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Western Animation / The Chipmunks
aka: Alvin And The Chipmunks

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Left to right: Theodore, Alvin, and Simon.

Watch out, 'cause here we come!
It's been a while, but we're back in style, so
Get set, to have some fun!
We'll bring you action and satisfaction!
— Original theme tune sung by The Chipmunks (also later used as the theme of the 2015 series)

The Chipmunks (formerly called Alvin and the Chipmunks), is an American animated television series featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks produced by Bagdasarian Productions (formally known as Bagdasarian Film Corporation) in association with Ruby-Spears Enterprises (and later, Murakami-Wolf-Swenson) from 1983-1987 and DIC Entertainment from 1988-1990.

The show, airing on NBC, lasted eight production seasons. It also introduces the Chipmunks' Distaff Counterparts, The Chipettes:

  • Brittany, who is vain like Alvin.
  • Jeanette, who is smart like Simon;
  • and Eleanor, who is caring like Theodore
  • Then in season four, their own human guardian, the myopic Miss Beatrice Miller, was introduced.

The outline of the 80s show closely paralleled its 1961 animated series predecessor, The Alvin Show, reflecting contemporary trends and popular culture; the Chipmunks sang recent hits, and wore contemporary clothing. Along with 1981's Christmas Special and the album Chipmunk Punk, the series marked The Chipmunks' return to pop culture after the franchise stalled out after The '60s.

During the show's fifth season, The Chipmunks first animated feature film, The Chipmunk Adventure was released to theatres by The Samuel Goldwyn Company in 1987. Directed by Janice Karman, produced by Ross Bagdasarian Jr. and written by both, the movie features The Chipmunks and The Chipettes in a contest traveling around the world. A soundtrack album titled The Chipmunk Adventure Original Motion Picture Soundtrack was released on vinyl to coincide with the film.

There were also three Bagdasarian Production produced direct-to-videos:The first two, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Frankenstein & Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman were horror-themed films released under Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

The third and (thus far) final direct-to-video film, Little Alvin and the Mini-Munks was released under Paramount Home Entertainment. This film has Ross Bagdasarian Jr. as the live-action Dave Seville and wife, Janice Karman as his friend, Lalu. It also features puppetry used for The Chipmunks and The Chipettes.

The series also had eight specials in all. It is also worth noting that the first special, A Chipmunk Christmas, came two years before the show, nine years after the passing of the Chipmunks creator. The special formed the basis for the series.

The show was rebooted for the eighth season, which was called The Chipmunks go to the Movies, which parodied movies, shows and such.

Also, in 1990, Alvin, Simon and Theodore starred in a drug abuse prevention special with other popular Saturday morning showsnote  called Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue.

The show ultimately vanished from the airwaves in the 1990s, though Cartoon Network aired the 65-episode syndication package from 1993 to 2001 and Nickelodeon aired the show from 1995 to 1997.

In 2007 however, a live-action adaptation with computer-generated (and realistically sized) chipmunks and Jason Lee as the new David Seville, revived the characters somewhat. So much so, in fact, that it spawned three sequels, at least one of which averts Sequelitis.

A new series, done in CGI and called ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks, premiered in 2015 in France (the series is a Franco-American production) and other countries including the UK.

NOTE: Tropes under here are specifically for the '80s cartoon series.

The Chipmunks provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Juliet to Alvin in the episode "Love Potion #9".
  • Accidental Bid: Happened in an episode where Alvin was pretending to bid on expensive things in order to impress a rich girl; he ended up accidentally outbidding his rival on a yacht.
  • Accidental Hero: In "The Chipmunk Who Bugged Me", Alvin unknowingly unmasks a secret agent who stole a man's briefcase, when he returns the woman's wig.
  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • In the episode "Snow Job", Alvin wishes to enter John Colorado's Celebrity Ski Tournament; a Running Gag throughout the rest of the episode is Colorado not remembering Alvin's name, referring to him as Alfred, Irvin, Melvin, Elmo, and engraving his trophy with, "First Place to Marvin Seville".
    • In "Cadet's Regrets," General Granite keeps calling Theodore "Cadillac," despite Theodore repeatedly reminding him it's "Seville."
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Grandpa Seville, a farmer, is voiced by Alan Young, who not only voices Farmer Smurf but played another farmer in the 1952 movie Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick as titular Aaron Slick.
    • In "The Gang's All Here," The Chipmunks face a gang called the Steam Rollers in the roller rink. the Chipettes had initially come dressed as cheerleaders to assist the boys when they needed help, though it’s only after the Steam Rollers break one of Brittany's nails that she takes them all on. Theodore even tries to find people to create a gang against the Steam Rollers and fails. This mirrors a similar scene in the gang film Switchblade Sisters that starred Theodore and the Chipettes' voice actress, Janice Karman. The Dagger Debs and their male counterparts, Silver Daggers, have a showdown with a new gang that arrived led by Crabs. The scene in Switchblade Sisters proves disastrous when Crabs’ men brutally assault the Dagger Deb’s leader, who subsequently miscarries. The Dagger Debs then recruit Muff and her gang of African-American militants from across town to take on Crabs' gang.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: The Chipettes are often accused of this, with the one particular occasion that stands out is the episode "Goin' Down to Dixie"
  • All Just a Dream:
    • There were some episodes, like when Alvin had a fever or when Dave thought he'd shrunk where's he able to stand in someone's palm.
    • In "Dreamlighting", after Alvin has to go to basketball on one of their dates, Brittany watches on tv "Dreamlighting" (which itself is a parody of Moonlighting) and dreams herself in the show.
    • A Charlie's Angels parody episode had the Chipettes being knocked out by a thief in the mall, the girls dream that they are a crime fighting team called Alvie's Angels.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Italian version has a different opening theme.
  • Always Someone Better: Alvin encountered one of these in the person of a boy named Apollo Jones, who kept beating him at everything. It turned out that Apollo genuinely envied Alvin because Alvin had one thing he himself lacked — a family that could be bothered with him. Apollo's parents were rarely home and sent him extremely generic postcards from wherever they went.
  • Animation Bump: All three intros to the 80s/90s series used significantly more fluid and high budget animation than the pretty standard Saturday Morning quality of the show itself. Especially apparent with Chipmunks Go To The Movies intro which looks only a cut below the actual Chipmunk Adventure movie itself.
  • Anti-Advice: One episode features a Sherlock Holmes spoof, with Simon playing the role of Holmes and Theodore as Watson. After repeatedly attempting to deduce things only to each time have Holmes explain how he's wrong, Watson decides to quit, believing that Holmes only keeps him around for comic relief. Holmes assures him that in fact he plays a vital role in their investigations because he's always wrong: every time he comes up with a theory about what's going on, he helps Holmes home in on the correct solution by showing him what it isn't.
  • Art Evolution: For this specific show, as noted on the franchise page, it went through three different animation studios: Ruby-Spears Enterprises animated Seasons One through Five, Murakami-Wolf-Swenson (now Fred Wolf Films) animated the first eleven episodes of Season Six (which were produced specifically for the syndication package), and DiC Entertainment animated the rest of Season Six, as well as Seven and Eight. While the Ruby-Spears seasons have more detailed and consistent animation, the character designs started out rather simplistic with an almost Hanna-Barbera look (which makes sense, considering Ruby-Spears was both a spinoff of and a sister studio to Hanna-Barbera), though in their last two seasons, the characters designs improved greatly, as well as the color palette of the show was richer and more saturated. Both MWS and DiC kept with the slightly overhauled versions of the character designs (the original designs were by Corny Cole, while Sandra Berez later tweaked them for The Chipmunk Adventure), their animation was a lot more simplistic and off model; DiC was the worst offender of this, though the MWS episodes are pretty decent for the most part.
  • Attack of the Political Ad: The episode "May the Best Chipmunk Win". at one point, Alvin rides around the playground in a wagon pulled by a donkey, while Simon and Theodore proclaim, "Don't be a donkey, vote for Alvin!" THEN, in comes Brittany, riding on the back of a elephant asking for votes.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: An episode did a Sherlock Holmes spoof where Simon played Sherlock, Theodore played Dr. Watson and Alvin played Moriarty. In one scene Holmes disguises himself as a Cockney barwench and was able to fool Watson enough that he came on to him.
  • Auction: In one of the '80s episodes, Alvin gets in over his head bidding on expensive items to impress a rich girl he likes.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The opening/closing themes of season 6.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The opening credits for "Chipmunks go to the Movies" contains footage from different episodes, each parodying a different movie, but also a brief clip parodying Star Wars, starring Alvin as Luke Skywalker], Simon and Theodore as C-3PO and R2-D2 respectively, and David Seville as Darth Vader. Unfortunately, the Star Wars parody was never made into an actual episode of that series.
    • The opening also shows Eleanor swimming away from a shark and being saved by Jeanette in a Jaws parody that was never made either.
  • Ballet Episode: One episode has a boy who's a ballet dancer stay with the Chipmunks. The story ends with the boy and Alvin (the latter wearing a pink tutu) performing a spectacular pas de deux.
  • Beautiful All Along / She Cleans Up Nicely: Jeanette. Confirmed and done in the episode "My Fair Chipette", to the point that even Brittany was threatened.
    Brittany: Jeanette looked beau-beau-
    Eleanor: Beautiful?
    Brittany: I've got to find a real showstopper for the talent contest!
  • Bedsheet Ghost: One episode has the chipmunks do this to a person claiming to be their uncle but was really using them to make money and pay off a debt.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Alvin and Brittany have always shared an on / off relationship, often appearing to hate each other. However, they are known to express romantic feelings towards each other.
  • The Bet: In "My Pharaoh Lady", Missy Snootson makes a bet with Brittany that if the mummy of King Rooten Tooten comes to life and visits her by midnight, she'll withdraw from the carnival queen position, and vice versa if he doesn't. Brittany loses.
  • Be Yourself: The Aesop for aforementioned episode "My Fair Chipette" where Alvin tries to make nerdy Jeanette into a beauty queen to compete against Brittany in a pageant.
  • Bigger Than Jesus: One cartoon formatted as a documentary on the rise and popularity of the group shows one segment where Alvin shocks everyone at a press conference, including Simon and Theodore, by shouting, "We're bigger than Mickey Mouse!" People start destroying their Chipmunks merchandise as Alvin is forced to make an apology to the press soon after.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In "Help Wanted: Mommy": The Chipettes have avoided being sent to separate foster homes, have gained a kindly adoptive mother in Miss Miller, and they have all come to love each other. However, they have lost their independence, which they were previously handling quite capably, and they and Miss Miller are probably still in the phase of working things out.
  • Bootcamp Episode: "Cadet's Regrets" has Alvin enrolling himself and his brothers in a summer camp that is patterned after a real Army boot camp. After misinterpreting a conversation they overhear, the Chipmunks go AWOL and inadvertently go on a real mission in a new automated Army jeep. The mission ends up being successful.
  • Broken Ace: An episode has a boy who is good at everything, which pushes all of Alvin's competitive buttons. But the episode also shows that the case full of trophies and his working spaceship built as a science project doesn't keep his parents from leaving him with the butler and traveling around the world, sometimes remembering to drop him a postcard, maybe. The boy deeply envies Alvin and his brothers for their loving father. Admitting this and his loneliness allowed him and Alvin to become friends.
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: In the Batman parody episode. The Jokester (Alvin) kidnaps Brice Wayne (Simon) and Nicki Nale (Brittany) and threatens to kill them unless Batmunk brings him the toy he's been trying to steal. Fortunately, loyal butler Happy (Theodore) takes on the role himself for this.
  • Candy Striper: In "Operation Theodore", the Chipettes volunteer at a local hospital. Their Candy Stripe uniforms include pink blouses, striped pink nurse hats, and striped pink pinafores with extra lace and bows.
  • Crossover:
    • With Mr. T! Both their cartoons premiered simultaneously and are made by the same production company.
    • And the '80s chipmunks with their '60s' incarnation.
  • Celebrity Star: The '80s installment "Urban Chipmunk" has a guest appearance by Dolly Parton, unusual for Saturday morning cartoons of the time.
  • Character Development: Very, very rare for an animated children's series in the 80s. Simon, especially, is more of a well-rounded character as the series progresses. It was this series that established his and Theodore's individual personalities, no longer interchangeable second bananas to Alvin like in earlier material.
  • Cinderella Plot: The Chipette's foster mother, Miss Miller, gives each of them chores to do before they go shopping for new dresses for a dance. Jeanette and Eleanor do theirs without complaint, but Brittany, The Primadonna, doesn't do her share and instead primps. As punishment, Ms. Miller makes her stay home to finish her chores while she takes the other two shopping, and tells her that she can't attend the dance unless her chores are done. Upset, Brittany falls asleep and dreams that she's Cinderella, with Ms. Miller as her Wicked Stepmother, and Jeanette and Eleanor as the stepsisters. When the dream ends with Miss Miller refusing to let her marry Prince Alvin, Brittany awakens and finds the real Miss Miller willing to compromise with her, making Brittany realize that she isn't living with a mean stepmother after all.
  • Circus Episode: In "The Greatest Show-Offs on Earth," Uncle Ben's Circus is facing foreclosure due to lack of business, and Alvin decides to help Uncle Ben revitalize his circus by signing him, his brothers, and the Chipettes on as new acts; all the while, the evil banker makes attempts to sabotage the circus anyway.
  • The City vs. the Country: Played with in both episodes featuring The Chipmunks' mother Vinny. "Vinny's Visit" especially puts this into perspective, as she still tries to carry on with her woodland lifestyle, despite being a guest at the Seville house.
  • Clip Show: The episodes "Chipmunkmania" (where an interviewer takes a look back at the history of The Chipmunks' career by using flashbacks to past episodes) and "Alvin in Analysis" (where Alvin visits a psychologist he is a fan of to talk about his issues with his family).
  • Clumsy Copyright Censorship: As of this writing, at least four episodes have had their original respective songs replaced on DVD collections: The Clovers' "Love Potion No. 9" (from "Theodore and Juliet"), The Beach Boys' "Surfin' USA" (from "The Curse of Lontiki"), The Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four" (from "The Picture of Health"), and Patti LaBelle's "New Attitude" and The Pointer Sisters' "The Neutron Dance" (from "The Chipette Story'').
  • Complexity Addiction: Lampshaded in one episode where, after Alvin's latest Zany Scheme plays out, the idea is floated that they could have simply asked.
    Alvin: "Ask"? Now, why didn't I think of that?
    Simon: Too easy!
  • Conspicuous Consumption: An episode had Simon develop a device that could look into possible futures. One was where the Chipmunks and Chipettes were incredibly wealthy. They bought their kids guitars made of diamonds, with ruby picks, and there were apparently emerald strings.
  • Courtroom Episode: "Tell it to the Judge" from Season Five, in which Alvin sues Brittany, claiming she totaled Dave's new bicycle; Brittany counter sues, claiming Alvin ruined her new pair of roller skates.
  • Covers Always Lie: Some DVD covers of the episode “Cinderella? Cinderella!” depict Brittany, who plays as Cinderella in the episode, in a pink ballgown. She wears a blue ballgown in the cartoon.
