioning Christmas.
    • One episode was notable for taking place during the late spring... and having a huge blizzard.
  • Jerkass: Mrs. Dabney.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Mr. Piper, to the level of Genre Blindness.
  • Job's Only Volunteer: In one episode, Teddy is forced to try out for the school's mascot to appease her mother, who did the mascot job when she was in highschool. Teddy intentionally throws the audition, but is still given the role, as she was the only one who tried out.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Mr. Piper, in "Teddy's Bear". He's also a Karma Houdini, as the principal doesn't ask why Amy was chasing him (or demand that he change her grade back - the cause of all the problems). Amy is forced to apologize to him; he makes rude comments to Bob about Amy, and neither of them manage to catch him.
  • The Lad-ette: Jo is a prepubescent version.
  • LARP: In the episode "LARP in the Park", naturally enough.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Gabe ends up having a kid who is as destructive as him. While Amy and Bob are sympathetic towards him, when he's not around, they agree he deserves it.
  • Lawful Stupid: The store manager in "Charlie Did It!" who detained the kids because Charlie unknowingly shoplifted a pair of sunglasses.
  • Left the Background Music On: Played with in the episode "The Case of Mr. Dabney", in which Mrs. Dabney says things to Bob that reinforce Gabe and PJ's suspicion that she killed her husband, punctuated by omninous-sounding music coming from a murder mystery playing on TV. Only the third time, it's not coming from the TV.
  • Lemonade Stand Plot: In the B-plot of "The Bob Duncan Experience", Gabe and his friend Leo decide to run a lemonade stand, but after they argue about how to organize it, they run rival stands and start being bitterly competitive.
  • Lethal Chef: Amy is such a bad cook that in the episode "Duncans Thanksgiving", PJ (who has a talent in cooking) tries to trick her so he bake the Thanksgiving turkey insteaf.
  • Let Me Tell You a Story: Subverted in one episode. Gabe is feeling down because of jealousy over Charlie and Mrs. Dabney says she's going to tell him a story. She proceeds to tell him about the sister she hated as a child and caps it off by...saying that she still hates her. He asks how it's supposed to make him feel better and she says "I didn't say it was gonna make you feel better, I said I was gonna tell you a story."
  • "London, England" Syndrome: In "Weekend in Vegas", Teddy joins Ivy on a trip to Las Vegas...New Mexico.
  • Loophole Abuse: In the first episode "Study Date", Amy is going to the hospital for the first time since Charlie's birth and orders everyone to stay home and cater to her while she is away, which forces Teddy to cancel her study date with Spencer at the library. However, Teddy decides to take advantage of this statement and realizes Amy didn't tell her to cancel the date altogether, so she moves the date to the Duncan house and studies with Spencer in the living room.
  • Love at First Sight: PJ and Skyler, the moment they first encounter each other, are immediately smitten.
  • Mama Bear: Actually used by the Duncans to describe Amy - and she owns the trope to very good effect.
    • One episode title directly lampshades this trope - the episode where Amy goes after one of Teddy's teachers is titled "Teddy's Bear."
  • Manipulative Editing: In "Duncan's Got Talent", Jo tricks Gabe into letting her record footage of him, claiming they'll use it in a campaign ad for him, but she instead makes it a campaign ad for her, showing the clips out of context to make him look bad.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Gabe, although he's technically not (nor has he ever been) the middle child. It would appear this trope was averted prior to Charlie's birth, as the middle child was also the Duncans' only daughter.
    • He is gonna be the middle child soon, however, as now we know that Amy is pregnant with another baby.
  • Minor Flaw Major Break Up: Teddy is told by a psychic that she will meet the love of her life during the family's vacation in the ski lodge and is torn between two guys she just met and Spencer. She invites Ivy over to the ski lodge and they examine the two other guys. The first is turned down because of his Annoying Laugh, and the second seems perfect but is also turned down when he receives a phone call from his mother whom he calls prettier than Teddy and Ivy.
  • Missing Child: One episode has the kids looking after Charlie while their parents go out to dinner. They all take her out of the house and after a while, think they've lost her and have no idea where they can possibly find her.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: PJ and Gabe misinterpret their next door neighbor Mrs. Dabney's outburst at her soap operas, and her attempts to get rid of a bad smell and a large, heavy trunk as evidence that she murdered her husband.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: An unusual example of this trope in a mountainous state. When Teddy drives Mrs. Dabney to Boulder, it's portrayed as a distant destination "in the mountains," complete with perilous roads containing hazards like getting stuck in a mud hole or running out of gas. In reality, Boulder is (traffic notwithstanding) not that long of a drive from Denver, the road connecting them is a superhighway, and the space between them mainly comprises existing or expanding suburbs.
