Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert), a successful New York lawyer, and his elegant socialite wife Lisa (Eva Gabor) move to the little country town of Hooterville and buy a little farm that is not in good condition. Oliver intends to set himself up in a simple country life as a farmer, but neither the reality of country life nor the insanity of the locals allows it. Lisa hates the country, but is better at dealing with the locals: her idea of haggling with Mr. Haney, the door-to-door salesman, is to lower her price when he lowers his—and it works for her... Hooterville also has a resident genius: Arnold the pig.
A spinoff of the very staid Petticoat Junction, the show was initially a by-the-books sitcom, in which Oliver was portrayed as an obsessive eccentric, while Lisa, despite being rather spoiled and having a poor grasp of English, was meant to be normal. However, the show quickly took on a decidedly absurdist tone; Lisa turned into a Gracie Allen-style Cloud Cuckoolander, and Oliver became the Only Sane Man. The insane townspeople continue to see Oliver as an outsider while rapidly embracing Lisa as one of their own. Oliver, clinging tenaciously to logic, splutters and despairs as he sees his dream life in Hooterville slipping rapidly out of his fingers.
Some of the causes of Oliver's perpetual headache are:
- Eb Dawson (Tom Lester), the gold-bricking farmhand, who calls Lisa and Oliver "Mom" and "Dad," either as flattery or out of genuine confusion. To worsen matters, Lisa often forgets that Eb is not actually their son, but she is still more sympathetic, showing Like a Son to Me treatment towards him now and then.
- Mr. Haney (Pat Buttram), who sold them the faulty farm, and never gives up on trying to sell Oliver more dilapidated junk. Oliver thinks he's on to Haney, but he's surprisingly vulnerable to Haney's sales pitches.
- Hank Kimball (Alvy Moore), the absent-minded county Agricultural Agent in charge of keeping all the local farms in good stead, and victim to short-term memory loss to the point that he forgets what he's talking about in mid-sentence as a matter of course.
- Fred and Doris Ziffel (Hank Patterson and Barbara Pepper/Fran Ryan), friendly neighbors whose pet pig Arnold is treated by everyone as a real person — specifically, their son. Eventually, Arnold becomes a fairly major character on the show. Everyone can communicate freely with him, except Oliver, who is at a loss as to why these people think they can talk to a pig.
- Alf and Ralph Monroe (Sid Melton and Mary Grace Canfield), a brother-and-sister carpenter team who are contracted to fix Oliver's derelict farmhouse. Although the Monroes show up at intervals to (supposedly) work, the house remains in a state of half-construction for the duration of the series.
There's also Mr. Drucker (Frank Cady) down at the general store, who acknowledges the ridiculousness of Hooterville while at the same time whole-heartedly participating in it. He's the only character who even approaches being logical by Oliver's standards co-serving as the other Only Sane Man, often leading Oliver to start sentences with "Mr. Drucker, you're a reasonable man...". In keeping with the apparent rules of the series, Mr. Drucker's behavior on Petticoat Junction tends more toward the normal end of the spectrum.
- Accidental Misnaming: In the episode "The Candidate", Oliver attempts to air his grievances against state district representative Ben Hanks regarding the quality of the road (Hooterville only has the one). Hanks repeatedly gets his name wrong calling him something different every time and when Oliver pledges to run against him in the next election, his name is similarly misprinted in all the headlines.
- Adam Westing: Lyle Talbot, former matinee idol turned B-movie actor, portrayed "State Senator Lyle Talbot", a former matinee idol turned B-movie actor turned politician, parodying both himself and then California governor Ronald Reagan. He later portrayed the unnamed state's governor who would host marathons of his own films on a local TV station.
- The Alleged Car: Oliver's Hoyt-Clagwell tractor, which is always breaking down.
- The Alleged Expert: The Monroe brothers are supposedly the best contractors in Hooterville, but make an absolute mess of remodeling the Douglases' home. To be fair, all they'd ever built before was chicken coops.
- The Alleged House: The Old Haney Place, which former big city lawyer Oliver Douglas buys so he can become a farmer. A run-down old farmhouse with no inside phone (Oliver has to climb a telephone pole to make a call). Renovations take up much of the show's run and are never fully finished; the master bedroom closet, for example, doubles as a back door.
- All Just a Dream: "A Square is Not Round" and "Oliver and the Cornstalk", although the latter isn't a dream for the whole episode, just some of the second half.
- Aloha, Hawaii!: In "Hawaii Honeymoon", the series' penultimate episode, Oliver and Lisa spend another honeymoon in a Hawaiian resort.
- American Gothic Couple: Oliver and Lisa at the end of the Title Sequence.
- And Starring/Fake Guest Star: During the end credits, Petticoat Junction actors would be listed under the title "..And guest starring our friends from Petticoat Junction".
- Animal Lover: Lisa tends to treat animals with as much respect as humans (such as addressing the chickens by name).
- The Artifact: The theme song, which has Lisa wanting to go back to New York and hating farm living, even though that premise was mostly abandoned by the second season.
- As Himself: Lyle Talbot as State Senator Lyle Talbot in the episode "The Road".
- John Charles Daily in the pilot episode.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
- For all the headaches Lisa causes Oliver - ranging from never learning to cook anything other than "hotscakes", or letting her own ditziness cause him even more problems than he already has - any chance he gets, he keeps the romance between them budding... and Lisa just barely has to prod him into kissing her.
- Fred and Doris Ziffel constantly bicker with one another just like your typical old married couple (especially when it comes to their different approaches to raising Arnold), though they too have occasional moments where Fred will get lovey-dovey with Doris, such as waltzing with or kissing her (and ''dipping'' her at the same time)!
- Bad "Bad Acting": When they put on the play of The Beverly Hillbillies.
- Bad to the Last Drop: Whenever Lisa makes coffee, it always comes out as some kind of black sludge.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: While on a two-week vacation in New York City in "Oliver's Jaded Past", Oliver is tempted by all the girls he used to know into falling back into his old party-all-night lifestyle. Lisa makes Oliver give up an invitation to rejoin his old NY law firm and for the first time refers to Hooterville as their 'home.'
- Big Blackout: Oliver apparently caused the 1965 Northeast Blackout trying to get electricity into his home.
- Bilingual Bonus: Eva Gabor speaks actual Hungarian on occasion. It doesn't always match up with the captions sometimes provided. In "The Road", Lisa is misquoted as saying "Doggone road!". What she's actually saying is "Things like this never happened in Hungary!".
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Occasionally done by Lisa to Oliver's bewilderment.
- Shares a universe with Petticoat Junction, which shares a universe with The Beverly Hillbillies. Yet one episode has the Hootervillian Playhouse use a Beverly Hillbillies TV script as a play, and makes jokes about creator Paul Henning and star Buddy Ebsen.
- Another episode casually mentioned that Beverly Hillbillies was one of the most popular shows in Hooterville.
- Maybe the townspeople just consider the sitcom as based on the lives of the (for them) real Clampetts.
- Lisa (and occasionally other townspeople) seeing and reacting to the opening "Written by" and "Directed by" credits.
- In one episode Eb starts humming the Green Acres theme song, and then mouths Eva Gabor's "Dahling, I love you, but give me Park Avenue."
- Very commonly the townspeople would ask Oliver how he got that fife to play "Yankee Doodle" in the background when he made one of his soapbox speeches.
- Call to Agriculture: Oliver moves to Hooterville because he's always wanted to be a farmer.
- Censorship by Spelling: Lisa is telling yet another story of how she met Oliver in "A Royal Love Story", this time to entertain a visiting eight-year-old girl. She attempts to use this at one point, but it doesn't quite work:Lisa: *(talking about briefly working as a model for an artist)* Then I had to quit because he wanted me to pose in the N-O-O-D.Eb: What's that?Lori[[Note: the eight-year-old girl]]: "Nude."
- Chain of Deals: In "Water, Water Everywhere", whenever somebody digs a new well, they take the water from someone else's well.
- Character Filibuster: Played for Laughs with Oliver's constant speeches on the importance of the American farmer, accompanied by fife music that everyone but Oliver hears and comments on.
- Christmas Episode: "An Old-Fashioned Christmas" from Season Two; Oliver wants to cut down his own Christmas tree, but has to obtain a permit to do so, weirding out the other townsfolk, who have become desensitized to Aluminum Christmas Trees.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Lisa had a pet yorkie named Mignon, whom she doted over throughout the first season, but afterwards, she pretty much disappeared, with the exception of an occasional apparence or mention in the second season.
- The City vs. the Country: Played with. Oliver is tired of city life and moves to Hooterville to live the idyllic (he thinks) life of a farmer. He finds, however, that Hooterville operates by its own peculiar set of rules, and is often frustrated by its colorful denizens. His socialite wife Lisa is always begging him to return to the city, but, ironically, she is the one who fits in, as she is as loopy as the Hootervillians.
- Cloud Cuckooland:
- Hooterville, although characters carried over from Petticoat Junction are mostly excluded from this. The jury's still out on Mr. Drucker.
- Hungary, leastways Hungary according to Lisa Douglas. Those unfamiliar with Hungarian history and culture (and even those who are familiar with Hungary) might be surprised to learn that most popular sports in the country are Monkey Racing and Goulash Betting. Hungary also has a special reward for military heroes who happen to be ducks like Drobny, Lisa's pet from back home.
- Community-Threatening Construction: The basic plot of the 1990 TV movie Return to Green Acres involves a greedy corporate land developer wanting to tear down Hooterville and turn the area into a thriving metropolis. Mr. Haney takes a level in badass by being in on the plot, and talks the residents into moving out, however, when the plot is revealed, the residents of Hooterville try to band together to stop this from happening.
- Con Artist: Mr. Haney is a prominent example.
- Contrived Coincidence: Mr. Haney again. He actually personifies this trope - whenever Oliver needs something to help him with his farming, Mr. Haney happens to have exactly what he needs on his truck, though at ridiculous prices. In fact, Oliver lampshades this a couple of times, once telling Haney that he knew he was going to get around to him soon, and another time, we have this exchange:Oliver: Mr. Haney, how is it you always happen to have what I need on your truck?Mr. Haney: Well... how is it you always happen to need what I have on my truck?
- Courtroom Episode:
- "The Rains Came" from Season One, in which Mr. Haney sues Oliver for not paying for his rainmaking services, while Oliver countersues on the grounds that Haney didn't deliver.
- "Getting Even With Haney" from Season Two, in which the Ziffels ask Oliver to represent them in their lawsuit against Haney for selling them a makeshift washing machine (with a boat motor inside the drum).
- Cousin Oliver: Adorable little Lori lodges with the Douglases for a handful of episodes during the final season. Thankfully, she doesn't stick around long, and numerous episodes remain between her departure and the end of the series.
- Criminal Doppelgänger: An episode featured a criminal who looked just like Oliver and the ensuing mix-up.
- Crossover: Characters from this show and Petticoat Junction occasionally gravitated to the other. And one 1968 episode of The Beverly Hillbillies had the Clampetts traveling to Hooterville, leading to characters from all three shows intermingling. Once to the point where Mr. Drysdale was physically ill at Elly Mae even being interested in Eb.
- Several holiday episodes had characters on other shows, even for a short time. One Thanksgiving show at the Clampetts had Oliver and Lisa only on at the dinner table.
- Curse Cut Short: Oliver Wendell Douglas often says "What the . . . ." But that's as far as he gets.
- Derailed for Details: Mr. Kimball's manner of speaking, although in his case it's more like "Derailed to Correct Something He Misremembered as the Exact Opposite of What Actually Happened."
- Do You Want to Haggle?: In one episode, Mr. Haney asks Lisa to haggle down the price of an item. She misunderstands the concept, and instead of starting at a low price and moving up, Lisa starts low and goes lower until Haney agrees.
- Drive-In Theater: Oliver and Lisa attend one, only to be confronted by two Make-Out Kids in the car next to them.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Crossover above explains this. The first season was more of a extension of Petticoat Junction, considering the citizens of Hooterville, including Kate and Uncle Joe, welcoming Oliver and Lisa to town, and helping them adjust (in fact, throughout the first season, Uncle Joe kept trying to flirt with Oliver's mother). However, by the second season, the show further branched off on its own, and many of the Petticoat Junction crossovers and references had become few and far between with some rare examples (such as the episode "Eb Discovers the Birds and the Bees"). In fact, Drucker's General Store became the only evidence that the two shows shared the same universe, and Mr. Drucker himself ended up being the only crossover character.
- Easy Amnesia: Lisa gets hit on the head in one episode, believes Oliver is her butler, that she has a boyfriend named Mr. Fredericks, and demonstrates excellent cooking skills. Yet through the whole thing, she knows who Mr. Kimball is and treats him absolutely normally.
- Eccentric Townsfolk: Nearly everyone in Hooterville is a Cloud Cuckoolander, with Oliver, and occasionally Mr. Drucker, as the Only Sane Man.
- Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: One infamous moment involving the subtitler trying to translate for Lisa's Hungarian, a Japanese chauffeur's native tongue, and even a dog's barking... with Lisa actually correcting the mistakes, and even pointing out the audience isn't interested in what the dog has to say.
- Exactly What I Meant To Say: In "It's Human To Be Humane", Lisa asks Oliver if he wants to play "Scribble," "Cabbage," or "Monotony," which Oliver just assumes to be some of her malapropisms. Later in the episode, Mr. Drucker tries selling him those same games, implying that they actually exist.
- Expository Theme Tune: And one of the catchiest at that. Notice how it gets around Eva Gabor's lack of singing talent.
- Extended Greetings: Hank Kimball can't just say "Good morning." He'll also have to think about whether it actually is a good morning, and that frequently leads into him going on a tangent.
- Fish out of Water: The Douglases. Lisa adapts better, which is ironic since she's the one who wants to go back to New York.
- Forgetful Jones: Absent-minded county agricultural agent Hank Kimball, who pauses mid-sentence, forgets what he was about to say, wavers in mid-speech, and then recalls what he was going to say.
- Friend to All Living Things: Lisa, who is on friendly terms with the cows and chickens.
- From New York to Nowhere: The premise behind the whole series; The Douglases move from New York City to a small town that most people outside of the area don't even know exists.
- Fun with Subtitles: Lampshaded with Lisa's great-great-grandmother Lastvogel and Cornelius in "The Vulgar Ring":Lastvogel [subtitled Hungarian]: Hello dere... Who was you?
Cornelius: Well, how do you do? Where did you come from? [Honan yötél te?]
Lastvogel [subtitled Hungarian]: From over there.
Cornelius: What did you say? [Mit mondtál?]
Lastvogel: Over there in the woods.
Cornelius: Oh, you understand English.
Lastvogel: No, I was reading your Hungarian subtitles.
- Lisa and Eb both respond to the subtitles in "Lisa's Mudder Comes for a Visit".
- Funny Foreigner: Hungarian-born Lisa, played by Hungarian-born Eva Gabor.
- Gag Haircut: Eb at the end of "Uncle Ollie" briefly adopts Oliver's hip nephew's hairstyle.
- Gender-Blender Name: Ralph Monroe. Because who ever heard of a woman carpenter?
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In one episode from the last season, the Green Acres farm becomes something of a summer camp, where a number of little boys, and one girl (see Cousin Oliver above) stay with the Douglases; one day, Lori stays home alone with Lisa because Oliver had taken the boys skinny dipping at the lake... in fact, when they get home, and Oliver sneezes from possibly catching cold, one of the boys remarks maybe he shouldn't have taken off all his clothes. Now, imagine a camp counselor swimming with your kids, all naked.
- Gilligan Cut: Used occasionally throughout the series, such as the episode, "The Rains Came":Mr. Haney: (In court) It was the 78th day of the drought, and Mr. Douglas was in a desperate mood... in fact, he had a hari-kari knife in his hand!*Cut*Oliver: (Holding a dagger) This is not a hari-kari knife, I'm just using this to cut up the dead weeds.AlsoMr. Haney: As the days passed, things got worse... creeks dried up, and the riverbeds didn't have a trickle of water in 'em. The reservoire was empty, and just as I predicted, Mr. Douglas came to me, begging on his knees...*Cut to Mr. Haney standing before Oliver, who is on his knees, fixing his tractor*Mr. Haney: Of your knees, Mr. Douglas, you don't have to beg.Oliver: I'm not begging, I'm trying to fix this tractor.
- G-Rated Sex: Lisa was, more often than not, the subject of this throughout the series, usually to both emphasize and satirize her own glamor. One time, while in the shower, a couple of businessman stop long enough to ogle her legs, while similarly, when Lisa briefly returns to high school, Oliver is informed that the science lab blew up because a boy who was supposed to be mixing chemicals was too busy staring at Lisa's legs as she fixed a run in her stocking, but then again, it's also not uncommon for any of the Hooterville men to be distracted by Lisa. In fact, sometimes certain things that Lisa would do would be accompanied by faux striptease music to make it seem more sexy, though it's almost always Played for Laughs.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Fair-haired Lisa is very kind, sweet, and empathetic to everyone, up to and including animals and alarm clocks.
- Hired Help as Family: Eb Dawson begins to refer to the Douglases as his parents not long after they hire him as a farmhand. Lisa also seems to think of him as their son, and, although he insists Eb isn't their son, Oliver is willing to do things like send him to college.
- Hollywood Natives: In the episode, "The Rains Came", Mr. Haney attempts to make it rain over a drought-ridden Hooterville with a rain-dancing Indian, who speaks broken English, refers to Lisa as, "Pret-ty squaw", and greets people with, "How!"
- Home Sweet Home: The reunion movie turns this into An Aesop on two different accounts:
- Eb's oldest son hates living in Hooterville because it's a dull town where nothing exciting happens, and actually keeps insisting to his parents they should move somewhere else, especially when the residents are talked into selling their homes; however, when it's revealed that it was all a scam to drive the citizens of Hooterville away so the town can be demolished for a new city, the news starts sinking in, and Eb's son realizes that Hooterville is home, and gets his buddies together to protest the demolition.
- Lisa apparently still misses New York, and has taken up painting the New York landscape, though her paintings have all the charm of a kindergartener's finger painting, and nobody wishes to buy her paintings. When Oliver and Lisa return to New York, they see how much big city life has changed (for the worse) and neither of them really fit in with city life - Lisa no longer can even relate to her old social circle. After returning to Hooterville, Lisa surprises Oliver with an absolutely beautiful painting she did of Green Acres, and she realized that she thought she missed New York, but it turned out she was happier in Hooterville all along.
- Honest Johns Dealership: Mr. Haney ("They're twenty-five cents, or three for a dollar.")
- How We Got Here: In one episode Oliver must explain why Arnold the Pig is in attendence at Oliver's alumni dinner.
- Identity Amnesia: In Whos Lisa Lisa, after being hit on the head by a hammer, suffers a concussion and becomes convinced Oliver is her butler, she is waiting for her fiancé, and becomes an amazing cook.
- Improbably Cool Car: Oliver's annually-replaced Lincoln Continental convertible's a borderline case - he can afford it but it certainly doesn't fit his newly-chosen lifestyle.
- Instant Mass: Just Add Water!:
- In the episode "A Kind Word for the President", there was Dee Dee's dehydrofacated Mason-Dixon chicken dinner which you can cook with hot water. Oliver at first didn't believe Lisa that the dinner would be good (then again, Lisa isn't good at the cooking), but he was flabbergasted that it actually cooked a full meal, including a chicken leg, mashed potatoes, corn on a cob, cornbread and an apple pie.
- "The Milk Maker" has Lisa making a chocolate cake using Bibbers' Instant Cake Mix. She took the instructions by placing all the wet ingredients inside the box, shaking it and putting it all in the oven. Surprisingly, Oliver says that the cake actually tasted good!
- Interspecies Romance: Arnold the Pig and Cynthia Haney, a bassett hound (or as Lisa says, '"basket hound").
- Kafka Komedy: A frequent plotline is Oliver doing something to improve life for the citizens of Hooterville, only to have it backfire on him spectacularly. Sometimes this occurs due to the incompetence of the Hootervillians, sometimes it's just because the laws of the universe demand it. Regardless, Oliver never learns to stop doing this. Green Acres has been compared to Kafka many times.
- The Lad-ette: Played with as far as Ralph is concerned. Although she, deep down, is very much a lady, there's an unwritten rule that she has to be regarded as man, from the fact her name is Ralph, she and Alf are refered to as "brothers", and all of this because they're both carpenters, and women apparently can't be carpenters.
- Lampshade Hanging: Not only did they hang the lampshade on this show, they destroyed the lampshade. And the lamp too. Alf and Ralph are not to blame for that.
- Laugh Track: No classic sitcom from The '60s would be complete without one!
- The Law Firm of Pun, Pun, and Wordplay: As established in the pilot episode, Oliver originally served as an associate for the Law Offices of Felton, O'Connell, Clay, Blakely, Harmon, Dillon, and Paster.
- Lethal Chef: Lisa is a horrendous chef and it's one of the few things that Oliver and the kooky townsfolk agree on.
- She thinks nothing of making tea with a teabag and a pot of steaming hot coffee.
- The smell of her old-fashioned "fruitscake" alone is enough to clear out a room.
- Her "hotscakes" are so tough that you can't even stick a fork in them and no amount of syrup will soften them up. Oliver once used leftovers as a functional head gasket for his truck and Fred Ziffel likes to use her "hotscakes" as roof shingles!
- The only remotely edible dish that Lisa can cook is "hot water soup". Which is exactly like how it sounds.
- Limited Wardrobe: With the obvious exceptions of Oliver and Lisa, the rest of the cast wears the exact same outfits for all six seasons!
- Eb wears a green army cap and trousers, with a pale blue buttoned shirt, covered with a checkered coat with different shades of brown.
- Mr. Drucker wears a long-sleeved pale blue buttoned shirt, black sleeve covers, and a white apron.
- Mr. Haney wears a straw hat, a white buttoned-shirt with a brown vest and slacks.
- Mr. Ziffel wears an old brown hat, a red and green plaid shirt, and denim overalls, while Mrs. Ziffel usually wears the same spring green colored outfit (though on very rare occasions, is seen wearing something different).
- Mr. Kimball wears a khaki-colored hat, khaki slacks, and a tan coat.
- Alf and Ralph wear white hats and overalls, and blue work shirts.
- Although Oliver had many different vests, the citizens of Hooterville seem to believe they have figured out what each vest indicates he is doing, et al, "Oh, he's wearin' his plowin' vest".
- Even in the 1990 TV reunion movie, Return to Green Acres, the characters STILL wore their same outfits from the series.
- Line-of-Sight Alias: In one episode, a runaway kid ends up in the Douglas' farm. One of the several false names he makes up for himself is "Paul Frankcan": which he got from looking at a can of "Paul's Canned Franks" on the Douglas' cupboard.
- Live-Action Cartoon: Possibly the Trope Codifier. The series routine made use of incredibly slapstick and outlandish situations and gags that would otherwise be implausible in the real world (characters being knocked through solid walls, or falling off telephone poles without even getting hurt, for example), not to mention that each character had such Limited Wardrobe that they literally wore the exact same outfits for all six seasons (save for Oliver and Lisa), that it could very well be the poster child for a live-action cartoon.
- Loophole Abuse: In one episode the town revives its economy by building planes for the US military. . . useless antique planes because their contract didn't have a due date so they could still make planes designed for WW1. The government gets Oliver back by using the same loophole in his military discharge. All abuses fall through when it turns out that the town isn't competent enough to make even an antique plane.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Between the time the series ended, and before the reunion movie took place, Eb had gotten married, and had a bunch of kids, his oldest being a teen who wishes to move out of a dull town like Hooterville, and his wife being pregnant with another baby during the course of the movie.
- The couple Oliver is reading a book about in Season Two's "The Good Old Days", Gus and Etta, end up having twenty-two children.
- Medium Awareness: Lisa notices the drum-and-fife music that plays whenever Oliver makes an impromptu speech (as does pretty much everyone else), and even the opening credits at one point.
Oliver: A week later than what?Lisa: Well, when Mrs. Ziffel came over here to do her washing!Oliver: I know it's a week later. You don't have to march in here and announce that.Lisa: Well, that's how they always do it in the movies. It's either somebody comes in carrying a sign which says, "Here it is a week later," or a calendar falls apart for a week, or somebody comes out and says, 'That week sure went by fast.' ... They do another thing in the movies, where the screen kind of swims" — (which it proceeds to do when Oliver looks at her) "And that shows that you're dreaming — but in this kind of situation we only do the one week later thing."
- Another example involved Lisa entering with the line, "Well, Oliver — here it is a week later!":
- Misspelling Out Loud: Lisa in "A Royal Love Story" spells "Nude" as "N-O-O-D".
- Misplaced Retribution: In a flashback, Oliver tried growing a garden in his penthouse in New York. His mother, who didn't approve, decided to throw the plants down the balcony, nearly hitting a police officer who was walking by. Oliver and Lisa are the ones who end up in jail.
- Movie-Making Mess: One episode had the everyone in Hooterville make a movie for a famous director who they think was visiting. The movie they made turned out to be so bad that the director's boss has him burn up the film.
- The Name Is Bond, James Bond: This is the way Oliver usually introduces himself.Oliver: Douglas. Oliver Wendell Douglas.Uncle Joe: You got enough names for two people.
- Named After Somebody Famous: Oliver Wendell Douglas, named after Oliver Wendell Holmes.
- Narrator: What's My Line? host John Daily in the pilot.
- Nature Lover: Oliver. When he lived in New York, he tried growing crops on the balcony of his penthouse.
- New Job as the Plot Demands: Mr. Haney always shows up trying to sell something different in every episode.
- Only Sane Man: Oliver, though all the other characters think they're sane and that he's the crazy one. And by Hooterville logic, they may be right.
- Mr. Drucker, however, could arguably be the only other sane person in Hooterville, for the most part.
- Only Shop in Town: Drucker's Grocery Store is this to Petticoat Junction, not just in this show but in Petticoat Junction too.
- Out of Focus: A number of episodes from Season Three focus on Oliver's battle with the Hooterville Telephone Company, his eventual take over (more like hand over), his and Lisa's struggles to keep it going, and later still, Oliver's off-site presiding over the company.
- Beginning that same season, less and less focus was put into Oliver's efforts to fix up his farm, and instead many episodes were simply more or less about the bizarre day-to-day life in Hooterville; a number of episodes are also about Lisa receiving visits from family from Hungary, such as her countess mother, or a duck.
- Overprotective Dad: Mr. Wheeler, father of Eb's sixth-season fiancée Darlene, who thinks Oliver is an alcoholic and a radical fanatic, and even makes Eb and Darlene sit apart so they don't get involved in any pre-marital hijinks.
- Paranormal Episode:
- The episode "The Ballad Of Molly Turgiss" dealt with Oliver trying to get the denizens of Hooterville to tell him about the legend of the eponymous ghost woman. Every time Molly's name was mentioned, strange things happened, such as things getting thrown through the air, pickle barrels falling apart, Mr. Haney's truck starting up on its own, etc. In the end, Molly promises not to do those things anymore after Lisa had a talk with her and made her beautiful, though she does manage to break the promise for a few seconds by smashing Oliver's guitar over his head, because she did not like the song that he wrote about her.
- Another episode "The Saucer Season" involved Eb apparently having interacted with some aliens, which led to him becoming a celebrity about it, much to Oliver's chagrin. However, when an airforce lieutenant tried interviewing Eb about his encounter, Eb's attempts to tell the lieutenant about what he saw are censored by having him say "Bleep" repeatedly, to keep the facts in the dark.
- Playing Gertrude: Oliver's mother was played by Eleanor Audley, who was only a year older than Eddie Albert.
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: The final episode began with Oliver contacting his former secretary (who was just as ditzy and absent-minded as Lisa) in New York for contact information for his old jeweler to get his watch repaired... the rest of the episode focused on the secretary as well as her family and friends.
- In fact the last TWO episodes were pilots, the one discribed above and one involving the resort that Oliver and Lisa are spending a second Honeymoon in.
- Property Line: In "How to Get from Hooterville to Pixley Without Moving", when Oliver asks the Monroe brothers why the bedroom isn't finished, they admit they never got the permit. When Oliver tries to get the paperwork, he discovers that only his barn is in Hooterville, while his house is in Pixley. As soon as word gets out, the citizens of Hooterville turn on Mr. Douglas, cutting off Hooterville services since his house is located in Pixley. Later on, when he gets the borders re-surveyed, the new results aren't any better.
- Put on a Bus:
- As mentioned above, after the first season, most of the Petticoat Junction cast (including Kate Bradley pretty much disappeared from this show altogether, with the exception of occasional mentions throughout the rest of the series. Mr. Drucker remained a regular on both shows, while Fred Ziffel (who debuted on Petticoat) settled in on Acres.
- Eb disappears briefly during the third season when he elopes with his then-sweetheart (even sends his bartending cousin to fill in for him in one episode), though towards the end of the season, The Bus Came Back, and the wedding was called off.
- Retcon: Almost everything about the characters changes from season to season, even episode to episode, for example...
- In one episode, Ralph works for the Douglases as a maid, and it turns out she's a decent housekeeper, and a marvelous cook, providing Oliver with the first great meal he's eaten in a long time; in a later episode, Ralph is a terrible cook, even worse than Lisa.
- Well, maybe Lisa gave her lessons, and they took.
- Oliver and Lisa's stories about how they met are never the same... the only consistency with their stories is that their first meeting took place during WW2.
- In the pilot episode, Fred Ziffel is a pig farmer, and Arnold just happens to be one of his pigs, but throughout the rest of the series, Arnold is the only pig he has.
- Mr. Kimball altogether. In his debut episode, he was depicted as a mild-mannered county agent, and a somewhat competent businessman; all of that is changed by his second appearance, where he becomes the scatter-brained and otherwise absent-minded county agent who always frustrated Oliver with his incompetence and short-term memory.
- Probably justifiable in some way, but in one early episode, Oliver knows that Lisa is up to something when she gives him a glass of milk because he doesn't like milk (she had spiked it to put him to sleep). In a much later episode, a high schooler who has a Precocious Crush on him, is thrilled to see that he loves milk because she does too.
- In one episode, Ralph works for the Douglases as a maid, and it turns out she's a decent housekeeper, and a marvelous cook, providing Oliver with the first great meal he's eaten in a long time; in a later episode, Ralph is a terrible cook, even worse than Lisa.
- Reunion Show: The 1990 Made-for-TV Movie Return to Green Acres, which reunited most of the original cast.
- Roofless Renovation: The Douglas' home is never completed, despite (or rather, because of) the Monroe's best efforts.
- Rousing Speech: Oliver is fond of giving them, although the others are not so much roused as bemused. They are always accompanied by patriotic fife music, which the others often comment on, which confuses Oliver, who doesn't hear it.
- Running Gag: The telephone pole telephone, the closet door falling, the front doorknob coming off, characters seeing the "Written by" and "Directed by" credits, Arnold doing un-piglike things, Haney turning up almost instantly upon Oliver expressing a need for something, Lisa's 'hotscakes' and general non-existent housekeeping skills.
- In fact, it got to a point where series director Richard Baer began complaining to creator/writer Jay Sommers about excessive use of the same gags over and over again. And you have to admit, for a live action sitcom, even by 60s standards, this show seemed to rely way too heavily on these gags.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Inverted with eager would-be farmer Oliver and classy no-nonsense Lisa.
- The Scottish Trope: Every time someone mentions Molly Turgiss' name in "The Ballad of Molly Turgiss", unlucky things happen. It takes help and beauty treatments from Lisa to get her to relent from cursing anyone who mentions her name.
- Second Episode Introduction: Notably Mr. Haney and Eb, mainly because the pilot episode was a How We Got Here mockumentary about Oliver's love of farming and his eventual purchase of The Old Haney Place (which he later named Green Acres).
- Sibling Team: The Monroe Brothers note , Alf and Ralph, who are carpenters.
- Side Bet: When Oliver finds a farmer who's been dead for several years, the other farmers reveal they've been betting on when he'll crack.
- Sleeping Single: Oliver and Lisa when they first arrive in Green Acres. However, they were only temporarily using Mr. Haney's old cots, and eventually Lisa brought over from New York their lavish double bed.
- Spin-Off: Of Petticoat Junction.
- Spoiled Sweet: Lisa is spoiled and certainly misses her old New York lifestyle, but she's no snob. She genuinely cares about everyone she meets in Hooterville, and does her best to be a helpful, contributing member of the community wherever she can - even if she's not particularly good at it, as seen in her attempts at cooking. In the end, she ends up fitting in with their neighbors far better than Oliver does, due in part to the fact that her ability to share in and empathize with their Cloud Cuckoolander perspective frequently prompts her to stand up for them when Oliver is being obstinate.
- Status Quo Is God: Once status quo is established, at least.
- Steam Never Dies: The wood burning Hooterville Cannonball makes a few appearances, along with Engineer Charlie Pratt and Conductor Floyd Smoot.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Usually kicks off with one of Lisa's non-sequiturs or "creative" language.
- Sustained Misunderstanding: The episode, "Never Look a Gift Tractor in the Mouth" is built on this trope, as well as Contrived Coincidence. Lisa buys Oliver a fancy new tractor (complete with air conditioning and stereo speakers) for his birthday, but to avoid spoiling the surprise, she has it delivered to the Ziffels. As it turns out, it's also Fred's birthday, and he and Doris conclude that the tractor was Lisa's birthday present to him and are both so thrilled with it, Lisa can't bear to tell Fred it wasn't for him. Later still, Doris then comes to the conclusion that Fred and Lisa are having an affair, reasoning there's no other reason she would give him such a fancy tractor; Oliver eventually learns the truth and tries to straighten things out, but like Lisa, sees how happy Fred is with the new tractor, and can't bring himself to take it from him.
- Take a Number: Oliver draws a high number, while the by-the-book clerk is still in the single digits, and insists on systematically calling every intervening number, even though Oliver is the only customer in the room.
- Take That!: Played for Laughs: When the farm is set up for electricity for the first time, Oliver goes to plug in his generator, causing a comical explosion that a narrator explains is what was really responsible for the 1965 northeast blackout.
- The Simple Life Is Simple: Subverted. Oliver thinks farming will be easy for him, but he's in way over his head.
- The Teaser: The series adopted this in its final season.
- Theme Naming: In one episode only, Mr. Haney's first name is Charlton, because his nephew's name is Heston.
- Through a Face Full of Fur: In one episode Arnold the pig blushes, with the help of special lighting.
