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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!
We always find thing we've never seen before,
That's why every day we're back for more!
With your friends, the Backyardigans...
Opening theme

A CGI-animated series created by Nickelodeon's Janice Burgess and broadcast worldwide, mostly on Nick Jr. and its parent network. Written and recorded at Nickelodeon Animation Studio in the USA, the animation was done by Nelvana in Canada. The series was based on a live-action pilot from 1998 titled "Me and My Friends." It premiered in 2004 and ran for four seasons, the last of which finished airing in 2013.

The cast are all young Funny Animal friends: Uniqua the "uniqua" (a one-of-a-kind species), Pablo the penguin, Tyrone the moose, 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 exemplifies 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, Ghostbusters, 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 humanoid characters, since no other speaking parts appear (excepting pets and 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 personalities.

Every episode is up on YouTube (outside of the US), courtesy of Nelvana's Treehouse Direct channel. Check them out here!

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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  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Pablo only wears a cap and bowtie.
  • 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 such a gadget.
    • Tasha appears in the "Tower of Power" level as Super Snap (from the episode "Front Page News"). She was absent from the episode "Tower of Power" itself, although she does have an All There in the Manual role for that specific setting: Eraser Girl, who made it into a few pieces of foreign merchandise, most notably being made into a plush toy in Brazil.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": According to Nickelodeon's character bio for her, Uniqua's "unique" species is actually called the uniqua. Who knew?
  • All Animals Are Dogs: The giant clam and Boy the dinosaur act like dogs.
  • 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, whether it's 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.
  • 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.
  • Animal Athlete Loophole: In "Horsing Around," Molasses is Tyrone's race-donkey.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Apparently a penguin, a moose, a hippo, and a kangaroo are very close in height.
  • 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.
  • Art Evolution:
    • The character designs, especially those of Tasha and Austin, were retooled a bit for the second season, not just amping up the cuteness but also making the characters look more cohesive as an unit.
    • The fourth season transitions to HD.
  • Ascended Extra: Pablo's teddy bear from "The Flipper" made minor appearances in the earlier episodes "Robot Rampage", "Catch that Train", and "The Funnyman Boogeyman".
  • 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 realize 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." Austin does this as well later on.
    • The earliest example (at least if you follow the Canadian airdates) might be Tyrone doing this twice in "The Yeti" when the girls start arguing, as if to say "They can't be serious right now."
    • There are also a few episodes (i.e "High Tea") where Tyrone says his Deus ex Machina response Catchphrase to the camera.
  • 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.
  • Author Avatar: Uniqua was based on the series' creator, Janice Burgess. In an interview, Burgess said, "Uniqua is me. Or at least who I was as a kid. She's a ringleader. Out of the five, Uniqua is the main character, and we use her in every story."
  • Bag of Holding:
    • Uniqua and Pablo's trunk in "To the Center of the Earth" can hold several inventions, such as 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, and helium-filled balloons.
    • They brought a ridiculous amount of random, unnecessary supplies (seriously, bath soap?) to Mars in an ridiculously small box in "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 
    • The third-season intro features a teaser for "Blazing Paddles" in which Uniqua and Pablo both wear sheriff badges. In the actual episode, there was only one badge, which Pablo stole from Uniqua halfway through the episode and returned at the end.
  • 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 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.
  • Big Word Shout: “CLOWNS!!”
  • Black Vikings: Tyrone and Uniqua whenever the episode has a medieval European setting. Justified as they are merely pretending to travel to places besides their backyard.
  • 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".
  • Bookends: Each episode starts and ends in the titular backyard.
  • Bravado Song: In "It's Great to Be a Ghost!", there's a musical number called "What's So Scary 'Bout That?" where Tasha brags about not fearing ghosts or the dark when her friends (who have become ghosts) ask her if there's anything she's scared of.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    • In "The Swamp Creature":
      Pablo, Uniqua, Tasha, and Austin are on a boat, looking for the titular Swamp Creature.
      Pablo: On your left, you will see trees with moss! On your right, moss with trees!
      Tasha: No more moss!
      Austin: No more trees!
      Tasha: No more moss with trees!
    • And again in "A Giant Problem''':
      Wizards Pablo and Tyrone are being chased by Tasha the giant.
      Pablo: The giant's gonna eat us!
      Tyrone: Or maybe she's gonna squish us!
      Pablo: Or maybe she's gonna squish us, then eat us!
      Tyrone: Or eat us, then squish us!
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Austin and Uniqua are a preschool friendly example in a few episodes, especially in season 1. For example, in "High Tea", Uniqua is the only one who manages to make Austin laugh. Inverted towards the end of "The Secret of Snow", when Uniqua laments about how it won't snow and the others remind her of the friends she's made through song, Austin being the only one who gets his own verse to himself.
  • The Butler Did It: Tyrone in "Whodunit?". He actually had permission to 'steal' Lady Tasha's necklace, because it was really just a mystery game.
  • 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:
    • In "The Action Elves Save Christmas Eve", the robot from "Front Page News" and Boy the dinosaur from "Caveman's Best Friend" are seen as toys.
    • Robot Roscoe from "Robot Rampage" appears as a toy robot in "Elephant on the Run".
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Austin as the Magic Mirror in "Break Out" is an interesting variation. As a magic mirror he has to answer any question and he cannot lie, and while he can choose not to answer the question instead of just lying, just after that he will say something which will give away the answer anyway. And then it get surverted the 2nd time he has to answer anything to Tower Guard Tyrone: He used it to reveal the Princesses to the guards so he can tell them they can fly away breaking the glass ceiling
  • Captain Obvious: From "Into the Deep":
    Pablo: Speed?
    Tyrone: Fast.
    Pablo: Direction?
    Tyrone: Down.
    Pablo: Temperature?
    Tyrone: Cold.
    Pablo: Time?
    Tyrone: Uh, now.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Some of the villains the Backyardigans play in the show aren't afraid to show how evil they are. One example is the Lady in Pink from the International Super Spy two-parter.
    Lady in Pink" "Oh, for evil's sake!"
  • Cartoon Creature: Ah, Uniqua. Word of God says that she is "her own unique species".
  • Catchphrase: 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, usually 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!".
  • Ceiling Cling: Austin can walk on the ceiling in "Tale of the Mighty Knights". Also Tasha and Pablo in "Cops and Robots".
  • 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.
  • 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. It's the same color as the good Dragon who hatched "The Tale of the Mighty Knights".
    • In terms of the main cast, Uniqua is pink, Pablo is blue, Tyrone is orange, Tasha is yellow, and Austin is purple. Their houses are the same colors, respectively.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • In "Castaways", when the group of castaways finally find Austin, who has been secretly helping them the whole time, Tyrone and Pablo ask Austin if any of the "mysterious stuff" on the island has been happening to him, too. This is lampshaded by Uniqua turning to look straight at the camera and then shrugging her shoulders before pointing out Austin did it all.
    • It happens again in "Polka Palace Party", where Sherman (being translated by Tyrone) introduces "The greatest cowboy polka band in all of Wyoming".
    Austin: Wow, what band is that?
    Pablo: I dunno, but they must be good!
    Uniqua: You guys! He's talking about us!
  • Cool Plane: Uniqua's propeller biplane in "Fly Girl". It's pink!
  • Cowboy Episode: "Riding the Range" is the show's only straight example, although "Polka Palace Party" has the return of Cowboy Tyrone and both it and "Blazing Paddles" have western settings. Cowboy characters also appear in "The Secret of Snow", "Horsing Around", and "Le Master of Disguise".
  • 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?
    • Done to a lesser extent in "Race Around The World" as Austin says "a good racer is always prepared," and wears a belt containing the equipment he needs to get through the race.
  • Crisis Makes Perfect: In "Caveman's Best Friend", Austin has to whistle to get Boy to come back, but he cannot do it until he and his friends are about to sink into a tar pit.
  • Crying Wolf: In “Surf’s Up”, Pablo is seeking Tiki Beach because every wave that forms there is perfect for surfing. Austin, the Guardian of Tiki Beach, tricks Pablo twice into going to other beaches under various lifeguard disguises because it’s his job to make sure that surfers seeking Tiki Beach have mastered enough rad surfing moves to earn the honor of finding it, and Pablo only has one rad move at the start of the story. After Pablo meets Tyrone and Uniqua and they all learn their signature rad moves from each other, Austin decides they’re all worthy of surfing at Tiki Beach and gives them the real directions. Unfortunately, when he does, Pablo recognizes Austin as the other lifeguards from before and he, Tyrone, and Uniqua start chasing him because they think Austin’s still misleading them on where Tiki Beach is.
  • Cultural Translation: The UK dub has a lot of this, especially when the snack is offered at the end of the episode.
    • "High Tea" is called "The Tea Party" in the UK dub, possibly because the episode has to do with imitation of British culture and culture of the audience in the United Kingdom already has heavier British influence relative to those in other countries.
    • In the US version of "Robin Hood the Clean", the squalid village is called "Filthingham". In the UK version, it is called "Rottingham", which sounds more like "Nottingham" from the original myth. note 
    • The French version of "The Funnyman Boogeyman" was written so that Austin plays the Big Bad Wolf instead.
    • Some dub titles for "Attack of the 50 Foot Worman" were written so that his height was given as fifteen meters, while others more generally referred to Worman being a giant.
    • From the Brazilian Portuguese dub:
    • In "Monster Detectives", when Uniqua finds the framed pictures of famous soccer players, the Mia Hamm reference is omitted, and instead she namedrops "Pelé, Roberto Carlos... and there's others!"
    • In "The Swamp Creature", the titular Swamp Creature's so-called favorite food (and, consequently, the snack at the end) is changed from "s'mores on a stick" to meat skewers.
    • For some reason, the book from "The Masked Retriever" has its title changed to "The Little Old Lady Who Named Things".

  • Dancing Theme: Not surprising, since these kids dance their way through just about everything else.
  • Darker and Edgier: Obviously, this is moderated by the show being aimed at preschoolers, but "Robot Rampage" is darker and more serious than any other episode in the series. Unlike all the other villains in the series, "Professor Bug" is played dead serious.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Uniqua in "The Masked Retriever", as you'd expect from a character based off Zorro, wears all black and rides a black horse, and although Austin's immediately scared of her when she shows up to ask him for the book back, she becomes much more friendly upon finding out that he's a slow reader and has just started the book.
  • Debut Queue: Nick Jr. invoked this by choosing "Knights are Brave and Strong" as the premiere episode in America; each of the cast is introduced one by one, followed by the concept of everyone going to one character's house for a snack at the end. There's cause intended as the first episode, as it's one of the only episodes not to have the "stomach growling" sound effect at the end of the fantasy.
  • Decomposite Character: In-Universe in “The Heart of the Jungle”; Tyrone, Pablo, and Austin all want to be Tarzan, so they decide to split up his characterization three ways (Tyrone gets Tarzan's ability to talk to animals, Pablo gets Tarzan’s Super-Strength, and Austin gets Tarzan’s Hulk Speak) so they’re all able to share the role while still remaining their own separate characters.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Pablo in "Dragon Express". At the beginning, he tells the audience that he is starting a new job as a dragon-riding delivery guy, and the audience thinks the episode will be about Pablo's problems with his new job. However, the bulk of the episode is about Austin aspiring to be as good a dragon rider as Pablo.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Just about any character who plays a villain role is turned good in the end, since the characters are all a group of friends and they're just playing roles.
  • 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.
  • Didn't Think This Through: In "Blazing Paddles", Pablo steals everyone else's Ping-Pong paddles so that they cannot play Ping-Pong. He soon realizes that he cannot play either as he needs an opponent.
  • 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.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Tyrone song "When I'm Booin', from "It's Great to be a Ghost", has an album-only verse about his ineptitude at scaring which could just as easily be about his being unable to impress girls. The dance break in the televised version of the song must have been inserted in place of said verse.
  • 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!
  • 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 dragons features the characters riding them like majestic steeds.
  • 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:
    • 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 some of the Season One episodes, 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.
    • The first villain was mermaid Tasha in "Viking Voyage". Unlike most other villains, she is not hammy nor does she pull a Heel–Face Turn.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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 dorkier.
  • 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.
  • Expy:
    • If Hippo traded all his clothes for just a propeller hat and bowtie, he would pretty much look like Pablo. Ironically, Hippo's voice actress is part of the Japanese dub cast, but as Uniqua.
    • "Escape From Fairytale Village"'s eponymous village is almost identical to Storybrook Village, right down to being described as "where fairytale folk live!".
  • Extra-Long Episode: Averted with Season 1, but Once a Season there's a special episode lasting over 30 minutes (which are broken up into two separate parts overseas).
  • 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" has a witch living in a gingerbread house, a wolf, and a beanstalk with a giantl
    • "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.
  • Fastest Gun in the West: Pablo in "Blazing Paddles". Actually, the fastest ping pong skills in the West.
  • Fear Song: "When You're Booin'" from "It's Great to be a Ghost" is aboyt Tyrone being too much of a scaredy-moose to be a ghost.
  • Feminist Fantasy: "Break Out!" "Blazing Paddles" might also count, due to Uniqua beating Pablo in the ping-pong match by burning a hole through his paddle.
  • 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.
  • Floating in a Bubble: In "Front Page News", Captain Bubble (Tyrone) makes a giant bubble which traps the Giant Robot.
  • Foreshadowing: At the beginning of "Le Master of Disguise" when Pablo is showing off his disguises, the first two of his costumes are a clown and a cowboy. Later in the episode, Austin mistakes an actual cowboy (Tyrone) and an actual circus performer (Tasha) for Pablo.
  • Forgotten Birthday: Austin thinks his birthday was forgotten in "Scared of You". In reality, Tasha was setting up a surprise party and distracted Austin by unknowingly gathering up the guests.
  • From Bad to Worse: A staple. Exemplified by the scene in "Catch that Butterfly" wherein the stagecoach is floating down a river and breaks apart piece by piece until only the floor is left...
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Apple juice is often used as a substitute for alcoholic beverages.
  • 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.
    • In "Movers of Arabia", Pablo screaming his head off while being dragged behind a flying carpet as Uniqua takes a phone call from Sultan Tyrone.
    • In "Who Goes There?", when Tyrone sings the second part of the song that shares the title of the episode, you can see the art coming to life and imitating his moves.
  • Furry Confusion: Episodes sometimes feature the kids alongside non-anthropomorphic animals such as horses and even elephants.
  • Furry Female Mane: Inverted. Tyrone, who is male, is the only character with hair. Tasha looks very much like him, except for the lack of hair, antlers, and different ears.

  • Gender-Separated Ensemble Episode: It happens a lot. Pablo and Tyrone are best friends, and the same goes for Uniqua and Tasha. How often has it happened?
    • "The Heart of the Jungle": Tyrone, Pablo, and Austin are the three Tarzans, and Uniqua is a jungle explorer (possibly the episode's equivalent to Jane Porter).
    • "The Snow Fort": Tyrone and Pablo are the Mounties, and Uniqua and Tasha are the ski patrollers.
    • "The Key to the Nile": Tasha is the Egyptian princess, Uniqua is the sphinx, and Tyrone, Pablo, and Austin are the servants.
    • They practically spell it out for us in "Quest for the Flying Rock".
    • "Eureka!": Tyrone and Pablo are the prospectors, and Uniqua and Tasha are the paleontologists.
    • "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters": Tyrone, Pablo, and Austin are the Luau Brothers, and Uniqua and Tasha are the Volcano Sisters.
    • "Sinbad Sails Alone": Tyrone and Pablo are the sailors, and Uniqua and Tasha are the mythical beings they must face.
    • "Into the Deep": Pablo and Tyrone are the underwater explorers and Uniqua and Tasha are the mermaids.
    • "A Giant Problem": Tasha is the giant, Uniqua is the queen, and Pablo and Tyrone are the wizards.
    • "Chichen-Itza Pizza": Uniqua and Tasha are the pizza delivery girls and Tyrone is the king.
    • "The Masked Retriever": Uniqua is the title character, Tasha is an ordinary citizen, Austin is the mayor, and Pablo and Tyrone are his guards.
    • "Break Out!": Uniqua and Tasha are the princesses, Austin is the magic mirror, and Pablo and Tyrone are the guards.
  • Genre-Busting: A musical genre and a fantasy setting which would ordinarily never come in contact with one another are combined to form the plot of most episodes; the only exception is "Best Clowns in Town", which is circus-themed all around with popcorn as the snack. Predictably, there was a hip-hop cowboy-themed episode, but it was gotten out of the way early in season 1.
  • Gentle Giant: Though not a literal giant, Tyrone is both the biggest and the friendliest of the bunch.
  • 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!"
  • 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 are shown to be messy.)
    Tyrone: I think we may have made a mess...
  • Girls vs. Boys Plot: A handful of episodes take the concept of the Gender-Separated Ensemble Episode one step further and have the two sets of best friends working in direct opposition to one another: "The Snow Fort", "The Quest for the Flying Rock", "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters", "Eureka!", "Into the Deep", and "Break Out". The majority of these episodes don't feature Austin at all, and when he does show up, he tends to go to whichever side needs a third person. For example, he serves as an assistant for the girls in "Break Out!", but sides with the boys in "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters", as he views them as his "brothers" therein. This works out favorably, as the day is saved by Austin reaching out to the girls.
  • 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.
  • Good All Along: A few of the "villains" are this, such as the robot from "Front Page News" who only wants his picture taken and Pablo in "Le Master of Disguise" who is only running from Austin because he is chasing him for looking suspicious.
  • 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".
  • Green Thumb / Petal Power: Uniqua as Flower Girl in "Flower Power". Also Austin at the end of the same episode (though still through his tech and not actual superpowers) when he becomes the Bloom Meister.
  • Growling Gut: 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Historical In-Joke: There are a surprising number of them. The art in "Who Goes There?", Tyrone's combed hair in "To the Center of the Earth", and Empress Tasha saying "Let us eat cake!" in "The Two Musketeers" are a few examples.
  • 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. When she finds out a worman is in her house, she calls Uniqua and Tyrone from Best Pest Control. Unfortunately, everything Uniqua and Tyrone do seems to attract even more wormen. Then Mr.Spiffy arrives, which means that Tasha, Uniqua, and Tyrone not only have to do their jobs quickly, but they also have to do it in secret. Thus the "Fawlty Towers" Plot.
  • 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...
  • Human Aliens: Most episodes that take place in outer space have the kids playing characters who live in space but look exactly like them: "Cops and Robots", "Garbage Trek", "Ranch Hands from Outer Space", "Los Galacticos", "Pablor and the Acorns", and "The Big Dipper Diner". Played with, as they are Funny Animals, not humans.
  • 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.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Pablo has a panic attack, he usually tells the others to stay calm.

  • "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 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".
  • 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.)
  • 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!
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: The Giant Robot, who shows up in seasons three and four.
  • 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.
  • 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's Always Spring: In the titular backyard. "The Secret of Snow" and "The Action Elves Save Christmas Eve" are the only two exceptions, 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.
  • 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.
  • Job Song: The protagonists often sing about jobs they're pretending to have.
  • 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.
  • The Killjoy: Especially when naps are involved.
    • In "A Giant Problem", Queen Uniqua hires a couple of wizards to get rid of giantess Tasha because the latter's weight shakes the ground and doesn't let the former take her royal nap. Meanwhile, Tasha is having great fun playing in the forest and exploring the kingdom she's just arrived in.
    • Played Forlaughs in "Fly Girl"; Pablo and Tyrone are clean-freaks and Tasha yells at birds because their singing won't let her take a nap. Pilot Uniqua is tasked with delivering singing telegrams to them so their mood can improve.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Pablo as "Professor Bug" in the two-part "Robot Rampage" episode. The first part was as lighthearted as most episodes of preschool shows, with Pablo only making a few casual appearances. But towards the end of the first part, he properly introduced himself via a Villain Song. He has a much more active role in the second part, which has a much more grim tone.
  • Law of Alien Names: The Zorbidorians in "Ranch Hands from Outer Space" seem to be very obsessed with the letter Z. Not only are Uniqua and Pablo named Zuniqua and Zablo, they refer to pancakes as zum-zums.
    Zoid, zoid, zoid! Zee, zee, zee! The horse is on my head and it's where it should be!
  • Leitmotif:
    • A variation of the show's theme song sounds off once the backyard is transforming into the imaginary world featured in the episode.
    • Pablo has his own panic attack tune set to the music genre of the week.
  • 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.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Aside from the thematic costumes they wear during the fantasies, their outfits never change.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: Uniqua at the beginning of "Polka Palace Party" and Pablo during the snowboarding leg of "Race Around the World".
  • Literal Metaphor: Towards the end of the Feminist Fantasy episode "Break Out!", Uniqua and Tasha break through a literal glass ceiling.

  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase: At the end of every episode, Tyrone remarks, "That was an excellent (or very) [type] adventure, don't you think?". Some episodes (like "It's Great to Be a Ghost!") omit the word "excellent". In episodes where Tyrone is absent, Pablo says the phrase instead.
  • Magikarp Power: Tyrone as "Captain Bubble" in "Front Page News" had super bubble power.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Sea Squirt in "The Great Dolphin Race" gains his courage against the Giant Clam by letting out two ear-piercing sonic shrieks, driving the clam away.
  • Master Actor: The Backyardigans can play well with whatever role that their adventures might take them.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It's not clear whether the reality of the characters live in is fantastic or not, as in some episodes, supporting characters appear both inside the Backyardigans' fantasies and out, especially the Gilded Golden Butterfly.
  • Meaningful Name: Uniqua = unique (because she's a Cartoon Creature), and Austin = Australia (because that's where kangaroos come from).
  • Minimalist Cast: Only five consistent characters, although most episodes only feature four, and some only have three.
  • 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.
  • Moose and Maple Syrup: 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.
  • 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 the characters often spin so quickly and their movement is perfectly synced.
  • Mr. Imagination: All five Backyardigans.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Episodes such as "Garbage Trek" and "For the Love of Socks" can easily be interpreted as the kids spinning elaborate, fantastical stories out of mundane tasks. There's also the likes of "Samurai Pie" and "Blazing Paddles", which take simple acts (respectively, baking pies and playing ping-pong) and treat them as Serious Business.
  • Mundane Utility: During the song "I Get Whatever I Want" from Robot Rampage, Pablo sings that he plans to have the robots in his command bring him stuff and then do the dishes.
  • 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.
  • Narrator All Along: At the very end of "The Secret of Snow", we learn that the narrator of the story is Austin, who plays the deuteragonist of the episode.
  • Never Say "Die": Although they kids have been close to danger, the word has never yet been used. This is extremely noticeable in "Escape from Fairytale Village", when Tyrone thinks Pablo (as a giant) is going to "do the scary stuff that fairytale characters do".
    • Finally averted in "The Funnyman Boogeyman", in which Austin says he has jokes that will "knock [Pablo and Uniqua] dead".
  • 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.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Uniqua, Austin, and Pablo in "The Best Clowns in Town." Ringmaster Tyrone finds their antics less than amusing and refuses to hire them for his circus (it doesn't help when they cause him to miss his train twice). Thankfully, they manage to bring him around in the end.
  • 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?
  • Once a Season:
    • Starting with season 2, there was one Two-Part Episode every season.
    • Each season had one episode involving racing. Season 1 had "Race Around the World", season 2 had "Horsing Around", season 3 had "The Great Dolphin Race", and season 4 had "The Magic Skateboard". Each of these episodes, with the exception of "Horsing Around", was written by Rodney Stringfellow.
  • Once per Episode: At the end of every episode, once the Backyardigans are finished singing the reprise of the intro song and go inside for a snack, one of them will open up the door and say a line associated with the setting of the episode.
  • 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 the performers for their speaking and singing voices are two different people recorded separately.
  • Our Sirens Are Different: In "Sinbad Sails Alone", Tyrone and Pablo encounter Siren Uniqua, who makes them play "Siren Says" in order to get water from her island.
  • Outlaw: In "Blazing Paddles", we see a wanted poster featured Pablo, the "Ping Pong Bandit", with a reward of $500.

  • 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. Justified since the kids are using their imaginations and are pretending that Pablo's disguises are perfect.
  • Pest Episode: Played with in "What's Bugging You" has Tyrone and Uniqua pretending to be "pest controllers" trying to rid Tasha's mansion of the wormlike wormans, while trying to keep the "infestation" hidden from an inspection by "Mr. Spiffy" (Pablo) — Tasha won't be able to join the "Spiffy Club" if there are worms inside.
  • 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" and "Knights Are Brave and Strong" (the first episode of the first season, depending on where you live) in addition to an unaired (and unnamed) animated pilot from 2001 and a 1998 live-action pilot titled "Me and My Friends." Confusingly, all four 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".
  • A Planet Named Zok: In "Ranch Hands from Outer Space", Uniqua and Pablo are from planet Zorbidor.
  • Planet of Steves: During "Mission to Mars", the Couch Gag phrase is "Boinga", which can mean nearly anything. As does "Ugh" during "Cave Party".
  • Playing Against Type: In-universe. The usually calm Tyrone plays a lot of hot-tempered roles in season 2, while the usually excitable Pablo plays a lot of The Comically Serious roles in season 3. Whenever this happens, it's nothing short of hilarious.
    • In "A Giant Problem", Uniqua plays a bossy princess, the kind of role you'd expect to be assigned to Tasha. Instead, Tasha gets to be a playful and carefree giant.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Primary-Color Champion/Secondary Color Nemesis: Played straight in "The Great Dolphin Race" where Uniqua, who is pink which is a shade of red, is the hero, and orange Tyrone is the villain, "Robin Hood the Clean" where blue Pablo is the hero and purple Austin is the villain, and "The Masked Retriever" and "Flower Power" where Uniqua is the hero and Austin is the villain. Inverted in "Le Master of Disguise" and "Robot Rampage", where Austin is the hero and Pablo is the villain, and "Pablor and the Acorns", where Uniqua and Pablo have an Evil vs. Evil rivalry.
  • Princesses Rule: "The Key to the Nile" has Tasha being called a "princess" despite appearing to be the ruler of ancient Egypt.
  • Record Needle Scratch:
    • In "Blazing Paddles". The exciting Background Music suddenly screeches to a halt when Pablo asks "Uh...when is high noon?".
    • In "Monster Detectives", Tyrone stars to lead Uniqua on a journey to get her soccer ball back, but Uniqua's doesn't know where they're headed, so the usual scenery transformation music fizzles out on the first try.
  • Recurring Character: The first small martian appears "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.
  • Repetitive Name: In "Catch That Train!", Pablo's full name is Pablo Pablovitch.
  • 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.
  • Rotating Protagonist: All five characters get 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 Three: Nearly every episode. "Le Master of Disguise" actually has two examples of this trope: Austin mistakes three people (Uniqua, Tyrone, and Tasha) for Pablo, and Pablo wears three disguises (conductor, waiter, and Austin himself!)
  • 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.

  • Save the Villain: In "International Super Spy", Pablo saves Uniqua from a Disney Villain Death, prompting her to change her ways.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Towards the end of "The Secret of Snow", Austin lets Uniqua, Pablo, and Tyrone into the ice factory against Tasha's orders.
  • 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.
  • Seashell Bra: Averted with the mermaid characters in "Viking Voyage" and "Into the Deep". Their tails go all the way up to their shoulders.
  • Second Episode Introduction: If you go by the Canadian air dates, Tasha made her debut in "The Yeti". Surprisingly, based on that, 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.
  • Series Continuity Error: A major plot point in the season three episode "Caveman's Best Friend" is that no one except Austin at the end is able to whistle. Even though Uniqua and Pablo can whistle just fine in the season two episode "Horsing Around", as can Tyrone in "Special Delivery". note 
  • "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'Brien as Santa Claus in "The Action Elves Save Christmas Eve"!
  • Signature Laugh: "Le Master of Disguise" does this in-universe for Pablo's "Heh-heh-heh!", which is what Inspector Austin uses to identify who is him.
  • Shabby Heroes, Well-Dressed Villains:
    • In "Blazing Paddles", Uniqua's sheriff uniform is much dustier than Pablo's outlaw uniform.
    • In "The Great Dolphin Race", Uniqua wears a plain stable girl outfit and Tyrone wears a sleek racing uniform.
    • In "Pablor and the Acorns", the kind Acorn Scouts wear dusty scout uniforms and space dictators Uniqua and Pablo wear fancy spacesuits. At the end, their HeelFaceTurns are symbolized by replacing their space helmets with berets.
  • Short Screentime for Reality: The shared backyard and the rear exteriors of the kids' houses are all that is seen in the real world, being bookended by the imaginary worlds dreamt up by them where most of the plot takes place.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Combined with Parental Bonus, a cowboy episode is titled “Blazing Paddles”.
    • Honorable mentions go to some BioShock shout-outs in "To the Center of the Earth".
    • The music in "The Heart of the Jungle" imitated the Gilbert and Sullivan operas. There's even a song to the tune of "I'm Called Little Buttercup".
    • Similarly, "Catch that Butterfly" parodies Rossini operas, and features a song to the tune of "The Barber of Seville" overture.
    • In "Break Out", Princess Tasha has Princess Leia's iconic hairstyle.
  • Shown Their Work: You can tell the "Caveman's Best Friend" episode takes place in the Triassic period because of the tar puddles and the fern plants.
  • 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.
  • Sirens Are Mermaids: Inverted in "Viking Voyage", where Uniqua, Pablo, and Tyrone sing a lullaby that makes mermaid Tasha and Pablo fall asleep.
  • Skyward Scream: CLOOOOOWNS! (Complete with echo). In the French dub, it's Satanique CLOOOUUUNES!Translation
    • Used with the typical camera angle in "Caveman's Best Friend" when Austin calls for Boy after he runs away.
  • Smurfing: Almost everything on Mars is "Boinga". In case you hadn't heard.
  • Soft Glass: The skylight Tasha and Uniqua escape through in "Break Out!". It falls to pieces on contact, without even scratching their clothes.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Intentionally done. Every episode has a different genre for its songs and background music, and that genre is rarely the one you'd expect for the episode's setting, such as reggae in a pirate episode, or hip-hop cowboys.
  • Special Edition Title: The series had these for all three two-parters. For the first one, "International Super Spy" (parodying the James Bond movies), there was an opening in the style of the episode. For the second, "Tale of the Mighty Knights", the theme song is done in the style of '70s hard rock. For the third, "Robot Rampage", the theme song is done the style of roller disco music.
  • Speed, Smarts and Strength: The episode "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters" gives us the Luau brothers Tyrone the Strong, Pablo the Swift, and Austin the Smart.
  • Spinoff Babies: An international merchandise line known as "Backyardigans Baby", or less commonly, "Backyardibabies", featured the characters as infants.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: This from Race Around The World.
    Uniqua: Hi Tyrone.
    Tyrone: Hi Uniqua.
    Uniqua: Bye Tyrone.
    Tyrone: Bye Uniqua.
    (A few seconds 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.
  • 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). They're Funny Animals though, so the weight difference between them probably isn't the same as it would normally be.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: In "International Super Spy", Tyrone (accidentally), Tasha, Pablo, and Austin are strapped to a Tickle Table.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Swiss-Army Superpower: 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.
  • 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 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).
  • Team Title: The Backyardigans stars the Backyardigans.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • That Poor Cat:
    • Happens in the double-length episode "International Secret Super Spy" when The Lady in Pink's secret headquarter lights end up dying from The Lady Pink pushing on the tickle table button several times. The Lady to Pink orders Henchman Tyrone to activate the emergency lights. While doing so, Henchman Tyrone crashes off-screen and we hear the screeching cat noise.
    • It also happens in "Catch That Train!" when Czar Tyrone's train ends up in a tunnel while Uniqua and Pablo go off after it. We hear a cat screeching, along with a chicken clucking, a telephone ringing, and a weird talking device.
  • 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" often talks in the third person, 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.
  • Three Plus Two: Almost inevitable, due to there being five characters.
    • "Knights Are Brave and Strong" has three commoners who become knights (Uniqua, Pablo, and Tyrone) and two rulers (Tasha and Austin).
    • "Cave Party" has three valley cavepeople (Uniqua, Pablo, and Tyrone) and two mountain cavepeople (Tasha and Austin).
    • "Mission to Mars" has three astronauts (Uniqua, Pablo, and Austin) and two members of Mission Control (Tyrone and Tasha).
    • "Scared of You" has three monsters (Uniqua, Pablo, and Tyrone) and two laboratory workers (Tasha and Austin).
    • "Whodunit" has three residents of Mystery Manor (Tyrone, Tasha, and Austin) and two detectives (Uniqua and Pablo).
    • "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters" has three Luau Brothers (Pablo, Tyrone, and Austin) and two Volcano Sisters (Uniqua and Tasha).
    • "The Secret of Snow" has three characters who want to see snow (Uniqua, Pablo, and Tyrone) and two ice factory workers (Tasha and Austin).
    • "International Super Spy" has three heroes (Pablo, Tasha, and Austin) and two villains (Uniqua and Tyrone).
    • "News Flash" has three news reporters (Uniqua, Tasha, and Austin) and two farmers (Pablo and Tyrone).
    • "Who Goes There?" has three pieces of art (Uniqua, Pablo, and Austin) and two museum workers (Tyrone and Tasha).
    • "Garbage Trek" has three garbage collectors (Uniqua, Tasha, and Austin) and two Moose-ians (Pablo and Tyrone).
    • "Match on Mount Olympus" has three gods (Uniqua, Tasha, and Austin) and two mortals (Pablo and Tyrone).
    • "The Action Elves Save Christmas Eve" has three elves (Uniqua, Pablo, and Tasha) and two abominable snowmen (Tyrone and Austin).
    • "Los Galacticos" has three mariachi musicians (Pablo, Tyrone, and Tasha) and two Googors (Uniqua and Austin).
    • "Pablor and the Acorns" has three Acorn scouts (Tyrone, Tasha, and Austin) and two space dictators (Uniqua and Pablo).
  • 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.
    • What Do You Do With A Scurvy Pirate? is actually a filk of a classic sea shanty called Drunken Sailornote .
    • "When I'm Booin'" from "It's Great to Be a Ghost!" is sung to the tune of Judy Garland's "When You're Smiling".
    • "Please and Thank You" from "The Key to the Nile" is sung to the tune of Ruth Etting's "Shine on Harvest Moon".
    • "I'll Catch a Whopper" from "Save the Day" is sung to the tune of "Pop Goes the Weasel".
    • "Don't Flip Out" from "The Flipper" is sung to the tune of "I Want Candy".
    • "Oh, My Sherman" is sung to the tune of "Oh My Darling, Clementine."
  • Too Dumb to Live: Uniqua in the episode "Monster Detectives". The plot of the whole episode is Uniqua keeps breaking most of Detective Tyrone's rules while they look for the soccer monster. Despite Tyrone trying to get Uniqua to be serious and trying to be quiet so the Soccer Monster doesn't find it, she eventually is too curious to even bother looking for the Soccer Monster. For example, Uniqua saw and looked at the 4 trophies and eventually another trophy with Pablo on it, causing Tyrone to firmly snap at her, "Don't touch ANYTHING". This can prove that Uniqua, being the Cheerful Child she is, may be a ditz sometimes, but mostly, it's all in good pleasure. It is justified, being that Uniqua is, 1: a curious little kid, 2: this IS a kid show, and 3: she doesn't know better. Poor Uniqua though..... And also, she gets turned into a Soccer Monster along with Tyrone himself. This happens to be a rare occurence in a preschool show.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: A variation happens in the episode "Best Clowns in Town". When Pablo, Uniqua, and Austin help Tyrone catch up to his train, they hug him goodbye...and cause him to miss his train again.
  • Traintop Chase: Austin and Pablo do this in "Le Master of Disguise", the chase ending with a train tunnel escape.
  • Troperiffic: This show took every child-friendly trope in the book and wrote a song about each one.
  • 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.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Whenever three characters appear in an episode, it's (usually) Pablo, Tyrone, and Uniqua. Austin replaces Tyrone in a few episodes. However...
    • Two Girls and a Guy: Some episodes feature only Uniqua, Tasha, and only one of Pablo and Tyrone.

  • Unexpected Kindness: Throughout "Escape from Fairytale Village", Tyrone mistakes the Fairytale Village as them trying to hurt him. First off, Austin (as a wolf) says that he's about to "huff and puff" so that he can blow up Tyrone's flat tire, but Tyrone thinks he's trying to blow him far away and runs off thanks to Poor Communication Kills. He also wrongly believes Pablo the Gentle Giant and Uniqua the witch want to eat him when they invite him to their houses for lunch. At the end of the episode, he finds out that their kindness was genuine.
  • 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.
    • Played as a Tear Jerker in "The Secret of Snow". At the end when Tasha reveals that she doesn't know the secret of snow, Uniqua is sad because her journey has been rendered useless. Until she realizes that she has made four great friends.
  • 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!".
  • 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.
  • Voluntary Shape Shifting: Pablo could turn into a bat in "Scared of You".
  • 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!"
  • Werewolves Are Dogs: In "Scared of You", Uniqua the werewolf whimpers like a puppy when Austin and Tyrone accidentally startle her.
  • 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.
  • With Friends Like These...: In the episode "It's Great to Be a Ghost!", Pablo and Uniqua force off Tyrone into being a ghost, when he tries to tell them that he is too nervous about the whole "ghost" thing, and just wants to play off something else. But Pablo and Uniqua want Tyrone to play ghosts with them, and apparently, throughout the whole episode, they want Tyrone to scare somebody. But Tyrone's too nervous and he wants to be friendly. Pablo and Uniqua, not knowing that Tyrone doesn't wanna play ghosts with them, force him out there anyway, in a Bedsheet Ghost-esque style upstairs in the haunted house.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In "The Snow Fort", Pablo and Tyrone have no qualms against using booby traps on Uniqua and Tasha.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: In "News Flash", Reporter Uniqua mistakes Tyrone and Pablo's corn decoration for Crop Circles.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: At the beginning of "Attack of the 50 Foot Worman", Pablo mixes blue and orange paint, thinking it will make blue-and-orange-striped paint. Instead, it makes brown paint.
  • You Can Say That Again: A Running Gag primarily in the first season, in which a character would literally repeat themselves after this is said.
  • You Go, Girl!: This happens more than once, and shouldn't be surprising because this show was created by a woman.
    • Becomes a plot point in "Blazing Paddles" when sheriff Uniqua must demonstrate table tennis skills to defend her town.
    • In "Match On Mount Olympus", both Uniqua and Tasha pull a Lisa Leslie, dunking a basketball at different times.
  • Youngest Child Wins: In "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters", Austin the third Luau Brother succeeds after his other siblings each failed.
  • Zorro Mark: (Or Calling Card) Uniqua, as the heroic librarian in "The Masked Retriever", leaves a big black checkmark to show where she's been. This was the Zorro parody episode, funnily enough...

We've got the whole wide world in our yard to explore!
Now it's time for us to have a snack,
Meet you next time when we're back!
With your friends, the Backyardigans...


Dance For Your Life

In a game of "Escape the Tower", Tasha and Uniqua run into one trying to get to the secret staircase. Good thing they're equipped for such an obstacle.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / LaserHallway

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