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Series / Weird Science

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"Submitted for your approval: two troubled teens and one magic genie. Seemingly the perfect formula for mirth and mayhem."
— Chett Donnelly, imitating Rod Serling in "Sci-Fi Zoned"

A 1990s television Fantastic Comedy series based on the 1985 movie of the same name. Nerds Gary (John Asher) and Wyatt (Michael Manasseri), unable to hook up with real girls, use a computer to "create" the perfect woman: Magical Girl Lisa (Vanessa Angel), whose powers initiate wacky adventures.

The series, which aired on the USA Network from 1994 to 1998, changed settings from Illinois (in the original film) to California.

Tropes exhibited by this series include:

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  • The Ace:
    • As goofy as he could be, Scampi was always able to rein in Chett during high school and foil all of his pranks.
    • In "The Bazooka Boys", Wyatt and Gary's clones do a better job of leading their lives than they do.
  • Adam Westing: By Adam West himself in "Strangers in Paradise". During a bidding war over a ceramic squirrel, several nods are made to Batman.
  • Adaptational Job Change: In the film, Gary's father Al is a plumber. In the TV series, he owns a towing business.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Unintentional example. While Movie!Lisa was very affectionate towards the boys and helped them become more confident and less socially awkward, Series!Lisa definitely has a mean streak and her Jackass Genie antics (which aren't always unintentional) often seem like something that if anything would make them even less confident and more depressive. Any attempts to portray her as Trickster Mentor type also fall flat thanks to Status Quo Is God ensuring Gary and Wyatt won't ever change in any significant way, meaning she is either really bad at the 'Mentor' part or is simply messing with them for her own amusement.
  • Adapted Out: A very minor example. In the film, Wyatt has an unseen elder sister named Chloe. In the TV series, Chloe is entirely omitted and Chett is Wyatt's only sibling.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • In "Cyrano De Brainiac", Wyatt realizes that getting turned down wouldn't be the end of the world and gains a new level of confidence. He's back to his old shy self in the very next episode.
    • At the end of "Grampira", Wyatt realizes that being old isn't something to be ashamed of, but Gary still complains about it (evidenced by him whining about the shows with old people on TV — e.g. The Golden Girls) despite spending the whole episode's events with him and wishes to "never age". Lisa promptly metalizes him and seals him inside a block of metal.
      Lisa: But at least we can watch TV in peace.
  • Aesop Collateral Damage: In “The Feminine Mistake” Gary makes Lisa mad and so she turns the boys into girls. When Wyatt protests about the fact that he's being punished for something Gary did, Lisa simply insists “he’s your friend”.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Gary often referred to Wyatt as "Big Guy," presumably because Wyatt was quite a bit shorter than him.
  • Alpha Bitch: Although they only appear in "Teen Lisa", Brenda Tomlinson and Heather are seemingly the resident alpha bitches of Farber High School. Brenda laughs in Gary's face when he asks her out and then proceeds to mock "Larry Wallace" with her friends in Gary's presence. When Lisa and the boys trade places and Lisa becomes a socially awkward teenager, Brenda and Heather take great delight in trying to make her life miserable while pretending to be her friend.
  • Always Someone Better: A constant sore spot for Chett is how Wyatt is constantly the favorite in the family.
    Chett: You've never been second best. You've always been the good son. You're gonna get the good job. You're the one Nana wants to see at Christmas. Well, not anymore. Now you can see how I felt when you potty trained at eight months.
  • And Starring: Vanessa Angel as Lisa.
  • The Artifact: Discussed in "Magic Comet Ride" in regards to Lisa herself. She makes all the magical adventures possible, but the Genie Master points out that she was created because Gary and Wyatt were hopeless social outcasts and that they've long since been able to manage just fine. Lisa concedes she fulfilled her original purpose, but she says she's not ready to move on and leave her friends.

  • Badass Boast: During "Searching for Boris Karloff", when the guys are preparing to use Frankenstein's laboratory to revitalize Lisa.
    Wyatt: We're not exactly in our element here.
    Gary: We belong here! We captured the elusive spark of life from the vast nothingness. We created a beautiful woman from that inky void, and we can do it again! And maybe this time, she'll shower with us!
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: A frequently used trope to the point of being Once per Episode.
    • "The Most Dangerous Wish" revolves around the guys being given a brand new computer game by Lisa; they then blow her off completely to play the game but are disappointed that the game turns out to be too short. When they complain to Lisa — well, she's so miffed at being ignored, she brings the video game villain to life. See also Turned Against Their Masters.
  • Beach Episode: In "Free Gary", the guys get to live out a Baywatch-esque scenario, but it turns out Gary can't swim. When he has to save the Girl of the Week, Lisa accidentally turns him into a merman.
  • Berserk Button: Heaven help the boys if they ever try to command Lisa to do something, or refer to themselves as her masters.
    Wyatt: Geez, Gary, not the "M-word!"
  • Break the Haughty: In "Show Chett", Chett ends up convincing Lisa to make him a successful male stripper. Everything goes great until his female fanbase begins to stalk him, his female boss forces him to have sex with her to keep his job, and finds his attempts to become a "legitimate" dancer squashed by sexist talent agents who see him as a glorified whore.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Gary. In "Slow Times at Farber High", he spent hours writing cheat notes all over his body (writing backwards for his back so he could read them in the bathroom mirror) rather than just study. Scampi tells him he could be a great mind if he devoted that kind of energy to his studies.
  • Broken Ace: Chett in the It's a Wonderful Plot episode "It's a Wonderful Life...Without You". In a world without Wyatt, Chett is a model student that constantly gets good grades, has numerous outside activities, and is adored by his parents. The problem is that without a sibling to divvy up the attention, the parents put too much pressure on him to succeed; he's constantly on the edge of a nervous breakdown and dreads letting everyone down.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In "Horseradish", Wyatt's computer gets a security upgrade, but Gary forgets the password - locking Lisa out and cutting off her magic.
  • Bullying a Dragon: After learning about her, Chett had a habit of purposefully annoying or goading Lisa. It went as well as you'd expect.
    "Note to self: stop pissing off the genie."
  • Butt-Monkey: Both male leads but especially Gary. Wyatt usually at least managed to keep some dignity even when kicked by another wish gone wrong. Chett probably qualifies too, though he (mostly) deserves it.