  • Mooning: Mel does this in "Take Mel Out to the Ball Game" in front of the crowd at a baseball game. Teddy and Ivy had to censor it for comedy.
  • Mouthy Kid: Gabe IS this Trope. It could almost be called The Gabe.
    Bob: Gabe, you wearing aftershave?
    Gabe: Yeah.
    Bob: Why would you do that? You're not shaving.
    Gabe: As long was we're being logical, why you do still have a comb?
  • The Movie: Good Luck Charlie: It's Christmas!
  • Movie-Theater Episode: The B-Plot of "Blankie Go Bye-Bye" involves Gabe taking Bob and Amy to the movie theater to see Star Exploders 2: Kickin' Asteroids for their anniversary while Teddy and P.J. throw them a Moroccan feast and Teddy searches for Charlie's missing blanket. Gabe and Bob are more interested in seeing Star Exploders 2, while Amy is more interested in seeing The Willow Weeps Tomorrow.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Bob's penchant for bugs; the pillows on the Duncans' couch are upholstered with spider-patterned fabric.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Spencer, most notably in "PJ In The City" when Teddy meets him while shopping for Picture Day-worthy clothes, and later when she interviews for a job where Spencer works.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Specifically made to be a show the whole family can watch, as opposed to Disney's usual targeting of young children or tweens. This show could very easily be aimed at adults if they shifted the focus of some episodes.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
    Bob: It's so nice to have kids we can trust... and PJ.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In the Movie, when Amy is shocked after realizing that accusing Teddy of ruining Christmas would hurt Teddy's feelings. Teddy breaks down crying and walks away from Amy.
  • Mythology Gag: Bob dropping Toby is almost a shot-for-shot remake of Bob dropping Charlie back in the pilot, complete with the second youngest child (Charlie/Gabe) eating a sandwich. They even replay the original scene at the beginning of the episode.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In "Snow Show", when PJ is chased out of the hot girls' cabin by their mean, physically-imposing father, and told to leave the robe he's wearing as he's shown the door, PJ makes his way back to the lodge in the buff, covering his man-parts with his snowboard.
  • Never My Fault: When the women at Amy's baby shower all leave after Charlie innocently blurts out what Amy said about them, Amy insists that it isn't anyone's fault; it's actually her own fault for saying these things in the first place.
  • Never Say "Die": This show departs from Disney Channel tradition and averts this by having PJ and Gabe suspect and accuse neighbor Mrs. Dabney of murdering her husband.
    • It's zig-zagged in another episode when PJ says his car had an elderly woman die in the driver's seat, but then find other ways to say the same thing.
    • Lampshaded in another episode, when Bob uses the phrase "take care of" Gabe notes that whilst Bob can say that, everyone knows what he really means.
      Bob: It is my job as an exterminator to take care of pests.
      Gabe: When you say take care of, I know you mean kill.
      • In the same episode, Gabe later tells Mrs. Dabney that he wants to take care of her. Bob kicks Gabe out of the living room.
    • Averted even harder in "The Bob Duncan Experience" when Leo and Gabe argue over the name of their guacamole stand until they are reduced to skeletons and. When Gabe gives up, Leo responds with something along the lines of, "You couldn't have said that before we were dead?"
  • New Baby Episode:
    • In "Charlie is 1!", on Charlie's first birthday, the Duncan Family reminisce about the day Charlie was born, and the difficulties the family had with attending Charlie's birth at the hospital, including Bob and PJ's near-miss with a bear in the woods.
    • Midway through the show's third season is a two-part episode called "Special Delivery", where Amy is pregnant with Toby, the Duncans' fifth child. The first part focuses on Teddy trying to help Amy induce labor, as Toby is seven days past due. Meanwhile, Bob has to get a newer and bigger car that all five of his children can fit in. In the second part, Amy tries to keep herself from giving birth to Toby after she has a nightmare where the Duncan family neglects Charlie on her third birthday in favor of Toby. Thanks to the Duncans' new car crashing through the wall of the garage, Amy goes into labor and Toby is born on Charlie's third birthday.
  • The Nose Knows: Bob was able to identify the sex and species of a mouse, as well as the fact that it was pregnant, by analyzing the scent of its droppings.
  • Nice Guy: Victor
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Debatable; Ever since Teddy took back Spencer, his basketball team hardly won any games, and now the whole school thinks Teddy is a jinx on Spencer.
  • Not a Date: In the episode "Teddy's New Beau", Teddy and Beau go on a "not date" at a karaoke place for Beau to prove to another girl that he and the girl aren't dating. However, for some reason, the girl doesn't show up and Teddy and Beau are left alone at the karaoke place although they end up having a good time. This is subverted, however, when Beau reveals he lied about there being another girl in order to trick Teddy into going on a date with him.
  • "Not Really Married" Plot: The Snow Show two-parter reveals that Amy and Bob weren't legally married because they were ripped off by a con man. They remarried legally at the end of the second part.
  • Official Couple: Teddy and Spencer, as of "Charlie Goes Viral", and up until "Girl Bites Dog". Restarted in "Can You Keep a Secret?" and PJ and Skyler.
  • Once an Episode: The Title Drop and Teddy's video diary (with the odd exception like "Charlie Shakes It Up," which has a Title Drop - from Rocky and CeCe rather than Teddy or any member of the Duncan family - but no diary).
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: In one episode, Amy and Bob are in the kitchen discussing how to deal with Gabe's shenanigans at school. When Amy mentions a friend of hers who sent her son to Military School for also being a troublemaker, Gabe overhears them and mistakenly believes that his parents are planning on sending him to military school.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When Amy went into labor while Bob was far away on a fishing trip because Charlie was born earlier than expected, Mrs. Dabney picked Gabe up and drove him to the hospital. Not only that, but she didn't even get mad when he threw up in her car.
    • While Mr. Dingwall admits he doesn't like Teddy, he assures her that doesn't make her a bad person, and it has no effect on how he grades her.
  • Pick Up Babes With Babes: There are two instances where P.J. does this with Charlie:
    • The first in season one's "Baby Come Back" has him meeting a girl who is carrying her baby brother in a stroller as P.J. is doing with Charlie in the same park, resulting in both grabbing the wrong strollers and P.J., Teddy and Gabe searching for their baby sister ( only to find her in a restaurant with the girl from the park).
    • Season two's "Something's Fishy" features P.J. using Charlie to get girls (even coaching her to say "I love P.J.", only for Charlie to say "I love poopie" instead, when it was actually time to say it); however Kayla, the girl he does score a date with, spends more time with Charlie than P.J. and blows off dates with P.J. when she finds out that Charlie isn't coming along ( reaching the point where Kayla actually comes over to P.J.'s house for the sole purpose of seeing Charlie, ultimately causing P.J. to realize that she is more interested in spending time with his baby sister than him and breaking up with Kayla on the spot).
  • Pillow Pregnancy: Amy and Teddy try to steal a salad dressing that induces labor from a restaurant filled with pregnant women. To avoid being caught, Teddy hides the dressing under her shirt and pretends to be pregnant herself.
  • Ping Pong Naïveté: Charlie often appears really smart for a baby, but she'll be the Spanner in the Works if the plot calls for it.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: For a couple of working stiffs who supposedly don't have enough time for their kids, Bob and Amy spend a lot of time hanging out around the house.
  • Pocket Dial:
    • One episode entirely revolves around the family "butt-dialing" (their words) each other and revealing secrets.
    • In another episode, Teddy and Bob are stuck in a tube at a children's restaurant. Bob tries to purposely butt-dial the house for help, which is second to a pizza restaurant on speed dial, and eventually does. Because Amy and Gabe are engaged in an intense videogame match, Charlie is left to answer, and being two years old at the time, she doesn't take the situation seriously and hung up.
  • Poke the Poodle: Teddy tries to show she can be bad by - Gasp!! - drinking milk out of the carton. She refuses to swallow it, however, and runs to the sink to spit it out. Later on, Teddy makes a more earnest effort at being bad by ditching school and going to Super Adventure Land. After taking down a theft ring at the park, Teddy realizes she just doesn't have it in her to be a bad girl, and embraces her goody-good image.
  • Power Outage Plot: In "Let's Potty", Charlie clogs up the toilet when she flushes her bath toys down it. When Bob attempts to fix the clog himself, he hits a water pipe that sprays the fusebox, causing a blackout. Not only does this interfere with Charlie's potty-training (as Charlie will only sit on her potty if she watches The Gurgles), but it also interferes with an online video chat Ivy has with Raymond, her first online crush. Furthermore, to complete their video game, PJ and Gabe run a cable from Mrs. Dabney's fuse box to power their room, eventually giving her house an electrical outage as well.
  • The Prankster: Gabe.
    Teddy: Are you going to prank Dad?
    Gabe: I'm Gabe; it's what I do!
  • Pretentious Pronunciation: The prison guard from the episode where the Duncans all end up in jail is named Snoo-Tay (spelled "snooty").
  • Previously on…: Used for 2-parters.
  • Pronouncing My Name for You: There' a police officer who claims that his name is pronounced "SNOO-TAY".
  • Put on a Bus: Skyler moved to New York City midway through the second season while dating PJ which causes him to follow her for that episode only. Bob shows up and tells him to let her go, explaining that if they're meant to be, they will get back together again someday. And Skyler ends up coming back in the Good Luck Jessie: NYC Christmas episode and she get's back together with PJ.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • The reason why Gabe ends up in an arm cast for a number of episodes without explanation is because Bradley Steven Perry actually did break his arm.
    • Bridgit Mendler's and Shane Harper's real-life relationship may be the reason why Teddy and Spencer ended up back together
    • The whole reason why Skyler was Put on a Bus in the first place was because she got her own show.
  • Recorded Audio Alibi: "Baby's First Vacation" see's Teddy fake being sick so that she doesn't have to go on vacation with her family and can instead throw a party. To sell the illusion she claims to have set up a web cam so her mother can check in, then films a video with Ivy to make it look like she's sick. However, as the video is only fifteen minutes long Amy begins to get suspicious after prolonged watching.
  • Restaurant-Owning Episode: In the "Wentz's Weather Girls" episode, Teddy convinces Harry Wentz to follow his dream of opening Denver's first weather-themed restaurant, but Teddy and Ivy get roped into wearing silly costumes as the restaurant's waitresses.
  • The Reveal: In "It's Christmas", we find out Amy's pregnant with another baby.
  • Road Trip Plot: The movie It's Christmas which focused on Amy and Teddy trying to get to Palm Springs after getting thrown out of the airport.
  • Running Gag:
    • Mrs. Dabney gushing over her son/cat/whatever, and one of the Duncan kids asking "what about Mr. Dabney?" which always gets the response "Yep, love that [X]."
    • Teddy had to be pretend to be her mother on more than one occasion.
    • There have been several incidents throughout the show where a character will come to visit the Duncan household, and something will happen during the course of that visit which causes said character to flee the house in terror while being chased by a member of the Duncan family, who is yelling something crazy, at which point said member looks off-screen from the porch and says, "Hi, Mrs. Dabney..."
    • Whenever a Duncan needs to get out of a unfavorable situation with another family member they yell "coming" and leave the room as if someone else is calling them
  • Secondary Character Title: Charlie's the baby of the family. Teddy's the main character who makes video diaries to Charlie, and ends all of them (and the episode before The Stinger) with a Title Drop.
  • Serious Business: Bob insists upon being called a "Pest Control Specialist" rather than an "exterminator", and keeps a statue of a Jerusalem cricket in his living room.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Jo, in "Duncan vs. Duncan", prompting the usual jaw drop and uttering of "wow" from Gabe.
  • Ship Tease: Between Teddy and Victor. It usually occurs in the form of either one of them mistaking the other's offer as a date.
  • Shout-Out: The Bob Duncan Experience is an obvious reference to The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
  • Show Within a Show: "Higgins And Zork". They fight crime IN SPACE!
    • The Gurgles, a Teletubbies parody featuring people dressed as shapes. It's Charlie's and PJ's favorite show.
    • Technically, Shake it Up Chicago, on which Amy, Teddy and Charlie danced as guest stars for an episode.
  • Shouldn't We Be In School Right Now?: Like most Disney Channel shows, the young characters are almost never in school or one kid will have a plot at home while another has a simultaneous plot while at school.
    • Played with in "Ditch Day" when Amy asks, "Are any of my kids in school?"
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Teddy's first kiss was one of these.
  • Silliness Switch: A rare TV example, nearly every Credits Gag is this. Especially those that feature Charlie doing something unrealistic, such as speeding on a motorcycle, being a doctor at her mom's hospital, and being the main attraction at on the dance floor at Teddy's high school.
  • Ski-Resort Episode: In the two-part special "Snow Show", the Duncan family goes to the ski resort where their parents were married, and where a bunch of drama goes down; Teddy is told she'd find the love of her life there and ends up reconnecting with her ex-boyfriend Spencer, and Bob and Amy find out that their wedding wasn't technically official. Meanwhile, Gabe pays way too much on room-service, and PJ ends up in an ice-skating contest.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: One early episode has Teddy being ashamed of her unrefined, sloppy family after spending time with Spencer's sophisticated parents. Interestingly, the Duncans only turn into totally messy people for this single episode.
  • Slow "NO!": Occurs in the pilot, when Bob sends Charlie flying through the air. The entire family participates... well, except for Gabe, who's immersed in his sandwich. He gets a Slow Mmm.
    • Happens again when Bob trips and sends Toby in the air. Cue PJ and Gabe saying, "Nooooo!"
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Amy likes to think that she's the best at everything she does, and seems to believe that she's a big time star just waiting to be discovered, and even once replaced her family for a group talent show for which she didn't technically apologize for.
    • Hugo, the owner of the grocery store 'arrests' Charlie, Gabe and Teddy after Charlie picks up a pair of sunglasses, tries to detain them in-store for 9 hours with the intention of turning them over to the police, as much a case of making himself look more powerful than he actually was.
  • The Snark Knight: Gabe, Mrs. Dabney and Jo all work this trope like dogs on a T-bone.
  • Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: Teddy tries in vain to win the favor of her jerkass English teacher Mr. Dingwall (mostly because he gave her a bad grade). Dingwall has a Pet the Dog moment when he explains to Teddy that just because he doesn't like her doesn't mean there's anything wrong with her.
  • Speaking Up for Another: In "Charlie Did It!", Teddy finds it unfair that Hugo demeans Alice Wartheimer despite all the hard work and friendly service she provides for him. However, because Alice ends up wheezing whenever she tries to stand up to him, Teddy does it for her.
    Hugo: Did you just tell me to get my butt in here?
    (Alice starts wheezing)
    Teddy: Yes, she did. She's got something to say to you.
    (Alice continues wheezing)
    Teddy: Which is she is not your doormat, okay? She deserves to be treated with respect!
    Hugo: How dare you talk to me that way!
    Teddy: She's gonna talk to you any way I want to talk to you for her about!
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Amy, in-universe. In fact, when Teddy and Spencer are acting in a play, they pretend they're going out on dates instead of rehearsals to avoid Amy intervening.
  • Springtime for Hitler:
    • In "Double Whammy", Teddy tries to deliberately fail her tryout for the school's mascot (which Amy forced her to join) out of embarrassment. Unfortunately, she gets the role by default for being the only one attended the tryout.
    • In "Wentz' Weather Girls", Teddy and Ivy try to get fired from Ivy's father's newly opened weather-themed restaurant by causing a massive destruction. It ends up backfiring when the customers all love it.
    • In "Duncan's Dream House", PJ and Emmett try to get kicked out of their building to get out of their apartment lease and move into a bigger nicer apartment. However, when the landlord actually loves their antics and even joins them, they eventually decide not to move out and accept the apartment they already have.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Emmett toward Teddy. He's actually convinced himself that they're in a real relationship.
  • Standardized Sitcom Housing: With the exception of the giant bug in the living room, played painfully straight. The exterior shots appear to be from the same house as those from Phil of the Future.
    • A slight subversion, however, in that it's explicitly stated that the family would be better off in a larger house as there isn't really enough room for four kids - Gabe and PJ are forced to share a room, while Teddy is moved into the basement.
  • Stand-In Parents: Gabe cons PJ and Teddy into standing in as his parents for a parent-teacher conference so their real parents don't find out.
  • Stealth Pun: One episode has Spencer try and play with Charlie. Charlie bites his finger.
  • Status Quo Is God: Averted, even when you ignore Charlie being a baby in Season 1 & Gabe hitting puberty - PJ & Teddy both start & leave jobs in addition to starting & ending relationships, PJ graduates from high school & moves out, the Duncans have another baby, Amy quits her job, and the house is destroyed by termites.
  • Stuck on a Ski Lift: Happens to Teddy and Spencer.
  • Surprise Multiple Birth: When Amy Duncan is pregnant with Toby, Bob wants to know the baby's gender and sends Gabe to the clinic to get the disc of her ultrasound. They are horrified to see the ultrasound containing triplets. Averted as it turns out Gabe took the wrong disc with an earlier scene showing the nurse talking to the doctor that the missing disc is for another pregnant mother named Angela Duncan.
  • Swear Word Plot: The B-plot of "Teddy On Ice" revolves around Charlie saying a bad word and her parents trying to figure out where she learned it. Near the end of the episode, Amy swears out of road rage, revealing herself as the one who taught Charlie the word.
  • Take That!: The episode "Blankie Go Bye Bye" had one to people who are extremely obsessed with things like Star Wars and dress up in costumes and role play. The mother referred to them as 36-year old nerds. It didn't help that one of them wished that they were a robot.
  • Talent Contest: This is the entire premise of the episode "Duncans Got Talent".
  • Temporary Bulk Change: In "Sun Show Pt.2", Amy bloats up (making her look morbidly obese) after suffering an allergic reaction however she is back to normal by the end of the episode.
  • Three Lines, Some Waiting: It's a big main cast.
  • Tinkle in the Eye: The kids are busted in "Baby Come Back" because none of them can explain the pee stains in the living room.
  • Title Drop: Obviously said Once an Episode, but uttered first by Amy on her way to work in the first episode.
  • Today, X. Tomorrow, the World!: President Gabe Duncan.
    Gabe: Today Room 12, tomorrow Room 14. (Beat) Room 12 is being painted, so we're moving to Room 14.
  • Toilet Humour: In a Disney Channel sitcom with two immature boys and a baby, what can you expect?
  • Toilet Training Plot: In "Let's Potty", Amy attempts to potty-train Charlie to get her into a good preschool and the only way to get Charlie to use the bathroom is if she watches "The Gurgles". Charlie then flushes her bath toys down the toilet, causing it to clog and Bob to cause a blackout in attempt to fix it.
  • Tomboyish Name: Jo, Teddy and Charlie.
    Mel: Teddy? Charlie? Doesn't your dad know any girl names?
  • Trailers Always Spoil: A preview for the Disney Channel Saturday the week after the premiere of Duncan's Got Talent gave away the ending of the episode, since they aired it in the commercial break just before the ending.
    • Not exactly a trailer, but the music video for Bridgit Mendler's "I'm Gonna Run to You" pretty much spoils the entire movie before the movie has even come out.
    • Actual trailers for the Christmas movie spoil the fact that Amy is pregnant again, by talking about the poll to name the new baby.
    • A trailer aired in the middle of the birth episode that revealed that the baby was a boy.
    • The B-Plot of "Teddy On Ice" is that Charlie learned a curse word and Bob and Amy are trying to figure out who taught it to her. The end of the trailer shows Amy cursing at traffic with Charlie in the backseat. Can you guess where Charlie learned it?
  • Treehouse of Fun: PJ and Teddy had one, except they always fought in it.
  • Truth in Television: To Serial Escalation levels, and in every single episode.
  • Tsundere: Amy Duncan. Dear God.
    • Jo is this towards Gabe.
  • TV Teen: Played straight in that all the character's actors have perfect complexions, but otherwise averted with all the characters being played by people in their age range, along with several of them being taller than a few of the adults.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: In "Bye Bye Video Diary", Teddy has a dream of the year 2026, wherein Charlie has grown up to be a rebel (because Teddy stopped making video diaries for her) with a boyfriend in jail, and Teddy is now the Governor of Colorado. Everything looks like present day, except for Teddy's use of a jet pack. Whether or not jet packs are commonplace or a special privilege for government officials is never addressed.
    • In "Special Delivery", Amy has a dream that she gave birth on Charlie's 3rd birthday, and everyone is focused on the baby while Charlie is ignored and sad on her birthday. After the dream, Amy tries to relax in order to avoid giving birth on Charlie's birthday, but Toby ends up being born on Charlie's birthday anyway.
    • "Futuredrama" is set when Charlie is fourteen and Toby is eleven. Absolutely nothing else is different except for the retro-futuristic sounds coming out of Charlie’s tablet computer.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Attractive nurse as the mom? Check. Fat, balding guy as the dad? Check. The contrast between Bob and Amy becomes somewhat of a subversion in Season 3, due to Eric Allan Kramer (Bob)'s drastic weight loss giving him a somewhat muscular look, albeit evened out by a haircut that made his already thinning hair more apparent.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Teddy is a tall, leggy blond with a pretty face. Bob... well, he's tall and blond. Pretty... not so much.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance:
    • A video of Bob from his high school basketball days shows that he looked exactly like his son PJ does today, only with longer hair. PJ chooses not to see the resemblance.
    • Mrs. Dabney apparently comes from a set of identical quintuplets.
    • One Credits Gag while Amy was pregnant again and didn't want to know the baby's gender had Bob's mother show up, and much to the doctor's surprise when the real Bob also walks in, she looks exactly like Bob in drag. Lampshaded by Gabe:
      Gabe: Freaky, isn't it?
  • Underwater Fart Gag: In the stinger for "Battle of the Bands", Bob and Gabe sit in Bruce and Lucas's hot tub while Lucas is away. When a bubble happens, Gabe asks how that happened because he didn't turn it on. Bob says that he didn't either, but he ate three trays of tacos (tacos have beans in them, which are known for making you fart) so they're gonna get bubbles.
  • The Unfair Sex: Subverted. The females in the family, with the exception of Charlie, are just as bad as the males. Even Charlie in later episodes gets moments of this.
    • Jo is just as bad as (if not worse than) Gabe, and the writers don't even try to make us think otherwise.
  • The Unfavorite: Gabe. Things are so hectic in the series premiere that the rest of the family forgets to feed him.
  • Unfortunate Names: PJ's name was supposed to be Patty John, after his grandfather, but the guy who wrote his birth certificate wrote "Potty John" instead. This is fixed by the end of the episode though. But now it instead reads "PP".
  • The Unreveal: The ending of "Dress Mess" has the doctor about to reveal the gender of the soon-to-be fifth Duncan child ("The new baby is going to be a..."), but right before he can get the words out, the credits end and it cuts to the end logos.
  • Vacation Episode: "Snow Show" and "Sun Show".
  • Vomit Chain Reaction: In "Teddy's Little Helper". First Charlie vomits, then Ivy, then the teacher, then all the students in a literal chain, one after the other.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Girl Bites Dog" has Spencer revealed to be cheating on Teddy.
    • "Can You Keep A Secret?": Spencer and Teddy get back together.
    • More like Wham movie! In It's Christmas Amy is revealed to be pregnant.
    • The third season finale, "All Fall Down" - Spencer moves to Boston to attend a performing arts school, PJ drops out of college to attend culinary school, and the Duncan's home is destroyed by Termites.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Regarding her previous relationship with Emmett, Ivy can only plead temporary insanity. Ivy has a similar sentiment toward Teddy's latest boyfriend, Derek.
    • Teddy taking back Spencer. Usually it's a big no-no for Disney as this sends the wrong message to impressionable girls.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Charlie Is 1" has the family flashing back to Charlie's birth.
  • Worthy Opponent: Gabe seems to find Mrs. Dabney one, as he's impressed by the Halloween prank she pulled on him: She hired him to protect her house from pranksters, then egged and toilet papered her own house so that Gabe would have to work for her for a full day.
    Gabe: Well played, Mrs. Dabney. You are a worthy adversary.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: In "Boys Meet Girls", after Teddy discovers that Jo, the bully who has been beating up Gabe, is a girl, she points out how because Gabe is a boy, he can't hit back.
  • Yoko Oh No: It was Amy's meddling that led to the demise of Bob's old band, the Bob Duncan Experience.
  • Younger Than They Look: Believe it or not, Shane Harper, Spencer's actor, actually is a teen. Sure, he's in his late teens to be specific, but he still looked the way he does now at age 16 when he started on the show. Seriously, he looks older than Jason Dolley, who in real life is 21 but looks 17-18 like his character.

"If you keep reading through these tropes, well...good luck, Charlie."


Video Example(s):


Las Vegas, New Mexico?

Teddy and Ivy discover Mary Lou and Harry are taking them to Las Vegas NEW MEXICO, not Nevada.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / LondonEnglandSyndrome

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