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Western Animation / Blue's Clues

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We gotta find another pawprint,
That's the second clue!
We put it in our notebook—
'Cause they're whose clues?
Blue's Clues!

Blue's Clues is a long-running children's television show, produced by Nickelodeon as part of their Nick Jr. preschool block. If you grew up in the United States, the UK, Portugal, or South Korea during the 1990s or early 2000s, the odds are good that this show will be familiar to you (under different hosts and names respectively).

Set in a vibrant, candy-colored world of animated characters combined with a human host, the show features the escapades of Blue, a blue-colored dog (voiced by Traci Paige Johnson, one of the show's creators). Once an Episode, Blue will want to do something—be it read a book, have a snack, or make some kind of craft. However, as Blue seems to be the only creature in her world who can't talk, the only way she can communicate with her human owner is by playing Blue's Clues- a game in which she will imprint 3 objects around the house (or backyard) with her blue pawprint, labeling them a "clue." Once performed, it's up to her owner—along with the kids watching from home—to figure out what she wants to do by piecing together these clues.

Introduced in 1996, the show is notable for pioneering the kid's show version of an Interactive Narrator—one who talks "to" the camera, seemingly at the children watching. Blue's Clues was so successful, this went on to become the norm for most kid's show hosts today— especially those directed at the "Under 6" age bracket. It also originally ran under the notion that children learn through repetition—so the same episode of the show would run for a full week. (The show later dropped this practice.) It was hugely successful, leading to several Direct to Video movies, a live show adaptation, an eventual Spin-Off called Blue's Room, and (of course) heaps and heaps of merchandise.

The show was originally hosted by Steven Burns as "Steve", but he left the show after six years. note  His replacement was "Joe" (Donovan Patton), his in-universe younger brother, who ran the show, and its spinoff Blue's Room, until 2007, when production came to a halt. Reruns aired on the Nick Jr. channel until July 2019 (4 months before the reboot premiered), and DVDs still exist. Running from 1996 to 2006 (or 2007 if you count Blue's Room), Blue's Clues was Nick Jr.'s longest-running series, up until Dora the Explorer broke that record in 2010.

On March 6, 2018, it was announced that a reboot using CGI animation was in production. On September 13, 2018, the reboot was revealed to be titled Blue's Clues & You!, with actor Joshua Dela Cruz as the new host, "Josh". On August 26, 2019, a November 11 premiere was announced, and it was stated that the show would be a continuation of the original series.

Compare to Llan-ar-goll-en, another Preschool Show about a live-action man and his animated female doggy sidekick finding clues (or in this case, solving mysteries).

'Cuz they're whose tropes? Blue's tropes!

  • Adaptational Name Change: Fifi, one of the Felt Friends and one of the two most re-occuring ones in the series, was renamed "Felicia" in the Humongous Entertainment games. This would also carry over to the reboot.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Blue is the current trope picture. Not only that, but she is probably the Trope Codifier too, most colorful animals on this show tend to be named after their color as well.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Aside from Steve, Joe and the animals note , most of the characters are talking things.
    • Heck, there's even a computer mouse cursor that talks in one episode!
  • Animation Bump: Blue's Big Musical Movie for the most part averts it due to mainly looking the same as the rest of the series, but also uses several alternate angles and zoom effects never shown in the episodes themselves.
  • Anthropomorphic Food:
    • Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper, their children Paprika and Cinnamon, and numerous other characters.
    • A minor example with the monster cake.
  • Anthropomorphic Typography: The special "Blue's Big Musical" features a talking musical symbol, a G-clef named G-Clef, who teaches Steve how to write music. He also has several friends who are singing music notes with faces.
  • Arc Words: Used in several episodes:
    • "What Experiment Does Blue Want To Try?": "Experiment"
    • "What Does Blue Want to Make With Recycled Things?": "Recycle"
    • "Blue's Sad Day": "Tough situation" ("Tricky situation" in the UK dub)
    • "Nurture": "Need"
    • "What Is Blue Trying To Do?": "Encourage"
    • "Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper Day": "Appreciate"
  • Argument of Contradictions: In "Blue Goes to the Beach," Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper have an argument over whether a straw will sink or float in water. Mr. Salt thinks it will sink, Mrs. Pepper is convinced it will float. Mrs. Pepper is right, as is found out when Steve reasonably suggests that they just try it and see what happens.
  • Art Evolution: In the book releases. Take a look at the earlier ones and you'll find that Blue's face is a bit chubby and the blue coloring is rather dark. Then take a look at the later book releases - the coloring is lighter and Blue's face has been thinned out. This generally holds true for the other characters as well and there are other, more subtle changes to the appearance of the art.
    • In the show itself, the animation was a little rougher in the first few episodes, editing mistakes were much more common (usually part of the background or a prop being cutoff or boom mics being visible) through the first season, and Steve's colors became a lot more vibrant beginning in the second season, as did the Thinking Chair.
  • Art Imitates Life: In 2021, Steve revealed the biggest reason why he left the show: he wanted to focus on getting a college education. At the time of his departure, his character was also heading for college himself.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: Blue has consumed chocolate at least twice: in "The Snack Chart", chocolate milk turns out to be her favorite snack, and at the end of "Soccer Practice", Blue and Magenta eat chocolate ice cream. In real life, chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs.
  • Assuming the Audience's Age: An odd example where a fictional version of your voice will chime in just in case you don't respond to Steve's questions. Your fake voice sounds like a toddler or preschooler.
  • Audience Participation: The show does not have a fourth wall, and the viewer themselves counts as a character capable of interacting with the world around them.
  • Beach Episode: "Blue Goes to the Beach" plays with the trope. They don't actually go to the beach, but they set up a beach in their backyard.
  • Bicolor Cows, Solid Color Bulls: Cows are always black-and-white, while bulls are always brown.
  • Big Little Brother: Joe to Steve in-universe. He is called a "little" brother of a college student but looks like an adult.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Once American Sign Language is introduced in "Signs," the signs for "first," "second," "third," "thank you," and "smart", among others, are incorporated into the show's routine.
    • The episode "¡Un Dia con Plum!", introduces Periwinkle's bilingual friend, Plum, who can speak Spanish. The episode incorporates learning Spanish into its plot.
  • Birthday Episode:
    • "Mailbox's Birthday" for Mailbox.
    • "Blue's Birthday" for Blue.
    • "Joe's Surprise Party" for Joe.
  • Bookends: Both figuratively and literally.
    • Since most of the original episodes—if not all of them—take place in a book, each episode begins with the book opening and ends with it closing.
    • In-Universe. Each episode begins with the "Friend" arriving at the house for today's story and then ends with them leaving.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Steve and Joe talk to the viewers.
  • Breakout Character: In two book releases, minor character Green Puppy is a main focus.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Shovel and Pail are siblings and are almost never seen seperately.
  • BSoD Song: Steve gets "As Smart As You" in Blue's Big Musical Movie about how he can never find the clues on his own and needs the viewers to help him. A longer, different version of the song is used on the soundtrack than the one used in the movie.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Periwinkle (a cat) was best friends with Plum (a bird) back when he lived in the city.
  • Cartoon Creature: Blue and Magenta don't seem to have a defined breed.
  • Character Catchphrase:
    • "Bark bark bark!" (said with the same inflection as "No you don't!", to clarify)
    • "A clue, a clue!" - Said by the pre-recorded children's voices whenever a clue is spotted.
    • "We just figured out Blue's Clues!" - When the clue is solved.
    • "Blue skidoo, we can too!" - When the host is about to skidoo (jump) into whatever Blue went in.
    • "Now that we're three, what will we be?!" - The clues in the episodes in which the clues talked, once all three clues were found.
    • "Whoa!" - Slippery Soap.
    • "Mail's here, mail's in!", "Here's your letter!", and "You're welcome!" - Mailbox.
    • "Blue's Clues, I'm so excited!" - Sidetable Drawer. Lampshaded in the CD-ROM game Blue's Birthday Adventure where she follows it up with "I always say that, don't I?".
  • Character Tics: When Blue is happy, she will often squint her eyes and run in place. Magenta and Green Puppy are also shown to do this.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Turquoise, the turtle Steve bought for Blue in "Blue's Birthday," turns out to be the answer to that episode's game of Blue's Clues (a turtlenote ).
  • Christmas Episode: "Blue's Big Holiday" in Season 3 & "Blue's First Holiday" in Season 5.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Magenta's owner, Miranda, only appears in "Shy" and "Magenta Gets Glasses" and does not appear during Joe's seasons.
  • Clip Show: "100th Episode Celebration" is this, celebrating the occasion with clips from previous episodes. Thankfully, said clips only last a few seconds each.
  • Colorful Song: The episode "Colors Everywhere!" has the song "Colors, Colors, Everywhere." In it, Joe sings about various colors, including how colors can be mixed and mixed again to make new colors, including ones he's never seen before, i.e. "Chartreuse, a color I had not seen. Looks to me like a yellowish-green. Mix blue and yellow and they're suddenly green. Then blue and green make aquarmine." This song was later redone for the remake version of the episode in Blue's Clues & You!.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In the early episodes, whenever Steve goes to the Thinking Chair to resolve the episode with the given clues, he usually makes a bizarre guess, like Blue putting a cow in a cup and slurping it up with a straw (she just wanted milk), or wrapping a pillow in a blanket and reading it a story (she only wanted a nap).
  • Concept Album: Three were released during the show's run- Blue's Big Treasure, Goodnight Blue, and A Playdate With Blue. Loosely tying in with the episodes "Blue's Big Treasure Hunt", "Blue's Big Pajama Party", and "Magenta Comes Over" respectively. The albums consist of original audio-only "episodes" with musical numbers added in.
  • Continuity Nod: In an early episode, Steve bought Blue a pet turtle (named Turquoise) for her birthday. Turquoise shows up in the background of most scenes set in the bedroom after that.
  • Cool Big Bro: Steve is a caring mentor figure to his young brother, Joe, even after he leaves for college.
  • Couch Gag:
    • In Steve-era episodes, what Blue hides behind in the intro is always different.
    • Joe-era episodes, on the other hand, have him wearing a different colored shirt in every episode.
    • Something consistent across almost every episode is what's in the Skidoo Frame in the living room. Sometimes it even changes between scenes. The same goes for what's on the felt board and the table in-between the living room and kitchen.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: "Colors Everywhere!," and, a little further down the line, "Numbers Everywhere!"
    • There are two well-spaced episodes called "Nature!" and "Nurture!".
    • "Blue Wants to Play a Game" and "Blue Wants to Play a Song Game".
  • Cue O'Clock: In both the original and the follow-up Blue's Clues & You!, Tickety Tock, who is a sentient alarm clock, has the ability to display a symbol related to whatever's happening in the episode in the 12 position.
  • Cute Kitten: Blue's classmates Orange Kitten and Periwinkle are of the Talking Animal variety.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Green Puppy has fangs, and she's cute due to being a puppy.
  • Deconstruction: The Blue's Big Musical deconstructs how the kids always found the clues with Steve's subplot about finding a Blue's Clue all by himself and the frustration that Steve gets when he's unable to do it himself. Thankfully, everyone cheers him up to continue and he finds the last clue all by himself.
  • The Diaper Change: Cinnamon gets his diaper changed several times. This was actually the answer to a game of Blue's Clues at one point.
  • Digital Destruction: The first few seasons didn't exactly follow safe area standards. Rather, episodes were rendered with a lot of overscan that would otherwise be cropped off by most CRT televisions of the era. No attempt was made to fix this when the show was released digitally, which lead to a lot of editing mistakes that are very noticeable when watching the show on anything modern.
  • The Ditz: There's always at least one clue in the show (sometimes all three) where Joe or Steve will ask the kids if they see a clue, or where it is. It takes three times for him to finally understand what the kids are saying. ("A clue!" "A shoe? Yes, I'm wearing shoes." "No, a clue!" "You, too?" "No, a clue!" "Oh! A clue! Where?" "Right over there!")
    • "Math!" has a variation: The first clue is an ice cube. However, Steve has just finished counting ice cubes in a tray (ten to be exact)... and is about to have a heart attack over the prospect of ten clues.
    • Similarly, a clue is seen on a carton of orange juice in "Blue's Surprise at 2 O'Clock". Steve just drank some after being told of the clue. Cue Steve thinking he drank the clue.
  • Dream Episode: "What Did Blue Dream About?" shows most of the main characters' dreams, either through them sleeping or through them being described by the characters.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: The arc of Steve going to college wasn't kept in the UK adaptation, as Kevin Duala stayed the host. However, when the Joe episodes were adapted, they for some reason had Kevin wear Joe's shirts, and use his notebook. Both elements were Hand Waved in "I'm So Happy!" (when Sidetable Drawer gives Kevin his new notebook) and the following episode, "Shape Searchers" (when Kevin reveals his new shirt and explains it's because squares are his new favorite shape).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • In the early episodes, Steve was much more excitable.
    • In the first episode, "Snack Time", Blue is frequently shown with her tongue sticking out. She doesn't do this for the rest of the show, however most plush toys released of her while the show was airing kept this.
    • In the first episode, Steve said each kid’s name during Mail Time.
    • Blue made a few additional barking vocal effects besides her typical "bow bow" sounds in some of the early episodes, such as a "ruff!" sound she would make in the opening sequence and in "Adventures in Art". This was dropped during the second season, most likely due to Magenta's barks using an "r" sound unlike Blue's.
    • A different version of the theme song was used in most of the first season until the episode "What Does Blue Want to Make?". Blue would also hide in the same spot in the opening sequence until the same episode, where she would start hiding in different spots at the beginning of each episode.
    • In early episodes, at the end of the So Long Song, the viewers would sing "We can do anything that we wanna do". This was dropped after the first few episodes of season 2.
    • The season 1 credits only featured Blue and both the occupations and people's names were in dark blue. Beginning with season 2, more characters are added to the credits in addition to Blue and the occupations are in light blue while the people's names are still in dark blue.
    • Blue tended to act a little more "canine" in the earlier episodes, such as carrying things in her mouth and licking Steve's face. This became downplayed as the show went on.
  • Educational Song: "Planets" from "What Experiment Does Blue Want to Try?", which teaches the names of the planets in order.
  • Ending Theme: At the end of each episode, they would sing "Now it's time for so long but we'll sing one more song. Thanks for doing your part, you sure are smart, y'know with me and you and my dog Bluenote  we can do anything that we want to do."
  • Episode Tagline:
    • "The Baby's Here": Steve drops the title several times.
    • "Blue is Frustrated": "Stop, breathe, and think".
    • "The Lost Episode": "Go back, go back, go back- go back to where you were".
    • "Inventions": "Try, try again".
    • "Making Changes": "Change, change, change- how can we change?"
    • "Joe's First Day": "What's Joe gonna show?"
    • "Steve Goes to College": "Steve is going to college!"
    • Blue's Big Musical Movie: "When something goes wrong, don't give up- just go on"
  • Episode Title Card: Averted in the first four seasons which had no title cards at all. Played straight in the final two seasons, where Mr. Salt holds up a pennant with the title on it and reads the title at the end of the theme song.
  • Evolving Credits:
    • The fifth season introduces a new upbeat vocal theme song and new sequence to go along with it, as well as Mr. Salt holding up a pennant with the episode's name on it at the end.
