Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / The World of David the Gnome

Go To

Soy un gnomo (I am a gnome)
Y aquí en el bosque soy feliz (and I'm happy here in the forest)
bajo un árbol vivo yo (I live under a tree)
Junto a su raiz... (Together with its root[s])

In every wish and dream and happy home,
you will find the kingdom of...

The World of David the Gnome (1985) was a Spanish-produced animated television series based on the children's books Gnomes and The Secret Book of Gnomes, by the Dutch author Wil Huygen and illustrator Rien Poortvliet, with production handled by BRB Internacional. The English dub aired on Nickelodeon in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the English adaptation handled by Canadian firm Cinar Films, in association with Miramax and produced by Harvey Weinstein (yes, THAT Miramax and THAT Harvey Weinstein) and followed the adventures of one David the Gnome, who in most episodes traveled through the forest on his pet fox Swift and rescued animals that were injured or in danger.

The series was followed by a Spin-Off, The Wisdom of the Gnomes, featuring different gnome characters but set in the same universe. A retelling of the original series, The New World of the Gnomes, features David and his nephew Tomte as they travel the world to save animals and preserve nature as it is endangered by problems of modern-day pollution and environmental dangers.


This series provides examples of:

  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: This happens to David, Lisa, and Casper at the end of the series.
  • Automaton Horse: Swift the fox, to the extreme. In one episode he takes David from Europe to the Himalayas without much of a problem.
  • Battle Couple: David and Lisa in "The Shadowless Stone".
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the last episode, David and his wife Lisa die of old age. Traumatized and lonely, Swift moves on to make new friends with a glasses-wearing David look-a-like named Christopher and his vixen Agnes.
  • Bowdlerise: A lot of the gorier medical scenes were cut from the English dub, as well as a few that might be taken as sexual.
    • The opening narration of the first episode was MUCH darker in the original version, chastising humans for their treatment of nature and their tendency towards destruction... ending in a nuclear explosion just to drive the point home. Some of this footage is in the English dub, but the narration is much more toned down and omits the more traumatic imagery.
    • "Kangaroo Adventure" changed Prince Rex's growth problem from parasitic worm inside of his liver into allergy.
    • "Little Houses for Little People" the maggots that were stuck in a deer's throat were changed to pine cones, and it was edited in such a way that when David removed them, it was too fast for the audience to really see.
  • Cats Are Mean: Played with. It's not that they're mean, gnomes just have a hard time communicating with them so cats will sometimes (not always, however) treat them like prey.
  • Cheerful Child: David's granddaughter Susan, who appears in a number of episodes and is very close to her grandfather.
  • Combat Medic: David was a doctor by trade, but it didn't stop him from battling the trolls.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In the wedding episode, the trolls try to crash said wedding, but the gnomes escape. One of the more dim-witted trolls, Pat, then falls into a pit trap and refuses to tell the gnomes who was behind the party-crashing. David then declares that Pat has decided to stay behind and get an education, to which the other gnomes agree and start listing off the subjects he'll learn, good manners included. Pat starts pleading for mercy and that he'd "rather die" after Lisa mentions he'll graduate with flying colors. After she says she'll teach him to wash with rose-scented soap, he's ready to talk.
  • Crossover: Both David and Lisa make an appearance in the final episode of the Sequel Series, The Wisdom of the Gnomes, in flashback as David tends to the injuries of Judge Klaus' wife, Agnes. Sadly, this was one life David couldn't save. Holler, Pit, Pat, and Pot also occasionally make appearances.
  • Distressed Dudes: David and Swift get imprisoned by the trolls in the second episode, requiring Lisa to find and rescue them.
  • Eye Scream: In the first episode, David is recalling several cases he's had as a doctor, one in particular, tending to a badger who got a splinter stuck in his eye.
  • Friend to All Living Things: The gnomes as a whole, David perhaps in particular.
  • Green Aesop: The opening credits of some releases of the series declare the show's mission statement in stark terms as a series about nature itself. The first episode depicts an opening montage including live-action footage of environmental destruction and David even chastises the human race for how they destroy the natural world.
  • Happily Married: David and Lisa. Although every Gnome couple seems to be happily married. The only possible exception being the fur thief Ivan and his wife, and even then it appears one-sided his wife still shows care for him.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Gnomes do have a few human friends and allies but generally view them as this trope.
  • Human Snowball: A group of gnomes, including David, deliberately invoke this trope to get back at the trolls for ruining a wedding ceremony.
  • Just Whistle: Gnomes are taught how to whistle at a very young age to signal to other gnomes when they're in trouble.
  • Never Bareheaded: A gnome can never remove their hat in public, as it's taboo.
    • Episode 2 of Wisdom of the Gnomes has a scene where Danny bumps into a chair and falls over. His hat comes off in the process in a blink-and-you-miss it moment, though he isn't chastised for it since it was an accident.
  • Nice Hat: And they almost never take them off, not even for baths.
    • They remove their hat so rarely that in the second episode one of the trolls even carries David by holding the tip of his hat.
  • No Fourth Wall: David and his wife Lisa frequently address the audience directly, "educating" them about the gnomish lifestyle.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Swift the fox.
  • Older Than They Look: Gnomes live to be exactly 400 years old.
    Susan: Grandma, I'm not a child anymore! I'm 65 years old!
    • The last episode implies that the 400-year lifespan is a choice rather than an actual requirement, but that after that point gnomes are subject to greatly reduced quality of life, being hit by many of the ravages of age in a short amount of time.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Not necessarily mad, but definitely non-blue smurfs with some stripes of Underground Monkey, Can't Argue with Elves, and Speaks Fluent Animal. Also Mind Manipulation, Telepathy, and Horse of a Different Color.
  • The Power of Love: Required to open the Cool Gate in "The Shadowless Stone."
  • Repeating So the Audience Can Hear: The gnomes would often translate what the animals were saying.
  • Road Sign Reversal: When gnomes have wedding parties, there is always a concern about trolls coming and spoiling everything, so they will put up signs deliberately pointing in the opposite direction to throw them off, while gnomes will know better and go the other way. It doesn't always work.
  • Scenery Porn: Lavishly animated for the time.
  • Sick Episode: In one episode, Susan comes over to visit when David is sick with a cold (and very irritable as a result), so she ends up spending the day with Lisa as they do a few things together out in the forest.
  • Together in Death: David and Lisa become two intertwined trees after they pass on, and their spirits are shown being happy together in the branches.
  • The Smart Guy: The trolls' ringleader, Holler, is the only one with even a modicum of intelligence. Unlike the others, he's clever enough to make snares and traps, learns how to use human tools and weapons, and is fairly articulate when he speaks. The rest of them, though equally malicious, speak and act like people with severe mental handicaps.
  • Transflormation: Gnomes turn into trees when they pass on, as shown with David, Lisa, and the former's friend Casper.
  • Translation Convention: It's mentioned several times that gnomes speak their own language, and humans are forbidden from knowing it, except one word...
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: "Gnomes only have children once in our lives, and they're always twins," albeit not always a boy and a girl.


Alternative Title(s): David El Gnomo


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: