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Western Animation / The Backyardigans

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Your backyard friends. note 

"We've got the whole wide world in our yard to explore..."
Opening theme

A Canadian-American 3D CGI-animated series broadcast worldwide, mostly on Nick Jr. and its parent network. The series debuted in 2004 (based upon a pilot from 1998) and ended in 2010.

The cast are all young Funny Animal friends: Pablo the penguin, Tyrone the moose, Uniqua the... "uniqua", Tasha the hippo, and Austin the kangaroo. All five live in what appears to be a suburban neighborhood with a large common backyard area.

We open on one or more of the characters in the backyard playing "pretend", setting up the scenario for the viewer in a song and dance which also reveals the episode's musical genre. Then things segue into a sort of holodeck-style fantasy — whether in the kids' imaginations or literally isn't quite clear — in which the backyard is transformed into the setting of the story and the characters dressed in appropriate costumes. From here the quest is treated entirely as if it were real...albeit clearly based on a child's logic...and frequently interrupted by musical asides.


Most episodes feature typical fantasy scenarios — cowboys, superheroes, pirates, explorers — but some are more sophisticated, and in later seasons especially several are full-on parodies of adult action-adventure: James Bond, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Ghost Busters, etc. Further blurring the line between reality and imagination, the setting they create doesn't always stay within their control. Characters who weren't seen initiating the fantasy frequently show up within it, occasionally operating completely unbeknownst to the others, and the different plotlines collide in unexpected ways. The only consistent requirement is that a story contain no more than five characters, since no other speaking parts appear (excepting a couple one-offs in specials).

There seem to be no space or time limits while the fantasy is in progress, but in reality it never lasts longer than an afternoon, since it's always dispelled by somebody's tummy conveniently rumbling just after the adventure ends. They race home for snacks, the story setting disappearing behind them as they go. The only indication that anything out of the ordinary just happened is Tyrone's comment: "That was an excellent _________ adventure, don't you think?"


Notable for its heavy use of original music (overseen by Lounge Lizards founder Evan Lurie), in a different genre — and usually not the one you're expecting — in each episode. The photorealistic dance moves that have likewise become a series trademark are originated by live-action dancers performing as each character to that show's music; according to the creators, this process also gives the characters much of their individual personality.

For some, this general idea sounds familiar. However, the excellent music alone, an expertly affectionate tribute to the genres in question, makes this show a standalone winner. It has also managed to pick up a sizeable Periphery Demographic as one of the few current children's programs to work on multiple demographic levels simultaneously, attracting preschoolers who just love to dance to the fun sounds, older kids and teenagers who want creative storylines, and adults who can appreciate the details of the musical scores and genre parodies. Refusing to use Fake Interactivity or otherwise try to hammer home a lesson, the show effectively celebrates intelligence and creativity without preaching about either one.

Thanks to its genre-hopping nature, this show tends to run through a lot of standard tropes, often in a single episode:

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  • Absentee Actor:
    • Pablo doesn't appear in "Chichen Itza Pizza".
    • Tyrone is absent for "Ranch Hands from Outer Space", "Pirate Camp", "Dragon Express", "The Funnyman Boogeyman", and "The Flipper!".
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Pablo only wears a cap and bowtie.
  • Accidental Art: Tyrone splattering paint on the brand new canvas in "Who Goes There?" results in this.
  • Acrofatic: Tyrone, the biggest of the kids, is pretty fast (in "Escape From Fairytale Village", he could outrun a witch, a wolf, and a giant) and is a talented dancer.
  • Adaptational Expansion: In the Nintendo DS game:
    • Yucky Man and Dr. Shrinky use a gadget (which the player must construct) to obtain the key to the world. In the episode, they don't have a gadget.
    • Tasha appears in the "Tower of Power" level as Super Snap (from the episode "Front Page News"). She was absent from the actual episode.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Uniqua's species is actually called the uniqua. Who knew?
  • Adorkable:
    • Space Officer Tyrone. "We're gonna get some floatmeal, gonna get some floatmeal!"
    • Repairman Austin. "The phone is ringing! Oh, I'm so happy!"
  • An Aesop: A few episodes have been set aside for morals. "Samurai Pie" hammers in the lesson "Just keep trying", and "The Two Musketeers" has both "Don't judge a book by its cover" and "Don't hate people for petty reasons".
  • Air Guitar: Tyrone does this during the song "Gotta Get the Job Done" in the episode "Monster Detectives".
  • Airplane Arms: Uniqua does this near the beginning of "Fly Girl".
  • Aliens Speaking English: The aliens in "Mission to Mars", "News Flash", "Ranch Hands from Outer Space", "Los Galacticos", and "The Big Dipper Diner".
  • All Animals Are Dogs: The giant clam and Boy the dinosaur act like dogs.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Subverted to hell and back with "Special Delivery" and its "Do-Gooders".
  • All-CGI Cartoon: Though a lot of books and other marketing shows them as 2D.
  • Alliterative Family: Every robot from "Robot Rampage" has a name beginning with "R". Case in point: Roscoe, Reba, Ripley, Racquel, and Rex.
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Uniqua's persona in "Whodunit?": Uniqua Underhood.
    • From "Catch That Train!", Pablo Pablovitch.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: OK, Tyrone (orange moose) and Pablo (blue penguin) get a pass, and Uniqua's a special case, but what's up with Austin (purple kangaroo) and Tasha (yellow hippo)?
  • American Gothic Couple: In "News Flash", the first shot of Pablo and Tyrone at their farm resembles the American Gothic painting, intentional or not.
  • Anachronism Stew: Tons. It's Justified because the entire premise of the show is based around five kids using their imaginations to have adventures.
    • A particularly ridiculous example is "Break Out!": the story takes place at a tower in a high fantasy world... that happens to have a Laser Hallway, security cameras, an elevator, and guards with radio headsets.
  • Ancient Egypt: In "The Key to the Nile".
  • Ancient Greece: In "Match on Mt. Olympus". "Sinbad Sails Alone", oddly enough since the title character is from an entirely different mythology, features Medusa and a Siren.
  • Angry Mob Song: "The Customer Is Always Right" and "Awesomely Bad Time" in "The Swamp Creature" may probably count. Probably, because the mob here is made of only two characters.
  • An Ice Person: Tasha as the Ice Lady in "The Secret of Snow".
  • Animal Athlete Loophole: In "Horsing Around," Molasses is Tyrone's race-donkey.
  • Animals Not to Scale
  • Appease the Volcano God: "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters" revolves around the three boys trying to figure out what the titular sisters want the most or else the volcano will erupt destroying the Luau. Austin realizes that Uniqua and Tasha want to be invited to the boys' Luau.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Austin (on a kid's level) in "The Two Musketeers".
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: In "Movers of Arabia".
  • Art Evolution: The character designs were retooled a bit for the second season to up the cuddliness level, especially for Tasha and Austin.
  • Aside Glance: A lot. Especially for Uniqua and Tyrone.
    • The most noticeable one is in "Castaways" when Uniqua — realizing that Tyrone and Pablo seriously don't realise that it was Austin who helped them — turns to look straight at the camera and then shrugs her shoulders. Earlier in the same episode, after the coconuts roll in, Uniqua side-glances at the audience for a split second and then says "Maybe we're not alone here after all".
    • Pablo shoots the camera an "I don't believe this" look after Tasha takes credit for finding the Yellow Lotus Flower in "The Key to the Nile."
    • The earliest example (at least if you follow the Canadian airdates) might be Tyrone doing this in "The Yeti" when the girls start arguing, as if to say "Why did I even come?"
    • There are also a few episodes (i.e "High Tea") where Tyrone says his Catchphrase to the camera.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Tyrone, Uniqua, Pablo, and Tasha all drive through one in "Cops and Robots" and sing a song about it.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: Happens in "Race Around The World", during a song no less!
    Austin: When my toes get cold and I've had enough,
    I don't quit when the going gets tough!
    The snow kids shout...
    Pablo: Help!
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Parodied in "Attack of the 50 Foot Worman", in which Sherman becomes a giant.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Pablo in "Pirate Camp" keeps getting distracted by the very shiny red boot.
  • Bag of Holding: Ohhh boy.
    • The ultimate example would probably be Uniqua and Pablo's trunk in "To the Center of the Earth", which could hold several inventions, a telescope, a hammer, a thermos, a lasso, a ladder, a bucket, a net, an umbrella, a sponge mop, a hat stand, a lamp, a rake, poles, skiis, a feather duster, a bike horn, wooden spoons, a large tuba, string, marshmallows, a spring, helium-filled balloons... do I need to go on?
    • They also brought a ridiculous amount of random, unnecessary supplies (seriously, bath soap?) to Mars in an ridiculously small box in...well, "Mission to Mars".
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: Each season's opening teases a handful of episodes, but in the first season, the characters featured in each case don't always match up with the episodes themselves. note 
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Uniqua and Austin in their regular clothes. This applies occasionally to Pablo and Tyrone's various costumes on select episodes.
  • Beach Episode: The whole point of episodes such as "Surf's Up" or "Legend of the Volcano Sisters".
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Tyrone becomes one in "It's Great to be a Ghost".
  • Berserk Button: In "Best Clowns in Town". Don't make Ringmaster Tyrone miss his train. Just don't. Especially if you're a clown.
  • Big "NO!": Oh yeah. Bad bot Tasha does this in "Cops and Robots", when Uniqua flips Pablo's back switch, which turns him into a good Bot. Also Pablo in "Blazing Paddles" and Tyrone in "Who Goes There?", "The Magic Skateboard" when the eponymous Magic Skateboard falls down the hill and "Monster Detectives" when Uniqua is about to be turned into a soccer monster.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Pablo in "The Yeti", Tyrone in "Fly Girl" and Austin and Tyrone in "The Action Elves Save Christmas Eve".
  • Big Red Button: In "Legend of the Volcano Sisters", the title characters threaten to cause the eruption of the volcano by pressing such a button. The doorbells in various episodes could also count, since they are always red.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: In "The Yeti", Tasha claims to be a Frozen North expert, but she, Uniqua, and Tyrone all get lost while searching for Yeti Pablo.
  • Blow You Away: Pirate Pablo has wind powers in "Super Team Awesome!".
  • Bo Diddley Beat: "The Flipper!" has this as its music genre, with the first song set to the tune of "Bo Diddley".
  • Booby Trap: In "Secret Mission", and "The Snow Fort".
  • Bookcase Passage: In "It's Great to be a Ghost", "Whodunit?", and "The Masked Retriever".
  • Bookends: Each episode starts and ends in the titular backyard.
  • Bottomless Pits: In "Fly Girl".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the framing scenes, also inside the fantasy if the main character is alone.
  • Brick Joke: The horse appearing when Tyrone opens the door in "Who Goes There?".
  • The Butler Did It: Tyrone in "Whodunit?", although this could be considered subverted since he actually had permission to 'steal' Lady Tasha's necklace, because it was really just a mystery game.
  • Butt-Monkey: It seems like the writers really hate Tyrone. "Match on Mt. Olympus" and "Robot Rampage" are pretty good examples of this.
    • Thankfully, there are a few episodes (i.e "It's Great to Be a Ghost!") where he gets the last laugh.
  • Busby Berkeley Number: "I Get Whatever I Want" from "Robot Rampage, Part 2".
  • Call-and-Response Song: Pretty much any song involving more than one character is this.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Pancakes are called 'zum-zum' by aliens Zuniqua and Zablo in "Ranch Hands from Outer Space".
  • Call-Back: "Le Master of Disguise": Pablo wears several costumes from previous episodes, including a clown costume ("Best Clowns in Town"), a mountie uniform ("The Snow Fort"), and a king outfit ("Tale of the Mighty Knights", which was actually the previous episode).
  • The Cameo: The song "Secret Agent" from "Secret Mission" pops up in Orange Is the New Black, of all shows.
  • Canada, Eh?: Tyrone, the moose character. Indicated during "Secret Mission" , in which he carries around a bottle of Spy Maple Syrup with an unmistakeable little red maple leaf on the label.
    • Also, in "Race to the Tower of Power", the tower looks remarkably like the CN Tower, a famous landmark in Toronto.
    • In "The Masked Retriever", Uniqua mentions Lake Erie.
  • Captain's Log: Tasha has one in "Garbage Trek".
  • Captain Obvious: From "Into the Deep":
    Pablo: Speed?
    Tyrone: Fast.
    Pablo: Direction?
    Tyrone: Down.
    Pablo: Temperature?
    Tyrone: Cold.
    Pablo: Time?
    Tyrone: Uh, now.
  • Cartoon Creature: Ah, Uniqua. Word of God says that she is "her own unique species".
  • Casting a Shadow: Austin as the Gloom Meister in "Flower Power".
  • Catch-Phrase: Various, particularly Tyrone's "That certainly is convenient" when a Deus ex Machina appears, and Tasha's "Oh, for goodness' sakes!" when...well, pretty much constantly. Also, "Pablo? Pablo... PABLO!" whenever Pablo has a panic attack. In addition, each episode has a setting-specific phrase, featured in the opening song, which also doubles as the show's closing Couch Gag.
    • There are also some role-specific catchphrases, i.e the Flipper's "Where is meteor?!", and Austin Frothingslosh's "Great Caesar's Ghost!".
  • The Cavalry: Austin in "International Super Spy".
  • Ceiling Cling: Austin can walk on the ceiling in "Tale of the Mighty Knights". Also Tasha and Pablo in "Cops and Robots".
  • Chekhov's Gun: Tyrone's "spy maple syrup" in "Secret Mission".
    • Also, the thermos box in "Chichen-Itza Pizza".
  • Christmas Episode: "The Secret of Snow" and "The Action Elves Save Christmas Eve."
  • Clark Kenting: Parodied in "Front Page News". Also played straight in "Le Master of Disguise", in which the mystery hinges around Great Detective Austin not twigging that his prey is a little blue penguin who never bothers to conceal his face.
  • Clock Tower/Race Against the Clock: In "International Super Spy", and "Blazing Paddles".
  • Clown Car: The clown car in "Best Clowns in Town".
  • Color-Coded Characters: When the not-so-nice dragon is converted to good, he changes from an angry orange color to a pleasant green.
    • In terms of the main cast, Pablo is blue, Tyrone is orange, Uniqua is pink, Tasha is yellow, and Austin is purple. Their houses are the same colors, respectively.
  • Companion Cube: Pablo's teddy bear from "The Flipper!".
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The Tickle Table in "International Super Spy".
  • Cool Plane: Uniqua's propeller biplane in "Fly Girl". It's pink!
  • Cool Shades: Austin wears some at one point in "Surf's Up!", and so do Pablo and Tyrone in "Elephant on the Run!". They're also present during the "You Can Do It" song sequence in "Garbage Trek".
  • The Comically Serious: Mr. Spiffy in "What's Bugging You?".
  • Crazy-Prepared: The "Ready for Anything" song from "Mission to Mars" exemplifies this trope. The astronaut Backyardigans have everything you could think of for their trip to Mars... "Cables and rope. Check! Flashlight and sneakers. Check! Bubble bath soap. Check!" As Austin notes...
    We brought a whole lot, so why take a chance?
  • Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: Tyrone and Pablo in "The Two Musketeers".
  • Cultural Translation: The UK dub has a lot of this, especially when the snack is offered at the end of the episode.
    • For some reason, "High Tea" is called "The Tea Party" in the UK dub.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: Uniqua opening the box in "Movers of Arabia".
  • Cute Monster Girl: Uniqua in "Monster Detectives" and "Scared of You", although the latter counts more since she actually looks like a monster rather than looking like herself in a torn soccer shirt.
  • Cute Witch: Uniqua again, in "Escape from Fairytale Village".