    • Beginning with the fourth season, the original intro sequence adds Magenta and Periwinkle, as well as their houses next to each side of Blue's house. Shovel and Pail also say "Hi, Blue!" as Blue comes into the house instead of silently appearing next to the house.
  • Excited Kids' Show Host: Steve (and, to a further extent, Joe) goes (very close to) BERSERK when he finds a clue for the first time.
  • Exploiting the Fourth Wall: As part of the fake interactivity, Steve or Joe would sometimes pass an object back or forth between them and the viewer(s).
    Steve: You know, I can tell I'm really going to need your help today. Will you help me? ... You will? Great!
  • Fake Interactivity: Along with Dora the Explorer, this was one of the early Nick Jr. shows that popularized the idea. Usually, pre-recorded children's voices would answer the question. Host Steve or Joe would keep up a running dialogue with the viewer, who was supposed to help figure out the clues to the game of Blue's Clues.
  • First Day of School Episode: "Blue Takes You to School", in which Blue and Joe take Periwinkle to his first day of preschool.
  • Foreshadowing: An example is implemented in "Blue is Frustrated": The first clue, the sink, is discovered (and drawn) from the floor looking up, making it look like the sink is taller than it is. The answer to this game of Blue's Clues is that Blue is frustrated over trying to brush her teeth... because she can't reach her toothbrush.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode:
    • In "Meet Polka Dots," Blue opened the door to the Blue's Clues house and there were several segments in which time was spent with just Blue or Blue and her other friends rather than Joe while Joe attended to his stuffed duck Boris, who was having a nap. Perhaps most unusually, viewers got to actually watch as Blue placed her pawprint on each clue, something which had always been done firmly off-screen before.
    • "100th Episode Celebration" doesn't feature a game of Blue's Clues and is instead a Clip Show and retrospective of the series due to hitting its' 100th episode.
    • "The Legend of the Blue Puppy" also doesn't have the characters playing Blue's Clues at all; instead the plot has Blue looking for the lock that will reveal her "greatest gift"- kicking off the premiere of the Blue's Room segment (and eventual spinoff).
    • "Skidoo Adventure" features Blue and Joe in the episode's "skidoo" location for the majority of the episode, and doesn't have them playing Blue's Clues. Rather, they need to collect the letters making up the word "home" to get them back home.
    • "The Fairy Tale Ball" also takes place in the "skidoo" location for the majority of the episode, without the characters shown skidooing back home.
    • "Blue's Big Pajama Party", "Bedtime Business", and "The Legend of the Blue Puppy" all take place entirely at night, while most episodes would take place in the daytime.
    • "Nature!", "Blue's Big Car Trip", and "Soccer Practice" take place entirely outside Blue's house.
    • "Blue's First Holiday" consists of two flashback segments presented as home movies, showing how Steve first met Blue and the first time Blue and Steve played Blue's Clues, with linking material.
    • Blue's Big Musical Movie, "100th Episode Celebration", "Blue Takes You to School", "The Legend of the Blue Puppy", "Skidoo Adventure", and "The Fairy Tale Ball" do not feature a Mailtime segment.
  • "Getting Ready for Bed" Plot: In "Bedtime Business", everyone's getting ready to go to bed and the object of the game of Blue's Clues is to find out what Blue's favorite part of bedtime is. Part of this is also included in "Blue's Big Pajama Party".
  • Halloween Episode: "What Is Blue Afraid Of?" in Season 1 and "Blue's Big Costume Party" in Season 3.
  • Happily Married: Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper. They have two children, Paprika and Cinnamon, are a happy couple and whenever they're angry, it's not at each other.
  • Hidden Track: The album "Goodnight, Blue" has a bonus at the end called "Blue's Dream" that isn't listed on the album itself, but plays as a separate track. There's just under two minutes of night noises and snoring before the dream part actually starts. Streaming services list the track as "Nighttime Sound Effects", keeping the song itself hidden.
    • The Blue's Big Musical Movie soundtrack has a hidden track at the end of the final track, "So Long Song". After about fifty seconds of silence, the background music from Periwinkle's magic show plays, followed by some Studio Chatter.
  • I Can't Hear You: This is done in "Nature!" between Steve and the voice of the kid used to represent the viewer when the viewer discovers a waterfall and tries to point it out to Steve, but he says that he can't hear because there's a loud waterfall. Also, it's a fairly common Running Gag on the series for either Steve or Joe to mishear when when a child's voice says "A clue!".
  • "I Want" Song: Sidetable Drawer gets two in Blue's Big Musical Movie. "Sidetable's Lament" is a more downbeat song about how she wants to be in the show but wishes she wasn't so shy. She later sings the more upbeat "Sing!" to Steve, to tell him that she wants to sing in their music show.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Downplayed as it didn't happen for every episode, but most "special episodes" during the Steve era (usually the ones debuting in a primetime slot) followed the "Blue's Big (Episode Subject)" pattern. As did the direct-to-video movie, Blue's Big Musical Movie, and the Story Arc of Cinnamon's birth was released across two videos under the Blue's Big News title. This extended to marathons airing on Nick Jr. that led up to new episodes, which would be titled "Blue's Big (Day of the Week)".
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: Every dog character spoke in a kind of canine whine that the viewer couldn't understand but all the other characters seemed to understand fine.
  • Interactive Narrator: The viewers regularly talk to Steve and Joe.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: In Japan, Blue starred alongside Hello Kitty on a live stage show called "Blue's Clues Show". The show ran between 2008 and 2009 at Sanrio's indoor theme park Sanrio Puroland.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Steve generally believes Green Puppy (a bulldog) to be male.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In "What's That Sound?", one of the clues was a cloud. Right before drawing it down, Steve wonders how Blue could put her paw-print on it.
    Steve: How did Blue get a paw...?
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: Beginning with season five, Joe takes over as the host instead of Steve, various songs and music cues from the first four seasons were replaced, and season six introduces the Blue's Room segment and a shortened version of the "Blue's Clues Theme". Beginning with "Magenta Gets Glasses" (the last episode of season three), some of the video letters have background music or are presented in a music video style.
  • Licensed Games / Edutainment Games: Two were released during the show's popularity peak: one for the PlayStation and one for the Game Boy Color. Later on, there was one released for the V-Tech V-Smile plug-and-play learning system. Apart from that, nearly a dozen edutainment titles for the PC/Mac (many of them by Humongous Entertainment—a demo version of Blue's ABC Time Activites can be downloaded from Infogrames). Many of them were surprisingly good.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Steve wore nothing but green striped shirts and khaki pants. All of Joe's shirts are different colors, but they have the same square pattern.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: "Joe's Surprise Party" is centered more around the other residents of the house as they set up a Surprise Party for Joe, with Joe himself playing a very minor role in the episode itself.
  • Matryoshka Object: A VHS-exclusive scene in "Blue's Birthday" has Steve opening a present with an increasingly smaller present inside each one.
  • Medium Blending: The show mixes cutout animation with a live-action host.
  • Merchandise-Driven: All types, from shampoo to plush toys (some, such as the Shovel and Pail Eden plush, are very rare) to model Thinking Chairs. There were also dry-erase Handy Dandy Notebooks, of which the non-dry-erase replicas are easy to find on eBay.
  • Mocking Singsong: Inverted in "Magenta Comes Over". Everyone at the house is so eager to have Magenta as a guest that they break into a short song and dance whenever it's discussed. The tune carries over when Magenta finally shows up.
  • The Movie: Blue's Big Musical Movie, the only direct-to-video movie for the show.
  • Mythology Gag: The first song on the Blue's Big Treasure CD, "Can You Help Me Today?" (sung to the tune of the "So Long Song") was originally used as the theme song for the 1995 pilot, Blue Prints.
  • New Baby Episode:
    • "The Baby's Here" focuses on the birth of Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper's son Cinnamon, and how a lot of things will be changing, including their schedules and Cinnamon's diapers.
    • The season one finale "Blue's News" has Steve play a scavenger hunt variant of Blue's Clues to figure out some "big news." The clues are Mr. Salt, Mrs. Pepper, and a bottle. The big news turns out to be Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper's new baby Paprika, who the cast meets at the end of the episode (which was foreshadowed earlier when Steve encounters Mr. Salt muttering to himself about spices). Paprika would become a recurring character for the rest of the series, growing up and becoming a big sister of her own.
  • No Antagonist: There is no villain or "bad" character in the series.
  • No Fourth Wall: The people on the show would often query the viewers on the answer to the show's questions and puzzles. Not to mention Blue pawprints the screen in the beginning of an episode.
    • One interesting example: One time after Steve greets the viewer, he asks how they "got" there. The conclusion he reaches? "Oh, by television. Cool! (knocks on the screen)".
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted with Paprika and Cinnamon. They both started out as babies who couldn't talk (having been born during the series), but over time, they started acting more like little kids instead of babies. By the end of the series, Paprika was speaking full sentences like the rest of the cast, and Cinnamon knew some words. Blue's Clues and You! continues this with Cinnamon now having his shaker cap shaped like a snapback reflecting how he's gotten a little older.
  • Once an Episode:
    • The mail arriving.
    • Sitting in the Thinking Chair to figure out the clues, and when they have, singing about it.
    • The "one more song" they sing at the end.
  • Out of Focus: Fifi and Fred Felt, as well as several other Felt Friends, begin to get less speaking roles in the later season three episodes and usually only appear in the background.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: A notable subversion as Blue and Magenta are both girls.
  • Portal Picture: Blue, Steve, and Joe can all "Skidoo" into pretty much any picture around and interact with the residents.
  • Prime Time Cartoon: Not regularly as it aired on Nick Jr., which aired on weekday mornings. But the premiere episode ("Snack Time") and several special episodes afterward ("Blue's Birthday", "Blue's Big Treasure Hunt", "Blue's Big Pajama Party", "Blue's Big Holiday", "Joe's First Day", "Joe Gets a Clue", "Steve Goes to College", "100th Episode Celebration", and "The Legend of the Blue Puppy") all aired in primetime on the main Nick schedule.
  • Pun-Based Title: The episode about finding things that have been lost or misplaced is named "The Lost Episode!"
  • Put on a Bus: Steve (literally), when he went off to college. He sometimes comes back, though.
  • Real Time: The show gave every appearance of taking place in real time. Viewers follow the host through events in the Blue's Clues house and backyard, or into skidoo, without cutting away or any indication of additional time passing. In one installment, viewers even sat with Steve for one minute as a clock appeared on-screen counting down one minute as an exercise in patience. Another installment with Joe, "Patience," was all about finding ways to be patient to pass the time until an egg hatched at the end of the episode. There was even a song to go with it— "Wait. Wait. Wait. What can we do while we wait?"
  • Retool: From the beginning, the Blue's Room spin-off never really caught on. So when they made it into a full series, they made several changes. The biggest was adding Blue's new baby brother Sprinkles as a regular member of the cast. Joe was also given a more prominent role and the sets were expanded. It still didn't work, and the program ended once its episode order was up, and has rarely been seen in repeats since.
    • The entire series received one with Joe replacing Steve as the host in the fifth season. A new, vocal opening sequence replaced the original, several classic music cues from the show were replaced, and "We Just Figured Out Blue's Clues" was changed to "We Sat On Down" for the fifth season. Season six would add the Blue's Room segment, the theme song shortened, and the "So Long Song" replaced with "The Goodbye Song".
  • Rhyming Episode: "Tickety's Favorite Nursery Rhymes" in Season 1 and "Rhyme Time" in Season 4.
  • Rhyming Wizardry: In order for Blue and her friends to transport inside/outside of books, they have to sing "Blue Skidoo and we can too".
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Every animal in the series (Blue, Magenta, Green Puppy, Periwinkle, Orange Kitten, Purple Kangaroo, etc.) are absolutely adorable.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: The live action characters, Steve and Joe, interact with many animated characters in every episode.
  • Rule of Three: The viewer is always expected to find three clues.
    • Most of the questions asked to the viewers are broken up into threes.
    • There are also three pink snails hidden in the background of every episode for older viewers to find.
  • Running Gag:
    • In "What is Blue Afraid Of?," Steve and Blue skidoo into a mansion with a ghost, Boo, who's afraid of his own name. Whenever Steve says it, the ghost gets frightened. Steve eventually catches onto this and starts getting quite a kick out of saying the name and watching the ghost jump in fright.
    • There's also the joke about Steve mishearing "A clue!".
    • "What Does Blue Need?" has a running gag where Steve keeps being sprayed with water.
  • Running Gagged: For the entire first season, during the Thinking segment, Steve would give a very silly answer to Blue's Clues (i.e. putting a cow in a cup and slurping it with a straw). This is completely dropped after the first eight episodes of the second season.
  • Shrinking Violet: "Shy" has Blue feeling, well, shy when Magenta's owner Miranda comes over for a visit.
  • Sick Episode: Steve in "Steve Gets the Sniffles".
  • Slippery Soap: Slippery Soap (yes, that's his name) is the resident klutz of the Blue's Clues House. As his name suggests, he is a talking bar of soap. He's very clumsy and slips around a lot (so much that it almost ruins the gang's musical show in Blue's Big Musical Movie). His catchphrase is "Whoaaa!" and the show's intro sequence features him sliding into the window on a trail of bubbles.
  • Special Edition Title: The show did this quite a number of times.
    • In "Blue's Big Treasure Hunt", Mailbox calls "Mailtime!", and the episode starts prematurely.
    • "Blue's Pajama Party" starts with a different version of the theme song, and the intro at dusk with fireflies.
    • "What's That Sound" has the intro take place during Fall, and the theme song is replaced with nature ambience.
    • "What Does Blue Want to Do on a Rainy Day?" has the intro become cloudy, and the viewer rings the doorbell. The sound of it distracts Steve for a little bit before he finally opens the door.
    • "Blue's Big Holiday" has the intro at Winter (dictated by the leafless tree), with Steve wearing his sweater, and bells added to the theme song.
    • "Blue's Birthday" has the house decked with party decorations, and Blue wearing her party hat while singing The Birthday Song.
    • In "Nature", "Blue's Backyard Ballgame Bonanza", and "Joe Gets a Clue", both Steve and Blue aren't present at the beginning. In the former two episodes, Steve appears in front of the viewer on thier way to the door, while Joe does so in the latter.
    • "The Wrong Shirt" shows Steve wearing a tan shirt and green-striped pants, signifying that something is a little off.
    • "Stormy Weather", "Blue's Big Mystery", and "Blue's Collection" has the intro at Fall, similar to "What's That Sound", but with Blue hiding in a pile of leaves, and pumpkins at the front porch.
    • "Steve Goes to College" has both Steve and Joe greet the viewer.
    • "The Legend of the Blue Puppy" skips the second half of the theme song, and has Moona present the title against the blue moon.
  • Spin-Off: Blue's Room, which swaps out most of the main cast save Blue and Joe for puppets. Oh, and Blue can talk now.
  • The Stinger: Every episode ended on a small animation of Blue playing with her ball after the credits end, followed by the book from the opening now closing along with the production logos.
  • Stock Sound Effect: Baby Kate Cry: Variant in the 4th part of the story in Season 4 "The Baby's Here!", there were some babies crying at the Baby Hospital, and one of them was crying like this.
    • The Oggy Cry was also used as well.
  • Story Arc: There's a three-episode arc in Season 4 introducing Joe. First, he arrives at the house for show and tell, then he learns how to play Blue's Clues, and the arc ends with Steve leaving for college.
    • There's also a five-episode story arc which is meant to introduce Cinnamon.
  • Storybook Opening: The intro of the Steve-era episodes start off with this, amongst a pile of other classic children's books. Joe-era episodes instead have Blue taking the book off of a bookshelf (though it's still surrounded by the same books).
  • Studio Audience: Crossed with Fake Interactivity, offscreen children's voices would often shout out the answers or point out a clue is spotted.
  • Suddenly Speaking:
    • Blue in the Blue's Room spin-off series, once she enters her playroom. Additionally, in the book releases, Blue was speaking before Blue's Room even started. Seriously, pick up any of the more recent numbered Blue's Clues book releases not set within the world of Blue's Room and you'll find that Blue actually talks out loud to Joe, Green Puppy, Magenta and everyone else. This was true even in some of the Steve books. Justified in the books as since readers couldn't hear Blue's (or the other dog characters) barking, and it was an easier way to show what they were saying in the medium (especially for instances where the dog characters would be talking to each other).
    • Of course, astute viewers might note that Blue always could talk. Seriously, some of those barks were so specific that she pretty much was talking if you were clever enough to figure out what she was saying.
    • The clues, beginning in "Our Neighborhood Festival" were no longer drawn by Joe but seemingly drew themselves as if by magic, then talked and sung a little song.
  • Surprise Party: "Joe's Surprise Party," in which the viewers are asked to keep Joe distracted while Blue and the cast finish putting together a surprise birthday party for him. It works out very well.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Steve's replacement, Joe. They're brothers and they act pretty much alike.
  • Tacky Tuxedo: Joe and Steve wear these in the 100th episode. Steve's tuxedo even comes complete with a green-striped vest and a top hat.
  • Take Your Time: Blue wants a snack but won't tell us what that specific snack is. We have to waste god-only-knows how much time playing Blue's Clues to find out what snack she wants. She must not have been that hungry. Downplayed and in some instances justified, because all episodes seem to take place in Real Time, so we can be sure that things will be resolved in less than 20 minutes, which isn't that long. And besides, Blue's Clues is, as Steve and Joe point out, a really great game.
  • Talking Animal: Played straight with Periwinkle, Orange Kitten and Purple Kangaroo, who can all speak English, but averted with Blue and other dog characters such as Magenta and Green Puppy, who mostly communicate by barking.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The show actually makes a concentrated effort to avoid this. Almost all of the characters have non-gender-specific features, and all of them speak with the wholly androgynous voices of small children. It's actually more likely for random characters to be female.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...:
    • This is the answer to Blue's Clues in "Nature!", that Blue wants to do this as a game.
    • In the book release Blue's Backyard Mystery, Blue and her friends Magenta and Periwinkle play the "Cloud Game" at Blue's suggestion. Blue sees a boat, Magenta sees a dinosaur, and Periwinkle sees a banana.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: This is often used and is often combined with the show's particular brand of Fake Interactivity. There were also at least a couple of episodes specifically about feelings and, of course, this trope was right at the fore. A typical example of how this might go...
    Joe: So, tell me, do you think Felt Friend Sam is feeling happy, or sad? ... ...
    Kid's Voice: Sad!
    Joe: That's right! Sam is sad because Anna wouldn't share with him.
  • That's All, Folks!: Every episode ends with Steve or Joe saying goodbye to the viewers and singing the "So Long Song" (or "The Goodbye Song" in Joe's later episodes).
    • Blue's Big Musical Movie ends with Blue holding up a cardboard card reading "Thanks for coming to Blue's Big Musical" as she barks out "Thanks for coming!" right before the credits start. At the end of the credits, another card reading "Bye bye" appears as Blue barks it out.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: In "Shy", Blue blushes as she hides behind the Thinking Chair.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Well, technically the human. In Blue's Big Musical, Steve suddenly realizes that he's never found a clue on his own without the help of the kids. He's sorely depressed about this fact until he looks inside of a box (that the camera can't see in) and realizes—there's a clue in there! He found it himself!
  • Time Skip: One appears to have happened in Blue's Clues & You!. Apparently, in the 13 years the show's been off the air, Joe got a job at the present store somewhere down the line, and moved out of the house. Meanwhile, Steve, having graduated college, opened his own detective agency, which is implied to be quite successful.
  • Title, Please!: In the earlier episodes, the episode titles didn't appear within the episodes themselves. Averted once the show started using "Another Blue's Clues Day"; near the end, Mr. Salt and his family would appear holding a banner with the episode's title, and Mr. Salt would read the title to the viewers. Later, Blue's Clues and You! would show the episode titles outright, along with the episode's writer.
  • Title Theme Tune: "Another Blue's Clues Day." They didn't start using it until after Joe became host, though. Up until then, a simple instrumental theme was used to lead into the program.
  • Toilet Humor: The Toilet Song in Morning Music, even mentioning pee and poo.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Blue's two friends, Magenta and Green Puppy are this, Green Puppy is a little more wild and is interested in demolishing things, as well as having a noticeably deeper voice and being referred in masculine pronouns by Steve once, while Magenta is more timid, artistic, and traditionally feminine, as well as being literally magenta.
    • Magenta is also the Girly Girl for Blue tomboy, although it is quite Downplayed in comparison, since Blue has both moments where she acts like a girly girl and moments where she acts like a tomboy
  • Toyless Toyline Character: Almost every main character received plush toy releases by Eden Toys, Mattel, Ty, or Nanco, including more minor recurring characters such as Green Puppy, Purple Kangaroo, Orange Kitten, and Snail. Neither Sidetable Drawer nor Cinnamon were released in any plush toy line for the series. While Sidetable Drawer received at least three different toys of her during the original series, Cinnamon would not get any sort of toy made of him until the reboot.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Sandwiches and milk for Blue.
    • Milk and orange juice for Paprika.
    • Anything with bananas in it for Steve. Banana cookies, banana muffins, banana bread, etc.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: At least one promo for an episode actually gave enough information for especially astute viewers to figure out the answer to Blue's Clues before the episode had even started.
  • Translation Convention: In some of the tie-in books, Blue, Magenta, and Green Puppy are able to properly speak. Unlike Blue gaining the ability to speak in Blue's Room however, it's possible that these are just their regular barks being translated for the readers' convenience.
  • Triumphant Reprise: Throughout Blue's Big Musical Movie, Sidetable Drawer sings "Sidetable's Lament" about how she wants to sing in the musical, but is too shy to ask. When she and Periwinkle come up with a way to get Steve's attention, she sings a more upbeat version of the song about how she's definitely going to ask Steve this time and sing in the show.
  • Truncated Theme Tune: Beginning in season six, the "Blue's Clues Theme" is shortened to allow more time for the Blue's Room segment.
  • True Blue Femininity: Blue is a girl.
  • Unconventional Food Usage: In "What's so Funny?", a construction worker tries to use a banana to nail in a nail.
    Steve: Question: Why not a hammer?
    Construction Worker: I think I'm going bananas!
  • Universal Driver's License: In "Away Great Playdate" on Blue's Room, Joe conducts a train, drives a taxi and pilots a plane.
  • Unwanted Glasses Plot: Inverted in "Magenta Gets Glasses," which was also released as one of the books. Magenta feels unsure at first about getting glasses, but feels better about it when her friends give her support.
  • Vague Age: The brothers, mostly Joe. Acted by men but they behave like boys but apparently live alone. Steve goes off to college so he's an adult, and likely Joe is, too.
  • Variable Mix: When the clues are reviewed using the notebook, each clue is accompanied by music. Each clue is accompanied by its own melodic line when mentioned, and together, they harmonize.
  • Very Special Episode: "Magenta Gets Glasses", which would later get a remake in the reboot. As the title suggests, Magenta gets her first pair of glasses, and the episode teaches young kids getting glasses for the first time that it's nothing to be nervous or ashamed of, and improves their vision in the end.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Later episodes often covered topics that had been dealt with before, but rather than just being some rehash, they introduced new material. For example, the "Colors Everywhere" episode covered the familiar topic of mixing colors, but took it the new level of showing how the mixed colors could then be mixed with each other to create even more new colors. "Chartreuse, a color I had not seen, looks to me like a yellowish-green. ... Mix blue and yellow and they're suddenly green. Then blue and green makes aquamarine."
    • Chartreuse is also featured in the episode "Blue Takes You to School", where it's pointed out as a color of a chair in the bedroom.
  • Vocal Evolution: Around season six, Sidetable Drawer's voice started to sound more mature.
  • The Voiceless:
    • Blue doesn't speak, but her friends understand her perfectly. Same goes for other dog characters like Magenta and Green Puppy.
    • Librarian Marlee doesn't speak with her voice and only communicates with sign language.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Why exactly was there a sock in a bakery?
    • Miranda, Magenta's owner, only appears in two episodes and is never seen nor mentioned again.
    • In "What Does Blue Need?", we're introduced to Dresser, Ironing Board, and Washer. The former two never appeared again, while the latter made a few cameos in the first season and in some books before permanently only being shown in an "inanimate" form.
  • With Lyrics: Two of the show's background music cues were extended and given lyrics on some of the soundtrack releases:
    • On the album Blue's Big Treasure, the music used for the three clues in "Blue's Big Treasure Hunt" would be given lyrics as "The Things I Love To Do".
    • The album A Playdate With Blue gives lyrics to Magenta's Leitmotif, "Magenta's Coming Over", as "Truly a Friend". Miranda and Steve also sing it with lyrics as "Magenta's Got New Glasses" in "Magenta Gets Glasses".
  • Wrap-Up Song: Every episode ends with the "So Long Song". In Season 6, it's replaced by "The Goodbye Song", which was shorter.
  • You Mean X Mas: There's an episode called Love Day.

Now it's time for so long!
But we'll sing just one more song!
Thanks for doing your part!
You sure are smart!
You know with me and you,
and my dog, Blue!
We can do anything!
That we want to do!


Video Example(s):


Colors, Colors Everywhere

In "Colors, Colors Everywhere!" from "Blue's Clues," Joe, Blue and the colors themselves sing about how you can mix colors to make new ones and then mix the new color you just made to make something else.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ColorfulSong

Media sources: