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Western Animation / Madeline

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"If you believe you must be big in order to be tough
then you should get to know me. I'll teach you other stuff!"
"I'm Madeline", the theme song of the TV specials and first series

Although critically acclaimed animated versions of the Madeline books were produced throughout The '50s (the first was even nominated for an Academy Award), it wasn't until 1988 that CINAR and DiC created the widely remembered TV special based on the first book for HBO. It gave names to three of Madeline's friends (Nicole, Danielle, and Chloe) who would be present in later TV showings. The special was a success, so CINAR and DiC created more specials based on the rest of the books for the Family Channel (now Freeform). The project also saw a soundtrack CD, "Madeline's Favorite Songs", with music from the specials released.

In 1993, after their partnership with CINAR had ended, DiC decided to make a Madeline TV series for Family Channel. Reusing the character designs, some of the talents (Christopher Plummer was held back by DiC as the narrator), and the Title Theme Tune from the old specials, Madeline's other friends were given names, and had various adventures that were not present in the books. Similar to the specials, the show was filled with catchy music. Some notable differences between the CINAR-DiC Partnership version and this version were new voice actors, some girls' hair colors were changed, the animation was much better, and various supporting book characters made more appearances as well. In 1995, more episodes premiered on ABC Saturday mornings, under the title The New Adventures of Madeline. Following a second Soundtrack CD release ("Hats Off To Madeline"), the franchise went into a 4-year hiatus.

The silence ended when DiC made a direct-to-video movie, known as Madeline: Lost in Paris. The plot for this special involved a man posing as Madeline's uncle came to take her to bring her to a finishing school in Vienna, but it was actually a lace factory that put orphan girls to labor. This movie had a slightly different color palette than the 1993 version and different voice actors. Released by Disney in 1999, the movie was later re-released by Shout! Factory on DVD, but removing all Disney idents.

This was immediately followed by the 3rd series, in 2000, when DiC made more episodes, also under the title The New Adventures of Madeline, with improved animation (to follow up with the direct-to-video movie). Also, the color palette changed again for a few of the girls. Many of the voice talents also changed in this version. This version of the cartoon premiered on the Playhouse Disney block of Disney Channel. A third soundtrack CD was released shortly after, "Sing-A-Long with Madeline", after which the franchise once again fell silent.

The next project involving everyone's favorite redhead is the direct-to-video movie My Fair Madeline (although it did air on Nickelodeon once), which was released silently in 2002, one year after the regular cartoon ended. The plot was Madeline and her friends going to stop a gang of thieves. There have been no new episodes of the show produced since and the franchise fell silent once more.

Unknown to a lot of people, another direct-to-video movie of Madeline called Madeline in Tahiti was released in 2007. Not much is known about this movie due to its mainstream obscurity. It's about Madeline and her friends going to Tahiti on vacation and plotting to stop a man's plans to make a volcano erupt so he can steal from the capitol when it is evacuated. Madeline also gets into a disagreement with Pepito and learns that The Power of Friendship is more important than a vacation. Trailers and clips are available on YouTube and it can be purchased on Amazon and iTunes. The movie is also on YouTube but it isn't available for every country. After this, the franchise seems to have ended.

The show focuses on a group of twelve girls who live at a boarding school with a nun named Miss Clavel in Paris, France. They live next door to the Spanish ambassador, who also has a young son named Pepito who is about the same age as the girls. Together, they all often end up on adventures, led by the bubbly red-haired Madeline. Though small, she never lets it get her down and is filled with courage, telling tigers "poo-poo" and finding courage no matter how tough things might seem. Whether it's becoming a famous artist, traveling with gypsies, or solving adventures, Madeline's adventures are rarely ordinary, and sure to be a lot of fun. The English language version of the cartoon is often peppered with French words and phrases, such as mes enfants and oui oui.

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In addition to the tropes carried over from the books, the Madeline cartoons provide examples of:

