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"If you see me, then you best believe that an alligator dressed like me is gonna make it all the way!"

"I stand here now
Thinking beyond these walls
There's something beyond these walls
And I'm tired of waitin'
And when I rise
I'll rise up beyond these walls
I will make it beyond these walls
And they'll all be sayin'..."
— "Beyond These Walls"
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Arlo the Alligator Boy is an animated movie that premiered on Netflix on April 16, 2021, with animation produced by Titmouse. It's the story of a musically inclined half-human, half-alligator boy named Arlo who leaves his home in the swamp lands of Louisiana in order to find his father in New York City. Along the way, he makes many new friends, all of which are outcasts just like him.

The movie serves as the pilot to the series I ♥ Arlo, featuring Arlo's various adventures in New York with his friends, which premiered August 27 the same year.


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Arlo the Alligator Tropes:

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  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The vehicles, as well as some other moving objects, are rendered in CG.
  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle:
    • In "Beyond These Walls", Arlo says, "So what am I wai-TING for?"
    • In "Wash the Hurt Away", Arlo says, "Now MY skin is thin, so let me in."
    • In "Something's Missing", Ansel says, "Or would it be hol-LOW?"
  • Action Girl: Bertie is shown to be a capable fighter thanks to her strength and size.
  • An Aesop:
    • Appreciate yourself. It doesn't matter however you look like, whether you're a human, an animal, or half-animal whatsoever; it's what's inside you that counts.
    • You'll know where you truly belong once you've seen it for yourself.
    • Your friends can be family, too.
  • All of the Other Reindeer:
    • Arlo was this back in the swamp. The animals there weren't that very much into a human boy who's half alligator, and showed distain and annoyance towards him. The only ones who accepted him were Edmée and Jeromio.
    • Ansel was this back in his childhood, being teased and ridiculed by the children over his half-bird image. This resulted in him concealing himself and becoming a power hungry money tyrant.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: Arlo Beauregard and his father, Ansel. Also note the first and last names are listed alphabetically as well, the latter letters are reverse of each other, as well as the double vowels.
  • All There in the Script:
    • The boyfriend of the couple Arlo scares away after leaving the swamp, while unnamed in the script, is named Bradley Alouicious in the end credits.
    • The lackey Tony calls to get Ansel's address is named Little Bitty Louie.
    • The bongo player whose shadow Arlo mistakes for his father's is named Gaspar.
    • The black girl Arlo dances with during his Imagine Spot is named Shirley Ray.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent:
    • When Ansel talks about his past growing up in Seaside by the Seashore, his parents were neither mentioned nor appear in the flashback. In fact he left by himself to become a success in the city with no adult supervision. It unknown if Ansel is an orphan or did he run away.
    • It is also unknown where happened to Bertie and Alia's parents either. Both are teenagers living independently from parental supervision. Bertie mentions growing up that she used to be normal before she grew bigger and became different, did not mention any parents, or if she was an orphan. And nothing know about Alia past or if she had parents.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Furlecia is a pink furball with Girlish Pigtails and high heels, but also a mustache and a masculine voice.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The movie has a field day with this. One of Arlo's first stops is the town of Willow Button, which looks unambiguously set in the 50s at most. But then they get to New York where 20th century aesthetics is liberally combined with more contemporary styles, such as the fashion and some of the architecture. In general, all the characters speak more or less like it's the 2020s.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The restoration of Seaside by the Seashore and Arlo and his friends officially taking up residence at the end of the movie marks the start of new adventures for them, which segues into I ♥ Arlo as pointed out in the Credits Gag.
  • Animals Hate Him: The animals of the swamp didn't take kindly to Arlo that much, given his alligator appearance. It is to the point he felt so clingy and lonely. The only animal who liked him was Jeromio.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    Stucky: Mister, if you want him back, I'm sure we can work out a price. But what would you want with a real, live alligator boy?
  • Artistic License: To get information on where Ansel is, Tony uses a phone booth in Times Square, all of which have since went obsolete since March 2020 and replaced with Wi-Fi hotspots. Only four remain on the Upper West Side.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Arlo can swim in fresh and salt water environments (the swamp water, aquariums, Central Park lake, etc.); in real life, alligators are more active in freshwater, as their salt glands aren't strong enough.
    • The alligators of the swamp Arlo lived in have obviously the tooth lines of a crocodile, whose underbite can be seen sticking out of its jaw along with the overbite when its mouth is closed. In reality, only an overbite is visible on an alligator, which is seen on Arlo himself.
    • Among the animals of the swamp is a pelican; in reality, the only pelican native to Louisiana is the brown pelican, which looks nothing like the one in the film.
    • Alia is heard purring before she goes to sleep; tigers, like herself, cannot purr.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Alia can be a little distracted sometimes. Justified, as she's a cat person and cats have short attention spans.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Follow Me Home".
  • Bait-and-Switch Silhouette: Arlo sees an image of a gator-man in a window and is upset when it turns out to be a man with a silly hairdo. The man in question seems to realize what's going on and does his best to cheer Arlo up.
  • Ballroom Blitz: Twice in a row at the Met Gala. First when Arlo confronts Ansel and demands the truth from him and official confirmation if he's his father. Second when Ruff and Stucky show up and capture Arlo, and are close to hustling him back to their swamp shack before Ansel saves him.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Arlo wears a shirt and pants, but no shoes.
  • Barefoot Loon: Ruff has shades of this. He doesn't seem to mind walking without shoes to the point that his feet are perpetually dirty and he's also a bit more touched than his partner Stucky.
  • Beautiful Singing Voice: Arlo's main skill. Bertie also has one, though it's not nearly as skilled as Arlo's.
  • Between My Legs: Bertie reveals herself this way, positioning her legs between Ruff and Stucky after letting Arlo escape.
  • Big Applesauce: New York City is the target destination, complete with famed locales and almost every passerby yelling "I'm walkin' here!".
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Ruff and Stucky, who pursue Arlo throughout his journey in hopes of using him for a major tourist attraction.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Bertie is first introduced saving Arlo from the poachers at the train station.
    • Ansel becomes this near the end when he rescues Arlo again at the Met Gala.
  • Big Damn Reunion: Ansel admitting he truly is Arlo's father and forsook him, allowing both father and son to officially reunite and rekindle.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Bertie is willing to protect Arlo from enemies that tried to harm him.
  • Blatant Lies: After Arlo is disowned by Ansel and sent down the elevator, Ansel is visited by an offscreen butler and passes off Arlo's presence as "just another kid from the foundation."
  • Blithe Spirit: No matter who it may be, Arlo seems to bring out the best in everyone he comes across. This includes the main cast, total strangers, and even the bad guys to a degree.
  • Bloodless Carnage: No blood oozes out of Furlecia when she gets stabbed by a rake from her opponent.
  • Body Wipe:
    • Arlo's shirt fills up the camera as he steps off the bus after entering New York City.
    • Done by Ansel in "Better Life" just after the line "I rose up into me." Arlo does the same just before Ansel hustles him back to the elevator.
    • Arlo does it again in "Beautiful Together" just before the Good-Times Montage.
    • An early one done by Arlo's Imagine Spot in "More More More" as Arlo dances past and his hand fills up the camera which resolves into the trombone of one of the jazz band members.
  • Bookends: The prologue ends with baby Arlo's basket showing up on the porch of Edmée's shack; she thinks an intruder showed up, bursts out the door suspiciously, then sees Arlo and coos, "Well, rickety biscuit." The same thing happens in the mid-credits scene when a mailman delivers something to her, she bursts out thinking the Feds have come, then she sees she got a postcard from Arlo and his friends in their new home, and says the same words.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: While Bertie is trying to blend in with the New Yorkers, she utters their oddly famous "I'm walkin' here!".
  • Break the Cutie: Arlo does not take Ansel's rejection that well, causing him to sink into a rather deep Heroic BSoD.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: The little boy on the fountain that Marcellus gives a fright to pees himself as he flees in terror.
  • Broken Pedestal: After spending a batch of the movie to reach New York and finally reunite with his father, Arlo is devastated when Ansel cruelly disowns him.
  • Broken Record: The New Yorkers have a habit of repeatedly saying "I'm walkin' here!" over and over.
  • BSoD Song: "Wash the Hurt Away".
  • Buffy Speak: Arlo calls Sandra June and Bradley's car a "land boat", given his minimal outside world experience.
  • Busby Berkeley Number: Ansel's song "Better Life", complete with the butlers and maids as backup dancers.
  • But Now I Must Go: Bertie tells Arlo after she gets him to his dad, she has to move on. A more emotional one done when Arlo arrives at Ansel's penthouse and shares one last farewell with his friends before leaving them.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: This is how the Beast is introduced. Arlo is also seen with these briefly when inside the mouth of a non-anthropomorphic alligator during "More More More".
  • Call to Adventure: Arlo learning about his father's whereabouts sends him on a trip to New York City.
  • The Cameo: Jonathan Van Ness, the voice actor for Furlecia, appears as a hairdresser that Furlecia visits in New York City.
  • Campfire Character Exploration: Once all the main characters have been assembled, they spend the night on a beach having a campfire where Marcellus tells of his time in the aquarium and everyone gets to bond with each other.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: When Arlo confronts Ansel at the Met Gala, increased nerves prevent him from getting one sentence out before Ansel goes on. Thanks to advice from Bertie, Arlo breaks into song and manages to reach out to Ansel with no trouble.
  • Cartoon Creature: Teeny Tiny Tony and Furlecia aren't exactly clear as to what they're supposed to be; the former being a little humanoid with pointy ears and a tail, and the latter being a walking talking pink furball.
  • Catchphrase: "Rickety biscuit!" for Arlo; "Ba-gooh-ma mia!" for Tony. "I'm walkin' here!" apparently serves as one for the New Yorkers.
  • Catgirl: Alia, specifically a tiger.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: When Edmée shows Arlo his ID bracelet from when he was a baby, Arlo notes that it says his dad's name, but not his mom's, causing him to say that it's funny that he has a mom with no name. Cue a visibly uncomfortable Edmée grabbing her banjo and distracting Arlo with their birthday song.
  • Character in the Logo: The hole in the center of the "O" in the logo is shaped to look like Arlo's foot.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The scallop (or "best friend rock") that Arlo shares with Bertie allows her to detect his presence, as she notices Arlo's half of the shell on the beach at Seaside by the Seashore, which in turn clues her in to where Arlo has ended up.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Crossed with Leaning on the Fourth Wall; singing one's feelings. Arlo encourages Bertie to break into song to tell more about her past as The Drifter; Bertie gives the same advice to Arlo to help him gain the confidence to reach out to Ansel when he's nervous.
  • Child Hater: Marcellus takes the opportunity to terrorize any kid he sees, as payback for having to deal with them back in the aquarium.
  • Chorus Girls: Ansel's maids serve as these during "Better Life".
  • Coin-on-a-String Trick: Tony does one when using the payphone to get Ansel's address.
  • Colorful Contrails: During "Wash the Hurt Away" as Arlo is swimming through the sewer tunnel at high speed, a yellow-green contrail is protruding from his backside.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The first portion of the film revolves around Arlo turning 15 and Edmée deciding he's old enough to learn the truth about his past, which in turn sends him on his journey.
  • Community-Threatening Construction: Seaside by the Seashore, a boardwalk business in Brooklyn, was going to be demolished by Ansel and turned into an expansion. Thanks to Arlo, the plans are cancelled and the boardwalk is restored instead.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: All the elites at the Met Gala have exaggerated ways to blow their money, such as a drink garnished with shavings made from a Van Gogh painting.
  • Cool Old Lady: Edmée.
  • Counterpoint Duet:
    • Portions of "Follow Me Home" are this, specifically Arlo singing in response to Bertie.
    • The last chorus of "Something's Missing" becomes this.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The first part of the end credits are interspersed with various portions of the swamp and Edmée's shack. The crawl is interspersed with animated colored-pencil animations of various moments from the film.
  • Credits Gag:
    • The credits end with the following message: "The journey continues in the I ♥ Arlo series."
    • Before that, there is a thank you message to the crew working on the film during the pandemic crisis taking place.
  • Cutting Back to Reality: Arlo's Imagine Spot ends with him striking a final pose with the jazz dancers and animals; the second Sansavelt spots him, we see him in reality striking the same exact pose before getting nervous.
  • Dance Party Ending: The first part of the end finale song "Beautiful Together" has Arlo singing and dancing with his friends and Ansel at the Met Gala.
  • Darkest Hour: Arlo has been disowned and rejected by Ansel, having no place left to go, and his friends have gone, so he plunges into the sewer and lets it take him wherever it leads him to, as he succumbs to whatever fate awaits him.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • "The Collage of Broken Dreams", which segues into the BSoD Song, is an unhappy mashup of "Better Life", "Beyond These Walls", "More, More, More", and "Follow Me Home", with more cynical lyrics.
    • And just between said moments as Arlo is floating in the lake in Central Park and plunging into the sewer grate, the background score is playing a lustful instrumental reprise of "New York, My Home".
  • Deep South: Arlo spent most of his life in the Louisiana bayou, staying in the swamp and dining on local fare.
  • Diegetic Switch: Played with a few times. "Wash the Hurt Away" starts off with Arlo singing the song out of nowhere before transitioning to his internal thoughts from the point he flies out the tunnel. Arlo and Ansel are also shown playing instruments a few times (a box guitar and banjo for the former, a grand piano for the latter), but the music continues even when they stop. Specific songs also flip back and forth between onscreen singing and internal thoughts the same way.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "Beyond These Walls". Also "Wash the Hurt Away", a more tragic example.
  • Distressed Dude: Arlo becomes this in the final third of the film, when Ruff and Stucky hold him hostage and nearly take him back to the swamp just before Ansel saves him.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Arlo doesn't like snails, which is how Edmée figures out that Arlo has been looking at the steamboats again when he forgets to catch something for dinner and so he just bags a lot of random stuff, including his least favorite food.
  • Dramatic Spotlight: Prominently shown during "Something's Missing" as Arlo is trying to reach out to Ansel to see if he understands him. Ansel gets the same, and at one point, he keeps chasing it as it moves away from him.
  • Dying Town: Seaside by the Seashore, Ansel's old neighborhood in Brooklyn. It's as run-down as they come, and Ansel plans on tearing it down for the sake of a small metropolis. When he puts Arlo and company in charge of rejuvenating it instead, it heals significantly.
  • Easing into the Adventure: About 15-16 minutes of Arlo's childhood and life in the swamp pass by until leaving for New York.
  • Eaten Alive: Played for Laughs in the "More More More" sequence; Arlo briefly gets himself eaten by a miffed alligator, but comes out completely unharmed. He also does not get digested.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Being the start of the franchise, there are a few aspects that differ from later installments:
    • Jeromio's croaks sound deeper and more realistic, sounding almost like those of an actual bullfrog, and close to resembling fart noises. In the series, Jeromio's croaking is more cartoonish, sounding like a low-sounding utterance of the word "ribbit".
    • In the movie, Alia's miniskirt is grey; from the series onward, it's changed to pink.
    • Several for Seaside by the Seashore:
      • The town has a sign which appears mounted along the sides of the boardwalk, which does not appear at all in the series, having been replaced by a modern day billboard.
      • The beach appears very low, and the boardwalk is several stories up. From the series onward, the beach is now only a few feet below the boardwalk, which also lacks fencing.
      • In the movie, Ol' Bessie the Ferris wheel is to the right of Arlo and Bertie's house; in the series on, it has been transferred to the left and is farther away.
      • Alia's bus seems to have its own parking area in the open, with the addition of a license plate reading "Seaside". In the series, the bus is parked in an ally next to Arlo and Bertie's house, and the license plate is absent.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After being chased by gator catchers, enduring general insanity across states, and hitting a major low point after getting rejected, Arlo finally manages to connect with his father, who realizes the error of his ways because of it. Not only that, but the kid and his new friends are given a home at Seaside by the Seashore, where they take steps to bring it back to its former glory.
  • Easily Forgiven: Arlo immediately forgives Ansel for disowning him and abandoning him.
  • Eccentric Millionaire:
    • The guests at the Met Gala are all stereotyped as such. And the less said about their quirks, the better.
    • Ansel has his weird qualities too being part bird notwithstanding, though it's implied that he only puts up the façade in order to fit in with their ilk.
  • The Eleven O'Clock Number: "Something's Missing", as Arlo tries one last time to reach out to Ansel, just before he gets kidnapped by the hunters and Ansel reveals the truth.
  • Emerging from the Shadows:
    • Stucky does this when first encountering Arlo.
    • Ansel does it when he reveals his bird-man identity to the crowd.
  • Establishing Character Moment: All the main characters have their moments of introduction which allude to their personalities.
    • Arlo is first seen excitedly exiting Edmée's shack and exploring the swamp.
    • Edmée was introduced slamming her door open suspiciously before cooing at the sight of baby Arlo.
    • Ruff and Stucky were first seen intimidating a tourist at their museum.
    • Bertie is introduced pushing Ruff and Stucky away and using her strength to rescue Arlo.
    • Furlecia is introduced wrestling a farmer and showing sass.
    • Tony was first seen bribing a farmer.
    • Alia is introduced exiting her bus hyperactively.
    • Marcellus was first seen having broken out by Arlo, though he shows his personality for the first time during the Campfire Character Exploration.
    • Ansel was first seen in an interview presenting his next big project.
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: Most characters are deliberately drawn with small dimples under their eyes, despite not showing any signs of fatigue either way, possibly to keep up with the retro-aesthetic animation. Alia would be a permanent exception to this.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Excluding the prologue, Time Skip and epilogue, the movie is set over a period of five whole days.
  • Eye Cam: Arlo does this as he is waking up on the beach for Seaside by the Seashore and Bertie finds him.
  • Eye Color Change: Arlo's eyes turn deep pink for a few moments when he has a sugar rush.
  • Eye Contact as Proof: Arlo asking Ansel to look into his eyes during "Something's Missing" so he can tell him the truth he's his dad.
  • Eye Scream: During "More More More" as Arlo is getting resented by the animals, an angry egret pokes him in the eye. He is then seen with a black eye in the next scene with the turtle.
  • Eyes Never Lie/Family Eye Resemblance: Invoked. Both Arlo and Ansel have the exact same oval-shaped eyes, bringing the Strong Family Resemblance to a logical conclusion. During "Something's Missing" as Arlo is trying to reach out to Ansel and get the truth, he asks him to look into his eyes, allowing him to truly recognize him as his son.
  • The Faceless: Arlo's mother is presented this way during the scene in Ansel's Dark and Troubled Past when he first meets her.
  • Fantastic Racism: Zig Zagging. It seems that in smaller communities, the non-human characters are treated like oddities at best and wild animals at worst. Ansel, who grew up in a poor seaside town, is bullied for this, leading him to hide his form as bird-man. In more cosmopolitan places, this prejudice seems to be less overt considering Arlo and his friends manage to walk around New York City without trouble.
  • Feet-First Introduction: The first we see of the present-day Arlo are his feet as he exits Edmée's shack.
  • First-Name Basis: After Arlo is disowned by Ansel, he addresses him by name or "Mr. Beauregard" instead of "Dad".
  • First Time in the Sun: Arlo, after leaving the swamp. He is immediately taken in by his new outer world surroundings and explores all he's missed after fifteen long years in isolation.
  • Fisher King: When Ansel is about to demolish Seaside by the Seashore, the buildings are old and worn, and the sky is pale and dark. After Arlo moves there and he and his friends restore it and reopen it, all the buildings and sky are now bright and vibrant.
  • Flipping the Table: When Ansel brings up responsibility at the Met Gala, one of the guests flips over a table in anguish (complete with Big "NO!"). It even causes the guest at the table to be flipped as well.
  • Flowers of Femininity: Bertie has a flower on her headband, and has the soft and gentle personality to match.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The animals Arlo interacts with during "More More More" actually foreshadow the movie's plot:
      • He splashes water on an alligator, causing it to wake up disapproved, which foreshadows the introduction of the Beast. Arlo ending up in its mouth also foreshadows him getting captured by Ruff and Stucky at the Met Gala.
      • Arlo doing a little dance with a catfish foreshadows his roundabout in Bradley's car at Willow Button.
      • The possums yelling at Arlo, scaring him off the tree branch and into the alligator's mouth, foreshadows his first encounter with Ruff and Stucky.
      • Certain animals also give a hint toward the introduction of Arlo's friends. The grumpy manatees look almost like Marcellus, the boar looks similar to Bertie, and the snapping turtle looks almost like Teeny Tiny Tony. The baby bear whom Arlo accidentally makes cry is similar to Marcellus's hatred of children.
      • The snake that ties Arlo up and bites him in the head gives a hint toward the failing alligator museum Ruff and Stucky own, and hints at their plan to capture Arlo and turn him into their newest attraction. It also foreshadows him getting trapped and hypnotized by the Bog Lady in the show's Season 1 finale.
      • The biggest example would be the egrets pecking Arlo while he is in their nest, which foreshadow two things about Ansel: getting cruelly disowned by him, and the reveal of his bird man identity.
      • A blink-and-you-miss right before Arlo starts to sing; a vine appears in front of him which he swings on when it wasn't there in the scene before. Also, the lily pads and the flowers on the turtle's island change. This could foreshadow the presence of the Bog Lady and that she's secretly protecting Arlo, as well as her plant manipulation.
      • One of the opening lines is, "Yeah, I'm hoppin' like a frog all around this funky bog." Turns out there is a funky bog in the form of a Planimal.
    • There are several hints that Ansel is a birdman. For instance:
      • Ansel's facial appearance looks rather avian, specifically he sports a Gag Nose which protrudes outward like a bird beak, and the way he has his hair coiffed backwards resembles that of a woodpecker or blue jay. It's even more obvious when seen in the shadows or as a silhouette.
      • In "Better Life", Ansel sings about being on a perch and later puts a feather on Arlo's hat. "Wash The Hurt Away" is much more blatant, with Ansel's image appearing in a wave with wings.
      • During the same song, at one point, Ansel can be seen standing atop the giant chandelier in the library. It's rather hard to get to a height that high without a ladder present, unless you can fly up.
      • The suit that Ansel wears to the Met Gala contains a cloak coated with feathers, giving the impression of wings.
      • When Arlo is chasing Ansel through the museum, at one point, Ansel's shadow on the wall shows feathers flying off his body.
      • Specific aspects in Ansel's penthouse are associated with birds and winged beings, such as a cherub statue and a stained-glass window of a peacock. Even the grand piano in the library has the monogram of a bird etched above his surname in the headboard. This is a clue toward what he really is.
      • While Ansel is backing away from Arlo during their first encounter, Ansel steps in front of the cherub statue — both its physical form and its window reflection, which are right behind him.
      • During "More More More", Arlo says how the birds hardly miss him while being pecked by angry egrets; one egret in particular is also one of the animals he says goodbye to when leaving the swamp. Turns out, there is a bird out there who secretly misses him — it's Ansel.
      • After Arlo gets captured, a blink-and-you-miss shows Ansel standing between two shadowed sets of armor — the one on the left being hidden behind a wall facing out to him — and one of his shadows on the wall is missing his fur cape. This is but mere moments before the big reveal.
      • Note that Ansel is the only other character to have Xs in his ears like Arlo's, and has sharp and pointed fingers like Arlo's as well. Sure this is a mild case of Strong Family Resemblance, but given the latter description, this could be a hint toward his bird feet given they resemble talons.
      • In the last verse of "Something's Missing", Arlo is lit from the front by a spotlight, while Ansel is lit from behind, leaving his front side darkly shadowed. This shows he's become a shadow of his true self and feels it's too hard to conceal it any longer.
      • The final scene of the Good-Times Montage of Arlo and the gang exploring Manhattan is Arlo seeing the shadow of whom he thinks is his dad in a door, but turns out to be a man with a funny hairstyle. This vaguely foreshadows Ansel is a Half-Human Hybrid just like him.
      • During Ansel's interview scene, he rescues a deranged pigeon trapped inside a worn out boot, and surprisingly goes easy on it, looking nervous when it falls to the ground.
    • During the Leaning on the Fourth Wall moment as mentioned below, Arlo tells Bertie he sings when in a bad mood, a sad mood, or even a happy mood to show his feelings. Eventually, later on, he shows those exact three feelings at once with "College of Broken Dreams", "Wash the Hurt Away" and "Beautiful Together", respectively.
    • When the musician Arlo mistakes for his dad has him dance with him to cheer him up, they are next to a subway for Brooklyn. This is where Seaside by the Seashore, Ansel's hometown, is located, and Arlo ends up moving there at the end of the movie.
    • During "Better Life", Ansel says, "You gotta make yourself, or else you're gonna break yourself." Ansel struggling to conceal himself during "Something's Missing" and seeing Arlo get kidnapped is what makes him finally break down.
    • If you look closely during the scenes as Edmée is letting Arlo go and Arlo is leaving the swamp, there are multiple scenes that show mushrooms beginning to grow on the trees surrounding both the shack and swamp foliage when they weren't there the day before. While this is common with swamp trees in real life, it also foreshadows the existence of the Bog Lady, as she's trying to entice Arlo into not leaving her with her plant magic.
    • In the last verse of "Better Life" as Ansel is putting a feather on Arlo's hat, the spotlights surrounding them are red. In some cultures, red symbolizes bad luck and danger, foreshadowing Ansel's response to Arlo after the song ends.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Downplayed. During his life in the swamp, Arlo was not allowed to leave or mess around watching the various riverboats. But Arlo often defies Edmée's orders, but retreats if he gets spotted by someone. Nevertheless, Edmée is never mad at him for disobeying, and understands his loneliness.
  • The Four Chords of Pop: Used during the chorus of "Follow Me Home".
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The characters are drawn this way; done deliberately with Arlo, Alia and Tony, like their species in real life. Marcellus, however, has three.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Just before Ansel's interview appears on one of the jumbotrons on One Times Square, a notice can be seen reading "Fish Flops Free", alongside a rather realistic drawing of Marcellus, a bus that looks like Alia's, and the aquarium Marcellus broke out of.
    • During Ansel's Dark and Troubled Past, when we see the moment when he first sees Arlo as an infant, the remains of a hatched egg (presumably his) can be seen in the bed and chair off to the right, probably hinting his mother was abnormal like him.
    • When Alia gets the flyer for the Met Gala, Arlo's clothes can be seen in the trash can she finds it in.
    • Just before the campfire scene, Sandra June and Bradley, the couple Arlo scared off after leaving the swamp, can be seen driving their car past them.
    • In the final scene with Arlo and Bertie on the beach, we get a glimpse of what will become their shared house in the show up on the boardwalk behind them.
  • Full Moon Silhouette: During "Follow Me Home", Bertie tosses Arlo high into the sky so he's in front of the full moon.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • After Ansel reveals himself as half-bird, someone shouts "I love birds, man!" in the background.
    • When Arlo is about to bring up the aquarium to Marcellus, Furlecia and Tony can be seen desperately telling him to stop before he does.
    • While Arlo is talking about New York with Tony's gang on the bus, Alia can be seen batting at a squeaky hamburger toy hanging from her rearview mirror behind him.
  • Furry Confusion: In this world, humans and regular, non-anthropomorphic animals coexist with half-human half-animal creatures, though the latter are very rare and are seen as oddities and ostracized. Early on in the movie, we see Arlo dance around in the swamp with some non-anthropomorphic alligators; Marcellus is locked up in an aquarium with some regular fish; and in New York, Alia tries to get some food from an old lady who is feeding her pet cats.
  • Furry Reminder: Half of Arlo's crew exhibit behaviors according to their real-life species; specifically Arlo can swim really fast, run on all fours and has a big appetite, Marcellus Sleeps with Both Eyes Open, and Alia can get easily distracted by hanging and shiny objects, crawls in the dumpsters, curls up when sleeping, and hates getting wet.
  • Gainaxing: A male variant played for Fan Disservice. When Marcellus is doing a celebratory dance after Arlo liberates him from the aquarium, his erm...chests flop up and down his body. In a Funny Background Event as well as a Reaction Shot from Bertie, who is huddled in the back seat looking anxious, shows that she's a wee bit unnerved by the display.
  • "Gaining Confidence" Song:
    • "Beyond These Walls" starts out as a sultry ballad by Arlo over his anxiousness of thinking what would happen if he leaves the swamp, before transitioning to a powerful number where he gains the confidence and is determined to find his way home.
    • "Follow Me Home" begins with Bertie solemnly voicing her background as The Drifter and lamenting that no one seems to accept her and has no place to call her home, before it changes to a duet between her and Arlo where she feels brave again and becomes more accepting of herself.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The group of abnormal friends. Arlo, Tony and Marcellus are male, while Bertie, Furlecia and Alia are female.
  • Gene Hunting: Arlo's main mission is to find his long-lost father.
  • Gentle Giant: Bertie. Not only does she have a huge size and height, but she also has a huge heart.
  • Get Out!: Ansel to Arlo when he discovers his plans to demolish the boardwalk and gets disowned by him.
  • Gilligan Cut: When Arlo's friends vow to help him reconnect with Ansel at the Met Gala, Marcellus refuses to go if there are kids present; cut to the gala that night, where a three-person group made of kids are dancing on the front steps.
  • Girly Bruiser: Bertie is typically soft spoken and is the type to avoid excitement, but her Big Sister Instinct indicates that she will not hesitate to use her strength and size against people who attempt to hurt those who cannot defend themselves.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Beast sports glowing gold eyes during the night scenes and when in places where it's dark, making it look totally intimidating and petrifying.
  • Good-Times Montage: One occurs when Arlo and the gang arrive in New York and enjoy its activities. Another done at the end of the movie as the friends restore Seaside by the Seashore, set to Arlo's song "Beautiful Together".
  • G-Rated Drug: Candy and sweets in Arlo's case; the moment he wolfs down a whole bunch, he's hooked on them.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The titular Arlo, who's half-human and half alligator. Ansel, his father, is part bird. It's not explicitly said, but Marcellus, Alia and the Beast may be part human and part fish, cat/tiger, and dog respectively.
  • Happy Birthday to You!: Edmée sings her own version of the song to Arlo at his 42-day-late birthday.
  • Hayseed Name: Arlo's surname, Beauregard, evokes the Cajun French type. Subverted that his father (Ansel) is actually from New York where the name itself is less significant in a melting pot region.
  • Happily Adopted: Edmée adopts Arlo after she found him as a baby.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Almost every antagonistic character turns over a new leaf by the end, thanks to Arlo. These include Ruff and Stucky, the Beast, and Ansel.
  • Heroic BSoD: Arlo sinks into a rather deep one when Ansel disowns him and he believes his trip was all for nothing, for the sake of abandoning his friends for a man whom he believed wanted nothing to do with him.
  • A Hero Is Born: The first we see of Arlo is him as a newborn baby in the sewers on the night of his birth.
  • The Hero's Birthday: The movie's main plot — when Arlo discovers he lives in New York and sets off to reunite with his father while making friends — begins on Arlo's fifteenth birthday.
  • Hope Spot:
    • When Arlo is being cornered by the angry barn folk, he meekly says his name and he's from the swamp, and the opponent proudly accepts him as one of them. But then Arlo says he's really from New York, and the farmers turn against him again.
    • Arlo finally reaches the residence of his birth father Ansel, only to be rejected and turned away by him.
    • Ansel is ready to reveal the truth to Arlo that he is indeed his father, but then Ruff and Stucky ruin the moment.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Bertie is described as a teenage giantess with the insecurity it entails. To her credit, she utilizes her unique size and strength to help those who are incapable of fighting back, and that's way before her Character Development even sets in.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Ruff and Stucky shoo away a guy selling Broadway show tickets because, as Stucky puts, Ruff can't read. But then Ruff spots Ansel's name on the jumbotron and reads it perfectly.
  • "I Am" Song: Ansel's song "Better Life" is about him being a successful and high-honored businessman and how much he's risen to the top, which also provides a foreshadowing to who he really is.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: When Arlo lived in the swamp, his meals were not very ordinary, mostly bugs in particular, with snails being the worst.
  • I Choose to Stay: In the end, Arlo chooses to stay in New York with his father and friends, and they reopen Seaside by the Seashore together. On a more selfless variant, Arlo decides to stay with his friends and live in a house of their own by the boardwalk rather than Ansel's penthouse, but the two will visit each other often.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Twice in succession during the "Beautiful Together" sequence. First when Arlo dances past the screen before the song begins when Ansel allows he and his friends to rebuild and live at Seaside by the Seashore, and again by Furlecia during the song when the group is marching down the boardwalk.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: The swamp animals weren't very acceptable of Arlo, leaving him lonely. Best exemplified in his song "More More More".
  • Imagine Spot: Arlo imagining himself partying with the guests on the steamboat during "More More More".
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Furlecia gets stabbed in her "love handles" by her opponent's rake during her introduction scene.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: Multiple guests at the Met Gala are seen wearing these, some of which are impossible to even move around in.
  • Incredibly Long Note:
    • Ansel lets out one during "Better Life":
      Ansel: And if you hear me, let me know you understaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand!
    • Arlo draws out "What am I waiiiiitiiiiiiiiin'?!" during "Beyond These Walls".
    • During "Wash the Hurt Away", Arlo sustains the word "me" multiple times during the final chorus.
    • Ansel holds down "inside" for quite some time as he ends his verse in "Something's Missing". Both he and Arlo then hold down the same word together at the end of the song.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Some of the characters tend to share specific details of their voice actors. For instance, Arlo shares Michael J. Woodard's chin hairs, wide cheekbones and lower hairline on his back, and Furlecia has the same "furstache" and pointed fingernails like Jonathan Van Ness. Bertie and Edmée also seem to resemble Mary Lambert and Annie Potts by appearance, whereas Ansel looks a lot like Vincent Rodriguez III dead-on.
  • "I Want" Song:
    • "More More More", where Arlo sings about how he wants tons of friends.
    • "Beyond These Walls" is another, more emotional example.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Ruff and Stucky pull this on the tough farmer who wrestled Furlecia, demanding information on where Arlo went as well as his name, otherwise the Beast will eat him.
  • Job Song: Ansel's song "Better Life" is about his job as a famous businessman in New York.
  • Kiddie Kid:
    • Arlo is actually 15 years old, yet acts and behaves more like an excitable 10 year old. His isolation in the swamp which prevented him from interacting with and/or being influenced by peers of his age is the most likely reason for this.
    • Alia acts this way as well, with the only hint of her true age is that she's eligible for a learner's permit. Her being a catgirl might have something to do with it.
  • Kids Are Cruel:
    • Marcellus believes this to be the case during his stretch in the aquarium, even though according to his story, all they did was push their faces against the glass to stare at him and/or eat. It's subverted when the children he does encounter don't even mistreat him, and he instead scares them just for the fun of it, making him look more cruel than he claims the children could ever be.
    • During Ansel's flashback, the kids who bully young Ansel for being a bird boy, even going so far as to force feed him bird seeds.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The "randomly bursting into song" notion is brought up a few times, usually as Arlo mentions he often sings how he feels.
  • Let's Duet: "Follow Me Home" starts out with Bertie lamenting to herself as The Drifter, then it turns into a duet between herself and Arlo who sees her as better than she thinks she is.
  • Location Song: "New York, My Home", a brief song performed in the prologue just before Arlo is introduced, which sets the mood and tone of the city.
  • Long Last Look: Arlo says one last goodbye to Edmée, Jeromio, and the swamp animals and foliage as he is leaving the swamp he grew up in before he sets off to New York.
  • Loud Gulp: Arlo does one when he first encounters Stucky.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: After rescuing Arlo and revealing his identity as half-bird, Ansel concludes Arlo was right all along and he's indeed his father.
  • Luminescent Blush: Much of the characters have a little tinge of blush in their cheeks, in keeping up with the faux-retro aesthetic. Specific characters also have a blush somewhere else; Tony in particular has the blush on his ear points, Ansel has his coating the end of his nose and his entire earlobe, and Edmée has a combination of all three positions.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Better Life", when you listen to the lyrics, is a song about abandoning your individuality in order to get by in the world. Arlo is so distracted by the upbeat nature of the song that it takes a while for him to realize how sketchy the message actually is. "Break yourself" indeed.
    • Downplayed with "More More More". It is indeed an upbeat song about Arlo wanting to be loved by everyone, but at one point he briefly lapses into a verse where the animals resent him in various ways before being left alone with Jeromio, just before the riverboat appears.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Done during the Dark Reprise with thanks to the reflections of Arlo in the various antiques in a shop window.
  • Match Cut:
    • When the Beast tracks down Arlo's footprints, the view dissolves from an Extreme Close-Up of its eye to a similar reflection of the full moon in the river Arlo and Bertie run through upon escaping.
    • While Bertie is admiring the shell Arlo gave her, the background behind her changes from the beach to the bus interior with her in the same exact position and pose.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • "Sing it," which in turn cues the respective song number. Arlo says it to Bertie to get her to tell how she feels, which segues into "Follow Me Home". Later on, Bertie says the same thing to Arlo to get Ansel to hear him out, just before "Something's Missing" begins.
    • "No squirming," for Bertie. She first says it out of determination to help Arlo escape from Ruff and Stucky during their first encounter; she says it again when they share one last hug before Arlo departs for Ansel's penthouse.
  • Mickey Mousing:
    • During "More More More", Arlo bounces across an alligator's back in time with the music, splashing and bothering it in return.
    • During "Better Life", Ansel's maids are shown working in perfect sync with the music.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The movie begins with the newborn Arlo abandoned in the sewers and floating all the way to the Louisiana swamp where Edmée adopts him.
  • Mirror Reveal: Arlo does this with a miniature mirror in the window of an antique shop, which allows him to see himself in the frumpy business suit Ansel gave him and realized he tried to turn him power-hungry just like him, which segues into the Dark Reprise.
  • Missing Mom: Arlo's birth tag has no name for his mother, and her identity remains unknown. The only thing we know about her from Ansel's flashback is she had red hair like Arlo.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Played for Laughs during the Good-Times Montage. Arlo spots a shadow of what he believes to be Ansel and gets excited, but it turns out to be a man with a funny hairstyle, and he's about to break down. Almost immediately, the man quickly cheers Arlo up by entertaining people together near a subway.
    • Immediately following the humorous "Better Life", Arlo discovers Ansel is trying to reinvent his personality like what happened to him, when really he came all this way to reunite with him after fifteen long years. Then Ansel promptly disowns him and sends him away, leaving Arlo to enter a Heroic BSoD.
    • During the dance party on the bus after Marcellus is rescued and the main cast is completely assembled, Arlo suddenly asks about the aquarium, causing the fish man to go catatonic.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: The Alternate Universe Type; it's even lampshaded a few times by Arlo. The sole exception would be the very much diegetic birthday song Edmée sings for Arlo.
  • Mushroom Samba: A G-rated version. Instead of drugs, it's ice cream.
  • My Greatest Failure: Ansel considers letting Arlo go the night he was born the biggest mistake of his life.

    Tropes N-Z 
  • Near-Villain Victory: Ruff and Stucky have caught up with Arlo at the museum, the latter giving Ansel an ultimatum of what he would do with an alligator boy for a son, leaving Arlo to surrender himself and get dragged out. If Ansel hadn't realized what he had done, and hadn't revealed his bird self to the crowd and rescued Arlo, Ruff and Stucky would've won.
  • Never Learned to Read: Stucky yells at a man handing out flyers to them to get lost since Ruff can't even read. Subverted when it turns out that Ruff can read since he could make out Arlo's father's name (Beauregard) in the jumbotron.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Arlo and his gang are split half-and-half:
    • Boys: Arlo (nice), Marcellus (mean), and Tony (in-between)
    • Girls: Bertie (nice), Furlecia (mean), and Alia (in-between)
  • No One Gets Left Behind: When Tony's bus takes off but leaves Bertie running after it with Arlo in tow, Furlecia immediately reaches out a hand for Bertie to grab on so she can pull the two aboard.
  • No Social Skills: Arlo, due to being raised all alone in a swamp with his eccentric caretaker, but downplayed in that he managed to make friends quite easily by just running into them (as is the case with Bertie and Tony's crew). It helps that he's just so nice, and is rather empathetic towards others.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Edmée refuses to accompany Arlo to New York because she has arrest warrants against her and she doesn't want to go back to prison again. They are both left intentionally vague.
    • It was mentioned by Arlo that Edmée would put a bowl on his head for some reason whenever he needed a haircut.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Arlo breaking Marcellus out of the aquarium.
  • Offstage Waiting Room: The looter who falls off a building and gets a waterfall of sewage dumped on him during the news report about Ansel's plans for Seaside by the Seashore is in the exact same position when Arlo ends up there after the BSoD Song.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Arlo is clearly petrified when he encounters Ruff and Stucky for the first time. He gets it again when they capture him at the museum.
    • Arlo has a mild reaction when Edmée forces him to taste the underbelly of a snail.
    • Edmée when Arlo brings up the mention of his Missing Mom.
    • Tony when Arlo manages to impress the doorman.
    • Ansel when he nearly exposes his bird-man identity to the crowd during "Something's Missing", followed by Arlo getting the same reaction in the next shot.
    • Ruff and Stucky when Ansel flies in to save Arlo.
  • One-Eyed Shot: The Beast gets this when it tracks down Arlo's footprints after the train stops.
  • Only Friend: Arlo's only friend back in the swamp was a frog named Jeromio.
  • Only Sane Man: Bertie is easily the most normal in the entire cast in terms of quirky behavior. Since Arlo and Tony's crew had come into her life, she finds herself being the voice of reason most of the time. She's quite graceful about the situation, though.
  • Orbital Shot:
    • Done when Arlo is seeing New York City for the first time after getting off the bus.
    • Just after Ansel ends his verse in "Something's Missing", the camera does a rotation around him as he almost exposes his bird side to the crowd.
    • A more epic one is done when Arlo happily embraces Ansel onstage.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Bertie rips off the back door at the Metropolitan Museum so Arlo and the gang can sneak into the Met Gala undetected.
  • Open the Iris: Arlo does this a few times when he gets astounded over something. Most exemplified when he is under a sugar rush in Willow Button.
  • The Outside World: The rest of the world to Arlo, during his fifteen years in the swamp.
  • Overly Long Gag: Arlo saying "Land boat, go!" while trying to use a car.
  • Parasol Parachute: In the final verse of "Beyond These Walls", Arlo uses a parasol to parachute through various floating landmarks of New York.
  • Passing the Torch: In the end, Arlo now resides in Ansel's old Brooklyn home, Seaside by the Seashore, along with his friends, who help him restore it back to its former glory.
  • Pep-Talk Song:
    • Arlo's part of "Follow Me Home" is this, as he encourages Bertie to accept her image and believe in herself.
    • Ansel's number "Better Life" seems to be this at first, given how Arlo is taking advice to "change himself" and embrace his life better, but it soon takes on a whole new meaning when he realizes Ansel was trying to distract him from what's important, and gets turned away from him in return.
  • Pie-Eyed: All the characters have these type of eyes derived from 20s to 30s cartoons as part of its faux retro aesthetic.
  • Pilot Movie: The movie serves as the pilot which precedes I ♥ Arlo.
  • Preppy Name:
    • Ansel T. Beauregard, complete with a Mysterious Middle Initial. Even before figuring out he's a rich real estate mogul, it's almost expected that he's going to be an affluent type. Somewhat subverted in that he didn't come from old money (starting out quite poor, by his own admission), but he uses his Self-Made Man image to persuade the public in his gentrification efforts.
    • Another subversion is the title character who is given the slightly fancy name of Arlo, but spent most of his life being raised in the swamp. It seems to run in the family.
    • There is a quick example of this at the start when a mother scolds her son for "making up tales" after claiming to have seen a little green boy (Arlo). And what does she call him? Sansabelt. That's right, he's named after a brand of men's trousers.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • When Tony is making a deal with Arlo while toying with his webbed feet, Arlo's reply is, "I. Love. Swimming."
    • When the DJ at the Met Gala is scattering money at the start of Ansel's presentation, Ansel declares, "You... Are... My... People!"
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Seen on someone, Arlo usually, during the more emotional moments.
  • Ragin' Cajun:
    • Edmée to a tee. Ironically, this is averted by Arlo despite being raised by her his whole life and instead, comes off as incredibly friendly to everyone he meets in contrast to Edmée's indiscriminate animosity at anyone knocking on her door.
    • Arlo encounters a group of them who got cheated out of their money by Tony. When Arlo ends up with the bag of cash and introduces himself that he came from the swamp, they warm up to him since they thought he was one of them... until Arlo points out that he originated from New York and they go back to being angry again.
  • Rags to Riches: Ansel Beauregard, whose main draw is that he was born into poverty and then became a wealthy real estate investor.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The main cast as a whole. Mentally, they're actually quite well-adjusted by the standards of this trope. That is, depending on how you judge a cast consisting of a Wide-Eyed Idealist gator boy, a positively huge teenager with attachment issues, a small rat-man with a Napoleon complex, a flamboyant pink fuzzball with arms and legs, a tiger girl who Drives Like Crazy, and a merman with a serious irrational hatred of children.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Edmée in the opening, when she has Arlo learn of his past and releases him from her care so he can finally leave the swamp after fifteen years and begin his journey.
    • Ansel becomes this in the finale following his redemption, when he lets Arlo and the gang restore and reopen Seaside by the Seashore and has Arlo move there so he can permenently live in his birth home.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: The movie is basically an animated version of Elf WITH AN ALLIGATOR BOY!
  • Reflective Eyes: When Arlo first catches notices of Marcellus sleeping with his eyes open, the smoke from the fire is reflected in them.
  • Retraux: The movie is set in the modern day, but specific locations Arlo visits resemble those from the '50s, '60s and '70s. Willow Button, for example, is stuck in the '50s with no modern day technology, and Arlo at one point tries to use a vintage '50s style car.
  • Retro Universe: In-Universe, there is the town of Willow Button which seems to have stayed in the 1950s. This was done on purpose, according to Word of God.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Arlo. In-Universe, a lot of people find him off-putting, but at the same time, there are people who take pity on him just from seeing how sad he looks, such as the bongo player he mistook for his dad, and the doorman who is so moved by Arlo's story that he allows him to see Ansel.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: At the end of her birthday song to Arlo, Edmée smashes her banjo to bits.
  • Roundabout Shot: Done briefly when Arlo dances with a catfish during "More More More".
  • Scenery Censor: Zig-zagged. When Arlo strips himself nude after Ansel disowns him, the lower part of his body is usually exposed, but in the scene where Bertie reassures him on the beach, the lower part of his body is mostly covered up by his legs or pieces of trash, or blocked off by the camera. Then again, he wouldn't have anything serious, hence being half-alligator.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • The second "More More More" ends, so does Arlo's Imagine Spot as he gets spotted by a boy named Sansavelt; Arlo's response is to flee back into the swamp in fear.
    • Just after Ansel's part in "Something's Missing" which nearly exposes his birdman identity to the crowd, he promptly flees the gala as Arlo chases him.
  • Self-Made Man: One of Ansel's gimmicks is to appeal to the masses with his poor and humble beginnings from Seaside by the Seashore. The reveal of him being a bird-man and how he has to hide that part of himself in order to make it to the top not only shows that he had to work really hard to get to where he's standing, but also a more literal take on the trope by passing himself as a regular man to avoid discrimination.
  • Sidekick Song: "Follow Me Home" for Bertie, with Arlo joining in later.
  • Shameful Strip: A more emotional example done alone. After Arlo gets rejected by Ansel, he strips himself of his clothes and flows away in the sewer he got abandoned in.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • The neighborhood of Seaside by the Seashore; "seaside" and "seashore" essentially mean the same thing.
    • Tony says Ansel's penthouse is "Uptown, way uptown," as the camera shows a subway sign reading "Subway Uptown", with another above it reading "Way Uptown".
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Arlo's friends disappear during the scenes where he first meets Ansel and when he chases him through the museum, to make their interactions more serious and plot-driven.
  • Sleeps with Both Eyes Open: Marcellus' way of sleeping. Arlo is promptly perplexed by this.
  • Small Role, Big Impact:
    • Lawrence, the man from the auto shop who informs Ruff and Stucky about Arlo kicks off the entire conflict of the movie, despite appearing in just one scene and then never again.
    • Relatedly, the little boy who says that he'll pay good money to see an alligator boy spurs Ruff and Stucky to go along with capturing Arlo.
  • "Somewhere" Song: "Beyond These Walls", doubling as an "I Want" Song, as Arlo sings about life in his true home of New York City and how he longs to see what it's like there.
  • The Song Before the Storm: Ansel's Broadway-esque number "Better Life", which is just before Arlo discovers he was trying to reinvent his personality rather than reunite with him, and right before Ansel disowns him, which initiates his Heroic BSoD.
  • Stalker Shot: While Ansel is preparing for his presentation backstage at the Met Gala, as he walks out, he is being spied on from the shadows by Ruff, Stucky and the Beast.
  • The Stinger: As the credits are beginning, Edmée gets a postcard from Arlo and learns about his new life.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Arlo only got his red hair from his late mother, but most of his features were heavily handed down from Ansel. Specifically he shares the same jagged hair strands on the back of his head from when Ansel was a young adult, he got his puffy cheeks with Luminescent Blush and Youthful Freckles from Ansel's childhood, and both have the same X-detailed earlobes, chin hairs, and pointed fingertips. The feature that stands out the most is their eyes, which are oval-shaped instead of the traditional Sphere Eyes and Alia's almond-shaped ones, which is invoked as shown above.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Arlo's Only Friend Jeromio the frog usually speaks in croaks, but once Arlo leaves for New York, Jeromio somehow utters a deep-voiced "Yup," surprising Edmée.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: Arlo decides not to move in with Ansel and instead decides to live with his friends wherever they want to, even if it's not New York, calling them a Family of Choice. But then Ansel changes his mind of destroying the boardwalk and instead has them restore it and live there, thus giving Arlo a permanent place in New York, his one true home.
  • Sweet Tooth: Edmée apparently has to keep a birthday cake in the fridge at all times due to Arlo's enjoyment of it. After devouring more than a gallon of ice cream in one bite he still desires more sugary snacks.
  • Team Hand-Stack: Arlo and the gang do one as they promise to help him get answers from Ansel once and for all.
  • Tears of Joy: Both Arlo and Ansel when they officially reunite.
  • Tears of Remorse:
    • Arlo starts shedding tears at the end of the Dark Reprise as he is looking at his reflection in the water from a bridge in Central Park.
    • Bertie sheds them just before Arlo leaves for Ansel's apartment.
    • Ansel begins breaking down during his part of "Something's Missing" when he feels hiding his birdman image is finally tested.
    • Twice in Ansel's Dark and Troubled Past. First when Ansel is being ridiculed by the four child bullies, and again when he sees Arlo born which threatens to expose him, prompting him to abandon him in the sewers.
  • Teens Are Short:
    • Played straight with Arlo, but averted with Bertie. This is rather jarring with Arlo since he's an alligator, and yet is rather tiny for a 15 year old, human or gator wise. In contrast, Bertie's massive growth spurt has caused her to tower over everyone making her pass for a grown adult, but she's really just Arlo's age and is wholly insecure about her stature... at least until Arlo convinces her otherwise.
    • Then again, Alia, who's presumably Arlo's age, is about the same height as him. It's stands to reason that most teens here have this trope applied to them.
  • Time Skip: The prologue ends with baby Arlo being adopted by Edmée and skips ahead fifteen years to when Arlo learns the truth of his past.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Crossed with Leaning on the Fourth Wall; Arlo mentions with Bertie he likes to sing how he feels, whether excited, sad, worried, afraid, or just plain ol' happy.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Arlo and Bertie, though their relationship is more Like Brother and Sister.
  • Town Girls: Furlecia (Femme), Bertie (neither), and Alia (Butch).
  • Tragic Keepsake: Arlo's birth bracelet, which Edmée keeps in secret until Arlo is 15, allowing him to know the truth of his life.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The teasers and official trailer spoil scenes from the final third of the movie, specifically the Met Gala, the reveal that Ansel is a bird-man, and Seaside by the Seashore being rebuilt. The first teaser even spoils the very last shot of the movie.
  • Triumphant Reprise: Arlo bursts into a hyperactive reprise of "More More More" as he undergoes a sugar rush in Willow Button. An instrumental version is also played during the credits, followed by a reprise of "Beyond These Walls".
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: The last chorus of "Beyond These Walls" modulates up one whole step.
  • Trust Password: When Edmée gives Arlo the chest containing the ID bracelet from when he was born, he refuses to open it unless it's his birthday; to prove him right, this causes Edmée to bring out the cake, slap the special hat on his head, and launches into her birthday song.
  • The Unmasking: Ansel when he reveals he's a harpy.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Arlo and his friends crash the Met Gala without anyone batting an eye at their presence. This is justified in that everyone is dressed in such garish (and even outright ridiculous) clothes that it either makes the entire gang look tame in comparison or the attendees merely saw them as one of their own.
  • Vertigo Effect: In the close-up of Arlo when he is spotted by Sansavelt, this happens.
  • Water Wake Up: When Arlo starts singing "More More More", he splashes water over a sleeping alligator, causing it to wake up with an annoyed expression on its face.
  • Watching the Sunset: The final scene of the movie is Arlo and Bertie on the beach at the renovated Seaside by the Seashore looking out to the sunset.
  • Wham Shot: Just before Ruff and Stucky have hustled Arlo out the door, Ansel appears in the shadows, spreading bird wings, and flies down to save him. Once back onstage, he rips off his pants, revealing bird legs on perches attached to fake feet, and steps into the full light, revealing himself to be a birdman.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Arlo leaves the swamp, Jeromio is not seen again for the rest of the movie outside of visions. Edmée also disappears the same way, aside from The Stinger.
  • What Have I Become?: Ansel says this word-per-word after Arlo is captured by Ruff and Stucky, allowing him to realize the error of his ways and reveal his true self to save his son.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: While's there's an occasional Jerkass, no one in this movie is outright evil. That being said, Ruff and Stucky are the closest thing to a Big Bad, with how willing they are to hurt and kill for the sake of bagging Arlo.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Marcellus has a hatred of children due to what they did staring at him and making fun of him during his time in the aquarium.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Normally seen whenever a character gets shocked or overexcited about something.
  • Wingding Eyes: When Arlo is undergoing a sugar rush in Willow Button, his eyes have fireworks in them.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Played for Laughs. Marcellus throws a lobster thermidor at one of the boys dancing on stage, giving him a black eye. His friends mildly call him out for this. Considering Marcellus is an unabashed Child Hater since his days in the aquarium, it comes off as no surprise.
    • Ruff and Stucky are more blatant examples, as they seem to be more than willing to harm Arlo in their efforts to capture him.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Furlecia, upon getting stabbed in her "love handles" by the rake, pretends to be terminally in danger to let her opponent's guard down and beat him up. It's so realistic that Arlo feels genuinely worried for her condition.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • Arlo to Bertie about her drifter status and she's better than she thought.
    • Bertie to Arlo after Ansel disowns him and recognizes him as the first person who appreciated her for who she is. Later Tony and his gang when they admit he changed their ways and accept him as one of the group.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One:
    • A non-villainous example; Arlo is unable to stop Ansel's plans to demolish Seaside by the Seashore. It's only through Love Redeems does he finally get his father to change his mind.
    • Played straight with Ruff and Stucky, as Arlo cannot do anything to stop them from pursuing him.
  • Zany Scheme: To fulfil the promise to Tony's gang they will take him to New York, Arlo has to break out Marcellus from an aquarium in North Carolina which Tony has planned himself. Though not seen, we do hear the results of such.


Well, I know that I'm different, I wanna get out of here
Say my fate isn't written, don't even listen
Nothing to fear...
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Sing it!

Arlo and Bertie give each other helpful advice in the case of nerves, which in turn cues their respective song numbers.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / MeaningfulEcho

Media sources:

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