  • Da Editor: Pablo in "Front Page News".
  • Dancing Theme
  • Dark Horse Victory: Tyrone and Molasses in "Horsing Around".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tyrone, at times audibly and more often visually. Somehow, despite the character wearing no pants, he manages to give the impression he's slouching with his hands stuck in his pockets.
    • This is particularly helped when he's animated with his hands in nonexistent pockets.
    • Fridge Brilliance: Maybe he's wearing orange footie pants.
  • Death World: The locations in "Save the Day". "Shark Bite Bay", "Disaster Reef", "Straits of Despair", and more.
  • Debut Queue: Nick Jr. invoked this by choosing "Knights are Brave and Strong" as the premiere episode in America; it's the first time we see everyone in action. note 
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Just about any character who plays a villain role is turned good in the end, since this is a little kids' show and the characters can't be killed off or arrested.
  • Deserted Island: The castaway island variety in "Castaways", the lost world variety in "To the Center of the Earth", and the treasure island variety in "Pirate Treasure" and "Pirate Camp".
  • Deus ex Machina: Cheerfully lampshaded about once per episode: "Well, that certainly is convenient!" Justified as it's in the character's imagination.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: In "The Two Musketeers", Austin the palace guard makes no secret of his admiration for the Musketeers.
  • Disaster Dominoes: A staple. In "Fly Girl", Uniqua knocks over several pillars; in "Who Goes There?", several mummy sarcophaguses land on each other; in "To the Center of the Earth", large pillar-like diamonds are knocked over, and in "The Flipper!", several pillar-like rocks are knocked over.
    • Bookshelf Dominoes: In "Attack of the 50 Foot Worman", much to Groundskeeper Tyrone's dismay.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Uniqua/Lady in Pink's Villain Song in "International Super Spy".
  • Don't Look Down: Tasha says this several times in "Chichen-Itza Pizza", as she has a fear of heights.
    Tasha" Don't look down! Don't look down! Tasha, don't look down!"
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Shows up quite a lot, surprisingly enough. For instance, from "Tale of the Mighty Knights", during the song "We're Knights":
    Tyrone: Next we crossed a river then scaled the cliffs... of doom!
    • Painful Rhyme: The next line goes "Then we took a little break and went to the bathroom..."
  • Door Dumb: "Knights Are Brave and Strong" contains a particularly silly example. Uniqua the Pink's second challenge is getting through the gate the Guardian of the Gate guards, a feat no one has ever done before. Even the Guardian himself is unable to open the gate. Completely impenetrable, right? Nope— it's just that nobody thought of pulling on the Gate's handles instead of pushing.
    • A minor example later in the same episode calls back to that scene. Upon finally reaching King Austin's castle, Tyrone tries to pull open the door, but fails. Pablo (the aforementioned Guardian) then steps up and pushes it, and it opens easily.
  • Dragon Rider: Every episode with Dragon features the characters riding him like a magestic steed.
  • Dramatic Drop: Tasha drops some planks in "Ranch Hands From Outer Space" when she finds out that Zuniqua and Zablo (Uniqua and Pablo) made a fence going to the sky. In "Elephant on the Run", Uniqua drops her most prized cookie jar when she sees Tyrone and Pablo jumping off her plane with the elephant.
  • Dub Name Change: Most dubs keep the name "Backyardigans", or at least some variation of that. However, in the French dub, they're called the "Mèlodilous" (Melodious Ones).
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The first episode used a different font for the opening credits than later episodes.
    • Uniqua had a slight case of Elmuh Fudd Syndwome in early episodes. In "Pirate Treasure", she says "You can tell I'm a piwate because...", and in "The Heart of the Jungle", she calls herself "Professor Uniqua, the bwilliant scientist".
    • In Season One, the characters stood still while the background transformed around them. In one instance, the background changed before the transformation music started. In Season Two onwards, the characters started running into the yard while the background transformed, and appeared in their fantasy clothes once the transformation was complete.
  • Egg Sitting: In "The Tale of the Mighty Knights".
  • Embarrassing Last Name:
    • Austin, or at least his character, in "Whodunit?". Seriously, Austin Frothingslosh?
    • He also does time as 'Austin Stinkypants' in "Robin Hood the Clean". Justified since it's supposed to be a Meaningful Name.
    • And if you thought "Frothingslosh" was hilariously silly, "Catch That Train!" has Pablo Pablovitch, the hilariously lazy.
  • Enthralling Siren: In "Sinbad Sails Alone", Tyrone and Pablo encounter Siren Uniqua, who makes them play "Siren Says" in order to get water from her island.
  • Epic Fail: "A Giant Problem": Wizards Pablo and Tyrone try to cast a magic spell that will shrink Giant Tasha. The spell ends up enlarging both them and Queen Uniqua.
  • Establishing Shot: Every episode begins with an overhead shot of the kids' backyard.
  • Every Episode Ending: Episodes generally end with the Backyardigans singing the end song and rushing into one of their homes for a snack. One of them then shouts a catchphrase heard throughout.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Cowboy Tyrone is on his way to Texas for a hoedown in "Riding the Range".
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Tyrone thinks that everyone's trying to eat him during "Escape from Fairytale Village". (They actually want him to eat with them.)
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Boy in "Caveman's Best Friend" and "To the Center of the Earth".
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Pablo.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess Cleotasha (Tasha) in "The Secret of the Nile" and Princesses Uniqua and Tasha in "Break Out!".
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: The rainbow in "Sinbad Sails Alone".
  • Everything's Better with Samurai: Tyrone in "Samurai Pie", though it's unclear whether Tyrone is a true samurai or just a baker with samurai moves.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Some of the choreography could definitely count as this. The Backyardigans (particularly Uniqua) are constantly twirling.
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: The sharks in "Save the Day".
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: In "Whodunit?", and "Le Master of Disguise".
  • Evil Laugh: Tasha's in "Scared of You", Pablo's in "Le Master of Disguise", "Blazing Paddles" and "Robot Rampage", and Uniqua's in "International Super Spy". Austin finally gets one in "Flower Power" when he portrays "Gloom Meister," though in a possible bit of Lampshade Hanging, he is forced to admit that it's not his real laugh (he just does it to sound scarier). His real laugh sounds much nerdier.
  • Evil Plan: In "International Super Spy", and "Cops and Robots".
  • Evolving Credits: Each season updates the theme song with new adventures.
    • Also, the theme song itself changes the voices of the characters when they got a new voice actor.
  • Excited Episode Title!: "Eureka!", "For The Love of Socks!", "Break Out!", and "The Flipper!".
  • Expository Theme Tune
  • Expy:
    • If Hippo traded all his clothes for just a propeller hat and bowtie, he would pretty much look like Pablo.
    • "Escape From Fairytale Village"'s eponymous village is almost identical to Storybrook Village, right down to being described as "where fairytale folk live!".
  • Face–Heel Turn: Uniqua in "Monster Detectives", but for a selfless reason.
  • The Fair Folk: Tasha in "Tale of the Mighty Knights".
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit (Or Reverse Whodunnit if you prefer): The "Whodunit?" episode, naturally.
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement: Tyrone wears a helmet when he rides his bicycle in "Escape From Fairytale Village", Austin and Uniqua have helmets when riding their skateboard and scooter in "Caveman's Best Friend", and all characters in "The Magic Skateboard" wear helmets as well as elbow pads and knee pads.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink:
    • "Escape from Fairytale Village". Witch living in a gingerbread house? Check! Wolf? Check! Beanstalk with a giant! Check!
    • "Scared of You". Mad scientists, mummies, wolves, and vampires are all in play here.
    • "Tale of the Mighty Knights". Knights serving a king fighting a goblin and a fairy.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: The "Zip Speed" in "Garbage Trek".
  • Fastest Gun in the West: Pablo in "Blazing Paddles". Actually, the fastest ping pong skills in the West.
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: "What's Bugging You?" and "The Big Dipper Diner".
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: Austin in "Samurai Pie", when he mentions The Great Pie in front of the Empress.
  • Fiery Redhead: Tyrone, especially in "Best Clowns in Town".
  • Fighting Your Friend: They frequently find themselves battling each other ("The Two Musketeers" being a good example) once they start their adventures. Although official best friends Tyrone & Pablo and Tasha & Uniqua are rarely pitted against one another.
  • Flashback Effects: Tyrone has one in the form of a thought bubble during "Who Goes There?"
  • Floating in a Bubble: In "Front Page News", Captain Bubble (Tyrone) makes a giant bubble which traps the Giant Robot.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: In "Match on Mt. Olympus".
  • Flying Postman: The entire "Dragon Express" episode.
  • Football Fight Song: The music genre for "Chichen-Itza Pizza".
  • Forgotten Birthday: Austin thinks this in "Scared of You". In reality Tasha was setting up a surprise party and distracted Austin by unknowingly gathering up the guests.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: With the exception of Pablo, who has mitten-like flippers.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: "Escape from Fairytale Village".
  • From Bad to Worse: A staple. Exemplified by the scene in "Catch that Butterfly" wherein the stagecoach is floating down a river and piece by piece it breaks apart until only the floor is left...
  • Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: Tasha's regular wardrobe applies to this. Some of the other Backyardigans would get full costumes which often include shoes (i.e the Lady in Pink's white boots) on several adventures.
  • Funny Background Event: In "News Flash", during one of Uniqua's reports Pablo is having a panic attack in the background. Also, Pablo screaming his head off while being dragged behind a flying carpet as Uniqua takes a phone call from Sultan Tyrone in "Movers of Arabia".
  • Furry Confusion: Episodes sometimes feature the kids alongside non-anthropomorphic animals such as horses and even elephants.

    G and H 
  • Gainaxing: Before you get any ideas, Tyrone's ears. Particularly noticeable in the first-season opening credits.
  • GASP: A Running Gag in "Blazing Paddles".
  • Gender-Separated Ensemble Episode: It happens a lot. Pablo and Tyrone are best friends, and the same goes for Uniqua and Tasha. They practically spell it out for us in "Quest for the Flying Rock".
  • Genie in a Bottle: Austin in "Movers of Arabia".
  • Genki Girl: Uniqua most of the time, and Tasha during "A Giant Problem".
  • Gentle Giant: Tasha, literally, in "A Giant Problem".
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Whenever Pablo has a panic attack — which was almost once an episode in the first season; much less often in the following three — one of his friends has to calm him down by calling "Pablo...Pablo?...PABLO!"
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Let us just say that the producers are aware that a lot sails over their preschool audiences' heads.
  • Ghost Song: The songs in "It's Great to be a Ghost".
  • Gilligan Cut: In "What's Bugging You?", when Uniqua and Tyrone are about to make cupcakes:
    Tyrone: We just have to make sure that we don't make a mess.
    (Cuts to the clean bowl. After a quick clock-spin, the bowl and then the entire room is shown as messy.)
    Tyrone: I think we may have made a mess...
  • Girl Group: The music genre in "Break Out!", along with Wall of Sound.
  • Go-Getter Girl:
    • Uniqua's house is in the center of the titular backyard; she's the only character to appear in every single episode and almost never takes a backseat. If we can say any of this group is the leader, it's her.
    • Tasha was described on an official webpage as a "CEO type" a "tough as nails, my-way-or-the-highway kind of gal." When she's not playing the role of someone in authority, she'll usually find a way to be assertive anyway.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!:
    • During the song "Fill It Up With Ice", from "The Secret of Snow", one of Tasha's lines is "What the heck's the matter?"
    • Also in their cover of the Black Eyed Peas song "I Gotta Feeling", the line "Like oh my God" is changed to "Like oh my gosh".
  • Gospel Revival Number: "Now Would Be a Good Time to Whistle" from "Caveman's Best Friend".
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: The music genre in "The Quest for the Flying Rock".
  • Gratuitous Russian: In "Catch That Train".
  • Gratuitous Spanish: In "The Masked Retriever" and "Los Galacticos".
  • Greasy Spoon: "The Big Dipper Diner" is a Recycled IN SPACE version.
  • Great Detective: Pablo in "Whodunit?".
  • Green Lantern Ring: In "Flower Power", Flower Girl's titular powers seem to drift into this territory at times. At one point, she makes a cage out of flowers. Possibly a necessary evil, though, as otherwise her powers would probably wind up in heart territory.
  • Green Rocks: The flying rock in "The Quest for the Flying Rock" and the Crystal of Power in "Pablor and the Acorns".
  • Green Thumb / Petal Power: Uniqua as Flower Girl in "Flower Power".
  • Growling Gut: Quite possibly the king of this trope; every episode ends with someone's stomach rumbling, prompting the kids to bring the adventure to a close and go get a snack.
    • Recycled Soundtrack: In all but two instances of this, the sound byte is consistent. "Scared Of You" deliberately uses a different version, because it's more intimidating. "The Swamp Creature" used a different, louder version for the same reason.
  • Grumpy Bear: Queen Uniqua in "A Giant Problem", as well as Pablo, Tasha, and Tyrone in "Fly Girl".
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy:
    • When Uniqua and Austin (as palace guards) are tricked by Musketeer Tasha in "The Two Musketeers", and guards Tyrone and Pablo in "The Masked Retriever".
    • Museum Guard Tyrone in "Who Goes There?", who was probably either blind or just dumb as a post to not notice the artworks' shenanigans (at one point he is looking right at Uniqua and doesn't realize she's not supposed to be a statue).
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Pablo and Tyrone.
  • Hammerspace: Central to the concept... especially the fantasies that happen in interstellar space.
  • Haunted Castle: In "It's Great to be a Ghost", and "Scared of You". Also, technically "Monster Detectives".
  • Heel–Face Turn: A common ending for any character portrayed as a villain.
  • Helping Granny Cross the Street: In the "I Feel Good" song from "Cops and Robots," the formerly Bad Bot sings about this being one of the things he wants to do now that he's a Good Bot.
  • Hero Secret Service: The secret headquarters in "International Super Spy".
  • Heroic Dolphin:The dolphin mounts in "The Great Dolphin Race".
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Austin - on a kid's-TV level - in "The Secret of Snow". He uses the Ice Lady's (Tasha's) ice machine to save Uniqua, Pablo, and Tyrone, even though he knows that it will get him in big trouble with Tasha.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Pablo and Tyrone have been pitted against each other twice tops.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: A running gag in "Samurai Pie", wherein Pablo keeps losing his balance, eventually falling on a pie tin and giving himself and Uniqua away.
  • The High Queen: Tasha in "Knights are Brave and Strong", and Uniqua in "A Giant Problem".
  • Hilarity Ensues: It does!
  • Historical In-Joke: There are a surprising number of them. The art in "Who Goes There?" and Tyrone's combed hair in "To the Center of the Earth" are just a few examples. At one point, Empress Tasha even says "Let us eat cake."
  • Horny Vikings: In "Viking Voyage", Uniqua, Pablo, and Tyrone wear the classic helmets. Although Tyrone's horns are his real antlers.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Boy the pet dinosaur in "Caveman's Best Friend", and the racing dolphins in "The Great Dolphin Race".
  • House Inspection: In "What's Bugging You?", Tasha's house is being inspected by Mr. Spiffy (Pablo) so she can join the Spiffy Club. She calls Uniqua and Tyrone from Best Pest Control to get rid of the solitary Worman spoiling the perfection. Unfortunately, everything they do seems to attract even more Wormans. And then Mr. Spiffy arrives... cue the "Fawlty Towers" Plot.
  • Hula and Luaus: "Legend of the Volcano Sisters". That is all... well, except that a different set of Hawaiian cliches are laid on thick in "Surf's Up", which features the search for legendary Tiki Beach.
  • Hulking Out: Pablo in the Fourth Season episode "The Flipper". After getting doused in 'space ooze' he transforms into The Flipper whenever he gets overexcited. And this is Pablo we're talking about, so...
  • Hulk Speak:
    • Pablo when he transforms into The Flipper mentioned in the previous trope, which is itself a parody of the Hulk.
    • Tasha also does this in "Super Team Awesome!".
    • And Austin in "The Heart of the Jungle".
  • Humongous Mecha: The Giant Robot in his first appearance. However, later episodes reveal that he is an average-sized wind-up toy belonging to Uniqua.
  • Hyperspeed Escape: In "Garbage Trek", Tyrone and Pablo use "Zip Speed".
  • Hypocritical Humor: Whenever Pablo has a panic attack he usually tells the others to stay calm.

    I to L 
  • "I Am Becoming" Song: If there's Character Development in an episode, there will likely be a song about it.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: From "International Super Spy":
    Pablo: There's something you should know, Lady in Pink.
    Lady in Pink: Oh? And what's that?
    Pablo: I'm not ticklish.
  • "I Am" Song: Expect one of these when a character introduces themselves and the role they're playing.
  • If My Calculations Are Correct: Pablo during "Mission to Mars" and "Secret Mission".
  • I Have Your Boss: In "International Super Spy", this was done in the complete 1-7 sequence: 1. Boss (Tasha) is kidnapped. 2. Villain (Uniqua) calls up hero (Pablo) and says "I've got your boss". 3. Tasha yells "Don't worry about me! I can take it!" 4. Uniqua tells Pablo that if he doesn't obey orders, then she will tickle Tasha. 5. Pablo must deliver the secret containers. 6. Pablo succeeds in calling a friend (Austin), who in turn finds out what's going on and swings into action to help... sort of. 7. Eventually, Tasha is released... because Pablo isn't ticklish.
  • Imagine Spot: In "Elephant on the Run", one of the songs takes place in and out of Uniqua's fantasy of having an elephant for a pet.
  • Impossible Thief: Austin the "Grabbin' Goblin", in "The Tale of the Mighty Knights", was able to grab Uniqua and Tyrone's helmets, shields, and finally flashlights...while they were still using them!
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Austin, and later on, Pablo and Tyrone get shrunk in "Race to the Tower of Power". Tasha gets her turn in "The Big Dipper Diner".
  • Inevitable Waterfall: Oh yeah. "Polka Palace Party", "Catch that Butterfly", "The Secret of Snow", "Chichen-Itza Pizza", and "The Tale of the Mighty Knights" are just a few examples.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Standard and unapologetic — this being a show based around little kids playing pretend, after all. From "To the Center of the Earth":
    Uniqua: Tyrone, your penny has fallen into your sandbox, here. (Pulls out a diagram of the Earth's inside and points to the Earth's crust.)
    Pablo: And has fallen all the way to the center of the Earth, here. (Points to the Earth's core.)
  • Insecurity Camera: In "International Super Spy".
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • This line from "Knights are Brave and Strong":
    Tasha: "You got my message! Thanks, everyone! You make good knights!"
    Pablo: "[Austin]'s a king."
    • "The Yeti": The igloo isn't beautiful, it's be-yuuuuuuutiful!
  • Inspector Javert: Inspector Austin of the Paris Police in "Le Master of Disguise".
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: The aptly-named Dragon, who plays a starring role in three episodes.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: The Giant Robot, who shows up in seasons three and four.
  • Instant Costume Change: Tyrone and Pablo do this near the end of "Race to the Tower of Power", Uniqua in "The Masked Retriever", Tasha in "Front Page News", Pablo again in "Le Master of Disguise", and Uniqua and Austin in "Flower Power".
  • Intrepid Reporter: Tasha in "Front Page News", and Uniqua in "Newsflash".
  • Invisible Parents: Some of the kids have their parents mentioned toward the end of certain episodesnote , but we never see them.
  • Introdump: During the opening song. "Hi, I'm Pablo." "My name's Tyrone..." And so on and so forth.
  • Iris Out
  • Ironic Echo Cut: An interesting not-quite-a-cut variant in "Break Out!":
    Tasha: They'll never see us on the secret staircase.
    (Camera zooms out, revealing that Tyrone is watching them on the security monitor)
    Tyrone: I see them on the secret staircase!
  • It Has Been an Honor: Pablo in "Who Goes There?".
  • It's Always Spring: In the titular backyard. "The Secret of Snow" and "The Action Elves Save Christmas Eve" don't count, for obvious reasons.
  • It's a Small World After All: In "Polka Palace Party", Tyrone, Uniqua, Pablo, and Austin meet up and then note how they all happen to be cowboys/cowgirls, they all happen to like the same kind of music, and that they all happen to be on their way to Cheyenne.
  • It's Probably Nothing: Tyrone (as a guard) in "The Masked Retriever".
  • Its Pronounced Tro PAY: In the original version, the group's name is pronounced "Backyard-ahgans". In the UK version, it's pronounced "Backyard-eegans".
  • "I Want" Song:
    • Uniqua and Pablo have one in "The Great Dolphin Race".
    • Austin got one in "Caveman's Best Friend".
  • The Jeeves: Tyrone in "Whodunit?", he even has his hair specially combed like Jeeves' for that episode. Also Pablo in "Catch That Train" — so utterly utterly devoted to having everything Czar Tyrone needs three seconds before he wants it.
  • The Juggernaut: In "Chichen-Itza Pizza", the boulder chasing Tasha and Uniqua.
  • Jump, I'll Catch You!: In "Pirate Treasure", the other characters say this to Pablo as he hobbles across a log with his peg leg.
  • Jump Physics: In "Pirate Camp", Uniqua and Pablo are launched into the air using only two planks and some crates.
  • Jump the Shark:invoked Spoofed in "Save the Day" when Tyrone jumps over a sea of sharks on a jet ski to save Tasha.
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia: Austin.
  • Knighting: In "Knights are Brave and Strong".
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Uniqua and Tyrone in "The Tale if the Mighty Knights", and "Knights are Brave and Strong".
  • Lady in Red: Spoofed in "International Super Spy", with Uniqua as the Lady in Pink.
  • Lame Rhyme Dodge: Austin in "The Two Musketeers" does several of these without the rhyme.
  • Large Ham: Austin in 'The Funnyman Boogeyman'.
  • Laser Hallway: In "Secret Mission" and "Break Out!".
  • Lava Pit: In "The Tale of the Mighty Knights" and "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters".
  • Leitmotif: Pablo has his own panic attack tune set to the music genre of the week.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: Used in "Monster Detectives", during the Transformation Sequence.
    Uniqua: Where are we going?
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: In "Match on Mt. Olympus", Austin, the God of Laughter, can shoot lightning from his hands that makes his victim note  laugh uncontrollably.
  • Lightning Reveal: In "Scared of You".
  • Limited Wardrobe: Aside from the thematic costumes they wear during the fantasies, their outfits never change.

    M to O 
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: At the end of every episode, Tyrone remarks, "That was an excellent [type] adventure, don't you think?". Some episodes (like "It's Great to Be a Ghost!") omit the word "excellent".
  • Mad Scientist: Tasha in "Scared of You".
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: In "Scared of You", complete with cool-looking lab equipment.
  • Magic Countdown: In "Garbage Trek".
  • Magic Misfire: Quite a few in "A Giant Problem", caused by inept court wizards Pablo and Tyrone.
  • Magikarp Power: Tyrone as "Captain Bubble" in "Front Page News" had super bubble power.
  • Mandatory Line: Austin sings one line in "Knights are Brave and Strong", and speaks very little in "Best Clowns in Town". This is interesting, because much more often, he's completely absent.
  • Master of Disguise: Pablo, in, well, "Le Master of Disguise".
  • Meaningful Name: Uniqua = unique (because she's a Cartoon Creature), and Austin = Australia (because that's where kangaroos come from).
  • Medieval European Fantasy: In "Knights Are Brave and Strong" and "Tale of the Mighty Knights".
  • Mega City: The name of the city in "Robot Rampage".
  • The Merch: Tons, including plushies, books, and clothing.
  • Merit Badges for Everything: In "Pablor and the Acorns".
  • Minimalist Cast: Only five consistent characters.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Tyrone in "International Super Spy", and Austin in "The Two Musketeers".
  • Mission Briefing: Tasha gives Pablo one in "International Super Spy", and Tyrone and Tasha give one in "Mission to Mars".
  • Mission Control: Again, Tyrone and Tasha in "Mission to Mars". Austin provides a unique variation in "Break Out!"— he's a portable magic mirror possessed by Tasha and Uniqua, yet obeys the trope and its associated clichés almost perfectly.
  • Möbius Neighborhood: Averted with the three houses behind the titular backyard.
  • Monster Mash: The monster dance party near the end of "Scared of You".
  • Morality Dial: In the episode "Cops and Robots", all bots have a morality switch that (child logic, gotta love it) can be flipped to "BAD".
  • Moral Guardians / Media Watchdog: The reason why, among other things, the kids have a sword fight using telescopes ("Pirate Treasure"), and balloons ("The Two Musketeers"). And the reason why, in "Pirate Camp", "swashbuckling" means "sliding down a rope with a piece of cloth".
  • Motion Capture: The kids' dancing is animated this way, which explains why they often spin so quickly and their movement is perfectly synced with each other.
  • Mr. Imagination: All five Backyardigans.
  • Mummy: Tyrone in "Scared of You".
  • The Musical: The whole show.
  • Musicalis Interruptus:
    • In "Super Team Awesome!", Tyrone halts the second song when a boulder comes dangerously close to plugging Old Gushie.
    • In "Pirate Treasure," Pablo can't finish his verse in "Falling off a Log," because he almost does just that.
    • Tasha abruptly ends her song in "Match on Mount Olympus" when Tyrone asks her to play basketball with him and Pablo.
  • The Napoleon: In "Who Goes There?", Pablo (the shortest of the five), plays a Napoleon-esque statue.
  • Naughty by Night: "The Masked Retriever", (obviously) in a non-sexual direction.
  • Never Say "Die": Although they kids have been close to danger, the word has never yet been used.
  • Nice Hat: Pablo's got a nice propeller beanie. In some their imaginary adventures, the characters wear pretty cool hats as well.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: A recurring theme in "Who Goes There?" with Uniqua, Pablo, and Austin being actual pieces of artwork. It happens again in "What's Bugging You?" with Uniqua and Tyrone as a pest control service trying to hide from house inspector Mr. Spiffy (Pablo).
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: "Scared of You" takes advantage of the musical genre in play by having Pablo put on a Cab Calloway impression.
  • No Seat Belts: Both space cars in "Cops and Robots", though usually the show is very careful not to do this.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The ice factory in "The Secret of Snow" and the sock factory in "For the Love of Socks!".
  • Nothing Can Save Us Now: "Save the Day", the "Uh-Oh!" song.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: In "Catch that Butterfly", the "How Hard Can It Be?" song.
  • Odd Couple: Best friends Pablo the tightly-wound and Tyrone the laid-back.
  • Odd Job Gods: In "Match on Mt.Olympus", Austin is the god of laughter, and Uniqua is the goddess of naps.
    Austin: Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide. Do you not think it's funny?
  • Ominous Fog: The fog in "Knights are Brave and Strong" and "Whodunit?".
  • The One Who Wears Shoes: Tasha is always wearing shoes of some kind, usually her red Maryjanes. The other characters don't wear shoes at all until they get a costume change in the fantasy, and even then they sometimes don't have them.
  • Only One Name: Except for in "Whodunit", with Austin Frothingslosh and Uniqua Underhood, the characters have no surnames.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The Backyardigans drop their fantasy accents when they start singing, likely because their speaking and singing voices are two different people recorded separately.
    • Similarly, Tyrone had a slight Southern accent in Season One. This was dropped in Season Two.
  • Orient Express: "Le Master of Disguise".
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragon himself.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: In "A Giant Problem", and "Escape from Fairytale Village".
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: In "It's Great to be a Ghost" and "Pirate Camp".
  • Our Goblins Are Different: The Grabbin' Goblin (Austin) in "Tale of the Mighty Knights" and "Tale of the Not-So-Nice Dragon".
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Tasha in "Viking Voyage", and then Tasha and Uniqua during "Into the Deep".
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Pablo in "Scared Of You".
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Uniqua in "Scared Of You" and Austin in "Escape from Fairytale Village".
  • Outlaw: In "Blazing Paddles", we see a wanted poster of Pablo, the "Ping Pong Bandit", with a reward of $500.

    P to R 
  • Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females: Tyrone and Pablo don't always wear pants, although Austin always does. Uniqua and Tasha are also fully dressed.
    • Hilariously enough, this was actually inverted in "Chichen-Itza Pizza": The girls' uniform only has the shirt (though to be fair, they had their regular clothes on underneath), while Tyrone wears pants (well, a grass skirt) to make up for all the time he spends running around pantsless.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Pablo, in "The Master of Disguise". All he does is change his clothing, but to the other characters his disguise is perfect.
  • Parental Bonus: Deliberate, and clever.
    • "I don't make the weather. I just report it."
  • Pilot Episode: "Fly Girl", if you mean literally. There's some debate over what the true pilot of the series is: there's "Pirate Treasure" (the first episode of the first season) in addition to an unaired (and unnamed) animated pilot from 2001 and a 1998 live-action pilot titled "Me and My Friends." Confusingly, all three of these have been given the title of "pilot" by the people behind them.
  • Pirate: "Pirate Treasure" and "Pirate Camp". Pablo also played a rather grumpy pirate in "Fly Girl", and a not-so-grumpy superhero pirate in "Super Team Awesome".
  • Pirate Booty: The diamond in "Pirate Treasure", and Captain Red Boots' boot (plus a pile of gold) in "Pirate Camp".
  • Planet of Steves: During "Mission to Mars", the Couch Gag phrase is "Boinga", which can mean nearly anything. As does "Ugh" during "Cave Party".
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: In "For the Love of Socks", every worker gets their moment to shine. It's easy to tell because their turns come in exactly the same order as they do in the assembly line. Except for Foreman Tasha; despite being at the beginning of the line, her moment's at the very end.
  • Poke the Poodle: Enforced. The Moral Guardians aren't about to let preschool characters do anything genuinely evil.
    Who is the girl who never plays nice... and wishes that all rubber duckies would sink? Who interrupts people and never thinks twice? / Me! I'm the Lady in Pink! / Lady in Pink, Lady in Pink! / She does terrible things! / Even worse than you think!
  • Police are Useless: Officer Pablo justifies this in "Caveman's Best Friend".
  • Poor Communication Kills: A handful of episode plots are driven by this. Examples include "The Snow Fort", "The Funnyman Boogeyman", and "The Big Dipper Diner".
  • Power Glows: In "The Magic Skateboard," Tyrone finds the magic skateboard because it glows. The Crystal of Power in "Pablor and the Acorns" also glows.
  • The Power of Rock: And zydeco. And rumba. And Bollywood. And nortĕno. And ragtime...must we continue?
  • The Quiet One: Once again, Austin.
  • Record Needle Scratch: In "Blazing Paddles". The exciting background music suddenly screeches to a halt when Pablo asks "Uh...when is high noon?".
  • Recurring Character: The small martian from "Mission to Mars". One appears at the end of "News Flash", three appear at the end of "Los Galacticos" and two of them are major characters in "The Big Dipper Diner."
  • Red Herring: In "Whodunit?", Austin leaves the manor saying that he has to go "feed his cat", looking very guilty indeed.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Inverted with Pablo and Tyrone. Pablo is blue and panicked frequently in the first season. Tyrone is orange, but more level-headed and laidback.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Austin as the Greek poet Austicles in "Who Goes There?".
  • Riddle of the Sphinx: In "The Secret of the Nile", Tasha has to give Sphinx Uniqua three gifts before Uniqua will tell her the secret of the Nile. Turns out it's just saying please and thank you.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Tyrone and Pablo in "A Giant Problem".
  • Robin Hood: Pablo, as the title character in "Robin Hood the Clean".
  • Robinsonade: The episode "Castaways".
  • Robot Buddy: Rover in "Mission to Mars", as well as all of the robots in "Robot Rampage" before they went haywire.
  • Rotating Protagonist: All five characters get their turns being the lead. In fact, the spotlight bounces around so much that it's not clear who the main protagonist is. (Word of God says it's Uniqua.)
  • Rule of Cute: Not at all overplayed, but there nonetheless (they do have plushies to sell, after all).
  • Rule of Three: Nearly every episode.
  • Rummage Fail: The episode "Eureka!" has Pablo looking in his and Tyrone's horse's pack, and every single time, he'd get about about 2 or 3 unrelated objects to what they were looking for!
  • Running Gag: Pablo's panic attacks.


  • Scout-Out: The Acorn Scouts in "Pablor and the Acorns".
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: While on a pizza delivery in "Chichen-Itza Pizza," Tasha decides to quit the job after several Temple of Doom disasters, though she does so in true Backyardigans style - with a flashy college fight song.
  • Sea Monster: A playful one appears in "The Amazing Splashinis".
  • Second Episode Introduction: Tasha made her debut in "The Yeti". Surprisingly, that means Austin was introduced before her!
  • Sequel Episode: "Tale of the Not-So-Nice Dragon" is one for the two "Tale of the Mighty Knights" episodes from season three.
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: Alicia Keys, for voicing and singing the mama alien in "Mission to Mars", Cyndi Lauper for singing in "International Super Spy," and Adam Pascal for being a narrator and singer in "Tale of the Mighty Knights". Also, Conan O'Brian as Santa Claus in "The Action Elves Save Christmas Eve"!
  • Shave and a Haircut: How Uniqua, Tyrone, and Pablo get Austin's attention in "Polka Palace Party". Austin drums out the "two bits" part himself.
  • The Sheriff: Uniqua, in "Blazing Paddles".
  • Shoe Phone: Pablo's hat-phone in "International Super Spy".
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shown Their Work: You can tell that the "Caveman's Best Friend" episode takes place in the Triassic period because of the tar puddles and the fern plants.
  • Shrinking Violet: Austin at first. He opens up later.
  • Shrug Take: Mr. Spiffy's (Pablo) reaction to the Wormans in "What's Bugging You?"
  • The Simple Gesture Wins: In the episode "Legend of the Volcano Sisters", the boys have to find out what the titular Volcano Sisters, portrayed by Uniqua and Tasha, want in order to prevent them from having the island's volcano erupt. After two unsuccessful grand gestures by Tyrone and Pablo, Austin comes up with the idea of giving them flowers as a way of inviting them to take part in the luau, and it's this gesture that manages to win them over.
  • Skyward Scream: CLOOOOOWNS! (Complete with echo). Taken Up to Eleven in the French dub, where instead it's Satanique CLOOOUUUNES!Translation 
  • The Smart Guy: Austin, especially during "Race Around the World" and "Mission to Mars". Uniqua sometimes also fills this role, while Pablo is usually used to parody/subvert it.
  • Smurfing: Almost everything on Mars is "Boinga". In case you hadn't heard.
  • Sneeze of Doom: Uniqua (caused by dust while hiding from the Soccer Monster) in "Monster Detectives", and Austin (caused by flowers whlie hiding from Tyrone in a painting) in "Who Goes There?".
  • Soft Glass: The skylight Tasha and Uniqua escape through in "Break Out!". It falls to pieces on contact, without even scratching their clothes.
  • Space Police: Officer Uniqua and Sergeant Tyrone in "Cops and Robots", as well as Officers Tyrone and Tasha in "The Big Dipper Diner".
  • Special Edition Title: Each double-length episode has one with the theme music in the style of the episode's genre.
  • Special Effects Evolution: You only start to see difficult weather effects (like rain and hailstorms) in season three.
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: The Wormans in their first two appearances.
  • Spin Attack: Pablo's "Bandit Slam It" move in "Blazing Paddles".
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: Uniqua does this in "Blazing Paddles" during the song "I Must Be Ready".
  • Spinoff Babies: An international merchandise line known as "Backyardigans Baby", or less commonly, "Backyardibabies", featured the characters as infants.
  • Spit Take: Uniqua does this in "Catch that Butterfly", after they've fallen off a waterfall.
  • Split-Screen Phone Call: Uniqua and Tyrone have this in "Movers of Arabia".
  • Spiritual Successor: Is one to Muppet Babies and Rugrats, and arguably has one in Bubble Guppies, created by some of the same staff.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Czar Tyrone in "Catch That Train!", who is very kind and respectful to Conductor Uniqua and Pablo Pablovitch.
  • Spooky Painting: Spoofed with Pablo in "It's Great to be a Ghost".
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: This from Racing Around The World.
    Uniqua: Hi Tyrone.
    Tyrone: Hi Uniqua.
    Uniqua: Bye Tyrone.
    Tyrone: Bye Uniqua.
    (Not one minute later...)
    Pablo: Hi Tyrone.
    Tyrone: Hi Pablo
    Pablo: Bye Tyrone.
    Tyrone: Bye Pablo.
  • Stealth Pun: Austin and Rover (namechecking the Austin Rover car) in "Mission to Mars", and the fact that purple Austin starts out as a Shrinking Violet.
  • The Stoic: Austin in the Star Trek parody episode "Garbage Trek". A clear instance of this is when the U.S.S. Collector is about to be sucked by the black hole; Uniqua and Tasha scream for their lives while he remains silent like he's deep in thought or something.
  • Storybook Episode: "Knights are Brave and Strong", "A Giant Problem", "Tale of the Mighty Knights", and "Escape from Fairytale Village".
  • Stout Strength:
    • Tasha, specifically from the second season onwards. An example is in "Swamp Creature", where she pulls Pablo out of the water by his snorkel with one hand. Just look at her arms; she's a muscular little thing.
    • Pablo in "The Heart of the Jungle" can lift Tyrone in the air. Keep in mind that Pablo is probably 12 pounds at mostnote , meaning Tyrone was heavier since birth (moose calves are about 30 pounds at birth).
  • Straight Man: Usually played by Tyrone with Pablo as his comic foil.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: In "International Super Spy", Tyrone (accidentally), Tasha, Pablo, and Austin are strapped to a Tickle Table.
  • Streaming Stars: Seen in "Cops and Robots" and "Garbage Trek".
  • Super Cell Reception: In "Mission to Mars", a martian from Mars is able to phone Tyrone and Tasha using a cellphone.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: "The Snow Fort". Ski Patrollers Uniqua and Tasha think Pablo and Tyrone are trapped in the titular fort and need rescuing. The latter two are actually mounties who have been assigned to protect the world's biggest snowball, and they keep the girls out of the fort because they think they're trying to steal it.
  • Superhero Episode: Four: "Race to the Tower of Power", "Front Page News", "Flower Power" and "Super Team Awesome".
  • Superheroes Wear Capes: Tasha has one as Super Snap in "Front Page News" and Tyrone gets one in "Super Team Awesome!".
  • Super Speed: Tasha as Super Snap in "Front Page News", Uniqua as The Pink Fury in "Blazing Paddles", and Pablo in "Legend of the Volcano Sisters".
  • Super Strength: Tyrone in "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters"; Uniqua as Bug Girl in "Front Page News" and as Strong Blossom in "Super Team Awesome"; Pablo as Tarzan the Very Strong in "Heart of the Jungle".
  • Swiper, No Swiping!: While you can't stop the Grabbin' Goblin from taking your stuff just by asking, he will generally give it back if you ask nicely... most of the time.
  • Sword Fight: The first episode "Pirate Treasure", had Austin and Tyrone having a sword fight using their telescopes. In "The Two Musketeers", it gets better with Uniqua and Austin against Pablo, Tyrone, and Tasha with cool parring moves like a Blade Lock, and Sword over Head... though their swords are made of balloons.

  • Take Over the World: Several episodes have characters wanting this, in particular "Race to the Tower of Power".
  • Take That!: In the soundtrack exclusive version of the "W-I-O-Wa" song from "News Flash," Uniqua delivers one at what often passes for the state of news-reporting these days:
    Uniqua: I'm not that sort of newswoman who sits at a desk and talks. I'm the sort who'd rather report, 'cause being a reporter rocks!
  • Take Your Time: In "Sinbad Sails Alone", Tyrone's ship is about to literally fall off the edge of the world within a couple of seconds. Tyrone has gotten his foot caught on a rope, making Pablo their only hope. Pablo just has to turn the wheel which drops the anchor of the ship, but it takes a very long time for him to do this. It seemed like every time the camera cut to show how close the ship was to falling, the ship always seemed be at the same distance, even though it was moving.
  • Talking Animal: All five of the characters, albeit this is almost never referenced (creating some rather odd visuals, as when Austin the kangaroo is shown running).
  • Talking Pest: The Wormans in "What's Bugging You?"
  • Tarzan: In "The Heart of the Jungle" and "The Secret of Snow".
  • Team Shot: Usually how episodes end.
  • Team Title: The Backyardigans stars the Backyardigans.
  • Temple of Doom: Several in "Chichen-Itza Pizza".
  • Tempting Fate:
    • In the episodes "Follow that Butterfly" and "Chichen-Itza Pizza", the question "How hard could it be?" gets asked just before things go to hell.
    • Pablo has a bad habit of this in "For the Love of Socks". It gets lampshaded after the third time, and he defies it afterwards.
  • Ten Paces and Turn: Tasha, Uniqua, and Austin used this as a visual joke in "The Two Musketeers", when they are having, mind you, a politeness duel.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Played very straight with Tasha's dress, Pablo's bowtie, Uniqua's piiiinkness — and, more subtly, Tyrone's antlers.
    • Uniqua is a subversion: she wears overalls, lacks eyelashes and in later seasons has a rather deep voice. Some viewers even mistook her for a boy. That is, until some of her girlier roles in the later seasons, and until those viewers realized she was pink.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: From "Best Clowns in Town":
    Tyrone: I am so mad! You made me miss my train! I have a circus to lead tonight in Big City, but I can't be there because of... CLOOOOOOOOOWNS!
  • That's No Moon!: In "A Giant Problem", Tyrone and Pablo rest on a large red boulder which happens to be Tasha's giant foot. Tyrone does this again in "Escape from Fairytale Village", this time to Pablo's foot.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: The theme song gradually climbs an octave in pitch, while the titular characters switch from regular clothes to fantasy gear and back.
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: "Hi, I'm Pablo!" "My name's Tyrone!" "I'm Uniqua!" "I'm Tasha!" "And my name's Austin!" "And we're...your backyard friends, the Backyardigans!"
  • Third-Person Person: Austin as the Grabbin' Goblin in "The Tale of the Mighty Knights". Though he is capable of still using "I" to refer to himself.
    "I nab them and I seize them, if I could go bad, I'd freeze them. These things that Goblin has grabbed, that Goblin has grabbed..."
  • This is No Time to Panic: Pablo's frantic chant during his panic attacks. Subverted to some degree in The Flipper! where, instead of panicking, he's actually excited.
  • Tickle Torture: In "International Super Spy", this is the Lady in Pink's method of punishment.
  • Title Drop: See here.
  • To the Tune of...: Often, songs are set to tune of other well known songs, though this is mostly exclusive to Season One. For example, What Do You Do With A Scurvy Pirate? is actually a filk of a classic sea shanty called Drunken Sailornote .
  • Traintop Chase: Austin and Pablo do this in "Le Master of Disguise", the chase ending with a train tunnel escape.
  • Treasure Map: In "Pirate Treasure", naturally.
  • Turncoat: Austin in "The Secret of Snow" may count.
  • Turned to Stone: Pablo and Tyrone are petrified by Tasha as Medusa in "Sinbad Sails Alone" in a literal game of "freeze tag". Later in said game, Pablo tricks Tasha into petrifying herself.
  • Twitchy Eye: Tyrone has one in "Best Clowns in Town" right after the clowns make him miss his train the second time, and Pablo gets one every time he's about to become the Flipper in "The Flipper".
  • Two Girls to a Team: Tasha and Uniqua

     U and V 
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Although it could be argued that their fantasy wardrobes are purely imaginary...
  • The Unmasking: Tasha in "Front Page News" does this.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: In "Garbage Trek".
  • The Un Reveal: In "The Masked Retriever", none of the other characters find out about Uniqua's alter ego, with Austin's question of "Have you ever heard of the Masked Retriever?" left unanswered by the end-of-story stomach rumble.
  • Unusual Euphemism: In "The Great Dolphin Race", the characters exclaim "Jumping jellyfish!", "Leaping lobsters!" and "Holy cowfish!". During "International Super Spy", the Lady in Pink (Uniqua) uses "Oh, for evil's sake!". There's also the episode title "For the Love of Socks!".
  • Vapor Wear: During the first two-parter, Uniqua, as the Lady in Pink, clearly wears nothing under her jacket. She does wear her overalls at the ski slope, though.
  • Verbal Tic: Tyrone has a habit of saying "certainly" when stating his opinion or agreeing with another character, though this is reduced a bit after the first season.
  • Villain Song: Expect any episode with a "good versus evil" thematic to have at least one. Notable ones include "Lady In Pink", "Me and My Shadows", and "I Am Professor Bug".
  • The Voice: The mystery voices near the end of the episodes "Secret Mission" and "It's Great to Be a Ghost!" do not come from any of the main characters. They're rumored to have come from Evan Lurie, one of the show's composers. There are also announcer voices near the beginning of "News Flash".
    • Dragon's singing voice is provided by guest star Adam Pascal, the actor who played Roger in RENT. Total Parent Service.
    • Santa Claus in "The Action Elves Save Christmas Eve" is heard over the phone, but never seen.
  • The Voiceless:
    • Tasha doesn't speak in the Nintendo DS game.
    • Austin doesn't speak in his appearance in Nickelodeon Fit note 
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • Uniqua's voice got very deep as the series progressed.
    • Austin's voice deepened as well (though not as fast as Uniqua), and got less raspy.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Austin as the princesses' magic (compact) mirror in "Break Out".
  • Voluntary Shape Shifting: Pablo could turn into a bat in "Scared of You".

     W to Z 
  • W.A.F.F.: Click for more info.
  • Wall Crawl: Pablo's vacuum shoes in "To the Center of the Earth".
  • Wall Jump: Uniqua is able to do this with two trees in "Samurai Pie".
  • Walk the Plank: In "Pirate Treasure", and "Fly Girl".
  • Wasn't That Fun?: In "Scared Of You", Austin, Tyrone, and Uniqua are warned against proceeding with their journey. They do so, and are rewarded with a falling staircase. Uniqua is left hanging on to the top landing for dear life. She then says this:
    Uniqua: Hey! That was fun! Let's do it again!
    Tyrone: Or let's not!
  • Wasteful Wishing: In "Movers of Arabia", Pablo wastes a wish by saying "I wish I knew where we were." Cue Genie Austin, yelling "You're in Arabia! Boy, that was easy!"
  • Whip Pan: Used in "Tale of the Mighty Knights", "Le Master of Disguise", "Robin Hood the Clean", and several other episodes.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Tasha during "Chichen-Itza Pizza" — logically enough, the Indiana Jones parody episode.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Austin during "International Super Spy", with a strange mustache instead of the wig.
  • With Catlike Tread: According to Pablo at the beginning of "Secret Mission", having background music is a necessary part of being a secret agent. Heck, any time someone's on a stealth mission, you can bet they'll break out into a musical when they're trying not to get noticed. And it never blows their cover.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: In "News Flash", Reporter Uniqua mistakes Tyrone and Pablo's corn decoration for Crop Circles.

Pablo: Where's the stinger? Oh no, oh no, oh no, we don't have a stinger!
Tyrone: Pablo...
Pablo: Stay calm, everyone! We have to find the stinger!
Tyrone: Pablo...
Pablo: We have to do something! We have to get help!
Tyrone: PABLO!
Pablo: Yeah?
Tyrone: You just gave the page a stinger.
Pablo: ...Oh.