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Series / Wishbone

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What's the story, Wishbone?

A PBS series from the mid-late 1990's in which Wishbone, a well-read Jack Russell Terrier, would dream and imagine himself as the hero of various stories and novels.

Wishbone was a real dog (his actual name was Soccer) whose thoughts were expressed as a running voice-over, while all of the other characters in the stories being dramatized are humans. For instance, kids would get to see an otherwise dead-serious dramatization of Pride and Prejudice in which Mr. Darcy is a cute little dog in a suit and everyone else is human. And everyone acts as if the fact that Mr. Darcy is a talking dog is absolutely nothing at all out of the ordinary. Then again said dog is the one re-telling the stories and placing himself as certain characters.

In between the story-telling, there was typically a scenario in the real world that would mirror the events of the story, usually involving Wishbone's owner Joe and his friends David and Samantha. Sometimes, Joe's mother Ellen and their next-door neighbor/gardener/historical society member Wanda get involved, as well as other residents of their generic suburban settlement of Oakdale, Texas. Whether it is supposed to be the real Oakdale is unknown.

The series ran for 50 episodes from October 1995 to December 1997. In 1998, the TV movie Wishbone's Dog Days of the West was released.

On July 15, 2020, Universal Pictures and Mattel announced they are developing a film adaption based on the show with Peter Farrelly producing the Film, Roy Parker will write the script, and Robbie Brenner will executive produce.

For a full list of stories adapted by the series, including those featured in the eight book tie-in series, see the recap page.

Tropes in this series include:

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  • Abridged for Children: The show and the Adventures of Wishbone books are the more familiar version, with modern-day scenes interspersed with the abridged literature with one of the characters being played by a dog. Wishbone Classics was just the abridged novel with occasional commentary from Wishbone from the sides; some of that was also summaries of skipped scenes.
  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Sam's rival Amanda. For example, she spends most of "Sniffing the Gauntlet" gloating over how her team is going to win the class spelling bee.
  • Academic Athlete: Samantha “Sam” Kepler participates in every sport her male friends do and is picked for her class team captain spelling bee because she's always reading.
  • The Ace:
    • Sam is a skilled athlete and a well-read student.
    • Joe's father seemed to be this in life, to the point that a grieving Joe decides he's sick of learning about his dad's story because of the jealousy that mixes in with his pain.
    • Sam's rival Amanda is set up as this in "Sniffing the Gauntlet".
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Sometimes it happens to the main cast, though it never persists.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: The Sherlock Holmes episodes portray Dr. Watson as he's often perceived by the public, as an older, bumbling, slow-witted sidekick rather than a competent doctor who is unable to keep up with Holmes.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Some of Wishbone's fictional avatars, diverting from the original source material.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The series had several tie-in book series, which continued to be written after the series was cancelled. Some books were adaptations of the episodes, however several of them did not have any corresponding episodes made for them.
  • Allegory Adventure: The fulcrum of the series is Wishbone's penchant for comparing events in his life to classic literature and early theater.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Sam Kepler loves horses. "Salty Dog" centers on her finding an alleged lucky horseshoe in an abandoned barn. She also has a treasured glass unicorn.
  • Ancient Grome: Averted in the episodes based off Classical Mythology — "The Odyssey", "King Midas", "Hercules and the Golden Apples", and "The Aeneid". Whether a deity is called by their Greek or Roman name depends on the myth and its source. The only exception is the tale of "Hercules and the Golden Apples", will the title character is using his Roman name in a Greek setting (although since virtually every adaptation of Hercules does pretty much the same thing, this can be forgiven).
  • Animal Goes to School: In "Muttketeer", Wishbone wants to go to school after his owner Joe goes back in to see his teacher's new computer, but the janitor tells him that dogs aren't allowed in school. When Wishbone sees a mouse lurking in the school, he has to go inside to stop it.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: David's little sister Emily. In some episodes, she has a partner-in-crime named Tina.
  • Bloodless Carnage: This happens any time the "literature" half of a plot involves combat. Justified in that one, Wishbone is a kids' show and two, half the time the "person" doing the fighting is a dog.
  • Bowdlerize: Generally averted, with the exception of Don Quixote. The show was pretty good about keeping sad endings in books that had them. There were exceptions, though, and they sometimes made endings seem nicer by omission — that is, ending it at the point of the Snicket Warning Label.
    • In Wishbone and the Amazing Odyssey, the computer game adaptation of The Odyssey, instead of actually blinding Polyphemus by stabbing his eye out, Odysseus merely puts a blanket over his head, covering his eye (though Polyphemus still screams in pain).
    • In the same game's climax, Odysseus proving his identity is enough to make the suitors run away immediately, and he doesn't have to fight them at all.
  • Catchphrase: Wishbone's are "Hellooo!" and "Whoocha!"
  • Character Development: Wanda, Wishbone and Mr. Prewett go through this in their various relationships.
    • Wishbone and Wanda are a Sitcom Archnemesis duo where he keeps digging up things in her garden and Wanda yells at him for it; after he ends up locked in her house, they come to an understanding where he tries to stay out of her way and she tries to be more patient with him since he's a dog. This is shown most prominently wherein "Groomed for Greatness", she tries to advise her cousin on how to get Wishbone to behave for posing — give him a snack as a reward — and eventually carves the statue that Renee bails on doing.
    • Mr. Prewett is a Reasonable Authority Figure but also a bit of a Shrinking Violet when it comes to women. He starts dating Wanda in "Cyranose" after he wants to publish a poem she wrote, but is worried he is too boring for her. Wanda gets seduced by his rock and roll Elvis persona in "Mixed Breeds" and seems to prove his worries valid, until she finds out he is the impersonator and tells him she likes him Just the Way You Are.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Obviously, Door Stoppers are brought down to be half of a thirty-minute show. As such, they are usually reduced to their signature scenes. However, the fact that they do not add anything, just compress the original plot, hilariously makes the Wishbone adaptations some of the most faithful ones ever.
    • Amazingly averted in the official spin-off computer game Wishbone and the Amazing Odyssey, telling the story of The Odyssey nearly from beginning to end (editing only to remove the sexy parts).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Wishbone, though none of the humans can understand him. Kind of like Garfield.
  • Detective Animal: Wishbone has played the role of Sherlock Holmes in "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and "A Scandal in Bohemia", and C. Auguste Dupin in "The Purloined Letter".
  • Disappeared Dad: Joe's father died of a rare blood disease when Joe himself was six.
  • Disneyfication: Noticeably averted for the most part, though most of the stories are shortened at times, usually only to fit the 30-minute time frame.
  • Dramatic Irony: In the Wishbone: The Early Years books, puppy!Wishbone's Catchphrase is "They'll listen to me when I'm a big dog." Anyone who watched or read anything else in the franchise knows that they will not.
  • Expy: Some of the one-off characters that appear in reality are clearly influenced by characters from the novel.
  • Fade to Black: Usually in the middle of an episode, unusual for a PBS series as they don't have commercials in between episodes and the show didn't have any short that aired in between like Arthur or Clifford the Big Red Dog. This could have been made if the show was considered for syndication, which never occurred (or for international broadcasts)
  • Flyover Country: Averted. The series takes place in Texas, several of the lead characters have noticeable East Texas accents, and there's a gratifying lack of goofy stereotypes.note 
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Sam and Damont have some of this.
  • Friendly Enemy: Wanda is this to Wishbone. As long as he isn't digging up her lawn, she is very amicable to him.
  • Genre Savvy: Wishbone keeps finding links between classic literature and events in his everyday life, letting him solve problems. Joe and his friends do it sometimes too, especially in the The Wishbone Mysteries spinoff books.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Not a cartoon, but only Wishbone's top half is dressed when he appears costumed.
    • Averted in "A Tale in Twain" where Wishbone is fully dressed in Tom's clothes, and there are probably other examples.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Wishbone narrating the week's story tends to refer to the character he plays as "dashingly handsome" and such. It helps that he usually plays The Hero.
  • Jerkass Gods: Quite a few, since many episodes were based on classic mythology.
  • Jerk Jock:
    • Damont Jones, even when he and Joe are playing for the same team.
    • Though averted with Joe who's a jock too (they seem to have a similar amount of talent) but nice.
  • Literary Allusion Title/Pun-Based Title: Most episodes use a pun combining a reference to the book of the week and something to do with dogs, e.g. "The Pawloined Paper" for Edgar Allan Poe's "The Purloined Letter".
  • Local Hangout: Pepper Pete's, which is beloved by pretty much everyone in town. Unusually for this trope, it's owned by Sam's dad, making it her Family Business, and many of the mysteries and even some of the normal books feature her working there while Joe and/or David drop in to talk to her.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Amanda, in that she isn't particularly malicious or destructive. In at least two episodes she gets along with Sam, David and Joe.
  • Match Cut: The show often employs these when switching between the literary story and the present-day story. For example, in "Golden Retrieved", a man taking a dinner plate off a table cuts to a man putting dog food on the ground for Wishbone.
  • Meaningful Name: The tie-in novels reveal that Wishbone got his name from Joe wishing on a wishbone for a puppy, where shortly after his dad gave him Wishbone.
  • Missing Mom: Sam's parents are divorced, and she lives with her father. It's mentioned she visits her mother, but she's never shown. David's the only one of the main kids with an intact family.
  • Mr. Fanservice: A good amount of the female fanbase thought of Joe as this in season two. Some would say that David counts as well in the same season.
  • Nice Guy: The main trio. In fact, if any of them (usually Joe) avert this trope as part of a plot, it will always lead to a My God, What Have I Done? moment in the later half.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Joe nearly ruins his friendship with David and Sam on two separate occasions, due to either his selfishness or unwillingness to speak up for his friends.
  • Novelization: Thirteen episodes and the film were adapted into eleven volumes (out of twenty-one) of the book series The Adventures of Wishbone and two books (out of five) of The Super Adventures of Wishbone. Another episode was adapted into the first book (out of two) of the successor Wishbone Adventures series.
  • One of the Boys: Sam, natch.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Often in earlier episodes. And occasionally done deliberately, as Wishbone will drop whatever accent he's adopted for his character to make a snarky comment.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Sam participates in every sport her male friends do and would much rather be taking karate lessons than dance lessons.
  • Protagonist Title: Wishbone is the protagonist of the show.
  • Public Domain Stories: All of the stories adapted by Wishbone are, of course, conveniently out of copyright. The Phantom of the Opera, which was serialized in 1909 and 1910, is the newest work to receive a Wishbone adaptation.
  • Pun: The theme song includes the lyric "Let's wag another tale."
  • A Rare Sentence: In the game Wishbone and the Amazing Odyssey, during his second visit to Aeaea, Wishbone says to Circe, "Hellooo! I'm back from the underworld! How many people ever get to say that?"
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: Pretty much the point of the show was to get kids to read these classics.
  • The Rival: Damont for Joe, particularly in basketball. One episode indicates that he's jealous of David too (for the attention he gets for his scientific accomplishments).
  • Running Gag: Wishbone really wants to get on that chair.
  • The Smart Guy: David Barnes.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Wishbone tended to regard Wanda this way. Wanda was actually pretty friendly though and was just annoyed by having her neighbor's dog constantly wrecking her yard. Wishbone and Wanda came to terms somewhat in "Fleabitten Bargain", where he actually ended up inside her house, but subsequent episodes followed this up with Aesop Amnesia since Status Quo Is God.
  • ˇThree Amigos!: Joe and his two best friends.
  • Title Sequence Replacement: In the second season, even though the theme song is kept.
  • Title Theme Tune: Come on, Wishbone! What's the story, Wishbone?
  • Token Trio: Joe and his two best friends (again).
  • Tomboyish Name: Or nickname, rather — Samantha Kepler goes by "Sam" for short.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • Joe has a basketball card from his dad. It gets stolen in one episode.
    • Wishbone himself serves as this for Joe as well, as revealed in the tie-in novels. When Joe was around six years old, he made a wish on a wishbone for a puppy. Shortly after, his dad gave him Wishbone as a pet.
    • Sam has a glass unicorn that was the last gift she received from her parents before their divorce. She's notably (though subduedly) sad talking about it and horrified at the prospect of it being broken.
  • 2-for-1 Show: The episodes are equally split between "real life" in Oakdale, and Wishbone's book-based fantasies. The "The Adventures of Wishbone" books use the same format.
  • The Trojan War: Two separate episodes have a story based around the Trojan War. One is the episode on The Odyssey and the other an episode on The Aeneid.
  • Ventriloquist Animal: The protagonist Wishbone doesn't move his mouth when talking.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The modern-day portions are this to the story portions. Wishbone almost always manages to pick out the book real-life events will be mirroring before there are sufficient clues.

    Episodes with their own pages 

    #7: "Cyranose" (Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand) 

  • Adaptational Heroism: Cyrano de Bergerac is still a Deadpan Snarker but not an Honor Before Reason Starving Artist. He agrees to help Christian woo Roxanne because he wants Roxanne to be happy, and doesn't confess on his deathbed.
  • Bowdlerize: The show's ending to Cyrano de Bergerac was significantly more cheerful than in the original work. When Cyrano confesses that he wrote the letters under Christian's name, he was dying in the original; here, Roxanne and Cyrano are alive and well, if much older, and Roxanne is the one who figures it out.
  • Plagiarism in Fiction: In "Cyranose", David brings a poem to class that he didn't write, that someone aka Wanda Gilmore left anonymously on his porch. He confesses when Mr. Prewett wants to publish the poem, though his only punishment is to write a new poem because Mr. Prewett is a Reasonable Authority Figure not bound by modern school rules.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Mr. Prewett in "Cyranose". When David confesses that he didn't write the poem that Mr. Prewett wants to publish, he merely says "I'm Disappointed in You," tells him to write another poem, and allows David to recite it. He also listens to David's story that the latter found the original poem on his porch, and decides to track down the actual writer (Wanda Gilmore).
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Subverted in "Cyranose" when Wanda delivers a poem to David without signing it, which he brings to class as his homework assignment. Although David could have gotten in trouble for Plagiarism in Fiction when he confesses the truth, Mr. Prewett's desire to find the real author and the different values of the 90s allow David to only have to write another poem. Mr. Prewett and Wanda subsequently start to date.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Much as in the source material of Cyrano de Bergerac, Christian feels guilty when he realizes that Roxanne is in love with him for the letters Cyrano is writing under Christian's name. He tells Cyrano they need to tell Roxanne the truth, and he will after a battle. Of course, he dies, and Cyrano can't bring himself to break Roxanne's heart further by confessing that he wrote the letters. Roxanne, when she finds out years later, reassures Cyrano that her heart isn't broken, and wishes he had told her.
  • Wrong Insult Offence: "Cyranose" does a Compressed Adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac as the book of the week (with Wishbone of course playing Cyrano). It opens with the famous "how to insult my nose" scene (paraphrased from the play).
    Upper-Class Twit: Excuse me, Dog-face, but your nose is rather large.
    Cyrano: "My nose is rather large"? "Rather large", you say? Is that the best you can do? (laughs) I do not need my sword to teach you a lesson! I have... words! (drops sword out of his mouth) Let me teach you how to insult my nose, monsieur! You could have said, "Your nose is so big, you should call a doctor and have it amputated!" Or, how 'bout this: "What do you carry around in that snout, your pens or your whole writing desk?" Ooh, how 'bout this one: "Do you love the birds so much that you let them perch on your nose?" But no! The best you can come up with is, "Your nose is rather large." Well, any fool can see that my nose is rather large, but your brain is rather small.

    #8: "The Slobbery Hound" (The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle) 

  • Adaptational Dumbass:
    • Henry in the Hound of the Baskervilles book had the sense to not walk around the moor at night, since that was how Charles Baskerville died. He only does so when Sherlock asks him to, saying they have a plan to deal with the hound, and even then escapes by the skin of his teeth. Here, Watson reveals that Stapleton invited Henry for a late supper, making Holmes realize that Henry would have to cross the moor. Henry apparently didn't see any danger, even though Beryl was mysterious absent.
    • Stapleton also gets this. He had the sense in the books to be plausibly away from the murders so as to have an alibi. His attempt to flee when he is busted gets him killed in the moors because no one knows where he went. Here, he reveals himself with a Psychotic Smirk and shows that the Hound is by his side before letting it give chase to Henry. Watson and Holmes had already figured out that Stapleton was the Hound's master and a potential heir to the Baskerville fortune, but Stapleton did not help his case.
  • Adaptational Explanation Extrication: In the Hound of the Baskervilles adaptation, it's not explained why Stapleton tied up and gagged Beryl in their rental, leaving her struggling and banging her bound feet against the floor for help. That's because she wasn't his sister but his wife and he was using her as a Honey Trap on Henry. Beryl did fall for Henry for real and refused to take part in being an accessory to his murder when Stapleton killed another man, mistaking him for Henry.
  • Clear My Name: Wishbone is blamed for the damages caused by a stray bloodhound and is determined to catch him.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Wishbone can always sense when something isn't right; this is exemplified in "The Slobbery Hound", where part of the reason he gets in trouble when a stray bloodhound terrorizes the neighborhood is that he's chasing the dog and is right behind it.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Downplayed, in that Watson draws his revolver out of his jacket pocket at Holmes' instruction, but it's a gray area whether we actually see him firing it: the next shot in an extremely foggy one, to the point where we can't see actors or anyone on-screen, but we do hear gunshots and see the small spurts of flame you might expect from a revolver fired at night. Next shot, we can see the actors again, and Holmes is asking Watson if he's hurt.
  • Police Are Useless: The dog catcher writes up a citation for the damage Wishbone is accused of, even though a cursory glance at the paw prints and bite marks point to a dog much bigger than him.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the original Hound of the Baskervilles novel, Stapleton fled through the moors when Watson and Holmes busted him, shooting his hound. We find out that Holmes successfully caught him and put him in jail in the Wishbone adaptation.
  • This Bear Was Framed: An "animal framed for the actions of another animal" variant — the titular Jack Russell is blamed for a variety of incidents that were clearly caused by a dog given the paw prints and teeth marks found at the scenes, not to mention the garbage cans being knocked over. When the main trio investigates though, they discover that Wishbone couldn't have caused the problems because A) the paw prints and teeth marks were way too big to have come from Wishbone and B) he's too short to knock over the trashcans, not to mention that when they're full, they're too heavy for him to push. Ultimately they find the dog (a giant bloodhound, as befits a Whole-Plot Reference to The Hound of the Baskervilles) responsible and use the evidence they collected to clear Wishbone.

    #9: "Digging Up the Past" (Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving) 

    #10: "Bone of Arc" (Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain) 

  • Bloodless Carnage: Somewhat averted in the Joan of Arc episode when Joan takes an arrow to the shoulder. There's no blood but she is clearly in great pain.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: In "Bone of Arc", Sam and her friends' soccer team have to meet with the head of a committee when the rival team coach contests the win because Sam was the best player on the field. The rival coach says that they broke the rules by signing up Sam one day before and not 48 hours before, though David had mistakenly assumed that she fit within the time frame. Sam and David's Dad who is the coach points out that she was helping out of her friends, and they think the coach is being sexist due to the fact that Sam is a girl playing on a boys' team. While the committee votes in favor of the Blast coach due to the technicality that Sam signed up too late, they are apologetic knowing that Sam had good intentions, and say that Sam is free to join the team next season and win. The Blast coach definitely looks the worst coming out, and Mr. Barnes said he considers it their victory nonetheless.
  • Burn the Witch!: What happens to Joan of Arc, though the episode leaves out the witchcraft part. They DO say she received an unfair trial after the English captured her.
  • Demythification: The Joan of Arc episode pretty much drops the religious aspect entirely in favor of focusing on her desire to bring freedom to France. It does include the scene where she picks the dauphin (referred to in the episode as "the king") out of a crowd, but the episode only vaguely hints at a supernatural explanation for it.
  • Loophole Abuse: Subverted in the "Joan of Arc" episode. Sam volunteers to play in Joe and David's soccer team since a rule says that as long as she's in the roster submitted a few days earlier she can play. Because she is a girl, and the one who ends up deciding the game, however, the opposing team contests their win and gets it reversed.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In "Bone of Arc", Joe's soccer team need a replacement player and Sam is convinced to sub in at the last minute during the championship and manages to score the winning point. However because she wasn't properly registered within a certain time frame (48 hours), the opposing team's coach contest it. Unfortunately, the soccer committee rule in the opposing team's favor and the win is voided.
  • Traumatic Haircut: A variant; Joan of Arc starts her episode with long hair, and she seems to carry it with her into battle, under her helmet. When the English capture her and sentence her to death, however, her hair is noticeably shorter. The episode isn't clear as to whether or not the English themselves did the haircut, but the implications are there.

    #11: "The Impawssible Dream" (Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes) 

  • El Spanish "-o": In the tie-in book "Wishbone Classics #1: Don Quixote'', one of Wishbone's interjections is to explain the meaning of the name "Don Quixote", and remarks to himself "Hmm... Don Wishbono. Not bad." In the epilogue, he refers to himself as "Don Wishbono" again.

    #12: "Fleabitten Bargain" (Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) 

    #13: "Sniffing the Gauntlet" (Ivanhoe by Walter Scott) 

  • Adaptation Title Change: While the episode is titled "Sniffing the Gauntlet", the novelization (from the The Adventures of Wishbone book series) is instead titled "Ivanhound".

    #14: "The Hunchdog of Notre Dame" (The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo) 

  • Adaptational Heroism: Quasimodo is framed for kidnapping Esmeralda rather than actually doing the deed.
  • As You Know: In the episode based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo's first appearance has him helpfully explaining his identity to Quasimodo. He starts with the words, "You know who I am." It's framed as him angrily berating Quasimodo for leaving the cathedral and becoming the King of Fools at a local festival.
  • Bowdlerize: For The Hunchback of Notre Dame, they end with Quasimodo rescuing Esmeralda and this is portrayed as a simple happy ending. No one dies, not even Frollo. Also, the novel's religious themes are dropped entirely. In fact, there is no reference to religion whatsoever, which is pretty remarkable for a story centered on a cathedral.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The Hunchback of Notre Dame is simplified to the point where Quasimodo, Esmeralda, and Frollo are the only named characters. There's a passing reference to "Esmeralda's boyfriend", but he's neither shown nor named.

    #15: "Golden Retrieved" (Silas Marner by George Eliot) 

  • Grumpy Old Man: Hubert starts out as this in "Golden Retrieved", but taking care of the lost Wishbone helps him to grow out of it.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: In "Golden Retrieved", Joe is obsessed with a new bike and ties Wishbone to a tree while testing it out since Wishbone can't keep up. Wishbone escapes to play with a Golden Retriever, leaving behind his tags in the process. Joe notably looks regretful while putting up "Lost Dog" signs the next day.
  • Take a Third Option: In "Golden Retrieved", Joe wants to test out a new bike, but Wishbone can't keep up, there's no basket for him to ride, and leaving him tied to a tree leads to Wishbone slipping out of his collar and getting lost. When Joe finds out that an old man named Hubert saved his dog, he allows Wishbone to hang out with Hubert so that Hubert gets the companionship he needs and Joe can safely test his bike without worrying about Wishbone disappearing.

    #16: "A Tail of Two Sitters" (A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens) 

  • Adaptational Context Change: Sydney Carton utters his famous line "It's a far, far better thing..." to the prison guard as he switches places with Charles. In the book, it is spoken as part of a monologue when he is taken to the guillotine.
  • Bowdlerize: They didn't show the beheadings in A Tale of Two Cities, but they did show a cabbage being cut in half by the guillotine, with several of the characters in the background staring at it in horror.
  • Compressed Adaptation: A Tale of Two Cities is divided into three "books". The Wishbone version, naturally, focuses almost entirely on "Book the Third: The Track of a Storm", which contains the most iconic parts of the story. Ernest Defarge and the Vengeance are Adapted Out, effectively making Madame Defarge a Composite Character of all the revolutionary characters. Well, maybe. After Darnay is sentenced to the guillotine, Madame Defarge is seen sharing a hug with an unnamed male revolutionary, so it's possible he's meant to be Ernest. Dr. Manette is only identified as Lucie's father with no mention made of his imprisonment in the Bastille, leaving him so Demoted to Extra that there appears to be no reason he's still in the story at all.

    #17: "Frankenbone" (Frankenstein by Mary Shelley) 

  • Bowdlerize: Their version of Frankenstein ends with Dr. Frankenstein ill in bed and the monster promising to go away and never hurt anyone. What they leave out is the part following this in which Frankenstein does indeed die as well as the fact that the monster was planning to kill himself when he went away.
  • Lost in Imitation: Mostly averted, including in "Frankenbone", which follows the novel in portraying Frankenstein as a naive young student rather than a Mad Scientist and the monster does not have green skin, bolts in his neck, etc. Played straight, however, in that Wishbone as Frankenstein still brings the creature to life by running electricity into a corpse.
  • Running Gag: Joe tries to make a skeleton of a T-Rex, and it keeps collapsing.
  • Travel Montage: In "Frankenbone", the Monster's rampage through Europe and into the Arctic includes shots of the camera panning across a map of eighteenth-century Europe.

    #18: "Hot Diggity Dawg" (Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne) 

  • Adaptation Title Change: While the episode is titled "Hot Diggity Dawg", the novelization (from the The Adventures of Wishbone book series) is instead titled "Digging to the Center of the Earth".

    #20: "Mixed Breeds" (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson) 

  • Adaptation Title Change: While the episode is titled "Mixed Breeds", the novelization (from the The Adventures of Wishbone book series) is instead titled "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Dog".
  • Apology Gift: In "Mixed Breeds", Mr. Prewett has a Jerkass Realization when he assigns a surprise examination to his class after arriving late, and that night he sees Joe, Sam and David studying when accompanying Wanda to Pepper Pete's. The next day, as an apology to his students, he says they're doing a taste test; he cancels the examination and orders everyone pizza.
  • Driven to Suicide: In a moment amazingly not edited out for the kiddies, Jekyll poisons himself onscreen and leaves a Suicide Note for Utterson explaining that he did so to protect London from Mr. Hyde, since he was not only getting addicted to the transformations but also that the changes were becoming more frequent.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: In "Mixed Breeds", when Wanda and Bob Prewett have cancelled a date so that Wanda can go see a mysterious Elvis impersonator and Mr. Prewett can be the impersonator, Wanda tells Ellen that she finds Bob Prewett "stuffy" and she wants to impress this King of Rock and Roll. Later on, when Bob confesses that he didn't tell her he was the impersonator because he was afraid she wouldn't like the boring him, Wanda laughs and tells him she likes him Just the Way You Are.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: In "Mixed Breeds", Wanda falls for an Elvis impersonator who happens to be Bob Prewett.
  • Wham Shot: In "Mixed Breeds", the singer that Wanda crushes on losing his Elvis wig, revealing him to be Bob Prewett.

    #21: "The Canine Cure" (The Imaginary Invalid by Molière) 

  • Moral Guardians: They were even on this show's case. According to IMDB, the episode "The Canine Cure" was banned from some syndication because it somehow encouraged the Aesop that kids should challenge authority figures, apparently ignoring the fact that the overprotectiveness of some parents that was portrayed in this episode is, in fact, Truth in Television.

    #22: "The Pawloined Paper" (The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe) 

  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Overlapping with Needle in a Stack of Needles, within the adaptation segments, the namesake letter is hidden in a stack of mail on the suspect's desk.
  • Hot for Teacher: In "The Pawloined Paper" Joe develops a crush on his young female history teacher. She finds out, but merely corrects his spelling on a crossword he made of her name.
  • Named by the Adaptation: In the "Purloined Letter" episode, Dupin's sidekick (unnamed in the original stories) is given the name Claude.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: In "The Pawloined Paper", Ms. Malloy confiscates a paper that Joe and Curtis are fighting over in class. She apparently found it it was a crossword that Joe made of her name, but uses the other side to write some assignments. Later, when she sees Joe at school after hours, having recognized Wishbone running through the school, she tells him he misspelled "excellent" but is flattered that he finds her "cool". All in all, a pretty reasonable response to a Precocious Crush.

