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The Genie from Down Under follows Penelope Towns (Alexandra Milman), a former rich English snob whose mother Diana (Anna Galvin) has run out of money after the death of her father. It was created in the 8 year period between seasons 2 and 3 of Round the Twist by the same production crew (the ACTF).

While searching through her attic, Penelope finds an opal, and upon rubbing it, out pops an Australian man and his son who claim to be genies, and that they will grant Penelope's wishes in exchange for their freedom. Penelope names the pair Bruce (Rhys Muldoon, replaced in the second season by Sandy Winton) and Baz (Glenn Meldrum), and decides she'd rather keep the genies in her service than set them free. However, when she wishes for 20 million pounds, she is transported to a rundown ranch in the Australian Outback, where she's informed she has inherited 500 acres of land worth 20 million.

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This work provides examples of:

  • Accidental Truth: Otto believes that his ancestors' good fortune came from possessing the opal. He's right, but he thinks it's just a Good Luck Charm, not the home for two genies.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Constantly. It's literally the primary storyline of the show that Penelope will make a selfish wish and Bruce will twist it in a way to make sure she regrets it. One particular kicker has Penelope accidentally wish to prove that her ancestors did not steal or pilfer all the various ancestral treasures on the family estate, only to end up being taken to court by all of their descendants — in particular, an Aboriginal man who claims to be the descendant of the Aborigines whom the von Meisters took the opal from, before Penelope's ancestor Lord Townes won it in a card game. Ironically, that same Aboriginal ends up in a bit of trouble himself when Bruce is made to bear witness, and he notes that the man's ancestors stole the opal from another Aborigine tribe. Who stole it from another, and another, and... well, the opal changed hands a lot of times even before white men showed up.
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  • Brought Down to Normal: Bruce spend an episode as human because of a bet with Penelope. He has difficulty getting by, since an ancient Flying Carpet license is not a substitute for a driver's license.
  • Children Are Innocent: Baz is far more trusting, friendly and gullible than his cynical father Bruce, despite having been a genie for just as long as him. In one episode, he talks his father out of using the opal to free themselves by trapping others as genies in their place. In the final episode, he's even okay with staying a genie because his father has married Penelope's mom, and he's even happy to think of her as his new sister rather than his old master.
  • Fountain of Youth: After Penelope forces him to grant over 200 wishes in an hour, Bruce intentionally makes a wish of hers backfire, turning her into a baby.
  • Freeing the Genie: All Bruce wants is for him and Baz to be set free. There's a very elaborate method for the genie to free themselves: the master has to go into a special cave where the opal was originally found and wish themselves inside the opal which is the only place the genie can hold the opal (yes the opal is inside itself, recursive reality much). Then and only then may the genie wish themselves free.
  • Genie in a Bottle: Well, genie in an OPAL, but Tropes Are Flexible.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: Happens to the housekeeper in one episode.
  • Hollywood Mirage: Played for Laughs in one episode when most of the cast are stuck in the desert. Penelope wishes for the water in a canteen to not run out and the maid (who doesn't know about the genies) dismisses it as a mirage, not drinking any of it. The maid can be seen at the end of the episode when they are back in civilization watering the garden with the canteen.
  • Jackass Genie: An unusually sympathetic example. Bruce and Baz tend to intentionally mess with Penelope's wishes for their own agendas, but only because Penelope tends to make selfish wishes and refuses to free them from their servitude.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Penelope is very selfish and has no shame in exploiting her genies magical abilities, but she does show signs of being a better person deep down. In the end, she comes to accept that her mother loves Australia, even if Penelope herself would rather be in England, and allows her mother to marry Bruce, even though she strips her mother of the knowledge that Bruce isn't a genie.
  • Land Poor: The Towns family. They own a massive estate in England, but it is in need of massive repairs, and they are required to rent it out like a hotel to pay the bills. Similarly, they "inherit" (via wish) a massive section of land in Australia valued at 20 million dollars, but still live in a what is fundamentally a tiny shack.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Penelope is frequently forced to have Bruce and/or Baz wipe memories when some of her wishes go particularly wrong, especially if this reveals their true identity as genies. The ultimate example is in the series finale, when she has Bruce wipe her mother's memory of Bruce being a genie without wiping away her love for him.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: Penelope may be a jerkass, but Bruce would rather be in her service than have to work for the Von Meisters.
  • Literal Genie: While they have to grant wishes, it is up to Bruce and Baz if they actually follow the intent of the wish-for instance a guy wishes for a shirt full of muscles and he gets a shirt of the molluscs. The theme for the show even has Penelope wishing for them to actually do what she wants them to do.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Throughout the series; Trish Emu has a crush on Bruce, who has a crush on Penelope's mother Diana, who is engaged to marry Upper-Class Twit Lord Bubbles Uppington-Smythe but who also reciprocates Bruce's crush.
  • Naked People Are Funny: One episode has everyone's clothes vanish this trope is in effect.
  • The Nudifier: In one episode someone makes a wish that everyone would give up their possessions this causes everyone's clothes to disappear there are multiple instances of Shoulders-Up Nudity.
  • Our Genies Are Different: Bruce and Baz are father and son who are bound to an opal which was mined in an enchanted cave in ancient Australia. They yearn to be free, but doing so is impossible unless either they can persuade their master to wish them free, or they can trick their master into first returning to the cave with them and then wishing themselves into the opal, where the genies can use the opal themselves to gain their freedom by condemning their former master to take their place as the genie(s) of the opal. Outside of the cave, they can't touch the opal, which instead passes through them as if they weren't there. Also, to invoke their magic, they have to make the "Aussie Salute", casually waving their hand across their face as if shooing flies.
  • Paranormal Romance: A running B-plot through the series is about the Love Dodecahedron between Bruce, Penelope's mother Diana, and Trish Emu. It ends with Bruce and Diana getting married.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The genies are five thousand years old, but look like a 35 year old man and his 8 year old son.
  • Reset Button: Courtesy of the genies, it's pushed nearly every episode. Zigzagged in the final episode: Penelope does wipe her mother's memory of Bruce being a genie, but allows them to get married.
  • Transformation Discretion Shot: In the episode "Baby Talk", Penelope makes a very poorly-worded comment that gives Bruce the opportunity to turn her into a baby as revenge for her abusive treatment. The actual regression is a morph sequence that remains in full view of the camera; by contrast, once Penelope finally gets Bruce to undo the wish, she reverts to her true age in a cutaway - being a real baby in Bruce's arms in one shot and a onesie-clad teenager being lowered to the ground in the next.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Penelope is egotistical and greedy, and is openly disdainful of Australians.
  • With Friends Like These...: Penelope and her "friends" are mutually bitchy.
 
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Penelope In The Pillory Scene

Otto takes advantage of the genie's abilities and uses against Penelope.



The Genie From Down Under

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