  • Dark Horse Victory: In "Dr. Simon and Mr. Heartthrob" Alvin and Simon attempt to win the title of "Heartthrob of the Year" award. But at the end the winner is Theodore!
  • Darker and Edgier: Some surprising moments...
    • "Cookie Chomper III", an episode where the Chipmunks adopt a little cat as a pet that is killed by a car.
    • A Halloween special in the mid-90s features a boy named Michael who has a deformity that other kids ridicule him for, but Theodore quickly becomes good friends with him and realizes he's really no different from other kids.
    • Some episodes from the last season (The Chipmunks Go to the Movies) are only slightly more mature than the rest of the series, probably considering they did parody some more "grown-up" movies.
    • One episode actually dealt with the Berlin Wall!
  • Death by Newbery Medal: "Cookie Chomper III"
  • Depth Deception: An episode has a bug on the lens of Simon's telescope caused them to think there was an alien invasion on its way to Earth.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Simon, of all characters, in "Every Chipmunk Tells a Story". After Theodore spilled a bowl of pudding mix due to a dare where he tried to balance it on his head, Simon is able to develop a chemical compound to clean up the mess before Dave can come home and notice what happened. However, for it work, the piano must be next to the science kit that Simon used to develop it. Thus, he, with the help the other chipmunks, attempts to bring the piano upstairs and into their bedroom. As they attempt to bring the piano up via pulley, Alvin realizes that Simon had forgotten to check if the piano can even get through the bedroom door and measures it to discover that it can't. By this time, the piano is already near the top of the stairs, and Simon and Theodore have begun to lose their grip.
  • Don't Split Us Up: The first episode of season four that introduces Miss Miller did this with the Chipettes. The girls stayed with the boys and Dave for a few days while a social worker tried to find a foster home for them, and they got along horribly with the boys. It wasn't until the social worker said that the only option was to split up the girls (since, as she explains, many people can't afford to take in siblings together and can only adopt one,) that they start to get along. All three girls are later put under the care of kind Miss Miller, who does live quite near Dave and the boys, and is quite willing to take in all three.
  • Doorstop Baby: The Chipmunks, when left by their mother, Vinnie, in Dave's forest cabin.
  • Downer Ending:
    • "I Love L.A.": After many attempts, The Chipmunks fail to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Then, Alvin becomes horrified when he finds out that because they can't make it, they will be giving their star to Dan the Dog.
    • "My Pharaoh Lady": Brittany is set to win a bet with Missy Snootson over whether the mummy of King Rooten Tooten would come to life and visit her - when King Rooten Tooten shows up. However, she sends him away, thinking it was Miss Miller in disguise trying to do her a favor, only realizing her mistake when Miss Miller shows up in a Paper-Thin Disguise. Now Brittany must drop out of the race for school Carnival Queen in favor of Missy.
    • "Big Dreams": After seeing through Simon's Time Machine what might happen if he chooses $500, or if he chooses the Mystery Prize, Alvin calls Publishing Warehouse Sweepstakes to go for the cash. However, he then learns that he's too young, and that he has to be over 18 to win.
  • Election Day Episode: In "May the Best Chipmunk Win," Alvin is running for school president, with absolutely no competition whatsoever; that is, until The Chipettes enroll at their school, and Brittany decides to run against Alvin in an attempt to gain popularity. Things really get sticky when they're tied in the polls and it turns out Jeanette has the deciding vote.
  • Episode Title Card: Unusually structured in that the copyright notice appears in the top right (above the depiction of the Chipmunks) rather than at the bottom (where it would normally be).
  • Everyone Has Standards: Alvin may be a Jerkass at times, but even he was disgusted at the way Brittany treated Jeanette just to get in good with some snobby clique—as in, deliberately hiding the fact that Jeanette is her sister because she didn't want the clique to reject her bid to join them. When he finds out, Alvin is so furious that he refuses to even speak to Brittany, and when she approaches him in wood-shop class to ask if he won't talk to her, his only response is to blast sawdust in her face while giving her a stony Death Glare.
    Simon: He says "no."
  • Evil Orphanage Lady: The Chipettes' backstory details their lives as young babies living in an Australian orphanage as the pets of a human girl named Olivia; the headmistress of the orphanage, Miss Grudge discovers they can sing, so she kidnaps them before Olivia is adopted, holds them hostage, and plans to exploit their singing talents for her own benefit. Luckily, they manage to escape.
  • Evil Uncle: Charlatan "Uncle" Harry, who pretended to be the brother of their mother so he could scam them.
  • Evolving Credits / Evolving Music: The show introduced a harder rocking version of the theme in season 6. On NBC, the episodes produced by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson (MWS) used this version with a montage of clips from The Movie, while syndication prints of these episodes dubbed it over the original opening. The DiC-produced episodes played this theme over a newly animated sequence (with the Chipmunks coming out of a limo and getting their makeup done), though at least one of these episodes used the movie montage.
  • Fanboy: Theodore, who (surprisingly to some) is a big fan of soap operas and crime dramas.
  • Fanservice Pack: Brittany in some parody episodes where the main characters have alternate identities. When she play the role of the Femme Fatale or The Vamp, her body is more mature and curvy than normal.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: The episode "Inner Dave" where the boys are accidentally shrunk by one of Simon's inventions. They end up going inside Dave's head in order to try telling him what happened.
  • First Gray Hair: Alvin, Simon and Theodore once painted a small portion of Dave's hair white to give them an excuse to treat him like he was treating his Uncle Willie (a.k.a. Uncle Adventure). Namely, treating him like he couldn't do anything by himself.
  • Five Stages of Grief: The infamous Tear Jerker episode "Cookie Chomper III" has all three chipmunks going through various stages after their newly adopted kitten is killed by a car. Theodore goes through denial, actively searching for their kitten and thinking that a different one was killed. Alvin goes through anger, putting all the houseplants outside because they'll eventually die too. Simon goes through depression, just sad over the kitten's death.
  • Flippant Forgiveness: In the episode "Funny, We Shrunk the Adults", Simon accuses Alvin of shrinking his lab coat. When it turns out that the coat belongs to one of Theodore's dolls, Simon snobbishly "accepts" Alvin's "apology", instead of apologizing for falsely accusing his brother.
  • Get Back to the Future: "Back to Dave's Future"
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: It got a G rating despite a couple of references to sex; sexual allusion is supposed to be an automatic PG.
    • In the episode "Sploosh", Brittany's character at one point asks Jeanette (as the mermaid), "Are mermen sexier than human men?"
    • Even better from "Simon Seville, Superstar", Simon is asked if he considers himself a sex symbol (Bonus, Alvin does a more-or-less simultaneous and very loud gasp with the word "sex", just to confirm this trope). Simon demurs cutely and says "No... Only if glasses are sexy". When told that they are "very attractive", he pulls out ones that are older and even more noticeable.
  • A Gift for Themselves: In the Christmas Episode, Alvin is all set to buy himself a golden harmonica. However, when Dave finds out, he's incredibly upset and disappointed in his selfishness. Unlike other examples of the trope, Alvin has a good reason for his actions - he gave his old harmonica to a sick boy, and because the original harmonica was a gift from Dave, Alvin doesn't want him to find out because he is worried that Dave's feelings will be hurt if he learns what happened.
  • Gilligan Cut: In the episode "Carsick" Dave and the Chipmunks are coming home from a long car ride. Simon and Theodore are starting to feel ill, but Alvin arrogantly says, "I never get sick!" Then it cuts to show Alvin in bed with a thermometer in his mouth.
  • Girl's Night Out Episode: A handful of episodes during the 2nd half of the shows run focus exclusively on the Chipettes; most prominently the final Ruby-Spears produced episode.
  • Girl Posse: Brittany tries to initiate herself in one in the episode "Sisters".
  • Gone Horribly Right: Dave dislikes heavy metal music, thinking that it just relies on being loud. He enters a heavy metal contest in the guise of "The Phantom" to prove to the Chipmunks that heavy metal is just noise. Dave not only wins the contest, but accidentally becomes a heavy metal star in the process, with a fanbase that includes the Chipmunks.
  • The Grotesque: Michael in "Trick or Treason".
  • Hair-Trigger Avalanche: In "Mind Over Matterhorn" where Chipmunk and Chipettes end trapped in an avalanche as a result of Alvin's yodeling.
  • Handcar Pursuit: The show has a bit of deconstruction thrown in. Of course the handcar has to flee from a train sooner or later, but in the end everything, train, handcar, railway, keels over as it was just cardboard backdrop.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: The TV show's theme contains quite a bit. The series' Totally Radical pretensions don't help matters. "We'll give you action and satisfaction" indeed...
  • High-School Hustler: Alvin. Though the proper term would be Elementary School Hustler.
  • Hot for Teacher: Occurs in one episode when Alvin develops a huge crush on his teacher, Miss Stone. However, she's far more interested in Dave and the two begin dating, causing Alvin to become extremely jealous.
  • I Broke a Nail: The modern "you broke my nail — shit just got real" version happens in an episode. A gang of bullies dominating the local roller rink has challenged the Seville rodents to a roller-derby race for rink use rights. Brittany scoffs at the immaturity the boys are all showing... until guess what one of the bullies accidentally does.
  • I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough!: Spoofed with Theodore drinking carrot juice at a bar.
  • Imaginary Love Triangle:
    • An episode had one involving a Girl of the Week, Simon, and a biker boy. Alvin convinced Simon to try out for a bike competition to impress the girl, only to find out that the biker was her cousin.
    • Played with VERY briefly at one point where both Alvin and Simon try to impress a Girl of the Week (Alvin with his athletic abilities, Simon with his manners and chivalry).
    • In a Valentine's-themed episode, Alvin starts listening to motivational tapes at night to get his courage up to ask Brittany to a dance. He ends up courting her in his sleep as the dashing Captain Chipmunk. When he finally realizes what is going on, he portrays "Captain Chipmunk" as an insensitive jerk and finally gets the girl as his real self (though she's not too happy when he tells her the truth).
  • Impersonation Gambit:
    • "The Price Isn't Right" has Simon goes on a trivia game show. When he gets sick with the flu, the follow up appearances call for Theodore and Alvin to stand in for him. Needless to say, Hilarity Ensues when Alvin-as-Simon misses the final question.
    • "Sincerely Theodore" has Theodore and Alvin swapping roles of "dater" and "actor" when both brothers need to help the other out of a jam. The girl in the date is the daughter of a famous director, and in the end, the director, seeing Theodore's "acting" decides THEODORE, not Alvin, is the one he wants for a part Alvin coveted.
  • Important Haircut: In "Cadet's Regrets" where Alvin enrolls the trio in an army-style summer camp, they are sent to the barbershop for induction haircuts. Seeing the boys going before them getting peeled prompts the Chipmunks to make feeble attempts to avoid the cut (qualifying this as a Traumatic Haircut as well), unsuccessful as they end up with their head fur in a high-and-tight style for the rest of the episode.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man:
    • The episode "Funny, We Shrunk the Adults", is one where Dave and Miss Miller are shrunken by Simon's "matter compacting" ray. At the same time, the Chipmunks and some neighbor kids who they are trying to impress are wrecking the house with their rowdy playing and bringing in things like a circus, including the animals. In fact, it was the rowdy playing that made the shrink ray turn on and zap Dave in the first place.
    • Inverted in an earlier episode with Dave waking up from a dream about him shrinking.
  • Inter Species Romance: The whole show was full of this, considering the Chipmunks (and Chipettes) interacted with humans. More so Alvin with his constant flirting. In one episode, Brittany wants to ask the most popular boy in school to the dance.
  • Intra-Franchise Crossover: The episode spoofing Back to the Future has the 1980s Chipmunks meeting their 1960s counterparts from The Alvin Show.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: "Dave's Wonderful Life" where Dave feels that the boys would be better off without him. The boys later come to him in a dream saying how things would be different for them without him. Simon is first to say that without Dave to help him study for the spelling bee, he would still be in kindergarten at the age of 40. Without Dave to give Theodore advice on how to make friends, Theodore became a hermit on a desert island. Alvin is last to say that without the first success of his lemonade stand, he became a failure (Dave had originally informed him he needed a positive attitude and advertisement for his stand). When Dave awakes and finds that The Chipmunks still love him, he develops a new idea for a song.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: The episode "Nightmare on Seville Street" where Alvin, Simon, and Theodore see a scary movie and are all scared out of their wits, which causes them to think that a creature called Hideous Harold is chasing them, however, it was actually Dave, who had been locked out of the house.
  • Landmark Declaration Gambit: Happens in an episode where Alvin got a mountain declared as a historical landmark so that developers wouldn't destroy a nest of bald eagles.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: Since the DiC episodes (including The Chipmunks Go to the Movies) were not seen in reruns for a long period of time, and have had limited episodes released on DVD, it can be a rather disorienting experience for those who are most accustomed to the Ruby-Spears, and the Murakumi-Wolf-Swenson episodes. Also considering the storylines by the DiC era were becoming far more over-the-top cartoony and less believable ("Dear Diary" is a good example). The Chipmunks Go to the Movies especially are just Plain Weird Installment Weirdness.
  • Lost Food Grievance: An episode has the trio visiting Dave's parents, who live on a farm, and ends up saving their farm. The cartoon concludes with everyone having breakfast and a chicken eating Theodore's breakfast. The chicken eating up all of Theodore's food leads to an "Everybody Laughs" Ending...for everyone except poor Theodore.
  • Lots of Luggage: In the episode "Island Fever", Alvin struggles to move a luggage cart overflowing with pink suitcases, footlockers, trunks, and other pieces of luggage belonging to Brittany onto the cruise ship the Sevilles and Millers are entertaining on.
    Brittany: Alvin, please be careful, I have some of my favorite things in there!
    Alvin: Like what?
    Eleanor: Like everything she didn't put in there...
    • We then see Simon, Theodore, and Dave struggle to move another, even larger luggage cart, bearing even more trunks and cases belonging to Brittany. Brittany herself even lampshades this later when the lodging accommodations are less than commodious for the kids, and she remarks, "It's a good thing I packed light!"
  • May the Farce Be with You: Subverted. The Chipmunks Go to the Movies, in which each episode was a parody of a well-known film, never actually did a Star Wars episode, but there was a few seconds of Star Wars in the title sequence, with Alvin as Luke, Simon as C-3PO, Theodore as R2-D2, and David as Darth Vader.
  • Medium Awareness:
    • "Quick! Cut to a commercial!" in the '80s cartoon episode "Food for Thought".
    • The entire episode of "Back to our Future" was practically this trope personified, from the Chipmunks talking about the year they were created (not born, as in previous episodes) to them meeting their original designs, to the dramatic shift in animation, which both the '60s and '80s Dave notices. They even complain about how flat everything is in the '60s, a time when cartoon backgrounds were as simple as possible and things like proper perspective were not established as a standard.
  • "Meet the Celebrity" Contest: One episode involves a contest to spend the day with Alvin. He's mortified to discover that his "biggest fan" who won the contest is a woman old enough to be his great-grandmother, so he keeps sidelining her with things like a taxi tour of the city (without him). Eventually his guilt gets the better of him and he apologizes, and she says that she figured he was expecting someone young and pretty and understands why he felt as he did.
  • Meet Your Early-Installment Weirdness: An episode that was a parody of Back to the Future called "Back to Alvin's Future" in which the '80s Chipmunks meet the '60s Chipmunks and try to stop them from quitting music and preventing the '80s Chipmunks from being created. It was complete with a Limited Animation Art Shift.
  • Minor Living Alone: For the first three seasons, The Chipettes lived in a fully furnished tree house, with a living room, a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, however, in the Season Four opener, school officials find out about this, and threaten to split them up and put them in foster care; Dave temporarily takes them in; however, they and The Chipmunks start getting on each other's nerves, so Alvin talks Miss Miller into adopting them. In one episode.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The Chipettes came from Australia. Chipmunks are not native to Australia, so assuming they came from wild stock and were not simply exotic pets, they would fit this trope, at least in the real universe.
  • Missing Mom: The Chipmunks' mother, who they search for in a special episode.
  • Mistaken Age: An episode has Alvin hears about having an oldest fan, and thinks she's just in her twenties, while she is actually a senior citizen.
  • Mistaken for Thief: In one episode, Alvin thinks a card called the Pink Rose has been stolen by an individual called the Shadow Thief, but actually the Shadow Thief has already been caught and the card is under his bed.
  • New Transfer Student: When The Chipettes join the Chipmunks at their school in "May the Best Chipmunk Win".
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: When it was revealed that the Chipettes came from Australia, none of the girls spoke with an accent.
  • Once per Episode: The 'Munks' and 'Ette's musical numbers, usually played over a montage.
  • One-Steve Limit: Simon Seville, and The Chipmunks' record producer Sy Heaves.
  • Orphanage of Fear: The Chipettes and their original human caretaker, Olivia, lived in one of these in Australia, as seen in their backstory episode.
  • Overnight Age-Up: In "Bigger" (parody of the movie Big) Alvin makes a wish on a magic jukebox machine at the county fairgrounds and instantly becomes a grown-up in body. His sudden growth helps land him a fun job at a record studio, managing the Chipettes' band The Babes. But he soon learns adulthood isn't all it's cracked up to be.
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: In most of the DiC-produced episodes, Dave's signature outfit is pajamas... or a sweatshirt and sweatpants that he not only wears in public but sleeps in as well.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The episode "Ask Alvin".
  • Parental Abandonment: Alvin felt this way when he wonders why their mother, Vinnie, left them with "a stranger". Vinnie revealed that during the great winter migration, there wasn't enough food to feed her children; she gave them up to David Seville, whom she knew was friendly to the animals. She later tried to come back for them, but she sees how happy they are with him. Alvin feels guilty for thinking otherwise.
  • Parodies of Fire: In the episode "Dreamlighting" (which itself is a parody of Moonlighting), Jeanette/Ms. DaPest runs to catch a bottle of explosive rocket fuel before it hits the ground; the sequence is played in slow motion, and is accompanied by a very slight rearrangement of the Chariots of Fire theme.
  • Periphery Demographic: In-universe, The Chipmunks appear to appeal mostly to kids their own age, up to adults who seem to be no older than their late twenties/early thirties; however, it turns out that one of Alvin's most loyal and dedicated fans is a senior citizen named Honey Ginger, she even identifies herself as his self-proclaimed, "Oldest fan."
  • Playing a Tree: In one episode the boys are participating in a school play. Theodore plays a rock, Alvin plays an angel and everyone else plays a shepherd.
  • Plot Hole: A glaring one in the episode "Dr. Simon and Mr. Heartthrob". Alvin accidentally knocks over Simon's beaker of hair tonic, so Alvin mixes a bunch of random chemicals together, which Simon drinks and becomes "Mr. Heartthrob". Simon later is able to recreate the "Mr. Heartthrob" potion.... which doesn't actually make sense, because Simon was out of the room when Alvin inadvertently created it!
    • perhaps chemical analysis of the remains in the bottle?
  • Pom-Pom Girl:
    • The Chipettes in the episode "The Gang's All Here" where they come as cheerleaders initially to help The Chipmunk in their battle against a gang called the Steam Rollers. However, when the boys need help, they are quick to enter the ring.
    • The episode "Quarterback in Curlers" has Alvin take this role when Brittany, the head cheerleader in the school, join in the football team and quits cheerleading. They don't fit well in their new positions as Alvin makes selfish cheers and Brittany uses overly complicated plays.
  • Precocious Crush: Both Alvin and Brittany are prone to this, however, one episode dealt exclusively with Alvin being smitten with his teacher, Miss Stone, who actually ends up dating Dave, which angers Alvin to the point that he challenges Dave to a saber duel to see who should win Miss Stone's hand. Don't worry, Dave chooses water balloons as the weapons.
  • Pretty in Mink:
    • Given that the Chipmunks and Chipettes frequently try mingle with, or get into, high society, quite a few furs appear, usually by Socialites.
    • The show This is Your Father in the episode "Some Entrancing Evening".
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: "Mr. Fabulous" sees Theodore entering a pro wrestling match to earn some money. His opponent is called Ivan the Terrible and is initially mistaken for a scrawny guy (courtesy of an incompletely hung poster). The real Ivan is a hulking brute and Hilarity Ensues when it's time for the match.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: In the episode "Every Chipmunk Tells a Story", each chipmunk has a different version of how Dave's piano got destroyed and had instant pudding in it. Alvin, Simon, and Theodore notably each paint themselves as an innocent, unwilling victim of the situation while their two respective siblings are portrayed as more bullying figures.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: An episode had Dave reading Treasure Island, and at the end, the boys turned off the TV and video games to read The Three Musketeers.
  • Rearrange the Song: Happens beginning with Season Six, in which a more rock-inspired remix of the theme song was introduced for the show's opening titles (meanwhile, the end titles featured a new closing theme altogether).
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: In one episode, Simon is able to invent a thinking cap that improves the intelligence for those who wear it, and only uses it so his family can appear on a game show he's fond of, rather than use it for profit or to help others be smart.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: The series goes through this from time to time, and it has actually become something of a big issue as far as DVD releases are concerned (despite it being a musical comedy). A few episodes that have been released have had copyrighted songs replaced with poorly dubbed recordings of original Chipmunk songs (for example, "Love Potion No. 9" is replaced in one episode with "Witch Doctor"), meanwhile, there are several episodes that feature songs by Michael Jackson, The Beatles, and others that can't be released without being replaced entirely. Some episodes have managed to keep the songs intact, however.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: The episode "Home Sweet Home".
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Theodore. Justified since he's voiced by Janice Karman....
  • Seashell Bra:
    • Jeanette in "Sploosh" (a parody of Splash) where she is a mermaid.
    • Brittany in "Alvie's Angels" when she use a mermaid disguise.
  • Secret Diary: The Chipettes in the episode "Dear Diary" learn from their Nanny what a diary is, and each start keeping their own. Wanting to know who is asking who to the dance, the girls start secretly reading each other's diaries and tensions rise when they find unflattering comments written about each other. As revenge, each girl tries to one-up the other by asking their date to the dance, but find the wrong person. Realizing they were all at fault for violating each other’s privacy and jumping to conclusions, they make up and decide to spend the night together.
  • Separate Scene Storytelling: In an episode where Dave reads Treasure Island, the story is (loosely) shown this way.
  • Sequel Episode: Uncle Harry was in four episodes; Uncle Adventure was in two.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • The episode "Miss Miller's Big Gamble" established Miss Miller's first name as Beatrice, but the animated movie says her name was Rebecca.
    • "A Dog's Best Friend Is His Chipmunk" shows that Dave is allergic to dogs, but in "Cookie Chomper III", he only starts developing an allergy to dogs once the Chipmunks brought Lilly in at the end.
    • Dave's parents are established as farm people in "Grandpa and Grandma Seville", but "Back to Dave's Future" showed that they lived in the city when Dave was a kid, and his father was an accountant.
    • Throughout the first season of the series, The Chipmunks are regarded as well-known celebrities who are almost instantly recognized by the public wherever they go. Afterwards, they are depicted as your average and ordinary school-aged kids who just happen to also be rockstars. In fact, some episodes have them, particularly Alvin, having trouble convincing someone that they are, indeed, celebrities.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: In the episode "Dr. Simon and Mr. Heartthrob", Alvin accidentally knocks over Simon's beaker of hair tonic and mixes a bunch of random chemicals together, which Simon drinks and becomes "Mr. Heartthrob", a handsome Casanova.
  • Ship Tease: Alvin and Brittany. For example, in "The Legend of Sleeping Brittany", Brittany falls into a deep sleep after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel. Alvin's kiss revives her.
  • Shout-Out: See the main shout out page for the franchise.
  • Show Within a Show:
  • Sibling Seniority Squabble: It's mentioned a couple of times during the series (probably as a reminder to somewhat confused viewers) that Alvin and Brittany are the oldest of their litters. It's also confirmed that there's a five minute difference between Alvin, Simon, and Theodore; while not confirmed, the common idea is that the same applies to The Chipettes, except for a ten-minute difference between Brittany and Jeanette, which makes the age order: Brittany, Alvin, Simon, Jeanette, Theodore, and Eleanor.
  • Sick Episode: In "Carsick," the Chipmunks come down with the measles, which Dave later catches from them.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Parodied in "Whatever's Happened to Dave Seville?". Theodore gets hooked on a soap opera where one of the characters has a disease called Zomboid Rigadosis. Alvin and Simon try to convince him it isn't real, but they all panic when Dave appears to have become stiff and motionless, and try to find a way to cure him. It was actually a wax statue.
  • Squirrels in My Pants: In "Sisters" an angry Alvin put a crab in Brittany's swimsuit.
  • Stand-In Parents: Played straight in the Season Four opener, where Brittany decided to pose as the mother parents day at school, to keep school officials from finding out the girls are orphans and live by themselves.
  • Stopped Reading Too Soon: Alvin panics when he can't find his favorite baseball card. It gets worse when he sees the headline on that day's paper which says that a notorious cat burglar has struck again. He goes to sleep and has a Miami Vice inspired dream where he and Theodore track down the burglar. After he wakes up, he finds his missing baseball card and Simon shows him the full headline. Alvin missed the part saying the burglar was caught.
  • Stripperific: In "Bigger", the Babes (the Chipettes' alias in the episode) are forced to make a music video with ridiculous outfits (that resemble baby diapers) that show a lot of skin. See for yourself.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: In "The Chipmunks Go to Washington", an impromptu concert that the Chipmunks and the Chipettes hold in support of a bald eagle nest threatened by construction of a condominium is cut short due to them not getting a permit required to put one on.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: Happens very often. For example, the Chipettes sing "It's My Party" after Brittany gets upset at her birthday party.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Vinny's lullaby in "A Chipmunk Reunion" sounds quite similar to "Baby Mine" from Dumbo.
  • Swapped Roles:
    • An episode has Alvin and Dave swapped roles, allowing Alvin to understand how hard parenting is.
    • "Quarterback in Curlers" has Brittany join in the football team and quits cheerleading showing to be better than Alvin. So, Alvin joins her former cheerleading squad to prove he can be better than her. They don't fit well in their new positions as Alvin makes selfish cheers and Brittany uses overly complicated plays. In order to end the conflict, their siblings fool them by making both think they want each other's help and they get good advices that lead the team to victory.
  • Syndication Title: The Chipmunks
  • Take That!: Elwy and the Tree Weasels, which was used in an episode of Ralph Bakshi's ''Mighty Mouse' show. Their manager/surrogate dad was Sandy Bottomfeeder.
  • Two-Timer Date: In the "Sincerely Theodore", Alvin ends up on a scheduled date with a girl he isn't interested in, so he arranges for Theodore to take his place while he plays a role in a stage play. Then he learns the girl is the daughter of a famous movie director...
  • Time Travel: Though a couple of them were just a dream.
  • Universal-Adaptor Cast: The final season was renamed Chipmunks go to the Movies and had the cast act out adaptations of popular movies and television series like Batman, Big, Star Trek and Indiana Jones.
  • Very Special Episode:
    • Both "A Chipmunk Valentine" and "A Chipmunk Reunion" were exactly this, though they were also produced specifically for inclusion with the series itself (and are therefore included in the syndication package, whereas other specials, like "Trick or Treason" or "Alvin's Thanksgiving Celebration" for example, are separate specials from the series).
    • "Back to Alvin's Future" was intended to be the 100th episode of the series, but since a lot of networks have a tendency to broadcast episodes out of order, it ended up being the 92nd episode to be aired during the series' first run.
    • The episode "Cookie Chomper III" deals with the chipmunks and Dave having to cope with the death of their pet cat Cookie after he gets run over by a car.
  • Vocal Evolution: Early on, the Chipmunks spoke like the original 1960's versions by stretching out the syllables whenever they spoke, and Dave's voice was a tad higher. In later seasons, the Chipmunks began speaking normally, and Dave's voice got deeper.
  • Wacky Frat Boy Hijinx: "From Here to Fraternity" has the Chipmunks mistakenly going to a frat house to deliver a singing telegram. Hilarity Ensues when the bored frat kids enlist the Chipmunks to pull pranks for them.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!:
    • Alvin in "Angelic Alvin". The lyrics to their cover of Olivia Newton-John's Heart Attack even reflect this. ("Stop this right now, you're driving us mad, we liked you better when you were bad.")
    • Alvin ended up going through an identity crisis after having one really bad day, and began trying out different personas, from a Michael Jackson expy to a Rockefeller businessman type. Dave, Simon and Theodore are only able to bring him back to normal by acting the way he normally acts.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The Chipmunks Go to the Movies, the last season, consisted only of these, the targets being relatively recent movies such as Batman (1989), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Back to the Future, and whatnot.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: In "Merry Christmas, Mr. Carroll" Alvin finds himself center stage as a Scroogelike little chipmunk, more interested in the presents than the people. Ghostly visits from Dave, Theodore and Simon as the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future help him understand the true meaning of the holiday. It becomes a fun-filled time for all when the "new" Alvin learns that just by sharing a little love and goodwill, every day can be Christmas!

Alternative Title(s): Alvin And The Chipmunks, Alvin And The Chipmunks 1983