- Title Drop: Sort of. The earliest episodes of the series would contain a specific line of dialogue that also served as the title of the episode ("My Husband, the Rooster Renter", "You Can't Plug a 2 with a 6", among others).
- Also in the pilot when Oliver first shows the farmhouse to Lisa he says, "There she is...Green Acres".
- Took a Level in Badass: Mr. Haney, of all people. In the reunion movie, he's actually a villain, and in on the plot to destroy all of Hooterville to make way for a new industrial city, and all for, what else, the money.
- Tuckerization: In-universe, Oliver's parents named him after the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Oliver Wendell Holmes, because they wanted him to be a lawyer.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Eddie Albert plays his father in a flashback in the first episode.
- The Unfavorite: Oliver's mother Eunice does this to him! She dotes on her daughter-in-law Lisa and deals with her as if she were her own natural daughter, almost always takes her side of an argument, and continuously tries to think of a scheme to bring her back to New York and leave Oliver behind in Hooterville; in fact, whenever Oliver reminds her, "You're my mother", her usual response is, "Don't spread it around", or, "Not so loud, people will hear you". In fact, in one episode where everyone thought Lisa was pregnant, she nearly comes apart at the thought of Lisa having a baby in a rinky-dink town like Hooterville, and even disowns Oliver for doing this to her.
- Verbal Tic: Mr. Kimball always forgetting what he's talking about. Well, he doesn't forget, it just kinda slips his mind. Well, it doesn't really slip his mind, it's more like... no, I guess he does forget... but, whatever it was they were talking about, he probably couldn't help anyway. Well, he could, if he knew what they were talking about.
- Warm Milk Helps You Sleep: Averted in "Horse? What Horse?" where Lisa believes Oliver has lost his mind, because he keeps seeing a polka-dot horse, that quickly disappears when he tries to show it to her. So because of this, Lisa decides to sedate him to sleep by dropping a sleeping pill in a glass of milk. Because she keeps getting two different glasses mixed up, Hilarity Ensues, and she's the one who gets knocked out, while Oliver figures out what she was trying to do, because he doesn't like milk.
- Wham Line: From the very first episode:Oliver: I'm going to [buy a farm], and soon.Lisa: Oliver, how soon?Oliver: Well...Lisa: (more serious) Oliver, how soon?Oliver: (Beat) Yesterday!Lisa: AAAAAAAAAH!!!!!
- What's a Henway?: This exchange between Oliver and Lisa in "The Vulgar Ring":Lisa: Did you find it?
Oliver: No, I haven't got the trap off.
Lisa: What's a "trapoff"?
Oliver: Not a "trapoff", it's just a trap that's part of the drain. Hand me the wrench.
Oliver: That's not a wrench, that's a screwdriver.
Lisa: Well, what's the difference?
Oliver: You use a screwdriver to screw screws, you need a wrench to take the bolts off.
Lisa: What's a "boltsoff"?
Oliver: Lisa, please.
Lisa: But I—
Oliver: Look, I didn't drop my ring down the drain!
Lisa: Why are you throwing that up to me?
Oliver: Because you did!
Lisa: Well, why are you yelling at me? All I did was ask you what's a "boltsoff".
Oliver: There's no such thing!
Lisa: Well, why did you ask me to hand it to you?
Oliver: Lisa, will you find something to do, and let me get this drain off?
Lisa: What's a "drainoff"?
Oliver: It's part of the sink that's attached to the "trapoff"! [groans as he gets up]
Oliver: Shut the water off!
'Lisa: Which one is the "wateroff"?
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Even funnier is the fact that even in-universe, people who don't live in Hooterville (or Crabwell Corners, or Pixley) either never heard of Hooterville before, or assume it's a made-up town.
- In the reunion movie, the zipcode for Drucker's General Store suggests Hooterville is somewhere in Kentucky. Otherwise, an old book about TV Land (before the actual channel was launched) seemed to place Hooterville somewhere in Ozark region.
- Who's on First?: In Part 1 of "A Star Named Arnold Is Born", Arnold stars in a local production titled "Who?":Mr. Drucker: Here are your two tickets for the theater, they're 75¢ apiece.
Lisa: Oliver, pay him the 75¢ apiece.
Oliver: For what?
Mr. Drucker: No, they're for "Who?".
Lisa: No, who.
Mr. Drucker: The name of the play is "Who?".
Oliver: Just "Who"?
Mr. Drucker: The full name of the play is "Who Killed Jock Robin?", but we have such a small marquee on the playhouse, that all we have room for is "Who". Last year, we did "What Price Glory?", and all we had room for was "What?" It's a mystery, and it was written by one of our local authors, Huntley Huldane. And guess who's the star of it? Columbo.
Mr. Drucker: Newt Kiley's police dog.
Oliver: A dog star?
Mr. Drucker: Oh, he's a great actor.
Lisa: You'll see for yourself. We'll be there, Mr. Drucker.
- Zany Scheme: During the final season, Eb came up with several of these to raise money for his fiancee Darlene Wheeler, including subletting his 2 acres of land as a dump, an overnight trailer camp, and a honeymoon suite. The ideas of hosting the wedding at a car wash and in a department store window are also rejected.