    #25: "Furst Impressions" (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen) 

  • Spit Take: Sam does a rather spectacular one in "Furst Impressions" after it is pointed out to Joe that his dress shirt is both on inside out and on backwards. Wishbone even comments "EW! It went up her nose!"

    #27: "The Count's Account" (The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas) 

  • Apology Gift: In "The Count's Account", as an apology for accidentally getting Wishbone covered in pink dye (long story), David makes him a personalized vending machine that goes him a treat every time he presses the lever. Wishbone takes to it.
  • Bowdlerize: For The Count of Monte Cristo, Fernand isn't Driven to Suicide by his reputation being slandered.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The episode about The Count of Monte Cristo spends a bit too much time on the story's setup, forcing Danglars and Caderrouse to become a case of What Happened to the Mouse? as Dantes' revenge is directed entirely against Fernand. This is even after removing Villefort entirely.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Damont uses David's snow machine to frame him for ruining Wanda's flowers. Then David returns the favor by filling the machine with food coloring instead of water, so that when Damont takes the Villain Ball and tries to frame him again, he gets covered in dye.

    #28: "Salty Dog" (Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson) 

  • Hollywood Fire: Downplayed; Joe and David start coughing after a fire starts in the barn where they are trapped with Sam. They shout for Sam to hurry because it's getting hard to see and breathe with the smoke. Nevertheless, they manage to work together to get Sam safely outside where she can unlock the door and free them. They cough outside just as the adults come with the fire department, and presumably the boys get treatment for smoke inhalation. By the end of the episode a few days later, they're fine.
  • It's All My Fault: Sam's thoughts on getting herself, Joe and David trapped in a condemned barn. She makes up for it by getting them all out during a fire with minimal injury (apparently only smoke inhalation since they're all fine in the next scene which is implied to be the next day).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Interestingly, "Salty Dog" both plays it straight and averts it. Basically Sam insists on going into a condemned barn to look for a special horseshoe and the trio gets trapped inside. That would be the playing it straight. Later the barn catches on fire and Sam manages to get herself and the boys out with minimal injuries. She then proceeds to apologize to which the boys respond by pointing out that she saved their lives.
  • Outdoorsy Gal: In "Salty Dog", Sam once persuades the boys to help her look for "Blackbeard's Horseshoe" inside a condemned barn.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • In "Salty Dog", the main trio becomes trapped in a condemned barn. Partway through, David and Joe charge the door with the intent to break it down...and bounce off with groans that are equal parts pain and frustration while the door remains un-budged.
    • Likewise, Sam wanted to go inside the barn to find the horseshoe. Wanda and Ellen tell her no one is allowed inside because it's condemned. Part of the reason the barn is getting demolished is for safety purposes. Sure enough, Sam convinces David and Joe they could at least look at little...and the door slams shut due to it being old and rickety, trapping them inside. They also nearly burn alive when a fire starts in the hay. Sam's dad also tells her later he was scared when she and the others went missing and what she did was dangerous.
  • Timmy in a Well: During "Salty Dog", the kids and Wishbone get trapped in a barn. Wishbone finds a hole in the barn and digs through the straw to make an opening big enough for him. The kids realize this means he can get help, since Wishbone is super smart, and Sam tucks the flyer for the barn into his collar. Sure enough, Wishbone makes it back to the Talbot household and gives the flyer to the adults. Wanda realizes what it means and they all hustle to the barn just as random sparks set it alight. Sam by then had already rescued herself, David and Joe, but they're able to get the fire department to contain the subsequent blaze.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "Salty Dog", where the trio gets trapped in a condemned barn that catches fire, Sam gives herself one of these speeches because it was her fault for getting them in there in the first place. Joe and David's opinions on the other hand...
    Joe: (incredulous) Sorry? Sam, you rescued us!
    David: Yeah, you saved our lives in there!

    #29: "Little Big Dog" (the story of David and Goliath from The Bible) 

  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "Little Big Dog", David taking his mother's new car out for a joyride despite being underage leads to him knocking off the rearview mirror.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: The musicians auditioning for King Saul in "Little Big Dog", to help cure his headache. They subvert Giftedly Bad, but the horns, flutes and bass instruments are inappropriate for the soothing melody he wants. One duo nearly wins the audition, but their melody is a Broken Record that gets annoying after a while.
  • Watch the Paint Job: In "Little Big Dog", David's father gives his mother a brand new convertible. David proceeds to test-drive it despite being underage and breaks off the side-view mirror while backing it out of the driveway.
  • You Are Grounded!: In "Little Big Dog", David's parents tell him after he confesses to damaging his mother's new car on an impulse. With that said, they do tell him So Proud of You for coming clean about it instead of letting his father blame it on the dealership.

    #30: "A Dogged Exposé" (A Scandal in Bohemia by Arthur Conan Doyle) 

  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "A Doggoned Expose", when Amanda gives the Wham Line mentioned below, Wishbone remarks "How's that for a Plot Twist?"
  • Wham Line: In "A Doggoned Expose", when the trio confronts Amanda about the smear campaign against Sam, her response is one of these: (while handing Sam a smear flyer against her: "Why would I do this to myself?")
  • What You Are in the Dark: In "A Dogged Exposé", Damont is astounded when Sam takes a humiliating photo of him in revenge for him smearing her all over town with flyers; rather than "play his game", she gives him the negatives because she doesn't want to stoop to his level. Damont is startled enough to sincerely apologize.

    #31: "A Terrified Terrier" (The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane) 

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: In "A Terrified Terrier", Joe has a spell of this when some cool kids see his jump shots and invite him to hang out with them, albeit in the You, Get Me Coffee situation. He ends up ignoring Wishbone, Robin, Sam, and David.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Averted slightly with the Red Badge of Courage episode, wherein Wishbone plays protagonist Henry Fleming. He's said to get grazed with a bullet; what we see is a bandage with a red smear.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: In "A Terrified Terrier", Joe does this to Wishbone, Sam, David and Robin when he hangs out with a bunch of cool kids. His mother even calls him out for this. Said kids make fun of Sam and David for doing homework at a pizza parlor, saying their birdsong recordings are "geek mating calls". Joe doesn't laugh, and the next day he ditches the "cool kids" to chase after Sam and David to apologize.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: "A Terrified Terrier" has Joe cutting all the sleeves off his shirts in an ill-considered attempt to join a group of "cool" kids. Wishbone asks "So, why don't we like sleeves anymore?"

    #33: "Muttketeer" (The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas) 

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Ms. Gretchen Malloy can't help but smirk when she sees the whole school chasing after Wishbone, due to how fast he is. She tells Joe jokingly that he should be attending class.

    #34: "Hercules Unleashed" (the story of Hercules and the golden apples from Classical Mythology) 

  • Compressed Adaptation: The Hercules episode only covers one of the twelve labors, the one with the golden apples. King Eurystheus makes a passing reference to the previous labor (the one with Geryon's cattle), but we see nothing of it.
  • Jerkass Gods: In "Hercules and the Golden Apples" it's mentioned that Zeus chained up Prometheus for giving fire to mortals. Despite the fact that Zeus is his father, Hercules frees Prometheus in a case of Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!.

    #36: "The Entrepawneur" (the story of King Midas from The Metamorphoses by Ovid) 

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: In "The Entrepawneur", Joe when running a grocery-delivery business and using Sam and David as his (unpaid) employees because he believes in The Chains of Commanding rather than working as a team. Eventually they leave when Sam gets injured racing with David and Joe yells at her for the waste of groceries that she spills on the pavement. His mother lampshades it when Joe tries to look up "friendship" in business handbooks.
  • Adaptational Heroism: King Midas begs the gods to take away his golden touch long before he accidentally turns his wife and daughter into gold.
  • Adaptation Species Change: In "King Midas", Silenus is changed from being a satyr to being a human.
  • Adaptation Title Change: While the episode is titled "The Entrepawneur", the novelization (from the Wishbone Adventures book series) is instead titled "Curse of Gold".
  • Kick the Morality Pet: In "The Entrepawneur", Wishbone as King Midas does this to his wife and daughter when he accidentally turns them into gold. He immediately goes into My God, What Have I Done? mode.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "The Entrepawneur", Sam and David call out Joe for only caring about money when she gets injured working for Joe. Granted, it was partly Sam's fault for racing with a bike-cart full of groceries, but Joe had No Sympathy for her falling down and scraping her knee.

    #37: "Pantin' at the Opera" (The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux) 

  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Carlotta in Phantom of the Opera shows none of her spoiled diva attitude. She merely happens to have irked the Phantom. Tellingly, Christine saves her from being crushed when the Phantom cuts a sandbag to fall on Carlotta.
  • Compressed Adaptation: This review of the The Phantom of the Opera episode, by The Phantom Reviewer, is mostly negative, but the reviewer can't help but be amazed that it's probably more faithful to the original novel than any other screen version of the story.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Christine and the Phantom's relationship is played out with him as a terrible boyfriend practicing Domestic Abuse; she warns Raoul that the Phantom has a bad temper and not to anger him. Later on, when she and Raoul plan to elope, the Phantom kidnaps her and threatens to kill Raoul as Christine is begging for her love to run.
  • Heroic Bystander: Christine saves Carlotta from a falling sandbag when the Phantom targets her. She says later that she knows Eric too well.

    #39: "Rushin' to the Bone" (The Inspector General by Nikolai Gogol) 

    #40: "Picks of the Litter" (Clip Show) 

  • Clip Show: Wanda brings over a dog to keep Wishbone company in the season 1 finale "Picks of the Litter", and Wishbone recounts to the dog all his previous imaginary adventures.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Throughout the episode, the dog Penny has been silent, but at the very end, she startles Wishbone by saying "Thanks for telling me all those great stories! Call me sometime!"

    # 41 & 42: "Halloween Hound: The Legend of Creepy Collars, Parts 1 & 2" (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving) 

  • Adaptational Heroism: Ichabod Crane does not appear to have any interest in inheriting Katrina's fortune through marriage. He does court her, but that's about it.
  • Adaptation Title Change: While the episode is titled "Halloween Hound: The Legend of Creepy Collars, Parts 1 & 2", the novelization (from the The Super Adventures of Wishbone book series) is instead simply titled "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", sharing its title with the book the episode was based on.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the show's telling of "Sleepy Hollow", it's implied that Brom successfully chased away Ichabod Crane by posing as the Headless Horseman so as to court Katrina without interference.
  • Darker and Edgier: The show's retelling of "Sleepy Hollow", in contrast to the main story being a fun Halloween scavenger hunt, frames it as a ghost encounter. Due to making Ichabod Crane an Adaptational Nice Guy and not conveying the original text's satirical notes, we feel more sympathy for him as he studies spirits and courts Katrina. Rather than the text reassuring us that Ichabod probably fled for safer parts from the Horseman, the townsfolk find Ichabod's bell at the bridge, and a smirking Brom Bones looking onward from his black horse.
  • Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: In "Halloween Hound: The Legend of Creepy Collars", Damont is the first to reach the last challenge in the Halloween scavenger hunt. But instead of just, you know, claiming the prize, he decides to linger around at the end so that he can sabotage Joe, Sam, and David when they get there.
  • Headless Horseman: "Halloween Hound: The Legend of Creepy Collars" (later renamed simply as "Wishbone in: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow")
  • Hidden Depths: Damont is actually quite clever when he thinks to use his brains. While he follows the gang to solve the first puzzle of the Halloween scavenger hunt, he figures out the other two with only his cousin Jimmy for help. If he hadn't stopped to lock David in a room in the final location — a haunted house — he might have won the gift certificate.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the Halloween episode, Sam asks where Wishbone's costume is. "A dog, wear a silly costume? I think not."

    #45: "Groomed for Greatness" (Great Expectations by Charles Dickens) 

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: In "Groomed for Greatness", David gets this when working with Wanda's cousin, an artist, and adopting her arrogant attitude briefly. He grows out of it when the artist leaves town without building the statue she was commissioned to do, and Wanda does it instead.

    #47: "Moonbone" (The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins) 

  • My God, What Have I Done?: In the adaptation of "The Moonstone", Rachel has this reaction when the investigator recreates what happened the night of the theft and gives Franklin a draught to help with that. It turns out Franklin was sleepwalking that night, and he does it again, taking out the case with the diamond while mumbling about giving it to Rachel. Rachel says she saw him do it and was angry at him for loving a diamond more than her. She apologizes to his sleeping form for having misjudged him. The inspector deems that Franklin is innocent because logically if he was collapsed, the Moonstone should have remained with him when he woke up. Someone else took it from him.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The inspector in "The Moonstone". He points out that everyone in the house the night of the theft is a suspect, but doesn't move to make accusations while analyzing Rosanna or Godfrey's possible motivations. Instead, he gathers the evidence such as that the suspect must have smudged drying paint; when Franklin shows him his own nightgown stained with paint but says he doesn't know what happened that night, the inspector helps recreate the events with a sleeping draught. This ends up clearing Franklin's name since he was sleepwalking when he removed the Moonstone from the cabinet, and the inspector points out that someone must have taken it from him after Franklin collapsed on the floor.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Rosanna in The Moonstone doesn't commit suicide after hiding the evidence that Franklin is the most likely suspect for the crime. Instead, she goes away, and her "Dear John" Letter is a mere Anguished Declaration of Love.
  • Wham Shot: In "Moonbone", A photograph reveals that Wishbone stole an athlete's ring. The full moon compels him to bury things, apparently.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "Moonbone", Joe to Wishbone for taking an athlete's ring and burying it. Wishbone says, "I feel so guilty. And dirty."

    #48: "Barking at Buddha" (Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en) 

  • Adaptational Heroism: Sun Wukong immediately humbles himself before the Buddha when he realizes that he is not more powerful after failing to leave the palm of his hand. In the source material, he took a longer time to mellow.
  • Anger Born of Worry: The scene where Jimmy and Marcus accidentally start a fire at Pepper Pete's in "Barking at Buddha". They run away as the fire alarm starts, with Jimmy saying they probably burned the whole building down. Travis then comes to find the boys before they can run away or hide in the park forever, with Marcus apologizing. It turns out his uncle was both worried that he and Jimmy had gotten hurt and disappointed that they did something so irresponsible.
  • Bowdlerize: In the Journey to the West episode, Sun Wukong leaves a paw-print on the Buddha's finger instead of urinating on his finger, as he did in the original story.
  • Heroic Dog: Wishbone in "Barking at Buddha" wishes that he were one, but he has done some pretty cool feats. They include stopping a bulldozer from taking down an ancient tree in the parks — by getting caught in it and the operator gets him down before the dog can get hurt — as well as infiltrating a thief's hideout to save Wanda's flamingo; leading the kids to a Bloodhound framing him; getting the adults for help when Joe, Sam and David are trapped in a barn; and showing Sam the sabotaged bleacher in The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader. He's a good boy.

    #50: "The Roamin' Nose" (The Aeneid by Virgil) 

  • Adaptational Heroism: Aeneas is more honest with Dido about why he has to leave her in Carthage, in that the Gods have sent him a message to depart and he would stay if he could. Aeneas was more of a Jerkass about it in the original source material, which led to Dido's suicide.
  • Bowdlerize: The Aeneid episode omits Dido's suicide, only showing Aeneas leaving her behind in Carthage.
  • Divine Chessboard: In "The Aeneid" the Gods use a diorama of the Mediterranean to decide the fate of mortals. Jupiter and Venus use it to help and guide Aeneas to his destiny; Juno uses it to make his and the lives of his fellow Trojans as miserable as possible.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: In "The Roamin' Nose", Joe's Mom, David's parents and Wanda reminisce about their high school years. They mention that Damont's Dad went to high school with them too.
  • Jerkass Gods: In "The Aeneid", Juno makes life miserable for the Trojans because she can. (Apparently left out is the fact that she hated all Trojans because of Paris's preferring Venus over Juno and Minerva, but especially hated this particular group of Trojans because their descendants were destined to destroy her favorite city of Carthage, which was still being built at the time the story took place.)
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Dido in The Aeneid doesn't commit suicide, as far as we know. This is because Aeneas is nicer here than in the original source, honestly telling her that the gods have ordered him to leave. He says that he would stay if he could and that Dido will always be in his heart. Their farewell is thus more civil if a Gut Punch for the viewers.

    Film: Wishbone's Dog Days of the West (Heart of the West by O. Henry) 

  • Darker and Edgier: Believe it or not, the series sendoff Dogs Days of the Wild West reveals some pretty seedy parts of Oakdale's past, namely how Wanda Gilmore inherited parts of Oakdale through back alley deals and horsetrading. And also features a decent shootout, despite the dog not being able to hold a gun.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Hank Dutton, who makes his first (and only on-screen) appearance in the Grand Finale movie, Wishbone's Dog Days of the West. He'd later appear in some of the The Wishbone Mysteries novels.
  • The Movie: Wishbone's Dog Days of the West, the Grand Finale to the series when PBS didn't renew it for another season.

    The Adventures of Wishbone #4: Robinhound Crusoe 

  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: In The Adventures of Wishbone #4: Robinhound Crusoe, Wanda is this. During a pretty much town wide blackout, she makes do with what she has, resulting in sandwiches that are peanut butter/sardine (which Joe tastes but doesn't finish) and egg salad/mint jelly. No one besides Wishbone is interested, including Wanda but she tries to make the best of things.

    The Adventures of Wishbone #18: Gullifur's Travels 
  • Simple Solution Won't Work: In a scene original to this version, Lemuel Gulliver suggests a simple solution that could end the war between Big-Endians and Little-Endians (those who prefer to break the big end of an egg and those who prefer to break the small end): Take a Third Option and crack the egg in the middle instead. Reldresal, principal secretary of Lilliput and friend of Gulliver, nervously tells him not to voice that idea where anyone else can hear him, because it would be considered a compromise — and in Lilliput, compromisers are seen as disloyal and are put to death if caught.
  • Take a Third Option: Suggested but averted in one of the segments that adapts the original story. In the original book, Gulliver does not offer an opinion on the cause of the war between Big-Endians and Little-Endians, merely promising to defend their country from invaders. In this version, while talking with Reldresal, Gulliver brings up the possibility of breaking eggs in the middle. Reldresal (who personally agrees that the reasoning for the war is silly) nervously tells him to keep that thought to himself, because compromisers are seen as being disloyal and put to death.

    The Wishbone Mysteries #2: The Haunted Clubhouse 

  • Continuity Nod: At one point, Joe visits the same antique store from #35: "¡Viva Wishbone!", and remembers the music box he bought there.

    The Wishbone Mysteries #3: Riddle of the Wayward Books 

  • Easter Egg: On the cover of The Wishbone Mysteries #3: Riddle of the Wayward Books, there are two copies of Riddle of the Wayward Books itself. And one of The Adventures of Wishbone #2: Salty Dog.
  • Write What You Know: Referenced In-Universe in The Wishbone Mysteries #3: Riddle Of The Wayward Books. Joe's working in a used bookstore, which has a parrot — Mr. Faulkner, who keeps squawking the trope name — as a resident. His words help Joe to be Genre Savvy and solve the mystery, linking the current rash of strange events (the store is seemingly being burglarized, but the "thief" is actually leaving rare books for the owner to find, sell and profit off of) with the events of the book The Haunted Bookshop (in which the same book keeps getting stolen from and returned to a store), which Joe is currently reading.

    The Wishbone Mysteries #9: Case of the On-Line Alien 

  • Aliens Steal Cable: Invoked in The Wishbone Mysteries #9: Case of the On-Line Alien, involving a UFO sighting in Oakdale. Trying to unmask a hoaxer pretending to be an alien over IRC, David asks him what his favorite human TV show was in an attempt to catch him violating the speed of light. The hoaxer doesn't fall for it; he responds with I Love Lucy.

    The Wishbone Mysteries #13: Case of the Unsolved Case 

  • For Want of a Nail: In The Wishbone Mysteries ##13: Case of the Unsolved Case, Joe and Sam become worried when David doesn't turn up for a study group and leaves no message as to why he isn't coming. After they find David (he was locked in a equipment shed near town; long story), they ask why he didn't leave a message and he very confusedly responds that he did. The humans dismiss it as a coincidence but Wishbone realizes that earlier he had knocked over the answering machine at the Talbots' and erased the message by accident. Wishbone at first considers admitting this and apologizing but then realizes that if the message HADN'T been erased, David would have been trapped even longer than he was. And since the story was set as fall changes into winter...

    The Wishbone Mysteries #14: Disoriented Express 

  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Sam gets this, and not for the first time, in The Wishbone Mysteries #14: Disoriented Express where the core trio, Ellen, Wishbone and the son of a friend of Ellen's end up on a role-playing mystery train; Sam is cast as a lovely young heiress and as such, spends a good portion of the book in the appropriate garb. She's in much better humor about it than she was about the above incident, likely because it is something she volunteered for and is for acting purposes.

    The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader 

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: In The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader, Crystal, the star of the show, reveals that she had attained this, pulling the potentially dangerous pranks to "liven up rehearsals". Director Justin replaces her with Amanda and reports Crystal to the principal.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader, the Grease cast rib Ryan for forgetting his lines on a regular basis. He accepts the teasing with a sheepish grin.
  • Cuteness Proximity: In The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader, everyone's reaction to Ryan's puppy Jinx. Except Wishbone, though justified in that Wishbone is a dog and Jinx stole his squeaky toy.
  • Deadly Prank: Averted in The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader; while the pranks that occur during the Grease rehearsals, like David's sign getting lit up and Robin's skates getting sabotaged, are dangerous, no one gets hurt. Even so, everyone calls out Crystal when she has to confess to it because while no one got hurt, only one injury would have gotten the show cancelled. Also Crystal slipping on a scarf was the only genuine accident, since Ryan's puppy Jinx stole the scarf and left it on the stage. They do mention that Robin's skates could have gotten her badly hurt and that the only reason she didn't get injured is that Wishbone, sensing something was up, barked loudly, causing her to lose her balance harmlessly on the stage instead of shooting off it because she couldn't turn.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Sam, David and Joe discuss who could be sabotaging the play in The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader. They rule out Amanda for this reason and Moral Pragmatist: Amanda has all the incentive to want the show to go on, and she's not a person who would hurt others for personal gain. The same goes for Ryan, who is too much of a goofball to have malicious intent. Indeed, when Sam forces Crystal to confess, the whole cast is livid. Amanda rightly points out that Crystal could have gotten Ryan and her hurt if they had danced on the bleachers.
    • Justin is a Prima Donna Director in The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader. Even so, he's more worried about Crystal and Robin when they fall rather than about the fact that both rehearsals went wrong. What's more, he says he's reporting Crystal to the principal because she could have gotten someone badly hurt.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: In The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader, he hears Robin's skate squeaking while she's rehearsing and starts barking in alarm. It turns out her skates were sabotaged so she was out of control. The barking causes Robin to fall onstage, but she says that if he hadn't, she would have rolled offstage and broken something the way Crystal sprained her ankle. Sam also finds the Allen Key that sabotaged the skate, thanks to Wishbone. He also barks on locating the bleacher that Crystal has sabotaged, just in time for Sam, David and Joe to find it.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Crystal's final prank during The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader involves her taking nails out of the bleachers where her understudy Amanda and Ryan are supposed to dance, which would cause Amanda and Ryan to fall. Wishbone discovers it as Sam discusses her theory that Crystal is the prankster. Sam to trap Crystal relates her suspicions to the play's director, Justin, who agrees that for that dress rehearsal to have Crystal do the dance with Ryan with the cover of seeing if her ankle's healed. Crystal has to admit that she took the nails out when she refuses to dance on the bleachers.
  • It's All About Me: In The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader, when Sam exposes Crystal as the play saboteur, everyone in the cast is livid. As Amanda points out, she and Ryan would have fallen with the nails taken out of the bleacher and the play would have been canceled. Crystal admits to not considering that since the pranks were just to "liven up the rehearsals" due to her getting bored. This is despite the fact that cutting the wires on David's car display was dangerous, with how it was shedding sparks everywhere. Robin also nearly rolled offstage and could have broken a bone, if not for Wishbone's barking causing her to fall on-stage harmlessly; she thanked Wishboe for that reason. Sam even bluntly says that Crystal cared more about her own amusement than the play, even though she was the star.
  • It Amused Me: In The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader, Crystal sheepishly admits that this is why she started playing pranks for "livening up the rehearsals" since she was getting bored.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader, Sam says that she agrees with Justin to take Crystal out of the performance, since Crystal with her pranks showed that she put her entertainment ahead of the play, while Crystal's understudy Amanda showed that for her showing off she put the play ahead of herself.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader, Justin ultimately proves to be this despite being a Prima Donna Director. He's more worried about Crystal and Robin when they fall in two different rehearsals rather than that the stagings went wrong despite his obvious frustration that they seem to have a saboteur and that nothing is going right. What's more, when he finds out from Sam that Crystal is the potential saboteur, he agrees to stage a trap to test her theory without any hesitation. When Crystal is forced to confess, Justin is legitimately angry about her endangering the cast and her friends, saying that her apologies aren't enough. He's reporting her to the principal and replacing her with Amanda, effective as of their latest dress rehearsal.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Discussed in The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader, when the trio discusses if Amanda could be the perpetrator behind the stage pranks and Sam points out that it doesn't benefit Amanda to sabotage the play since she's the understudy, thus having all the incentive for the show to go forward and that for all her showing off Amanda actually prioritized the play over her ego. She had a reason to get angry on hearing Crystal sabotaged hers and Ryan's bleachers for dancing, which could have gotten her injured.
  • Prima Donna Director: In The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader, Justin is this. Sam briefly wonders if he would sabotage the play for it not being perfect enough.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In The Wishbone Mysteries #15: Stage Invader, after Sam reveals that Crystal was behind most of the pranks and forces her to confess, Crystal apologizes and expects that she can still be Sandy in Grease. The director Justin tells Crystal that's not happening; he has her understudy Amanda take over the part permanently and is reporting her to the principal. As Sam puts it, Crystal endangered the cast with her pranks and showed she cared more about her entertainment than the show. She ends up having to serve detention for a week and to clean up the auditorium after the play's opening night.

    The Wishbone Super Mysteries #2: The Ghost of Camp Ka Nowato 

  • My God, What Have I Done?: In The Wishbone Super Mysteries #2: The Ghost of Camp Ka Nowato, the culprit responsible for the pranks is horrified when he realizes Sam was in the tower he knocked over (he confesses that he'd thought it was empty), and promptly comes back to save her life.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: The Wishbone Super Mysteries #2: The Ghost of Camp Ka Nowato revolves around one. The "ghost" is a man who left civilization and lived on a corner of the property a few owners ago, but when he found out the first owner — who knew he was there, and created the legend of Ka Nowato to help cover it up — had died, he started pulling harmless pranks to dissuade the new owner from expanding the camp into the land where he was living. After he's exposed, he apologizes for his actions (including nearly drowning Samantha, since he didn't realize she was in the tower he'd knocked over), volunteers his personal funds to renovate the camp so its third owner won't have to sell it, and becomes an official staff member.


Sam in a Dress

Sam doesn't care for pretty dresses, ballroom dancing, and suchlike.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / UnwillinglyGirlyTomboy

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