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  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The DiC series changed up a few of the girls' hair colors between seasons:
    • Janine was a blonde, up until season 3 where her hair suddenly became dark brown.
    • Sylvie had greenish-colored hair while Monique's appeared to be a pink color. Both of them received brown hair in season 3.
    • Ellie (or Simone) also had greenish hair early on, but it was darkened to black by season 2.
    • Chloe's hair is light brown in the original six specials, but it becomes bright orange/titian in the series.
    • Yvette's hair changed from golden blonde in the specials, to strawberry blonde in seasons 1 and 2, to pale blonde in season 3.
    • Lulu's hair changed from brown in the original six specials, to auburn in season 1, to black in seasons 2 and 3.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Many of the cartoon stories, particularly the earlier ones, are highly extended versions of Madeline books. However, given that the cartoon series ended up running four seasons, with a total of 65 episodes, including the original specials, it was inevitable that most of the material would end up being new.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Ludwig Bemelmans actually meant for Madeline to be an American girl studying abroad in Paris. In the posthumously published Madeline in America, her last name is revealed to be Fogg and she has family in Texas. Of course, readers have always assumed that she's a native Parisian, and the animated series, which was produced long before Madeline in America was published, gives her a pronounced French accent.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • The gypsies from Madeline and the Gypsies seem like kidnappers who take Madeline and Pepito into their circus (even though the children enjoy it), and eventually hide them in a lion's suit so that Miss Clavel can't find them. The TV special instead had the gypsies tell Madeline and Pepito to go home after they come down from being stuck on the Ferris Wheel, only for the two of them to express a desire to join their circus, and the Gypsy Mama only agrees to let them temporarily stay. They also don't make Madeline and Pepito wear the lion's suit until after their own lion becomes too sick to perform.
    • In the book of Madeline's Rescue, Lord Cucuface is only an antagonist, who never appears again after he throws Genevieve out, and who remains an antagonist in John Bemelmans Marciano's more recent books too. The animated version gives him a Heel–Face Turn at the end when one of Genevieve's puppies becomes his literal Morality Pet, and he becomes a kindly benefactor for (most of) the rest of the series.
  • Adults Are Useless:
    • In "Madeline's Birthday at the Zoo", a mischievous monkey steals Madeline's new parasol, then unlocks all of the zoo's cages. Madeline and Pepito have to get all of the animals back inside the cages themselves because the zookeeper is taking a ridiculously long lunch break, blissfully unaware of the mayhem going on outside his office. We also see a snack vendor helplessly watch, and the organ grinder doesn't help, either (though his monkey delivers a note to the house). There's also a balloon vendor that disappears. Meanwhile, Pepito's father has fallen asleep on a bench.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • Pepito's cousins return in "Madeline and the Mummy" and seem to have completely forgotten why they stopped being complete jerks in the last episode they were in. Pablito also comes back in "Madeline and the Wedding" and "Madeline's Manners" and still acts like a jerk, but he seems to have learnt his lesson for good in the latter.
    • Sugar Dimples suffers this in Madeline and the Haunted Castle, where after she returns, she allows her homesickness to make her slip back into some of her old bratty behavior (mostly her infamous "Sugar Dimples Temper Tantrum"), but once again she gets better by the end (thank God).
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: Madeline's Birthday at the Zoo. Although viewers who look closely will see that her cake has seven candles.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: In Madeline and the Dog Show, a group of rich, snobby purebred dog owners try to prevent Genevieve from competing in the dog show because she is a mixed breed and doesn't have a pedigree. Thankfully, the judge looks over the rules and finds that mixed breeds are allowed to compete.
  • Alternate Continuity:
    • Madeline's parents were alive in the original books and CINAR specials, but in the series, at least post-1998, they were retconned as being dead after the live-action movie did the same thing.
    • Lost in Paris probably counts as an Alternate Continuity to the show, since not only does it retcon Madeline's parents as being dead, but retcons her as having no living relatives at all, even though she has a cousin named Andre (and an uncle, since he mentions his dad) in Season 1 of the show.
  • Animated Adaptation: The specials are adaptations of the books.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Pepito gets a kiss on the cheek from Madeline after he gives her a new parasol in "Madeline's Birthday at the Zoo." Arguably one of the cutest scenes in the show. Pepito ends up blushing bashfully as a result.
  • Art Evolution: Went a long way from the original books to the last specials, My Fair Madeline and Madeline in Tahiti. And it's still evolving, but thankfully now at a slower pace.
  • Artistic License – Art: In Madeline at the Louvre, the Mona Lisa is depicted as an enormous painting, when actually it's very small.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • The dinosaur song in "Madeline and the Dinosaur Bone" has the lyric, "Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, big and tall! They make the Eiffel seem a trifle small!" However, the Eiffel Tower is 324m at the tip while Barosaurus, one of the biggest dinosaurs ever discovered, grew up to 48m in length.
    • Also in the song, a sauropod is shown chomping on a T-Rex, while another is correctly shown eating the leaves of a tall tree.
  • Author Avatar: Sort of. There's an artist named Ludwig in the TV series who is friends with the girls and is even seen working on the original picture book in one episode.
  • Award-Bait Song: The song "Wishes" from the Madeline's Christmas special stands out as this because of its pop-like quality and sound, despite not being sung by someone famous. Nonetheless, this doesn't lose the syrupy nature of most Madeline songs, and it fits.
  • Banister Slide: This is a fairly frequent occurrence in the series. Madeline is usually the culprit though Genevieve the dog occasionally accompanies her.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Glamor-loving Danielle is Beauty, bookish Chloe is Brains, and joker Nicole is Brawn.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In Madeline at the Ballet, Madeline, feeling that the dance instructor doesn't seem to notice her due to being small, decides to dance the next rehearsal in toe shoes to make her taller and highlight her dancing. However, her inexperience dancing in toe shoes makes her unable to control her movements, which ends with her almost wrecking the stage set. She runs off humiliated. The dance instructor lampshades in good humor that had that happened during a real performance she would have made the show unforgettable.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Generous doses of it, considering that the girls are speaking untranslated French through half of everything. Lost in Paris springs to mind.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Seen on all of the characters.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Madeline and the Cooking School" has the girls and Pepito take cooking classes at Cordon Rouge (Le Cordon Bleu).
  • Bragging Theme Tune: "I'm Madeline". Also counts as an "I Am" Song.
  • Bravado Song:
    • In "Madeline on the Orient Express", a snake escapes on the train. Most of the passengers are afraid, but Madeline isn't, and sings a song about how some people are afraid of certain animals, including snakes, but she isn't.
