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Western Animation / The Weekenders

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"Isn’t there some way to do this that preserves our essential laziness?" (Left to right: Lor, Carver, Tino, Tish.)

"I'm livin' for the weekend!"
- The theme song, sung by Wayne Brady

An animated series from Disney, aired from 2000-2004 as part of the One Saturday Morning block on ABC, the One Too block on UPN and Toon Disney; created by Doug Langdale (previously of Universal's Earthworm Jim adaptation, Sony's Project G.e.e.K.e.R. and later Disney series Dave the Barbarian), and ran for four seasons. It followed the lives of four friends: Deadpan Snarker Tino Tonitini, Tomboy Lor MacQuarrie, not so cool Cool Loser Carver Descartes and The Smart Girl Petratishkovna "Tish" Katsufrakis. Oddly enough, despite having four school-age children in the main roles, the show hardly (if ever) touches on aspects of school life, since stories nearly always begin on Friday afternoon and end on Sunday evening.

Staying away from broad and cartoonish plots (Langdale's specialty), the show takes a more subtle route, with much of the humor deriving from its many one-liners (and Tino's screams, of course).

Noted for its surprisingly good writing, averting the Limited Wardrobe (unusual for an animated show) and for often breaking the fourth wall; the audience is addressed directly by (usually) Tino, as a Narrator of sorts, with other characters also taking on this role or even lampshading it on occasion. Also has quite a set of Once an Episode recurring gags, such as the seemingly indecisive pizza place (never having the same name or theme twice), Tino's Mom serving highly questionable food, and of course "Later Days!" One other reason this show stands out is the aversion of the Adults Are Useless trope - showing that adults can be useful and still have a good show.

The full series was released on DVD as a Disney Movie Club exclusive in February 2013.

This show provides examples of:

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Tish in "Celebrity". Although Carver did teach her how to act the part.
  • Acronym Confusion: This seems to be a Running Gag for Lor.
    • From "Grow Up":
      Tino: Now, kindly vacate the premises A.S.A.P.
      Lor: A.S.A.P.? They put my cat to sleep!note 
    • From "Testing Dixon":
      Tish: Simple, test Dixon's M.P.G.A.
      Lor: The guys who pick the movie ratings? note 
  • Adults Are Useless: One of the few children's shows that actually averts this trope and shows that it's not always the case; Tino's mom in particular is very in touch with her kid and always knows the right things to say about whatever problem Tino is facing at the time. Likewise, the other characters' parents are shown to be reasonable authority figures in their own way, and still know about their kids.
  • An Aesop:
    • When Tino's fear of clowns becomes ridiculous, the gang attempt to help him get over it - by enrolling him at a nearby circus clown school. By the end of the episode, he says he hasn't gotten over his fear but he can at least live with it now. The lesson here is that being afraid of something is okay, as long as you don't let it take over your life.
    • One episode has the gang arguing about whether or not Tino's memory of a childhood hang out spot is real. Tino is convinced it is, while the other three aren't. They go along with him anyway just to prove themselves right. After they fall out, Tish realises My God, What Have I Done? and points out exactly how stupid the fight was. Lor had been arguing through the whole episode about how if being right wasn't important, what was the point of tests. Tish responds "If we'd just taken a friendship test, we would have failed." They reconcile with Tino at once and, despite Tino turning out to be right, does not say he found the hangout.
    • "To Be Or Not To Be" - Friends don't become friends just because they have the same interests. It's perfectly fine for friends to have their own personal interests and hobbies. Tish abandons her friends when they make fun of her for being in a Shakespeare play. But the other cast members of the play ignore her and she realizes how miserable she is. And her friends still go to the play to support her anyway.
    • "Super Kids" - There is plenty of time to achieve greatness but your childhood is only going to last so long, so it should be enjoyed while you can. Trip Nickerson, the so-called 'super kid' is bitter and lonely despite his bestselling book. Additionally, fame or recognition does not equal success. And likewise, success does not equal happiness.
    • "Murph" - Not everyone will like you and you won't like everybody and that's okay and that you shouldn't obsess over the people that don't like you.
    • An in-universe example in another episode has Tish deciding to conduct a study on human behavior. She acts horribly to all her test subjects, eventually causing them to walk out on her. She's learned her lesson by the end of the episode and announces to her friends that - in a touch of Irony - she ended up the subject of her own study: that when you need someone to help you, they respond better to positive reinforcement. Tino then points out that it took three days for her to basically learn "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar". Still a good lesson though.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • More than one episode has Lor learning that she doesn't have to change herself to get the attention of her crush, Thompson. She never seems to fully pick it up despite going through the same plot two or three times. Thompson himself calls her out on it in the season 3 episode "Tutor", even referring to the previous episodes ("Makeover" and "Brain Envy", from each of the previous seasons) where Lor acted the same way:
      Thompson: Lor, I'm flattered that you wanted to impress me, but we've been through this over and over. Remember when you tried the girly thing, and then the brainy thing?
      Lor: Vaguely...
    • Tish often has episodes focusing on her desperation to be mature and the others not appreciating her intelligence.
    • In a more minor sense, they never seem to have anyone besides Carver hand write messages when the plot calls for it, despite his terrible hand writing
  • Affectionate Nickname: Tish's parents affectionately call her "little sweet bean" (possibly a botched translation of the much more common "sweet pea").
  • Alliterative Name: Tino Tonitini. As well as his near-clone, Tony Tordalero.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Parodied in "Party Planning", where Lor and Tish try to convince Tino and Carver of this fact to help them attract girls more effectively. As an "instructional video", they show them an old film clip of a (fictional) 1950's heartthrob actor, whose attractive "mysteriousness" comes from the fact that he mumbles all of his lines, and nobody can understand a word he says.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Carver is obsessed with fashion (especially shoes), is utterly mortified when he thinks Lor might have a crush on him (though that seems to be a case of I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship), and it's been suggested that he tries on his sister's clothes. He also got caught buying a women's fur-lined bathing suit in one episode, and nervously explained that it was for his sister.
    • Tish also shows signs of ambiguous aromanticism or Asexuality, being the only one of the group never to develop a crush in the show, even having an episode devoted to her failed attempts to 'force' herself to fall in love, with the Aesop being that it isn't a bad thing not to have romantic feelings, even at the 'right age'.
  • Amicably Divorced: Tino's parents. While Tino's dad doesn't visit very often, his relationship with his mom still seems to be friendly enough that they can have a friendly dinner now and then with her new boyfriend.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: A light-hearted example in the form of Tesla Park, which was previously shut down for being unsafe. Even after it's re-opened, the episode focusing on it ends with the Ferris wheel having gotten stuck and the riders having to be rescued.
  • Apple of Discord: Tino wins 2 tickets to a Chum Bukket concert and he has a tough time deciding which of his friends to take.
  • Art Evolution: Starting in mid-season two, the characters have more advanced shading. The main characters are also given a few more outfits for their clothing rotation.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When the gang are trying to get Tino to embrace his emotions, they present him with the three following scenarios: Chum Bucket just broke up, a bunch of baby dolphins getting caught in a net and Tish spilling her drink.
    Tino: Okay that wouldn't be sad even if I had emotions.
    Tish: Of course it is. I ruined a $20 blouse.
  • Bad "Bad Acting":
    • Lor whenever she tries to act or lie. Take this scene from "Radio Drama" for example:
      Lor: (deadpan) "After all these years I finally feel truly alive."
      Tish: Umm... that was great Lor, but do you think you could try reading it with some, you know, emotion?
      Lor: OH, SURE, RIGHT, YEAH, I GOT IT, OKAY! (same deadpan tone) "After all these years I finally feel truly alive."
      Tish: Greeeeeaaaat. One more time.
      (Roughly four hours pass)
      Lor: (monotonous) "After all these years I finally feel truly alive."
      Tish: Okay, we'll come back to this scene... maybe.
    • Carver in "Crush Test Dummies"...up until Lor tries to talk to him.
  • The B Grade:
    • Subverted in "Imperfection"; Despite getting straight A's, Tish does have an overreaction — about a teacher's comment regarding her perfectionist tendencies.
    • Inverted in "Brain Dead". This trope usually entails the "nerd" overreacting to a low score, while his/her friends wonder what's so bad. In "Brain Dead", Tish tries to brush off her "B" grade, but her friends (and even the teacher who graded her to begin with) are hesitant to accept the fact that she didn't get an "A". This leads the group attempting to give Tish a new reputation, since she could no longer be the "nerd".
  • Big Eater: Carver. Also, Tish's mother; when she hangs out with them in "The New Girl", she wins a chili dog eating contest.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The show is set in a place called Bahia Bay. Guess what the Spanish word "bahía" means? "Bay".
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The group as a whole is a mixed example: Lor, Tish, Tino, and Carver.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Pru, a spoilt, whiny Alpha Bitch who hangs out with the group for one episode because her old friends didn't buy her a present on Flag Day.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tino on occasion.
  • The Cameo: Jennifer Love Hewitt in "My Punky Valentine", whom the guys try to get Tino to notice so he can take his mind off of his crush on the punk girl Tasha. At the end, she even gets to saynote the show's...
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Later days!" Usually said by Tino at the end of an episode. Though occasionally the other kids get the chance to say it too.
    • Also, Tish's mother frequently exclaims "Is what I say!" after her English is corrected.
    • Parodied with DJ Jan "The Man" Testeverde's super-annoying catchphrase "Hey, yowza, dudes!", that he ends almost every sentence with. Carver was actually amazed when Jan went a whole minute without saying it.
  • Celebrity Lie: "Band", where Carver blurts out that Chum Bukkit would dedicate their upcoming show to the four of them.
  • The Chew Toy: The unseen Chloe Montez must be the unluckiest person alive.
    Carver: Mrs. Duong asked me to help her find Chloe Montez. She's dressed as contact lens and she fell on the floor in the bathroom so no one can find her.
  • The Conscience: Tino's mom. Tino can also be this among his friends, when he's not being the neurotic 12-year-old he is.
  • Consolation Backfire:
    Tino: Um, is this dinner or a science experiment?
    Tino's mom: Go on. It won't bite you.
    Tino: That works out nicely, since I don't plan to bite it either.
  • Constantly Changing Name: A Running Gag is the pizza place constantly changing its name and its theme. Characters actually don't have a difficult time finding the pizza place though, because most of the time the only changes to the exterior are the sign on top.
  • Continuity Nod: There are quite a few mentions of Chum Bukkit song "suffused elephant quaff winces exasperating" throughout the series. The name came from the season 1 episode "Band" when Carver tried to write a message to the band and, because of his bad handwriting, that's what they thought it said. Overall, the show was always brilliant at this. Many throwbacks to in-jokes, events and even character traits built up over the course of the seasons are subdued enough to slip by viewers without an eye out for them.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: In "Diary", it was really Carver's snooping into Tish's "diary" (which is really her novel entitled "Diary") that started the events of the episode. But if he, Lor, and Tino had at least asked Tish what was going on in the first place, everything that happened afterwards could've been avoided. Tino lampshades this at the end of the episode.
  • Crack Defeat: "Talent Show": Lor plays guitar. Bluke throws hams into the air. Bluke wins the ribbon. Go figure.
  • Creepy Child:
    • Never put Carver's brother Todd and his friend Quinty together.
    • Also Frances, the girl who's always saying that she likes pointy things and giggling.
  • Daddy's Girl: Lor, kinda. The fact that her mom is only onscreen in a handful of episodes probably helps.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "Uncool World" for Bree, one of the cool kids
    • "The Tao of Bluke" for Bluke
    • "Penny McQuarrie" for Penny, Carver's sister, and one of Lor's brothers
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Tino is excellent at this. He even wins "Most Sarcastic" in the Yearbook Awards.
      Tino: Um, is this dinner or a science experiment?
      Tino's mom: Go on. It won't bite you.
      Tino: That works out nicely, since I don't plan to bite it either.
    • Of course, he gets it from his mother. Leading to at least one incredibly snarky catty dinner scene between them per episode.
      Tino: Mom, I don't know if you noticed, but I was sort of trying to force you and Dixon together earlier.
      Ms. Tonitini: Huh? Really. Gosh, I didn't notice at all, because my head was encased in a block of wax.
    • All the main characters have shades of this. The Tonitinis definitely win first prize, but Lor, Tish and Carver are not far behind.
    • Let's not forget the perpetually deadpan woman who runs the Foods of the Worlds exhibit.
    • During the series finale "Tino's Dad" where Tino's old man comes to visit (instead of their usual other way around) for the first time in eight years, and the guy dishes out some pretty good zingers.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The charity organization, Helpers Helping the Helpless.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: In one episode, Tish's dad plays an instrumental version of the theme on his cello. In another, Carver can be heard singing "I'm living for the weekend" under his breath.
  • Different in Every Episode: The pizza restaurant has a different theme and the museum offers a sample of a different exotic food in each episode. For that matter, so does Tino's mom, with her... bizarre cooking.
  • Didn't Think This Through: A number of the pizza place's themes are very ill-thought-out, such as a frozen theming (rending the pizza hard as ice) and an inflatable theme (causing the pizzas to float to the celling and puncturing the inflatable tables when trying to slice them).
  • The Ditz:
  • Dreadful Musician:
    • One episode has the four about to go to Carver's house when they hear what sounds like his little brother screaming. Only, it turns out it's actually his big sister Penny having a singing lesson.
    • "Best" has Tino obsessing over what superlative he wants in the yearbook, one of them being Best Whistler. Unfortunately, he's such a bad whistler that he pops the guitar strings in the music store.
  • Dream Within a Dream... Within a Dream: In "Brain Dead".
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In the "Celebrity" episode in which Tish becomes a local celebrity, she can be seen drowning her sorrows in Chug-A-Freezes when she realizes she's not famous anymore. She even asks for another, but the man at the counter tells her he thinks she's had enough.
  • Dumb Blonde: Pru; as well as Bluke, sort of.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Lor's family doesn't have many personal problems or anything like that. But Lor has so many brothers that it reaches the double digits, and quite frankly she admits that she does not know how many brothers she has. That has to count for something. She has somewhere between thirteen and sixteen. There are also multiple boys named Danny.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: In "Crush Test Dummies", all Carver and Tino hear of Lor's rant about needing help with attracting Thompson's attention is "I need Carver! I need to make him love me!"; they are completely unaware that Carver is not the "him" in question.
  • Feud Episode: "Taking Sides" has Tino and Carver falling out over a pool game. Lor and Tish fall out over whose side to take. Their argument also results in an entire movie theatre full of old women taking sides too.
  • Free-Range Children:
    • They're allowed to go everywhere in Bahia Bay on the weekends it seems. They never run into any issues where their parents specifically forbid them from going somewhere. It's possible that since they're in middle school and they rarely travel alone that their parents will think they're okay.
    • One episode ("Cravasse of Dreams") has them hiking for almost an entire half-day.
  • Five-Token Band: Black (possibly Creole by his name) Carver, Scottish-American Lor, Eastern European Jewish Tish, and Italian-American Tino (whose family is apparently also pagan)
  • Flat Joy: One of the problems with Lor's Bad "Bad Acting". Tish fixes it later by having Tino say she's still under the zombie curse.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The main kids form one of these.
    • Tino (phlegmatic), patient, thoughtful and considerate.
    • Tish (melancholic), studious, hardworking, and academically gifted.
    • Carver (sanguine), amicable, laidback and relaxed.
    • Lor (choleric), brash, loud-mouthed, and a rough-and-tumble tomboy.
  • Freakier Than Fiction: In the episode "Radio Drama", Tish makes the gang dress-rehearse the play, even though it's only being recorded for radio. While this is used as a Brick Joke, some radio drama producers actually do this to help get the actors into character.
  • Funny Foreigner: Tish's mother, whose main purpose was to mangle "kiss and make up" into "kitchen my cup", among many other English phrases.
  • Gamer Chick: Lor. Tish sometimes plays them as well.
  • Genre Savvy: Tino's mom seems to note that the show's formula usually involves problems on Saturday night. Lampshaded in "Vengeance":
    Tino: How do you know something's up?
    Tino's Mom:"Oh, it just seems like you always have some kind of problem by Saturday night.
  • Get Out!: Tino combines this with Laughing Mad in "Croquembouche." When the others vote for Carver to be their spokesperson in the Foods of the World competition, Tino gets extremely jealous, and when Carver asks him if he's angry, Tino throws them all out of the house in between bouts of hysterical laughter.
  • Gibberish of Love:
    • Tino sometimes does this when around a really pretty girl.
    • Also, Carver struggles to speak to "The Cool Kids", although that's not due to love so much as envy.
    • Lor with Thompson. Nuff said.
  • The Ghost: The frequent mentions of Chloe Montez, who we never do get to meet.
  • Greek Chorus: Tino. He actually pauses the show at several points to provide commentary.
  • Hide and No Seek: In one episode, Tino's divorced parents need to discuss him. Tino obligingly goes upstairs. "I'll just go organize my collection of Things That Aren't My Parents Having A Private Conversation."
  • How We Got Here: "The Most Awful Weekend"
  • Humiliation Conga: The kids suffer one misfortune after another in "The Awful Weekend."
  • Hyperventilation Bag: Tino does this once. According to Lor, it was for at least 20 minutes.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Grow Up", Tino refers to "Later Days!", his Catchphrase, as ridiculous slang and then gets in an Argument of Contradictions with his mom which he then loses because she uses the "times infinity" trick.
  • I Ate WHAT?!:
  • I Have Brothers: Lor, who has twelve of them.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog:
    • In "Lor's Will", Tish uses the excuse "I have to go paint... my... lawn," after thinking Lor 'betrayed' her.
    • "Look... up in the sky! It's the Lor signal! The President needs me!", "And she'll need her trusty sidekick, Carver Lad!"
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: When Carver races against a Jerk Jock, he loses by a couple of inches...only for Tish to point out that Lor beat both of them, running backwards. The JerkJock then decides he won't make them give his grandmother a sponge bath.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals:
    • Tino Tonitini and Tony Tordalero. Thankfully, it's easy to tell them apart when they say something; the only word Tony knows to say is "Sure."
      Ms. Tonitini: Now if you break I know where to get spare parts.
    • There's also Summer Schwartz, who looks just like Tino, only a girl.
  • Informed Judaism:
    • Tino is an Informed Pagan; aside from a Solstice celebration in lieu of Christmas, we don't hear anything about it. Although it is mentioned in two separate episodes; his mother celebrates both Solstices. And the Vernal Equinox.
    • Tish is a straightforward example. In the Holiday special, it's mentioned that she celebrates Hanukkah, but there are no other indications throughout the series of her family's religion.
  • In with the In Crowd: "The Lone Wolves Club", where Tino is secretly given a series of embarrassing tests by the aforementioned club. At the end, he finds out that the club is just made up of geeks.
  • Inept Aptitude Test: "Careers"
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: In "The Awful Weekend", the gang stay in Lor's house after they can't stay in other houses. But they decide to leave instead when it's just too quiet.
  • Jerkass: Brie and Colby, the cool kids. Although after Brie is briefly rendered uncool, she decides that it's not cool to be a jerk to everyone.
  • Jerk Jock: Laird is a mean rival jock to Lor.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Carver can be pretty selfish and obsessed with being one of the popular kids, but he's a good guy at heart.
  • Just the Way You Are: Used in an episode where Lor is given a Girliness Upgrade to impress a boy who likes her. However Lor decides she doesn't like the makeover before the guy tells her he prefers her as she normally is, meaning Lor learns this aesop herself - rather than someone else delivering it to her.
  • Kind Hearted Simpleton: Bluke. In one episode, he happily lends Tino his shoe, no questions asked. When Tino asks him, "Don't you even want to know why?", Bluke answers, "Everybody needs shoes!"
  • The Lad-ette: Lor is about as close to this trope as a 12-year-old girl can get on a kid's show.
  • Large Ham: Tino, when he isn't being a Deadpan Snarker. The others can get it on this too.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: One memorable bit in "Careers", where Tino's career aptitude test suggests that he go into voice over work.
    Tino: I'm thinking, like, one of those guys on TV! "Up next, a very special episode of Teen Canyon!" Or, "Tonight, on Action Flash News: Are your socks killing you?" Or maybe I could do cartoon voices!
    Tish: Perfect. It involves talking a lot and not doing anything...
    Tino: I know! Isn't it great?
  • Left Hanging: "Croquembouche": so, who won the food contest anyway?
  • Lethal Chef: Tino's mom, though where she gets the ingredients and how she prepares them are extremely questionable, the result is at least edible, most of the time. This overlaps with the I Ate WHAT?! Running Gag as well. Lampshaded by Tino in "Vengeance" when he tries to eat a very sticky green jelly-like food which ends up sending his spoon ricocheting across the room:
    Tino: I think your cooking may have military applications.
    Tino's mom: Watch it...
    • Knowing this, the kids eat several natural biodegradable pot scrubbers thinking they were cookies and assuming that they are just more of her bizarre food.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Lor very frankly claims this as her relationship with Carver in "Crush Test Dummies".
  • Like Father, Like Son: Tino's dad shares his son's looks and neurotic obsessions. And his Girly Scream.
    Tino's mom: It's like I'm watching a cloning experiment gone horribly awry.
  • Limited Wardrobe:
    • Amazingly, this is averted. Notable for a Western Animation cartoon. Throughout an episode, the characters' clothes change after each day begins, similar to Real Life. They avoid Unlimited Wardrobe, because they each have the same four or five outfits that they continue to wear throughout the show's run.
    • Despite having a full wardrobe of different clothes for each character, each had their own color scheme. Tish usually wore purple, Carver wore yellow or green, Lor usually wore grey or red, and Tino wore blue. Truth in Television, as lots of people have a favorite color that they genuinely wear a lot.
    • The trope is played straight, however, with the supporting and minor characters (save for Tino's mom), who are always seen in the same outfits.
  • Local Hangout: The pizza place with the ever-changing name, the mall, or the arcade.
  • Lovable Jock:
  • Lovable Nerd: Tino and Tish, although the former comes off as more so then the latter.
  • Madness Mantra: Does "I like pointy things" count?
  • Malaproper: Tish's mom tends to do this very often. "Now why don' you kitchen my cup?" "You mean 'kiss and make up'?" "Is what I say!"
  • The Makeover:
    • In the episode titled, well, "Makeover", Lor gets one when she's told that she has to do so in order to get her crush Thompson to notice her. She eventually goes back to her usual appearance, much to Thompson's relief.
    • Tish, in the episode where she become a local celebrity, courtesy of Carver (who apparently owns the clothes that Tish wears).
  • Mama Bear: Tino's mom is a more on-the-ball version of this trope.
    (Tino is leaving with his friends on a trip)
    Dixon: You want to get in the car and follow them, don't you?
    Tino's mom: I'll settle for tracking them via the homing device I implanted in Tino's skull when he was born.
    Dixon: (laughs)
    Tino's mom: ...
    Dixon: Okay, why are you not laughing?
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Lor is a Lad Ette who loves sports and boyish things. Carver loves fashion and apparently owns some women's clothes. Tino also counts, as he's quite sensitive and participates in Jane Austen movie nights with his mother.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Lor has something like fourteen brothers. Even she can't keep track of them, in part because her parents apparently repeated some of their names two or three times.
    Tino: Okay, let's start all over. There's Jamie, Neil, Kirk many Dannys?
    Lor: Two. Or three?
  • Meaningful Name:
    • When Tish is having an identity crisis after getting a B, she goes to get help from her parents, who reveal that every person in The Old Country receives a doctor-approved, Meaningful Name at birth. When it proved to be inaccurate, they re-named her to Petratishkovna so she wouldn't be saddled with an identity due to her name. It translates as "girl with one nose".
      Tish: How... accurate.
    • There's also the minor character Dot Cardigan. No points for guessing what she wears.
  • Men Don't Cry: Tino is mocked in "Cry" for crying while watching Romeo and Juliet in school. Taken to ludicrous extremes when he has an Imagine Spot of himself as a girl.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Lor's grandma. Mr. McQuarrie can carry her around on his shoulders.
  • Museum of Boredom: The aforementioned "Foods of the World" exhibit. Although it's not the exhibit so much as the server's monotonous delivery; apparently the gang really likes the various foods enough to keep coming back.
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Inverted, actually: On two separate occasions, they have tried to solve a problem by having Carver write something, and both times it failed because of his atrocious handwriting. He had told them he'd gotten better in the meantime, but it couldn't have hurt to have someone else write the note or at least proofread it.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Frances. Not only does she have an obsession with pointy objects, her laugh is also scary. Even more disturbing is that she was a perfectly normal kid at one point who was good friends with Tish, only to become what she is now, completely out of nowhere. Of course it's parodying the "Friends change over time" situation. But seriously... what could have possibly happened to practically have her become this overnight?
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The kids are a big fan of a Chinese action film star named "Jimmy Pang", who's apparently a parody of Jackie Chan.
  • No Fourth Wall: The main characters (and Tino's mom) are fully aware that they are in a television show.
    Tish: I would recite an "Ode To My Rotten Friends" for you, but it has some words in it I can't say on TV.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Despite our main cast being comprised of two boys and two girls, all 12 years old, the show deliberately avoids any Ship Tease between any of them, with romantic subplots always involving one of the mains being paired with an "outsider" character.
    • Carver's mom uses the words "Hug hug, kiss kiss" as a farewell to her kids whenever she leaves the house, without doing any actual hugging or kissing.
  • Noodle Incident: There is a pool trick Mrs. Katsufrakis does called mishkin tubelhauser that involves: "six cats, one pair flame-proof pants and a piano filled with sausages."
    Mr. Katsufrakis: One time, mishkin tubelhauser goes just little bit wrong. Is reason we had to leave Old Country.
  • One of the Kids: Tish's mother goes into this in "The New Girl". Justified in that she actually didn't really have a childhood.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • An aversion, which is Played for Laughs. Lor apparently has more than one brother named "Danny", and she has difficulty keeping track of her brothers because she sometimes forgets how many "Dannies" there are. Why her parents decided to give two (or more) of their children the same first name is anyone's guess.
    • Also, Tino loses the "Best Tino" award to Tino Rabinowitz.
  • Opposites Attract: Tino has a crush on a punk girl named Tasha in "My Punky Valentine".
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: In one episode, one of the yearbook superlatives is "Best Tino." The main character didn't even win it.
  • Pac Man Fever: Averted. In the episode "Shoes of Destiny" Lor and Tino are playing a game involving space robots fighting. The sounds match up to the movements, and when Carver shows up, the Konami pause sound even plays as the screen goes blank! Not to mention, anyone with a keen ear can recognize the sound effects - plenty of which actually come from Super Mario Bros..
  • Parental Bonus:
    • As with almost every cartoon, references most kid won't get show up in the dialogue. For example, in one episode when Tish was babysitting Carver's brother, Todd, she tries to read Oedipus Rex to him (she even described it as a story for kids of all ages).
    • The episode "To Be or Not to Be" sort of advertises the Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Tino's mom dates Dixon, who often gets along with the gang. And in a rare instance for cartoons, not only did he appear in future episodes instead of just being a one-shot character, they also didn't immediately jump to the two of them going straight to marriage. Marriage is brought up eventually but it's between Tino and his mom with her asking if he'd be okay with it.
  • Perfume Commercial: Tish imagines herself in one in "Celebrity".
  • Person as Verb: "To Tish". See Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
  • Phrase Catcher: When Carver reveals that his secret admirer is Nona, all three of his friends ask "That Nona?" while holding their hands over their heads to reference her height.
  • Put Me In, Coach!: Many episodes, but often subverted.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: The Drill Sergeant Nasty of a coach is shown in one episode to be reciting poetry to his date on a beach.
  • Running Gag: Many.
    • The indecisive pizza place that changes its name and gimmick in every episode.
    • Carver's terrible penmanship.
    • Tish's mom's broken English.
    • Tino's mom's cooking.
    • The exact number of Lor's sibling ("I can never count them all! They're always moving around!").
    • The "Foods of the World" exhibit at the Anthropology Museum, and the deadpan server's attempts at delivering cheery taglines in a monotone voice ("Couscous: the food so nice, they named it twice"; "Feta: the cheese that tastes betta").
    • The coach answering his door in his robe or towel in front of the gang, because he thought the girl scouts or salespeople are bothering him again.
    • In 4.05, "did you get hit in the head with a dodge ball again?" to Tino's affectedness.
    • Tino's mom always knowing her son or her friends' problems, before Tino could even finish his sentence.
  • Ruritania: Tish's family comes from a mysterious unnamed rural Eastern European country. No one can pronounce the name of it. Or locate it on a map.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Bluke.
    • Carver occasionally.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Tino, of course. The rest of the gang calls it his "squeaky scream". Carver also has this, to some extent.
  • Self-Deprecating Humor: The series itself is a bit self-effacing, often poking fun at its own format. The characters lampshade how their character designs are fairly odd looking, with Tino's head being compared to a pumpkin, and Carver pointing out he resembles a pineapple. And in profile, Tino's a lollipop, and Carver's a paintbrush. It's also worth nothing that the show LOVES to make fun of the E/I requirements.
    Lor: Wow, what would we do without TV? We might have to learn these lessons for ourselves!
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Tish, to the extent that in the episode "To Tish", her name literally becomes synonymous with this trope.
  • Shout-Out: Somewhat randomly, many to famous French writers & thinkers. Obviously, one of the main characters is named Carver 'Rene' Descartes; more subtle are the girl named Cheri Montaigne, and the discussion of François Rabelais in the episode where Tish tries to be more mature (which is even thematically relevant!)
  • Show Stopper: Parodied.
    Lor: You knocked over a light and set the stage on fire.
    Carver: Which stopped the show!
  • Show Within a Show: Teen Canyon. It even helps the main cast sometimes with their issues.
  • Slice of Life: For the most part, it's about average kids doing average things on the weekends.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Tish, but of course.
  • Sniff Sniff Nom: Every time Tino's mom ever cooks anything.
  • Status Quo Is God: Well, to a certain extent. Each of the four main characters have their share of embarrassing moments, yet they rarely carry over into other episodes. There are some exceptions, including Lor's attempts to change to get Thompson's attention (see Aesop Amnesia). This may also explain why Mrs. Duong is pregnant for the entire series.
  • Stealth Pun: The arcade's motto is "The Gamiest Place on Earth!" Gamy actually means "foul-smelling".
  • Strictly Formula: Every episode is set during the weekend, with the theme of the episode divided throughout. Friday sets up the main conflict, Saturday escalates and develops it, and the climatic third act occurs on Sunday, where the problem has to be solved before the kids have to go back to school.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: From the episode "Crushin' Roulette", when Lor is interviewing the "Strings N Things" store owner:
    Lor: Question 1, are you happy with your appearance?
    Owner: I haven't had plastic surgery!
    Lor: Question 2, do you enjoy travel?
    Owner: I do not travel! Who told you I visited former Soviet Unions?
    Lor: Question 3, what would you do if you had a million dollars?
    Owner: I have never been paid for espionage! You can prove nothing! Go away! We are closed!
  • Take Five: "Tino's Dad": Tino's mom wished to speak with her ex and tells Tino to do "that thing upstairs." Tino's reply? "Subtle as a train wreck, Mom."
    Tino: Well, guess I'll go organize my collection of things that are not my parents having a private conversation.
  • Team Mom: Tino's mother, whose advice is pretty much there to solve their problems every episode. Tish's mom also hangs out with the kids in one episode.
  • Team Spirit: Parodied in "Sitters"
  • Teen Genius: Tish is only a preteen and yet is a straight A student, has advanced knowledge of physics, can play the dulcimer and reads classical literature for fun.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: In "Follow the Leader," Tino checks an answering machine. His Mom left him this message:
    Ms. Tonitini: Hi, hon, Dixon and I are heading out to the movies and there's a seaweed casserole in the oven.
    Tino: Oh rats, I wanted to ask her —
    Ms. Tonitini: — Oh, by the way, don't worry. The power will go to Lor's head and the guys will realize that it's better to think for yourself. {Tino starts picking his ear} Please get your finger out of your ear.
    Tino: She is freaking me out.
    Ms. Tonitini: Don't get freaked out. Kiss kiss.
  • Title, Please!: The episode titles do not appear onscreen.
  • The Un-Reveal: The Katsufrakis family's "Old Country" in "Celebrity".
    Documentary Narrator: Tish's parents, a university professor and a roller derby star, emigrated to the US from a country which our research staff was unable to determine how to pronounce. Or even locate on a map.
  • Tomboy: Lor, obviously.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Lor and Tish, lampshaded a couple of times.
  • Too Old to Trick-or-Treat: In “Nevermore,” Tino's friends refuse to go trick-or-treating with him because they feel they are too old, so he comes up with an elaborate prank to scare them.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: In "Diary", the gang take Tish to a play that turns out to be...strange, to say the least. In the few seconds we see of it, the actors speak very slowly, and they begin playing shuffleboard every time one of them asks a question. Even Tish thought it sucked. invoked
  • Twitchy Eye:
    • Sometimes Tino gets one, most notably in "Cry" where he gives up his emotions, and the gang tries to get him angry.
    • Lor and Carver get this when they are unable to say the word "homework" on the weekend.
    • Frances has a small eye twitch as part of her "I like pointy things" routine.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Tish and Frances used to be friends...then one day, Tish went to visit Frances and she become the "I like pointy things" kid.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Tony Tordellaro only says "sure".
    • Mrs. Duong can't seem to go for a sentence without adding the word "help" in there somewhere.
    • A lot of characters seem to have a tendency for saying "Kiss kiss" before leaving.
  • Vignette Episode: "The Worst Holiday Ever" is mainly comprised of the main four describing their worst holiday experiences, with flashbacks of each.
  • Vindicated by History: A rare in-universe example of this trope. The characters visit an amusement park named for Nikola Tesla, who is explicitly described as a pioneer of alternating current and the inventor of radio (his rival to the claim, Marconi, is explicitly dismissed). This was one of the earliest pop culture references to Tesla, and the beginning of his Vindication, which continues to the present day.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Series finale "Tino's Dad".
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: "Sense and Sensitivity" has Lor deciding to become nicer, but she goes overboard and is almost obnoxiously nice. Her friends become worried that her niceness will prevent her from winning a basketball game. Although interestingly enough, Lor mellows out in future episodes; implying she did work hard to become nicer without overdoing it.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Clowns?: Tino has a severe fear of clowns.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Bluke?
  • Wrench Wench: Tino's mom would sometimes be shown working on her car.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: The Holiday special features the main four, trapped in an RV by a blizzard, sharing the stories of their worst respective holidays. Carver's is distinctly less impressive. When they complain on the way home about how their current holiday is the worst ever, Lor's grandmother shares her own horrible holiday story, making them realize how good they have it.
  • Vocal Evolution: Lor's voice is higher in season 4.

Later Days!