  • Cannot Keep a Secret: In "Girl Talk", Lisa feels bad about keeping secrets from her new friend and tells her she's a genie. Unfortunately, the friend tells her sister and ultimately leads to about thirty other people (including Scampi somewhere along the line) finding out. In the end, Lisa's friend asks to have her memory wiped of Lisa's secret because she'd never be able to keep from telling everyone.
  • Caught in the Ripple: "What Genie?" starts with Gary and Wyatt getting bullied which they're used to, but they seemingly have no knowledge of Lisa. They then discover evidence of her existence and look into her. It's later discovered they told a classmate about Lisa and the classmate made Lisa her slave. One of the first things she did was wish Gary and Wyatt forgot about Lisa.
  • Censor Box: In "Magnifico Dad", Gary wishes to see Lisa naked. She grants the wish, sort of, by using censor boxes to block off the parts you can't show on TV, explaining that if the boys actually saw her naked, "it would spoil you for real women."
  • Catchphrase: When Gary is proven wrong or surprised, he usually responds with "Son of a gun."
  • Characterization Marches On: Gary's dad, Al, was initially a lot stricter towards him and more distant towards his wife. A few appearances later, he became more of a loving Bumbling Dad.
  • City with No Name: The town is unnamed, but somewhere in southern California.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: In "Fatal Lisa", a botched wish causes Lisa to fall in love with Wyatt. She becomes increasingly clingy and possessive - to the point of making everyone else disappear to leave the two of them alone.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Lisa is very casual about endangering the boys' lives or even temporarily killing them.
    Lisa: If I told you every time I put your lives in danger, we'd never get out of the house.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: In "Rock Hard Chett", a prank on Chett is about to go horribly wrong, so Lisa gives him invincibility to save his life. He finds out about his new powers when he stumbles onto and foils a bank robbery. He quickly decides to put on a costume and become a superhero. Amazingly enough, he takes it very seriously and does a great job.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Gary and Wyatt sneak onto a talk show (see below) and reveal they have a genie in "What Genie?", Chett, Principal Scampi and a Jerk Jock at school feel "that explains a lot." Gary's father, however, asks, "Where'd Gary get the money for a sex change operation?"
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In "What Genie?", the boys sneak onto the the set of a talk show and appear as guests. The topic of the day? "Men who turned into women who turned into men again." See Gender Bender below. This episode also sees Wyatt and Gary going over the former's journal - referencing several past episodes.
    • "Free Gary" has him reveal that he can't swim. A later episode ("It Takes a Geek") has a couple scenes involving being on a boat in a lake, so Gary is shown wearing a life-jacket.
  • Courtroom Episode: In "Community Property", Wyatt and Gary fight over Lisa, leading to a cyber-court battle over who should get custody.
  • Crossover: The three male characters all appeared, voicing themselves, on another USA network show, Duckman, where the villain was planning to kill the regulars from both shows.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gary.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Lisa is insistently referred to as a "magic genie."
  • Dope Slap: Gary is often on the receiving end of these, primarily from Lisa and other women.

  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the first few episodes, Wyatt and Gary would actually have to type on the computer to summon Lisa. Afterwards, they could still do this, but Lisa was far more likely to pop in on her own.
  • Easy Amnesia: In "By the Time We Got to Woodstock", Lisa gets amnesia after banging her head on the sign reading "You Must Be As Tall as This Sign to Enter the Time Hole" that she placed above Wyatt's bed before she, Gary and Wyatt went back in time to 1969.
  • Enemy Mine: Chett and Scampi had to (begrudgingly) team up in "Gary and Wyatt's Bloodsucking Adventure" and "Stalag 16".
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: In "You'll Never Eat Brains in This Town Again", Lisa is trying to make an indie horror movie with zombies. When the student actors don't work out, she zaps up some real zombies. The zombies do what they're told and behave, but when the sun goes down, they get hungry. And one of them bites Lisa...
  • Expy: The FBI characters in "Fly Boy" are patterned after Mulder, Scully and the Cigarette-Smoking Man.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: In "It's a Mob, Mob, Mob, Mob World", the Donnellys become the Donnellis, a loving family that runs the Homeowners Association like a criminal empire. This later leads to a goofy Mob War between them and the Wallaces.
  • Flanderization: Lisa, from a competent but unpredictable genie to a full-fledged Inept Mage whose spells never work right.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Lisa and the boys are constantly resorting to zany schemes to do things that Lisa could accomplish with one wave of her hand. Lampshaded in "Searching for Boris Karloff" after Lisa makes a heartbroken speech over the dead body of Frankenstein's monster:
    Gary: Uh, Lis? Can't you just, you know, zap him back to life?
    Lisa: Oh. Yeah.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: In "Switched at Birth", feeling the other doesn't appreciate their current life, Wyatt gets to enjoy time with the down-to-Earth, present Wallaces and Gary gets to enjoy parental free life with a working credit card.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Chett's bullying of Wyatt. A flashback in "Strangers in Paradise" shows Chett was moved into a smaller room to make way for newborn Wyatt. This is followed by a montage of moments of their parents constantly praising Wyatt and criticizing Chett.
    • His grudge against Scampi, as well. At first, it just seems solely based on Scampi foiling his pranks and disciplining him, but "Stalag 16" reveals that he blames Scampi for being expelled and sent to military school.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Chett. Wyatt tends to stick up for him out of family loyalty, but Gary often snarks at him and Lisa has a lot of issues with him, too. It turns out that the people Chett regularly hangs out with look down on him, too.
  • Friendly Enemy: Rhett and Mickey (the two rats turned human in "Chett World") want to take over the world and avenge their kind for being experimented on, but they genuinely like Chett and offer him a position of power.
  • From Bad to Worse: "Sci-Fi Zoned" builds up to this. Lisa zaps Gary and Wyatt into The Sci-Fi Zone, the show that helped them become best friends. They're told it'll only last for a day, but once time is up, they instead crash into a city with no food or water. Lisa realizes she forgot that time has no meaning here, so a day could last a lifetime. Worse, the guys find this Lisa is just a hologram—meaning they're completely on their own.

  • Gender Bender:
    • In "The Feminine Mistake", when Gary tries to command her, Lisa gets her own back by turning the boys into girls.
    • And nobody could forget the episode, "Grumpy Old Genie", where an underage online thief steals Lisa's image, replacing it with Abe Vigoda. (Yes, TV's Fish.).
    • In "Quantum Wyatt", Gary jumps into a phone-sex operator at the end.
    • In the Pilot, Gary (thinking that Lisa had left forever) told Wyatt that he wouldn't be happy unless Wyatt was a "killer babe." Cue Wyatt turning into a gorgeous blonde. And then cue credits before anything interesting happens.
    • In "Bee in There", Wyatt asks Lisa to not only send himself and Gary back in time to 1987 but to leap them into their fathers a la Quantum Leap so they can teach their younger selves show to throw a baseball. Gary, however, leaps into his mother. This leads his dad and Wyatt's mother to believe that their spouses are having an affair.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Gary with slasher movies, as seen in "Bikini Camp Slasher".
    • Both Gary and Wyatt with respect to The Sci-Fi Zone in "Sci-Fi Zoned".
  • Grand Finale: "WS4." Aliens invade, Gary is killed by said aliens but then resurrected; Chett and Scampi have a Luke, I Am Your Father moment.
  • Halloween Episode: In "Demon Lisa", Wyatt and Gary throw a Halloween party, as Lisa is possessed by an Internet virus/demon.
  • High-Class Glass: Exaggerated, "Stalag 16" has a stereotypical Nazi officer wears a monocle on each eye.
  • Hate Sink: Chett starts out as an unrepentant asshole that regularly bullies and annoys others. Over time, Character Development gave him more likable qualities.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Gary and Wyatt are almost always together, yet are always after girls.
  • Honor Before Reason: In "Rock Hard Chett", Chett uses his new invulnerability to become a superhero. When the wish wears off, he gets shot during a bank heist, and though Lisa manages to bring him back to life, it leaves her unconscious and unable to help any further. Wyatt suggests just walking away, but Chett goes back in to save the day despite losing his powers. (He manages to talk the robbers down by convincing them their guns have already failed to stop him.)
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Chett has these moments with Wyatt and less often Gary.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • In "Genie Junior", Wyatt chastises Lisa for willingly kissing Chett and calls the guy the most immature person he knows.
    Gary: [having jammed two large fries under his upper lip] Rah, I am Walrus Man!
    Wyatt: [to Lisa] I stand by my statement.
    • In "The Feminine Mistake" when Gary and Wyatt are lamenting their inability to ask girls out, Lisa insists they should just do it and that women weren't unapproachable, and are just waiting for guys to ask them out. This is immediately followed by a guy coming up and politely attempting to ask Lisa out, only for her to shut him down halfway through.

  • Identical Grandson: In "The Legend of Red Brick Wallace", Gary's great-great-grandfather Red Brick Wallace looks exactly like his father Al. In the same episode, Wyatt and Chett's ancestor Sheriff Donnelly looks exactly like Chett, only with a moustache.
  • I Just Want to Be You: What helps get the "Freaky Friday" Flip in "Switched at Birth" going. After his parents again bail on him, Wyatt says Gary is lucky to have parents who are always around and want to do family activities. Gary, however, is annoyed by how his parents never leave him alone and wouldn't mind having absentee folks that shower a kid with money and gifts.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: "Quantum Wyatt" has Wyatt and Lisa pretending to be brain surgeons who perform an operation on Gary and Wyatt's principal. Afterward, Wyatt says that he didn't know Lisa knew how to perform brain surgery, and Lisa says she didn't, but that she saw it performed on last night's ER.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: At the neighborhood block party in "Bee in There", Wyatt blames his father for his inability to throw a baseball. Gary likes the idea of blaming the parents for his own failings—calling Al a cold, distant man. We then immediately see Al has been entertaining the neighborhood children and clearly enjoying himself.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Double subverted in "It's a Wonderful Life...Without You" when Wyatt and Lisa see a world where the former was never born. A world without Wyatt seems perfect, as Chett is a straight A overachiever, while Gary is the most popular guy in school and has a steady girlfriend. However, without Wyatt around, the parents have put so much pressure on Chett that he hates his life and is about ready to crack, while Gary was so desperate for popularity that he resorted to chronic lying and stealing.
  • Jackass Genie:
    • Not Lisa (usually), but her powers seem to do this to her as well without her wanting it by making wishes come true with unnecessary caveats and in ways that cause all kinds of trouble/plot. As one of the guys once puts it, "Your magic sucks."
    • Gene the Genie, played by Bruce Campbell.
    • Invoked in "Master Chett", where Lisa cons Chett into making three wishes and purposefully does a bad job in order to get him to stop bothering her.
  • Jail Bait Wait: Inverted. In the very first episode, Lisa quickly deduces what the boys' first wish will be, and tells them her ethical programming wont let her do that until they are of legal age.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Chett. While generally a Jerkass to Wyatt and Gary and often brazenly hitting on Lisa, Chett would demonstrate genuine concern and affection for Lisa. He also showed genuine care for a pet dog he had for an episode.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: "WS4" reveals that Lisa and Wyatt had been secretly dating for some time. Course, they actually break-up before the episode is over.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything:
    • How Lisa was created.
    • This is the cover story the guys give Chett in "Rock Hard Chett" to explain his sudden invulnerability. When the wish wears off, Wyatt then tries to tell him, "The lightning wore off!"
  • Literal Genie: In "Cyrano De Brainac", Gary wishes for the brain of Albert Einstein, so Lisa zaps up Einstein's Brain in a Jar. Note this was after he tried to be very careful with his wording to avoid a mishap like his head being replaced by Einstein's.
  • Literal Split Personality: In "A Tale of Two Lisas", Gary wants Lisa to take him to Mardi Gras and Wyatt wants her to help him study for his biology test the next day. As she was programmed to please both of them, Lisa cannot choose between them and she splits into two. Gary's Lisa is wild and impulsive while Wyatt's Lisa is reliable and responsible. Both boys are initially happy with their respective Lisas but it turns out that things have Gone Horribly Right: Gary's Lisa is so impulsive that she is uncontrollable and Wyatt's Lisa is so responsible that she won't allow him to have any fun. As such, each Lisa possesses an exaggerated version of the relevant boy's personality. Gary's Lisa also has a more pronounced version of the normal Lisa's mean streak, turning first Gary and then Wyatt into trolls. The two Lisa recombine when Gary and Wyatt patch up their friendship.
  • Local Hangout: The Java Man coffee shop.

  • Mayfly–December Romance: Wyatt falls in love with a robot, but she dumps him when she finds out he's human. She loves him but doesn't want to get involved with someone who's going to grow old and die someday.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: "Oh, man! Dumped by a ______!" Usually said by Wyatt ("Oh, man! Dumped by a robot/car/fictional character!") but also by Lisa when she experiences the ultimate humiliation: "Oh, man! Dumped by Gary Wallace!"
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman: Averted in "The Feminine Mistake" when Lisa seemingly turns Gary and Wyatt into girls. Everyone else sees their feminine forms, but it's just an optical illusion. While they can see the female reflections in the mirror, Gary is quite disappointed to be unable to feel the supposed breasts.
  • Memory Wipe Exploitation: One episode of gives Gary a remote control that lets him fast forward, rewind, or pause time. Unfortunately the remote breaks and he and Wyatt get stuck in a loop. Wyatt figures it out and rushes to fix things, but before doing so the last time he takes a moment to kiss his French teacher.
  • Misery Builds Character: Gary's actions in "Switched at Birth" make it look like Wyatt is out of control and in need of discipline. Marcia believes the only solution is to send Wyatt to the same military school Chett was sent to.
  • Moving the Goalposts: In “Sex Ed” Lisa takes over teaching the boys’ sex education class. She tells the students that after they demonstrate that they’ve learnt the material, they will conclude the class by having sex. To her surprise, Gary (not normally a good student) passes the test on the material with flying colours. Lisa then decides that, before he can have sex, he also needs to pass a completely different test to get a “Sex License”.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lisa, who's gorgeous and wears many Fanservice outfits through the story, at least Once per Episode. Her Catwoman outfit in "A Tale of Two Lisas" is probably the best example of that.
  • Mundane Wish: Despite Lisa's nearly-limitless (if temporary) powers, nearly all Gary and Wyatt's wishes are for incredibly mundane things. Lampshaded within an inch of its life in the Grand Finale after Wyatt reveals Lisa's existence to the school:
    Student: So how come you're not, like, the richest men in the world living on an island with Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell?
    Wyatt: We, uh, never really wished for that.
    Student: So what did you wish for?
    Wyatt: I wished to be president of the chess club once. It didn't work out.
  • Musical Episode: "Pirates!" Wyatt is cast as the lead in the school musical, but Lisa accidentally brings singing pirates to life, and they make Chett their leader. After four brief interludes, the episode ends with a lengthy musical number.
  • My Brain Is Big: In "Party High, U.S.A.", Lisa initially gives Gary a huge brain so he can pass a test on the history of the bikini but he asks her to undo it since it would impede his efforts to score.
  • My Future Self and Me: In "Camp Wannabe", Gary has Lisa send him and Wyatt to Camp Hi-De-Ho in the summer of 1986 where he meets himself as an eight-year-old. When he reveals his identity to the 1986 Gary, he screams for help. The 1994 Gary is able to prove that he is telling the truth as he knows that his younger self vomited in his sock drawer and blamed it on the dog the previous summer.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Why is Gary so certain that they can create a woman on a computer? In a case of Beyond The Fourth Wall, he says...
    "I saw it in a John Hughes movie."
    • Like in the movie, it's Gary who names Lisa.
    • In "A Tale of Two Lisas", Lisa is split into two parts and the wilder, more party-oriented Lisa ends up tranforming Gary and Wyatt in to trolls, who look like (somewhat less disgusting) versions of Chett's transformation from the film.

  • New Job Episode:
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Taken to an extreme in "Rock Hard Chett" when Lisa discovers a previously-unknown power to bring Chett back to life.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "Master Chett". the guys and Lisa antagonize Chett without any on-screen justification and then openly brag about how they were able to do it with a genie. They do so because they think they can wipe his memory... only to then find out that they can't. Whoops.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Unlike the movie, Lisa tells the guys she won't do anything sexual with them until they're legal. While both are nonetheless attracted to her, Wyatt is too shy to broach the subject and Gary is repeatedly rejected.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: "Stalag 16" double subverts it in the prison camp plot. Chett is fully prepared to leave Scampi behind due to their history, but the latter later proves his worth by acting as a distraction. When the other men decide to leave Scampi behind anyway, Chett goes back for him.
  • No Ontological Inertia:
    • Generally enforced. Due to limitations in Lisa's powers, wishes only last a short time and everything goes back to normal no matter what the characters experienced. (Whether or not other characters remember what was going on depends on the given episode.)
    • "Switched at Birth" discusses and defies the trope. Gary expected everything to just snap back to normal when the wish was over, so he went hog wild with Wyatt's parents' credit cards. However, Wyatt's computer was abruptly unplugged—cancelling the wish before it fully played out and forcing the characters to deal with the fallout of Gary's actions.
  • Noir Episode: "The Genie Detective" plays it to the hilt. Lisa plays a VR game, where she is a detective named Legs MacGuffin. She has to figure out who poisoned a rich man (who looks like Chett) and find the cure, while the other side characters look like Wyatt, Gary, and Scampi. It turns out, though, the guy actually is Chett; he hooked into the VR game to play, too, only to learn he'll actually die from the poison if they don't solve the case.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted. Gary and Wyatt are starting their sophomore year in the first episode and are well-into their senior year by the Grand Finale. The show did last five seasons, but its initial run was over the course of three years (barring six episodes being burned off a year later).
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In "You'll Never Eat Brains in This Town Again", after Lisa realizes her zombie actors are about to turn carnivorous.
      Lisa: Uh-oh. (runs off)
      Wyatt: Before she ran out of here in a blind panic, did the all-powerful genie say "uh-oh?"
      Gary: You heard that too, huh?
    • Late in "Rock Hard Chett", Chett takes a bite out of a slice of the pizza Wyatt and Gary are having when he's about to go to a bank to fight off bank robbers, only to complain that the pizza burned his tongue due to how hot it was. Given he's made invincible due to Lisa's magic early in the episode, this incident alerts Wyatt and Gary to the possibility that he's no longer invincible, prompting them both to scream for Lisa and run to her for help at once.
  • Older Than They Look: Done In-Universe during "Grampira" when Wyatt wishes for his grandmother to feel young again. Unfortunately, as a side-effect, she takes the youthful energy of anyone she touches, and it soon spreads like a virus. All the infected teenagers still look the same, but they have really become as old as senior citizens and will die if the wish isn't reversed.
  • Opening Shout-Out: For most of the run, the series intro began and ended with Stock Footage from Bride of Frankenstein. Since "Searching for Boris Karloff" was a salute to Universal's Frankenstein movies, the opening exchange was re-created (albeit with Frankenstein instead of Pretorius).
    Creature: You... make man?
    Frankenstein: No. Woman!
    Creature: Woman?
  • Our Vampires Are Different: In "Gary & Wyatt's Bloodsucking Adventure", the guys and Lisa become vampires, but substitute blood-drinking for Yoo-hoo and there's no indication that sunlight affects them. Of course, they run afoul of more typical vampires.
  • Out of Focus: With the increased emphasis on Chett in the final season, Gary and Wyatt often didn't have much to do on their own show. Many final season episodes have them reduced to subplots or just standing around and making snarky comments.

  • Parental Abandonment: Wyatt and Chett's parents are usually always away on business, leaving them the run of the house.
  • Parental Bonus: During the Whole-Plot Reference to The Twilight Zone, Gary has a moment that parodies the famous climax to Planet of the Apes (1968). Seems like a simple unrelated-Shout-Out, but as the writers knew, TZ creator Rod Serling wrote a draft of the movie's script and originated said climax.
  • Parental Favoritism: Wyatt is the folks' clear favorite—much to Chett's annoyance.
    Chett: [to Wyatt] You're the good son. You're gonna get the good job. You're the one Nana wants to see at Christmas.
  • Parental Neglect: Chett was neglected after Wyatt was born, while Wyatt gets neglected due to work.
    Marcia: Did we forget his birthday again?
    Wayne: If we did, my secretary's going to be looking for a new job.
  • Parental Substitute: Implied with Gary's parents to Wyatt. In "It's a Mob, Mob, Mob, Mob World", Al and Emily throw Wyatt a small celebration for his perfect scores on the SATs, while his own parents didn't even know he had taken them. Presumably, Gary's parents kept an eye on Wyatt before Chett moved back home.
  • Ping Pong Naïveté: Lisa was created with a high IQ, but when she has to actually function in the real-world ("Horseradish", "Teen Lisa"), she tends to be clueless. Justified, because she may have intelligence and information, but no real life experience, being just created.
  • Planet of Steves:
    • Quite literally, recurring characters from an alien race all named Steve who wanted Lisa as their new queen.
    • This is is also the plot of Rhett and Mickey, two rats transformed into humans by Lisa's magic in "Chett's World" —use mind-altering jerky to make everyone in the world act like the moronic Chett, then use humans for science experiments.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown:
    • Lisa's powers would sometimes fail her at key moments (like during the Grand Finale).
    • Especially early on, the writers would frequently drive the plot by having Lisa's spell wear off at the most inconvenient time possible.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure:
    • In "Sci-Fi Zoned", after a scene in which they say they'll always be friends, Wyatt and Gary are then shown fighting over some school humiliations and agreeing their friendship is over.
    • In "Community Property", Wyatt and Gary accuse the other of hogging Lisa, leading to a fight and a custody battle.
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: In "Men in Tights", after Chett picks a fight with a nasty wrestler, Lisa gives him wrestling skills to survive it. Because he was trying to pull him out of the ring at the time, Wyatt also got half the power. Chett and Wyatt subsequently become tag-team wrestlers Uncle Slam and Paul Severe. King Kong Bundy makes an appearance As Himself.
  • Real After All: In "Free Gary", Lisa is drawn to a guy nicknamed Kahuna that seems to know everything about her, but speaks vaguely about it. She soon believes he's a genie (especially when Gary is somehow saved from a wish gone wrong), while Wyatt thinks he was just giving her pickup lines and everything else was a coincidence. The last scene reveals that Kahuna is a genie.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Lisa fakes this in "Magnifico Dad" to mess with the guys.
    "Who dares disturb my slumber? I did not wish to be summoned. For this impertinence, you shall be punished."
  • Repressed Memories: In "Fly Boy", Chett is hypnotized as part of an FBI interrogation to get to his subconscious. It turns out he remembers a lot of the weird things that have happened to him during the series.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: In "Universal Remote", the guys use it to play around with time. As Gary increasingly hogs it for his own use, Wyatt remains aware of all the loops, rewinds and fast-forwards.

  • Sand In My Eyes: In "Searching for Boris Karloff", after Wyatt gives a heartfelt monologue to a comatose Lisa.
    Gary: I think I got something in my eyes.
    Creature: Me, too.
  • Screw Destiny: Lisa gives Wyatt a watch that shows when he'll die and Gary a watch that shows when he'll lose his virginity. According to the watches, Wyatt will die in 90 years and Gary will lose his virginity in a few days. A few days later, they realize they have the wrong watches, which means Wyatt has 10 minutes to live. He avoids his death by refusing to help Chett soup up his Jeep with nitro. Then Gary ignores his destiny by having sex with a nerdy classmate.
  • Secret-Keeper:
    • Chett (begrudgingly) becomes this after repeated memory wipes give him an immunity.
    • Wyatt's grandmother becomes one near the end of "Grampira", though she doesn't appear again.
      Wyatt's grandmother: (to Wyatt) She [Lisa] is always welcome to join and visit us. *leans close to Wyatt and whispers* But keep her magic at home. I don't need it.
  • Secret Test of Character: In "Magic Comet Ride", Lisa embarks on some training to be a better genie. In the end, her Yoda-like mentor tells her she can go to a place where all of her questions can be answered, but it would mean leaving Wyatt and Gary forever. While she admits that they're not the helpless losers they used to be, Lisa says she still needs them and won't go. Her mentor replies, "Pass the most important test of all you did."
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
    • In "Camp Wannabe", Gary tries to change history by having Lisa send him back in time to Camp Hi-De-Ho in 1986 so that he can win the heart of Julia Putnam, on whom he had a crush, and spare himself the embarrassment of being tied to a tree all night by Jeremy Scanlon. He succeeds in doing so but he changes history back, albeit very reluctantly, after Julia breaks up with him and Jeremy's life is ruined.
    • In "By the Time We Got to Woodstock", Chett tries to prevent Richard Nixon's downfall while in 1969.
    • In "Bee In There", Gary and Wyatt ask Lisa to send them back in time in their fathers' bodies, as in Quantum Leap, so that they can teach their younger selves to throw a baseball and impress girls in the present. As ever, things don't go according to plan. When they arrive in 1987, Wyatt is in his father Wayne's body but Gary is in his mother Emily's body. Due to a misunderstanding involving Wyatt helping Gary take off his bra, Gary's father Al and Wyatt's mother Marcia become convinced that their spouses are having an affair. Although Gary and Wyatt are able to save their parents' marriages, they never get around to teaching the 1987 versions of themselves how to throw a ball.
  • Sex Goddess: In the final episode, Gary shows up with an alien girlfriend. Considering she looks the same as the rest of the weird-looking humanoid aliens of the species, nothing like a Green-Skinned Space Babe or Cute Monster Girl, Wyatt wonders what exactly he sees in her — until he finds out just touching her hand feels so good that it causes him to do an ecstatic Jim Carrey / Jerry Lewis imitation. Apparently it's a feature of the species.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Chett and the former "Ass-istant Principal Scampi."
  • Skepticism Failure: In "Girl Talk", Lisa tells her new friend Tisch that she's a genie. Tisch actually believes in a lot of supernatural-type stuff, but doesn't believe Lisa because she thought she was making fun of her. Lisa convinces her by making it rain... inside the Java Man... with men instead of rain.
    Gary: I don't wanna even know.
    Wyatt: I can't feel my legs.
  • So Proud of You: At the end of "It's a Mob, Mob, Mob, Mob World", Wayne tells Wyatt that he has always made him and Marcia proud.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Chett became so popular with the writers that in the final season he wound up getting more spotlight episodes than the leads.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Taken to the extreme. In several episodes, one of the guys actually got a girlfriend. But since this would've left the writers without an objective to drive future plots, she would quietly disappear between episodes.
    • A more in-universe example: Lisa's magic eventually wears off, resetting things back to normal no matter how out of control the wishes make things. Her only spells that seem to be permanent are the ones that restore the original status quo, like erasing people's memories of her.
    • Averted in "Master Chett", with the revelation that Chett had been mindwiped so many times by Lisa, that he had become immune to her ability to erase/alter memories. This leads to him becoming part of the group and participating in various adventures.
  • Swapped Roles: In "Teen Lisa", Lisa goes to school disguised as a Hollywood Homely teenager while the boys become the world's most inept genies.
  • Swordfish Sabre: "Bikini Camp Slasher" had the heroes trapped in a slasher movie. They managed to kill the murderer by running him through with a stuffed swordfish - or so they thought; after all, a slasher movie murderer never dies on the first try...

  • Take That!:
    • In "Slow Times at Farber High", Gary's attempt to use a brain-draining machine on a nerd who humiliated him backfires when he inadvertently sucks up everyone's intelligence. At one point, he wonders where all of the now-stupid teenagers have vanished to. It turns out they've all gathered to watch Saved by the Bell: The College Years.
    • In the Halloween Episode "Demon Lisa", the guys are confronted by the cyber-demon possessing Lisa, and it refers to itself as the essence of all that is evil in the computer world.
      Gary: You're Bill Gates?
  • Talk Like a Pirate: "Pirates!", of course.
  • Teasing the Substitute Teacher: "Party High, U.S.A." has Gary wish that the classes at his high school were geared more towards his likes. After Lisa grants the wish, one of the classes is about how to torment a substitute teacher.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: "One Size Fits All" sees Wyatt wishing for larger muscles to impress an athletic girl. Lisa conjures up a suit that gives him a bodybuilder's physique, and trouble inevitably begins with Gary borrows it. Wyatt even lampshades the fact that people might be confused about his sudden musculature; Gary explains that since Wyatt was a huge nerd before, no one ever noticed his body.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: In "Teen Lisa", Lisa (disguised as a Hollywood Homely teenager) suffers a lot of misfortune at school before being asked out by one of the popular guys. Gary and Wyatt are initially confused and worried, but just as they think this is all on the up and up, they overhear the Alpha Bitch and Beta Bitch talk about how "happy" they are for Lisa.
    Gary: Something's horribly wrong.
  • Those Two Guys: Matthew and Roger, seemingly the only friends that Gary and Wyatt have except for each other and Lisa.
  • Time-Travelers Are Spies: In "By the Time We Got to Woodstock", Gary, Wyatt and Chett are mistaken for spies when they visit The Pentagon in 1969 as Chett reveals that he knows about the US Army secretly bombing Cambodia, Richard Nixon taping conversations in the Oval Office, J. Edgar Hoover being a crossdresser and the exploding cigars that the CIA sent to Fidel Castro.
  • Title Drop: During "Grampira", after realizing the effects the wish will have on everyone.
    Gary: Grampira must be stopped!
  • Toplessness from the Back: The girls in the co-ed shower room in "Strange Daze" are seen in this fashion.
  • True Companions: Wyatt, Gary, and Lisa. Chett is begrudgingly included after he learns the big secret.
  • Turned Against Their Masters:
    • After Lisa brings a video game villain to life, it promptly kidnaps her; Gary and Wyatt must fight for her release.
    • Lisa herself fits this at times. In several episodes (such as the above example), she purposefully misinterprets the boys' wishes to teach them a lesson.
  • The Unreveal:
    Lisa: Did Wyatt and Gary make me, or did the universe make me for them?
    Genie Master: Sent by the universe to help the boys you were. All that you are, created they did.
  • Vampiric Draining: When Wyatt wishes for his Nana to have the energy of a teenager in "Grampira", Lisa inadvertently gives her this ability: when Nana touches a young person, she drains the youthfulness out of them, making teens act old while she gets progressively more and more energetic and excited.
  • Villain Decay: The Steves were always comical, but in their first appearance, they were a true threat—effortlessly capturing the protagonists and being poised to destroy Earth. In their second appearance, they were instead quite hapless and pathetic.

  • Weird Science: Like the film, this is the premise of the series and thus what named it (making it another inversion of the Trope Namer).
  • Weirdness Censor: In "Sex Ed", Lisa takes over Farber's health class and openly performs magic in front of the class. To get around the problems of that, she zaps the other students and tells them that nothing they see in the class for the next week will seem out of the ordinary.
  • Wham Episode: "Master Chett", where Chett has developed immunity to memory wipes and learns about Lisa permanently.
  • Wham Line: After Wyatt drops his grandmother off at the home, she encourages him to visit more often and to bring Lisa.
    "But tell her to leave her magic at home. I don't need it." [smiles]
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Some episodes ended with Wyatt or Gary actually getting/impressing girls, only for them to be single the very next episode.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: As explored in several episodes such as "Switched at Birth" and "It's a Mob, Mob, Mob, Mob World", Wyatt's parents Wayne and Marcia are too wrapped up in their own lives (work for him, various voluntary organizations for her) to pay him much attention.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: In "What Genie?", Lisa is genie-napped and the boys lose all memory of her. Wyatt, reviewing past entries of his journal, finds references to her. He lists the plots of a few past episodes to Gary and exclaims: "Who could come up with this stuff?" Gary remarks: "Oh, please, a 4-year-old could come up with this stuff."
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Chett World" turns out to be one: the episode opens with Chett running down the street screaming for help, then telling his story to a mysterious shadowy figure. Turns out it's his dad, and Chett's explaining why he should be let back into the house.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Several episodes take the premise of existing shows.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Chett and Lisa in the final season. They don't.
  • With Friends Like These...: Chett's friends can be just as obnoxious to him as he is to others. "Man's Best Friend" even opens with them abandoning Chett in the woods and forcing him to walk back home.
  • Wire Dilemma: Parodied. Gary and Wyatt, based on what they've seen in movies, hesitate whether the red wire will stop the bomb or is a decoy that'll detonate it. Lisa grabs the whole bundle of wires and yanks them all out at once.
    Lisa: You guys watch too many movies.
  • Wondrous Ladies Room: After entering the ladies room, a virus-afflicted Lisa zaps herself into a soap opera set in a seaport town. Trying to find her, Chett enters the ladies room and arrives in the soap opera, too. Observing his spacious and beautiful surroundings, Chett remarked that this why women spend so much time in the ladies room.
  • Written-In Absence:
    • John Mallory Asher doesn't appear in "Phantom Scampi". (Point of fact, it's the only one he missed.) Gary is said to have wished for shrinking pills, leading to a brief scene of a pile of clothes and some low-level squeaking.
    • Vanessa Angel was unavailable for some episodes while she was shooting the movie Kingpin, so the writers wrote in various excuses for why Lisa has only one scene, including a computer hacking incident that makes her look like Abe Vigoda.


Video Example(s):


Censor Box - Weird Science

When Garry and Wyatt see Lisa naked, she gets some censor bars covering her naughty bits even In-Universe.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / CensorBox

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