    • The theme song for the specials, doubling as a Bragging Theme Tune, is about how Madeline is courageous despite her small size.
      I'm not some Shrinking Violet,
      Or doormat for your feet
      I'm quite the bravest, toughest
      Little girl you'll ever meetnote 
  • Cabin Fever: This happened in the second half of "Madeline's Vacation", where a snow drift blocked the tunnel path of Aunt Hilda's cottage. The children saw the rescue patrol and decided to lure attention for them. While nobody suffers cabin fever, Pepito starts being paranoid about a snow monster coming by.
  • Canine Confusion: Genevieve the dog occasionally sheds tears when she's sad even though dogs can't shed tears from emotion in real life.
  • Characterization Marches On: The original special portrays Madeline as a mischievous prankster – for example, pretending to choke on her bread at dinner, or scaring the other girls at night with a shadow puppet "monster." This side of her is toned down in the later specials and series (possibly due to concerns about "imitative behavior," or just because Pepito takes over the resident prankster role), apart from a Not Me This Time Call-Back to the shadow puppet scene in Madeline and the Forty Thieves. The others girls' fear of mice also disappears after the first special.
  • Chekhov's Army: At the start of Madeline and the Forty Thieves, we see a pair of magpies fly briefly across the screen. It turns out that they are the 40 thieves.
  • Chickenpox Episode: In "Madeline and the Costume Party", the girls all get chicken pox. Fortunately, by the time of the party they're no longer contagious and their fevers and sluggishness have disappeared, but they still have spots, which they cover up with facepaint.
  • Children Are Tender-Hearted: All the other girls wail in unison out of worry for Madeline when she's taken to the hospital due to a Ruptured Appendix in the first special.
  • Christmas Episode: Madeline's Christmas, "Madeline's Holiday with Mr. Grump" and the two-part episodes "Madeline at the North Pole" and "Madeline and Santa".
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Nicole in the cartoon, and Chloe in the first special.
  • Cool Big Sis: Tatiana the prima ballerina from Madeline at the Ballet. She might have the most important role, but she makes sure all of her co-stars are treated fairly, including Madeline, who was initially left out of the production because the dance teacher thought she was too short. Even after Madeline botches the first rehearsal, Tatiana finds her bawling her eyes out backstage, comforts her and still allows her to dance in the production, and they pull it off flawlessly.
  • Dangerous Drowsiness: In the adaptation of the first book, Madeline doesn't ice skate with the other girls. Miss Clavel asks her why and she replies that she's tired. Initially, Miss Clavel thinks that Madeline just stayed up late pillow fighting, but it turns out to be appendicitis. This is different from the book, in which the appendicitis came on suddenly.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Chloe gets one in "Madeline and the Old Violin." It turns out that she has talent when it comes to the violin.
  • Did Not Think This Through: In "Madeline and the Haunted Castle," the girls' attempt to cheer up Sugar Dimples by celebrating Halloween fails when they try to go out trick-or-treating: their neighbors, who aren't familiar with Halloween, are only confused and don't give them any candy.
  • Digital Destruction:
    • The Shout Factory and Mill Creek releases of the episodes. Aside from the logo replacement, the main issue is that the framerate is slightly altered. While not as bad, it can be hard for older fans who are used to the previous releases.
    • The biggest offender is "Madeline on the Orient Express" on the Mill Creek releases. When Chloe was spelling at the train station, the scene has a digital hiccup.
    • qubo's airings are yellowed from master deterioration.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Used in every song, but much, much more in the DiC version (ironic since they used to be with Disney). Unsurprisingly, this show airs on the Disney channel in regions outside the US.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Pepito's cousins, by their own admittance, are even worse gits than he is, but they still get chased and nearly gored to death by an enraged full-grown bull.
  • Dub Pronunciation Change: The Mexican Spanish dub of the earlier specials and the first two seasons have Madeline's name pronounced as "mad-eh-len". From Madeline in London onwards they reverted to the original pronunciation.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Lord Cucuface looks completely different in his debut in Madeline's Rescue than he does in the subsequent series. In the special he's thinner, with a narrow face, a long thin nose, gray hair and a gray mustache and goatee. In the series he's portlier, with a blocky face and big rounded nose, and his hair, mustache and goatee are just wisps. The design change corresponds with his friendlier characterization in the series.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The original 1988 special opens with completely different music than the accordion melody used in all the subsequent CINAR specials, which is itself different from the accordion tune that opens every episode of the series.
  • Easter Episode: In the episode "Madeline and the Easter Bonnet", Miss Clavel, Madeline and the girls create a beautiful Easter bonnet for the milkman's horse, Bon Bon. However, an enormous gust of wind sends the hat flying across town, into the shop of a struggling designer, who attempts to market it in time for Easter.
  • Endangered Soufflé: The episode "Madeline at the Cooking School" where Madeline and her friends are learning how to cook at Cordon Rouge has this happen to Nicole. The soufflé she makes is tres manifique, but then it deflates. She cries.
  • Even the Dog Is Ashamed: In the opening of "Madeline and the Treasure Hunt," Genevieve whimpers and whines each time the girls give obviously the wrong answer to questions being asked of them regarding geography. She also does this when the girls misspell words in "Madeline on the Orient Express."
  • Every Episode Ending: Each episode of the cartoon ends with the narrator saying, "And that's all there is. There isn't anymore." Those lines originally appeared at the end of the first Madeline book.
  • Expy:
    • Sugar Dimples, the child star in "Madeline in Hollywood" and a few other episodes, is an obvious stand-in for Shirley Temple. The movie the girls see her in at the beginning of the "Hollywood" episode is clearly inspired by Heidi.
    • Sugar's director's name is Mr. Fleming, as in Victor Fleming, and in "Madeline in New York", the mayor of New York is called Fiorello, as in Fiorello La Guardia.
    • "Madeline and the Tea Party" features a director subtly named Alfred Hamhock and his movie, Dial M for MacGuffin. For a later reference, Greta Gabby.
    • In "Madeline's Detective School", Madeline gives sleuthing lessons to three children named Hercule Parrot, Stan Spade and Miss Marble.
    • "Madeline and the Hunchback of Notre Dame" introduces the actor Gerard Dippity-doo.
  • Foot Bath Treatment:
    • Briefly used to treat Madeline after Genevieve saves her from the Seine in "Madeline's Rescue". (The corresponding scene in the original book does not include the foot bath.)
    • The girls and Pepito all soak their feet in a big tub at one point in "Madeline in New York", not to warm them up, but because their feet are sore from walking all day.
    • Mr. Grump warms up this way after searching for the missing girls in the midst of a snowstorm "Madeline's Holiday with Mr. Grump".
  • For Science!: In "Madeline and the Dinosaur Bone", this is the stated reason why a group of paleontologists is allowed to wreck the garden of the old house, digging a giant mess, and then taking away the dinosaur bone that Genevieve dug up to a museum.
  • French Accordion: Every episode opens with an accordion melody while showcasing Miss Clavel and her pupils on their daily walk around Paris.
  • From Special to Series: Started out as a few specials that aired from the late '80s to the early '90s before becoming a series.

  • Gender Flip: In the original "Madeline's Christmas" book, the magical person that Madeline takes in to care for is a male merchant. For the 1990 TV special, the magical person is a woman.
  • Halloween Episode: "Madeline and the Haunted Castle", "Madeline's Halloween" and "Madeline and the Spider Lady". Since Halloween isn't widely celebrated in France, all these episodes have Madeline and the girls celebrating it with American friends – with Sugar Dimples in the first and with their New York pen pals in the other two.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Madeline in the second DiC series. All other adaptions have her parents alive and well (the old house is a Catholic boarding school, not an orphanage).
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door:
    • Pepito is a mild version. When the writers need someone to taunt and tease the girls, he's usually the one they pass the Villain Ball to. His cousins also count due to their constant Aesop Amnesia.
    • Lord Cucuface also occasionally slips back into an antagonist role, most notably in Madeline and the Treasure Hunt where he almost sacks Miss Clavel. Though he's never as petty as he was in Madeline's Rescue, but always doing what he thinks is best for girls.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Lord Cucuface at the end of Madeline's Rescue.
    • Pepito, of a sort, in Madeline and the Bad Hat.
    • Mr. Grump in Madeline's Holiday with Mr. Grump.
    • Sugar Dimples in Madeline in Hollywood.
  • Homesickness Hymn: "Home, Home, I Want to Go Home" from Madeline and the Gypsies. Near the end, it gets a Triumphant Reprise as "Home, Home, We're Going Home".
  • Honesty Aesop: In "Madeline and the White Lie", Madeline tells lies to some tourists to make the museum seem more interesting. The lie, however, spirals out of control and she learns not to lie because "one lie leads to another".
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Madeline (or rather, her dream self) suffers this during the episode Madeline and the Giants. At first she likes it, but then it comes back to bite the dream Madeline only two minutes in, and the real one ends up crying because of this nightmare.
  • Injured Limb Episode: In Madeline and the Old Violin, the girls' pending classical music performance is almost compromised when Chloe, their star violinist, breaks her arm.
  • Jerkass to One: In "Madeline at the Ballet", Gaston the ballet teacher praises all of the girls when they do well in rehearsal, except Madeline, whose name he can't even be bothered to remember.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Pepito became this after his Heel–Face Turn in his debut cartoon Madeline And The Bat Hat. While not above taking cracks at people or playing relatively harmless pranks, he now knows his limits and can be a very devoted and caring best friend to all twelve little girls, especially Madeline.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: Of course, Madeline speaks English with a French accent. The other characters also speak English with a French accent, except for the ones with voice actors who are Not Even Bothering with the Accent. In the movie, everyone has British accents. The characters, however, particularly Miss Clavel, do occasionally speak a bit of French here and there, in fact, enough that if you watch through the entire series you can probably pick a fair few French phrases.
  • Kid Detective: Madeline plays this role now and then: for example, in Madeline and the Forty Thieves, Madeline and the Lost Crown, and Madeline on the Orient Express. In Madeline's Detective School, she teaches child Expies of Hercule Poirot, Sam Spade and Miss Marple how to solve mysteries too.
  • Lampshade Wearing: In Madeline and the Big Cheese. See CMOF page for details.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Zigzagged. In "Madeline and the Costume Party," the girls contract chicken pox and Pepito laughs every time he sees them. Of course, on the eve of the party, Pepito has caught the illness from the girls and fully expects them to laugh at him too. They spend the evening with him to watch the fireworks instead.
  • Lethal Chef: All the girls start out as this in "Madeline at the Cooking School." They become Supreme Chefs by the end, though.
  • Licensed Games / Edutainment Games: Tons of edutainment titles came out for PC/Macs between the 90s and the turn of the century. Chances are if you studied grade school in the US during the 90s, you would've played one of the titles in the classroom.
  • Lighter and Softer: In the cartoon version of Madeline's Rescue, the girls' two "fights" about who Genevieve will sleep with are playful Childish Pillow Fights, with the girls laughing the whole while, making Miss Clavel's warning that they can't keep Genevieve unless they stop fighting over her seem a bit disproportionate. In the original book, the girls get genuinely angry and the second fight is a particularly nasty brawl, with crying, water-throwing, hair-pulling, and other violence.
  • Limited Animation: It was produced by DiC in the late '80s to the beginning of the 2000s, after all. Though it's extremely evident in the original specials.
  • Mischief-Making Monkey:
    • In "Madeline's Birthday at the Zoo", a mischievous monkey steals Madeline's new parasol then unlocks all of the zoo's cages making Madeline and Pepito running all around the zoo first to chase him then to get the animals back in their cages because the zookeeper is taking a ridiculously long lunch break, blissfully unaware of the mayhem going on outside his office.
    • Averted with the Recurring Extra street busking monkey and organ grinder. The monkey remains at his job happily dancing to the music with a cup for donations. Madeline and the girls will sometimes join him when they pass by on their daily walks.
  • Missed Meal Aesop: Downplayed in the episode "Madeline and the Ice Skates". Madeline practices her ice skating so much that she skips meals and doesn't get enough sleep, and thus becomes weary and hungry. The moral is partly that skipping meals is bad for you, but the main morals are "Don't stay up too late" and "Don't be such a perfectionist".
  • Mona Lisa Smile: In "Madeline at the Louvre", they naturally go see the painting and Chloe and Nicole argue about if she's smiling or not. Later, when Madeline is searching the Louvre for her own painting she brought with her and lost, she seems to wordlessly also ask the pieces of art if they've seen it, to which the Mona Lisa comes to life and shrugs.
  • Named by the Adaptation:
    • Chloe, Nicole, Danielle, Yvette, Nona, Lulu, Anne, Sylvie, Monique, Janine, and Ellie/Simone.
    • Madeline in London gives Pepito's horse the name Piccadilly and calls the gardener Simon, whereas they go unnamed in the original book.
    • Madeline's Winter Vacation reveals that Miss Clavel's first name is Clara.
  • Narrator: Christopher Plummer narrates the series.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Sugar Dimples, i.e. that Shirley Temple Expy who appeared in a few episodes. She was at first mean-spirited and brattish especially off-camera, but had a change of heart when she befriended Madeline, revealing that she suffered from a lack of friends.
  • No Antagonist: Played straight most of the time. Pepito starts out as an antagonist, but is then redeemed a little later on; the same is true for his three bratty cousins. Lord Cucuface also starts out as an antagonist, but takes a level in kindness when one of Genevieve's puppies melts his heart. Otherwise the only places where antagonists show up are in the two direct-to-DVD movies and in Madeline and the Singing Dog.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Genevieve, the dog.
