Follow TV Tropes


Series / I Am Frankie

Go To
Things are getting real.

I Am Frankie was a live-action teen drama/comedy/science-fiction series which premiered on Nickelodeon in the fall of 2017. The series stars Alex Hook as a teenage android girl named Frankie, whose inventor and "mother" absconded with her when she learned the company she worked for intended to sell her to a rogue government agency that wanted to weaponize her design. Hiding in plain sight (two towns over from her old lab), Dr. Gaines and her family try to live normal lives and keep Frankie off the enrolling her in the local high school and praying nobody finds out her secret. Of course, with Gaines's old boss hunting for the android, a rival scientist out to win a prestigious award at any costs, and the rigors of teen drama in a high school environment, Frankie is constantly in danger of being exposed.

The series was based on the Colombian telenovela Yo soy Franky, which was created by Argentinian author Marcela Citterio and produced by TeleVideo for Nickelodeon's Latin American counterpart, also named Nickelodeon. It was produced by Nickelodeon alongside Paradiso Pictures, the production company of executive producer Eric Gaunaurd.

The first season wrapped airing in November 2017. Season two aired in the fall of 2018. The show was cancelled in 2019.

I Am ... Detecting These Tropes Within The Context Of This Series:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: To a mild degree, Tammy is this to Cole, at least early on. More or less dropped when Tammy becomes obsessed with discrediting Frankie, although it resurfaces for minor drama on occasion.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. In the Colombian telenovela, James's equivalent was a bitter, superstitious and socially awkward scientist named Paul, but the actor playing him was too young and muscular to fit in the role, becoming a handsome nerd instead. The American version corrects this and cast a middle-aged actor that fits more in the role.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Holy hell. Every artificial intelligence in this series behaves contrary to their creator's expectations, given long enough. Though, to be fair, A, B and C are that way because they aren't fully functional compared to models E and F. Fortunately, only one of them actually turns evil.
    • Inversion: Andrew, who rebels against the sinister intentions of his creator.
  • Androids Are People, Too: Frankie, though her own behavior often conforms more to "moody teenage girl" than "correctly functioning android." Also, Andrew.
  • Alpha Bitch: Tammy.
  • Artificial Family Member: Frankie is seen as a daughter by Gaines. Frankie in turn sees her family as her own.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Coupled with Bilingual Bonus for people who watched the Colombian version; it is hinted for a long time that Robbie might be James's android considering in the telenovela the android was named Robi. Turns out it was Andrew instead.
  • Become a Real Boy: Frankie is an android who wishes to become more human. By the end of Season 2, she develops an artificial heart after kissing Cole.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Gilford Kingston, James Peters and Tammy Gilroy in Season 1. In Season 2, the former Greater-Scope Villain WARPA takes over.
  • Black and Nerdy: Byron, who builds his own little robot buddy.
  • Bollywood Nerd: Arguably, Tammy.
  • Book Dumb: Cole. Dude's halfway through high school and doesn't know what a variable is. One has to wonder how he even got into high school without knowing at least basic algebra.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Robbie disappeared without explanation after the first season.
  • Cliffhanger: Every episode. All of them. Every single episode ends on a suspenseful brush with danger, plot twist, or loaded question.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: When Tammy confesses to framing Robbie for vandalism, her punishment is to grant Robbie three wishes.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Mrs. Hough.
  • Creator Cameo: In the final episode of season 1, "I Am... A Sitting Duck", which takes place at the brain squad state finals, the actor playing the stage manager is executive producer Eric Gaunaurd.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than the original telenovela. Even though it is a Nickelodeon series, though, aimed at a very young demographic, the whole Frankie being the sixth prototype created after the fifth one went rogue, and Sigourney being always worried the same will happen, to the point of turning her off was created for the American remake. The Colombian original, even when Franky (with an Y) actually becomes "evil", tends to be a lot sillier.
  • Demoted to Extra: Mr. Kingston, who goes over a Heel–Face Turn, appears noticeably less in Season 2, compared to the first season.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Sigourney programmed Frankie with the following directives: "Don't reveal you're an android" and "Don't lie." It only takes three episodes for these directives to conflict with each other. Fortunately, the person who ultimately discovers her identity is Dayton, who is her friend and has no intention of outing her.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A rare heroic example, EGG have gotten into Sigourney's DroidSync program and are using it to remotely control Frankie. Every attempt to backdoor into the program is blocked by one of EGG's scientists, so Sigourney activates a power overload to burn out every computer system in the building. When Kingston realises every piece of technology is dead, he attempts to call the external security guards only to discover his mobile phone was disabled as well.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Used unintentionally by Frankie to defeat Eliza. Frankie plays back her most important memories as a video projection, emphasising the love of friends and family. Eliza tries to process the emotional data, but can't and shuts down due to her electronic mind being incapable of understanding anything but hate.
  • Evil Redhead: Cynthia, much to the ignorance of Sigourney.
  • Evil Twin: Eliza.
  • Fantastic Racism: Tammy ends up getting half the school to discriminate androids after James selfishly reveals that Andrew is one.
  • Full-Name Basis: Frankie constantly does this. Getting her not to do this takes effort, which nobody ever seems to bother with. The only people she refers to by anything less than their full names are her "parents". Worse still, occasionally it "catches" with the people around her.
    • Everyone (not just Frankie) usually refers to James Peters by his full name.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: I Am ... An Episode Title!
  • Jerkass: James, whose jealousy of Dr. Gaines's success and determination to steal the robotics prize from her leads him to lie, steal data, manipulate a colleague who trusts him, and build his own (far more sophisticated) android, all with the end goal of destroying Frankie so he can scoop Sigourney on the prize.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Frankie suggests she resolves her double date dilemma by taking both her choices to the dance, Dayton responds with "you can't do that, this is real life, not a television sitcom".
  • Literal-Minded: Frankie is frequently this, due to being an android. At least she's been programmed to absorb and correctly parse expressions and slang once exposed to them. Normally, you need to ask her a specific question, otherwise she'll often respond with an unwanted answer. Robbie has a tendency to be this just because he's Sheldon-lite.
  • Loophole Abuse: Frankie is programmed not to reveal her status as an android, but also not to lie. Naturally, when she is pressed by Dayton over whether or not she is an android, these directives don't play well together. She ends up prioritizing "Don't lie."
  • Love Triangle: Tammy/Cole/Frankie in the beginning, though it's surprisingly understated for a teen drama of this type, generally only flaring up organically to push a secondary conflict along. Tammy does dislike Frankie, but her motivation has more to do with Frankie showing her up in the Brain Squad and being a Robot. Having more chemistry with Cole was just icing on the cake and doesn't come up much.
    • An Andrew/Frankie/Cole triangle develops later, though that one is also pretty downplayed in favor of advancing the main plot.
  • The Man Behind the Man: While she's already a Jerkass in her own right, Tammy is controlled by a WARPA chip in the second season.
  • Manipulative Bastard: James tries to be this. It doesn't really work out for him.
  • Meaningful Name: Franky Gaines
    Frank Gaines: "Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible."
    • Andrew, the Android
  • The Men in Black: The WARPA agents could be described as this.
  • Mind-Control Device: Tammy has one implanted in her at the beginning of season 2. With Warpa being run by adults who have apparently never even spoken to a child, it becomes fairly obvious and the plot is exposed to the main characters by episode 5.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: More like "get the hypotenuse expelled for cheating/vandalism/not being human", but this is Tammy's general schtick. Downplayed in that it seems to have less to do with Cole and more to do with reclaiming her "smartest girl in school" cred.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Weaponized Android Research Project Agency.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Mr. Kingston and James wouldn't have been going after Frankie, had Sigourney not shown off her creation to them. To be fair, in the latter case she had no way of knowing about James' motives.
    • Sigourney also unknowingly puts danger directly into Frankie's way, by having Cynthia watch over her.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Of the Brain Squad members, Makayla is the nice, Tammy is the mean and Lucia is the in-between.
  • Noodle Incident: Whenever the subject of Eliza is brought up, Sigourney Gaines insists that that topic is not to be discussed. it is eventually revealed that Eliza is Frankie's precursor and flawed because she is inherently evil.
  • No Waterproofing in the Future: For all their extremely convincing human design and their functions can offer, their circuits react with the slightest contact with moisture, even causing them to combust if they're splashed with about a drinking cup amount, which is how Andrew is revealed to be an android to Frankie and Dayton. Interestingly, the ones with artificial digestive systems are fine with drinking.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Mr. Kingston in Season 1. He was only after Frankie because he was repeatedly threatened by WARPA to deliver them an android. This is even more evident in Season 2, where he is fired from EGG, and makes amends with Frankie.
  • Put on a Bus: After season 1 Byron, who was Dayton's romantic interest, is mentioned by Tammy to have moved away and is replaced with new student Zane. As is John Travis, who was usually seen hanging around with Tammy, Lucia and Mikayla. Interestingly enough, Byron and John, along with Robbie, were part of their Brain Squad.
  • The Reveal: The soap-opera-esque nature of this show thrives on big reveals. Just to name a few:
    • Andrew is an android.
    • Kingston is Dayton and Cole's dad.
    • There were five failed prototypes before Frankie, and the fifth one, Eliza, went rogue.
    • In Season 2, Sigourney has her scientist friend Cynthia Mondall watch over Frankie, while she travels to space. Little did Frankie and Sigourney know, it later turns out that Cynthia is running WARPA.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Pretty much the point of this series. Frankie, Andrew, and Eliza are especially this. PEGS1 counts in personality terms if not in physical shape.
  • Robot Buddy: PEGS1. At first it seems like Kingston loathes him, but when WARPA's goons abduct PEGS1 to force him to cooperate, Kingston goes to pieces and is genuinely distressed over getting him back.
    • BOB also counts, especially given Byron's attachment to him.
    • Frankie herself counts as well from Dayton's perspective. She is helpful, loyal and absolutely adorable.
  • Secret Chaser: Tammy is suspicious of Frankie's odd behavior as an android and wants to find out the truth.
  • Secret Identity: Frankie has to keep her android side a secret to avoid being captured by WARPA.
  • Secret-Keeper: Where to begin? It's easier to name characters who aren't keeping a secret.
  • Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: While they look human, how well the androids do at behaving like a human varies, usually below average.
    • Frankie is Literal-Minded, but is the closest at actually feeling emotions later in the series.
    • Eliza isn't quite as literal-minded as her successor, but she's only capable of conveying hatred.
    • Simone is about the same as Frankie.
    • Andrew behaves the closest to a regular human, with a Charmer personality and normal understanding of social behavior and language usage, so much that if the show weren't about robots, you wouldn't suspect a thing about him. This is mainly an artifact to make The Reveal that he's the android created by James more surprising.
  • Sudden Name Change: Mr. Kingston's first name switches from Gilford to Clarence in between seasons 1 and 2.
  • Those Two Guys: We've got four pairs of them: Tammy's put-upon lackeys Lucia and Makayla, Cole and Byron (in Season 1), and Jenny and Mr. Gaines. In Season 2, there's Andrew and Simone.
  • Title Drop: Frankie does that a few times, obviously. But not as much as the Colombian version, where the phrase was basically programmed both as Franky's startup message, and her standard greeting.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite Kingston vowing to upgrade him, PEGS1 isn't further brought up after Kingston was fired.

I Am ... Finished Listing Tropes.