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Series / Wizards of Waverly Place

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Everything is not what it seems
When you can have what you want by the simplest of means
Be careful not to mess with the balance of things
Because everything is not what it seems

Wizards of Waverly Place (2007-2012) is an Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel sitcom about three siblings growing up in New York and dealing with the typical problems all teenagers go through. The catch? They're wizards. Shares some qualities with other shows and movies, but manages to distinguish itself with clever writing, and (in later seasons) a strong focus on continuity. Hijinks ensue as Alex (Selena Gomez), Justin (David Henrie) and Max Russo (Jake T. Austin) try to deal with being wizards while not exposing magic to the normal world.

The show finished airing its 4th season on January 6, 2012, and boasts a successful made-for-TV movie and two consecutive Emmy wins. This is one of only six times Disney has ordered a 4th season of one of their live-action shows, the others being That's So Raven, Hannah Montana, Good Luck Charlie, Austin & Ally and JESSIE. It is also their longest running live-action series with 106 episodes by production order - only Phineas and Ferb, which runs episodes in an 11-minute format (and ran three more years, from 2007-2015), has more on the network.

The Movie (simply titled Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie) concerned the Russo family spending their vacation in the Caribbean; Alex makes a wish that goes awry due to magic and she must team up with her siblings to reverse the effects. Wizards also participated in a Massive Crossover Event titled Wizards On Deck with Hannah Montana.

The series finale aired on January 6th, 2012 with the Family Wizard Competition that will decide which of the three siblings will become the family wizard.

A one-hour TV special called The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex, reuniting the main cast of the show, was broadcasted in March 2013. Selena Gomez not only returned to her Wizards role, but was also an executive producer of the movie. David Henrie did not reprise his role, citing various reasons.

This series provides examples of:

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  • Aborted Arc: In the episode "Potion Commotion", the stuck up character Brad Sherwood realizes that there's something very odd about the Russo's and he vows to find out exactly what it is. He is never seen again.
  • Absent Animal Companion: Early in season one, the kids adopt a dragon in disguise as a dog, fittingly named "Dragon". Throughout the episode, they were struggling to keep Dragon's true species from their parents and, later, take him back from the con-artist who sold him to them and then stole him back. After this episode, their parents knew he was a dragon and they were prepared to keep him. However, he never showed up again, and his disappearance was questioned by Max in a much later episode.
  • Abusive Parents: In the first seasons, Harper's parents are implied to be pretty abusive and the reason why she ends up becoming a member of the Russo family.
  • Adults Are Useless: Neither of the parents have magical powers, though Jerry did before. Also averted and played with as Jerry is often the one who has a fix for whatever Alex has screwed up, and sometimes is the catalyst for her screwing up.
  • An Aesop: Responsibility and loyalty are fairly common themes.
  • Affectionate Parody: If you think about it, the series did not take itself seriously especially in the early seasons since they made references to Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Aliens Speaking English: In "Wizard For A Day". Lampshaded by the fact that they have no use for Justin and Zeke's "alien language."
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Alex and Dean, although they did break up - partly because it was a Long-Distance Relationship, and partly because Alex decided that it wasn't working out. Of course this being a Disney show his "badness" is limited to wearing a leather jacket, liking fast cars and occasionally cutting class. Alex is the "bad" one of that relationship. On more than one level.
    • In Alex vs. Alex, we have this:
      Alex: Dominic is evil?
      Harper: Is it weird he's even more attractive now?
  • All Myths Are True: The show seems to be something of a kitchen sink fantasy series. Always Played for Laughs.
  • All There in the Manual: The show's website does more of an efficient job at explaining the functional magic rules and plots than the program itself does through dialogue.
  • Alpha Bitch: Gigi, a snobby popular girl who picks on Alex and Harper.
  • Always Save the Girl: Justin saved Alex countless times and Juliet when she was kidnapped by the mummy.
  • Always Someone Better: In the series, Justin is always referred to as the superior to Alex. In the movie, however, which sibling is superior changes from one to the other.
  • That's a case of the actor (Jack Plotnick) being gay in real life and using his real voice (which happens to have a lisp).
  • And Starring: David Deluise.
  • Angrish: Jerry frequently lapses into this, which involves it being Lampshaded in one episode by Justin, who says that they can always tell when he is angry by him spouting gibberish. According to him, these rants often end in "ALEX!" while pointing accusingly at her.
    • Alex deliberately tries to provoke Justin this way. During the Stevie Saga, she replaces his jazz band with rock, all as an excuse to see him explode. It works, because Justin knows she's doing it, and that makes him even angrier.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Inverted, in the movie. It was more like an Anguished Declaration of Admiration/Desperation. Justin and Alex may have Incest Subtext coming out of every orifice, but saying they love each other is the one thing they refuse to do. This is lampshaded in "Delinquent Justin." They're probably saving the 'I love you' for a crowner in the final movie/finale.
    • Which didn't happen - perhaps because TPTB felt that having that happen would take the focus off the wizard competition and onto Alex/Justin - which is probably why they made Mason a Stalker with a Crush on Alex, and had her eventually get back with him (sound familiar, anyone?).
  • Anti-Hero: Alex Russo. She is self-centered, manipulative, irresponsible, and often cruel to those she loves, but she really does love them and will usually do the right thing in the end, even though "the right thing" usually means fixing a problem she created.
  • Appeal to Obscurity: Agent Lamwood uses this tactic to threaten the Russos after he captured them.
    Agent Lamwood: We make people disappear all the time. You didn't hear people still talking about Glen Goldfarm, did you?
    Jerry: Who?
    Agent Lamwood: Exactly.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Max believes in Martians - an attitude not shared by the rest of his family.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • Most things regarding New York locations. For example, in the episode with a flying carpet, they are badly superimposed over Manhattan, where they see Shea Stadium. Shea Stadium, when it existed, was very much in Queens.
    • Waverly Place itself is about a two block street just off Washington Square by NYU, at least the portion that is east of Washington Square Park, and this portion is definitely nothing like the SoCal-icized location shown. It does continue west of the park, however, for several blocks well into the West Village, and the set depicted on the show appears to be a somewhat plausible fictionalization of Waverly Place in the West Village. Not overly so, but at the very least, it's probably intended that the Russos live on Waverly Place somewhere in the West Village, as opposed to the eastern portion of it, which in reality is bounded by nothing but NYU buildings and one or two non-NYU apartment buildings.
    • Waverly Place is shown as a pedestrian mall/walkway, complete with a staircase in the middle of it just before the entrance to the Waverly Sub Station. The real Waverly Place is a major thoroughfare for car traffic, like any other major street in a large city. Such a blatant error was probably done to make the set more friendly for television production.
    • Additionally, the area surrounding the baseball field in the episode "The Supernatural" has a little too much fauna (and not exactly specific to Downstate New York) to be located anywhere in the five boroughs.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Usually irrelevant due to supernatural forces being at work, but also surprisingly subverted in that the Laws of Thermodynamics are maintained by stating that magic is fueled by an external power source.
  • Artifact Title: "The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex" is actually one. With Jerry already mortal when the series began, Max losing his powers and becoming mortal in the series finale, and David Henrie not reprising his role as Justin, Alex Russo is the only wizard returning for the special.
  • Assumed Win: Justin assumed he was elected Wizard Of The Year and started applauding himself and bragging about his delinquent class until he finds out the award is actually for Alex. Justin takes the news very badly.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Uncle Kelbo is Shakira.
  • Author Appeal: Todd Greenwald created Justin, Alex and Max out of inspiration from his own kids. Originally they were even going to have the same names. For example, in the first episode, Justin calls himself 'Jman', Todd's son's nickname.
  • Bad Future: For fantasy writersnote .
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: In at least one episode, "Don't Rain on Justin's Parade—Earth", Alex is upset at the thought that she has become good under the tutelage of Mr. Laritate, and is pleased and relieved when he calls her an evil genius.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: When Alex asks a genie to stop people from comparing her to Justin, no one remembers who he is.
    • The reason for the plot of The Movie.
      Alex: I wish you and dad had never met!
  • Because Destiny Says So: In "Future Harper", the future Harper wondered if Alex's bad mood was because of Mason breaking up with her. A second one from 'Future Harper': She mentions that one of the four of them will reveal magic because he or she 'has a big mouth'. They blame Max in the episode despite the fact that Justin revealed magic to the government and Alex suggested that they need to reveal magic to the world. Luckily the whole situation wasn't real.
  • Becoming the Mask: Although Rosie was tasked by Gororg to pretend to be in love with Justin in order to manipulate him into stealing the Moral Compass for the Dark Realm, she genuinely ends up falling in love with him.
  • Bellisario's Maxim:
    • Invoked in one episode. (No, seriously.)
      Mr. Laritate: These people are all very excited to hear Justin lead a chant about how unexciting everything is. *pause* Try not to think about that sentence too much.
    • Alex paraphrases the Maxim in "Dancing With Angels":
      Alex: Look, we're angels. We've got wings. *pause* Don't look at them too closely.
  • Beneath the Mask: Behind her facade, Alex is insecure, dependent, and scared teenage girl, who desires to be accepted (somewhat by her peers and definitely by her parents, but mostly by Justin).
  • Berserk Button: Each of the characters have at least one.
  • Beta Couple: Zeke/Harper to Justin and Alex, and their respective relationships. Bonus points awarded due to Zeke and Harper being Justin and Alex's best friends, respectively.
    • At one point, even Juliet and Mason were a Beta Couple, due to the fact they had been in a romantic relationship, before each one became Justin and Alex's girlfriend and boyfriend respectively.
  • Mason is pretty nice, too, as long as you don't hit his Berserk Button.
  • Big Applesauce: Generally played straight, since the show is set in New York, but subverted (probably unintentionally) in "Quinceanera" when Jerry claims to have caught Alex in the check-out line at the mall. There are very few shopping malls in Manhattan. note 
  • Big Brother Instinct: Played straight, and one of the foundations of the show. Justin enjoys Alex messing up, and usually puts on a winning, smug smile when he's told he has to fix her mistakes.
    • Happens a number of times in The Movie, where she flat out admits that she expects for him to come up with the ideas on what to do.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Justin, to both Max and Alex, though mostly Alex. Also Link in the episode "Paint By Committee," as a slightly older mentor who teaches Alex the nature of being a true artist. At the end of the episode, Justin is shown to be the one who shows Alex how to be confident in her work.
  • Big Eater: Alex, stealing food from paying customers, emptying granulated sugar right into her mouth, keeping pizza and milkshakes in her school locker.
    • Jerry eating through containers with human teeth, stuffing the Wizard Family Robe with an unlimited supply of hoagies and even taking food out of the garbage.
    • Mason can also fall into this category at times due to him being a Werewolf.
  • Big "WHAT?!": In "Max's Secret Girlfriend", Alex and Harper discover that Max has been secretly dating a girl named Nancy, and had hidden it from the rest of the family so he wouldn't be embarrassed by them. Eventually Theresa finds out, and she scolds Max for lying about Nancy and keeping secrets. Taking her advice to heart, Max decides to be more honest with Nancy and tell her the truth about who his family is, which leads to this:
    Max: I did it. I told Nancy the truth.
    Jerry: We are very proud of you, Max.
    Theresa: Aw, isn't it easier telling the truth, honey?
    Max: It really is. I am so relieved I told her I'm a Wizard.
    (Jerry and Justin Spit Take)
    Jerry, Theresa, Justin and Alex: YOU WHAT?!
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Wizards vs. Werewolves" ends with Mason being turned into a full wolf, Juliet becoming an old woman after losing her vampire powers, and Alex and Justin mourning over the loss of their loved ones. While some were unhappy with Juliet's death, most found this to be a satisfying ending that allowed them to go back to the more family-oriented storylines. At least for a little while.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: In one episode, Justin dates a werewolf girl and becomes a werewolf himself. As a cure, his dad makes him bathe in milk.
  • Black Comedy: Used occasionally.
    Max: Hey look! The monster hunters left behind their equipment to help us. Wait, what are we supposed to do with this pile of charred bones?
  • Bland-Name Product: PopCon in "Harper Knows" is an obvious parody of ComicCon.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead:
    • Juliet, Alex and Harper (featured in a few episodes). The thing is that all three have deep connections to Justin, the first being his canonical Love Interest, the second his sister, and the third his Stalker with a Crush.
    • Justin's love interests which last for more than one episode qualify. There is the aforementioned Juliet (blonde), Goth girl Miranda (brunette) who was Justin's first girlfriend and the first girl he ever kissed and Rosie (redhead), an angel of darkness who was originally sent to corrupt Justin but ended up falling for him.
  • Blue-Collar Warlock: The Russos (minus Theresa) are a family of these.
  • Body Paint: Justin, in the "Wizards On Deck" crossover.
  • Bond One-Liner: Mason gets a great one in The Wizards Return, when he tells Alex that he'll handle Dominic.
    Mason: Go on, love. I'll just stay here - and have a snack.
  • Book Dumb: Alex. Lampshaded in one episode, in which the school is having an academic contest in which Harper is competing but one of the other contestants, Nellie Rodriguez, had to drop out:
    Harper: (to Alex) I wish you were smart. Then you could fill in for Nellie.
    Alex: I am smart! I'm street smart.
    Harper: But not book smart.
    Alex: I am too book smart! Sure, I don't read books, but I hollow them out and hide things in them.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: The otherwise reasonable authority figure Mr. Laritate would much rather be living in the old west than be principal of Tribeca Prep. A spell that makes everything look like the old west (passed off as a dream of course) shows that he would have been an excellent sheriff.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In some of the closing credits. Harper, in "Alex Saves Mason" after getting her kiss with Zeke interrupted one time too many.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Harper's intelligent enough so that cribbing off her and getting her to do her homework is one of the reasons Alex hangs with her but she is decidedly odd, especially when it comes to fashion choices. Although, in "Dollhouse", her ability to paint incredibly small things precisely (due to her fashion design skill - those are some very strange outfits) helps Justin make a nice chunk of change.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Wizards of Apartment 13B story arc loves this trope. Mason, Gorog and other Wizards who've played large parts in certain episodes come back, and in the final episode, revealed thanks to a commercial on Disney Channel, Juilet comes back, although it may or may not be her, since it is Gorog they're dealing with here.
  • Cain and Abel: Not a serious, dramatic case, but it gets pretty intense sometimes, even though it's not quite clear who is Cain and who is Abel in Justin's and Alex's relationship. There are episodes when Justin is angry at Alex, because she's easily forgiven by their parents and gets away with her mischief and there are episodes when Alex is jealous of Justin, because he's smarter, more mature and better than her at almost everything. She even made a wish with a genie that everyone would stop comparing her to Justin, resulting in the genie making everyone forget him.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Max is the reigning king of hilariously-inappropriate comedy timing.
  • Can't Catch Up: Basically the entire point of the series, but mainly focused on in Season 3 and 4.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Alex. When she does get away with something, it's usually just something Played for Laughs.
  • Cartwright Curse: The writers have played with our expectations by leading us to believe that Justin and Juliet, as well as Mason and Alex, might actually go the distance. Mason goes from werewolf to full wolf, and Juliet gives new meaning to "showing her age."
  • Cassandra Truth: At first, Alex didn't believe Justin when he said that their Aunt Megan was just like her, but after Megan says that she doesn't like hard work, Alex comments, "Oh my gosh, she is just like me". Subverted later in the episode, when Justin rescinds his statement and points out the difference between the two of them: Megan never learned how to apologize or even admit that she was wrong.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: In the movie, regardless of whether they're hovering over a doomy canyon of doom, or trying to thread narrow walkways with falling pillars, Justin and Alex still find time to snark incessantly at each other.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: In "Wizard For A Day," some non-magical Human Aliens cross interstellar spacenote  in a matter of days to get a milkshake.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Harper yells "See you in P.E.!" when making a hasty exit.
    • Alex's "We're/They're gonna be together forever."
    • Alex: " was totally me."
    • Both Jerry and Justin: "But-he-you-she-ALEX!"
    • Theresa's "Knock it off!"
  • The Champion: Justin, for Alex.
    • And Alex for Justin, whenever he happens to turn into a wolf or goes crazy.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A future Harper is introduced in Season 2. She wrote books based on Alex and her adventures. Some of the things she says are used as plot points later on and guess what Harper's doing in Season 4. She's writing the books.
    • The fact that Mason likes to paint dogs takes on a whole new meaning when it turns out he's a werewolf.
  • Chewing the Scenery: In "Wizards vs. Finkles", Justin lampshades this after eating some enchanted ham by running onto the stage and asking the Finkles if they mind if he chews up a little scenery.
Miranda, Riley, the Monotone Lady, and Juliet's parents. Kelbo also doesn't appear in season 4, though mentioned.
  • Cinderella Plot: In the Fairy Tale Episode, Harper ends up stuck in the story of Cinderella thanks to an enchanted storybook. The Prince is actually her boyfriend Zeke, the stepfamily is Alex's mother and brothers, and the Fairy Godmother is Alex herself, who encourages Harper to keep going through the story to get to the happy ending. Unfortunately, things get mixed up when it turns out that some of the Cinderella pages have been ripped out. The stepbrothers and prince become The Three Little Pigs, and things get weirder from there.
  • Claustrophobia: Justin has it. Although he's never shown any signs of it, especially when he was in the caves of the Stone of Dreams.
  • Clip Show: The creator stated they wanted to do one of these filled with bloopers, but iCarly did it first.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Max is actually an interesting variation. In "Wizards vs. Werewolves", he makes a comment that implies that his Cuckoolander-ness may actually be intentional. In "Alex Tells The World", we learn he is a minor example. He's still The Ditz, but he exaggerates it to prevent himself from breaking the Masquerade.
    • Harper wears Lady Gaga-esque clothing, complete with meat clothing and fishbowl outfits she actually has to feed. That's not the weirdest part, she comes from the future where everyone knows about magic to write about wizards in the past, taking Alex's stories and selling them.
    • Alex also has moments of this (such as being so dependent on magic, she can't even zip her jacket without it), but she's more of a Cloudcuckoolander's Minder for Harper.
  • Cock Fight: In "Wizard of The Year", Mason is insanely jealous when beast tamer Chase Riprock starts flirting with Alex and refuses to believe Alex that there is nothing between her and Chase. Mason shows up late to Alex's award banquet ceremony to apologize for standing her up, but when he sees Chase sitting at the Russo table he immediately turns into a werewolf and attacks Chase causing a lot of damage. Alex breaks up the fight and ends her relationship with Mason not wanting to be with either of them for their violent behavior.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Really applies to pretty much every wizard and everything magic on the show. Max shattering Stevie apparently didn't register with anyone as an accidental homicide; no one seems to see anything wrong with Justin creating a frankenstein-esque monster and setting her loose in school; and Stevie's sending Jeremy from Science down some magical hole to "no idea where" is purely played for laughs even though Harper implied he died. Compared to these offences, even though she's the perennial trouble-maker Alex's petty pranks aren't actually all that bad (especially since she invariably ends up punished or apologizing).
  • Continuity Cavalcade: A lot of the spells that the Russo's have used over the course of the series come back in the Grand Finale, either as an answer to a quiz question or a spell that they use in the competition.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In an early episode the action news weatherman is replaced by a new girl that Justin thinks is hot. Several times in later episodes he references her and it's her vision that he sees in the "Eye Of The Beholder" spell that shows everyone what they want to see.
    • At end of an episode, Alex asks Justin if he is curious about what she did to his cape and lightsaber. In the beginning of another episode, we hear someone telling Justin to pick up his cape and lightsaber at Lost and Found, to which Alex comments: "I can't believe they found out where I hid those."
  • Continuity Porn: The writers take this show's continuity very seriously, as seen in Season 3. Although, they sometimes attempt this so much that they tend to mix things up. Justin confusing the Edgebono Utoosis spell with another is one example. In "Future Harper", Max refers to a pet lizard that ran away, with Alex and Justin inferring that it died. Later, in "Max's Secret Girlfriend," Max's dead lizard is his most loved possession.
    • Mason is pretty much a product of this. In "Future Harper", the Future Harper asks Alex if she had broken up with Mason yet. Alex looks confused, and nothing more was said about the subject. Guess who shows up later on?
    • Future Harper seems to be the hub for all plans, because she wrote books based on Alex's wizard adventures. Dozens of episodes later, regular Harper began to write a book based on Alex's life.
    • In the Grand Finale, there are plenty of Call Backs to previous episodes, and there are a lot of spells that are used in this episode that have shown up throughout the entire show.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: In order to expose TJ Taylor as a wizard, Alex knocks off his books and sarcastically says "Sorry I'm a klutz" as she does so.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment:
    • In response for Alex always taking things from his room, Justin creates a female Frankenstein's monster which he names "Franken Girl" to guard his room, makes Franken Girl befriend Alex, and eventually forces Alex to join the cheerleading squad.
    • During the episode "Dancing With Angels" Max (who has been turned into a little girl) refuses to tell his parents where Alex, Harper and Justin have snuck off to. His punishment? Being entered into a beauty pageant for 7-12 year-old girls.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: An odd example. The re-recorded version of "Everything Is Not What It Seems" is noticeably more spooky and ethereal than the original upbeat one.
  • Covered in Gunge: Alex covered in chocolate.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The wizard world is full of Fantastic Racism, only one wizard kid from a family can keep their powers, any wizard who wants to marry a non-wizard has to give up their powers, and that's just the start...
  • Crossover: Wizards On Deck with Hannah Montana.
    • That crossover places Wizards on the same universe as I'm in the Band.
    • Interesting to note is that Selena Gomez was in all three shows, but not as Alex Russo in the other two. Also worth noting that despite the supposed three way crossover, none of the Wizards cast actually interacts directly with any of the Hannah Montana cast. Though, since Selena Gomez does play Alex and Miley's rival, Mikayla, it would be best to keep the Russo family as far away from Miley, Lilly, and Robbie Ray as possible to avoid confusion and conflict. However, it would have been interesting to have Alex appear as Mikayla's look-alike, and see what might happen.
    • Hannah Montana and Raven Baxter appeared in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody episode of That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana, placing Wizards in the Raven/Coryverse.
  • Cupid's Arrow: In one episode, Alex hires Cupid to shoot Theresa after one of her magical antics results in a fight between their parents.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Frankie Stein who's just a cute, if very tall, girl with a rubber forehead attached. Also Alex and Harper when they're pretending to be werewolves in "Meets the Werewolves".
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Played straight with Dominic in The Wizards Return. His 'Dominic 1000' is a device that can replicate spells and continue to both cast and maintain them. Granted, it needed a powerful wizard to activate it, but that's because it had a world-wide effect. If he had just made smaller versions (the size of table lamps), he's got a device that's an encyclopedia for storing any spell that you could ever need and casting it on the spot, without using your own powers, and he could have made several fortunes (along with the power money brings to control the world). Of course, being the nephew of Gorog does kind of tell you where his mind was heading...
  • Darker and Edgier: As the series progressed, werewolves, vampires, mummies and Franken-monsters passed by, not to mention that Alex's magnificent Noble Demon skills developed and Justin became a monster hunter and a Mad Scientist. Oh, and Max lost his conscience for an episode or two. Really. Not to mention that they apparently killed off Stevie without anyone seeming to care. Alex even made a harsh, sarcastic comment about her death, then walked away happily.
    • Season 4 seems to be taking it up a notch with the "Wizards vs. Angels" trilogy.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Alex vs...Dark Alex, I guess, and Mason vs Dominic. Slightly justified in that Evil Alex was Alex's clone. Weird in that the same actor played them.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: In part two of the "Wizards VS Angels" special:
    Alex: We might pay for this later, but I think I just manipulated an angel...
  • Discontinuity Nod: In "Max's Secret Girlfriend", when asked about what he told to Nancy, Max says that he told her about everything except the dragon dog. In "Curb Your Dragon", the Russo's adopt a dragon dog, but it never appears again.
    Max: I still have no idea what happened to that.
  • Ditzy Genius: Justin plays it straight as he excels in academics, but lacks common sense and holds the Idiot Ball quite often.
  • Does Not Like Magic: Theresa even openly admitted to HATING magic. In the movie, that is completely true, in the series, it varies from episode to episode, sometimes she hates it, sometimes she is just being cautious, and sometimes she enjoys it. She also implied that she wanted to be a wizard too, so much of this inconsistency can be attributed to...let's call it "Wand Envy."
    • Played straighter with Harper, who mentioned giving Theresa her 'I hate magic' T-shirt, and pushes Alex to learn how to do things normally (during Alex's 10-Minute Retirement from the magic competition).
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Alex's painting that resembled the symbol of anarchism in "Paint by Committee," Justin playing with his wand under the sheets in The Movie, Alex asking Justin to give her his wand, Alex's and Justin's hug in "Dollhouse" and many more.
  • Dog Latin: A particularly painful sort in the incantations for the spells of the first two seasons. Eventually, the writers decided English would suffice.
  • Downer Ending: The first episode of Season 4, "Alex Tells the World". Alex and Justin are found guilty of revealing magic to the world and are demoted back to Level 1 wizard studies, which results in everyone thinking that Max will become the family wizard.
  • Drop-In Character: Since a lot of the plot takes place in the sub shop, it's easy for characters to 'drop in'. Harper was this until she actually started living with the Russos.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: This is Disney so you can bet they were not actually going to kill someone off (even a vampire) so instead they settled for sending the growing-in-popularity Juliet to ''hell''.
    • The problem is they have. On screen. Granted, it's not graphic but people don't usually come back from being frozen and shattered.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first two seasons, and the first season especially, look and feel like a subtly different show. Alex isn't quite as chaotic as she's normally associated with, mostly just being disinterested. Justin uses magic far less frequently other than during the wizard lessons, and if anything (on a network that tends to Flanderize Too Dumb to Live characters further into stupidity) Max arguably becomes more competent as the series goes on, reaching a point in Season 4 where in certain situations he's better talented and more competent than either Alex or Justin (with appropriate Lampshading). WizTech starts off as just one of possibly many wizard educational institutions (with the existence of competing institutions being implied) but soon becomes almost synonymous with the wizard realm itself. Professor Crumbs likewise goes from being merely WizTech's headmaster to practically the supreme ruler of the wizard realm by the beginning of Season 4, with no transition and an attitude of "this is how it always was." And of course, the series becomes Darker and Edgier along the way.
    • The last two seasons of the show literally look and feel different from a technical perspective as well. Between Seasons 2 and 3, the show switched from standard def to hi-def, and a different company was contracted to handle post-production. Consequently, and aside from the change in aspect ratio, older episodes now have a weird, "washed-out" appearance when seen on Disney Channel's present hi-def feed. This also roughly corresponds with the developmental changes described above.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Series Finale has this. Even though, Justin wins the competition, he did so because Alex ultimately couldn't let a trap get him. He also sees that she and Mason are preparing to break up since when Alex loses her magic, Mason will register Alex as "food" due to being a werewolf. Justin forfeits the win. Professor Crumb, however, doesn't want to waste Justin's potential, and says that he can get his magic back, if Justin agrees to work for him. Justin happily agrees. Max ends up being a Graceful Loser because his parents leave him the sandwich shop, and he's undoubtedly the only one in the family with natural talent to run it.  
  • Election Day Episode: There was an episode where Zeke runs against Justin for student body president in an attempt to become more independent from Justin. Justin is almost thrown out the race because he's blamed for a school prank involving an abundance of his campaign advertisements.
  • Elevator School: The only explanation for Max being in the same school as Justin and Alex since the show started. It's even more blatant after Max gets turned into a little girl (apparently in the fourth grade) and still goes to the same school. Although it may be somewhat justified by the fact that it's a private school.
  • El Spanish "-o": "Honey, adding '-ito' to something does not make it Spanish!"
  • Embarrassing First Name: Herschel Laritate? Seriously?
  • Emotional Torque: The entire movie focuses on Justin and Alex relating to each other, confessing secrets, and getting closer than ever before. Then Justin got taken away. You didn't care that their parents didn't remember them, no one seemed to care when Max was taken away except Theresa, but when Alex lost Justin and she started to cry for the first time in the entire series. You didn't care how it happened, you wanted Justin to come back.
  • Enemy Without: This happens to Alex in the 2013 reunion special Alex vs Alex when she tries to act more maturely in order to impress her family by casting a spell to remove the bad parts in her personality and accidentally creates an Evil Twin of herself who breaks out of the mirror and causes mayhem. Fortunately, Alex manages to erase the clone by removing her powers.
  • Epic Fail: Some of Alex's screw-ups are actually pretty impressive, such as using the Wizard instant-mailing key to make the entire living room disappear.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the first episode, Alex is introduced by having her convince her dad to do what she wants with puppy dog eyes. That was just the beginning.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Dr. Evilini has a habit of snickering evilly while dramatic music plays in the background. This, along with her Meaningful Name, is proof that she's Obviously Evil.
    • One-upped by Gorog during "Wizards vs. Angels". When he laughs, his voice is amplified and projected like an echo to make him sound more terrifying.
      • Lampshaded humorously when he's disguised as Dexter, the doorman of the 13th floor in the "Apartment 13B" saga, and realizes the evil laugh doesn't work with this face.
  • Exact Words: Wizards need to be very careful with what they say when casting spells because their powers take them literally.
  • Family-Friendly "Mature" Content: In one episode, Alex and Justin sneak off to a slasher flick, despite their parents telling them they couldn't go. Alex then conjures a spell where she goes into the movie, and she goes into a scene that takes place during a slumber party, right before the killer makes an appearance, and despite being an R-rated film, the scene is a edgy as anything that can be shown in a Disney Channel show.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Wizards have problems with both werewolves and vampires. Giants are more accepted but there are still offensive jokes.
    • The monster hunters apparently imprison tons of monsters, which is probably justifiable for some, but one that we're shown basically does nothing but be a Deadpan Snarker (the manual Justin gets says that's its only tool for survival. It makes you wonder if the wizards are paranoid or just jerks).
  • Fatal Attractor: Justin. So far there's been a vampire, a werewolf, and an angel of darkness. He's also been out with a centaur and a half-elf, which aren't so much as dangerous as they are weird.
  • Fatal Flaw: Several characters in ther series seem to have this trait.
    • Alex: Her impulsiveness and laziness. Alex often fails to think things through and takes the easy way out by using magic, which gets her into trouble throught the series. Even when she tries to something good, Alex still gets in trouble because she dosen't of the consequences of her actions.
    • Justin: His Pride. Due to his intelligence and skills in magic, Justin fails to realize that sometimes he makes a mistake and how his ideas are not always the best, which backfires on him a couple of times throughout the series. A key example is in the opening of season 4, where Professor Crumbs tested him and his siblings, which he revealed the existence of Wizards to a government agency because he thought he was helping them fought an alien invasion because they used a language Justin and his friends made up in his "Alien Language League" club, getting him demoted from a level 5 wizard to a level 1 wizard by Professor Crumbs as punishment for failing the test.
    • Max: His shortsighted thinking. Max's lack of rational thinking and failure to realize what he's doing isn't the smart thing is what often gets him into trouble, and allows other people to manipulate him.
    • Jerry: His pigheadedness can be often the source of his own problems throughout the series, as it can cause his children to use magic when he tells them not, and makes him fail to realize his ideas aren't as clever as he thinks they or when he has to admit when he's wrong.
    • Theresa: Her Controlling attitude: While Theresa does want what's best for her children, her need to control their lives and force them to do what shes wants is what causes them, especially Alex, to rebel against her and use magic to solve problems they are dealing with most of time.
    • Harper: Her Naïvety. As Harper tends to see the glass half full and looks only at the good of things, she has a childlike view of the world and fails to realize when she should listen to Alex about certain things, which forces the latter to bail her out when she gets into trouble.
    • Mason: His Jealously. Whenever he gets jealous, it causes him to fail to think things through, which further complicates his realtionship with Alex. In season 4, during a banquet to celebrate Alex, who was named Wizard of the Year, gets into a fight with Chase, a famous beast tamer who likes Alex, after falsely believing he is trying to steal his girlfriend, which makes Alex break up with Mason.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Stevie incites an insurrection in order to overturn the Council's "one wizard per family" rule. Irresponsible rabble-rousing, or much-needed social reform? You be the judge.
  • First Girl Wins: Averted, in that Harper never seems to catch a break in terms of landing Justin. They do, however, find out that they do make excellent friends - but things revert back, because Status Quo Is God. And now she's not interested anymore.
  • First Kiss: In an episode titled after the trope, Justin admits to Alex that he never kissed a girl before. Alex then encourages Justin to have his first kiss with goth girlfriend Miranda, which Justin eventually succeeds in doing. In the same episode, Justin deduces that Alex never kissed anyone either and mocks her for it, prompting Alex to have her first kiss with a random boy in school just to spite Justin.
    • In a later episode, Zeke gets his first kiss with Harper.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Future Harper; she reveals she didn't grow out of her Cloudcuckoolander tendencies but is trapped in her teenage self's present timeline. She pays the bills by running a Paint-A-Plate and selling novels based on the Waverlys' adventures. At the very least, she's adjusted enough to not blow her cover until Alex confronts her.
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Major supporting characters and a combo ensemble within the Russo family.
    • Russo family: Alex (choleric), Justin (melancholic), Theresa (phlegmatic), Max (sanguine), and Jerry (eclectic).
    • Supporting characters: Mr. Laritate (choleric), Mason (melancholic), Harper (phlegmatic), Zeke (sanguine), and Professor Crumbs (eclectic).
  • Flanderization:
    • Alex was a playful, mischievous, rebellious and snarky but sweet jerk. Now she's a harsh Villain Protagonist, who takes advantage of everyone.
    • Justin was a collected bookworm, who never broke rules. Now he's an almost vicious Smug Snake Mad Scientist who uses magic to get revenge on Alex.
    • Max was a Plucky Comic Relief airhead, who had sometimes witty lines. Now he doesn't even know how to spell his own name and all his lines are made of one or two words that don't even make sense most of the time.
    • Alex's and Justin's innocent Sibling Rivalry turned into a spiteful enmity that is characterized by revenge and scorn.
    • Jerry and Theresa, although frustrated with Alex's trouble-making, were loving parents nonetheless. Now, Justin seems to be their only child they actually like.
    • Theresa has become increasingly narcissistic and self-obsessed, to almost Miss Piggy levels, so much that it has become almost the sum total of her character.
  • Foreign Sounding Gibberish: Justin and Zeke's "alien language". Lampshaded by the actual aliens.
  • Forgets to Eat: One of the side effects of the muse shell, as demonstrated when Alex uses it on Mason.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Played humorously. Justin erases the memories of Max's girlfriend's parents to introduce them to Jerry and Theresa all over again, due to the first encounter going terribly wrong.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: How many major issues (Justin losing Juliet and Max becoming a girl come to mind) could have been resolved with the Time Reverse Spell and Undo Dust?note 
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: In the episode "Quinceañera", Alex switches bodies with her mom to avoid her titular 15th birthday party. Which is okay with Theresa, who never got a Quinceañera and always wanted one, once she gets over her initial anger at Alex.
  • Freudian Slip: "Alex Does Good" with Harper, "It's time I got some appreciation, Mom!" We also see this in The Movie, when Justin lets slip that the reason he's always tried so hard to be perfect is that he's afraid that his parents won't love him otherwise. And Harper again in "Monster Hunters" when she's teaching Alex study tricks. She starts singing a mnemonic song and it turns into a rant on how Alex is a bad friend.
  • Freudian Trio: Alex (ego), Max (id) and Justin (superego). Also: Harper (ego), Alex (id), Justin (superego).
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: This is how Alex won the Wizard Competition in the Grand Finale. She was in the lead during the final round and was just about to cross the finish line, but immediately turns back to help Justin remove his leg from a plant he got caught in.
    • Justin is also this in the same situation as he crossed the finish line and was just about to be crowned the Family Wizard, but refuses the position and gives it to Alex in gratitude for saving him.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Nobody in New York, especially not owners of a sandwich shop that seems to be perpetually half-empty, can have a house, complete with basement, parking lot, and balcony in TriBeCa. Though there could be explanation in that Jerry (the dad) seems to STILL have some very big pull in the magical world. This would help with the situation.
  • Functional Magic: Formulaic Magic and Item Magic. It's strongly implied that the incantations mainly serve to focus the thoughts of the wizard on a specific spell and aren't strictly necessary.
  • Gambit Roulette: One of the villains on the show was a shopkeeper who sold the kids a pet dragon. For some reason, Alex can't tell her parents about it. So she pretends it's a lost dog that they found, and they post lost & found posters. Suddenly the shopkeeper apparently responds to the posters and takes it back, claiming to have done this several times before. This way, he can sell the dragon several times to different people while getting it back each time. So the guy apparently planned for Alex, and everyone he sells it to ever, to do something stupid like that. Either the guy was just a really devious shopkeeper, or you could just blame this on bad writing.
  • Garrulous Growth: In "Pop Me and We Both Go Down", Justin gets a horrible, giant zit on his face. When Alex uses magic on it in an effort to help him... the zit comes to life and has its own face, and proceeds to spend the rest of the day being generally obnoxious and rude to Justin and the others.
  • Gender Bender: Max undergoes one in "Three Maxes and a Little Lady", thanks to a mutant spell cast by Alex and Justin. The end of the episode states that he will remain female for a while.
    • Also Justin in the episode 'Third Wheel' when he willingly turns himself into Alex to get Harper to work on the float. The fact that he has no moral hesitations about turning into his sister raises several questions.
  • Generation Xerox: Justin, Alex, and Max's sibling dynamic was revealed to be surprisingly similar to Jerry with his brother and sister. To cap it all off, Justin won the Wizard competition, but gave up his powers, just like Jerry, though both the reason he did it and the sibling he gave his powers to are different.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Giselle in the movie, we get zero context for how she got trapped in a parrot's body other than her abusing her powers. Then when she finally becomes human again, we still don't find out much about her, and she gets taken down in less than five minutes. Talk about wasting good villain potential!
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • In "Positive Alex", Alex uses a magical marker to make herself more positive to be a better cheerleader and impress her crush. It makes her so positive that not only does everyone get sick of her (including her crush), but she also gets the cheerleading team banned from cheering by cheering for the opposite team. Thankfully, the marker washes off.
    • In "Halloween", the Russos are under threat of having their haunted house privileges revoked due to their track records of disappointing stunts, so they try to find a way to make this year's haunted house scary. Alex then gets the idea of bringing Mantooth, Justin's imaginary character who haunted him as a child, into the real world to spruce it up. But at the demonstration, Mantooth does a very scary Nightmare Face causing the Russos to be banned from making another haunted house.
    Theresa: Wait a minute! You wanted scary?! We gave you scary!
    Mr. Evans Yes but kids wanted to scared, not scarred for life!
  • Goth: Justin's first girlfriend, Miranda. Although, aside from the clothing, she seems relatively un-Gothic.
  • Grand Finale: Alex becomes the family wizard. Professor Crumbs retires and passes on full wizardry power to Justin, who becomes the Headmaster of WizTech. Max inherits the family business.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Odd aversion - despite only Theresa being Hispanic (Jerry's Italian), they apparently never spoke it in front of their kids, one of whom is now failing Spanish.
    Theresa: With my help you'll be fluent in Español in no time!
    Alex: Great! What's es-pan-yol?
    Theresa: It's Spanish.
    Alex: Right, Spanish for what?
    Theresa: Ay caramba...
    • In The Movie, we find out that Justin also speaks Spanish - and although Jerry may not speak the language, he understands enough to know what Spanish-speakers are talking about.
    • The amount of Spanish has increased in later seasons. Theresa calls Alex mija (and so does Max when doing an imitation of her), but the kids still don't seem to understand her.
      Theresa: (running from a childhood monster) I promise I'll behave, Mama! I'm sorry! (Unintelligible Spanish)
      Justin: What's she saying?
      Max: It sounded like she was ordering a number four from Fiesta Express.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Only one of the Russo kids (the one who's found to be the most experienced) will get to keep their magic when they reach adulthood. Has potential for Chekhov's Gun when combined with "Wizards cannot marry non-wizards" - Justin or Alex are going to be (a) non-wizard(s).
  • Hammerspace Hideaway: There is enough Hammerspace in Harper's suitcase that she herself can fit in it when it's closed. This came in handy for a "The Suite Life on Deck" crossover.
  • Happily Married: Jerry and Theresa are actually a fairly realistic portrayal of how a happy marriage isn't a perfect one.
  • Harmless Villain: Ronald Longcape's father (also known as Ronald Longcape Sr.) is very bumbling and inept much to the annoyance of his own son. While he did manage to temporarily evacuate the Wiz-Tech students by flooding the school with plastic ballsnote , his overall goal wasn't to take over Wiz-Tech but to celebrate his birthday which he was never thrown. And when Ronald asked his father to guard the frozen body of Dean, he actually planned on eating it for his birthday. He eventually foils his son's Evil Plan in the end by foolishly exposing the frozen Dean to the Russos and Professor Crumbs. Ronald even said that his father's antics are the reason why they always failed at being an evil family.
  • Hates Being Touched: Alex. Most of the time...
  • Hates Reading: In "Future Harper", Alex starts out not liking reading but comes around to understanding its importance. The episode ends with a joke PSA message on the importance of reading by Selena Gomez.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Max does this one episode, taking Justin's side and then Alex's side and back again. He always announces to both siblings every time he switches.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": In the episode "Future Harper", our teenage wizard heroes travel about using a device called the Inter-wizard People Porter. Max (and a oneshot character in Egypt) pick up on the fact that the acronym sounds like "I pee-pee".
  • Helping Hands: Justin creates a floating hand as a project to help the elderly.
  • Hidden Depths: Harper is known to be creative teen, but Alex is surprised to find out she's a good writer. So good that in the future, a time-traveling Harper will become a bestselling author in the present.
  • High-School Dance: Many are talked about, but only one is actually shown in an episode.
  • Historical In-Joke: While in 1957, Harper manages to invent both the poodle skirt and the sock hop. Max invents the high-five, but twenty years too early, so it ends up being called a "max" instead, which Alex considers a Close-Enough Timeline.
  • Horrorscope: In "Misfortune at the Beach", the kids stumble upon a "Zelzar" fortune-telling booth, and are warned that for Wizards, each fortune is very real. Max gets free ice-cream and Justin manages to attract a cute girl. Alex gets a fortune that says "Say goodbye to your life" and as such makes a deal with Zelzar that, if she gives him a day at the beach, he'll take back her fortune. After several near-death experiences and frustration, Zelzar finally agrees, he passes Alex's fortune to the next customer, a little girl... who immediately receives a giant check for a million dollars, effectively saying goodbye to her old life.
  • How Did You Know? I Didn't: In the episode "Wizard For A Day", as a present for Jerry's birthday, Alex gives her father both Merlin's hat (which can grant wishes for one day) and magically changes the restaurant into his childhood astronaut-themed milkshake place. Unfortunately, this attracts the attention of Human Aliens who attack them wanting Jerry's milkshake machine. The aliens are forced to retreat after Justin uses their weapons to shoot at Merlin's hat, which transform the milkshake store back into the family's regular sandwich shop.
    Alex: How did you know that shooting at Merlin's hat would reverse all of dad's wishes?
    Justin: I didn't. I was just really sick of that present.
  • Human Aliens: The aliens who land at Waverly Place in the episode "Wizard For A Day" to steal Jerry's milkshake machine wear silver suits and have dealy-bobs coming out of their heads, but otherwise look just like us. You'd probably see weirder things on an average day in New York.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Justin's First Kiss":
    Miranda: Do you know who makes video games? Corporate America. I hate Corporate America. I'm starting a club about it at school. We're looking for sponsors.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: During the "Wizards vs. Angels" series:
    Alex: I'm not turning bad, you little twerp.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Possible Shout-Out to That '70s Show.
  • Idol Singer: Selena Gomez (Alex).
  • I Knew There Was Something About You:
    Alex Russo: I knew there was something I liked about you, but this... this is genius. You are my new role model.
    Stevie: Please, Alex. I'm sure this is something you would have eventually come up with yourself.
    Alex Russo: Yeah, now that's true. I take it back; I'm my own role model again.
  • The "I Love You" Stigma: Alex always hesitates to tell Dean she loves him. Instead, she ends saying "I love... this card" or "How do you think of flipflops? Thinking about going casual this summer?"
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Justin is a crack shot with an alien blaster he picks up off the ground. Could also cross over with Informed Ability.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The family wand. Couple that with the Forbidden Book of Spells, and well...
    • Felix's wand also counts, as it is the most powerful wand in the wizard world.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Just look at how cute Maxine is!
  • Innocent Innuendo: Well, non-sexual, but hardly innocent:
    Harper: What are you looking at?
    Zombie: I wanna have you for dinner!
    Harper: I have a date, jerk!
  • Insult Backfire:
    • When the tutor for Max turns out to be a really pretty girl, Alex disdainfully tells Justin that guys are so easy falling for a pretty face. Justin just gives her a grin and agrees.
    • Also, when Justin snarkily suggested "A Night To Dismember" as a name for Alex's zombie prom, she decided that sounded cool.
    Alex: As my first order of business, TJ why don't you go down to the hall and give yourself a detention slip?
    TJ: I'll show you a detention slip!
    Alex: Thankyou. That's exactly what I wanted.
    TJ: (beat) That backfired.
    • Harper has rewired her brain so insults come across as compliments.
  • Interspecies Romance: Alex and Justin have dated many mythical creatures throughout the series; such as Juliet (vampire), Mason (werewolf), Isabella (werewolf), Rosie (angel), a centaur, etc.
  • Invisible Streaker: In one episode, Justin is turned invisible by Alex's careless wording of a wish to a Literal Genie. He strips off his pajamas so his parents won't notice him, leaving him naked in a room with his parents and his sister. Hilarity Ensues as Alex attempts to prevent the parents from accidentally sitting on him, etc.
  • It Only Works Once: Alex defeats Franken Girl, the monster Justin created to guard his bedroom, after finding out that Justin installed his own laptop as brain and tricking the monster into shutting itself down with the "Control", "Alt" and "Delete" keys. Unfortunately for Alex, Justin brings Franken Girl back to life and adds a spell lock preventing Alex from using the same trick.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: An unusual inversion, in that Alex stays in the family wizard competition so that she can stay in her relationship with Mason (because Muggles and werewolves can't have relationships).
  • Jackass Genie: In one episode, Jerry teaches his kids about how tricky genies are in granting wishes. However, Alex ignores her father's warnings and releases a Literal Genie. She wishes for everyone to stop comparing her to Justin, but the genie does this in a way that everyone (except Alex) forgets who Justin is. When Alex accidentally summons the genie again with a "wish", she tries to fix her mistake by wishing for everyone to see Justin clearly for who he is. However, the genie uses Exact Words and turns Justin invisible. Fortunately, it turns out that the genie's lamp contains a literal reset button that undoes all of the wishes.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Alex flip-flops around this trope. While in some episodes she escapes retribution, she is punished quite a bit.
    • Max, on the other hand, is now made of this trope. Hmm... make things harder for your older brother to win the family wizard contest by taking a book with every single type of monster in existence, release all of these monsters into New York City - and when all of the other Monster Hunters are killed by the hordes of monsters (not to mention God knows how many normal people, not a word is said or anything done to Max. Hell, they were going to take away Alex's powers FOREVER for turning her parents and a teacher into guinea pigs...
  • Karmic Transformation:
    • It is implied in The Movie that Giselle's transformation into a bird was a punishment for her misusing her powers.
    • Also to Justin in "Beware Wolf" when he started dating a werewolf girl he met on Wiz-Face and repeatedly ignores his family's warnings about trusting people he meets on Wiz-Face, until he kisses her and becomes a werewolf himself.
  • "Kick Me" Prank: Theresa states that she used to attach signs on Jerry's back that say hilarious things. Hugh's parents also do this to Jerry in the same episode.
  • Justin is still this - Juliet and Rosie were just stopovers.
  • Killed Off for Real: Gorog in Wizards vs. Everything. Also Stevie in Season 3, and Dominic in the Wizards Return Alex vs Alex.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother:
    • Don't break Alex's heart. Justin has taken a level in badass since the end of Season 2 and the movie, and will bust out Capoeira moves on you as well as whatever magical explosions he sees fit.
    • Mason learns this the hard way when Justin refuses to let him back into Alex's life. He even goes so far as to threaten Mason, even though he's pissed off beyond belief in full-wolf mode.
    • The entire latter half of the 1-hour Werewolves special, Justin can be seen (whether he's prominent in the current shot, or in the background) giving Mason the dirtiest looks he's ever given. In fact, Justin is just blatantly pissed off in general, and it wasn't until Mason was gone that he finally stopped being angry long enough to comfort Alex, and deal with his own loss.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: Alex explains to her parents her new idea of a sandwich called "Meet Me In Turkey", then she turns to Justin and grins, telling him that he knows where she's going with that.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Alex and Mason are throwing water balloons from the roof to below residents, whom are not amused.
      Mason: We should run.
      Alex: No, we should have a romantic montage.
    • And when the Russos are investigated by the government for being wizards, a scientist starts asking questions, and the man says "you skipped all the questions you asked the other kid" and he says "excuse me for keeping it fresh".
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At the very end of the Grand Finale, Chancellor Tootie Tootie says, "And that's our show, everybody! Thanks for watching!" Almost as if it, and the gameshow itself was directed towards us, the viewers.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Mason ups his game in The Wizards Return.
  • Like a Son to Me: Parodied and subverted in one episode between Max's conscience and his mom.
    Theresa: You're like the son I don't regret having!
    Max: Oh, she means Justin.
  • Literal Metaphor:
    Crumbs: My hands are tied.
    Alex: You don't believe me, either?
    Crumbs: No, I mean my hands are tied.
    • He then shows Alex he's handcuffed to his desk.
  • Little Miss Badass:
    • Alex is this, at least sometimes:
      By the way, we're having dragon heart for dinner.
    • Max, after he's turned into a little girl and proceeds to kick Justin's ass in karate class.
  • Lonely at the Top: In the movie, Alex wins the Wizard Competition and has Full-Wizard abilities, but this comes at the price of losing the person she cares most about and being left alone.
  • Long Runner: Currently (and likely for a while) the longest-running of the Disney Channel Live-Action Universe.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Warren gives Justin a marker and warns him to keep it away from Alex (who tried to draw a mustache on him earlier) before fainting. When Max ask Justin for the marker so He can draw a mustache on him instead, Justin instantly obliges since he only agreed not to give it to Alex.
    • In The Movie, Jerry and Theresa are about to go out and forbid Alex and Harper from going to an R-rated party they are underage for; and to make their word perfectly clear, they give them a rule not to leave the building in any way while they are gone. Alex then turns the restaurant's subcar into a literal subway so they can travel to the station where the party is without technically leaving the building. Unfortunately, it becomes a disaster when Alex has trouble controlling the subway and they almost get killed until Justin saves them.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Alex and Justin have a complicated relationship, meanwhile Alex is going out with Mason, who in turn confessed his undying love for Juliet, who is also the current girlfriend of Justin, who Harper has a stalkerish crush on but who may also love Zeke, and...
  • Love Doodles: Exaggerated with Alex's crush on Dean. Being an artist, her diary wasn't just filled with doodles- she drew herself a fairy-tale world in which Dean is a hero and she's a princess, which she uses magic to go into. Hilarity Ensues when, of course, this Secret Diary gets found by the Alpha Bitch.
  • Magic Hat: The hat that the Russo siblings have to wear when they are initiated in the art of magic.
  • Justin in the Franken Girl episode, where he twists Alex's arm into joining the cheerleading squad (knowing she would hate it) and gets Theresa to acknowledge him as the "favorite" son.
  • Magical Sensory Effect: When Juliet reveals herself to be a vampire, she admits she knew of Justin being a wizard due to his scent- brick and pine, which is apparently just how wizards smell.
  • Mayfly–December Romance:
    • Justin and Juliet. She may have been joking when she talked about Caesar but she's been to well over five hundred proms.
    • When she talks about her relationship with Mason during the finale of that arc, she says she loved him a 'long time ago' - 'Like, before America was discovered'. Which would mean that this trope applies to Alex and Mason's romance too.
    • Before Rapid Aging took place, Juliet reveals that she's 2,193 years old.
  • Meaningful Name:
  • Tutor the tutor. According to Alex in that episode, parents in the Wizard World always name their children for jobs they want them to do. Of course, she says it doesn't always work.
    "My dad goes to a doctor named Butcher."
  • Medium Awareness: Alex declares the start and end of her Falling-in-Love Montage with Mason, and in another episode, stops talking for about a minute to prove that comedies are unfunny without dialog.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Justified in that it explains why Alex does what she does (she's not only the middle child but a daughter), and inverted/lampshaded in the episode where Aunt Megan is introduced. (Jerry/Megan/Kelbo = Justin/Alex/Max.)
  • Mirror Match: Alex accidentally creates a Literal Split Personality of herself in the Reunion Show Alex vs Alex.
  • Mirror World: In "All About You-niverse".
    • Mirror Routine: Alex does a very poor version of this in the same episode in an attempt to distract Theresa from seeing her through the mirror portal. However, she breaks the ruse in anger when Theresa foolishly falls for the trick.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: Justin's delinquent class in "Everything's Rosie For Justin", when they do their wand drill. Subverted in that they all fail, because Rosie has no magic. Also, that they all passed, because Rosie was never a wizard, and the rest of Justin's class knew what they were doing.
  • Missing Reflection: In vampire Juliet's debut episode, there's a sight gag where she does her hair in her mirror that doesn't show her reflection.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: From the episode "Future Harper".
    Harper: I had my mom's private investigator track her down.
    Alex: Oh, how's the case going?
    Harper: Oh, everything's fine. Turns out my dad was just sleeping in the car.
  • Monochrome Casting: Aside from Theresa and her family, everyone is at least half-white. Considering they live in New York, this is a little strange.
  • Mood Whiplash: The show is a lighthearted teenage comedy without any serious consequences for anyone for years until suddenly Justin's very old vampire girlfriend ages to her real age and Alex's boyfriend turns out to be a jerkass and is turned permanently into a wolf.
    • For further context, Alex had helped Juliet reunite with Justin...and her boyfriend Mason blurts out that he used to date Juliet and says he still loves her. That stops the happy feelings, and Alex holes herself up in her room crying, with Justin understandably angry on both his sister and his current girlfriend's behalf. Her mother even says it's not like her to be this upset. When Mason comes to try and explain himself, Alex gives a List of Transgressions about herself, and it becomes an Overly-Long Gag until her parents say, "We get it, Alex; you screwed up a lot". Then Alex points out for all her faults, she never told someone "accidentally" that she still loved them while dating someone else. Mason's attempts to prove to Alex that he loves her and not Juliet end up backfiring when Justin picks a fight with him for breaking Alex's heart and Juliet has to bite Mason to save Justin, sacrificing her eternal youth in the process and Mason seems to become a wolf permanently.
  • Motionless Makeover: While Justin practices a time freeze spell, he puts a glass of water on Alex's head while she's frozen. This plan backfires as Justin falls to the ground, causing time to unfreeze, Alex to look down, and the glass to fall on Justin.
  • The Movie:
    • Okay, so it's not going to be in theaters, but it's still called "Wizards Of Waverly Place: The Movie".
    • The reunion movie, "'The Wizards Return: Alex Vs. Alex" also counts.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Whether you like muscles (Justin), a nice smile (Mason), nice hair (Zeke), or a cute face (Max), this show has something for all the ladies.
    • However as a werewolf you expect this from Mason but he is probably the one werewolf in existence to never lose his clothing.
  • Muggles: Justin and Alex had to make plenty of explanations for the people who accidentally witnessed their magical antics.
  • Muggle–Mage Romance: Wizarding law forbids this. Any mage who insists on pursuing a relationship with a muggle must give up their powers, like Jerry so he could be with Theresa.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In a show about magic, you bet your ass this trope is in use.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: G-Rated Version in "Wizards vs. Werewolves", in which Mason gives Alex a magic pendant that glows when the person wearing it is in love with the person who put it on them.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Justin and Zeke are some nice looking nerds. In an episode, a dozen of supermodels want to play "Dungeons And Dragons" with them, rather than parade on the stage.
  • Never Lend to a Friend: In this case, your sister.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted in the movie when Jerry says that every year two or three wizards go looking for the Stone of Dreams and wind up dead.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The promo for "Alex Charms A Boy" makes it looks like Alex sadistically charms some random boy into falling in love with her. In the actual episode, the boy becomes her boyfriend the old fashioned way, and she only puts a charm on him to get him to paint her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Arguably the entire point of the series - and certainly The Movie. Justin also does this by exposing the wizard world in the Season 3 finale.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: The Russo siblings: responsible and nice (but Not So Above It All) Justin, sneaky and mischievous Alex, and Max is the in-between.
  • Nobody's That Dumb: In a crossover episode with The Suite Life on Deck, season 2 "Cast-Away (To Another Show)", Justin meets London by pretending that he's a doctor to gain her interest but he loses interest in her when he discovers how unintelligent she is. Even Max calls her dumb.
    Max: That girl is really dumb. And that's coming from me.
    • When Justin tells Alex about London:
      Justin: I got exactly what I wanted and now it's terrible, because she's not so smart.
      Alex: What do you mean?
      Justin: Max thinks she's dumb.
      Alex: Whoa. You gotta dump her.
  • Nonuniform Uniform: the outfits that the wizards wear for the competition and other activities 'in the field', so to speak, judging by the fact that Jerry (in The Movie) also had a similar uniform.
  • Noodle Implements: When Justin asks Alex's advice of how to get rid of a girl and she tells him to use a road flare, a barrel of maple syrup and a mini-trampoline. Then she goes on to say that the maple syrup isn't for what he thinks.
    • To fix the lamp he broke, Max will need "A broom, a dustpan, double-stick tape, and small dog." The first three are subversions, as it's obvious enough what they'd be used for, but it's never explained what he intended to do with the last one.
  • Noodle Incident: In "Saving WizTech - Part 1", Justin is being mocked by Dean for being a teenager wearing a suit without any special reason —he thinks. Justin then replies that he could tell people he was going to advocate him, for what Dean happily answers:
    "Would you do that?! Great! Now we just have to prove I couldn't throw that thing so far..."
    • In The Movie, we never do find out what it was Giselle did that caused her to be turned into a parrot.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: In contrast to the above examples, Selena Gomez makes no attempt to affect a Noo Yawk accent, and on occasion, her native Texas drawl comes through.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Superintendent Clanton was played as a bad guy (and was a little stern), but was probably better for the students than Mr. Laritate. He didn't fear Alex, didn't let Justin brown nose him, and even convinced Max to go to college.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Justin Russo parodied this trope when he pretended to be a doctor in paleontology to impress London Tipton from The Suite Life on Deck in a crossover episode. She stopped believing him when he didn't know what to do when somebody nearby needed medical help.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: In "Dancing with Angels" and "Wizards vs. Angels", fallen angels are consistently referred to as "angels of darkness", and their place of residence is referred to as "the dark realm." They are never called demons or devils, and their realm is not called hell. Furthermore, Rosie, despite the fact that she uses Justin's love for her to get him to do bad things, is never called a succubus.
    • Additionally, the ruler of the angels of darkness is called "Gorog", not Satan, Lucifer, etc. The good angels do sing "hallelujah", but that is the only reference they make to God.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Vampires who get scratched by werewolves lose their immortality along with the rest of their powers and become their real age.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In "Justin's Little Sister", where Harper leaves furiously, thinking that Alex and Justin are together, because Justin "has already moved in".
  • N-Word Privileges: In the episode "Third Wheel", Alex and her new wizard friend make fun of media portrayals of wizards by donning pointy hats and beards. When Harper tries to join in the fun by holding her hair in front of her face and pretending it's a beard, both Alex and Justin tell her it's offensive.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In the Season 4 premiere episode, Max reveals that he has been doing this.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: In "Harper Knows", Harper becomes angry when she suspects that Alex is keeping secrets from her leading Alex to consider telling her about her wizardry. While it appeared that Harper was guilting Alex on purpose, the trope was played straight in the end when Harper forgives Alex after winning the costume contest and thanks her for telling the truth. This final straw broke Alex and she revealed magic to her best friend.
    • Also happens to Justin when during the crossover with The Suite Life on Deck he pretends to be a doctor to impress London. While on their date, London starts talking about many men who have lied to her in the past. Justin starts to feel guilty and tries to tell London that he isn't a doctor, but doesn't go through with it when London again shows how much she loves him.
  • Obviously Evil: Dr. Evilini the first Big Bad of the series. Not only does her name pretty much give it away, she has a habit of breaking into mad cackling quite often when she's on screen. Justin ironically cites this as a reason she can't be evil because no one would be that obvious.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: In "Western Show", not only does Theresa say she likes the corset she's wearing, but then Jerry asks why he doesn't have one.
  • Ominous Message from the Future: Harper of the future comes back to, first, write books about the wizard adventures she has with Alex because in the future one of them will have told the World about wizards, so the books aren't all that interesting or unique, and, second, make sure that Alex has those adventures with her. In secret.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The family mentions that Alex seems to have a Lack of Empathy regarding others' pain, including her own, and that tends to fuel a lot of her thoughtless actions. Therefore, if there is an episode where she performs a selfless act, worries about others, or starts crying, her parents and brothers know something is up and go to ask her about what is wrong. Case in point, she did all she could to warn Alex that Evilini wanted to drain his magic, though it would make her the family wizard and eliminate the competition, because while she will tease Justin and prank him, she doesn't want him badly hurt. In fact, she goes through a lot of effort before Justin believes her since he understandably thinks it's another prank, and he is shocked when she risks Evilini's wrath to expose the woman. In another case, when learning that her werewolf boyfriend once dated Justin's vampire girlfriend and Mason blurts out he still loves Juliet, Alex is shocked. She spends a few days in her room crying, and actually deigns to accept a comforting hug from her mother. When talking with Mason about, Alex points out that she knows that she screws up a lot of things, but she wouldn't mess with the heart of someone she loves. When Jerry tries to cheer her up with a prank of giving a customer prune juice instead of soda, you know that she's really hurting when she admonishes him for it instead of laughing.
    Alex: Oh, that poor man. What did he ever do to you, Dad?
  • Out-of-Character Moment: More like Out of Character episode. In "Alex's Logo", written by first time writer David Henrie, everyone is generally not themselves, and ironically the biggest victim is Justin.
  • Painting the Medium: In "Magic Unmasked", Alex starts to have a flashback and tells it to go away.
  • Parent Service:
    • As Jerry might say of his wife Theresa - 'Mamma mia!' There was even one episode where she had serious cleavage showing, and they blurred it out.
    • And in the movie he is blatantly checking out her ass and even comments on it.
    • The Parent Service gets really blatant at the end of "New Employee" - just check out Theresa's dance routine, and her 'Flashdance'-inspired last line: "And pull the cord!"
    • A recent episode features Theresa dressed as a schoolgirl, really proud of the fact that she was the most popular girl at school, which is explained by Jerry who says that she was the first girl admitted in a boys high school.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: The Russo siblings think this about their parents, which ironically Alex finds grosser than the idea of herself and Justin as a couple.
  • Parody Magic Spell: Most of the spells are either the last name of one of the show's creators and a made up word that rhymes, or exactly what the spell does, with a Latin suffix such as "ius" tacked onto the end. Those that aren't are probably Shout Outs of some kind.
  • Parrot Exposition: Parodied:
    Justin: (on the phone with Alex) The museum? Paintings? A security guard? I should stop repeating everything you're saying?
  • Pepper Sneeze: Reference humourously when Zeke walks over to Harper and tells her it's time to take the next step in their relationship (their First Kiss).
    Harper: Let me guess. You want to see if we can keep our eyes open while we sneeze. I'll get the pepper.
  • Perky Goth: Miranda, who is about as un-Goth as you can get, personality-wise.
  • Pet the Dog: Alex has had several. When she helped an old lady cross a street, when she helped Harper at the Loser Party Gigi was throwing and several with Justin as well.
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: In one episode, the wizard power plant had gone offline, and the Russos had to go almost an entire episode without magic.
  • Playing Cyrano: Attempted very horribly when in the episode "You Pop Me And We Both Go Down". After Alex accidentally brings Justin's zit to life, the talking zit attempts to be Justin's Cyrano on his date to the High-School Dance but messes the whole thing up by talking loudly to other girls and made Justin sound like a jerk in front of his date while doing so.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Alex to Justin, after he loses his memory, in The Movie.
  • Please Dump Me: Alex tries to get rid of Dean this way, but when it doesn't work she comes clean and he agrees to the breakup.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Max, whose dialogue consists of nothing but bad one-liners.
  • Portal Book:
  • Wizard storybooks are an inversion of the concept: Rather than the reader entering the book, reading them makes the story become real in our world.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Zeke faints every time Harper kisses him.
  • Potty Emergency: During the episode "Doll House" when Alex shrinks herself to play in her doll house and gets a mild potty emergency.
  • Prank Date: Although a non-romantic example, Gigi invites Alex and Harper to her tea under the ruse of making friends with them. However, it is really a Loser Tea where she plans on embarrassing Harper by declaring her the biggest loser. Unfortunately for Gigi, it ends up backfiring when Harper finds out and makes Gigi wear her own Loser Crown in the end.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Really driven home in the Alex vs. Alex special. Alex gets drilled, again, for being irresponsible and selfish by her family. Being depressed over this, Alex pulls a stunt that endangers the world, again. She gets stripped of her powers, again, for her actions. At the end of the special, she gives a speech about how only Harper appreciates Alex for being herself and not trying to change her. This It's All About Me speech actually manages to deem her worthy of having her powers again.
  • Put on a Bus: Justin in the Alex vs. Alex special is mentioned heavily but not actually seen. At the time, David Henrie was working on another movie, but the scheduling conflicts were impossible to rework, so he chose not to return.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Lampshaded in "Everything's Rosie For Justin" in reference to Justin's delinquent class:
    Alex: Now normally, I would be all for giving up without a fight, but this wand drill's too important.
    Felix: Come on, Alex. How's a ragtag team of misfits like us expected to beat the odds?
  • Rapid Aging: This happens to vampires when they get scratched by werewolves.
  • Reconstruction: The special Alex Vs. Alex reconstructs the Be Yourself moral. Throughout the special everyone wants Alex to change, except Harper who has learned to accept and appreciate Alex the way she is. When Alex decides to just use magic to rid of her negative qualities which creates an evil clone, that an evil wizard named Dominic makes his partner to take over the world. Alex eventually realizes that everyone should be more like Harper and learn to accept and appreciate her the way she is, and after giving up her wizard powers she says is not going to change but her showing gratitude to Harper pays off and Alex gets her powers back, for showing she can be a better person in some ways, showing if you try to force someone to change who they are it wouldn't work out too well, and that people will always have their flaws but it doesn't mean they don't have or can't gain positive qualities.
  • Recurring Extra: In the first two seasons, Amanda Tepe portrayed various oneshot characters.
  • Red String of Fate: While not necessarily the romance aspect, it is heavily implied throughout the series that Justin and Alex are destined to be by each others sides through thick and thin.
    • "I'd never leave you" - Justin, at the end of the movie.
    • Don't forget the way Alex always ends up with her head on Justin's shoulder during the last scene in break-up episodes, mainly "Wizards vs. Werewolves" and "Wizards vs. Angels".
  • Rejection Affection: Harper isn't at all put off by Justin's disinterest.
  • Remember When You Blew Up The Sun: Right before the wizard competition, Jerry listed Alex's many world-saving achievements as his reasons as to why he thought she would win.
  • Restaurant-Owning Episode: In one episode, Max decides to bring more money into the family sub station by serving Wizarding World patrons from the lair. This proves to be a good idea- such a good one, in fact, that Justin and Jerry get greedy and take over, running Max ragged and destroying the new business.
  • Retcon: In "Alex's Logo", Mr. Laritate has mysteriously forgotten that Ms. Majorhealy "texted in her resignation". This is due to actor David Henrie writing the episode, but that doesn't justify the error. The majority of fans have already shunned this episode from canon anyway, not without reason.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: London Tipton from The Suite Life on Deck stopped believing Justin was a doctor when he failed to offer medical help despite it not being the kind of doctor he was pretending to be.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Seen in the WizTech episodes, but notably inverted in The Movie, when Alex, Justin and Jerry wear combat uniforms that seem not only stylish, but actually practical, and look like something you'd see in a superhero film.
  • Romantic False Lead: The wind surfing instructor in the first movie.
  • Romantic Rain: Alex and Mason share their First Kiss under the rain as Jerry watches them from the window above with a happy smile.
  • Roommate Drama: In the episode after Harper moves in with the Russos, she ends up keeping Alex up all night by loudly training at night for a marathon, complete with a soundtrack of barking dogs, and loud cries of self-encouragement.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Justin and Harper find Alex who is painting in an artists alley she's painted her first initial surrounded by a circle. That symbol also happens to be the universal symbol for anarchy. Symbolic much?
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Harper. Her clothes have been based around such things as food and markers.
    • Harper goes beyond this and into crazy costumer, since she makes her own outfits.
  • Running Gag: Justin forcefully grabbing Alex's arm and dragging her after him to tell her something in private, or pull her away from a certain situation. The same for Alex, who usually snatches him to complain about her problems. Lampshaded in "Delinquent Justin".
    • The lamp on the bookshelf in the living room goes through a never-ending cycle of being broken, usually because of some use of magic, and replaced by a similar lamp, which became a wonderful point of Continuity Porn in The Wizards Return, when she and her Evil Twin battle through the living room, blowing things up - but when they simultaneously zap the lamp nothing happens.
      Alex:That's weird, right?
      Evil Alex: Really weird.
    • They then both push the lamp over to break it.
  • Sadist: Alex, Justin and Max have shown shades of this in "The Good, The Bad and The Alex". See Sadist Show below.
  • Sadistic Choice: Humorously subverted in "Wizards vs. Vampires: Tasty Bites". Jerry and Theresa consider the possibility that they might only be able to save either Alex or Harper from Juliet's vampire parents. By the time of the confrontation, however, they've already decided to save Harper - reasoning that she's the one who will take care of them in their old age.
  • Sadist Show: Definitely implied to have become this by "The Good, The Bad and The Alex". Not only do wizards have to give up their powers and fight their siblings to be the only one in the family to keep them forever, but even Alex, Justin and Max Russo, the main trio of siblings in the show, have been shown to be sadists themselves who will joke about killing someone for holding a revolution to make sure no wizard ever has to give up their powers and consider them "evil" for doing it.note 
  • Sand In My Eyes: Justin's "allergies" start acting up when he gets sad.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Justin does it one episode, after Max attempts to take out the garbage using magic and fails. (This is the episode just after Alex and Justin have been bounced back to level one wizard training.)
    Justin: (clapping) Ladies and gentlemen, the future family wizard.
    • And then a moment later, when Alex declares she's quitting the wizard competition.
      Justin: (clapping) Ladies and gentlemen, the Russo family quitter. We are an impressive bunch.
  • Satanic Archetype: The Big Bad Gorog is the leader of the Angels of Darkness. It's not clear if he is The Devil, or a high ranking minion of his, or simply an Expy. He does show some traits of the Biblical Satan, such as trying tempting the main characters into joining him. It also appears his minion base is made up from people he tempted and fallen angels.
  • Screw Destiny: Stevie and nearly 5,000 other wizards feel this way about potentially losing their powers.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Professor Crumbs gives full Wizard status to both Justin and Alex, despite the fact that there's a rule saying that only one wizard per family can be a full wizard. This is so Justin can take over his position as headmaster of WizTech. The only reason he could possibly be allowed to disregard the rules in this manner is because he is the head of the governing body that created them.
  • Screw Yourself: Alex doesn't meet herself to do... you know what, but she still falls in love with herself when she drinks both halves of a love potion. And her head gets big.
  • Second Love: Justin and Alex had many love interests.
  • Secret Identity: The wizards have to keep their powers a secret in the company of mortals.
  • Secret Pet Plot: In "Curb Your Dragon", Alex purchases a dragon that's been enchanted to look like an ordinary dog for her brother Justin. They tell their parents that the dragon was a lost dog that Alex found and try to hide the fact that he can breathe fire and fly.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • The premiere of the 4th season revealed that the whole Government discovering wizards was actually another test by the wizard council to see if the Russo kids could avoid exposing magic. Alex and Justin fail miserably and end up knocked down to Level 1 Wizards, putting Max in the lead of the competition.
    • In "Who Will Be The Family Wizard?", it turns out the cancelling the competition was this as well. The Wizard Council wanted to know whether the Russo family bond could survive the loss of magic. It did.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • In the episode "Art Teacher", Mr. Laritate is surprised that his phone gets text messages when Ms. Majorhealy "texted in her resignation". In a later episode, he apparently still doesn't know what a text message is. Also at the end of the same episode Mr. Laritate resigns from teaching art and claims that he'd be looking for a new art teacher and that Alex would be Majorhealy's substitute; however, as of "Alex Charms a Boy" Mr. Laritate is still the art teacher.
    • In the episode "Monster Hunter", Jerry says that he remembers when Justin was still turning bricks into rabbits and Justin nostalgically responds "Edgebono Utoosis". However, in "The Crazy 10 Minute Sale", it's shown that "Edgebono Utoosis" is a spell to create a duplicate of whatever it's cast on. Not to mention Justin never turned a brick into anything. He duplicated a rabbit, and in a totally different episode, Alex turned a dove into a brick.
    • A recent episode had Alex say that every wizard learns the zombie language when they're little, but an earlier episode established she didn't know she was a wizard when she was little.
    • In "Make it Happen", Jerry says his father was a rodeo clown, but in "Rock Around the Clock", Grandpa Russo clearly owns the sandwich shop.
    • Possibly a case of Status Quo Is God; in the episode "Wizards Unleashed" Justin is still dealing with losing Juliet (Alex asks him whether he'd do anything to be with Juliet and he nods) even though the preceding episode "Moving On" dealt with Justin moving on and finding a new girlfriend. Switching the two episodes order would be even worse, since in "Moving On" Alex is still dealing with losing Mason, whom she saves in "Wizards Unleashed".
  • Ship Tease: A lot between Justin and Alex, but the most blatant ship teasing would be in Max's Secret Girlfriend, where Justin and Alex willingly pretend to be married with three kids. Bonus points awarded for them getting into a heated argument, and then snapping back into 'loving' mode, just like actual married couples.
  • Shirtless Scene: Justin gets one in the "Wizards On Deck with Hannah Montana" crossover.
  • Shouldn't We Be In School Right Now?: Surprisingly almost completely Averted. A huge chunk of the series has at least a few scenes that take place at or deals with Tribeca Prep, the "Muggle" high school the Russos attend, or WizTech, the Wizard World equivalent. And the Russos attended their wizard homeschooling (or in the case of Justin in the final season, taught wizard classes) roughly Once an Episode.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Alex's boyfriend's name is Dean Moriarty.
  • The Principal's name is Mr. Laritate. Larry Tate was Darrin's boss on Bewitched. Similarly, Alex's art teacher, Ms. Majorhealy, is named for an I Dream of Jeannie character.
  • From the vampire special, could they get any less subtle than naming the girl Juliet?
  • To Michael Jackson in "Wizards and Vampires vs. Zombies":
    Female Zombie: One music video and we're expected to dance battle everywhere.
  • In "Franken Girl", Justin brings his creation to life using 1.21 gigawatts of electricity.
  • Leave it Justin to nerd up a Scarface (1983) reference:
    Justin: (bad fake Cuban accent): Say hello to my little surge protector!
  • From the taxi episode:
    • The cab company is called the Sunshine Cab Company.
    • Also, the cabbies resemble most of the main characters of that show, and Cab 804 was the subject of a two part episode. Specifically, there was an episode where cab driver Alex Reiger had to deliver a baby in the back of his cab and the parents wanted to name the infant after him. The exact circumstances of Alex Russo's birth.
  • Jerry talks about his childhood, hanging out with John Bender and Ponyboy. Ponyboy gets mentioned again in a later episode, along another friend, Ben Kenobi.
  • Notice how the portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Russo is moving in the theme song.
  • This little gem.
    Justin: We have to be ready for the robot uprising, They'll rebel, they'll evolve, and They'll have a plan!
  • Mason shares the same last name as another British werewolf, Fenrir Greyback.
  • The spell to create an outlaw in the Old West dream Alex created is "Bad bad Leroy Brown, run Laritate out of town", a reference to an old Jim Croce song.
  • The name of the Baseball Episode: The Supernatural.
  • The name Harper Finkle could be a Shout-Out to Harvey Kinkle.
  • More Sabrina Shout-Outs: Plastic being the weakness of magic and a Secret Chaser named Brad who suffers from Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.
  • The spell to have a picture frame show you what's happening in other places is a reference to Duran Duran.
  • In "Hugh's Not Normous", Alex and Justin mimic an exchange from The Breakfast Club:
    Justin: What was that ruckus?"
    Alex: What ruckus?
    Justin: I heard a ruckus.
    Alex: Can you describe the ruckus?
  • The 'Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide' spell is supposed to be done in front of a mirror, which would make your reflection your conscience. Who else do we know who has their reflection act as their conscience ...
  • In "Potion Commotion", Justin's rival /Alex's love interest is named Brad Sherwood.
  • In a very odd shout-out combined with Freeze-Frame Bonus, it's recently been discovered that the logo of the SCP Foundation can apparently be seen on an arcade cabinet in the episode "Movies".
  • Shown Their Work: In the episode where Jerry teaches Alex to fly a magic carpet, Jerry tells her never to fly into any clouds because she can become disoriented in them. Despite Alex's protests that there's nothing to run into inside a cloud, this is exactly what they tell real-life pilot trainees (either running into another aircraft or becoming disoriented enough to actually run into the ground).
  • Skewed Priorities: A major plot point in "Future Harper." Alex finds out that at some unmentioned point in the future, Harper will be stranded in the past as a middle-aged woman, who has to run a Paint-A-Plate and write novels to pay the bills. It may not have mattered since Future Harper expressly says she can't tell them what happened or it will change the future and make things worse, but Alex is more upset about the fact that she apparently gave Harper permission to write about the Waverlys and her adventures.
  • Sibling Rivalry: The three Russo siblings do not get along — Alex resents Justin's uptight nature and obsessive studying, Justin dislikes Alex's slacker behavior and carelessness with magic, and both of them clash with Max's Cloudcuckoolander behavior. This is worsened by the nature of the Wizard Tournament, as only one of them will get to keep their powers as adults, so they are naturally competitive.
  • Sickeningly Sweet: Alex of all people, in "Positive Alex". She's so overwhelmingly positive it makes others sick and annoyed.
  • Smart People Play Chess: In the episode "Make it Happen", the Russo's kids have to choose an alternate career in the case of they don't become wizards. Justin's first idea is to make money by traveling the world defeating robots at chess.
  • Smug Snake: Justin occasionally in the series, much more so in the movie although he gets better. Alex more than a few times too.
  • Something We Forgot: In The Movie, Max turns a woman into a dog to dissuade Max from hitting on her. They chat for a while and then part with Max feeling like he is forgetting something. He forgot to turn the dog back into a human.
  • Spaghetti Kiss: In the episode "Wizards vs. Werewolves", Alex and Mason attempt to do this with a sub sandwich, since Alex thought it would be romantic. When Mason points out how gross it is, they decide to skip straight to the kiss, before being rudely interrupted when Harper alerts Theresa.
  • Spicy Latina: Theresa, when the mood strikes her. Averted with Alex who's too all-American to fit this.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Phil of the Future, in the sense that it's Disney's current show with supernatural/magical elements.
    • It also seems that Lab Rats is starting to take this role for Wizards. Both share the same director as well as some of the crew, and both are also about a family keeping special powers a secret while trying to fit into normal lives and occasional adventures.
    • To American Dragon: Jake Long as well. Both series takes place in New York City, have a supernatural/fantasy theme, their big secret is their supernatural powers, and have some of the same writers.
  • Spit Take: Justin and Jerry do this a lot.
    • Also Kelbo, who announces them, and goes out of his way to do them.
      Kelbo: Usually when a guy goes to get a glass and does a spit take, it says surprise!
  • Squirrels in My Pants: The charmed trophyman from "Pop me and We Both Go Down" invokes this to escape from Max. Max's line after this is also a Funny Moment:
    Max: Hey, my underwear!! Hey! You know what? I was wearing those for ten straight days!! (runs after the trophyman)
  • Stalker with a Crush: Harper with Justin. She actually somewhat lampshades this by once dumping soda over his head after spying on him and his date at a movie theater, saying "Just because I'm your girlfriend and you don't know it doesn't mean you can cheat on me!"
    • She made him a sweater out of her own hair.
    • A more serious and frightening example is Mason towards Alex.
  • Stationary Wings: Wings do not flap when flying. There's even a spare set in the angel's disembarkment agency "sitting around, just in case."
    • Good Wings, Evil Wings deserves to be a subtrope of this since feather color, stated to be a distinguishing angel trait, is not a permanent quality.
  • Status Quo Is God: This show is very good at avoiding this, given its strong sense of continuity. The only instance where this trope was invoked was with the dragon dog.
  • Staying with Friends: Harper moves in with her best friend Alex when her parents (conveniently) move out of town.
  • Stealing from the Hotel: In an episode Teresa and Jerry go away for their anniversary weekend. When they check on the kids at home they see that they're causing havoc and Teresa tells Jerry to "grab the towels, I'll get the bath soap" as they're hurrying out of the hotel.
  • Story-Breaker Power: One episode introduced a spell that allows the user to rewind time a small amount to fix a simple mistake. It never gets used again despite being a simple solution to the mishaps they spend episodes trying to fix. This was justified In-Universe because the spell was dangerous if used too many times.
  • Strictly Formula: To a point. However, when maximum possible mileage has been obtained from a gag (eg: Harper being in the dark about magic), they stop doing it.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial
    Alex: No, I'm not. Harper, am I a wizard?
    Harper: Alex? A wizard? Please! It's not like she's got a magic flying carpet or can duplicate herself or knows a spell that can make a really klutzy person not klutzy when they work at their sandwich shop. If she was a wizard, she could do those things, but she doesn't, so she isn't.
    Maxine: Hey, Professor Crumbs!
    Professor Crumbs: Who's that adorable little girl?
    Alex: It's not Max 'cause Max is a boy!
  • Take a Third Option: Even though Justin wins the competition and forfeits it to Alex because he doesn't want to break her and Mason up —werewolves dating nonmagic people means they'll eat the person in question— Professor Crumb doesn't want Justin squandering his talent. He says the kid can get his magic back, if Justin works for him at WizTech. Justin accepts, with Earn Your Happy Ending in full effect
  • Take That!: In-Universe. Harper's puppet show to Alex.
  • Take That, Audience!: In the finale, Alex says she put peanut butter on the outside of a sandwich because "that's what a 40-year old gets for ordering off the kid's menu."
  • "Take That!" Kiss: Alex, to Justin. No... not like that... Alex kisses another boy in front of Justin, to prove a point.
  • Teleportation with Drawbacks: The spell "Threemetris Movetris" is a teleportation spell, but it only allows you to move something or someone ten feet away. While it does come in handy during some situations, the limitation on it makes it borderline useless in most others.
    Justin: That's about as magical as walking.
  • Temporary Love Interest: This show thrives on this. Although some love interests last a couple episodes or so, there are still a few who only manage to last one.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Justin, in trying to activate the manual override self-destruct mode on a Time Bomb missile to blow up an asteroid, is told that there are 100,000 possible 5-digit combinations. Of course, Alex gets it right on the first guess, and it’s something only an idiot would have on their luggage: "1-2-3-4-5".
  • There Can Be Only One: This has been the premise of the series for all four seasons, but it was ultimately subverted in the Grand Finale. See Screw the Rules, I Make Them! above.
  • This Explains So Much: On Alex's belief that there are no rules if you're on an island:
    Harper: But you live on Manhattan Island.
    Justin: I know. Doesn't that explain a lot?
  • Thrash Metal: Justin is a fan of a metal band called Tears Of Blood.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Justin, Alex and Max. Sometimes...
    • Also Justin, Alex and Harper. See "Justin's New Girlfriend" as an example.
  • Token Houseguest: In the later seasons of the show, Harper's parents leave town and she moves in with the Russo family, becoming a permanent member of the household. The family consisted only of Alex, her parents, and her brothers prior to this.
  • Tomboy: Alex, especially when explaining why she doesn't want a quinceañera.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Alex and Harper, though Alex is more fashion-concerned than Harper (who may as well be a Cosplay Otaku Girl).
  • Took a Level in Badass: Definitely Justin. In The Movie, he saves Alex and Harper (while taking a moment to give off a well-deserved Smug Snake vibe), kicks ass windsurfing, nails the Sixth Ranger of the plot with magical blasts without even trying, does some adventuring that (with his brains) slips him into Adventurer Archaeologist territory, and throws down during the family wizarding competition like a true badass - a competition that later on, he's sure to win (having gone through a personal mix of Crazy-Prepared and Charles Atlas Superpower in his training). One can only hope that they won't hit the Reset Button on him - but it is Disney, so Status Quo Is God.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In the episodes following "Wizards vs. Werewolves", Justin transformed almost instantaneously from a stand-up guy who was willing to fight to the death for his loved ones, into Alex's bitter, vindictive arch-rival. This seems to have been a temporary change, but Justin is still not as kind-hearted and noble as he was in Season 2.
    • The three siblings in the finale, temporarily. They soften up towards each other once they work together to bring business to the sub shop.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Mason is a werewolf. The promos try to be vague about it, but anyone with half a brain can put the clues together.
    • The Cablevision description for the episode "Moving On" is "Harper convinces Alex to her transform into Juliet to help heartbroken Justin move on." For the record, the fact that Juliet is actually just Harper in disguise is supposed to be a surprising twist.
    • The title "Future Harper" - three guesses as to who H.J. Darling is, and the first two don't count.
    • Rosie's an angel. Or, "She's an angel" as Justin put it in the promos as they showed Rosie with wings and advertised it as the first episode in the "Wizards vs. Angels" trilogy.
  • Trash the Set: Though the destruction did not happen onscreen, in the final season Alex's school was destroyed by an asteroid and her graduation ceremony happened in the wreckage.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Justin almost goes into this in "Third Wheel", although falling debris kept him from completing the pose.
  • Tsundere: Alex, Type A. Mostly uses The Taunt strategy, and her blatant insults towards Justin are what keep her from being full Sugar-and-Ice Personality.
  • Tuckerization: Executive Producer Peter Murrieta likes to insert his last name randomly into episodes, such as the name of a business on Waverly Place, and in the incantation for a spell. Also, the sub station is across the street from Greenwald's Hardware.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Agent One is a black man in a wheelchair.
  • Ultimate Final Exam: The show is building up to the Russo siblings eventually taking a test to determine who will inherit their family's generation's magic as the Family Wizard while the others will lose their powers to the winning sibling. In The Movie, the urgent nature of the plot allows Jerry to start the test early so that either Alex or Justin can have enough power to undo the spell that caused the events of the movie. The movie has them face off against each other in trying to catch a target first, while the Series Finale (now including Max) has them undergo a series of trials, including answering questions and traversing through various puzzles.
  • The Unfavorite:
  • Max calls himself the "third favorite" Russo child in a very matter-of-fact tone.
  • Unishment: Alex has a varation of this called "Alexment" which she uses to get out of trouble.
  • Vampires Sleep in Coffins: Juliet and her parents sleep in coffins. Juliet's is decorated with roses and butterflies, while her parents' coffins are hidden behind a wall.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: When Justin, the monster hunter, met Juliet, the friendly neighborhood vampire.
  • Versus Title: A few of the episode titles start with "Wizards VS".
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: Played straight with the Wizard Competition. Only one wizard sibling can keep their powers, so they have one to decide.
    • Jerry inverts this. He won the Wizard Competition, but since wizards are forbidden to marry mortals, he gave his powers to Kelbo (his brother, also a wizard) so he can marry Theresa.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend:
    • Juliet is very much protective of Justin, as evidenced in "Wizards vs. Werewolves" when she fights Mason in his full werewolf form, bites him and turns him into a wolf after he attacked Justin.
    • Mason himself is a male version of this trope. Don't threaten Alex, and especially don't take advantage of her! An unfortunate Dominic finds this out the hard way in Alex vs. Alex.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Alex and Harper, type 1. Alex and Justin, type 2. Alex spends a good portion of the time insulting or using the people around her and they either don't notice (Alex: Why don't you go start on my homework and I'll make some sandwiches?" Harper: "Oh, you're such a good friend!") or snark back. Recently Harper has begun to transition to Type 2, specifically in "Franken Girl" and "Monster Hunters".
    • Inverted somewhat with Alex and Laritate. they usually don't get along to well and constantly clashing though they do have there moments where they get along very well.
  • Voices Are Not Mental: Whenever the characters swap bodies with someone, they keep the voice of the body they inhabit.
  • Wake Up Fighting: In a season 1 episode, Justin wakes up Alex for a late magic carpet flying lesson, only to get punched in the gut.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: "The enemy of all magic" is...wait for it...plastic! The Villain of the Week even manages to take over WizTech by filling the place with plastic balls. Considering how ubiquitous the stuff is in the mortal world, it's a wonder magic works at all.
    • Possibly justified in that magic is derived from natural sources, and plastics are a purely synthetic substance that doesn't exist in nature. It's a variant of Rock Beats Laser. Plastic's resistance to magic has been used elsewhere as well, such as Sabrina the Teenage Witch. note 
  • Weirdness Censor: To the point where the characters can just cast spells in front of everyone.
  • Werewolves Are Dogs: In the episode "Meet the Werewolves", Alex meets the parents of her boyfriend, Mason, who is a werewolf. They engage in activities like "finding the squeaky toy" and call themselves good boy/girl with a pat on the head when doing something good.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Alex in "Positive Alex", after her cheering for the other team caused her own school's cheerleaders and pep band to be banned from sporting events. Harper was especially not to happy about this.
    Harper: This is too much positivity, even for me.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Justin's eyes, as Harper points out. "You're staring at me with those eyes, I think I might faint."
  • What Does She See in Him?: Every supposedly decent girl that Justin falls for - first Juliet, and then, Rosie.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Whatever happened to Dragon? Lampshaded twice, once by Max and once by Zeke.
  • What He Said: Variation, Alex waves her wand and casts the same spell as Justin by saying "What he did."
  • What You Are in the Dark: During the two-parter "Wizard School," Alex finds out that teacher Evillini is going to drain Justin of his magic due to a gambit involving a local game. Evillini confronts her, invoking She Knows Too Much, and Alex pretends that she supports the scheme because Justin losing his magic would give her a better chance of becoming the family wizard. Which, actually would be Pragmatic Villainy. The minute Evilania is away, Alex runs and does all she can to warn Justin so that he doesn't lose his magic. They may be magical rivals, but she's not going to let anyone hurt her older brother.
  • Who Even Needs a Brain?: Harper when Alex accidentally gets both their brains.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Alex, to Hershel.
  • Window Love: Justin lets Juliet go with the mummy to save her life. Before being mind-controlled, Juliet "nose-kisses" Justin through the plastic exhibit glass. It was very adorable.
  • Wizard Duel: In The Movie this is how control of the family wizarding power is resolved. It's implied that at some point in the series Max, Justin and Alex will have to have a three way fight.
  • Wizarding School: WizTech, in the episode "Wizard School".
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: In "Franken Girl", Justin tries to Alex-proof his room. He's foiled by Max once and then by Alex three times, but eventually succeeds.
  • Yandere: Harper, towards Justin. Thankfully, she lost this trait before her interest in Zeke. And he conveniently doesn't seem to remember.
  • You Can Always Tell a Liar: So much of this show is based around lies/lying. Alex in particular knows all about lies and how to spot one.
  • You Can't Fight Fate:
    • Future Harper tells Alex no matter what happens, she'll be thrust back in time to when her best friends are still teenagers. She also refuses to tell the Waverlys what happened to strand her in the past, since their attempts to change it will make things worse.
    • Justin, Alex and Max will battle for the family's wizard power. The winner is the only one who gets to be a wizard, hence the whole serious Sibling Rivalry.
    • Also, there's the children growing up to be (almost) like Jerry, Megan, and Kelbo.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    Justin: What's... what's going on?
    Gorog: Oh, you'll soon see. You brought me the Moral Compass, so I'm done with you.
  • You Must Be Cold: In The Movie, Justin offers his jacket to Alex in the infamous campfire scene. Given that they're brother and sister, this only adds the Unresolved Sexual Tension / Will They or Won't They? / Brother–Sister Incest they're writing on. She refuses the coat.
  • Youngest Child Wins: How many people thought the series was going to end, with heavy hinting that way in the last season. It has been averted, however. Alex, the middle child, wins, though the oldest Justin doesn't exactly lose.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Alex often does this to Justin.
  • Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: Max and Alex are seemingly locked in Mortal Kombat over who is the master of this trope.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Wizards Of Waverly Place The Movie


Everything is Not As It Seems

Theme song of Wizards of Waverly Place, sung by Selena Gomez

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / DoItYourselfThemeTune

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