  • Not Me This Time: One scene in Madeline and the Forty Thieves combines this with a Call-Back to the pillow fight scene in the very first CINAR special, when Madeline scared the other girls into hiding under a bed with shadow puppets. Once again a scary shadow appears on the bedroom wall, scaring the girls into hiding under the bed, and Danielle assumes it's one of Madeline's tricks again. Madeline's response? "Excusez-moi, Danielle, but how can that be me when I am right here next to you?"
  • Obsessive Hobby Episode: In "Madeline and the Ice Skates", Madeline takes up ice skating but decides to skip meals and stay up late in order to get more practice in. She becomes malnourished and sleep-deprived, so decides to only practice once a week.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: When Madeline sings "Without You" in Madeline and the Science Project. If you're able to refrain from crying, you'll notice that Madeline has suddenly lost her French accent. Andrea Libman is a bit more prone to this in general than Marsha Moreau or Tracey-Lee Smythe were before her.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: This is the ending of "Madeline in the Magic Carpet". Madeline is told that the adventure she had of riding on a magic carpet and rescuing a genie with Pepito and Pancho was just a dream. That evening, she finds under her bed the magic lamp that had been thrown in Pepito's garbage.
  • Plot Allergy:
    • In Madeline in London, the reason why Pepito has to leave his pet cat behind when his family moves (a detail the original book doesn't explain) is because his mother is allergic to it. In the end, the reason why his mother makes him give up his new horse is not only because the horse ate the whole garden (as in the book) but because it turns out she's allergic to the horse too. This avoids any sense of Disproportionate Retribution for a single mishap.
    • Later in the series, Pepito himself is Retconned to be allergic to cats. In Madeline's Detective School, the fact that he sneezes whenever a worker comes to the house eventually reveals that all the workers are a notorious thief nicknamed "Le Chat" in disguise. Apparently he's even allergic to the word "cat".
  • Poirot Speak: Almost all the characters speak with French accents punctuated by French words here and there. Pepito and his family speak the same way using Spanish.
  • The Power of Friendship: "We love our bread, we love our butter, but most of all, we love each other."
  • Prone to Tears: Not a specific character, per se, but characters in general cry quite often on this show.
  • Put on a Bus: Pepito is forced to move to London with his family when his father is ordered to resume his usual diplomatic business there. They eventually return to Paris, however.
  • Race Lift: Nona originally had light skin, but it was changed to be dark brown in season 2 of the DiC series. Anne and Janine also had their skin tones and hair darkened. This may have been done to add more diversity to the show.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Seeing the girls that she cared for start hating each other is what drives even the reasonable and kind Miss Clavel to this in Madeline and the Can-can Cliques.
  • Recycled Animation
  • Running Gag: When Pepito accompanies the girls on a trip, the taxi always leaves him behind at first.
  • School Play: Madeline and the Hunchback of Notre Dame features a boarding school play based on Victor Hugo's classic novel. Pepito plays Quasimodo, Danielle plays Esmeralda and Madeline plays Phoebus.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Pepito states this in Madeline and the Wedding when Pablito makes fun of Pepito for being friends with Madeline and stating that he is a sissy for being friends with a girl.
  • Shirley Template: Sugar Dimples in Madeline in Hollywood. This is further reinforced by the fictional film Sugar Dimples in the Alps, a send-up of the real-life Shirley Temple playing the lead in a Heidi adaptation.
  • Sick Episode:
    • In the very first book and TV special, Madeline goes to the hospital and has her appendix removed.
    • Madeline's Christmas (the book and TV special) has Miss Clavel and all the girls except Madeline catch a bad cold.
    • Madeline and the Costume Party has Madeline and all her friends catch the dreaded chicken pox. The episode doubles as Nightmare Fuel for anyone who gets, um, uncomfortable around thermometers.
    • Lost in Paris opens with Miss Clavel in bed with a cold and the girls taking care of her.
  • Slasher Smile: Pepito gets a few in the "Bad Bat Hat" song.
  • Song Parody: A subtle one, but the song "Ma Chérie, Oh Madeline" in the original special is a parody of "Oh, My Darling Clementine". The tune is different, but the meter, rhyme scheme and some lyrics (both in English and translated into French) are the same. This gets a bit of a Call-Back in Madeline and the Gypsies when the Gypsy Mama mishears Madeline's name as "Clementine".
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Implied and downplayed. The sheep in Aesop's ''The Boy Who Cried Wolf'' explicitly died when the wolf attacked their shepherd's farm and nobody came to help him. When Madeline told the story to Genevieve, the sheep may have escaped from the wolf's attack, but the shepherd still loses his flock for good.
  • Teacher's Unfavorite Student: In Madeline at the Ballet, Madeline is the only one in her class not initially chosen to perform in the school's production of The Happy Swan because the dance teacher, Gaston, thinks she is too short. She is eventually chosen due to the prima ballerina intervening on her behalf, but during rehearsals, Gaston has no praise for her even when she improves, even though he praises the other girls.
  • Title Sequence Replacement:
    • Disney Channel tacked the theme song of The New Adventures of Madeline onto the original specials and Family Channel-era episodes. (In the case of the original specials, this meant both the songs Hats off to Madeline (during the opening sequence) and I'm Madeline (during the first scene of the special) would be heard!)
    • Post-Lost-in-Paris episodes broadcast in Asia had the theme song "Hats off to Madeline", the second series theme song, replacing "Oh Madeline", the third series' theme song.
  • Translation Convention: The series quite clearly takes place in Paris, yet the characters all speak English, albeit with French accents. This is shown quite boldly in Lost in Paris, when LaCroque uncovers a hidden message that the girls sew into their laces, she reads the words out in English, yet the words are clearly shown to be French.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Mr. Grump in Madeline's Holiday with Mr. Grump.
  • Villain Song: "Mean and Nasty Horrible Hats" from Madeline and the Mean, Nasty, Horrible Hats.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: "A Bad Bad Hat", describing Pepito's mischievous period. It gets a Triumphant Reprise following Pepito's Heel–Face Turn, with lyrics modified on how Pepito is no longer the things Madeline said he was.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Pepito has this to the friggin' word "cat"!! (See Plot Allergy, above.)
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: In Madeline and the Bad Hat, Adaptation Expansion makes this trope into Pepito's Freudian Excuse: his parents are too busy to spend much time with him, so he misbehaves because he's lonely. After the dog attack that leads to his Heel–Face Turn, his parents also realize their mistake and resolve to give him more attention from now on.
  • Whip of Dominance: In "Madeline and the Bad Hat", Pepito carries a whip when he discusses the ways he mistreats his pets in song form. Though he ditches the whip (as well as his hat) when he becomes nicer.

Madeline: Lost in Paris provides examples of:

    Madeline: Lost in Paris 
  • Adults Are Useless: While not played completely straight, the girls and Pepito find Madeline before Miss Clavel and the police (which prevents Madame LaCroque from cutting too much of Madeline's hair). Pepito also prevents Henri from evading arrest when he evades the police.
  • Animation Bump: Lost in Paris has better animation than the specials and first two seasons by virtue of using digital ink-and-paint instead of hand-painted cels.
  • Bad Boss: Madame LaCroque. (Since when would a Benevolent Boss punish her workers for one little slip that they had no control over?)
  • Blatant Lies: Fifi cannot control her coughing, which ruins the lace she is working on... this trope describes what LaCroque tells her: the coughing being Fifi's own fault.
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: Madeline calls LaCroque out after Fifi's coughing leaves yellow splotches on her work.
Madeline: You can't do that to Fifi! It is heartless and cruel! She is sick!
  • Child Hater: Madame LaCroque. In fact, she even says so herself. She abuses orphaned girls and forces them to manually make lace. Whenever the girls are slow or rebellious, she threatens to cut that girl's hair off and use it for lace.
  • Darker and Edgier: Lost in Paris features Madeline being lured away from the old house by someone pretending to be her uncle and is held captive in a sweatshop where she is forced into labor.
  • Dirty Coward: Henri. He attempts to evade arrest from the police twice, but is foiled by a Street Urchin he mistreated and Pepito. His boss, LaCroque, is no better, trying to blame all of her misdeeds on Henri upon arrest.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: To distract Mrs. Murphy so the girls can escape to find Madeline, Pepito arrives bringing his pet mouse, which is let loose in the kitchen, much to Mrs. Murphy's horror. The second time they try to sneak out, they are about to attempt the same method, but she brought his mother's cat over as a solution to this problem. Pepito simply scares the cat off with his shrunken head before letting the mouse loose.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Fifi is a good-aligned example, due to her lack of sunlight.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Madeline's predicament is roughly resolved in a day and a half. After she's is kidnapped, she is immediately found by the girls, Pepito and Miss Clavel the next morning.
  • Foreshadowing: What gifts does "Horst" bestow all the girls with upon his first visit? Laces.
  • Freudian Excuse: According to the story Fifi tells during the fourth act's first few minutes, LaCroque has one. Downplayed in that it's she lost her entire cabaret career after tripping, falling offstage and exposing her underwear. She was forced to sell her hair to make lace, and perhaps out of revenge, began a lace-making sweatshop that imprisoned little girls.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: When the other girls are singing to Horst, one girl is singing and her tone causes the wine glass that Horst is drinking from to shatter.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Fifi gets sick, ruining her lace, and she cannot control it, and LaCroque threatens to punish her, and a pissed Madeline comes to Fifi's defense... and gets thrown in jail under the pretenses of "learning a hard lesson".
  • "Help! Help! Trapped in Title Factory!": Madeline and the other sweatshop girls attempt to do this trope in order for them to be eventually rescued. However, LaCroque happens to catch onto this.
  • Human Ladder: Madeline and the lace girls do a pyramid-version of this to get onto a basement window to escape. In their first attempt to do this, Fifi struggles to get on top, and she trips while climbing which causes the girls' formation to collapse. In their second attempt, Fifi is able to climb up successfully, but LaCroque catches them in the act, and the shock of her doing so causes the formation to collapse again.
  • Hurt Foot Hop: As he and Madeline are about to enter the lace shop, Horst accidentally drops the suitcase he was holding onto his foot. This causes him to do this trope, as well as forget his accent when muttering in pain, which Madeline suspiciously notices.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Even after being arrested, Henri refuses to tell Miss Clavel or the police where Madeline is. He only relents when he is promised a plea bargain. His boss, LaCroque, is even worse, calling him out for helping Miss Clavel and the police at all.
  • Melancholy Musical Number:
    • "Oh Dear, Oh Dear"note , as Miss Clavel and the girls realize Madeline never made it to Austria and something indeed is wrong.
    • "Where is the Hope That I Once Knew?", as Madeline is trapped and wishes she were back home again.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Played with, as Miss Clavel laments not making certain of "Horst"'s true nature when it becomes apparent that Madeline has been stolen away. LaCroque inverts this with HER treatment towards Madeline, claiming to be a "good teacher" when in fact she isn't.
  • Never My Fault: Guess whose fault it is that Fifi got sick, and guess who gets the blame? For the former, LaCroque is the correct answer. For the latter, Fifi.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Madeline first suspects that something is off when Horst opts to take the metro and forces her to abandon Genevieve.
    • Miss Clavel, the girls and Pepito soon after discover that they never boarded the train bound for Vienna. Then when they see Genevieve at the station all alone.
    • Henri gets his own when Miss Clavel spots him.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: An In-Universe example from Horst, who curses in French rather than Austrian when the guy drops Madeline's heavy suitcase on his foot, confirming her suspicion that he is not her uncle. And indeed he's not—he's a failed actor named Henri.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Madeline got a beaded necklace from her mother. She later breaks it when she finds herself kidnapped, leaving a trail to help the other Paris Boarding School girls and Pepito find her. Doubles as a Tragic Keepsake (below).
  • Rage Breaking Point: When LaCroque threatens to sentence Fifi to working with black lace for coughing, which the latter could not control at all, Madeline is absolutely FURIOUS. Cue the girl calling the bitch out.
  • Spanner in the Works: Pepito shows up too late to give Madeline a going-away present, leading to Miss Clavel and the girls taking him to the train station before it leaves for Vienna. That's when they learn that Madeline, Genevieve, and "Uncle Horst" never arrived for the train to Vienna.
  • The Trap Parents: Madeline is adopted by her Uncle Horst and taken from the boarding school to live with him in Vienna. Madeline is ecstatic to have a living family, until her "uncle" turns out to be Henri, who takes her to be imprisoned and enslaved in La Croque's lace factory.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Madeline's beaded necklace, left to her by her mother. Madeline uses these to leave clues for her friends when she realizes she is being kidnapped, saving only one to remind herself to stay strong. Madeline's friends are eventually successful in retrieving all of them in their search for her.
  • Trail Of Breadcrumbs: Madeline drops beads so that her friends can follow her to wherever her "uncle" is taking her.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Downplayed. LaCroque threatens the lace shop girls with this all the time because lace is supposedly made from human hair. But when she finally cuts Madeline's hair, she only manages to do a few strands on one side; this is treated as if the poor girl has been shorn. Her 11 schoolmates later copy the cut in solidarity. However, Fifi's haircut is much more ragged and unattractive, thus playing the trope a little straighter. By the end of the movie, everyone's hair has grown back.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "Family" returns at the very end, as Madeline expresses true friendship and she, the eleven girls, Miss Clavel and the lace shop girls all agree they're a true family.
  • Wham Shot: Horst taking the metro instead of the Orient Express is the first alert that something is off.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Henri handles Madeline quite roughly when she figures out his "Uncle Horst" ruse as he takes her into the lace shop. She even urges him not to push her, but he does so anyway. When he is arrested later on, the police push Henri in much the same way.
  • Would Hurt a Child: LaCroque threatens to forcibly cut the hair of the sweatshop girls if they cross her and later does so to Madeline. Even worse, she makes Fifi work on black lace, not caring at all if the poor girl goes blind from it, thanks to an illness that was '''LaCroque's''' fault!

My Fair Madeline provides examples of:

    My Fair Madeline 
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Miss Clavel and Lord Cucuface get shoehorned into this, of all people. Sure, Madeline ruined the Louvre during her first attempt to stop Maximo and the guy made his escape scott-free, but did you two really have to say that she was misbehaving? On top of that, you two even sent her off for it! They go back to their true selves again near the end, trying to aid Madeline in stopping the thieves and
  • Adaptational Wimp: Madeline of all people becomes this despite her badassery earlier in the series. She becomes The Woobie just for the sake of the plot and most plans that she has to catch Maximo Richard and Dumbella fail miserably. Downplayed in that it's just bad luck plaguing her and not her becoming a coward.
  • Adults Are Useless: None of the adults really believe that Madeline witnessed the couple who tried to steal the painting (due to her attempts to stop the heist from damaging the Louvre though she did not intend that) and later, their plan to steal the Crown Jewels. Not even Lord Cucuface and Miss Clavel have much of a role here and they couldn't even convince the police to free Madeline when she was wrongly jailed until Emma revealed the truth to the King.
  • Blatant Lies: "Madeline is a liar who likes misbehaving!" YEAH RIGHT!
  • Book Ends: The movie opens with Miss Clavel and the girls singing "Show Off Your Best" with the lyrics being about how it's important to act proper and have good manners. At the very end of the movie, the characters sing a reprise of this song but the lyrics are about while it's good to have good manners, it's more important to be true to yourself.
  • The Bully: Emma, the blonde ringlet-haired, freckle-faced student at the finishing school who openly belittles Madeline, fills this role during her first appearance, even going out of her way to bully Madeline every chance she gets. She gets better and asks Madeline if they could be friends by the end after apologizing for taking the credit in capturing the thieves.
  • Butt-Monkey: Madeline of all people plays this role in the movie. She witnesses a couple trying to steal a painting, but accidentally destroys property in the Louvre attempting to stop them. Because of this and the fact that nobody believes her, she is sent to a finishing school to become more ladylike where she is bullied by Emma and gets into disagreements with her teachers about how a lady should act. When she sneaks out to find the thieves, she gets into trouble and is almost arrested by police officers for trespassing in a hotel. She climbs Big Ben and almost falls off the hand of the clock. On the day that the thieves planned to steal the king's jewels, she is not credited in catching the thieves and is arrested under the belief that she was trying to steal the crown. Luckily, in the end, Emma tells the truth and Madeline is freed and deemed a hero.
  • Cassandra Truth: This is what sets off the plot: Madeline spots two people attempting to steal a painting, but is unable to prove it. The hotel manager is fooled into thinking her words are Blatant Lies thanks to someone who believes that she's lying.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Pepito does not appear in this special.
  • Darker and Edgier: My Fair Madeline is overall meanspirited and features Madeline being sent away to finishing school because nobody will believe her when she witnesses an attempted robbery and many of the characters are much harsher towards her. She also almost falls off Big Ben and ends up in jail for a short time.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: While Madeline was in finishing school, her teacher says that a lady must always agree with a gentleman, which she finds ridiculous. He calls her out on expressing her opinion (unless called for) as being unladylike as well.
  • Demoted to Extra: The other girls, Miss Clavel and Loud Cucuface get a lot of less screen time with Madeline being sent away to London. While the other girls get decent screen time with trying to find evidence to clear Madeline's name, Miss Clavel and Lord Cucuface barely appear in the movie after Madeline goes to London until near the ending.
  • Determinator: Despite becoming a Butt-Monkey who gets put through the wringer for the whole movie, Madeline never stops trying to do the right thing in trying to stop the thieves.
  • Downer Beginning: Madeline is punished for causing chaos within a museum. Granted, she was trying to stop some thieves and damaged the museum on accident, but sending her off to Finishing School was too much.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Most of Madeline's plans fail miserably, mainly because nobody will believe her about the thieves.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After spending the whole movie facing a lot of bad luck, Madeline is deemed a hero and succeeds in stopping the thieves.
  • Everyone Has Standards: While the teachers at the finishing school are harsh towards Madeline, they don't truly believe that she would steal.
    • Despite the police believing that Madeline was causing trouble and try to arrest her, they do take pity on her and don't tell the teachers how she got stuck on Big Ben to spare her from more trouble.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Madeline's red hair looks more like auburn in this special.
  • Metaphorically True: Madeline tries to catch the thieves at Big Ben, but causes the clock to go haywire. The police catch her and send her back to the nursing home. When the owners furiously ask her where she's been, she simply replies that she "had a problem with the time." The narrator even calls her excuse "pathetic", but adds that the police took pity on her and didn't go into details telling the teachers on what really happened to avoid getting her into further trouble.
  • Stealing the Credit: Emma just barely manages to subvert this, and thus a potential Downer Ending. When everyone assumes she is the one who stopped the thieves, Emma lets them take the credit but at the last minute, she realizes that she was wrong and admits that Madeline is the true hero and helps to get her freed from prison.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Lampshaded by Madeline about the teachers and other students at the finishing school.
  • Taking You with Me: Dumbella may have as well done this when she was defeated, handing the crown to Madeline to make her look like the thief. This leads to Madeline getting hit with Misplaced Retribution.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "Show Off Your Best" has a reprise in the ending but the song is more about being true to yourself no matter what.
  • Villain Song: Emma's "I Want to Be a Star", counterpoint to Madeline's reprise of "Show Off Your Best".
  • Vocal Dissonance: Miss Clavel's voice was provided by Whoopi Goldberg. Hence, her voice sounded much deeper than usual which is jarring for long-time viewers of Madeline.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Madeline witnesses a man and a woman trying to steal a painting, but very few believe her. This causes her to get sent to a finishing school, get into trouble with police officers and other citizens, and later causes her to be arrested and put in jail. Eventually, they find out that she is right and she is freed and deemed a hero for her actions.

Madeline in Tahiti provides examples of:

    Madeline in Tahiti 
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Miss Clavel gets hit with this again, acting more strict and unreasonable when she misblames Pepito for destroying her roses and grounds Madeline twice without truly hearing her or Pepito's side of the story of what happened and also jumps to the conclusion that Pepito stowing away was partly Madeline's idea. She reverts back to her usual self by the end of the story when the scar-faced man pleads guilty to his crimes, including spying on everyone at the old house and ruining the roses. She sincerely apologizes to Pepito for her attitude and for not believing him.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: While Madeline is right that letting Pepito remain a stowaway is a bad idea, the rest of the girls raise a fair point that Pepito is most likely the one who stopped Miss Clavel from retiring when he informed the group about Tahiti.
  • Cassandra Truth: Like My Fair Madeline, part of the plot involves Pepito seeing the scar-faced man at the old house but nobody believing him because he is unable to prove himself
  • Didn't Think This Through: When Pepito realizes that the scar-faced man intends to follow Madeline and the others to Tahiti, his first reaction is to stowaway to Tahiti to help her instead of at least attempting to tell his parents about it or alerting the authorities that the scar-faced man is still at large.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Pepito acts this way towards Taro, becoming very jealous that Madeline is befriending him and eventually starts choosing Taro over Pepito due to her getting in trouble for no reason thanks to Pepito. He gets over in the end and the two boys become friends.
  • Grand Finale: This is the last entry in the animated franchise to date.
  • Lighter and Softer: Downplayed. While there is still the threat of the scar-faced man making the volcano erupt and trying to steal from the capitol going on and the conflict between Madeline and Pepito, the movie's tone is overall more lighthearted with more scenes of fun times and enjoyment.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: When Pepito's antics begin to get himself and Madeline in trouble one too many times, Madeline swears off her friendship with him, but redacts her statement when she eventually realizes that Pepito was right about the scar-faced man following everyone to Tahiti.
  • Friendship Song: Madeline, Miss Clavel and the rest of the girls sing "Friends Forever" when they reaffirm their friendship with Pepito.
  • Ship Tease: With Madeline and Pepito. Pepito gets jealous when Madeline says that she intends to replace him with Taro as her best friend and later dashes off to her rescue in concern when he realizes that she's headed towards an active volcano in an attempt to return Pele's statuette to her shrine.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Pepito sees the scar-faced man spying on everyone at the old house, but no one believes him after he's mis-blamed by Miss Clavel for destroying her roses. Madeline also stops believing him after Pepito (unintentionally) keeps getting her into trouble.

It's time to go, au revoir,
Though you may shout, "Encore!"
That's all there is,
There isn't anymore!
(Genevieve: Arf arf!)


Video Example(s):


Home, Home, I Want to Go Home

Madeline and Pepito, stuck in a lion costume for the circus they're traveling with, sing a song about their homesickness that's so sad, it upsets the wild animals!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / HomesicknessHymn

Media sources: