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 Dutch children's books Gnomes and The Secret Book of Gnomes, by the 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:

  • All Trolls Are Different: Clumsy? Check. Evil race? Check. Turn to stone in sunlight? ... Check.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The trolls, always scheming to eat the gnomes, kidnap human children, stealing or vandalizing For the Lulz.
    • The episode "Adventure in the Arctic" of The Wisdom of the Gnomes has a good troll, Croc. In the English dub this is explained as him having been raised by gnomes after being abandoned as a baby, but this is not explained in the original version. Everyone who doesn't know him is still scared, which highlights how unusual he is.
    • Hoolley and Poopey's mother, Ingrid, is called "good" by the gnomes, but she's still greedy and an enabler who excuses her children's behavior as being naughty but not evil. Nevertheless, she loves them and they love her back.
  • Ambiguously Evil: The gnome Martin, or Blabby as the others call him, isn't really evil but his tendency to start false rumours is proven to be harmful in the long run.
  • Anachronism Stew: In one episode, David treats a Gnome child who was poisoned by pesticides and the exposition scene shows typical mid-20th century tech used to spread pesticides. However, when cities and human characters appear later in the series or in the first sequel, they look like from the first half of the 19th century.
  • 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 final episode, "The Mountains of Beyond", 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.
  • Book Ends: The series begins with a flock of geese flying by the forest where David and Lisa live. In the opening of the last episode the same geese fly again past of the forest.
  • 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. All of the narration footage was removed entirely from the Finnish dub note , which did otherwise keep the original elements in the whole series.
    • "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.
    • "David to the Rescue" had a little dialoge change; Gina's mother blames herself for her daughter's condition and David tells her not to because it was an accident. In the original however, she just asks can David help her daughter and he replies that at this point it is too late to do a gastric lavage, since the poison has already spread into nervous system.
  • Broken Aesop: One episode has David granting a wish to a poor farmer who saved David's life. The farmer asks for some gold so that he can feed his family. The episode is supposed to be about how greed destroys you, but the poor farmer was literally only asking for enough to feed his family and pay his debts. A day that started with him saving David's life sees him thrown in jail for his trouble.
  • Busman's Holiday: David may leave home for reasons other than treating somebody, yet have to give medical treatment before the episode's end. Likewise, Klaus may leave home for different reasons but have to preside a trial or decide in a dispute.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: The gnomes often chastize humans for how destructive they are.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Gnomes turn into trees when they die. Gnomes also build their houses in trees, and chop them for wood.
  • 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.
  • Changeling Tale: In "The Baby Troll", the troll mother confesses that her baby was left on a rock in the middle of the river by a human farmer, after she tried to change him for the farmer's son. The source material mentions that trolls often do this because human babies are prettier and better behaved than their own.
  • 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 the young 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.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first two English dubbed episodes end with David giving the same farewell speech, suggesting it was supposed to be an Every Episode Ending, but it was never used again.
    I know you're going away from us now
    Back to your city homes
    Leaving behind your newfound friends
    In the cozy world of the gnomes
    But I hope you'll come back and see us
    You know where to find us now
    Where the innocent forest children play
    Under a leafy bough
    You'll find us if you're friendly
    And share our point of view
    But even if nobody sees us
    We'll always be watching you
  • Earthy Barefoot Character: Trolls as a race are barefoot. Even the few that wear clothes never wear shoes, not even in snowy and arctic environments.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The mother troll in "The baby troll" is distraught when the human farmer leaves her son in the middle of the river, even though he did it because she had tried switching it with the farmer's baby.
  • Every Episode Ending: David returns home, meets Lisa (unless she's accompanied him for the episode), and says Slitzweitz! to the camera.
  • 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.
  • Family Theme Naming: It's eventually revealed that Swift's father was named Nimble. Both names are synonyms for "fast".
  • 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.
  • Manly Tears: Both David and Judge Klaus shed tears in their respective series finals; David when saying his final goodbye to his loyal fox companion Swift and Klaus when his dear wife Agnes passed away.
  • Monumental Damage: The trolls vandalize the Great Wall of China in the episode of the same name.
  • Mouse World: The main gnome couple lives in a literal mouse den, excavated by a mice couple under a tree, and they share it with them. They acconditioned it and put appliances until it looked like a miniature Germanic house.
  • Never Bareheaded: A gnome can never remove their hat in public, as it's taboo.
    • In the episode, "Ivan the Terrible", David teaches a rogue Siberian Gnome named Ivan a lesson for stealing the fur of humans in the area by luring him into a trap that results in his hat getting taken. Ivan quickly retreats home, and his wife makes him wear her head scarf since he can't go out without a hat. This results in everyone (his wife included) to laugh at him. He's finally able to get his hat back when he appeals to the Siberian Gnome king, who had ordered David to set the trap in the first place, and shows that he had been humbled by the experience.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Non-Standard Kiss: Rubbing noses is the gnome equivalent of kissing on the lips.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: It doesn't matter if Klaus and Danny go to Scotland, Lappland, or China. They almost always run into the same trolls Hoolley, Poopey, Pot, Pat, and the like.
  • 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 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 Pig-Pen: Trolls smell terribly (and look like they do, to be frank).
  • 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.
  • Save the Villain: Even though gnomes and trolls are enemies, if a troll is in a life-threatening situation, gnomes will still go out of their way to save them.
  • Scenery Porn: Lavishly animated for the time.
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: Though David went to the Himalayas or Australia in some episodes, he didn't travel long distances as often as Klaus, who was in a different country in almost every episode.
  • Shoo the Dog: This happens in the final episode; David and Lisa let their pet mice and guardian cricket free into woods, since they are going to the Mountains of Beyond. After arriving there they also let Swift free, who clearly doesn't want to leave them.
    David: Please Swift, you have to get going.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: A rather heartwarming series about nature, gnomes and their life, only it to end of the tituluar character and his wife dying of old age.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Female trolls wear clothing, males go naked.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: A benign version: humans are forbidden from learning the gnome language except for a single word: the gnomish for "help."
  • Together in Death: David and Lisa become two intertwined apple trees after they pass on, and their spirits are shown being happy together in the branches.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Each episode had a sneak peak what would happen next and it was pretty obvious that David and Lisa were going to pass away in the final episode.
  • 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...
  • Trojan Veggies: In one episode, Lisa reveals that David refuses to eat dandelion greens despite their health benefits, so she sometimes hides them in other foods.
  • 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